Working with tarps, helping with Mom’s wood pile. Clean up and some fall prep

August 13, 2019

Yesterday I got out to Mom’s place to replace the tarp over the chicken run. This one of those jobs that seems almost impossible to by yourself but is easy with two people.  Because of Mom’s location she gets a lot of wind blowing daily and often at a brisk 20-30 mph so if a tarp last a year in that type of breeze it is a good tarp.  We have noticed that the cheap “blue tarps” shred in a matter of months.  We suspect that the blue tarps are not UV protected.  We both have used the low cost brown and green tarps with UV protection and those tarps handle high winds/ beating solar rays.  Getting 9-12 months of use out of those type tarps very is doable.  Trying a new way of keeping the tarp on top of the chicken run in high winds.  I ran some rope through some PVC pipe and will place that pipe in the fold of the tarp and see if that keeps the wind from getting under the tarp and moving it around on the chicken run.

Mom stopped by today and got the rest of the mill ends, 2 old pallets for the base of her wood pile.  Mom’s wood storage area is a “Work in progress” but she is getting the the stuff needed to get the wood off the ground and the tarps to cover the top of the wood pile.  I was able to give Mom a couple of smaller tarps that I replaced with one larger tarp over my Doug fir wood racks.  I had a large tarp covering the mill end wood storage area that was a little worn around some of the edges, but is in good enough shape to keep rain and snow off the wood pile.

I got my Doug fir wood pile covered by tarps.  The wood pile is in old dog kennel and is a long but narrow space so a 10 x 12 foot tarp covers most of the wood.  A few of smaller tarps will cover the wood racks so the wood can dry/season but is also protected from rain and snow.  The carport  has over head cover and the shop and RV provide some protection from the weather.  One of the trickiest things about heating with firewood is exposing  fire wood to the weather/wind so it can dry/season but also protecting it from absorbing moisture while it is drying.  I’m hoping that I won’t use a lot of wood to heat this winter and I can build up a multi-year wood pile of dry and seasoned wood.

Lessons I have learned:

  1. I hate chicken wire!  I understand it works and is cheap but if I want a good fencing that lasts and is easy to work with I’d go with some sort of hardware cloth for retaining small critters of a larger panel square for larger critters.
  2. Even a cheap Dremal tool can sharpen tools and it is less intimidating than a grinder.  A Dremel is not a replacement for a grinder it is just a tool for stuff.
  3. Always try to repair things right the first time.  If you think the job is beyond you call in a pro.  I can replace a toilet.  I can’t replace a plumbing valve that is frozen that uses copper/ plastic/steel pipes that have galvanic corrosion.  I know enough to know I don’t know enough for that sort of repair.
  4. I’m learning a little bit about some electrical work.  I hate getting Zapped by electricity especially if that zap could stop my heart.  If I cut power all of my outlets installed seem to work without  electrical arcs.

I’ve rambled on a bit but replacing an electric plug really isn’t a big deal unless it is your first time and it works.  You need to smart and research how a repair job is done properly.  There is a “Fear Factor” of doing new stuff.  Unless you do new stuff you will not grow as a person or add new skills.  I was terrified of using a chainsaw. Now I respect the power of the chainsaw, I don’t fear using a chainsaw.

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Cooler weather helps when working out side. Finish a job, start a new job around the house!

August 11, 2019

Having this cold front move through the area has felt so good!  We got some rain and my little Tucker dog no longer has an “Anxiety Attack” from the sound of thunder.  After several 100 degree days that rain and cooler temps this weekend helped my attitude.  I got more of the dropped apples and black walnuts picked up.  I filled up a 33 gallon trash container and the bag was so heavy lifting it was out of the question.  Those nuts and apples are a twisted ankle bomb just waiting to be stepped on.  I have to many other jobs to get done other than saving apples and nuts.  But I have to keep the yard clean so I can walk about safely and not let fruit rot on the ground that attracts vermin.  So into the trash for these tree byproducts.

