Tag Archives: cats

Big Hairy Deal

It’s been a while since my last post. Since then I have run into some laptop issues where my charging cord will no longer charge the battery in my laptop. It runs fine off the battery, but I can’t charge it. Fortunately, Kat and I have the same laptop so she can be charging a battery while I’m using one. As a result of this, I have greatly reduced my computing time, in general, which also means fewer blog posts.

We’ve been here and there this summer, doing some house sitting in the city a number of weeks. We’ve also been helping some friends with a construction project. On top of all that we’re working on getting our own projects completed and now that September is here, it’s important to get these things done while it’s still warm. The biggest task is finishing our firewood processing. Fortunately, we shouldn’t have much more to do on that front.

Kat had some nice looking flowers come up in her flower garden over the summer months and I managed to snap a few pictures so I thought I would include those here. We’ll start with the irises.

Next are the fox gloves.

Finally, we have the day lilies.

We do still have a few day lilies, but they’re on their way out now.

Some other things we have on the go are: working on putting up some eaves trough so we can catch rainwater much easier (that’s about half done) and, of course, building that kitchen pantry we’ve wanted for the last three years.

In other news, side-by-side kittens on the bed.

Now we get to the really exciting part. I bet you’re wondering why I chose the title I did as it doesn’t seem to have any relevance to the text. Well, here is where that is explained. Just scroll down.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now, if you don’t know me, that picture won’t seem very interesting. If you do know me you’re probably exclaiming right now, “HOLY #$@$@!!! DAVE CUT HIS HAIR!!!” Yes, after twenty-nine (that’s 29) years I felt it was time for a change. I had one friend ask me, “How many years did you get rid of?” You can think of it as letting go of the past.

It’s time to move on to bigger and better things, not to mention that my shower time is waaayyy shorter now. 😀

Life changes

Have you ever had the feeling that the universe was trying to tell you something? Maybe perhaps guide you in a certain direction? Well, things have certainly been interesting these first few months of 2019.

The weather has been up and down a lot here and I probably don’t need to mention all of the crazy weather that most of North America seems to have gone through this winter. Here is a small sample of one forecast we had back on Feb 23rd.

Yeah, +5C (40F) with rain and possible thunder storm quickly followed by a severe drop back down below -20C (-4F). Nothing like mother nature to keep us on our toes.

Not to worry. Kat and I still managed to go out and have a lovely dinner for Valentine’s Day. We even got all dressed up.

For several days at the end of February, beginning of March, we had this guy hanging around our yard.

If you look at the center of the picture you can see a bard owl. He is difficult to spot and even more difficult to take a picture of. We’re guessing he saw all of the squirrel tracks around our yard and figured this would be a great place to wait for dinner.

On a really mundane, but still nifty to us kinda theme, we discovered that the glass lid we have for one of our pots fits perfectly our thermal cooker pot.

Glass lids are great for being able to watch what is going on without lifting the lid.

In other news, our cats love to sit on laps, especially if it gets chilly.

That picture was taken by me holding my phone over my lap.

And just in case you thought I was hogging all of the cats, here is Kat taking her turn.

Having a sizeable property, we do enjoy snowshoeing through our forest. Now we know we’ve had a significant amount of snow, but you lose perspective a bit when you’re walking on top of it. You may recall from previous posts that we have a pond at the back of our property with a bench sitting beside it.

As a reminder, here is a spring picture of it with the pond over flowing.

Back at the beginning of March we were snow shoeing up in that area and I took this picture.

See the bench? It’s that tiny horizontal line across the snow. And then there is this one.

That is a picture of the area we cleared last year where the Earthship is going to be. Looks like Hoth, but with more trees.

In any event, the weather is finally starting to warm up, the days are longer and we are getting more sunshine. Spring also officially arrives on Wednesday. These are all good things.

Then there is what happened today. We were out and about with our truck running some errands and blew the transmission out of it. That isn’t 100% certain, but probably 98% it is the transmission. We’ve had lots of stuff go wrong with our 2004 GMC Sierra pickup over the last while and it’s likely this will be the last straw. So we are now looking for a new vehicle. To make matters more interesting I’m also unemployed right now.

