Sunday, November 22, 2015

Bah Effing Humbug!!!

OK. So, I got a load of oil Friday.  No rush, figured I get the furnace going Saturday.

Here's the resulting e-mail convo:
Well, I'm shopping for heating.  I've looked at replacing the old radiators w/ similar new ones, but I don't think they'd be anywhere near 'hot' enough.  Depending on the calculator I use (and the underlying assumptions made by the coder), the downstairs (12' x 25' x 9') needs anywhere from 12,000 to 20,000 BTUs/hour to stay warm!  The replacement 'old fashioned' radiators put out about 900 BTU/H.
From what I can tell so far, the Runtal vertical rads can do the job,  The ten pipe puts out 1400 BTU/H/ft, so two 8 foot panels should do the trick. Here's a link to the product page, and I've attached the PDF brochure. Their site has a boatload of information, everything except pricing. These would be special ordered, altho it seems that they do it on a regular basis.  The 'replacement' radiator is on the order of $500.00.  I can't guess what these might cost.
Did you get the pix I sent of the dead ones? For now, I'm toying with the idea of moving the one in the kitchen out to the living room.  Some heat would be better than none.  I just hope it doesn't fail like the other two.
Bah effing Humbug.
On 11/22/2015 3:19 PM, Deb wrote:
OOPS! missed the info that the radiators needed replacing. If we can make the budget work, I think these vertical ones would be best. Find out how much and how soon. I'll see what I can do about money.

Meanwhile, wear layers. I'm told it helps. :)
Had trouble sending from my phone.

Here are the pix.  This explains all of the water pouring into the basement around the feeder pipes when I turned the heater & water on.

Dining room

Living room
Can't get one of the fittings to budge, so I'm just going to get an 1-1/2" cap tomorrow.

Did I mention it will be below freezing tonite?

Yeah.  Good times.

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Random House Stuff

As often happens, one of my e-mails seems to be a blog post.  This one is no exception.  I had some house stuff to discuss with my friend, the owner:
I've been busy shopping and repairing.
I got the 4x4x12s into the basement and located. I think I mentioned before, I need one more of those jacks, which I plan on ordering when the $$ hits the house account.  Then, the fun begins.

I've replaced the light fixture in the laundry room. It was driving me nuts because a) it insisted on not hanging level. I suspect a small, localized gravity abnormality, but I can't be sure. B) is the fact that I kept smacking it whenever I pulled things like sheets or bed spreads out of the washer - just not enough vertical clearance.

So, bronze and white, LED:

Do you want the old one back?  The glass is awaiting a run thru the dishwasher, and the fixture is safely hidden under the little bench you left here.  It's not Hobnail,  so I thought I'd ask.

And, I have the old lamps re-shaded in my room:


And finally, I like this for the bathroom:

I picked up another day per pay period at work. I'll see what 40 hours nets me next Friday.  I'm beginning to accumulate serious Winter Gear, since I'll be out in it for about 8 hrs at a pop!  Got galoshes for when we get serious rain, and Merino wool socks.  Looking at some snow boots that have 200 g of Thinsulate in them, and some nice thermal undergarments.  Will probably spend some of the house $$ on heating oil.  There's a Turkey Hill on the way to work that sells it ($1.99/gal.), so I got a 5 gal 'Kerosene' can (blue, not red), and have put about 20 - 25 gallons in so far. *But*, it's not lighting. (Put in a new fuel filter, too.)  Thinking I'll ask the fuel folks if they n take a look and get it going.  Bah.

I've decided that when Suzu turns 16 in about a month, we're all having Ribeye.  We all deserve that kind of treat, her especially!  (One for me, split one three ways for the pups - I'm doting, not crazy!)

And that's it from PA!


Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Almost, But Not Quite...

I wandered into the back bedroom yesterday afternoon, idly looking for where the feed from the junction box outside the kitchen door came into the room, and wondering if I wanted to move the light fixture into the closet (No). I noticed that neither the light switch on the wall nor the light in the closed seemed to have been looked at when Ron and I surveyed the place last month. So, being curious, I  did some disassembly:

The switch looked just fine.
I removed the light in the closet, and found this:

Mostly bare wire. Not. Good.
A bit of ripping and tearing revealed this:

Someone had nailed a bit of scrap siding(?) between the two joists, and ran the wires thru it. This gave him something to screw the lamp base into.  The post in the background was not in use for this.

Further ripping revealed some interesting water damage, Also Not. Good.
 And you can see the wires meandering off into the bay above the ceiling:

So, bare wire from the fixture, over the (lath & plaster) ceiling, thru the joist, to places currently unknown:

My guess is that the debris was originally the insulation.
Those 'grommets' are over the bedroom ceiling, so that was it for me.

