Whispering Pines Drive
- 12-11-06: I had a nice save drive across the country last
week. I drove 2410 miles in 3 days, and arrived in CA on
I started my new/old job this morning. It is nice seeing all
the friendly faces, and being welcomed so warmly.
Bill and I put the house on the market last week. We hope that
there is some action after the first of the year. Meanwhile, I
will room with family and friends here in Sacramento until Bill gets
- 11-27-06: I can now make it official. I have
accepted a position of Programmer/Analyst with the company I used to
work for in California. I will be starting out there on
December 11, so I will be departing Ohio around December 6.
I went over to PA to interview for the position last week.
While over there I decided to make a little side trip to
Danville, PA (I lived there when
I was in the 5th and 6th grade). My folks built a
great house while we lived there.
It was very big, and set back on
a nice lot.
We had nice Thanksgiving weekend. I spent most of the weekend
packing up the equipment, so it can be shipped out of here on
Tuesday. I got a great deal on some 36" wide packing foam.
Of course I had to buy 2500' of it.
I used almost one whole roll on the shop equipment. The
other roll will be for packing up the household items.
Bill spent the weekend decorating for Christmas. He put up 2
trees, all the outside lights, and all the trimmings in just 2 days.
Here is how it all came out:
Front of house,
breakfast nook. He never
ceases to amaze me on how fast he gets it all done.
Bill is going to stay in Ohio and work on getting the house sold.
He will also continue at his job as Plant Controller as long as he
- 11-4-06: Not much happening here. We have been
enjoying the change in weather. I am going to be spending the
rest of today getting some leaves
The birdfeeder has been a hotbed of activity these last couple of
weeks. I think we have had some new visitors, and I posted
their pictures below. Today I was filling up the feeder.
It was cold, so I was wearing my hooded sweatshirt.
While I was standing there, a chickadee landed on my head, and sat
there until I was done. How cute is that?!?!
- 10-21-06: I continued setting the raccoon trap for 2
weeks. Altogether I caught 8 raccoons (all very cute), and 1
opossum (very ugly - and smelly). I have returned the trap,
and we haven't had any more problems with raccoons up by the house.
I finished the bistro table. I cut four 12"
marble tiles to fit
in the spaces. Using some black caulking, I
mounted the tiles,
and filled in the gaps. here is the
table next to our
bar stools that weren't being used.
Fall is here in all its glory. Lots of leaves to rake up.
We might get some snow on Monday.
- 10-2-06: No more raccoons in the trap, and our feeders haven't
been being raided. Hopefully they have moved on to happier
I have been enjoying a new woodworking project over the last couple
of weeks. I have wanted to make a round table top, so I
thought I would start with a little bistro table. I based my
design on an octagon with the outside edge rounded off. In the
center of the table there will be a cross of wood with pieces of
marble in each remaining space.
My first step was to lay out the design with OSB. I then cut
the octagon pieces, and
rounded out a
template. I then cut my eight pieces of poplar for the
table edge, and used the OSB template to
route the arc
on each of them. After getting each shape correct, I
rounded the edge
(next time I will wait till after assembly to do this step), and
made a grove to insert the bottom piece.
Next I cut the
pieces, and routed the grove in them. Using 1/8 plywood, I
cut 4 pieces for the bottom that the marble will rest on. After
laying out all the
pieces, and trying a couple practice runs, I
glued it all up.
I then routed the edge again to smooth up the joints.
I debated on several options for the pedestal of the table. I
finally decided on keeping with the octagon theme. I cut 8
pieces of birch plywood with a 22.5° edge.
I glued and
nailed the 8 pieces together. I was pleasantly surprised
when all the pieces
fit just right.
Again keeping with the octagon, I made the base out of the same 3/4"
plywood. For the edging I used more poplar with a
I used screws to attach the 3 pieces, so that it could be taken
apart. Where the top meets the pedestal I made some
plugs to cover the screw holes.
After thorough sanding, I
stained the whole
table using Minwax Red Mahogany. All that is left now is
to varnish the table, and glue the 4 pieces of marble into their
- 9-30-06: Day 2 of trapping, and I caught
She must have weighed about twice as much as the youngster from
- 9-29-06: Just call me Trapper John.... For the last month
or so, our feeders have been being raided by masked marauders.
