kevin_standlee: (Snow Day)
Lisa had cause to be on the roof of the travel trailer yesterday and noticed that the seal on the forward skylight was failing. We did not have any of the roof goop sealant, nor did Big R stock any, so after work today we drove into Reno to buy a tube of it from Safari RV. Thunderstorms were in the area, so Lisa went up and put some plastic sheeting over the skylight to fend off the weather.

It being Monday (off peak) and with no big event in town (Hot August Nights happens while we're traveling to Worldcon), we decided to return to the Peppermill, where (thanks to our locals discount) we got two excellent buffets for less than half what we paid the Atlantis for meals that made us sick. Lisa went to the manager and told her about us being "unfaithful" and that we'd returned to the fold.

Even better: we won $65 playing keno, which paid for the meal, tips, and had some "profit" left over besides. We praised Keno Bear for his keno-playing skills and gave him extra fish.

We had no further errands, and it was a work night, so Lisa drove us home after dinner. We started picking up rain as we headed east. Around Painted Rock, Lisa and I both were mystified by the white residue on the highway thrown into contrast by the tracks of the big rig we had been following. A few minutes later when we got home, we figured out what had happened.

Not a Snowstorm, but the Remains Looked Similar )

The white debris through which we had been driving was obviously accumulated hail from one of the bands of thunderstorms hitting the area. While it has cooled things down a little bit, there also has been a lot of lightning in the area as well. We hope everyone stays safe and that there are no more fires. We've had more than enough this summer.
kevin_standlee: (House)
We were away for nine days. When we got back, we found that the bushes on the property had had an amazing growth spurt.

Turn Your Back and They Take Over )

I only wish plants that I want to grow would be as enthusiastic as these.
kevin_standlee: (Fernley House)
Yesterday afternoon, Fernley was hit by a strong thunderstorm, including some sizeable hail. Lisa moved the little "living Christmas tree" we've been trying to preserve under cover. I was over playing pinball when the storm hit and stayed under cover until the storm had mostly passed through, but as I approached home, I noticed a double rainbow in an interesting place.

End of the Rainbow )

Fernley House isn't exactly a pot of money — more a pot into which we put money — but it's still nice to come home to, warts and all.
kevin_standlee: (Fernley)
Tuesday evening was probably the best weather we'll have this week: neither too cold nor too hot. We took advantage of the pleasant spring-like conditions to get some work done outside on the house. While we were doing so, we had a flyover.

Formation of Helicopters )

The only thing that kept us from getting more done was impending sundown, and of course the fact that I have to be up before 5 AM for Day Jobbe.
kevin_standlee: (Fernley House)
We had a brief return of spring temperatures today, which is good because we had a bunch of work to do outside this afternoon once I got done with Day Jobbe. (Again, as I'm working Central Time Zone hours, it's convenient for the household work. On the other hand, as I'm up before 5 AM, I need to get to bed early.) Things are progressing here. Much remains to be done, after which I'll have a long photo essay explaining what we did and how we did it.

Alas, warm temperatures return tomorrow. The lovely overcast made it possible for us to get more work done. We can't get a lot done direct sunshine with temps in the Celsius 30s.

Bag Man

May. 30th, 2017 02:51 pm
kevin_standlee: (House)
We appear to be done with the concrete work for now.

One bag, one wheelbarrow )

For various reasons, we ended up with six extra sacks of concrete, which will live in the garage until we take on a future paving project. Not soon, though. My arms and back hurt.

Gored

May. 28th, 2017 09:10 pm
kevin_standlee: (House)
We continue to work on the Sekrit Home Improvement Project. I mixed seven sacks of concrete yesterday and five today. We had a little bit left over from the last sack, so we made use of it.

Filling a Hole )

Lisa scooped the extra bit of concrete into the gore point and it looks pretty good. We'll probably have some other extra concrete later, which will will use to fill the rest of this area. This will be good because it has been inconvenient when rolling things from one end of the property to the other.
kevin_standlee: (Fernley)
We are not at a convention or traveling this weekend. I turned off my alarm clock. And woke up 4:30 AM (earlier than my alarm) unable to get back to sleep. So I started my weekday routine, except instead of plunging into Day Jobbe, I walked down to the Wigwam for my normal weekend breakfast.

Beautiful Downtown Fernley )

No, we're not at BayCon. Because of needing to preserve resources for the European Worldcon trip, our only other convention this summer will be Westercon in Tempe, and even that one involves some complex logistics to preserve days off about which I'll talk when we get to it in July. It's not really a "staycation," though, as there is work to do. Today, Lisa and I will continue on the latest home improvement project. Concrete will probably be mixed and poured. No details or pictures until the project is complete, however. We don't want to jinx it.

Moving Out

May. 23rd, 2017 05:20 pm
kevin_standlee: (Lisa)
...but only a few meters.

We have a planned project to work on the carport for which the concrete laying last fall was the first stage. In order to do this, we need to have the travel trailer off the slab for a few days.

