Thursday, December 19, 2013

Putting things in Place

Gave myself a holiday present this week - I sewed my shoes back together.  They have leather uppers and the seams had come undone (not the first time for one of them) and so I finally got to sit down and sew them up. Once again, love the dental floss solution!

And, the tank got moved!  It's hard to show the proper perspective of where a 10 foot wide 8 foot tall thing is sitting on a hillside... 

 But here it is moments before the last move, where it will sit on that "pad" I dug out a while back.   The whole last 2 days of moving actually went very well.  Of course, going downhill is the way to go. 

Friday, December 13, 2013

Another product improvement thought

So, we have a Dirt Devil upright 'cyclonic breeze' I think it's called.  The link to it is here.   It's actually a really nice little machine. It's powerful, light, and has a lot of little features.  The best is how it comes apart so easily to clean, with the canister thing and easy access to the filter -a  key part to keep clean in any vacuum device.  What I find is I need to take off the rotating brushes regularly (which could be easier,btw) and cut off the long hairs that have wrapped around it.  What the builders of this thing should have done is make a shallow, thin groove along the length of the drum, so that one could easily slip a knife under the wrapped hair and cut them all with one quick swipe. 

Thursday, December 05, 2013

cool winter days

I love it when the cold box in the kitchen wall becomes another refrigerator for us, filled with autumn goodies

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Still to do

So, yeah, that still needs to get moved.  They're 900lb empty, you know.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Crack update

So, faithful readers will remember I posted about being sad we had some cracks in the walls from the house settling.

Well, I made some attempts to fix them up, and it seems like it worked!  I made up a putty of fine sand and lime putty and actually painted it on with a brush:
Then I wiped it off after it dried a bit, which left the stuff in the crack.  Then I went back with typical whitewash and painted over it 3 or 4 times, doing the standard wetting it down and wiping it down between coats.  It turned out GREAT!

You can't even see the cracks in person, let alone these photos!

Check out the front of the living room bench, even from the photo above! 

Saturday, November 09, 2013

Electronics and Attack!

So here's a couple of photos that were in my phone for reference, but I find them interesting.  I used them for reference by snapping the picture and then coming back to my laptop to look things up online.  This pumpsaver thing is part of the well electronics, and it's not liking the new, smaller generator we want to use up there. I need to figure out how to recalibrate it.

This is the 2 fuses in my 'combiner box' that's up on the roof, where the solar panel feed comes in and combines into one power cord.  I took this because I just ordered another set of panels so that we can have more power.  Luckily for me, the combiner box will take more power, and I managed to find panels that have the same 'open circuit voltage'.  I almost couldn't, as the kind we have have gone out of style.

These are showing the destruction of the chicken tractor by forces unknown.  We came down to check on it one day and found that something(s) had trashed it.  Wood is splintered, chicken wire pulled apart, the thing is trashed. 

Amazingly, the 2 remaining chickens (did I mention one got sick and died?) survived!  They must have run off in to the woods. They now won't go near the tractor or the hen house.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

termite season

In these last warm evenings before the rains, the flying termites come out of their nests and start covering everything.  I hate them.  I actually stand outside with a racquetball racquet and a shoe and swing at them.
They also come in under the doors, shed their wings and start crawling around looking for somewhere to set up shot.  Here's the tiles by the back door.  Luckily a vast majority of our house is termite proof, but still. 

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Re-using old wood for new stuff

Taking some old deck boards and working them up.  First, take off the old brackets:
Then, use a hatchet to split off the rotten bits of the 4x6s:

And build a new raised bed box for a garden: 

I'm going to try this idea of putting old (rotten) wood at the bottom, under the dirt, to act as a sponge for the winter water.  Luckily, I have plenty of rotten wood around.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Maintenance Work

Various things that need doing are getting done.  Like vacuuming the car.  I moved the baby seat and found a garden Jack was starting:

I decided to try and do a little touch up work on the limewash, rather than attempt a full re-painting.  it's actually working pretty well.  Here's next to the kitchen sink.

and the big one this week: cleaning and protecting the yurt.  First, to go up and clean off the dirt and tree sap. Here's a first pass at one section of the roof:

Then to get up there and clean the dome, and put 303 on it -a sort of 'armor-all' for boats and things. Done! 

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Tomatoes and Chicken Jail

I added some features to my solar dehydrator: a chimney and an intake tube.  Both help move hot air through the thing. The intake tube in particular, in the afternoon sun really heats up and has hot air pushing out the top.

