Saturday, November 1, 2014

Today I finished putting one of those bronze crank bushings in the roadster. Getting the stuck steel one out was the biggest part of the job. Fortunately about a month ago I bought some air tools at an auction, and one of them is a pneumatic hacksaw. It made cutting the bushing a lot easier than doing the job by hand. Before I reinstall the crank I need to get a spring for it. The spring keeps it forward so that when you drive uphill it doesn't slide back against the crank pulley. My usual Saturday night out began with a wasted drive to Winfield. I found that the only Mongolian grill in the county has gone out of business, and the Chinese buffet in Winfield is closed on Saturdays! So I came back and hit the buffet at the steak house. Tonight's movie was Saint Vincent, with Bill Murray. Good one.  

Sunday, November 2, 2014

I'm a little late getting around to it, but today I took the screen off the back porch door and put up the window. We've had one hard freeze, so it's time to get ready for winter. I took some old trash lumber and put it on the front porch to stay out of the rain, and put a tarp over a pile of kindling in the yard. It hasn't gotten really cold in the house yet, but it's been cool enough a couple of evenings to have fires in the fireplace and the kitchen stove. Only 140 days to spring.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Rats! Did it again. Wasted way too much time online. About ten I went to work on paying bills. In the afternoon I went to town and bought groceries, paid the dentist, paid the insurance, paid the water bill, and bought envelopes. When I got home I got a letter ready to send tomorrow, fed the critters, and fed myself. That was my day.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

A nice rain overnight left 1.33" in the gauge. I spent most of the day in the shop, doing a bit of organizing and putting-away. A trip to town included shopping for a spring for a Model T hand crank, buying some AA batteries, storing the new title for my Camry at the bank, mailing a letter, and voting. It was no big surprise that none of the springs available at the farm supply and the hardware store were right, so when I got home I got on the phone and ordered half a dozen hand crank springs from Lang's. They should be here Thursday.   

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

This morning's main project was dealing with USPS. Having checked on a package I shipped to Flagstaff last month and finding out that it never arrived, I went to the post office website and entered the tracking number.  That showed me that it was shipped on the 16th, left Des Moines on the 19th, and apparently left the planet.  The first office I phoned initiated a search and suggested I file a claim in case the package isn't found. The part of the website for filing claims told me the tracking number I had just used to track the package wasn't valid, so I went back to the phone. Upon hearing about the website problem, the woman in the claims office said, "I'm not surprised." She's sending me a paper claim form in the mail. In the afternoon I sawed up old scrap boards on the front porch for firewood, then installed the sheeting on the scaffolds, and finally got started on removing old roofing. The forecast is for ten days with a zero percent chance of rain, so I should make good progress on the roofing removal.  

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Fortunately the forecast doesn't call for freezing lows with highs in the forties until next week. I guess it's a good thing the shop heater quit when it did, before the arrival of real cold. The manufacturer is sending a new circuit board, and I'm hoping it arrives before the decent weather goes south. Today I got seriously into removing old roofing and rotten boards from the living room roof. So far it looks like all the bad wood I'll have to replace is along the outer edges. I sent an email to the roofer to have him order the materials, and I hope I'm ready when he's ready. He says it takes him a week to ten days to get the stuff.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Despite a couple of hours off for a shopping trip to town, I made good progress taking off old shingles today. But there's a lot more roofing to remove, so I'll bundle up and brave the morning chill again tomorrow. The forecast is for three more good days before the temperatures plunge.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Old roofing removal continued today. A young chap who used to work for me came over and helped, and by the end of the day about a quarter of the job was done. To be continued.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Chris came and helped again with more old roofing removal, and we now have a little more than half of it off. I hope I can have it all removed tomorrow and get started replacing rotten boards. Tomorrow is the last warm day before we get at least a week of freezing lows and highs in the thirties and low forties.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Another day on the roof. I got most of the old roofing off, uncovered rotten boards, and went to town to order lumber to replace them.  Chris came by after work to help remove the last of the old roofing, sweep everything clean, and put on the tarps in case of rain or snow. 

