I get an earlier start this week coming up to the homestead. My old body is rejecting me. I took a step yesterday and my knee instantly had a severe pain I don’t think I can stand up for 8 hours at work today so I got a head start. My GPS always tells me to take a road that seems further out of the way so I usually cut up Picadilly past Barr Lake State Park. This week I decided to take the scenic route and follow the GPS. I got sidetracked in a HUGE acreage of sunflowers. I turned up the road dictated by my GPS (mine is named Colin Firth or Hugh Grant for its accent). I was assaulted by a huge field of sunflowers. The nerve of them though. They all had their heads turned the other way. I decided I would drive up the road and cut through the next road east and see if I could get to the other side so their heads would be turned toward me. Six miles later I came to the next road east (must be a lot of huge farms along this road). I go three more miles before I can turn back and I go almost 6 miles back the other way and on my left is another huge field of sunflowers. All their head are turned the other way. Come on flowers, give me a break. The first field I saw did not come all the way to the next road so I couldn’t get close enough but as I turned back west I come across it and it is a glorious sight. At least a mile of sunflowers in every direction. HAHAHA – if I had turned around immediately and driven a few yards instead of going 12 miles out of my way I would have found it.
I get to the house and I admire my work. I was busy the last two weeks trying to get all the painting finished. The yard is mowed and the weeds are turning brown from the heat so I didn’t have to be out there and I tackled the paint. I have the room by the bathroom finished in the tan color and I have almost finished the living room. I did the walls and the two big windows. Now, I just need to do the trim around the island next to the wood stove, the baseboards and the old chimney. Pictures to come later because I still have all the paint stuff all over the floor and a mess in the middle of the room.
This morning I’m googling how to make a rubber mold. I’ve made small molds before but I need a heavy duty one to make a mold of a cool stepping stone my friend gave me. I’d like to make a bunch more. I think it will be the inspiration for the floor in the greenhouse. I find this really cool stuff made by Polytek that would be perfect and sturdy enough to cast cement. I look up and see if they have locations in Colorado and with luck the only one I see is in Loveland. I will go tomorrow. Oh wait, they are only open Monday through Friday 9 to 5. I must go now!! I jump in the car and I see a couple of storks or pelicans in the water skiing pond (which they call a lake but that’s really pushing it) and I have to stop and take pictures. When I get on my way the electrician calls me and says he can be at my house at 1:00. Oh boy, you know I am 30 minutes from anywhere and this trip will take about an hour to get there. I’m already committed because about three quarters of the way there. It’s about 10:40 so I’m trying to figure out if I can be home by then and they tell me just to call them when I get home and they will work around it. I get to the place. Cool place. It’s a store that specializes in making structures, art and otherwise. They have the product I need. Wow, for the amount I need it’s three times more than I thought but I really really want to do this project so I buy it. I even have time to stop at the cool Fred Myers/King Soopers on the way back and I call when I get close and tell them I can get there by 1:00.
