Saturday, September 23, 2017

First Day of Fall

For those of you who picked September 23rd for the end of the Boiler Game...don't start spending your winnings yet. I believe I'm going to light the fuse today but as of 2:23 PM, I have not.

It's the first full day of Autumn and it seemed appropriate to get out there and prepare for winter with the splitting of the wood. 
I have a lot of unsplit wood sitting in the yard and as you can see, it's quite a mess.

So I started out by cleaning the area where the wood will go, which was also, quite a mess.
Once everything was arranged, the chopping began.
With a chop chop here.
And a chop chop there.
And a LOT of recovery from chop chopping. My stamina is still pretty shitty.

Even with less than stellar stamina, I am pretty pleased with the results.
I have a nice stack of wood by the back door and a little bit more of the messy yard cleaned up.
The pile that I left is too hard for little ol' me to split. I'm going to rent a power splitter in the next week or so to handle the rest of it.
Whilst I toiled with ax, Susan worked on her car s'more. 
She was sanding some rusty spots which she will paint over later.

As for now, I am spent. It is time to sit down and watch some Cougar Football. And some Iowa Hawkeyes Football.


Sunday, September 17, 2017

Boiler Game Data

It's not Autumn yet but it feels like it. The hot temperatures we have enjoyed for the last several weeks appear to be behind us.

I'm not yet ready to give in and fire up the boiler but it seems like we won't be setting any records in the Boiler Game this year.

Susan spent yesterday cleaning her 1989 Honda Civic in preparation for selling it. She got out the shop vac and really scrubbed the car down. She removed all the little knickknacks that one accumulates in ones car. Today she plans to work on a couple of the rust spots and do some touch up painting.

I'm just puttering around doing this and that. And some of the other stuff too. I drove over to the car wash and hosed down the floor mats for my car and for Susan's. The floor mats that go on the drivers side of both vehicles were filthy. I'm still not sure I got all the dirt out of them.

We enjoyed a late afternoon visit to the Hub to watch the W.S.U. Cougars play against the Oregon State Beavers. The Cougs crushed the Beavs.

We finished off the evening with dinner at the Cathay Inn, one of our local favorite dinner spots.

I'm not sure what is on the schedule for the rest of the day. I guess I'll just go out and see what needs to be done out there.

I'll get back to you and let you know.

Later: Well, it was threatening to rain so Susan did not do any work on her car. I didn't do any work on anything. I did make a fire. It's the first one of the season. That's how you go another day in the boiler game.
The next few days look rainy so the boiler game is definitely in jeopardy of ending.

The plans for the rest of the day are to barbecue a couple of steaks. We haven't used the barbecue at all this summer. Mostly because my faithful old Weber finally fell completely apart. It's given me a good 20 years of service so I can't complain. 

We ended up with a small Weber that Ron and Kelly gave us. It will do in a crunch but I need to get back on the full size Weber wagon.

I filled up the hot tub the other night and have the temperature properly adjusted so we may take ourselves a soak later on. 

Even Later: Hi! I'm back. I have done a little research on the Boiler Game and here are my findings.

2016 - October 6th
2015 - September 21st
2014 - Oct 15th
2013 - October 5th
2012 - October 6th
2011- October 21st

So October 21st is the date to beat. If I can make it through this week, I will beat the failure of 2015, which seems to be my earliest date to start up the furnace.

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Activity Laden Sunday

The busy weekend, bustling with activities continues.

Today we got the bikes out and went downtown to participate in the Tenth Annual SpokeFest. It's Bloomsday for Bikes. We are not bike riders so we chose the Nine Mile Route. The best part of it is a paved path on the ridge above the Spokane River. It ends at the base of  Doomsday Hill, which is a long steady climb. 

In the past, I've been able to make it all the way up. That was not to be the case today. I not only did not make it up the hill, I had to stop three times on the way up to catch my breath. The good news is that there was no chest pain or pressure.

I stopped at the First Aid station at the top of the hill to have my blood pressure checked and it was fine.

We finally got to the finish line and quickly got out of the party area and back to the car for the drive home.

After a short breather, we got back in the car and headed for the Fair. At this point, I'm feeling the effects of having pedaled a good solid ten miles. Now I'm going to walk around a large expense of fairgrounds for the next several hours.

However, it is a tradition that we must adhere to. We entered Wine in the Fair again and as is always the case, I was anxious to see how we did. This years offering was Sangiovese. I was not very optimistic because we only bottled the wine last month, after having it age for about seven months. 

We entered a second bottle of wine which was a blend of the Sangiovese with a few pounds of grapes from our backyard. Susan and I both liked the blend better than the Sangiovese.

