Monday, January 31, 2011

No AvoidingThe Processes

The bulbs have to be chilled for x number of hours below a set temperature in order to set flower buds and to bloom. How did this regimen ever become a survival strategy I wonder? But such is the case and it can't be avoided.

I thought I could live with looking at the sort of matching under cabinets lights. I could, but I don't want to and while installing the first two I realized I definitely don't want to look at the connecting wires. That is if they came with quick connect cords long enough to actually connect them. There was only one choice of length in the box for the quick connect cords no matter the size of the light, thirteen inches. It certainly isn't long enough when the cabinet bottoms are not the same height. It's not even long enough when a single eight inch light fixture is placed in the center below adjoining cabinets.

I looked on the shelf at Lowes for longer connect cords and did not see them. I called the help line in the install info and was kept on hold until my patience ran out. I looked online at the manufacturers site and yes they do have longer connect cords, but I could not buy them there. They don't show up on Lowes website at all. Now I must press an associate in person to find me some longer connect cords. This is America, consumption capital of the world. All the options should be on the shelf.

What can't be avoided though is the process of making under cabinet molding to hide the light and wires, at least over the sink. On all the other longer cabinets you can't see them. I'm still hoping I can avoid making bottom molding for all cabinets. I don't get high marks for my fine carpentry skills. You can see that in my stained oak plywood cover on the cabinet side on the left. That was to bring the very light colored exposed side more in line with the door face's color. Eh, bottom molding will help hide that too.

I think the bulbs have been chilled enough. It's time to get moving on to the next phase of the process.

I went looking once most of the snow had left the ridge top garden. There is very little activity in the bulb department.

I guess some show of warmth is the next step in the process. There's always another step in the processes.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Down In The Valley

There are signs of life.

I'm lucky. Between my profession and the elevation changes in these mountains I get to garden in two climate zones.

While waiting for the snow pack to melt up top, I couldn't pass up a sunny 60 degree day when the time for spring cleanup is here down below. It was time to visit Client # 1. All the faded perennials left for winter interest and the wildlife can get mowed down now before the bulbs really begin to show and get in the way of cleaning.

What bulbs will show up is another question. There has been a plague of voles that decimated last year's tulip display. The voles ate tulips, lilies, hosta roots, even a newly planted native azalea. They kept eating the special food I put out for them all year too and at bulb ordering time it was decided not to spend a couple hundred bucks on more fancy varmint food.

The daffodils will be fine of course. They are poisonous to voles. A couple of large bags of daffodils did get planted last fall to add to the ones I had been sneaking in with the tulips over the years.

But this is a garden with many layers of interest. Even with a less dramatic and varied showing of the bulbs, spring will be announced in a blaze of blossoms.

The perennials are all cut down. There is a nice clean slate ready for spring and ready for a fresh layer of mulch to be spread when the weathers next cooperate. Maybe spring will finally force the Sweetgum to drop the rest of its leaves. I don't know why it has hung on to them this winter.

High on the low spot of a mountain top the snow is still melting. It will be another week or two before I start the chop and drop of the remaining perennials and the pick up sticks begins to get cleaned up for the Bulbapaloozathon. At least the snow drops have reappeared.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Mutiple Processes

A range hood is a very simple piece of equipment, a small fan and a couple of light bulbs. Installing a vented range hood is no simple matter though. It involves multiple processes. It needs to exhaust the carbon monoxide generated from cooking with a gas range.

The hard part is getting through the wall with a hole precisely the size needed, no bigger. I don't want any blizzard force winds leaking through. Cutting through the drywall and insulation is easy. The outer wall's plywood and cement fiber board siding is another matter. You need a wood blade to cut through the plywood and a cement board blade to cut through the cement board. The wood blade does not want to cut cement and the cement blade does not want to cut wood. It took four blades to get through the outer wall because the cement board wears down the wood blade's teeth very quickly.

Now put the vent hood's exit location a floor and a half above the ground outside. Then the actual duct work is comprised of three parts all needing to connect and line up precisely. Up and down the ladder. In and out of the cabin. Up and down. In and out. Thank goodness it was over fifty degrees, sunny and calm, a lovely day for putting a hole through the wall.

