Saturday, July 7, 2012

Up on the rooftop...

Well, it's been a while since my last blog post. Alan and I have both had work projects and, while we are able to do physical work in this heat, we have found it is much harder to do the mental work involved in our jobs. So, we have spent several days this week at the 'local' Panera and Atlanta Bread restaraunts. Our internet at the property is working great, but when it comes to concentrating on programming, I find it hard to do while sweating.

Progress on the house has been slower this week because we have been putting in longer hours at work, but there has been progress everyday. Let's see if I can remember what we have accomplished since my last post. Wednesday, the 4th of July, we awoke early to go to Harbor Freight because we had a 25% off coupon for any item that day. It seems Harbor Freight has become our holiday destination because we also went to one on Memorial Day with a similar coupon. We purchased another set of three solar panels. These sets are normally about $229, but they were marked down to $189 plus we were able to use our 25% off coupon on top of the sale price.

While we were out, we stopped for lunch at a local steakhouse which offers steaks and a buffet. We had the buffet for lunch and I embraced southern living with the choices I put on my plate - fried chicken, black-eyed peas, fried chicken livers, hushpuppy, catfish, sweet potato cassserole, corn bread and collard greens. It was the first time I have had black-eyed peas and collard green and I liked both. The fact they were both cooked with bacon probably helped.

9 panels and counting.
When we returned home we added the new panels into the array, but it was too dark by then to see how they effected the charging process.

Thursday we spent the day working at Atlanta Bread Company, we left fairly early in the morning, but there was already a small charge coming from the solar panel array. Unfortunately, we worked until evening so we did not get the pleasure on checking the charge controller readout throughout the day.

Friday our early morning project was to replace the missing chimney cap on the stove pipe we will be using for our wood burning stove. The stove pipe was left in the house by the previous owners but last week we realized we could look straight up the stove pipe and see blue sky. We had purchased a chimney cap a few days ago and decided this was the day to stick it on. I volunteered to go up on the roof as Alan is not a fan of heights. It took me a while inching across the roof but it was a successful project. (Sorry, no pictures, but Alan was too worried about me making it over to the chimney and back to think about pictures.)

The old 'sliding glass door'.
It did not slide and was not glass.
When we started the project, we decided it would be easier to go up to the roof from the north side of the house. The deck wraps around there but we have not accessed it until today because the deck at the front (east) of the house on that side (past the French doors) is completely rotted through.  And, the sliding glass door that leads to the deck on the north side is where the house had previously been broken into and the glass on one of the sliding doors had been shattered. The 'repair' made before we bought the place consisted of a sheet of plywood, threaded steel rods and long 2x4s all bolted together to cover the empty sliding door frame.

We removed the plywood to put the ladder on that part of the deck as it was closest to the chimney. When we were done we decided to see what was involved in removing the door that was missing glass to get it repaired or replaced. It actually came out quite easily and we found a business that could replace the glass that day. We cleaned off the north deck which was littered with leaves and branches and then loaded the door frame into Truck and headed to town. Since the repair would take a while, we headed to the Panera in the same town to work for a while. We also stopped at a Lowes for a screen panel for the sliding door and I had a great find with Oops' paint - a gallon of interior cream colored paint ($5), a gallon of deck stain ($5) that is almost an exact match to a previous Oops gallon I picked up and a gallon of dark red exterior gloss ($7) that will look great on the outside door to the laundry room which really needs painted. There was also a 5 gallon bucket of pink interior paint but I passed on that one, I do have limits on what I will buy at a bargain price and pink paint is one.

So where was I... we drove home, unloaded the repaired door and screen and installed them. The door was easy, the screen - not so much, but it is in place and useable but we will want to make some inprovements later when we figure something out. I love that the door is repaired. It is located in the room that will be my office and as there are no windows in that room, the sliding door is the only ambient light source. The room had been dark for most of the day, but having the plywood removed  has made a big difference. It is now a bright room with just the daylight coming in.
The new sliding glass door (left side of door).
And it leads onto the north end of the deck.
More usable deck space now that we can use the door,

Oh, and remember why we started this morning by climbing onto the roof - to cover the chimney because if it ever rains, it would come right down the stove pipe into the living room? Well, we sat down to dinner and were watching TV (we converted DVD's of several series we like to a USB flash drive before coming down so we could watch them on Alan's tablet) and we realized it had started raining! We could hear the rain 'pinging' on the new chimney cap. Unfortunately, the rain did not last long, but we were not supposed to get any until at least tomorrow night. We do not have any rain barrels or gutters in place yet for collecting rain water, but I hurried and grabbed up all our empty plastic totes that I had unpacked during this trip and placed them under the eaves along the deck. It will at least give us some toilet water.
(more details on our first water collection coming soon)

When the rain started, Alan was the first to realize that the katydids do not like rain. While listening to the rain we had a background of... silence. Since we have arrived on this trip, every night the katydids start filling the night with noise starting at about 8PM, reach full volume of over 60dB by 9 PM and keep it up into the wee hours of the morning. People said we would get used to it and we did. In fact, I couldn't fall asleep in the silence so I got back up to write this. I am not going to finish it until tomorrow because I want to take some pictures to add to it, but I have been sitting here waiting for the katydids to start up again. A few minutes ago there was a hoot owl that sounded very close to the house. We hear one most nights, be this time he was somewhere in the trees in our yard and there was another owl answering him farther down the 'holler'.

Now I hear more thunder in the distance so maybe I will be able to go to sleep to that rather than the katydids....


  1. You guys are living the life! Any long-term forecast for the weather down there? And when are the plans to come back?

    1. Hey TJ, It has actually cooled down a bit (low 90's) but more humid after we got some rain. We will be back in Wisconsin Friday. Then the following Thursday we head to Kentucky to run Andi's BreyerFest booth this year since Hanna is due to be born right after that. Hanna better wait until we are back to make her grand appearance. last year, we were driving back from BreyerFest with Andi and we had made it as far as Rockford, IL when Eryn called to let us know she was in labor. Hopefully Hanna will be as considerate as Zeke was :-)

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  3. You know ... I think this might be a wise investment for your travels between Wisconsin and paradise:

    1. :-) The only problem is on our next trip we are bringing down the wood burning stove for our winter heat. Not sure we could strap it to the wings.