Filling ditch
Tuesday, November 1, 2011

The first job of the new month was more ditch filling. I started a few minutes before eight and kept at it until a little after noon. I got a lot done, and it looks like another session like that will finish the outdoor part of the job. I want to get it out of the way while the dirt piles are still loose and soft. The part under the car port is less urgent because those piles don't get wet if it rains. This afternoon I went to town to use a library computer. Then I ordered a piece of window glass to replace a broken pane, and bought another can of day-glo paint. I finished the day using up that paint to mark more dead wood in the west hedge. Tomorrow: more ditch filling.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

There wasn't enough daylight for me to see the details, but I started shoveling a little after 7:30. Four hours later I had all the outside ditch filled. I covered the leftover dirt pile and the wheelbarrow with tarps to keep the weather off. After the ditch settles I'll use that dirt to fill the low places. With the ditch done for now I went to the roof. One of the tarps there had blown loose and I wrestled it back into place. Fortunately the wind was dying down just as a light sprinkle was beginning. I got the tarps in place and fastened down and if I'm lucky they'll survive the weather that's supposed to arrive tonight.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Well, that was a bust. The rain that was supposed to arrive overnight turned out to be a little dribble. After it was over the ground was still dusty. At least I'm ready for rain when it does come. But I'm not ready for cold. So this afternoon I took the chain saw to the west hedge and started cutting up dead branches. I harvested enough wood to heat a couple of evenings. While I was at it I received a phone call notifying me that the shop heater I bought last week has arrived in Wichita. So tomorrow I'll go fetch it, and while I'm up there I'll shop for a new computer. It seems that fixing the old one would cost over $600, so I might as well upgrade to a new one.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Mission accomplished. I got the heater, and I got the new computer. Having the files from the old computer transferred to the new one took about three hours, and I didn't get home until after four. I've spent the evening setting up the new machine and learning how to make web pages with a new program. I'll get sort of caught up on the blog, but I still have more to learn about the new program.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

After doing laundry I wasted most of the day at the Defore auction. I came away with an antique wood stove, but the few other items I wanted went to people who wanted them more than I did. That's OK. There will be others.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Today's big project was unloading the new unit heater for the shop, unpacking it, cleaning the area, and arranging things for installing it. I'll shop for the needed plumbing and electrical parts to connect it tomorrow.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Most of today was devoted to buying pipe fittings and electric parts to connect the heater and for getting started on installation. I got mounting boards screwed to the ceiling with lag screws, and tomorrow I'll rent a sheet rock jack to lift the thing up there and fasten it in place. Maybe I'll even get it working tomorrow. I expect that later in the week I'll be doing some more ditch filling. Today and this evening brought a heavy soaking rain which should settle it all enough for more filling.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

This was installation day. When all was ready I went to town to rent a sheet rock jack to lift the new heater into position. In less than an hour I had the heater lifted to the ceiling and fastened securely. I returned the Sheetrock jack, bought some more connecting hardware, bought some groceries, and gassed up the Suburban. Then I spent the afternoon making the gas, electric, thermostat, and flue connections. I finished a little before five, and decided tomorrow I'll turn on the machine and see if it works.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Installation day was followed by getting-it-going day. The heater seemed to function properly at the start, firing up and warming the room. But when the heat turned off, the fan wouldn't quit as it's supposed to, then when the room cooled down the heat wouldn't start again. A call to the heater company's technical help line taught me where to push reset buttons, and that got the heat back on. All seemed well for awhile, but when the room warmed up this time the heat wouldn't quit. Nothing I did to the thermostat had any effect. With another call to the help line, I figured out that there was a short in the wires to the thermostat. One of the staples holding the wires in place had cut through the insulation and shorted out the circuit. I pulled all the staples and replaced them with plastic ones, and that seemed to cure the problem. In between bouts of dealing with the heater, I did a bit of cleaning and organizing in the shop. I might have done some firewood harvesting, but I wanted to give the ground at least one day without rain to dry out a bit. The last thing I want is a truck stuck in the mud again.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Now that I have the heater installed and working, I spent the morning cleaning up in the shop while I adjusted the thermostat to keep the place between 66 and 68. I also fixed some work lights that I bought at an auction. I have a pair on a stand about five feet high, another pair on a stand that will go up from a couple of feet to about five and a half feet, and a couple that sit on the floor for working under vehicles. Whatever I'm working on, lighting shouldn't be a problem. After a trip to town for some parts, I spent the afternoon with more cleaning and sorting in the shop. I'm getting that pretty well under control. I think tomorrow will be firewood day.

