Sunday, March 5, 2017

Laying Pipe: Day 1

Sadly, we haven't been able to spend any time at Tree Ring recently and here is the story why.

Last year the City replaced all of the 50+ year old gas pipes in the alleys in our neighborhood.  Just before Thanksgiving they began hooking houses to the new line, and we discovered - as did many - there were leaks in the pipes going to the house that had to be fixed before we could connect.  

That was the last day we had hot water on the first floor of our house, hot water for showering in the garage apartment where CityGirl lives, and the ability to cook on our stove.

RetroMan figured he could find the leaks, quickly repair them and we'd be on our way.  But he had to find the pipes first.

One hole turned into two holes, which turned into a trench until pretty much our entire back yard was dug up.  CityGirl hops over this trench to come take showers upstairs at our house.

After numerous patching attempts, it became clear we would have to replace the whole gas line which lay under concrete pads or under buildings on our property.  That meant calling contractors who were backed up for weeks trying to help all the people in the neighborhoods that were in the same predicament.

It became clear this was going to take a while, so we broke out the camp stove, bought a FaberWare electric skillet at a garage sale, and made sure we had an ample supply of charcoal for the grill.

When the contractors finally had time to see what needed to be done, they lost interest and either never called us back or gave us a bid that made it cheaper to just go buy all new electric appliances.

But RetroMan never gave up.  

He had YouTube. 

80 hours of watching videos later he created a plan and checked it with the City gas inspector.  His plan was sound, and so he began purchasing all the materials.

Yesterday we started the job, which involved snaking 100 feet of new gas pipe through the old one.

RetroMan started the job.

My job was to help feed the pipe to him.

And take pictures of course.

After a while he moved to the alley and CityGirl kept it going.

CityGirl and I stopped to have some fun with the clothes that were hanging out to dry. 

It's kind of a flag for help.

"Girls pay attention.  This is serious."

As we were working CityGirl heard something and asked me to come over and check it out

Yes, that's someone wheeling living room furniture down the street.

"What? Why?" exclaimed CityGirl as she stood next to the clothes hanging out to dry.

Sometimes you're never going to figure these things out, so it's best not to try.

The pipe made it to the alley and had to make a curve towards the fence.  We were feeling pretty stoked!  Everything was going as planned.

Until our worst nightmare.  

The pipe appeared to be stuck under the concrete parking pad about 3 feet from our target outlet.  It wouldn't go in, and it wouldn't come out.

RetroMan went to Home Depot and rented a cement cutter.  It's really handy that he knows these things exist and how to use them.

Of course!  There's an elbow in the old gas line!

RetroMan cut the elbow out and we finished snaking the new line through.  

10 hours later the holes in the alley were covered up.

And that's the end of day 1.  

To be continued, but hopefully not too much longer.

Saturday, September 3, 2016

We Have a New Addition to Tree Ring!

Can you guess what it is?

It's a late 70s Massey Ferguson tractor!  We bought it from a nearby neighbor who was kind enough to load it up and deliver it to Tree Ring.

And there she is!  What a beauty!

I actually did some bush hogging.

And some dirt hogging by mistake.

We're planning on mowing the fire lane in a few weeks after the land dries out from the rains we got from Hurricane Hermione.

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Agile Eating

We went to Tree Ring for Thanksgiving this year.  As we were shopping at the Dollar Store for our beans and franks dinner, we took advantage of a 1-day special on a set of pots and pans.   

The pop-up is equipped with a gas stove, but we usually just use the campfire to cook our food.  Cooking food in pots and pans was really nice and quick.  Just as everything was ready to eat, we realized there wasn't anything to eat with.

So RetroMan got creative.

It worked out just right, but I think we're going to have to take advantage of a 1-day special on silverware next time.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Wearing Mosquito Bites With Pride

Fall is such a great time of year.  The weather is starting to cool down, and the fields of flowers are spectacular.

And other flowers too.

As a result of our mouse experience, we threw away everything except the drawers.  

And in the end we had to throw them out too.

Note to self:  Never hose off particleboard

Now we just bring more things with us.  
  • Air mattresses  
  • The thingy that blows up the air mattresses
  • Head protection against the mosquitoes

And we make sure there's enough gas to warm up the coffee that's left in the Thermos.

We went to pick up something to eat at a restaurant in town, and met a farmer who likes to take his tractor to breakfast.

He restores one every year, and likes taking them to shows and festivals.  I think he said it was made in 1950.  It started up with one try, and he told us about a tractor museum near Lee we should check out.

I love tractors, and hope to have one some day.  Retro Man says I love tractors that somebody else maintains.  He has a point, as I rely on him to maintain all things with an engine.

After breakfast we went back to Tree Ring and did some bush hogging with the city weed wacker.  It reminded me of the saying "don't bring a knife to a gun fight".  After two hours we had only cleared an area about 10 by 40 feet of trees and brush, and the weed wacker died multiple times until we just stopped trying to use it.

The only negative on this trip were the mosquitoes.  They didn't seem too bad when we got there, but by nightfall it seemed like the word got out.  Of course we remembered to bring the air mattresses, but forgot the bug spray.

Usually the itching after a visit to Tree Ring brings opportunities to explain why I'm itching.  Which leads to discoveries of others who have lived on farms.  They have lots of good advice and funny farm stories.

Unfortunately no one has any advice for what to do about those bites you get through the seat of your chair at the camp fire.  

Or how to stop itching them.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Burnt Toast

I put some bread in the toaster oven and then lost track of time researching how to keep mice out of cabins.  

I suddenly realized it's been a while, and went in the kitchen to see flames a foot high and a room full of thick smoke.  I stood there with a glass of water screaming for Retro Man, who from a dead sleep ran down the stairs, unplugged it, grabbed oven mitts, and took it outside. 

So many lessons:

  • Marry someone smarter than you 
  • Never leave your toaster oven unattended
  • Chinese smoke detectors aren't worth shit, so get a new detector every year not just a new battery 
  • Replace your toaster oven more often than every 15 years
  • Clean the pan in your toaster oven more often than every 6 months
  • Make sure you know where your fire extinguisher is
  • Get one for your kitchen if you don't have one
  • Know how to use it
  • Periodically shake the fire extinguisher, as the contents can cake up rendering it useless if you need it
  • Don't put your toaster oven directly under kitchen cabinets
  • Just laugh when people make fun of your ineptitude in the kitchen 

At least I didn't throw the glass full of water into a plugged-in/stuck-in-the-on-position appliance engulfed in a grease fire.

Just waiting for the smoke to clear.

This blog is worthless without pictures.


On a positive note, i
t only took me one second to realize getting a picture of the flames was out of the question.