July 1, 2015

Summer Storm

420 summer storm.jpg

How's that for a storm? It was one of those dark beasts with lots of rain and lots of thunder... A storm that makes one subconsciously antsy about lightning strikes and beyond

420 tornado warning.jpg

But interestingly, the crows clearly indicated the ending of the weather -- the corvids came alive, and sure enough it was sane outside within minutes.

We do like those crows...

Still alive and well informed by the feeders,

CapeCodAlan


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June 28, 2015

Back Landing Completion

Here we go,

The landing without the deck or steps. Note the uncut posts...

420 landing with no deck IMG_0020.JPG

Enter the deck...

420 landing with deck but no stringers IMG_0024.JPG

And now the stringers...

420 landing with stringers IMG_0025.JPG

Check off the treads and hand rails... Note the "Mr. Beams" motion activated spot above the door...

29_landing done_day w_mr_beams_IMG_0029.JPG

Finally, the entry at night...

420 landing done_night_mr_beams_IMG_0049.JPG

Not bad...

Well, here's at least a partial list of the tools you'll need to take on such a project. (Keep in mind that every project is different and the tool selection will vary...)

  • Scrap strapping
  • Heavy work gloves
  • Skil saw
  • Right angle guide for Skil saw
  • Clamps (long and strong)
  • Post hole digger
  • Compressor/nail gun/palm nail gun
  • Complete selection of stainless and/or deck screws
  • Complete selection of galvanized nails
  • Both battery powered drill and driver
  • Extensive collection of screwdrivers and screwdriver bits
  • Waterproof glue
  • Construction adhesive
  • Socket set
  • Oscillating multi-tool
  • Full assortment of Allen wrenches
  • Complete set of high-speed steel drill bits (from 1/16 to 1/2)
  • Bevel square (aka sliding T-bevel)
  • LOTS of levels
  • Quality hammer
  • Hand sledge
  • Chop saw
  • Table saw
  • Combination square
  • Framing square
  • Large T-square
  • Speed square
  • Japanese saw
  • Palm sander
  • Flat bar
  • Cat's paw
  • Retractable razor knife
  • Dozen cedar shingles
  • Power jig saw
  • Hand grinder
  • Vise grips
  • Pliers
  • Tool tote and/or job site tool box
  • Tarp
  • Folding sawhorses
  • Tub for mixing concrete
  • Hoe
  • Shovel
  • Huge pry bar (apx. 30 lbs)
  • Chalk line/plumb bob
  • Brads
  • Wire nippers
  • 25' tape measure
  • Lots of sharp pencils
  • Line level
  • Heavy string
  • Sawz All

Looking back, that's quite a list, and no doubt there will be some tools you won't need, and there will be some that weren't even mentioned. But at least that gives you some idea of the scope of such a project. The exact materials list would be equally daunting, let alone the step by step...

Lastly, some general observations...

  • There's plenty of help on the Web... Seek it out
  • Go to your town building inspector and seek advice
  • Overbuild... One doesn't have to drop four stories to get hurt or worse. A 3' fall can ruin your day...
  • Don't be cheap... Haunt Craig's List for decent used tools
  • Use pressure-treated lumber and stainless
  • Live by the mantra of, "Square! Plumb! and Level!" Make templates out of ply if need be
  • When you blow it (and you will), walk away, get in your moaning chair, and moan before you do real damage. When sanity returns, you'll see that the mistake isn't all that bad. (Hat tip to Dynamite Payson on this one!)

With yet another access to those feeders...

CapeCodAlan


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June 17, 2015

Sorry... Been Busy with Projects

Hi,

Well, here we go again... I'm late on a post... Perhaps the pics below will help to explain...

First, the hot water heater has been circling the drain for over a year now, and that meant lugging buckets of water out of the basement three to five times per day/night. (And that's not to mention the worry that the sucker might just explode in a vapor explosion or gas explosion or a combination thereof...) Here's the new one..

420 hot water heater IMG_9992.jpg

Next is a rebuild of the front-door landing... The wheelchair ramp had become unsafe and had to 'exit stage left' ASAP. And that meant rebuilding the landing itself.

front torn apart_420 IMG_9993.jpg

And finally, the garage back door had no realistic method of access or egress -- seems that insurance companies and Fire Chiefs take a dim view of that sort of thing... Once again, the remedy needed to be done 'goofy fast'.

