Saturday, October 25, 2014

Cleaning out the basement.

Last few weeks have been consumed sorting things in the basement. I deleted about 16 old fluorescent lights and associated wiring and replaced them with regular screw in fixtures giving us the option of using regular incandescent bulbs or the new CFL pigtail bulbs.
All on one circuit and controlled by one switch at the top of the stairs.
The old ones, there were these hideous things, each one on a separate switch and all piggybacked off different circuits.
Ran new wires and sorted the tangle previously there so that now each wire is easily traceable.
Labeled wires so they are easily identifiable.
No more confusion.
Even junction boxes are labeled
And best of all the breakers in the box are now clearly marked.
And the basement is nice and bright now.
No more dark corners.
I pulled out the old crumpled fiberglass insulation on the inside of the rim joists and replaced it all with new 2 inch closed cell foam.
  I still need to hit the gaps with some spray in foam.
Took four pickup truck loads of accumulated junk and old books to Goodwill . . .
. . . and made a whole lot of space.
Organized the book shelves . . . I still need to sort out what to do with the old records
Today I took 30 years worth of AOPA Pilot and Seakayer magazine subscriptions to recycling.
While the squirrels had a party outside
Eating the sunflowers I had jammed in the fence for them.
I even made a nice yellow tomato, cilantro sauce dressing and chicken pizza this week.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Saturday ride down to Keene NH.

There was an amateur acrobatic competition to be held Saturday in Keene New Hampshire that Clint had been invited to participate in so . . . .
At 7:30 am we met at KPWM and filed an IFR flight plan using the I-Pad
By 8 am we had our clearance and were rolling on RWY 18
Crossing RWY 11-29 we won't be in the clear much longer
After crossing I-95 we are at about 400 feet and going in the soup
A minute or so later we break out on top of a hard deck between layers at 1000 feet
a few holes in the clouds as we make our way over the Scarborough marsh
Misty morning sunlight over Pine point and the rail road track
The deck below us starts to close in again.
And soon we are over a solid overcast again
Looking west the solid deck beneath us.
We check the updated weather conditions for Keene and note the ceilings are 200 ft, and bellow allowable minimums for the approach. Oh well, it might clear out by the time we get there, otherwise we can divert to Manchester.
Sun is shining on top as Clint works the I-Pad for details on the approach in to Keene.
A few holes open up along the way beneath us occasionally.
We set up for the approach to RWY 02 in to Keene.
The deck closes in below us again with Mount Monadnock poking out of the clouds in the distance
 The approach plate on the Garmin
 And here is the video of the ILS approach and landing
We touch down just before 9 am and make our way to the gas pump. The place is dead.
We hang out for a few hours and shoot the breeze with other would-be participants. By noon time the organizers finally decide to scrub the event as not enough acrobatic planes can make it in and the ceilings are not high enough to meet the 3500 foot requirement for an aerobatic box.
Only two Citabria Decathlons made it in
So after a quick bite of 2 $ a slice pizza served by a couple of entrepreneurial grubby pawed 12 year old rug rats, we file another IFR flight plan on the I-Pad and are off.
We pick up our IFR clearance en route with Boston, center and soon are on top of the clouds again.
Over Rochester Skyhaven we initiate a practice ILS approach in to Sanford.
Descending through 2200 ft we make for the initial approach fix to RWY 7
We shoot the missed approach at Sanford and make our way back to Portland for a couple more practice approaches.
This time with the main display dimmed out to simulate a partial panel, so we fly only by the old steam gauges, Though the overhead view on the radio is quite helpful.
The approach to 29 is stabilized
Over South Portland looking at the Portland peninsula and the Casco bay islands on the far right.
Down the harbor approach we see one of the cruise ships is back in town.
After a second practice approach we land and get to sit behind a Southwest airliner being unhooked from the tug breathing kerosene fumes for a couple of minutes. All in all not a bad day, despite the canceled aerobatic event.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Acorns? you want acorns?

What to do with 25 gallons of red oak acorns?
That is a 50 gallon drum cut in half filled to the brim. We raked that all up from only one of two trees yesterday. There has to be something useful that can be done with them. Thankfully they only seem to drop every third year. Not sure if there is any rhyme or reason to the pattern other than it seems to be every third year.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Maple tree pruning

The old maple on the corner of the property has seen better days and chances are it is not long for this world. But it does shield the house from the summer sun so I'd like to keep it there as long as possible.
 Before we bought the house ten years ago to the day, it had not been maintained and had grown a bit wild. When the town repaved the street five years back, they put in new storm drains and they carelessly cut a large hole for a catch basin quite close to the tree and damaged a large amount of roots. The second year we were here, we had a big wind storm and lost two large branches that arched across the front of the house towards the other maple by the driveway and framed the house nicely. Ever since it has been a matter of slowly cutting back the long branches in the hopes it will develop some more new growth closer in. The last time it was pruned about 3 years ago Central Maine Power company did a bit of a hack job on it. So I figured best do some preventive pruning myself and clear the long branches away from the cables again, so that in the event of an ice storm this winter it will be less likely to take the cables down. Now before you go screaming NUTS, The lower cables are telephone and cable TV. The very top one is the actual 1800 volt electric cable and I stayed well away from that one.
 Here you can see the large swath I cleared that allows a clear path for the cables. If you enlarge the photo you can also see where a third large limb broke of a couple years ago. I'd like to trim the top branches on the right a bit but don't have the means, nor am I brave enough to climb that high. All the cutting I did was what I could reach from the top of the ladder.
As usual it turned in to a bigger job than I had expected.
And in addition to a bit of a wrenched back, I made myself a large pile of brush I need to dispose of now. From this side you can see where the two larger limbs broke off.