June 21, 2015
Here is the first picture taken of me riding my 2011 Street Glide. As far as I know, it is the only picture thus far. Taken at Weir's Beach in Laconia, NH 6/18/15. Too bad it was a bit cloudy so the color doesn't show well - I lightened it up some and you can see a bit on the tank, front fender, and the lower.
Happy Father's Day 2015
Happy Father's Day to my dad, Cop Car's HH. Hope you have great weather and take time to do things you want to do, not things that have to be done!
Relaxation Time During Bike Week
Last week was bike week here in NH so I took a couple of days of to do some riding. Thursday morning I left the house before 8, road to NHMS and got my HOG event pin (only HOG members can get it), then off to Weir's beach to cruise the boulevard and get my picture taken. Didn't even stop - just hopped on Rt. 3 and headed north.
I was staying the night in North Conway, NH, so headed there first, identified where my hotel was, then road a couple of the notches (Pinkham and Crawford). Here are miscellaneous pictures of my trip up.
That evening, I met up with a friend and his riding companions, who came down from Canada. I use the term "friend" loosely as I only know him thru Facebook. Originally he thought they were staying in Woodstock, so the plan was to meet them Friday morning for breakfast. However, on Wednesday, I found he had been mistaken and their motel was just a couple of blocks from mine. Here is the crew - FB friend is across the table from me.
Their group was made up of great people, and we met again for breakfast the next morning. Then we went our separate ways; they were headed to Weir's Beach, I was headed for more notch riding (Dixville and Franconia) before riding for home.
More miscellaneous pictures of my eventual trip home.
I wish I had gotten some pictures of 13 MIle Woods, but that was a narrow, twisty road and I needed all my concentration so didn't pull out the camera. I also didn't realize that I was passing right by Shrine of Our Lady of Grace in Colebrook - a place for blessing of the bikes until last year. I should have stopped and taken pictures, it is a beautiful place that I've been to a couple of time for bike blessing (the last in 1996 or 97).
Had a great time, met some great people and put about 550 miles on the bike. Not much considering that I rode for about 7 hours each day (by coincidence, arrived at my destination both days right at 4 pm - left both times just before 8 - take away gas and rest stops to get 7 hours). However, until I jumped on the highway at Plymouth to head home, most roads were fairly low speed limits.
June 14, 2015
No Mow Zone
The side yard next to the next door swamp stays pretty wet at all times of year. It is a bear to mow, but I have to keep it clear as there is poison ivy just on the other side of the fence. It is also pretty shady, except for a couple hours in late afternoon.
I have decided that will be a no-mow zone. In other words, shrubs and perennials need to be installed and any bare spots mulched to help keep the poison ivy from encroaching. I am taking the no-mow zone from the existing shade garden (where the crabapple is) to the fence. The first order of business was to remove the sod that consisted of a mix of grass, catmint and moss. This is the strip that I dug out last Sunday.
The first row I planted was (l-R) Bleeding heart, hydrangea, coral bells and another hydrangea. The lilies next to the fence were already there from the previous owners.
The second row is tall phlox, peony, primrose, dwarf goats beard and Japanese iris. Note the big root between the coral bells and the pink hydrangea.
Yesterday, I started another row and ran into a massive amount of roots - most from a stump. So, I spent 3 hours pulling up sod and digging out roots. I need to get all the larger roots out; if I ever try to pop the stump, the roots will have to be removed anyway. Better now than having to tear up plants I'm putting in now.
I did get turtleheads (front left of top picture) and a couple more primrose planted, but I'm still working on getting the roots out from the rest of the section I uncovered yesterday. This will definitely be a long process.
Now that I have a cart to move dirt, I can really hurt myself make some progress on yard work. I was taking so much time transferring buckets of dirt (it doesn't take long to get 50 pounds of dirt, especially when it is moist), that even simple jobs looked like I was getting nowhere.