Moving Day )

In the heat we're having here, Lisa didn't want to keep the electricity disconnected very long. We ran two long extension cords from the power pedestal to the trailer. I gingerly opened the pedestal cover and was not too surprised to find a black widow spider there — it's just the sort of place that spiders like that seem to like. I got my heavy gloves and a broom and turned her into an ex-spider. We then connected the extension cords so that both the 30A and 20A circuits are connected to the trailer. The air conditioning started up with no problem. The refrigerator is off and defrosting at the moment, and will be out of use until she moves the trailer back inside, because the trailer is now a little off level. You must not run the refrigerator with it not level; you'll ruin it.

We currently anticipate being on this very short road trip for about a week while we clean the carport and undertake the other half of the project that started last October but was put on hold due to weather. With summer about here and a three day weekend ahead (which is one reason we'll not be at BayCon), it's high time to get back to work on improvements to Fernley House.
kevin_standlee: (Wildlife)
Yesterday started off gloomy and overcast, but the sun came out and it warmed to a comfortable temperature. I kitted up in my coveralls, Lisa got out the electric chainsaw, and she cut branches from the small cottonwood trees along the west fence line. I raked brush into a pile, and used hand clippers to get rid of the smaller growth, then fed the branches as Lisa cut them into burnable-sized pieces. When we were done, we had somewhat reduced the fire hazard on the fence line, and had a wheelbarrow-load of cottonwood, which we hope will dry out over the summer and provide for a day or possibly two of heat next autumn.

Later in the day, Lisa called me outside to have a look at something. "George is back!" she said.

Hello, George! )

Today, in contract to the warm, sunny conditions yesterday afternoon, was cold and blustery. I ended up kindling a fire in the fireplace for the first time in a week. Apparently it was snowing up in the Sierra Nevada, but it didn't even rain here. However, it felt particularly cold when you got out into the wind. I assume the lizards retreated, waiting for sunnier days.
kevin_standlee: (Let's Split)
Not a terribly exciting day today, which is fine. After breakfast at the Wigwam followed by pinball at the Frontier Fun Center, I went home and dealt with some Worldcon 76 San Jose business. Then I bit the bullet and got out the garden tools to start trying to cut out and drag away the brush and tumbleweeds that have accumulated on the opposite side of the west fence in the vacant lot next door. Although it's not our property, I feel that without anyone actually managing the property, I have to get that brush away from the fence, on account of it's a fire hazard that would endanger the house if it ever caught fire. After an hour or two of cutting and raking the brush into a pile in the middle of the lot (well away from our fence), a storm started to blow in. The clouds looked suspiciously thunderstorm-like to me. Carrying a metal rake on a vacant lot in a thunderstorm is not an activity that I encourage, so I called it a day with about one-third of our 150 feet of fence cleared.
kevin_standlee: (Let's Split)
Some of you may recall that some weeks ago, Lisa and I dragged a stump that had been dumped by the side of the street out of the area it was blocking (we feared a truck would run into it in the dark as it pulled in to park) to the front of our house. Today, Lisa got out the electric chainsaw and I wielded the splitting wedge and we set to work on reducing the stump to usable pieces.

A Stumpy Wheelbarrow )

After clearing the wood and resting for a while, Lisa drove us into Sparks, where we managed to find a piece of hardware that had eluded us in Fernley: a large-size level. Easy enough to find in Fernley, if you are willing to buy Chinese. We found one that suits what Lisa wants to do, and is made in the USA. Not everything is made in China, despite what some people seem to think. Yesterday, we were looking for a certain kind of drill bit at Big R, and while most of the bits were Chinese, there was a Bosch bit that was made in Germany, and we bought it. Moreover, it appears that there are more and more tools coming back to the USA. Possibly the length of the supply chain and the difficulty of maintaining quality at such long distances is coming home to roost for some of those companies that thought that cost was the only factor.

Feeling accomplished, we stopped at the Nugget for dinner (actually second breakfast) before heading home. Very routine stuff for us home-bodies.
kevin_standlee: (Wildlife)
As I've mentioned before, we have rabbits around the property. Not a lot of them; I've never seen more than four at a time. But this morning, three of them were out bouncing around as I took my usual walk before starting work.

Every Bunny Loves Some Bunny Sometimes )

I have sometimes left out leftover carrots and other produce for them, but they rarely touch the stuff. They seem happy to munch on sagebrush and thistles. They're welcome to all of ours.
kevin_standlee: (Snow Day)
The latest storms lashed the Sierra Nevada yesterday, closing a long stretch of Interstate 80 and causing the Nevada Department of Transportation to issue an advisory to big rigs asking them to please not come to Reno and to try and find places to lay up east of the area. (This was good news for the truck stops in Fernley.) Last night, it finally got cold enough for snow to start falling again here in Fernley.

A Slight Accumulation )

The storm has moved on, the skies have cleared, and as of noon today, nearly all of the snow has already melted except in shaded areas.
kevin_standlee: (Fernley House)
As is our custom, we bought a small "living Christmas tree" in December. We've kept it upstairs out of direct sun (but with lots of indirect sunlight, and out of the heat) since then. These past few days, it served notice that it was time to take action.

