May 31, 2017

Another Productive Day As The Hounds Sleep The Day Away

It was during the lunch for the hounds on Tuesday that I changed my mind for the 2nd time in 2 hours about power washing. It was perfect weather for it. Not too hot and just warm enough that I would not freeze as the water spray drenched me based on wind direction. Heidi gave me the okay to get started as she enjoyed the front yard.

While I was stretching out 100' of electrical cord and 100' of garden hose to connect to the power washer on the north side of the house, I realized I had not done this last year. In fact I used an extended handle brush connected to the hose that I bought for washing my Class C in 2014. That took less than an hour to wash the side of the house and the overhangs. It took longer with the set up and washing this year.

I still wanted to use the power washer to not only clean the house but also peel any loose paint off the wood trim. The paint on the aluminum siding never moves and it does not matter what the weather does nor how many times it changes. I figured I could wash, scrape paint, sand it, prime it and paint it within 6 total hours spread over 2-3 days.

Of course with any old house and maintenance, one job might lead to two new ones. Mine wasn't that bad but it turned it from a two day affair to a three day job, yet it looks like it will be around 8 hours total labor time.

While I was moving both cars outside away from the house and then trash cans, a chair and anything else left standing in the carport so they would not get wet ... Sadie was more than a little concerned about what was going on. Maybe she though we were was moving or going somewhere ... being a confirmed 'homebody' ... she did act a little anxious as I was setting the project up. She does not like any kind of change .. even moving her food dish 6".

Stella didn't care. It was too hot for her, she wanted inside and she can't stop scratching even after another bath. My blog shows that in May 2016 she had the same itching problem ... so it's allergies.

Heidi wasn't going to move when I called her. She had found a spot she had never tried for sunbathing and was content to stay right next to the driveway as I started work. But on this occasion I did not have time to babysit hounds while I was out of sight. So Heidi headed for the couch and Stella was thrilled she could go back inside for her afternoon siesta. I confirmed it by looking in the window to see all three hounds sleeping while I washed the house.

Once the house and carport are clean, it's like they have been repainted. The dryer it gets, the better it looks.

There of course is humor to this project. I thought I was finished so I am rolling the machine over by the fence to stretch out the electrical cord and garden hose, then disassemble everything and put things away ... then I remembered ... I wanted to pressure wash the fence !!!

So I turned around and started that job. I am not sure it's good to pressure wash a treated wood fence but I did about 10 years ago and the only damage this fence has seen is when my pyromania fires have caught the fence on fire. So I continued to wash all of the fence only on this side. I did wash 3 sides of every fence post and the top edges of every piece.

As the fence dried it looked better ....

But it really looked the best this morning after it completely dried.

The Z went back inside on a clean concrete floor, so clean I almost hated driving on it. The car cover keeps all of the yellow pollen and light brown dust from the highway off the car. It does not take that long to take off when I want to drive it.

The top front edge of the porch was covered in black algae ... my old friend with the biology degree named that stuff today and explained it to me and I have forgotten the name and every thing about it an hour later. The concrete steps and porch only had dirt to remove but it looks much better cleaned.

Funny story about that little red paint you see at the bottom side of the steps ... my great aunt built this house and her 'dream house' was a yellow house with a deep red foundation ... I'm told. I've tried over the years of getting rid of what red is left as there are other places on the foundation you can see it. I have tried different solutions, painted gray paint over it 22 years later and then green paint over it 13 years later ... and you can still see it whenever I scrub the paint.

Here is an example of some of the bare wood that results from a high power wash, intentionally set to strip off any loose paint. Easy fix with some scraping, sanding, put on primer and then paint.

This spot drives me insane every time I look at it. Evidently with the carport floor flooded in water I missed a spot to power clean. I have no doubt that very soon I will haul that machine out of the closet, hook up everything just to power clean this spot. Maybe I'll try a scrub brush and soap first with a fresh water rinse.

Today right after lunch Heidi gave me the okay to start the process of scraping all the bare spots as clean as possible, lifting more bubbled paint off. By the end of the afternoon I had primed all the spots I needed to and will paint the trim color tomorrow in less than an hour.

My total labor time today was 3 hours and 10 minutes.

