Archive | December, 2011

Meowey Christmas

25 Dec

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Let It Snow

24 Dec

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At least a little artificial snow!

As seen in our little Christmas village display in our living room. I think we’re pretty safe to keep the sleds packed away as a white Christmas seems unlikely at this point, but the mini people can enjoy frolicking in the snow while we head out in a light spring jacket.

Merry Christmas!

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Showers Expected

23 Dec

Apparently this little guy may be tired of licking herself clean and wants to take a shower.
I’m guessing maybe she wants to wash off the stuff that makes some of our guests sneezy.

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Big Tail Strikes Again

20 Dec

We were awoken at the crack of dawn this morning by a screaming baby… Or so it would seem. I jumped out of a dream to my heart racing and sat straight up in bed. Then I heard it again, and I realized that the baby was not a baby but a cat, or two, actually.
This actually happened once in our old place in Sea Cliff. Apparently Ishi likes to have early morning howling matches through the windows with neighborhood cats.

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Yes, the puffy tail club was in full effect, growling, meowing, moaning, howling, whining and possibly drooling were all happening on both sides of the window. It was quite a sight, and even more of a sound. The size of little Ishi’s tail during this exchange would make any raccoon jealous.
The worst part of this whole thing was that I thought it was the middle of the night initially but it turned out that it was only minutes away from my alarm clock going off, now THAT’S a wake up call.

Not Again!

19 Dec

Our posts have been lacking for the last week or so due to heavy preparations for our christmas party and a demanding social schedule. We apologize and hope to keep the posts coming…

It was exactly one month ago that we woke up to a cold house and no hot water, and today I heard those dreaded words again… “The water’s not getting hot in the shower!!”

Yes, we were once again down to the dreaded 2 1/2 inch mark on the oil tank measuring stick. This results in 2 other dreaded things, buying more heating oil, and playing oil burner repairman again. I got to make the call to a company that is actually quite nice to work with, MnS Fuel/ Nordica/ Protostar. It’s a company that Is a pleasure to deal with despite the fact that I hate being forced to buy their product. In 2 cases now They have delivered oil within about 4 hours of ordering it.

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This time the oil burner kept its prime but all the little filters were clogged again and the little amount of flame was not a clean flame and I had worries about it staying lit.
So, out came the rubber gloves and the mineral spirits and I was ready to be an oil burner repairman again.

The throat of the burner with the nozzle and electrodes removed, the top flips down after removing two screws, then you unscrew the hard copper lone with a flare fitting and a thumb screw that holds the nozzle assembly in place and it slides out.

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The nozzle and electrode assembly removed and the nozzle removed for cleaning. The little stone filter was full of sludge so I brushed it with mineral spirits and sprayed it with WD40 to clean out, I also sprayed in the nozzle to make sure it wasn’t clogged anymore. I neglected to get a picture of the pump filter because my hands were filthy at the time. It is a screen filter that I’m guessing filters larger particles before the oil goes into the pump. This was also all gummed up and got the same treatment as the stone filter. After that was cleaned but before reattaching the nozzle I ran the pump for about 10 seconds to clean out any remaining junk left in the lines. I then reinserted and attached the electrodes and nozzle, hooked up the line and closed everything up, hit the switch and we had a nice clean flame, and about 20 minutes later I was taking a hot shower.
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A few weeks ago when I was helping my dad with something he offered me a bag of kitty litter, which seemed like an odd thing at the moment, but it came in quite handy in containing the bit of oil that spilled on the floor when cleaning out the lines.
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We had hoped the first delivery of Oil we for would also be our last and that we would use it almost all up so we’d barely have any left when we got our gas system installed. I think the endless washing of pots and pans and mixing bowls associated with our Christmas party used about a weeks worth of oil so we’re back at the hundred gallon mark and hopefully about 2 weeks away from switching to gas heat and hot water.

Tree Trimming

10 Dec

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A relaxing Saturday with a nice fire going, a good time to decorate our Christmas tree.

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Decoration Mania

5 Dec

Christmas decoration has begun full swing, and everyone is abuzz about it!

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We spent all day setting up lights, cleaning up and doing a final mowing job, blowing, weed wacking, putting up garland, bows and more. When it finally got dark put we moved inside and started pulling out decorations and putting up lights on the tree. This is the first time our tree will not be against a window but we figured we’d go all the way around the tree so it’s fully lit. It helped to have the tree away from the corner so we could walk all the way around it.
It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas at our house!

Oh Christmas Tree!