Oh yeah, I forgot to mention that part. The company I worked for is/was in serious financial dire-straights and I received just under 50% of the pay I was supposed to for 2018. So I quit. No sense keeping a job that isn’t paying you. So not only are we looking for a new vehicle we are also looking for new ways to make an income. Can’t build an Earthship for free, unfortunately.

Don’t get the wrong impression. We aren’t depressed or worrying ourselves to death. In fact, in situations like this, there’s only one thing to do:

Make some frikin’ ginormous yorkshire puddings. Here is a side shot for perspective.

We then take said yorkshire puddings, split them an dump a creamy beef filling into their centers. I put cajun spice on mine for some extra fun.

I do realize that it kinda looks like chunky pablum with brown sugar on top spread over yorkshire pudding, but I assure you it is not. It is a whole bunch of tasty. Got this recipe from the Lard cook book.

Anyway, time to say, “tootilly-pippski”. Don’t let life run you down. Things have a way of working out better than you imagine.

Where have we been

So here we are at the last day of August and I haven’t posted anything in ages. Now it’s time to rectify that.

This is going to be a mishmash of a bunch of different things.

First, some projects that we’ve been working on.

If you recall from last year, we installed a new counter top around the sink in the kitchen, along with associated cupboards and drawers.

Notice that gap at the 45° angle where the bare wood behind is showing. We now have a new piece put in to cover that.

It wasn’t all that difficult, however I did discover that my table saw can’t handle cutting a piece of red oak 19mm (3/4″) thick at a 45° angle. The motor isn’t powerful enough to do the cut. I had to take the piece over to a friend’s place and use their table saw to do it. After that, it was stain and varnish as usual.

Next on the project list is our front steps.

When we put them in last year we only put one coat of varnish on them. They got all mucky during the winter, as you can see, so we decided to redo them.

Of course, we couldn’t take them all off at the same time as then we’d need to put a trampoline in front of the door to get in and out. So we’ve been working on it one step at a time, as it were. I have a spare piece of the same lumber that I cut to size and clamp it into position while we work on redoing each step. This means we can take our time and we can still get in and out of the trailer without issue.

Here is the first step after refinishing.

I put each step through the planer a few times to get rid of all the junk on top. Then we stained it. The stain we used was one we bought for some other reason that neither Kat nor I can remember, and when we put it on it was hardly even noticeable. We applied two coats of stain and then six coats of varnish. In the end, they have turned out alright.

We’ve finished two of the three steps and are working on the third right now.

In other news, wood shavings. We were getting low on bulking material for the composting toilet so we stopped at one of the many lumber mills they have around here and asked if we could have some. We filled up four large garbage bags from a mountain of the stuff that they had at no charge.

The only thing about those wood shavings is that they were wet and we didn’t want them rotting in the bags, or worse frozen into one clump come winter so I devised a method to dry them out.

I put a tarp in the truck bed and spread the shavings out on top of it. This did require several stirrings and a few days of good sunshine, but in the end it worked pretty well.

One of the last big things to rebuild in the trailer since we tore it apart to have it spray foamed, is the kitchen pantry. Being on a limited budget this year, we haven’t been able to go out and buy the materials for it. I did, however, have enough materials on hand to build the drawer that forms the base of the pantry.

Above is the spot where the pantry will be. You can see how I have already put in the side pieces on the left. The reason we are putting a drawer here is so, in the event we need to get access to the plumbing at the back, we can take out the drawer and still get to the clean-out in the pipe.

Needless to say, there was a lot of fiddling to get things just right as nothing is square or level and we need to make all sorts of cut-outs for the pipes and wiring.

Here is Inspector Fizgig checking out the work so far.

Further along, we have the final framing for what the drawer will be mounted to and what the pantry will be sitting on.

