Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Deck Addition

Monday was a nice day.  Very peaceful, as you can see from the pic of Olivia sleeping on the dog sofa.  I wish I could sleep like that.

We decided that it was time to finish the deck.  We built a 10 x 10 deck for our 10 x 10 screen house this summer, and had enough lumber to add a 5 x 10 addition.  With the Indian Summer we've been having for the past few days, we finally found the incentive to do it.

I did the measuring, cutting, and drilling of clearance holes for the decking nails.  Pamela did the hammering.

The 1 x 6 x 10 decking we ordered turned out to be 1 x 6 x 12 (or so).  so I got out my square, drew a line, ran an extension cord from the circular saw to the generator, and... the generator wouldn't start.  Dead battery.  I hooked  up a solar panel to it but it was very cloudy and late in the afternoon and I couldn't get a charge on the battery.  Maybe I can finish this today.

But we could still stick the barbecue up there.  I also moved the battery and controller for the solar panels on the deck.  I dunno.  Just to get them off the ground, I guess.

After three victory beers while waiting for the generator's battery to charge, I decided it was time to go.  I had the two pitbulls, Chevy and Ruby, but no Olivia the German Shorthaired Pointer.  After some searching, I found her pointing at this.  

Its a bee hive made in a knot hole of a tree, with honey oozing out of it.  Some critter, probably a bear, tried to get at it.  Whatever it was (Bigfoot?) it left a scent that Olivia was fixated on.

I had to drag her out of there.  I'll put the game camera on that tree today.  Whatever it was might come back for more.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Bleecker Photos

I took a few photos yesterday.  The first was a foggy morning shot, and as you can see, the foliage here is at its peak.

The nights have been crystal clear for the past few days too.  What a beautiful time of the year to live in the Adirondacks.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Independent Mountain Folk

People who live a far piece from civilization tend to be independent.  Earl, my 84 year old father-in-law is such a person.  Of course, he refuses to be called my father-in-law, so I always introduce him as my younger brother who has had a rough life.

But make no mistake about it.  Earl is a tough old bird.  He's an accomplished machinist and owned his own machine shop for many years.  He is also a pretty fair mechanic.

So the other day, we're sitting having a beer and Earl asks "How many miles do you have on your car now?".

"I dunno, about 38,000."

"Have you checked the brakes?"

"Uh... no.  I guess I never thought much about it.  I've never owned a car that I've driven  that far."

So Earl and I drag out his hydraulic jack, pull a front wheel, and look.

"Well, they're OK, but you'll need to replace them soon," said Earl.  "Bill just spent $370 having his front brakes replaced.  We can do it ourselves."

This sounded good to me, so I hied myself off the mountain and spent $53 for the best ceramic disc brakes that Advance Auto sells.  The next day, "we" are going to install them.

I've installed and adjusted many drum brakes in my day.  In the days of yore, you were adjusting brakes every few thousand miles, and replacing them every ten thousand or so.  But I'd never done disc brakes.

"It's easy," said Earl.  "A piece of cake."

Since I'm still disabled, Earl did most of the grunt work while I handed him tools and offered advice.  Useful advice, such as "I should have parked the car in the shade."

The left side was done in an hour and a half.  But that included fetching various tools, and a half hour beer break.  The driver's side was about 20 minutes.  Disc brakes are truly simple.

In the pic below, the new brake pads are above the old ones.  As you can see, there was still a lot of miles left on them, but for $53, less a $10 rebate, I couldn't see waiting.  Why score rotors?

The back brakes?  We'll maybe check those tomorrow.  No sense in rushing these things.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Sasquatch Part 4, the Hand Print

OK, this is getting a little freaky now.  I sometimes drive along Lily Lake Road here in Bleecker.  It is a pretty drive along a country dirt road.  As a result, the car gets pretty dusty, especially on the stern.  No biggie.  We abuse this poor Kia so much anyway.

I went to the property with the dogs yesterday, and when we got home, I opened the back hatch to let them out of the car.  That's when I noticed this.

