A Summer of Photography

This year the summer came in wet and stayed wet for a long time, passing through the normal April showers and continueing up to the first of July. Just as we thought the rains were over we would get another week of heavy rains, flooding the fields to where the farmers could not get their heavy equipment into the fields to turn the soil and plant their crops.

My garden was somewhat the same, I couldn’t get the tiller into it to loosen the soil to make the rows or dig the holes without it just being muddy. I had added sand to the soil to help in drainage and compaction of the soil so this helped some but it still took a couple of days after a big, long wet spell. I started with my onions and radishes of which I had no problem with the onions but the radishes were a different story. They grew very good leafy greens but the actual radishes were another story. I didn’t get 10% to grow editable fruit, the other 90% never bulbed out growning only long red root looking fruit.

When I was finally able to plant the tomatoes and peppers and cucumbers I was at least a month behind schedule. I made tomato cages from some fencing  for the tomatoes and  trellises for the cucumbers. I put the peppers out in blocks of 1 foot squares using the square foot gardening aspect. The tomatoes and cucumbers did well and are still producing, however, the bell peppers and the sweet banana peppers did very poorly. I actually made two plantings of the bell peppers, six the first time and then four more later. Of the ten plants planted absolutely none produced anything at all. The sweet banana peppers did better, not perfect but maybe 50% once they started to produce. Something I have noticed is that even though it is still very hot for this time of hte year, 91 again today on the 13 of September, the peppers are putting out better than they were during the regular growing season. Of all the peppers, the HOT peppers did the best but again, they were all slow and did not want to grow fruit.

From the garden to the landscape and the bugs that visit there were a opportunities to get some pretty good pictures.

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Project Coming to an End

It all started this past May. We Started looking for our last house. There was a road that we traveled quite a lot that was kind of scenic no matter what time of year it was.  There was a piece of ground that was farmed, approximately 35 acres, that I would say…if I was younger and had the means I would buy that land and build a house on it. Well, this past May I found it had been sold and a developer was building homes on it. The lots would be about a half-acre and if one wanted they could get a lot that backed up to a wooded reserve.  Almost perfect to me, some seclusion with very easy access to whatever you wanted or needed.

We visited the model home and looked at plans online, a decision was made to go for the model home with some modifications. We talked to a realtor, someone we had used before on a couple of occasions but in this case she came with a bonus. She was married and her husband was a home construction consultant being an electrician by trade. Cathy was to represent us in the buy and sell our current home when appropriate and Mike was to help watch the home during construction and help with negotiation of prices, ie the lot price. The lot was priced as a premium lot because of the woods and they. Told. Us it was firm. We sent Mike in to the den and mission was accomplished.

Approximately thirty days after making decisions on colors, types of floors, bath accessories, lighting fixtures etc, they started digging the whole and pouring the foundation.

 

A few days later the package for the floors, walls and roof showed up and work proceeded on the installation of these materials. After about two weeks or so this phase should have been complete but there was some weather issues and for some reason there was a disagreement on the job and everybody left, not to show for several days later.

 

The time frame was to be six months but this wasn’t going to hold true because it seemed that they were having a rough time scheduling their contractors between this location and two to the south.

We finally got to the place where the drywall was installed and the bathrooms were ready for tile. The master had a tile floor and both the hall and master baths were to be tiled above the tub and shower. This didn’t go to well as seen here. Gaps in tile joints, straight and level lines were hard to find, accent tile was never pressed flat with a float and the list goes on. I called the builder in and refused to accept the work. Both baths were gutted and redone.

There were other issues, all of which have been corrected. As we moved towards the walk through date several things happened that may helped in the house being ready for the look over. About a week and a half before Mike and I spent 2-1/2 hours going through the mechanicals where we found some issues; GFI receptacles that wouldn’t reset, lights that came on dimly and in this case, it was an inside light and the back patio lights at the same time. It gets better, the inside light could be turned on by itself with another switch on full brightness. After Mike and I got done I went home and ate lunch than Cindy (wife) and I went over for the blue tape special. We were there another 4-1/2 hours marking bad drywall finishing, bad paint, damaged trim work and cabinets that hasp issues.  I then made a list, single spaced, 4 pages long and sent it to the sales lady. She then gave it to the superintendent. She told him that there has been a blue tape explosion, to not be surprised. He read the list and said great, we had done a lot of work that they would have to do, saving time.  At this point there weren’t that many days before the walk through.