Friday, November 11, 2011

This morning I played welder. Months ago a cousin gave me a toy branding iron to fix. It was a pretty flimsy little thing, brazed together, and after my first fixing attempt failed I put it aside until today. I added a flat brace and welded it with steel, so maybe it will stay together. My afternoon activity was harvesting firewood. I took the truck and a ladder down to the woodlot and started clearing the road of low hanging branches, fallen timber, and little trees growing up in the road. I got a couple hundred feet cleared, but there's a lot more left to do.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Another auction today took me off to Okieland in search of bargains. A sale in Lamont produced two cases of motor oil for $34 (less than half price) and an eight foot aluminum step ladder for $13. I dined on carnitas, tortillas de maz, and frijoles refritos at La Fiesta, then went to see Immortals. This movie has about as much resemblance to actual Greek mythology as most Hollywood epics, but the acting is OK and there's lots of nicely done hacking and slaying and impressive special effects. On the way home I saw this, and was glad I had a camera with me.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

For the first time in over a month I felt healed up enough from my twisted foot/ankle/leg/hip to go out for a morning run. It was a pretty slow three miles, but it felt OK. In fact after running this morning I seem to have less of a hip twinge when I climb stairs. This afternoon I spent some more time in the shop cleaning, sorting and organizing. Then I tried out the log splitter I bought at an auction in June. I drove the truck around to the splitter, and in just a few minutes I split all the wood I cut Friday. Using that machine sure beats work. It looks like keeping up the wood supply this winter will be a lot easier. I need to rig up a hitch on the truck so I can take the splitter with me when I cut wood. I think splitting the stuff before I even put it in the truck will be the most efficient way to go.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Today my log splitter suffered a breakdown and I had no luck trying to restart it, so I hauled it to town for the small engine repair man to deal with. By the time I did grocery shopping and went to the dentist's for a cleaning, the day was pretty well shot.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

This was the day to do more road clearing. I went to the woods and got busy with the chain saw and the clippers for a few hours. By the time it was over I had opened up about half the north loop. Another day should open the rest of it. The road south, and the loop at the end of it, may take more than a couple of days. A big hedge tree has fallen across the road, and getting that cut up and moved out of the way may turn out to be slow going.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Never went off the place today. After breakfast and checking email, I was off to the woods before nine. I started clearing the north part of the loop road, cutting off little trees and treating the stumps with Tordon to kill them, cutting down overhanging branches, and removing fallen branches. About 12:30 I was getting thirsty so I went up to the house to get a drink and found that my cousin Wally had come to visit. We chewed the fat for about an hour, then I got back to road clearing. By 4:30 I finished almost all the north part of the loop, plus most of the east part. All that remains is some minor branch trimming on the east part, which should take less than an hour, and clearing a patch of sand plums in the northeast corner. The sand plums may take awhile because I have to cut off each little bush and treat the stump to kill it, and there are a lot of them. But I think I'll have the whole road cleared tomorrow, then I'll be ready to drive around the loop harvesting firewood.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Late yesterday afternoon the repair shop called to say the log splitter was fixed, so I went and got it this morning. It was a bit aggravating to find that I had blown a pile of money to get the thing fixed when all that was wrong with it was water in the fuel. I should have had my wits about me enough to think of that myself. Anyway, I split a pretty good pile of wood and put it in the garage. It looks like enough to last at least a month. If the tame weather continues, it may last even longer. I piled the last of the wood in the garage about two and then went back to road clearing. In less than an hour I had cut enough branches to clear the whole loop. That left just cutting the little sand plum bushes and poisoning the stumps. I got a good start on it, but ran out of Tordon. I'll get another quart tomorrow, and I should have those hundred or more little bushes gone and the road ready to use.

