Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Bad Year For The Pups...

I got this from Deb yesterday:
(H)ad to have my beautiful little poodle put down today. He was 16 years old and had been with me since he was 8 weeks old. We did obedience classes, played fetch, took agility classes, drove cross country...
That would be Curly. 
Last month, she posted this on her blog:
Shadow, my adopted geriatric Shih Tzu, died this morning around 10:30. He wasn’t with me long — only about 5 months. Back around Thanksgiving 2015 I adopted him from the local animal shelter when it appeared no one else would and I was deeply troubled by this dog’s situation. You see, it appeared to me that he had been essentially dumped because he was old and blind. The truth, of course, was probably much more complex than that.
(Go read the rest.)

Her remaining dog is Muppet, whom she got back when we were both in durance vile at ITT. Rowdy and Chester are (in theory) her Dad's dogs. (I believe Deb and her Mom actually do the day-to-day mainenance.)

And last April I lost Suzu, here getting a bit of a bath from Baxter:

I read a remark somehere that 'animals don't have souls, but they do have spirits'. I'm not a fan of the "Rainbow Bridge" thing, but I hope and plan on seeing some of the critters again.

When God created dogs, he said to himself, "These things are really great. I'll be wanting them back sometime later."

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Well, Hail!!

Found out from a co-worker yesterday that hail had hit Red Lion. Found this when I got home:

 The potato bed.


 Lettuce, peppers, onions and garlic.

 Kitchen bed.
Kitchen bed and border beds.

 Lemon grass.


Tomatoes, again.

Judging from the damage to the local trees, the hail blew in from the north. This (I think), accounts for the lack of damage to the border beds and the strawberry pot, which were in the 'shadow' of the patio roof. The lettuce is pretty much shredded (read "dead"). The walkway by the kitchen bed smells like onion.  Given that the stalks and stems of the lemon grass, tomatoes, onions/garlic, peppers, and potatoes are still standing, I'm going to watch and see how the do in the next week or so. I will also be conferring with my local gardening informants about what to expect.

Took the dogs for a walk after I took the garden pics. The pictures will explain all of the green 'shrapnel' strewn about.

 More below the fold:

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

The Roof In Pictures

I have requests out to a couple of roofers to get estimates on this mess:

These above are the exterior part of the roof, from a recent post. 

Here's what prompted me to say "F**k it, I'm out!!" last Saturday, when I resumed tearing into the ceiling to start repairs:

You're not supposed to see daylight where the joist should be, right?  And you can see the damage to the wall header (the darker bottom wood). 

Closeup of the joist remains. The solid wood in front is, as near as I can tell, a nailer for the ceiling lath, and not part of the roof or wall structure.

I also started tearing out the lath and plaster that I'll need to be replacing. I was able to punch through what was there in these three bays, using only my gloved fists. (Purely a comment on the state of the walls, not my punching-fu!)

I haven't told Doc yest, because:
Saw PCP today. Did a "routine" EKG. Have been referred to a cardiologist. Apparently I have had a hear attack at some time in the past, maybe 8 years. hmmm
I'm thinking she has enough on her plate right now, so I'll break this to her when that's in her rear-view mirror.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Garden Du Jour

In spite of the house's best efforts to the contrary (see previous post), gardening is actually getting done. To whit:

Establishing shot 1

Establishing shot 2
The little pig shaped sign is from the Doc. It is a lament on the dearth of bacon seeds. And yes, weeding is needed.

Top bed, garlic & onion; middle bed, lettuce, peppers, and more onion; bottom bed hidden melons seeds.

Kitchen bed, oregano, basil, rosemary, strawberries, and onions. (And maybe my finger?)

Future melon patch.

The Salad Box: onions, orange bell and Dragon peppers, and salad (Red Lettuce and Red Romaine).

Garlic and onion.