I attack the grape vines again  to clear the way to chop wood.  I’m always playing catch up with the grape vines.  I have not found a way to make the vines drape artfully around my home.  I’m always doing cleanup or getting the grape vines out of the way for work.  The grape vines take no notice of all my work and keep on growing.  Good news I have cleaned out my wood chopping area so now I can start filling my  wood Kindling box.  I used my Dremel tool to sharpen up my cheap axes and wood cutting tools.  The hatchet is sharp, perhaps a bit too sharp for cutting kindling long term.  I cleaned up the hatchet edge using a stone, using a Dremel tool to start an edge on a tool does work better than a grinder for me.  Actually I think both tools have a place in sharpening tools.

I’m playing with the new washer settings. I have to give 5 stars to Samsung on trouble shooting the washer and Mr Appliance of SW Idaho getting the washer working.  Samsung stood by their warranty despite the washer being a 2 year old model, that I bought new to me.   Mr. Appliance of SW Idaho was great,  Richard was very personable, brought little rugs/carpets to place the tool bags upon.  Mr. Appliance showed up early after calling if it would be okay to show up early for the work.  That tends to be a very rare thing working with repairmen or contractors.  I understand that Good contractors/ repairmen are very busy.  As a customer I’d prefer a date for a non-critical repair and if the repair person gets an opening, a call to fix the issue.  I know it is never that easy as “Emergency” repair request happen all the time.

I spent about $6.00 at a laundromat over 2 weeks waiting for the new washer.  Drying clothes at a Laundromat  cost the quarters.  No big deal!

I cleaned up the wiring  of the light fixture in the Laundry room.  I added a couple of guides made of rubber to isolate the electrical cable.  Along with buying a big plug of rubber to make the light work.  The light is safe,  but I’m not happy as light should have been tied into the electrical of the add on of the house.  I’m trying to repair terrible half ass “solutions” and it always costs more to fix.

I cleaned caulk around the bath tub and the fiber board shredded.  Was that bathroom install to code?  Nope! I will save a couple of months to fix that problem. I’ll have to get green board sheet rock to make a good base for the new tub surround.

 

 


The washer has a little problem but good news Mom is doing good after the day surgery

July 27, 2019

The washer will not pump out water!  I have it level and that was a pain because most of the top of the washer has curves.  One of the plastic adjustment/leveling legs snapped so that made the task a challenge.  I will say that Samsung was very helpful online and via the phone on troubleshooting the washer, getting the machine registered for warranty and contacting a local repair company with a good reputation to service the washer.

I’m a little disappointed that I can’t use the washer this weekend.  I understand with an “Old Model”/ new machine that these issues can happen and it is not necessarily the fault of the machine, manufacturer or the shipper, especially if they all have good reviews.  Hopefully the tech will come and fix/replace the pump and the washer will be good to go.  I did not empty all of the water out of the washer. I left about 1-2 inches of water in the tub so the tech can see what I am dealing with as the problem.  I think I will get the big shop vac ready, just in case I need to remove that last bit of water in order to work on the machine.  The 6 gallon shop vac should be able to empty the washer in 1 or 2 fill ups.

Mom is doing good after last weeks day surgery.  She is mostly out of pain for her back though she says she is being careful not to re-injure that area.

Mom is keeping up with the housework, mowing the lawn with the riding mower and keeping the weeds whacked and under control. Her church is going to do some yard work and Mom is really trying to set up the Ryobi weed wacker work for her as well as the old B&D weed wacker.  This might sound a bit sexist and I don’t mean it that way, but I think the Ryobi tools are set up for a male to use.  That is not a criticism but an observation.

Men are taller on average than women and most of their strength/ Center of Gravity is in the upper body. Women on average are shorter, have less upper  body strength and the Center of Gravity is the hips.  That makes a huge difference between how a man or woman uses a tool or how comfortable it is to use a tool.  Do I expect companies to change how they make yard tools?  Nope, because most yard work is done by men and that is a tool maker’s primary customer.  Some tools will fit women better and we need to let those manufacturers know us women appreciate those tools that we like and work well for women.  Please no more slapping a bit of pink plastic or paint on a  “Womans” tool.  Women tool users is an under served  market plus those tools that cater to smaller body frames and hands, opens up that market to young people in their teens just starting out DIYing.  Most guys go for the most powerful they can handle/ afford.  Most women want a light weight and simple tool that handles simple jobs like hanging curtain rods of building a small shelf.

