Last night we discussed not going to breakfast this morning and that was sufficient to give us permission to sleep in. We got up at 7:30 AM, too late to make it to South Lyon by 8, so I made coffee while Linda cooked oatmeal with nuts and dried fruits.
There was a hawk on the ground just behind our house. It took flight but stayed in the area dancing with a crow. In spite of seeing it repeatedly–on the ground, perched in a tree, and in flight–we could not identify it other than to be fairly certain it was not a red-tailed hawk. Red-tailed hawks are the most commonly seen raptor around here but they are very distinctive due to their red tails.
I checked the bus and the temperature was 54 degrees F, too cool for wallpapering. I had left two electric heaters on last night but obviously did not set the thermostats high enough. The refrigerator freezer compartment was 24 degrees, which is way too high, and has me concerned that something has broken, perhaps as a result of driving on our very bad roads. I settled in to enjoy my coffee (as best I could) and await the arrival of Philip Jarrell from Precision Grading.
Phil showed up at 8:35 AM. The fact that he was probably starting work on our French drain and driveway extension project this morning was the main reason we decided not to go to our weekly ham radio club breakfast. I left Phil alone long enough to get his equipment unloaded and then went out to chat with him briefly. He had already communicated with me by phone during the week about what he wanted to accomplish today, and where he needed to start the work, but I always like to be on site when a contractor arrives and double check these things. That is especially true when they have big equipment that can move a lot of earth in a short time.
Phil was using his smaller backhoe to dig up tree stumps and pull debris out of the woods along the area where the pull-through driveway extension will run. He also pulled out concrete blocks, pipes, and other building debris that has been thrown there over many years. I did not, however, have him pull out the two piles of bricks as I presume they are the same as the ones on the house and we might want to keep them for future repairs.
I needed to get the air-ride seat base back to Chuck this morning so I put it in the car and drove to his shop in Novi. He was just pulling his stacker trailer out of the shop with his forklift when I arrived. After he finished getting it out and positioning it I gave him the air-ride base and he put it in the trailer through the side door. We chatted briefly about moving the two remaining windshields, during which time Barbara showed up, so I left them to their chores and headed home.
Back at the house we decided not to try hanging wallpaper today. The temperature was in the low 50’s and it was drizzling lightly and intermittently. Not wanting to waste the day we decided to straighten up the temporary workshop we have set up in the garage. We had just started that when we got a call from our son and he put his daughter on the phone. Madeline wanted to come visit her grandparents which we were all too happy to oblige. A return call pinned down the day/time as tomorrow morning. I helped Linda load the recyclables into her car and she took them to Recycle Livingston. She stopped at the Meijer’s in Howell on the way home to pick up ingredients for a fruit salad for tomorrow’s visit.
Part of the reason for cleaning up the garage/shop was that when I went to pull out the tub with all of our wallpapering tools I could not find it even though we both remembered recently seeing the tools somewhere. The more we looked the more it seemed that “recently” was either a long time ago or a product of our collective imaginations. We still have a lot of stuff in boxes from our move 2-1/2 years ago and we have boxes stored behind boxes in the garage making it difficult to get to many of them.
We worked steadily except for a lunch break and a couple of quick chats with Phil. Lunch was a half sandwich of hummus and onions on rye with leftover potato salad and collard greens Cole slaw.
Phil was working by the culvert that goes under the road and had dug away the earth in front of it. I got down and looked in; it was completely clogged. Phil said he knew a company in Walled Lake that could open it and clean it out using a hydro-jet system and agreed to give them a call on Monday. He was setting up his laser level to shoot the grade and mark the route for the French drain when I went back inside.We did not get the garage completely cleaned and organized but by mid-afternoon it was a lot better than when we started. I eventually spotted the dark gray tray that we have used in the distant past for wetting pre-pasted wallpaper. It was on top of some upper cabinets, not down on a shelf where we had been looking. Inside were all of our wallpapering tools except for a long edge that we used for guiding the razor knife when trimming corners. The smoothing tool was falling apart and completely useless so we threw it away. We will need to pick up a few new tools when we buy the wallpaper paste.
