Tuesday, July 1, 2008
After running a few errands, it was another afternoon of pulling nails from old boards. There are still a few more to do.
Wednesday, July 2, 2008
This afternoon was one more session of pulling nails. Tomorrow I'll move on to something else, then come back to the junk behind the house.
Thursday, July 3, 2008
The hourly guys had the day off today, so I brought the shop vac home for an experiment. I wanted a respirator to use when sandblasting, but hated the idea of spending hundreds on it. The solution was this setup. The hood is made from a piece of old tarp, using a scrap of clear Duralar I salvaged from the trash at work as a window. The hood fastens to the straps of my overalls with a couple of clothes pins. The blower is the shop vac. The money I spent was $53.19 for twenty feet of vacuum hose which is coupled to the shop vac hose with duct tape. The arrangement is cheap and functional. Here I'm blasting half the rear axle housing from my TT. After blasting the thing I took it to the sign factory and applied a couple of coats of paint. After the paint has dried enough to handle, I'll take off the masking tape (duct tape, actually) and put the piece in the big walk-in oven for some real drying. With the coming of spring and all the yard work and other chores that came with it, I haven't done a thing on the TT project since early April, so I need to get back to working on it at least one day a week. Even an easy restoration doesn't get done if you don't spend the time to work on it.
Friday, July 4, 2008
Well, here's another fine mess I've gotten me into. I wasted time playing around on the computer this morning and didn't get out to my sandblasting area until it was in full sun. About a half hour of that was more than enough, so I went and found a shaded area where there were a lot of weeds that needed pulling. A half hour of pulling took care of the shaded area, and the rest will be a shorter job when it's in the shade. Once those weeds are gone, that will leave removal of little trees in all the wrong places, and moving the last of the scrap lumber, and the back yard will be ready for digging up old water pipes and laying new ones. After a brief shopping trip to town, I unloaded the firewood that's been sitting in the truck for a couple of weeks. I checked the road to the north dump pile and found it didn't look bad. Six days without rain made it solid enough that I could go around the yard picking up piles of pulled weeds and brush trimmings, and haul the load to the pile without the truck getting stuck. With the truck empty, I started loading up scrap lumber behind the house. By about three, my sandblasting area was mostly in shade, so I went and finished up the day with more blasting.
Saturday, July 5, 2008
Done! After doing the laundry, I came home and moved the last of the scrap lumber from behind the house. Today was more humid than yesterday, so even with the temperature only about 80º it was pretty sweaty work. I finished unloading behind the old chicken house about 11:30 and thought "I deserve a break." Sitting on the front porch swing with a cold drink and enjoying a cooling breeze is one of life's great pleasures. While I was piling scrap lumber on the truck I came across a couple of these little guys. The prairie ringneck snake is a small critter you often encounter when doing yardwork around here. The biggest one I've seen was about a foot long, but most are from two to eight inches. They're too small to swallow a mouse like our old friend the blacksnake (also known as the black rat snake), but if they eat smaller pests like termites, I say good for them! Once I got the scrap lumber moved out, I got the chainsaw and the clippers and trimmed some face grabbers. Those are the low hanging branches that knock your hat off or poke you in the mug when you're mowing. There are a lot more of them than I had time to get to today, but those will have to wait for another time.
Sunday, July 6, 2008
At about six this morning I went out to do more sandblasting in the cool, before coming in to work on the website. The last thing I did Friday was to clean out a clog in the air pipe, and with full pressure to the blaster this morning the work went a lot faster than it did on Friday. Unfortunately, humidity has raised its ugly presence. Even with two water traps in the line, I started having moisture problems. I was able to finish piece I was doing, the left half of the rear axle housing, but that was it for the day. I took the piece to town and painted it, so now both halves are done.
Monday, July 7, 2008
This afternoon I worked on the tractor club website, posting some pictures with the announcement of the annual show that comes up next month. With the forecast showing a good chance of rain for a couple of days, it looks like a poor time to try any more sandblasting until things dry out a bit.
Tuesday, July 8, 2008
With just enough moisture to make things wet outside, I stayed in and played on the computer for a couple of hours.
Wednesday, July 9, 2008
A couple of weeks ago when the local Ace Hardware cut the price on all plants by 50%, I bought a dozen petunias. This afternoon I finally got around to planting them east of the house. The little bit of rain yesterday made the ground just right for digging. On the physical fitness front, I got my chin over the bar today for the first time in years. My next goal is two full pull-ups from a hanging start.
Thursday, July 10, 2008
It was another wet afternoon, so I stayed in and played on the computer.
Friday, July 11, 2008
Friday is a short work day, so I was home by 9:30 this morning. I cut up some firewood, then spent most of the day cutting and trimming trees along the west drive. That was the first part of the job. The rest of it will be cutting up and hauling away the trimmings. There were a lot of branches protruding out into traffic, so this is a job that's needed doing for quite awhile. I also mowed down weeds around the cattle tank across the road.
Saturday, July 12, 2008
After another wet morning that had me inside, I got a little done on dismantling some of those branches, painted a couple of TT parts, and in the afternoon went to an auction where I bought a chest of drawers for the bathroom. I also got more TT parts ready for painting.
Sunday, July 13, 2008
This was going to be the afternoon I got some more sandblasting done, but I never got around to it. I did get some of those downed branches trimmed, then I spent most of the afternoon on house cleaning. I cleaned the bathroom, then swept and mopped half the kitchen. I have to do this every few months whether the place needs it or not.
Monday, July 14, 2008
This was the day to stay after work and paint truck parts, mostly nuts and bolts. Soon I should be ready to start putting the rear end on my TT back together. When I got home I had just enough time to move that "new" chest of drawers into the bathroom and put some towels in it. Getting it in place was a close fit, but it will serve its purpose quite well.
