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So . . . I got tired of the road biking thing, for several reasons, and switched to running. Want to know why? Well, I’m going to tell you.
When I was in high school I ran every morning, and I had to do it by myself, as there were no girls running programs. In fact, the only girls sports were swimming and I think there might have been a tennis program. I sucked at both, but loved to run, so I just did it by myself, in the morning. Then years went by, and I lived in neighborhoods where it wasn’t a very smart thing to do, for a woman to run by herself, and when I married, my husband’s idea of exercise was to go to the bakery and buy a big loaf of bread, fill it with gourmet meats and cheese and pork out.
Then I had kids, and couldn’t leave them to go running, and no, they didn’t have those running strollers then like they do now.
Then I went to college, in my late 30′s and 40′s, and guess what, no time to run. Then I started a career that required oodles of over time, same problem with finding time to run, and besides, my kids were still at home, but not the chubby hubby.
OK, the other main reason for running now is, I love being outdoors, but not exercising next to cars. Road biking is just that, and while I did enjoy doing it with my friends, they are all gone now! One is in Germany, and the other moved to Seattle, actually quite a few miles south of Seattle, so I’d be biking by myself.
The other reason is, the low carbohydrate diet for insulin resistance and to avoid getting diabetes type II, has left me really tired. I have enough energy to get around town, go to work, etc, but can tell when I work out that the energy is just not there. The Naturopath found out that my thyroid wasn’t doing much, so I suspect there is some issue with the nutrients getting into my cells, so I’m hoping that in time it will work itself out. The Dr. couldn’t think of anything else to do, as the better my blood level nutrition looked, the more tired I was.
As I said, I’m OK now, but not a ball of fire, the energy isn’t really there. So, I run 4 – 6 miles twice a week, and when I get tired I walk for a couple of minutes. I am encouraged that I am able now to run 1.5 miles, or even a little further, before I have to walk. I’m still needing to stay on pretty level trails to run, as I don’t really have the energy to go up hills.
I am encouraged though, I can see improvement, and hope that this will make my backpacking easier this summer. I enjoy running around one of our local lakes, most of the trail is in trees, and there are ferns and all sorts of brush in our local forest. I just am not motivated to run along a road!
Well, I harvested my first shiitake mushroom this morning. It looks great, and I’m happy about it, but with mixed feelings. I only got one mushroom!
When I bought the mushroom growing kit, the directions said to “place it upside down” when putting it in the tray/ humidity tent. I was mystified about that, as there is no arrow or text on the block that says “top”, “bottom”, or “this side up” would have been nice. It looks the same no matter how you look at it, and for the life of me, I could not recall if the person in the store turned it over when putting it in my bag, or if I had turned it over when taking it out of the bag.
I am suspicious that I should have turned the block over when I only saw the one sprout, but I had never grown mushrooms before, and though that others would sprout soon. Well that didn’t happen.
This one looks great though, and I will be keeping the block watered, and I think I will turn it over when I get home, for the next sprouting. It is supposed to have 4 harvests, so I’m hoping for more next time.
It is no easy task to turn the block over; there are 4 stakes you have to shove in it, to hold up the plastic bag for the humidity “tent”, and these have to be pulled out and re-inserted on the other side. Then I did not have an appropriate wire rack to set the block on to keep it out of the water that pools in the bottom from all the spraying (twice a day), so I put some scraps of wood left over from some projects I have been working on around the house, and they shift and fall down when I mess with the mushroom block.
Well, it’s not really all that hard to turn it over, I just have to do it.
I’m looking forward to a class on mushroom growing at home, later in May. Hopefully that will answer some questions I have and clarify what I’m doing wrong (or right, maybe?).
This was something I’d been thinking about for about a year. I found these nice starter kits at our local Farmers Market in Bellingham, so I finally took the plunge.
It’s been about 11 days since I started watering the thing, and for a couple days now there have been some kinda gross looking ‘shrooms growing on the block thing. I bought the kit for Shitake mushrooms; they are kind of expensive in the grocery store, so I thought it would be a kick to grow a bunch, basically for “free”. The kit cost $10.00, so if I don’t get $10 worth of mushrooms, my ‘shroom farm will be operating at a net loss, but I expect to get at least that much, hopefully!
