Thursday, July 27, 2017

Happy Birthday Norma!

Norma's Birthday Today!
75 today she swims and works in the garden. Goodness knows how good a shape she would be in if she had have actually taken care of herself! :Happy Birthday Norma! Photo later. 

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Skirting The Porch

I raided Brooks' burn pile when we were down there and scored about a hundred short (2 - 3 foot) ends of nice 1X4 fir. They weighted down the trunk a bit but I got them home and today I skirted the new porch with them. Hmm.. 20 feet times three per foot = 60 two foot pieces or 120 feet = 12 ten foot boards. Wow! Saved me a few dollars! Thanks Brooks, you are still my favorite son! Love that burn pile!


Monday, July 24, 2017

Not So Friendly Skies

When our friends Roly and Cristy flew from their home in Cuba to Victoria, BC they were anxious to try "First World" cuisine as soon as possible. To this end, they boarded their Air Canada flight on empty stomachs, knowing they could buy food on board. Well, they perused the menu, made their selections and ordered only to discover they could not be served!

Why? Because Air Canada accepts only credit cards for payment of food and drink, not lowly cash! And like most or all good Cubans, our friends do not have a credit card. Cuba being a "cash society" and all.

So here they were starving on a plane not scheduled to land for another nine hours! What to do? Well, they found a seatmate willing to pay for their food with his capitalist inspired credit card and they would reimburse him with their nice fresh Canadian cash! Problem solved and they had met the first helpful Canadian of their trip!

Roly and Cristy!

It was a short but quality visit but we did get to see our Cuban friends for a few hours! They have been on the Island for three weeks and have a couple more days in Victoria before catching the plane from Victoria to Calgary, to Toronto and then finally, Havana.

They are shell shocked by their first visit to a decadent first world country. Roly has been to Equator and Cristy, when she worked in the Cuban government went on a diplomatic visit to several Socialist / Communist European countries but this was their first time in the "West".

They had just spent a few days in Port Alberni and those people dropped them off here at about noon. Norma and Brooks prepared a series of snacks featuring our local shrimp and smoked Sockeye salmon which was well received!

We had to get them to the Brentwood Bay Ferry by 5:30 and LindaLee was working in the local pub so Brooks and I took them there to say goodbye. Roly and Cristy loved the friendly atmosphere and confessed it was their first visit to a Canadian pub! Their other friends did not take them to one.

Cristy was sporting a broken arm, the result of a fall at the beginning of their visit! A souvenir from Canada!

We dropped them off at the ferry, said our goodbye's and promised to see each other again. Here are some photos.

Important Discussions:

Cristy and Norma:

Cristy and Croft:

"We love this bar!"

Two Amigos:

Two Amigas:

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Off To Meet Our Cuban Friends

We are off to Brooks and LindaLee's in Shawnigan Lake today to meet our Cuban friends Roly and Cristy who are visiting Vancouver Island. They have a full itinerary and will only be there for the one day (Sunday) but we are really happy to get the chance to  see them. I will have photos soon.

Here are Roly and Cristy in their home in Santa Marta, Cuba:



Brooks' Birthday Party at Roly and Cristy's house:

Friday, July 21, 2017

Rain!

We are finally getting a little rain up here! Not much but hopefully enough to make the forests a little safer and remove the campfire and burning ban.

But the part that I like best is a chance to test the new roof, gutters, skylights and rain chain! After an hour or so I am ready to declare everything working as expected!

EDIT: A leak has appeared behind one spot on the gutter where it makes a 90 degree turn. The problem may be in the roofing or in the gutter. I called the gutter guy and he will drop around later today to have a look.

EDIT 2: Well, the gutter guy came and found the problem. It is a shingle problem that he fixed by shoving a piece of flashing up under the shingle. It should hold it until we get the rest of the roof done.


The Leak:



Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Trimming

The woman we hired to haul away the construction refuse is actually a professional gardener. Norma showed her around and arranged for her to come back today to do some trimming. I like her! She is not afraid to cut deep and she knows what she is doing. One particularly thorny tree that was taking over one of the patios is now almost completely gone and we got our patio back. Some other large bushes are no longer hanging over into the condo's yard next door and she has at least one truckload of trimmings ready to go and is nowhere near done yet! Lets see what she does with the roses that are growing up onto the roof!

