“Founded upon a rock” or “cast upon stony soil”?
We took the furchildren for a walk in Rockwood Park the other day. Up a hill from the trail we were on, I noticed a cedar growing on a boulder.
Now if you know anything about cedars, you know they’re crazy cusses. They can live 500 years, clinging to cliff faces. Shriveled. Twisted. Stunted. Looking, except for a fattened base whose rings prove their senescence, no different than they were at the age of 10. To those who know or care, they inspire awe for their tenacity, but also pity or discomfiture for their grotesquerie.
They’ll never be anyone’s Christmas tree. They’re no good for lumber. They aren’t even noticeable next to the tall ones who landed on good ground.
Sometimes — not always, but sometimes — I wish I weren’t a cedar.
This is where I was last week. An insulation brochure lists four steps for this project; I have highlighted, in green, these four steps.
1. Lay a ten-foot square of 6-mil polyethylene sheeting to cover the ground.
2. Unscrew the cover from the light fixture, and then unscrew its box from the strapping (1″ x 3″ boards) and pull out one of the brackets holding its power cord. Pry off the rest of the strapping that had held plastic sheeting over the joists.
3. Pull off the plastic sheeting (stapled to the joists with an office stapler; worse, the plastic was in the wrong place: it should lie between insulation and the warm-in-winter side of the house).
4. Remove the dirty, damp fiberglass insulation.
5. Remove the debris from the crawlspace and pack into three oversized garbage bags.
6. Sweep up the mouse droppings, mouse corpses, and fly pupae; discard.
7. Hammer flat any protruding nail ends that might interfere with smooth installation of new fiberglass batts.
8. Seal air leaks around wires.
9. Measure spaces between joists. Cut pieces of polyethylene sheeting to cover bottom of floor plus two or three inches down each joist/header. Attach with (proper, heavy-duty) stapler.
10. Cut R-20 insulation to size, and tuck between the joists. Note that the insulation is 6″ thick, leaving 2″ between it and the bottom of the 8″-deep joists.
11. Cut pieces of leftover vinyl siding edging, 8″ x 2″ x 1″, and screw onto joists just below the insulation.
12. Lay builder’s shims across insulation batts, the shim ends resting on the vinyl ledges, to help keep insulation from sagging.
13. Notice old furnace fuel oil line (a narrow copper pipe) that had been sawn through (when system was changed to electric), but never removed. Use claw hammer to pull out its brackets.
14. Wipe up half-cupful of fuel oil spilled onto poly groundsheet. Using hacksaw, remove fuel oil line.
15. Cut, measure, and staple lengths of aluminum window screening over joists, letting it descend a few inches around the perimeter.
16. Return to building centre for another roll of screening. Finish stapling.
17. Study the dryer duct that the previous owner had kept aloft with a length of string looped over a piece of strapping. Remove the string, turn one of the duct lengths around so that the pieces fit properly, and tape.
18. Screw new strapping along screening seams and around perimeter. Stuff steel wool into corners and along larger gaps in seams in hopes of keeping mice out of insulation.
19. Nail bracket back in over light fixture power cord. Using electric screwdriver as light source, and manual screwdriver to do the work, begin to reattach light fixture box to strapping. Watch the Arc’n’Spark Show. Abandon project till next morning.
20. Shut off power for entire house. Reattach light fixture box to strapping. Locate source of metalic tinkling. Using utility knife, carefully strip off 1/2″ of the black wire, and wrap around its screw post; tighten screw. Replace cover on fixture box. Turn house power back on.
21. Measure, build, and nail in a permanent panel that reduces the crawlspace hatch size by half.
22. Measure, cut, and place two vent covers in far end of crawlspace.
23. Measure, construct, and place new hatch cover.
Start to finish: five days.
Sunday was Thanksgiving Day for us Canadians, eh?
And this year, having a freezer and a large stockpot and a big enough roaster and E.g.’s parents to help eat, we bought a turkey.
I was about to cook the giblets when I remembered James Viscosi’s blog entry last year about giving raw turkey necks to their dogs. And, hey, their dogs are all alive and kicking, so why not try it with my own pupsters?
I broke the turkey neck in half, and called the furchildren outside to the patio. “Sit.”
Wow, a sit in one go.
Standing on the patio, Cai began to chew his piece of turkey neck. Fergus took his to the grass.
“Don’t do that, Fergus, it’ll get dirty. C’mere.” I set Fergus’s turkey neck on the patio.
Fergus moved it to the grass.
Cai stood on the patio, chewing.
Fergus moved his turkey neck to another spot on the grass.
Fergus rolled on his turkey neck.
Fergus made bizarre little puppy yips.
I was flabbergasted. Fergus is the big eater, and finishes his meals before you can pronounce the second b in “kibble”. But here he was, unsure of what to do with the first piece of raw meat ever given him.
Suddenly, a light went on in Fergus’s brain. This wasn’t a toy, it was food! Even better, it was his food! He rocketed all over the yard with his precious Thanksgiving treat, yipping, rolling, thoroughly coating the neck in his secret blend of seven soils and crispy leaf bits. Cai, having finished his meat, followed Fergus around, delicately sniffing each spot where the turkey neck had lain.
Here are some pictures. Enjoy!