Monday, November 30, 2009

When One Door Closes

This time it means that the garden shed project is complete to lockup stage.
This project just seemed to carry on and on. Still trim to put up, items to move in. The trim and deck will just wait until spring. Moving in can happen anytime I get the inclination and other projects don't increase in priority. The last thing was waiting while the paint dried. Actually it wasn't paint but some new-fangled water born stain. Seems oil based stains are now phased out in our area and only water based stains are available. I put four coats of stain over two coats of primer sealer and it still could use some more. The instructions demand a 12 hour drying time before recoating. It sure doesn't cover like the solid oil based stains I am used to. Reminds me of a Hank Hill episode where he gets his dander up about low flush toilets - that actually took six times as much water to work.

Speaking of priorities. I was a long time proponent of classical project management. Prioritizing what needs to be done and then doing it. There in lies the rub. In the real world priorities change, depending on a multitude of factors: equipment availability, parts, wild fires, snow storms - you name it. Most plans, to borrow a military phrase, don't survive the first encounter with reality.

I have used all types of planning systems throughout my 33 years of civic service and other business ventures. If there is a computerized planning and organizing system out there I probably have tried it. I still end up going back to paper. It's just quicker and never runs out of power. Right now I use a Harvard Planner A5 size system augmented with my own designed and printed forms. If your interested in paper planning systems check out the D*I*Y Planner site.

I've decided to change the classical ABC prioritization schemes. Now in Art's world:

  • A = The place will burn down if I don't do this now
  • B = Useful Project I can do, and
  • C = No big deal if it doesn't get done. The possible addition is:
  • D = Jeez, what a great idea - maybe one day time and money permitting..
Now the furnace fan is making noises like it wants to be released into the wild. I guess I'll go take a look at this B item.

Hope your running your projects and not the other way around.

Sunday, November 22, 2009


We've cleaned out the yard so that I have plenty of room to stockpile snow at the Western edge of the house fence line. That should help the run off come spring. We don't want the water sluicing down the road where the house is, and the new gravel is laid. We cut a berm and ditch all around the North end of the House fence and that should divert all the water from the hill that is North of the house.

In order to keep the parking area as un cluttered as possible we moved the Boler between the Shop and Garden shed.

Tucked away out of the snow plow line. For those that have never heard of a Boler, they are a '70's era fiberglass travel trailer that were transmogrified from septic tank. We spent months at a time camping in ours. The last two years we were at the coast we spent every weekend in the Boler, rain or shine snow or whatever. We once spent a long weekend on a sandbar near Agassiz with a strong wind and -20 temperatures. The train would honk at us, the engineer waving, as it passed by. Our Boler has been heavily modified for off-road, all weather use. It sits on a specially built frame that allowed us to raise the height for off road use and insert two inches of insullation under the floor. It has two heat sources, a regular forced air furnace and a propane thrifty, catalytic heater. I have slept in it when it's -30. It has solar panels on the roof that keep a couple of deep cycle gel cells powered up. We had planned to live in the Boler while we built our off grid hideaway of 10 acres of remote bush land. How plans change.

Since we've moved here we have only been camping in it once. It's almost like every day is a get away around here and the urge to escape in the Boler every weekend has left us. Every now and then Xena and I spend a night ensconced in the Boler, a make believe camping trip.

I may have found the culprit with the hard starting Skid Steer. My brother Tom mentioned that he had replaced the ignition system and was unable to get the correct harness but matched the impedance of the spark plug wiring. While he was here yesterday we were playing with the wiring and proved the problem was with the 12 volt connections to the coil. They were just huji-balled on with stake on connectors. I salvage a ford ignition coil connector and voila instant start every time.

Were in the middle of a snow storm right now, the snow pummeling down almost horizontal from the East. I just might get to try the Skid Steer out before the day is done.

Hope your having a great day.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Snow Job

Managed to get the skidsteer up and running ( wire pulled out of coil connector) and got the gravel spread --

just before the Northern version of the Pine Apple express hit.

When I went to start up the beast to put chains on and bolt on the snow plow it refused. I guess it worked enough spreading the gravel so it wasn't ready for the next event. Whatever the case - I re fueled and put it on a charger. I will get to try and coax it to life again today. And remind myself that yelling at in-animate objects rarely achieves the desired outcomes. It's just a bafflement to me: Everything is running fine, turn machine off, refuses to start. Of course it could have something to do with the choke, I haven't been able to figure out how to set it up correctly.

