Sunday, October 30, 2011

October Nor'Easter

Southern New England just got gobsmackered by the earliest heavy snow in recent history -- Connecticut's previous recorded October snowfall record was 9" in the high, cold northwest Litchfield Hills...this storm dump 12" on warm, low Bradley Airport just north of Hartford.

Brooklyn got out OK, enough rain to keep things from getting bad.  Irene hit Eastern, Southeastern, and Coastal Connecticut hardest in August and *was* the largest power outage in state history at ~770,000 customers.  The nor'easter hit the Western, Northwestern, and North Central areas hardest -- and blacked out 820,000 customers! This is the outage map as of 3pm Sunday, over 24 hours after the storm began:

Lacking ambition to work inside today, I decided to head out of a Sunday drive. Leaving my driveway...put a chainsaw under my pickup cap, in hindsight, I should've included a shovel and tow straps though I didn't need them :)

 Didn't see any significant damage till I got to the top of Pomfret Hill, and it was becoming common but not overwhelming by Woodstock Hill. Woodstock Common looking towards the Pink House:
 No damage, just liked this shot of Woodstock Academy:
It was Charlton where the word "slammed" started to come to mind. Route 31:
Green Leaves & White Snow in Charlton. Charlton, Sturbridge, Holland, Mass. and Union, Conn. reminded me of moderate hurricane or ice storm damage. Widespread, but not overwhelming. But with temps dropping into the 20s tonight, and this damage more widespread then the more severe but localized '08 Ice Storm...folks are going to be out of power for a while.

 Holland Road, Sturbridge.:

 Holland Road, Sturbridge:

 Route 171, Union:

 Route 171, Union:

 Route 171, Eastford:

Morey Road, Chaplin...more white and green:

Saturday, October 29, 2011

October Nor'Easter Memorial Corn Chowder

Having a strong, and surprisingly early, nor'easter -- Brooklyn's doing OK just on the rain/snow line. But western and north central Connecticut are being hammered by a storm that will rank with the '73 Ice Storm, Gloria, and Irene -- last I looked CL&P is at 634,000 customer out of power which is already #2 storm to Irene's 700,000 out back in August. The heavy wet snow is landing on trees, most of which haven't dropped their leaves yet, and branches are just breaking and coming down everywhere, but just a few brownouts at my house.

Just before bed I decided to put on a corn chowder:
Couple cans of corn, some taters, half a can of peas I already had open in the fridge, couple onions (my own), carrots, green beans (last of my own fresh ones, picked earlier this week), pepper, couple apples. My own basil and oregano picked before the first frost this past Thursday. Possibly some other stuff, I just kept going through the cupboards and fridge with no set plan Let that slow cook all night.

Have some local hot italian sausage from Campbell's Farm in Griswold I have defrosting in the fridge, think I'll fry that up and add it in the morning. Planning to fry it on the electric stove, but I can use the woodstove if I have to :) And the final product:


Poster on Arborsite was confused about noodling v. ripping, so I took these three photos to illustrate it for him. The advantages of working from home, you get to have fun at lunch time!
The orientation of the head and chain is key to the type of cut you're making -- here's a conventional cross cut.

This is a rip cut. Stanard chainsaw chains don't do this well, makes lots of dust, goes slow, leaves the wood very rough. Folks who use "chainsaw mills" to produce boards, usually for homesteads or other places difficult to transport lumber to, use special ripping chains.

This is a noodle cut. It produces copious amounts of long "noodles," pics of which I didn't get today as planned do to snow! Noodling lets you make very large chunks into more manageable size to handle.

Great old logging video

By far the best "the way it was done" video -- filmed by a logging and mill superintendent.  The narrator isn't him, but worked from the superintendent's notes he read from he showed the film.

Thursday, October 27, 2011


Good:  Haven't had a killing frost until now (probably tonight)

Bad: It's not November, and it's now sleeting here.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Had to ask Henry for a hand!

