ffj's early retirement

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ffj
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Re: ffj's early retirement

Post by ffj » Wed Dec 14, 2016 8:46 pm

I always have a project going on, and my current one is training twelve new fire recruits for the fire service. It takes roughly three months and around 120 hours of training to prepare these guys(no women this time) for basic firefighting. One never stops training in the fire service, but it takes a minimum of exposure to the different elements of the fire service before any of the recruits will be allowed anywhere near a fire. My job is to get them ready to start their career. I enjoy imparting my experience and wisdom ;) upon these typically young people simply because I get to stay relevant and it's fun to be around enthusiastic people. Refreshing really.

We did a live fire training burn recently in a house donated by a local church due to the church needing the structure gone. We basically burn a house down in a controlled manner so that all of the students get to make an interior attack and practice extinguishing fires. As an instructor, I get to start the fires which is always fun, and the students are tasked with getting the hose line to the fire and putting it out, among other things. This normally occurs a few dozen times before the house becomes too unstable at which point we let the fire consume the building completely. Lots of work and lots of fun.

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ffj
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Re: ffj's early retirement

Post by ffj » Wed Jan 25, 2017 11:51 am

Had a little bit of a startle the other day. As I went down into my basement a giant moth flew by my head, or at least I thought it was at the time. :) I have no idea how this huge owl got into my basement but here he is. Maybe I left the door open one night? He's a barn owl with very large talons so I didn't get too close but once he flew away from the door I simply opened it back up and freed him. Very pretty bird and as I had read about, completely silent when he flew around the basement.

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Also started on demolition of my living room this week. For many years the front entrance has irritated me as it is almost a tunnel to get to the front door. Everybody in the house hated that door. That's going to change as well as other cosmetics. The old cheap windows that stay fogged are getting replaced with larger newer ones and all of the openings to the living room are getting enlarged. The ceiling is going to be level and the fireplace is going to have a new and improved look. I'm excited about the change as I've hated this room for twenty years.

The front entrance after tearing out the closet. All of the framing for the closet will be gone when I'm done and I'll have a nice spacious, and inviting front entrance when done.

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The rest of the room as a before picture. You can't really tell from the picture but there are a lot of issues with the room, mainly electrical and cracking in the plaster. The ceiling is also very uneven.

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I've been looking for lost treasure as I tear out old walls but other than some old playing cards haven't found much. But I did find this which I'm going to cut out and save. I'm sure the guy that wrote this is dead by now (severity years) but I'm glad he did as it puts a concrete date on the construction of the home. Maybe I'll make a plaque or something out of it.

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halfmoon
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Re: ffj's early retirement

Post by halfmoon » Thu Jan 26, 2017 9:18 pm

ffj wrote:All of the framing for the closet will be gone when I'm done and I'll have a nice spacious, and inviting front entrance when done.
You can mail me the closet! Our spacious and inviting front entrance (really just stepping from the porch into the open living room/kitchen) has no closet, and there's nowhere to put our coats and boots out of sight. Now you've given me an idea: build a tunnel! :D

The dated board is very cool. Your antique house now has provenance.

ffj
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Re: ffj's early retirement

Post by ffj » Thu Jan 26, 2017 10:37 pm

It's yours. :lol: The shipping costs might be prohibitive though. :)

I should have taken a picture of it before I ripped out the walls. The front door just barely fit the opening and getting stuff in and out was a pain in the butt. As far as coats and the like, I'll just hang a decorative coat rack on the open wall with maybe a shoe rack underneath. Just opening everything up is far worth having to see hanging coats.

Once I cut out the signed wood, I'll think I'll make a small plaque out of it and put it on the new fireplace mantel. Might even shellac it. ;) I'm really glad whoever this Baker was that he took the time to do this.

halfmoon
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Re: ffj's early retirement

Post by halfmoon » Thu Jan 26, 2017 11:30 pm

ffj wrote:I'm really glad whoever this Baker was that he took the time to do this.
Being a builder yourself, you should do the same. Could be that someone will appreciate it 70 years from now. Seriously.