It was a warm day, with an afternoon high over 70, but at six PM as we were putting tarps on the roof the wind suddenly shifted to the north and the temperature dropped. The thermometer outside the kitchen window showed 68 at six, 48 at 6:30, and 37 at eight. With a cold north wind blowing, we're headed for an overnight low in the twenties.  130 days until spring.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Yesterday was a straw hat day, but today was a cloth cap day. When I got up it was 27 and a strong north wind was blowing. It was a good morning to spend in the kitchen with a fire in the stove. I set about changing from screens to storm windows in the kitchen and bathroom, and took time for a little house cleaning while I was at it. Three of the storm windows for the living room fit nicely into the frames, but the fourth one is a different style that doesn't quite fit. I visited the glass shop to see if they could get the right material to make the fourth one fit like the others. The answer was no. This is one more case where change is not progress. The right stuff was available decades ago, but not now. While I was in town I bought plastic sheeting to put on the upstairs east wall while the roof project is ongoing. I hope we have a day with no wind soon so I can get the plastic up before Saturday. The forecast is for snow that day.  

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

It was another indoor day, 18 when I got up and with a high of 27. My big job of the day was fixing the door between the kitchen and the living room so it would shut. I took it down and planed one edge, sanded down high spots on the floor, and used steel wool to clean decades of grime off the knob. I spent the afternoon on a computer struggle. I'm not smart enough to be good with computers, and transferring files from my desktop to my laptop is a confusing exercise in exasperation. I was able to transfer some successfully, but others defeated me. I'll have to go back and try them again until I figure out what I'm doing. 

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Maintaining my status as a cold weather sissy, I stayed inside until after noon.  One little chore was emailing some pictures of last month's Model T tour to the county for a bit of tourism advertising. I had to send each photo  separately because their email program wouldn't accept more than one attachment at a time. In the afternoon I got busy with the chain saw and started cutting up the old dead tree that fell down in the back yard Monday afternoon. It will provide heat for a few weeks. I need to get the south end of it out of the way for the replacement tree I've ordered. I'm getting a sugar maple from the Arbor Day Foundation. I thought I was ordering it for fall planting, but with the early arrival of winter weather I'm wondering whether they'll hold off shipping until spring. Either way, whether the tree comes in November or March, I'll get a place ready for it. My other outdoor chore was moving lumber for the roof project onto the front porch to stay dry if we get snow. Dry lumber is easier to work with than wet. There's a slight chance of snow in the forecast for Saturday.
Friday, November 14, 2014

Office work this morning included filling out a USPS claim form. I was sending a speedometer cable to Flagstaff in exchange for some other parts. The package got as far as Des Moines and disappeared. The USPS website said the tracking number I had just used to track the package to Des Moines was invalid, so I got on the phone and had a paper form sent to me, and that's what I filled out and mailed today. I paid $85 for that cable, but I'll be happy if I get $50 of it back. In the afternoon I took my defunct TV cable box to the Cox office in town to trade for a new one. The replacement doesn't have a motor that runs 24-7, so maybe it will use up fewer electrons (and dollars) than the old one.  My last errand was a drive down to the casino across the state line, to fill up the car where the gas is 20 a gallon cheaper than in town. Using the Shell card earns a discount, making the price 23 under what it costs on this side of the state line. While filling the tank I checked the oil in the new 2008 Camry and found it full. I've driven the car three thousand miles now, and haven't had to add a drop of oil.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

The outside warmed up to almost 40 today, but the wind made it feel like freezing. After doing laundry I made some trips outside for a couple of chores, with breaks inside to warm up. One job was fetching firewood. I didn't feel like hauling a load to the splitter and then hauling it to the house, so I just carried a few sections of the old tree I cut up Thursday to the back door, split them the old fashioned way with a wedge and hammer, and stacked the pieces inside.  The job I was dreading was getting up on the living room roof and tacking a new plastic covering on the upstairs east wall. In calm weather it's not hard. If the wind  is blowing it's a miserable ordeal, especially if it's a cold wind.  I gambled and won, waiting until after 3:30 to try it. The wind died down to calm or an occasional light breeze, and I was able to get the job done and the tools put away by five. I hope I'm ready for the snow that's predicted. The latest forecast has a 100% chance tomorrow morning.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Just enough snow fell this morning to keep me from doing any outside work. I spent a lazy Sunday mostly online, with a break of over an hour and a half for a phone visit with my old buddy Herb. He'll be 72 next week. On his twenty-first birthday we were going to go bar hopping. We were sitting at the bar in the first joint, Clyde's Corner in Lomita. The TV was on and we watched Jack Ruby shoot Oswald. That put a stop to our bar-hopping plan.

