September 2018

tue sep 4
We drink premium coffee. Fresh ground, French pressed coffee, and the first cup or 2 is always really good. This morning, I got up, and the grinder was empty, and so was the bag of beans. We were out of coffee!! In the back of the coffee drawer, there was an open bag of pre-ground Trader Joe’s coffee that Ella gave us for Christmas a few years ago, so I made a pot of coffee out if it.
It was wince-worthy.
We eat premium bread, too. Local artisan wood-fired loaves made with flour stone-ground by the baker himself. (At least I do. Mary eats store-bought frozen gluten-free crap because gluten doesn’t like her.) This morning, I got up, and I was down to a heel of stale (artisan!) bread. And Mary was down to a frozen heel too. I made our morning toast out of them, and the toaster burned them both.

September is off to a tasty start.

September is off to a tasty start.

wed sep 5
Since my new processor has a lot of fancy wireless bells and whistles, I decided to read the instructions. They say it “talks to my phone.”  This is one of those things where I understand how it works, but not really what it’s good for. It turns out my phone can do all kinds of things I don’t do with it. Like Music.
I stopped listening to music in the 80’s, when I couldn’t hear Jethro Tull’s flute any more. For all the good my many previous processors have done for me, they’ve all sucked at music.
But now I have Bluetooth, though. Now I can stream stuff straight from my phone, and background noise and wads of knotted patch cords are a thing of the past. In theory, anyway.
So I googled Music, I downloaded Pandora, and I started listening to Instrumentals.
Whoa!
I can sort of see, now, why music is such a big deal in the world. It’s very cool.
This afternoon, I took my lunch and my phone out on the porch and ate lunch and streamed music and, when my lunch was gone, I just sat there and listened to more music and stared off into space. It was a little like being on drugs, and I’m not really sure it ought to be legal.

thu sep 6
I finished the deck railing. Some of my welds are less than perfect, but what do you expect from an amateur with a MIG on a ladder, above my head, vertical, in a stiff wind, on rusty re-bar? I really like how it turned out, though. Too bad I really didn’t need another deck!

Mating the spiral handrail to the new railing looks like I planned it that way. I didn't.

Mating the spiral handrail to the new railing looks like I planned it that way.
I didn’t.

The long North edge could have been simple and ugly, but I broke it up with a variation on the theme.

The long North edge could have been simple and ugly, but I broke it up with a variation on the theme.

Bone-headed brain fart of the month: I forgot to install the bottom rail before welding the top rails in place, and ended up having to cut it twice and then weld it back together in-place.  Not thinking straight!

Bone-headed brain fart of the month:
I forgot to install the bottom rail before welding the top rails in place, and ended up having to cut it twice and then weld it back together in-place.
Not thinking straight!

sat sep 8
I decided not to cider this year. Yes, it’s a verb.
And then I changed my mind. It just seemed like such a shame.
The only thing that’s ready for cidering this year is the apples. It’s either pick them now, or pick them never, so I picked them. With a ten foot wooden stepladder on uneven ground full of high weeds. There has to be a better way.
What I’ll end up doing with the apples is anybody’s guess, at this point, because all my cidering equipment is either broken, dirty, or missing, and I’ve got no bottles anyway.
Maybe I’ll make cider. Maybe I’ll make Devin’s pigs very happy. Maybe both!

Just six trees had apples on them this year, and these four ranged from perfectly ripe to almost ripe to 'probably should have waited'.

Just six trees had apples on them this year, and these four ranged from ‘perfectly ripe’ to ‘about ripe’ to ‘probably should have waited’. The other two trees: I’m going to wait.

mon sep 10
I went to have my car inspected this morning and found, at the last minute, that my insurance card was expired. I managed to pull one up on my phone and email it to the mechanic, but I failed the inspection anyway. Something about brakes and exhaust. It’s always something.

I pressed 10 gallons of cider today. My grinder works great, but my press is ungainly, physically hard to operate, and slow.  There has to be a better way.

I pressed 10 gallons of cider today. My grinder works great, but my press is ungainly, physically hard to operate, and slow. There has to be a better way.

I saved my pressed apples in garbage bags and gave them to Mary to give to Devin to give to his pigs. They were very happy.

