Monday, August 31, 2009

Finaly Some Headway On The Sheds

Monday: (08/31) No Eggs so my morning sandwich was eggless, just grilled bread, bologna, and cheese. It worked. I didn't get up until near 9am so everyone else had eaten already.

I got started on the fence repair for the new shed project. I spent most of the day chipping off the roots near the trees. Not easy work but much better today that last week in the really high heat. By quitting time I had the form in place for the first post and was readdy to pour but will wait Until tomorrow to do it.

Lunch was a leftover pizza slice and a V8. Dinner was my fovorite, chili sizes. It was just Ernie and I and we both like them. Lou and dawn are out on their thrift store run and are eating out on the way.

Tuesday: (09/01) Breakfast was eggs, sausage, and waffles. Lunch was Lou's quesadillas. Dinner was Noodle soup. It started with Ernie's egg drop soup leftovers.

I started the day by pouring a post base then removed the last section of fence and removed the post and base, dug out for the fence base, set the form for the post base and poured it.

Wednesday: (09/02) Lou made chili rellenos for breakfast. Dawn had leftover quesadillos.  A good start for the day.

I like very few TV shows anymore but one i like is Perry Mason and it's on at 8am and noon here. If I happen to get up early I can, and often do, watch it. Then If I'm not moving yet, Rachael Ray is good. Cooking shows are one of Ernie's favorite show types. I also like the begging chatter on the View however since the digital TV upgrade we don't get the channel anymore. The transmitter is on Sutro Tower in San Francisco and they supposedly had to raise the antenna after the analog transmitters were turned off. After the supposed fix we don't get it anymore and haven't since the switch to digital but did before. Looks like they goofed up and I'm beginning to assume it's permanent. There isn't much good on ABC the past few years anyway. Just don't mess up my CBS.

I'd better get busy now so I can do a little work before the noon Perry Mason. Actually we often miss Perry but it is nice to eat breakfast and lunch with.

I made a couple of trips to the hardware store for more concrete. I couldn't do much while the concrete cured enough to strip the forms. It was still too soft this morning. It was a hot day today anyway. Of course, now it's going to rain per Google. Works every time, better than a rain dance. I hope it's an error.

Dinner was a vegetable soup Dawn made.

Thursday: (09/03) Nice and sunny outside, no thundershowers like promised by Google, but then that didn't seem too likely. Just a demonstration of the occasional inaccurate data on the Internet. Better Safe than sorry as far as my covering the cement pile.

For breakfast I fixed waffles and sausage. Lou fixed stuffed tomatoes for lunch. We had Dawn's leftover vegetable soup for dinner.

Ernie and I worked all day building the forms for two of the fence sections. This fence is no ordinary fence, its more like hover dam with a few boards on top. Maybe I over do it sometimes but I don't want the neighbors trees pushing the fence around too soon. Tomorrow we pour.

Friday: (09/04) I fixed a nice breakfast of fried eggs, sausage and toast.

Ernie and I had work to do. We fired up the mixer and poured the concrete for two of the fence sections using 32 bags of concrete mix. That only took an hour and a half but i had to hang around a while to do some finishing. Lunch was another stuffed tomato ala Lou. We all went our separate merry ways after lunch. I picked up more concrete since i now know about how much I should use for the remaining fence section. I get the concrete at Orchard Supply Hardware (OSH which is part of Sears). They had a really good sale on the table saw I've been intending to get so I picked it up as well. My existing table saw is 3'x7' and weighs a ton. Works perfectly well but is a pain to move. My new saw has wheels and legs and folds up to about 18"x3'x4' and can be stuffed in a corner. I'm trying to down size since by show will be smaller. Now to find a new home for my table saw which is now more than 30 years old.

We went out to dinner at the Peninsula Creamery in downtown Palo Alto. I had a turkey pot pie, Ernie had fish and chips, Dawn had baked macaroni and cheese and Lou had a cobb salad. Lou Dawn and I rotated our choices making an interesting combo. That was all followed by a one of their excellent cookies.

Saturday: (09/05) Lou fixed breakfast of eggs, sausage and toast. A good breakfast starts the day off nice and lasts better than cereal or the like. I didn't need lunch until 2pm.