Speaking only for myself and I am a “Tomboy” I always grab my little 9.6 volt drill first on any job and only get the big drill after the 9.6 volt proves inadequate. Now I’m female and I’m disabled so my strengths are not top notch, but I don’t think that is an issue.  Using a small light weight drill for a small job is smart.  Sorry for the rant as the 3rd wave feminazis just annoy me.  I was the first girl to play flag football in Idaho in 1977/1978.  I think I was the second girl to play in Little league baseball the same year.  I wasn’t striking some blow for feminism I just wanted to play the game.  I was on the team because I was as good the boys, I started because I was better than some boys.  Did I work hard or harder to get on the team?  Of course I did. Males have more muscle mass than females. I lifted weights and could leg press almost 900 pound as a 14-16 girl.  I was also a slow runner and the had the leaping ability of a safe.  I had stamina and was strong but not really talented for sports ball.

A couple things I learned about sports is all the hard work in the world would never get me to slam dunk a basketball. As my physical attributes mean I have no “hops”.  It did not matter, if I could shoot 3 pointers.  It does not matter that I’m disabled doing a job “living” .  I fail/ succeed on my own.

The wood pile is almost finished.  I have another 3 garden wagon loads of poplar to stack.  I have to finish up the “kindling” wood rack and start filling it.  I have been waiting for paraffin wax to go on sale to start making fire starters.  Some Greenies might attack me for using a renewable source for heat and using a petroleum product to create fire starters. Despite the fact I use far less paper to start my fires.

It is simple for the left.  Use a wood stove and you hate the earth and you are a Nazi/racist scum.  For gosh sake an article said White people like having dogs because they miss having slaves.  I would never speak for any other ethnic group but who does not like dogs or cats?  I don’t think love of animals is just a white thing.

 

Sorry long post and I’m all over the place.  I’ll try to clean it up.


Got some yard work done and a prayer request

July 22, 2019

The front yard has been been mowed!  I got a bit lazy as I did not want to pick up all the sticks from the high winds that blew thru last week. Today I got all the sticks picked up mowed and gave the front yard a “good watering” of several hours.  It felt good to get some outdoor work done after helping Mom with her surgery recovery and getting enough shopping done to top off the big freezer.

While I was mowing my neighbor was working on getting a mid size fridge in to his house up the front steps that have at least 6 steps and about 5 feet to the porch front door landing.  The neighbor had a dolly and did most of the heavy lifting but I helped keep the fridge on the dolly and assist with guiding , or adding a little extra ooomph to get the fridge in the house can make that job a bit easier.  The neighbor said he will help out with moving the old washing machine out or getting the new machine in my house. Should be be easier to move my washer as I only have a couple of steps to deal with getting the washer in the house.  Once the new washer is indoors and close to the Laundry area I can “walk” the washer into place.

I got the old washer out of the laundry area and strapped to the big dolly Mom loaned me.  Mom has offered to assist moving the old washer to the alley, but I want to test out how much effort she will need to help move the washer.  Mom was not given any weight restrictions for her recovery and she has kept up cleaning her house and taking care of critters.  I don’t want her to re-injure her back by helping me.  Getting the washer on the dolly, strapped down, I’ll do most of the weight bearing work and Mom will guide and any weight lifting should be minimal.

Onto the prayer request: My Mom’s new church has been hit with several small disasters. From flooding of the church basement to shingle/parts of the roof being torn off in a wind storm.  The pastor was diagnosed with prostate cancer that may recurring and perhaps the cancer has moved to his bones.  The church congregation is older and many are on Social Security and disabled so the can’t physically do much work around the church or donate to get needed work done.  The church needs to an Asphalt parking lot to replace the gravel parking lot they currently have in place.  The new parking lot will help those people that use walkers, wheel chairs and “scooters” get into the church.  I don’t want to add more info as I don’t want to ‘dox” the church.  Your prayers for the pastor and the church would be appreciated.

I use a walker when I’m shopping or going long distances walking(1/4-1/2 mile).  Trust me if you use a walker a gravel parking lot is some thing to be dreaded/ avoided. If you use a wheel chair thick gravel is impossible to navigate without help.  Heck, when I was in a wheel chair I avoided deep pile carpet,  gravel parking lots, forget about it!