Friday, November 18, 2011

This was go-to-town day. After shopping and several other errands I got home about noon. A crazy wind was blowing, so I decided to work indoors. I spent most of the afternoon making weather strips from carpet scraps and installing them on two doors in the shop. The south door especially needed it, as there was a pretty good gap at the bottom. So far the weather has been pretty tame, but I know the cold stuff is coming.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

After doing laundry first thing, I checked out the auctions. None of the three going on today had much of interest so I headed home. On the way I took a scenic drive through the country and found a bit of a surprise. For the first time ever, I found Badger Creek without flowing water. There were still a few pools, but there were long dry stretches between them. I guess after the miserable dry summer we had that's really not much of a surprise, but it was a strange sight. When I got home I checked email and forums, then got back to road clearing. I was a bit surprised to find that it took me less than two hours to cut all the little sand plum bushes and poison the stumps. With the entire loop cleared, I finished the day shooting some video of a drive around it.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

I never went off the place today. On a chilly day I worked in the shop welding a rack to go in the garage for firewood. I had to use a #2 tip because I couldn't find my #3 tip, so it was pretty slow going and took all day. That kind of thing is absolutely maddening. Why wouldn't that tip be on the shelf with all the others? I have no clue.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Today's big project was removing some leaky wind-shredded tarps and replacing them with plastic sheeting in an effort to avoid drips in the living room when it rains. That's a persistent problem, and I'm torn between working on the roof during winter when weather permits, or waiting until spring. I guess I can at least get the scrap lumber and other junk off the living room roof so it will be ready for work when I decide I'm ready to try it.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Life continues to be all the stuff that happens to you while you're making other plans. I was going to town for some errands that would cost a total of less than $20, but the trip ended up costing over $300. When I drove out to the road, I realized that I had a flat. I started up the compressor and took a tank of air out to blow up the tire, and when I did I noticed that the sidewall was damaged, the tread was low, and the tread was also low on all the other tires. So this was the day for new tires all around. I could have got a few thousand more miles out of the old ones, but I want to have plenty of tread when winter comes.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

This was one of those days when I never went off the place. I worked in the shop, first doing a little cleaning and then getting back to the Model T rear axle project. I have most of the parts to rebuild the rear end, and I need to get back to work on it and get it done. I want to have my touring car ready to tour when spring arrives. Today I went through rear axle bearings, measuring the rollers and tagging the amount of wear on each. I'll use the best ones for the rebuild and carry a couple of the next best in the car for spares.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

I didn't do a lick of work today other than bring in firewood this evening. I went to see my cousin Pete Nichols. We watched Avatar and dined on turkey and all the usual Thanksgiving Day stuff. Tomorrow I'll get back to doing something useful.

Friday, November 25, 2011

I spent the morning in the shop working on old tools, removing rust and cleaning them and oiling them to keep the rust away. In the afternoon I worked on the rear axle project, checking parts for wear, removing the old ring gear and installng the new one.

Saturday, Novemebr 26, 2011

A good rain during the night left big puddles in the yard. After the horrid dry summer we had this year, that's a good thing. I spent the day in the shop working on more tools. The rear axle project is on hold until next week because I found that I need to order a couple of spacers and some gaskets. I'll order them Monday morning and should have them by Wednesday.

Sunday, November  27, 2011

Today's first activity was cleaning more tools. I spent a couple of hours on that, then spent most of the rest of the day writing checks to pay bills tomorrow and sorting receipts to file. The last job before bringing in firewood for the evening was installing a paper towel dispenser in the middle of the the shop. I already had them at the north and south ends, so now paper towels will be handy anywhere in the room.

Monday, November 28, 2011

I spent the morning filing over a month's receipts that I sorted yesterday, and in the afternoon went back to cleaning antique tools. I'd show you some pictures of the tools if I could figure out how to make Firefox upload images so they'll show, but so far no luck. Maybe I'll learn the secret if I can ever get a response from Firefox support.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

I was a consultant today. I spent the morning at the sign factory showing the folks how to stretch and glue screens. This afternoon I did more tool cleaning. I'm getting down to the bottom of the pile now. I should be pretty much finished with tool cleaning this week.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

This morning I finished cleaning old tools except for a couple of valve spring squeezers that are still derusting. All that remains is oiling a couple of dozen cleaned tools to keep the rust away.  This afternoon I drove up to the courthouse to pay the property taxes. Surprisingly, the total amount this year was $206 less than last year.  Also surprisingly, the wheat and the soybeans brought in enough to cover the property insurance and the taxes with money left over. Actually that's more than surprising. Considering how bad the crops looked this year, it's amazing.