Last Friday evening, I busted out of work at 5:30pm and headed to Springfield Lake to bob around in the heat and bugs. It was pretty, in spite of the warmth. Lots of martins or barn swallows overhead, other things spotted: a handful of blue herons, a northern water snake and a whistle pig (commonly referred to as a groundhog).
Thursday, June 7, 2018
Tuesday, May 29, 2018
I started the Art Shack project about a year ago. It's been derailed a few times due to weather and a lack of discretionary funds (nearly every time I collect enough for materials, something stupid happens and I have to spend it elsewhere). Funded mostly through art sales, when I can, it's been a learning experience. I kinda see this as a test on building a larger cabin in the woods, someday. I'm picking up some carpentry and design skills I have never messed with until now and hope to get any stupid mistakes out of the way.
And that's how it sat all winter. I tacked up some plywood on the roof and walls, right when things started to thaw. But a very rainy late winter and early spring killed further progress until this past weekend. I used the Memorial Day weekend, with its halfway decent weather, to finish out the roof. With trim boards in place, I tacked on the tar paper, drip edges and tar roofing tiles. Braving heat and clouds of thirsty vampiric mosquitos.
Next up, some slightly more fun stuff. Window placement, figuring out how I want to cover the outside (probably a mix of barn tin and decorative wooden battens in a slightly modern aesthetic), hanging the door, painting the interior, etc.
The roof did really well in the downpour we had later yesterday afternoon. It rained really hard for about 15-20 minutes. I ran out to the shed and sat in it for a bit while it rained, just to see if I goofed anywhere. No leaks to report. Fingers crossed that it stays that way.
Monday, May 21, 2018
The red oak table, I started by chiseling the bark of and sanding it. Then I coated it in Danish oil, which it drank readily due to the open pores of the tree type. I should've varnished it. The solids in the varnish probably would've sealed it much better. The hairpin legs, I pulled them from a cheap table I found in an antique shop. I spray painted them black before install and then I applied some finishing wax to the table, itself. The wax fogged badly when it dried and I couldn't buff it out enough to my liking, so I hit it with a heat gun and the wood absorbed it. The finish is nice, now.
The logo wall art/decor, that I made from a 24" disc of wood that has sat in my garage for over a decade. I had plans to make a chalkboard out of it, but never got around to it. Last week, I decided to use it for our new office space, instead. I measured the piece, built a line art version of our logo icon to size in Adobe Illustrator, printed it tiled on 11x17 paper, taped it together and then cut it out with an x-acto knife for a stencil. Afterwards, I traced the design onto the wood in pencil and used a wood burning tool to burn in the artwork.
Thursday, May 10, 2018
Less than a year ago, my daughter bought me an ukulele with money she earned in a garage sale, it was her Fathers Day present to me. I've worn the frets clean of their silver paint and I'm starting to whittle my way through the plastic fretboard with every chord I take a poke at. I love the plinky-plunky plastic sound of the little soprano instrument and it means a lot that she chose it for me.
That gift started the ball rolling on the cigar box builds I've done in the past six months - a couple of three stringed slide guitars, a tenor tambourine banjolele and a tenor cigar box uke. Currently, I'm working on a second cigar box uke for a coworker's father-in-law.
Which brings me to this, a 1970s Harmony banjo that I was given by the coworker mentioned above. I'll be restoring it in the near future and hope to learn to play something on it to be of interest around a campfire.
Also, I still hope to build this, a fretless tackhead banjo from a vintage teak bowl that I found. I'm also planning to build a fretless mountain banjo and maybe an even earlier minstrel style instrument, at some point.
Something else that I've dusted off, my 1960s Sears Silvertone parlor guitar. When I took guitar lessons 16 years ago, I had this little cheap guitar and a really nice and expensive Gibson acoustic. As I lost interest, I sold the Gibson and kept this, it had much better tone and waaay more character.
Yesterday, my daughter gave me a second musical gift. She invited me to play backup at her school talent show. She sang a simplified version of Surfer Girl by The Beach Boys while I accompanied her on my CBU. The mic quit working on us while we were performing, so we decided to record it again before bed time, last night.
Friday, April 27, 2018
Friday, we left work mid-day, threw stuff in the truck and headed south. Got to the cabin before the real weather set in. Later, it rained like mad and we were treated to a loud and bright lightning show much of the evening. Eventually, it tapered off enough that the owls came out to shout at each other.
We had a pretty darn good meal Saturday night, Steaks à la Brian with black bean corn salsa and potatoes. I made Moscow Mules - a simple but nice mix of vodka, ginger beer, Angostura bitters and fresh limes. Enamelware camp mugs have a similar heat transference to the traditional copper mugs they are usually made in, but won't set you back as far in trendiness and price.
Saturday, up and eating again. I made breakfast with poached eggs, English muffins and Arkansas bacon from local butcher shop, Hörrmann Meat Co.
Then it was down to the lake to fight the wind and waves, trying our hand at fishing. Brian landed the only fish of the day - a nice little bass. I had a bluegill or sun perch shake itself off and that was the closest I came. I did manage a quick sketch of Brian down by the water.
Saturday night, more food! Hörrmann beer, pepper and onion brats! Easily the best brats you can buy, locally. More chill'n at the cabin that night. Brian made a fire and tucked in behind a tarp windbreak. Not much else to report.
Sunday, up for coffee, then packing up in a dusting of snow coming down around the place. Hit up a greasy spoon type place down by the lake on the way back north. Always stop at a place with a giant rooster out front.
I forgot to mention, around the property and the lakeshore, we saw or heard armadillos, possums, owls, goldfinches, bluebirds, osprey, purple martens, kingfishers, mallard ducks, nuthatches and skunks.
Thursday, April 19, 2018
Our video department at work moved into new digs, yesterday. We moved our studio up from the seventh floor to the eighth and our offices from the east side of the building to the west. I went from a personal office to being housed with the other two video guys. Seeing that I'm easily distracted, I built myself some walls from scrap wood and a pound of 2" finishing nails.
I made the cube in three easy-to-move chunks that wood screw together to make a single L-shaped piece. It's rough, but saved us a good bit of change in not having to buy some drab grey pieces from an office supplier.