The electricians get here about 2:00 or so. A husband and wife team. Very nice and they will actually come out here. They did have three or four jobs in the area because who wants to drive 30 minutes to nowhere every time someone needs them. I have them check the funny sound in my bedroom closet. He looks funny and says, hmmm, I’m sure that is a transformer and he starts looking at the ceiling. He walks around and goes outside and comes back in and says it is from the transformer that is on the pole in the alley. They way it is hooked to the house allows the sound to travel right up to the closet wall in the bedroom. That’s ok. As long as nothing is going to explode. Then I ask if the funny sound from the fan is because it’s cheap or is it a motor sound. He laughs and says, yes, it’s because it’s a cheap one. They give me the recommended brand they like that are really nice and stable. I take them outside and show them where the idiot (I mean the previous gentleman owner) melted the electric plug (by burning the sofa the night before I closed on the house – see blog #1 or #2) out in the yard and I also show him a cut off cord that I assume is not live because I would have been electrocuted by now. He agrees it’s just a cord and I won’t be able to use it. It was probably run to the electric outlet on the outside of the house. Then I tell him about my kilns I have and how I’ve been running a cord out to the shed to use them. He says that is fine. Both my kilns run on 110 and I tell him one would like a 20 amp instead of a 15 and he says it doesn’t matter, they will both work great off that outlet. I tell him I have plans for a garage/studio to be built and he says if I do that then I would have to have another panel installed because the current panel is full. That is a ways off so I sigh and say, yeah, that will cost more money so it can wait. We then talk about the funky way the wire from the pole runs to the house and down to the meter. It’s just thrown over a piece of wood connected to the roof that looks like it was put there for the purpose. He looks and says yes, it is not right, and if the wind blew it off it could cause some serious problems. He says it should probably be done soon but it would be considered a new service. He would have to get a permit to install a new box (which he says due to code now is as big as a phone booth) then the electric would have to be cut off at the old meter and installed on a the new box, then inspected before it could be turned back on so if I decide to do it I should have it done in the summer or fall in case it takes them two days to get out to inspect it. He advised me to make sure there is no meat in the freezer or anything I want to keep. For now he gets a tie and makes the cable more stable. I laugh and say, yeah, it’s one of those things that has probably been there for 50 years. The good news is my panel is the best money can buy. YAY. One good thing. Overall the electric has been redone and without checking everywhere it looks like all new wiring. The panel in the house has more than 15 amp switches so that is great. There is a little confusion and he suggest some of the wires need to be switched to other switches on the panel but overall it’s good. There is one 50 amp switch that he is trying to figure out where it goes so while he does that his wife runs around the house checking to see which switches go to which rooms. He comes back into the house and says, “I found out where that 50 amp wire goes. It’s outside hanging on the fence and it’s live.” Holy crap Batman. Two weeks ago when I was mowing I ran over something and saw a big flash. I looked and saw a bunch of cable lying on the ground. I don’t even remember seeing it before. I look up and it is coming out of the wall. I think to myself. Right there is where the satellite cable goes into the closet in that room. I shrug, pick it up and coil it and hang it on the fence. I think I never saw it before because there is a nail there and it was probably hanging on the nail and had just recently come off the nail. Later that day I see it’s fallen over to the other side of the fence and I think to myself when the neighbor boy mows it will be in his way so I pick it up and coil it again and hang it on the fence (better than I did before). At the time I laughed and said that can’t be live because it’s cut off but wondered why all the other satellite cables were still there and this one had been cut off. Come to find out it is the cable the previous idiot (I mean gentleman) used for the hot tub. He just cut if off and it has been a live 50 amp wire outside for a year and half. When I told him I mowed over it and there was a big flash and I just thought it was the metal from the blade striking the metal on the cable he said I was lucky I was alive. Here I was worried about that stupid orange electrical cord and thought nothing of this one with the bare wires just out there. Good thing I wasn’t curious enough or close enough to the end to touch it. It is now encased in a lovely and very nicely done long silver pipe with a metal box over it. The switch on the panel is turned off. The box he had is not water proof but will protect it enough until he can come back and put a waterproof one on it. Now the most excellent good news is I have 50 amp for a garage studio which will be excellent for all my tools and I won’t have to pay to have 50 amp installed for the power I need. YAY!!! Double YAY actually as it costs a bit and I would have had to have a bigger panel installed. I guess eventually I have to do that anyway but since it will cost me about $3,000 it can wait until later.
Now, my mind is churning. I made the little shed the glass shop but the cool electrical is by the big shed so I may be moving some stuff around soon.
