Category: lakehouse

Tues. Jun. 18, 2024 – starting at the BOL but ending at home

Hot again, with a chance of rain. It was crazy hot in the sun yesterday. I took my time, and went inside to cool down for an hour after working for a while. It was nice when the sun went down. Today should be the same if it doesn’t rain here. Houston had rain, areas around here had rain, but we didn’t get any and might not today either.

I got a late start, but I attacked several of the tree issues. I used a rope saw (chainsaw blade in the middle of two ropes) to cut down the huge dead branch of the tree closest to the house. It’s been worrying me for 2 years. It came down WAY too easy. Spent the rest of the day cutting that up and doing some trimming and cutting in other trees around the house. I got most of the ‘widow makers’ down, but there are couple hanging on, but not over the stairs to the yard.

I used the lawn mower with a trailer to move the logs and branches. Stacked some, burned a lot. Threw about a third of the “dry stuff” burn pile on the fire too. Big pile of coals, and there will be bushels of ash. Maybe I’ll add the ash to the garden plot. Can’t hurt, right?

Today I’ll do my wrap up in the morning and try to be homeward bound by noon or earlier. I’ve got pickups in Houston at 2pm. Wife will work remotely, then head home with the kids when she’s done. Starlink is working out well for her. I’d stay if it wasn’t for the pickups. One of the lots was 500 count of needful things, and several of the lots will be good additions to the BOL.

Chatted with my buddy and he’s continuing to pick and pack the purple hull peas. I think he said we were up to 17 quarts and they still have blooms, so we’ll get more. The experience is eye opening wrt the amount of space a real food garden takes without a lot of tricks. I’ll have to put some more thought into our fall garden. It would be nice to have something grow besides peas. (he loves them)

I think I need to buy some fresher seeds too.

There’s always something, and many of the things have steep learning curves. Hunting, fishing, and gardening are among the steepest, and considering the importance of food, it’s past time to start climbing the curve if you aren’t already on it. Since I suck at all three, I’ll keep stacking food.

Stack some for you and your dependents…

nick

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Mon. Jun. 17, 2024 – at the BOL where there is work to do

Hot again, with a chance of rain. It was hot and clear yesterday, but cooler in the shade with a nice cooling breeze off the lake. We are very fortunate to be on the downwind side of the lake, and the breeze comes into our cove and up the hill past the house. That side is cool in the shade. The other side of the house doesn’t get that breeze and is stifling.

I had a nice breakfast with the family, then got to work. I knocked out a couple of easy and quick things to get started. One was adding a screen to the garage door opening. It’s not a complete seal, but if it blocks 90% of the bugs it’s totally worth it. It attaches with velcro to the bottom of the door, and has straps to the side rails. There is a seam held together with magnets in the middle that works very well.

I unloaded the truck, moved some things around, but I have some more to do today. The youngest child ran the pressure washer most of the afternoon, cleaning the driveway, a rug, and the side patio. She likes it, it’s “so satisfying” to see the dirt blown away. She was in shade for most of the work, and the mist is very cooling. Eldest child was mostly doing cleaning inside but also brushed all the spider webs off the outside of the house.

I spent the late afternoon and early evening running the string trimmer doing all the edging and cleanup that I’ve been in too big of a hurry to do the last three times I cut the lawn. The clean edges make a huge difference in the appearance of the property.

Spent some time floating in the lake to cool down and even did some fishing around dusk. Didn’t catch anything though.

Today my wife will be working remotely using the Starlink, while I do more cleaning and organizing. I think I’ll concentrate on the garage and shed. They may go home tonight, and I might stay until Tuesday morning. Mostly it will depend on if the weather is nice. Wife wants to stay up if it’s nice. The forecast has a chance of rain, but we’ll see. This area is outside the local forecast areas, and the lake and geography means we don’t get the same weather as surrounding towns anyway.

I’ve got a generator carb to clean before I put it away, and lots of tree limb stuff to do if I run out of motivation or parts, or decide to switch it up and work on other parts of the list.

Stacks provided a lovely Father’s Day dinner, kerosene for the lantern, cleaning supplies for the rug, and gas for the pressure washer and trimmer… They’ll help you too. Stack it up…

nick

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Sat. Jun. 15, 2024 – non-prepping hobby, makeup day

Hot and humid. Sunny. Brain broiler. Like yesterday. Nothing much more to say. It is better in the shade with a breeze, and it’s ok at night.

