Monday, April 16, 2018

Sorry there, little birds.

And this happens each and every spring.  I wage a battle with the birds that are immediately attracted to the front of the house,  where nest building is their thing.

And I get it.  There are some really great spots up there for nest building.  And I *almost* wouldn't mind too much if it weren't for all the crap that ends up everywhere.  Bad enough to get birdshit on the car,  it's even more annoying when it's just out of reach on the front of the house.

To quote one of my favourite childhood cartoon heros,  "That's all I can stands,  'cause I can't stands no more."

Here,  in case you're still wondering:


OK,  where was I?

Right.   So,  in spite of the really crappy weather,  the birds are coming back north,  and they're looking for spot to hang out.

We've had a Morning Dove "nest" on the pillar of the front porch.   We've had Robins do the same.  Now,  I have "nest" in quotation marks,  as it seems that Morning Doves....wait.  I just realised,  they're "Mourning Doves",  not Morning Doves.   Even though that ridiculous cooing sound they make is enough to drive you around the bend in the morning,  that's not a thing.

Their "nest" consisted of a few strands of dead grass,  amongst which they laid two eggs,  which then proceeded to roll off,  breaking on the cement steps below,  making a mess.  I gave them the bum's rush.

The robins however,  managed to get a nest built and had eggs in it before I was able to properly get up there and knock their creation down,  so we watched those little guys hatch and fly away.  Pretty sure I wrote about that once upon a time.
I'm not that cold hearted that I'd knock down a nest that had eggs in it. 
No, really.

So then we have the sparrows.

Holy Moly.

Like I said,  if they'd just not shit all over the place,  I might let them build a nest up under the eves,  but NO.
I mean,  I like birds. 

So,  I had to do some hackin' and hewin'.

The results:

And over on the other side:

Note the snow still hanging around,  even though it's been raining pretty steady for the last, oh I don't know,  20 hours or so?   It's above freezing,  but just refuses to leave.

This isn't just one board though,  it's a multi piece contraption that fits in the opening in such a way as to prevent birds from both sides of the purlin.   A  Purlin , by the way, is basically a roofing member that runs perpendicular to the rafters.  In the case of The Ponderosa here,  the builder fancied things up by having them come out past the front of the building.

There,  you learned something.

And,  as is the norm with this kind of thing,  it never really occurred to me to take a "before" picture. 


Travelling Companion couldn't quite get her head around the idea that I did this from inside the house,  even though I explained the use of a sliding T-Bevel to get the angle,  along with only needing three of the dimensions to work with.   Kind of like when she tries to explain to me some sort of special sewing thing or other,  and I try not to let it show that my eyes are starting to glaze over.
Look interested....nod your head,  nod your head.

Like that.

Oh and,  "Sliding T-bevel"?   Just look it up.

Thanks for stopping by.

For those of you for whom this applies:  Bundle up.

For anyone else where it's warm?

Well,  I'm *happy* for you.

Keep your stick on the ice.

Sunday, April 15, 2018

I just shake my head.

What I wanted to say was,  "Are ya stoopid??",  but I didn't want that in the title.

See,  "we" have been talking about this ice storm for a few days now.  Even if you don't have cable (many don't including both Daughters Numbers One and Two)   and cannot watch "The Weather Network" (which,  by the way,  not unlike CNN,  you only need to watch for about 15 minutes,  and then you've got all the information that they'll ever be giving for a time)  you're still going to know *somehow* that there's a storm coming and...wait for it....that you should stay off the roads.

But no....

I give you,  Exhibit A:

Because,  isn't there like,  Twitter,  and Facebook and I don't know what else?  It's not that hard to know what's going on with the weather. 
Better yet,  just look outside.
I cropped out the "gentleman" standing off to the side there.  Personally,  I think I'd be too embarrassed to have my photo taken standing beside the car I had just upended.  But that's just me I guess.
How do you even get going fast enough to put it over on its side anyway??

Oh and,  there's WAY more snow/ice/whatever on the ground now.  Like,  the snow plow just went by this morning.

That photo was from yesterday,  and the storm has continued on into today (Sunday).

T.C. had originally planned to take her sister to church in Hamilton. 

Not happening.

The Merc is pretty good in snow and ice, (it's that "all wheel drive" thing) but the trick would be getting TO or FROM the vehicle,  as all surfaces are a sheet of ice.

I haven't even considered stepping out the back door.  Probably sequester myself downstairs,  make a fire and bang away at the guitar.  Or honk away at the Saxomophone.
(Yes,  I own an alto Saxophone,  shut up.)

I *used* to play,  (like,  I even knew all the key signatures and shit)  and as a casual aside a few years back,  I mentioned that I wouldn't mind picking it up again.  Lo and behold,  T.C. bought me a sax for Christmas!   Holy Crap!   Now I have to really *do* something!
It didn't take me long to discover that,  even though I can still "play" the thing,  not having picked up a wind instrument in some 30 years means really not being able to play for anything more than a few minutes. 
It's hard work!
The muscle memory still seems to be there,  so it's not like I'm honkin' and squeekin'  like someone in Grade Seven Music or anything,  but still....

OK,  so now I'm just starting to do some sort of "stream of consciousness"  thing.

I'll go now.

Thanks for stopping by.   No more outside pics.  Not doing anyone any good at all.

Keep your stick on the ice.

Saturday, April 14, 2018

Not much of an "outside" day.

The other day I was trying to decide if I should put away my winter coat,  but was quite comfortable wearing it when I walked down to the store.  You'd think I'd be a little too warm with a winter coat on this time of year,  but nope.
Anyway,  we're getting a bit of a blow,  with an additional forecast of scattered crap,  followed by darkness.
The temperature has been slowly dropping as the day progresses,  and by tonight it'll be about a nine and a half out of ten on the "crappiness" scale. 
At least it's not snow,  although we just got a call from my sister-in-law in Guelph that they are indeed getting snow.  And yes,  it's mid April.
She was due to come down today and stay the night,  but had not only had her winter tires switched out,  but was somewhat reluctant to drive in what will be less than ideal conditions.
Can't blame her.   I ain't a goin' out.
Travelling Companion has a new iron that she ordered waiting for her at some place across town,  but that too can wait.

