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Monday, April 23, 2007

Finally Getting Things Done

This weekend I finally got a few things accomplished around here. I have started clearing out the worst of the bedrooms where I just piled stuff during the move. A lot of it is junk that needs to leave. More of it is stuff that goes out in the shed, but was moved here before the sheds were here. I put some things in the give away pile, some things in the trash pile, and moved a load of stuff to the shed.

When I finally got gas for the yard tractor and installed the hopefully charged battery back into it, the battery was still dead. I did manage to go get a new battery and got about half of the yard mowed. I was going to call it good, since the other parts needed to be cleared of downed limbs and trash and/or I needed to have my bee suit on to mow near the hives. After the sun started going down and it cooled off some I ended up going out and cleaning up large parts of the rest of the yard so I can mow more tonight. I figure this first time over everything will take at least a week of working on it evenings. There will be lots and lots of weedwhacking, too. When I pulled the tractor out of the shed on the ramps, the end supports bent under the weight of the tractor, just as my parents had said they would. I have no idea how Howard and Nancye got the tractor into the shed without bending them. I had originally planned to use some of the concrete blocks I have strewn around here as supports, but was lazy. I pulled the tractor up near the house when I was finished mowing and just hoped that it wouldn't rain before I got energy to figure out what to do to get it back into the shed. When I was clearing the yard later it was breezy like it was going to rain soon. I decided to go ahead and carry a couple of blocks down to the shed, and tried the ramps on them. It fit exactly as I had hoped it would. I was able to straighten the bent supports (no wonder they didn't take the weight of the tractor). I then as able to get the tractor stowed properly. Both times I've driven on the ramps I've been driving forward. Again, I don't know how Howard got it backed into the shed. The next time I use the tractor it will be exciting to have to back down those skinny ramps. Luckily the vertical drop is about 6" so even if I drop the tractor off the ramps it shouldn't break much (I hope).

I also finally started the remodel in the master bedroom. I took the trim off from around the door next to the hole in the wall. I measure to see what I need. I think that week after this will be remodel time. This week is yard work, and this next weekend is my time to go back to N GA and try that approach trail to Springer Mt. again. Sometime this week I'll get the supplies I need, such as a sheet of drywall and a new drywall saw and, oh, some drywall nails... better make a list I guess.

I went to REI and met a woman who works there who hiked the AT last year. I came home and found her journal. Her trail name is Red Dane. She had some good suggestions. I was looking at packs since when I finally buy another one I want to make sure it is the one I want. She talked to me awhile, then suggested I get a different sleeping bag first, since the bulkiness of my current down bag is what makes the pack I just bought too small. She recommended 2 different ones, one of which will be on sale next month and the other is already under $200. Since I was figuring $400-$600 for a new down bag, this puts it in the ballpark. As she said, I could do other things to stay warm for the few weeks it is truly cold while I'm on the trail. I'm pondering her advice... I went to get some trail runner hiking shoes that I had tried on last time I was there. The ones I wanted are $85. But, at this point the shoes are my weakest point. I found some others on the clearance rack for $44. Not quite as nice, but should do fine until I'm doing really high mileage. I'll test that theory next weekend.

Between getting the yard mowed, clearing out some of the clutter, and finally taking the recycling, I'm feeling better in general about progress around here. And, the bees are doing well, too. I hope I can keep up the good progress.

Monday, April 16, 2007

To Bee

I checked my bees this evening. I wasn't going to, I had laid down to nap, which usually means I'm in the house for the night. But, it was early and I kept thinking that if I'd screwed up the queen cages like I thought I had, it was soon enough that I could save them if necessary. So, out I went. Both queens were out of the cages like they should be. One hive is doing truly amazingly well. They already have some honey, some new wax, and they had gone through the entire jar of sugar water. The other hive is doing ok. There were still some bees in the wire box. I thought that maybe they were dead, but saw some movement. I shook about half of them out into the hive, but there were a lot of bees clinging to the wire outside of the box as well as still a lot of bees in the box. So, I put it up in the feeder area which is still inside the confines of the hive. That hive had only gone through about half the jar of sugar water. Not sure why so many of the bees are so lethargic. I'll check them in a few day to see how they are doing. At least the queen was active, so even if a large number of the bees are gonners hopefully she can replentish the hive quickly enough to keep it going.

That is pretty much all I accomplished. I did stop and get some Science Diet food for both the dog and the cat. I have always used Iams. I have noticed the past 6 months or so that neither pet has had the nice slick coats and such that the premium food that Iams used to be gave them. The pet food recall just pushed me into a decision that I had been considering for awhile. Both of them immediately chowed down on the new food. I got small bags to see if they liked it, so I guess I'll go back and get the large bags of food now.

I did also go to the dollar tree store and got 4 plastic drop cloths to use in the master bedroom when I start sanding. Looking at the wall in there that is shared with the bathroom, the hole that is punched through it is the only damage on that wall. I think I'll concentrate on just that wall to begin with. As for the bathroom, I may put some kind of cabinet in the wall where the hole is on that side. I really don't want to get into remodeling that room yet.

Tomorrow evening, and most of the rest of the week if the weather holds, will be yard work. Gotta get the yard tractor running. I have the battery in the house here, just need to hook the charger up, and then go get gas for the tractor. That is tomorrow's plan.

