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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 Friday afternoon. 

    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 out here.
  • 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, entry way, living room, dining room, family room, kitchen, 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 can.
  • 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 picked up.

    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 hunting grounds.

    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 cross 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 nice roundover.  I used screws to attach the 3 pieces, so that it could be taken apart.  Where the top meets the pedestal I made some little wooden 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 spaces.
  • 9-30-06: Day 2 of trapping, and I caught Mrs. Raccoon.  She must have weighed about twice as much as the youngster from yesterday.
  • 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 family.
  • 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 this design.  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 this modification.

    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), Side View, 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 TV console 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 plenty of 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 all the 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 in mind.....
  • 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 everything off.

    Now it is back to the TV stand.  Hopefully I can get that done fairly soon.


  • 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 routing the 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 hours.

    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 our street.

    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 dining rooms.  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 house.

    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 look.

    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 to use.

  • 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 encouragement.

  • 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 new 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 struggling.
  • 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 was great. 

    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 ground. 
  • 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 wonderful people.

    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.

    Here are 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 here.
  • 2-11-2005:  We closed escrow on our new house in Ohio.  We are scheduled to leave CA on March 3.



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