Monday, December 26, 2011

Work It!

   Now that the basement floor is waxed and burnished, we can start putting the gym together. We've had the mat flooring on site for some time, sitting in shipping boxes. I ordered gray and red. When I opened the boxes, I saw that the red was much more orange than the red paint on the wall. Oh well.
   We ordered the floor mats on-line from American Floor Mats. They were shipped very promptly. The mats are 2'x2'x5/8". They are textured on the upside, smooth on the floor side, and they are a dream to install. 
   In 45 minutes we had the floor together. Each square has removable edge pieces on two sides, so after it was all together I went around and alternated color strips for the edge. We also decided to make it just a bit bigger, so I ordered a few more squares. It will just be a matter of pulling off the edge strips and putting down the new squares.

   Ed had the gym equipment down in the barn, which was not a fun place to work out. Freezing cold in the winter (literally) and hot in the summer, it was also a hike in the rain, which around her is most of the year.
He had to disassemble it, load the pieces into the Gator, haul it up to the basement, and put it back together. This meant not losing any parts or pulleys and not forgetting where anything went. It's old and creaky, but then, so are we. For $60.00 at a garage sale, it will do until Ed decides to upgrade.
   I ordered an inversion table and roman chair (back extensions) on line, so he also had to assemble those. We  already had the recumbent bicycle.  We still need a good set of dumbbells, a bench press, and one or two other items, but for now, this is enough to keep us tired.

 And this is why we work out. I love to cook, and I love to eat. It would take no time at all for me to have to step sideways to get through the door. So, grumbling all the way, I manage to haul myself downstairs and climb onto the bike. There is plenty of room to do yoga, or heaven forbid, zumba. And in the basement, nobody can see.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Yuletide Is Upon Us

   Winter solstice will be this week, and while we've had a unusually dry and clear winter so far, the days are very short. We are in a valley, and even though we are surrounded by hills rather than mountains, it definitely cuts down on hours of sunlight. by the 21st, the sun won't clear the ridge until 9:20 in the morning. It will skirt the edge of the hills, and set by 4:15 in the afternoon. After that, the days just get longer.

   I managed to finish the eagle transom for the front door this week. Hopefully Ed can get it installed this afternoon. I made sketches for the sidelights, but I'll need to order glass before I start those. I don't think I have enough matching glass to do both sidelights to match the transom.  there isn't a supply store within a reasonable distance. Having glass shipped is always a risky proposition. Sometimes it gets here in one piece, other times...not so much.

   Ed has been putting coats of wax on the basement floor. One coat of Butcher's Ironstone and six coats of Butcher's Amplify, and he'll call it good. Then he will use a burnisher (basically a floor buffer) to complete the last step. The wax is a sacrificial surface that protects the stain on the concrete. Since the basement won't get daily use (except to the gym), it should last a long time.  It's been a long process to finish this floor but he's done a great job and it looks gorgeous.

   Last week we had the back area graded. We wanted to get some protection down over the dirt before the rains returned. I took several bales of hay and spread them over the fresh dirt. Hopefully it will slow down the debridement by heavy rain, will compost in, and may just leave enough seed to start some grass. As an added bonus, it keeps a lot of the mud off Abby's feet.
   It may actually rain next week.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Tis The Season

