Sunday, January 30, 2011

1/28/2011 - Wood-Splitting Weekend

We did it! Dad, Nick and I spent all day splitting wood on Friday and no one got "seriously" injured. Nick did scrape his arm on the blade and it started bleeding a bit.. and I got the customary bruises that happen all the time to me. But overall the day was a smashing success! We didn't get all the wood split, but we did get the majority of it done. Probably 3-4 cords worth which is more than I will use up there for a long time. And the weather was just beautiful! Sunny and warm enough for Nick to work without his shirt on. 
This was definitely a 3 person job so I am glad Dad was there... Nick hauled the logs to the splitter, I took the split wood away and stacked it and Dad... pushed the lever up and down. He got to sit in a chair and push the lever, as he says, he has always been management material. Seriously it did save us time because it would have been me doing that and not stacking. Here is the technique..

We found some interesting bugs in and under the wood...Centipedes and a Grub the size of a Toyota..

Nick and Dad starting yelling for me when they saw this sticking out of a log they just split..

The "grub" ate tunnels through the log and filled them with the digested wood after it.

Just to show you the size of this thing. He was about 4 inches long and a good 1/2 inch in diameter. No eyes that I could see.

 I found this picture of people in Thailand eating these things from

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Water Pipe Weekend

Happy 8th Birthday Laine! 
Nick and I love you very much!

I drove up Saturday morning to see what was going on at the house.. and found that with the water turned off, my driveway stream had dried up. No surprise to me now that was where the pipe broke but I still felt stupid. I dug out the area and could feel the pipe but couldn't see it because the water from the house was draining into the hole now. The insurance adjuster showed up and he was a really nice man but of course, they wouldn't pay for anything. I called the plumber and left him a message and waited... All the while it was a beautiful day! No fog at all and sunny and warm and I spent time out on my deck.

The plumber (Mike Kelley Plumbing) was super nice and came out Sunday morning...he found that a root about twice the size of the pipe had pushed the pipe out of the way and cracked it. (I have pictures of all this so you can see it) I went and got the parts and he showed me how he fixes things and how to do it myself if it happens again. I have found that the contractors that I work with up there are all like that...they don't mind me standing there asking them questions. And they are more than happy to tell me how to do it myself next time. I love that!  I am going to call him later this year to put in a tankless water heater and replace the tank one I have in the garage. Makes no sense for me to use propane to heat water all day and night when I am not there.
This weekend is the wood splitting weekend, and my goal is no injuries... that will be a tough one with the Tonseth tradition of at least one person bleeding during every project on the line. My Dad even has a saying when someone starts bleeding, "Now it's a project!". No wonder I am always getting hurt.. :)

Driveway dug out

The root is there to the left/top of the pipe. 4-5 inches in diameter and it just bullied the pipe.

adding elbows


Friday, January 21, 2011

Friday 1/21/2011 - Ack!

I got the strangest call today from the Calaveras Water agency.... they went out to read the meter and found that I had used 286,000 gallons of water in one month. Thankfully, they are small town mentality and they knew I am not there full time. So the guy turned off the water and they called me right away, in the city here, they would just send me the bill.
So now the water running down the driveway that I mentioned around New Year's and thought was due to the heavy rain, is making a lot more sense. And boy do I feel stupid! 

You can see the video I uploaded to my you tube channel of the water by clicking on the video bar to the right here.

Oh! And the best news!! Homeowner's insurance will not cover it! This is not in the home itself so I get to pay for all of it! The $450 water bill and whatever the cost is to repair this thing. 

When I was there last week, it was warm and sunny after all the rain and gloom. Just beautiful and i want to leave you with pictures of Casey laying in the sun watching me work. I will keep you informed as the water saga unfolds....

Soggly yours,


Saturday, January 8, 2011

New Year's Weekend 2011 - Rain and Running Water and Falling Trees!

I went up to the house for New Year's weekend, since we had Monday the 3rd off, I got to stay another day. I was by myself as my plans for visitors changed at the last minute due to work schedules and other commitments.

It rained almost the whole time I was there on Saturday and Sunday, and of course, stopped on Monday when I had to leave. The small, dry, drainage creeks are now really flowing with water. I can hear the sound of the running water from my deck and that catches me by surprise still. I even have ground water spurting up on the driveway now. (Which explains that odd patch of asphalt that was newer than the rest. I guess this must happen every few years.)
(See my videos on my YouTube channel... link is to the right and down a bit.)
I also had a tree come down when I was there on Sunday. I was inside drinking coffee and heard  something like a big truck rumbling up my gravel driveway. Thankfully, it didn't block the driveway, although it got close. It was one trunk of a three trunk tree that split off, and I am sure the other 2 trunks will now fall since it is out of balance. There are a lot of trees on the property that are diseased that were able to survive the drought years pretty well. Dry years mean little rot or fungus to eat away at the weak parts, and now the tree is sucking up a bunch of water that is making it very heavy, and the weaker wood can't sustain the weight. I am really glad I took the trees down that were around the house... especially the sick one by the front steps that they filled the bottom of one of the trunks up with cement to keep it standing. Here is a gardening hint for folks...if you have a tree that has a giant hole in the trunk, filling it up with cement is not the right thing to do. Cut it down and plant a healthy tree! Some people questioned my chopping all those trees down but I think now that was a really smart thing to do. For fire protection and because of winters like this... 
Here are some of the pictures of the tree that fell down, also on my you tube channel you can seem more if.
Pretty Manzanita Tree in the rain
View from the turn on my driveway heading out
The tree dunked the basketball hoop!

3 Trunks - area in the middle rotted

There's the problem! I expect the other 2 trunks to be coming down soon.