A well, after talking gently to it and with a modicum a of pleading, and unplugging and plugging all the spark plug connectors it did fire up and I was able to get the joint plowed. The Snow Plow went by on Savory so that will be clear to Highway 16.

It is important to get a good base and make sure the snow gets pushed far enough off the roadway that I will have room for the seasons snow. Jo-Ann just thinks I am having fun. "I saw you plowing places y0u don't even go in the summer time", she opined. Obviously she doesn't understand the subtle nature of plowing snow. The forethought and planning that goes into it. Humph! Fun indeed.

Well, maybe a little..

I am off to a sweat and then I have a couple of meetings after that so the tidying up can wait until tomorrow. Hope your day goes well and you don't have any problems with in- animate objects.

Or animate for that matter.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Shovel Sixteen Tons and What Do You Get?

Well, twenty cubic yards anyway. About two yards or so per load.

Hopefully I won't have to spread it by hand. Yesterday I got a phone call and an offer of twenty yards of crushed gravel, a truck and a dumping trailer to haul it. Woo Hoo! It will certainly be nice, come the Spring melt, not to have to slog through mud at our entrance. There should be enough to cover the entire front yard. Great upgrade. The trick is that I have to get the Skid steer running. It crapped out yesterday, just after we changed from the bucket to forks. Just before we got the phone call and offer of free crushed gravel. I think it's an electrical problem so I will need to call in the electrician. Wait, I are one. It looks like it's going to snow again so I have a certain impetus to get it done soon. Hence the short post.

On the Garden shed front, progress is being made.

Windows are in, wall covering on, some trim has been applied, shelves built and tools put away. The door is still in the shop getting sanded, painted and cut for a large window. Seeing it's a South facing door I might as well get as much solar gain as I can.

Hope you weekend is restive. Which rhymes with festive, which reminds me of ...well don't get me going..

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Shedding the Garden

Progress is progressing on the Garden shed front. Some friends of ours from the Coast have arrived and while the "women folk" are involved in a "Stitch and Bitch" vigil we're outside getting the shed covered and ready for some trim that we've painted in the shop. And installing windows. Oh and falling trees and other fun stuff. We are making sure any of the dead pine that is in danger of falling on our driveway is no longer a concern. The white blobs in the picture is some snow that, thankfully, didn't stick.

This is someone, who for anonymity purposes-cannot be identified- taking an outside stitching break from the inside stitching sessions. In summer it would be called, " taking a Bubba"

Wonderful weather. The snow is scheduled to begin this afternoon - hopefully I can get the door on the shed in the next little while.

Hope your life is keeping you in stitches. The fun kind! Not like my friend Carol's Kitty Kat.

Saturday, November 07, 2009

My Wife Is Sleeping With A 17 Year Old.

According to my Dr. After a recent physical he proclaimed that I had the blood pressure of a 17 year old. That's a big difference from five years ago when I was warned to lower my blood pressure or go on medicine that would do it for me. I'm a big fan of doing what I can to get healthy without the use of drugs. I've lost a lot of weight, exercise regularly and we are eating as well as we can with our own veggies and local beef. Soon local chicken. Nice to see that it pays off.

I have been making some progress on the Garden shed project. Hopefully, tomorrow, I can get all the siding on and the tarpaper and siding. One thing I know about my carpentry skills: My cutting is way better than my measuring.. I have been cutting sheets of plywood to fit the top part of the shed which has a barn style roof and several beams that stick out. And of course nothing is ever truly square, plumb or level. And somehow my perfectionism raises its non-useful head and tells me it has to fit a roof line that isn't straight. Of course I realize after the second sheet that I don't have to make it fit like a glove - that's why carpenters invented trim.
Perhaps tomorrow I will only have to make a half a dozen trips up and down the ladders..

We're waiting for some friend to arrive for a visit tomorrow. Always nice to have company. Oh and I do have a few projects in mind that I could use a hand with.

And in the Handy Hints Department:

Try using a chalkboard brush to clear the fog off the inside of windows. Works great, better than hiding rags under the seat. But here's the rub. Try and find one. I checked out two big box stationary stores and couldn't find one. Everyone uses white board today I suppose.