Category: lakehouse

Mon. Mar. 27, 2023 – still working on plumbing…

Cool and clear, warmer laterly….  it started clear but turned overcast with a bit of light rain and some scattered showers.   It cleared later, but not clear enough for good observation.

Spent the day doing plumbing.    The dang things fought me all day, culminating in a 2 hour round trip to get 2 adapters.   On the plus side, I drove through some areas that were just carpeted with bluebonnets.  Beautiful.

Decided to push on through when I got home, despite most of the day being gone, but I really wanted to make some progress.  And once I cut the lines, I was committed to getting enough done to get the water back on.   I finally was satisfied it wouldn’t leak all over the place at about 10 pm.   Long day.

Today I’ll finish the plumbing.   If everything goes well, I should be able to decommission all of the old copper before leaving today.   Some of it will be going home with me to the scrapyard.  I made $57 on the last bunch of faucets and copper tube…   There was some steel and aluminum mixed in, but it was mostly plumbing stuff.   I can’t imagine anyone recycling pex in 50 years.

Didn’t do a fire last night, just went to bed. It was so late when I finished that I didn’t have the energy to lay a fire and sit out.   It was hot enough in the attic in my coveralls that I was about worn out…

I did get some of the food I brought up with me stacked.  I have a lot of canned peas for some reason.   I will have to bring something for balance later.   Still, it’s nice to see the cabinets filling up.

Big stacks are good, but some stacks are best.   Do what you can with what you have.



Sun. Mar. 26, 2023 – work then home…

Chilly until the fusion fire warms the air.   54F when I went to bed.  Probably about the same when I get up.  It was clear and gorgeous when I got here yesterday, and I expect the same today.   High of 80F would be nice.

Before I left Houston I loaded the truck.  Since I had room, I decided to move a bunch of stuff I’d stacked at the beginning of the lockdown.  Kinda disappointed by the condition.  Granted stuff was stored in bad conditions, hot, cold, etc. some stuff failed long before it should have.

EVERY can of Hill Country Fair (our HEB grocery cheap house brand) fruit failed dramatically.  EZ pull lids popped.  EVERY CAN.  That is less than 3 years to complete failure.  None of the veg or soup popped.   A couple of flats of cans failed due to rust though.   When the fruit got everything beneath it wet….  FWIW, I have other brands of canned fruit stored under similar conditions and while they often fail early, none has failed so completely in such a short time.   No more HCF fruit in my long term storage.

Also, no more cardboard flats.  While they do help organize, the cardboard holds moisture and leads to rust on the bottom edge of the cans.  It’s ok indoors, in the proverbial cool dark place, but no where else.

There was also some spoilage due to animals.   Something chewed the plastic bottles, and ruined 3 gallons of cooking oil.  It was fine for a couple of years, but I’m guessing once the fruit was everywhere it attracted the possum.  Wasn’t rats because they’d have eaten all the oil too, and left the bottles empty, while these were still half full.

Oh, and in the fridge both bottles of heavy cream from Costco were swollen up and ready to pop even though they were still in their sell by time.  I’ve had issues with their milk this year but the cream  thing is new.  No more milk products from Costco.  Too much dairy has failed early. That joins my boycott of bagged veg from Costco too.  It never lasts as long as it should.

This seems to be my week for bad luck with food.   When I got here, I found the freezer door on the garage fridge ever so slightly ajar.   Everything was still firm, and had frost on it, but I’ll be cooking it all when I get home.   Since I was up here last week, it basically slowly thawed until today.  Glad I caught it in time.

Today will be attic work to connect the last sink and shower.   If I have time, I will also connect at least one hose bib.  I’m pretty sure we’re past risk of a deep and prolonged freeze.

Check your stacks people.   I let some things go, and lost extra stuff I shouldn’t have.  Also rotate your stored food.   It’s hard if you store more than you eat, and I know that and accept that I’ll have losses, but it’s still worth trying to rotate as much as possible.

Stack it up.  But monitor it too.