There aren’t very many sprouts on this thing, I’ve only seen one on the visible sides and top, but I turned it over this morning (and then put it back the way it was), and did see 2 sprouts coming out of the bottom. Not very exciting so far, except that anything at all is kinda exciting at this point.
I quickly took some pics last night, but they didn’t come out very well, I think I should have turned off the flash, but I didn’t, so . . . there you go.
I’ve been having car troubles, again, with my 16 year old Ford Escort wagon, and had come back from the radiator shop, AGAIN, and well, I didn’t want to spend a lot of time figuring out how to turn off the damn flash.
My probem is, I figure out how to do something (I never seem to have anyone to ask who knows these things), fix it or “do it” once and then 6 months later can’t recall how I did it, so I have to start the learning process all over again. There must be some way to maintain a file of solutions to things like “how to turn the flash off on my camera”, but I haven’t figured it out yet, and it is looking like I never will.
However I agree with Bill Murry in Caddyshack, when he said “The Dahli Lama told me he didn’t have any money to give me, but he told me that when I die I will have total enlightenment, so I got that going for me.” I figure that about 6 minutes before I croak I will understand and remember everything I’ve been trying to figure out for my entire life. So I got that going for me.
I’ll update you on the mushroom growth. If all goes well, I’d like to grow many more of these delicious little morsels, in larger quantities. I’m taking a class in May on how to grow them at home. Maybe . . . for trade; for gifts?
So last Sunday we worked on the shower project. It required 4 trips to the local hardware store, for liquid nails, actual nails, caulk, and figuring out how to re-connect the drain. My friend tried to make the existing drain pipe work, but we finally decided that since it looked like it had broken off around the top of the drain pipe, that the original fitting must have been permanently connected the original shower pan.
Since it had leaked at some time in the past (we can see the shower p-trap because it is over the garage). When I moved into the house, I could see the shower drain had leaked at some time in the past and the gyp board had been cut away around the drain and the pipe (black drain pipe) had been patched, as though the original pipe had been attached crookedly to the shower pan and so had leaked from one side.
So, it took awhile and a conversation with the plumbing guy at the store to guess what we had and why, and what to do about it. Finally we (my friend) took the p-trap out, from the convenient opening in the garage ceiling, and cut off the piece that was the problem and we will glue on a section next weekend to make it long enough to connect to the shower pan.
So, we got the shower pan in, the back wall, and the sidewall that is opposite the plumbing piping.
So, the caulk was put liberally along the shower pan rim, and in the indentations along the edges of the shower pan. Also, since this is a 3-piece shower, caulk was run along the vertical edges where the back and side connect. Liquid nails was put on the 2×4′s where the back and side walls rest against. Holes were drilled in the edges of the pan and the walls, so the nails wouldn’t crack the shower parts. They were then nailed securely to the studs.
It’s looking very good! It will be so much larger than the original shower, since the pan is the full 48″ wide, with no molded seat taking up room!
So, last weekend, my friend and I got started tearing out the old one-piece shower. We didn’t want to spend more money on tools as this is a very low-budget project. So we tried to make do with a small grinder with the only cutting blade we could get for it, a masonry blade.
Well, you might guess how that turned out. We (my friend) cut one side of the shower all the way around, but the tool made so much dust (yes we were wearing face masks) and vibrated so much he decided to try another method to get the back, the side and the floor of the shower out.
So he took an adjustable slip joint pliers (kinda large ones) and a 18 inch long bar that could be slipped over the handle of the pliers, and just yanked pieces of the shower out in a line, all along the top edge, down to the floor and across the floor. He did this until we had the shower out in 3 sections plus the floor. It was messy, but we had it out.
I took the pieces to the dump the next day. We now have the studs and floor showing (it all looks nice and dry, so that was a relief), but because we didn’t have the best saw for the job, we now have the edges of the shower still attached to the walls. We’ll see what we need to do to get that out. Besides, we need to bring the shower pan up and fit it exactly into the space.
There is a vent pipe that the original builders did not keep inside the wall. It is inside the wall at the top, but sticks out into the shower space a little at the bottom. We may be able to cut the shower pan around it, or we may need to move the vent pipe. I’m glad my friend knows how to do this stuff, because it seems kind of overwhelming to me.
