Sunday, February 26, 2017

Spring cleaning with a vengeance!

This weekend Crys was talking about how she thinks she'd like to rearrange the house a bit. Somehow over the winter things kinda creeped in on us. So, since the poor woman is married to a crazy man, we dived in head first today and redid the whole front of the place. We did use our head as much as possible and pulled out the tape measure first. That helped out a bit. We still managed to move a few things around two or three times. The pic is what we did with the old purple chair. That chair is over 20 years old, it came from my old house on Stallo St. in Monte Vista. There were lots of memories in that chair, and the only way to purge the whole collection is what you see up there. There's something cathartic about setting something with all that sitting "investment" on fire.

So now the front half of the house is now a lot more open. We like it. The TV room is set up for 2 or 3 folks but we can easily add 2 or 3 more chairs for a nice conversation circle.

So come on over.

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Winter came back to visit this weekend.

Thursday night the wind howled, the cold came rushing back, and snow settled on everything in sight.

It continued into Friday. And on Friday evening, in a howling wind, with the driving snow as a backdrop, we settled into our barrel sauna for the evening. Each time we stepped outside to cool down a bit we trod upon freshly fallen snow. Clouds of steam billowed about us, the heat seeping from our bodies and the cold feeding greedily upon it .

When we retired for the evening, it was warm, cold, wet, fiery and happy. Today has been a good day as well. Still chilly all day, the cold has settled in for a few days. It was a whopping 6 degrees this morning. We did our hour and a half of yoga, had a friend come out to visit for a while, and now we're chilling with the finale of Game of Thrones. (Which we call Game of Patron's).

Life is good. Hope yours is too.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

It's a chilly late winter/ early spring

Today it was chilly and the wind came up and it started snowing.

It's spring in the valley. That usually means the wind blows until the snow melts off Mount Blanca. So last night the wind blew like a muddah, howling in the neighbors wind generators and our clothesline poles. It makes lots of cool noises and sometimes wakes us up.

Then at 4 AM it started snowing. It really only snowed an inch or so. Then it cleared out, and we swept the panels and the sun came out and the world turned all sparkly and beautiful.

This weekend maybe we'll have some folks over and hang out, drink a couple beers and chill out.

Life is good.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Getting ready for my Mini-Me's wedding

OK, I look nothing like the hot model guy......

But my Mini-Me (Brian) is getting married this October and Crys and I are going to go back and enjoy the festivities. We're doing some fun prep and using this as a bit of an excuse to do some nice things for ourselves. We're now into week 3 of P90X. We finished up P90 and started right into X. I've managed to lose and keep off about 22 pounds and Crys is doing amazing things to her form. It's pretty awesome to watch.

So this morning I bit the bullet and ordered the above package in the Wallace tartan. It's certainly a bit more than I spend on myself for things. This frees Crys up to do some fancy dress shopping. :D Like I said, it's pretty fun.

To help scare the mice outta your house, I'll post a pic when I get the full outfit.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

I take walks and sometimes there's a pic.

Today I took the first walk of the day up "D" mountain in Del Norte. On the topo maps they call it Lookout Mountain, sometimes I wonder how many Lookout Mountains there are in Colorado (and elsewhere). It's the one they put a giant star on at Christmas time. I was surprised at the top of the hike by a nice woman with very not nice dogs. One of them most definitely wanted to eat me whole. She remarked that he was a "funny" dog. I guess that's true, if funny means badly behaved because his mom is a dork that either can't train him or can't manage to carry a leash in a public park.

But I digress ....... it was a lovely walk, and a nice view from the top, a little windy, a bit chilly, and everything felt alive with the promise of Spring.

Saturday, February 11, 2017

The calm......

It's warm and just a little bit breezy outside this morning, last I checked it was in the 40's which is oddly warm for February. There are clouds surrounding home, but we're sitting in a lovely spot of sunshine. When I checked my SnowCast app, it says that by late tomorrow we'll get about 5" of new snow. That's so good, the mud was starting to dry up and it's just no fun if you can't slip and slide all the way to where ever it is you want to go.

We'll internet a bit this morning (doesn't take as long now that I've quit interacting with FaceBook), and then I have finish up work to do on my solar class (#1). Sometime today I hope to get out and re-seal the gaps around the sauna stove a bit better and change out the sauna stove rocks. Our new rocks and the new meters (temp and humidity) got here this week. That's about the last of the stuff we'll do to it other than fire it up and use it :D.

Thursday night we fired up the sauna and drank and played in it. That was fun. Yesterday was one of my Denver trip days for the union hall. It included a trip to the doc at 9:30 AM on the south end of the metro area, then the meeting at 1:30 PM. I got up at 3 AM to do my workout and drive up, man last night I was beat!

And on to the day.

Monday, February 6, 2017

Mud season, during the cold, grey, month of suck.

We're about at the end of a warm trend. Those happen here in the San Luis Valley from time to time throughout the winter. That cold white blanket of snow starts to melt off during an oddly warm week, while the ground beneath is too frozen solid to take in the moisture. The white turns into brown, slick, thick, gushy brown. You can't really call it dirt because during the sunny part of the day it acts more like a brown viscous river of cold lava, and when the sun goes down it turns to ice. It sticks to everything, there is simply no keeping it out of the house no matter how hard you try. You keep a pair of mud boots by the door to wear any time you step outside. You start out walking at 5' 10" tall and by the time you get where you're going you're 6' 2". Oh and your feet now weigh about 8,000 pounds. Don't try to scrape it off, it'll just stick to everything and when you try to fling it off it loops and smacks you in the chops.