The Oregano part of the patio border,

Strawberries on the left. Bare patch is hiding two Russet potatoes that got overly sprouted. #ScienceExperiment

Blackberry (This time for sure!! </Bullwinkle>)

Lastly, three potted tomatoes. I have had less that stellar success with them over the years, due to what I called 'dry rot'.  I gather that it is a soil issue, and rather than carpet bombing the beds, I thought I'd try a pot. Another #ScienceExperiment

I have also attempted to organize better, and not over-plant. I've tried cramming far too much into the beds, with the result that some things could not produce as well as I hoped. So, this year, potatoes all by themselves, a bed of nothing but garlic and onions.  The salad box will only have enough peppers to thrive, surrounded by onions and lettuce. Melons all to themselves, too. The biggest problem was all of the tomatoes I tried to cram in. They made it difficult to impossible for much else to thrive.

And thriving is good!

Saturday, April 23, 2016

It Ain't Pretty

I finally decided that I had been slacking off quite enough, thank you, and that it was tie to Start Work On The House.  Absent the Leveling Of The Floor, getting the Squirrels Evicted and the Soffeting Repaired was pretty much next on the list, along with Fixing The Leaky Downspout.

I am soooo glad I procrastinated, and that I decided to look at the condition of the roof before I got out on that corner to attempt downspout repairs. I don't think it would have supported my weight, either on the roof or on a ladder propped against it.

The corner. Notice the dry rotted 'sister' to the dry rotted rafter.
A closer look at the corner.

About two rafters back from the corner. Squirrel bedding cruft visible.

Bedding cruft on the floor.

And more...

...and more

Dry rot on both south and east facia.  Note the missing chunks of roofing boards. Some of the flashing is visible.

More dry rot on the end of the rafter, which is no longer long enough for the facia to be nailed into. There are four like this.

Meanwhile, in the bedroom ceiling, the probable cause of the electrical short.
No, I won't bore you with any more pictures of the bedroom ceiling that the one above. The cadaver was flat and dry. Visual inspection leads me to suspect electrocution was cause of death, based on a blackened stripe along the abdomen, which looked like a third degree burn.

It looks like the nest was mostly outside over the soffeting, not so much over the bedroom ceiling, based on the amounts of nest cruft I found, which so far has filled about  half of a 30# dog food bag.

So, the plan is to sister the four rafters that have rotted away from the facia, so I can attach a new one. Once the structural repairs are done, I'll put up new plastic soffeting  that has ventilation built into it.

The bedroom will need the entire south wall, and about three feet of the east wall and ceiling replaced due to water damage.

It's gonna be a fun summer!

In the best of all possible worlds, the thing to do would be to replace the roof.  I'm guessing that it would be about $5,000 - $6,000, based on the estimate I got for replacing the roof over the original part of the house last year.  The sealer is holding quite nicely, so my plan is to do nothing to damage it, and pray that it holds until such time as a new roof is affordable.

Saturday, April 2, 2016


Another bad weekend.

Suzu had been failing for the last year or so, losing muscle mass, and at some point coordinated use of her hind legs.  Even so, she was able to get around and feed herself.  When I got home Monday, she had, for no apparent reason, lost the use of her left front leg.  She has holding it up, and when I extended it, she had 'paw drop' - no control of it.

I was able to feed her and get her to drink by use of a large syringe. Tuesday and Wednesday, she had a fairly decent appetite, and drank pretty well.  Since Wednesday, however, her appetite started to disappear, and she would not drink as much water.  (And, lemmie tell ya, when a Shiba says 'No', she means 'No, dammit!!')

I discussed her situation with a couple of friends.  Though about building a cart for her so she could get around.  No consensus from my friends, and I wasn't sure that a cart wold make any real difference.  So, this morning, I decided that a trip to the vet for a consult was in order. (OK, I was pretty sure I knew what was going to happen, but 'consult' let me get us out the door and into the car.)

I took her to the same clinic I took Dakota about three years ago, and was happy to see that the same vet was there - Dr. Lisa Miller.  I had worked with her when it came time to let Koda go, so I knew that we were in the best of hands.

