Friday, August 29, 2008

Return To The Trenches

Friday: (08/29) Or at least that's the intent. My first effort today was an early doctors appointment. With that done, it was time to think about work.

When we were over in Reno, the high temperatures there were in the mid 90's. As it turns out, that was cooler than at home. We had a hot spell in the high 90's and low 100's while we were gone. Nice to have been gone but today, the high will still be in the low 90's so I may wait to start any real outside work until the weekend when it returns to the normal mid 70's. I can find enough to do inside, in the cool.

One thing to be done is to catch up on the blog. That's cool work. Then there is reduction of the pile of papers on the desk. Cool as well.

I'll bet the trench project will still be there when it's cooler.

Before trench.JPG Before trench.JPG
I finally got some pictures up for the drain project. Above left is the patio before the trenching across it. Above right shows the brick paving that was removed.
Patio Concrete Removed For Trench.JPG Bricks Removed For Trench.JPG
Left above shows the concrete removed for the trench across the patio, just need to dig out the dirt and install the pipe and inclets and then, of course, patch it. Above right shows the bricks are removed but I still have some concrete to remove next to the wooden deck to make a straight edge. Hopefully tomorrow it will be cool enough to get back at it.

Saturday: (08/30) Breakfast in the rear yard watching the squirrels and birds enjoy their breakfast as well. We had left over pizza, a nice breakfast.

Concrete Breakout Done.JPG Peanut Pots.JPG
Above left, I finished breaking out the concrete for the trenches and took it to the dump. On the right above are two big wash tub planters that I re-potted (a day or so ago) filing the bottom 2/3's with packing peanuts in a garbage bag then a layer of geo-textile the potting soil. They are much easier to move around now, next to impossible before.
Lou and Dawn are going through junk organizing and eliminating. Lou fixed some steamed vegetables and smoked sausage.

I got a call from the renters in San Jose that a window was broken so I headed off to replace it. Some jobs are simple but this wasn't one of them. I sopped by, measured the broken window wnet to the store and got the replacement glass and returned. i removed the sash and chipped out the glazing compound which was in good shape and probably 91 years old so it was difficult to get it out. After it was cleaned out i tried the glass. It was 1/4 inch narrower than what I ordered and needed. Someday I'll learn to measure before leaving. I returned to the store but they didn't have any more glass so I was off to another store and returned and installed the glass with no further problem, except.

Just after I returned the first time i noticed that there were four other cracked window panes adjacent to the one I'm replacing. We're thinking of replacing all the windows like at home so I'll hold off on fixing the windows until a decision is made.

When I returned home, Dawn had fixed some fennel to go with the baked potatoes and smoked chicken Lou fixed. Dinner was back in the rear yard. the rest of the evening I tinkered at the computer and Lou and Dawn with their crafts.

Sunday: (08/31) We really didn't do much today, as it probably should be. the weather was excellent in the mid 70's. I did prune the wisteria on the arbor. It tends to think it should be bigger than I do.

Monday, August 25, 2008

A Visit To Reno

Monday: (08/25) Another breaking day. I finished breaking out the concrete on the patio for one of the drain pipes about 20 feet long by 8 inches wide. It actually went much more quickly today, I'm not really sure why? I also finished sawing some of the concrete by where the bricks were. I'll be expanding the area where the brick paving is. About two years ago when I quickly extended the drain pipe to the then downspouts for the patio cover I just quickly broke the concrete without sawing a straight edge. Now it will be more pretty. I loaded the car and we made another trip to the dump. I still have a little more concrete to break out for the expanded brick pavement but that will have to wait a few days. I cleaned up the area. It's amazing how much dust the sawing creates.

My final task for the day was washin both cars. Again that darn dust made them look more used than usual.

Tomorrow, a change of pace. We're headed to Reno for a break. Lou and Dawn made a nice dinner of everything that might spoil in the refrigerator, mostly vegetables. We packed for the trip. We''re taking the car over and will be staying two nights. Again a trip without the RV. What's wrong with us. Just practicality. It's cheaper to stay in the motel than to pay for gas though not as comfortable in a hotel bed.

It now looks like we won't be getting out in the RV until at least early October. I really can't wait but there are things to be done here first.

Tuesday: (08/26) We enjoyed some of our neighbor Eric's banana bread for breakfast as we watched the crew start on the paving stones on house across the street and then were on our way to San Jose. Yes we know the way!

