sailing the NorSea


WEEK 35 2012

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Saturday 1 September 2012
Saturday - Woke up feeling more than a little tired, but it was a nice morning, so I decided to mow the back lawn.

I had trouble starting the mower, and after only 50 feet or so the left front wheel fell off. It had been wobbly for some time - it's 8" plastic wheel had fractured and deteriorated. Since the speed controller is on the right my habit is to mow alongside walls and the house with the left wheel against them, so as not to hit the speed controller. So that left front wheel gets all the abuse.

After that there was just a bit of touch up painting, then off to lunch with friends at the Kebab place. Tasty, and big portions - I took half of mine home for dinner.

As I said, feeling tired, which turned out to be a sore throat and some sort of summer malaise. Gah. I had things to do, but in the end just fell asleep on the couch.

Friday 31 August 2012
Friday - Mostly I painted. I painted the posts on the patio a while back, but the upper edges of the patio cover  had paint that was badly in need of a new coat. I decided to give it a quick coat (hah!) since the neighbor was having his party and it's so easily visible over the wall. It took about five hours, which, in retrospect, is about four hours too long. I'm not sure why, other than the fact that painting with a 2" brush on a ladder, and taping and removing tape at the same time, takes a while.

Riley didn't mind, he just laid in the shade and watched me and the ladder. He doesn't trust that ladder at all - he regards it with the loathing that most household pets reserve for vacuum cleaners.

The underside of the patio cover is white, and should be redone at some point, but it isn't too bad right now.

I did a bit of 'work work' in the afternoon, but my arms and shoulders were stiff, it was hot, and the neighbor's party was going full blast. Not bad, but distracting. I fell asleep on the couch (too loud upstairs) and finally woke up and went to upstairs and bed about 2am.

Friday cat photo
Dreaming of Tuna, fresh from the sea.

Thursday 30 August 2012

Thursday - Dave, the neighbor, said that his BBQ was going to be Friday. It's a Labor Day thing, and there was also to be a golf tournament held in memory of his son Michael, who passed away last year.

Mostly I just picked up junk in the side yard, moving a lot of it to the garage for now. Though I moved the pile of clay bricks on the patio TO the side yard - I'm tired of looking at them. Then I leveled the piles of dirt on the side yard and gave the area a quick hose down, to keep the dust from arising. The tires on the little trailer for the lawn tractor have deflated, and come off the rims - no tubes. I'll probably had to take it over to the trailer place to get those back on. If I put in planters with gravel and landscape blocks in back - the current plan - it'll come in useful.

Dinner with friends at the Soup Plantation. We didn't stay too long - it's a school day for their kids tomorrow.

Book #75 was Very Willing Griffin, by David Blagden. Blagden entered the Singlehanded Transatlantic Race in 1972 with the smallest boat every to compete - a 19' sloop, the Willing Griffin. He very nearly didn't get accepted, but determination, grit and completing a multi-day/night qualifying in a full gale convinced the committee that he had a safe enough boat. He also had an ally and friend in the yachtsman Blondie Hasler - committee member, self-steering gear designer, and someone to whom I can recall Francis Chichester also giving praise in his books.

The race itself was arduous - the small boat meant he scrimped on water and provisions, and the weather was horrific, which made the motion of such a small vessel a rough ride. It took him 58 days, but, using the OSTAR corrections of the time, that made him 10th out of a field of nearly 50 - many of which did not finish, suffering damage enough to mandate their retiring the race (14, including Chichester), or taking more than 60 days to finish (3).

   My choice of name resulted from my love of mythical beasts. A Griffin (or gryphon) has an eagle's head and wings and a lion's body. It used to go around protecting knights in armour, ladies in distress, dragons and other monsters - in fact anyone needing a 'watchful overseer or strict chaperon'. Just what I needed. The only trouble was that the creature had a reputation for being grumpy ... hence Willing Griffin.

Wednesday 29 August 2012

Wednesday  - I built a little railing for the west side planter, using 2x2's, so that I can attach the tomato bush trellis to it. It's somewhat protected from the usual westerly gales, but not enough. I still need to paint it.

I went to Home Depot and picked up some eye's to attach the trellis support to, and a piece of 4" drain line, for going under the (notional) flat paver area on the west side of the house. I was looking to end that area with a 2x12, but HD didn't have any pressure treated 2x12's in stock. I'll have to check Lowe's. I could make that boundary edge out of concrete block or brick I suppose. Wood doesn't last long - the 4x4 post that I put in for the gate there is decaying and settling, and dragging the rest of the fence down with it, and I doubt that it's been more than five years :-( Termites?

The neighbor was fussing around in his side yard, which has as much debris and weeds as mine. He generally has a party near Labor Day, so I'm guessing he is getting ready for that.

Lunched with friends at a little cafe' in Quarz Hill called "A Touch of Europe", I think. Quite good sandwiches! This was payback for me acting as chauffeur for them leaving their Volvo with a mechanic in the morning.

It was hot & humid enough that the a/c couldn't quite keep up - about 82F inside the house. I worked at the demolition job plans for about six hours, which is longer that I thought, then knocked off and read and watched bad tv until about 9:30, and then hit the sack.

Tuesday 28 August 2012
Tuesday - As I may have mentioned, hot. What I've been doing is outside work in the mornings, then indoor work from about 1:00 on, with the air conditioner running.

This morning I split a paver, for the far end of the small area I've been working on. This went pretty well, so now all that is really left to do is brush in the sand for the cracks, and insert some colored cement for the octagon cutout spaces.


I also started cleaning up the side yard - lots of debris there, more than I realized. Some I can fit in the trashcan, some can be stockpiled for next week in the trash, and some is toxic waste - motor oil, old paint, etc. - and this weekend the free drop off in Palmdale should be open. Some is huge - tree trunk bits, and I'm not quite sure what to do with it. I guess if I soaked it in the motor oil they'd have to take it at the toxic waster place....

Book #74 was Return to the Sea, by Webb Chiles. I've been pecking away at this one since before the 4th of July. This is about Webb sailing, with his wife Carol. It's isn't the long, painful, dangerous sailing ordeals of some of his earlier books (he turns 60 during this trip, and has definitely mellowed) - but still interesting.

Monday 27 August 2012

Monday - Beavering away on stuff for work, dividers and engineers scale and magnifying glass all in use...

I did spend some of the morning laying in pavers on the east side of the house. Because of the overhang of the stucco, and the overhang of the flower bed, and the general narrowness of the area I couldn't actually put gravel and sand in and tamp with removable scree boards. I just had to lay them in, tamping the sand as I went. It's pretty rough - wouldn't pass muster for a pathway, but it isn't a pathway, it's really just weed block done in the same octagonal blocks as I used in a nearby area. It'll do, I guess.

I'm tempted to pull them out and try again, but I guess that's silly. For what it is it'll do fine.


Sunday 26 August 2012

Sunday - I was pretty depressed by the news of Neil Armstrong's passing. Still am. What a shame.

A hot day, but not quite as miserable as the last week. I took the opportunity to start digging, in preparation for laying some pavers alongside the house, where it's dirt between the tomato bed and wall. A narrow area that just makes mud in the winter and weeds in the spring and summer. It was such a narrow space it was hard to dig, and I was a little concerned about a gas line, though I think it probably stopped at the fireplace a few feet away.

This has been, with temps in the mid 90's, the coolest day in several weeks, maybe a month. Sheesh. I actually had to set the swamp cooler to "Low Cool" to avoid getting chilled in the evening.

Picture of the Week
Neil Armstrong, on the moon
Photo Notes: One of the few pictures of Neil Armstrong on the moon.

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