Diary – week of May 4th

One of the bloggers I read sometimes writes diary posts (like at the bottom of this post <– that's a link even though you can't see it very well. Some day I'll fix that…), where he lists bullet points of the things he got done on his renovation project in the last few days. I think it's a brilliant way to keep a record of what we've* done without the time required for full posts. So, here's what happened the first week of May:

– Took bobcat out of container and tuned it up. Attached backhoe and started practicing: removed crank case rock, then dug a big hole.

– Acquired more windows. Might have found a source for shop lights.

– Tried to weld hole in container roof. Welder broke.

– Left a message for the fire department, asking if they will help us burn down our ginormous burn pile.

*This blog is full of the royal we. Basically everything is being done by Lars…with very occasional bits of help by me.


Diary – week of May 11

  • fixed pump, seeded leech field with grass, watered leech field, ran well dry (twice). Turns out the well refills in a day or so.
  • fixed welder, welded hole in roof of shipping container, took a wire wheel to rusty spots on roof of container, painted those spots with primer
  • acquired tamper machine, learned it is really hard to use on a hill

Nap Success!

shipping container nap

Can you see the baby in there?  Yesterday, she took her first nap in the shipping container.  Now we just have to figure out how to entertain her while she’s awake so we can both get some work done.  She currently is on a dirt-eating spree and stuffs fistfuls of the stuff into her mouth whenever she gets even half a chance.  The ground at the land is all either bare dirt, dead leaves (another tasty favorite), or small plants over bare dirt (they don’t even slow her down on her way to the dirt).  The nearest grass is currently at the campsite at the top of the hill – too far from all the action. So Lars is working on seeding the flat spot at the bottom of the hill with grass – I can’t wait until it has filled in!

Also accomplished yesterday:

– Nya’s first picnic eating solids at the land (she’s had plenty of milk-only picnics).

– transplanted a bazillion baby raspberry canes into our patch.

– raked the leech field in preparation for seeding with grass.

– found the well pipe that had been buried under the rubble left over from the cabin last summer; discovered the pump is on the fritz; tried to fix the pump, but ran out of time; put the grass watering (and therefore grass seeding) project on hold.

News To Me

It turns out that my father is a pyromaniac.

safe burning

(A very safety-conscious pyromaniac, but still, the guy likes to burn.) I had no idea.

ladder burning

But the evidence is very clear.

burning wood

He spent most of a week in August burning tons of non-salvageable scrap wood, which we had been piling near the front door of the cabin and in various other piles around the cabin.

moving wood

And “tons” might not even be much of an exaggeration. One day he kept track of how many trips up and down the hill he made to move the wood from the original pile down to where he was burning it (at a safe distance from the cabin). He had to stop counting after 50 because he ran out of sticks to add to his counting pile.

buff pyromaniac

The original burn pile is now gone.

But more wood to be burned keeps popping up. Or rather, kept getting thrown out the front window of the cabin by Steve (more on that soon)…

new burn pile

And stacked up by Lars.

new burn pile

Dad, we need you to come back!

It’s Down!

Alternative title for this post:
Engineering Summer Camp Continues – Gravitational Potential Energy Reduced!

There is so much back story missing from this blog, especially about the demolition of the cabin. But I’m too excited to not just post this immediately. Since we bought the land, tearing down the cabin has been the first major step. And now it’s down!


Last week I posted a picture of this plant:

cheerleading plant

and asked if anyone knew what it was. My coworkers came through! Two emailed me to tell me that it is a jack-in-the-pulpit (or arisaema triphyllum) and that I shouldn’t eat it. Don’t worry! I won’t eat berries from the wild unless I’m 1000% sure I know what they are.

I did some reading on them because they are so cool looking. Wikipedia (link) has a decent article, and I also liked the info in the Plants for a Future (link) database. Both of those imply that the root is edible IF you neutralize the oxalic acid by drying it for several months before eating it. The Plants for a Future website also lists several ways the plant was used medicinally by Native Americans. (Note: I’m still not going to eat it!) I am looking forward to watching the plants flower next spring – the flowers are as weird looking (link) as the seed stalks.

Baby Watching and Nail Removing

A couple weeks ago, Lars and I headed over to the land to put a few hours of work in. Nya came along, of course. My plan was that she would nap on a blanket in the shade, or maybe in her car seat, and I would finally get to help with some of the physical labor over there. We decided a good task for me would be to remove nails from some of the salvageable boards Lars has pulled off of the cabin. I wouldn’t get too dirty, and I’d be able to keep an eye on her in case she woke up. Here’s my pile of nail-ful boards:

need nails removed

And here’s my pile of nail-less boards at the end of the day (along with my workbench):

finished pile

Turns out Nya wasn’t so keen on this plan of napping on a blanket. We’ll have to keep trying…