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Wednesday, June 29, 2011

we're wrapped up pretty tight

Good morning.
I'm glad we weren't camping yesterday because it was cold, cloudy, and windy. :-)
On our last day off, I stayed home and Craig did our usual running around. I had to be home for a 9am service call. We had our furnace guy coming over to take care of the co2 problem we've been experiencing off and on. I first told of this problem back in early June. You'll find the post here.
Anyway, the problem seems to be a negative air flow. The high fan is sucking in more air than it can find. Apparently, even though our house is 57 years old, I've managed over the years of insulating, caulking and weather striping to pretty much seal it up fairly tight. So without much air leaking into the house to compensate, it was pulling air down the water heater exhaust, causing the water heater to occasionally vent into the house.
So what was the answer? Bring more air in from outside. He ran a 4 inch pipe from the furnace room just above the floor to near the attic ceiling.. I said, "isn't that just like opening a window?" He said it wasn't because the attic is dead air. Little movement. The only time air will come through the pipe, is if it's pulled through when the fan is running. He says we'll get more air in through the water heater exhaust, which is really another open pipe to the outside. I guess I didn't realize how many 'openings' we have to the outside. The dryer vent, the bathroom exhaust. They all hook to the outside, with nothing much more than a poorly self sealing flap. It will be interesting to see in the winter if cold air comes down through it. If so, I can always stuff some insulation up it for the winter. Most of the winter, the furnace uses low fan, so it isn't as much of a problem as summer.
So anyway, after that was done, Craig had arrived back home, and we mowed the yard. Got the mo-ho backed into it's parking space, and I did some weeding.
Dinner was a chicken version of hamburger helper. Was good.
And now, it's back to work. Looks to be a fairly busy week. Since it's hard to schedule time for lunch, I always take stuff to snack on during the day. This week it's bananas, watermelon, plums, celery, cottage cheese, and tuna fish. Oh, and leftover pasta salad from our trip. :-)
And since we were gone and didn't fix big enough dinners for leftovers, it'll be lean cuisine thingies for the next 2 nights. But that's okay, I like them. :-)

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

trip #4

Good morning.
We've just returned from another weekend trip. This one took us to Indiana Dunes State Park on Lake Michigan about 10 miles south of Michigan City Indiana.
And finally, we had an entire beautiful weekend! We left Lansing Friday afternoon with sprinkles in the air, but they gave way to sun as we arrived. Saturday morning, we planned to go into Chicago, but the weather was soo nice we thought of just hanging around the park. Then I watched the morning news to see the Dan Ryan expressway, (which is the main highway into the city) was backed up for miles due to a bad accident. That cinched it. We would stay in the park.
We went for our morning coffee walk, and then a bike ride. Decided we need supplies for dinner and ended up doing lunch in Michigan City at a place called Matey's. A multi level decked restaurant with a nautical theme. Many bar food, but was good and a nice view from the upper deck. back at the campground, we took a hike through the back woods of the dunes. Then we relaxed and enjoyed the great weather. Dinner was kielbasa's on the grill, and then a campfire. Sunday morning, after our coffee walk, I made us breakfast of eggs, toast, and Morning Star Farm sausage patties. Craig and I are big meat eaters and we are trying to cut back a bit. Morning Star Farm makes a variety of meatless choices. Most are really quite good!
Then we decide to go to the outlet mall. Craig discovered during our hike the day before, his ankle was hurting. Turns out the rigid plastic liner in the back of the shoe had worn through the liner. He needed new shoes. We stopped at the Nike store and they had a real good sale. Besides good prices to start, they had a buy 1 get 1 half off. So guess what, I got a new pair also!
Back at the campground we biked down to the beach. The beach trail is still closed. More about that later. The beach was busy, and we sat and enjoyed the sun and the people watching.
Back at the mo-ho, Craig made a pasta salad for dinner. While it 'rested' we did another easy hike. Then I grilled some pork cutlets to have with the salad. Another campfire, and a breaking down of the campsite for an early morning departure. Monday, was cloudy and breezy. I saw on the early news, rain heading in. I woke up Craig extra early, (7am) and we got going. Managed to load the car caddy and car, dump the tanks and hit the highway as the early sprinkles turned into a steady rain. We made it home by noon, and the rain followed us later. But we made it there and back with only a minor issue. When we went to plug in the tow lights, I discovered 2 of the 3 prongs had broken off into the connector, so they wouldn't work. We decided to go with out since the car caddy had lights and the tow lights were just an extra safety precaution.
So all in all, a good trip! Back home, I cleaned out the mo-ho while Craig did laundry and bookwork. With gas prices dropping, (we filled up at $3.35) we saved $35.00 over the previous trip, and $60.00 over our 2nd trip. Lets hope they keep going that way. :-)
And now, I'm off to clean the Salon.....