Before starting any of this, I was curious enough and by suggestions ... plugged in my other 27" monitor into my new iMac so I now have two large monitors. I have used two monitors for the last 7 years but was more than happy with just one Retina display. Yet the 2nd monitor comes in handy at times. I think I'll keep it set up and am glad I did not sell it. A few of the "mac geeks" told me to do this.

It's never wise to paint on the west side of the house in the afternoon sun. The back of my legs, my neck and arms are feeling their first sunburn of 2017. It feels good to feel tired and another solid night of sleep.

'To Do' List momentum here in 'the tropics' of Southern Indiana.

May 30, 2017

The Day Turned Into A Very Busy One

Right after I posted Tuesday morning post, I put on my NorthFace snow boots because I knew was early enough that the shaded parts of the field would be too wet for the waterproof hiking boots I have. We've been doing the walks about an hour earlier than normal times but it would be past noon before this part of the field dries out.

Sadie took off like she was shot out of a cannon and her nose was to the ground, she was gone.

With Sadie moving in all kinds of directions, zig-zag, circular ... Stella was able to catch up with her even with her slow pace in the opposite lane I was walking in.

I guess she feels okay but it is certainly different than a year ago when she was the aggressor when playing, running full speed through the field and being the dominate one over Sadie.

Just like that Stella disappeared. I looked in the far right corner, not there. I looked to the right of me, not there. I looked behind me, not there. Finally after starting my search over, I barely saw her deep inside these wild plants that I have not identified. She had found some deer scat and she would not leave, even after I tugged on her collar.

Sadie was running all over the field on a fresh scent. You can tell her speed by the rear leg kicked up and in the photo below, her ears flying in the wind. I am not sure what she was smelling but it was leading her on a wild chase.

Sadie's nose never came off the ground as she ran through the field.

While walking and trying to keep track of the hounds there is always time to find some neat flower arrangements.

Stella was almost getting away in the opposite direction when I turned to check on her. Once I yelled "over here" she started her path to meet Sadie and I on the path heading home. I am thinking tomorrow morning I will plan to let her roam on her own after we make that first turn and let her decide how long she stays out with me within sight of her.

She wasn't close to my path when she had to stop and join Sadie in her search.

Last June, they left a large roll of hay in this spot for weeks after most of the other rolls had been moved out of the field. When they finally picked up that roll, there was a bare spot that later turned to all green grass. It is now one of the taller parts of hay in the 7 acre field.

I had to extend my lens to catch Sadie ... she was running down the path which is rare for her.

Stella and I stayed way behind, walking Stella's pace. Last year she would have been running to Sadie trying to get ahead. This still tells me something is wrong with her. Something that is not showing up with vet inspections, normal appetite and water intake. I wonder if her hips have become arthritic?

Toward the end of the morning walk I was going to pull out the power washer from the closet, sitting behind the dog food container and start the annual house, carport wash down. The Mini Countryman looked clean after the drive through the rain last week at high speed, so it did not need washed.

Then ... my habit of procrastination started ... "I'll just unload the pictures into the computer" ... then "I'll answer this email first" ... then "let me catch up on Facebook and Twitter" ... "ah there's a few new blog posts to read" ....

And the clincher ... "there is always tomorrow morning, I'm retired" ... "I could still do it this afternoon" ... "I always work best in the afternoons"

So Sadie and Stella let me know it was time for their lunch. I decided I'd unload the photos from this morning and then add more later and make this a huge blog post with too many photos. I also knew I would not be blogging again until tonight, thinking again that blogging at the end of the day is the best for me ... IF I am to get anything done during the day.

I wrote all of this earlier thinking I would add a bunch of pictures and write more this afternoon but my afternoon was so productive I just finished about an hour ago and I am too tired to add to this post. 

I will just say that "procrastination" was wiped out as the hounds ate lunch ... I power washed the house, carport, front porch and the fence along the driveway. I should be rested enough by tomorrow to write a little about it and sort through all of the project pictures I took.

It was an afternoon of solid work here in 'the tropics' of Southern Indiana today.

Sadie Still Cannot Find The Black Cat

As the hay gets almost shoulder high at the edge of the yard, other places in the field it is not as high as my knees. With this comes pollen and that is a huge problem for me. There are times even the allergy tablets are not good enough, at least the ones I buy off the counter. Maybe I need to start taking some of that 12 hour stuff. Anyway, all of us survived the holiday weekend.

