WEEK 21 2011
Mon- Tue- Wed-
Picture of the Week
17 March 2002
Ago, This Week, 2002
Ago, This Week, 2003
Ago, This Week, 2006
Ago, This Week, 2007
Ago, This Week, 2008
This Week, 2009
This Week, 2010
Saturday - the side yard is mostly
done. I can't believe it took as long as it did. It looks pretty good,
the concrete that I dyed and placed around the edges is OK, not
quite as red a tint as I'd hoped, but not gray, and I probably should
have used mortar, not concrete, for a better finish. The remaining task
is to get sand in between the paver's. I thought it would be easy, and
tried using the base sand. No luck with that. After sweeping, and
adding more sand, and sweeping and sweeping, not much happened. The
sand is just too coarse, and even a light rinse with the hose showed
many empty joints.
What's needed is mason's sand, or the polymeric stuff they sell at the
hardware store. But someone bought all
the polymeric sand at Home Depot and Lowe's, I suppose for a large
patio or drive. I didn't feel like driving down to Palmdale for it, and
will check again at HD in a few days, before making that drive.
Home Depot by the way, here are the beginning of summer, had a
reasonable turnout of customers. Nothing like a few years ago, but not
as thin as last year. You can, for example, still have staff ask if you
need help, rather than hiring a detective to find them!
In the evening I went over for pizza at my friends place. Home made
pizza, the best kind! Then we watched some episodes of Glee, entertaining,
though my friend said the quality wasn't up to the episodes in the
first part of Season 1.
- Scoring, chiseling and laying the paver's took up most of the day. I
didn't have enough pavers, so had to make another trip to Home Depot
for them. Then it turned out that my abrasive wheels were the wrong
kind (metal cutting), and I had to go buy some masonry wheels. Which
were the wrong size, and another trip was used up getting the correct
wheels (4", not 4.5"). Eventually, however, all the paver's were wedged
in, and things look pretty good. Because the air conditioning and water
heater both have drains in this area I had to make small basins for the
water to fill.
My tomatoes are doing OK, though cut worms already destroyed two
plants. I have placed nails next to the stalks, which apparently keeps
the worms from wrapping about the stem and cutting through. We'll see.
also need to set up an irrigation system for when I'm not home.
Thursday 26 May2011
- back to work on the paver project. First I dug things out a bit more,
then put down a layer of pea gravel and tamped it. Then I put down a
layer of sand, and screeded it level. This took a lot longer than it
should have, because the adjacent walkway was raised by old roots, and
it was hard to find a good level. Actually I didn't want the base quite
level, as it needed to be slightly inclined away from the house!
Once that was done I
discovered that I needed more "edge" pavers. The pavers are octagonal,
with a square "key" block on one side, so they won't lay flat against
an existing edge, in this case the sidewalk and side of the house. I
had initially bought some that were cast with a flat edge on one side,
but not nearly enough. A trip to the local Home Depot revealed that
they had none now, and a trip
to Lowe's showed their pavers to be different sized than Home Depot's.
I checked with the HD in Palmdale and a couple local masonry places and
they had none.
I tried cutting, with an abrasive wheel, and it was a slow process. Too
slow. If the paver (concrete, by the way) was scored and then struck
with a chisel it would break in roughly the correct orientation, but
there was always material sticking out, preventing a close fit. So I
decided to use the edgers that I had for the edges normal to the
house/walkway and just fill in the gaps with tinted concrete along the
walkway and house. There would be less cutting and fitting that way,
but there was still quite a bit as the planters dimensions were
just a smidge small. Why couldn't they be just a smidge large?
25 May 2011
Wednesday - Not actually feeling
very well, so I mostly slept the day away. Bah.
I did read Book #49, Brothers
In Arms; and Book #50 Mirror
by Lois McMasters Bujold. These are the sequels to The Warrior's
Apprentice and The Vor Game. Entertaining, fast moving, light reading.
24 May 2011
- Next on the list of things to do is to clean up the garage and side
yard. So I started in on installing the pavers that I bought several
years ago, into the side yard's dirt area by the house.
It's only about 40 square feet, and as I already had the pavers, pea
gravel and sand cluttering the place up, I figured it'd only take a few
hours. Hah! What with moving stuff, digging through hard dirt, tree
roots, and bits of concrete left from the house's construction it was
barely excavated by
nightfall. And I should mention, this is where the cactus used to be,
so the earth is still full of the small, penetrating, painful needles.
Some comments from Phoebe, to my niece:
Book #48 was The
Vor Game, by Lois McMaster Bujold, successor to yesterday's The Warrior's Apprentice.
- The water heater is installed, and working! I puzzled on how to lift
the new unit, then realized I had a nice lever in the form of the
tilting utility trailer. I tilted it down, manhandled the water heater
onto the back, bungee-ed it securely, tilted the trailer back level,
then rolled to where it would be a simple side-ways maneuver onto the
Good idea, but I needed a counterweight at the trailer tongue, to keep
things stable (the default trailer weight distribution is perhaps 50
lbs on the tongue, so it was slightly tail heavy) while I fooled around
moving it. Just as I had settled on a 5 gallon drum of paint as the
counterweight a former colleague from NASA drove up, and I talked her
into standing on the other end of the trailer while I did the grunt
work. Then she helped me get the rest going, so by late afternoon I was
able to use my own shower again! Thanks Can! Yay!!
Now I have the urge to paint the entire garage, not just the pedestal.
It needs it, not having been painted since 1987...
Book #47 was The
Warriors Apprentice, by Lois McMaster Bujold. This is some
entertaining military sci-fi, well done.
- I didn't get the water heater installed. I needed to do a bit more in
the way of "mud" in the morning, then I had to wait for that to dry,
then I had to
paint, and wait for the paint to dry. By that time is was early evening
and there was no-one available to help me lift the new unit into place
- it's heavy and has no good places to grip.
I did use the shower at my friends place, so I'm not too "whiffy".
My lawn boy had a scout event to attend, so he was only able to mow the
front yard, then I dropped him off at the Park and Ride in Palmdale,
for a Sea Scout jaunt down in, I think, Marina del Rey.
Book #45 was Saturn
Alia, by Grant Callin. This was a nice SciFi book, concerning a
treasure hunt of sorts, after a mysterious alien artifact is discovered
near Saturn. It's mostly "hard" science, and reasonably well written.
The successor, Book #46, is A
Lion on Tharthee, in which the humans actually meet the aliens.
Again, well written.