About two minutes into the job, I wished I'd worn a turtleneck.
(That's a dark Navy blue shirt.)
I called Ron in the middle of this, to tell him what I had discovered - the bare wire. That was before I pulled out the patch of ceiling and discovered nothing but bare wire.

E-mails to the owner ensued, which pretty much tell the whole story.

This is what I wrote before calling Ron:
As we suspected, the skwirlz did it. (Or that's the way to bet!)

Bored, wanted to look at the (light) fixture in your room to see if I wanted it for the closet.  Got to wondering if Ron and I had looked at the light switch in your room, and at the light in the closet. I noticed water stains in there, too, so.

I unscrewed the switch from the wall - looked fine.  But! when I undid the closet light, well whaddya know? Miles of bare wire. Don't know if it was chewed thru or *just* rotted off, but there is a boatload of bare wire on both leads to the light.
 We had this exchange after I called Ron:
WOW!!! I paid those electricians a boatload of money to find the problem back when. I just knew it had to be the squirrels. Maybe. Maybe not. But I was at least right about the location -- my bedroom.

Thanks for letting me know and thanks for tracking it down. I'll let folks here know...

Ron suggested that I short the two wires in the closet ceiling, turn on the breaker, hook up one pair of wires together, and touch the other two.  I did.


Being a curious fellow, I wondered what would happen if I un-shorted the closet wires, and then put everything back together.  So I did.

There be power! All of the lights and sockets on the second floor work.  I haven't poked around on the third floor, but I don't doubt that it works, too.

The only thing *not* working are the lights on the (first to second) floor stairs. That, I suspect, was a result of the re-wire of the living room.  I believe that it is a *relatively* easy fix, along with recommissioning the XOR light switches at the front door and the bottom of the stairs.

Money and effort just undid themselves a turn or two or four!!

Yet, after all of that, I still don't know where the short is, or how all of working circuits are  tied in to the main breaker box in the basement.  And I'm thinking that the whole bedroom ceiling needs to come down for crud remediation.


Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Garden Update

I haven't been blogging or Tweeting much, lately. But the garden has been growing and transmogrifying itself, even tho I have been somewhat neglectful.  Regular rain has helped.

So, here's what happened since last time:

Tomato and potatoes are berzerk.

Griffin inspecting the low bed w/ scavenged tomatoes, and the peppers and melons.

A look over to the kitchen garden.

One of the Thai Hots.

And the Anaheims.

Tomatoes mas grande'!

Smaller tomatoes.

And the potato harvest! Upper-left, red, to the right, white, and three random blues.
The tomatoes have all gotten infected w/ the dry rot (brown leaves, black spots), so the tomato harvest is just about done. I've been giving them away at work, and pureeing and freezing them at home. Got a new key for the outside freezer and defrosted it, so there's plenty of room. May have to go get more quart jars.

The Anaheims are just about ready to come up. I have two young Muskmelon on the vines. The Sunflowers have gone to seed, and I've pulled up about half of them. Some of the Honeydew have survived, and are starting to stretch out.

More, later!

Sunday, July 19, 2015

So, "What About Griffin", You Ask

I think we've gotten the Griffin question sorted out. I want to thank everyone who was kind enough to answer my emails:
Hokkaido Association of North America, also known as HANA, or "The HANA Project",
Sue Myles (A.K.A. "Auntie Sue"), the trainer who worked with me and Suzu and Koda when they first came into my life,
Kishu Ken-Nel, a site devoted to the oldest breed in Japan,
and his first owner, Pam.
I found an excellent reference source on all Nihon-ken (Japanese dogs) at Japan Dog Export, via Shigeru Kato.
Here are the email threads, in chronological order, more or less. I put some of the emails together, so the threads would be more sensible than if they were left in strict chronological order.