One improvement was to sew a liner for the press that's shaped like the press. My sewing skills are rusty, but eventually, I got it right.

One improvement was to sew a liner for the press that’s … shaped like the press. My sewing skills are rusty, but eventually, I got it right.

Mary wore a shirt at dinner that she wanted to wear to work tomorrow, but she drooled butter onto a prominent spot. While putting it in the wash, she noticed that she’d had it on backwards all day long, so she can still wear it tomorrow after all, as long as she puts it on forwards. Sometimes, two wrongs make a right.

wed sep 12
Bad things happen on 9/11.
There was 9/11, of course, back in ’01.
Then there was cutting off my finger, last year.
And yesterday, Lisa died. ‘All of a sudden’ would only be half right, given that she’s been in chemo for almost 3 years, but she was hearty enough to party on monday, and nobody thought tuesday was going to be it.
Mary came home unexpectedly, and we left immediately, but nope. Too late. Nothing but tears and talk and food and a long drive home.
I liked Lisa.

My string trimmer died too.
I used it in the spring, hung it up, and ‘lost interest’ in tall weeds for a few months.
I couldn’t get it started, and I cleaned the carburetor and checked the spark to no avail.
I brought it to TJ’s for service at 11, and he had it running before lunch. The problem was a blocked exhaust port, he said. $20.
I picked it up, brought it home, and tried to start it, to no avail. I’m starting to think maybe the weeds aren’t hurting anything by standing there, minding there own business.

thu sep 13
I fixed my god damned string trimmer myself. Took it apart, put it back together, and fired it up.
Jeez.

I picked two more trees worth of apples today. A Russet and a Crab, both trees are way taller than my ladder.  Being on the ladder in the thick of the branches, I worried about my brand new processor falling off, so I took it off and left it near the bucket. I finished picking the one tree and hauled all my shit to the next tree, 500′ away, and then realized my processor was nowhere to be found. I retraced my steps – over and over – and couldn’t find it, chewing myself out the whole time. I finally found it buried in the box of apples.
God only knows how it got there. Thank God it did.

See it?

See it?

wed sep 19

There was a family cookout for Lisa's family.  OK, so maybe not all kids have their noses buried in their iPhones.

There was a clan cookout for Lisa’s family.
OK, so maybe not all kids have their noses buried in their iPhones.

Cider science: If you plot the juices' sugar vs acidity, you'd think the one on the left would be really bland.  It is.

Cider science:
If you plot the juices’ sugar vs acidity, you’d think the one on the left would be really bland.
It really is.

I went to an auction yesterday. It was more of a consignment event than an estate sale, so a sense of context was missing, but there were plenty of goodies that were going, going, gone!
My big prize was a rolling hydraulic lift for motorcycles.

For $25, I snared this unusual two-handed micrometer. I'm not saying I'll ever need to simultaneously measure in inches and centimeters, but if I do, I'll be ready.

For $25, I snared this unusual two-handed micrometer. I’m not saying I’ve ever needed to simultaneously measure in inches and millimeters, but if I ever do, I’ll be ready.

wed sep 26

I hit the jackpot at the grocery store.  My favorite cookies were labelled as $0.00, and there was no UPC code, so they gave them to me. Woo Hoo!

I hit the jackpot at the grocery store.
My favorite cookies were labelled as $0.00, and there was no UPC code, so they gave them to me free. Woo Hoo!

So far, Mary's canned 70-odd pounds of tomatoes from the garden, and there are more to come.  We kind of hope a frost will kill the rest of them before standing at the stove kills Mary.

So far, Mary’s canned 70-odd pounds of tomatoes from the garden, and there are more to come.
We kind of hope a frost will kill the rest of them before standing at the stove kills Mary.

I've been brazing anchors onto the stainless steel cables for the deck railing. You can buy ready-made assemblies, but they 'show' and they cost anywhere from $5 to $45 each, and I need 45 of them.

I’ve been brazing anchors onto the stainless steel cables for the deck railing. You can buy ready-made assemblies, but they ‘show’ and they cost anywhere from $5 to $45 each, and I need 45 of them. 5/16″ bolts cost 23 cents each.