Lou went to her doll class and Dawn to her class. Me, I filled the gas tank,only $3.99 in San Jose, the fist time it's been less than $4 for a long time! I then passed the time looking around Staples and Costco.

We were on the way to Reno about noon. We stopped for walks several times and arrived in Boomtown about 5pm. I got gas, so nice, only $3.79! Then we looked around Cabella's Sporting Goods, big place. I started feeling bad when we were there. We then went over to the casino and had dinner at their buffet. Everything was great. Lou and Dawn had excellent prime ribs. after dinner and a brief visit of the machines by Lou and Dawn, we headed on to the Silver Legacy where we'll be staying. The AARP rate is quite nice there. fortunately I began to feel better. Darn that pebble.

Wednesday: (08/27) Breakfast was, of course, the buffet here at the Silver Legacy Casino. Really good. I've learned how to eat at buffets nd enjoy them. Use small plates. don't overfill them, just sample, and finally don't stack the used plates too high. Works for me.

The rest of the day was visits to the excellent thrift stores here in Reno. Dawn and Lou love them. Can't really say the same for me but then that's not my thing. I found enough to do.

We stopped for dinner at Louis's Basque Food. It's served family style at common long tables. We sat with couple and their son from Anaheim and their god parents that live here in Reno. We enjoyed the conversation and the meal.

I then retired for the evening watching a little of the Democrats convention, Excellent speeches by Bill Clinton and Joe Biden.

Lou and Dawn had more places to visit. What energy!

Thursday: (08/28) Breakfast at the Eldorado buffet. We packed and checked out and headed to Spark's.

We looked around all the craft vendors at the Rib Cook-off, visited the Nugget and Silver Club casinos. We generally loose or don't win much. I did win a couple of dollars at keno which offset all my loses on this trip. Lou and Dawn generally break even as well. We had $5 to bet for a neighbor which we did as our last bets. Dawn won $200 for the neighbor. How come they have the luck?

We looked around a very nice army surplus store on 4th street. They have some neat stuff but my favorite items were two cats. They have an outside bargain area and I saw one cat sleeping on a barrel of netting. It must have been comfortable. I disturbed the cat and it didn't seem to mind but when I said hello, another cat popped out nearby announced itself and did the obligatory stretch of a cat getting up from a nap. It then ran over jumped up with it's front legs on my pants leg and seemed to want to climb so I picked it up and placed it on a shelf higher up so we could talk. It immediately jumped up on my shoulders and rode there as I walked around. It reminds me of a cat I had when I was in high school that rode around in the same fashion when I was doing shores like feeding our chickens, ducks and geese. What a nice visit and a good dose of cat.

We also stopped by a final book store on Keystone Ave and then hit the road about 2:30. We stopped in Sacramento for some things from a Mexican bakery. Then stopped by Dawn's place in San Jose to pick up some of the stuff we left there on our way out of town and arrived home about 7:30. We luckily didn't run into any bad backups during our passage through Sacramento during rush hour.
Nice trip! Dinner was from Pizz'a Chicago.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Pesky Pebble

Tuesday: (08/19) I had a doctors appointment in Santa Clara this morning. It's been two weeks since the last check on the pesky pebble's (my kidney stone's) travels. It hasn't moved in these past two weeks. It gets four more weeks to move out or the surgeons will evict it. That doesn't sound like fun to me. Very fortunately it hasn't been bothering me.

I picked up Dawn at her class and we went by the Super Chinese Buffet in San Jose for lunch then I dropped her off in Mountain View to go to the Book Buyer's book store there. Lou had a doctors appoint there so she picked her up after the appointment.

Tomorrow is garbage day, sometimes known as Wednesday to some. I had two almost empty compost barrels that I thought should be filled.

Apricot tree Partially Trimmed.JPG Apricot tree Fully Trimmed.JPG
Lou and I had discussed removing our apricot tree because the two main branches have rotted away to the point they may fall.On the left above is the tree trimmed except for the big branch removal. Above right the final appearance of the tree.

Underneath one is our reading bench so that might be problematic. I whittled all the little branches up and deposited them in the bins. My little battery powered chain saw may have to work for a few days at trying to cut up the main branches which each are about 8 inches in diameter but the rest is in the bins. Or almost so. I actually left a few of the newer branches to see if there might be a tree left in there after I remove the big old guys.

