Friday, August 10, 2007
So, didja miss me? I haven't blogged any since July 23 because my use-it-or-lose-it vacation time had to be taken before the end of Ausust, so I fled the heat for a couple of weeks in the Rockies. I had a good time visiting family in Colorado, and saw some great scenery. I'll post a bunch of pictures later, but here's a taste of what I saw.
Saturday, August 11, 2007
Any regular readers will have to forgive me for featuring my favorite singer a third time. After finding this 2000 release recently, I took it with me on my trip last week and played it many times while traveling. One song in particular kept me coming back: Poquita Fe by Bobby Capó. Tish Hinojosa does a beautiful rendition of the same song on one of her disks, but this performance by don Vicente approaches perfection in its simplicity. A single guitar plays rhythm and harmony, the strings play harmony, and Chente sings the melody with his customary combination of emotional intensity, clear diction, and precise pitch. It's a memorable performance. But if Poquita Fe is the Everest of this range, there are other worthy peaks. One is the title song, Lobo Herido. Others include Lamparita, Ni Mas Ni Menos, and El Jazmin y la Rosa, all romantic ballads. And for variety, there's the up-tempo Borracho te recuerdo (I don't know why I remember you [when I'm] drunk, if [when I'm] sober you never live in my mind). One great classic song and several very good songs, all delivered with great artistry, add up to a disk well worth having.
Well, after nearly two weeks the lawn was ready for a mowing. So I mowed for a couple of hours yesterday morning before the heat built up, then did the same this morning. With most of the mowing done except for a little trimming around trees and other obstacles with the Dixon, I spent most of the day working on the old dump rake, trying to get it in working condition. After an afternoon of mechanical tinkering, the day ended with a good meal at Tacos Juquila and some good laughs at the Simpsons movie.
Sunday, August 12, 2007
Today I went back to work on the rake, and got it mostly done. This afternoon Shane came over and helped finish it up, then we hitched it up to the tractor to try it out. Shane drove the tractor and I rode the rake. After I got the hang of working the pedals, it worked pretty well. There are still a few bugs to work out, but it's in much better shape than it was when we brought it home in June.
Tuesday, August 14, 2007
That was interesting. After work I drove up to the fairgrounds to help get things ready for the tractor show next weekend. At the gate I learned that if I didn't have something to exhibit, I would have to pay $5 to get in and help even though there was no show yet. This was required by the city of Winfield for use of the fairgrounds. I only had $2 on me, so I left.
Wednesday, August 15, 2007
This afternoon I loaded the dump rake on the trailer to take it up to the fairgrounds. At first it was a little cumbersome getting the thing up there, but I finally figured out a fairly easy way to do the job. First thing after work tomorrow, off I go.
Thursday, August 16, 2007
OOoops! Not quite the first thing. The battery in the Suburban went belly up, so I had to go get a new one. With that done, I finally got the rake up to the fairgrounds and unloaded. There are always plenty of tractors, of course, so rather than showing one more Model B Allis among many others, I'll show something that will be the only one of its kind on display.
Saturday, August 18, 2007
Here's one of those bargain disks that came gushing out of eastern Europe after the collapse of the Soviet empire. Five very good pianists play fifteen pieces by one of the greatest composers of music for the piano. Frederic Chopin (1810-1849) was born in Poland, where his father had gone to teach French to the nobility. Young Chopin was a piano prodigy in the mold of Mozart, and was able to forego concerts in favor of private Paris salon performances and commissions that supported him in luxury. This disk contains many short pieces, from less than half a minute to a little over nine minutes. Some of them are achingly beautiful, and there are melodies that have become so familiar that some listeners will say, "So that's where that tune came from."
Today I spent a couple of hours working at the registration desk at the tractor show, then three hours at the gate. There was a rainstorm, but less of a gullywasher than a couple of years ago. I'll be interested to see what the attendance was. I had the impression that it was less than usual.
Sunday, August19, 2007
This afternoon I went up to the fairgrounds to bring home the rake. Since it rained yesterday, the ground was muddy. The Suburban, aka the Great Slider, is not good in such circumstances, especially when pullimg a trailer. It took quite a while to drag the trailer into position behind the rake. Rolling the rake onto the trailer was easy enough, but getting back to solid ground was another adventure.
Monday, August 20, 2007
Today's project was the back yard swing restoration. Last month I sanded the boards, and today I stained them.
Tuesday, August 21, 2007
With the swing boards stained, this afternoon I started varnishing. Putting on four coats, on both sides, will take several days.
Friday, August 24, 2007
Three more days, three more coats of varnish. By the time all the boards are sanded between coats, about one coat a day is the limit.
Saturday, August 25, 2007
If banda is your thing, this is your guy. Actually, I bought this disk after hearing Rivera's duet with Jose Feliciano on the latter's "Mis Duetos". That performance is included here as a bonus track, and it's the only one here with a mariachi arrangement. Other than that one track, it's wall to wall banda. I like the style in smaller doses, so this will probably not become one of my favorite disks. I wonder what the great Pedro Infante would think of this homage to him in banda style. Not that Rivera lacks talent. Probably the biggest current star to graduate from Poly High in Long Beach, he has a good voice and delivers the songs with feeling. Rivera credits Vicente Fernandez as his idol and greatest influence, but his banda style sets him distinctly apart from Don Vicente's lush strings, mariachi trumpets, and throbbing guitars. Of course, the Fernandez star shines so brightly that it puts Rivera, Pepe Aguilar, and other very good singers in the shade.
After getting the first coat of varnish on the back side of those boards, I pulled weeds today, then mowed. Both mowers could use a sharpening, but I don't know if I'll get around to it before the end of mowing season.
Sunday, August 26, 2007
Today I finished the mowing, then tried sandblasting some of the steel parts for the yard swing. That last activity was a losing proposition. There's enough humidity in the air that it condenses and makes the sand wet enough to clog. I'll have to install at least one filter in the line and hope for drier sand.
Monday, August 27, 2007
Drat! I got up this morning and turned on the water in the kitchen, and there wasn't any. When there was enough daylight to see it, I found where a leak was flowing in the yard, and shut off the valve. After work I spent a couple of hours excavating a hole to reach the leak. I went to town and got a rubber expansion plug, then found that expanding the plug caused it to pop out of the pipe. By then it was too late to go get another kind of plug, so I spent the night with the water turned off.
Tuesday, August 28, 2007
Today I bought a plug that would stay in the pipe. I installed it and turned on the water, and it stayed. With that done, I applied another coat of varnish to the backs of the swing boards. One more coat will finish that job, then I can concentrate on cleaning and painting the metal parts. The end of the swing restoration project is in sight, but I still need to get some two inch pipe and build a new frame to replace the one that was crushed by that falling tree last fall.
Wednesday, August 29, 2007
Today I put the last coat of varnish on the swing boards. With that little chore out of the way, I installed a filter in my air system. We'll see if that removes enough condensation to dry out the sandblasting. I'll find out tomorrow when I take on those metal parts.
Thursday, August 30, 2007
Well, I didn't find out whether the filter helps. There was so little sand coming out of the blaster that I shut it off, turned it upside down, and dumped all the sand out of it that I could get out. I wound up with about four gallons of wet sand, too wet to pass through the system. I'll let it sit and dry out, and tomorrow I'll buy a couple of bags of dry sand to use while I wait. With any luck I'll get the metal parts blasted and painted this weekend.
Friday, August 31, 2007
Dry sand and the filter did the trick. Today I got the three bench supports mostly blasted, and will finish in the morning. I'll also buy some two inch pipe and start building a new frame. With a family reunion just five weeks away, I'd like to have this project finished before the end of September.