Welcome to Growbox Hill

Welcome to Growbox Hill
Welcome to Growbox HIll!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Time for a rant

I'm so mad I could spit. Ok, already dropped the Fbomb several times at the top of my lungs in the yard and could still spit.

Our lovely neighbors-the ones that make the truck hole in our yard and STILL hasn't fixed it has really pissed me off some more.

We were out walking the yard today, and I wandered over to check the squashes. Lo and behold, I discovered a smashed plant. Looking up I discover a couple sets of tire tracks in my yard. Apparently dropping brush in the arch drive did deter the neighbors from using it, but they decided to drive around the drive, through my yard and over my squash plants instead.

Yeah, WTF? Like the brush wasn't a good enough hint to stay the eff off my property? Guess not.
Motherlorn jackasses- I loathe richies that have their heads up their asses so far that they can't be decent to other people, it doesn't even occur to them to consider anyone but themselves. People like that are on the top of my "I don't give a fuck what you think asshat" list. I have zero respect for anyone like that. Socially I have to deal with folks like that sometimes, but I avoid it if I can because it's so damn hard to be civil with them knowing what selfish pricks they are.

So now we get to spend money we don't have getting a surveyor out here to mark off our property line so I can build a fence. Shit, we don't even know where the bucks will come from for the second furnace needed to heat the "water" half of the house to prevent water pipe explosion yet, I might have to open a credit card to do it. In the meantime, I will be dropping more brush loads in the yard to further block access as a free solution. Something I shouldn't have to do if I didn't have subhumans next door. And if they complain when I put the fence in- too damn bad. Maybe if they were civilized and decent I wouldn't have to defend my property against their ravages.
Could this cause a problem with those neighbors? Probably. But apparently they have a problem with you if you don't hang out and get shitfaced with them every weekend, and since we haven't been doing that I think we are already on their yack list.

And hey, I think I now know where the hives will be placed once it's time for me to start doing bees. Was only planning on doing 2-4 of them but a nice line of them along that side of the property should prove to be more of a challenge than some dumbfuck on wheels is willing to handle. And lol, not like much else can go there but plants anyway, the ground is just too soggy when it's not frozen for any decent type of building.
Maybe I will try my first recycling project for the fence too. I know beer bottles are worth trade in here in MI, so we have been saving them all. But I wanted to experiment with bottle wall building too, so all I would need is the cement to bind the layers together. With the way the wind is around here it might get kind of noisy, but I think it would be a lovely reuse of those bottles. If I leave them whole, we might even get some wildlife insects finding homes there. I'm all good with that. Hell, I should start saving whisky bottles too, lop off the heads and those could be a killer line of planters on the top of the thing. We even have a nice mix of colors in beer too. Mostly brown and clear, but maybe we can get enough green for a cool stripe effect in the wall. An added benefit is that they may "accidentally" wreck a standard fence, but it would be pretty hard to completely smash over a eight inch thick fence of cement and glass. And if they do, I know how to use stone instead :)
And who knows? maybe the survey will prove to provide enough room for some gnarly spikes on our side of the fence too. That little extra protection, right?

Since I am already planning on putting in all the ditch lilies and a row of lilacs on our side of the easement drive anyway, in a few years maybe I won't even have to notice their existence, and they will forget they ever had the baha room to begin with.

Ok, starting to feel better now that my immense righteous fury is turning to a positive creative expression.

And more positive- we get along great with the neighbors behind us, the ones that have the easement drive. They are awesome people, every one of them. We get along with our north neighbors too, they party hard, but are pretty harmless so far. And one of the siblings runs the local tavern where we have taco Tuesdays, and he is a right fine gent, so that's an extra plus. Haven't even heard peep from our "far" north neighbors or the folks across the road, and the "far" south neighbors are nice. So all in all, we are still doing far better than the destructive psycho we used to live under in the city.

So, whew, rant over. And I didn't swear more than not swearing, lol.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Been a while

Yeah, been a couple of weeks since my last post. Why? Because there hasn't been much to comment on, lol.

We've gotten some more scrap down to the firepit area, and the rest of it around the yard is sorted and stacked. And er, that's about it for outdoor work, ha ha.