   We had two weeks of unseasonably warm and sunny weather, warm being a relative term. Ed has learned to schedule projects based on the weather-of-the-week.
   We can't get the house finaled until the porch rails are complete (among other things). In order to preserve the view off the back porch, Ed plans to have a large staircase, spanning several of the back columns, come down to grade. In order to do that, he has to actually have grade, hence the project.    Enter Sam Longtain, his equipment, and Digger, his dog.
   Digger was a busy little guy, chasing the tractor, birds, anything that moved, and generally investigating absolutely everything, all while staying out of the way of the equipment.
   The blocks are made by the local cement company. When trucks come back with a partial load, they pour these blocks that they sell for retaining walls. I have no idea how much they weigh but I'll bet if one landed on your foot, or in this case, hand, it would really really hurt. Ed's right hand is still swollen and sore from his injury two months ago. It really made me nervous to watch him position these blocks, which were swinging like a modern day mace.   Happily, neither dog nor man were maimed or crushed.
   The blocks are not what one would term "architecturally attractive", but after some creative landscaping, they will be acceptable. Not only does it create a landing for the stairs, but it makes the newly terraced lower area easier to mow with the rider mower.  
   After the blocks were installed, Ed hauled in many loads of fill dirt with the help of the Gator, to finish back-filling the blocks. Once the weather turned cold and drizzly again, he went back to shingling the back columns. He has one left to do on the back of the house. Of course, there are still the eight left on the garage, but that's another day.
   I've been working sporadically on the stained glass piece for the front door transom. I bought a pre-cut beveled eagle cluster two years ago in anticipation of this piece. Unfortunately I used the given dimensions for the transom, which were for the entire transom, not the glass portion. That meant I had to nose the eagle down a bit to fit. It still works, but isn't quite as dramatic as I would have liked. I have most of the glass cut, and will start foiling this week.
     I love Christmas. Finally, after two years, I have room to take out my Christmas stuff. I greeted each piece like a beloved friend as I gently unwrapped ornaments from their tissue blankets. I have one glass ornament that Mom gave me when I was first on my own. A hand-made ornament from a good friend, now passed on. A little red stocking ornament, knitted by Ed's Mom. Dressing up the tree is a bittersweet task, filled with warm and happy memories. Life, like winter, is fleeting. It should be lived with flushed cheeks, laughter, rewarding work and quiet rest.
   So they all went on the tree, 50 year-old glass ornaments and  new LED lights. It's the first Christmas tree in the new house, and that makes it special indeed. The cats, including the new one, haven't tried to climb it or knock it down....yet. This year I'll buy a few new ornaments. Someday, God willing, they'll be 50 years old and on someone else's tree.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

What's Cooking? or One In The Oven

 Ed wanted to get the front columns shingled before family arrived on Thanksgiving. Neither rain, sleet, snow nor hail...well ok..rain and snow, but he did meet his goal. We're expecting good weather this week and Ed's hoping to get the back columns done too.
   All the kids flew in Tuesday night for Thanksgiving. I was so happy to have them here. Dan and Ellen, Aimee and Elicia made for a house full.
    Wednesday morning Ed and Dan started working on finishing the stairs by installing the banister and newel posts. I had to cringe because we had made sure the house was squeeky clean for the Big Weekend and then there were hoses and power tools, saws and tape everywhere.  I should have known better. Soon enough, the whole project was complete, tools put away and floor vacuumed.
   I was so worried that the banister and newel posts wouldn't look good. The maple didn't stain like I expected and I was afraid that it just wouldn't blend in. But the acacia floors have such a varied color pattern that one more color variation isn't a problem. There is still a little trim work to be done, but I couldn't be happier with how the stairs turned out.

 Thanksgiving Day, Ellen's friend Tiffany and her friend Josh drove down from Portland to celebrate with us. It was everything Thanksgiving should be ...good food, family, friends, warm many things to be thankful for.
   Sister Brigit lived up to her name and was the center of hearth and harvest. Ham in one oven, sweet potatoes and rolls in the other. The cooktop was in full swing, and the turkey was out on the BBQ.
    As we sat down for dinner Ellen announced that Elicia had a school project where every person should say what they were thankful for. I should have known something was up. We went around the table with the usual pronouncements... family, good friends, being together. Finally it was Ellen's turn.
   "I'm grateful for my husband Dan, for my family, and for the new little one that will be here in May."
   Pandemonium at the table!
   After much crying, hugging and kissing Thanksgiving dinner is under way. What a happy, happy day.
   Sunday evening the kids flew home and life went back to it's quiet normal self. It's always hard to send them home, but this time more than most.
   Monday morning, just when I needed it, my new washer and dryer were delivered. There was even enough room for the delivery guy to get back behind and hook it up. It's so nice not to have to go outside then to the garage to do the laundry.