I borrowed a trap, and on the second night caught this
little fellow. He
has now been relocated a few miles away at the wildlife refuge.
The trap goes back out tonight to see if I can get the rest of his
- 8-19-06: Our back patio project is now finished. We spent
several days working on the sidewalks around the patio. We
followed the existing path, and reset the forms. After setting a form we brought in the
sand, and screed it out so
it would be ready for the bricks. After laying all the full
bricks, we had a few angles to
fill in. We used our trusty
tile saw that I bought from
Harbor Freight Tools. We used a chalk line to mark the
bricks, so they slid right into
place after being cut.
After all the bricks were in place, it was just a matter of cleaning
up, and making it look nice. We now have a smooth level
entrance into the basement.
The sidewalk up to the patio looks great from the
bottom, and the
top. Even the little
archway is now level and
looks good. With the inviting sidewalks we can finally enjoy
our new level patio.
- 8-5-06: We started a new project last week.. Our
back patio was a real mess.
The bricks were all askew, and the
sidewalks were uneven. So, we
tore up the bricks, had 5 tons of sand
delivered, and started work. We are reusing most of the
existing material, but we had to straighten up the borders and raise
the level a couple of inches.
I used 2x4s for
leveling the new
sand base. We hauled the sand to the back, leveled it out, and
reset the bricks using a basket
weave pattern. After 4 days of sweltering heat, the
patio is done. Now it is time
for the sidewalks.
I also built a new feeder for the yard. In an effort to keep
the squirrels out of our bird feeder, I decided to give them their
own place to eat. I used some pressure treated dog-ear
fencing, and came up with
There is a 4" pipe in the middle that keeps the corn from getting
wet, and the squirrels are able to get the corn out of the whole
into the trough. The only problem is that they are such pigs,
they were throwing the corn all over the dirt, so I made
The feeder has been very popular with all the mammals. The
squirrels pull out the corn eat about 2 bites, and pull out some
more. Then in the evening a
big deer comes and
cleans up their mess.
- 7-20-06: We had a nice visit with
Bill's parents earlier this month.
They drove out from CA to help celebrate Bill's 50th birthday.
Bill flew out to Illinois to meet them. While there he learned
how to play Hillbilly Horseshoes (aka Ladder Golf). I made a
set for us to play in the yard here. This is what
one of the stands looks like.
For those of you interested, here are the plans for making it.
Front View (with rules),
Top View (with instructions).
- 6-28-06: We had a nice visit by my sister-in-law Betsy, my
nephew Nicholas, and my niece Annalisa. They were driving back
to Wisconsin from New Hampshire, and stopped in here for a quick
stay. We visited one of the local ice cream shops, and had
some delicious cones (as seen here).
I finally finished building my
table, and I am happy with the results. I went to a
stained glass shop for the door glass, and they suggested this fern
pattern Glue Chip Glass. As you can see there is
storage, and the remote for the DVD player works through the
door glass. Of course I only do the construction on these
projects. Bill adds the real beauty when he finishes placing
accessories in their new homes.
I was also informed that I never posted a final picture of
the dresser we refinished. So here it is in its
new home. For those of
you who missed the story, you can read it here.
Bill's folks are driving out to visit us for a while. They
should be arriving next week, so I won't be starting any new
projects. I do, however, have a couple of interesting things
- 6-12-06: Well, we finally finished work on the front
sidewalk. I finished putting the mortar in and cleaned off the
bricks. Here is one of our many chipmunks enjoying a
new view. Bill and I
moved a few boulders around to fill in some spots. Bill then
finished up the landscaping to give us a
beautiful new approach to the
front door. I rearranged the
landscape lighting to finish
Now it is back to the TV stand. Hopefully I can get that done
- 5-27-06: Hello, I thought I would post some pictures of
the TV stand I am building. Since Bill and my main source of
entertainment these days is the TV, he was nice enough to let me buy
a new set for my birthday. I got a 37" LCD, but it wouldn't
fit in our old TV cabinet.