This past Monday I get a call from the sale rep, she had pulled the cardboard up protecting the floor in the master bath and found tiles not level.  When they pulled more up they found a whole lot more and decided to tear the floor out. Tuesday they put new backer board down and new tile. Wednesday morning nothing more was done in that room unless later in the day.  We purposely did not go over today.  At 1PM tomorrow, Friday, December 22 we are to meet and do a walk through. Our closing date is 12/28/2017 at 1PM. That’s only 4 days taking the 24th & 25th out.  This could be interesting as there were so many small things to get done. Way too many in my book.  I forgot to mention that the utility room flooring, linoleum, that had a faux tile look also had to be replaced because it’s fake grout line was under the baseboard on one end of the room and out a good 1-1/2” at the other end. Representative from that company tried to say the walls were out of square. This same outfit did the bath rooms tile on the walls and the flooring. The hall bath, quest in our case, as well as the master bath had to be completely gutted for poor craftsmanship. I took one look and just about….well you know. Here’s some samples but they don’t do it justice. As you can see the first two photos show how the accent tile went through the shelf niche at the wrong elevation. Harder to see is that the corner line is not straight, not the same width all the way up and what you can’t see is that the accent tiles weren’t pressed into the mastic with the float as they should have been. On top of that the niche had a big 1/4″ plus in the top where the back wall met the upper part of the niche and no gap at all on the bottom for grout to fit in.  Bottom line, not acceptable in shape or form. When the replacement materials showed up we were right on its heals.  I recognized the truck so we went in. The superintendents guy was there so I told him that was the same gut that messed it up the first time.  He called the super who came and sent the guy packing then got in touch with that company’s owner.  Everything was good after that until they found the floor messed up but that has been put to bed as well.

So, we’ve done the non required pre walk-through which was a huge timesaver.  We’ve now done the actual walk-through with Christie and John. We now have one more meeting with John this Wednesday and then are set to close on Thursday. There are still some issues like sod, gutters, painting of cedar trim and a few things inside that are to be fixed between now and next Thursday.

If it wasn’t for Christie (leader of the pack), John (the guy to get it done and won’t lie), Andy and Nick (the doers and watchdogs for both sides), this builder would have found himself wanting to get rid of me as fast as he could. I’m sure I have been pickier that most and have pointed out issues from the beginning since I have a background in construction. That and the fact that I built my first house, subing some of it out but was fully hands on, the fact that I used another professional to put a second set of eyes on the project especially for the new code items and lastly….I’m retired and have all the time in the world to be there to bother you if you make a mistake and there were plenty.  How much would have been slipped under the carpet will never be known.

I still have plenty to do after we close. I’m installing the shelving for the pantry and the master closet. I believe their pantry price was $750 and I’m doing both rooms for about $300. They’ll look like this when I’m done or very similar.First picture above is pantry then the next two are left side of master closet. Last three are of the right side of master closet.

It’s been an experience that has taken the better part of this year as I pointed out in the beginning.  Needless to say we will have plenty to do starting the evening of the 28th as we start getting things ready and the way we want them in the new home.  We then have to get our current home ready to sell, this part will be easy because we’ve always kept the house up to snuff, fixing things as they broke or became in need of updating, painting, caulking, and anything mechanical.

Here’s to a Project That is Coming to an End.

Looking Towards The Center

As the title says, it’s all about “outside my window” but I used it to today to experiment and learn, using tools that I’ve had available in Adobe and On1 Photo. In this picture I. Used my 18-270mm lens fully extended. After focusing I set the camera up on a delayed shutter so that I would have time to pull the lens back getting more of the scene and getting light trails of the vehicles passing through the round-a-bout. I liked what I ended up with, the light trails lead the eyes to the center and do the same with a fountain near the bottom, largest leading light. What I didn’t like was the sky so I used On1 to give me a grainy layer that I masked out in all the other areas. I also did some blending with this program. I’m. Not saying this is a great piece of work but it is for me. Look through the image and you will see different layers and structures letting the viewer know that you’re inside looking out with motion.