OK, so this is not MY old shower. I will get photos tonight and post them tomorrow. I hope my shower room looks this good when I get the old shower out. I bet it won’t. For one thing, I know that sometime in the past the shower leaked – because the ceiling in the garage, below the shower, shows where the gyp board had been wet, and I suspect they replaced the drain pipe.
Maybe it was when the water pipes into the house, also located in the garage, froze. I know this happened because someone thawed them with a blowtorch, scorching the wall behind the water pipe. Then they replaced the pipe to the hose bib by drilling a new hole in the outside wall and moving the pipe and the hose bib about 6 inches to the left.
It’s interesting to speculate how short-sighted and/or dumb the previous owners of one’s home were. When I moved in, I could see the scorched wall, and the bare (still uninsulated) pipes in the garage, which I have now insulated.
Oh, back to the shower replacement project. The day my friend and I (my friend who actually knows what he is doing and has done this before) were going to start cutting out the old shower, we had a power outage in my neighborhood. Don’t ask me why, I suspect the Universe does not want me to have a new shower.
There was no windstorm, no lightening strikes, no terrorist attacks. The power was out from about 8:00 am to 2:30 at my house. During this time I did what the emergency management (how does one “manage” and emergency anyway?) people say to do – turned on my battery-powered radio to find out what was going on.
They never did say. All I could get was gardening shows and investment advice, oh, and “buy our colon-cleansing” products shows. My friend, who drove from the south end of town, said the power was out in quite a wide area, based on the traffic lights that were out.
So, we fooled around, tore out the glass shower door and tried to figure out why my 16-year-old Ford Escort is losing radiator fluid, but the power was still not on by 2:00, so my friend took off and we re-scheduled our demo job for another weekend.
So I ran around to the back of my house this morning and took a couple of pictures of the rain barrel. Sorry I did not have the photos yesterday!
My friend who helped so much with this little project thought it was funny to stick the duct tape we used to attach the temporary connectors to the permanent pipe. Ha, ha, I forgot to take it off for the pictures.
I think you can zoom in on this photo and see the connection from the rectangular downspout to the round 45 degree connector. We simply squeezed the downspout until it fit into the 4″ dia. round pipe.
Did I mention this was a low-budget project? As are all my projects these days. Since I can’t get an engineering job anymore, and am lucky to have a $12 an hour office job, all my home repairs must be volunteer-assisted or done entirely by myself with used materials. Which is ok, but in case you weren’t sure, I am complaining about our crappy economy, health “insurance” and refusal to hire older workers.
OK, on with the project; another photo:
So, as I said, the materials were all either donated or from our local Re-Store – they take donated materials from people remodeling their homes or construction company left-overs and sell them. I also got some very nice antique-looking pull knobs for a used nightstand I bought at the Goodwill store that was sans knobs. Re-Store is great. I get paint there as well. I bought a can of white paint that was half-empty for a dollar, I am painting the inside of my garage.
So, back to the rain barrel. My friend donated it to me. The white connector sections are from the ReStore. There are bricks the barrel is sitting on, those were sitting around my property when I bought the house. Don’t know what they were for. There aren’t enough to build an outdoor fireplace, which I would like to do.
There is more to the rain barrel project. My friend (Ham) has an idea on how to make a clean-out just above where the straight section of pipe connects to the 45 degree. If I understood him correctly, we get a Y section and put a strainer in there. We can cap the open end of the Y and then be able to open it to scrape out the fir needles.
My property has a bunch of very tall Fir trees and my gutters (and everything else) is constantly carpeted with an incredible amount of the fir needles and little things that fall of the trees. Not sure what they are, but they sure fill up the gutters. This rain barrel is a poor design in my opinion, as there is no way to open it up and clean out any crap that flows in with the water. I suspect that some day, even with my efforts to prevent it, the fir needles and whatnot will fill up above the fill spigot opening.
Oh well, I’ll deal with that when and if it actually happens. Right now, I am very happy with my rain barrel. Now if I could just get my brother over here to clean out my gutters . . . My house has 2 floors, and I have a hard time manipulating the 25 foot extension ladder it requires to get up to the gutters.
Well, I finally got my rain barrel up and collecting. All the websites I went to for instructions on how to connect them up left out tons of crucial information.
The first problem I had to resolve, which I was aware of before I even got started was, how to waterproof the drill holes in my home’s siding where I would attach the downspout above where I plan to cut it (for the off-set section that runs the roof drainage over to the barrel).