Fence Base Finished Fence Base By Trees
I looked at the concrete and it looked dry enough to strip the forms. It looks good. The forms can be reused for the third section. I worked on building the form for the third,  odd ball fence section near the trees. The base has to dodge the base of the tree and hopefully will be able to keep it from intruding further. I managed to get it all prepared to pour tomorrow morning.

After a good days work Ernie's dinner was nice. He fixed some rolled steaks that he saw Rachael Ray make a couple of days ago.  It was served with his buttered fresh spinach and some quinoa, a rice like substitute from Trader Joe's.  All very good.

Sunday: (09/06) I tinkered with Dawn's computer most of the morning. Ernie took the dogs to the dog park to see their friends.

I built a little form to fill a gap in the fence base and when Ernie returned we poured 25 bags of concrete for the last fence section and the little piece I formed this morning.

Lou fixed grilled cheese sandwiches for lunch. I cleaned up some of my mess and did the final finishing and took a siesta or two while I waited. I finally assembled my new folding table saw as well. It will be nice.

Ernie fixed a nice potato salad and we had hot dogs for dinner with All sorts of fixings like seasoned refried black beans, sauerkraut, onions, and avocado.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Slow Work On Sheds

Monday: (08/23) Started with a breakfast egg sandwich. I then went shopping to get materials. Loading and unloading 8 plywood panels and 20 2x4 and misc other stuff consumed the rest of the morning and then some. I had Chinese food from our local fast food restaurant for lunch. When I couldn't delay real work further I dug out some more dirt to add to the ever expanding pile I'm making. I completed the rough cut and now just need to skim of an inch or two her or there in final preparation for the base rock. Dinner was beef stroganoff with broccoli and a carrot apple and raisin salad.

Tuesday: (08/24) I fixed home fries with red and green peppers, onions and mushrooms. I added some fried eggs to go with some strips of steak (roast) Ernie had prepared yesterday. I then wasted the morning watching TV and working at the computer. After lunch of tid-bits from the Hong Kong Bakery which Lou picked up after dropping dawn off at the train I finally did a little work. Quite little. I erected a temporary fence to keep the dogs at home when I work on the fence repair/replacement. I'm still  not sure how much I'm going to do repair or replace. I just staked up some plywood panels with EMT stakes driven in the ground. Enough for today, Lou wants to go out to a cheap prime rib dinner at 430 so I don't want to do too much. Any excuse!

Wednesday: (08/26) Leftovers for breakfast. In my case broccoli, Waldorf salad, cottage cheese, and an Italian sausage. Interesting! About 1030 I finally got to work outside. I removed some of the existing fence and chipped away the roots and moved more dirt. Lots of fun. Lou worked on cleaning the back yard. She blew leaves from the planters and raised them up on blocks to male future cleanup easier. Lunch was an olive loaf and horseradish cheese sandwich. Dinner was tortellini and sausage soup.

Replacing Fence By Neighbors Pesky Trees Temporary Fence
Thursday: (08/27) I needed to remove the old posts so I started with this one. Of course the hard part is getting the concrete base out. The clay soil is just about as hard as the concrete. The neighbors trees must remain so this is going to be fun installing the concrete footing and post bases. To keep the doggies at home I erected a temporary fence.

Friday: (08/28) More of the same working on the fence. A lot of digging to be done in hot weather. I got two of the three post holes dug but still need to remove a few more tree roots.

Saturday: (08/29) After cereal for breakfast I went by Shoreline Park in Mountain View. The concessionaire was selling a bunch of kayaks. Turns out the weren't discounted enough for my liking.

Palo Alto Electric Vehicle Rally, Electric Bike And Trailer Palo Alto Electric Vehicle Rally, All Types Of Electric Vehicles
Ernie and I then went to the Palo Alto Electric Vehicle Rally.The electric bike above left pulls the long trailer all over town carrying materail or a couple of people.

Palo Alto Electric Vehicle Rally, Wheelchair Chariot Palo Alto Electric Vehicle Rally, Wheel Chair Chariot
The above looks like an electric scooter for Ben Hur. Its for a wheel chair riding driver.

Palo Alto Electric Vehicle Rally, Green Vehicles Palo Alto Electric Vehicle Rally, Green Vehicles

The vehicles above and below left are from Green Vehicles of San Jose. I rather like the van above right. I mentioned it in the blog a week or so ago when I looked at it in one of their showrooms. It's really rather well builtcarries 7 people or about a ton of freight and has lots of head room. They buy the body from China and put the electric drive and transmission in. Could be a good city car but I don't yet know if it could be towed. And then there is the crash test information that is still to come.