4 Dec

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We had a great time on Saturday doing what has become a yearly tradition – going to Shamrock Christmas Tree Farm in Mattituck. We got our Christmas tree there last year on the advice of our friend Jim, and we were very pleased with it. It lasted much, much longer and stayed really fresh for much longer than other trees we have gotten at local nurseries in the past. So, it was an obvious choice to go back out to Shamrock and get our first tree for our new home.
It’s a fun place to visit, and it’s great to be able to go out into the field and pick your own tree while it’s still growing; it doesn’t get any fresher than that!

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After a hard day of Christmas Tree searching, it's nice to warm up with some complementary hot chocolate by the roaring fire pit!

Is there an ECHO in here?

2 Dec

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ECHO PB500H

After borrowing Derek’s backpack blower and not wanting to abuse his generosity we decided it would be wise for us to get our own. We decided to go one model up to the 500, because we have so many leaves from our giant old trees.
I initially picked up a PB500T from Home Depot but before I even opened it, I decided I’d prefer to give the business to a local dealer. This helps keep our money local and also will help in the future in case there are any service or warranty issues to deal with. My obvious choice was to head to the promised land, or as it’s officially known, “Big Valley”. Big Valley is a power equipment store in Glen Head that has all the REAL landscaping stuff, this is where real pros get their equipment. Echo, Stihl, Husqvarna, Billy Goat, Red Max, Walker, and tons of brands you’ve never heard of because they don’t have them at home depot.
I spoke to a guy who was very well versed in Leaf Blowers and he basically affirmed that I had an appropriate model for our property unless I felt like spending a few hundred more. The only question was whether to stick with the “T” model or go with the “H” model. T indicates a Tube mounted throttle, while H indicates a Hip mounted throttle. The Tube mounted throttle has a trigger on the handle of the tube and the Hip throttle is mounted on a flexible wand on the left side, more of a Jet Pack feeling. He assured me that there was nothing wrong with either one but all the pros use the hip throttle. I went back and forth a bit and decided to go away from my original choice and go with the Hip throttle. They only carry the hip throttle there but they could have gotten me a tube throttle if I wanted it. The hip throttle will also help in case my landscaper neighbor ever catches me using it.
The blower was a few more bucks at Big Valley because they don’t sell a thousand units a week, and you get the personal service and advice. The guy put it together for me on the spot, registered the warranty (5 Years!) and offered to have the guys in the repair department do the initial fire-up for me. I declined because I was putting it in the back seat while I returned the other one to Home Depot, but it was a nice gesture.
I got right to work on the front yard when I got home and worked ’til dark. I’m definitely gonna get more chances to use it because the backyard is full of leaves again. If only I could figure out an easy way to bag the things now!

The Attic Door

1 Dec

After having gone in and out of the attic a bunch of times through the tiny hole in the top of the hall closet, using a variety of devices and ladders to get up there, we knew it was time to put a real pull down ladder in. However, the last thing we wanted was a giant hole in the ceiling somewhere. We had a pull down ladder right in our bedroom in Sea Cliff, and while it was convenient, it was not aesthetically pleasing in the least.
We decided the garage would be the best place to cut a giant hole in the ceiling for the door. Obviously we won’t mind how it looks there, and because the garage is not a conditioned space it’s not a big deal if it gets cold in there. This has been an issue with the 16″x16″ hole in the closet, insulated  from the cold of the attic with only a piece of 1/4″ plywood. Now we can seal that hole up and insulate it, and now the bathroom should stay warmer, because it is directly next to that closet.

Follow along with some pictures of the install:

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Cutting some decking out to make room for the rough opening.

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A (skewed) picture of the completed rough opening from below.

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The door in place, supported by a couple 5/4 x 3" boards screwed in from below. The boards were screwed in beforehand, and then the door was lifted up between them and dropped into place. This is much easier than trying to juggle it while screwing it in.

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The door initially open for attaching the frame to the rough opening. It has to be lowered down so you can access the edges to screw it in.

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The only thing left to do was to cut the feet to match the floor. This ladder can fit up to a 10 foot ceiling and the ceiling in the garage is about 9'6" so we needed to cut about 6 inches off and match the angle to the floor.

We’re still doing some electrical work here and there, which requires going into the attic, and we want to do some work with the insulation as well, so it will really be much easier now and better for that kind of stuff to be going through the garage, rather than squeezing through a small hole in the closet! Now I just need to replace that old drywall between the chimney and the door that I damaged during the install. I think we’re also going to sheet the door panel itself with drywall for fire safety, and fill the cracks with great stuff to stop air flow.