   Today I'm hoping to get started on the stained glass piece for the front door transom. I've had it set up and ready to start for several weeks. Now I finally have the time to begin.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Who's Counting?

   Putting the finishing wax coats on the basement floor is on hold. The wax that was recommended to us has become an elusive item. We might be able to get it this next week...or not. Ed was hoping to get the floor done before family arrived for Thanksgiving, but I don't have any hopes for that happening. We need to put down five coats, then burnish it.
   Ed has shifted gears and began working on the front columns. We really wanted to have these rocked, but the cost was prohibitive. If Ed uses shingles, it will be about 10% of the cost of having rock installed. There are four columns in front of the house, four in front of the garage, and the same number at the back of the house. Like so many things, it starts one little shingle at a time.

   I have had the tile for the kitchen and bathroom backsplashes for several weeks, but just stalled out on getting anything done. I finally stopped procrastinating and broke out the trowel. My favorite part about the backsplash tile for our bedroom is that they sit very tightly together and don't have to be grouted! Once I managed some forward motion, it took very little time to do. The floor tile in this bathroom is silver travertine, and I like the way the grays in the backsplash tie the countertop granite and the floor together.

  Ed continued to work on the columns as weather permitted. The porch overhang gives him some cover, but if the wind is blowing and the rain is coming down hard, it's not worth the aggravation. He's finding he can get about a column per day completed.

    I got the upstairs bathroom backsplash finished so quickly, I thought I'd do the kitchen while I had some forward movement going. It wasn't until I got the first section up that I realized the plan was for the kitchen backsplash to be two tiles high, not three. I had to quickly pry them off the wall. Did I know where the scraper was? No...but I was in the kitchen, and I did know where a spatula was. worked.

Fortunately the mastic was easily wiped off the wall with a wet sponge and I started over. This time, two rows high and with a 1" pencil trim to top it off. The honey onyx is a good match for the stove, and is the same color as the yellow flecks in the countertop. I'll grout it next week.

   Ed had one rain delay and one day lost to a trip into town, but he has finished the shingles on two of the four front columns. When they are done, he'll put a row of green trim at the top of the shingles, a capstone, and encase the upper part of the column in a wood sleeve painted white. Only six more columns in the front and eight in the back. If we're lucky we might actually get that many sunny days before spring.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

The Acid Test

   We stained the concrete floor of the basement this week. This is not a project for the faint of heart. Or lungs. If someone has health issues...especially respiratory problems, this is not the DIY project for you. In fact, I'd recommend a week-long vacation someplace far far away.
   We decided we would do the labor, but we hired a pro to be the head of the project and lead us through the process. You only get one shot with this stuff. Once it's down, it's permanent.  Greg gave us a list of chores to have completed prior to staining day, and a list of items to have on hand.
    Ed had the surface sufficiently sanded and vacuumed, and we taped protective paper along the painted walls. Greg put the acid stain in a  plastic sprayer. As he sprayed, we scrubbed it in with plastic scrub brushes attached to pushbroom handles.
    This stain is acid based. It uses muratic acid which reacts to the calcium and lime in the concrete to etch the color into the surface. This, like many chemical reactions, causes very nasty fumes to accumulate rather quickly. There are no windows in the basement, only a roll up door at the other end of the building. By the time we got finished spraying and scrubbing the gym area, we were coughing and sucking air. We took a break, located several box fans and shouldered on.  Once you start, you can't stop until it's done.