Lou and Dawn also went vegetable shopping. Our dinner was pop corn and blue cheese and bacon potato salad. An odd combination but very good.

Oh, and surprise! The Bigfoot "find" announced a few days ago here was a fake.

Wednesday: (08/20) Lou had her doll class and Dawn her class and of course i have no class at all.

I worked in the back yard removing bricks and chipping the grout from them. I needed to trench through them for one of the drain inlets for a down spout and they also need re-leveling. So I'll be removing all of them installing the drain pipe the reinstaalling and also expanding the area of the brick patio. I also started sawing the patio to install the other drain inlet. I have to remove about 6 inches by 21 feet of concrete. In addition to the drain inlets for the down spouts I'll install some drains for the patio as well.

Since the saw blade needs to cool quite often, I mixed working on the brick removal with pruning the apricot tree. I sawed off the big branches that remained from the revious pruning. It took four battery charges to chop it all up but now it is quote a bit smaller and shaped nicely. Hopefully it survives.

Thursday: (08/21) Breakfast at The Country Gourmet Cafe in Mountain View. Lou and Dawn had a Salmon Omelet and I had a Field Mushroom Omelet. All very good.

From there we did a little shopping. Lou's fixing the bed so we needed new pillows which she had seen at Costco. We also stopped by Orchard Supply Hardware for a plant saucer and some "tree seal" to seal the apricot tree where I severely pruned it.

When we got home they were hooking up power to the new house across the street. Always some good show.

We learned our neighbors camping trip to Yosemite was cut short There was a bicycle accident and the neighbors knee didn't fair well. They came back home days early and surgery is upcoming. It doesn't sound like fun. We watched one of their sons while they were off to the doctor and I had the duty to assemble a new child seat for the car pool vehicle. It looks like today isn't a working day?

We went over to the neighbors for dinner. Having three young children seems like a real challenge. It was nice to visit and nice to be able to say good night.

Friday: (08/22) I broke out more of the bricks having decided to remove them all to level and adjust the grade instead of just putting in the drain pipe. I cleaned all the grout off the bricks by chipping away. Unfortunately some of the grout was really good having had too much cement added to the mix so the work went slowly but eventually was completed.

Saturday: (08/23) Today was a play day.

Climbikng Stairs.JPG Cat Looking in Mouse hole.JPG
We went downtown to a street art fair. We really wanted to see the chalk art drawn on the pavement. The two above are really good. My favorite is the cat looking into a mouse hole.

Wind god.JPG Lady And the Tramp.JPG
The wind god above left is nice and there were several Disney characters including the Lady and the Tramp drawing above right.
Before we left we stopped for a late lunch at the New York Cheese Cake Factory sharing a pistachio chocolate swirl cheesecake, Cesar salad, and a shepherds pie. We always start with the desert first. You never know when you might get full and if you have to leave something we don't want it to be desert.

I did get the car loaded for a dump run which included getting the old wooden bench under the apricot tree into the car.  It's rotted a bit and looked pretty bad but there really wasn't too much danger of it collapsing. it was an 8 inch thick, 18 inch wide, and 8 feet long piece of redwood. It was the former sign to the downtown Palo Alto library that we've enjoyed for the past 15 years or so. It was a nice place to sit and read or enjoy tea or breakfast. We'll miss it a lot.

Sunday: (08/24) We started the day with a visit to the dump I worked all day sawing the concrete on the patio and breaking it out. That 75 pound breaker bar gets heavy after a while.

About 5pm I cleaned up and we went back downtown to view the complete chalk drawings on the street. Every thing was good and many great! Since the Art show ended at 6pm and they started removing everything to be able to open the streets we didn't want to be late so i ate dinner of an grilled open face chicken and tomato sandwich. Lou and Dawn had enjoyed theirs early as i was cleaning up.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Shopping Again

Monday: (08/18) Back to the weekly schedule, though I'm not sure how it really differs from the weekend schedule?

Dawn was off to school early. ParaTransit was late and she ended up getting to class late.

Lou and I did a shopping run, both hardware and food. First stop was the Post Office to get some 2 cent stamps to help use up the 55 39 cent stamps we still have. We bought a roll of 100 stamps a few weeks before the rate went up and of course before the forever stamps as well. We don't use too many stamps any more. Of course there was a problem. The post office was very busy and they were out of stamps in the vending machine. If only the USPS could be more like the UPS! They need some competition.

