Thursday, June 25, 2009

Did I mention I had sand in my ear. Again.

It was time to rebuild the brake calipers for the truck. Step 1: Disassemble. 2: Blast. 3: Paint. 4: Replace o-ring and dust boot. 5: Install caliper on spindle

I have completed step 2.
I pulled my first ripe tomato from the garden today, the okra is being attacked by what appears to be Japanese beetles, and I have three grape sized cantaloupes. Also no more bunnies since the cabbage and broccoli were removed.
For the past couple of weeks I have been walking 3 miles in the morning, starting out usually around 6:00 AM. Like most exercise, if you do it enough, it makes you feel better and you get the desire to do more exercise, so ... I decided to get out the old dumb bells and start pumping some iron again. And man am I sore now. Really sore. All over. Every where. Places I had forgotten I had.

My goal is to keep with the program for 90 days. Then all bets are off.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

I Have Sand In My Ears

Again! Monday morning I started the day with a walk. By 7:30 am I was in the driveway setting up the sandblaster to strip down a couple of brake drums and backing plates. Sandblasting is messy. Especially on a really hot day when the sand sticks to your sweaty skin. Too much information?

The drums and plates cleaned up nicely and looked awesome after the rust had all been removed. After putting away all the blasting gear, I got out the paint gun and sprayed the parts a nice semi-gloss black. Who in the world paints a brake drum?

The parts are now ready to be re-attached to the rear axle assembly. I had forgotten the backing plates needed to be installed before the axle went back into the differential. I guess I will be pulling the axle out again soon.

The next step will be to install the new brake lines. After that is done I can finally put the engine back on the chassis. OK, that is not entirely true. First I will need to do something with the transmission. It doesn't need to be rebuilt but at a minimum it does need to be cleaned up. I am considering painting it. I don't want to use the same ORANGE paint I used on the engine. I would like some contrast between the block and the transmission. I also don't want to use black. In the event of a leak, black paint makes locating the source difficult. I am considering either silver or gray. I will probably go with gray.

After washing my hair 5 times I think I have gotten all the sand out of it. I am still finding sand in my ears though. Sandblasting is messy.
The bunnies have disappeared from their nest. I know they were still there yesterday. They were less than a week old so I am assuming something (cat, bird, owl) carried them off.

Sunday, June 07, 2009

First Fruits

Today was the first mini-harvest from the garden: a half dozen peppers (jalapeno and banana), a few small squash, and a couple of still mostly green tomatoes. The peppers were quite good. I haven't sampled the squash yet and I am waiting on the tomatoes to turn.

Saturday, June 06, 2009

Hiking on Monte Sano

Friday AM I went for a hike on Monte Sano Mountain. Our (David M. and myself) destination was the cuts. This is a pretty cool site on the top of a ridge that is basically a split in a large rock. It is probably about 30 or 40 yards total in length including a decent cave.

It had rained a reasonable amount on Friday so the trails were fairly damp. Downright muddy in some spots.

Having not hiked this particular trail in 13 or 14 years I surprised myself to be able to find the destination without a map. The trek required making the correct turn at about 5 forks in the trail. Even more surprising was that I believe I accidentally took the shortest route. Amazing!

What is wrong with this picture?

I put the second coat of paint on the block today. As you should recall, this is the engine from my 1972 GMC pickup. They call this a Chevy Small Block (SBC). And I painted it Chevrolet orange.

Got it? GMC truck. Chevy Small Block. Chevrolet Orange. Yes the GMC's came with Chevrolet Small Block engines painted Chevrolet Orange. Does this strike you as odd as well?

Monday, June 01, 2009

Laugh Out Loud

The very same day I planted my garden, I spotted a rabbit in the back yard and put up a chicken wire fence around the garden to keep the bunnies out.

Today I noticed something new. A little hole covered with grass clippings and bunny fur. And inside the hole are three (or more) little gray bunnies. I didn't notice the bunny clutch on Saturday when I was trimming the grass around the garden so I suspect the bunnies are less than 3 days old.

Did I mention the nest is on the inside of the fence? {Cue Laughter}

OK, I have now re-routed the fence to place the bunnies back on the outside. I also battened down the fence in the spot where I suspect the momma bunny may have accessed the garden interior (and cabbage).

On a related note, my cabbage took on the appearance of Swiss cheese almost over night. By that I mean holey. Today I sprayed some pesticide on it and the okra. After spraying the cabbage, several worms crawled out into sight on each cabbage plant. After inspecting each plant and counting the worms, I gave up on the cabbage, pulled them all from the ground and tossed them into the woods so the bunnies could feast tonight. I had been needing to thin the garden in that area anyway to make room for the ever expanding squash and cucumber vines. I don't think I will be planting cabbage again.

I mentioned the okra was also sprayed. The okra has aphids. I didn't notice the aphids, but I did spot the ants which were apparently feasting on the aphids. Hopefully the pesticide will clear that up whole mess. Once the aphids are gone, the ants will leave too as they don't really care for okra - boiled or fried.