The cold will be back tomorrow, and a little bit more snow over the next few days.

Good thing, otherwise we might run outta mud fuel.

Sunday, February 5, 2017

And the sauna project is finished!

Today was the last day of work on the sauna, except for wiping off the mud from moving it (I did that after this pic) it's all set with the exception of the new rock for the stove. That's on the way because I tried wire brushing the rust off the old rock to no avail. Today I built the trailer park sauna bench you see on the left. The frame was what our fancy wood splitter got shipped in . Crys said it was too good to throw out so I put it by the creek to make a table out of in the summertime. Last night, while I was sleeping, this assembly idea came into my head, so after one lesson on my solar power class from SEI and my workout..... I hauled all the crap over and started building. It only took five 8' 2X4's. Or as we like to call them: tubas. 64' filled the top, another 19" made the under boards to hold everything in place and I had about a foot of scrap each that will go in the burner for the sauna. Then a little belt sanding with 60 grit and a random orbit sanding with 120 and it was done.
That was when I noticed I needed about 2600 steps to hit my 10K so I wandered up the road a piece. As I walked down the lane I noticed the mud looked unsightly on the barrel, so I got a bucket and washed it off. And it's DONE! :D. Just as I was finishing I got called to work (85 miles away). I just got home, did chores, ran a bath and I'm in it with beer and a peanut butter sammich on dark rye. (Yes, mom, I have water too). Start to finish the sauna project took a week. I call that a success. Wonder what I'll get into tomorrow?

Saturday, February 4, 2017

The sauna is all but complete on the rebuild.

I worked on the sauna today. :D I do like working on stuff. This is a pic of the approximately 5 pounds of rust-flake I pulled out or the tray that sits atop the wood burner. After that I shop vacuumed the whole stove and, since I had it out, got rid of all the dust and spider webs that hid in the corners. I also added in a weather proof switch on the outside of the sauna to tun on the inside light. A funny aside, the guy I bought it from had never used the light. I wired it up and it worked. It had a 50 watt halogen bulb in it, that ain't gonna fly when you're on solar. I changed it to a 3 watt LED and it's just as bright. Go figure. So now all I have to do is replace the stove rock. The existing rock is really really fouled with rust, and I don't want my sweet Crys to have any crap going in her lungs, so, on Amazon I got 60 new pounds of rock with prime shipping. :D It's all coming together. I might not be able to effect a macro change in the U.S. but I can make things at home bearable until they get better. I love our life.

The Sauna, and the hilarity

Did a little more sauna work last night, will do a bit more today. I think I'm getting it figured out all right. Toward the end of a pretty long night I figured out the water/heat ratio for that thing. Of course there were the usual hilarious hiccups along the way. First I had to install the dampener in the first chunk of stove pipe. This was a little tricky. See, the dampeners are made for narrow walled pipes. The pipe on the sauna is a piece of Selkirk insulated pipe, so it can be 2" from combustibles and everything is fine. Interior diameter of the pipe is 6", exterior diameter of the pipe is 8". The usual rods that come with dampeners aren't long enough on the 6" piece. So I'm hunting around Big-R and I discover they have both 6" and 8" dampeners. I bought one of each, took the rod out of the 8" and put it in the 6". Of course then when I walked out to the work truck 7 of the 10 studs on the left rear duals are snapped off (probably from the deep snow last Thursday that I got stuck in). The mechanics sent the hook and brought me another truck. Then I'm home putting the dampener in. Pinched the living crap outta my thumb when it finally drove home through the hole I drilled for it. Ouchy. Got it all back together and noticed that I had no idea which way the rotation on the lever lined up with the actual dampener. Had to pull it all back apart to figure that out.
Loaded the firebox on the sauna and started it up. Put a new plug on the light inside so it was safer. (I also got a weather proof switch to add on later. Perhaps today. Then I did my other chores: firewood for the house; lighting the wood stove; bringing in the mail; closing up the chickens for the night; closing up the house. After all that I hauled some more wood over to burn in the sauna and loaded the water into the stove top tub and the water jacket. This is when I learned that: a) I have to clean out the rock tub today and b) the two receptacles are separate. Point taken for later. It's getting cold and dark by now. So I worked on stuff in the house for a while to let the sauna heat up, stocking the fire box from time to time.
I also started drinking some of the beers I got to celebrate, once again, not dying in a flaming wreck because I managed to avoid having the wheels fall off the trouble truck.
Flash forward a few hours, I've put chairs on the little deck I built to keep us out of the mud on the sauna, and I'm into at least 3 of those delicious micro brews. I got a bit hot in the sauna, so I went outside to sit in the chairs on my fancy new deck. Whoops! I missed putting one of the chair legs ON the deck, so over I go backwards, feet windmilling in the air trying to run UP and now fall onto my ass in the sticker bushes. I managed partly. Then my legs are all scratched up, my feet have thorns in 'em and I just barely managed to not drop my balls directly into the gooseberry bush. Thank goodness for small favors.
I limp into the house, and pull out all the thorns I can after I wipe the blood off the sauna. Grrrrr. BUT, I have more beers left, the sauna is still hot and the rending doesn't hurt so much now. I go back out. By this time the heat has finally boiled off all the liquid in the stove top tub. I throw a little water onto the rocks, the temp climbs, the steam hits, it's lovely. Lesson # 3 learned for the night.
Today I'll clean out the rock tub on top, clean out the firebox, perhaps put up the weather proof switch for the light. And I'll try to not fall into the damned bushes again.