Showing posts from September, 2021

Getting There

 Yesterday I put up the wall that will divide the halves of the building but needed to devote my attention to getting new brakes and rotors on my vehicle. Although I suppose I probably could do that myself, it is one of those things I am comfortable paying someone else to do with the right tools and where they can put it up on a lift to work on things easier... at least until I saw the bill. Getting brakes was a lot more expensive than I remembered but then, I have sold three different vehicles between then and now and so it has been a long time since the last brake job I paid for.  Today was a grunt, pure and simple. Because the greenhouse side will have lots of windows, I opted to put in some headers to carry the load of the roof structure and not transfer said load to the windows where it can cause problems. On the first side, I decided to leave the header out to save weight when I swung the wall into place and then put it in place afterwards. That turned out to be a big mistake for

Construction Underway

The very next day, I kick off the construction phase of this project. Because I'll be waiting on my ridge beams for two weeks, there really isn't a killing hurry but I would like to get it up, stabilized and anchored to the concrete before a big blow comes through and pushes it all down. My process is pretty simple. I assemble a section of the wall while laying on the nice flat concrete slab and then make sure it is perfectly square. I then screw a diagonal board across the back which prevents the entire thing from racking. Because I assemble everything with the outside face facing up, the brace has to go on the outside of the building where it will eventually be in the way of the siding. At some point, I will move the diagonal board onto the inside where it will be out of the way. With everything squared up and braced, I then staple some foam to the bottom side of the sill plate to fill that gap so insects and such can't enter. Then I stand it up. The first one I stood up,


 As you can see, I got the lion's share of my order delivered. The blocks on the left are for a future landscaping project and the lumber on the right for the greenhouse project. As you can see from the picture, the lumber has a ways to go down the hill but I'm planning to build the walls in seven sections and will just carry enough down for one section at a time so it isn't such a burden to carry. I still am missing the lumber for the ridge beam, roofing panels and doors but I think I should have most of what I need. My hope is that what I don't have, I can easily fit in my minivan and obtain it within 30 minutes or less. 

A Little Tour

  It's been awhile since I've been to Maharishiville. Maharishiville is a name given to a place near where I used to live where John Lennon's yogi from India claimed it was the center of the universe and bought up a local community college. The college is still a college but teaches mandatory transcendental meditation (TM) along with any curriculum. Many of the followers of TM got fed up with living in a town with us heathen non-TM followers so started their own town, the first in nearly 100 years in our state, and I refer to it lovingly as Maharishiville after their founder. Whenever we have guests who are looking for a little bit of flavor from our part of the land, we often take them a tour of Maharishiville to see such sights as the "Tower of Invincibility" and the "Twin World Peace Capital" buildings. Since my last visit, the latter seems to have been converted into office space but the Tower of Invincibility still stands strong near the his and her

Delivery Clarification

 The day of the delivery for my supplies came and went without any notification. In a way I wasn't too upset as we had a house full of guests at the time and it would have been inconvenient for the delivery. But I dropped the last one off at the airport and when I got home I got loaded up for bear and called the big box store and after wading through the menu options, finally spoke with a young man in their delivery department. This time, I got much different results. When I asked why my three original orders got broken up into 17 sub orders, he said the hurricane down south really threw a wrench into things and they broke out hard to get items into special orders so it wouldn't slow the rest of the things down. Okay, I said, so where are the rest of the things. Well they were just waiting so they could deliver everything at once. Okay I said, so one, special ordering to separate does nothing and two, I broke my order into three separate orders when I placed it and paid for two

Waiting On Wood

  When in the planning stages for this project, I was deciding how to get materials on site. I haul a lot of stuff in our minivan but it can't haul a lot and using it as a work horse of sorts is hard on the interior of it. I figured I probably could have hauled everything I needed in it but it would have taken a dozen or more trips and even then, some of the larger stuff wouldn't have fit inside and I would have to figure out how to get them home. So I made the decision to just order it all at once from our local big box store and have it delivered. I placed a large order which was immediately broken into 17 suborders of which I get notifications on a nearly daily basis that one component or the other is ready for pickup, even though I chose and paid for delivery. I even stopped by once to verify everything but the person running their software seemed to know very little about anything and didn't leave me with much confidence. But the soonest I could get the bulk of the fra


About once a month, my wife and I try to have a date night which is usually a date lunch and more often than not, we end up at the local sushi joint. As we walked into the place, they had crab puffs on special and so we ordered a plate and they arrived as seen above along with a couple other sushi rolls. I have never had crab puffs before but they were outstanding.  While the rest of our squash was decimated earlier by squash bugs, we were able to save the trellis squash and they have been starting to produce. The one on the right, upo, is a filipino squash that really has no distinct flavor but is used in a variety of dishes as sort of an extender. We picked over a dozen of them on this trip and sold all but one at the asian grocery store on our way back into town. I had dreams of plants growing clear across the top of the  trellis but due to the cold wet spring that delayed things, I don't think it will happen this year. But perhaps next year. Our first couple crops of beans died