Monday, November 17, 2014

It probably wasn't the most efficient use of my time, but I spent an hour fixing a shop light today. I don't remember what I dropped a few weeks ago, but it was heavy enough to cut the cord in two places. This repair was part of a day in the shop putting things away and cleaning up. I also sharpened, adjusted, and cleaned the air filter in my chain saw so it's ready for the next session of firewood cutting.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

It was 12 outside, 30 upstairs in my bedroom, and 40 in the kitchen when I got up this morning. But a couple of electric blankets make sleeping warm and toasty, and a fire in the kitchen stove soon has the temperature there in the seventies. Still, if I didn't have so many winter projects I want to get done, I'd want spring and summer to be days away, not months. I worked inside the shop again, organizing and putting away. Eventually I'll have it uncluttered enough to give the whole place a good vacuuming and wiping. I also did some online shopping. The prices I found for a box of a hundred 10-32 x 1/4" brass machine screws were $21.02, $11.47, $10.68, $8.78, and $3.62. Naturally, when I tried to place an order with that last outfit their lame website wouldn't take my order because my address was"invalid". Obviously it isn't, because I receive mail and packages here all the time. I left a phone message for somebody to call me tomorrow. We'll see how that goes.  

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

A heat wave with temperatures soaring above 40 had me back to working on the roof. The task at hand was removing old boards and cleaning out nests inside the wall. Some of the roof boards are rotten at the south end. I figured out that I can  fill a space with the good parts of two boards instead of putting one whole new board in that space. That will save some expense on costly new lumber. That corollary of Murphy's law which I've often observed, that everything takes longer than you think it will, is in full effect here. It turns out there's more rebuilding needed than just the replacement of a few boards as I imagined. It may take a couple more weeks than I expected to get this thing ready for the roofers, but it will get done. I just have to work on it during breaks in the weather. If I can get the new roof on the living room before the end of the year, I guess that will be good enough. Once the new roofing is installed, I can finish the upstairs east wall and move on to the back porch roof. That will be the final roof job on the house. There are a lot of rotten boards on it to replace, but it isn't very big. Maybe I can even have all the outside done by spring and get started rebuilding indoors.  

The critters like to build their nests inside walls.

The mud dauber nests didn't surprise me, but the rocks and concrete chunks inside the wall have me mystified.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

By ten the outdoors was up to almost 40 and I was back at work on the roof project, removing rotten boards and mud dauber nests, cutting, fitting, and nailing new boards, etc. At four I quit work and started putting tarps back in place to be ready for the predicted moisture. That, and moving lumber onto the front porch to stay out of the weather, and putting away tools, took almost an hour and a half.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Never went off the place today. It didn't really rain, but fog and mist kept everything outside moist. I worked in the shop trying to lengthen the brake rods for my roadster. I made them when I got the car, and they're an inch too short. So I have to weld on a little more and thread it. The trick is getting the thread on the new part to match the thread on the old part. I managed to ruin a die with too much heat doing the first rod, so I'll have to figure out a way to keep the die cool when I do the second one.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Another moist day had me inside again. At last I got around to putting together a little video of last month's Model T tour
. I also did some rummaging and found some extra Model T brake rods among my old parts. I think a couple of them will serve for my roadster. That will save me having to fix the two that are an inch too short. Daisy was due for a heart worm checkup, so we paid a visit to the vet. A test showed her heart worm free, so she can continue to run around and race with the neighbor dog across the road. This afternoon I got around to another little chore that's been waiting for a long time. The guys who did the body work on the 1923 touring car I bought a few years ago did a fairly decent job, but they made some mistakes. One glaring error was using Phillips screws, which hadn't been invented in Model T days. So today I started preparing some proper slotted screws to replace them. Preparing means stripping off the cad plating with muriatic acid, rinsing, prepping with phosphoric acid, drying, and painting. I did a couple dozen so I'll have some extras for future use.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