Friday, July 14, 2017

Rain Chain Drain

We drilled about a hundred holes in two large planter buckets, sank them into the lawn and filled them with rocks from the beach. Hopefully they will drain into the sandy soil around them and handle all but the heaviest rainfalls. I anchored the rain chains to the bottom of the buckets so they will not blow around in the wind. Further modification "might" be required.



Thursday, July 13, 2017

Nothing to Do

Tinkering away. I used up some scraps of decking to replace the grungy old top of our old DIY cafe table in the garden. Then I went down and bought some more cedar boards and built a seating bench for the deck. It now has just about enough furniture.


Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Rain Chain Test!

Rain Chain! No, it's not raining, I'm cheating.


Monday, July 10, 2017

Gutters and Rain Chain!

At about ten this morning the gutter truck pulled up the driveway. They installed the new facia board, modified and replaced the existing gutter that Brooks Randle and C.J. Howie took down to build the porch. They then manufactured the new gutters for the porch, tied everything together and added the rain chain brackets.
Norma and I drove downtown and bought four four and a half foot sections of rain chain for the 8 - 9 foot height of the gutters, came home and attached them. We made up for the lack of rain with the garden hose and tested them. They work exactly as we hoped!
The gutter work and brackets cost $505 and the Rain Chain, $245 for $750 total.



Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Night Shots

Beautiful!


A Day of Rest?

A day of rest! I returned $250 worth of unused hardware and stuff to Home Depot and then I tried out my $29 Harbor Freight belt sander on the deck rails and got my money's worth out of it right there!
The gutter guy came, took some measurements and will order the rain chain brackets for the gutter. He will do the job in two weeks.
Norma called a woman who does dump runs so she is busy loading up the pile of old shingles and construction leftovers that I can't burn.
Now, what was I doing? Oh yes, resting! 

Monday, July 3, 2017

The Reveal!

Two full ten hour days for Brooks and CJ and we are almost done, We are short two posts and the facia boards. Unfortunately all building supply stores except Home Depot were closed for the Canada Day weekend and they did not have a few things.

CJ connects the lighting. Norma and Brooks' very late night Internet purchase a couple of weeks ago. The Budget Director had no say in that one. 



Two posts and facia missing. The stairs will eventually be covered with cedar as well.

Juneau the Husky likes it! A great place to eat dinner!

Saturday, July 1, 2017

Busy Day!

Today Brooks and his roofer friend C.J. got the roof framed and boarded. C.J. stayed up there until after seven nailing down roofing paper as there is a 20% chance of rain tonight and we don't want a 3 AM wake up call with rain coming through the roof! Tomorrow will be another busy day.







Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Whale Of A Time!

Two large whales have been sounding between our house and the tip of Quadra Island for the last half hour or so. They appear to be heading north but have stopped in the tide rip for the all-you-can-eat seafood buffet! Too far away for photos, all we can see is a periodic spray of water and then the large black hump as they dive after breathing.

They left after being surrounded and bothered by sightseeing boats.

Friday, June 23, 2017

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Lazy Summer Days

Lazy days here on the coast! The weather has turned good again so there are sunny days to look forward to. Short pants weather here but not the severe heat our Arizona friends are facing, I can't imagine 120 degrees plus. We would be running the A/C 24/7!

Our niece Robin and George from Alberta dropped by on their big Harley for a surprise but always welcome visit a few days ago. They were headed for the Port Hardy - Prince Rupert ferry where George wanted to follow the Yellowhead Highway #16 back to Edmonton, visiting all the places he worked during his many years with the railroad. They spent a couple of days here while they determined the weather had changed for the worse in the north and they would be riding in the rain all the way. They made the decision to head back south to Victoria and the Port Angeles ferry to Washington State and back home that way. They are like us, no schedules, no reservations and no worries when plans change.

Brooks called to say his trip up to finish the porch would be delayed a week which is fine with us. We are still using the old concrete landing and stairs so a week delay is no problem.