Palo Alto Electric Vehicle Rally, Green Vehicles Palo Alto Electric Vehicle Rally, Three Years In the Works
Above left is the Green Vehicles sports car. It has a 200 mile range and cruises at freeway speeds. The car on the right has been in the works for three years so far. it will be quite nice when complete.

Palo Alto Electric Vehicle Rally, Cute Sparrow Vehicle Palo Alto Electric Vehicle Rally, Homemade Electric Sports Car With A Short?
The Sparrow EV above right looks much like a bug. The sports car on the righ looks like it has a short.

Sunday: (08/30) Ernie baked some eggs and fried some spuds for breakfast.

Lou and I went to the OSH hardware store to get some things including the 12 sack concrete limit the car can carry. Unfortunately they only have weak steel post bases so those will come from somewhere else.

I made a couple of more trips and now have a pretty good stack of concrete bags to start pouring the post bases. I hate to run short in the middle of a pour. I found good heavy gauge post bases at Home Depot. i don't get the concrete there mostly because I don't have to handle the loading at the store at OSH.

Lou Dawn and I took a walk after dinner to the California Avenue shopping district near home.

Monday, August 17, 2009

A Hike And Some Chalk Art

Monday: (08/17) Ernie fixed a nice breakfast of eggs, bacon and hashbrown potatoes. I'm busy back to avoiding work, or at least delaying beginning it.

Goofed off so much we forget what I did?

Tuesday: (08/18) Ernie and the dogs left early this morning for a little trip North to see the redwoods.

Toast and jam for breakfast.  I had a dentist appointment this morning to get a filling repaired. I seem to break a lot of them. After the visit to the dentist I had lunch (barley beef soup and lemon cheese cake) at the Country Inn in Cupertino. It's amazing that the mouth is no longer numb for days after a visit now days. Things have improved.


Wednesday: (08/19) Lou and I dropped Dawn off at the train station in Mountain View. We all had breakfast at the Hong Kong Bakery before she left.

We goofed off shopping around and had lunch at Lou's favorite spot, Luu Noodle house sharing our usual combination chow fun with a couple of egg rolls.

When I returned home I did a little work filling the trench for the pipes and chipping away dirt to the level I determined after staking the area and determining the grade. I didn't really accomplish much though.


Thursday: (08/20) I got up early and hitched up the RV for a trip to it's doctor Leale's RV in San Jose. The generator has been sick since we left on our winter trip last December. It coughed and ran rough. I looked at it and, knowing nothing about it, couldn't fix it so we limped along. Actually we just lived within our solar generating abilities. It's now running nice and smooth with a clean carburetor, new fuel filter  (which I never found) and new spark plugs. When I arrived iIwas told it might have to be there a few days. I had thought my appointment first thing in the morning would allow it to be completed in the one day. I really hate leaving the RV anywhere. I went a short distance up the road to Denny's for  Grand Slam breakfast.

Southern Lumber is close and the best lumber store in the bay area. i needed some 2x12 pressure treated boards for the fence and couldn't find them tinted red, the chain lumber store only have green boards which i don't like. While Southern is well stocked it also isn't cheap but getting the boards there may save some gas to offset the higher price. I also checked on steel tubing price and availability at Sims metal which is also nearby. I stopped by Family RV to see if they had any good cheap used trailers for Ernie, nope. I did see one for sale with an open house in the parking lot of a Home Depot i stopped at. It looked good so I called Lou to come look at it. There turned out to be some title problems so? The Leale's service rep called before noon and promised the RV would be completed today so I continued to goof off shopping. Lou and Dawn came down and looked at the trailer then went on to their dental appointments.

I had a slice of pizza from Sbaro's at a mall for lunch. I picked up the RV about 4pm, hitched up the toad and returned home. Even though it was commute time traffic wasn't too bad.

After getting the RV parked Lou was ready for dinner so we went out to Chevy's for dinner. Wow, ate out all day. We didn't have the usual Chevy Cinco combinations for dinner this time trying new things. Lou and Dawn shared an assemble d combo of chili relleno, steak enchilada and ?. I had a combo with chicken and shrimp skewers, steak enchilada and taco. All good, and different.

