Monday, February 28, 2011

Painting the Basement

The weekend was again a putting one step forward and well maybe 3 steps backwards. Saturday I spent time in the northeast corner of the basement putting hydraulic cement over the areas I cleaned up last week. I had 2½ bucket of cement that was not enough to finish the job. Monday, I will buy two more buckets to finish the job next weekend.

Next I started cutting in the edges and covering the insulation with the paint. It looks much better if the insulation is the same color as the wall. I completely painted the unfinished section of the south wall; it stills needs another 3 coats to completely waterproof it.

The outside corners of the basement have had condensation or frost developing there when the temperature drops outside. The weather has been mild (for winter) most of the week and I been checking for water drops or frost all week and found none. So when I started to paint on Saturday, I assumed everything would be OK. The temperature dropped into the low teens last night and the water droplets started to form and drip down the wall. I was beside myself on how to stop it. I gave up and went to bed and found this in the morning.

I just wanted to curl up on the conch and vegetative all day but around 10 AM I figured out that if I used my heating gun to dry the paint I could keep the rest from dripping down the wall. I took a dry paint roller and rolled over the drip area to remove the drip marks at the top of the wall and started the heat gun. It worked and what was left dried and it warmed up around the upper 30’s to low 40’s so the condensation has not redeveloped. I wished I would have thought of this Saturday night, it would have saved me a lot of trouble. I will need to giving up painting until the night time temperatures are in the 40’s and that will not be until mid or late March.

I decide not to spend all Sunday on the conch instead I pull the turkey carcass from the freezer and made turkey soup, whole grain bread and Spicy Roasted Butternut Squash with Smoked Sweet Paprika. The Spicy Roasted Butternut Squash with Smoked Sweet Paprika is from, I used regular paprika but I can’t wait to try it with smoked paprika.

While doing all that cooking and baking I was trying to figure out what project I should work on next until I can go back to painting the basement. My first thought was to divide the closet in the front bedroom; this room is my sitting & TV room. I want to divide this closet so I can have a linen closet opening in to hallway next to the bathroom. Then I remember that I need to replace the screen in the screen frame for the back porch door. I also need to finish shellacking the bifold doors for my bedroom closet. The doors are one of many unfinished projects and this one is about 4 years old. Before Christmas, I was trying to finish off many of these projects before the family came for my brother's birthday in December. Since it will be awhile before I can paint, it is time to finish off a few more unfinished projects or as I call them UFO (unfinished objects).

Friday, February 25, 2011

A Wisconsin Update

As many of you may have read online, the WI State Assembly passed the budget repair bill last night. The Republicans did another dirty trick in passing the bill by announcing a quick oral veto so many of the Democratics did not get a chance to enter a veto. This is the kinds of dirty politics the Republican Party is willing to do. They started the new session by fast tracking all legislation in an attempt to hid their agenda. They are trying to give the Governor powers to sell state power plants without selling to the highest bidder and the ability to cut low-income people off health care at will. The governor was going to announce the new budget starting in July but has held off on it. He is waiting for the repair bill to pass because I believe if he announces new budget before this bill passes there might even be more objections to the repair bill causing him to withdrawn it.

The furlough notices should be sent out on Monday. If we want to keep our collective bargaining rights, we are going to have to accept the furloughs without complains. If I am one them, I will write the Democratic Senators and tell them if I am going to make this sacrifice, they better not come back until the Governor pulls the bill. I could lose the house and I have no children but the future of the state is important to me. I found out today that no amendments can be added to the budget repair bill because there was a third reading before the Senators walked out; it is down to just an up or down vote unless the bill is pulled.

My Senator sent an email to everyone in his district this week asking for a civil discussion. He went on to say he lived through the 60's and remembers the social fabric being torn apart. My answer to this, if you were worried about this why did you let yourself be carried along with a group of individuals who are gladly ripping it apart.

The news claimed my Senator try to amend it bill but this is what really happen

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Twelve Weeks

Another week has passed and I am closer to getting my hands dirty in the soil that thought just puts a smile on my face. Saturday, I sowed all the petunia seed into three starter trays. More Coleus plants have appeared over the week; I think about 30 of the 50 seeds germinated. No seeds to plant this weekend but in Week 10 I have more annual flowers to do.

In the mean time I have been pouring over a gardening supply catalog and ordered 3 more self-watering seed starter trays, 4 self-watering inserts for hanging baskets and a seedling trowel. I hope the seedling trowel will small enough to remove just one seedling and transplant it to a bigger pot. For the last couple years I have been using wooden skewers to pick out the small plants for transplanting.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

A Basement Set Back

This last weekend I was hoping to start painting the wall with waterproof paint but I found hair line cracks in the hydraulic cement. So I spent Saturday chiseling out the cracks and areas where I was hearing a hollow sound when I tapped on it. The cracks appeared after the thaw. I am guessing the hydraulic pressure increased causing the cracks and sections to pop loose from the wall. I washed the areas with a vinegar solution to remove any minerals which wept through the wall.