Meanwhile,  I've been dithering about out in my "shop",  and still haven't made any progress on the towel rack thingy I have in mind,  even though I've bought the material and made up a design.  There's damned little on the net,  so I've had to conjure up something out of my pea brain.
It's painful,  trust me.

So,  rather that do anything remotely useful,  I manage to come up with something "more important" to fill in while I procrastinate.

Procrastination is my speciality.

A while back (a couple years maybe?)  I came up with an idea to have a temporary work surface available that would fold up against the wall.  This allows for handy against the wall storage in order to get the car in whenever necessary.
I soon realised however, that there was a bunch of space behind the thing that was going to waste,  and,  as the bracket that holds the "table" to the wall was just a wee bit too narrow,  there was no way to put anything back there.

So it had to be changed.

So that pic is after I've rummaged around and found the proper sized hardwood that was wide enough and long enough to do the trick.  Going out to actually buy something would of course be heaps easier,  but I *knew* I had something or other out in the piles of stuff I have stored in the shed.  Like really,  there's enough.   That's all I'll admit to.

Of course,  even though I know this will pay off,  each and every time I get about half way through one of these great ideas that I have,  I start to wish I hadn't ever thought of it,  but it all worked out.
It doesn't look much different than before.  Just farther out from the wall when stored upright.

So now there's a good three inches back there,  and you'll notice that I already have something stashed back there, which is a "turntable"  that I use for spraying/finishing.   It's always been stuck over in a corner somewhere,  and will go much better on the wall.   I haven't figured out just yet what else I'll stash back there,  but I'll work on it.  Most likely things like a few paint brushes? 

We'll see.

The only other thing I had to do was make a new "hook"  to hold the thing up in its upright position. Right up at the top there.   No big deal.

I guess that's all I got.  Just felt like throwing a few words out there.  Thanks for moving your eyes back and forth.
Now back to trying to decide on a weed eater purchase.  There's a lot of junk out there apparently,  but I've had enough of the less than stellar performance of the cordless "Black & Decker"  abomination that I made the mistake of buying when we first came back from Europe.
As was pointed out to me by one of my brothers-in-law,  "You do realise that Black and Decker have been making POOH for a number of years now?"   True dat.

Keep your stick on the ice.

Monday, April 9, 2018

Sometimes I'm just mystified.

At what people throw out.

Now,  don't get me wrong,  I don't go around on "toss out your cr*p day"  and start loading up the truck,  but once in a while,  I just can't help myself.

Like the time someone turfed out a Filter Queen, or most of one anyway,  not too far up the street from here and I took the time to stop and hoist it into the pick-up truck I had at the time.
Hence the true meaning of the term "pick-up truck" as far as I'm concerned.
Would I recommend a Filter Queen?
No.   And that's why I was happy to see one from which I could scavenge some parts.

I mean,  it's a pretty good vacuum cleaner until the filter gets clogged,  and then it's pretty average.  We still have one that we bought some thirty years ago,  but the problem is,  they haven't changed the design of their retarded base in like,  forever. 

AND,  when I enquired about replacing the busted up one that we had,  the dealer wanted FIFTY BUCKS!
I don't think so.

Anyway,  I scavenged the base off the one that was dead at the side of the road,  and tossed out the rest.

But I digress.

What I'm talking about is,  the thing that I happened to notice today,  which ended up in the trunk of the car.

I took the car,  as getting the truck turned around in the back parking lot/alleyway/whatever behind where Daughter Number Two and Hubby lives is a bit of a challenge.  I only needed a bag of tools and the gate that I had made for them that I stopped by to install.

Here,  DNT took a picture.

Because,  like a bonehead,  I forgot to take a camera.

This gate is due to the addition of a second dog,  who seems to have no issues with wandering into the kitchen and getting totally underfoot.

Not being the most speedy when it comes to these things,  this has been on my little mental list of things to do for some time now.   They've had the dog for like,  a couple years?   I forget exactly,  but that's my suspicion.

The thing too is,  their first dog knows enough that,  when told to "get out!"  of the kitchen,  he does just that.   Dog number two though?  Well?  He's deaf. 
Deaf as a post.

No really.  The whole time I was there,  he had no idea what was going on behind him.  I didn't bring any food apparently.
Oh ya.  He can smell alright.  Just not hear.  It's a long story.  Previous owners were retards.  He got some sort of ear trouble and they were too dim to get it sorted out.  He lost his hearing.  Poor little guy.  So,  he got adopted and is having a pretty good life chez Daughter Number Two and Hubby.

Anyhoo,  after I had that little job done,  I couldn't help but notice that there were a few cast off items cluttering up the parking area,  and after a very quick look,  I hoisted this thing into the car.

Um,  the fan.   Not the bench or any of those other things.  But you know that.

Oh and,  notice how there's that protective bit of Masonite (or whatever the hell it is) between the bottom of the fan and the bench?  Um, ya.  We'll be a little careful not to do a number on the bench for a wee while methinks.

See,  I've never ever bought one of these fans.  In all the years that I was with my previous oh so illustrious employer,  there would always be one or two that ended up in the garbage at the end of the year.   The kind that are on a stand were notorious for getting stepped on or knocked over,  and something or other would invariably get kinda wonky,  but unless it's been run over by a car,  99% of the time,  with a little TLC,  it can be made to work again.   There are two moving parts!  That's it.  The rotary part,  and the oscillating part.  As long as the rotary part turns,  you got a fan!

This one had obviously not been run over or anything,  so I figured I'd give it a go.

Not sure what was going through the head of the previous owner (if anything)  but they turfed it out.  Annoyingly,  they also cut off the cord.  (rolling my eyes here) 

Kind of like that Russian proverb.

