A while back we had another devastating wind storm, similar to the one thatÂ annihilatedÂ Holly’s shed and the neighbour’s fence. We managed to avoid any further damages (since the Cobra Cave is fucking solid), but Holly’s mother wasn’t so lucky. The twenty-five foot awning she had attached to the back of her house tore away from the posts it was fastened to and wrapped up and on top of her roof, damaging the gutters and a chunk of the roof in the process.Â I offered to do the repairs and try to build a pergola to replace her awning.
I won’t be doing the roof, as Holly’s mother has someone she knows who is a roofer and could use the money, but this weekend past we got all the materials and I started laying out her new pergola.
I had worked out an awesome timber frame structure in Sketchup (no surprise… I’ll take any excuse to play with Sketchup and fantasize about timber framing) which if I had more time and a limitless budget I would have tried to construct, but time is of the essence. The weather has been beautiful, and Kathy hasn’t had anywhere to sit and enjoy it, and if she’s anything like me, she probably doesn’t want to wait to enjoy something she’s already paid for (I’m looking your way laptop and belt buckles. I want to play with you so bad…). So, I had to redesign it based on what materials were available to us immediately (I think I’m learning why designers hate budgets).
After buying all the wood and materials I unloaded the van and got started laying out the post bases. Since I hadn’t bothered to measure the door and window locations on the back wall, I quickly noticed an issue. In order to avoid all the windows and the door the spacing of the posts would need to be reduced from ten foot centres to seven, which meant losing six feet of pergola unless I added two more posts, and actually gained a foot of pergola (I like saying pergola. Pergola.). Once I sorted it out I got started and Holly and her mother went to get the extra supplies for the new design.
Drilling holes in the concrete for the wedge anchors that hold the post bases was a bitch. If I had a better drill and bit to use, it wouldn’t have been so bad. After six and a half wedge anchor holes my bit was destroyed, so we decided to go get my circular saw (which I needed to cut the posts) and go buy a new bit. Problem was, I forgot I no longer have a circular saw and surprisingly neither does Holly’s dad. So after some negotiating I talked Holly into also picking up a new saw (after all, who do you think is going to want the next pergola?). I said I would spend no more than $150. I found a nice Makita (the best you can find at Home Depot…) that was only $119.99 and would do the job. When we got to the checkout, Kathy said she would buy me the saw because I’m awesome and the perfect son-in-law, and super handsome and strong.
This weekend I’m hoping to get all the posts and the two main rails in place and with any luck the majority, if not all, of the joists. I’m not sure yet how long it will take me to cut all the end details and notches for the joists, but I’m guessing it’s going to take a while. If all goes well, Kathy could be enjoying her patio pergola by next weekend (and hopefully by then I’ll be enjoying my new laptop and belt buckles!).
Since I’ve started wood burning I have made quite a few things. Some were specifically made for a particular reason, but the bulk of them have been created out of my desire to practice and get better with the hope of one day building a sweet timber framed home with lots of personalized details (that don’t look amateur). As a result, I end up with a lot of neat little things with no purpose, which I end up giving to the first person to express an interest in a particular thing. I have no problem with this, as I find it incredibly flattering when someone likes something I made, especially when they like it enough to actually outright ask if they can have it.
Holly on the other hand is constantly questioning why I don’t ask for money when I give people something, or more specifically, when they ask me to make them something. Or should I say WAS. For now that she has discovered something called Pinterest she has seen the light. I would even argue that she’s more into making things for other people than I am. When I make things for people I am admittedly eager for them to receive said things, but I usually just wait until the next time I see the person to pass it on. Holly has taken it a step further. She’s sent things to people using overnight delivery, and driven all over the region to drop off record bowls, cork boards and bird feeders. I’m not complaining, I think it’s great that she has so many ideas, and although I pretend to be completely unPinterested, I secretly like some of the ideas and look forward to helping her complete them.
It doesn’t matter how much time it takes you, or what financially you had to invest in it. What matters is seeing someone react in a positive way to that thing you made the investment in (whether time, money or both).
