Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Killing the Snot Out Of Me

Last week I was on vacation and was home alone with my wife and toddler gone to her mother's house. While I didn't get everything done that I wanted to and didn't come anywhere close to getting it "all" done, I did accomplish quite a bit everyday. I've always been a list maker. Even when life denies me a little piece of paper that I can carry around I tend to compose mental to-do lists and check the items off with satisfaction. Last week my lists included items like ‘finish this project before starting that project.’ This week I am working ten hour days and my lists include items like “make ice” and “eat that tomato before it goes bad.”

Sunday, June 26, 2005

It Hurrrrtssss

I woke up this morning, rarin' to get out there and put the finishing touches on the fence. By the time I'd put two feet over the edge of the bed I was doing the ouch, ouch mantra. Maybe the morning is better spent drinking tea and messing around on the Internet.

Saturday, June 25, 2005

What They Mean When They Say...

When you're a guy in your thirties and your wife goes away for 15 or 20 days and takes the baby, people who know this to be the case tend to flit their eyebrows at you suggestively as they says things like, "Don't have too much fun, now!" or "Try to stay out of trouble, you hear?"

I'm not sure what they mean. Do they mean I should stay out of the bars and away from casinos? Is it the helpless guy thing, like I'm suddenly going to forget how to cook or run the washing machine? Probably they are mostly cautioning me not to spend too much time sitting around the house in my boxers, eating Doritos.

The ones who really know me should say things like, "Scott, at all costs, stay away from the hardware stores." Today I went into Ace to get two dollars worth of L brackets for the fence project. A girl standing just inside the door handed me a grocery sized paper bag and sweetly told me that everything I could fit into the bag would be 20% off. This is a little like Vegas sending a limo to the homes of problem gamblers. Less than 15 minutes later I was checking out, having saved almost twenty bucks. I got my L brackets, a respirator to wear when refinishing the upstairs so I can hopefully avoid the sinus infection from hell that I got while doing the downstairs, and a couple of other nifty things I just had to have like a contour gauge and a line level.

Several times now I have hired contractors who have somehow cut a board on one side so that it marries up with an uneven surface. How did they do that? I have wondered about it while driving and while lying in my bed late at night. Now I know, they use a contour gauge (duh!). As always there was a ton of stuff in there I just had to have. Maybe tomorrow, if I'm feeling low, I'll go get the sliding angle bevel I could use upstairs. Its only two-fifty and I really need it.

Over-engineering 101

Originally uploaded by gene_poole.
The gate with dogs

Paint my picket fence

Originally uploaded by gene_poole.
The last section closest to the house is bedrock and I wanted to make it easier to put a gate in there later if one became desirable so I just did a 2x2 fence.

Silly Lily

Originally uploaded by gene_poole.
The wire is sandwiched between a 4x4 and a 2x4 on the vertical and nailed into the 2x4s every two feet horizontally. I don't think it will budge anytime soon.


Originally uploaded by gene_poole.
Behind the house, where its not so visible from the road, we left off the post hole digging. Today Dad came down and helped me pull a regular metal pole and wire fence in that section.

Clark Creek With New Look

Originally uploaded by gene_poole.
Here is the house from what I call the 'curbside shot.'

Thursday, June 23, 2005


Originally uploaded by gene_poole.
Getting the materials purchased and hauled to the house took the better part of a day. Like Merideth and Beth, we ended up with 2-3 bags extra of concrete. Thats OK, though, as I can use it elsewhere. We ended up going two feet down and six feet up. Based on the amount of rock and hard clay we had to auger and pick through I doubt this posts will be going anywhere soon.

Posts are in the ground

Originally uploaded by gene_poole.
So far the hardest part physically has been digging the holes. That took most of a day. Tuesday we dug almost all of them and got the posts braced up straight and concrete poured for all of them along one side and the front. Yesterday we poured the last side, dug the last few posts, and strung fencing for about half of it. Putting the wire was relatively easy work and rewarding as it went quickly. Next comes hanging the bracing and building the gates.