Sat. Mar. 25, 2023 – I will be doing plumbing later… but first…

Hot and humid.   Clear though.   We did have threatening clouds several times during the day yesterday.   The daystar was sometimes hidden, sometimes just contributing to the unpleasantness.

I did most of my errands.   Got most of my stuff ready.   Still have a few things to gather, then it’s load up and go.   Won’t be too early though.  I’ll sleep for a while.   Better in my bed than behind the wheel.

The thought of doing the drive in the dark yesterday was just too much.   Wouldn’t be prudent.

However, because of that,  I’ll be a bit behind the eight ball for the rest of the weekend.

That plumbing isn’t going to finish itself, and it NEEDS to be finished.   It’s a minor miracle we haven’t had a flood yet (touch wood).

So I’ll leave current events to all y’all for a bit.

And I’ll be taking more stuff to stack.


Fri. Mar. 24, 2023 – waddayaknow…. it’s Friday again.

Probably clear, probably warm.   Certainly damp if not wet.   We are solidly in the ‘rain’ zone on the national map, but then we were for Thursday on Tuesday’s map and it didn’t happen that way.  Thursday was overcast, then sunny, then scattered rain… I got a few minutes of mist on my way home after a mostly nice day.  It was 77F at midnight.

Took my trash to the dumpster.   Did my pickup.   Failed to meet a friend for some thrifting.  Maybe today.   Went by the reStore to get a sample of the floor tile my wife thought might work for the bathrooms at the BOL, but they had sold out.   Gotta buy it when you see it.   Something else will come along.

I’m hoping to deliver another freezer, and get it out  of my storage unit.   That will make it easier to sort for upcoming auctions, and maybe finally let me condense one unit down into another.  One can always hope… and I think my buddy will take  a toilet off my hands.   That won’t make me as much money as I’d planned, but it will get the stuff out of storage.

Today I’ve got all my normal stuff, and I need to get loaded up for a weekend working at the BOL.   Girls have a scouting weekend, so I can get up there by myself and turn off the water for long enough to get my remaining plumbing done.   I think I’ll move a bunch of gas, propane, and food on this trip too.   I should have space in the truck as I don’t have any large stuff going up this trip.  Who knows what might change  though.

I better get moving on stuff, or I’ll end up sitting here most of the day.

Stack something, even just baby steps.


Sun. Mar. 19, 2023 – Headed back home, stuff to do there too

Cold this morning.   40F or less.   It stayed cold all day yesterday and the sun only poked through for a short time in the afternoon.  Whatever today ends up being, if it doesn’t rain, I’ll be happy.

Got some small stuff done.  Finished weed-wacking my property and the HOA lot.   Picked up trash along the shore and the community dock.  I hate litter and it doesn’t take long.   Put up another flag pole holder.   Lot of visible patriotism up here.  It’s nice to see.

Helped stand up a 50ft antenna tower and learned a few new things.

Our guests had headed home while I was out, but they had a good time.   It was nice to have people here to share with, and nice to see D2 having fun with a friend.   If it was just a bit warmer, it would have been even better.   Can’t control the weather, I’m not a Bildeburg after all… 😉

Today will be wrapping up everything, getting ready to head home.   If I can cut the grass again, I will.    Some of it was so long it basically got flattened rather than cut.   I don’t want to leave it long for next visit.   There are a couple more smaller projects I can get knocked out too if I’m motivated.

I will say that cold HURTS.   My fingers, knees, nose, ears, and lower back are always sore in the cold.   Still as Kurt Cobain said, the pain lets us know we’re alive.   This weekend I was ALIVE.

Stack up some meatspace people and skills.   Build relationships while people are still open to them.  They won’t be if things get bad, and who you know, and who knows YOU will be very important.



Sat. Mar. 18, 2023 – meatspace baby

Cool, but clear.   Damp, well that’s a given.  Cleared up yesterday and dried out a bit.  I was able to do some work in the sun in shirtsleeves, but it got chilly when the sun went down.