The range hood is complete. The only appliance left for hookup now is the gas dryer. It needs a round vented hole through the wall. I have the vent. It also needs an LP conversion kit and a top sheet kit for under counter installation. Those accessories have been ordered.

After that is done the gas company can be called to hook everything up to the gas lines.

I found these under cabinet lights that match the thermoplastic back splash panel's color. They are sleek and clean lined. The only thing you will see of them is the thin front strip of the casing. I am hoping once installed they will look just fine and I can forget about the molding under the cabinets to hide them. I want to eliminate a whole set of processes.

The matching molding I ordered with the cabinets went for a ride to Hendersonville and never found their way to me. I was going to have to make my own molding. Hopefully I can forget about it.

A glass shelf was installed in the bathroom for the electric toothbrush - to keep it off the sink top. Great concern was also expressed in certain quarters about the pressing social need for a place for a clean hand towel for guests. It can go on the shelf now when company is expected. I hate those hand towel rings. They remind me of nefarious techniques used to illicit information from unwilling guests.

The cozy cabin is really close to completion. The counter tops have been ordered. I could go get the kitchen sink, faucets, garbage disposal and plumbing connections now. The weathers may be improving enough to get the exterior lighting installed. Soon I can go pay the building inspector man another 50 dollars - my permit expired again - and call for a final inspection. Soon.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Winter Begins To Crumble

At least one can hope.

The sun makes it over the top of Sandy Mush Bald a little earlier in the morning. The sun still sets behind Hebo mountain across the scenic byway, but it sets later. That's progress. The snow pack is shrinking, if ever so slowly. I am seeing the tops of baby shrubberies again. There is even potential for some real melting in the next few days.

All this winter weathers is taking a toll though. The last two winters have been harsh and the scenic byway is literally crumbling to pieces. The last mile to the top on the steepest, curviest, north face of Hebo mountain is in terrible shape. The edges of the road are sinking in great chunks in numerous places. Giant cracks zig zag across the surface. In one place there is even a spring that bubbles up through the road when the water is not frozen. The byways use as a detour while I-40 was closed for six months did not help. I dread the repaving work that must be done before the scenic byway is no more.

But what can you do? The spinning circle of life is one of constant decay and rebirth.

The brilliant colors of sunsets are moving back in to view.

Winter is beginning to crumble.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Before It Melted

The frozen fog parted. The sun came out. The white frosted world doesn't last long in the sun so I went for a short walk before heading down to the cabin.

Something else had gone for a stroll through the ridge top garden before me. I'm getting pretty good at identifying tracks in the snow. There is a cat out there. I don't think it's wild kitty. He hasn't come by for a snack. Maybe it is a new kitty or it could be Bob kitty. The Spots certainly took deep a sniffing note of an unseen visitor.

It may snow just a little again in the night. At least there was a good melting rain before this snow and it was only a bit over two inches. The snow pack isn't growing, thank you.

The dishwasher is all connected and I have moved on to putting a hole in the wall for the range hood. There is a possibility for weathers good enough on Saturday that I just might be able to get this venting process accomplished. Reading the directions I discovered there is an actual specific purpose for duct tape. Who knew?

Winter is ebbing a bit. It snowed and proceeded to melt right away. The melt was lacking in enthusiasm however. It is still going to take some time before the bare earth shows itself again.

But I still have plenty of processes to go to get to a completed kitchen. I guess it's ok.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Dancing At The Gates Of Sanity

Late Monday afternoon I looked to find the gas tank one click away from empty. More snow and cold was eminent. Not again! I called for delivery and was fussed at for not calling sooner. They like to give themselves a week to ten days to schedule a delivery. If I ran out I would need to be there because they would have to check the lines.

The thermostat was lowered. No hot water was used. No food was cooked on the stove. I needed to make that last tiny bit of gas last. The temperature inside slowly declined. I waited all day and no gas truck came. The temperature inside kept declining.

The snow arrived in the night. After another call in the morning, the gas truck came to replenish the tank. By sheer luck the tank had not emptied completely. And by luck the truck arrived before it really started to snow in earnest. A full tank of propane gas is not cheap.