Sunday, June 19, 2005

Monday: Rest Day
Tuesday: Ran into an old friend
Wednesday: Went to the hardware store and ran up a big bill
Thursday: Ran my mouth off for a really long time
Friday: Rest Day
Saturday: Ran this joke into the ground
Sunday: Rest Day


Originally uploaded by gene_poole.
beanhaus finito beanito

We had a good day in the garden yesterday. Yesterday was entirely devoted to getting ready for the up and coming fencing project. We were getting things done that absolutely had to be done - you know, like working in garden, ducking down to the tavern for dinner and pints, and watching a movie with my dad.

Back on track, the bean house... We got plants in the ground all around the exterior walls and on two interior ones. There are two entrances and a sort of a paired rams horns maze. I'm hoping the beans will climb all the way up and go along the bamboo rafters as well.


Originally uploaded by gene_poole.
Yukon Golds I think. I'm looking forward to comparing this flowers with the blue/purple potatoe flowers Beth and Merideth blogged about. My purples are still only about 8 inches high.


Originally uploaded by gene_poole.
Junior Garden Helper


Originally uploaded by gene_poole.
At the advice of a coworker, I also tried plantings a bean wigwam. I've still got 24 bean plants to put in the ground so we may have a whole camp of them before all is told.


Originally uploaded by gene_poole.
Speaking of the maize, the corn seems to have survived the move from the picnic table where it germinated in peat pots to the garden plot. The jury is still out on whether this is a good way to grow corn in the PNW. It gets around our main problem which is that the soil stays wet and cold for so much of May and June but we will see if the plants grow big after their little starts.


Originally uploaded by gene_poole.
Ready to call it quits

Friday, June 17, 2005

Fencing Project Tools and Supplies List

Tools to Assemble/Set Up This Weekend:

  • 100 ft. tape (call dad)
  • Carpenters Level
  • Chopsaw
  • Drill
  • Extension Cords and Power Strips
  • Plumb Bob (make one)
  • Posthole Digger (Steve)
  • Sawhorses (shed + upstairs)
  • shovel
  • Tablesaw
  • tin snips
  • wheel barrow

Supplies Needed:
  • 2x4s
  • 4x4s
  • deck screws
  • fencing
  • gate hinges (12)
  • gate latches (3)
  • hoop tacks
  • hot wire
  • lathe strips
  • L brackets for gate boxes (24)
  • quikcrete
  • stain/seal

Seen at Malwart:

Don't ask why we were there...

They had three foot tall reddish plastic planters called "duracotta" which I guess made reference to fact that they were neither durable or terracotta. Nice...

What about Bob?

Dag Nab that husband! Here I spent all day writing this post and I get here and he justed posted. Oh well, great minds think alike....alot.

Well while Scott has been doing that little thing we like to call his job I’ve been working on reclaiming the yard….

First up: Bob

For one of my birthdays, I think two years ago, I asked for apple trees. I got two. (Henry and Bob) And one rose bush.

We planted them on the hill behind our house which gets full sun, and our anxiously awaiting the day they mature and bear more than one apple each. While Henry sits in full view of the house and the sun. We have to go looking for Bob each spring as the Chinese bamboo(not it’s real name)* and blackberry bushes compete to see who will first devour our yard and house.

Scott took a first whacking round Sunday afternoon, then I spent Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday making the space around Bob bigger.

notice all the extra space around that tree on the right? Yeah I did that! I also bought some cheapy dirt/beautybark stuff and reclaimed my wall garden ( I do flowers and herbs, Scott grows the food). Here are some gratuitous pics of the day lillies I love so much...and that transport so well!

*This post has taken me over three hours because I went to look for what type of fake bamboo plant this Chinese bamboo is, but couldn’t find it did find this post by Amalah (you run into bloggers everywhere these days!) and then somehow ended up on ebay…you know how it is.

Reagan IVX

Originally uploaded by gene_poole.
Mr. Dennis, Build this fence!