Why the double layer on the left side, you might be wondering? You can’t see all of the details of the back wall there, but the left edge of the pantry will actually not be up against the edge of the counter due to irregularities in the wall. As a result of this, I wanted to have something solid for the left edge of the pantry to sit on so I put a double layer of lumber on that left side. To cover the drawer there is going to be two layers of 19mm (3/4″) plywood for the pantry to sit on, so it should be pretty stable. It’s not going to be made of particle board so there will be some significant weight to the pantry, especially once you fill it up so I want to make it as stable as I can.

Anyway, I put the drawer together for the spot and then discovered that it was too wide. This is partially due to the fact that I thought the drawer rails were 11mm but they’re actually 13mm. Also, I was using lumber of different dimensions. The drawer front and back are 16mm (5/8″) but the sides are 19mm (3/4″) and somewhere I forgot to take that extra width of the sides into account.

At first I thought I only had to fix one side of the drawer as I hadn’t discovered my mistake with the rail thickness yet. I pulled the one side off the drawer (which isn’t fun after you’ve glued it) and I ran it through the planer. Note to self, don’t ever put plywood through a planer. It’s okay if you are planing in the same direction as the grain, but as soon as you get through that layer, the next one will have it’s grain going 90° to the previous layer and the planer will destroy it. I got it down to the right thickness, but it looked really ugly.

After putting the drawer back together, it was then I discovered the issue with the rail thickness. This time I used a table saw (again a friend’s because mine couldn’t handle the job) and cut 4mm off the side of the drawer. I ran it through once, then flipped it over and ran it through again so there was only a strip in the middle that I had to deal with. I used my reciprocating Dremel (or oscillating tool) with a cutting attachment to handle this, but it wasn’t pretty nor was it quick.

After all was said and done, I did managed to get the drawer installed.

We plan to put shoes and boots in it as we seem to have an over abundance of those lying around.

I have also been putting in a fair amount of time at the top of the hill where we plan to build the earthship. I’ve been working on clearing it and it looks like quite the area of destruction.

There was quite a bit of brush saw work to handle all of the small stuff. That was several days worth of work. Once that was done, I brought out the chainsaw and in two tanks of gas I had the entire section cleared.

Unfortunately, I don’t have a before picture. Now we need to do something with all of stuff that was cut. We’ll probably wait until November and just make a big bonfire. Can’t do that now as there are restrictions on having fires during the day.

Our garden is quite interesting this year, mostly because we didn’t plant most of the stuff that is growing in it. This picture was taken near the beginning of August and we have quite the huge squash plant going on there in the foreground. Behind that we have potatoes and tomatoes. Somewhere in there where you can’t see are the watermelons we actually planted.

We were away for a week and came back to this.

The squash has jumped out into the yard on one side and one of the compost bins on the other. The tomatoes have also jumped the boundary and started taking over the other compost bin. It looks like we’re going to have enough tomatoes and squash to sink a small ship.

Here is an awesome picture of some day lilies from our flower garden.

And just to put the icing on the cake, here are Gurgi and Fizgig hanging out together on the bed.

Everybody got that?

Trailer Bed

Unfortunately, I can’t spend every day writing song parodies, though there probably isn’t a day that goes by where I don’t destroy a line or two from whatever song I have stuck in my head that day. When I’m not messing with song lyrics, I make things. Today’s topic is bed frames.

If you have been following along, you’ll know that we had the rest of the trailer insulated with spray foam a little while back. This was only possible after ripping out everything down to the metal framing. As a result, we have a lot to rebuild.

I’m sure you all know what that means? Right, make a plan first. So here is the plan I made in Sketchup for the new bed frame.

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Here is another picture of the plan with the top removed so you can see the framing and drawers.

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Plans are great to have, but once you start dealing with the real world, they need to be adjusted. For instance, our floor isn’t level, despite what the level indicator on the outside of the trailer says. I had to make some adjustments to the measurements so the bed would be level, or at least a very close approximation there to.

Once I had all of the adjustments I needed recorded, I stared to cut the pieces. I spent four days cutting pieces of wood. This may sound like a lot, but it might take me fifteen or twenty minutes to setup a cut as I was using my skill saw for most of it. That means measuring, marking and then placing a cutting guide in the proper position to make the cut straight. I’m pretty finicky about that so it can take some time.