The first job using the cart was to dig out the big rock that was against stump #3. I was not only digging the rock out, but also lowering that part of the soil level in general as it overtopped the stone retaining wall. At the same time, I had to be careful of the Japanese Knotweed so I could bag that, and all the roots I could find to take to the dump. I had saved empty mulch bags and filed 4 of those with the weed and roods, with any dirt I thought was contaminated (fill is a misnomer - I put in 30-40 pounds of dirt/weed/roots).
With the rock finally uncovered, I could see that it wasn't going anywhere without more muscle than I have - or at least the help of machinery.
Needing to cover that area with plastic (to keep any missed weed roots from growing back), I had to do something with the rock as it topped the retaining wall by quite a bit. No problem, I dug a huge hole next to the retaining wall (storing the dirt in the cart), and spent about 30 minutes with a pry bar and several pieces of wood getting it to slide into the hole (was hoping I could roll it - but that wasn't happening).
So the big rock now buttresses the retaining wall and the level of the dirt along the retaining wall has been lowered.
June 07, 2015
Putting it Together
After removing stump #3, and starting to define the flower garden in front of the house - and moving dirt slowly by carrying/dragging buckets of dirt to the side yard last week - I decided there had to be a better way.
Actually, I had been thinking about getting a wheel barrow previously, but the price for two-wheeled barrows is really quite high (even on CL), and a single wheel barrow would be tough to move and navigate in my uphill and extremely bumpy yard. But knowing the amount of dirt I would have to remove, sealed the deal - I had to look in earnest.
Somehow I stumbled upon the notion of a dumping yard cart, I believe it was an ad from a BBS, and the research began. I looked at the reviews of the featured item and did not believe it would serve my purpose. However, I did some research and found what I believed would be the best value for my money at TSC. Happily there is TSC a couple of miles down the road from work, and I went to check it out at lunch time.
The cart I was looking at touted a handling capacity of 600 pounds as well as the ability to convert the handle from a hand pull to a towing hitch (not usefull for me presently, but could be handy in the long term). However, they also showed a 1,000# cart on the website. When I got to the store, I was in for a surprise - a 1500# capacity that was on clearance for the same price as the next size down.
After checking out the feel of the bed, to see how sturdy it seemed, I had the largest one loaded into my car. That night I began assembling it in the basement (it was raining, had been raining since Sunday, and wasn't supposed to quit until Thursday morning). I got a box of parts (no surprise) and an instruction manual.
The instruction manual and container of hardware were pleasant surprises. Despite being made in China, apparently the writer of the manual not only had a great command of the English language, the writer also did a great job of indicating the hows of assembling. Additionally, the assembly illustrations were clear (except one), there was a chart of hardware shown in ACTUAL size; one complaint that I usually have is if the hardware is mixed up, I can't tell what bolt is a specific size until I sort everything and compare to the other sizes. The hardware was in a package that kept everything separate and labeled both on the front and back of the package. Someone really thought this out for users that are not a natural born tinkerer!
The manual said I should be able to put it together in 20 minutes. The reviews, although positive, warned of more like 1-2 hours. I put it together in 1 hour and 10 minutes, so felt good that I at least was amongst the average.
I put the cart to good use yesterday and am very happy with it.
May 31, 2015
The Washer is Back
Since way back in early March, when I replaced the leaky kitchen faucet with a spray-head faucet (not thinking clearly until after buying and installing said faucet), I have been washing dishes by hand. Sure, for 1 person there aren't many dishes to do. But it still took time out of each day; weekends were worse since that is when I make most of my food for the week.
Plus it irked me that I was probably using more water to do daily dishes than it takes the portable dishwasher to clean a couple of days worth of dishes (the washer takes about 3.5 gallons. And if I load dirty dishes into the dishwasher, they are out of sight and off my limited counter space until time to run the dishwasher.
I had been searching for a faucet in oil-rubbed bronze, which would go with the spray-head faucet, and swiveled, but that didn't cost MORE than the spray head faucet (which was not cheap itself). In fact, I was adamant that I wouldn't spend more than $100 although I could have been persuaded to up that a little if the perfect faucet came around. I was also hoping for a smaller faucet such a one that would go on a bathroom sink, but that was negotiable as long as it would swivel out of the way for daily use of the spray-head faucet.