Taking care of me has not been free. All things considered it could be viewed as low cost, but it isn't no cost. My tragic underemployment and being dependent for shelter weighs on me. That must end soon and I fear the coming change. Will my tragic underemployment end as well?

I have to admit to symptoms of SAD. I have been oddly exhausted and a bit melancholy. Being alone on the top of a frozen mountain with minimal real life human contact can't be good for me either.

All I know to do is to keep putting one foot in front of the other, to keep moving forward. While the snow whipped outside, the myriad connections for the dishwasher were put in place. A stub wall between the refrigerator and dish washer was fastened to the tile floor and the back wall. This will give more support for the counter top.

I need to count my blessings. It will help chase the fear away. I need to count the days until I can drive down the mountain and begin to do paying kind work again. And I need to have faith that enough work will find me. It always has. Change is coming and it will do me good.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Looking For Spring

It was sunny and warmish enough for the concrete solid snow pack to get mushy. Just maybe I could find some green shoots trying to break through.

I walked from one end to the other looking.

All I was saw was a lot of evidence of the critters I hardly ever see. I see deer tracks more than I see deer. I saw no evidence of spring, not a bit of bulb foliage to be found.

The timid snow leopard ventured out to where the wild things linger with his body guard close by.

I'll have to try and look for spring again next week.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Trust Me

I've been making progress. Everything just looks the same.

The washing machine is hooked up. The refrigerator side of the ice maker water line is hooked up and it's plugged in. The stove has been converted to using LP gas and is ready for the final hook up. The gas company will be called to do all the final hookups of the gas appliances, furnace and water heater and run another leak test.

I have contemplated the venting for the new range hood and dryer and am familiarizing myself with all the parts. Measurements were taken for the counter tops. I'll look at the dishwater shortly.

More cold and snow is on the way, so I'll probably do my electric double check before I start cutting holes through the walls for vents.

It's coming along.

I've also been moving out of the resident gardeners house a few boxes at a time. I'm still aiming for a first of April move in date. By then the world will be snow free and turning green again. I will be able to turn my attention and spare time to the garden to be. Some of it anyway.

Next winter more beginnings of a new garden will lie beneath the snow. I imagine it will look much the same next winter though. Maybe a little lumpier and the rubbish piles will be gone.

This big open space is the septic drain field. That will affect what can be planted. No trees and no large shrubs. I have contemplated and open, oval meadow/lawn of sorts. It can't really be lawn because it will be too shady, but I kind of like the idea of an open area in the center of the garden. Time will tell.

It has been a long while since I have worked on the walls. Those need finishing, another one needs stacking and at the least the patio area needs a layer of gravel. A stone floor may have to wait.

Oh sure, the cozy cabin will be done soon and then I can rest.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Square Rainbow

In the distant sky.

Friday, January 21, 2011

The Cabinets Were Hung

In the kitchen with care


Just so I could have some space there.

Now that the appliances all fit, the process of hooking them up can begin. Measurements can be taken for counter tops and they can be ordered. Finishing one set of processes might perhaps coordinate with the start of another.

Outside it is still Siberolina. There was a dusting of snow last night and a return to frigid. There doesn't look to be much meltage in the diagnosis before the next round of snow arrives at the start of the week.

I will be staying busy inside.

It's still too cold and the snow's too deep even for the snowdrops.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Some Adjustments

It's a bit like the crick I have had in my neck for the last month, not debilitating, just a bit irksome. The tight fit of the refrigerator and dishwasher would have been irksome who knows when and why and for how long in to the future, so it was worth moving all the cabinets just an inch and a quarter to the left. I want to make things right so I am doing it over.

The cabinets came down a lot quicker than they went up. If you didn't see it before, the 1 x 3 strips were what I used to hang the cabinets on. This avoided having to try and hang the cabinets directly into the wall studs which would not have been particularly easy or even possible. The 1 x 3 strips are screwed directly into the wall studs. Then the cabinets were screwed into the strips not having to worry about finding the studs.

I added a bit more of the Fasade thermoplastic back splash panel behind the top of the refrigerator to the end of the wall. Thank goodness for left over scraps. Initially I assumed that would be hidden, but the refrigerator I got was four inches shorter than the bottom of the cabinet. I had already done a second upper course of the thermoplastic panel at that end wanting it to look the same under all the cabinets. That upper course ended about a third of the distance behind the refrigerator. Not good. It needed adjusting.

