Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Tagged by the 10 Good Things Meme

1. beer
2. beer
3. beer
4. beer
5. beer
6. beer
7. beer
8. beer
9. sausages
10. beer and sausages

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Thursday was a good day

Today was a pretty good day for me. In fact, it was like a Saturday for me. How do you make a Thursday feel like a Saturday?

Don’t go to work! I took eight hours of vacation time in order to stay home and work with the carpenter in the project bunk room. We accomplished a lot in six hours – finishing bunk one, framing bunk two and getting it’s back wall about half hung with pine and finished up the wiring almost. There are still a couple of boxes to be put in and all the plugs and switches to be wired in but nothing complicated. I’m putting out the call to all my local friends. If I can get my hands on a finish nail gun and compressor I think I should be able to finish hanging the pine myself. The alcove that used to be the closet needs to have sheetrock hung and I need to repair and mud where the bunks join the ceiling sheetrock. I’ve never done any of that but I can’t do worse than the last guy up there and there are a few small projects that need doing in the basement that I can use as learning/testing opportunities.

Originally uploaded by gene_poole.
I took this out when cutting out the pony walls. In the heart it says, "Meg was here" and below that in flowing cursive, "Barbra." I've known Meg since we were both about five or six. You know, you're a little kid, scribbling in your crawl space and then twenty five years later, some guy puts your writing up on the Internet for the whole world to see. Who'd have guessed? I work with her mom now. Maybe she'll want this to put on her desk for a while. Maybe I'll send it inter-office.

Originally uploaded by gene_poole.
Bunk #2, looking good. Do you like what we've done with the sheetrock? I call it, "And then I learned how to use my box knife."

Prediction of time left on project:
  • Hanging the rest of the pine – 1.5 full days
  • Getting the carpenter back to hang the shelf boxes he is building – one half day a few weeks from now.
  • Finishing sanding the floor – 2 days
  • Sealing the floor – one day
  • Sheetrock – one day

Total: About 5 – 6 more Saturday or vacations days

I see the light at the end of the tunnel. We’re getting dangerously close to project completion here.

Originally uploaded by gene_poole.
I've been framed! Today we framed in the shelf box frames from Bunk #2 and started to pine up the back.

All day long I was up on my feet, then on my knees, then on my back, then up again so good footwear and clothing were very important. The carpenter (who I will henceforth refer to as “Dan”) had on a pair of Carhart carpenters bibs. They have an integral apron and pockets for knee pads. Because the pads are built in there is no elastic strap to bind up behind your knee and drive you crazy. Also, you don’t have to mess with suspenders or saggy belt syndrome with the apron. He told me that after he bought his first pair and wore them for a day, he could imagine ever not having them. At first I though to myself they would be nice to have but I couldn’t justify buying a pair because I don’t really do that type of work often enough. Then I thought, “I am going to be spending a sizeable portion of my free or free-able time doing just this sort of thing until we either sell this place or I kick off and am in fact deed.” After dinner we went to Bob’s and I bought me some in size 42. T. got some tracks for his trains (percy-thomas-toby-jake-gordon, percy, percy? peeerrrccccyyyyy!!!!). I’m wearing them now. Am I joking? I guess you’ll never know, will you?

Originally uploaded by gene_poole.

The only thing left for Bunk #1 is to finish the edge between the sheetrock and the pine and put corner guards on all the corners. Well, I guess there is actually still quite a lot to do, like bleaching my hemlock face plates so they'll better match the pine, figuring out what to seal all this with, and hunting up carpet remnants for the floor.

Originally uploaded by gene_poole.

I took this picture while sitting in my son’s bunk, or what I predict will be the bunk my oldest son chooses when we move him in there. How long will the boys sleep up here before one or both claims the basement with its own bathroom and built in sneak out at night opportunities? How many nights will he look at this same wall before going to sleep? Who else will sleep here? Will they smoke? I hope not. The pine is currently very fragrant and fun to work with, both because it smells good and because it is so pliable. Today we were ripping salvaged old growth fir 2x4s down to modern size to use in framing. Every time, the room filled with a blast of great sap smell. I can tell you that perfume makers really haven’t figured out the male market yet. If they had there would be billboards for “Kalvin Klein’s Hops” or “Old Growth Fir – put some behind your ear.”

I hop, You hop, We hop, Uh Huh

Originally uploaded by gene_poole.

In beer news; I transferred both Pale Ale #1 and Stout #1 from their primary fermenters to secondaries. I siphoned off a few ounces of each into glasses and found them both to be super yummy already, even though they were both 70 degrees warm and flat. The pale is hoppy, super hoppy like I like a pale ale to be (More hoppy that Bridgeport IPA, even). The stout has a nice series of flavors and smells really good. I have decided that my beers will be referred to as Stout I, Batch 1, Stout I, Batch 2, etc. When I get a particular recipe down to a regularly reproducible, predictable success, it will get a name of its own and stop being referred to by batch. Currently I’m favoring DFK, or Dirty Faced Kid for the stout and Lucky Dog for the pale (named for the pale dog down the road who isn’t so lucky).

Originally uploaded by gene_poole.

