Opening gifts on Ben's birthday.
Opening gifts on Ben’s birthday. Why this picture? Because, what is a post without a picture. Even if it doesn’t have much to do with the topic.

I love going back and reading my old posts. I almost never have two posts in a row on the same topic. I would like to think of this blog as a great canvas, where I can paint a wonderful picture with my thoughtful words and insightful ideas. However, it is more like an out of focus picture. But at least there are nice colors in it. And it is my picture. I wouldn’t have it any other way.

William likes to say that all dogs have ADHD. So, maybe this is more like a blog that a dog would write. Though not a beagle, I’m pretty sure (not enough smells, and too many colors). However, if you read Will and Ben’s blogs, you will see that their posts wander more than mine. But they are 9 and 10, so they have an excuse.

It really is kind of fun to go back and look at what I wrote. At least it is for me – I can’t say that it would be fun for anyone else. Heck, Susanna has read them all once when they were written. I’m sure reading them all once is plenty.  Well, I assume it is. Someday I’ll have to read them all myself.  Granted, I wrote them all, but clearly there are posts I never read before posting. Hopefully my writing would have been better if I had actually proofread them.

As I approach 300 posts and 3 years writing in this blog, I hope I will find the focus to write 300 more posts over the next three years. Maybe one of these days I’ll actually find something interesting to write about. Once I do that, I’ll then have to try to find words that make me sound like I know what I’m talking about. What are the chances of that happening?

Round two (or three) with the workshop.

Back of the workshop with the  new floor and walls.
Back of the workshop with the new floor and walls.

I am rearranging the workshop. Again (or rather, still – if you read my post from last week). I am making slow progress on the project, but am getting to the point where the workshop is getting back to almost usable.

I have enough of the floor installed to have most of the heavy tools back where they belong. The next project is to go through the pile of way too much stuff that I moved from the back of the workshop to the front. Hopefully I can find homes for everything, and maybe even find a way to get rid of some of the stuff.

I am only insulating the bottom half of the walls. In public, I would say that I am only insulating the bottom to preserve the look of the old walls. But, just between you and me, I am pretty lazy.  It would be a lot more work to do the upper half of the walls (all the electrical wiring is run on the upper half of the walls). Maybe next year if I am inspired to insulate the rest of the space.  I’ll see how bad it is to heat this winter.

Cutting down the door to the workshop loft - the door needed an inch taken off the bottom to accommodate the new floor)
Cutting down the door to the workshop loft – the door needed an inch taken off the bottom to accommodate the new floor). Photo by Ben Curtis

The new layout certainly opens up space in the back of the workshop.  I used to have the workbench out from the wall, which made it a little cramped between the workbench and the outfeed table of the table saw. I also had all the hand tools on the side wall, which meant always walking away from the bench to get tools I needed.  The tools are all hanging (or will be hanging) on the back wall, over the workbench.

Maybe I’ll build a new outfeed table, and some nice shelves for all the woodworking books I have (that are sitting in a pile in the front of the workshop). I’ll see what I feel like attacking once the shop is cleaned up. Maybe I’ll just reorganize the shop again. It would be so easy to just turn into one of those people whose only connection to woodworking is reading magazines, rearranging the workshop, and periodically building shop furniture.

Ignore the pictures. The workshop is still a disaster. But an improving disaster. To keep the rest of the family busy, I arranged playdates for everyone. Will had Shane over. Ben had Slater over. Susanna got to babysit Michael. Targa and Tucker, well, life is just one big playdate for a dog. My playdate was with a bunch of air-dried pine 1×10’s and a hand saw (not to forget the cordless drill).

The gang hanging out for the day. I took a break from the joy of hand-sawing lumber long enough to snap the picture. Susanna tried to get Tucker to take the picture, but he kept cutting everyone's heads off.
The gang hanging out for the day. I took a break from the joy of hand-sawing lumber long enough to snap the picture. I tried to get Tucker to take the picture, but he kept cutting everyone’s heads off, and getting the camera wet.

Mid-September update (or rather, random thoughts for the night)

Taking a snack break with the boys while out bicycling earlier this month
Taking a snack break with the boys while out bicycling earlier this month

I haven’t found much to blog about this month. It isn’t that I have been bored. I have been very busy. But I think I’m still working on getting used to the fall routine. I have to keep reminding myself that writing is a good way to focus on things at home. It gives me motivation to finish projects. It is certainly fun in an ADHD way to start projects. But it is no fun to only blog about starting projects. It is much more fun to write about finishing projects.

I decided to do a little more than just clean the workshop. I am doing a reorganization of the entire shop, and adding a new floor (just rough pine 1×10 boards on top of the existing floor).  I moved my workbench to the back wall, under the window. I will move the table saw back a foot or two to allow for more room when cutting long boards. So far about 1/3 of the floor is installed. I’m also adding insulation around the bottom half of the walls.  Pictures will follow when the workshop no longer looks like an example of typical ADHD organization (or a 10-year old’s room). Really, I will get it organized. It will just take some time.

I haven’t finished too many of the house projects that are still hanging out there. So, they are still sitting out there. But at least they aren’t in the way. I have been focusing on getting the workshop finished. I think the workshop had been enough of a mess after building the chicken coop, that I figured I might as well just do the walls and floor now. Nothing is as much fun as starting a new project. The trick is to finish them. Or at least mostly finish them. A workshop is never really finished.

Maybe this week I’ll find enough focus to finish the workshop and maybe even one of the smaller projects hanging out around the house. I’d be happy with just getting the workshop back to a usable space.

