Fun Guys searching for fungi…

IMG_0188When a friend offered us access to their ‘secret spot’ in exchange for company, we just had to go mushroom hunting.

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A Boy’s Birthday

IMG_0153This weekend we were scheduled to celebrate my son’s birthday. In lieu of a mini-trip, he elected for me to host a paintball party for him & friends. I got more than I bargained for…. the story to follow.

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Repair Weekend

This weekend, I tackle several machines that needed repair.

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Kitchen Remodeling & Wind Damage

IMG_0802Today I relate recent happenings from a wind storm, before detailing my adventures in updating my kitchen.

Last weekend’s story is brief. A wind storm came through and blew over 2 of my 3-stalked Juniper tree. The winds had laid it low, on top the side walk while I slept, but spared the dead birch, and the giant Spruce. The city had cut a path through it by the time I got home from work Friday, leaving the serious cleanup for Saturday. IMG_0815

I started on the dead birch that had been taunting me since I bought the house. Then my son and I filled, compacted, and stacked 3 loads in the pickup, ending on Sunday when we played hooky from church. Yep, that’s pretty much it! No damage other than a tree I was interested in removing anyway. I still have some work left to do, but it’s no longer an eyesore.

THIS weekend, was a whole other matter. It was my one weekend without kids. I took Friday off to attend a funeral and (with Valentine’s on Saturday and President’s Day on Monday) rarely would there be a more productive opportunity for home improvement!

IMG_0813The project that had been teasing me was the kitchen. It’s arrangement and usability was awful. While I couldn’t yet afford to give it the proper makeover it deserved, I had come up with a rudimentary solution, and acquired all the supplies needed. Now was the time to act, but there was one complication. I had plans to cook a nice meal for a someone on Saturday…

Determined, I started my work Friday afternoon, relocating the 240V stove receptacle from its current location (between a doorway and the pantry, see above) to a wall by the window, opposite the sink. Fortunately, my whole kitchen is above the cellar, which I can easily access to run wire. The range was relocated in time to make myself breakfast in the morning.IMG_0816

Saturday, I continued with the goal of placing the refrigerator in the range’s old location. There was no power there any longer, so I had to run that too. Drilling a hole near a stud, I found a thick crust of paint, over drywall, over multiple layers of wallpaper and cloth that was tacked to rough-cut lumber siding. Ah, old houses, so much character…

The single-gang box I had laying around was a nail-to-stud style used for new/open framing, so I had to make a run to the hardware store. Here, I got into a bit of trouble. I planned to pickup a simple box for my new outlet, and a small section of wire, but I ended up getting that Dewalt 18v impact driver I’ve been wanting. It was on sale for $90, including extra battery and charger. With a tax refund on the way, I couldn’t resist!

IMG_0860I took this opportunity to place my fridge on the same new circuit that I ran for my basement and office, which runs my internet modem & freezer. I installed a junction box at the split, hoping to some day have a bypass switch for alternate/backup power sources. With both appliances swapped, I was able to clean up and make a nice dinner on time.

Sunday I went to church, sang, attended the potluck, etc. I came home with a little over an hour to spare before attending a dinner event, so I worked on laundry. At dinner, I had some great fellowship time, but didn’t get home to nearly 11pm, so I made no progress on my ‘day of rest.’IMG_0863

Monday was a holiday for me, so I had a leisurely start before tackling the last phase, the counter. In my garage was stored an 8-ft chunk of cheap laminate countertop from Home Depot. I had taken me 6 months to get around to this project, and I was anxious to see it completed.

IMG_0872I took measurements and decided to set the height at 37”, while a little high, this would allow my portable dishwasher to slide underneath it. I carefully cut my segments outside on the saw horses with my circular saw. (Some day, my shop will have electricity, and a table saw in it, but for now this worked okay.)

Things had been going well up to this point, so naturally, it was time to learn a lesson! When I IMG_0873measured the desired width of countertop, I did so at the wall, seeing how much space there was to either side of the stove. What I didn’t consider was that the corner may not actually be square. Being a 100+ year old house, the wall deviated a whole inch over the depth of the counter. With the nice straight cuts I made, the counter could line up with either the back wall or the side, but not both. Argh…

IMG_0881If I had known, I would have cut at a different angle, but it was too late for that. Not having enough counter top to cut a new section, I resolved to trim a wedge off one side, to make the front an inch wider than the back. I succeeded, and now it meets both walls snugly.

I attached and supported the two sections with crude 2×4’s at 45 degree angles and along each wall. It is simple & ugly, but effective. The goal is not doing things too well, as I would never be motivated to properly upgrade. Finally, I replaced the existing 2-prong receptacle, and called it a day.

Hope you enjoyed this project, I know I will!

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Sled Dog Race

IMG_0785I was able to join my friend (albeit briefly) volunteering for our local sled dog race, the Eagle Cap Extreme (ECX). I had a hard time believing that participation (for volunteers) would be that rewarding. I’ve never been so glad to be wrong!

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Our White Christmas

IMG_0549This post is the last I need to catch everyone up on my winter shenanigans.

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Of Family Games

IMG_0293Today I discuss games. Not the political or dramatic sort, but the practice of spending time with loved ones. We play a lot of games in my home, so I thought I’d review some new additions we got for Christmas.

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Gingerbread & Sleigh Rides

IMG_0470Our much-anticipated day of festivities was not without it’s hiccups…

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Festive Ferrocerium

This year, I wanted to make something for the kids, something they could use and remember for many years to come. I settled on a project using a lesser-known metal called ferrocerium.

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Texas Trip

IMG_0018It’s been about 5 years since my younger brother moved to Texas and (though he’s come to visit us) I’ve never had a chance to visit. Starting this year, I have a little more vacation time, so we decided to make that happen…

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