This is our backyard bunny. I call him Peter Peter Nickel Eater, because one night I came outside to have a puff and a pee, and I almost stepped on him. He then stared right at me while I was peeing, and stole my soul. That’s the connection between animals and man.
For a long time now, Holly has been complaining about her guts hurting after every meal we eat. For an equally long time I’ve been suggesting she try giving up meat for a month, and see if anything changes. Her response has always been that she loves meat so much, she couldn’t do it. Recently (when the new girl at work said so…) Holly changed her mind, and decided to give it her best shot.
I’m not sure a month is enough time for her to notice a difference, but I’m hoping. And I’m not hoping because I really want her to stop eating meat, I’m hoping because I really want to stop hearing “Uhh… My guts hurt.”, thirty to forty times a day.
Now I just need the new girl at work to tell Holly it’s a good idea to give your boyfriend a back massage three times a week and I’ll be set.
I have always known February 19th to be a day of celebration. It’s the day the cobra patriarch adds another candle to his cake. And although this year was no exception to the tradition, the day started out on a sad note. The diner around the corner decided to call it quits after 14 years. Not only was I sad that I would no longer have my morning walks to look forward to, but I also loved the 2 minutes of interaction and banter I had with the diner’s owner, Nick. He was always very friendly and accommodating and just look at that moustache… That’s a moustache that knows coffee and doughnuts.
I asked Nick if I could take a picture of him on his last day and he was more than happy (as you can probably see) to pose and asked if I was going to make him a star. I said I’d try.
Since the weather started getting nicer I’ve been spending more time in the shed tinkering and burning (get it?). Unfortunately I’ve been slacking as a photographer lately, so I only have a few pictures of things I’ve been working on. The first is a toolbox I made for work. My job requires me to have a few tools (stapler, knife, banding cutter) with me at all times, as well as anywhere from 1 to 400 order tickets. Most people resort to using one of our small shipping boxes to tote this all around, but I decided to build myself something more durable and personal.
I found a scrap piece of MDF in the shed, made some dado grooves using the sliding compound mitre saw, then used Gorilla Glue and clamps to hold it all together. I also made a little stand to hold my pick tickets at a viewable angle rather than just dropping them in the bottom of the box. I let it dry overnight, then spent the next day burning myÂ monikerÂ and employee number into it. So far it’s working well and is probably the most bad-ass toolbox in the entire place.
One day whilst sitting in the shed, I got the urge (as I often do) to burn something. I had nothing lined up that wasn’t going to be a large investment in time and although I had the urge, I wasn’t looking to spend all day hunched over a piece of bass wood. So I found some wood inserts (or biscuits) that I got from Holly’s dad’s shop when I cleaned it up. I decided to make a key chain for my shed key since it had none.
I then proceeded to make a second one for my keys. Unfortunately this one lasted only a few days. Between me tossing my keys around and dropping them on the driveway, coupled with the grain and my hole placement in relation to it, it was not long for this world.
I will probably make another one, but for now I think my keys occupy enough pocket real estate.
Last week while Holly and Gage were off in New York, Roan and I were left here. He spent most of his time with his father, and some with his father’s ex-wife (the second one, not the one that was in New York…). When his father brought him home Sunday evening, Roan asked, “Didn’t you want to take me on a new hike or something? I said I did, but figured we wouldn’t have enough time since it was already 5:00pm, and we would have to drive about half an hour to get there. Then we’d have to find our way down to the cool spots, which depending on how much has changed in the ten years or so since I was last there, could take quite a while.
I have wanted to take him on this hike for a long time, but we usually just end up at the gorge since we live just around the corner and it’s pretty awesome. When I was younger Decew was the closest hike to where I lived, so it’s the spot I’ve been the most. It’s also a neat piece of history. There is an old grain mill that is powered by a water turbine which is still in working order, also an operational black smith shop and one of the areas oldest houses. And this is just in the parking lot!