Sunday, June 26, 2011

another hosta post

I had such nice comments on my hosta post, and I have soooo many hosta's, I thought I'd do another.....
Here's the littlest hosta I've ever seen, given to me by a customer...

See that plant compared to my shoe?

And here's my giant hostas, Blue Angel.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Just a bit paranoid

Good morning.
The salon has been very busy. That is good. :-)
I took a couple of pics yesterday morning, of the sign I painted last week to show the grid work on it...

I know, not the best pics. It was a cloudy overcast morning. But it gives you a good idea of all the tedious grid I painted. It really looks like new again. :-)

And yes, I intentionally did not take a full frontal pic. You can go through my entire 6 years of blogging, and not find the name of the Salon, or even my full name. That's on purpose. I have no idea who reads my blog. It's a public blog, so anyone who stumbles on it can read it. I know, maybe a little of Craig's paranoia is rubbing off on me. :-) But better to be safe than sorry. And any one who really knows me, knows that info anyway. That's also why I never report on upcoming trips until they're over. More of Craig's paranoia. :-)

Anyway, time for a shower and another day of work......

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

spared once again

Good morning.
We had a real good weekend. The rain held off during the day, and although a lot of storms went through the region during the evening and night, we were spared once again from severe weather. :-)
I finished staining the lats for the arbor, and Craig took some pics of me installing them....

And here's the finished look.

The back of the arbor is wider than the front, so the lats went on in a fan pattern.

And I swear the Pickerel Rush by the rock, and the water lilies in the front are nearly as large as last year! And I pulled out half of each this past spring!

Craig also mowed the yard, while I did more weeding and trimming. It never ends. :-)

And now, another work week begins.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

they were enormous!

Good morning.
Another beautiful day yesterday. Overcast, but warm and no rain. :-)
To update my previous post, the fence sections we replaced were part of a split rail fence.

You can see where we replaced 2 posts and 1 new rail. We were able to use the other rails. They were just knocked loose from the posts. You can see also where the fence goes quickly down hill. It ends just before the creek that runs along our property line.

And here's the pic of the car that took out that section of fence.

The back end got hung up on the retaining wall. That's why they had to tow it out. He's lucky he didn't end up down in the creek.

We didn't want to file an insurance claim against the poor guy. He had enough to worry about with being hauled away by the sheriff. He did send us a check to cover the cost of the new posts and rail.

Anyway, I spent a good part of the day weeding and deadheading, and while I was out there, I ran across these enormous moths!

It's called a Cecropia Moth. It's the largest moth in North America. I've lived here all my life and never seen one. They are supposedly nocturnal, coming out only at night, but these 2 were in the middle of the lawn in the middle of the day.

They were hooked together. I wonder why? :-)

And here's a pic of Craig's hand near them so you can see they are as big as his hand!

They were there most of the afternoon.

I also stained 2 sides of the 24 lat boards that we will put on top of the arbor to replace the old rotting ones we removed earlier this year.

Craig spent the day doing laundry, vacuuming, and making ham broth from out frozen ham bone from Easter.

And now, I'm off to do some more staining before I get Craig up.

Monday, June 20, 2011

it was a busy day.