Trying to Grow )

We have now put the tree outside, where it will start getting direct winter sunshine. Later this year, when summer heat approaches, we'll have to shelter it some. Our last attempt to raise one of these trees ended up with the tree dying in the heat of summer. Fernley isn't really the best place to try and grow a spruce tree; however, there are some evergreens around town including the north side of Fernley House, so we know they can live here if they can get enough water.
kevin_standlee: (House)
Our plumbing company got back to us right after they opened on Monday morning. Initially they didn't think anyone could come out until Wednesday, but after a bit of schedule reshuffling, Steve-our-regular-plumber was able to come up to Fernley on Monday afternoon, for which we are most grateful.

The actual pipe with the pin-hole leak in it was a galvanized steel pipe leading to the pressure relief tank. Steve recommended (and we agreed) that he replace the pipes with brass ones.

New Set of Pipes )

We turned things back on after Steve fixed the pipes. (There was still slightly-warm water in the system after more than two days turned off, which says good things about the tank's insulation.) No more leaks. There was still water in the overflow pan under the heater, but that seems to have been the result of the slow leakage from the pinhole running all around the sides of the heater and pooling underneath it. This might take a little while to work itself out.

The repairs cost $350 including parts, but we have hot water again, and that's a relief.
kevin_standlee: (House)
Despite having (we thought) depressurized the hot water tank, we found this morning more water accumulated.

The Hole Truth )

Because of the concerns over additional leakage, Lisa decided that we can't risk trying to patch the hole temporarily and re-pressurize the tank. We left a message with our plumber's answering service, explaining that it's not an emergency, but it is something that needs to be addressed as soon as possible on Monday during normal working hours if possible.
kevin_standlee: (House)
Lisa and I went into Reno today, first going to brunch at the Peppermill (and thus not having to eat any other meals today), then doing various shopping errands. We collected a piece of hardware we'd special-ordered from a place in Reno, got a part for the RV, then went grocery shopping, and then went home. A little while after we got home, Lisa looked into the master bathroom and said, "What's all this water on the floor?"

I said, "Huh?" as I'd not even been in that bathroom since we got home. Upon investigation, Lisa discovered a leak, and not where you'd expect. Rather than a leak at a joint, a tiny hole has opened on the line to the pressure-expansion tank. A fine mist of water was spraying from it. Lisa shut off the water input and electrical power to the hot water heater (there's a separate circuit and switch right next to the tank, per electrical code), and opened the taps to relieve pressure, and the leak stopped. But of course now we have no hot water.

We've concluded that while being without hot water for a couple of days is going to be annoying, it's also not a top-level crisis, so we're not going to call our plumber's emergency number. However, we'll be calling them first thing Monday morning and asking Steve-the-plumber to come out and replace that pipe at the earliest non-emergency opportunity.

Lisa put a fan blowing on the dampened carpet in the bathroom to try and dry it out. It's unclear how long the tank was venting, other than it wasn't doing so at 10 AM today before we left for Reno. We're hoping the amount of water that leaked isn't doing more than dampen the carpet.
kevin_standlee: (Snow Day)
...but not that much. When I got up this morning, Lisa (who has been sleeping days lately) told me that it had snowed again last night and that she'd spent a lot of time keeping the walk and porch swept, and the fireplace well stoked, for which I was grateful. This last bit of snow dropped maybe 2 or 3 cm. By the time I could take a break late in the morning, all of the concrete surfaces that got direct sunlight had already cleared of the last bit that fell after Lisa went to bed. I went out and swept the shaded area. After lunch, I scraped out the path to the wood pile. That's on the north side of the house and doesn't get much sun, so at least 10 cm of snow is still there. Not a big deal, but more snow than Fernley normally gets.

After dinner, we went to Big R and bought a bag of sidewalk salt. We use this sparingly, but there are places near the travel trailer that just don't get any sun and thus tend to get very icy.

The next week is supposed to be clear and cold, with temperatures just above freezing. However, those places that get direct sunlight will warm up more than the air temperature indicates, of course. The east-facing roof slopes on the house, which get more sun than the west faces, have almost completely cleared of accumulated snow already.
kevin_standlee: (Fernley House)
A few weeks ago, just before the series of snow storms starting rolling through, someone dumped a gnarled stump alongside Center Street, which runs along the east side of the vacant lot to the east of Fernley House. This is an area often used for parking by big rigs stopping to eat at downtown restaurants or to stage for the Imerys plant down the street. Particularly after snow started coming through and partially obscuring it, this represented a hazard to navigation, and we were surprised that nobody hit it. Yesterday evening, before the next snowstorm hit, Lisa and I decided to move that stump out of the way if we could.

Clearing the Channel )

Our current plan is that after we get sufficient dry weather for the stump to dry out we will break out the chainsaw and Lisa will carve this thing into burnable-sized pieces and we'll get some use out of it.

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