He and I managed to move pretty quick and within half an hour I was able to show him all the cool spots Decew has to offer, and we were off to get ice cream. He was a little bummed that we couldn’t spend longer hiking and exploring the cave I showed him, but I promised to bring him back with flash lights and old shoes on a day where we had more time.
So this weekend, Holly, Roan and I dropped by the Egg & I to have breakfast see Gage, then headed over to Decew for an adventure. After getting a tour of the mill and the Morningstar residence, we made our way down the gorge and to the water’s edge. Our first stop was a cave near the waterfall you see at the top. It’s an old mine shaft, complete with rails. When I was younger I followed it to the end where there was just a big door with a valve on it and a lot of filthy stinky water, but Roan was dying to see it. Unfortunately we discovered that they have recently welded a steel gate preventing anyone from entering more than 30ft inside so until we bring a plasma cutter with us he’s out of luck.Â Then we walked down the trail behind the waterfall. You get wet pretty quick, so we didn’t hang out there long.
We climbed back up to the cave, and at that point I noticed a bird’s nest sitting on an edge just above the cave entrance. I saw little beaks peaking out, so I lifted Roan up to get a better view. Then I lifted my camera up so the rest of us could see what was going on in there. If you’re interested, you can check it outÂ here. Moments later I noticed the mother and father robin sitting in a tree waiting for us to take a hike, so we did just that.
We hiked down to another waterfall then started making our way back up as Holly had, by this time, had enough. We went up a different way we came down, and it was a little tough. Holly managed to head-butt a branch she didn’t see resulting in a nasty goose egg, but she pushed on and we all successfully reached to top and made it out alive. Then we bought some drinks from the mill and came home for naps.
Next, I want to take them to Rockway Glenn. It’s less difficult, but also less impressive (as far as waterfalls and caves go). Hopefully Holly’s goose egg hasn’t destroyed her faith in my abilities as a tour guide and she’ll be willing to come along, but even if she won’t I know Roan will be stoked.
For months I haven’t been using the internet at all. It began when I started working full time and my laptop’s video card died. Without the money to replace it, I decided to just take a break from computers completely. After two years of sitting at one all day every day it was something different and nice. For months, the only thing I used a computer or the internet for was logging my hours for work. Then one day Holly got fed up with asking me over and over again to hook up a VPN so we could get US Netflix, and finally told me to get it done before she came home from work that day. It was easier than I thought, and immediately I regretted putting it off so long.
I was shocked at how much Sci-Fi content is available when compared to the Canadian equivalent. I added everything I could think of that I had been missing since I lost all my DVD’s to my ex. The first thing I watched (if you haven’t already guessed) was Stargate SG1 and it’s subsequent films. When I was done, I had the overwhelming urge to try Â and model a decent Stargate. I decided to make an exception to my “No computers / No internet” rule, and fire up the Sketchup for the first time since completing the book.
It took me a few hours to model and texture, the bulk of that time being spent on getting the symbols as accurate as possible, and I’m pleased with how it turned out. I even decided to try something I had never done in Sketchup before, with hopes of animating an active Stargate with ripple-y water event horizon effects. It worked pretty well (as anyone viewing this post in Firefox should be able to tell… everyone else will just have to take my word for it) and gave me lots of ideas for projects in the future. It also made me miss my blog.
I didn’t realize how much I love blogging until I was doing none of it. I constantly longed for the motivation to write about life and what I was doing with it (whether it was models of Stargates, or the latest cute thing Roan said), but I still had no desire to sit at my desk. I hadn’t planned on doing any blogging until I procured a new laptop as I find it more fun to do while relaxing wherever, and not sitting at desk. However, I have had an excess of free time the past few days (explanation to coming soon…) and the boys have been kind enough to share their laptop with me lately (which is getting slightly less frustrating to use all the time!) for some work I’m doing for John Deere (possible explanation coming soon…).
So prepare yourselves internet populous, for I am gearing up to fill in the gaps, and will soon have a powerful new tool at my disposal.