   By afternoon we had the whole basement (except the woodpile room) stained. The chemical process takes several hours, so we waited until the next morning to apply the neutralizing solution.
   That was a good thing because it took that long to clear our lungs and start feeling normal. I was a little concerned about the neutralizing process because it requires a mixture of household ammonia and water, applied liberally, then mopped up, in several applications. Was this going to cause a repeat of yesterday's gasping and coughing? I was pleasantly surprised. It was a bit of an aerobic workout however. We mopped the whole thing with big heavy cotton string mops, over and over.  After the last rinse, Ed had the room heaters, several fans, and two dehumidifiers running for several days to thoroughly dry the floor.
    Yesterday, Greg returned to start sealing the finish. The sealer went into a new plastic garden sprayer,was misted on the floor, then mopped in with a new microfiber string mop. That way there aren't little pieces of cotton lint permanently left in the finish.  Two coats of the first sealer, five coats of the second sealer..sprayed and mopped.
   We've ordered the high-solids wax which finished the project. It should be here mid-week. That will be five more coats mopped in, then burnished for hardness. So far, we're really happy with the end result..and that we lived through the process.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Dereliction Of Duty or A Stain On My Record

   I failed in my duty to make an entry for two weeks. No Excuse.  Well, yes... of course I have an excuse, just not a good reason. Still, the new stuff is to a minimum.
   We have begun prepping the basement (AKA Mancave) to stain the concrete. The original concrete job was one of the few nightmares of this project. Three guys showed up. One was so hungover he couldn't function and wound up crawling back in his truck to sleep it off. The other two guys made a mess of the surface. Ed spent hours and hours trying to make the surface acceptable for the staining project. It doesn't have to be perfect. It is after all...a cave. So it went like this:
Sand, shop vac, sand, shop vac, sand, shop vac, sand, shopvac, sand, shopvac, sand,shopvac,sand,shopvac,sandshopvacsandshopvacsandshopvacsndshpvcsndshovc.
   Like that. For hours. And days. Very boring work.
   We also did a patch test in an area that will be covered by cabinets. This is an acid stain. After it is stained, we will neutralize the acid, mop it a gazillion times, put sealer over it, then give it a coat of wax. We went with  a color that is more brown than terra cotta. Some were very orange, and one was green. Staining the floor will be Tuesday's project, so it should be done by next week.

   We had some dear friends visit the first of the week. Ed worked very hard to get the bathroom  mirrors installed before they got here, but we ran into a little glitch. The light fixtures are centered on the wall, but the darned sinks aren't. Do we center the mirror on the wall, or do we center the mirror to the sink? The mirrors are beautifully made, but Ed will probably re-make mirrors.

This time of year is definitely a time of change. The day can be warm, evenings are cool, the next day it may  rain. Monday morning I drove into town for a few errands. As I drove east along the river, the clouds seem to kiss the edge. It was as if Narcissus had just discovered his own beauty, and couldn't help but to reach out to touch his own glorious reflection.

Later in the afternoon, as I was coming home, I was gifted with a completely different view. The big leaf maples were the color of amber, while smaller maples had touches of henna. Vine maples were a riot of hues, all against a varied backdrop of greens. It is a beautiful time of year and I enjoy it. Winter is just around the corner.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Sprain And Fall or Stop Stairing