I am grateful I am still alive. I keep thinking about that big spark I saw when I mowed over that cable. I should have paid more attention to my first thought that a spark that big wouldn’t have come from the lawn mower hitting the wire but I also couldn’t figure out why a power cable would be coming from the side of the house three quarters up the wall ( and be cut off and left live). The electrician said probably because it was easiest to go right underneath the upstairs floor at some point in time. Still doesn’t make sense since that stupid hot tub (or what he called a hot tub, that came with the house, and you could watch the chickens from it, oh boy!!) was at the other end of the house.
Uggg, that stuff I bought to make the rubber mold has warnings of toxicity all over it. I think I will still use it but I need to go buy a good respirator and some nitrile gloves and I already have some good goggles that hug my face. I will do it all outside so no chance for bad vapors. It’s a polyurethane mixture. After it cures it will be ok. I don’t see anything that looks strong or sturdy enough to pour cement into other than that. If anyone knows of a good non-toxic mold maker that you can use to pour cement please enlighten me.
Well, once I get a bug I can’t stop thinking about it. I should be finishing the trim in the living room so that side of the house will be done but all I can think about is making that mold. It could be curing later while I am painting. I think I will off to the hardware store soon. It is such a gorgeous day outside. There is a stiff breeze and it’s sunny and cool. I thin it’s really 85 but it feels much cooler.
I head off to the hardware store to get a “professional” respirator for the “professional use only” polyurethane mixture I’m going to stir up. They have two kinds, an all purpose household and a “professional”. I’ll take the professional one please. I also get another pair of goggles since there is a regular one and one for chemical splash. I think I need the ones for chemicals. Then, since I’m a lazy butt and I don’t want to buy and cut wood and have to seal the edges so the rubber doesn’t leak I look around for something I can put the mold in. I ask a guy working there if they have a rubber tub. They do but of course the size I need is sold out but they have a nice metal feed pan that looks like it would work great.
I think I need an ice cream cone so I head off to Ault and there is a cute little antique shop I have been wanting to go into. I pull a uey and stop at the store. There is a nice lady who has also done some stained glass work and she says there is a hot glass place not far west of Eaton. Hopefully she can introduce me to some of the artists in the area. I go to Ault and get an ice cream and head off home. What is with the sky? It looks really white and there are no clouds. I can see a haze as it travels ahead of me down the road.
I get home and can’t wait to get started. I decide I need to document the process so I set up my camera to do a timelapse. Wow, after the trip to the sculpture store and the hardware store I better use this mold a lot or it will be the most expensive stepping stone ever made. I put on my hazmat suit (this time a denim shirt instead of a sweatshirt) and make the mold. I cut a plastic sheet the size of the feed pan to put in the bottom just to make sure the mold comes out easier. I take some paste wax and wax the stone because I’m not sure if it’s porous or not and I don’t want the rubber to soak into the stone. Next I take the mold release and spray the bottom of the pan, put the plastic in the pan and spray it and the sides of the pan until it’s completely covered. I then take the mold release and spray the sides of the stone. I then place the stone in the pan and spray everything again. It takes me about 3 hours to open the containers I’m going to mix together. OK, that is an exaggeration but those stupid lids you have to break the edge are really hard to open. I mix the stuff together and because it will be really heavy and I don’t know if I can carry the pan without spilling it I put it in the shed. I take the bucket of rubber and go into the shed to pour the mold. By tomorrow morning it should be cured (16 hours). The next morning I go take a peek and it’s a beautiful mold ( a really expensive mold but beautiful none the less). I turn it over and it slides right out. I remove the plastic sheeting and run a utility knife around the edge. I take a small pry bar and the stone comes right out so the mold release worked well. the mold will have to cure for a week before I can use it.
I will post a youtube timelapse video later but here are a few pics from the process:
Wow, the sun is really a bright red. I have heard since I saw the haze that it is smoke from the Washington/Oregon fires. Makes for a pretty sky but the smoke it really thick and irritating.
Well, I didn’t get any more painting finished but I did get a boatload of stuff from the garden. More zucchini, and tomatoes and peppers.
It’s now time to hit the road and get on back home for another week of work.