Our family room theme is mission style, and we couldn't find
anything that we liked (and were willing to pay the price they
wanted), so I thought I would try my hand at putting it together.
I designed the stand, and bought all the oak plywood and planks.
Here is the carcass being glued up. I couldn't find any oak big enough
for the legs, so I
glued my own.
I then had to chisel the grooves for the decorative side slats. Just a
quick test fit
with my pine leg template in place. I then began
groves for the legs to fit into the shelves. One side is
done, and a dry
fit to see how it is all going together.
Of course I was only able to work on this when it was raining
outside. On the nice days, I have been trying to get our front
sidewalk finished. I only have about
20 more bricks to lay, and then
Bill and I have to fill in the mortar lines and place the concrete
steps. Hopefully we will have it done by Monday.
Our birdfeeder has become quite a hub of activity. Bill and I
sit and watch all the birdies have their breakfast while we eat our
cereal. We have had; Cardinals, finches, chickadees, wrens,
black birds, blue jays, woodpeckers, and robins. Unfortunately
with all the activity the squirrels discovered the free food.
I wouldn't mind them being there, but they are such pigs about the
whole things. I am going to put my camera in the kitchen, so I
can add photos to the list above.
- 5-15-06: We have been having some fun now that winter has ended. Bill
did lots of planting last fall, and we had great color in the yard
from all the bulbs he planted.
Bill also came up with a new project at the house to occupy our
time. He always hated our front walkway. It was very
uneven, and unsymmetrical. So, a few weeks ago we ripped out
all the bricks. We dug out a new pattern and laid forms.
We had a ton of pea gravel brought in, and a yard+ of cement.
All that was just to lay the foundation for the final product.
We copied the brick pattern from our front stoop, and began to
relay the bricks. After
deciding on the pattern, we began to mortar the bricks down to the new concrete. As you can
see, the new pattern will look very
nice once the rain stops, and I can get back to work on it.
I also did a fun little woodworking project a few weeks ago. I
decided to put a birdfeeder out
on our deck. I found the basic design on this
website to which I made a few modifications. I used all
cedar wood, and had the whole thing put together in just a few
After putting the feeder up, it took a while for the birds to
discover it. Now they are lining up to get their turn to eat.
Here is one of our lady cardinals
having some sunflower seeds. I have not seen the male cardinal
feeding yet, but will post a picture if I do.
I am off to Home Depot today to buy some oak planks and plywood.
I am going to attempt to build another TV stand.
Ta for now.
- 2-27-2006: The winter here has been a snooze. The only question Bill and
I have is where's the snow. It was actually the warmest
January on record for this area. As I write this, there is a
light snow falling, and the yard looks nice. Of course on
Wednesday we are supposed to get rain, so it will all be gone.
Not much has been going on around the house. Bill and I did
take on a big challenge over President's Day. With the help of
our neighbor, Ray, we cut down 2 huge oak trees that were about 2o
feet from the house. I didn't get any pictures of the actual
cutting of the trees. I was too busy pacing, and manning the
ropes with the hope that they didn't come crashing down on the
kitchen. Here are the 2 trees
we took out as they were. This will give you a better idea of
how tall they were. We hooked
up a rope and winch to pull them in the direction we wanted them to
fall. Ray notched the trees to direct their fall and cut away.
They landed right on the line we had hoped for, so all went well.
Again, my apologies for not being better about updates. Many
thanks to those of you who dropped me a note over the last week or
so. It motivated me to get back on track with the site.
- 11-24-2005: Happy Thanksgiving to everyone. Bill and
I are taking today off, and having our turkey dinner with the
neighbors. We have spent the morning baking bread and pies to
take with us.
Our fall colors have all gone away, and the trees are bare. We
have a beautiful Thanksgiving Day
view outside. Enjoy your holidays - Bill and John.
- 11-16-2005: Just a quickie. We have been able to enjoy fall.
I even have been helping Bill pick up leaves. We use a mulcher
on the tractor to chop up the leaves, and then go over them again to
vacuum them up. It is beautiful looking into our
back yard, or driving down
The trees are now bare, and we had our first snow flurries this
morning. Nothing stuck to the ground, but it made the
Christmas songs on the radio a little more bearable.
