Sunday, April 25, 2010

There'll be Pie in the Sky By and By

Another week, another team project for 52 Projects. This weekend Jane and I went to a local Church family fun day and entered a pie eating contest. No small coincidence that this is something we've both wanted to do for some time because, of course, we are the same. It wasn't a world class pie eating contest, but it was fun and a good way to start competitive eating. Hey, maybe that's my next gig after Ironman Lake Placid!

Jane has a great write up on the 52 Projects main page so I won't force you to read about it over here too. I will post some different pictures though.

My game face

Flashing the P, for Pie. But it's backwards. So much for intimidating the competition.


Sunday, April 18, 2010

Playing with Paint Shop Pro

I've mentioned a few times here that I was planning on posting some digital art for 52 Projects some week. Well, this is some week.

With no further adieu...

These are all from my tree pruning project last week.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Tree Trimming

Tree trimming usually happens in December when spruce and pine get adorned with the beauty of professional sports teams’ licensed merchandise, but I’ve taken a different route. Ok, I am taking a different definition of trimming. More like pruning. Our backyard neighbor has a beautiful flowering fruit tree, probably a Cherry Blossom, that provides beauty and shade to his yard. And our yard. And our back porch. Right up to the back door. I knew late last summer that this tree would need pruning on our side of the fence. It hangs over a small back deck where our grill is, and was beginning to get in the way. I kept meaning to get around to it but this week the thing seemed to explode in bloom over night and completely take over the deck. It was time. In fact, it was 52 Projects time.

I looked into renting one of those telescoping tree pruning saws. First place I called place didn’t carry them. They guy on the phone kind of laughed at the notion of renting them and said there was too much liability. Hmmm. What could possibly go wrong when working overhead with heavy branches near electrical lines? I called another tool rental place and they did rent them, but were out. I guess there are a lot of trees hanging over back decks around here. Undaunted, I set out to buy my own. Though we are renting a house now we will have our own place soon enough and every good homeowner needs a 14 foot telescoping tree pruning saw.

Never having used one before it took me a little bit to realize that the saw blade and the cutting mechanism are separate parts of the tool. The rope hanging down from the business end is for operating the shears, not for operating the saw. Maybe there was something to the notion of not renting these things out.

After some assembly I figured out the not so very complicated mechanism and set out to free the grill from the attack of the Cherry Blossoms. I asked Max if he wanted to help and he was very excited about the notion of cutting things. I told him there would be some manual labor at first and later we’d use a power saw. That really got him going. That brought me to another first for 52 Projects; teaching Max how to use hand saws and power saws safely and effectively. In light of the lack of blood this seems to have been a success.

Here are some before and after pictures

Do, do do, looking out my back door....

Up the down staircase

A view from a yard

Here are some during pictures

We used my reciprocating saw to cut the branches down to manageable bits

Then we stuffed them in the mandatory recyclable yard waste bags

Now we can grill on the back deck without fear of arbor attacks.

(And yes, I did put the snow shovels, rock salt, and tree stand away. Hey, we may still have another frost coming!)

Monday, April 5, 2010

Weekend Wood

This week, for 52 Projects, I decided that I would play with tools. I did not complete anything, rather I've started something.

I've always been fascinated by wood. I love the smell of fresh cut lumber, I like to the look of broken timber, and, as we found out earlier, I have a thing for driftwood. This spring I have seen different types of wood lying around; downed branches, fallen tress, etc. One day I was out running and I saw a log that was in a pile of yard clean up stuff. As I ran by it I could see a face carved in it. By me. All I needed to do was 1) remember where I saw it and go back later with the car 2) learn to carve. Pretty simple eh? We'll see how it all works out but I've started. I got a cheap set of starter carving tools, cut a slab off the log, and started playing. I didn't get too far since we were so busy over the weekend but it's a start. This will be a work in progress but eventually will make it back to 52 Projects.