27 July 2015

Chim-chim charoo

Up on the roof today, sweeping out the chimney; that would be a first for me!  My main goal was to reattach the zinc flashing on the roof-line that was removed by a few wind gusts last week, but once I started why not sweep off moss, clear out gutters and check the wood stove from the top?

Another heat wave is imminent: prepare for the plunge!  Temps in the 90s for Wed-Sun, give or take a degree.  Ugh.

24 July 2015

deferred-yardwork time

After a few extended heat spells I was able to get back into the yard and tidy up.  The heat has scorched the grass and sun-facing plants, but shaded areas are lush and happy.  That includes the hydrangeae and lilies that sit against the north slope by our driveway.  The lilies are between blooms for the most part but a bouquet of the former for our table was effortless!

A quick mowing of the upper yard was useful as well.  Right against the house the grass is green and about 4" tall, while the rest of the lawn is toasty brown and gone to seed (except for the dandelion of course).  All the loud mowing probably scattered the kittens for a while, but after it was over I saw that they had settled back into place.

Just to prove to me how powerful the mower is, I utterly demolished a 7up can that the occasional winds must have blown partway down the driveway.  I didn't see it until I heard it, and the mower didn't even wind down as it pulverized the thin aluminum.  Glad no spare fragments came my way!!

A bit of fine tuning followed with string trimmer and pruning shears.  Many of our rhododendri are creepers, choosing to grow low rather than stand up tall. That seems curious as many of them are under fir and maple trees, where they often get gangly in an attempt to peek through the gaps. (Those exposed to the wind I deem as lost causes for forcing them tall, so they were left alone.)  I encouraged some verticality with the shears by removing the most egregious creepers; we'll see where that leads but it felt good!

07 July 2015

kitten updates

Mama and kittens remain nearby, and are getting more familiar with us.  Voyeuristic viewing suggests that the twins are both girls and the all-black is a boy overwhelmed with girl attention!  Clyde is therefore Sue (a la Ms. Pac-Man), and Inky has been dubbed Brave Sir Robin* .  Sue is still the most curious, often attending me to the garage door as I get out the cat food; Pinky hangs back a bit and Sir Robin the Brave is loitering anxiously near the exit :~)

Clearly they've adapted to the spa noise and the presence of a nice chair!

mama Pinky and Sue, the matched set.  Sir Robin = Sir Not Appearing in This Image (behind the others)

* "when danger reared its ugly head, he bravely turned his tail and fled" (from the Holy Grail movie)

domestic battles

I've been fighting on two fronts recently.  It's a stalemate that has seen me lose some ground.. but confidence is high that both tides will soon be turned!

home depot / glacier bay
First up was the primary bathroom's toilet.  It's clearly an original fixture here.  It has failed to properly flush for a few weeks now, and we decided that replacement is a fine idea.  Lórien wanted a black one since the room will have an Asian theme soon, so we found a good deal that is shipping its way to town.  Since the other bathroom works fine it's not a whole-system issue, so hopefully this will progress swiftly once I have the proper weapons available (plungers and snakes having failed to assist).

similar to this but not quite
Battle #2 is the new ceiling fan.  First I needed the right supports, then a few tools went missing.  At last the beast is in place -- but it doesn't work.  I wired in a remote as I went along, so it has one too many failure points; disassembling to the wiring and leaving that out will help us see where the issues lie.  After the fan&lamp are working with pull chains we shall move on to the remote business.  The heat wave is nearly over so I'll have less heat - but of course that was the ideal time for the fan to be functional..

Update - As of mid-July both battles are won.  Hooray?  I confess the fan battle was only half-won, as I could not get the remote-control apparatus to work.  I may try again some day, but perhaps I should take it back in case of defects; trying and failing again won't do anyone any good if it won't work for anyone.

05 July 2015

small-town July 4th

Lórien had often lamented the loss of small-town celebrations on the Fourth.  Parades, festival atmosphere - and pyrotechnics in many small bursts rather than a continuous overload.   She got most of that this year!

Unfortunately it was a really hot day, and pain kept us from the festival during the heat of the day - but we did manage to find a spot by Lake Sacagawea before the 10PM fireworks, and it was great fun.  We had several families around us, including a child who followed every big light display with "is it over now?" - not sure if he was disappointed, eager to go home to launch his own, or something else!  It was funny though, and the parents were very patient with their explanations as the next flash lit the sky.  And once it ended we were out and home within about a half hour.


We once visited the Vancouver WA show and it takes forever to return to Portland; also that year I lost my prescription glasses then lost a hat while returning the next day in search of the glasses!  The next time was also expensive, as we were rear-ended by a drink-hit-run driver after choosing to stay on the Portland side to make the home trip easier.

Nice to leave those memories behind!