The Mystery of the Disappearing Week

It feels as though this past week slipped through my fingers with very little to show for it. I don’t think I frittered it away, but it’s gone without a trace nonetheless. I wish I could explain that. Ah well.

Here are some quick updates for those tracking items from past posts:

  • The givers of the lovely fruit basket have come forward. Apparently there was supposed to be an attribution on it, but for reasons unknown that didn’t happen. Thank you Dennis and Joan! One other person did offer to take credit for it if no one else stepped up, but thankfully that wasn’t needed.
  • The roof is still done. And of course now that we have a new roof there is no rain in the forecast.
  • The chimney flashing and other related work is scheduled to start on Saturday (yes, really) September 12th.
  • The garage door company is scheduled to be here on Wednesday to take measurements and look the job over to make sure it is even possible.

In the realm of projects I am personally working on, the old, rotten fence in the back yard has been removed. In the process some rather serious dry rot in the neighbour’s retaining wall came to light:

I’ve let them know, and I am sure there will be a visit soon to evaluate and see what (if anything) is to be done. We might be able to repair it in place, or we might leave it alone. But a bigger job — like replacing the wood with something inorganic— is probably not in the cards. Given the location and my understanding of what is in their back yard, even if this section failed completely the implications wouldn’t be particularly severe. That’s a really big cedar tree right in front of the rotting section, so not much is going to move in even the worst case.

It’s not clear what caused the rot. That is pressure treated wood, and only in one area did it fail. The rest of the wall — even where it was equally damp and shaded— seems fine. My guess is that there was (or possibly still is) something on their side of the fence that dumped a lot of water into that area for a long time. Maybe a sprinkler or a pool pipe leak of some kind. Right now it looks completely dry, as if the original problem was resolved a long time ago.

In other news, we’re redoing the water feature. It had several issues. First, there were minor leaks, depending on where and how we directed the water in at the top. Second, the people who put it in used all kinds of sharp edged things beneath the liner, which is really dumb. (Ceramic tile bits? Really? What were you thinking?) And third, it was too close to the back fence. The dogs need a path back there, and the running water in combination with all the vegetation left them little room to get by.

So a rework is in process. The plan is to shorten it a bit, put down a new liner, protect that new liner more carefully than was previously done, and redo the hose line from the pump to the top so it is out of sight and inoffensive. Mostly this is Anne’s job. I helped start moving some of the rocks out of the way and she’s done the rest. I am also responsible for reworking the hose so it disappears.

Here are a few photos of the demolition so far:

There really is no explaining the mystery of what we were finding in there. The previous owners had stapled the liner to some wooden boards in one area, for example. There was, as mentioned above, sharp stuff like broken bits of ceramic tile beneath the liner, and Anne found at least one hole in the liner that we cannot explain. The whole thing has been in place long enough that the Japanese maple tree has roots pinching down parts of the old liner very firmly. It’s not a young installation.

The bottom right (or last) photo shows the new layout Anne is working on. Two shallow pools that flow one into the other, and then into the main pond. That photo was taken when only the old liner bits were down, and she’s run the pump for a bit to fill it with water and observe the flow and layout. Then she let it sit to see if there were any obvious leaks.

Since those photos were taken she’s put down the new liner and some protective fabric as well, and is laying out rocks in the beds/pools. I have modified the hose to include one elbow and thus keep it much more hidden near the pump, but two more need to be inserted once the layout of the bed is basically finalized and we’ve tested things. Only then will we know where to cut and insert new elbows to finish making the hose (mostly) disappear.

As with everything these days, great instruction for this sort of thing can be found on YouTube. If you find yourself looking at these photos wistfully and thinking you might have a similar project in your future, start there. These links will get you started:

After watching a couple dozen short videos you’ll probably be ready to get started on your own project. And it’s absolutely certain you will know more about the process than the previous owners of our place!

Oh, one of those photos shows Skookie surveying the rock pile. The dogs were not particularly happy about the rocks showing up in the middle of their yard. I didn’t catch Cruzer peeing on them, but I might have missed it. In any case, they will be very happy to see them return to the waterfall and get out of their way.

One final update this week:

That is the CNC machine I am figuring out for Xwalacktun. I have it on loan so I can make it work and be certain I have a clue about how to use it with the new software. Then I take it back to him and get him going with it.

He did offer to let me use it later, and I might take him up on that at some point. It will depend on the software and various other things, but that might be fun. And I won’t have to find a place to store one of my own in my tiny garage studio!

I don’t promise to have anything to show from the machine next week. The first thing I need to research is the laptop he was using with it. It’s running Windows 8, and I don’t know if it can be upgraded to Windows 10 anymore (for free) or not. He might just go buy a new laptop, but this one seems more than adequate if it is still supported or can be upgraded. So that is my first task. It’s not as exciting, but if he needs that new laptop I can figure that out and send him off to get it.

If anything else of import happened in the last week I cannot remember what it was, which pretty much guarantees it wasn’t important at all. Next week who knows what I will have done or finished, or if I will remember any of it. I guess we’ll find out then.

Stay safe everyone!

Sculptor/Artist. Former programmer. Former volunteer firefighter. Former fencer. Weirdest resume on the planet, I suspect.

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