Monday, February 13, 2017

Fricking mess . . .

I don't understand those that say they love winter. I think that's rather like the faithful wife who loves her husband despite the fact he beats her.
Last week we had bare patches of grass in the back yard. Then we got about ten inches of snow last Tuesday and another foot on Thursday. Saturday we spent three and a half  hours digging out of Friday night's twelve inches. Sunday morning was overcast and more snow expected. Made a quick dash up to Freeport and by the time we made it back home it started spitting snow again.
By two pm it was looking like this
By four pm there was enough our neighbor Tim across the street got plowed out.
And the town public works dept was knocking back the tops of the snow banks
By ten pm there was about ten inches on my grilling pad
It is gonna be a big one
Coming down in buckets
And more forecast for Wednesday
Eight am on Monday looking out the bathroom window. Must be sixteen inches on the grill pad.
Birds were desperate for food
Truck is buried
Had to dig ourselves out the back door. It was about three feet deep when I started.
Took ten minutes just to make it out to the garage
Yardstick on the cement grilling pad
Fifteen inches.
Three hours later I got the back . . .
 . . . and driveway cleared out,
 Annie dug out the truck and I took another hour and half to clear the roof
Will need a couple more hours of work before I am ready to get beat again on Wednesday

Friday, January 13, 2017

Honda Odyssey strut change

So last week I took the Honda Odyssey for the state motor vehicle inspection and they failed it on three counts.
1) Left front tire was unevenly worn, due to...
2) a broken suspension coil spring, and ...
3) the right hand outer tie rod end was worn.

The shop estimate was:
Two new front quick struts 580$ (can't change just one)
Labor 300$
One outer tie rod end 100$
Labor 100$
Two new tires mounted and balanced 160$
Vehicle alignment 90$
Total 1330$ plus sales tax

Given that we have some steep medical co-pays this month we need to do something about that expense. Besides I am getting bored of all this sitting around waiting to heal from my spinal surgery.

Checked Ebay and found the struts for 137$ shipped to my door.
Just don't tell the doctor each one of those is about twenty pounds.
A quick check on Youtube on how the job is done
Seems easy enough even for my feeble brain and lame neck.
So this afternoon I got motivated and fired up the wood stove in the garage and after some struggle finding my impact wrench sockets right where I had put them on my peg board on my work bench right in front of my nose, I pulled the offending part on the driver side. Note the broken coil spring.
And installed the new one
Button up the sway bar link and other loose bits and torque the big bolts to spec.
Switch sides and pull the passenger side strut
And put the new one in on that side. Bottom through bolts torqued to 130 foot pounds, top to 30 ft/lbs. Took it for a test drive and it no longer pulls to the left, so I may not even need the alignment. Total labor time? three hours, OK two and a half if you discount the time wasted looking for the stupid sockets and messing with the wood stove.
That's 730 U$ saved.
Next week I will tackle the tie rod end and take it back to the shop for some new tires and we'll see if they give me an inspection sticker.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

A bit early for tomatoes

January is a bit early to start sprouting tomatoes, but since we have this store bought volunteer that started sprouting I figured what the heck...
we might just have tomatoes before September

Monday, December 26, 2016

Posterior Microdiscectomy Foraminotomy

.... or what Santa is bringing me for Christmas in two days time. It is supposed to provide some pain relief to my left shoulder and arm as well as eliminate the tingling in my hand and arm... in 90% of the cases it does anyhow. Hopefully the doc don't mess it up, and the anesthesiologist manages to wake me up afterwards.

Sunday, December 18, 2016

More closet work

It's the job that never ends. Not a bad thing really. The smaller hallway closet in my customer's house needed some shelving. But it had to serve both as a coat closet and a place to park large kitchen counter-top appliances. Nothing to it.
So I picked up some birch ply, some #2 pine and fired up the wood stove in the garage.
It would barely keep the place above freezing while it was in the single digits outside and blowing 40mph
A couple of hours later, once I got some of the cold knocked out of the garage I started to put together a kit as it would need to come apart in order to get it in the closet.
About 4 hours of fiddling got me this far.
  I was out of the shelving pegs so I ran to Lowes to pick up some more and bought a small bag with 20 count of them. When I got home and opened it I found this Chinese coin in among the shelving pegs. I figure some poor slave worker in China is trying to send me a message.
On Friday afternoon before the storm I took it all apart and brought it over to the house. With some degree of fuss I was able to assemble it inside the closet. The whole thing sits on the top edge of the baseboards and there are screws that go in from the underside to fix the bottom to the sides of the shelving unit. I used the shelves to elevate the whole box temporarily while I got those screws in from underneath along with some liberal use of expletives.
The shelves on the left are on moveable pegs can be adjusted for height as needed.
Murphie's food bucket even has a place to live.
Then Saturday morning we woke to winter.
Doves were huddling on the patio fence.
There were a few fools driving around.
Welfare bums were helping themselves to the spoils.
I hear tell those doves make for good eating.
Pearl had the right idea.