Mud Day

Two weeks later... Finally the stars aligned and the day concrete was available to be delivered and my concrete guy had a few hours of free time arrived. Unfortunately, the rock hard nature of my lawn due to several weeks of no rain had been interrupted by several different rains and so it was not so firm anymore. Above is a picture showing the concrete truck up on the street and I'm standing in my backyard about 20 feet away from the concrete slab being poured and this is the gradual slope where they intended to haul the concrete loader full at a time. On the other side of my house, while a much more direct route, is the very steep hill that we were trying to avoid. The loader did tear up the lawn a bit and left some ruts but all things considered, it isn't bad. The lawnmower guys might not like it but their days are numbered anyway once I get the lawnmower half of the shed built and a lawnmower obtained. The loader could hold approximately 1/4 cubic yards of concrete at a tim

It's About Time China!

 As I write this, China has just come out with a ban on all online gaming by minors during the school week and limits them to only 3 hours a day on weekends. The horror! Our girls have never known a life where they are allowed to play video games of any kind during the week and they are only limited to 2 hours of electronics on weekend days. Instead, we encourage them to read and as a result, they both have turned into book worms which pleases my soul to no end. I guess because they have never known any different, there has been no protest of these rules or even discussions to abandon them.  At one point, we didn't have those rules in place but our oldest was too young to remember those heady days. We started noticing a direct correlation between the time spent watching the television/ipad and behavior. When long hours were spent in front of electronics, it almost guaranteed grouchiness and temper issues later on. If we restricted usage and forced them to read, do some craft, or pl


 Somewhere in the depths of Manila, down a street crowded with building, parked tricycles and people making their way to their day job, is a small non descript little cafe/store that we always stop by. It may have a name but I've never heard it and everyone I have seen stop by have always looked like a regular customer. They always know what they want and what there is to choose from. The owners of the cafe cook up several pots of ulam which is a tagalog word for something that refers to a main dish eaten with rice. Of course there are a couple large pots of freshly steamed rice too. Workers come up in the early morning hours and after inspecting the pots, choose their ulam for their noon lunch. Scoops of rice are put in a plastic sack along with a scoop of the chosen ulam and the top tied shut. It is tucked into a pocket or a bag to be eaten hours later. Some will bring their own rice hoping to save a few pesos. Others will eat breakfast too. Occasionally someone will purchase one

When It Rains, It Pours

 As I write this, I'm still waiting on the concrete to be poured. My concrete guy has stopped by to inspect things and assure me that it would get poured that week. Today the week is half over. To complicate things in my mind, I have gotten up in the wee hours of the morning because I can't sleep to the deluge of rain falling outside. All I can think of is sand and dirt being washed into my rat barriers and that I am going to now be spending hours digging it all out by hand (around lots of rebar) and repairing things before the concrete can be poured. I just know that I will get a notice later this morning that THIS will be the day and my lawn will be turned into a holy muddy mess as they truck the concrete back to the forms from the road. After five weeks of perfect dry conditions for pouring concrete, the day after a huge dump of rain always is the way these things work. To make matters worse, I just checked my phone and was notified (during the middle of the night) of fraudu

Ready To Pour

Despite the unceasing heat and humidity, I finally got everything ready to pour. Because my concrete guy said he was booked through next summer, I always intended to get it to this stage myself. However, after I posted the picture of the big sand pile in the middle of the form, I got a call from him saying he had some free time the very next day if I was ready. I wasn't nor could I expect to be ready but he was willing to have his crew finish up the rest and pour it in the same day. I couldn't say no to getting it done much sooner than expected. So for the rest of the day, I busted my hump trying to get as much as I could done so I wouldn't have to pay the labor for someone else to do it. I got about half the sand leveled, much of that trying to figure out a way to hold the sand in place with temporary supports that I will move after the concrete is in place to hold the sand in place.  Unfortunately, Covid struck the concrete crew and so I got another text late that afterno

Sand a Day Early

In my last post I said the sand was going to be delivered in a couple days. I called on Tuesday and they had wanted to deliver it the next day but I had a visit planned with my grandmother that I didn't want to cancel so we agreed upon Thursday. The receptionist recapped saying they would deliver 4 ton of sand on Wednesday. I said no, I am not going to be there so you mean Thursday. She agreed and hung up. Wednesday mid morning, right in the middle of a nice conversation with my grandmother, I get a call from my daughter saying a stranger is ringing our doorbell. I told her just to ignore it. A minute later I get a call from the receptionist asking if I was home because they had my sand in my driveway. I told her I wasn't home as we discussed yesterday and that it needed to be delivered tomorrow. She said but he already has it loaded up on a truck in your driveway. I didn't want to wheelbarrow four tons of sand from my driveway to the forms down the hill but I wasn't su