Fencing

At 1100 this morning:

Front left fence, before work started

Front left fence, before work started

The gates are staying. The four fence sections, two to each side, they’re toast.

I cut them off the posts. The posts are in fine shape on this side of the house. So I measured and cut and clamped and screwed new horizontal 2×4 PT lumber onto the posts, then nailed PT fence boards up. Fortunately, I’m using a nail gun, instead of a hammer. Otherwise I might still be out there now. Instead, at 1530 EDT:

New fencing installed

New fencing installed

I might have kept working, but it was starting to rain, so I hauled all the tools inside the shed, instead. I’ve still got to get the top detail done, arching the tops to roughly match the gates. In a couple of weeks, if the lumber’s dried out a bit, I’ll coat them with an Olympic Maximum stain/sealer in a natural cedar tone tint. Also, there’s the entire left right front fence still to do, and I know I’m replacing at least one post on that side.

Tomorrow’s weather looks sane, so I may give it a go. Ciao!

Edit: Whoops, no I won’t be working on the fence tomorrow. Tomorrow is a Solaris patching day for me. And it’s the front fence on the RIGHT side of the house that still needs doing…

Launch weekend

Well, it was a launch for NASA’s LADEE mission, a lunar orbiter (full name Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer”), from Wallops Island in Virginia. I headed up by the tennis courts to get a better south east view, further from the trees. Using binoculars, I was able to clearly see the ascent from about 10 seconds post-launch, through first stage separation and second stage firing, and on into the distance for a long while. Very cool. Usually the Wallops launches aren’t so spectacular, and I’m usually clouded in and can’t see them anyway from this distance.

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In other news, I stripped Scientific Linux (a Red Hat respin distro) off of Serenity, the home Linux box, and refettled the hardware with the latest Kubuntu. For a home box, I wanted a bit more versatility and package selection than SL had on offer. Start to finish about 24 hours. Lots of stuff to copy off the old box, then rebuild RAID and boot stuff, copy backups on again, and configure services so that all the assorted jobs and services that depend on this system work again. All good now, far as I can tell.

Also over the weekend, I started re-finishing the small table I had in my office – that’ll be an occasional table in the guest bedroom once I’ve got enough coats of poly on it.

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Our condolences to the families, friends, and unit of this fallen warrior:

  • Staff Sgt. Todd J. Lobraico Jr., 22, of New Fairfield, Connecticut, died Sept. 5, 2013, from wounds sustained when enemy forces attacked his unit with small arms fire near Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan.

Home Office Done!

Here’s the picture I envisioned for the office, back in October, when I was in the home-stretch on the degree warpath:

Brian's proposed office furniture and layout

Brian’s proposed office furniture and layout

I started working on the project in mid-December, apparently moments after I was done with the final paper of the last course I took. In early February, I installed the first shelving unit. Today I installed the final piece – the back counter, which is fabricated from 3/4 cherry ply and banded with hard maple (thus complementing the desk in the center of the room).

I’ve built every piece of furniture in my office, discounting the Aeron chair … I’m pretty damn proud of it, too. No one piece is perfect – they all have flaws, but they’re mine. Huzzah.

Brian's Office - View 1

Brian’s Office – View 1

Brian's Office - View 2

Brian’s Office – View 2

Brian's Office - View 3

Brian’s Office – View 3

Sadly, this apparently means that I now have to start working on Marcia’s list of things to be done…

 

Last days

For the home office refurb project, that is. Today, I fabricated and attached the hard maple edge banding onto the back desktop. I also got two coats of poly applied. Depending on how it feels tomorrow, it’ll either get two more coats of poly, or get installed. I’m hoping for the latter. The garden has languished for attention, but I’m probably going to make salsa in the next couple of days for the first time this year. Yay!

Legacy technology

Legacy technology

I spotted some legacy tech today while shopping. I think you pick that thing up, put in some coins, and talk Ernestine into connecting you with your party.

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Our condolences to the families, friends, and units of these fallen warriors:

  • Spc. Anthony R. Maddox, 22, of Port Arthur, Texas, died July 22, in Landstuhl, Germany, of a non-combat related incident that occurred in Andar, Afghanistan.
  • 1st Lt. Jonam Russell, 25, of Cornville, Arizona, died July 23, in Soltan Kheyl, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when enemy forces attacked his unit with an improvised explosive device.
  • Sgt. Stefan M. Smith, 24 of Glennville, Georgia, died July 23, in Soltan Kheyl, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when enemy forces attacked his unit with an improvised explosive device.
  • Spc. Rob L. Nichols, 24, of Colorado Springs, Colorado, died July 23, in Soltan Kheyl, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when enemy forces attacked his unit with an improvised explosive device.

It ain’t a Dry Heat.