I found my dryer vent was clogged again. I spent the rest of Saturday pulling off the old dryer hose and replacing it with brand new one. Finally my dryer is drying my clothes in the normal time.

Sunday, I filled in the areas I prepared Saturday with fresh hydraulic cement. So I need to wait another week before I can paint. Since I could not paint and I cleared out the basement northeast corner to install the insulation last week. I could start cleaning and preparing this corner for patching with hydraulic cement following up with painting. That was enough work in the basement this Sunday, so I called it a day.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

The Master

He supervises all my work on the house. This winter he sits on the basement stairs check the progress in the basement.

Once he finished making sure I am doing my job and that is a lot of hard work; he needs a break.

Around 4 PM he comes back down into the basement demanding to be let out on the back porch. If I am busy and forget to check on him and he wants in, he stands on his back feet and pound on the door until he knots it open or I open it for him. I keep telling him to close the door when he comes in but it is a lost cause.

About 6 PM he comes and tells (MEWO) me that it is dinner time and why have you not started it yet. If I have started making dinner, he will sit quietly in the dining room waiting for me to put his food down. After dinner it is time to allow the food to digest.

At the end of a busy day, it is bedtime.

What is his name, Maestro, the master.

Friday, February 18, 2011

A Wisconsin State Employee

Dear Senator,

Please thank your Democratic colleagues when they return to the Senate for doing what is right for the people of Wisconsin. You are going to vote YES for a bill that is using the excuse "TO BALANCE THE BUDGET" to destroy worker's rights. I have worked for the state for 16 years and refused to sign my union card as a protest against the fact most of the union dues did not stay in Wisconsin and support my small professional union. I signed the card after Governor Walker was elected to office because I heard and read what he did and how he treated Milwaukee County workers. I finally felt I needed protection from his policies and ideas. I expected to pay more for my retirement and health care whoever was elected governor but I did not expect to lose my right to bargain. The right to bargain for wages in this bill is a joke and it always has been since the State always told the unions we are allowing "Set Amount in the Budget" and that was our raise period. The only place the union could do any bargaining was in benefits like retirement, sick leave, health care, working conditions and vacations taking all that away means we have nothing to bargain for. What you are going to do is not what WISCONSIN IS!

The bill allowing the Governor final approval on administrated rules.

Why are you willing to vote away your rights as a legislator by giving any Governor the right for final approval on administrated rules? The State of Wisconsin government is ruled by a divided government: Courts, Governor and Legislature; I believe giving a governor the final approval on rules is giving away legislative power to the governor. You write the bills and pass them, the governor signs it, department writes rules to administrate the bill and you again pass or reject the rules. Giving the governor the final say would give him the power of a monarch or as some say dictator. I am not against this bill because of who is governor; no governor from whatever party should be able to reject or approve the rules only the legislature. You may think it is a great idea but some day another governor who is not from your party will be in charge. Think about this, the same thing happen with the line item veto and this change will cause the same result.

Thank you of you time.

My senator received this letter earlier today.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Week 13

Eight of ten Summertime Hybrid Geraniums (Ivy Leaf) germinated on 2/16/2011. The Wizard Blend Coleus just has one of 50 seed is up but the normal germination can be between 10-20 days.

This weekend is the 12 weeks out and I will be started several varieties petunias. They are: Easy Wave Hybrid Starfish, Blue Wave Hybrid, Easy Wave Red Hybrid, Easy Wave White Hybrid, Grandiflora Red Storm Hybrid, Easy Wave Hybrid Marble Mix, Opera Supreme Raspberry Ice Hybrid and Cascade Orchid Mist Hybrid.

I prefer to use self watering trays to germinate seeds. I built my own grow rack from a Fine Gardening Magazine article. A four shelf stand was made from 2”x2” pine boards and treated with a waterproof finish. The three bottom shelves are fitted with two shop fixtures per shelf and one shelf has a heating mat taped down with carpet tape. Each fixture is out fitted with two grow lights. I put the trays on the heating mat until the seeds germinate then they are moved to another shelf. I do not like to keep seedlings on the heat mat too long since I have lost seeds from the fungus that causes damp off. I usually put three seed per cell and transfer the plants into pot when the first true leaves develop.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Rewriting and Basement Update

The electrician finished looking over the wiring and fixed problem areas. He wired my bathroom exhaust fan, removed the 220 electric stove's outlet and replaced it with a 110 outlet by the stove. He added an outlet by the microwave, so I no longer have it on an extension. I asked him to replace the 2 plug outlets on both ends of the kitchen to 4 plug outlets. I could never get the back porch light to work; now it works. Last Christmas a received new fixture for the porch from my Dad and it looks great. Last thing I requested was an outside outlet near my gas grill so I would no longer have to run an extension through the porch window to run the rotisserie.

