Monthly Archives: December 2020

Stop, Hammer Time.

Want to have some fun? Go find a hammer. A real hammer, not some pink Barbie affair. Something heavy. Got it? OK, now hit yourself in the leg as hard as you can. Because that’s what I did.

OK, not with a hammer, but with a tooth from the awesome new stump grinder. That’s it in my hand over there. While I was grinding stumps this morning, the two bolts that hold the individual teeth on the cutting wheel sheared off, hurling the tooth right at me. If it had hit me in the head, it probably would have killed me – the perils of not having a little helper (something I think I need to start seriously looking into). Now, the cutting wheel spins at 3200 RPM, and the tooth weighs about a pound, so feel free to get your slide rule out and calculate how much kinetic energy that is. Or contact NASA – and as it happens, I know someone at NASA, if you need a POC. Anyway, not a great start to Chore Sunday, but I did get a number of stumps ground down prior to the incident.

Also, lots and lots of leaf mulching. The mighty tractor has a mulching attachment, and I put it to good use, mulching probably an acre’s worth of thick, wet leaves, as well as clearing my MTB trails. That thing is a champ, and made relatively short work of it. I want the yard to look nice. It’s not like anyone sees it besides my cool UPS guy, the cute letter carrier, and the occasional uninvited drop-in, but I still take a little pride in it (and the aforementioned letter carrier always comments on it, so there’s that). I guess I don’t want people to think I’m a slob, or worse, just lazy. So, even if I’m the only person who really sees it, I want it to look well-maintained. And it’s not like I had anything else to do today – I did have a couple of invites, but wasn’t really in an “adventure” frame of mind. Long week. Long, typically shitty week.

Saturday – in the rain – more Ring stuff. I decided to add a floodlight to the barn; partly because I have the big street lights off during the holidays so my twinkling lights are more visible, and partly because…well, just because. So, after (eventually) going to Home Depot & Lowes, and a little not-so-smart tinkering with electricity in the rain, voila. This thing is just as cool as the other Ring stuff, and I have it tied into the system in such a way that if the motion sensor detects something, all the cameras start recording. Conversely, if the cameras detect motion, all the Ring lights come on. Basically, everything talks to everything else, and they all talk to my Alexa devices, as well as my iPhone and AppleWatch. It’s really, really cool, and I guess I’ve become a bit of an expert with the home automation stuff. I guess everyone needs to be good at something, right?

And in other Ring news, I got the solar panel attached to the new camera I installed last week. Not the smartest decision I’ve made, to lean a ladder against a wet tree in the rain, but things need to be done, and no one is going to do it besides me. Just like everything else in my life. Besides, what’s the worst thing that could happen?

I also did some work on the BMW. The new lighting I installed a few weeks back makes such a huge difference on that side of the barn. The BMW just needed water added to the battery, but that’s a major operation on that bike; remove the tailbag, open the trunk, pull the release for the saddle, remove 12 screws from the fairing. Sheesh, those Germans. Nonetheless, it’s all juiced up and ready for the group ride later this week. Hopefully, there will be some snow this winter, too, so I can really see what the thing is made of.

Now, on to the next project – and I think I already know what it’s gonna be.

Jeepers, Creepers.

Well, the Adventure Buggy went Tango-Uniform over the weekend. Again. Intended to head out in the Wee, Small Hours on Saturday morning, and…nothing. To make a long boring story short and boring, evidently, the new expensive battery I had put in last year said “F*ck it”, and as a result of that, the thing threw out all sorts of engine codes and other shenanigans. It wasn’t all bad, though – I jumped it off (again) then used my handy-dandy widget to diagnose and clear the engine codes, and took it back to NTB for a replacement (under warranty, yay). Luckily – and unlike last month when this happened – a friend of mine hung out with me to pass the time and made sure I wasn’t stuck on the side of the road, and as a bonus, Lowes and Home Depot are close to NTB, so I was able to get over there and still accomplish my shopping tasks while the Jeep was being mended.

And part of those tasks including buying holiday lights. Yeah, yeah – I know. But I’m trying. I’m not entirely sure why I’m trying; but I am. Nonetheless, there’s no way I’m going to spend the holidays alone again like last year, since I may not have too many left. So, I’m making an effort – and I guess there might be a road trip in my immediate future.

Sunday, a nice hike in Chickamauga Gulch. Not a part of the CT, but adjacent to it. I had explored it a little a few weeks back, but this time, I was better prepared, so I went much deeper into the gorge. A lot of off-trail and rock-hopping, but a good hike overall.