It’s been, finally, much like a DC summer for the last couple of weeks. The rain stopped coming, except for pop-up thunderstorms that miss us, north or south. Heat and humidity are the order of the day, every day. We were supposed to have a front through last night, and cooler temps behind, but there was no rain for us, and it was 90+ by nine in the morning.

However, finally, some significant amounts of tomatoes are coming out of the garden (though mostly still cherry, but you won’t hear me complain, they’re yummy):

Cherry tomato haul

Cherry tomato haul

A couple of other tomatoes, some cucumbers, and a few peppers round out the day.

Most of the last week, outside of work, has been a march to get the finishes on the two cabinets. I think I’m done with those … but I have a problem. I used up the last of an old batch of poly on the drawer/door fronts. A new can of poly (same brand and type, but new) is going on the carcasses. Sadly, the fronts are a LOT yellower. Frantically different. I’m either going to have to live with it, or strip the finishes and start over. Right now, my vote is “live with it.” If I change my mind later, I’ll take the drawer fronts and door off, and redo them. Later. Much later.

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Our condolences to the families, friends, and units of these fallen warriors:

Lance Cpl. Benjamin W. Tuttle, 19, of Gentry, Arkansas, died July 14 at the Landstuhl Regional Medical Center following a medical evacuation from the aircraft carrier USS Nimitz (CVN 68), during a scheduled port visit in the 5th Fleet Area of Responsibility.

Staff Sgt. Sonny C. Zimmerman, 25, of Waynesfield, Ohio, died July 16, in Mushaka, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when his vehicle was attacked by a rocket propelled grenade.

Summer Doldrums

The heat and humidity have properly settled in, here in the formerly malarial DC Metro area. I’m trying not to let it slow me down. I took a few hours off work on Friday, and spent most of them working in the wood shop. I final-sanded all of the carcasses, drawer boxes, and fronts. Then I hauled all of those out into the “junk” area just outside my woodshop, so that I could clean the shop up.

Carcasses and boxes

Carcasses and boxes

I always build for a while, then clean massively before starting to apply finishes. It’s a bit of a pain, but it keeps the shop cleaner than it might otherwise be. I draped the saw, and started painting the drawer/door fronts.

Saturday, I continued with the finishing at intervals, but spent most of the morning and early afternoon hours doing yardwork – weeding and lawns, front and back. The best news from that angle? Starting to be some proper joy in the back yard, Tomatoes!

Finally: 2013 Tomatoes

Finally: 2013 Tomatoes

With such a late start to the planting this year, I guess I’m not surprised that we’re only getting tomatoes out starting in mid-July … but only cherry tomatoes so far, not even a hint of red in anything big enough to start making salsa or red sauce with. Sad face. By evening, we had a big storm blow through, and when it was done, we didn’t have phone or Internet service. TV, yes. Same pipe for all three, but #WTF! A long phone call and a bunch of power-cycle events later, the VZ bloke determined a truck roll was necessary, but that wouldn’t be happening until Monday.

Hmmmm. I’m on call, AND I have weekend production system patching that needs doing! I sloughed off the on call status to my boss, and shed Saturday night’s patch and reboot onto the junior admin. I then set my alarm for 0615, and was at work by 0700 this morning, patching the rest of the systems that needed attention. Back home, a spot of breakfast, then off to the shopping. By the time I was home again, and down applying coats of poly in the shop, when I heard the house phone ring. Huh? I looked in my wiring closet, and the WAN link was back on my router. I called. VZ didn’t have an explanation for how they were able to remotely fix a problem that had needed a truck roll twelve hours before … but I’m just happy to have comms and connectivity back.

The balance of today was spent cooking a big pot of chili (serrano and habanero chilies from the garden for that), and alternately sanding then overcoating with poly for the drawer/door fronts.

Finishing up door/drawer fronts

Finishing up door/drawer fronts

I still have to distress those, and apply a bit of tactical staining, but they’re nearly done. By Tuesday I should be able to start applying finish to the boxes, and those don’t need a lot. It’s times like this that I wish I had enough room for a spray booth.

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In yet more pleasant news, I have no new casualty reports to pass on from the DoD news release site. Still, it’s a good moment to stop and think about the dedication and resolve that our fighting men and women out at the pointy end of the stick display as they face the world on our behalf. You do us proud!

Happy 7th of July!

I celebrated Dependence Day (‘All the freedom the NSA will allow’) by doing house cleaning, working in the woodshop, and slow-cooking a pork loin roast on low in the grill, with some applewood chips. Overall, we had a good four-day holiday weekend, mostly indoors since the temps and humidity were in the mid to high 90’s.