Mom got firewood, gutters cleaned.

July 12, 2019

We cheated a little bit with loading Mom’s firewood.  We loaded some of the smaller hardwood stuff and then filled in the rest of the truck with the cut and split poplar I bought in June. I got a bit more wood out of the bargain but, I have to do the work of cutting and splitting that wood.  Mom gets the cut and split firewood that is ready to burn in her wood stove. I figure I have about 4.5-5 cords of cut and split fire wood and about 1.5 cords of mostly hardwood that needs to be cut or split stored for this winter. So giving Mom some easy to burn firewood for her woodpile was an easy choice, that works for both of us.  Mom has been dealing with a back injury for about 9 months and has a day surgery scheduled next week.  So cutting and splitting wood is NOT a job she needs to be doing for a few weeks. I can putter around my wood pile and split the hardwoods and make kindling this summer that will help us both this winter.  I did not expect to hit my 6+ cords of wood goal this summer so if I have to help Mom out I have plenty of wood on hand.

The gutters are clean out though I did not do the work.  It cost $70.00 to have the gutters cleaned and that seemed like a good price in comparison to me going up and down the ladder 140 times cleaning out the goop in the gutters for a couple of days.  I have bought some gutter screens and a debris downspout catcher that I want to install this summer.  If you install gutter don’t rely on chain down spouts if you have a lot of leaf debris or winter snows. Chain downspouts are okay as a decorative element but to move water effectively install good downspouts.  It should be easier/cheaper to add a chain down spout to a gutter system with down spouts rather than adding good down spouts to a chain system.

Summer has finally got hot here in the Treasure Valley.  90-100 degrees F. for the next 5-7days which isn’t that bad for mid- July in High desert. I can handle working a few couple of hours outside as long as I stay in the shade.  I am not ready to work in full sun but there are plenty of jobs to be done in the shady part of the yard or in the A/C cooled house.

One of the jobs I’m starting is painting. I have been watching youtube vids on how to do some basic Sheet rock repairs and taking time to get all of the prep work down prior to painting. I did some very minor/sheet rock repairs using spackle and an expired credit card to spread the spackle.  Wow! using that card made a huge difference in how the repair blended into the existing drywall.  Taking more time to let the repair cure and then sanding is making the repair almost unnoticeable other that the wall needs to be all one color. I have quite a few of my first attempts at repairing drywall jobs that look terrible in comparison. I’ll be sanding those “repairs” back to the Drywall and getting them cleaned up a prepped for paint.

I’m starting with my 3/4 bathroom that needs not only new paint but some new flooring as the linoleum is cracking and has split.  I’d like to install a new sink faucet and shower hardware but that will have to wait as I save money for those projects.  While this job “updating” the small bathroom are cosmetic.  I’m turning what I have learned in theory, into practice on a small project.  I have most of the tools I need to do the project correctly and not just slap a coat of paint and hope no one notices all the mistakes.

 


Finally got most of Mom’s blinds done!

July 6, 2019

I have been adding/replacing Mom’s old blinds with my somewhat better shape old blinds.  I bought a couple of packages for universal fit blind brackets for Mom’s 47 inch blind.  The old blind brackets are so old the brackets are very brittle and tend to crack into non-functional pieces. While the new brackets are cheap at least they are made of a flexible, yet rigid material not prone the cracking under a little bit of pressure.  Mom’s windows are all dry wall casements not wood framed.  That adds another challenge installing blinds that fit within the dry wall window casement.  I think the correct long term solution for Mom’s windows would be a window casement that frames the windows, but that would probably require a custom built window blind to fit the new interior dimensions.  The windows sort of suck for installing blinds easily but the window casement dimensions currently can be fitted with standard blinds available at most Big Box stores at low cost.

