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Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Way Overdue for a Puppy Fix

 
This is Loki. He belongs to one of the newspaper drivers but came to visit today. I'm still smiling.

Australian Shepherd puppy

After work, I went down the well hole and put moth balls around to deter Mr. Woodchuck. I set the heater so it should turn on thermostatically instead of just blasting heat all the time. It was as warm as the house down there if I needed an alternative place to bunk.

Here's the new expensive toy.

jet well pump

Then I closed it up and added all the old broken foam on top of the new green foam.

well pit cover

Next the layer of hay.

well pit cover

And finally the tarp and blocks/rocks, etc. to hold it down. And that's IT till nicer weather. It's supposed to get really cold again this weekend, so the timing is good.

well pit cover

After I've worked all day it is hard to come home and ram right into another physical job. I wasn't sure I'd get my second wind. but I did and have been writing in The Hitchhiker. This chapter has gotten much too long, so I'm contemplating cutting a whole thing out, or breaking it into two. At any rate, I did get in some writing time.

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Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Sun Doggies and Other Canines

 
Was getting ready to take a quick walk this afternoon, and... talk about timing! Look what was waiting for me.

Sun dog to the left of the sun. Way over there... 22 degrees away, to be exact.

sun dog left of sun

Sun dog to the right of the sun.

sun dog right of sun

Here's the left one closer. This is what I saw first.

sun dog left of sun

The right one was more of a smudge of color through that hole in the cloud.

sun dog right of sun

On the way around my loop I found another doggie track. The fox? Not sure. The tracks are not outlandishly large for fox, but perhaps a tiny bit. The were very straight, and foxes tend to be a bit more slanted. But I haven't seen any stray dogs around, and the fox could be very sure of himself back there.

canine track in snow

Remember the winter I showed you tracks all the time? Must have been a great year with the snow just right for tracks... there hasn't been one like it since then.

In other news: I picked up a free lance job that is very worth the money (which I sure need right now), but they want a nearly impossible turnaround time. At least that means it will be over with soon! I picked up the final cover art for The Secret Cellar, and got it scanned. I met with the guy who is handing off being in charge of the Writers' Rendezvous to me for this year. I delivered books to the bookstore. Then I worked on the Rendezvous, and started working on the final cover for SC. We'll see if any actual writing happens yet today.

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Monday, January 29, 2018

10:20 am - Gurgling Commenced

 
I'm sitting in bed writing, and I hear this odd sound. What is that? I thought. Sort of like running water, but there's not even a pump attached to the well shaft, right?

So I went to the bathroom and the tank is filling!

filled toilet tank

I went to the window and the pump man's truck is in the driveway. Pretty soon, he (one of the young whippersnappers that do the work now, not the owner) comes to the house with a bill. It's a whole new pump. More on that in a bit.

Not long after that the water was running clear.

water running from faucet into sink

I washed dishes.

dishes draining in a rack

I cleaned the bathroom (you don't need the before or after shot of that).

I did laundry.

clothes drying on a wooden expanding rack
Running water is so convenient. I confess that I don't mind too much when it's not working, but I am quite happy when it is.

Later, the pump man (owner) called to tell me he was unhappy I was putting hay on for insulation. He wanted straw, because the deer and rabbits will eat the hay. You know what? I can't help it. Hay is what I have.

OK. The bill. I had been told what this would cost, so the sticker shock had already happened. Let's just say that my little misadventure in not getting on top of this problem sooner is having consequences. It's my own dumb fault, but this certainly makes it highly unlikely I'll make my savings goal before I quit the mailroom job.

However, in better news, the Ludington bookstore owner called, and as a result of the newspaper article on Thursday, they have sold out of my books. I'm taking him more tomorrow, and I ordered more. Lots more of this needs to happen for me to be able to write, eat, and drive. So far, I'm doing better than breaking even, but I need for the sales to outpace the expenses a little whole lot better. It will come. I'm sure glad I decided to start trying to build momentum BEFORE I quit the other job.

In other news: I wrote my monthly column. I made some decisions about pre-orders of the children's series. I wrote chapter 6- CANTEENS in The Hitchhiker. Now I'm working on chapter 7.