    Yes, I know. You think I mistyped and it should be Spring And Fall. Nope. This week was injury week. This job has been remarkably injury free, and although the bruises we have are relatively harmless, they hurt like the dickens.
   Monday Ed was driving the Gator up the tractor road and caught the wheel in a rut, which wrenched the steering wheel suddenly to the left. Unfortunately his thumb and forefinger were in the way, and he got a very nasty sprain to his right hand. It's been almost a week and it's still very swollen and sore.
   Thursday I was coming down the wood apartment stairs. They were wet, with a bit of algae...a dangerous combination. My feet went one way and I went the other. Fortunately, I landed on my most padded part. I'll spare you the pictures, but the bruises are spectacular.
   Needless to say, we've been taking it easy the rest of the week. We drove into town for supplies and a few appointments. The weather has cooperated with lovely days and cool nights, so we've taken several walks down by the creek. By yesterday we were back at the projects.
   We did get several things checked off the "To Do" list. Ed adjusted the propane on the oven. We may have to send off the thermostat to be rebuilt, but at least it's usable. I ordered backsplash tile. We picked up the cement sander but haven't started with that yet because we stained and varnished the stair rail pieces yesterday.
    For the record, I did not slop stain over these like a kindergartner with finger paint.  I was surprised how unevenly the maple took the stain. And yes, I used prestain wood treatment. It's a good thing the acacia floors have such a varied color pattern. Maybe the stair rail pieces will blend in...sort of like camouflage.  We'll give them a good sanding and another coat of varnish this afternoon.
   Ed has also been working on frames for the bathroom mirrors. They will match the trim on the interior doors and windows. We ordered the mirror glass this week, and by next weekend, barring any new injuries, we should have them installed.
   I've also been designing stained glass for the front door transom and sidelights. I love working with glass, and it feels good to be back at it. The transom will have an eagle bevel cluster, with the Columbia River and mountains in the background.
   Ed is hoping to get the basement floors sanded in preparation for staining while the weather is good. We'll have to keep the roll-up door open during that project to vent dust and fumes. It'll be a race with the weather. We've had a beautiful autumn so far, but it's due to change...any minute.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Tiger And Wood

     House construction has taken a back seat to winter preparation for the last two weeks. Winter is plodding steadily toward us and will be here in earnest by the first of November.
     We had quite a lot of wood left over from last winter stacked and dry down by the barn. all of that wood, spiders and all, was moved into the basement for this year's fires. Six rows deep, it totaled about three cords. My guess is we'll use two. We'll see. The house is a lot bigger and we have two fireplaces.
    In any event, after all the wood was stacked in the basement, Ed needed to get the TV cable ready for the satellite TV guy to come out and install the dish. He had to climb on top of the woodpile and six rows back to hook the outside cable to the inside cable. He had a special tool for crimping the connectors together...nothing else will work.
    Now I'm upstairs at the computer when I heard a lot of banging and clanging, and I thought "Gee...I thought that crimping tool was going to make it easy. He's sure having a tough time hammering that thing together." The banging continues.
    Several minutes later, Ed comes up out of the basement. "Didn't you hear me calling you?"
   " I heard some pounding but I just assumed you were working down there"  I said.
   "I was yelling and pounding on the ceiling for you to come help me."
   Oops. He had dropped the crimping tool down the back of one of the stacks and needed a flashlight.  I'm just glad he wasn't hurt and yelling for help because I would have never heard him.
    Now that all the old wood is up into the basement , Ed has been splitting all the wood left over from the creek restoration project for future winters. The creek restoration required one existing alder to be removed. Part of an old big leaf maple had fallen down and had been dragged out of the way, plus there were some large cut-off pieces of douglas fir that were discards. Wood's wood. Ed hooked the log splitter up to the tractor and went to work. Day after drizzly day, Ed has been cutting the logs into 12" rounds, dead-lifting the rounds up into the splitter. When the wood is split, it gets piled into the Gator, driven up to the barn and then stacked at the side of the barn to dry for next year. See those logs? I don't know how much a 12" round off of one of those things weighs, but my guess is after you've lifted those all day, you probably can skip a trip to the gym.
    Ed gets frustrated because he's been pulled by time-driven chores like the wood cutting, and not been able to work on the house. He was working so intensely on the house for so long, then pulled away by the need to cut the wood before winter. Now he feels the pressure of unfinished projects inside the house.

Small Items: 

1. Adjust oven on the old stove. The propane to oxygen balance is incorrect, and there is too much moisture      
    coming off the heat to use the oven.
2. Hang drapery rods in bedrooms. We don't need them but guests feel a bit exposed.
3. Stain stair rail parts..ballisters, rail, newel posts. I'm looking forward to this one.
4. Hook up spa tub.
5. Order and install backsplash tile. This is my job and I just haven't done it.
6. Sand basement floor in preparation for staining the concrete.

