Saturday, April 23, 2011

Down the wall

The clearing of the wall continues...

...with the revelation that much more...

...wall exists and has been buried for many years.

After two 1/2 days more digging, an additional 10 to 12 vertical feet is exposed. A bit more dirt
remains to be cleared, and then I'll wash it and reveal what's there.

Repairing furniture

This bedframe is an extraordinary piece of craftsmanship by an extraordinary craftsman. However, it wasn't designed by someone who has to make up the bed. So difficult! And somewhat prone to breaking by the average occupant. This isn't the first time I've repaired this joint, but it's a more serious effort to avoid further iterations.

Small holes about the diameter of round wooden toothpicks are drilled at an angle through the joints in question, from the back side where they won't show, and beginning above the joint in one piece of wood and ending below the joint in the other piece, but without daylighting. Then glue is applied into the holes using a glue syringe.

Glue is also applied to the face of the joints where they mate up, and then the wooden toothpicks are inserted into the holes, aligning the joint and providing a 'splint' to reinforce the joint.

As I push in the toothpick at one hole that happens to line up with the decorative inlay wood square below the joint, glue squeezes out of that joint, telling me I have good glue penetration and a perfectly stopped hole drilled to receive the toothpick. ( I love these silly details!)

Wipe up excess glue with a damp rag, apply a clamp,

cut off the excess toothpicks, and stain the tips of them to match the teak wood...

and it's done:

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Refinishing furniture

These two stools are part of an ensemble matching the bedframe repaired in an adjacent post. They were stained from plant plates (I suppose) allowing moisture to soak into the teak and leaving rings. The one on the left has been sanded already, with 120, 220 and 320 grit paper.

Oiled with "teak oil" and returned to service:


First thing I noticed this morning when I was able to stumble out of doors was that the roses were bein' munched on by aphids.

So I mixed up a batch of neem oil, 1 teaspoon to a quart of warm water, and went to sprayin'. First, I give the buds a flick o' the finger to knock the little buggers out of their revelry, reduce their numbers, and then let 'em have it with the wonder drug. Neem oil is the product of the neem tree, also known as the village pharmacy in places where they still know about these things, like India. Neem has so many wonderful virtues that I'll have to leave it to the reader to ascertain them all.

While I was at it, I noticed many other flowers had a spring in their step, including the artichoke;

this one had a ladybug doing my job for me:

the windflower,

and the California poppy.

What a blessing flowers are, and not just to the aphids.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Revealing what's there

Yes, the brush was already there and didn't need my intervention to "reveal" it. But the "view" was there, too. Some revelations are "selected" over others. "Choices" are a fundamentally human prerogative. This one is the chosen.

Biomass converts biomass using biomass on it's way to becoming biomass

A pile of chips generated from brush and wood trimmings processed through a wood chipper using gasoline, a fossil fuel,

(here is the next "pile of chips"):

then distributed biomechanically, by yours' truly, to pave a path to another biomass pile lurking beyond that far bush...

This could devolve into a nonsensical Lewis Carroll kind of story... but it's not, not really. In math these are called "identities" and they're the goal, the answer, the solution. You start with dissimilar equations or with an equation that has no known solution and you "reduce" it to its irreducible fundament. Why and how could life be any different? We search through haystacks for the needle of meaning and when we find it, it is often discarded as meaningless or insignificant for its obvious tautology, perhaps overlooking the deeper reaffirmation of truths we too often take for granted or dismiss as "old news." Some cry "absurd!" when the Tautology redeclares itself, neglecting the fact that they have invested in living the denial of a fundamental. Can your reflection see your actual being looking out from the mirror at you? And when a second mirror reflects the first image creating a cascade of reflections, the mind quavers. It's easy to see how we can get boggled.

"But whenever anyone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord's glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit."

Monday, April 11, 2011

A clean foundation

Taking my cue from a recent discerning eye, I scrambled down the rock face of the foundation today with a rake and a hose to rinse off several years of accumulated dirt. You can see it especially at the ledge about 20 feet below the top of the wall.

Thickly compacted and enmeshed with rootlets, the dirt clings tenaciously to the rough granite surface .

I had to start higher up and work my way across and down the face. First I raked it all, then climbed up and made a second pass with the hose.

Of course I wore a climbing harness and was tied off with a heavy rope to a stout tree above for safety, so as to not end up...

...on the rocks 40 feet below.

A few snapshots of the scenery while I'm here...

And then it's done; I'm back up to see if it looks any


It's always good to reveal what's already there, but if I didn't make a point of pointing it out, I might have to wait for a returning discerning to find out if anyone besides me noticed it.

Searock day

Glass from the chandelier in one of the bedrooms got washed today while replacing a burned out bulb.

A work of art in itself, it also functions to illuminate. This is metacool. Also in the room this chandelier illuminates is this photo of the house in which this fixture is hanging, taken during construction, probably around 1921:

Outside the window of this room this morning the sun was shining and the breeze was fresh and clean, so the linens that make this room comfortable hung on the line to soak in the sun and air.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Stop! Limits!

We all have our stop limits. Having them adjusted properly is crucial to having a nice day. Now that other issues have been resolved and hopefully no other unexpected situations arise, we can proceed to adjusting ours down at the greenhouse skylights.

First we have to plug in the control box, which is an electric switch gizmo that allows the adjuster (me) to operate the tube motor that drives the rack & pinion contraption that opens and closes the skylights while observing the skylights in action and making the appropriate adjustments to the stop limit settings on the tube motor. The motors operate on 220 voltage, so it is necessary to tap into a nearby electrical subpanel to borrow some voltage. The photo below shows the black and white wires feeding the control box being tied into a double pole 30 amp breaker.

From there the current travels through a couple of extension cords to the box itself...

...which is connected in turn to the wires that feed the motor.

The 3-way toggle operates the motor in both directions, with "stop" being the middle toggle position. On the motor housing are the limit settings:

Begin by turning the setting screw to 'minimize', i.e. in the direction of the minus sign, so that you know you are starting from a place of maximum "stop limit".

Then, toggling with the control box switch up or

down, adjustments are made to bring the skylights to the appropriate place of rest, either open or closed.

When satisfied with the adjustments, I disconnect

the control box and reconect the motor to the

permanent wiring and return control to the automatic settings of the command computer.

Like all stop limits, these will have to be revisited occasionally and readjusted. Calling these things automatic is misleading. It's all manual in the real world. Language and reality have their stop limits too.