I took this picture because I’m not afraid to share with the world that yes, I am brewing beer in my shed on a worktable that is built, in part, from a circa 1985 color, simulated wood television set, complete with fake drawer handles. Despite this reality, I do not have any refrigerators on my porch, have regular trash service, running water (hot and cold), and several toilets that flush. I’m holding onto the T.V. in case I get a hankering to watch reruns of Solid Gold Dance Fever.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Scott Brews

Yesterday I brewed 10 gallons of beer – five of pale ale and five of stout. Even though it was my first time and everything was new, it was also surprisingly easy. The whole process from start to clean up took about four hours and I’m guessing I probably have about another one or two ahead of me, cleaning out kegs, transferring to the secondaries, etc. Most of that time was idle time too, so I was doing other things in the shed while I watched the pot. It was a lot like cooking stew – a great puttering hobby. Rather than keep a diary of what I did for each batch, I think I’ll start yet another blog!

Flikr photo set over here:

Friday, April 14, 2006

Post About Actual Forward Progress

Originally uploaded by gene_poole.
In house news, the carpenter came today and we spent four hours working on the bunk project (I took a half day at from work). If I have time, I might attempt the other bunk myself after watching him do the first one. The wiring is pretty simple and I know where to borrow a finish nailer.

Today we finished the inside walls, built part of the exterior wall and put up the necessary strips of ship lap so that the front surface is all of one level.

Originally uploaded by gene_poole.
I dropped today's paper, unread, down inside the new wall. Maybe somebody down the line will get a treat. All I've found so far is empty wasp nests...

Originally uploaded by gene_poole.

In brewing news; tomorrow is the big day. I have studied and purchased, and practiced and consulted. Tomorrow I start my first 5 gallon batch of pale ale. Hopefully I'll have something decent to contribute to my friend's batchelor's party.


No running news..

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Spring fever is alive and well all across the land.

I’m a little jealous of them over at House Made with their winter veggie crops but I think I might get away with planting some of my own potatoes this coming Saturday if I hike over to the garden patch with a shovel. It is definitely way to wet still for the tiller but I might try putting in some hills. I think this summer's garden is going to be about the same size but simpler with less crops types and more hardy species - mostly corn, tomatos, potatoes, and beans.

I really like our contractor/master carpenter. He does very high quality work at a rapid pace. The problem is that he is always booked up for months. How long do you, dear readers, think we should wait for him before hiring someone else to help finish upstairs?


I had to do a six thirty orientation tonight at work. I snuck out of the office a little before five and went to run the lake. The sun was out, no clouds and it was pushing 68 degrees. There were pasty people staggering around the paths, looking about in startlement like people coming out of a fallout shelter after 20 years. Almost as soon as I started I ran into (literally hid behind a tree and ran into..) an old friend I’ve known since the six grade who still lives in town. He is definitely one of my best friends in the world and always will be even if we don’t keep in regular contact. I could not talk to him for five years and then donate an organ if he called up needing it – that kind of friend. Anyway, over the past 10 years my friend, through determined eating of crap and lack of any exercise had put on the pounds – pushing 250. He had become the kind of guy who breathes hard going up the three steps of the front porch after walking from his car. I last saw him at Christmas time and that was the state of affairs then. I was really surprised to find him jogging – slow, but jogging none the less. He described to me how he and his wife had just finally gotten fed up with being fat and out of shape. He felt constantly ashamed of his appearance and was bored with having only enough energy to make it from bed to his desk at work and then back home to the easy chair. She quit smoking. They stopped drinking beer, and cut the junk and high calorie foods out of their diet and started walking every night. At first, even once around the block was a task. He could not run once around the track at the local middle school – this is a guy who competed in sports at the national level in high school and who could run my ass off six ways to Tuesday. Every night he went back to the track and got to where he could add one time around the track per week. He has lost 20 pounds so far and has 25 to go. Tonight was his first time at the lake. So far his longest run has been 2.5. The lake is 3.7. He made it all the way around. I did most of the talking and we went really slowly but he made it. Afterwards he kept saying how much easier it is with a partner and we agreed that in a couple of weeks we’ll start running it regularly together. Woo hoo! Go man go!

Also in Running:

I’ve decided my new, post-Vegas goal is to get back up to where I’m regularly running the second or third week before the taper starts of a half so that I can run a fun or competitive half whenever I want but still not spend too much time on the trail.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Signs of Life

Still Life with Sawhorse
Originally uploaded by gene_poole.
All the green leafy things have new buds shooting out all over. I'm feeling a lot better too. I still have a slight residual from the flu but I spent all weekend being more or less active with little negative consequence - Running tomorrow for sure.

The project room has been just that for so long now that we don't call it Brit's sewing room anymore. I'm starting to think of it as the boy storage unit. Before I ran out of both time to work up there myself and money to pay contractors, we got the lighting done, the in-wall bunks about half done, and the floor 90% ready for a new coat of sealant. Then the doldrums set in. This weekend I cleared out a lot of the detritus that builds up in rooms left long vacant and started to get everything ready to resume work because (drum roll puhleazze...), we are getting back to the interest free loan we made to the federal govmint. Our tax return this year should pay for the contractor to come back to finish upstairs and maybe enough to fund my summer deck projects. We'll see. All I know is that breeding and shifting all our debt into deductible mortgage made quite the positive difference.

In other news, I took a truckload to the dump and another to the recycling plant, and spent a few hours shifting and sorting in the shed to clear a corner for home brewing. I got out all my stuff from ten years ago and also bought two new 5 gallon kegs. After a run to Portland some time soon for supplies, we should be in bidness.

First day of the new quarter tomorrow - Happy, happy, joy, joy....