Wednesday, July 16, 2008
Attempting to improve my reception of public radio, I spent the afternoon lowering the outside antenna and replacing some weather-damaged wiring. The other FM stations are now booming in like locals, but poor little KMUW seems to depend on how the antenna cable is routed inside the house. If it's coiled, reception is terrible or worse. If I let it hang down and flop out onto the floor, reception is pretty good. Go figure.
Thursday, July 17, 2008
Miss Kitty has been looking pretty fat around the middle lately, but while I was at work today she went on a crash diet and thinned down a lot. When I came home I found a kitten on the steps to the west porch. It turns out that she picked a good place to have them, behind a pile of boards leaning against the wall in the garage. It's a safe place out of reach for any neighbor dogs that happen to wander in. It's hard to see the kittens in there, but I think there are at least five of them.
Friday, July 18, 2008
I spent most of the day cutting twigs off all those trimmed branches from along the west drive. When I had the truck filled with a load, I took a walk down to the lower dump pile, south of the road, to see if it had dried out enough to get in without getting stuck in the mud. It seemed moist but pretty solid, so I decided to try it. I did make it all the way to the dump pile, but that's where the ground was just too slick for the truck to get any traction. It wasn't going anywhere. After unloading the truck, I went down the road and got a neighbor boy to help me pull it out. He had never driven a tractor before, but I showed him what to do and he did just fine. We used the Model B Allis and a chain, and soon had the truck back on solid ground.
Saturday, July 19, 2008
After doing laundry this morning, I spent some time painting parts of the carburetor for the WC tractor. I spent most of the day trimming up those branches by the west drive. This time I hauled the load to the upper dump pile, and had no trouble getting there and back. With all the twigs and leaves trimmed off, tomorrow I'll cut all those branches into firewood and get it stacked. With the trimming done, I loaded the sprayer and poisoned a lot of little trees I missed the last time I sprayed. Each time I spray there are fewer of them, so I'm making progress. For the evening's entertainment I drove to Wichita to see "Journey to the Center of the Earth" in 3-D. I saw it at a Warren theater, which is new but in the old time movie palace style. A very classy joint. The movie was enjoyable, with very good use of the 3-D technology.
Sunday, July 20, 2008
This was a day to take it easy. I cut up all those branches and stacked up the pieces for firewood, then I worked on filing some receipts, then I went to the front porch swing and took a nap for about an hour. This hot, humid weather is a nap-inducing environment.
Monday, July 21, 2008
On another toasty afternoon I answered emails and filed a few more receipts.
Tuesday, July 22, 2008
I stayed in town after work to get a little done on the TT project. I took the halves of the rear axle housing to the car wash and cleaned them out, then blew out the water with compressed air, then sprayed in WD-40 to prevent rust. I'm waiting for some bushings I ordered. When those arrive, I'll be ready to start putting the thing back togther.
Wednesday, July 23, 2008
Stayed to work on the TT again. I made gaskets for the rear axle housing. Also called the toll free number for locating buried gas, phone, and electric lines. When I start digging up old water lines for replacement I want to avoid surprises.
Thursday, July 24, 2008
When I got home from work this afternoon the phone, electric, and gas lines were all marked from the road to the house, but nothing behind the house was done. If the company didn't install it, or if it's really old, apparently they have no idea where it is and don't have the equipment to find it.
Friday, July 25, 2008
I thought I'd be really smart and rent a metal detector to locate all the gas and electric lines where I plan to dig. It turned out the rental was useless for the job. When I returned the thing, the guy told me a detector capable of doing the job would be too expensive to use as a rental tool. So I'll just try to dig around where I think those lines may be. There's always some glitch to keep things interesting.
Tuesday, July 29, 2008
Bless me, Father, for I have sinned... Yes, I've been remiss in the blogging department. Sorry to leave you hanging. In our last exciting episode I was preparing to dig up old and leaky water lines. Friday evening I went and got the rental backhoe, and Saturday morning about six I was out digging. Everything takes longer than you think it will, and this project was no exception. The backhoe I was using is fine for digging in soft topsoil, but no good when you get down to the hard stuff. I spent all day, from six to five, digging with backhoe and with pick and shovel. Near buried electric and phone lines, hand digging is required. After a day of digging I went to town and ate at La Fiesta. A good taco and burrito de chorrizo, and wonderful frijoles refritos, while listening to Don Vicente Fernandez, all constituted a great meal. After a visit to Braum's for an ice cream cone, I went to see The Dark Knight. Despite reading a couple of pages of raves, I was a little apprehensive. A couple of weeks ago, after reading very positive reviews, I went and saw Hellboy II, and found myself struggling to stay awake. This time, I'm happy to report, the raves were on the mark. It's no surprise that there's talk of a posthumous Oscar for Heath Ledger as the Joker. Ledger is wonderful in the part, and the rest of the cast is excellent as well. The story moves right along from start to finish, and the special effects work in service to the story rather than as a distraction. It was an enjoyable end to a long day. Sunday was another digging marathon, beginning at six and ending at four. I had to stop early to clean up the backhoe and get it back to town. There's more digging to do before I put in the new pipes, and next time I plan to use heavier equipment that will dig down into hard pan.
Wednesday, July 30, 2008
Despite taking care where I dug Saturday, I did manage to break the buried electric cable to the barn. This afternoon I worked on stripping insulation from the stubs so I can splice in a new section tomorrow. Until I get this fixed I can't use the drill press, grinder, and other electric equipment in the barn.
Thursday, July 31, 2008
Woulda, coulda, shoulda... I should have worked on that broken electric line today, but after the recent rain the grass is threatening to get out of hand, so I mowed instead. There's more to do tomorrow, then I can get back to that electric project.