Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Winterizing, Part II

Been pretty quiet here as the wife went to Kalifornia for a week to visit with her three best friends, all of who had birthdays over the weekend.

So, it's just me and the dog until she gets back Thursday night. I spent today cleaning the bathrooms, and then sweeping and mopping all the ceramic tile in the entry way, kitchen, and sunroom. As hard as I tried, the dog got away from me once when I let her back in, and she almost got out of the tiled area with muddy paws, so that's why all the tile need cleaning. I'll do the heavy duty vacuuming Thursday, and the place should pass muster for her when she gets back home.

Outside the house, we have a backyard full of leaves.....

And a side yard full of leaves.....

All from this one tree, in slightly less than 24 hours.

Just amazing how some freezing rain, and below freezing temperatures, can shock the trees into dumping their leaves. We weren't in this house yet at this time last year, so we missed the first snow and freeze, and the attendant leave drop. There were two snows and freezes last year between when we got here, and when we moved in, so the trees were already pretty bare when we looked at the house, and while we were moving in.

The maple in the front is still holding on, but not for much longer.

When the sun hits the multicolored leaf litter from the maple, it looks quite pretty, much prettier than what I can capture with the puny little built-in flash on my camera. All quint and rustic and stuff. Guess that's your reward for having to clean it up!

And while I was out in the back, I noticed all these little dead dudes on the patio table.

The dark pole going up through the table is the umbrella mast. I thought I'd seen some wasps ( ! ) crawling up in there a few weeks ago during the last warm spell. Guess the freeze nailed 'em, so I'll have to open up the umbrella and clean out any critters that sought a winter home there, as we're planning on moving the umbrella to the basement before the next snow. Would have been really bad news to have those suckers wake up inside the house!

So, all the hoses are coiled up and stored inside with the sprinklers, the little styrofoam "hats" are over the outdoor spigots, and I picked up the foam board insulation from Home Depot. I'm thinking of going back to get one more sheet so I can make a "blank off panel" for the outside of the basement egress window just like I'm going to make for the inside. I can't see doing both sides of the windows in the front of the basement. The two of them combined are less than 25% of the surface area of the big window, and the window wells for them are much shallower and smaller. Plus that side of the house is in the house's 'wind shadow', so those two windows never get hit with strong winds, like the huge window in the back does.

I suppose there'll be a post or two coming about the windows.....

Friday, October 12, 2018


For the CSU Rams!

No, I'm not turning into a football fan, but hey, hometown stuff and all.

The only reason I mention it is I heard some racket coming from outside, and stepped to hear quite a fireworks display. It was coming from the North-Northwest, and while I could see the flashes and hear them, it was all low-level stuff.

The only thing up that way is CSU, so I wondered if maybe it was homecoming weekend for them. A quick check of the schedule shows that yep, this is Homecoming Weekend, with all the traditions that go with it in the Midwest.

Homecoming was a Big Deal when I was in high-school, but not so much at the community college I went to for two years after high-school. The Junior College football team was pretty mediocre, and with most students staying a maximum of two years, it was hard to build any kind of momentum.

I'm just glad I wasn't planning on heading up that way tonight, as I'll bet the students are having quite a celebration of it.

Good to see young people upholding traditions here in Free America.....

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Soyuz to ISS Booster Failure, Crew Safe

Latest from SpaceNews.

Fixed the link. Appears to be a 1st-2nd stage separation problem around 120 seconds into the flight.

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

First Snowfall

And I didn't take any pix because it didn't stick around very long.

Got about 2" of big, fluffy flakes that melted almost as soon as they hit, only piling up on the grass and trees.

Going down to 27* tonight, and predicted 20* on Sunday night. Then it goes back into the 60's so I can finish up all the winterizing here.

Ordered one of these from Home Depot:

Which was pretty much my last Big Item to buy for here. It's a 24", dual-stage, self-propelled model, that comes with two 40V, 5.0AHr batteries and charger.

Yup, it's electric, and it's battery powered. The "Self Propelled" feature was a must-have for the wife to use it. She's never muscled one of these around, so I want it to be at least "usable" for her. No, I'm not going to stand inside with a hot cuppa and watch my poor little wife do the driveway and sidewalks! But knowing her, there's times she's gonna get all wound up tighter than an 8-day clock if I haven't cleared the sidewalk and driveway in a "timely manner". Hey...the city gives you 24 hours to shovel! I know, I a good neighbor and all, and do it reasonably fast, but I think noon is "reasonably fast" most days.

And I do very good work.....

