"On the plains of Oklahoma, with a windshield sunset in your eyes like a watercolor painted sky, you'd think heavens doors have opened."
Fly Over States

Monday, September 27, 2010

Pink Workbench

I do believe we just had the nicest weekend, weather-wise and maybe even otherwise, of the year.  It was sunny and breezy and cool.  The girls loved it and Husband and I were able to get some outdoor work done. 

A few weeks ago, Husband bought an old workbench off Craigslist, mainly because he wanted the vise that was attached to it.  He asked if I wanted the bench for a work table and I jumped on that.  He sanded off the top, filled in the holes, put down a varnish to help waterproof it, and added an extra inch and a half to stabilize it. 
Meanwhile, I scrubbed down the metal frame with an SOS pad.  The girls helped.
 Evelyn sang along with the siren they always test at noon on Saturday:
They had a blast running around the yard and caught the biggest toad I have ever seen in my life. 

The photo does not do it justice.  It was the size of a salad plate. 

The toad was relocated to the pasture. 

Husband had some pink spray paint that he used on the metal frame and while he worked on that, I put several coats of white semi gloss paint on the tabletop.
 The top is just sitting on a workbench while it is being painted.
Evelyn crashed out in the workshop next to me to catch up on some zzzz's.  She's my painting buddy.
Why did husband have pink spray paint?

Well, seems that some decades ago (mid fifties?), Fender decided to start coloring their guitars.  They used paint that was common at the time on cars - stuff like foam green, shell pink, placid blue (Husband collects vintage guitars).  Anyhoo, a loooonnnnnngggg time ago (predating Husband and me) he went down to the store to get some spray paint and they had released a line of those vintage guitar colors.  He thought that was cool and bought a few.  He still had two cans of the pink (I can't imagine why he didn't have tons of projects to use it on).  Even though it is very elderly, it worked well enough to cover the frame of my new workbench. 

Frankly, I don't see him using that particular color on any of his big woodworking tools.  He actually started to put the pink on the vise but changed his mind for some reason.  Go figure.  The vise is now yellow, instead. 

I mentioned in my last post that I'd dug up the water shut off valve by the barn.  Some years ago, apparently, they shut off the water to the barn and since that time, the location of the shut off valve had been lost.   The valve was broken, by the time I found it and we hesitated to turn it on for fear that what it was connected to might not be water worthy.  We called our plumber, Ron, and made arrangements for him to come out on Monday (today) to replace the valve.  Meanwhile, Husband went out and dug out some of the hole to give Ron some working room. 

While digging, Husband discovered a significant leak (the reducer didn't fit right).  He was covered with mud, including his hat.  And not happy about it.   When the leak was covered with clayish mud, it was fairly stopped up but as soon as the clay plug was gone, it started gushing.  It was in the ground, several feet from the barn so we weren't worried about flooding.   That began, last night.  I stood out there for a few minutes watching it bubble like it was boiling.  Husband was fretting to the point where he was driving me crazy and I kept saying, "Ron will know exactly what to do."

Right at 8:00, this morning, Husband called Ron who, as it turned out, had already arrived and was standing out in the pasture looking at the lake. 

I love our plumber.

Ron swiftly shut off the water, pumped out 60 gallons, repaired the leak and had a new shut off valve in place in less than thirty minutes.

The man is phenomenal.  He didn't even get muddy.  I'm not kidding. 

After that, he checked to make sure the pipes in the barn were working.  Bad news.  The pipe that was replaced by the guys who put on the siding was a mess and spewing.  Ron fixed it.  The toilet was cracked and needed to be replaced.  Ron is going to do that.  The sink in my studio looked like someone was high on something when they put the pipes in and Ron is going to simplify all that.  The sink in the bathroom was also leaking.  Consider it done. 

I don't have to worry about water when Ron the plumber is on the job. 

Mimi came to town, today, to take a painting to her stepmother.  I hadn't seen stepmom in years so was looking forward to seeing her.  She is pretty much a force of nature and it did my heart good to see her.   She took one look at me, stood at the threshold before I entered her home, placed both hands on my face and stared intently.  After a moment she sez,

"You are just as beautiful as you ever were."

Okay, maybe it is the lawyer in me but part of me wanted to laugh out loud since she really hadn't said anything complimentary - not really - but I just said thank you and tucked away that little comment in case I ever need it should I find myself in a similar situation.  She fed us the BEST beef soup and cornbread.  I had to scoot to drive husband to the airport and retrieve my quilts from the fair (2nd place, 4th place and 5th place) but it was a lovely visit.  I then came home and set up my new Barbie doll pink and white workbench.
 Husband is going to build a shelf for the bottom, soon:
Husband is just off on a short, overnighter, and the girls and I are going to take it easy, tonight - probably hit the hay early.  I'm still a little fatigued from working in the yard all weekend, digging up the water shut off and working on the workbench.  MY VERY OWN WORKBENCH!!