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Sunday, January 28, 2018

Winter Tour - The 3 Mile Loop

 
Although the air was pretty crisp, the sun was glorious. I did my 3-mile road loop. Want to come along? I'd never noticed this before, but it really stands out against the little remaining snow we have. If it's going to thaw, I'm glad it did a good enough job to get rid of the ice on surfaces. At least I could walk.

old rusted farm machinery and gears against the snow

The pond along the bypass was gray and lifeless, but the sky is one of my favorite shades of blue.

ice covered pond with pines and blue sky

The moth mullein seed pods are always interesting. Today the light was catching them and turning each one to gold.

moth mullein seed pods in sunlight

It may be winter, but the moss is already starting to think about doing its thing. Look at those emerging sporangia.

orange moss sporangia

The rotting ice has a sort of beauty all it's own. I love the patterns at the edges.

melting ice on pebbles

But that sky! It was really an upper seeing all that glorious color. How about a white birch against the blue?

large white birch against a blue sky in winter

Passing the cemetery I saw an old shelf fungus on one of the aging maples. They took down quite a few of the really old and dangerous trees this fall. Maybe this one isn't on their list since it's closer to the creek than to the gravesites.

old shelf fungus on a maple tree

Can't take you by the cemetery without a picture of the cemetery creek. It was looking ordinary today, but I liked the shapes in the cut ash stump against the water.

cut ash stump with a stream in the background

In other news: I've been writing and writing. I finished chapters 4 and 5 of The Hitchhiker. I got the concept covers and the "model" pictures to Linda- my cover artist. We selected the cover we like.

See Rotting is Not the Same as Rotton
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Saturday, January 27, 2018

Michelle, Joe and Joan Get 'Er Done

 
Here was the well pit when I gave up. There were pieces so large, and still not rotten that I could not get them off alone.

well pit cover with rotten wood

So, today Joe and Michelle came over. We got all the old stuff off. Yes, I used my new crowbar.

open well pit

Then built a framing box. Some of the old wood was still good.

framing for a well pit cover

We added cross pieces to support the plywood I bought the other day. Yes, that's my shadow. I thought a shadow was so remarkable that I left it in the picture on purpose!

open well pit with framing over the top

Finally, we laid the plywood and foam over the frame and covered it with a tarp. This is very temporary, until the pump guys come do their magic.

covered well pit

I also went and picked up some bales of hay from another friend, so I can add more insulation over the foam and under the tarp when the below-ground work is done. No picture of that. But that project also involved completely emptying the car so I could get the hay in, and then cleaning it out afterwards and putting everything back.

In other news: I drew up two concept covers for The Hitchhiker so my cover artist can start work. Now I'm trying to finish chapter 3. But I'm falling asleep. I didn't get to sleep in this morning.

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Friday, January 26, 2018

Really? Was it Worth It?

 
Today's post is about a crowbar. And a 28-year-old grudge.

crowbar

You might notice that this crowbar looks quite new. In fact, I bought it today. It has not yet participated in any crowbar events, novice or pro. Sounds pretty uninteresting, right?

But, I have been mad about our old crowbar for 28 years. We used to have one. One just like this. It mysteriously went missing at a time when a whole lot of our things got shaken and stirred, so there is no one person to blame for its disappearance. It just happened.

However, for some reason, the loss of that crowbar has continued to infuriate me. I know, I get hot and bothered about odd things. I have refused to buy a new one because it had to be around somewhere, right? How does something with such an awkward shape and heft simply go missing?

In fact, I have refused to even look at one in the store. Instead I've used hammers, a short pry bar, whatever I could find. And I've made do.

But, to continue the demolition of the well pit cover, I really need a long crowbar. So, I bought one today. Guess how much it cost me to get past the anger over the old crowbar. $11.98. Seriously. I've been mad for over a quarter of a century about an item that cost only $11.98 to replace?

Get a grip, Joan.

Of course, you know this means I'll probably find the old one within a week or so. If that happens, believe me, you'll hear about it.

In other news: work was long. I am tired. I'm going back to work soon anyway. Tried to write this evening, but didn't accomplish much except some tweaks to Chapters 1 and 2 of The Hitchhiker.


See Tired of Work Lists?
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Thursday, January 25, 2018

Tired of Work Lists?