Good morning.
Sorry for no post yesterday, but I had a very busy day.
As soon as I got up, I went into the Salon. I got the Salon cleaned, and then my mission was to paint the sign outside above the door. I didn't take a pic, but our sign has a metal grid that surrounds it. Kind of mimicking the ceiling grid inside the Salon. Anyway, it's a tedious job. Took just over 2 hours. I knew the paint was peeling, but didn't realize how much the paint had faded. Looks real good now.
Back home, I cleaned and filled the bird baths, and watered the pots. It was now nearly 10am and Craig was finally up. :-)
I fixed us coffee and we read the paper.
While Craig then did paperwork and laundry, I re caulked the mo-ho windshield. Then, after a light brunch of egg and Canadian bacon sandwich, we got to work on replacing the fence sections that were damaged from the accident I wrote about here.
That took the better part of the afternoon as it was a lot of work digging out the old half rotted posts. But it's all done and looks good.
I finally decided I'd done enough for one day, so it was time to relax on the deck, enjoying the perfect weather, partly sunny, and a high near 80.
For dinner, I grilled a pork roast, baked potatoes, and skewers of carrots, mushrooms, onions and sweet peppers.
And after I finish this post, I need to place an on-line order for the Salon, and clean the interior of the mo-ho so it's ready for our next trip. And I need to make sure I get Craig up early (8am) for a doctors appointment. Just a routine visit.
So that's it for now...

Friday, June 17, 2011

made in the shade

Good morning.
After a very slow Wednesday, yesterday filled right up, and I'm over booked today and tomorrow.

Can't you people book appointments when I want you to instead of when you want to? :-P

And Blogger is acting weird again. It's putting 2 spaces between sentences. :-\

Other than that, no news to tell. Just another regular work week.

And here's some more pics of the yard. This time, Hostas....

Around 2 of the tress in the back yard....

5 hostas in this pic. 3 in the front, and 2 kinda hidden in the back. I love the contrasting colors.

And this hosta actually does look like it's glowing in the shade. It's that bright. It has very light yellow/green leaves with a slightly darker green streaking.

It looks to be a fairly nice weekend. Highs in the low 80's with a chance of scattered showers. June tends to be a rainy month here.

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

back to work

Good morning.
It's been a beautiful couple of days, sunny, with temps in the 70's. :-)
And I took full advantage of them.
After we returned home on Monday from our trip, I spent the afternoon working in the yard. Cleaning and filling birdbaths, some weeding, and trimming.
Tuesday morning, I cleaned the Salon, came home and washed the mo-ho and the Kia. I then waxed the caps and bay doors of the mo-ho. Then I showered and woke Craig up. Made us coffee and off to the bank and weekly shopping. Came home, made egg sandwiches for lunch, and Craig and I mowed the yard. I did the edging, and Craig did the rider. While he finished up with the rider, I did some weeding. I also did some more spot weeding in the lawn. The yards looking real good. :-) Dinner was pork cutlets on the grill, baked potatoes, and asparagus.
This morning, I've been a lazy bum. Surfing the web, reading blogs, and not much else. But now it's time to shower and begin another work week.
And here's some bushes currently blooming in the yard...

A red Weigela, white Potentilla, and a pink Spirea.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

trip #3 Ludington State Park

Good morning.
Like I said earlier, we've just returned from our 3rd trip of the season.
This one took us to Ludington State park on the shores of Lake Michigan. The campground is very popular as it sits right between Lake Michigan and Hamlin Lake. And although it was a cold wet weekend again, the campground was full.
We arrived Friday, driving most of the way in rain, but it finally stopped before we arrived and was able to get set-up. As has become a tradition of sorts with our camping trips, we headed into town for our first meal of the weekend, KFC. :-)
Back at the mo-ho, we took a quick walk around to see the campground nearly full. With a low around 45, and a high only mid 50's, we saw many tenters. Now there are some dedicated campers. At this point in my life, I prefer to have our heated condo on wheels. :-)
Saturday morning, we awoke to rain pounding on the mo-ho roof. I love the sound of rain. I wonder if the tenters do also. :-)
Now what do you do when your camping and it's raining? Yep, your right, head to the nearest casino! Which in this case happened to be the Little River Casino in near-by Manistee, Michigan. Just a short 20 minute drive. And this time, I actually left with more money than I went in with. :-) Now of course, we both didn't win. Poor Craig, he just won't listen to me. He was way up on 1 machine, and I said time to take and move on, but he sat there and piddled it all back in. From there we decide to have lunch in downtown Manistee. We like supporting the local businesses, because like most towns, there's a lot of closed business here too. We had a nice lunch and headed back to the campground, where it had actually got a bit better out. No rain, but still cold. We bundled up and took a walking tour of the 3 campgrounds. We like to see what types of rv's there are besides us. The biggest mo-ho we saw was a Phaeton by Tiffin. Looked to be 40 ft with 4 slides. Nice! After our walk, we returned to the mo-ho for dinner and movies.
Sunday morning was pretty nice. Finally sunny, though cool. 52 out, but we bundled up and went for our morning coffee walk. Then we decided to go on a hike. We've done the light house hike, the skyline hike before, so this time we chose the lost lake hike. Here's some pics from that one...