This email is the start of the whole thing:
Just before last Christmas, I adopted Griffin, who was advertised as a Shiba Inu. He is white, with red ear points, and a tinge of red on his back and in his tail.  He is also significantly larger than the other male I owned, who weighed in at about 26 pounds. When I took Grif in for his shots, he weighed in at 40#.  While he is reserved, he is less so that what I am used to in Shibas. He actually has a habit of coming when called, which is not the behavior of the Shibas I've known (unless it involved food).
I'm just wondering if there is any way for me to resolve this interesting puzzle? My current best guess is that he is either a) a largish Shiba Inu, or b) a slightly smallish Hokkaido.
Thanks, Lee Webber
Sue was the first responder:
What about a Kishu Ken?
Wow. This is sure interesting. He is not a Shiba or at least not like any I have ever seen.
He isn't an Akita Inu or a Tosa Inu (which is good)
Very very interesting. I bet there is a Japanese dog dog show judge that would be interested in this.
how nice to hear from the town that has no Starbucks
I wrote back:
Heh.  The "no Starbucks" came out when I was describing this town to a friend who's not from these parts. I'm damned sure he's not Shiba Inu.  And I never would have suspected unless I'd gotten bored this morning and went looking for books.  Yay random browsing.
I've got an e-mail into NAHA (North American Hokkaido A'ss'n) asking for some advice.  If he is Hokkaido-Ken, he's extremely rare outside of Japan (I gather).
I've read of "Cream" Shibas, which aren't recognized by the AKC (their loss!)  But size and temperament have pushed to the Ainu camp. He's ~= 18" at his shoulder (I measured), so... . I'll look up the other breeds just for grins.
And, keep you posted.
Enjoying the newsletter, by the way! Thanks!!
Then, a second thought:

But then, how did he wind up in the US??

The on "on alert" here is Grif's twin.
And a third thought:
The previous question was really affirmative.  Sent a note off to the folks. Maybe they can suggest resources up this-a-way.

To which Sure replied:

Few people would be more obsessive than this group.

And the a thought or two to the original addressees:
Had an e-mail conversation w/ Auntie Sue (Suzu & Koda's trainer), and she's not sure about Hokkaido. Further investigation makes me think Kishu-ken:

Kishu Ken-Nel

Japan Dog


If he is Kishu or Hokkaido, I find it sad that he's been neutered.  They are rare breeds, and it would have been wonderful to bred him.
And, to the original addressees:
I'm sending this on to you all, because, as my day has progressed, this has gotten interestinger and interestinger!  The web post has the bulk of it, but not all of the links.

Enjoy the story!
Then I sent this off to the folks who were involved in getting me connected to Grif:

I just wanted to bring you all up to date on Griffin.  He doing quite well, and has fit in wonderfully. He likes to sleep by my bed for part of the night, but will *not* get up one it, not stay on it if I put him up there. I have finally been able to get him all current on his shots, and have had him chipped.

The main reason I'm writing is the new mystery that surrounds him. I was surprised that he weighed in at 40 pounds when he got his shots. That is *way* over the norm for a Shiba Inu. He's also a couple of inches outside of the normal height range for Shibas.  His size, color and general behavior contra-indicate his being a Shiba. I'm going to refer you to a blog post I put up today for the long story, but the short version is that my research on Japanese breeds, and a discussion with my dog trainer friend, lead me to believe that Grif is not a Shiba, but a Kishu!

He is a wonderful addition to my household, and regardless of breed. I couldn't love him more!

I got this back from the adoption rep I worked with:
Thanks for the great update on Griffin. So happy he is so loved, no matter what he is, LOL. Very interesting article. Thanks again for keeping in contact and letting us all know things are well.
 Then I received this from the Kishu-ken group in Texas:
Hello Lee......thanks for visiting the website.  Where did you get Griff?  At first look he appears to be a large Shiba.....he is actually small for a male Kishu Ken which usually are closer to 50 lbs and 20 + inches.  That's not to say there couldn't be a small Kishu.
And the Kishu Ken is so rare in the U. S. it is hard to believe one would be in a "rescue" situation.

I cannot help but wonder if he could possibly be a white Jindo......Google "Jindo Dog" and look at the white ones.  He could also be a mix of Shiba or Akita with some other "spitz" breed that gives him that look.

He is certainly beautiful, whatever he is.  You may never know for sure what he is, but he looks like a great dog and that's what matters.


Carleen Newman
Kishu Ken-nel
Sue had a thing to two to say about that:
Hi Lee

jindo? hmmm.....since he seems to be such a nice dog.......that does not strike me as the right guess.
There are quite a few jindos here in OC due to the Koreans, mostly up in the Fullerton and La habra area. The ones that I have known I would not get close to. I just stood in the house and looked at the dog in the back yard. matter what his official breed this is a lucky dog to have you. And to know that he is such a sweet guy and can revel in his aged years.
but this is an interesting journey to find out
I sent another email to Carleen:
Hi, Carleen!
Thanks for getting back to me about Grif! I got him just before Christmas last year, from a family the was splitting up and moving out of their house, and no one could have dogs where they were going. He had been neutered, but had not had his shots or been chipped. He had a bald patch down this right side, from mid back to his hip, from scraping himself on the bottom of the fence as he was getting out.

