Wednesday, May 30, 2018

EU Laws, Blogger & Microsoft

So as you may or may not know, laws changed in the European Union about cookies and data collection from websites.  When I sign in to my account I see the following message:

And when I click on Learn more, it says how I can check:
But when I do that - no matter what device or browser, signed in or signed out - it automatically redirects me to this .com site.  Thanks, Google, parent company of Blogger.  So now what?  Well, hopefully friends overseas Delcatto or Blue Witch can tell me if they got the message when they visit.  Please, guys?  Or else I'm just not going to worry about it, I guess.

I've just about had my fill of computer pains in my ass lately.  Really.

A week ago Monday there was a Windows 10 update on my computer.  When I got to the computer Tuesday it was a paperweight.  Seems that for a small number of users their antivirus stopped part of the update so it tries to 'roll back' to the prior OS but there is none anymore.  Last weekend I bought another computer, so I've had all that pain in my ass, restoring, settings, signing in from a new device so getting all those goddamn emails and security warnings.  And I still can't find a fix for the old computer.  There is a method using another computer at the link above that I can try when I get my patience back, but nothing else I've seen and tried so far has worked.  And calling Microsoft is not what I want to do, though I may need to.

I'm feeling old and pissed off and I want all you rotten fuckers (Google, Blogger, Microsoft, Yahoo) off my lawn!

Monday, May 21, 2018

Fire Pit Completed!

We were supposed to get lots of rain this past weekend so I took the time to start on the fire pit during the week, hoping to have one decent evening on the weekend to break it in, and that we did on Saturday night.


It was harder work than I anticipated, though a good back would have been a great asset here.  It took a few days at a few hours a day - a leisurely pace - but after wishing last year, planning all winter and gathering materials all spring it is finally complete.  And I am tired.  With plant day on Saturday among other projects around the house and yard, I'm spent.  I did practically nothing yesterday, worked today, and hopefully with an early night and good night's sleep I'll feel better tomorrow.

But it looks good and I'm happy with it.  The extra blocks inside I made into a fancy pattern for air flow but they get in the way, I'll be moving them to the inside perimeter for future use.  I also bought a screen dome for when sparks/ashes fly and a lid to keep out the weather.  The lid will get the most use as I don't see us using the screen unless needed.  We'll also have to let people know that no cigarette butts or trash is to go into the fire as I plan to mix the ash with compost for the garden.  And now, all of a sudden, all the wood I've accumulated doesn't seem like that much at all!

Pictures of the process after the break:

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Plant Day!

20180519_085730It's been almost two weeks since I've written anything.  In that time we've gotten lots of rain, the trees have filled with leaves and my wife Kate and I celebrated our 17th wedding anniversary (yesterday).  I also finished the fire pit over the last few days but haven't had a fire yet.  I'm hoping later tonight, before rain moves in again, and then I'll write about it and post pictures from start to finish.  And even though winter lingered into spring, this year's plant day falls between last year, May 13th, and in 2016, May 25th.  Plant day seems to have become a thing for us since we had a stump to decorate after the tree was cut down in 2015. 

I got up early this overcast day with the thought of getting out and getting plants before they got busy, and I'm glad I did as I had the place almost to myself.  Once again I had no real plan, for the most part I just perused all the plants and grabbed what ever caught my eye just right. I filled lots of pots again and pretty much filled the tree stump with pots as I have the last couple years.  There's a hanging plant out front already that I got yesterday and we may get something else for out front where what we had by the steps didn't come back this spring, otherwise that's enough plants.  Having a blog comes in handy later in the year as I can easily look back and marvel at the growth.  I also want to post another yard tour on the garden blog soon as everything is growing wonderfully.  Happy spring, everyone!


Sunday, May 6, 2018

Back and Fire Pit Update

I've had a couple people remind me that I haven't posted an update on my back situation.  First off, I'm glad people care, thank you.  Recently I've seen some improvement, there are times I feel that I'm just fine and other times I'd take the surgery then and there, but most times I'm in between the two but it can change any minute.  And I always seem to feel mostly fine when I'm talking to a doctor, why is that?

I met with the neurosurgeon's Physician Assistant on Tuesday.  I let her know everything I'm experiencing, but in greater detail than I've written here.  She ran me through a few tests, and went to discuss with the surgeon, and then they both came in to talk to me.  He said with my symptoms and MRI I am a candidate for surgery, but since I feel like I'm borderline he laid out my choices for me.  Surgery, try the shot again, physical therapy, or just live with it.  Sitting there with both of them looking at me I had to make a decision, and to me it was either surgery or trying the shot again.  I chose the latter.

While the last shot seemed to wear off after two and a half days, I have seen improvement.  Enough so that I'm willing to try it again before resorting to yet another surgery.  I have to wait at least six weeks after the last one, so if all goes well I'll probably have it done the first week of June, after the holiday.  So, that's where it stands.  I'm doing much better than I was before but still not quite better yet.  Hopefully soon, though.