 
I'm sharing a sunset again, because it's at least a spot of color in the gray Michigan winter. It seems like I haven't been doing much outside lately and am only telling you what kinds of work I get done. Seems a little boring.

sunset

Other winters, I have sometimes taken you on a past journey through my memories. I have one I've sort of been saving, but currently my scanner isn't working. So I'll have to just take pictures of pictures for some of it. Maybe we'll do that anyway.

Today, though, you just get another work list. We did get the blue stacker working, and then tweaked things to get the kinks out. This included adding a set of rollers near the top to make it fit better into our conveyor setup. Beth figured it out, and the boss was impressed!

But work took longer than I expected and then I had errands.

When I got home, I went out intending to get that well cover close to done. Nope. At least it's warm enough that I could get the concrete blocks and rocks off the tarp that had been frozen in. This allowed me to access all of the wood. The "problem" is that some of it isn't in terrible shape. I couldn't get enough leverage, alone, to pull away some of the plywood.

Most of the framing is modern dimensioned 2x6s, and much of that is just fine. So I can't mix that with the old 2x8s. I'll buy the needed pieces tomorrow, and Michelle from work and Joe are coming Saturday to help me.

So much for that. The weather is supposed to be cooperative for outside projects.

I'm working on Chapter 2 of The Hitchhiker.

I think I've had more than my share of publicity today with the great article on the front page of the Ludington Paper that is being shared around Facebook. If you haven't seen it, it's linked below.


See Local Author, Joan H. Young, Completes Fifth Book in Mystery Series
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Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Stacking Papers, Covering Holes (Almost)

 
The "new" blue stacker is making its way closer to being usable! Tech guy was there all day. Here he is getting things ready to add the rollers where the papers make the transition from the stacker to the conveyor belt.

newspaper stacker

Then it was moved closer to its niche, and plugged into the air and the electric- you can see the line/cord. Everything lit up correctly and we watched it cycle a few times. The old brown one is still in its spot on the right

newspaper stacker

However, we still had to put papers out the window, and that without any stacker at all. That means we pull them off the end and count by hand, which is a fairly energetic project, but we got it done!

My understanding is that the stacker is now in place and we'll be using it tomorrow!

He also replaced the belt that takes papers from the strapper out the window to drivers. That was a real mess, and I am VERY appreciative of having this fixed because it makes one less thing I have to carefully monitor (it was ripping up papers if you didn't do things just right.)

newspaper conveyor belt

I was supposed to get the framework for the well pit cover made this afternoon. That didn't quite happen. I did get the boards collected, measured and marked. That was the best I could do, since I had another meeting at 6. Hopefully, tomorrow afternoon will have fewer surprises, and I'll get it done. It's also supposed to be quite warm tomorrow- above 40 degrees!

pile of lumber

The other surprise of the day was that I thought I had a gas leak in the kitchen. Turned out to not be true, but that chewed up a fair amount of time.

See Well, Well Cover
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Tuesday, January 23, 2018

The Secret Cellar- Sample Copies

 
Again... this is really author blog stuff, but I'm so excited about this I have to put it here where more people will see it. My cover artist, Linda J. Sandow, got a preliminary cover to the point where we are happy enough with it to send out to the test readers. There are some things to fix, but she's got the overall "feel" I want. We both love lots of color, so I knew I'd be happy with her work on that score, and I certainly am!

The Secret Cellar

I printed the cover on card stock. The interior looks really good, and these give the sense of a "real" book.

The Secret Cellar

I've got the books ready to go in the mailers, and the address labels on the mailers, so they will go in the mail tomorrow! About a week later than I had originally hoped, but fairly close.

Preorder sets at Books Leaving Footprints

In other news: a friend from work who has a truck helped me get 4x8 sheets of plywood and foam here. Tomorrow afternoon, after work, I have to try to get a frame knocked together for the well pit cover. The old one is too rotted to re-use. Pump guy won't install the new one till I get the cover fixed.

Also had handbell practice, and then writers' group. It's back to work tomorrow. This is going to be a very full week.

Oh! And I wrote the first chapter in The Hitchhiker, and started the second chapter.

That "real" job looms in the morning.

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