Also got the liquid glass panels done for the great room windows, and they are now up. It was sort of ambitious, I had never attempted to do 10 matching panels at once before. The great room doors look much nicer now that the cheap muslin curtains I made and the glass panels are up. It looks wonderful in the morning with the sun streaming in. I took pics, but haven't uploaded the camera yet, so I will put up a before and after shots at some time :)
Also made a crazy ass panel for the mud bathroom that's a big ole colorful flower. I wanted to use up some of my older supplies before they turned to total gel in the bottles. Between the different colored "leads" and "glass" it turned out pretty frigging bold, both from the inside and outside. I think I like it.

In other stuff, got a couple a really decent chairs from the neighbor. He had his pickup stuffed, and didn't want to have to offload it all into his barn, find space and all, so he asked if we wanted them. I like our neighbors, they are always so nice.
Did some shopping recently, gathering materials for stepping stones. Found a 12" round for 5 bucks at michaels in town, and a large octagonal one for 7 bucks at hobby lobby- it was on sale, and four tubs, two brick, and two rectangle stepper all for 4 buck each at michaels when I was visiting my mom and sister. Good deals all. I think I now have enough forms to warrant mixing up a full bag of cement at a time, yay! I alwo picked up a few bags of glass pebbles on clearance for a buck each. Some of them had glitter dollops on the back and it was a really nice effect, so since there were a bunch of clear ones, I did some of my own dolloping with the tail end of some glitter glues I had. Nice to be wiping out the old stock on that stuff. I also discovered glow in the dark glass stars. The glow brightly, still not sure for how long. I plan on planting those into pavers that will be the path leading from the house down to the firepit. I figure that will be real handy for guests :) The large octagonal ones will be for around the firepit itself, they will look fine down there. I'm gonna be making pavers all winter, so I would have some goodly stacks for placing next spring :)

Here's a hint for finding bits for building. Hit your local hardware store rather than the big chains when you are looking for odd nuts and bolts. I had the damdest time finding 3mm nuts till I hit the local place back in Wi- they had em by the bagful, lol. So I got two for my love since he needs them for mounting boards and such to run his printouts.
Speaking of which- holy cow is the data tank coming along sweet!! He was running it around the house using a stupid little ipod this weekend. Yeah, he wrote up the software, and now it can be controlled with a hand held device. How badass is that? Pretty soon I will have a data tank cruising along after me taking down all the stats so I can just concentrate on doing stuff :)

Cooking- Been experimenting with hobo packets for the campout coming up. What's a hobo packet? All sorts of yummy stuff wrapped up in foil so one can toss it on the fire to cook up. Did lemon pepper chicken with potatoes, veggie, and sausage packets so far, still want to try a hamburger one before I start posting up how I made them. Sheesh, I want to hit it right twice before I post up recipe action too, lol.

Anywho, my love needs to tinker with the internet for a bit, so I'm off again :)

Monday, August 8, 2011

Grrr, electricity!

Sigh, power was out again. It was only a thirty minute squall yesterday morning, but we didn't get power back up till early this afternoon. Gee, guess what caused it? Downed tree on a wealthies property on the lakeside of 63. Apparently this is the cause of pretty much all our outages. Some folks like their pretty tree better than keeping the power lines clear :(
I have been assured that this year is abnormal for storms like this. We shall see how it goes. But hey, the generator is fully up and running now! We were using it last night and today. I'm gonna need to set in a few pavers in that area to make it all flat and grass free. The heat that kicks off that thing can cook grass dry in a matter of hours!

Did yet another burn, and I already have at least two more neatly stacked on the north side of the house. Plus we have a big ole pile of big logs action for burning. I think as long as it is clear, we are going to have one hell of a halloween fire this year! Did the burn before 10 this morning- and its really a perfect time for it. Not too hot, and the cottonwood blocks the sun till almost noon. And the embers can glow all day long and I can keep an eye on it- no worrying about the yard burning down in my sleep.
But then with the rains, prolly don't have to worry about it anyway.

Two hours saw about a third of the north maple mess stacked up. Not too bad. I think another three hours or so will clean up the rest of the majority of it. Got a little odd saw stack to far. But Earl and the boys sure did a fine job whacking up the rest of the sawable stuff. Still a lot of loping to firepit lengths.

Just Ruby this morning for chicken bread. The hummingbirds are popping up, time to refill their feeder again. I see the swans on the pond in the morning, but they usually go hide or something by mid-day.
And I saw a super adorable baby toad today whilst cutting. Just over an inch long, mostly dark, and hopping away like mad! Also saw a lovely yellow and black tailed butterfly today- will have to look that one up and sprinkle some seed for it in the firepit sanctuary.

