Sunday, December 28, 2014

So we bit the bullet and got a new car. It's my first new car in 20 years and Crys' first new car ever. :D It's a Nissan Versa. It's about the least expensive new car you can get but we wanted a new one since retirement isn't that far off and we'd like to do a bit of traveling. We got it at Economy Nissan in Durango. They were straight forward to deal with and never tried to game us.

So now we have a new car. It's odd after so many years of driving old junkers. :D We'll put the 1988 Honda wagon on the block and keep driving the 1990 Honda. The '90 is in really good shape and is pretty darned reliable, plus it gets about 40 MPG (like the new car) so it makes no sense to part with that fine auto.

This spring we've planned a nice long trip up through Canada to Maine, then down through Maryland and back through Oklahoma to see our wide spread family.

But for now we're just celebrating.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Bonus day

Today was supposed to be a work day. A nice fat double time work day. I was headed up the 75 mile drive to Salida, CO to build powerlines at 6 AM. At 6:30 the foreman from up there, Clint, called to let me know that because of the snow we couldn't work on the highway due to CDOT restrictions on the job.

My response was, "Oh? I have to turn around, get 2 hours of double-time for nothing and go crawl back into bed with a hottie?" His reply was that he was feeling the same thing :D. We spent 10 hours beating poles into the colichi the day before. That's spelled wrong but it's what we call the combo of dirt and big donies (rocks) you gotta backhoe through to set poles. I'm sure some of my co-workers are all bummed about it. Why am I not?

I'm 54 years old and I've been doing powerline work since I was 18. I've been through a goodly bit of difficulties in my life and when the world grants me a "bonus day" like today? I smile, thank my goodness, and enjoy it for all it's worth. At this age? I feel good, my mind works as well as it ever did, and I'm settled into a happy home with a delightful partner and even pets that bring me joy. As they say, no one ever wished they'd worked more when on their death-bed. I'm (hopefully) no where near my death bed for some time to come, so this is the time to enjoy the life and love I've got.

We've spent the day decorating for the holiday, attempting to make ice cream in a new appliance (dubious success) and chilling out at home. At the moment we're sampling a sugar maple porter beer that we made not long ago. The wood stove is going merrily, we even have a couple windows open just a bit to keep it temperate. The big outside winter projects are done, family is coming for the holiday and life is good.

Hope yours is too.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

End of my long break.

I'm watching a beautiful orange sunset on the last unstructured day of my nice long fall vacation. I'm reminded of just how very lucky I am to get to even have time off. Many of my friends don't get that. 

I'm calling this one: the long fall vacation filled with invisible projects. That's because I spent the better part of a week trenching in underground secondary wire to serve various projects that we want to accomplish over time around here. A good trench job looks like you were never there when you get it done, hence: invisible. It's great to get it done. We've had a really dry fall, and pretty warm. Most years it would have been impossible to do anything like this in late November/early December. But it's done. 

It's much the same thing with yesterday's gutter prep project. We're having a local fella put up seamless gutters. Wouldn't you know it? Our soffit board was rotted for 40' on one side. SO for a day I took off all the metal, replaced the bad board and put the metal back up. When I was done? It looked exactly the same as it did before I started. OK, perhaps a little bit more straight and tight, but to nearly everyone that sees it? Exactly the same. 

It was the same with the battery maintenance I did. Being off grid means that a few times a year you open up the giant battery box filled with thousands of bucks worth of flooded lead-acid batteries and top up the distilled water in them. It's kinda tedious and not much fun but now I don't have to worry for the rest of the cold-to-come part of the winter. 

Now my invisible projects are done. The batteries are maintained, the soffits are ready for the gutter man, and I can finish the above ground part of my wiring project a few minutes at a time, at my leisure. 

You really can't put a price on that. 

Along the way? I kept the house clean, took care of our chickens, alpaca and llamas, and cooked a good bit. We made a trip to La Junta in there, I went to Denver for an E-board meeting with the hall, and stayed up all night to get some Stranahan's limited edition Snowflake, Mt. Bierstadt whiskey. 

I go back to work on Thursday. Tomorrow we run to Pueblo. I gotta see a doc and we'll look at some cars (we're about to get a new one before I retire) and perhaps we'll get to do some holiday shopping. It'll be a nice end to a long respite from work. 

I wish everyone got the same thing. 

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Power to the chickens!

For the last 3 days I've been working on a little wiring project. It involves running a couple different sizes of underground secondary a total of 400 feet. It comes outta the house, under the foundation, then heads both south and west. South is to a plug for the Christmas tree, one for the tractor and then it heads through the pound yard into the chicken coop. To the west it feeds Crys* 5th wheel fiber studio and then on to a duplex RV plug. 

I borrowed a trencher. Never borrow a trencher. Rent one. Rent a good one. 

Monday and Tuesday I spent all day trenching. I finished up the initial digging Tuesday night about 5:30. Today I returned the lovely trencher, got some material and started making up and back filling. This was an early day, I finished up around 4 PM. Tomorrow I'll work on getting the power out the the chickens so we can quit using an inadequate set of extension cords to keep the waterer thawed. 

Man, I was totally beat Monday and Tuesday night. Yesterday afternoon while I was hauling out a boulder with a digging bar I fell and just laid there for a while convincing myself that it was worth getting up and getting back to it. :D I must be getting old. 

The good news is that now that is done. There are plenty of horsing the trencher stories, but for now I think I'll just enjoy this beer I have opened to celebrate.