7:01AM

The roof is in a stage called “embrittlement” and needs replacing. It is original to the house and a good thirty years old, so the roofers are coming tomorrow and we’ve been preparing for it. New gutters too, and in July a new coat of paint. They’re coming early and we are enjoying good, clear, and mild weather, so the timing is perfect. Just lucky I guess. The biggest issue is, what to do with the doggie and where do we go to spend the day?

Update: Got some useful feedback about roofing materials, thanks!

7-something PM

Happy Vernal Equinox

The sun came up bright and shiny, over the tops of the trees and right between the balustrade posts, the steps going down to the field.We are getting a bit of everything on this first day of Spring: clouds, bright skies, wind, a touch of rain…and the doggie is loving it as she begins her fur-depletion cycle. Little white tufts of fur are ejecting from her winter under-coat, and furry little dust-bunnies are collecting in places she doesn’t even go. Pretty soon the black truck will have a white interior, and I’ll be vacuuming every day. Pretty soon when I go driving down the road with the windows down, a fur-tornado will cascade out behind me in tufts and waves – and so she is banished from the new, red truck for the time being.

Main Break

Tuesday morning Wife got up around 5:00AM -because she gets leg cramps- and went to start coffee…and at about 6:00 she heard a weird noise in the garage and went to check on the doggie. The water heater was making groaning noises and the re-circulation pump was making a high-pitched whine – and the doggie made eyes saying, “Make it stop!” I heard the ruckus and got up, and we all gathered in the garage where I turned off the circulation pump, which quieted things down a bit, but the water heater still strained, while inside the kitchen water pressure was just a dribble – so boots on in a light drizzle, I went outside.

Around by the front steps water was gushing up and flooding the lawn, and running down the new channel I had dug for the down-spout hose – so I went and shut off the valve to the sprinklers – which did no good, then the valve to the house, which also did no good either. I made a fast walk up the 100-foot drive, out to the Main on the road, and there’s six of those concrete squares to choose from, and none were marked with street numbers – but one that had a bolt with a lifter and that one was squealing, so I raised the concrete plug-thing and started twisting on the valve till the squealing stopped – I had lucked out and found my own meter-valve, and the deluge stopped.A few hours later after going to the store for jugs of fresh water, my plumber friend stopped by on the way to a job up-country, and did a quick assessment: start digging here and I’ll see you tomorrow. So I laid-out a half-folded tarp and got a shovel, and after about an hour had uncovered the main, and a T-junction that went to the house, and what appeared to be an un-glued elbow where separation had occurred.At any rate the flood had subsided so it was just good to let things dry-out in the hole, besides I was muddy and sweaty and there was just one big jug of water with which to clean-up. Civilization is practically defined by running water, even if just cold water, and plumbing apparatus to deliver the water. My Civilization had failed, temporarily, but I still had a dog that needed her walk and she doesn’t think quite as highly of Civilization as I do since she is rather independent of it.After the dog-walk, I heard my neighbor (the free-range chicken rancher) motoring about on his Craftsman tractor. Ah-ha! He’s a retired Plumber! So I called him over and we talked and he went off to get some of that two-part PVC glue, and then came around the fence to see what I had gotten myself into. He inspected the pipes and said that it looked ti him as though a bunch of the joints were only stuck together with the purple-primer, and that whoever had done previous work had missed a few spots. The Main t-junction showed evidence (blue) of glue, but other joints were just smeared with purple.

I got down in the hole with the two-part PVC cement, cleaned out water and mud from the elbow joint, then lathered it up with purple-primer, let it set a bit, then applied the blue-glue and got the fittings back together and held the joint fast for a minute. Ok! Instructions are to let it cure for 24-hours but most guys don’t wait that long…except for me, I let it set-up overnight. In the morning my other plumber friend returned, and inspected my handiwork. His conclusion was that the joints that were holding, had been glued with the clear glue, not the blue stuff. I don’t know – but he called it good, and we went through the process of flushing the line and restoring water service. With a pressure-meter on the hose-bib reading 70lbs, I was ready to back-fill the hole and take a shower! My back is feeling a bit torqued today, but the work is done.

Sunrise Sunday

The sun has clocked around from the Winter Solstice and marched back past the big oak tree, and is making its way to the Vernal Equinox…I grilled again yesterday afternoon, a buy-one-get-one tri-tip (some trimming required) I found two that were both 30.06 (dollars) and that seemed appropriate. The trimming was actually quite extensive, so the Butcher’s bill still got paid, but the result was less fat and no silver skin.