Did a bunch of pickups including a couple I was going to put off to today or grab on Monday, but I’ll be heading to the BOL after my meeting, and I won’t be back on Monday.

Drove about 100 miles yesterday. There are lots of parts of town that still have tree branches and other debris in the streets, in the right of ways, and on medians… They are more “urban” parts and tend to have lots of illegal dumping too, and trash. Dunno what comes first, the trashy conditions, or the city’s delays in pickup. I’m betting it’s a feedback loop though. Picked up some good stuff for the BOL and for home and the kids. (Taylor Swift “Red” on vinyl had them fighting for who got it first…)

Today I’ve got my non-prepping hobby in the morning, then I’m swapping trucks and heading to the BOL. I might hit the Lowe’s on my way to grab a few things. I’m sure I have projects to do if I don’t bring up the supplies for the other projects.

I stopped at my secondary location and grabbed a roll around A/C unit and hoses to try in the garage at the BOL. Grabbed a MrHeater propane 30K BTU heater too. I’ve already got at least 2 at the BOL, but I’m a lot more likely to sell a propane heater up there, and the Natgas heaters down here. Heck, the Tractor Supply store carries them, so I know there is a market. Buy heaters in the summer and coolers in winter…

They’ll got on the stacks up there, tentatively earmarked for sale. And if I need them, they will be there.

Stacks. So comforting.

nick

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Fri. Jun. 14, 2024 – so you wanna run with the big dogs…

Hot and humid, because it’s Houston in the summertime… and it gets hot in the swamp. We had a brief bit of relief with some quick showers yesterday, but it was mainly hot and humid. I decided NOT to do outdoor work, and especially not to do work from the roof of the house.

I should have gotten the pole saws out and cleaned up the damage to the big tree. I want to get the branches onto the pile of stuff the city contractor left behind, so that when that gets picked up, my debris will be too. But. HOT.

Did my kid driving duties in the afternoon, and auction stuff in the morning. Got a second coat of drywall mud on the ceiling repairs. Haven’t seen any more rats, alive or dead. I’m sure they are still up there.

I did win some more bait boxes in the auction. These are “professional style” so maybe they’ll work better. They’ll be novel, and the rats won’t be used to them so maybe it will make a difference.

Today I’ve got one pickup in the afternoon, and might try to get another on the other side of town… There is some lighting for the BOL in that auction, and I’ve decided to go up for the weekend after all. I’ll do my non-prepping hobby on Saturday and then go up, W and the DDs will head up tonight. We’ll stay through Monday so I have an extra day. Father’s Day will happen up there…

It will give me some more time to work up there, and with the extra day, maybe I’ll get some time to just chill and try to catch some fish. That would be nice. Might even get a chance to do some floating in the lake.

W asked what I wanted to do for Father’s Day and I couldn’t think of anything. Doing nothing might be nice.

While I slack off, you should be stacking like your life depends on it. Because it might.

nick

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Mon. Jun. 10, 2024 – it’s probably rats

Hot today. Back in Houston, so back in the swamp. Not many cool breezes wafting around. Of course it was 113F yesterday afternoon according to the thermometer that gets hit by late afternoon sun. Felt like it too.

When I stopped sweating, I drank more electrolyte replacement…

I did get some stuff done despite the heat. It just took longer, and involved more drinking of water with stuff in it.

I got the cell booster back together. I was able to figure out the spectrum analyzer and got the antenna aimed. Pretty much where I aimed it by eye and cell phone originally. I still don’t have LTE which I did have until one of the power outages. Dunno if the problem is me or ATT although I have it a mile away where I get good signal without a booster, so the tower and site is probably ok. I may poke at it more next visit. I’ve got other antennas to try both indoors and out, but I didn’t have the right adapters.

I mowed. I stacked more downed branches. I fixed the chimney “cap” to be better at keeping the rain out. It’s now plywood and black plastic, instead of just black plastic. Wife and D2 put most of the furniture back in the dockhouse. The walls will stay open for a while, but we still need to use the space, especially with guests coming for the 4th.

I didn’t get to the generator maintenance. It was too hot, and by the time I got ladders cleaned up and put away, and all the tools back in the garage, I didn’t have time. I did do a little sorting and putting away, as part of looking for stuff that I needed. Like goes with like…

Which is how I organize the stacks. It works for me, and I can find stuff I haven’t used in years, if I haven’t moved it too much. Cleaning and organizing always has some risks for me as I might remember the old place it lived for years, but forget the new “better” place it’s only been for a few months. Stacks are most useful when you can find the thing you stacked.