Next stop, a look around the home salvage store. Lou can't pass without stopping and I tend to not want to stop but I'm the one who found something.  I looked through the used molding and found a nice bundle of fluted molding. The door and window molding in our house is five fluted and my find is also five fluted but is slightly different being slightly recessed convex. It looks close enough and will be used in the garage for the door and window.
Lou's replacing some of the Venetian blinds  that showed too much age. We looked at Ikea but didn't like the styles nor the price so we then went by Home Depot and found our usual $5 blinds. I also found a new carbide tipped saw blade for my 6.5" hand saw. They are hard to find. Most store only have 7.25 and 10 inch blades?

By now we were hungry so we stopped at the Chipolte restaurant in Mountain View for lunch. We've always wanted to try it out but haven't until now. We each had carnitas bowls which were very good. We'll be back.

From lunch, Lou walked across the street to Costco to look while I hit Orchard Supply Hardware. I could have purchased what I needed at Home Depot but I prefer OSH for two reasons. They provide a little more service like loading the car and I prefer to use one source so that when I return the 25% of unused items they can all go to one place. I just wish THIS OSH was better stocked. i picked up some  drain pipe to complete the connection of the last two remaining down spouts to our drain system and to complete the french drain around the house. Only about 30 feet to go but it's all through paved areas so next step is to do some concrete removal.

Our final stops, because of refrigeration needs, were the markets. We started with a stop at Trader Joe's and followed that with a visit to Safeway. We didn't do the vegetable shopping at the Milk Pail because Lou and Dawn will be away until Wednesday. Lou will do that on her way home.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Bigfoot and the Free Press

Friday: (08/15) An interesting day. I picked up Dawn and took her to a class. Dawn is taking a class on how to get a job. I think that should actually be part of the curriculum in school, like balancing your check book should be, BUT ISN'T.

I needed to fix her Internet access at her apartment. It's been acting up due to the buggy Microsoft upgrades that killed the Zone Alarm firewall. It was easy enough to fix with an upgrade to both. The Internet connection has also been intermittent running a day or two then requiring a power cycle of everything to connect again. Even that didn't work the other day for Dawn, so here I am. That problem hopefully disappeared with the re-seating all the cables because the next thing will be replacing the DSL modem. Now, be nice!

It was also a typical day in Palo Alto.

There was a news conference here about finding a dead Bigfoot. A guy here is marketing the "find" for the people who "found" it in Georgia. I'm not surprised that the news conference was here but am surprised that a Bigfoot, with that hairy body, would choose to live in Georgia, a place noted for high humidity and hot summers. It probably died of heat exhaustion?

And then there is our wonderful city. They stole all the newspaper machines downtown for our newest (third) newspaper the Palo Alto Daily Post. The city said they received a complaint from one of the other papers about the fact the new paper didn't have a permit to place the machines on the city sidewalks. Turns out they applied months ago but still haven't gotten one. The machines were delivered to the papers door step. The newspaper immediately reinstalled them. This will likely end up costing us tax payers a bundle. There's little doubt the City is in the wrong here.

One of Dawn's high school friends,Abdul, is in town. He's now studying law in London and is home visiting and working on his dissertation. We all went over to a local Mexican restaurant to have some of their advertised $1 margaritas during happy hour. Nothing like a good cheap drink. Actually, it was nothing like a cheap drink, nor a happy hour. We "failed" to mention we wanted the "house" margaritas so they were $6.50 drinks instead. This was our first visit there in about 15 years. They changed all their recipes then and their food went from excellent to poor so we haven't been back, until now. They won't need to hold a table for us, we won't be back for at least another 15 years. Did I mention it's in Palo Alto.

We really do like this city but there are some peculiarities here, but of course, we're one of them as well.

One of Dawns school counselors and her niece came over just before the gang returned. We all visited a while and then picked up a couple of pizzas for dinner. It was a good opportunity to use a two for one pizza coupon for our local Pizz'a Chicago parlor.

Saturday: (07/16) Lou and Dawn went to their usual weekend rummage and garage sale tour. Abdul was off visiting other friends.

While Lou, Dawn and Abdul went to a picnic hosted by the Vista Center For The Blind I tinkered on the house some putting the house numbers on, repairing the door bell switch and adjusting the position of one of the drain inlets for a down spout so they connected. The mail box slot in the garage wall got in the way so the down spout was relocated. I thought it would look better straight so I told the installers I'd align it later so make the downspout straight. That was enough work so I tinkered at the computer the rest of the afternoon.