Even the labels we entered in the Label Contest were thrown together in the last week before everything had to be delivered to the fairgrounds.

The Blend got a White Ribbon...third place. Susan's label for the Blend got nuthin'. My label for the Sangiovese got a Blue Ribbon. Our friend Ellen got a Grand Champion Ribbon for her label.

The big surprise was the Sangiovese. Grand Champion! How can that be?! I am incredulous. I am astonished. I am very pleased!
As with last year, I am anxious to see the comments we get from the judges.

I should explain the label because it really is not very good. Sangiovese has been referred to as "the blood of Jupiter". So I found a statue of the Greek God Jupiter. I covered his nether region with grapes. I removed the staff from his hand and added a crudely drawn glass of wine in one hand and the bottle in the other. And then I called it "Jupiter Juice".

It really is one of my worst efforts. 

And yet...a blue ribbon.

Unfortunately, our friend Ellen got the Grand Champion for Labels. And a second place for her wine. A kit wine, I might add. She didn't go out into the fields and toil in the dirt to acquire the grapes. (Neither did we) She bought a kit and followed the instructions. 

We at least made the effort to go the the vineyard and purchase the grapes.

We stayed at the fair until about 7:00. By then we had eaten a crap load of food...all high calorie and bad for us...and we were ready to call it a day.

Grand Champion! Go figure.

Saturday, September 09, 2017

Stupid Stuff

A while back while shopping at Costco I came upon a multi-pack of razor blades that happened to fit my handle. Someone had left them in the wrong place so I didn't know how much they cost. I thought, "Oh well, how much could they be?!" 50 bucks! That's how much they could be.

I was already in line so I bit the bullet and bought them. That was September 9th, 2012. I am now down to my last blade. They have lasted me five years.

I'm amazed at the stupid stuff I keep track of.

Speaking of stupid, my stupidity is going to cost me $135.00. I cannot find my keys to my Escape. Because the keys all come with a chip in them, they cost extra special more.

I have a mobile key guy coming but I don't know exactly when. Hopefully it will be before three. We have events to attend today.

The key guy showed up about 1:00 and got me a double set of keys in no time. I paid an extra $35.00 for an extra key and he gave me a key fob for free.

He told me that I can buy the key fobs on line for about $25.00 and then he showed me how to program it.

Of course, now that I have paid for the replacement key, I'm just waiting to find out where my old key has been hiding. I know it will reveal itself to me.

As I said, we have a very full social calendar for the rest of the weekend and we must get to it.

First a Hill Billy Hog Roast at the way out farm place of my brother-in-law Dale. The food was fabulous.
Then a retirement party on the complete other side of the city for our friend Randy, who has retired and who we now hate. Well, we at least have disdain for him. The disdain helps to hide the jealousy.

Tomorrow, we have the tenth annual edition of SpokeFest. We are planning on doing the nine mile ride. 

Monday, September 04, 2017

Mouse Emergency

Having grown up with rats as pets, I'm not too freaked out by rodents. Susan did NOT grow up with rats as pets. So when she saw the mouse last night, it was most disquieting. Not disquieting enough to wake me up. That required her coming upstairs and screaming, "MOUSE!"

By the time I got downstairs it was nowhere to be found. 

So today, we purchased some mouse traps. I'm about to set them up.

I have returned with most of my fingers. Those little bastards are hard to set up. They do not set very securely, which I suppose is what you would want in a mousetrap.

The smoke from forest fires around the region is thick today. We thought they might cancel the Labor Day Concert at Comstock Park. So far, it appears things are on track.
This is how it looks here in the neighborhood.

It got worse as the day went on. We went up to Comstock Park at 5PM for the annual Labor Day concert put on by the Spokane Symphony. We were worried it might get canceled.

Instead, the concert went on in an abbreviated form. They cut out a few songs and it lasted about an hour.

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Saturday on the Park

It is a sunny Saturday morning in late August. I got up this morning to find the heater running in the bathroom. It really wasn't cool enough to need the heater but I guess the thermostat thought otherwise. We are approaching that time of year when we will need it. 

I guess it won't be long before we are playing the boiler game. It's been shut down all summer and as you know, the goal of the boiler game is to keep it shut down for as long as possible.

We have a few things we would like to accomplish today, but first, there is some action going on outside.
The darker car belongs to my neighbors Shelby and James. She parks that car on the street and James parks his truck behind her. This guy in the silver car came down the street crossed over into the parking lane and crashed  head on into the Charger, hitting it hard enough to knock it back six feet into James truck. The Charger hit the truck hard enough to roll it back a couple of feet.