Linda made some hot tea and settled in to work on her counted cross-stitch project while I worked on my iPad. I eventually went back to the garage to see if I could find my small gasoline powered chain saw. Fortunately, it was where I remembered last seeing it. We have a dead tree that needs to be cut down before it also falls across the road and several trees that are already down and need to be cut into small enough pieces so that Phil can use his front loader to move them to his dump truck.
As long as Phil is hauling wood debris off of the site we might as well take advantage of his willingness to take whatever will fit in his truck. The alternative is for us to haul it to the fire pit with our (currently non-functioning) lawn tractor and burn it. Unfortunately I could not find the small red plastic gasoline container that I use for gasoline mixed 40:1 with 2-cycle oil for use in small, air-cooled 2-stroke engines such as the chain saw. I also could not find our Ryobi multipurpose trimmer/saw and figured I had lent all of this to one of our children, probably our son.
Our 13″ McCullough chain saw has not seen regular use over the years but has always been willing to run when needed and proven to be very handy. It’s a nice size for cutting down small trees and de-limbing larger ones. In order to use it I needed a small gasoline container. I would normally go to Lowe’s in Howell but much of the drive is on dirt roads. It had been drizzling all day and the dirt roads were sloppy so I went to The Home Depot in Brighton. The entire route is paved except the first/last mile from/to our house.
THD had quarts of pre-mixed gasoline and oil in 40:1 and 50:1 ratios. Although expensive compared to the cost of gasoline at a filling station, I did not have to buy a new container, a bottle of oil, stop at the filling station on the way home, deal with mixing everything in the correct ratio, add Stabil fuel stabilizer to the container, and then remember what was in the container or label it. Sometimes the price of convenience is a price worth paying.
When I got home I added the fuel to the tank of the chain saw and set all of the controls according to the starting directions. I figured it would take a few pulls of the handle, perhaps quite a few, to get it to start but I did not expect the engine to be locked up. On a couple of tries I got the crank to turn slightly but mostly it would not budge. I have no idea what is wrong with it but I suspect that something is rusted or bent. Whatever the case I have no intention of taking the time to try to disassemble it to find out.
Dinner was salad and leftover pizza with a small glass of wine. I went to Lowe’s after dinner and bought a new chain saw. Lowe’s sells at least five different brands of chain saws but they feature Husqvarna. I bought a Poulan Pro 18″ model figuring the longer chain bar would be useful for cutting down and/or cutting up slightly larger trees. I got it for 1/2 to 2/3 of the comparable Husqvarna models.
Poulan is Husqvarna’s less expensive product line and it seemed good enough for the occasional use it will get. We have too many trees on our property to be without a functioning chain saw, however, and Phil will be done cleaning and hauling timber at the end of his next day here. I will probably take the little McCullough somewhere to see if it can be repaired but that may not be until next spring. Even if I took it someplace on Monday I would not have it back in time, assuming it can even be repaired.
Back home I turned on the natural gas fireplace and we relaxed in the living room reading, writing, and playing games on our iPads. With the new iOS 9 Apple changed the Game Center so the login screen pops up every time you open any game. It is REALLY annoying and apparently we are not alone in that view. Linda was checking online to see if there was a way to disable it and saw a lot of chatter on the subject, none of it positive (but no way to disable the “feature”). She did find something that said it should stop popping up for any game where you have clicked “Cancel” three times in a row but she has canceled the login more times than that yet is still getting the screen. Interestingly, the login screen has stopped popping up on my iPad. The only difference between them is that I used mine the other day while waiting at Discount Tire without any connection to the Internet. Maybe that confused it.
We turned in just before 10 PM hoping to watch a little television but did not find much on that interested us even on PBS. We searched through the channels and happened on a program titled “If You Build It” (on one of the three PBS affiliates we can pick up) about project-based learning. It was interesting.