While it was up though, I got some work done.   Got the remainder of the grass mowed.   Got the loose deck boards screwed down on the dock.    Installed white and red rope lights around the edge of the dock.   Put them between the slats on the benches.   Standing, you see them and they mark the edge of the bench and the dock, seated, you only see the glow cast under the benches, but it’s enough to move around, and know where the edges are.   The red is specifically for any astronomy nights.

Spent some time repairing two of my patio heaters.   They wouldn’t stay lit, which suggested thermocouple issues.   Cleaning with a fine sandpaper is usually enough, and that worked on one unit.    The other turned out that the t-couple nut was loose.  Tightened that and it worked fine.   Just in time to provide some much needed heat for movie night.

Found a few minutes to sight in the finder scope on my wife’s 8″ dob.  Unfortunately last night was overcast.   Maybe tonight it will clear up.

Couldn’t do the annual service on my mower because I still haven’t brought a complete tool kit up here.   I needed a socket driver extension to get to the wheel and oil drain bolts.  Oh well, next time.

I finished my mowing anyway, and then did the HOA lot next door.  Part of the community, solid citizen, all around good guy, that’s me.

Speaking of which, I’ll be headed to a not quite a neighbor’s house on the lake this afternoon to help with an antenna tower raising.   More meatspace, more networking.  More finding my place.

Go forth and help someone.  Stack up some community.  We’re all gonna need friends, come the day.


Fri. Mar. 17, 2023 – Happy Feast of St Patrick, and TGIF

No idea what today’s weather will be like, but it’s supposed to be clearing to a nice day.  Yesterday was overcast until it started misty drizzle followed by eventual downpour.

Spent the day messing around.  Got some small stuff done, or at least under way.   Not my most productive day, but small steps are still steps.

Today we have D2’s friend and her mother joining us for a couple of days.   Place looks pretty good for being a work site…

I hope we get some clearing and sun though, that will make it all easier.

The rest of you, stay away from amateur drinkers…and the roads they drive on.

And stack something.


Thur. Mar. 16, 2023 – two is one, and one is none…

Cool, possibly cold, and rain in the forecast.  Yesterday sure got nice once the sun heated up the day.   I was in shirtsleeves for most of the day.

We are supposed to get really cold, maybe freezing and possibly get rain later today.   Didn’t look like it was coming when I went to bed.  We’ll see later, I guess.

Spent the day doing stuff.   And stopping because of failures.

First challenge o the day was my wife working from here.   Cell as hotspot, VPN, applications running on back end servers in the office, and a lot of latency.   Not a good combination.   Lazy programmers, assuming everyone is on a fast connection, erroring out if something takes too long….  not a pleasant day.   The real problem was laptop battery life though.

It’s good.   So good she doesn’t think about it most of the time.   So when she got the low battery alert and went to connect the power brick… and didn’t have the AC cord, it was suddenly an issue.   I’ve got cords up here.   I’ve got cords in my other truck.  I’ve got BOXES of cords at home.    I didn’t have the one that looks like mickey mouse here though.    She ended up going into town to try to find a cord.   Walmart SAID yes, but was wrong.   Dollar Store, everywhere else, no dice.   Last chance, and why not, the pawn shop had one.   She paid $15 but didn’t have to drive a couple hours round trip to get one.   It is DIFFERENT up here in the country.

My day was similar.   I decided that knee high weeds instead of lawn wouldn’t do, so I got the mower charged up and started cutting.    I didn’t do my annual maintenance first, thinking I would bang the snot out of it one last time, then start my season with new stuff.    Well….    While I was waiting for the battery to charge, I got out my string trimmer and started clearing edges and flower beds.   Ran out of string.   Since I didn’t have a gas string trimmer here, I took the string home to use with the trimmer there….   and brought that trimmer up but didn’t bring any string.   GAHHH.

However, I have a trimmer here, new in the box, not even assembled yet.   It probably came with string… so I took the time to set that up.   Called my wife and had her get some string while she was at Walmart.   Used the new trimmer until it’s string ran out.   Started the mower up and SLOWLY began cutting grass like plants.   Tall and tough plants.   I ended up cutting only a 1/4 of the width of the deck on each pass.   More would bog the mower down.   It took a long time to make progress but I was about 85% done when the drive belt for the mower deck failed.