Anyway.....the thing got good ratings, and I don't want to take on another Infernal Combustion Device that I'M the one who has to maintain and make run. Small engines can be a major pain to get running at 10*, BTDT, don't need it any longer.

I don't know how much snow throwing and self-propelling time 200 WattHours is good for, but we're gonna find out.....

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Groan......What Hit Me?

Really under the weather today. Not sure if it's something I ate or a nasty bug.

Didn't even crawl out of bed until 2030 tonight.

Back later.......

Sunday, October 7, 2018

Set Material Condition YOKE!

Well, we're finally at the stage where we have to start kid-proofing the house. He's not only curious, but he's gotten fast! He's way past just walking around, and when he decides he wants to get from Point A to Point B, he takes off at max thrust and can really cover ground fast for somebody with such short legs.

We bought the white gate about two months ago when he learned he could crawl up the steps, hang a left down the hallway, and skidaddle to his room where lots of his toys are kept.

The brown gate went up tonight when the Little Guy and his Daddy came over for dinner, and between cooking dinner and trying to keep an eye on him, it got a bit much.

See, without the brown gate, he can (attempt to) go down the stairs into the den!

And while it's only five carpeted steps, he's at the stage where he's trying to walk down the stairs, rather than turn around and slide down them on his tummy, which he's very good at.

So between these two gates, and another wood one to block the kitchen/dining room door, we can keep him corralled in the living room/dining room area.

I'll be shopping/installing kid latches on all the kitchen and den cabinets this week, something I last did in 1987. He has very good Garage Discipline, as he doesn't touch or grab things like a lot of little kids do, and we've spent hours looking at tools, parts, and equipment, and learning their names. He did NINE laps of my wife's car Friday night, patting it fondly and saying "G'Ma", which is as close as he's come so far to saying "Grandma". And he's starting to say things that make sense. It's amazing to watch his speech develop. When he's playing with his toys he has 'conversations' with them. Occasionally you'll hear a distinguishable word or two, but mostly it's gibberish. The wondrous thing is that he has the cadence, inflection, and apparently the syntax down pat, and I swear I'm starting to understand him. Must be all those years of pulling signals out of the noise!

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

I Love The Smell of Wrinkle Finish Paint In the Morning

It smells like Ham Radio!

Wrinkle finish paint has quite a history in high-end radio gear and test equipment going back to the 1930's, and probably earlier. Wrinkle finish is different than "Hammertone" which is more of a "splotchy" looking metallic paint. Wrinkle finish takes longer to dry and cure to full hardness than enamel or lacquer normally used, but it can be accelerated with heat.

And once it's fully cured, it's durable! That stuff is like shark skin, and just laughs off bumps and scuffs that would mar other finishes. I used it on the valves covers for my Firebird, and after a few heat cycles that stuff was vicious if you slipped and scuffed your knuckles against it. It felt like about 60 grit, and acted the same.



So anyway, it's durable, and all the "real" radio gear I saw as a kid was wrinkle finished. If you've ever seen any WWII radio gear from an aircraft, you know what wrinkle finish is. And it has a very distinctive odor to it, unlike any other paint or solvent I'm familiar with. Even years after it's been painted, if you have "The Nose", you can still smell it. Not unpleasant, but distinctive. Part of the allure of old vacuum tube radios is the way they smell. The hot tubes with dust and other dirt on them, the big power transformers, the paint and plastics used to make the radio; all give the radio a unique aroma, like that "new car smell", and the heat they emanate make them seem alive. All the Ham Radio projects I home brewed back-in-the-day were wrinkle finish black. It just looked so cool! So professional.....

I'm not sure when car manufactures started using wrinkle finish paint, probably soon after it was invented. The famous "Red Heads" on the Ferrari 250 Testa Rossa were wrinkle finish red, giving the car it's moniker.

A REAL Testa Rossa:

Usually the fins and lettering are brushed after the paint is sanded off to make them stand out.

So with my fascination with wrinkle finish paint, and cam covers that woefully needed refinishing, I set off to refurb the set of covers I had collected. In previous episodes here I talked about using paint stripper to get the crud off the insides, and then I block sanded the fins and lettering to get all the corrosion removed. I solvent cleaned them, and took advantage of today's 80* weather to paint them.

Intake side cam cover:

Exhaust side cam cover:

After the paint cures, probably a week or more in this weather, I'll store them in the basement until Spring, at which time I'll bring them out, and sand the fins and lettering back to nice and clean, paint the lettering, and then shoot a coat of hi-temp clear engine enamel on them to keep them nice and shiny.

Should improve the view here considerably.