A paw print?  Bear?  I took a closeup of one distinct print, and it has the markings of a fingerprint.  Do Black Bears have fingerprints like people?

I went back out to show Pam when she got back from refereeing a volleyball game and showed her.

It is a very large palm print.  The bottom of the hand is on the lower left part of the back window, then four finger prints above.  The strange mark on the lower left is a thumb print, with the thumb being dragged along the glass.

The bottom pic is a second thumb print to the right of the hand print.  Sorry for the reflection of Pam holding a flashlight.

OK, I will say it.  I think this is a Sasquatch.  No bear, nor any other animal that I know of, could have made that print.  It is not human.  I have very large hands, and it is much bigger than mine.  Something walked behind the car, and for whatever reason, steadied itself on the car as it passed by.  

I was a skeptic.  Now, I'm a believer.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

The Little Stone Wall

It was a pretty nice day yesterday.  Partly cloudy, in the 60s, and all in all a nice autumn day here in Bleecker.  Since I broke my neck last August, I haven't done much in the way of physical labor.  I decided to start a new rock wall by the foundation we dug, in part to protect the well pipe there.  The other part is to get rid of all these rocks around here.

I brought the camera, of course, and liked this view of the horse trailer and the colorful tree behind it.

This is a rock wall that I built last year.  It took a few days, and I used the bucket on the tractor to haul the rocks around.  I started  working at 9 AM and stopped at 4 PM, with a break for lunch.

After an hour, I was exhausted.  I used the wagon to haul the rocks.   Big mistake.  I had all I could to to pull it up the hill.  And yep.  That's what I got done.  That itty bitty stone wall.

I think that next time, I'll use either the tractor bucket or the gravel scoop I bought for it.  Maybe I can work for two hours if I do that.  Man, am I out of shape.

Back at the Unabomber Cabin, the sun was hitting this tree behind it, making it really stand out nicely against the blue sky.

Earl and I checked the front brakes on the Kia.  Its got 37,000 miles on it already, much of that towing Jeremiah and the horse trailer up and down mountains.  They were fairly worn, but still OK, but I bought a new set of ceramic pads anyway.  $53 at Advanced Auto, with a $10 rebate.  Not bad.  Maybe I'll take a drive over to see if Earl is in the mood to help me install them.

Friday, September 19, 2014

When I'm 64

Today was my birthday.  It was a beautiful day, made better by being with family and friends.

When this album came out, I was in high school.  I never thought it would one day be me.

Thursday, September 18, 2014


Thursday was a nice day here in Bleecker.  I brought my camera, of course, and decided to snap pics of whatever caught my fancy.

I plowed rocks, for the second time, using my tractor's back blade set at an angle.  It's like plowing snow, except I'm pushing rocks off to one side to make it easier to gather.

Fall is definitely on the way.

Bessie the Tractor...

and attachments.  That's a gravel scoop on the left, and back blade in the middle.

And this is an auger.  I break a lot of shear pins because of all the rocks here, but it saves a lot of back breaking labor.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

More Star Trails

Yep, I do enjoy night photography.  If you look in the bottom right corner, you'll see a small meteor trail.

It looks like a clear night tonight too.  Maybe I'll go out and try a few more.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Hand Pump for the Deep Well

Last year, we had a 145 foot well drilled on our Bleecker property.  We were going great guns to get a small house built, and then I had my tree induced neck breaking accident.  Since that time, things have slowed to a crawl.

We still need a bit of water on the property, even though we don't have a house there.  We have dogs that need drinking water, and a small (but productive!) vegetable garden.  Even though the well is 145 feet deep, the water rose to within four or five feet of the top of the well casing.  For much of the summer, we were able to simply siphon off what we needed.  But as the summer progressed and the rains got less, the level dropped a couple of feet and we were no longer able to siphon anything off.