The Start of a Bright and Sunny Day

It’s been a strange year here in southern Ohio, weather wise.

It’s been a strange year hear in southern Ohio weather wise.  We’ve had really good amounts of rain, seems like it rained every week during the week but mother nature gave us some great weekends.  It never really got all that hot during the hot months and in looking back I would say it may have been on the tad cool side.  August, the typical hot and dry month, the month that the grass turns brown and dusty where you hear it crunch under your feet was coolish and wet.  First week or so of September should be in the mid to upper 70’s and dry.  Hold on, we had the rains that worked out perfectly for the fall fertilization of the yards and helping to set up the grounds for the winter applications.  There was the last ditch effort for the crops to both their last bit of rain and heat to help them finish off their growing season.  The melons, tomatoes and corn crops have done very well and it looks like the pumpkin crop is going to have a bumper season, not only selling to individuals but to supplement other areas in the country that didn’t have our luck with the weather.  The past week and a half has been hot, near 90 everyday.  We go back to normal for this time of year in a couple of days. No appreciable rain in the near future so that means less rain which is great for the out door fall festivals.  The crunching of leaves is hear as the colors are starting to show, mostly yellows and browns right now but I suspect that come two weeks from now we will see the oranges, reds and some dark maroons with just a hint of the past years greens.

This is the typical fall morning look where you get the more brilliant colors due to the dust in the air from the crops being taken in.

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Wow! It’s Been Awhile

I didn’t realize that it’s been since June that I’ve posted anything on here.  The eclipse has come and gone.  I’ve finished not one but two speaker projects and we are in the process of building what will be our final house.

I’ll start with the eclipse.  I barely got home in time from an appointment to get setup and to take this image.  It was a rush job so fell lucky to have gotten it at all considering how fast it pasted.

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Now to update the first speaker project.  As a reminder without going back through this blog I was attempting to duplicate my 1973 Mark IV Frazier speakers.  My original set is now the property on my son-in-law.  He’s offered them back to me but I’ve said no.  I had almost everything I needed to duplicate the dimensions, all I had to do is figure out what some of the components were since not everything is marked.  About the only thing I would change is the 10″ woofer speakers as an upgrade from the simple Dayton 10’s that I have.  The inductors and chokes worked out real well with the info that I could get from them and then transfer to what was available today.  One big improvement in todays equipment is the potentiometers.  The new ones allow for better cross over control.  I found a Dual 1214 turn table in Canada and with my son-in-laws help we procured it.  He has my original.  Something you do not find today is the ability to stack LP’s and walk away only to have to return to change the LP out at the end of the last song.  Yea, yea….insert a CD in a multi changer or a flash drive with MP3’s loaded but it isn’t the same.  I’m hearing that more and more people are realizing how good the OLD DAYS sounded.  Anyway, Greg and I also found the original Sony amp in FL but in this case he gave me my original one and kept the replacement.  It needed a bit of a touch up but is working now.

Here are a couple of finished shots of the speakers.  The tag is something my neighbor made after copying my signature.  I have three styles and can’t make up my mind to what I like the best.

Now the second speaker project.  My son-in-law, Greg, took apart on old set of bookshelf speakers and wanted to build one cabinet with three speakers.  He sent me the dimensions and I made it.  In using left over grill material and paint I had everything went smooth.  Now all he has to do is load it up with the innards, speakers, controls etc.

 

A Locals Head Shot

It’s been a busy spring this year in the pond.  First we had a hen lay 11 eggs that made it to give life.  The hen even brought the remaining ducklings back to the nest of birth.  I’ve never seen anything like this before.  Long before the typical hen gives up it’s parenting rights this hen did. Not only that, she had a second batch.  Her grand total would have been 13 first round and then 9 on the second round.  She lost six in the first group and it appears 7 in the second group, there are only 7 in the first and they still hang together when resting or sleeping, otherwise they will wonder and explore the pond.  The last batch has only two survivors left.

This is a picture I caught tonight of one of the ducklings from the first wave.  It is one of the more ” I”m not afraid of anything” babies.  I believe if I let it, it would feed from my hand and climb the steps to get up on the deck looking for food.

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