We went bowling to celebrate Suri's 11th birthday. Here, Mary rolls (yet) another gutter-ball en route to a 54.  My first roll was a strike, but it was all downhill from there, and I got a 91. Even Suri did better than that.

We went bowling to celebrate Suri’s 11th birthday.
Here, Mary rolls (yet) another gutter-ball en route to a 54.
My first roll was a strike, but it was all downhill from there, and I got a 91. Even Suri did better than that.

At Suri’s party, she opened some cards and gifts, and one of the cards said something to the effect of “You’re #1.”
When she read it aloud to everyone, it came out as “You’re hashtag 1”
Then, the next day, I loaded up the truck and went to the dump. I gave the attendant a post-it note enumerating what I was dropping off, including “50# of scrap metal”.
The guy looked at it, frowned, and said “What does it mean ‘fifty number of metal?'”

sat sep 29

My summer project turned out great. The cable railings look good, don't obstruct the view, and were dirt cheap.

My summer project turned out great. The cable railings look good, don’t obstruct the view, and were dirt cheap.

There’s a retired veterinarian who lives across the street, and she has a collection of large animals on a beautiful property. Her horse Moses was 30 years old and sick, and they had to put him down today. I guess word has gotten around that I do a pretty good job of burying dead horses, and when Mary got the call, I dropped everything and dug my third horse-sized hole.

It was a beautiful day for digging a huge hole and filling it up.  I put Moses on the bottom and a bunch of daffodils on the top. R.I.P.

It was a beautiful day for digging a huge hole and filling it up.
I put Moses on the bottom and a bunch of daffodils on the top. R.I.P.

sun sep 30
It’s fall, and Stowe is hopping with tourists and things for tourists to do. The Stoweflake resort was hosting a Pumpkin Chucking contest, and we decided to go.
Pumpkin chucking is done with a trebuchet, which is a gravity-powered catapult, and there were about a dozen entries, ranging from the local brownie troop to serious hobbyists. The heavyweight division rules say your trebuchet can be up to 10′ tall and weigh up to 500#, and launches a 5# pumpkin. Whoever throws their pumpkin farthest wins. It was pretty entertaining. Not only were there plenty of impressive throws, but about a third of the attempts were misfires, where the pumpkin went straight up (or straight down). One launched a gourd straight backwards and almost took out one of the food vendors. One trebuchet broke in half, one fell over, and a few just plain failed to launch.
They clear out a corridor thru the onlookers directly behind the machine so nobody will get hurt in case of a malfunction, and I was watching from the edge of the safety zone when they misfired in a high arc straight up and slightly backward — and was going to land 5′ to my left! Rather than duck and run, I moved in for a 1-handed catch, stretched out, and got my hands on the gourd as it fell. It slipped thru the space where my finger is missing and hit the ground. Foul ball!

The one in the foreground was an innovative design that launched a gourd 700', past the fence and into the bushes. Home run!

The one in the foreground was an innovative design that launched a gourd 700′, past the fence and into the bushes. Home run!

My shop is a dirty place, and whenever I clean a part for my motorcycles or make one for my robot, it gets gritty and this causes problems with reassembly. You’ll recall that I bought a parts cleaning tub for $30 at an auction in July, and I added a re-circulating pump and a filter, so now, no matter how much crud collects in the basin, I’ve got a constant flow of clean fluid to wash my parts with.

Now all I need is some dirty metal parts.

Now all I need is some dirty metal parts.

I like to claim that I “learned a lot” from building a shoulder joint for the c3pr prototype. In plain English, though, the truth is that it didn’t work for shit. It was just a bad-ass, clunky design, and I’ve got nobody to blame but myself. So I’ve made a good start on Version 2.0.

This time, I'm serious!

This time, I’m serious!

2 Responses to September 2018

  1. Wendy says:

    Reid, your deck project looks great! If Mary has any ‘extra’ canned tomatoes, we’ll take that over your cider any day. Quit taking off your processor!

  2. Bob Flagg says:

    Hello Reid,

    I do not know if you remember me but I was friends with Mark in High School. I just found out about Mark’s passing as I was trying to contact him. I spoke with your father briefly. Hope you and Wendy are doing well, you can contact me from my email or call 415 456-8289

    Thanks,

    Robert Flagg

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *