Tuesday, August 16, 2016

New Roof!

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We had a new roof put on the house and garage recently.  Not terribly exciting for anyone but us, but I did enjoy taking almost one hundred pictures of the process.  No, I won't ask you to look at them all.  But I did want to post a couple pictures going back to when we bought the house.

First picture is the house as it was when we bought it.  Our little, bland, white house.

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Late 2013
This next picture is after we had the windows installed in November, 2013.  The new windows, aside from being so much more efficient than the original windows, look so much better.  Inside, the fake wood grain finish blends right in with the original trim, and outside we had black flashing installed around the windows to make them pop a little.  We think it worked out rather well.

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Today, 2016
Finally, the third picture is our house now, after the new roof and gutters but before the power company removed the electrical wire protection, top left, that they put on when the permit was pulled.  No, you can't really see the roof, but it looks like any other new roof.  We got ours in black onyx in keeping with the black and white theme.  We also repainted the foundation and front railings since the second picture, 'black as Swedish death metal,' as the paint mixer at the store put it.  We also changed out the front door light and added new, black, more visible house numbers.  And, among other things, we still want a new screen door for the front, and perhaps a new mailbox - black, of course.

The only real difference that you can see in this last picture is in the drip edge along the roof line.  We have no overhang so I came up with the idea of making the drip edge black on the front and back gable ends of the house to give the roof more definition, and we are very pleased with the result.  Even the roofing crew that installed it was impressed that I came up with it.  One even told me he wishes more homeowners did something like this.  The black edge does exactly as I intended, and with the twin peaks out front it looks very good, indeed.

A good, straight on picture is after the break:

Monday, August 8, 2016

A Nice Weekend

DSCF4999I had a pretty nice weekend, I hope you did, too.  On Saturday I got several outside chores done, including getting firewood cut with my new chainsaw!  It's bigger than I actually need, but it was a really good deal.  I had been saving scavenged wood for fire pits but that would be a lot of cutting with the hand saw, now I can scavenge away and not worry about the work of cutting it up.   A few more fire pits and the saw will have paid for itself rather than buying expensive bundles of firewood from the store.  There's a lot of trees in Madison, and a lot of falling branches that are free for the taking.  Later that day we also went over to my sister in law's house to see our newest and tiniest nephew.  Well, I'm not posting pictures of that, so that's that, then.

We were invited by Kate's friend Terry to go out on the boat Sunday.  I was not sure that I wanted to go, but I'm glad I did.  Thanks, Terry!  I was able to kick back and have a few drinks and not drive anything anywhere.  Again, it was a beautiful day for it, not too hot and not too sunny.  Still, don't let the clouds you see below fool you - I came home with minor sunburns on my arms and knees.  My own fault as I skipped the sunblock because I wanted more color.

A zoomed in look across the lake at the Wisconsin State Capitol building in the distance.
A few more pics after the break:

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Atwoodfest 2016!

Atwoodfest, a neighborhood festival on this near east side of Madison, happened this past weekend.  Bands, beers, vendors, beers and friends, all day each day.  Well that would be a bit much, but we did manage to spend a few hours down there both Saturday and Sunday.  The weather was beautiful, temperatures in the low 80's and the sun made it quite warm, however not as hot as last year.

After Mike's visit on Saturday (see last post), we walked down to the festival.  It's just a great atmosphere - and it seems to be getting bigger every year.  We tried some food, though not as much as years past, and bought frivolous festival wares.  We saw some friends and coworkers on our walks up and down the street.  This Atwood Avenue area is only about a 15-20 minute walk from our house, depending on your gait, but then you are on your feet the whole time unless you are lucky enough to come across a rare chair, ledge or curb..  My legs and feet held up well this year, but it did take a toll on my back.  Thus I have the extra time to write this now.

Some more pictures after the break!

Sunday, July 31, 2016

Old Friends, Again!

Last year was my 30th class reunion, and it was the first one I had attended.  I talk about that here.  At that time one of my great friends from and since high school, Gary, came back to the area for the reunion from down south and I was able to spend some good time and have some fun hanging with him again.  That post about Gary's visit is here.

Mike and Me.  Man, I hate posting pics of myself....
My other great friend from high school is Mike, and he and Gary were friends well before I nosed in.  I got myself invited to a Ronnie James Dio concert here in Madison, with Dokken as the opening band.  That was in late 1983, maybe 1984...  'twas a long time ago now.  We lived in a town less than an hour away.  Mike was a year younger than me and Gary in high school, I'll repost the picture of all 3 of us from 25 years ago, a few years past high school, somewhere below.

We've been mostly out of touch for many years, just checking in when things happen and such, and I think that goes for all three of us.  But it should also be expected, as we all live in different states now and have our own lives that are busier and more complicated than back then.  I just happen to be closest to where we came from to be able to benefit from getting the chance to see them sometimes on their travels back for other reasons.  I'll take it, these are some of life's treasures.