This is also delaying the fire pit build.  I was hoping to do it this weekend, but I've been hurting some so maybe next weekend.  I put a little mock-up together for friends that came by last night.  It will be one row higher than here when I build it, but this gives you a good idea of what it will look like.  I also posted a yard tour yesterday over at the garden blog - the plants are coming up fast!

Friday, May 4, 2018

Sad Duck Tales

20180504_061151We last saw mother duck on Wednesday, but she's not been back since that we can tell. Each night this week something - I suspect an opossum - ravaged her nest. This was the biggest worry since we noticed we had a duck. I wasn't too worried about mother duck, but the eggs. The nest area is sheltered from the weather, yet still very much in the open. Even if she was there overnight, and I don't think she was yet, there are critters in the area and I have seen opossum follow the contours of the house and would surely have struck gold here. Still, mother duck persisted for a few days until, sadly, most all her eggs were decimated.

We've been getting lots of rain this week, especially in the evenings and overnight into the mornings. Each rainy morning this week as I left for work I paused to take a look and a picture, and each morning there were more broken eggs. This last time, last night, seemed to get the last of them. Yesterday, Kate said she saw a female and two males at the end of the street by the creek.  (A duck ménage à trois?)  We can't be sure, but it may very well have been the same three ducks we had here.  I never did get a picture of the two male mallards, just mother duck and her nest.  Down by the creek they did a controlled burn along the banks almost two weeks ago which may have caused them to relocate here in the first place.  I'm sure the burn was much later than planned, as was our spring.  It's possible this was already their second attempt.

So this is most likely the last duck tale.  It would have been fun to see ducklings hatch in the nest and possibly watch them led down to the creek for their first swim.  Alas, perhaps another time.  The eggs may not have made it but some tulips that were munched by rabbits before spring finally arrived did.  I'm still glad spring is here, the good and the bad sad.


Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Storm Door and Duck Tales

The old  front door, before picture. And Bill.
I have a few things to write about/document here, and I did see the neurosurgeon again today, but that's for later.  Let's start with last weekend, Sunday, a buddy from local establishment Brothers Three came over to help me install a new storm door on the front of our house.  The old one was starting to sag and rot, and also was brown instead of black like all the rest of the house trim and accents, so it was time to be replaced.  It's that time of year, so I bought the door on sale over a week ago, and we installed it on Sunday.

20180429_104127Bill said he would be over at noon, so I thought I would get what I could done so it would go faster and easier.  I had reviewed Youtube videos on the installation, and it didn't seem very difficult, but I needed a good back to help and Bill is a retired carpenter.  I unpacked the box, setup my workbench from our bins like I do for a lot of projects, and got a few little things out of the way.  By this time it was not even quarter to eleven so I was just a few minutes away from running a couple errands when Bill showed up.  He thought it was quarter to twelve, so he was an hour early and lucky I hadn't left yet, but I was happy to see him and we started in on the door right away.

The new door matches the house better now.  Basil's on his tree in the window.
Overall, the installation went very smoothly.  The hard part was letting Bill do the work.  I was right there, fully knowing what to do and able-bodied - except for my back.  I had to stand back, or rather hover, while he, as an experienced carpenter, took the lead.  One of the things I got to do was drill the holes in the door for the handle, and that was the only hitch in the whole project.  I drilled them wrong and had to re-drill them.  Not a huge problem, but there was most of one three quarter inch hole showing on the outside and just a small hole showing on the inside.  Thankfully, they make plugs for this type of thing, so I picked up a few options at local hardware stores, opted for one, sanded it a bit and painted it black, then plugged the hole.  And it doesn't look terrible but I may upgrade it in the future.  Like I said to my wife Kate - it's like every project I do, there's always a fuck-up somewhere, but it's never critical and it turns out okay anyway.  So that's that.  And now that you can see it better, we should probably paint the front door next.  Perhaps an accent color - anyone have any suggestions for a door color?

Moving on, mother duck doesn't seem too disturbed with us going about what we need to do back there, but she keeps an eye on us.  She has incorporated the hay into the nest that Kate left nearby the other day, and we can watch from our bedroom window, and she sees us there, too.  Also, we don't know what happened, but there was a broken egg yesterday morning, but that has been cleaned up and mother duck is back on the nest.  When I left for work I saw two males in our front yard, when Kate left she saw those and saw mother duck across the driveway 'cleaning up' the broken egg.  Not sure what happened, nature is nature.  When we see she's not ever leaving the nest we'll know she's started incubating the eggs she has.  Seeing ducklings hatch under our steps would be interesting, indeed!


Also, with the cardboard box from the door I cut a circle that has about a 19 inch radius.  This will be the template for cutting the sod in the back yard for the fire pit.  I'll throw in a picture after the break with some other bonus mother duck pics.