For food: Super easy quiche.
6 eggs, well beaten
Add in 1/4 c flour, 1/2 t baking powder, and 1/2 t salt. Whisk well.
Add in any seasonings you want, and whisk those too.
Stir in a cup of cottage cheese, and a cup of shredded cheese.
Stir in some veggies- about a cup and a half or so, a 10 oz frozen spinach is good, or a drained can of veggie and a drained can of mushrooms, or something frozen or fresh :) If it's a watery veggie, cook off some of that water and cool before adding to the eggs.
Stir in some meat if you wish- a half pound of bacon fried up, or a couple brats left over from last nights grilling, those couple last slices of meatloaf..
Pour the whole thing into a pie crust- frozen deep dish is fine.

Cook at 400 for 15 min.
Reduce heat to 350, cook for 30 min.
Kill heat, crack oven, and let sit till cool enough to take out of the oven with bare hands.
Eat warm or chilled.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Insurance compliant!

Well, insurance compliant till the next time the adjuster comes out, which will be sometime this month. It sucked that when we bought the house we weren't really moved in enough to catch the first adjuster. I caught the second one, and that gave me the heads up enough to have a clue. I think I can spot a couple of spots to get ahead of too.

Earl and the boys came out and whacked our trees. For 250, the maple is now fully trimmed up, the oak tree danger is now down.. They even whacked up the fallen maple into bits and trimmed the chinese chestnut too :) Now it's just hauling to the firepit all season long, lol. Now I want to learn how to use tree spikes and roping- Josh was looking like too much hanging up there. Mark might be able to get us a trailer for the lawn tractor for cheap too, yay! The guys whacking up the fallen maple means that all the stools and table stump pieces for the firepit are done now. And yeah, good for future use. Earl said he does snow plowing too. I think next month I will call him again to to a handful of estimates on more tree trimmings and how much plowing would be.
Got the trim replaced around the one florida room window- had to use 1x3, no one had the matching trim. All caulked up and painted too. I got the exterior primer and paint in one stuff, but I think I will need to do a second coat for it to look good. It's not lovely, but it is up to compliance now. Got the glass busted out of the double glaze- once again not lovely, but hopefully at least done up enough that it will pass. Geez, re-learned a lot about caulking with a gun on that window, and it shows. But between white caulk and paint, good enough for now till it's time to really re-do it pretty. Used quite a bit less paint than I expected too, so I think the second coat will catch me up to what I thought I would use. Leaves me plenty to get the rest of the exterior trim wood painting done this season. And I bought one caulk per window=4, but I seriously miscalculated. I got the 4 windows done, plus a tad left over to start sealing the outside windows of the great room doors. And I have 2 caulks left over. Helped a lot that the tops and bottoms of the windows caulk was still good. I may have enough left over to finish the great room doors and seal in the horsey doors.
Started to figure out what I will need to do to fix the great room doors and horsey doors. I had gotten 1x2 for the window, but it was really not right, so that's going to be used to trim in the inside of the mud door instead. I think I can use more 1x3 for the exterior horsey door, and that will work just fine. Not sure how I want to tackle the great room door. I think I may have to yank out the top trim of both doors and just replace the whole shebang. And there's a bit of a problem with the bottom two window panels. The plastic trim is broken, and I'm not sure how to replace it. I'm thinking I might just have to make a custom mold with foil and pipe in my filler for the molding. Backfill the gaps with foam, and lay the molding over it. Will make it pretty sound once it's all done. But I think since most of it is metal and plastic, it will probably be wiser to mask the glass and trim and spray enamel the rest of it rather than using exterior house paint. I can paint over the spray stuff if I want to- I just think spray will be better to seal the whole thing.
Effing yuck- the mudroom bathroom. That for sure is going to get attended to in the cold months. It's kind of gross, all the missing trim and the bugs getting in, the sink is just too ewww for words. The privy too. And if I ever do win a fabo tub bathroom makeover- guess which bath is getting the cool soaking tub makeover? Hell, if I am lucky with the package, I might be able to hardscape the bedrooms nook too.
Anywho, wandering...