This may seem obvious to others, but not to a non-construction/ handyman (handywoman) type such as myself. I knew I needed to squirt something in the holes so water could not leak in around the screws, but did not know what to use. Some sealants become rigid after some time and others remain pliant, and which would be best? Finally I asked a handyman friend, and he loaned me a tube of goo that he said was just the thing. One problem down, many more to go, although I didn’t know it at the time.
So, cutting the downspout. I hadn’t really thought this through, as all the instructions glossed over this part, saying “Cut the downspout at the right height and attach the offset sections.” Right. So, back in the REAL world, I was standing there, with the downspout firmly attached to the house at the correct height. I had my hacksaw in my hand, and had just cut 90% of the way through the downspout. Now I was hitting the house with part of the hacksaw, and the blade was nowhere near the last section of the aluminum downspout, which, if you think about it, sits snugly against the wall of the house.
So, I have many odd saws that were inherited from my dad, all collected in a drawer in my garage. So I recalled one that was basically a handle to which you could attach a hacksaw blade, and if I remembered correctly (which as it turns out, I did), it should be able to saw right up against the house.
Well, the way it turned out, I rifled through the saw collection, first trying one that seemed like it would work, and it did not, because the blade it required was slightly thicker than the hacksaw blade, with which I had already cut most of the way through the downspout. So then I ran back into the garage and looked for one that only used the same hacksaw blade that made my original cut. Well, I found it, and yes, it worked.
The next issue was how to get the water from the cut end of the downspout to the barrel. I tried using many sections of 45 degree downspouts, but I couldn’t get them to end up in the right place. The downspout is rectangular, meaning one side is wider than the other, so the 45 degree sections had to match up to the downspout. It turned out that it required too many sections and would end up lower than the top of the barrel. Also, it looked like hell, with all the turns required.
So, I was now stumped. I called my handyman friend and he came over and gave it his creative problem solving skills. First we ran around town, trying to find the right sections of rectangular downspouts, to no avail. That took up Sunday afternoon. Well, it is rainy season here and so he rigged up a temporary thing so I wouldn’t have the downspout pouring water against the house out the end of the cut downspout. And I think he needed to think about it some more.
So yesterday (Tuesday) he came by with some ROUND, white PVC pipe and 45 degree sections. I thought round was an odd choice, but as it turned out, it worked great. We squeezed the end of the rectangular downspout until it fit into the round 45 section (talk about putting a square peg in a round hole – sometimes that does work!). He had a fitting that screwed a little way into the opening on the barrel, it wasn’t really the right size, but it could be forced in a few turns and that is all we needed. Then a gasket, which was slightly too large, but again, we squeezed that baby in and it worked just fine. Then another 45 fitting and we were ready to put a section of straight, round PVC between the 45 connected to the end of the downspout and out to the 45 on top of the barrel.
YES! Success at last! And last night it started raining, so I ran around to the back of the house to check on it and sure enough, I could hear the rain dripping into the barrel. Very cool.
Now, I need to solve the problem of keeping all the fir needles out of the rain barrel. My friend has a plan for that, so I’ll update you when we get that done. I’ll have to include photos next time as well. I was so excited that I forgot the camera.
I think it has been about a year since I started tearing out the old rotten deck. I did that totally on my own, over a period of a couple of months. It took about 6 trips to the dump with my pickup truck to haul all the rotten wood away. I managed to get most of it there while dry, but of course you cannot avoid the rain here. The last couple of loads did get wet, which added to t he weight when when I was paying at the dump.
So I’ve chronicled the re-building of my larger deck, and then there was a scheduling set back when I almost cut off my finger on the table saw. Then re-scheduling for 3 people took some time, and we finally all got together last weekend. It did not go off without some hitches, but we get soldiering on, and finished at 4:30 pm Monday. We thought we could finish MUCH earlier, so my friend could head back to south Seattle and avoid some of the traffic, but things just took longer than we thought.
I had to make 3 runs to the local hardware store, as we were 1 2×4 short, needed a certain type of nails and screws, and then we needed 1×2 cedar strips for trim.
The good thing about that is, during the construction we re-designed the railings and so I can return about $50 worth of the cedar strips. I’m very happy about that.