Me, Gary, and Mike at the Black Bear Lounge, 1991
Mike and I had a couple chances to meet up in the recent years when he came back in the state, but for circumstances it ended up just not working out.  He seemed to want to make it a priority this time, and I was more than happy to see him when he showed up here midday yesterday.  I knew his destination was the hometown but I didn't realize at that time it was for his class reunion.  He had his young son with him and they had been on the road for some time.  After a welcoming and settling in we had grilled burgers for lunch.  Kind of a last minute plan, and I thank my lovely wife for doing all the work so we could visit.

 Mike is one of my oldest and best friends.  He was coming to my house and I wanted to impress him because, you know, we're still friends even though we haven't been close recently so he hasn't seen the cool little house and yard we have and all my toys and creations that go with it.  I did give him the nickel tour, also so we could separate and discuss 'adult' topics without the boy listening.  Yes, stuff happens that I won't write about here.  Man, I miss hanging out with him like we used to, but that couldn't happen today.  Still, he's got a great boy and I know Mike is proudest of him above all.  I did make one faux pas during our visit when I forgot what was actually in a music video I played on the TV with the boy in the room.  Nothing terrible, just a little inappropriate.  Typical for me, I know I have the most unspoken embarrassing moments between me, Mike and Gary of our shared, youthful experiences.  Thankfully they've always seemed to have my back when it counted, as I have theirs, and always will.  We have more years behind us than ahead of us at this point, we have to value what is there for us when we can.

Thanks for stopping by, Mike!  I enjoyed our visit and hopefully we can spend more time in the future.

Friday, July 29, 2016

Trump v. Clinton

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Stump Flower Repotting

Today we re-potted some of the flowers on the stump.  If it wasn't full before, it is now.  I think I picked out some pretty decent plants this year, and we will be able to keep some that are perennials.  The garden blog has been updated with some neat pictures, have a look!


Sunday, July 10, 2016

'Critters' Explained

Lately I've referred to  having trouble with 'critters.'  I haven't written much more because I didn't know enough about it for a full post.  Still don't know as much as I'd like, but the current situation seems to be resolved enough for reflection.

DSCF4845Several weeks ago I noticed holes dug in the strip of grass that I have between ours and neighbor Dave's house.  I knew Dave had issues with moles in the past so I asked him about it, and wound up borrowing his deterrent, a device that you put into the ground that emits a sound at intervals, every 30 seconds or so.  And you want it in tightly to better conduct the sound through the earth.

Now a little back story.  There have been news articles recently about a rat infestation near here, 6 or more blocks away in the dumpster at a fast food joint.  The house behind it found about 300 rats taking up residence under their garage, with tunnels to the dumpster area.  Steps have been taken in those situations by now but the articles mentioned things like putting your garbage away, how they like open compost and wood piles, and how chicken coops can attract them - and we have a few neighbors with chickens.

Then, that same evening that I borrowed neighbor Dave's sonic device, neighbor Jane on the other side told me about seeing a rat in her back yard the day before.  That changed my thinking a little bit.  And it made me think of how even when we had the netting over the strawberry plants the berries were disappearing before we knew they were there.  Thinking that maybe rats were stealing them creeped me out.  I was already going to buy some type of small animal repellent, now I was going to add rat poison to my list.  That night I ordered rat poison and small animal repellent online and it arrived by the time I got home from work the next day.  Very impressive, Amazon.

DSCF4846So I spent a few days putting out the poison chunks down every hole I found, about 4 by the side of the house and a couple in the back yard between the garden and the compost bin.  Neighbor Jane threw about a dozen on the other side of her fence near where she saw the rat.  We did not want any in Jane's yard because of her dogs.  After a few days of this, checking the chunks I put out and replacing many, I came home from work and put 5 out behind and around the compost bin.  Nothing had been getting into the bin but it was near the holes in back and pretty out of the way in the small spaces between the bin and the fences.  Less than a half hour later I went back to check and all 5 had disappeared.  It was then I decided that was enough, I wouldn't put out any more poison because I still was not sure what I was poisoning.  When Jane got home I even went over to make sure partial poison baits did not get dragged over there, where the dogs could get at them.  Thankfully I didn't find anything, but 5 gone that fast is pretty crazy.

DSCF4844The sonic device was seemingly having no effect, so the next day I removed it and filled the holes.  The following day all the holes had been reopened, even the hole that I had made just for that sonic device.  I sprinkled the repellent around the area again and left it for a few rainy days.  Eventually I went out to refill the holes again.  This time I sprinkled in the small animal repellent into the hole, refilled the hole, and sprinkled more repellent on the filled in holes and some in the whole area, and did the same to one area in back.

Now, several days later, the refilled holes have not been disturbed.  The 'critter' situation seems to be under control once again, even though I don't know exactly what it was.  Really, I never even saw anything, alive or dead, in these areas, only the evidence of activity.  Who knows what goes on in my yard when I'm not looking?  I'm sure the cats have a pretty good idea, but they don't seem interested in cluing me in at all.

Saturday, July 9, 2016

PAIN - Black Knight Satellite

PAIN - Black Knight Satellite lyric video.  New album 'Coming Home' out September 9!

Last album was 2011, other than Lindemann and Hypocrisy.  Killer HD graphics here, too!