About 4pm we all headed up to the San Mateo County Fair. It's been one of the better citified fairs in the bay area. We enjoyed our visit but it looks like this fair is dying like most of the other bay area fairs. Seems like to have a good fair you need to have some farming and its all but totally gone around here.

Sunday: (08/17) We enjoyed breakfast under the arbor and just before noon Abdul was off to other destinations.

Not a busy day today. We all tinkered around. Dawn made a corn tomallito for desert. It's that corn pudding like thing you get at Chevy's restaurant.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Wrapping It Up

Monday: (08/11) That's what the house siding installers are doing.

Humming Bird.JPG Humming Bird And Triceratops.JPG
While watching the work in back by the fountain a humming bird paid a visit, and this time, I had my camera. The shot on the right was spoiled by the triceratops that lives there.

Today, they completed the North side of the house, most of the rest of the front and prepared half the South side. In addition, they fabricated the rain gutters. There were three guys here all day until after 7pm and two guys who dropped the three off picked up some material here at the house and returned to their shop, in Sacramento, to bend the gutters. Now that's a long drive to get to the shop and back here to pick up the other installers.

Our Italian Sports Car.JPG
While we waited for the crew to arrive we modified our 4 wheeled bike by removing the top and baby seat. This makes it much lighter and it looks nice, more like a sports care rather than a family wagon. It's our Italian Sports Car since it is made in Italy.

Tomorrow, with five workers, they should finish, almost. The almost is because they ran out of the gingerbread scalloped shingle siding used on the upper front areas. That may delay actual completion but they may be finished otherwise tomorrow. Now that's fast!

Thursday, the garage door should be installed as well so then we may be through with all ths mess getting the place spruced up.

Tuesday: (08/12) I was up about 6:30 intending to take a shower before the installers showed up.

Lou and Dawn are off to San Jose for Lou's doll class and Dawn's meetings.
Today, for the first time, they showed up early at about 7:15. I had to remind them that they couldn't start work until 8:00 per a city ordinance but that didn't slow them much but they just moved things and didn't use hammers of power tools so we didn't get caught. The end result was they finished everything and departed about 4:15. The scalloped shingles are still awaiting parts but should arrive in a week or so.

The Final Piece IS Installed.JPG The Tidy Service Panel Area.JPG
The last piece, except for the back ordered shingles, is being installed above left. The service area (above right) turned out very neat.

Garage And Hot Water Tank Shed.JPG Almost Complete House.JPG
The side of the garage and the new hot water shelter. The almost complete siding project above right.

After they left, I vacuumed the yard of all the Styrofoam dust and searched for lost nails and screws.  That took a while even though when they left the yard was actually pretty clean, by contractor standards. I also reinstalled the fencing next to the house.

Wednesday: (08/13) Play day. Tomorrow the garage door will be installed but today nobody here but me. I did some final work on the fence replacement. It now is free standing and needed a metal brace. It used to be attached to the house.

With the work done I updated this blog and otherwise took it easy. When I did finally venture out, I stopped for a hair cut at the Stanford barber shop then at Chaves Market in Redwood City for a very late lunch or early dinner? I enjoyed my usual super carnitas burrito. Next stop, get gas. What a pleseant surprise, only $4.15/gal. Best price in many months.

I then stopped by Target looking for stuff, nothing found there. Next stop was Redwood Supply, a hiker/camper supply store. I was looking for new hiking boots and new shoes. I found my usual sketchers loafers but didn't like the hiking boots I tried on.

Next stop was Big Lots, the discount store for some cannded fruit and some energy drinks. I indulge the ocassional Red Bull enrgy drink bu they're a bit costly. It's what's in the drink that's important and Big Lots has a number of other similiar drinks  for 1/4 the price. I'm not drinking the Red Bull because it tastes good or quenches the thirst but to get me moving again. The other drinks seem to all work as well.

Next stop the Orchard Supply Hardware store. I needed a new faucet and a few other things. I cruised through the Costco next door as well and picked up a berry sundae. It was rather hot before that.