The hike made us hungry, so into town we went to eat at James Street Brewery. We've eaten here on previous trips. It's a neat old building, and they have very good food. I had an Asian Salmon Sandwich with a tasty Asian barbecue sesame sauce. Yum! Craig had a beef and Cheddar that looked good also.

Then we got the Sunday paper, and back to the campground. Later, we went for a bike ride to see how many people had left. Usually, by Sunday afternoon, the campgrounds are pretty empty, as most campers go on the weekends, but this one filled right back up by evening. This is a popular park!

With a late lunch, we decided on kielbasas for dinner.

Monday morning had us breaking camp, and heading back to Lansing. It is normally about a 3 hour drive, but the trip back was delayed by an accident, (by time we got to the actual site, it had been cleaned up)and 2 different construction zones. So a little more than 4 hours. But that's why we try and leave early.

So, we got there and back without any issues. Another good trip. :-)

Monday, June 13, 2011

where were we

Good afternoon.
Like I said earlier, we just returned from another weekend mo-ho trip.
Can you tell from these 2 pics where we were?
My sister and I went there as teenagers..... hint, hint.

More to come!

I'm back!

just a quickie.
Just returned from trip #3.
More info and pics to come.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Sunday flowers

Good morning.
Another flower post.
Stuff is blooming like crazy right now with the nice warm temps. :-)

Above, a tree peony and below, a pink Lupine in front of some single pink peonies.

Above, a white double peony and a yellow swamp iris.

And above, a bearded Iris. And more to come. :-)

Friday, June 10, 2011

Happy Friday

Good morning.
Here's some current pics of the yard....We have nearly an acre....

Not much to say, Work has been busy, the weather is cooling back down into the 70's, and soon it'll be another weekend! :-)

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

to answer a question

Good evening.
Just a quickie post to answer a question. Why all of a sudden, are we getting the hot water heater venting into the room. Well, the furnace is only 1 1/2 years old and last summer was cool. So the possibility of the air being on and then the water heater coming on was very slim. In the morning and evening when we would most likely use the hot water, we'd have the windows open and no air on. In the winter, the furnace has a 2 stage fan, it only uses the high speed when we crank up the heat upon arriving home from work. And we wouldn't use hot water at that point normally either.
This last weekend was very warm, so we had the air on all the time. And that's the only time when the heater comes on, that it vents into the room. And not even all the time then. And remember, if the water heater is on before the air comes on, it's not a problem either.
So since this seems to be a very limited occurrence, I'm not sure what we'll do about it. I guess we'll see how much that fresh air thingy will cost first.
Maybe we'll just make sure we don't run the air when we do laundry. :-)

it's trying to kill us!