Norma is working in her garden and I am getting a few odd jobs done around the place as well as catching up on my reading. Lazy summer days!

Monday, June 12, 2017

Victoria

We just returned after spending a couple of days in Victoria visiting Norma's 73 year old brother who had a stroke a few weeks ago. He is in the hospital facing the confusion of having other people making decisions for him. He has a good support group of friends but was happy to have contact with his sister.

We discovered to our shock that the affordable hotels we have used in the past are now in the $200 per night range! We called Norm and Liz who we knew and worked with back in our political years. We spent a few hours catching up with each other's lives and solving the world's problems and then spent the night in their guest room. It was a very pleasant night!

Sunday morning we went back to the hospital to check in with Willea again and to make sure the staff had Norma's contact information. After an hour or so we headed back home, stopping in Qualicum Beach for a feed of fish and chips on the beach. It is about a four hour drive each way.

We are now in relaxation mode for a day or two before getting back into the job jar. We do not know exactly when Brooks is going to come back up but when he does he is bringing a roofing friend with him as Brooks is not comfortable working that high up. Things will go a lot faster with some help.

When I showed Norm and Liz the photos of our project Norm said, "You are building a Longhouse!"

Friday, June 9, 2017

All For Now

Now we can see a bit of what it will look like. Brooks and LindaLee headed back home just after noon as they have to get back to real (paying) work tomorrow and everyone was pretty wiped out from handling those very heavy timbers. I was out of commission with my ankle but LL and Brooks got all the trusses cut and two of them raised. They will be back in a week or so with a worker to finish up. So far it is looking very good! We are so lucky to have Brooks and LindaLee who gave up their "weekend" to work up here!


Thursday, June 8, 2017

End Of The Day!

End of the day! Got a lot done but I do hold Brooks back. My 72 year old legs just do not move as fast any more. Basic framing done!





Started!

Plans are written in sand, not stone and that is a good thing! We got the two main uprights dug and cemented in last night. It will be just under 200 square feet and will have a solid roof with skylights! Today we attach to the house and get the framing started. We will be short a few pieces but they will be hidden so the difference between the "store bought" and Brooks' full dimension lumber will not be visible.
Oh yes, the material is Douglas Fir, not cedar. My mistake. But Brooks assures me that fir is a very good product for the job and will last longer than me! :)
The rain woke me up at 5:00 am. I will try to go back to sleep!

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Porch Day!

Brooks is coming up today with a trailer full of cedar to frame our new front porch. It is going to get very busy around here! The "plan" is framing today, decking tomorrow and the roof next week. The roof is still being discussed. Norma wants an open, pergola style while Brooks is suggesting a closed, shingled style, extending the existing peak. That decision will be made tomorrow.

Before:


Thursday, June 1, 2017

Front Porch

Brooks just had a customer bail out of a project after the material was ordered and he is stuck with a trailer full of cedar that he thinks is enough to build a front porch on our house! He is bringing it up next week! 

The new porch will cover the small concrete landing and stairs currently at the front of the house and will extend out a bit and along under the living room window. It will have a pergola style roof and will be a great place to sit and enjoy a morning coffee or lunch!

Exciting times! I just have to pay his bill at the saw mill, buy the food and beer, pay for his gas and all the extra bits and pieces :). 

But we are getting a porch!

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Mazda Maintenance

Norma's 1998 Mazda 626 just keeps running and gets pretty much ignored maintenance wise. Oh, it gets oil changes, tires and whatever else it needs when something fails but it has never had a real tuneup and at 181,000 KM (112,000 Miles) still had it's original timing belt.

So a few days ago we decided to give it a treat and sent it in. Changing the timing belt involves getting inside the engine so as long as he was in there it made sense to change a couple of other things as well so with a tuneup it turned into a pretty big job.

The mechanic called at noon to say it was ready to be picked up and the bill was $1,120 CAN ($830 US). It runs the same as it did before but now it will be good for another couple of hundred thousand kilometers. Norma likes it but it's not my favorite car I have owned, that title probably belongs to my first car, a 1959 Volvo 144, the old fastback model I bought in 1963. the year I graduated and got my first full time job. It was a rally car, fun to drive and indestructible!