Today's mission: Cut down the bottom of the tree whose top snapped in Irene. (click pics for larger size) 20" bar...think I'll need to break out my 25" :D Final measurement was 28" diameter where you see the saw -- which is actually 6' above the ground from where the roots are. Cut off the small leader (if you could call it that), maybe 6"? But we have a problem -- it was so rotted, it didn't follow the notch as the wood just gave way as I made the back cut. Pondered my options of how to ensure I didn't get crushed, and while the idea of buying a bull rope crossed my mind, so did "Gotta know when to hold them, know when to fold, know when to walk away, know when to run..." So this stubborn Finn went up the hill, "Hey Henry..." One John Deere 410 to the rescue. Ended up being pretty solid. Backhoe alone couldn't do the deal, so Henry made some cuts (after we evaluated some more, I later got to play too and expanded them.) Wedging before we expanded the cuts to see what the tree was doing. And we have the money shot! Didn't I just get finished cleaning up the lawn here? I clambered down below and we chained up and lifted the log up to the lawn. Then up to the woodlot. Had four trees to service -- two were snags I created dropping trees, two were broken tops courtesy of Irene. Where we were working before..way down there dead center: And the other pair. Coincidentally both broken tops were immediately adjacent to snags from 2009. Between my skills getting a bit more polished and the woodlot starting to open up, I had no snags last year :) Fini!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Fall TV

Phenomenal TV:  Homeland.

Guilty pleasure I can't believe I'm watching:  Pan Am.  Must be filling the void of the delayed Mad Men.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Started Woodstove

Hmmm, doesn't look like I've ever recorded this in the blog before which surprises me. 10/6 @ 9am...fired up the woodstove for the first time this season.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Bookshelf Progress

It's OK.  I should have actually lagged the screws in not level but tipped slightly upwards, so once loaded they would've bent to dead nuts level.  Like the big truck trailers then bend upwards in the middle when unloaded.  Still looks OK though it isn't perfectly level.

I extended the board by 15" by using dowels and wood glue, first time I've tried that.  I wouldn't try selling my work, but from 15' away were I'm sitting now it looks fine.

If I do dowels in the future, I should make a template as a guide...would make lining up the holes much easier.

I'm planning a shelf on the wall to the right, and I'm figuring when I'm done with staining the shelves I'll use dowels (perhaps without glue) to tie the shelves together so they look like a single unit.

The Great Desk Project has begun

So I've decided finally how to re-organize things in this little house. 

And the key is building a custom desk.

But before I build the desk, I need to paint the window trim (while I can easily reach it).

And I at least need to finally start replacing the carpet with hardwood floors, even if I just do the area for the desk and chair for now.

Well, while I'm at it the old entertainment center needs to go, that'll free up a lot of space.

And you know, the baker's rack I've used as a bookshelf...hmmm, you know now that I've whittled down my book collection over the years (lots of old textbooks, obsolete reference books, etc could go), and figuring at some point I'll get a Kindle and start to do electronic books I bet I can build perimeter shelves and get rid of the baker's rack to free up another big bit of see how this project is threatening to spiral out of control.

Finally settled on plan for the shelf and decided to rough it today. It's a simple plan, 3/8" x 8" eye screws would support 3/4" hardwood (oak) plywood. Standard studs are 16" on center, maybe 24" if you're being cheap. Either would provide enough support.  Use some "J hooks" cut down to the right size with a Dremel tool to tie the board to the screws.

Once I decide on a stain for the desk which will also oak plywood and the color of the metal legs (Kee fittings from these guys: ...they'll powder coat the aluminum poles and fittings to order for a reasonable price), I'll stain the shelf and paint the eye screws to match.

The plan, however, became a fiasco because as I should have repair the damage from the '78 fire Papu used whatever lumber he had hanging around to make a frame that looked good to his eye, not something that met any standard. Many holes drilled, probing around, buying a stud I can tell instead of studs evenly spaced every 16" over the 10' wall, there's two sets of studs -- each set 17-1/2" on center from each other, with 30-1/2" between the two sets of studs. With more and longer horizontal pieces then I would expect.

Oh, and at least I'm replacing the carpets since I decided I should wash the walls before I put up the shelf and managed to kick over a gallon and a half of soapy water on to the carpet :rolleyes:

BUT, I managed to get something up that at least gives an indication what the perimeter shelving will look like:

 I'll take that down (hopefully this weekend) and do some work to piece together two boards to span the entire length of the wall, and figure out how to support the ends in the absences of studs near the outside ends.