Ernie returned late this evening, with doggies, from his trip up North to the redwoods.

Friday: (08/21) Cereal with bananas for breakfast.

We tinkered around in the morning and had lunch before heading North to the San Mateo County Fair. It's been a pretty good fair while many others are dying like our own Santa Clara County Fair. It was a good fair with lots of crafts and such, animals, etc but they have closed two of the building  whick look like they are becoming the turf club. The Bay Meadows horse race track next door closed recently. How it stays a real fair.

We stopped at the Chavez Market Taqueria in Redwood City for dinner.

Saturday: (08/22) Breakfast of a Don McMuffin sandwich.

I started by re-locating the avocado tree that I just got planted a couple of months ago. It's been in a planter pot for more than eight years, finally made it into the ground but I put it in the way of the new sheds so it was moved again. Poor thing. Fortunately, it hadn't established itself yet so it moved fairly easily except for the ground being so hard to dig. I then continued chipping away at the area where the sheds will be. I need to remove 4-6" of dirt to install the base rock and concrete floor to the correct level. This was interspersed with lots of resting.

Lunch was leftovers, for me black eyed peas and European bologna. For Lou a salad.

About 3pm I cleaned up and Lou, Dawn and I went downtown to the Palo Alto Art Festival. Unlike most of these street fairs the vendors here seem to be doing their own art not importing it. Lots of neat stuff. And there is also the sidewalk chalk art. The pictures were about have done when we viewed and should be finished tomorrow so we'll probably return tomorrow.

Ernie fixed a nice baked tuna and noodle casserole served with Lou an Dawns fresh green beans.

Sunday: (08/23) Breakfast was cereal. After a relaxing morning in the yard having tea, at least that's all I did, I had the leftover tuna noodles for an early lunch and headed for the hills. It's hike day.

Portola State Park, Pescadero Creek Portola State Park, Pescadero Creek
I've been trying to get out at least once per week to take a hike. Today's the day. I headed West just over the mountain to Portola State Park. Fortunately, it was still open, not closed by our dear Governator yet. I took a little hike into Memorial Park next door to the Pescadero River then along the old Haul Road to the Iverson Trail.

Portola State Park, Pescadero Creek Portola State Park, Iverson Trail
It was a pleasant hike along a creek an in the redwood forest.

Portola State Park, Tip-Toe Falls
I stopped for a look at Tip Toe falls, barely a waterfall. Our backyard pond has as much flow. Then headed on back to where I parked. About 5-6 miles of hiking was enough. A few years ago, I took a hike here starting up at the Tarwater Trailhead, down the mountain to Portola park (3 miles) then through the park to the Peter's Creek Grove and back to the park visitor center (13 miles). I had a cold and it was dark so I surrendered and called Lou for a lift back to my car up the mountain. Sometimes, I am smarter than I look and know when to call it a day. I mentioned all this because today, I opted for the shorter trail rather than the 13 mile trail out to Peter's Creek and back. I haven't been hiking much recently and need to build up to the longer hikes, or be prepared to call Lou again.

Palo Alto Art Festival Chalk Art Palo Alto Art Festival Chalk Art
When I got back down the hill I stopped downtown and called Lou to let her know and remind her that the chalk sidewalk art should be ready for another look. We had another look and they were impressive as usual.

Palo Alto Art Festival Chalk Art Palo Alto Art Festival Chalk Art
Some probably won't be finished with les than an hour left to do it. Unfortunately, some of the work was modified by shadows so bad photos. Sorry. The picture above right was good enough to post wven with the bad shadow.

Palo Alto Art Festival Chalk Art Palo Alto Art Festival Chalk Art
I loke the polar bears but it looks simpler than it must be to do. At one end of the street there is a young artist area.

Lou had been slow cooking some pepper steak for dinner. She used some peppers we get a the Iranian market in Mountain View. The peppers are small mild green peppers. It's the same market where we get our Mediterranean yogurt. We find interesting items all over and if we like it we return especially for it. This market has two specialties.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Continuing On

Sunday: (08/09) Cereal for breakfast. Not much being accomplished. I cleaned up the shop a bit to make it usable for working on Lou's wheel. We all drove up Pagemill Road and hiked the fault trail in Los Trancos preserve.  This was an accomplishment. Ernie, Dawn and Lou haven't been good hikers recently but yielded for the day. Unfortunately, the temperatures were HOT and that may stick in the memories. We took a picnic lunch which we enjoyed at the pond at Russian Ridge Preserve nearby a summit Road. Dinner was more leftovers.