Big Items:

1. Shingle the columns.
2. Re-grade part of the back yard, install retaining wall so he can
3. Build back porch stairs.
4. Install upstairs balcony glass rail.
5. Install porch rails.
6. Pour cement between house and garage.
7. Rebuild stairs to apartment to meet code.
8. Get the final on the permit.

     I use the terms "small" and "big" loosely. They would actually be "big" and "humongous" if most people were doing them. Ed always makes them look so easy.
    In the evenings we have been preoccupied with pets. We have a new cat, Tiger, who lives on the porch at night. Our other male cat, Midnight, is definitely top cat. Once Midnight goes into the garage for the night, Tiger appears on the porch for dinner and some attention. He's not a feral cat, but he's not a tame one either. It's taken several weeks to get him to the point where he will let us pet him and pick him up. He's only about 6 months old and trainable. We managed to get him to the vet last week for his shots and a tune-up. After re-establishing trust for the last several days, we  were able to coax him into the house. He doesn't seem to be concerned with Abby, the dog. Kendra, our geriatric house cat is afraid and hides. Tiger scoped out the living room and then tried out the furniture. It was a perfect fit. But he only stayed there for a minute, then had to run for the open door to make sure he wasn't trapped. He's a funny boy. We're hoping he and Kendra can work out a deal where Tiger can sleep inside out of the cold.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

201 Fish And A Bunny

    While construction has slowed down, there is still plenty going on. We had friends come up for a few days at the beginning of the week. Ed actually took a day off and we went exploring in Astoria.  Although it had rained the day before, Monday the weather was perfect and so was the company.
    Wednesday we were back to helping the crew with the creek restoration project. As part of the re-channeling  process, the fish fry that are in pools must be netted and moved to the new active creek area. As we walked the top of the creek edge we heard a splash but didn't think much of it. Moments later Ed, Michelle and Terza  were in the creek wrestling with the seine net while I was up top with the camera. A frantic movement caught our eye, and there, caught between the high bank and the deep water, was a very wet little bunny. It must have been startled by our walking and fallen in. After a few false starts the bunny wound up in the bucket and was escaping into the grass. I was so absorbed watching the rabbit rescuers, I forgot to take a picture!
    Once the girls got the hang of the seine net, they started scooping fish like crazy. In two days they were able to relocate 201 steelhead fry, a few sculpin, several lamprey, and a bunny. Personally I could do without the lamprey but I guess they're part of the package.
    Thursday we were expecting more rain, so we went into town for various supplies. While we were at Home Depot, I asked if our stair parts were in, and they had just arrived the previous day. The handrail, stiles and two newel posts went into the truck. It'll be my job to sand, stain, and seal them.
    Friday the crew from Sloan Excavating put the finishing touches on the creek restoration. This is just the heavy stuff. Later a different group will come in and plant trees (willows, spruce, etc) to stabilize the bank. Instead of a 10' sheer drop off, we have a 30* slope covered with jute and soon to be planted with willows. We're hoping for a mild couple of winters in a row to let things settle in and take root.
   Friday afternoon as I was walking along the creek looking at the project, an agitated splashing caught my eye downstream. "That silly bunny fell in again!" I thought. But as I looked closer I saw a beautiful steelhead swimming upstream to spawn. She had to be at least 28" long...maybe longer. No fish tale here, I had my camera this time!  Yes, there....just to the left of that log....that dark spot.

   Still can't see her?

Well about here?

   Later in the evening we spotted another one. They wait in the Columbia until the first good rain freshens the creeks, then they start the push toward the spawning grounds. We had had about an inch and a half of rain last Sunday and that was apparently enough to get these two going.  We're expecting another good rain in the next few days, so we anticipate seeing more fish later this week.
   We have a very low tech rain gauge, although it works very well. I just have to remember to dump it out at the end of each week and write down the totals. I wonder if we'll break 100" this year? For the sake of the creek, I hope not!
    Next week I need to start on those stair rail parts...