This was one more predicted wet day. It was cloudy and dark, but dry until about three when the drizzle blew in from the north. Before that happened I fetched in firewood and even hand split enough bigger pieces to last at least a few evenings.  I got to thinking about those brake rods and realized that it would be easier to fix the short ones, which are already painted, than to blast and paint another set. So I got started on repair by adding some thread to the bolts I'll weld on for extensions.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Outdoors it wasn't terribly cold, but a fierce wind blew all day and made it feel cold enough to to keep me inside again. I took time away from other chores to start a job that's been waiting for years, getting rid of those Phillips screws in my touring car. The area around some of them suffered from chipped paint, so I masked and repainted the right rear door sill. The more I look at details of the car, the more Phillips screws I find that I'll need to replace. I also examined a reversible drill that wouldn't reverse. I found that the forward-reverse switch is broken, so I went online to shop for a replacement. I found that the switch is no longer available. So before putting the drill back together I turned the broken switch to reverse. I have other drills that are non-reversible, so I'll use this one as my reverse drill.  I would have sent Black & Decker a snotty remark through their website, but I didn't want to take the time for all the required form-filling.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Two jobs today. Masked and painted the left rear door sill in the touring. That took until about eleven. By then the outside had warmed up to almost 40, and I went to work on the roof. By the time I quit,  a little past 4:30,  I had all the new boards installed on the south half of the east side. I have a doctor's appointment in Wichita tomorrow, but I hope I can get a little more roof work done.  


Wednesday, November 26, 2014

I was able to get a couple of hours' work done on the roof project this morning before taking off to Wichita for my doctor's appointment. That used up most of my afternoon. The forecast calls for at least three more days of good weather, so I should get the rest of the east side and some of the other parts done this weekend.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

I hated to take a day off from the roof, but the trees I ordered from the Arbor Day Foundation arrived the other day and I needed to get them in the ground. I had four to plant. One was an American sweet gum I got because of their pretty fall colors. It went in between the northeast corner of the house and the driveway. There's already another one east of the house, so the two of them should make a nice fall display. I got a sugar maple to replace the big old tree that fell down recently, but I decided on a different location. Instead of planting it south of the flower patch like the old tree, I put it north of the patch to let the hollyhocks and other flora get more direct sunshine. The two trees I bought, the sweet gum and the sugar maple, came with two free red maples, which I planted north of the back lawn. The planting instructions that came with the trees said I should soak them in water three to six hours before planting, so I set them in a pail of water for three hours while I got busy with the clippers and a bottle of Tordon RTU, cutting little volunteer trees in bad locations and
poisoning the stumps. I didn't count how many I cut, but it was probably over a hundred. That made a pretty good dent in the little forest along the north side of the yard, but there are a lot more to go. I hope to have them all cleared away by spring, which is 112 days away. I celebrated Thanksgiving with a special dinner treat, a big plate of spinach. I've never understood the notion that little kids are supposed to hate spinach, because I've always loved it. With some butter and a dash of vinegar I think it's delicious.

Friday, November 28, 2014

It was a good day for roof work, and I made good progress.
I finished pulling off the old roof boards on the north half of the east side, removed a 2 x 4 at the top of the wall, cleaned out about 84 years' worth of mud dauber nests, installed insulation, and nailed in a new 2 x 4. I hope tomorrow I can install all the new roof boards and get started replacing rotten boards along the west side of the roof. I think now I've finished about 30% of the carpentry I need to do before I'm ready for the roofers.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

At 3:20 PM I drove the last nail in the last new board on the east side of the roof. That's later than I had hoped for, but I was glad to get it done. I was slowed down by fitting one of the last boards. It was bent, and took a lot of trimming by saw and by plane to make it fit. That's what I get for just ordering at the lumber yard without staying and picking out the boards myself. I was also slowed down by bending a lot of nails. I'd get a nail started, it would bend beyond straightening, and I'd pull it and start another one. Eventually I noticed that the hammer head was too round. I took it to the grinder and flattened the surface a bit, and after that I was able to drive most nails with no trouble. With the last nail in on the east side, I removed the tarp covering the west side, then brought the boards for the next part from the front porch and leaned them against the scaffold, ready for the next session tomorrow.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

After recent warm days with highs in the sixties, today the wind was from the north and the temperature dropped all day. When I started pulling old rotten boards off the roof about eight this morning, it was in the high forties. By two this afternoon it was 32. Actually that wouldn't have been bad if it hadn't been for the north wind which made my eyes water and turned my nose into a snot fountain. I used up a lot of tissues, but I got the old boards off the west side of the roof and the new ones installed. I finished up about 3:30, putting the tarps and plastic back over the area. There's no rain in the forecast, but the cover may keep some of the cold wind from whistling in through the cracks.