I will start to build the Great Wall of Clark Creek this coming Monday. I will have one week off from work, a sufficient materials budget, and help on hand from burly family members. The purpose of the fence will be to hopefully keep the critters (two and four legged varieties) out of the road and creek when it is at flood stage. I'd a design that is both economical and reasonably pleasing to the eye. I'd like it to be sturdy and make some architectural reference to our log siding. I want to be able to build the fence in stages. By this I mean I want to put up the posts and close mesh wire fencing and then come back to do the wooden slats time and materials permitting. The fence will need at least three gates – one behind the house, one at the corner bordering the road and creek and a third one leading from the yard to the driveway.

Unresolved Questions:

1. How long should my posts be? I’m thinking a five foot high fence with three foot holes should be about right. Any thoughts?

2. How far apart should I space the posts? Right now I’m thinking of putting the 4x4s eight feet apart with a 2x4 rail mounted on the sides of the 2x4s at the top and bottom of the posts and a 2x6 rail capping the top of the posts and the top 2x4 rail.

3. In what order should I layer the fencing and rails? Currently I’m thinking of putting up the posts the first day and pouring the concrete, and staining the 2x4s. The next day will be for stretching and nailing the fencing to the inside of the posts, screwing down the 2x4s over the fencing and screwing down the 2x6s into the 2x4s and 4x4s from the top. Then when I have them, I’d like to come back and screw in vertical slates of log slab to the exterior of the 2x4 railings, under the cover of the 2x6s. I currently have a line on wood slabs from a little local saw mill. If that falls through I was thinking of ripping in two my own little alder trees with the table saw. Any thoughts on that one?

4. Any reason I shouldn’t build my own gates?

5. I’m thinking a low voltage wire and ground height will probably be necessary to keeping the puppy from digging out. Where do I go to get the necessary equipment? The most convenient power outlet is in the bedroom. Do I just plug into an outlet or do I need to do wiring?

That’s about all I can think of right now. I’m sure more questions will come.

Monday, June 13, 2005

After Dinner Walk in the Garden

Originally uploaded by gene_poole.
Some corn I put in rows spaced about a half meter apart and some with about a meter between separated rows. It will be interesting to see which grows faster and which pollinates more completely.

Click Here to see more photos from this set.

Saturday, June 11, 2005

Now thats more like it...

transplanted 139 corn plants from peat potters to the garden today - back in the saddle hoo hah!

Home, home againI like to be here when I can

And when I come home cold and tiredIt’s good to warm my bones beside the fire...

...Home again, home again, diggety dig.

I haven’t had a lot of time on Clark Creek lately. First we went on our annual camping trip, then I went to a conference in Indianapolis and the next week went to another in Las Vegas. . Now I'm very much ready to go home, work in my garden, sleep in my bed, eat our normal food and have the quiet pleasures of home.

I don’t have very much to say about Indiana. The conference was a good one. I learned a ton I can take back to work, but it was otherwise not all that pleasant of an experience. There wasn’t a gym, pool, microwave, refrigerator, or other amenities expected in a big conference center hotel (are you teary-eyed and emotional yet?). I mostly ran long runs and read a lot in my room. It was my first brush with Midwesterners in their element. I think they scare me.

Vegas was a different story altogether. First of all, I got to take the fam on this trip, so it was like a mini-vacation –our first trip to Sin City. Again, the conference was worth attending. Everything is bigger in Vegas (hotels, buffet dinners, casinos of course, and the conventions are huge). The Hilton Vegas conference center was completely full for Infocomm ’05 – that is 68 football fields worth of exhibit halls and almost 1000 vendors and participants. Educomm, a relatively tiny offshoot of Infocomm was what I was there for. We learned quite a bit about the fusion of audiovisual and information technology in relation to classroom and lab setup.

