Thursday, November 16, 2017

Dad is gone

Dad took his last breath today .
  Sailing the boat he built .
1957 western Venezuela
2015 Freeport, Maine
Happier times
Today after a two and a half year gut wrenching struggle with cancer he is now back with his dog BJ again .

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Bucking up one gigantic pine tree

 This week I have been working on cutting up some of the big pine trees Sunday's wind storm took down at my parents' place . Saturday I had Annie with me so she got some pictures of me cutting up the one that fell across the raspberry patch up by the road .
Those pines have a very shallow root system and the root ball just pulled out of the ground . It has to be twelve feet tall and sixteen feet across . Humongous when you stand next to it but not much when you consider the tree has to be about one hundred and twenty feet tall . The log has to be a good thirty six inches across at the stump where I am cutting .
The bar on my old Stihl W028 was not nearly long enough and I had to work it from both sides . Drove some wedges in the cut so it would not pinch the bar .
After a good bit of work I got through it and the stump starts to pull away from the log as the root ball springs back in to place .
Here is the next shot just as the stump is almost all the way upright . Note the dust cloud .
And with  a big dust cloud and a thump it went right back to where it has lived for the last two hundred years .
That is one big log .
Stump sitting back upright . That bit above ground is about five feet tall .  I'll cut a hole in the top and mom can plant flowers in it .
Limbing it out .
And bucking it up into lengths I can move .
A nice afternoon shot of the recently restored neighbor's place , our family connection to Maine . Used to belong to the family that took dad in during his college days back in the nineteen fifties . The old farm dates back to the mid seventeen hundreds .

Tuesday, October 31, 2017


Sunday night we had a massive windstorm . 80 mph winds. Over three hundred fifty thousand homes without power in the whole state . We lost it at six am when a big willow down the street shorted out the main lines . Just happened to open the blinds in time to witness the fireworks .
 Ran the generator on and off for several hours during the day to keep the fridges and furnace going . By eight pm CMP had got us back on line and I was able to shut off the generator . 
Had a big limb off my back neighbor's tree take down a section of my fence .
Nothing major . 
I limbed it out all in about 20 minutes with a small pruning handsaw . I stepped aside and let my crack junkie neighbor clean up the rest with her chainsaw .
Today I ran up to my parents in Freeport and there were trees down everywhere requiring some detours . This is one on their road I had to drive under to get to them . Someone had cleared the branches enough for us to get under .
Good thing I installed a nice auto start 11k watt Generack for them last year.
A massive hundred foot white pine almost took out the back corner of their house. Just kissed the back deck. Ten degrees to the right and it would have been much more consequential.
Couple of hundred twenty footers came down in the front yard just barely missing dad's tool shed. The base of that one is about thirty inches across .
Couple more tall pines came down behind the vegetable garden .
This one is the Siamese one to the one that is hung up .
Spent the afternoon cutting up just one of the ones in the front yard..
About thirty inches across
Thirty six feet of straight knot free lumber there . I'll be milling some nice clear planks out of that one .
The next section , from the leftmost saw cut , is about sixteen feet , and the one just beyond that is another fourteen feet .
A spectacular mess .
Had to replace some shingles that blew off the ridge cap on the roof , so I got some shots from up there . This one is the big pine that landed on the back corner of the deck .
The big one in the front yard after some clean up .
The big log is thirty inches in diameter and thirty six feet long .
I bucked out the other one in the front yard too and the stump sprang most of the way back in place . Usually the first thing to tip over in any kind of wind is dad's smoker, the green box on top of the barrel. This time it did not even wiggle .

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Murphy Gets a New Kitchen

Yea , it has been a while since I posted any updates . Truth is I have had my hands full and other things were taking my time . Motivation was jut not there . But here is this summer's project .
This is Murphy... he got a new pine floor last fall
This year it was time to tear out the old kitchen as it was getting long in the tooth .
Then two layers of linoleum flooring and Lauan underlayment had to come off .
The first one comes up .
Then the second one has been screwed with square drive screws that need to be pulled first .
Comes up slowly
Got the floor cleaned up .
Then the old window needs to be relocated .
New window framed in .
The new window hole covered with poly to keep out the rain .
After I got all the cabinets out and tore out all the drywall, the plumber and electrician did their bit to rough their stuff in . . .
. . . I insulated with rock wool , and got the new window installed .
And hung the drywall solo .
Then I spent a week taping the wallboard joints
More mud .
and more mud
Murphy was happy to have company during the day too .
After Murphy's owners did a bit of weekend painting I started moving the new cabinets in trying to sort out a giant jigsaw puzzle . . . .
. . . . and started hanging a few boxes .
It's all starting to take shape .
The fridge spacing took a bit of struggling to get right as the walls were not square or plumb .
The unit with the glass doors over the fridge space went up and down about eight times before I got it right.
Then the crown molding provided with the kit went up . . . only the customer was not so keen on the looks , so I removed the crown molding .
And we opted to go without it and just fill in the ceiling gap with the straight filler provided by the vendor .
Just getting that bit right took several days work and some creative language .
Murphy's owners went on an extended weekend so he came home with us instead of going to the kennel .
Picked the hottest day in July to do the shingling around the new window so I set up a temporary awning with some cardboard from the cabinet shipping boxes .
With the fan in the window blowing on me it was just manageable .
Looks almost like I knew what I was doing .
Dressed up the inside with a bit of fancy trim .
Then it was time to play with the island . These were three old shop cabinets that were built by the customer's father that they wanted to use as part of the new kitchen . They were different enough that we agreed a permanent installation was probably not the best solution . Having the unit removable provided some advantages should they eventually sell the house they could take it with them . So I bolted the three cabinets together and put the whole thing on casters .
Here is the general idea with the movable unit up to the fixed island . In the middle of it all the tile man need the space for a week to do his thing .
After the tile guy was done I had to figure out how to make a finished end on a cabinet that originally would have been buried per the vendor's specification . Had just enough of the flat panel to dress it all up .
So when the movable unit is removed it looks presentable .
Then the plumber showed up with the cast iron farmer's sink . So I had to do a bit of modifying to the cabinet to support it as unlike traditional sinks it is an undermount and you can't hang it from a stone counter , so I added some structure under it to carry the two hundred pound weight .
Then it was time to play with the butcher block counter tops for the island , These were some old  two by seven foot slabs of two inch thick workbench top also built by the customer's father . I found a shop that could run them through a big belt sander and remove forty years of grime . Then I had to cut them to length and re assemble them to fit our needs. They were held together with some glue and long threaded rods .
Bought a seventeen inch long drill bit to try and drill the twenty four inch wide boards and hope to meet in the middle .
Got lucky on one end but ended up having to break apart the weaker joints to allow me to drill through them all separately. It is amazing how far a long bit will wander of course over seventeen inches .
Re-glued and bolted the pieces together .
Sanded and oiled , here the smaller unit for the movable part of the island .
The bigger top for the fixed part of the island had some holes that must have held a bench vice at some point . So I plugged those with some birch dowels for contrast .
Sanded and oiled .
It just barely fit in my van. Finished weight on the 48 x 57 inch piece was also a couple hundred pounds .
After I got it to the job-site I installed a lag bolt in the wall and cut the head off. . .
. . .  and a corresponding hole on the side of the bench top to help support the cantilevered part of the bench top .
Finished product .
And the movable bench in its place .
The soapstone counters were installed .
Soapstone counter over the sink makes good contrast .
Dining room side of the island .
Job finished .