He never did find what was causing my TV screen to go black but the TV worked normal this weekend. My father, who is a retired electrician, said he may have tightened a connection when checking the house wiring and that may have corrected it. When I talked to him last Wednesday, I mentioned that I noticed condensation on the electrical pipe bring the outside line to the fuse box. When he opened it up, he found that there was no insulation place up the pipe. The warm house air was traveling up the pipe meeting the cold outside air causing the condensation. He remarked that in some cases the water drips back on to the circuit breakers. I had fiber glass lying around the basement from all the work I am doing and he used it to insulate the pipe.

I finished insulating the 7½ inch space between the sill and first floor in the unfinished basement section. Replacing the fiber glass with the foam board and spraying foam over the sill has cut down the heat loss in the basement. While working down in the basement I took sometime to clean out the dryer’s exhaust vent. I was reading that if your clothes are taking longer to dry than normal your vent may be clogged. I pulled the hose at the dryer’s connection on Saturday and it looked good. So I put it back together and assumed it was ok. But for some reason on Sunday, I went outside and lifted the vent cover and found lint completely covering the wire screening. This time I pulled the hose apart on both ends clean and vacuum everything. I will not be using the dryer until later this week so I will not know if this corrects the problems.

The weather been in the 30s and 40s since Saturday and so the thaw has begun. The repaired basement walls are holding up fairly well but I found some minor leaks. I applied more hydraulic cement over those areas and maybe I can start to paint the walls with waterproof paint next weekend.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011


I have been waiting six months for this. He called yesterday and said he was free for a few days. I called right back and he is in my house now!!! I can get the bathroom fan wired in finally; it was installed by me last October. He is trying to finger out why I have been having voltage drops in the house. My TV picture would just blackout for no reason and I would have to turn it off and on before the picture would come back. I tell you later, when I learn more.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Blizzard clean-up

Saturday was used to finish cleaning up from Tuesday blizzard. I start digging a path to the shed where my roof rake is kept.

While digging the path to the shed I keep arguing with myself about making a path from the driveway to the back door. My conscience won and I dug the path. Last Tuesday I decided that I just leave it snowed in until the spring melt, but the thought not be able to receive deliveries at the back door was something I did not want to do without.

After finishing digging out the path, I started to remove the three foot snow drift around the south side of the house. The gas meter and furnace exhaust vents are on that side. I removed the snow to about 4 feet away from the house. I hope when the snow melts, the water will run toward the back yard and not toward the house causing the fountain to leak.

The last job was to rake the roof. The roof's north side was fairly clean since the wind blew most the snow off. I did try to remove snow from in front of the bathroom vent and around the waste vent. The front porch roof had snow drift covering 3 to 4 feet next to the house and about 3 feet high.

The south roof had very little snow on the lower half of the roof but my three roof vents are near the ridge and were covered with snow. I was surprised at how much snow was on the upper half. Here is the snow and roof rake is used as a reference to show how high it was. After it was removed from the roof I shoveled the snow away from the fountain and then call it a day. Sunday was declared a day of rest.

Monday, February 7, 2011

The 14th week.

Ivy Geranium and coleus seeds √
Seed trays √
Soil less mix √
Grow lights √
Heat mat √
Water √
Timer √

Last Sunday was 14 weeks away from putting plants into the ground. It is time to start some plants from seeds.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Progress on the Basement

The last two weekends I was working on the basement walls. I finished applying the hydraulic cement to walls. It has been drying for two weeks now but you still can tell where the water wants to come through. Those areas are still darker in coloring then the rest of the cement. Last week I started to insulation the area above the sill and below the first floor with 2" insulation board.

Last year I use foam spray to fill in the bays with insulation but I found it to be messy. The foam would fall in on itself and out the bay ending up of the floor. So, I decide to try foam board instead. I was going to buy the 4" board but my local lumber yard only carried 2" and I am glad they did. The 4" width would have been to thick maneuver around the small bays. I just double up the foam board and it worked out just fine. If there are any quilters who read this blog, you may notice the Omnigrids lying on the foam. I once quilted until I brought this house and all my free time is now used to work on this house. The quilting tools still come in handy for measuring and rotary cutters are great for cutting plastic to put over your windows. Someday I hope to use them on fabric again.

Back to insulating the house, I pieced together the foam board around pipes or any other objects before permanently setting them in place. Once they were set in place I use the foam spray to seal any gaps around the board. I can feel the different; the cold air drafts had been reduced making the house seem warmer.

The picture above still shows that I have to spray foam in some areas but I am making progress. The unfinished south basement wall is completed. Unfortunately, I will not be able to complete the job this weekend since I will be still cleaning up from Tuesday’s blizzard. I need to rake my roof’s north side; the vents are covered with snow. The path from the back door to the garage/shed has a 4 to 6 foot drift between it. Those two jobs will not leave much time to do anything else.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Blizzard 2/1/2011

Here are some pictures before shoveling.

Front door had 17 inches at the end of the steps.

Three season porch storm door

Here is a picture of a tree beside the driveway. The tree had no snow around it before I started shoveling.

Finished putting the snow around the tree.

The sidewalk was shoveled open to the street before the plow went by. Here it is after the snowplow.

After 7 hours it looked like this.