The ceiling fan in the living room was hung. There were a couple extra red wires I didn't know what to do with. Not good. I consulted with the building contractor and looked in the electrician's handbook and the way I did things was wrong. I have to do it over. This fan is one of four fixtures working off of three way switches, as in it has two wall switches that will control it.

It is kind of ridiculous to have two switches on opposite sides of such a small room for a fixture, I know, but I figured why not. It can't be too difficult. Except someone may have forgotten to mark the correct wires with black tape and things could get ugly.

Now I have this bad feeling about my wiring of the other two I have already done. I'm going to have to check on them. And knowing me I will probably take apart every fixture I have wired and look just to be sure of what is going on in there. I do remember several that were not basic single end of wire hook ups.

I only have a mild case of OCD.

Crawford spotted it first. I followed his gaze and saw a bobcat walking slowly across the snow covered hill just sixty feet from the house at dusk. Stupidly I went to get the camera and it was gone.

They don't bark. They might hiss and growl a little and run for cover, but the kitties are pretty good sentries. They see things way before I ever would. If only I could just train them to do some chores.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

The Notion Of A Kitchen

The appliances arrived while I was reading the not so clear instructions for installing the ceiling fan. Except for the microwave that just plugs in, thank you, some to a lot of assembly is required for each appliance.

Two of them, the dryer and vent hood over the stove, require holes through the wall for exhaust. Sadly the stove vent hood must be returned. It exhausts through the top and I need it to mount under the cabinet and exhaust through the rear. Could have sworn that's what I ordered.

The counter top on the stove side will cover the drawer base and the dryer. The top of the dryer needs to be removed for that. You can't order it that way. I asked. It is an option of assembly. I am also going to put counter top on the cabinet sitting on the floor under the window and on the other side of the stove that you can see in the picture above.

The refrigerator was a tight tight fit. I had to remove the baseboard on the short side wall and the 1/4 inch thick stained oak plywood I glued to the side of the cabinet next to the refrigerator to make it fit.

The dishwasher was a tight squeeze too, but I can move the sink base over to give it more room. The washing machine has plenty of room to spare. It's a tiny thing. I am actually contemplating taking all the cabinets down and moving them all over by an inch, inch and a half, to give the refrigerator a bit more breathing room.

The counter top on the refrigerator side will cover the washer and go right up to the refrigerator.

All those instruction manuals. All the final assembly and connections to water lines and drain lines and gas lines. Holes cut through walls. My head was spinning just a bit. I've never done this before. How do I install a counter top? Do I need an end piece between the dishwasher and refrigerator to help support the counter top and keep the dishwasher's hot away from the refrigerator's cold?

It's a bit over whelming.
Just breathe.

You haven't done any of this before. Read the directions. You can get it done one appliance at a time. The cabinets can be moved. It's no big deal. Some adjustments need to be made.

I did get the last of the trim in the mini loft done at least. Now how am I going to make book shelves for a library in such an odd space? I'll think about that later.

Tomorrow I can hang the ceiling fan while I contemplate the notion of a kitchen. No need to rush in to things.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

While The Snow Melts

The first ordered and last to arrive bathroom light fixture is in. You can also see the framing above it that is in place to cover over the plumbing vent pipe as it makes its way from the kitchen plumbing to the vent stack. It will be covered with a 1 x 10 cut to fit. That board is currently buried under the snow and I just don't feel like shoveling to get at it.

The goose neck mini spot light in the mini loft library was also installed today. Tomorrow I will work on the ceiling fan and hopefully get all the appliances in position and ready for hook up. The last two trim boards for the mini loft library were cut, sanded and stained. Those could be nailed on tomorrow too.

The list of processes is dwindling. It's pretty much finishing the kitchen and the exterior lights now.

Outside a languid and indecisive puddle of moody moisture slowly melts the snow. It hasn't quite snowed. It hasn't quite rained. The fog was a mere wisp of its usual self. The temperature sits with barely enough energy to stay above freezing.

Drip by slow drip life keeps moving forward.