From what little I've read about Jindos, I doubt Griff is one - he'd not overly dominant, and seems to take to strangers quite well. But, I don't know if that's training, age, or temperament. He also looks "broader" than most of the Jindos I saw pictured. He has rib cage that is slightly wider than his shoulders. (See attached pic.) He does have some "Nihon-ken red" on his ears and tail. It is also notable on his back in the right light, but I don't think it matched the description of Jindo coloration. The info I found here:  is what leads me to think is is Kishu-ken.  Which, as you say,  raises the question of where he came from. 

This is what I posted when I got him home:

This a fun and interesting puzzle, and even if I don't get it resolved, it will not affect how I feel about him.  He's just a great dog.

Thanks again, Lee
...who responded
The new pictures show Griff better.....he does have a Kishu "look" about him......but he is smaller than most.  No one in the family that had him knew anything about him?  What did they say he was?.......or did they.

The Kishu Ken does have "apricot" ears tips sometimes and "apricot" down the back occasionally.

The Jindo has similar coloration.......and temperament-wise the Jindo is not always dominant and aggressive or aloof....they sometimes get a bad rap that way.  I have had both breeds and actually they are very similar.

As you say....he's a great companion and you may never know.  Good luck with him.

The last inbound emails I received were from the Hikkaido-ken organization:

you out look like you have a larger Shiba Inu. He looks all Shiba to me, and it isn't uncommon for the Shibas from pet stores/mill lines to be larger than average. He's a lucky puppy to be adopted!
...and from Grif's previous owner:
Aw, I'm so so glad  to hear that all is well with you and Grif. He was sold to us as a pure bred Shiba, but that place later was known as very shady.
Thank you so much for sharing and keeping me in the loop!!! Best Wishes to you and your 4 legged family
So, today, I started closing the loop:
Hi, Sue,

Just following up on the Griffin question.  I got an email from a Hokkaido breeder I pinged. His take is that Grif is most probably a Shiba, but from a puppy mill that wasn't too worried about conformance standards.  Thus, his size is not (apparently) unusual. Cream is a non-standard color, so, I think I'm at "Grif is just a big Shiba".
Cheers! Lee
...which led to this post!

And Griffin still doesn't care! 

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

More House (Garden, Not So Much)!

OK.  I know it's been almost  two weeks since I last posted about the house.  I have been busy.

First, I've installed two ceiling fans in the living/dining area. It's 80 outside, I just came back from getting lunch, and the downstairs is comfortably cool.  Without the A/C.


Installed and working!
Aaaand, the kitchen sink:

This started out with a friendly notice from the boro that my water usage was higehr than usual.  The hot tap was leaking, enough so the the faucet was hot to the touch.  So, off I go to get a new faucet set.  When I got home and crawled underneath, I saw things I did not want to see - a tangle of water lines, set screws, and what looked like solder.  Command decision - remove the old sink in toto, and replace w/ new.

I won't bore you with the tale of the sturm und drang needed to remove the add-in shelf so I could get the drain connected, required by the offset drain configuration. Nor will I talk about the holes drilled in said shelf so that the water supply pipes could be run thru them and then soldered together.  I mean, who would ever want to replace a sink or need to move anything, right?

In happier news, those are tomatoes from the garden.

The last major thing is getting the new room finished. "Finished" is still a ways off, but progress abounds! I've painted the ceiling and three walls, scraped the windows, and taped them off so I can start painting them.

The almost-but-not-quite-corner. This shot does give you a good sense of what "Modern Grey" looks like
This is a test. I'm painting the inner part of the frame Modern Grey, the rest of the frame and sill white. If I like it, I'll do all three the same.  If not, plain white.

One window, taped for painting.  I wound up putting filler along the left side, between the wall and frame. Sand tomorrow, then wipe down and paint!

Benny came in to inspect. Notice that the debris is gone!
And, in the midst of all this, we have a new resident. She showed up on the neighbor's porch Sunday evening before last.  I thought she was a kitten, but when I took her to the vet, they wanded her and found out that she has been chipped, her name is Ramen, and she's 12!

I haven't heard from the owner, but I did talk to the alternate contact, who seemed put out by the whole experience. So, it's looking like me, three dogs, and three cats.

Behold, Ramen:

(She can be shy at first...)

Ramen T. Cat
Her right ear is 'cocked' to almost horizontal, due to a large mass at the base of the ear. It looks like it had been treated, or at least biopsied, because there is a shaved spot, and a nicely-healing cruciform wound.

She's a little bitty thing, weighing in at only 5 lbs. And I think she has Nadia on the run.