The highlight of the weekend was early Sunday morning while sitting at the computer, when I heard a familiar sound of a helo. It sounded as if it was landing right outside my window in the field. I knew there was not enough room at the landscaping business for it to land nor behind the trees, but the familiar sound was extremely loud. That could only mean it was hovering about the power lines and other towers that are behind the trees and run through the gully.

I wasn't quick enough to get outside to take a better picture, so this was zoomed through a window screen and did not turn out as clear as I had hoped. It would have been gone if I had gone outside. It was hovering right above that tower for a few minutes, hidden by the tree limbs.

As it turned out, we had not started the morning walk yet. I am not sure how the hounds would have reacted to something that loud and strange. Had I known the helo would be more exciting than the Indy500 I was going to watch later, I am not sure I would have tuned in. All I'll say is about the race ... I'm liked who won, there were too many yellow flags, it took too much time to watch, too many commercials again and a spectacular crash that without modern safety technology the driver would not have survived that crash in the past let alone 'walk away' from his crashed car as he did.

With it hotter than usual, more gnats and mosquitos, and the additional treat of plugged sinuses ... the walks for me were not that enjoyable. Sadie of course loved them and demanded 3 per day. Stella is stuck in the gear for low energy but managed to make it through them at her pace.

Monday was so quiet inside and outside you could hear a pin drop. Very little to no traffic on a major US Highway. The heat, although not really that staggering hot, zapped the hounds where they spent most of their day sleeping inside. Heidi had not moved so long in her stretched out position on the couch I had to look close one time to see if she was still breathing. She slept for hours in one position.

I use to put this view of the field across the highway as my 'starter' picture for the blog everyday. I included it this morning because I found the different shades of green to be interesting, along with the freshly planted field behind it. You can see the reason why they replanted part of the field in the post before this one.

You have the taller grass along the highway that will eventually be mowed by the state highway department if not the local field owner. That turns into the deep green of the corn growing, somewhere around a month old, then the dried out light brown of the dirt they cleared on Saturday which was all under water a few weeks ago.

As the wild ragweed surrounds and covers my burn pile for next fall, I decide to mow back to that pole some say is my property line. 70 some years ago my driveway continued down that direction as a one lane brick road where they could bring their farm equipment to work the field behind my house. From what I was told that equipment was a team of mules and a row of plow blades. There are a lot of fallen trees back in that woods.

Even though this Tuesday felt like a Monday when we got up, it was the same routine I have written about before. When Sadie wasn't at the door looking to come inside as I poured my first cup of coffee, I decided I needed to go outside and see if I could find her. I didn't see anything that was tanish/red walking through the taller field.

Then right at the end of my search, I saw her tail moving in the tall hay.

I don't know if she was tracking the black cat's path backwards but once she arrived in the yard she had locked on the scent. It was confirmed in the middle of the night fairly close in this vicinity, the black cat is what Sadie smells. I didn't get up to see it last night in the early morning hours, but I heard one of the biggest cat fights in the middle of the night and loud enough it seemed to be right outside the window.

At least the cats keep the mice away. Sadie only goes on this search in this area the first thing in the morning. Other times we are outside, the only time she had gone in this area is if I walk over there. With the shade, it's the best part of the yard.

She finally decided that was all the time she had for the search. It was time for her short nap until our morning walk ... all have been quite wet lately and I've had to wear my snow boots to keep my feet dry.

With the cooler temps forecasted, it would be a good day to high pressure wash the fence, the house and carport. It will be interesting to see if I can produce enough motivation to get that finished today. Yesterday I got everything I wanted to do finished, so I have a clean house, a clean kitchen and two loads of laundry done.

Apples free app that came with my iPhone called "Reminders" does it's job well. All of those 'to do's' I am behind on show up in red print along with the number of them waiting for me to complete. they show up on all of my Apple devices so there is no way to escape.

I didn't wash the Mini last week because I thought it was going to rain on Sunday but I cannot use that excuse anymore. That might be the trigger to get me moving in the direction of the high pressure wash machine.

I have lived her a long time, almost 20 years, and it is amazing how a lot of things change while many stay the same. The weather is always changing yet the land and trees stay the same. This photo was taken October 2014 in one of the most colorful falls we have had in a while.

Sadie is telling me it's time for our first walk of the day here in 'the tropics' of Southern Indiana.