“There’s a famous Russian proverb about this type of behavior. One day, a poor villager happens upon a magic talking fish that is ready to grant him a single wish. Overjoyed, the villager weighs his options: “Maybe a castle? Or even better—a thousand bars of gold? Why not a ship to sail the world?” As the villager is about to make his decision, the fish interrupts him to say that there is one important caveat: whatever the villager gets, his neighbor will receive two of the same. Without skipping a beat, the villager says, “In that case, please poke one of my eyes out.” 

― Bill BrowderRed Notice: A True Story of High Finance, Murder, and One Man's Fight for Justice

(as a side note,  that's a good read.  I highly recommend it)

So in other words,  "If I can't figure this out,  I'll just cut off the cord so nobody else can either".
Like that.
Enough to make you want to spit.

Having to deal with that minor issue was only an annoyance, and nothing that a squirrelled away replacement cord and some heat shrink tubing couldn't fix.  I do tend to have "stuff" hanging around,  but only so much.  Never too much.

Now I'll admit,  between figuring out how to get at the severed cord by having to do some disassembly,   along with some cleaning and a good dose of WD-40 I probably frittered away a good hour.  But it was time well wasted.  The little fan works like a charm.

I'll either use it my own damned self,  of bequeath it to whomever I think is worthy.

And like I say,  I just don't get it.

But hey,  one man's junk is another man's rotary oscillator.

Thanks for stopping by.

Keep your stick on the ice.

Monday, March 19, 2018

Wenn die Katze fort ist...

tanzen die Mäuse.

And in this case,  I'm the Maus.   Although,  I haven't done any dancing so far today.

Oh,  this expression in English is,  "When the cat is away,  the mice will play."   You remember that one.
The word order in German is a bit tricky,  but we won't get into a grammar lesson here.

You're welcome.

See,  T.C. is away.   And will be until I head back up to Guelph on Wednesday to fetch her.  Her sister offered to drive her home,  but I'll also be dropping off a small dresser for another one of her sisters.  Long story.   She's somewhat "dis-advantaged" shall we say?  I'll just leave it at that.
Anyway,  the dresser she presently has (which I do believe we provided for her, now that I think on it)  is not in the best condition.  She moved a couple years ago,  and the movers were less than...careful.

Anyway, back once upon a time,  before we had the roof and chimney sorted out so that there would no longer be any water coming in well,  water came in.   Not like,  buckets or anything,  but just enough to mess up the plaster.

I've been meaning to get it sorted out for a time now.   The only issue is,  it's in what is now T.C.'s sewing room,  and she's in there most every day.
Of course,  I'm in my "shop" most every day as well.

That's what we do.   We're pensioners.

So rather than lying about all day,  or spending my time sitting at the computer here (whoops)  I figured I'd get at it.

Of course,  it took as long to get the room ready for what was really a minor bit of spackling,  but at this point at least I have on the first coat.

Turns out,  the new camera I bought a while back does this "panorama"  thing.  Figured I'd give it a go.

I didn't end up generating all that much dust,  but I just wasn't sure.  Plus of course,  in a similar way that what looks like a tiny rust spot on the fender of your vehicle that subsequently turns out to be you needing to replace the whole damned thing?  It's kind of like that with what looks like some relatively minor water damage.

Not much,  right?


Meh.  Whatever.

Meanwhile,  I found out yesterday at a little gathering just who it was who has been slightly messing with me in terms of where I think things *should* be,  as to where they end up?  Can't think of any other way to explain that.

See,  when the tree guys were here a few days ago, they had moved a couple little figurine/pseudo gnomes/whatever out of the way so they wouldn't get damaged.   There were a couple other things that got moved out of the way too,  but I do remember these two little squirrel statue things sitting by the generator.

Then I couldn't help but notice this:

Wait.  How did that get there?

And this:

Da hell??

Creepy little bastards.

See,  once upon a time,  before we (sounding like a broken record here)  put some finishing touches on the front of the Ponderosa here,  the squirrels would take great delight in getting up there and CHEWING ON THE HOUSE. 
They looooove cedar.
Used to drive insane. 
So our wonderful children thought it would be "funny" (note the quotation marks) to give me these creepy little squirrel statues just to,  you know,  bug me.
Trust me,  there are more than just those two.

Well of course,  one of the days when we were away,  I find out it was Daughter Number One who thought she'd try and get my goat once again by setting the little buggers up on the windows.

Am I going to have to check the cameras now each and every time we away?  Just to see who is creeping around? 

I can.  It's doable.  Just takes forever is all.

Anyway,  that's it for this round.

Thanks for stopping by.

Keep your stick on the ice.

Sunday, March 11, 2018

There should be a mercy rule.

Kind of like in Little League.  You know,  when you're ahead by a certain amount,  you just quit and you all go for pizza.

Of course,  the Little League website would much prefer that you refer to it as "The ten run rule",  but whatever.  We wouldn't want to damage anyone with some sort of less than P.C. terminology.

We're raising a generation of snowflakes,  but don't get me started!

So what the hell am I talking about?

Well,  Sledge Hockey of course.

It just so happened that I tuned in yesterday to the Canada/Sweden game in the third period I think it was,  and Canada was already up 13 to 0.   That's nothing, zip, zilch.  A big ole goose egg.

And before I could even get myself nicely tucked in on my comfy couch,  they had scored twice more.  The game ended up with Canada finally scoring 17 goals.

Like,  I was starting to feel really bad for the Swedish goalie. Poor bugger.

Have you ever watched Sledge Hockey?   I can't even grasp how these guys keep from just tipping over all the time.  I mean,  I can barely stand up on skates,  but this is like riding a Unicycle on the ice.

Here,  I'll steal an image from the net for show and tell:

That's Liam Hickey.   He also plays wheelchair basketball.

Note the single skate he's perched on?   How the hell??

Here's the article that the picture came from if you're interested.

Anyway,  it's unfortunate that the coverage of the Paralympics isn't quite as involved as the regular Olympics,  since some of these folks are truly amazing.  There are times when you do a double take,  and realise, "Hey, she's only got one arm!"   And she's hurtling down the ski hill at 70 kilometres an hour! 