The trays are made from old onion bags. I'm surprised at how long it takes to dry out the tomatoes. They smell fabulous during the process.

Saving them in olive oil: 

Gave up on the pasture for the chickens. They were getting comfortable getting out and going on long walks in the morning. That's not a big deal this time of year, but if there were berries out, I'd have lost them. They did manage to find the few tomato plants that weren't fenced in.   
So I built a 'chicken tractor' as they call them.  a fully enclosed pen that is light and moves every day, so they have new ground and weeds to get at and destroy. I left the back end open so I simply move their hen house up against that end and they can go in and out as they want.  This ends the need for a timer for the door, and getting up in the morning to let them out.  A good trade off. 

Another photo of the whole 'chicken jail', with my glove in one corner. 

Monday, September 09, 2013

Valve Cover Gaskets replacement on the subaru

Well, finally got to this job. I had known it was necessary quite a while ago, but it took me quite a bit to get all the pieces together and to feel prepared to go.  So, after removing some stuff to get at it, here's the valve cover off the passenger side:

Here's a close up of the same thing, and you can see those black rubber gaskets around the tubes that the spark plugs go in have built up crud.  They were what was leaking. I think they just get cooked over time and don't work well. 

Here's the inside of the cover, after wiping away the wet oil. I would guess those burnt marks are where oil has been cooked onto the aluminium. 

Here it is after I cleaned it up with some solvent:
 Then, as I went in to change the spark plugs, I discovered that the end of the wire from the distributor -that connects to the plug -  had broken off and came out on it's own, rather than at the end of the wire. Not good. Had to go to town and buy a set of 4 wires. (they don't just sell one)

But, I got everything back together, did a bunch of cleaning, and it seems the car is running well.  Here's the engine, looking clean, all back together.

Monday, September 02, 2013

Steps, Nuts, and Tunnels

The back steps finally got done, after I finally got some more concrete chunks to put in for the patio - so I'd know how far down the steps needed to go!

The entire almond harvest... still, they say that almonds don't grow here at all, and I didn't water the tree once.  Next year, we'll treat the tree right, and see what we get!

I was losing my corn and squash to gophers, so I just gave up and dug up the whole garden trying to find them and put in traps. I had put down 'hardware cloth' aka 1/4in screen, and when I got down to the bottom, I was able to see all their tunnels under the screen.  They managed to find a hole where it overlapped, and got up into the good dirt. 

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Summer and Surprises

Well, we are guilty of lazy summer.  Not only has my digital life gotten overly hectic, but the baby takes up most of the photographs these days.  I don't have much to report on August and it's already half over.  Here's what we've been doing on hot days: 
chillin' in the cool shade of the house.

That lack of vigilance makes for some larger than desired summer squashes... and interestingly, our little rebel hen, who likes to sleep in the trees rather than the hen house, had been laying eggs in her own little nest in the woods. I found these 13 eggs all piled up together.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Sous Chef

We had help making a very local quiche yesterday.  Our eggs, our eggplant, our zucchini, our garlic, and then other stuff. Still, tastes very smug and wonderful.

Friday, July 19, 2013

cats, rocks, beans

So, this is a picture of a tree.. with a bobcat in it.  We scared it up on the evening dog walk. 
 Here's a really bad close up of the bobcat: 

Here's our two solar ovens at the end of a good day of cooking.  

Here's what a pickup truck worth of urbanite looks like laid out & pieced together. (on the back/west patio)

Friday, July 12, 2013

Birds lately

So, a little tiny baby bird on the road one morning. Seriously, about the size of a golf ball. Hope it did ok.

Our big rooster, who crowed for the last time this morning.  It was an interesting learning experience, and now the leftovers are in the fridge.

The rooster's sister, and the youngest hen we have just started laying. They always lay small ones to start out. Here's her first next to one of the regulars. 

Monday, July 01, 2013

Steps to beat the Heat

I replastered the OTHER step now. I am getting better at it though.

Our blue-bellied lizards like to try and make nests in the sand and dirt between our flagstones. It's not that amusing. 

Since it was getting up there - this thermometer is in the shade under the eave of the house, 

whole family in the COOL tub! 

$1 tool rescue

Had a moment last week, so we strolled the flea market. A woman had a pile of rusty tools "anything $1!" and so I dug through it ...