Since the smoke is gone (for the moment)

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Well, the wildfires certainly changed things for a while here. The air outside was, essentially, toxic; so that was nice. One of these things that really bring home the fact that climate change, combined with a couple of centuries of not engaging in controlled burning of the forests (unlike the people who lived in these bits of the US before the colonizers who managed the forests carefully with controlled burns) have led to disastrous fires. And thanks to weather patterns we got a good dose of smoke.

That did put somewhat of a crimp in the plans to do the outside of the house, but I must admit I’ve not been deeply productive this week. Or, as I keep reminding myself and others when they say they haven’t done something:

I’ve not been that productive the last few days of this pandemic.

Yesterday was pretty good – but today – I have to give myself some credit for trying and I also have to remind myself that sometimes things take time but you don’t make notable progress. Which is largely how today’s been. So in the task management list, yesterday I spent some time outside and finished the front and the lower section of the south side of the house; the back of the house is also done except around the back door…


This just leaves the North end (for which we need to have another day of planing wood, the two gables, and around the back door). I also laser cut both the house number and the backplates for the two lights that go over the corridors.

All this trim (and the panels underneath) need another coat of paint, but then finally the outside will actually be done.

Last week we also got all the tiles up in the kitchen – they need grouting still, which was going to be today’s activity, but instead I got sucked into a couple of other jobs…


This has (thankfully) fixed the paranoia about splashing stuff on the kitchen walls. It will also fix the paranoia about water running down the back of the cupboard by the sink, which was a terrifying possibility.

And yesterday, we finally moved from having to hold the dishwasher open with a brick to holding it open with… the proper panel being attached to the front. This turned into a muuuuuch bigger job than I expected. I’d assumed that I’d just throw the mounting plate onto the door front and we would at that point have a hidden dishwasher, but the combination of the dishwasher being positioned very high (to clear the drain pipe behind it – which has to be in a stupid place because of the way the floor foundations were poured compared to the walls), and the positioning of the front door panel meant that the panel fouled the dishwasher’s power connection cover panel as it opened.

After several hours of beating it – and my head – with a hammer, I came up with the alternate option of cutting a different, replacement cover panel and attaching that (we won’t talk about how). My panel doesn’t screw into the same places their one did… which has the advantage that the door gains 2mm, which means that it now clears everything as it opens.

So anyhow, today was spent dealing with the roost in the coop – the droppings board was positioned such that it wasn’t quiiiite catching the majority of droppings. This was slightly annoying.

The quick and easy solution (which is what I did) was to pull it off, extend it slightly, change the angle, and put it back on. And the chickens don’t seem to mind.

I also tweaked the run slightly. There was a patch where the wire mesh rodent barrier that runs under the entire run stuck up – just outside the door – and despite being pinned to the run, the chickens had managed to drop enough crap between it and the run to force it out. Then, we worried they might catch their little toes on it as they tried to forage when we let them out.

They kept hopping around it, which made us nervous. So I grabbed an offcut of the house trim and put that across, sandwiching the mesh between layers of wood.

The morning’s also been slightly slowed by the fact that — despite our best efforts, one of the chickens appears to have roundworm. Ironically, the list of “what you should do to treat roundworm” is essentially everything we do. Apparently, we should just monitor the situation and see if there’s any sign of any of them losing weight. But despite our planned deep bedding method, we’ve gone back to scooping the poo every morning (and sometimes midway through the day).

I think it’s Astrid, although both her and Mymble seem to have a greater proportion of liquid faeces than I’d like. They’re still eating, though, and seem happy. And per the reference book at the urban farm place (1) it’s very common and (2) you shouldn’t treat it with worming medicine unless they become unwell.

So we’re just reduced to paranoidly watching them.

Today’s other activity was attempting to fix the Dyson fan that I got as “broken”.

It appears to have multiple faults – which I’m thinking probably all stemmed from one fault – that is that there’s a design flaw where the cable can rub on the bearing used to turn the fan body. In our case, the rubbing eventually wore the insulation away allowing a short. Now I’m not sure of the order of events, but so far, we’ve got a capacitor that’s completely missing (presumed vapourised); two blown fuses and the insulation failure.

I’ve replaced the capacitor – which taught me that if I do build the OpenInverter I’ll be needing a magnifying lamp, because that was…a challenge, and it’s freaking untidy.


Annoyingly, the voltage regulator I bought is the wrong package, so if I do end up using it I’ll need to knock up a bunch of flyleads. But hey.

More annoyingly, I somehow forgot to check the fuses on it when I was looking at it last time – and so had to order fuses today. I also have a bunch of diodes that I’ve grabbed in-case any of the ones on the board have died. All the ones I checked today appeared to be behaving though.

So, I didn’t get very far with that.

I also took the opportunity to order the switch for my bench power supply. I accidentally trod on the switch (it reeked of cigarette smoke, despite my best efforts to clean it, so it was sat wrapped on the floor of the storage unit). Replacing it isn’t hard, but it’s annoying because it worked fine until I snapped it.

So lots of bitty bits, nothing actually finished, but various important things achieved.

Oh, and I got bitten, twice, by a spider while harvesting tomatoes a few days ago. It hurts. I am unimpressed.


Kate's allegedly a human (although increasingly right-wing bigots would say otherwise). She's definitely not a vampire, despite what some other people claim. She's also mostly built out of spite and overcoming oppositional-sexism, racism, and other random bullshit. So she's either a human or a lizard in disguise sent to destroy all of humanity. Either way, she's here to reassure that it's all fine.