My infected gum is responding to the mega doses of vitamin C. I kept an eye on it, and never have had a fever or much pain at all. If I had either of those I would have gone wherever I needed to for some antibiotics. As it is, the swelling is almost gone. I am thankful, since my dentist appointment isn't for a few weeks yet.

Daily Progress

Under the heading of working on the house:

I moved my air mattress and some furniture into the office and slept there last night. I cleaned out the master bedroom and am ready to start the tear down in there.

I finally folded up Mom's now defunct air bed (leaks badly now) and moved some furniture into that area of the Great Room. I'm opening up some visual space in my living areas so maybe I won't feel like I'm such a refugee here.

On tap for tonight:

Check and top up the feed on the bees, and pull the frame off the door between the master bedroom and master bath. Maybe do a bit a yard work if the weather cooperates. Small steps leading into the larger projects.

I also need to decide if I'm going to to go over to N. GA and hike the approach trail this weekend or put it off. I'm thinking put it off a bit due to money.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Not A Good Week

Well, I said that if I wasn't posting daily on what I've done to progress towards my hike it was because I didn't feel good about it. That has been true. I haven't done anything directly to get ready, and not much indirectly. It has been a bad week, with setbacks financial, and health wise. Nothing I can't get trough. Just enough to make me feel like I'm barely treading water.

I did get my 2 packages of bees, and installed them yesterday. I didn't do it perfectly, and I worry that some things I did incorrectly will impact the survival of the bees. However, today has turned cold and rainy and I can't really go out and open up the hives. Hopefully tomorrow evening after work I can get in and check them.

One good thing, I think, is that while I was outside 2 of the neighbor kids came by, and I got into a conversation with them. I gave them a mini instructional lecture on the bees, and gave them some warnings about what not to do around them, such as don't walk in front of the hives, always behind, and don't come walking over to me if I'm working them with my bee suit on. I was able to show them the packages of bees, and an open hive. Any positive interaction with the neighbors is a good thing.

I have decided to change the order of the remodeling again. I haven't really done anything except clean a lot in the office to get ready to remodel it. I need better organization in my daily life around here. So, I'm moving into the office with my bedroom stuff. I will actually start (really) the remodel on the master bedroom/bath, which is the part of the house that needs the most work. The good part of starting there is that pretty much anything I do in there will be an improvement. I have most of the stuff cleared out of there already, and should have it emptied by the end of today. I'm feeling a need to have this house where I can sell it if I get too disgusted with my current situation.

I am making progress. Not on any layers that show yet. That is frustrating. I also feel like I'm being relegated to the social equivalent of 3rd world, sort of pathetic and not really with people on an equal basis. From Dan coming over one day and working my bees without bothering to tell me till afterwards, even though I'd said that I was going to do the things that needed to be done, to other things that have happened, I feel that others don't give me much respect as a person or a friend. I'm working on myself, and part of it is not relying on what others think of me as the defining element of my own feelings. I have processes in place to take care of a lot of the surface things that cause people to look down on me. As for the rest, well, I am who I am, and I'm ok with that. If other aren't, so what.

Friday, April 06, 2007

What Have I Done

What have I done towards my hike lately?

Wednesday: finally finished all the seam sealing on my tent (I thought)

Thursday: tried my idea to attach the very lightweight waterproof layer to the bottom of my tent. It didn't work. Basically, I got the Gossamer Gear polycryo ground cloth, which is kinda like heavy Saran Wrap. It was impossible for me to put it on the ground and have it stay there long enough to set the tent up on to of it on a windy day last weekend, so I started thinking about ways to attach it to the tent. As a proof of concept I wanted it to be very non-permanent for now, and thought of using packing tape. Great. Except that packing tape doesn't stick to sil-nylon for some reason. Back to square one. Also, I remembered that I needed to seal the small hole I punched in the beak of the tent with my hiking pole when I didn't watch where the tip was while setting it up. Lesson learned on that, and the small hole is now sealed with the seam sealing stuff.

This update stuff is working. I actually got up out of bed and did the stuff last night so that I had something to report. Didn't take that long, but is a big step in the process. I can stuff the tent again tonight for the first time in a couple of weeks (that's how long it took me to finish the seam sealing).

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

New Mantra

Looking at how much has to get done in the next less than 3 years if I want to hike the AT, I have a new mantra: What have I done towards my hike TODAY? I should post it each day here, even if I don't post anything else. If I don't, it will be because I'm not feeling good about my progress. Things that count include anything done to actively get into better physical condition, any hiking (duh), any gathering of gear, any techniques learned, anything done towards the house remodel since that has to be finished one way or another before I can leave, anything done towards getting a better paying job since I need money to go off and hike for six months. What doesn't count? Basic maintenance stuff like dishes, laundry, yard work other than long term improvements. Getting rid of things counts, since I need to eliminate large chunks of stuff no matter what I end up doing. So, on with it...

What have I done towards my hike today? I went out to Beaman after work today and hiked for 2 hours. I remembered my hiking poles, and water this time. I worked on pacing my steps and various ways of using my hiking poles. I like the new hiking poles, and they seem to work like they are supposed to.

At some point I want to do an evaluation of all the stuff I've bought recently to list what is working, what might work, and what hasn't worked at all.