On the way home I walked the Stanford Mall. I haven't been there in a while. It's a nice place to walk. Nice flowers and fountains. Then it was tome to head home. Enough fun.
Preparing To Install Garage Door.JPG The New Garage Door Looks Good.JPG
Thursday: (08/14) The garage door installer arrived about 8:38 for his 8am appointment. He did a very good job installing the new door. An advantage of getting the new door was that we had to cleanup the garage so he'd have room to install the door. The garage is actually mostly Lou's pottery shop except for the laundry area. It hasn't been cleaned in quite a while, our usual method, wait until desperately needed.

The installer departed about 12:38 leaving a nicely installed new garage door. Quite an inprovement.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

A New Look Is Coming

Monday: (08/04) Lou and Dawn went down to San Jose for appointments and classes. They'll be back Wednesday.

I was busy cleaning up my study to provide access to the windows for replacement. The room was piled floor to ceiling with stuff but the closet was empty. I went to Home Depot and got a shelf and installed it in the closet. I had intended to make my own but that intention is several years old so the quick fix is the purchase method. I installed the shelf and cleaned up most of the day.

The contractor called and asked to start the siding Wednesday so both projects may be finished this week.

I repaired the doorbell which hasn't worked for years. What would you expect at an electricians house? Actually quite a productive day but there is much to do before Wednesday. Tomorrow starts with a doctors visit then back to work.

Tuesday: (08/05) Busy day made busier by the unexpected early arrival of the siding folks tomorrow.

I started the day with a followup visit to the doctor. My little kidney stone hasn't been seen these past two weeks but fortunately I've been feeling good waiting for it to show it's face. It's almost ready to pop out but that knowledge doesn't make me worry less waiting for the fun to start again.

I treated myself to a Chinese buffet lunch near the hospital before heading home. It was one I haven't tried before called the Super Buffet on Saratoga Avenue in San Jose. Real good.

I had to finish a few things before tomorrow. I repaired several vent screens. Don't want any critters moving in.

The repair to the rafter ends.JPG
I also repaired all the rafter ends that had been sawed or rather hacked off to provide clearance for the old patio cover. I installed new end pieces so the siding and soffit can be installed correctly. I'm sure, if the contractor did it, it wouldn't be as good, especially since they hadn't seen the problem because when they were here before the patio cover was still in place. I also cleaned up and put away a lot of stuff that had accumulated on the patio.

I finished up just before 9pm and then picked up dinner at our local beanery Taco El Grullense getting a nice super nachos.

Wednesday: (08/06) While I waited for the contractor to show up I did a few last minute things. I removed the fencing that was against the house. Again, I know what the contractors best friend, the sawsall, can do to fence and I prefer a little better removal which allows reinstaallation after the contractor leaves. I also remembered to move a couple of big planters that were against the house that have bougainvilleas. That can be a sticky job but wasn't bad other than the weight of 30 gallons of dirt.

Fortunately, as I sit here, at noon, waiting for the contractor, who was supposed to arrive at 10, I have good entertainment. They are finishing up the house being built across the street. They are installing the paving stone driveway today.

It works every time! The contractor arrived at 1210 with his truck very over loaded with most of the material. These workers, like most of the people working on the house across the street, live in the valley around Sacramento. The price of gas has to be hurting them. The foreman across the street says he spends $350 a week on gas. Glad I'm not doing that!

After dropping off the load, they left to go to Home Depot to get the lumber that was needed, another truck load. So, work didn't start until near 2pm but even with the delays, they nearly prepared two sides of the house with furring. At this rate they should finish fairly quickly.

Lou picked up a Pizz'a Chicago pizza for dinner.

Thursday: (08/07) We expected both the return of the siding folks and for the window installers to arrive about 8am. The window installers  arrived near 9am while the siding installers arrived just before noon.

All the windows except the garage were installed today and a little of the touch-up work done today. The garage window could not be installed because it's 13" too narrow. Oops! In addition, we learned that the door is not yet available. They don't schedule the installation until all material is in. The installer confirmed all th material was in the day before but when he arrived to pickup the windows and door, the door had left the building. So it's on order again, hopefully with front of the line privilege. The windows look great!

Even with such a late arrival, the siding guys completed the most difficult part, the area above of sun room. They had to brace the roof to allow to work on the weak tin roof. They also have some missing material like more than half the vent covers. That may make them have to stop until they get them since all the other work rises from the vents.