Good morning.
Well, it happened again! I was walking through the dining room when I noticed the co2 detector showing a 135! I opened the door to the water heater and sure enough, it was venting into the room again. So I opened the windows, and immediately called the company to have another tech come out. While I waited, I decided to try and find out why all of a sudden we are getting so much co2 venting inside. I tried a couple different scenarios. First I turned the water heater up with out the air on. It vented perfectly. Then I turned on the air, it still vented perfectly. Then I first turned on the air, and then the water heater. It vented into the room!
It appears the air running sometimes causes a downdraft on the hot water vent pipe, sucking air in from outside! If the hot water heater is already venting when the air comes on, the exhaust out the pipe is stronger than the pull from the air. So I recreated these scenarios several more times , and 3 out of 4 times it vented into the room. I felt I had some good info for the tech. When he finally arrived at 6:30pm, I explained my finding. He new exactly the problem. The air conditioner fan is pulling in more air than is sometimes available. He said usually, there's enough air leaks in a house to compensate for it, but our house must be fairly air tight. Good for insulating, but bad for air flow. Also, the air coming into the unit is from a small area. Since our house is on a slab, the 2 cold air returns are in the living room and hall. There's none in the bedrooms or TV room.
He said I'd have to call the furnace people and get a fresh air make-up air intake with a damper to allow enough air flow. In the mean time we can just keep the water heater on vacation until we need it and then turn it up when the air isn't running.
So now I at least know why only sometimes we are getting venting into the house. The water heater has to come on while the air is running. And we've run the air a lot this past weekend, and this is also the time Craig does a lot of laundry.
So while we waited for the tech to show up, we did get the lawn mowed. I cleaned out the burning hole and bagged up 7 bags of ash, and did some more spot weeding of the lawn. It's been a mini heat wave this week and today is suppose to hit 95 before cooling back down into the 70's this weekend.
I also managed to get the recipe's for the chicken and pork dishes we had this past weekend posted on Cooking with Craig.
Now, time for another work week....

Tuesday, June 07, 2011

I don't smell anything

Good morning.
Yesterday was another beautiful day. Sunny and 80. :-) But it could have been a deadly one.
We have a carbon monoxide detector, and all of a sudden it was showing various numbers. It's always been at 0.
During the day on Sunday, (that's the day Craig does all the laundry and it was also warm, so we had the air on) it would spike up to 150. The recommended exposure is below 35. It appeared to be happening when the air conditioner was running and the water heater was operating. At those times, the exhaust was being pulled into the room instead of up the exhaust pipe. Our house is on a slab, so the furnace and water heater are in a closet off the dining room. Our furnace has a 2 stage blower and it uses the high stage for cooling. It creates a lot of flow. So I called for a service call and opened windows to vent the house. It would fall back to 0 in about 5 minutes. I also turned down the water heater to vacation, so it wouldn't run during the night.
Long story ended up being a small baffle thingy in the top of the water heater. It wasn't set in it's slot properly. The tech explained the baffle, when in place properly, causes the rising heat to twist, sort of like a mini tornado. That helps to propel the exhaust up the pipe so it doesn't vent into the room. Once he re-set that, no more problems.
It's a good thing we had the co2 detector because the exhaust is odorless, and was already giving Craig a dull headache. Make sure you all have one and make sure it's operating right. Our mo-ho has one too, and we replace the batteries at the beginning of each season. Our home one plugs in.
Soooo, after that, I went out and washed the Kia and PT Crusier, and vacuumed them both out and waxed the PT.
For dinner, another new dish, Tequila-glazed grilled Chicken Thighs. They were sooo good! I promise to get this recipe and the pork recipe on Cooking with Craig, as soon as I get some extra time.

Monday, June 06, 2011

yard sale success

Good morning.
I've just returned from cleaning the Salon, again. No ants this time. :-)
The yard sale did okay. Here's the pics....

As you can see, not a whole lot, but I made my self set quota, so I did well enough. Not near as good as a plant sale, but I wasn't expecting too. :-)

I did have a dozen or so plants I potted up, and they went fast. I actually had a number of people stopping to buy plants. I always have my plant sale the first Sunday in June, and apparently people have remembered and just stopped by. Many left a little disappointed. :-

But I told them, next year.

After the sale, we boxed up stuff for the dumpster, and stuff I'll drop off at goodwill.

The rest of the afternoon, I spent cleaning the valleys on the roof of leaves. As you can see in the above pic, our roof line isn't very steep, and we have many valleys that collect leaves.