Monday: (08/10) It's going to be hot again today.

Spinning Wheel Spinning Wheel Jig
I built a jig to hold Lou's wheel on the router table and spun the wheel over the bit to put a couple of grove on the edge. It worked well. Lou fixed some shef's salad's for lunch. I played the rest of the day, too hot to work. When i was in the shop (tent) I set up a big fan with a mister in from to air condition the tent in the 95 degree heat, otherwise hotter in the tent. It was quite comfy. Lou had a class at Kaiser on controlling back pain. Dinner was leftover pork roast and corn on the cob.

Tuesday: (08/11) Up earlier than usual (0700) Breakfast was eggs, fried beerworst with cheese and toast.

I drove Dawn down to San Jose for her class. I then dropped by her apartment to tweak her PC. I installed Carbonite backup software on it but the license didn't stick so 45 minutes later I had the license set. It seems like that should have been an easier task like I had originally thought byt Carbonite didn't work that way. Just the usual, doing things right the first time is easier than fixing it later.

I had a dentist's appointment for cleaning at 11am after which I stopped by the nearby Chinese buffet for lunch. Those clean teeth didn't last long.

Next door to the restaurant was the Ethicalapproach Store, an electric vehicle store. They had several brands of electric bikes and scooter, the ZAP electric vehicles and a new Green Vehicle electric van and trike. I was quite impressed with the van. Hoss Cartright and five equal sized friend would ride in the van in comfort (I had 6" head room with room for my knees in all seats) with a range of 100 miles. I was told it can cruise on the freeway by the literature says its a NEV (35mph). The Triac car can go 80mph, for sure. They are made here in San Jose so it will be interesting to watch. Is Silicon Valley going to be an auto making center now (Tesla, Green Vehicles, Sparrow)?

I then returned to San Jose. I stopped at Leale's RV repair and scheduled the generator repair. I also stopped by where the Steel House used to be but it was gone. I'll have to find another place to get my metal. Gee, why aren't then still in business. I was there just 10 years ago. They must have been waiting for my return business. Lou did a little shopping and Ernie baked some cookies.

Dinner was smoked chicken, lima beans, and spinach.

Wednesday: (08/12) French pancakes ala Ernie for breakfast.I spent the afternoon looking for materials and generally avoiding work. Lou fixed enchiladas for dinner.

Thursday: (08/13) Parmesan cheese popcorn for breakfast. I can't eat popcorn in the evening so breakfast is a good time for it. Ernie bought himself a new folding Dahon bike at REI. I didn't really do much today. Lou and I did made a visit to the hardware store and another garden supply center. Leftover smoked chicken for dinner with au gratin potatoes and salad.

Friday: (08/14) Breakfast burritos for the refrigerator leftovers. I worked a little in the yard starting to re-route some pipes by digging a trench. Lunch was cold cuts. Dawn picked one of her tomatoes a persimmon tomato, it was a very good yellow tomato. Dinner was leftover enchiladas with fresh broccoli slaw

Saturday: (08/15) Lou made and Ernie baked cinnamon rolls last night. We enjoyed them for breakfast. I worked on my trench more today finishing whittling it in the afternoon. Lunch was leftover spaghetti. Dinner was more leftovers, enchiladas and potato salad. In the evening we went to the Stanford Theater to see a couple of old movies starring Ginger Rogers.

Sunday: (08/16) I worked all day digging the last three feet of the trench through the bricks in the floor of the green house and then at re-installing the pipes for the sprinklers and faucets in the rear yard that were displaced when the flower bed was lowered. It all took longer because I tried to avoid removing the bricks and attempted to find a way to push the new pipes under them. I finally gave that idea up and just lifted them. Of course, now I have to try to re-insert them which will probably be a lot of fun.

Breakfast was evidently not memorable but lasting. Lunch was leftover Iranian potato salad. Ernie fixed a lean beef and chicken burger meatloaf for dinner with carrot apple and raisin salad, and black eyed peas.