I will try to be better about updating the blog now that things are
moving along at the shop. Thanks for checking in on us.
- 10-19-2005: In our down time we have been enjoying the progression of the trees
into their fall colors. They
started turning color early in the month, and each day brings more
vibrant color. The maple trees
are especially pretty, however the oak trees have been the bane of
Bill's existence for the last few weeks. We have been having
thousands of acorns drop all over our yard. The trees are in a
'Masting' year, which means they increase their acorn production
about 10 times normal. Of course, now that the acorns are done
dropping, can the leaves be far behind.
- 8-11-2005: We have also been keeping up with our home projects in our spare
time. Bill and I found an orphaned dresser waiting for the trash man to pick it up.
We had been looking at antique shops for a small dresser to go in
one of the spare bedrooms. We never saw anything that we liked
for a price we were willing to pay. SO.... we rescued the
dresser from the curb, Bill stripped the old paint, did some
sanding, stained it, and bought some hardware for it. I did a
little structural repair, and put on some polyurethane. We now
have a very nice guest dresser
waiting to be used.
I am off for a road trip this weekend. I am going to visit my
brother and his family in Wisconsin (about 550 miles). After
spending 3 weeks together in a hotel room, Bill and I are ready for
a little break. He is going to stick around the house, and
take care of things here.
- 7-14-2005: 3 weeks have gone by, and what have we done?
We spent the first 2 weeks getting the bathroom
finished. We also painted
and tiled the laundry room, so we could tile it and the bathroom at the
same time. We are very happy with the new bathroom setup, and
feel it was totally worth the time. I will try to get a photo
album up for the entire project soon.
We had to get the bathroom done by last Tuesday, because
Jessica and Garrett came for a
visit. They were are first out of town guests, and we did all
the touristy things. We visited
Cedar Point (and stayed till
the park closed), we spent a day
in Amish Country (where we stumbled
upon an auction/picnic they were
having), and we went to Niagara Falls.
- 6-22-2005: Hello all - I guess it is about time for
another update. Things have been progressing well out here.
I continue to work on the bathroom remodel. The new subfloor
is in, and the bath is in place. All the walls are up, and I
was able to paint today.
Before putting down the tile floor, we are going to get the laundry
room ready for its floor, so we can do both at the same time.
Bill has been busy at his new sewing station. He made 8 lined
and pleated panel drapes for the living and
I made some cornice boxes out of
plywood, and we covered them with the same material. We were
able to get them installed this weekend.
We got some good news on our business site this week. It looks
as though we are able to get the site we have been working on for
the last month. We have our fingers crossed that we will have
a lease by the end of the month.
- 6-8-2005 I suppose you are all wondering where we have
been. We finally have been able to slow down a little, but we
are keeping busy with projects. After we got back from our
trip, the first order of business was to get Bill's sewing center
set up. We have created a space for him in the basement where
he will be able to work on our window treatments. Here he is
trying out his new table.
Of course, once I was done with all the construction, Bill went to
work with his magic. Here is what it
looks like now that Bill has it
set up. When Bill is not sewing, we are able to
close the desk top. We
hope to get a little exercise equipment in the room also, so we can
keep in shape once we stop all this back-breaking labor on the
Bill's wallpaper came in, so he was finally able to finish his
bathroom project. After a couple months of waiting, I think it
was all worth it. The final
product looks great. I have torn into remodeling our
upstairs guest bath. The floor is up, and I have
rerouted the plumbing.
Hopefully this project will be done by the end of next week.
We are still in a holding pattern for our lease on the store.
We learned that the existing tenant on the land, has not vacated
their store, and are being sued by the owner of the land, and the
video company that is buying the land. We hope to have some
resolution on this within a couple of weeks.
- 5-26-2005 We are back from sunny Sacramento. The
carpet was installed as planned on Monday 5-16. The installers
did a very nice job of it, and we are happy with the outcome.
Here are some pics that show the new
We took some of the old carpet and have put it in the basement.
