Thursday, March 04, 2004

Old paint peeling...

...the rats are squealing, the well's gone dry as a bone.
(Mike Cross)

OK, there's no rats and no well here...

Nothing fancy going on lately. Built a 2'x 4'x 2' covered pen (the "back porch") on the brooder house so the chicks can have their first look at the big wide world, and so the hound can have her first good look at the chicks. None of them quite seem to know what to make of these new revelations just yet.

Made the first steps into what will be a massive job: painting the house exterior. It's funny how even when 75% of the old paint flakes off if you look at it cross-eyed, the remaining 25% still requires a heat gun and weeks of elbow grease to remove it. If I were gonna do it in true hillbilly style I'd just give it a pressure wash (filling the walls up with water no doubt) and then power spray right over all the old alligatored paint. The philosphy of hillbilly engineering is "Why do it right the first time when you can do a half assed job and then spend the rest of yer life fucking around with it every few weeks?" But for better or for worse, that's not my style. Or my stigma.

A prime example of hillbilly engineering:

This house had no bathroom when it was first built (in 1886) of course. Sometime during the mid 20th century when it got indoor plumbing and a bathroom, they decided that the best place for the bathroom was right in the middle of the house, practically just inside the front door and at the base of the stairs to the second floor. So they cobbled together a bathroom from sink toilet and tub that were intended for mobile home use (i.e. tiny). They never properly caulked or sealed the shower surround, so it evidently was a mass of leaks. Of course, eventually, the floor rots. So they put a new floor on it... without bothering to fix the leaky shower. This new floor rots out quickly enough, and by then the joists are also rotten and sagging, which makes room for them to put down a third floor, on top of the two previous ones. Still the leaks were never fixed, cycle repeats...

When I bought the house none of the existing plumbing was in working order nor was there any water supply system to connect it to anyway, so I began my plumbing job by ripping out the old bathroom. And discovered the geological strata of rotted floors, each layed down on top of the others over the eons:

Linoleum (Pleistocene)
Particle board (Pliocene)
Linoleum (Triassic)
Particle board (Jurassic)
Linoleum (Cretaceous)
Plywood (Cambrian)

And finally, the Precambrian foundation floor:
3/4" Tongue and grove oak
1" Tulip Poplar planking
2x10 Poplar joists

All crumbling, not enough strength in the whole assemblage to support my weight. There was little left for me to do but rip out that whole section of floor down to the dirt and rebuild it from the ground up. So this I did, new joists, new subloor, and (someday soon) new oak. All the while thinking to myself "Why didn't they just fix the DAMN LEAKS???"

The congregations of frogs began singing a couple of weeks ago and the nightly roar from the pond has reached full development. Species list of frogs:

Spring peeper (thousands!)
Copes Gray Treefrog
Western Chorus Frog
Southern Leopard Frog

Finally spotted one of the local bobcats running across the road yesterday afternoon. Bobcat's aren't rare around here but they are damn hard to lay eyes on.

And the first native wildflower of the season sprang into bloom today: Spring Beauty (Claytonia virginica).


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