Her assessment was honest, unadorned, sympathetic, and not good.  A cart wouldn't be of use.  Suzu's dog breath indicated that her kidneys were starting to fail.  Her left pupil was fixed and small, which suggested a lesion or possible stroke, which would account for the loss of use of her front leg.  The prognosis wasn't any better - nothing to be done to alleviate any of the symptoms, and I could expect her to crash rapidly in the near future.

All of which confirmed my thinking, so I decided to let her go.  I held her while Dr. Miller administered the drug.  Suzu slipped peacefully and quitely.  She was almost 16 1/2 years old, which I understand is a bit exceptional for a Shiba Inu.

A bit of her life in pictures, below the fold.

So long, sweetie.  I miss you.

Saturday, March 19, 2016

About this old house...

Yes, I have been way remiss in documenting the work on the house, about three months worth of remiss.  So, here we go.


I have three of the four radiators mounted, one in my room, one in the living room, and one in the dining room.  And resulting warmth where it is needed most!  I have been too damned lazy to drag the fourth upstairs to the walk-thru closet and hang it, but that will happen soon enough.

One of the fittings to the living room radiator has been leaking just a tad.  I closed both valves, and have determined that it is leaking from the radiator at the fitting.  I will pull it, re-tape it, and re-attach it, praying all the while.


Dining room radiator and freshly painted baseboard.  That color is also planned for the windows.
My room, new wall mount electrical on its way in.  Didn't want to mess with that *after* I'd plumbed in the heater.

Bedroom radiator, and electrical ready for outlets, both ready for connection.

Wider view.

This reminds me of the funky house at Knott's Berry Farm, where everything is off level such that things appear to go against gravity.  STG, the radiator *is* level.  The window, not so much. New copper water line is visible.
Leveling the floor

When I started jacking, the first thing that happened was the main support lifted off the floor, then fell over:

Note the dry rot at the bottom!
As near as I can tell, the floor is now pretty much level.  I'm using the 12' radiator as my rough guide, but my next trick is a level string across the floor to make sure.

I still need to jack the sagged part of the dining room floor, which I did not know about until the old radiator had been removed:

That would be about a 1 inch gap between baseboard and floor, with exterior brick peeking through!
This is more or less directly under the window.  Now that the rest of it is reasonably level, I can feel the drop off here when I walk across the floor from the stairs to the window!  The joist along the wall, like the center beam, has got the dry rot.  I bought two more jacks at Home Depot, one allocated to shoring up this section of floor.

Once I'm satisfied that the floor is as level as I can get it, it will be time to replace the cross beam, re-attach the joists to said new beam, and put in new supports.  When that's done, I'll move the beams I used for shoring to create new support between the new beam and both parallel exterior walls. Then, I can begin to think about shoring and supporting the second (and thus the third) floor.  I'd really like to have an open arch between the dining and living rooms for that, but it requires engineering that is way out of my league. And money.  Lots of money, I suspect.


I've cleaned up and re-arranged the kitchen bed, gotten three of the other four beds tidied, and one planted with seed potatoes.

Overview view, potato bed to the right not shown.

Tidied kitchen bed, onions/garlic at top, strawberries and Yet Another Rosemary (YAR) in the center, and four of the oregano lower,

The rest of the oregano in the border twixt the patio and garden.

Teeny, tiny strawberry shoots in the other half of the border garden

Mostly garlic.  This bed still needs tidying. (Duh)

The tall bed, with a couple of the potatoes peeking up.
I have an interesting assortment of potatoes.  I grabbed another bag of the red, white, and blue mix at Home Depot.  On the way back home, I got some Yukon Gold and a different flavor Red from the Cape Horn garden store. Next year, I'll be getting my seed potatoes there, as they were only $0.69/lb, as opposed to $3.98/bag of 12. Plus which, I suspect that I can cut them up into individual chunks, each with an eye, to get multiple plants from one tuber. (If what Matt Damon did in 'The Martian' is any guide.)

Deb sent me some seeds, too.  One pack of oregano, one of a hot pepper, one of Basil, and one of Cantaloupe!  Burpee included a pack of seeds for flowers that are supposed to attract bees to the garden; those will go in the border bed between me and my neighbor.

And, there you have it!