Even if you have to look for it, stacks are good.

Today will be finding the cause of the dead rat odor in the house (probably a dead rat) and doing some of the stuff that has been back-burnered by disaster recovery. I’ve got a lot of repair to do, auction stuff, pickups, kid “enrichment” activities, all the usual stuff.

And I feel the need to . . .

Stack!

nick

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Sun. Jun. 9, 2024 – still got stuff to do…

Hot and humid, but less than Houston. Yesterday was clear, sunny, and although it started moderately it got pretty hot by later in the day. Ended up with a nice night.

I got a few things done. I did one last thorough vacuum and then spray down of all the parts of the dockhouse that got flooded. I scrubbed the 2x4s and the floor as well. W mopped and cleaned up all the muddy residue. It dried out pretty quickly with just the disinfection stuff sprayed on surfaces. I’ll still leave the walls open for a few weeks longer to be sure they are really dry.

I added back one electrical outlet, deleted one, and added a dusk to dawn uplight for the flagpole. The light is too bright and too wide, so I’ll have to do some sort of masking, maybe I can just lay a big washer on the top of the spotlight… it lights up the pole, rope, and the trees in the distance. Way too much spill light.

Had a nice dark sky but didn’t see anything too dramatic, I was mostly interested in the radio, with great DX on 20M.

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Today I’ll do maintenance like mowing the lawn, putting the cell booster antenna back up, and general cleanup. I might do another outlet in the dockhouse, if I can find the right box. I am moving all the outlets to about a foot above the high water line. Anything that got wet will be replaced too.

My buddy brought me the first 2 quarts of peas from our garden. There will be a bunch more over the next few weeks. And whatever was eating all my peaches last year has left me a few this year, so I might actually get a peach or two. There are a couple that are almost ripe, and good sized. I might grab them before I leave and ripen them at home. Better than letting them fall…

Next time we’re up will be the 4th of July weekend and we’ll have guests so I will want to leave the place ready for that.

I might get a chance to try the irrigation pump. It was under water, but I’m hoping that since it’s a pump, and rated for exposure, that it might be ok. If not, I’m seeing them in the auctions and I’ll bid a bit more aggressively. I’ve got two spares, but they are both smaller than the current pump, and it was barely getting the job done. I could go bigger, but I really don’t want to go smaller.

When you are providing most of your own infrastructure, and building backups for the rest, there is always more to do.

Of course, there’s always more to do anyway…

like stacking!

nick

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Sat. Jun. 8, 2024 – at the BOL, working… and a bit of relaxing

Hot but not Houston hot, and there is a lake right there… It was hot and sunny in Houston yesterday, but not as hot as I expected. The breeze helped. The BOL had nice weather that my wife enjoyed while working from ‘home’.

I got my truck issues resolved, getting through inspection and smog with the Ranger. Had the third brake light out, and didn’t know it. Had enough miles and start cycles that all but one buffer was good to go, and it passed with that one issue. The Tax office was comfortable in the waiting area, and dealt with my fairly unusual circumstance pretty well. In any case, I’ve got registrations and plates are on the way.

The drive up was uneventful until I was almost here, then the a/c stopped working. We’ll see if that was some sort of temporary issue, or if all the messing around under the hood did something bad to it. I’ll be back at the shop on Monday. Disturbing stuff that has been in place for 20 years often causes issues.

Today I’ve got a variety of work to choose from. Some indoors, some out, some on the main house, some on the dock house. I will get one more disinfection/anti-mold spray down in. The previous ones are working but I’d like one more before we start putting furniture back. I’ll leave the walls open to continue drying though.

There was a lot of dew on the grass, so it might be too wet to mow, we’ll see. I can wait for that until Sunday if need be.

The cell booster antenna needs to go back up, and there are tree limbs that need attention. Still. There is plenty to do…

And my buddy has a birthday on Sunday too. I got him an IFAK and a bag to put it in. I was surprised to learn that he doesn’t have a good first aid kit for gunshots or other trauma. He spends a lot of time hunting and fishing, so I figured I could close that gap. Heck, the life it saves might be my own at some point. You can’t have too many prepared friends.