Anyway,  I'll watch whatever comes on. 

I haven't really checked if there is figure skating.  If there's figure skating, I'm afraid that's where I draw the line.  Just doesn't much work for me.   Admittedly,  I have sat through a couple programs with T.C.,  but that's sort of like "taking one for the team".

Meanwhile,  today I got a visit from Batman,  as he's working on a little game for the kids when he goes to charity events or say,  to the children's ward at the hospital.

So,  I've obviously altered this photo to protect his true identity,   but over the next week I'll be making a frame type of thing to hold this up when in use,   to then be folded down to fit into his vehicle. 
The Joker's teeth are a cut out made of foam core,  and the idea is similar to something like "Cornhole",  where you throw an object and try and knock out the Joker's teeth.

And yes,  there is a game called Cornhole.   But the Joker will be closer to upright,  as opposed to almost lying flat as with Cornhole. 

I always get a bit of a chuckle from the name "Cornhole",  but we won't go there.

Oh and,  as Batman explained,  the object to be thrown will be a Batarang.
And yes,  there is a Wiki article explaining just what a "Batarang" is. 
Who knew?

I think that's all I have for today.

Until next time.

Thanks for moving your eyes back and forth.

And well, you know,  stick, ice, etc.

Saturday, March 10, 2018

Back in Business.

Or something like that.

Yesterday afternoon,  as I was quietly perusing the weekly flyers that come with the local "newspaper",  and "newspaper" is in quotation marks for a reason,  but that's another story,  I could not help but start to hear a high pitched intermittent beeping coming from upstairs somewhere.  I'm pretty sure my adrenaline level increased ever so slightly,  but within a very few screaming beeps I was able to determine that it was the DVR for our security camera system.
Yes,  we have cameras.   This came about mostly as we were heading away for a month a couple years ago (2016)  and I originally wanted some way to monitor the temperature in the house,  but soon discovered that a "smart" thermostat was neigh on impossible,  as I only have the two leads from the boiler to the thermostat,  and I'd need a 24volt supply.  Not happening.

So,  the next best thing was putting a camera in the boiler area so I could monitor what was going on from anywhere that there is internet.  Like that.

Anyway,  after I shut the thing off, I couldn't figure out what the heck was going on,  as the DVR would NOT boot up again.

Took a look on the Lorex website,  and in very short order,  I was "chatting"  with someone named "Rafael".   Like that's their actual name?  *snort*.

That actually was helpful,  believe it or not,  as "Rafael"  was able to take me through a couple steps for diagnosing the problem.  When I took a look at the front of the unit (involves taking it down off the wall,  and you'll see why in a minute)  I couldn't help but notice that the "power" light was sort of flickering,  and I thought,  "I wonder if there's something up with the power supply?"   Sure enough,  after retrieving a tester,  the thing was barely putting out a volt.   Totally pooched.

So,  I wished "Rafael"  a fine weekend,  and this morning I went to a local supplier of all things electrical here not far from The Ponderosa called Sayal where,  after being able to extricate the Punjabi speaking cashier away from her boyfriend (or whoever that Dude was)  she was able to point me in to the correct aisle to see if they had the proper "wall wort".   It needed to be 2.5 amps,  which precluded being able to use any of the cast offs that I have out in my treasure trove in the shed.  Annoying really.

Not only that,  but the adaptors at that amperage were just a wee bit more than I thought was a reasonable price,  considering that I've purchased adaptors for as little as a couple bucks.   This thing was twenty-two! 

But,  like Travelling Companion was quick to point out,  "You bought the system for 500 dollars and you'd sooner have it sit there useless instead of paying a few bucks to have it working?"
*sigh*    "OK, fine."

Anyway,  I thought maybe I'd need an adaptor for the adaptor, since the little plug thingy did look slightly different,  but it works.

Did I ever mention that I had put the entire system in the upstairs hall closet?   See,  the DVR is kinda noisy.  It just is.  And previously,  when the system was in one of the spare bedrooms,  I'd have to make sure to turn it off anytime we had guests sleeping up there.  I didn't think it was that bad,  but I got overruled.

Meanwhile,  we had Tree Cutting Dude back yesterday with his two helpers to take down the third and final Ash tree.   You may or may not have heard of a little creature called the Emerald Ash Borer
and we have been blessed with these little bastards for a few years now.  They have basically decimated most,  if not all of the ash trees around these parts.   If you've ever come across warnings about moving firewood around the country side,  these little bastards are the reason why.

I took a photo of the type of damage that they incur.

It's no wonder the poor tree was dying.  Now we're down to a couple oak trees,  a basswood,  and the maple trees I've planted out on the boulevard.

Any tree planted on the boulevard,  by the way,  becomes the property of,  and responsibility of the city.  Works for me.   Cutting down or trimming trees is pricey.

I took a bunch of photos and videos,  but I'll only put up a few here of him going out to cut off this one limb that was hanging precariously over our cable/phone/internet.

And if you click on that one to make it bigger and think there's something wrong with the camera?  No,  that's snow.  There were brief moments of nastiness a couple times there.
But,  he hung in there.
(see what I did there??)

Um ya,   NOT my cup of tea.

Needless to say,  I'm going to have firewood until the end of time.  And,  that's not counting the huge stack up against the house.  OR the stuff I've split and is stacked up way over there under that green and yellow left over bag from some soil we bought a couple years ago.

And of course,  the thing is,  taking it "camping" say?  is out of the question.  Wouldn't be prudent.

Can't take it anywhere,  really.

So now at some point,  after I've split up all the stuff that I can with my small splitter (it's *only* five ton)  I'll once again rent a 25 ton jobbie from Home Despot to split up the really big pieces.

This might take a wee while.

Like,  maybe next fall I'll have it sorted out?   Who knows?

Once again,  thanks for stopping by.

Keep your stick on the ice.