No more mowing for me.   A belt was not one of the maintenance items I bought for the annual.    (It will be next year.)   Wife came home with some line, and I went back to work.   It only fit the old trimmer head.   Which was fine until I dropped the trimmer and broke the gas tank…   OK, switch the head to the new trimmer motor and get back to work.  At least until I ran out of string again, because my wife bought a whole lot less than I hoped and asked for.

So switch gears again.   Put the blower attachment on the new trimmer engine and cleaned up where I could.  Until I ran  out of 40:1 premix fuel…

That’s a whole lotta gum flappin’, but it shows the value of having two (the trimmers) and the pain of only having one (the drive belt.)   And the value of a simple cord when you need it but don’t have it…

Hopefully, either my fisherman buddy or one of the stores in town will have a belt to get me back up and mowing.   I’ll probably end up going in to town in any case to get fuel and string for the trimmer.   If they have the belt, I’ll buy it and return my buddy’s (assuming his spare will fit my mower.)

None of this stuff is critical, but it could have been.   Have spares.   Have maintenance items BEFORE you need them.   Have duplicates of critical equipment.   Barring that, have good contacts and local help.    There might be someone up here that has the power cord my wife needed, but I didn’t even think to ask until afterwards.   One of the neighbors who is a full timer has a sign business, and probably has computers and a junk box of cords.  Next time, I’ll ask him if we need something similar…

Stacks.   You need them, even if you don’t think you do.



ps.   Wife was able to D/L and use a phone app for access to the database for work, without the latency of the pc connected to the hotspot connected to the nearest cell site…not ideal, but she can work with it.

Wed. Mar. 15, 2023 – groundskeeping… or gas powered slaughter, chlorophyll edition

Cool and dry, a bit windy.   Probably.   Houston was nice, with patchy overcast.   The BOL was sunny and patchy clouds with occasional local showers.   And chilly.   55F by the water last night.

Got the truck loaded, and made it to the BOL.  Met some people in the community (local ham club) where my feeling that everyone here knows everyone else was reinforced 10x…   The LEO knew which house we own as soon as someone said “Bob Johnson’s house”… and the lady sitting next to me has kin on my street.    The guy I’m going to help with his tower lives on the other side of the lake, near where we first were looking for a place.   If we were British the phrase “Are you local?”  would be heard…  and if things go badly I’m sure I’ll hear “y’all ain’t from around here  are you?”

As long as we can fit in, it will all be good.

Gonna work really hard on that.

And stack some stuff.   Lots of stuff.






Tues. Mar. 14, 2023 – 03-14-23 – Pi day! Also, a friend of mine’s birthday, but that’s just coincidental

Cool and relatively dry.   It stayed pretty cool yesterday too.  Great weather for the Carnival at the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo.   Today should be nice too.

My AAR for the rodeo  (as it’s known here) is in the comments last night.  Nothing like the other time with the arrest and all that…. just a nice day out.

I also did some pickup and packing before we went, but I’ve got some more to do today.   Then I’m heading to the BOL for a while.   Wife may or may not follow right away, she’s got some work stuff that popped up.

I’ve got a list to get from Lowe’s before I can leave and some stuff to drop off at my auctioneer if I can fit it in this morning.   And stuff to gather and pack beyond what I’ve already gotten together.   Never enough time to do everything…

So it’ll be short shrift today.   Hope the economy holds together for a while yet.   I’ve got stuff to do and having spending money to do it would be nice.   Western civilization was nice while it lasted.

Lynn asked if a run on the grocery stores was next.   Yes.  Yes I think so.   If people are worried, they’ll run out like a storm is coming, and there will be shortages again/still.

But everyone here already has stacks right?   Top them off, start some, or whistle Dixie, but don’t let denial catch you short.

What can it hurt to have a bit extra put by?   Stack it up.


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