Sadly, though, I suffered from a brain cramp when I was setting up the hinges for the cabinet door this morning. The door is nearly square. I laid out the drilling centers, did all the work on the drill press, mounted the hinges, and went to seat them on the face frame. Horrors, I was out by 90 degrees. So I re-drilled on the correct side, and filled the wrong cups with plugs:

Fixing a bad hinge layout

Fixing a bad hinge layout

After the glue was set, I filled the remaining gaps with a sandable putty. It’s set aside to cure overnight. Tomorrow, I can sand, drill the last screw hole, mount the door onto the face frame, and mark/drill for the pull. That’s the last of the hardware pre-fitting. THEN I can take everything apart again, final sand, and start applying finishes. A week or two of that, then the only remaining piece is the countertop, which should go quickly.

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Our condolences to the families, friends, and units of these fallen warriors:

  • Spc. Hilda I. Clayton, 22, of Augusta, Georgia, died July 2, in Jalalabad, Afghanistan, of a non-combat related incident that occurred in Qaraghahi, Afghanistan.
  • 1st Sgt. Tracy L. Stapley, 44, of Clearfield, Utah, died July 3, at Camp As Sayliyah, Qatar, in a non-combat related incident.
  • Pvt. Errol D.A. Milliard, 18, of Birmingham, Alabama, died July 4 in Farah province, Afghanistan, of injuries sustained when enemy forces attacked his unit with a rocket propelled grenade while on dismounted patrol.

Half Over

What? The year’s half over already? I don’t recall seeing 6 full months go by!

I did get a lot done this weekend. Yesterday in the yard: edging and mowing the lawns, and weeding the garden boxes. It was the only good day for the outdoor chores, as it was the only rainless day likely in the next week, and we’d had rain for the prior 8 or 9 days straight. Today, thunderstorms and downpours started before noon.

Today was mostly filled with shopping, cooking, and woodworking.

Building drawer boxes

Building drawer boxes

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Our condolences to the families, friends, and units of these fallen warriors:

  • Spc. Javier Sanchez Jr., 28, of Greenfield, California, died June 23, in Sar Rowzah, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when his unit was attacked with an improvised explosive device while on mounted patrol.
  • Sgt. Corey E. Garver, 26, of Topsham, Maine, died June 23rd, in Zormat, Afghanistan, of wounds sustained when enemy forces attacked his unit with an improvised explosive device.
  • Sgt. Justin R. Rogers, 25, of Barton, New York, died June 28, in Bagram, Afghanistan, from a non-combat related incident.

15 years; Table done

Those are unrelated topics, as the semicolon indicates. First (as my lovely Marcia points out), I neglected to point out to all and sundry that we celebrated our 15th wedding anniversary yesterday. We went out to Sly Horse Tavern for supper, to celebrate. It’s good to be happy, eh?

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Table done:

Table in the sun

Table in the sun

I brought the table bits halfway up, and setup on the lawn, to show how pretty this is in full light. Then I hauled it back inside and upstairs, and properly attached the top to the apron.

Table in my office

Table in my office

I’m nearly 80% done with this project. I’ve got two more base cabinets and a counter top to fabricate and install. Then the office is done. Yay!

Memorial Day Weekend

A three day chore marathon, closing with the annual remembrance of those lost to us in active military service. I choose to be a bit more OCD about my duty to honor our losses. (Or, as @xeni noted the other day on twitter, CDO, because it SHOULD be alphabetized!)

Saturday: I got the table apron and legs completed and assembled:

Table apron and legs assembled

Table apron and legs assembled

Next on Saturday, but without any photographic evidence at this time, I got our hanging baskets populated and hung up on the front porch. The watering outlets are in the baskets, but that isn’t set up with a supply yet, that’s held for Monday.

Final Saturday task – I applied gel stain to both surfaces of the cherry table top, to even out the look of the wood:

Staining the cherry top

Staining the cherry top

Sunday was a power run: I did the shopping, then applied a first coat of polyurethane to the bottom of the table. I mowed the lawns, with a dog walk as the halftime show. I evened out the first coat of poly with #0000 steel wool and a bit of 320 grit sandpaper, vacuumed, cleaned, and dried, then applied a second coat of poly. I watered and weeded out back, and took a little break. I then prep’d the bottom one more time, and applied a third coat of poly. That’ll cure overnight, and I’ll flip the work piece and start coating the top surface tomorrow. That and watering system setup will fill my Memorial Day, as will my thoughts of our fallen warriors…

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Our condolences to the families, friends, and the 29th Infantry Brigade Combat Team on the deaths of these fallen warriors:

  • Sgt. Eugene M Aguon, 23, of Mangilao, Guam, died May 16, in Kabul, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when enemy forces attacked his unit with a vehicle borne improvised explosive device.
  • Spc. Dwayne W. Flores, 22, of Sinajana, Guam, died May 16, in Kabul, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when enemy forces attacked his unit with a vehicle borne improvised explosive device.