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Best adapted foot massage.

Hm. Started writing this yesterday.  Guess I got distracted?

Sounds like a perfectly acceptable Oscar category.   Right up there with Best Catering Service.  I mean,  why not?  Not that it would make watching the Oscars any less painful mind you.
We tuned in a bit late,  so when Kimmel talked about the Jet-Ski,  I thought he was just kidding. I mean,  some of the people getting their trophies do tend to go on and on.  What do your kids have to do with it?  Really.  Especially for the guys.  I mean,  whoever had the child might be able to better feel the pain of making a movie?  I dunno. 
Think about it,  you're receiving an award for getting to do what you love and make bags of money.
I did think the "trophy" for having the shortest acceptance speech was kinda brilliant though.   When they showed the Dude on his new Jet-Ski at the end,  it did make the whole ordeal kind of worthwhile,  at least for me anyway.

So by now you've no doubt guessed that T.C. and I stayed up to watch the entire (painful, on my part) program on Sunday night.  At one point at around "Best Headband Worn by a Busboy",  T.C. admitted that she was bored.  I offered that I had been bored for what seemed like hours up until that point.

Not my idea of "what to watch" on a Sunday night.  There was an interesting thing on TVO (our provincial version of public television)  having to do with the history of railways in the UK which I thought would have been far more interesting.   But hey,  I'm a documentary kind of guy,  whereas T.C. would be quite happy to watch "The Voice".  Makes my skin crawl....

Anyhoo,  we had the fireplace going full bore which was pretty nice,  with the slight issue being that,  when we finally made our way upstairs,  we discovered that it was just a wee bit cool,  as of course the boiler had been tricked into thinking that the house was quite warm enough.  I prefer it a bit cooler for sleeping though.

Speaking of the fireplace however,  I've had a screen/enclosure type of thing on the front of the firebox for more years than I'd care to admit,  and at one point when I was shoving more wood in,  the metal chain curtain thingy sort of started drooping.  No bueno.

Took it apart yesterday and had a look.  Easy to fix, as the thing is held up by little metal rings, which had simply come undone.  I would have taken a picture,  but as I had to feel in around there at one point with my bare hands,  they were so black I wouldn't have dared touch anything, let alone a camera.

Looks pretty nasty in there I realise,  but it is a fireplace after all.  One of these days (years?)  I'll put in some sort of insert to get more heat coming out into the room,  as opposed to up the chimney.
Of course,  I'll have to extend the "hearth"  out to the proper depth,  which will involve slicing out a chunk of the flooring and pouring some sort of pad.  I have a bunch of slate stored out in the shed that I removed from the upstairs fireplace that I might use.  We'll see.

Meanwhile,  I've painted a section of the garage floor, after giving it a good scrubbing,  and have started to move the bench back.

I forgot just how uneven the floor is right there.  And I stupidly threw out the little bits of wood I had had under the feet to level it up. 

Not a big deal really.  Just meant having to rummage around for more bits of wood is all.    The blue closed cell mat there is for my poor old knees.

We had a little bit of an internet issue this morning and I had only come in here to see if it was up and running again.  Somebody must have tripped over an extension cord I guess.  Can't see why else it would randomly crap out at nine thirty in the morning.  We've had issues with squirrels chewing on the cable in the past,  but I guess that wasn't the case this time.

Who knows?

That'll be it for a time.

Thanks for moving your eyes back and forth.

Keep your stick on the ice.

Sunday, March 4, 2018

The week that was.

Or something like that.

Title ideas are sometimes a wee bit elusive.

Anyhoo,   Travelling Companion and I took a little jaunt down to the States on Wednesday to check out a place that I'm sure many of you are familiar with.   It's really just another fabric shop,  but apparently has a bigger selection of quilting fabrics?   You've no doubt heard of Joann Fabrics?
Pretty uneventful.  Bought about twenty bucks worth of thread.  Had a look around.  From here it's really just over an hour away.  We then made a stop in Niagara-on-the-Lake for some lunch at the Oban Inn.   Spent way more on lunch than at the fabric place,  including the four and half bucks we had to pay to come BACK INTO CANADA.   Da f*k? 
Are we still paying for a bridge or something?

Anyway,  the food at the Inn was OK.  A little on the salty side if anything,  and T.C.  said her Chicken something or other had an odd taste.   I had the "Oban Burger",  and it was pretty good.  Just too salty.  I don't know what it is,  but a lot of chefs/cooks/whatever like to dollop on gobs of salt.  Like,  to the point where I've actually been able to *feel* my blood pressure rising.  And yes,  that's a thing.  When you can feel your heart rate in your head?  That ain't right.   Didn't happen this time,  but it's happened.

What I mostly recall from out little jaunt was,  at one point we pulled off of the thruway,  where we had to make our exit anyway,  and decided to slip in to a service road just to recheck our directions.  Well,  I couldn't get over the amount of TRASH at the side of the road!  And then I started noticing it everywhere.  Holy moly!  Get them prisoners out there picking up da trash guys!.   And I know I'm biased as all anything,  but there wasn't nearly that much trash on the Canadian side.  Seriously.  And usually when the snow melts is when you start to see it. 
OK,  I guess it must get cleaned up at some point,  since I just took a look on Google Earth View,  and there's no trash to be seen.

Anyway,  sorry I brought it up.

Then on Thursday,  Tree Cutting Dude showed up with his crew to cut down our last Ash Trees.  (sad face).
T.C. and I were on our way to Guelph to see a new arrival,  who came into the world on February eight.
Tree Cutting Dude did say that,  as the weather was worsening,  he might very well pull the plug on the whole event, as it ain't no fun being up a tree when the wind picks up and it starts to snow.

And it did.   But of course, anyone on the East Coast knows full well just what happened over the last few days.   We got hardly anything by the way.  Lucky for us.

So the tree is still there,  minus a bunch of branches that he cut off on the way up.  I know for sure he'll be back next week some time,  as he left two of his "throwing lines"  (for lack of a better term)  so he can get his other lines back up the tree without too much difficulty.