420 rear landing beginning IMG_9994.jpg

Oh, but the fun never ends... We had to rewire, mess with the rec-room/garage, take on at least 12 projects in the basement, and tend to the day-to-day, and we're talking Giggle City. Lastly was the joy of getting so sick that I was hallucinating and went into convulsions (thank God for the local EMTs!) Yeah, it's been an interesting intro to the Summer.

But you know what? No matter how screwed up things become, we still have the birds (especially the crows...) We still have the beauty and the humor... My guess is that, at best, life is a white-knuckle brawl, and we take our respites where we can...

By the feeders,

CapeCodAlan

P.S. Did I mention installing insulation in the attic? Here is before...

attic 420 before IMG_9950.jpg

And here is when the job is done...

420 attic afterwards IMG_9978.jpg


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May 26, 2015

Mending Treeline

Do you remember Robert Frost's poem "Mending Wall"? The first line reads "Something there is that doesn't love a wall," (Copied from: (http://writing.upenn.edu/~afilreis/88/frost-mending.html) Well, the wall doesn't have to be stone. Take a look at the photos below...

420 back line of trees before IMG_0604.jpg

and...

afrter 420 tree line IMG_9884.jpg

See what I mean?

Mrs. CCA and I got together with our neighbors and we decided that were some dead trees that had to go, but each of us took great care to listen to the others' desires. After that was done, the wives joined forces and decided what trees we'd use to replace them. But as we were removing more logs, another set of Frost's lines kept coming back..

"Before I built a wall I'd ask to know
What I was walling in or walling out,
And to whom I was like to give offence. "

Fact is that I believe we were walling in the friendship of two families, 'and that has made all the difference.'

CapeCodAlan


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May 7, 2015

Hummingbird and Spring

Well... here we go again...

420 old DSC_0108.JPG

Spring is here, as the pic above clearly demonstrates. So now what? Well, for us we have to:

  • Replace the hot-water heater
  • Replace the gas furnace
  • Remove the wheelchair ramp
  • Rehab the deck
  • Paint the house
  • Fix the back landing
  • Finish the repair on the garage
  • Take care of the boat and trailer
  • Do more computer work
  • Etc., etc., etc...
Notice anything missing from the list above? Ummm... Nothing about birds there... Why? Because we were very careful in the construction, placement, cleanliness, and supply of our feeders and birdbaths. A quick 'Google' on "ebirdseed feeder mount" or "eBirdseed FAQ" will shed light on this...

Brace yourself -- in just a matter of weeks we'll be sweltering and wishing for that cool, snap-fresh Fall air... Welcome to Spring...

Longing for Winter by the feeders,

CapeCodAlan


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April 22, 2015

Counting Snowflakes in a Blizzard

The shot below doesn't do the original justice... Click on the image to get a sense of what this post is really all about...

snow at night in a blizzard 2015 deck snow pile pencil sketch PS_20150227041026.jpg

A number of thoughts come to mind:

  • Firstly, note the paths to the feeders -- either you take care of your birds or you don't...
  • Next, in the enlarged version, it is quiet possible to count the actual snowflakes. The counting is possible because the photograph was taken with a prolonged lens opening between the "heaves of storm" and then fed through Pencil sketch... While there are other photo apps that can no doubt do the same sort of contrast, I'll stick with Pencil Sketch.
  • I enjoy this type of photography -- it allows a person to pull detail out of a pic that just wouldn't be available without major surgery...
  • As best as I can tell, this was taken around 02/27/2015... It was a rough winter...
  • It's interesting that the passing of such a harsh winter can leave such a hollow spot in the soul. (At least for me anyways...) There was such a feeling of accomplishment keeping the homestead churning along...

And I guess that's about it... Be sure to have a designated driver and tip the waitstaff...

By the well illustrated feeders...

CapeCodAlan


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Attic Insulation

Hi,

Yeah, I know it's been ages since I last posted... Perhaps the pics below will explain the delay...

The first shot is of the attic after I put in the catwalk, but before the insulation was blown in...

Attic before 420 IMG_9949.jpg

This photo shows the end result after many days of research and preparation... (And why did we decide to become homeowners instead of just continuing to rent???)

420 attic after IMG_9978.JPG

It is astounding how much stuff ends up in the attic, and then has to be brought down (sometimes by cargo net and pulley...)

But the fun has only begun -- we've got to replace both the hot water heater and the gas furnace -- and those are just the immediate emergencies... More fun to follow...

So I do apologize for being tardy in the postings... But we're getting there... It's 1:35 AM, and I have to go empty the garage for the trash guy tomorrow...

By those well-stocked and clean feeders and bird baths...

CapeCodAlan


Cornell Ornithology Laboratory: Inside Birding

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