For several weeks, we had this mess in our front yard:
When we had our natural gas fireplace/heater installed, we said goodbye to the hulking oil furnace formerly occupying about 12 precious square feet out of the total 840 in our little house. We also said goodbye to the underground oil tank in our front yard. It was hardly noticeable from the surface, but legally we had to decommission it since we weren’t using it anymore.
Unfortunately, upon removal of the tank, it was discovered that some heating oil had leaked out into the soil. The contractors had to come back later and dig an even bigger hole to get rid of the soil with the highest level of contamination. While doing that, the main water line to our house was hit with some piece of digging equipment and dented. It might not have been a problem, but we insisted it be fixed by a plumber while the ground was still open. That ended up taking a while to coordinate. When the plumber finally came, he said he wouldn’t do the work until the contractor filled up the hole most of the way up to where the water line was. I guess he didn’t want to get in and out of a 6-foot hole. So the contractors came back again.
They put in some perforated PVC pipes in the bottom of the hole with a vertical PVC pipe sticking up. Later, they would pump some bioremediation solution into that pipe, I think three different times over the course of about two months.
The yellow pipe you see is our natural gas line. Fortunately that was not damaged during the digging. They did know about the water pipe and the natural gas pipe before work began. Once the PVC pipes were in place, they started filling up the hole with gravel. And check out how they got the gravel into the hole - by launching it off the end of a conveyor belt from a truck parked on the street. I took some video of this process.
After that, the plumber came back and fixed the pipe, and later the same day the contractor returned the fill in the top foot or so with clean soil. Yay!
It still doesn’t look great, I mean it’s a large area of bare dirt in our yard. But the fact that it is level with the rest of the ground and lacks orange fencing, plastic sheeting, and plywood is such a huge improvement that it looks gorgeous to us.
Our living room was kinda dark in the corner where our new corner sofa lives.
We bought this lamp from Ikea because we liked it, it would require no wiring to install, and the price was right at $5 for the Regolit shade and $4 for the Hemma cord. It was easy to put together, and I hung it from a hook that was already in the ceiling. We’ve left that hook there because it seems to be supported from above by some bracket, and we never felt like going into the attic to deal with it. Throw in a CFL bulb we already had, and it was ready to go. The only problem is that the $4 Hemma cord doesn’t have a switch. That means you either have to plug it in to an outlet that is controlled by a wall switch, or if you’re not lucky enough to have such an outlet, you just have to plug it in every time you want to turn it on and unplug it every time you want to turn it off. That is not convenient. Matt attempted to rectify that situation by plugging the cord into a timer, but I can’t be held to a schedule when it comes to lighting.
Matt was hitting Home Depot for some lumber for his mantel project, and I asked him to pick me up a switch. When he got home with this
I was excited, but Matt complained that at almost $4, the switch had increased the cost of the light fixture by almost 50%. It was worth it though. I spliced it into the Hemma cord according to the directions. It was about the easiest wiring job I’ve met so far, though not the quickest. I wrapped some white electric tape around the neutral wire to make up for having just slightly nicked its insulation when I removed the outer insulation from the cord using a utility knife.
Once the screws were tight and secure, I put the cover on the switch. Now the light is hanging again and plugged in, the switch works perfectly, and I am very pleased with this mini electrical project. The convenience is well worth the extra $4 and a little bit of my time.
Still not quite sure? Thinking perhaps I am into taking profile pictures of myself for no apparent reason? And that I might need to hit the gym? Those might both be true. But also, there is this:
And in case you still can’t see it, here’s some help.
Yes it’s true, we are having a baby! The first photo is a few weeks old; my belly is a little rounder these days. The ultrasound is from week 12. Currently I am at 17 weeks.
I was initially a little reluctant to share this news with the internet, but I am feeling good about it since all the tests have come back with excellent results. Also for a while I was tired and nauseous for large parts of the day, so it was all I could do to get through my daily routine. I wasn’t really doing any projects, so I didn’t have anything to blog about, not that I had the energy to do that either.
For the past several weeks, I’ve been feeling back to normal. In fact, I’ve accomplished quite a lot in a short period of time. We completed our series of four dog training classes and practiced at home in between. I did some electrical work. We did a lot of research and planning for a trip (our last big vacation with just the two of us until who knows when). And for some reason we also had a lot of social and other engagements (Thanksgiving long weekend with family, house guests, party, babysitting, garden meetings). Whew! It feels great to, well, not feel like crap all the time and actually get things done. I don’t know how long it will last, but I’ll take advantage of it for now.
Hunter's Car Camp: The Little Things I'm Grateful For.
It’s been a busy fall and this past week I’ve been getting going on some new projects around the house that should give me some fuel for the ol’ blog (if I ever actually blogged :-) ). Today though I just want to reminisce on the autumn that was; this is the time of year when I feel like I’ve come down from the mountain top. In some cases I have come down from an actual mountain top but metaphorically I’m on the mountain top just about anytime I’m out chasing elk in the wilderness/woods. And I don’t mean to come across like I’m all depressed about “coming down” (which Kelly might dispute when I come back to reality from some trips) cause I’m very thankful to have a warm bed, wife, and dogs. Anyway, here are some things (from the above photo) I’m grateful for when I’m out in the woods.
In no particular order:
Subaru—gets me where I need to go with all the gear Evan (my bud) and I need.
Boxes and containers—anything that can hold all your treasures, help ya take them with you, and keep them dry is pretty damn awesome.
MSR Whisperlite Stove—had it since I was probably 14. Practically zero maintenance, small, cheap fuel, and gets the job done. It’s behind the scrap of plywood that I brought for firewood but re-purposed for a heat shield/wind-shield.
Black Velvet Whiskey
Dr. Bonner’s soap
Roll up picnic table
Beer (thanks Evan for the Ranger IPA cans!)
Cutlery (a mix of disposable and light-weight reusable ones is optimal)
Cast iron pan
Wheat thins but the non-Nabisco kind!
Space blankets (yeah, I forgot my sleepingbag on this particular trip). Thankfully I had a polar fleece blanket, a heavy duty space blanket, and a tiny one. I have to write a whole post about this because while I wasn’t livin’ it up, I also wasn’t freezing to death. If I was going to potentially freeze to death without a good shelter, let me tell you, I sure hope I learned that I’m going to fight dying with one hell of a space blanket—and not a skimpy one!
Mouth guard— dude, dentists, wherever you are, bless you. I’m freakin’ thankful for having a dentist. Not that I have major problems but that’s because I have a dentist. This so reminds me of El Feo (Eli Wallach, the middle dude in the picture below) from The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly when he takes the casing of a bullet and uses it to cap a bum tooth. How awesome would that be.
I think that’s about all. Count your blessings. And dang, I look at this list and I have to say I’m super blessed to have my Dad. Practically speaking he gave me practically all of this gear (not to mention an affinity for Canadian Whiskey) and more so took the time to get me outside. Good man that father of mine.