I have since learned that the driver of the silver car said he had insurance but did not provide any proof. So...uninsured driver. He apparently had at least two other people in the car but they left pretty quickly. The guy pulled three backpacks out of the car, plus a box and after the police officer finished the investigation and issued him a ticket, let him go on his way. So he loaded up all the crap and walked off across the park. Never to be seen or heard from again, I suspect.

With that excitement out of the way, it's time to get to work. I need to find a stencil we used on windows last year. So far, I'm not having any luck.

Another project I'm working on is draining and cleaning the hot tub. I borrowed Lou's sump pump and drained the thing in about 10 minutes. If I attach a hose and let gravity do the draining, it takes about 4 hours. 

Later on, I'll try to get in there with a scrubber and clean the sides.

All seems to be going well with the hot tub so it's time to move on. I'm going to attempt to find my stencils some more.

VICTORY! I found them. Boy am I pleased?! Yes I am! I was worried because I did not find them on my initial attempt. I figured they would be at the top of the heap of saved stencils that are sloppily stored in the Carriage House. I had to dig down a little into the rolls to find what I was looking for but I was successful. That saves us about three hours of preliminary work which means we earn more money.

Next up on the list is some garage cleanup. I have to remove a bike and bike rack that are blocking where the door will go.
So that is my next project.

Okay, that went fairly well. The next item was to move more stuff out of the garage. There are six sandwich boards in the garage that belong to our home owners association. I'm the Prez so that is why I have them.

I wanted to get them out of the garage and into the Carriage House
We have a nice access door to the upstairs from the alley. My plan was to have Susan hand the signs up to me and I would get them packed away.

In the midst of bringing up the first one, I suddenly found myself in the middle of a swarm of bees. They seemed to be quite agitated. I had disturbed them and their nest which appeared to be in the wall of the Carriage House and the entrance right at the base of the door.

So that put an end to that plan. I got stung on my wrist but bee stings don't really effect me. I'm getting kind or drowsy now so I think I'll go take a...

Monday, August 21, 2017

Solar Eclipse

Stop everything! Everything must come to a complete stop and not continue in any fashion until after the event.
There! The event has occurred. And now it is over and we can continue with our lives.

I continued working on cleaning out the garage after work today. In the middle of my work, I done seen my pole saw and remembered how out of control the tree next to the garage was. I grabbed it and cut down a few branches. Now I have a crap load of branches to clean up.

I'll get back to the garage and the tree later this week and definitely this weekend.

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Garage Door Prep

We are getting a new garage door.

We have a new car (new to us) and decided we would like to protect it and have it last for awhile.

Our garage has been a storage space since we moved in to the house. It has Carriage Doors that open into the garage. You have to have enough room to pull the vehicle waaaay in so you can close the doors behind it.

Well, we finally bit the bullet and decided to have a new door installed. It's still about three weeks out so we have plenty of time to clean out and re-organize the garage.

We started today and I am very pleased with our progress. There is currently, plenty of room to park the car in there. I am highly displeased with the amount a crap we have stored in there for almost 14 years. 

Susan will take a large batch of some of the crap we gathered to Goodwill on Monday. She decided to take my car for that. 

We will be continuing to work in the garage to winnow out the useless stuff we have in there but never use. So...good luck to us.

Monday, August 14, 2017

Sunday Fun Day Wine Day

I am still recovering from Ablation surgery earlier in the week. However, I'm mostly fine. Just not a lot of stamina.

We kind of coasted all weekend and then really got busy as Sunday came to a close.

Our neighborhood committee sponsors a concert in the park every summer and last night was it. The concert was in Emerson Park which is a five minute drive from here. The band was Buffalo Jones and we enjoyed their music very much.

Afterwards, we repaired to the Hub Tavern and had a nice time with a couple of other neighbors who were at the concert. We stayed a lot longer than we planned which was a problem because we really wanted to get our wine bottled.

Fortunately, bottling 8 gallons of wine doesn't take too long once all the prep work is finished. I did most of that earlier in the day so we were ready to go.

We bottled 29 bottles of Sangiovese that we started last fall. We had enough juice left over to start another smaller batch. We blended in the grapes we grow here in the yard...concord and gewurztraminer. We managed to get 14 bottles out of that batch and we actually enjoy the blended wine better than the Sangiovese.

Global Warming Report

It has been hot. With heat comes wildfires. There is a big one up in British Columbia right now and this is the result for the Spokane region...sunrises and sunsets with big fiery globes in the sky.