Sunday, September 18, 2011

It's All About The Fish

      While we've been working to put the house together, the Wahkiakum Conservation District has been working to keep the house where it is. The creek has made severe migrations in the past several winters during major rain storms. It has eroded deeply into the middle pasture and scoured the creek bed. Of deepest concern, it is starting to move precariously close to the base of the hill. Oh yeah....and it has seriously compromised the migration of spawning salmon. Those are the Magic Words for the various agencies who hold  and disperse the grant money for this project. 
    Before we built the house we had a soils engineer come out and look at the site. "This is great", he said. "as long as that creek stays away from the base of the hill. Then all bets are off." We've been watching with increasing dread as the creek has creeped slowly north winter after winter.
    We have been saved by the Conservation District's project and we are profoundly grateful for their help. We like the fish. We like watching them fight their way upstream in the spring. We like watching the fry swim and dart around in the summer and fall. And when they are mature, we like fish on the BBQ. It's all about the fish, and restoration of their habitat... and saving the house.
    Darin Houpt is directing the project. His midwest drawl, easy smile and sense of humor  mask a very sharp mind.
   Last week Darin, Ed and I were standing at the edge of the creek where the soil had been disturbed.
     Darin says "You think there may be gold in the creek? This part of the creekbed hasn't been disturbed for a long time and I thought I saw some color."
     Now, he doesn't push the thought. He lets it sit there and roam around for a while. Ed is peering into the sand. Finally Darin says, "You gonna go get a pan and try it?"
     Ed smiles and says "Not while you're looking. If I'm gonna make a fool of myself, you're not gonna watch."
    Part of the project calls for deeply embedded structures in the bank of the creek to deflect water at crucial locations. They dig a pit about 15' deep and 50' back, weave trees together, bolt them together, and cover them up. That's the short version.
    The real plan calls for the trees to be placed in a very specific and strategic way. Sloan Enterprises was handling the digging and tree handling, while Darin was directing.
   Ed was standing with Darin, looking at the huge hole, and  Ed says "You know, you could hide a body in there and they'd never find it."
    Darin looked pretty surprised.  Ed says "If you want to catch crooks, you have to think like a crook."
So much for being retired.
    After a bit I came down to watch. Darin was standing in the creek directing Don The Excavator Driver with hand signals. Log #2, in 2', now pick up the end and move it tight to the bank. #4 needs to cross #1 and #3. All with hand signals. He looked like a third base coach, only he was directing trees instead of runners. Once the first layer of trees was in place, they  took other logs, about 20' long, cut the end to a point and drove them into the earth. They used the bucket of the excavator like a pile driver and drove the point about 6' into the bottom of the hole. They literally weave the logs together like cloth.
     Once the logs are woven, Adam the Lumberjack, drilled holes and drove pieces of rebar though the logs, tying them together. After the structure is done, the hole is filled in. Later this week another crew will come in, put down jute cloth, plant willow shoots and seed for grass.
    This all puts a different light on the old country phrase "God willing and the creek don't rise". Truly we are very grateful to the Conservation District and Darin for all the help they've given us...and the fish.
    As a side benefit, they have had to remove a few alders and part of an old maple during this project. Because of the size of the pieces they aren't usable in the project but the will make very nice firewood for next winter.
    This winter's wood has been drying next to the barn. Ed moved it into the basement so we can use it. So far he has 2 1/2 rows about 14' long moved and stacked. Only two more rows to go!
    I helped him move a little of it yesterday afternoon. Apparently there are several techniques to moving wood. Ed scoops up a big armful and throws it into the gator for transport. I inspect each piece very carefully for spiders or other similarly creepy beasties. Ed moves the spiders out of the way. I smash them into a million pieces. Ed wore a long sleeved shirt because it was raining. I wore a long sleeved shirt and gloves because otherwise I'd be devoured alive by insects.
   Speaking of rain, the hydraulic window opened on September 15th. Who knew there was such a thing...besides Darin, that is? Yesterday we woke up to rain, right on schedule. It was so tempting to find one of our old flood pictures and attach it to an e-mail to Darin.