Sunday, April 24, 2011

Kitchen Progress

It's been seven months and the kitchen remodel isn't quite finished. We did the necessary items quickly, took a break to work on other projects and resumed work about a month ago.

Over range microwave.

One of the items needed left unfinished was installation of a microwave over the gas range. We have a small counter top unit that we've used for several years but it's small and only 700 watts. Julie had been researching over-range units and we were getting close to making a purchase. Last week she saw a listing on craigslist for a unit similar to what we wanted. The owner bought it but never installed it. Cost $50. The owner offered to deliver the microwave to campus for $10 which was well worth the expense since it saved us time and fuel for the drive to Williams to get it. We installed it this weekend.

The last major item to be completed is putting tile on a bar. We bought tile for this a few weeks ago but decided we don't like the color and pattern. If Julie can find replacement tile then we may complete this task next weekend.

Seven months! I'm not certain if I'm slowing down or just getting lazy and prone to procrastinate.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Repeat Performance

Two weeks ago I had a flat on one of my trailers and didn't know it until I got home since it is a tandem axle trailer. I plugged the hole and it went flat again. In the end I discovered the nail had entered the tread and punctured the sidewall in two places. I fixed three holes.

It happened again today but I knew it before the tire was flat. Julie and I planned a motorcycle trip through Sedona to Jerome for lunch. We were about two miles from home when something didn't feel right. I was doing about 55. In about one second the not-quite-right feeling became a slight shimmy. The next two developments were totally unnecessary. The strange, undefined feeling got my attention and the shimmy locked it into my consciousness. The shimmy was followed by a wobbly which was followed by a pronounced fish tailing. All of this occurred in less than ten seconds.

Julie in sheriff's car.
Julie locked in the back of a deputy sheriff's vehicle. She seems happy!

I began slowing down, cautiously applied the brakes and checked my mirrors. There was a county deputy sheriff some distance behind me. As we stopped on the shoulder of the road the deputy stopped and offered us a ride home. Perfect timing! On the trip we talked motorcycles. As an eighteen year old he broadsided a vehicle, went over the handle bars, put a helmet sized dent in the side of the car and was knocked unconscious.

Julie and I took a trailer back and loaded the motorcycle. I found a nail had gone through the tread and put two obvious holes in the side wall.

In the end it was a short trip but all turned out well. We were close to home. I'm glad it didn't happen when we were 70 miles away.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011


Last night I found this photo on Facebook.

Grandson and great granddaughter.
One of my grandsons and my great granddaughter.

I vowed many years ago never to live with regret because I try to make the best decision given the information I have at the time. I don't regret my decision to move west but I am disappointed that I've missed experiences with my grandsons and now with my first great grandchild.

Saturday, April 09, 2011


We planned a trip this weekend, an adventure in Utah with slick rock, big vistas and slot canyons. Early in the week the weather reports looked bad so we decided to postpone until next weekend.

Since our plans were altered I created a long to-do list for yesterday and began working the list at 5:30 am. I picked up one-thousand gallons of water, forty gallons of propane, one cistern and one iPad. I fixed a flat tire twice which wasn't on my plans.


Winds where strong yesterday so I left the cistern on the trailer and hope to unload it today and put one thousand gallons of water in it to anchor it in place.

Tomatoes in the utility room.

I'm impatient to get in the garden. Lillies and rhubarb are growing. I left a few parsnips in the ground and dug them over winter as we wanted them. The remnants began growing and put up healthy green tops but I dug them and put them in the compost last weekend. This weekend gardening is limited to house plants and tomatoes in the utility room due to winds yesterday and snow today.

Snowy garden.
Garden covered by an early April snow that wasn't in my plans.

My laptop died this week. It hung so I did a forced reboot. It booted partially but the display became a kaleidoscope of colors and it hung again. After a cool down period it booted and was normal for about sixty seconds. After that, nothing. I did a few diagnostics, bought a drive enclosure, pulled the hard drive and dumped the data to Julie's laptop. She suggested I take her computer and she buy an iPad. In the end this was the least expensive solution ($299) with the most benefits.

Hard drive enclosure.
A hard drive enclosure containing the remnants of my laptop.

Today's plans include fixing a tire on my trailer, the same tire I attempted to fix yesterday. I pulled a 16 common nail from the tire, plugged the hole but it was low on air in a short while. I replaced the plug but it lost air again. There must be a second puncture because I'm certain neither fix was leaking.

Tire with nail.
Punctured tire.

At the end of yesterday I didn't feel like I'd accomplished much. I have a suspicion that today will be the same. It appears that slowing down is part of aging that wasn't in my plans.

Wednesday, April 06, 2011


Yesterday I saw an add for a cistern, two thousand gallons. The price seemed fair so I phoned and arranged to see it in the evening.

Julie and I have six cisterns. For storage we have two 2,500 gallons (by the garden), one 1,550 gallons (for the house) and one 500 gallons (collects rain from our large shed). We have two tanks to haul water: one 250 gallons and one 500 gallons. I use the small tank if I need to go to town for water (which is rare) and use the large tank for the local water station. The weight of the large tank and trailer pushes the limit of my tow vehicle and I don't feel safe using it to haul water from town.

But, back to the cistern listed on Craigslist. It was misrepresented. Rather than holding 2,000 gallons it holds 2,500 gallons which made the price even better. I arranged to pick it up on Friday. I'll put it by the two garden cisterns and put 500 gallons of water in it immediately to prevent the winds from moving it. This cistern will bring our total storage capacity to 9,500 gallons.

In the next few weeks I'm going to connect the house gutters to these cisterns to collect rain during the monsoon season. I have materials to build a collector up hill from the house and hope to finish that some time this summer.

Assuming 10 inches of rain per year we'll be able to collect 15,000 gallons of water over the year so 9,500 gallons of storage puts us in the ballpark for what we need. But, we question the 10 inches assumption. One August about six years ago we received five inches. Summer before last we received a total of five drops for the entire monsoon season.

(Speaking of cisterns, deserts and monsoons, for an interesting short story try Max Brand's "Wine in the Desert". I found it thoroughly enjoyable. I liked the irony and the sense of justice as well as the description of living in a desert on the edge of disaster.)