The ’11 Silverado turned over 100k last week, and turned up an error code: the “Stabilitrack” needs fixing. Jason the mechanic thinks it’s just a sensor, tied to the low-speed squeaking noise that appears below 20mph – guess I’m just a slow driver, because I hear it and it’s annoying. So into the shop around the corner on Monday.

UPDATE: The promised two weeks of rain never materialized, but we seem to get a solid couple of days at a time – so the mountains are snow-capped and my drainage is running. Today looks like a good day to mow the doggie’s 14’x60′ (correction: 16’x84′) grass-patch. It’s getting pretty thick and the weather is fair – tomorrow supposedly will be cloudy and cooler, but you really never know with the weather.

More rain forecast for next weekend…supposedly, so picture of mowed grass (equine fodder, in fact). (Revised picture includes mower w/bagger attachment contraption)

Doggie Likes Her Toy

We got some clear weather before more rain, and an early morning shopping-day when few cancerous-covid walking-dead are among the aisles, so we got some stuff to grill and a dog toy. Koda loves her some doggie toys…

In afternoon I went up on the roof and drilled three holes in the gutters where they overlap between rooflines. The guys who cleaned the gutters said that there was just a few (like five) 3/8″ holes drilled to help transfer water from one level to the other… No wonder that downspout never ran right., plus it created a big puddle next to the foundation.

So now the roof-water transfer should be a lot more *fluid.* (ah-ha) And I also went and deepened and lengthened the trench alongside the house/lawn, alongside the concrete edging, so the runoff will go down a pipe to the pine tree and stay away from the foundation. Phew, burning calories.

The Swamp is Back

An inch and a quarter yesterday, an inch and a half (so far) today, pretty soon it adds up. Might get some clearing tomorrow afternoon into Saturday, then more rain from Sunday onward with more clearing by the next weekend. The gutters are loaded up with asphalt composition (sand) from the decaying shingles, and over-spill is coming off every corner, but gutter-cleaner dudes are coming tomorrow morning so that should get fixed. They got their work cut-out for ’em, anyhow! And maybe the life of this roof is coming to an end. UPDATE: Should have two-inches easy before the day is over.

Two Weeks of Rain

That’s the weather forecast from now into February…with occasional chances for snow, since temperatures are now in the 30’s. Might get a few half-clear days, but for the most part it’s looking pretty gray – which happens to match my political mood… Yesterday was bright and sunny and warm, and we had lunch outdoors at our little local French restaurant.

So, it’s unlikely that I’ll be out on the Harley for a while, but maybe I can throw more chrome bits at it – if I feel like going into the walk-in freezer I call a garage.

High-winds Noodling

There’s a blow going on since last night that has got my decorative windmill going bananas, and the 6’x8′ pieces of Astroturf have been picked-up and scattered around the driveway and tossed under the redwoods…so of course I do something else, because I already did that (picked ’em up) this morning.

But first I take down all the flags that are whipping in the wind, and find a way to fix the mounting brackets so they all take a 5mm hex-head nut to tighten against the pole.

Meanwhile a while back I had installed the “Stage I” kit on the Fat Boy, really just in order to remove the football air-cleaner and replace it with The Skull!And all that is great and it looks really cool and bitchin’ – except today while inspecting my handiwork I noticed a wiring plug hanging freely, something with a bung on one side, something which must have been concealed by the football…

Going through the RTFM instruction pages which I had not done RTFM on before but simply looked at the visual diagram to complete the job, there was a “#8 – Clip, adhesive” that I found laying in among some other tools, and I used that to pull up the dangler and hide it behind the air filter. Job done! Except for the part I now began to read since it was not just a cosmetic upgrade but a “Screamin’ Eagle Stage 1 Kit for EFI Models.” And that which I read was, You must recalibrate the ECM when installing this kit. Failure to properly recalibrate the ECM can result in severe engine damage.” Oh great, at least I haven’t put more than ten miles on it since the monkeywrenching…

A Spring Like Sunday

The last couple days have been very non-January, but wind and rain is forecast for next weekend and around here you have get things done when the weather allows, hot or cold…So Saturday we attacked the quince on the embankment, and even with long-gauntlet rose-pruning gloves, my forearm was attacked back. But now the yard-waste can is full and the pickup is Monday morning.

When in doubt, grill it out

Another pork tenderloin…and a comfortable 56-degrees.

Besides food-therapy, the Pandemic of the Wuhan Flu has brought about some retail-therapy, with more parts going onto the Harley Fat Boy: a “lay-down” license-plate holder, and an LED tail-light to match being the most recent bits.