Happy Quilting, Penny, Evelyn and Pearl

Saturday, September 25, 2010

The Mellow Ride Before the Plunge

We are now past the Autumn Equinox and losing the length of our days at a breakneck pace.  In our neck of the woods (the sunbelt), the sun rises about a minute later every morning, and sets up to two minutes earlier.  Three minutes of daylight doesn't sound like much until you add it up and realize that is about fifteen to twenty minutes a week.  And it won't slow down until after Yule (the Winter Solstice that falls just before Christmas). 

Today, we have just about 12 hours of daylight.  On Yule, there is only 9 hours and forty-five minutes of daylight (up north, it is about an hour shorter than that!).  By the time Yule arrives, the leaves will be off the trees; we may have had one to three skirmishes with snow; the weather man will be talking in terms of "wind chill;" I'll be setting out birdseed and suet; the toads will be gone; and the dew on the ground I see, today, will be frost. 

I always refer to this time of the year as "falling into the abyss" and it starts to feel that way, come mid-November.  But today and in the next few weeks, there is a sense of excitement and contentment at the cooler temperatures, low humidity, the sparkle in the dogs' romping happily in the yard, the smell of indoor cooking, and the opportunity to lounge on the patio to watch the sun rise and set.  It is my favorite form of worship. 

Oh heavens, I missed these sunrises while I was away on the East Coast.
Sometimes I feel a bit guilty about "wasting" so much time on my patio this time of year but remind myself that it won't be long before the weather drives us indoors.  In a matter of weeks, by the time the sun rises, the day's work will have long started and I'll be too busy to sit and glory in God's creation.

I think, overall, the perfect weather is a sunny day with a high in the low eighties and low in the fifties.  I wouldn't want that all the time because I love the changing of the seasons, but you just can't find a lot of fault with that particular weather forecast. 

Once the temperature begins dropping into the fifties at night, the leaves dropping from the trees won't be far behind.  And another rite of autumn are the attempts by vermin to move indoors.  We didn't see any mice in the house, last year, but I set out traps in the barn, yesterday, to nip that in the bud if the little varmints get any idea that they are welcome. 

Husband just came in from the barn and announced "no mice!"  Good. 

There is a bathroom and two sinks out in the barn that are currently un-useable because the water is shut off.  Unfortunately, the valve to turn on the water was nowhere to be found when we bought this place.  We figured - rightly as it turned out - that the original owner had marked it but since there are no gutters on the barn roof, dirt washed over in rains and hid the cut off valve.  The original owner has long passed away and no one remembered where the shut off valve was located. 

The ground had softened from some showers earlier in the day so I played in the mud by taking a shovel out to the pasture near the barn to dig until I found the shut off for the water.  And there it was, in the bottom of a bottomless bucket that was buried beneath the surface and had filled with dirt and mud.  The valve was about twenty inches down.   I found the pipe by water witching, taught to me by my father-in-law.  It really works!! 

The valve handle was rusted off and we decided that rather than try to turn it on with pliers, we'd have our plumber come out, repair/replace the valve and put in a professional cut off area.  We were afraid that we'd turn on the water and be unable to turn it off.  We know that at one point there was a water leak in the barn (they cut out part of the wall to replace part of the pipe) and the last thing we wanted was to find out that the pipe was leaking and we couldn't shut off the water.  Ron, the plumber, is coming out, next week.   I am afraid that once we get a bathroom out there, you won't see me in the house, anymore.  I also want to put in a refrigerator but those cost a lot to run and might not be worth it.  There is a heavy duty heater out there, too, but I may opt for oil heaters and just heat one or two rooms instead of all four, this winter.  I expect I will just use what is out there because it is well insulated and doesn't take long to heat.  I wish the windows were insulated, however.  I probably need to put in something to stop any drafts and may whip up some over the next few weeks. 

With the economy being the way it is, we are concerned that the federal debt is going to increasingly make our savings less valuable.  Because of that, we are trying to make longterm repairs and improvements on the property while our money is still worth something.  We've got a call in to get the roof on the barn replaced and plan to add gutters to it.  We are still waiting for the fencing guy to call us back and may need to find someone else.  We're also looking for some farmland/ranchland to sink some money in to protect our savings as best we can.

Photo of a barn window where I keep some of my longarm thread:
 Ms. Evelyn:
 Pasture, this morning:

We had a bit of drama, yesterday while I was out putting out mouse traps.  I left the girls in the yard and Pearlie started pitching a fit, a bit unusual for her.  I figured she was just unhappy that I was out in the barn and/or that I could just hear her better since I'd opened the windows to air it out.  But no.  When I came back to the house, she had "something" on her chest and was freaked out.  Apparently, the sticky, nasty flytrap that we hung on the patio fell off and attacked her.  That stuff is disgusting, not water soluble, and full of dead flies.  Ewwww.  I ended up having to cut away a lot of her coat in front.  See the whiter parts of her chest?  That is where the old fur was clipped away:
She is wet from the dew, this morning.

Yesterday while out shopping, I spend a few minutes (actually, more than a few) wandering through the [grand] baby aisle looking at baby clothes and dreaming. 

Good times...

Enough of this lounging around.  I have a quilt to work on. 

Happy Quilting, Penny, Evelyn and Pearl