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Solar Panel On!

Finished! I got a late start because I waited for Norma's lawn guy to arrive so he could pass the panel up to me on the roof. I thought of doing it with a rope but it could easily have swung into the side of the motorhome.

The aluminum brackets bolted on easily.
 Yup, lots of room beside the back panel.

Dave's bracket screwed in place on a bed of very soft, sticky butyl rubber. This will be covered with a good coating of Dicor self leveling sealant.

All done. The old panels really needed a cleaning!

All three panels wired in to the back of the controller. EDIT: I have now increased the size of the output wires shown to #10.

and back on the wall!

It is getting harder and harder to climb up and down and to work on my knees up there but I got it done in a couple of hours. The batteries are happily charging at 14.7 volts. Everything is good!

Monday, May 22, 2017

Continuing Solar Panel Install

Didn't get much accomplished on the panel today. My friend Dave had some two inch aluminum angle so I went over and we cut off a ten inch piece. Doris then invited me to stay for lunch on the deck which was delicious. I sure miss these former next door neighbors!

I cut the aluminum into four pieces and marked them and the sides of the panel for drilling. Norma then asked me to help her with a couple of gardening projects so that was as far as I got.

Check back tomorrow! Maybe photos.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Solar Panel Install, Part 1

So far, so good.
I decided to get a start on the new solar panel installation today even though I have no brackets to mount the panel to the roof. Tomorrow I will go downtown to buy some aluminum stock to cut and bend into right angle brackets.
I pushed two #10 wires up the conduit I installed in the fridge vent for the other two panels, climbed up to the roof, removed the vent cover and pulled enough wire to reach the spot where I will mount the new panel. The good news is, there is more than enough room to mount the panel without moving one of the older ones. What a relief!
Then I blind drilled a 1/2" hole through the metal bottom of the outside fridge enclosure to pass the wires into the solar controller beside the stairs. I will save that connection till last so I can check everything with the meter before making the final connections. The tough part is over!
Photos tomorrow.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Motorhome Parked!

Washed up and put away wet!
The motorhome is finally cleaned out, cleaned up and put away in it's parking spot. We are lucky to have room to park it on the property as most people have to rent parking for them. The house you see is our neighbour to the south. We are infringing about three feet onto his property but that area is unusable to him as it is only accessible from our property and contains his abandoned (and hopefully empty) oil tank. We make up for it by allowing them to extend their rear lawn right up to the back of my workshop, three feet or so on our side of the property line. Everyone is happy, it works out.

The dolly is in front of and partly under the motorhome and there is lots of room to park the two cars behind it, along with room for guests.


Thursday, May 18, 2017

Solar Panel Arrived and New Dolly Lights!

They told me it would be two to six WEEKS. It was here in two DAYS!

I have to get the rig parked before I can install it and Norma wants to wash it first. I also have to buy some Aluminium stock or angle to make mounting brackets, Maybe on the weekend.

I did get inspired and installed some new LED running lights on the dolly so that job is done. The old ones were LED as well but I lost a lens off one.


Trump And The Dunning-Kruger Effect

This is Donald Trump to a "T"
The Dunning–Kruger effect is a cognitive bias wherein persons of low ability suffer from illusory superiority, mistakenly assessing their ability as greater than it is. The cognitive bias of illusory superiority derives from the metacognitive inability of low-ability people to recognize their ineptitude, without which they cannot accurately evaluate their actual competence.[1] - Wiki

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Another Solar Panel!

My friend Kevin emailed me with this great deal on a 100 watt monocrystalline (better than polycrystalline) Solar panel. This would even be a great deal in the USA as $150 CAN = $110 USA! Plus free shipping and no tax on solar it was too good to pass up!

I will now have 325 watts of solar feeding my four 6 volt golf cart batteries! Now my only problem is to find a place on the roof to mount it without moving one of the existing panels. When I installed them I gave no thought to future expansion!

Click to see sale

DC HOUSE 160W 12V Monocrystalline Photovoltaic PV Solar Panel Module 12V Battery Charging

EDIT: Sale is over. $220 now