Chickens, Chickens, everywhere

The chickens enjoying their evening wandering around the yard.
The chickens enjoying their evening wandering around the yard.

Today wasn’t as productive of a day as I had hoped. But it seemed busy enough. I did get some work done on the chicken coop, including adding a new watering system. Susanna and I also cleaned the house and did other house chores. Not much fun, but needed projects.  In the afternoon we went out to look at cars and visit a vineyard for a wine tasting.

Too bad that most car dealers are closed on Sundays. At least we could look in the windows, even if we couldn’t open the doors.  We then headed to Priam Vineyards in Colchester, skipped the wine tasting and just got a bottle of wine, crackers and cheese. It was too nice of a day to sit inside and do a tasting. We decided to enjoy our food and drink on the patio.

This evening I let the chickens out to range. I think for now we will have to keep the dogs and chickens apart.  However, the chickens do seem to enjoy exploring the yard, and Tucker does enjoy spending the time after the chickens are back in their coop searching out where they have wandered.  I’ll bring Tucker back in sometime before bedtime.

Summer is over…

Will and Ben after their first soccer game - they are on the same team this year which simplifies practice and games.
Will and Ben after their first soccer game – they are on the same team this year which simplifies practice and games.

The summer is over.  The boys had a full week of school, Susanna started her job full-time, furlough is over for me, and the mornings are cool enough to need a light jacket.

I haven’t been posting much on this blog. I haven’t had much time to sit down and reflect on things this week. Nor have I had much time to do anything interesting in the workshop, or around the house. But hopefully things will settle down. We will get used to the schedule with school and with Susanna working.

The boys have started soccer. They are both on a U-11 recreation league in Griswold. Thankfully they are on the same team, which means 1/2 the time spent at soccer this year as opposed to last year. They had their first game of the season yesterday (they lost, but had fun).

We even let the chickens free range yesterday afternoon. Tucker was a bit too interested in the chickens, so I have to work on getting him to ignore the chickens when they are out before we let them spend more than an hour or two free ranging – it is too much work to leash Tucker for a whole afternoon.

I still have a few projects around the house that need to be finished this fall:

  • Run power to the new outlets in Will’s room.
  • Finish replacing door hinges in the kitchen.
  • Add an outlet to the study.
  • Finish the trim on the chicken coop and paint the coop.
  • Clean the workshop (okay, that is an ongoing project).
  • Fill all the holes in the yard that Tucker and Targa have made looking for moles. Maybe I should stop feeding the cats for a few days so they will have incentive to catch the moles.

I am sure there are more, but that list should keep me going for a little bit.

Today the boys go back to their mother’s house as we shift schedules to move into a week-on/week-off schedule with the boys. I plan on working on the chicken coop this morning, and maybe one of the doors in the kitchen. This afternoon we are going to head out and look at cars and maybe a wine tasting.

Where there is trouble…

Tucker on the roof of the chicken coop. He can't get into the run - and it was a bit longer jump down to the ground than Tucker wanted to do.
Tucker on the roof of the chicken coop. He can’t get into the run – and it was a little higher off the ground than Tucker expected.

… usually one can find Tucker.  Today he found his way on to the roof of the chicken coop. I’m not quite sure how he go there, it is a bit of a jump from the driveway wall.  Maybe he jumped on the nesting boxes to get up.

And, yesterday, he pushed his way into the coop while I was building the run for the chickens. He sat in the corner not quite sure what to do – until Susanna and I got him out of the pen.

Tucker finding his way out of the coop.
Tucker finding his way out of the coop.

Refinishing the Living Room Floor

The floors before refinishing.  Yuck!
The floors before refinishing. Yuck!

Susanna and I repaired and repainted the living room walls and ceiling in late 2011. At that time we decided to not do the floors and only finish the project we started. The floors had been bothering Susanna since then.

This summer we discussed hiring someone to refinish the floors, but decided to take a weekend to try the project ourselves.  We picked last weekend to try to finish the project.

We emptied out the room before Friday. I rented the floor sander for Friday and Saturday and started sanding on Friday night. The paint on the floors was more difficult to get off than I had anticipated (and went through more sandpaper than I had planned). Finally we had the floors sanded and ready for the first coat on Saturday night. I put down a coat of sanding sealer (shellac), and a couple of hours later the first coat of Minwax rapid dry floor polyurethane.  On Sunday morning I did a second coat of poly before picking up the boys.

Sanding the floors
Sanding the floors

By Sunday night I could tell that too much dust had settled in the top coat, and it needed to be sanded smooth and a third coat put on the floor. However, the floors weren’t dry enough to sand on Sunday night, so Susanna and the boys hand sanded the dust out of the top coat on Monday. I applied the top coat on the floor Monday night after the boys went to bed.

We let the floors sit until this weekend and then moved the furniture back into the room yesterday. In hindsight we should have waited longer before moving the piano. The weight of the piano left some marks in the new finish – our plan is to sand out those parts and put down more poly  to cover up those parts. I don’t see a problem fixing the mistakes. However, we are waiting for the humidity to drop before putting more poly down.

In addition to refinishing the floor, Susanna bought a new TV stand. We decided that with a new living room and TV stand that it was time to upgrade the TV to something a little more modern than the old beast of a TV we had been using, so we picked up a Samsung Smart TV. Susanna can even watch SVT (Swedish television) directly on it. Of course SVT limits what can be seen outside of Sweden – fixing that is the next step

The nearly finished living room (it is still waiting for some pictures to be hung).
The nearly finished living room (it is still waiting for some pictures to be hung).
Susanna getting ready to sand the floors.
Susanna getting ready to sand the floors.