Stack your network like you stack food.

nick

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Fri. Jun. 7, 2024 – having another go at the truck stuff…

Cool to start but warming to “yep it’s Houston hot”. Probably. It certainly has been the pattern for the last few day, storm front not withstanding. IDK about any fronts today, so I’m going with “pretty much like yesterday.”

And yesterday it did get hot. Started the day with D2 getting contact lenses. She’s going through the whole “touching my eyes is hard” stage. I remember it even if it was 40 something years ago… and the tech looks the same but must be quite different. She’s getting one day disposables with astigmatism correction. Which is a lot of tech in something that small and clear. Civilization is awesome and I’m sure going to miss it. Damn dirty apes.

Then I did a couple of pickups. One thing for the house, a new gas can, and a tactical belt… not much in the way of stuff but I haven’t really been bidding much due to being out of town and in disaster recovery mode.

Today I’m going to try to get all my truck stuff sorted out. I might do an auction pickup too, if it works out. Then I’ll head to the BOL to join the rest of the pack. Wife says last night was beautiful, relatively cool, and clear with a nice sky. I’m hoping for a nice weekend.

We’ll go back up for Independence Day, but that is a crazy busy weekend. This should be nice and relaxing.

Other than the work.

but there is always work, so that’s kinda baseline.

There should be some stacks to look at and organize too. Maybe a portable A/C unit to bring up. I should have grabbed one from my secondary location yesterday when I was disposing of the construction debris… but maybe it will be easier to get one out of the attic here. Yeah, probably a lot easier and hopefully I won’t regret it during the busiest hurricane season EVAH!

You can’t have too much stuff stacked. As long as it is the RIGHT stuff. Do your best to stack useful things.

nick

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Thur. Jun. 6, 2024 – D Day.

Cool to start but warming rapidly to “hot”. Because Texas and summer. And if I’m wrong? Well that’s ok too. It stayed cool all day yesterday, but then it rained buckets too. Low 70s cool, which was very nice.

So I mostly stayed in. I did swap vehicles at the repair shop. Eventually the Expy got smogged and inspected and passed. That’s one out of the way. The Ranger still needs some driving around before smog, so I’ll be driving it today. And probably this weekend to the BOL.

The rest of my day was taken up with driving the kids to their various things. Didn’t get my own stuff done because it broke up my afternoon. Some days are like that. It’s the “stay at home dad” thing, and it means I don’t get to do whatever I want all day. Compromises, I’ll make ’em.

The stacks did pay off with a new turn signal bulb. It saved me a trip to the store yesterday anyway. I’ll try to remember to stop and get new ones when I’m out and about, so I have one when this one fails, or it’s opposite number fails. Doesn’t sound like much, but in a day full of other stuff it saved the trip and about an hour. I’ll put it in the ‘win’ column.

Today will be a couple of pickups, and getting ready to head to the BOL. My non-prepping hobby meeting got moved to next weekend, so we might just head up early and make a long weekend of it. I’m sure there are things for me to do…

And I’m sure there are things for you to do too. I’ve learned the hard way this month that I shouldn’t have procrastinated about the vehicle inspections, renewals, generator maintenance, and auto repairs…

It’s easy to stack, harder to do the stuff needed to stay ready. Pick something you’ve been putting off and do it.

n

(added, and on this anniversary of one of the biggest things humans have ever tried to do, think about history repeating… the horns of war are blowing. Do what you can to be ready.)

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Sun. Jun. 2, 2024 – in the summertime, the livin’s easy…

Hot and humid. Possibility of rain. Possibility of scorching sun. It was nice yesterday at the BOL, with a cool breeze in the shade, and brain boiling heat in the sun… while Houston got some cooling rain.

I did get a bunch of work done at the BOL. Cleaned up almost all the remaining downed branches, cut up logs, and other debris. Now I have 3 burn piles as tall as me… Cleaned up the demo debris from the dockhouse. Reset the A/C in the dockhouse after the power failure. I’m running it 24/7 to help dry out the wood. Mowed the grass. Put most of the patio furniture back after moving it out of the way for the tree guy. Put away all the solar stuff I’d brought to Houston, and did some general cleaning up and putting away.

It was enough to fill the day.

Today I’m home in Houston and will be doing storm recovery stuff. I need to make repairs to our driveway gate, back fence, and some other things. I’ve got to get stuff back where it belongs, and sort some stuff out. I should do something about the rat situation, and my general pile of stuff that needs attention…

After resting and getting a slow start… if it’s hot.

Stacks. I got ’em. You should too.
n

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