I did locate the local Habitat for Humanity Restore. Holy crap, what a find. Paint for 5 bucks a gallon, just need to keep my eye open for the right gallons. Screens are 5 bucks too, so I need to start doing some measuring on my missing screens. Full windows are 10 bucks- and shit, some of them are big enough to do a full greenhouse side! No kidding, there was everything from a little bath size window up to one that was 8x8 ft. Bathroom sinks, 10, bigger kitchen ones, 15. Cabinets run 35, guess where all the extra oddbits for the outbuildings are going to come from? And all sorts of random furniture and building stuff like glass blocks and tiles. Found some sweet yellow 4x4s, but since I have no idea where I would put them right now, ah pass. Maybe once it's time to start garnering materials for the mudbath they will find a home :) I think if I keep my eye on the HfH, I can pull a refacing for around a hundred bucks, maybe a bit less.
And they have knobs for a quarter- think it's about time the bedroom set from my childhood gets a makeover. Crazy, with this birthday just past, I've had the pieces for 30 years now. Not bad for particle board. Left behind the corner desk years ago, and lost the headboard in the move from Racine to Chicago.
Also time to really start counting the penny jar towards a truck. I would give my left appendage for one now, but I think maybe by spring we might have the scribbins up to get one cheap. If nothing else, a good down payment on something decent from a local dealer.

Otherwise, not much else going on with the getting shit done action.

Future house plans? Looked outside the upstairs bathroom window today. Think I know what the leakage problem on the west side of the greatroom where it joins the meow-nook is. There was shingle cornering put in- but it lays UNDER the shingles  along the down side of the slope. AND the slope up the wall is totally unfilled, leaving all sorts of little wells for water seepage. So, looks like a couple 5 gal buckets of tar and some flat roofing rolls will solve both the garage leakage and the upstairs/greatroom leakage too. Not pretty again, but at least this time I could readily identify it and know a solution.

The chickens.. Well, they are pretty smart. I started tossing them bread crumbs several days ago... Now they are to the point where some of my morning coffee time is spent tossing them some chicken bread :) I got to touch Mr. Tastys tail feathers today- he was too busy eating to notice. It was cool. Ruby hops up on the porch and starts making a fuss to let me know it's time to go tend to them. They show up later in the day too, but don't make much noise. By the time faire season is over and my sister can come calling again- she's gonna have a kinipshon about being able to feed the chickies.
The goldfinches and hummingbirds have really been popping up too- time to get to work on some extra feeding action for them.

On the tec front- That super cool robot cruiser I posted recently that my love is printing out?
The good news- he now has the programming action set up for it's movements, and all the components to make a exceptionally nice reader. Yeah yeah, it's to check out the safe environs of the indoors for now- but if I can get in some of the gardens next year that I want to, you can bet your ass that thing is going to be following me around then for notes :)
The bad news- the site that prints off other folks stuff for a fee- charge almost a grand to print the same thing off. That's about the price of a printer. Yep, we are skipping that.

Cooking- Well, today I'm doing a test run on what to do with apples. I know we are going to have tons of them to process. Had a bunch of little ones from last weekend that haven't been eaten. So about ten of them went to drying. I peeled, halved, and cored them. Then into thinnish slices and onto a couple cookie sheets. I put them on around noon, and have flipped them twice so far. They should need one more flip, then be done before bed tonight so I can kill the oven and let them just cool. Oven has been at 200 the whole time.
Had 4 apples left over. So I peeled, halved, and cored those too. Tossed the halves in a bit of lemon juice till I was ready for them. Then I took all the apple scraps into a pot, added water to cover with a couple cinnamon sticks, some cloves and allspice berries, and a couple grates of nutmeg. Simmered it all for a while till it tasted right. Strained off the solids, retaining the liquid. I then quartered the apple halves, tossed them in the lemon juice again, then dumped it all in the liquid to poach till tender. Strained off the liquid again, reduced by about a third, then thickened with sugar, remixed it with the apple slices. Perfect bit of apple filling or topping. Yum, to top a hot stack of pancakes or a belgium waffle. But these slices are going into some crescent roll dough I got on sale for mini popovers.

A weather aside. The weather has been unusually active this year according to local gossip. We get storms till now usually, but not quite so fierce. And huh- normally most of our power outages can be blamed on the lakeshore folk. The wealthy. They like they way their trees fill in better than paying attention to power line clearance. So the rest of us have to pay for their stupid and have no power while their tree downed lines get fixed.
Wandering again... gonna go get some grub..

Cheap gear or not- it can save one from a lot of grief.