This is the little "noodle",  as my sister-in-law (the Grand-ma)  calls her.   

So there was a bunch of  the usual fussing over a new baby,   but this here blog ain't about little kids,  so we'll move on.

It's taken me a bit of prep to get to this point,  but I've finally put some floor paint on the area where my bench normally sits.  The base of the bench has enough finish on it at this point that I'm reasonably satisfied,  so once the floor paint cures in a day or two,  I'll move the bench back.  I really need to put the top on upside down at first and do some adjusting.  We'll see how that goes.  Even without the shoulder vise and tail vise,  the top is really quite heavy,  and hoisting up just one end is just about all I can lift. 

I guess that's about it.

Thanks for moving your eyes back and forth.

Keep that stick on the ice.

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

When you get the "yellow light".

Bit of a nice day today,  so I thought I'd do a little farting around outdoors.  On the sunny side of the house at this time of the year it's quite pleasant.  In the heat of the summer?  Not so much.

For the longest time now,  I've been meaning to remove the extra mortar that was put on the side of the house by the previous owner.   See,  he had this *interesting* idea that he wanted to have some sort of green house up against the side of the building,  but discovered after a couple seasons that it was mostly just a place to collect bugs.  Anyway,  it wasn't something we wanted to look at when we moved here,  so I ultimately took it away.  It was quite elaborate too,  with a metal frame and those corrugated Plexiglas panels and such.   On the one end,  there was a doorway,  so of course all the little spaces between the frame and the house had to be filled with mortar.

Probably better to show the pic I took yesterday.  I'm thinking of closing off that access with more fencing,  so I sent a note off the a company I've been dealing with.  Hence the need for a photo.

This is a slightly better angle:

After today's activity.  I still have a ways to go, but after a little bout with the pneumatic chisel,  I had had enough for today.


And yes I know,  there's a lot of "stuff" there that I have to deal with.  I'll get to it.  Don't judge.

Then I noticed on the Generator,  where normally the light on the side is green,  there was part of it that was showing yellow.


Then I realised,  I had changed the oil and filter a while back, but neglected to reset the "service reminder"  or whatever you call it.

These days,  just about every machine has some sort of built in service reminder.  At least with the generator,  I don't need a special tool.   Just the one between my ears.  No mention as to how "sharp" it is.

Um.  Ya.

Good thing there's this thing called the "internet"?   Somewhere in my bunch of stuff,  I have a schematic of the labyrinth of commands that lurk beneath that keypad,  but I basically have very little clue as to just where to go.

Anyway,  after a bit of searching,  I did manage to find what I was looking for,  and we're back to a steady green light again.  What was not mentioned in all the videos and forum comments etc.,  was the fact the you have to turn the generator "off".  After that minor consideration, it was easy peasy.

So actually,  I did TWO jobs today.  Holy moly!

Thanks for stopping by.

Keep that stick on the ice.

Thursday, February 22, 2018

I tell myself, "It's only a game".

Couldn't bear to watch the Canada/US hockey game last night,  but when I checked in on line at one point and saw that they were tied up,  I had a sense of dread that there would be a shoot out.

I've never been a big fan of the "shoot out".  I think I'd sooner see something happen like the sudden death situation we see in the NFL if the game is tied at the end. You know,  play an extra period.  See what happens.


I mean, last time,  Canada won in a shoot out,  and I didn't hear anyone complaining,  myself included.

Both Travelling Companion and I should have probably sucked it up and stayed up to watch,  since she told me this morning that she had been dreaming about it all night,  and woke up tired.  I pretty much had the same experience.

And now,  on to more *important* matters.

(insert, "tongue in cheek" font here, by the way)

I may or may not have mentioned at some point that I quite regularly meet up with a bunch of retired old farts on Wednesday mornings for breakfast.  The food is average,  the washrooms are somewhat suspect,  but our waitress is dynamite and the conversation is usually quite lively.   So I go.

Plus,  it gets my sorry ass out of the house on a regular basis.

So,  what catches my eye as I head out the driveway?

See,  there are times when I'm no longer interested in eating that one last heel from a baguette or loaf of bread,  so I open the back door and pitch it out for the squirrels.

They do tend to come up with some creative means of "storage".

It was raining,  so maybe this was to soften it up a bit?

Happened to have the camera.  What can I say?

This sort of thing (seeing where the little numbskulls store their bread)  passes for "entertainment" around here.

Oh,  and I just looked out.  It's still there.  He must have stuck it down with some spit or something.

It's stopped raining by the way,   but there have been some issues along the Grand River,  most notably a young Mom who didn't see the road closed barricade due to the fog,  ended up in the water,  managed to get herself and her toddler out of her vehicle,  only in that instance to have the child swept away by the rushing current!

The story is here.

Sorry for the downer.

And I think that's all I got.

Thanks for stopping by. 

Keep your powder dry.

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Just Walking In The Rain

Sorry,  but now this tune is going through my head,  so I thought I'd plant the ear worm in your brain too. 
No name calling,  please.

And to think,  this was 1956!   Um hello?  That was the year I was born,  so that tells me that that tune must have stuck around for at least a few years. 
I do seem to vaguely recall singing along with the Beetles later on in the early sixties with my then very young niece.  I was an Uncle at the age of five,  but that's a whole other story.

And yes,  it is definitely raining here at the Ponderosa.  Like....a lot.

The thing is,  if you're not entirely happy with the weather around here,  all you really need to do is wait a few days.  It'll change.   Not always for the better, mind you.

Darned good thing  that we had a thaw a few days ago,  or we'd be in some deep poop.   And that might mean literally.  But,  over the years,  I've carried out certain mitigating exercises to possibly avoid such a situation.  You know,  extra weeping tile and that concrete pad to set the generator on,  which just so conveniently is sloped away from the house.

Even the deluge we had in August of 2014 (before I had put in the pad)  only resulted in about three or four cup fulls of water coming in at that back corner,  which would now be really difficult.

