Saturday, September 26, 2015

No More Snow Beyond Measure For Us!

Not to get all House Stark on everyone, but winter is coming. That means preparing with lots of little projects, one BIG project, and this just-for-fun project: painting a snow gauge on one of our clothesline posts!

This picture is from way back in May 2013; it's all the MV guests' gear from the rafting trip. 

I love using the clothesline in the weeks between rainy season and smoke season and the one that came with the house has lots of room for lots of laundry, 4 lines about 24' long! But it was also kind of junky looking with its rusty posts and its drooping lines. I have pinned all kinds of pretty and clever clotheslines on pinterest, but the ones we have are plenty sturdy and stuck in cement footings. So... spray paint to the rescue! First I used a rust converter primer that I had on-hand, then this paint. It's just about the color of the most prevalent moss in our forest.

After the paint had dried a couple of days, I marked every 6" from the ground up to 4'. Then I tried to use delicate surface masking tape to mark the lines, but found it was pulling little bits of paint off, so I thought about it a bit and decided that our huge stash of toilet paper and paper towel tubes* could be put to use as stencils!

I am kind of surprised that we had 3 paper towel tubes; it takes us ages to go through a roll.

For the measurement marks I used the longer paper towel tubes. I marked & cut a larger strip for the foot marks and a smaller strip for the six inch marks, then split it up the back. Then I split 2 more to use to protect the adjacent areas against over spray.

I made sure the foot marks on the pole matched up with the larger strip on the stencil then taped the tube closed in the back. Then I added the other tubes, one above and one below before spraying the marks.

I waited a few minutes for the paint to dry then removed the tubes and did the same to the next foot mark until I'd done all four.

After all the measurement marks were up, I started making the number stencils. It was pretty much the same procedure but with drawn numbers on shorter toilet paper tubes.

I noticed that I needed a little help keeping some of the parts of the tubes around the cut out numbers stuck against the post, so rolled up tape to stick on the inside of the stencils where needed. I found the end and top of the foot lines thru the number stencil and tried to get them about 1/4" above. Then used my paper towel over spray tubes again above and below the number stencils.

And done! Now, I wish I'd had another color on-hand to paint the lines and numbers; something less harsh than the black, but also easy to see from a distance. Alas I did not and I didn't feel like buying more stuff to sit on the shelf.

I understand it's rare to get as much snow as this gauge is ready to measure, but heck, we could have a repeat of February 2014.

I still have to get new lines and install them, but I think that might wait until spring. I have just a few finishing touches on the woodshed to get done, plus many of those little things.


Don't get cocky and forget to make sure that there is no gap between your tubes! Or in my case, one of the over spray tubes was not taped tight against post. D'oh! Once it was dry, I used my masking tubes to cover the marks that were supposed to be there, then sprayed over it with the green. You can see the "patch," but it's good enough to dry the clothes and good enough to measure the snow so that's good enough for me.

*When set next to the homemade fire starters and stuffed with a bit of news paper, they are helpful for getting the fires in the wood stove going, so we save them.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Whose Poop Is This, Anyway?

So brightly colored!

So apple-y!

Same pile, my hand included for scale.

I do believe this belongs to that small bear I saw running away from the fence into the forest this morning! But that was just on our side of the fence, between said fence and the apple trees. Hmmmm.

Smaller pile as the hand-for-scale indicates. Also, you can see the red peels and apple seeds.
PRO TIP: Don't edit photos of apple-laden bear scat while eating a bowl of Grape Nuts.

And then when I realized that I should go back out there to shovel that over the fence to keep the dogs from rolling in and/or eating it, I found another pile right under the McIntosh tree.  The other tree, the little one with the red apples... it's now apple free!

I do believe the deer have been hopping the fence to get at the apples lately, too so we can't blame the bear entirely.

While it's fun and wondrous to live among wildlife, we also know we must be both smart and careful. Several neighbors have also spotted a bigger bear around lately, so we're all being more cautious with our trash cans, pets, and wanderings. Also, I guess we need to get out there and pick the rest of the apples as soon as possible.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Dogtember Birthday: Delia Turns Four!

September 5 comes around and Delia turned four years old! 

September 12 comes around and we celebrate with homemade pupcakes and a song! This silly video is the only photographic proof! 

I used this recipe for the cakes (3 regular size, 48 minis*). For the "frosting" I did a mix of 3 parts cottage cheese, 1 part creamy peanut butter, a tablespoon or so of dehydrated egg whites, applied with a piping bag. The sprinkles are grated carrots. This one had carrot candles, just for the birthday girl!

NOTE: Eric was also singing, but you can't hear him over my wonderful rendition of the classic.
*Eric took 34 to work, labeled them clearly as dog treats, set them in the break room, and only one person ate one without reading the note. We shared some others with Handyman Nick's pup.

Friday, September 4, 2015

Odds & Ends, Bottomless Pit Of

We have a few bigger projects underway, i.e. building the wood shed and installing a kitchen island which means we aren't finished with a few bigger projects. Ahem. So, these days, it's all Odds & Ends, all the time. A couple of weeks of heavy smoke, some fun house guests (sadly, at the same time), now rain, and some logistical issues have added to my poor planning to make these projects still under way. Ah, well.

There's a little project underway in the midst of the bigger ones; finally replacing the last owners' name sign at the bottom of the road with ours.

I thought I had a photo of the post on which these name signs are hung, but it turns out that it was just part of the slideshow for Mid-May Montana Mountain Mayhem. So here's a photo of that.

Even though the kitchen island project will not move forward until we actually get the cabinets (tomorrow as I write this), I went ahead and replaced all the hardware on the existing kitchen cabinets. And decided that I am going to sand them down and refinish them in a totally different color and finish. The drawer pulls required drilling holes, so that was a little nerve racking. 

The knobs for the doors and the drawer pulls for the island can be seen on the last Odds & Ends post. They're all from the same manufacturer's line and in the same finish: old iron. 

Annnnnnd, on September 3, nearly THREE WEEKS before autumn officially starts, we had our first fire, the 4F: First Fire of Fall 'Fifteen. [shakes head in some combination of dismay and disgust]

Still, some progress in the woodshed has been made. I'm at the it's-a-stage stage. If only I'd known, we could've planned a talent show!  Next time.

Hopefully within the next couple of weeks there will be a finished or nearly-finished project to share. Stayed tuned, you lucky so-and-so's.