I also wandered over into the Infocomm vendor area one time and got lost, literally. Infocomm is a gathering for anyone interested in selling or buying audiovisual equipment – that includes reader boards for convenience stores, displays for malls and clothing boutiques, bars, casinos, banks, etc. etc. Think for a moment about how many signs you see in a day. I’m used to computer and I.T. conference vendor halls. They generally try to entice the comparatively meek and geeky crowd of attendees with tee shirts, free software, coffee cups, etc. I wasn’t ready for vendors who cater to the athletic and adult entertainment industries. I made some really good contacts with people who sell interactive whiteboards, classroom performances systems, etc. and then I wandered into a hall where women in bikinis and skimpy lingerie were handing out beers to potential customers. I didn’t have one as it was 10 AM. Trying to get out of there, I got lost and in wandering from hall to hall, looking for an exit to the outside, I started to feel a little of the surreal disorientation captured so well in H.S. Thompson’s Fear and Loathing. After a while you start to ask yourself, “Having I passed that display of A/V cables or does one display of cabling look pretty much like another?”

Generally I was back to our room by no later than 4:30 or so and we had several hours to go exploring before the kiddo tuckered out. Brit repeatedly reported how much she enjoyed having the day to play in the pool, wander around, or just sit quietly and quilt – a vacation without an agenda.

As I said, this was my first time to Vegas and I realize now that most of my impressions of the town were built on brat pack movies, Casino and Leaving Las Vegas. I don’t get much of a thrill from gambling so I never knew why I’d want to come here. As we got ready to hit the strip on our first in evening with sun block on our noses, in oversized shorts, floral print shirts and tennis shoes. With the kid on my back and a camera around my neck, I felt like the ultimate absurd tourist. When we got out on the street, though, I soon realized that everyone comes to Vegas – a sea of humanity including the short, tall, thin, fat, old and young of every race, ethnicity, and nationality. Vegas is a celebration of Americana. Here you can find themes from all over our national culture and history as well as other parts of the world re-packaged for convenient and mass consumption. There is the Eiffel Tower, pyramids, New York and even the Grand Canyon. Why take a trip to the actual canyon nearby when instead you could go shopping in a Grand Canyon themed shopping mall?

Originally uploaded by gene_poole.

Mother and Son and MGM's Shark Reef

Click here for more photos from the set

Notes from Vegas:
1. The buffet as Caesar’s Palace recently won an award for best buffet and from what we saw, they deserved it, even at the 26 buck a head price. There was good fresh food from all over in one place – Middle Eastern, Mexican, American, Dessert, Asian, Seafood, and more. Yum!

2. If you an aquarium enthusiast or have a toddler fascinated by fish (Nemo!) or both, go to the Shark Reef aquarium at Mandalay Bay. They have a great exhibit and your little guy will go nuts, or at least ours did.

3. The monorail is great and takes you close to anywhere for pocket change. We stayed in a little old time share place one block off the strip. We got a pool right outside our door, a full kitchen, separate living room and back bedroom for 89 bucks a night and it took me 5 minutes by monorail to get from our hotel to the convention center

4. Anyone who tells you Vegas has gone family style is lying. It is still very much about the boozing, schmoozing, gambling, and adult diversions. Any place where they line up beside the sidewalk and handeverone from eight years old to eighty graphic photo cards with phone numbers for “strippers to you” is not truly a family town. What it is is a big place ground for adults with just enough stuff to keep the kids occupied. If you want family style entertainment, go to Anaheim.

5. We’ll definitely be back when the weather is cold and rainy at home and sunny dry heat in Vegas. Gambling is king and pays all the bills in that town. If you want a quiet place to lay by the pool, go a block off the strip.

Saturday, June 04, 2005

Shaggy old daddy and the hungry T. I'm not sure if he is looking at the bottle or the Cougar cheese. I hope he wants to be a Coug like his mom and dad.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

While The Man is away

Not only will I play, but I'll come up with lots of new chores to add to our list of things to do.
Look at all that space. I mean seriously. How ridiculous is it that hardly any of the rooms in our house have picture/quilt hanging walls (windows and low sloped ceilings) but our bedroom has two story walls. And as you can see the top half is all white and blank and screaming for LOVE PEOPLE!!!

Now, how am I going to talk Scott into hanging some quilts up there.

Maybe, I'll let him jump on the bed first.

Window Treatment

Scott hung a curtain rod for me this weekend, and yesterday I finally put some curtains up. They aren't the fabtabulous creations of Beth at Housemade but they are up. And after three years, I'm counting that an accomplishment!