He says.   He hopes.

Anyway,  I can't say I've been up to too much lately.   We did have a crew in on Friday to take down yet another one of the dying ash trees out here in the side yard.  Sad,  but necessary I'm afraid.

There's another one to come down which,  depending on the weather might happen later this week.  I asked if he was coming back today,  but he mentioned something about "back to teaching again",  so I'm guessing he must run a course at one of the local colleges?   I mean,  he is an Arborist after all,  and it's not just something you learn by some sort of osmosis.

I got busy on Saturday tidying up some of the longer chunks the crew left behind.

The deal was,  certain price was agreed to,  with the idea being that the bulk of the wood would be left behind.  I'll once again get around to splitting up this stuff at some point,  but it won't be ready to burn for at least a year or so.

That's my little "Poulan"  there,  that I bought not so long ago from a fellow who was "downsizing"  and sold it to me for an exceptional price.  He had won it as a "door prize"  at some sort of sales conference (odd thing to have as a door prize I thought,  but whatever)  and it was still in the box.  He had never used it.  I haven't even had to sharpen the chain yet.  Its been maybe 20-30 years since I've sharpened a chainsaw chain,  but I'm sure it'll come back to me.

Meanwhile,  I got it in my pea brain a number of days ago that I wanted to disassemble my bench,  clean it up and refinish it. 
Now I know why I had been subconsciously avoiding this job.

This is going to take a while:

Here I've removed both the tail vise and the shoulder vise,  and started sanding the whole thing:

Working on the tail vise.

So I moved the bench top over to a mobile cart so I could take the base apart.  It was pretty gross,  considering how long spiders had been hanging out under there.  Didn't help that we were away for four and a half years either.

Then i realised,  I'll need some sort of "bench" to work on the bench.  Thankfully I have a couple "workmates" stored out in the shed.

And well,   that's pretty much life around here.  Generally fart around.  Work on that for a bit.  Watch some Olympics.  You know.  Like that.

I'll check back in at some point.

Thanks for moving your eyes back and forth.

And remember,  keep your stick on the ice.

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Dealing with Boneheads.

Not that that is anything out of the ordinary of course,  but today we've had a bit of time wasted doing just that.  I said to Travelling Companion,  "What if you were working,  and had to deal with this?" 

The answer is:  probably wouldn't.

There were a couple things.  My little "thing" was,  we had a recall a while back on the dishwasher.  For some strange reason,  the very clever engineers decided to make the electrical connection "hard wired".   Well,  the previous model had a plug,  which meant putting in a GCFI outlet in the next door cabinet and plugging the thing in.  Then,  fifteen years later,  that machine had to be replaced,  and the new Bosch wasn't like that.   Both "German" companies by the way,  but seemly Bosch USA had a different idea.  Hard wired.
Fine.   But apparently,  some customers were experiencing overheated cords,  and there was a recall.

This tells me that whoever was hooking the things up had very little clue as to what was required,  but whatever.

So,  we had the Service Dude come out,  changed over the cord etc.   Of course,  I had to redo his installation,  since he f**ked that up but,  whatever. 

One of the reasons I tend to not let trades people in the house.  I'm a bit funny that way.

Then in today's mail,  I get a "Second Recall Notice".   "Urgent!"    I'm like,  "What?"

Well,  it's from the same Boneheads.   I called them. 

And you have to understand,  I really could have just turfed the letter in the round file (well,  these days it's blue/recycling,  and rectangular)  but I thought I'd phone anyway,  just to torture myself. 

There's no direct connection of course.  You have to press a bunch of buttons before speaking with an actual person,  who then simply told me to ignore the letter. 

"So we're done,  right?"   was my only question.  And I'm guessing here,  but my suspicion is that,  the very fine folks who sent a "Service Dude" to the house didn't bother to let The Mothership know what had been done.  Wouldn't that be part of the process?   Don't they want to get paid?

On another front,  completely different,  both T.C. and I have these fancy schmancy electric toothbrushes that are supposed to do all sorts of wonderful things.

Problem is,  T.C. has been finding the odd bristle in her mouth after brushing her teeth.

No bueno.

So she spent the better part of an hour "live chatting"  with a Bonehead from another company.   No resolution to that one.   There were a bunch of minuscule part numbers given and the outcome was, "Our Safety representative will contact you within the next five business days".

They have a "Safety Representative"?   That sounds like a load of fresh air if I ever heard one.

Now,  onto Bonehead Number Three.

I'm looking to purchase a new camera.   So fine,  Daughter Number One and I went into a camera shop across town over a week ago to take a gander.   I had gone with her back in November to have a look see for a camera she was about to receive from her company in recognition of ten years service.  Nice arrangement,  I thought.  Of course,  I got a little bit of "camera envy"  (this is why I stay away from camera and stereo shops,  but whatever) and might have mentioned this particular affliction once we came back home that day.

oooo....look at all that "stuff"!


Where was I?

Then like magic, Travelling Companion gave me a rather generous gift card from said camera shop for Christmas.
I wasn't dropping hints.  Honest.   But...I am hard to buy for.   Or so I'm told.   Socks,  underwear,  and funky t-shirts are pretty much the norm when it comes to my "Christmas List".  And by the way,  I''m never thrilled with a "Christmas List",  but that's beside the point.
Hey,  I even asked for and received bungee cords this year.  I kid you not.

We go, we take a look.

Nothing to stop me now. Turns out,  there's a 'used' model on their website.  I'm intrigued.  The used model and their three year warranty (normally I don't drink that koolaid,  but it's used and the warranty covers a lotta stuff)  still comes in well over a hundred bucks cheaper than a new model.  But,  they have to "bring it in".

Along with that,  I'm considering a flash to go on the hot shoe of the small Canon I have,  as the flash on that camera died a sad death one day on the boat.  Long story,  let's not go there.   Something to do with water,  let's just say?

The model of flash that I want is ALSO not on the premises,  and has to be "brought in". 