We have just had our 15th day with the temperature being over 90 degrees. That breaks a record set in 1894 when 14 days above 90 was recorded. 

It looks like the streak will end today or tomorrow. Already I can tell today is going to be cooler. The good news is that there is some rain on the way. I don't know how long it's been since we've seen rain. Way back in June, I think.

Sunday, August 06, 2017

A Productive Day

Today was our first day as a church without a Pastor. From here on out, we're on our own. I don't know how long this will last. I'm hoping we will be a growing, blossoming group. But today is not an good barometer for that future.

After church, we came home and promptly napped. It's hot out. I saw a reader board downtown that said 100 degrees. That was about 3:00. When we got home, I checked the thermometer on the deck and it said 93. Ya know what? It's HOT!

We returned some unused shingles to Home Depot and in turn, bought three small arbor vitae shrubs for the yard. We need to replace at least four but we started with these three.

Because I have a personal relationship with these shrubs, I have named them.

This is Dave. He now lives by the driveway.
This is Steve. He is on the sidewalk. Steve has the easiest job because the space a needs to fill is already kind of filled in. Steve has the tag on him. 
This is Fred. He is placed by the fence line in the front yard. Fred clearly has the most work to do.

In addition to these plants, Susan put a couple of plants in the front garden and I took the weed whacker to all the overgrowth in the side yard.

It was hot. Really hot...especially in the direct sunlight. After two hours in the yard, we were sweaty and hot and spent.

We cleaned ourselves off and went across the street for a dip in the pool. A great way to end the day.

Monday, July 31, 2017

Gnats and Asspar-A-Gus

We just came in from the front porch where we were watching the Ballet of the Bugs. You could refer to my July 25th post from last summer for more details and pictures, or you could just stay here and hope I explain it with some sort of clarity. (Hint: Too bad for you if you stay here)

Anyhoo, the gnats are swarming tonight and it is really fun to watch. There are thousands of them up there and I think sex is on their tiny little minds. Unfortunately, there are butterflies and dragonflies who have dinner on their tiny little minds.

We are making more pickled beans tonight. I mean, what the hell else do we have in our lives.

We are also making some pickled asparagus as well. That's the good shit...however very expensive. Not as expensive as buying pickled asparagus in the store. Not as easy as well.

I'm full of contradictions tonight.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Dilly Night

It's been a while since I posted anything because we haven't been doing anything. 

But today, we have a big event happening in the form of Dilly Beans. Susan has a tradition of pickling string beans every year and tonight is the night she decided we are doing it.

It's a fairly simple process as old as time. First, you break out the ol' Propane Burner cuz it's too hot to do this in the kitchen. 
You get your beans, you stuff them in a sterilized jar. 
You add a solution of pickling juice. 
You cap the jar. 
You process the jars for about ten minutes by boiling it in very hot water. It's best if the water is boiling. 
You pull the jars out and wait for them to ping. When they ping, you're done. If they don't ping, you reprocess. Once all the jars have pinged, you stick them in the basement and forget about them forever.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

CPHA Yard Sale 2017

It has been a while since I have posted. I'm not going to apologize because I just don't care that much.

Today was the Annual Corbin Park Neighborhood Yard Sale. It once was a big thing but not so much any more. We probably had about 15 houses participating around the park and another 15 or more on the adjacent streets beyond the park.

As president of the Corbin Park HomeOwners Association, it was my job to get the signs out around the area this morning.
Beyond that, Susan and I walked around the park and looked at some of the sales.

Susan had a big catering event up at Arbor Crest called "the Pour". It's a big charitable event to raise money through drinking wine.

I did some household chores like mowing and edging and that's about it.

Then I changed my surroundings to this.
This was much more enjoyable than mowing...but definitely more work. My upper body paddling strength needs some honing.

Here are some more pictures from the river.
You will note some baby ducks in the weeds.

That is all for now. I need to nap.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Memorial Day C

We slept in until 9. I never do that!

It is 11:00 now and we have had our breakfast and are ready to face the day. 

Today is planting day. Susan got all her flowers the other day and now it's time to put them in some dirt so we can begin the process of killing them. We are very good at that.

I had a roof guy come by today to give me a bid on the roof for the Carriage House. His name is Eric and he works with Mark's son, Mitch. Actually, Mitch works for him.
As you can see, this is a job that must be done. I'm hoping it isn't going to cost more than two grand. However, it really needs to get done so, I will probably pay whatever he comes up with within reason.

The rafters need more support and we need to get that bow out of the ridge line. I'm going to have him add some zinc strips to help ward off the moss.