I am now working on making a sewing station and shelving unit for Bill
- 5-15-2005 Well, it looks like we made our decorating
deadline. The new carpet will be installed tomorrow, and we
are ready. We spent last week tiling the entry way.
Ripping it up was a big job,
but with the proper tools, and a sore arm we were able to keep
the mess to a minimum.
We spent a day laying out the tile, and another day setting it.
The final product is very nice,
and overall we are happy with the look.
The weather here has been pretty good. The trees are finally
getting their leaves, and everything is
looking green. We
had our first big thunderstorm on Saturday night. We had some
water in the house when we got up Sunday morning, so I will be
getting up on the roof to check out the gutters.
There won't be any updates to the website until after May 25.
Thanks to everyone who has been checking our progress, and sending
- 5-8-2005 Sorry about the delay in posting any updates.
We have been scurrying to get all the painting done before the new
carpet gets installed next week.
I am happy to say that we have stripped all the wallpaper out of the
house (except for the upstairs bath which is going to get a major
remodel next month). Nearly every room has a fresh coat of
paint, and we are on to more fun projects. Here are some
pictures for your pleasure.
We did have some relaxation last weekend when we went to Akron on
Saturday for a day of bridge at their sectional tournament.
Bill and I finished first in our strat for our section, fifth in our
strat overall for the day. Our Friday night game is still
- 4-25-2005 We keep on painting. We finished the
living room today, and are on the
way upstairs to tackle the bedrooms.
Bill came up with a great solution for our
ugly backsplash in
the kitchen. He bought five 78 cent self-adhesive vinyl tiles
at Lowe's. The final outcome
4-20-2005 Bill got a new toy
today. With all the leaves in the yard it is really more of a
necessity. Here is a sneak peak
at our dining room. Tomorrow it is on to the living room.
- 4-18-2005 Done with one project and on to another.
Spring is in full bloom.
Bill has been enjoying watching all the new plants pop up from the
- 4-10-2005 Wow let me catch my breath. What a week it has
been. We decided to take advantage of a sale Home Depot was
having and ordered new carpet for the house. It will probably
be installed next month. Since we have put that on the
schedule, we decided to start on some
painting, and we are going to try and do the whole house before
the carpet is in.
We took today off and played some bridge at our local club's unit
game. Bill and I finished first overall with a 58% game.
It is a good thing, because we had been having a string of 30%
games, and I was loosing hope that we would ever get points again.
The local bridge club has made us feel right at home, and is full of
The weather has been great for the last week. Upper 60s to low
70s and sunny. The grass is growing, so Bill will be getting
his riding mower soon. Yesterday he was out racking up leaves,
and realized how big the yard is.
- 4-3-2005 APRIL FOOLS?!?! Or maybe we are just fools,
but I can't say we weren't warned. Check out what
we woke up to on 4-2-05.
- 3-30-2005: Bill and I have been busy working on the house.
Here is what Bill has been doing.
This is where I have been spending my time.
- 3-24-2005: As promised, here are some
pictures of the house. They were taken on the day we moved
in. We are still working like crazy on the house. Bill
has moved from cleaning to decorating, so I will get some updated
shots up soon.
- 3-20-2005: Things are still progressing on the house. Bill
has been setting up the rooms, and I have started work on my shop in
the basement. I will get pictures up soon.
some pictures from the move.
We were blessed with beautiful weather the whole way.
- 3-12-2005: We made the trip to Ohio with no problems.
We were able to do the 2440 miles in 4 days which is making some
good time in that U-Haul truck. I will post some pictures and
thoughts on the trip later.
The house is coming together nicely. We have been putting in
long days getting it cleaned up and unpacking boxes. Here are
a couple of teaser pictures. I will post more after we get our
cable modem on Thursday.
- 3-1-2005: Today was my last day of work. I would like
to thank everyone who has shared their wishes of good luck. I
have been very touched by all the support we have received. A
big thanks to all my co-workers who came to my going away pot luck,
and to all our bridge friends who came to our
going away party.
- 2-17-2005: I have added a discussion board for those of you
who would like to post public comments.
You can view it
- 2-11-2005: We closed escrow on our
new house in Ohio. We are
scheduled to leave CA on March 3.