Saturday, December 10, 2016

A Barn Door

My last customer wanted a barn door on the closet in the hallway. It had a four foot opening so nothing standard would fit.
Nothing to it then, we build it out of knotty pine to match the floor.
Countersunk screws and pegged just like the floor.
Sanded and polyurethaned about six times as I kept getting blemishes.
Got it to the job site on top of the van as it was too big to fit inside.
Got it hung. Tough job with a bum arm.
Looks good and the customer was happy with the results.
Though some continue to be unimpressed.
So I made a nice pizza to celebrate.

Saturday, November 5, 2016


As it was raining on Thursday and not much could be done out-doors, besides I have orders from the doctor to take it easy on my lame arm, I loaded up my gear and drove up to Howell's in Gray to try out their new indoor shooting range.

Went through about 150 rounds with the 9mm S&W and switched over to the Rossi model 68.
First shot sounded real lite. Hmmm! Real odd ..... OK...... STOP..... Unload the cylinder and check.
I can see light though the barrel. No obstructions. That was odd!
Lets reload and try again. Second shot was like a cap gun, just a little pop and no recoil. Alright then!!! something is not right. Unload the cylinder and check.
Well look at that!
That is what they call a squib. When a bullet gets stuck in the tube. If you pull the trigger again with one like that you get a big Kaboom and in all likelihood you will damage the firearm and be seriously injured. Good thing I am a bit paranoid about these things and was being careful. OK so we put that one away and go back to the 9mm. Cut out after only a half hour and headed home as I only brought a couple hundred rounds for the 9mm.
For the 38 SPL I was using my own pet reloads which consist of 158 grain SWC over 3.2 grains of Hodgdon HP-38.
This allows the ease of using the .03 cc dipper from the LEE powder measure kit to meter powder and makes for nice light powder-puff target loads.
When I got home I cleared the obstruction easily enough and weighed the offending bullet.
125.7 grains? no wonder!!!
3.2 grains of HP-38 is not nearly enough to propel a 125 grain bullet down the pipe. Using my Hornady bullet puller to remove the bullets off the remaining cases in the box I found 25 of them, one half the box had 125 grain bullets and the powder was consistently 3.2 grains. Somewhere along the way I must have had a major Brain Fart and grabbed the 125 grain pill box instead of the 158 grain box when I was reloading them. Lesson learned.
NOTE: For those not familiar with reloading the it seems counter intuitive to use a less propellant for a heavier projectile, but you have to think of it in terms of maximum allowable pressure in the firearm. See the right hand column in the above image. A lighter projectile offers less resistance than does a heavier one, thus the pressure is less if you use the same amount of propellant as you would for a heavier one. So for lighter projectiles we use a heavier propellant charge or you have the results I experienced here. Also to consider is whether the bullet is cast lead or jacketed as they offer different resistance and this result in different pressures, even if they are the same weight and use same charge of propellant.
On the Hodgdon can it  list 3.7 grains of HP-38 for the 158 grain bullets, but that would mean weighing every powder charge individually as .... of the issues with using the LEE Powder Measure kit I like, is that it skips a few dippers in the selection. No .2cc came with it so I have an older one I have added. But more importantly there is no .4cc dipper, which is exactly the range useful for the HP-38 powder.
So using a cut down .380 ACP case, a piece of wire and some heat shrink tubing I was able to make one ....
... that consistently throws 4.2 grains of HP-38 powder for the 125 grain pills...
and fits in between the .3 cc and .5 cc dipper
So I did a bit more reloading using my standard recipe.
158 grain lead-cast-semi-wad-cutters on freshly re-sized, re-primed and charged cases
 On the press before seating
Seated and crimped, about 5 cents cost compared to 25 cents for store bought
Repeat fifty times
Repeat two hundred and thirty five times