I added one of those sort of cheap roller sunshade blinds to the outside of a small window that has the portable A/C unit. It took a little cussing but over all the blind seemed to cut the heat on that window with out blocking the light for that corner of the room.  You can see through the gaps of the blind from inside but you can’t really see into the house from the outside.  We added new curtains and curtain rod to the “big” kitchen window. The new thermal curtains in place of the short half window curtain rod seems to make that area feel bigger.  The new thermal curtains are a light color and I think having the half window curtains broke up the flow of the window and wall by divided the window in half.  I felt as if that side of the house and window were cooler.  That might have been a reaction to make my work feel worthwhile but Mom said she thought the rooms looked and felt “better”, more like it was her home and not just a house.

I did a bunch of little jobs around Mom’s house but those little jobs really made a big impact on the look and feel of her home.  I need to help Mom replace the guts of her toilet. Now that she has bought tools for the job it should be simple if not easy.  Mom wants to do the work and I’ll be offering “helpful advice” as she does the job.  This will be great for Mom to use her own tools to fix her own toilet.

I have great news!  My peke Tucker seems to adjusting/feeling more secure about load noises like thunder or fire works. He only freaked out during the 4th for about an hour and I gave him tight hugs.  On the 5th it only took about 15-20 minutes of hugging to get him to calm down. Tonight the 6th we had a bit of thunder and fire works and Tucker found his quiet spot.   Just having the little pup feel secure and safe is wonderful!

Next week moving and stacking wood, Huzzah??!!!  Also I got another new/used coffee pot and hopefully it it will work more than 3 days!

 


Good shopping this week….

June 26, 2019

I did good overall on the grocery shopping this week.  Got a good price on some beef steaks and a roast at Albertsons Tuesday the 25th.  Albertsons gave me an “unlimited”  digital coupon for chicken thighs for 80 cents per pound so Mom and I will be stocking up this week.  Albertsons is having a special buy on seafood and additional 10% discount if you are a Vet, or Military member on the 28th and 29th of June.  This is a great time to get that shopping list ready for that additional discount for the military and Vets.

Some of the other shopping I got done is adding a few more of the cotton bath towels and wash cloths from Bi-mart in Caldwell Idaho. The towels and washcloths are very good though not not Extra-fluffy towels you can buy at a much higher cost.  I washed the towels before using them and the towels, wash clothes seem to be above average in quality to most towels.  Especially considering I spent less than $4.00 for a 36 inch x 54 inch long bath towel.  There is nothing wrong with paying a higher price to get a good quality product.  What I hate is paying a high price in stores when a discount store offers the same or better product and I pay for “Marketing”.

I stopped by on of the 2nd ha stores and got a “new” coffee maker.  The new Cuisinart coffee maker uses a Thermal insulated carafe rather than a hotplate to keep the coffee warm.  This is great as there is one less failure point in the coffee maker.  I can’t burn the coffee or anything else because I forgot to turn off the coffee maker.  It seems that this model of coffee maker costs about $72.00-75.00 new and has many good write ups and reviews. I paid about $8.00 dollars for it.   I cleaned up the 20 year old Procter-Silex simple coffee maker to stash in a cubby until need again as a backup coffee maker.

Simplicity not only has it own charms, it can save you time, effort and money.  Now I have a coffee maker with no hot/heating plate,  a thermal insulated carafe that will keep stuff hot without using electricity.  Perhaps the electrical savings is small but it’s money in my pocket and not in the electric company.  I don’t have to worry about the coffee pot being “on” and perhaps creating a fire hazard.   I will have to twist the lid of the carafe to pour a cup of coffee.  THE STRUGGLE IS REAL!  : )

It has been brutal to watch Mom struggle with her back injury. Mom is no wimp and she looked so devastated at the prospect of just getting her basic shopping done it just wrenched my heart!  So I played driver and got her to the shopping areas she needed to hit, and I got some items I have been going without so it all even out.  I’m going to try and give Mom at least one day a week to get jobs done around her place.  Getting the wood off  the dually, stacked and covered should be doable this weekend.  I bought Mom a little digital camera and a mouse as her mouse was acting a wonky.   The mouse probably needs a good cleaning and I can handle that job.  The replacement mouse just makes her life a little easier.

Speaking for my jobs around my house.  The wood pile in the alley can wait to be moved as it mostly cleared for any city services or blocking the alley.  I can help Mom unload the wood out of her truck this weekend.