I also cleaned and filled the bird baths.

For dinner, we tried a new pork recipe. I'll put it up on Cooking with Craig when I get some extra time.

Now, time for a shower, and get Craig up.....

Sunday, June 05, 2011

It's yard sale time!

Good morning.

I've just returned from cleaning the Salon. I didn't have time to clean it completely, because I discovered an ant issue.

While vacuuming, I saw a few tiny ants. vacuumed them up and though nothing about it, until I kept seeing more. Upon closer inspection I discovered there was a trail of them. It ran from an out side wall in the bathroom all the way through the Salon to the front door. Just outside the front door in a crack in the sidewalk was a massive ant nest with thousands of ants scurrying about. So I got out the trusty Home Pest Control and had at them. They were no match for a superior force. :-)

So I'll finish cleaning the Salon tomorrow.

Saturday, I was invited to a retirement open house. One of my long time customers was retiring from teaching. I do a number of her friends also. I was asked by one of them if I could supply flowers for the tables as I had supplied lilacs for another event a few years ago. I said I'd be happy to, but the lilacs have been done for a couple of weeks now. I'll pick whatever I have and bring them in.

This is what I was able to scrounge up....

I picked them Saturday morning before work, and took them in with me. She picked them up and took them to the community center where the open house was to be. After work, I arrived there to numerous comments on how wonderful the arrangements looked. I Got home in time to relax on the deck with Craig before dinner, which was home made pizzas.

And now, I'm off to get my yard sale set up for this morning. I open at 9am.

Friday, June 03, 2011

his luck ran out

Good morning.
It's been a busy week in the Salon, and I'm booked today and tomorrow also.:-)
We live across from a golf course, and I swear, people go there just to drink and get away from their wives. We've lived here 26 years, and I can't tell you how many times we hear tires squealing as cars come tearing out of the parking lot. Usually it's old men in caddies. :-) They get all liqueured up golfing, and think they're some hot rod driver.
Well, it finally happened........
Yep! A smart ass came tearing out of the parking lot, lost control of his rear wheel drive convertible, and slide off the road and into our front yard, taking out part of our fence. Fortunately, no one was hurt.
He's very lucky he didn't slide off 6ft earlier and go down that bank into the creek.

I got home apparently right after this happened. There were 3 guys in 3 cars. He left with the other 2 to get a tow chain to pull it out. I took these pics plus the license plate in case they came back and tried to take off without compensating us for the damage done to our fence.

Well, they came back, got the car pulled out and were taking the tow chain off when a county cop just happened to drive by. You know it goes down hill from here.

To make a long story short, the police officer took him away. Gave us his card and the case # for insurance purposes.

I felt real sorry for the guy, yes, he had too much to drink, and yes, that made him do a stupid thing, and yes, he's lucky no one got hurt, or worst. But we've all done something stupid, and got lucky, and learned a lesson. (at least I did anyway :-\) But this poor guys luck ran out, and that meant an automatic night in jail, not to mention the DUI charges he'll face.

So one of his friends drove his car over to the golf course parking lot. I gave them my business card and told them we wouldn't file an insurance claim if the guy was willing to pay for new fence sections that his car took out. It won't be that much to put back in 2 posts and rails. He certainly doesn't need an insurance claim on top of everything else. His deductible would be more than a couple of fence sections.

So anyway, that was our Thursday evening excitement. And now I need to get to work.

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

a messy visitor

Good morning.
We dodged another bullet last evening as storms blew through Michigan, but missed us. :-)
Another gorgeous day yesterday, and I rather took it easy. :-)
I did manage to do a little weeding, and cleaned up the mo-ho for our next trip. But mostly, we relaxed and enjoyed our last day off.
With the chance of severe storms possibly disrupting dinner, we kept it simple with roast beef sandwiches and guacamole and chips.
We also had a visitor during the night........

He/she apparently liked the drippings from the chicken we grilled on Monday. And the raccoon tracked greasy footprints on my newly painted deck. But a quick soaping and spraying cleaned it up.

And like I said, now it's time for another work week, and it looks to be a busy one. ;-)