More Idle Thoughts From the Swamp

Greetings from the shack in the swamp where it was a balmy 101 degrees in the shade yesterday. Thankfully nights are low 70s so it’s good sleeping weather.

Haven’t accomplished all that much the last few days. I met Amos in a nearby town Monday and towed a trailer loaded with wood out here. The trailer was horribly overloaded which resulted in some white knuckle time on the way here. The Boy had a vet appointment Tuesday so after unloading I took it back and spent the night in town.

The vet was uneventful unless you count me being a smart alec. When they asked me what breed he was I said “Pit Poodle”. The young lady recorded exactly that so now I am guardian of the worlds first pit poodle puppy. Just as well, I went through severe sticker shock checking out and told the boy that a hard hat, lunch bucket and steel toed boots were in his future.

Out in the swamp Amos and Co. were hard at constructing what turned out to be a very nice screened in porch. The Boy took me to heart and took overall supervision responsibilities. In this picture you can see him inspecting a footer before he gave his approval to close the floor. He wanted a few more fasteners put in and after a Zigsterfew minutes of arguing with the contractor threatened to red tag the whole project. Meanwhile Amos threatened to walk off the job if Ziggy didn’t lighten up so the Boy finally took a somewhat more diplomatic approach. After a bit of grumbling they worked out their differences and by the end of the day Ziggy was back to sitting in Amos’ lap.

Yesterday I mostly sat in the shade and watched. Sometimes being older than dirt has it’s perks. I did spend some time working on my current solar set up which it really seemed to like.

The battery I am using is several years old but has never had a load on it. I would charge it on about a monthly basis or whenever I thought of it so I had no idea what condition it might be in. When I put the desulphator on it the charged indicator didn’t come on at all the first day. The second day it came on very late in the afternoon. Since then I’ve noticed that it charges earlier every day. I’m cautiously optimistic that this is an indicator that the battery is in good condition and that I’ll get a decent amount of use out of it.

Last night I finally hooked up an inverter then connected a small fan which I ran a couple of hours to cool the shack. I failed open about 3:30 so after building coffee I checked the 73 different rechargeable devices and put the phone and my flashlight on the inverter. Since I can’t check current draw right now I have no idea how many amps I’m using so I’m calling tonight a light use night. I’ll watch the charge today to see when the battery is topped off.

Today I’m thinking of getting started on the generator shed again. If I can get the poles set, batter boards on and get it square and vertical the rest should be pretty easy. I need to fast track this so I can get my other generator out of storage and get one of the units emptied. I can also start wiring the shack for 120 and 12 volt.

Starting to fail shut so it’s back to sleep for now if I can talk the Boy into letting me have part of the bed. Later.

Been a couple of days. Amos finished his deck and left for civilization this morning. I got off my azz yesterday and went back to work on the shed. Like everything else out there I managed to find ways of making it a lot harder than it had to be.

I had laid out the posts for a 4×8 footprint then dug the holes. But when digging holes in ground with roots the size of railroad ties the holes tend to wander. It’s easy to get off by several inches and not notice. Well, I didn’t notice until the third pole was going in.

Pole number 1 and 2 were very well behaved. I set them, put on a IMG_20160626_095809544[1]batter board then trued vertically. After filling and tamping they were vertical and pretty solid. The sand sets up like concrete nearly out there so I’ll keep piling sand around them and letting the rain wash it in.

Then came time to set the third pole. Propping the batter board up on blocks I was discouraged to see that the hole was nearly a foot off. Out came the post hole digger and sawzall. An hour later I was setting the pole. I was glad no one was around to see me crying as I approached the last hole.

The last hole was only about six inches off so it wasn’t quite so bad. Soon after I had all four batter boards set and the square said yay verily it’s pretty square. I’ll spare you the visual of a fat, sweaty bald guy dancing around in the swamp. I’m pretty happy about it now. AtIMG_20160629_111127267[1] one point I was thinking of a bonfire on that very spot but I’m glad that I refrained. I’m not a wood guy at all.

At that point it was time to head back to town for a shower, ice and some more wood. Opening my first cooler I discovered that one of my guaranteed not to leak zip loc freezer bags had leaked blood everywhere. So everything that wasn’t a factory water tight seal went in the burn barrel. Opening the other cooler I decided I must have a defective batch of zip loc bags and they went in the burn barrel as well. In the morning I get the fun job of washing both coolers with detergent then sterilizing with bleach before I set off for more food, ice and wood.

Well, been to town, back out, back to town. I forgot to buy wood while in town.

Yesterday I got the floor of the shed mostly framed and put in some bracing to help straighten the 4x4s. This morning I got some plastic under the floor to help control the rampant growth of stuff what you don’t know what it is but don’t want anyway. While moving some stuff around I tossed a 4×4 on the ground and it shattered. Well, it broke. I just stood there staring. I’ve never seen a 4×4 do anything other than get crooked. This one had about 4 feet just break off. Thinking it had maybe fossilized I picked up the remainder and threw it on the ground several times to see if it would break again. It didn’t but I am glad I hadn’t built a tower and had a 450 pound barrel of water on it when it shattered.

Since today was Sunday the Boy and I went for our Sunday drive. There are miles of roads out here that are see very rare traffic. I usually just idle along and look around. The Boy just sleeps and loves the air conditioning. Today I was on an “Adopt A Rock” mission.

People come out here and abandon perfectly good rocks alongside the road. Being something of a philanthropist I adopt these rocks and take them back to the shack where they will eventually be put to good use. I also fill a couple of five gallon buckets with dirt from where they grade the road and leave piles of it on the side. I’ll not turn my driveway into a superhighway any time soon but eventually it will be flat and smooth.

Been back and forth to town again. Today ran to the big city to return the inverter and get another. They wouldn’t even talk about a discount even after I explained that it was a 120 mile round trip for me. Guess it doesn’t hurt to try.

Tomorrow headed back out to the swamp. I’m hoping to finish the shed and tackle the next big project. Big for me that is. Sometimes even the simple things are really hard for want of a hand to hold something in place. I’m becoming fairly accomplished at jury rigging stuff.

Last trip out I set up a redneck awning. It’s a tarp with two pieces of EMT to hold it up tied off with 550 cord. Makes a helluva racket in IMG_20160628_112943648_HDR[1]the wind but it does shade the west side of the shack and reduces heat inside considerably. In time I’ll break out the post hole diggers and put in a permanent awning.

I made some more progress on the shed. Since cash is tight I bought regular lumber for use on anything that won’t get wet or be in contact with the ground. I did apply a hillbilly pressure treatment IMG_20160628_091126615[1]which consists of used motor oil, diesel and paint thinner. I’ve already been advised that it won’t last more than about ten years but hell I’ll be dead by then so what do I care?

Have you ever noticed how critters have some psychic ability when IMG_20160629_195133247[1]it comes to cameras? They will be doing the neatest things until a camera comes out. Then it’s total bedlam. Ziggy will be completely absorbed in something until I grab the phone to take a pic. Instantly his thought process goes, “Camera. I better do something cute. What to do? I know, I’ll lick my butt!”


One thought on “More Idle Thoughts From the Swamp”

  1. Since upi have screened n the porch, you’ll have to go outside to visit the dragonflies It’s shaping up real nice.
    Looking forward to my next trip up..

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