Once I had all of the pieces cut, it was time to assemble the drawers. I used the same technique I used when we made the kitchen cupboard. Here is a picture of the drawers after assembly.

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We also decided to try out this new stain we heard about called Sansin. It’s Canadian made and it’s supposed to be environmentally friendly stuff. We had a few issues with it, however. First, the place in town only sold the exterior version of the stain. Second, it was expensive. A full 3.8L can (1 gallon) was $100. Fortunately, we didn’t need a full can and bought the 890mL (0.23 gallon) can instead.

Kat, being the staining department at this shop had further issues with this stain as well. It was difficult to apply with a brush. Brush strokes were quite evident and pools of stain would soak in and harden so quickly that you would end up with raised portions that only sanding could smooth out. You would be left with a darker section though. The instructions on the can did say that using an aerosol system was ideal for applying it, but we don’t own such a thing.

Here is a picture of the drawers after staining, being tested.

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Seems to fit purrfectly, wouldn’t you say? 😛

The other thing I will mention about the stain is I didn’t like the colour after we had applied it. I was hoping for something a little more on the yellow side, not burnt orange. Fortunately, these are drawers and you don’t see them unless you pull them out.

After the drawers got two coats of stain, we were ready to start the installation. I made sure to have everything ready so we could complete it in one day, as otherwise we would have some seriously complicated sleeping arrangements. We did, after all, need to move the mattress out of the way to install the bed frame, which meant leaning it up against the kitchen table.

With the space cleared, the first part of the frame that goes under the window was put into place.

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Using markings I had already made on the first piece of framing, I was able to easily just pop in the first side wall. I added the little 2×4 for extra stability.

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From there, it was a matter of simply working left to right. I added the first drawer rail, then I positioned the drawer and second rail to get the position of the middle wall. Once that was marked, I bolted down the middle wall, attached the second rail to it, and then connected the rails to the drawer.

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There we go, one side completed. It was much the same procedure for the right side. Here I am sizing up my last drawer rail.

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We managed to get all of the drawers installed in short order, though I did run into a few complications. The drawer on the right, after it was attached to the rail, was hitting the floor on one corner which is bad. As I mentioned above, the floor isn’t level and I had put in a spacer at the back to make sure there was enough room for the drawer to slide, but apparently it either wasn’t enough, or something moved when we did the final attaching. Anyway, I just took out the screws on the rail, put another spacer in and reattached it. Interestingly enough, the level indicated that the drawer was level when it was touching the floor. Things to keep in mind if you’re ever trying to do this.

Here is Fizgig looking things over and not liking it.

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Another part where I goofed was the bracing walls I had at the back of the drawers. You can see the one in place on the left in the picture below, but the one on the right is still leaning up against the wall. The mistake I made is they were too short. The other rails I had used for the kitchen cupboard were all 13mm (1/2″) thick, but the ones I used for these drawers were 19mm (3/4″). My plan measurements were based off the 13mm rail thickness, so when it came time to put it together, my support walls were short.

Fortunately, it was easy enough to just put another piece of wood in there and screw it all down.

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After all that, it was time to put the top pieces on. Here is the first one.

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And the final frame, with edging and the drawers hanging out so you can see them. There is also a sexy guy in the picture too.

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Not to be outdone, the sexy woman who is a resident here had to try it out as well.

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We put the mattress on it…

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… and then made the bed, which the cats thought was just great.

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You may have noticed that the overhangs from side to side are not the same depth. That is by design. We needed enough space for feet on the left side so I made the overhang bigger there.

We do still need to put the facing pieces on the drawers, along with the handles, but right now, we have a functional bed frame with spacious drawers underneath. We were able to unpack the rest of our clothes and put them in the drawers, clearing up a lot of room on the floor of the closet.

Every project we complete gives us just a tad more organization in our lives. It’s a good feeling to have.

As a bonus, we had a full moon a few nights ago and it had this huge halo around it. I attempted to capture this on camera and was moderately successful.

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Unfortunately, the camera frame was not big enough to get the whole thing in, but I think you can see most of it.