I searched high and low all thru March; Google searching, searching at physical stores, going thru all kinds of websites. I pretty much quit looking until a couple of weeks ago. For some reason I started the search again, and low and behold I found one of the faucets that had been in the running (at close to $200) was on sale at several websites (I paid less than what is being shown at the link - and with free shipping). True, it is Parisian Bronze, but close enough to make no difference to me.
So, I am one of the few people out there with 2 faucets on my kitchen sink. I have saved the soap dispenser that came with the other faucet in case I ever decide to sell - I can easily return to a traditional set up. But I am just thrilled that since last Sunday, I have only had to do the dishes thrice. Obviously I thrill easily :)
May 30, 2015
Last weekend I decided to do something where I had pulled out the smallest stump (stump #4). I lengthened the existing flower garden to where the planter was (the planter that I placed phlox and dianthus in), and moved the planter a little towards the road.
There is a bleeding heart to the right of the lupine that I had planted when I dug up the stump, then three primrose, then the planter is dug into the ground a bit. Of course I stripped off the sod (moss, and weeds), placed landscape fabric around the plants and under the planter, then put rocks around the planter for a more tied-in effect. Plus, the rocks make a straight edge for the mower - although I think I managed to stack them in such a way they don't look like they make a straight edge - nice visual trickery.
Vegies are In!
Memorial Day weekend is usually the time that I plant the vegetable garden. However, this year, Memorial day came early, so I was unsure I would be able to plant. Saturday morning was cold - in the 30's and it didn't warm up much during the day. The seedlings spent the time inside, as they had been much of that previous week. However, Sunday was supposed to be gorgeous, and the weather guessers said it was supposed to be quite warm for the next week; with lows in the 50's and 60's.
So, I planted. Not as big a garden as I used to have, but several tomatoes and peppers went into the new raised bed. I also planted basil in between the vegies.
In the refurbished raised bed, or more accurately, into the front half of it, went 4 zukes and a pepper in the middle.
Then, Sunday night, a former neighbor emailed and asked if I wanted some phlox as she needed to thin out her garden. I said "Yes," and we arranged for me to go over on Monday to get plants. Her husband dug up plants, and there were way more than just phlox. I placed them in pots, then placed the pots into the 3rd raised bed and the 2nd half of the refurbished bed.
There was a spirea shrub (on left in large white planter), a couple of different hostas, hardy begonia, tall phlox and creeping phlox. The two tall phlox in the front to the very right were some I had gotten on sale last fall and overwintered in the bed.
And, there were Japanese iris (I have plenty of wet spots they will enjoy) and more creeping phlox.
I will be busy for a while!
Small House Projects
Last weekend I wasn't in the mood to do a whole lot, but there was one thing I definitely needed to get done; I needed to put a privacy film on the bathroom window. Up until last weekend, I just had plants in the window and a frilly, see-thru lace curtain on a tension rod (the curtain came with the house).Since the bathroom is still torn apart, I don't want to put holes in the wal or window frame to install a better curtain or shade.
I wanted to move the biggest plant outside which would remove the biggest screen to anyone outside viewing the going ons inside. Plus, if I ever get the bathroom remodeled the way I want it, I will have a light in the center of the bathroom (right now it is behind a wall from the window), which would make it more likely someone could see things at 4:15 AM that I would rather keep private.
During the day, there isn't much that can be seen from outside. This is the sight without the plants and curtain in the way.
If you look closely, you can see an aluminum grab bar that is installed on the framework the shower is attached to.
I had gotten some treatment film a month or so ago, so I finally got around to cutting it, cleaning the window, spraying the window, installing the film and squeegying the air bubbles out. No, it wasn't difficult and I don't know why I didn't do it before - but it's done now.
Now a night view from the outside isn't even possible. Yes, the light is on in the bathroom - it is screened effectively by the wall it is behind and that is why I haven't really worried too much about it until this point - especially with the Rosemary and lace curtains. I have no doubt it will be lighter when the light is in the center of the room, but it should still do a fine job of affording me some privacy.
And here is what it looks like with everything in place.