Helpful young salesperson orders both items from ....wherever.   The warehouse?  Another location?   Not sure.  Don't care.

And,  I get a call last week saying the camera is there.  "Great!   And what about the flash?" 


 I explained that,  I'm across town,  would prefer not to make two trips.  They have another delivery this week.
OK so,  we wait. Because you know,  it'll be in today's shipment,  right?

Today,  I called.   Yup,  the camera is (still) there,   but that flash?   Well,  there's only three in the whole bloody system (this is a national chain)   and all three of them are either spoken for,  or something else that the fellow on the phone mumbled.  Apparently Canon hasn't released any yet this year. 

Da f**k?

Not sure why this wasn't explained last week when we had our last conversation.  I just figured I wouldn't make two trips,  but had I known this flash was coming on a slow boat from China,  I would have my camera by now.  Good thing I'm not going anywhere,  like on a trip or anything.

I think I'll just go for a little walk down to the grocery store.   Try not to slip on the ice.  You know,  relaxing like.

Thanks for stopping by and letting me vent.

Keep your stick on the ice.

Monday, January 29, 2018

Not sure how this is going to go.

So,  we've had our "January Thaw",  and no,  I didn't make up that term,  I heard it on the Weather Network.
And now,  it's supposed to get cold again.  Usually,  the month of February is cold and nasty.  Some sort of "short month"  syndrome.

Of course,  first it has to snow a bit,  just for good measure,  which is exactly what it's doing right now.  Like,  gobs of it.  Coming out of the East.

The title for today refers to a Stereo Receiver that these days resides out in my garage/shop.  It's somewhat old school,  with nary a digital component in sight.   It's still a great working piece of kit,  and only got relegated to the shop,  as I had nothing out there to listen to.  It did reside in a somewhat cumbersome cabinet once upon a time but sadly,  that cabinet outlived its usefulness.

So the problem?

Well,  the tuner won't tune.  Being old school,  there's something called  "Dial Cord"  that runs around a wheel on the tuner,  then back to the indicator that is visible from the front,  over to another couple wheels,  and then around a shaft on the control knob that gets turned from the front of the unit.
Problem was,  the dial cord was so worn that it no longer would do squat,  and I wanted to go back to a station that I listen to the most,  and couldn't.

I decided to take a look.

I've opened this thing up before,  mostly to clean it.  It needed another cleaning,  among other things.  I noticed that three of the 10 volt lights at the front are burnt out,  and generally,  the controls are all scratching and gross. I'll pick up some Contact Cleaner possibly tomorrow and sort out the pots and switches. 

The dial cord dilemma is another issue.  I'm not so sure I can find the proper cord,   unless I resort to fishing line or some such thing.  I'm going to give this a good try,  and as a last ditch,  I might just try and source out someone in the repair business who is willing to look at it. 
I suspect it's a dying art.

Let's just say,  I could have bought a half decent car for what I paid for this receiver back in 1975  (yes,  1975!)  and the fact that it still works and only has this somewhat perplexing issue is pretty much just a minor hiccup. 

I suspect it will outlast.... me,  basically.

Meanwhile I've tuned it manually to a station that I listen to just about 100% of the time,  put the wood cover back on and put it back in its spot over the drill press.   Oh,  and by the way,  the wooden "jacket"  that it sits in?  Honduran Mahogany!   Ha!   Of course,  I didn't really know or appreciate that at the time that I bought it. 

Ah,  youth.

I'll try and do some sort of update at some point since,  you know,  I got nothing else.

Thanks for stopping by.

Keep that stick on the ice.


Saturday, January 6, 2018

Cold. Cold. Cold.

That's it.

Well OK,  maybe I'll also add that,  I haven't gone outside yet today,  and I very likely will avoid it if at all possible.

I do less than fondly recall the very last winter we spent on the farm back in rural Nova Scotia.  (February of 1967)
Lordy that was cold.  I'm pretty sure our house was just one step up from that "Little House on the Prairie"  R-zip type of construction.  You know, write your name in the frost on the windows?  Load up cherry wood into the furnace that only managed to heat the middle of the living room downstairs,  while you froze under so many blankets you weren't sure if you'd die first from hypothermia,  or being crushed to death?
 Oh ya,  fun times.

So,  comparatively speaking,  even though this house is now over fifty years old (built in 1958) we're very comfortable.   So much so that,  most mornings we have no bloody idea just how cold it is outside,  until we either check the weather somehow,  or take a glance at a little gizmo that came from Santa at Christmas.
Too lazy to go downstairs,  take a pic,  upload it etc.   Stole that one off the net.  But it looks very much like this.

Just another "toy" really.

Now,  speaking of cold,  or exceptional things for that matter,  (hey, my segues aren't that strong today,  OK?)  our Christmas Cactus that we've had for over seventeen years has finally bloomed.

This too may very well be due to the cold,  as it's just a wee bit cooler in that particular upstairs bedroom,  and allegedly,  these plants need a bit of cold to shock them into blooming.   Allegedly.
I really have no idea.  It just happened.  I've threatened to throw that bugger out on a few occasions.  Bad thinking, I know.
Because well, as the plant was given to us by the Mom of a good friend of ours (and the Mom has since passed away)  turfing the plant out would have been really poor form.   Or whatever works for you .  "Bad Karma"?   Likely.

So,  the three wise guys have showed up,  so that'll be it for Christmas.   The tree has started to really ramp up the needle dropping program,  and is no longer taking on any water to speak of.
Of course,  that means that Muggins here will be back in the attic once again to bring down whatever totes all the ornaments go back into.  At least I had the presence of mind to put one of those closed cell foam pads inside the attic door,  so my poor old knees aren't right on the hard plywood.  It's not the going up there that I mind so much,  it's the crawling around on my hands and knees that I find to be somewhat less than fun.

But hey,  could be worse.  It could always be worse.

Meh,  I've got more drivel floating around in my pea brain,  but I think that'll do for this missive.

Keep your stick on the ice.

And bundle up.

Thanks for stopping by.