The aforementioned stump grinder is supposed to be delivered today, so I’ve already been out for gas and oil (not sure if it comes with oil, so just in case). Oh, and Dunkin’ coffee. Speaking of, I mentioned on Twitter last week that when I went to Dunkin’, the person in line at the drive-through in front of me paid for my coffee and croissant. I found out later it was “giving week” or something, and lots of people were making similar gestures. So, if you just thought someone footed my bill because I’m super-dreamy or they just wanted to get in my knickers, I guess the joke’s on you. And in the giving tradition, I did my part over the weekend, and I’ll leave it at that.


I also have some trees and limbs to take down today/this week, as the new Ring cameras have been rolling in, and I need to clear the line-of-sight in the mounting locations I’ve chosen. That Ring stuff is awesome, and I’ve really learned my way around all the gadgets. As long as they don’t go all Terminator on me, I should be set – although, to be honest, being stalked by a murder-robot that speaks in an Austrian accent would be a step up for me at this point.


Link:
Chickamauga Gulch Photo Album on Facebook

I’m Stumped.

Welp, here it is, December 1st. Again. And to kick off December, Mother Nature decided to tease the puppers with a little overnight snow.

Not enough to make a snowman, mind you (unless it’s a really small one), but it’s something, anyway – and makes for nice views on the Ring cameras.

Speaking of, I’ve added another new Ring camera, and I have yet another one on order, which I intend to do something…interesting with. You’d think having cameras all around the house, yard and barn would be sufficient, but evidently, it isn’t. I also added a Ring solar step light on the deck, and it’s awesome. It’s motion-activated, and when it detects motion, the cameras start recording. I dig this Ring stuff, and the new features they’ve added to the app makes it that much better.

I also added 4 strands of rope lights on the deck on my bedroom, controlled automagically (naturally) with a Kasa outdoor smart plug. Works great, just like all my other Kasa bulbs and plugs. When I have the time, I’ll need to get into IFTTT and make them do some really neat things.


OK, maybe not that neat.

In other shopping and chore-related news, I splurged and ordered…a stump grinder (you have my permission to swoon). If that doesn’t impress you, I don’t know what will. Hiring someone to grind stumps is stupidly expensive (trust me, I’ve done it before), so eventually, the cost-benefit analysis dictates just buying the tool versus renting the person, even if the tool is also stupidly expensive. I have at least a dozen stumps right now I need to deal with, and I suspect it’s going to be an awesome workout, as long as I don’t cut my leg off or something (the perils of working alone, I guess). One thing I’ll have to figure out is how to move it (it weighs close to 300 pounds). It has a hitch adapter, so I could tow it with the Jeep, but around the yard, the tractor should suffice, so I’ll need to see if a standard ball-hitch will fit the tractor bumper mount (and I suspect it will – but if not, I’m actually pretty smart). I have a spare ball hitch anyway; the old one from before I lifted the Jeep.

Of course, I’ve been looking for an excuse to buy an ATV, so there’s that. I mean, I was prepared to buy a dirt bike back in October for no reason (kinda), so buying an ATV when I have a reason – towing my fancy stump grinder – doesn’t seem that far-fetched. Plus, an ATV would make building my tentative campsite out in the woods much easier.

Anyway, I also bought a new gas-powered leaf blower-leaf vacuum combo over the weekend, because of course I did. I have an electric one (Addendum: Two electric ones; I found my other one – anyone want it? I certainly don’t need two of them.), which is better than nothing, and two old gas-powered ones. One of those is just Tango-Uniform, and the other kinda works, but weighs a ton (it’s probably 30 or more years old), and just not that great. The new one is powerful, lightweight, and can vacuum and mulch leaves or blow them. That’s some real Star Trek shit right there. Regardless, yay, chores, and Merry Christmas to me – I always get myself the best gifts. And that’s good, because it’s not like anyone else is going to. I completely understand why the Grinch wanted to live alone with his dog.

Speaking of Mr. Grinch, I did get my trees set up. My amazing Grinch tree from last year, and my Charlie Brown tree (see a theme here?). I had intended to get my projection lights done in the backyard as well, but I need long outdoor extension cords for that, and I…need to go buy some, I guess. It’s always something.

So, ramping up to Christmas and then NAMM. Ugh, holidays. Although for the first time in recent memory, my Thanksgiving wasn’t terrible. It was actually pretty good. Of course, it didn’t last; it never does. At least my life is consistent, and I’ve got Hulu (just resubscribed) and Ninja Sex Party to entertain me.