We hied ourselves to the new Runnings store in Fulton County, which is like a Tractor Supply but much larger and with a better selection.  I thought about buying a shallow well pump for a couple of hundred dollars and powering it with solar cells and an inverter, but it seems like a waste of money.  So we drove across the street to Tractor Supply and bought a hand pump and some bendable PVC pipe, about 15 feet worth.  I glued it all together, cut some excess from some pressure treated 1x6 decking for a platform, and assembled it all.   Oh, the coat hanger?  I just had this irrational fear of the pipe coming lose from the pump and dropping 145 feet down into the well, never to be retrieved again.

After a few beers, it was no problem to recruit Earl and our friend Bill to stuff it down the well casing.

Did it work?  Yup.

So whenever we actually build something and install a deep well pump, the $45 hand pump will become a garden decoration.  Or maybe I'll drive a point somewhere and use it.  Or make a lamp out of it.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

The Day In Photos

One of my favorite things to do on my boating Drift Away blog was to simply record the day in photos.  Sunrise, birds, manatees, friggin' pelicans, dolphins... it was all quite fascinating.  What about a day in photos in Bleecker?  Well, quite honestly, I didn't expect much.  And I didn't get much.  But this is a typical day in our life on Bleecker Mountain.

It was cold here on Sunday morning, down in the 30s, so we had a fire going.  Outside the Unabomber Cabin, the "T" had rusted away, so  I replaced it with a 90 degree elbow.  While doing so, I discovered that the entire outside stove pipe is rusted away.  Smoke leaks from everywhere.  The whole thing need to be replaced.

Not only is it rusted, but the stove pipe was installed upside down.  Leaking creosote leaks through the joints and runs down the pipe, as seen here already on the new elbow I installed,

We went to our property and I tackled fixing our diesel generator.  It produces AC power for a few minutes before cutting out. Earl thought it might be the relay, so I ordered a new one from China.  A few days ago, they sent a second.  I don't know why.  No matter.  I replaced the relay and fired up the generator.  After about five minutes, it stopped producing AC power even though the generator kept running fine.  I think it must be temperature related.  If anyone has any ideas, please let me know.

Later, Pam came by riding on  Jeremiah the Horse.  They both seem to really enjoy riding.

Then Earl came over with his tractor and chain saws.  My tractor has a dead battery so Earl used his.  There was a small tree overhanging our storage trailer and we decided to cut it down.

And like all good plans, this one had a glitch.  Earl's saw got jammed in the tree.

No matter.  Earl has three of everything, and soon the tree was down.

Next came two more small trees hindering the growth of the one good one, so down they came.  One required the persuasion of Earl's backhoe attachment.

Then it was time for beer and a bonfire.  Nothing says Adirondacks like a bonfire.

Back home, we had clear skies and I thought I'd give the northern lights a shot.  Nope.  No go.

Still a nice night sky, but northern lights would have been awesome.

No, I don't get "A Day In Photos" like I did on Drift Away.  But this ain't all bad.

Friday, September 12, 2014

The Rabbit In The Cabin

Pam got home from work and I told her that we had a rabbit in the cabin. I don't know if the cat chased it in, or brought it in, or if it just wandered in, but Sassy the Cat and Chevy the Pitbull were chasing all over the place until it found refuge behind the stove. When it had a chance, it ran between the refrigerator and the wall.
I had been formulating a plan for a couple of hours. I was going to tell Pamela my ideas. Maybe we could build a wall of boxes using the cardboard box burn pile... or chase it out and drop a box on it... or... but then I saw Pamela by the refrigerator. She reached in, scruffed Eddie (his name is Eddie Rabbit), and there he was.

She dropped him in the stew pot. No, not really. 

She hung onto him while I drove them to the nearby hunting camp, and she released him.

He made a beeline back towards the direction of our Unabomber Cabin.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Barn Spider Season!

It is barn spider season in Bleecker!

Barn spiders are nocturnal (nope, don't know why) and are orb weavers who take down their webs during the day (nope, don't know why) and rebuild them in the evening (this I know, to catch bugs).  They're found in late summer to early autumn (nope, I don't know where they go in the winter, spring, and early to mid-summer).

All I know is that Jeremiah the Horse loves barn spiders, because he hates bugs.  Especially horse flies.

Jeremiah loves it when barn spiders eat horse flies.