Lou and Dawn whipped up a cranberry Asian pear pie. The pears come from Dawn's pair tree in the front yard. The poor little tree is overloaded with fruit this year. Dawn planted this tree from a seed she saved from a pear our neighbor gave her. It's probably 10 years old now but due to not getting out of a pot into the ground for a few years, it's only about two inches in diameter and has only had a max of 17 pears before. This year there are more like 71.

My job is photo journalist. I'm taking hundreds of pictures some of which will end up being posted here when th job is  done.

Friday: (08/08/08) This is supposed to be a lucky day, who knows?

Dining Room Weindows Before.JPG New Dining Room Windows.JPG
Everybody showed up by 9am today. The window installers did their touch-up. The windows look quite nice. The before picture above left is quite different from the finished windows and siding on the right above. They left about 2pm. They still have the one window that was too small and the front door to install when they both arrive later

 Our house before.JPG Our house with some improvement.JPG
I learned that this same siding installation crew is working on installing siding at Pier 39, a tourist trap shopping center on a wharf in San Francisco. Now that is a BIG project. They're doing a great job here. Today they finished a lot of the front and the side of the garage. That was with three people working today. There were only two installers the previous two days. Obviously, this is going to take a few more days. They do have most of the most difficult parts done. They even started the "ginger bread" scalloped shingles on the upper front. They look nice.

You can see how hard we are working watching all the work.

Saturday: (08/09) I started the day by setting up Dawn's desktop computer to use the wireless network. The cable that used to go to her computer exited via the study window. I haven't been up to crawling under the house to relocate it so I went wireless. All our laptops are anyway so why not the desktops too? I'll also have to reinstall my outside WiFi hotspot antenna some day as well. For now some of the neighbors may have to connect elsewhere.

I spent the rest of the day preparing for painting some areas that may not be covered by the siding or trim. It's much more difficult to paint the small exposed areas after the siding is up. The problem areas are around the doors and the two windows we didn't replace as well as the electric and telephone services. I also built a box to cover the sprinkler valves on the front of the house. Before quitting for the day, I primed all but the windows. This kind of work I could easily do without. I hate painting as is evident by the look of the house before we started.

Dawn worked at making some paper. She's wanted to do it for a while and we saved a lot of the shredded paper from the junk mail which she then placed on one of the screens from the windows that were replaced.

Lou worked on her dolls. She and Dawn also went grocery shopping. We usually do that on Thursdays but were too absorbed by the work on the house.

Sunday: (08/10) We started the day with a nice breakfast of peach blintzes and smoked sausage then went to the Palo Alto Farmers Market for a look. We don't usually get much there because the prices are so high but we do enjoy visiting and looking around.

More painting. Everything got it's color coat of paint today.

I picked most of the remaining Asian pears from Dawns tree, one of the duties of those gifted with height. Lou and Dawn spent the day baking. Peaches were on sale so they made more blintzes to freeze and they also made Asian pear and cranberry pies.

Oh boy, tomorrow the installers are back!

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Rancho San Antonio County Park, Cupertino, Ca

We accidently trapped a bird in Dawn;s garden.
Saturday: (08/02) Dawn has several garden pots on a fence in the back yard growing herbs and such. She has cages over some of them to keep the squirrels out. This morning, Lou found this bird in one of the cages. It was happy to be released!

Barn At Deer Hollow Farm . Deer  Hollow Farm's Garden.
Sunday: (08/03) We visited Rancho San Antonio Park. It's a multi agency park including a Santa Clara County Park, A City of Mountain View run Deer Hollow Farm and a huge chunk of Midpennsula Regional Open Space District land. These hills have a lot of parkland made up of city parks, open space, County parks, and land trust land. Lots of good hiking. Part of the park is an old farm with gardens and animals.

Goats at the Farm at Deer  Hollow Farm. A new calf at Deer Hollow Farm.
We love visiting the goats. They have a new calf (6 months old). The calf was born at Hidden Villa, just over the hill in Los Altos which we visited a couple of weeks ago. This farm, and the other city farms in the bay area share animals. It probably makes for better breeding.

Flowers at Rancho San Antonio. Berries on the trees at the Rancho.
Of course there were some flowers. The flower above left is all over the park . It's on a vine that grows in many of the trees. The berries were on some of the trees. Too bad they aren't edible.

Quail On A Fence Post At Rancho San Antonio. Quail Family At Rancho San Antonio.
And then there are the quail, lots of them. Even some chicks.