madshutterbug (madshutterbug) wrote,

Meanwhile, Back At The Ranch

Yesterday comprised a clear things out and start up other repair/reinstallation work. Most of which occurred outside, and during the greatest heat of the day. Of course. Up and out early to make rounds and feed teh Ranch Critters, because they need it. Also needed to verify whether Herself planned a feed run Saturday, or Monday. That's for Monday, which allowed a little bit looser timing.

We'd loaded a lot of recycle trash onto Forrest NissanPickup on Friday. Yes, Friday was a day off from Hospital. No one say a day off from work. Also completed on Friday a run over to the Ace Hardware for some of the PVC pieces needed to re-install the second water tank at wellhead. And a run over to Bronson to renew tags for Forrest NissanPickup, Herselfs flatbed trailer, and since it arrived in the mail Sydney SubaruOutback as well. Note for friends living in Baja Jorja; tag rates go up on 1 Sept 2009, so if you can renew early, do so. Second Note to friends living in Baja Jorja, DMV started offering an option to renew tags for 2 years. I opted in on this for Forrest & Flatbed, will consider it next year for Sydney.

Between the three, Sydney and Flatbed both get shiny new actual plates, not simply the renewal tags. Forrest sports his new tag already, since Herselfs birthday is the official expiration date. Granted, the tag looks (looked) good until the end of the month. Still OK to put that one on now. We'll get the trailer later today. Part of the reason for updating Forrest so quickly included transporting those recycle materials, since the drop-off point is the County Dump. When visiting government related/run sites, it is good to make sure there are no other discrepancies as well. Lady at the gatehouse/scales seemed dubious that the entire load consisted of plastics, paper, aluminum and steel cans. It did. All recycle-able and so no charge for the drop off.

I didn't mention the ants that were in there because I wasn't planning on leaving them behind. Or at least, not most of them. When I finished (carefully) unloading everything, the load bed there looked like it was moving. Cruised out slowly as needed while on the Dump Grounds (I guess they officially call it the Landfill...) then hollered at the ants (could still see the movement when I re-aimed the rear view mirror) to hold on, they were about to experience a windstorm with winds sustained between 70 - 90 kph (45 - 55 mph).

I regret to inform you, most of them obtained an insufficient grip to remain in place. I don't regret to inform you, the brief cloud of insect bodies when the wind hit was interesting.

Once home, a bit more hauling of trash (this batch not recycle-able) to the bins, including one large piece which is somewhat recycle-able. When we first got teh Big House, which is in reality a double-wide mobile home though now rather permanently affixed to its spot, we asked for it to be set high. I'd learned, trying to crawl around under Studio 318 back when that was home, that while the chassis allowed for the required 18" (45 cm) clearance to prevent termites from climbing up to the wood structure, that same chassis provided enough iron obstacles to prevent humans from crawling around under there as well. The ground slopes a bit where the two are set, not a hill by any stretch of imagination. Noticeable, though. So while Big House has a 24" (60 cm) clearance at the low end, at the other end there is a 5' (150 cm) clearance.

The contract on the home specified stairs provided to all doors. There are three doors to Big House. The 'front' door, into the formal living room/parlour, the french doors on the back from the dining room (part of the formal parlour), and a side door. Which latter is at the high end. Which, being set higher than the stair manufacturer is used to, required a custom built set of steps. All our original steps are made of steel angle-iron, cross-braced, with an angle-iron & rod-stock railing. That tall one, the wood steps are showing their age (gets the most traffic, and is the most in shade so stays the moist/wettest). We replaced them this year with a small wood deck and stairs.

Once upon a time, early on in this process, we contemplated giving these steps to our goats as a sort of goat climbing toy. Then one year we made a temporary shelter for them which we called the goat chalet because of the slope on the roof. The goats, however, took that slope as a challenge and proceeded to climb. One of them, who received the name Bubba Goat for reasons shortly to become obvious, climbed to the top one day (about that same 150 cm height mentioned above) and hollered out to his herd-mates, 'Hey ever'body, Watch Me' and jumped off and broke both foreleg ankle joints.

Yes, that was the last thing Bubba Goat said.

So we stopped contemplating giving this particular set of steps to the goats as climbing gym. The other step sets are shorter, and we'll probably give those over. These, however... Then I though about our friend S, lives a bit up the road. S is a blacksmith, and a knifesmith. These would be raw material for him. So I rang him up and asked, and sure enough he's interested in the steps. Loaded them into the back of Forrest, strapped them down (I may look like a redneck, particularly when driving Forrest what is a battle-scarred old country pickup truck, but I am rather reluctant to make excessive work for some poor schmuck of an on-call OR nurse who I probably know), and took those stairs over to S & K's place.

Then after getting home, I started cutting tubing to size, priming, and gluing together the pieces I'll need. Houdini helped. Thank you, Houdini. [No worries, Boss!] Next I needed to do some serious cleaning out of the threads on the ell-fitting at the bottom of the tank. I'd covered it, and it still seemed like someone got in there and decided, hmm, a great place to make a mud-nest. Sheltered, shaded. a bit moist. They didn't get far, since I did cover the opening, and they were probably out locating more raw materials to make the mud nest when I covered it.

It's all ready to finish the gluing-up now. What remains is then adjusting the spot for proper height to line up tubing with the existing tubing coming from the well head, and then...

Turning the water off, cutting into that tubing, gluing the parts together there, letting it set up, then re-connecting the tank.

So we'll be without water for a portion of today. Hopefully not long. Under current temperature and humidity conditions, these glues do set up quite quickly. The big test will be when the well is turned back on, to see if there are any leaks at the glued-up joints. I'm not anticipating any, this is work I've done for ourselves for the 21 or so years we've owned teh Ranch. All the outdoor plumbing is my work. PVC tubing makes that rather easy, once one learns a few odd tricks.
Tags: life the universe and everything

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