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cmonkey
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Re: ffj's early retirement

Post by cmonkey » Fri Jan 27, 2017 8:41 am

Nice owl encounter! I bet that was once in a lifetime.

I found stuff like that here and there during my ripout. Lots of old newspapers and stuff from the 60's ; it was pretty fun. A lot of the wood I put in had dates stamped on it so it was done for me.

ffj
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Re: ffj's early retirement

Post by ffj » Fri Jan 27, 2017 11:40 am

@halfmoon
Actually, nowadays a lot of the building products have dates of manufacture stamped on them, so really no need other than to personalize I guess. Although one is clearly better than the other.

@monkey
Here is my haul so far. No shoeboxes full of money unfortunately. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S9oaXx4pl4Y

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Some progress after three days of dirty demolition:

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Gilberto de Piento
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Re: ffj's early retirement

Post by Gilberto de Piento » Sat Jan 28, 2017 8:06 am

That owl is awesome, I've never seen a barn owl in person. It was good of you to rescue it.

I had a chimney swift in my house a while back. I had to catch it in a towel and release it outside.

ffj
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Re: ffj's early retirement

Post by ffj » Sat Jan 28, 2017 11:16 am

@Gilberto
I wish I had a better picture of his talons. I wanted no part in trying to catch him, haha. Very pretty bird.

One of my latest projects has been learning how to splice rope, specifically double braid climbing rope for arborists. It's actually pretty interesting if you are bizarre like me so I thought I would show how it's done. Initially, I was using the wrong tools and it was awful with very poor results. Once I invested in the proper tool for the job it became fun.

A splice is actually stronger than a knot and much more streamlined for operation. That is why I became interested in the first place because when I would climb before I would always have a large figure eight knot in my way that I used to tie in with. The splice eliminates this.

You've got to measure your splice first:

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Pull the core. That is a wire fid which I purchased. Saved the day.

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The fid in action:

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Getting close:

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You gotta pull hard:

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And the end result with whipping:

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Here is a pro at it: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UghIS9xdiDw&t=4s

EMJ
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Re: ffj's early retirement

Post by EMJ » Sat Jan 28, 2017 12:14 pm

elegant!

ffj
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Re: ffj's early retirement

Post by ffj » Sun Jan 29, 2017 5:22 pm

@EMJ
Yeah, it turned out nice. Here a couple of comparison pictures of before and after of my climbing system. The splice really streamlines everything.

Clunky

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Sleek

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ffj
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Re: ffj's early retirement

Post by ffj » Sat Jun 17, 2017 10:15 am

A bit of an update on the remodel. My pace on this latest round has been much slower as we have accommodated ourselves to the rest of the house and it's not really been much of an inconvenience other than the mess. And I haven't taken nearly as many pictures either as it is kind of a repeat of what occurred in the kitchen. But I'm getting close to finishing with the drywall almost ready for paint.

One of the first things I did was enlarge this opening to create a more open feel. I've always hated this restricted doorway.

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Then I had to take the floor down to the subfloor because I had over an inch drop in twelve feet! Houses really do settle over time. So hats off to Cmonkey for turning me on to the shingle method to be able to feather out these graduations in slope. Worked really well and saved me from having to use floor leveler over the plywood.

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I also replaced all of the windows with larger ones again to help create a sense of a larger space. Plus the old ones leaked and I actually had to rebuild a lot of the wall because over the years the wood had rotted beneath the windows. You can see the difference between the old and new openings.

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Removing the closet really opened it up too, along with a new front door, which took a long time to install because of the wood rot and improper flashing. I literally had to remove and re-side part of the front of my house just so I could rebuild the sill and flash it correctly.

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Also rebuilt the wall containing the fireplace just so I could do it right regarding wiring and insulation. Like the kitchen, there was some very sloppy framing in this room.

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And the new opening.

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My house now has 100% new and up to code wiring and I'm getting really close to having it weather-tight and insulated properly. And I'm at the point now where everything I do is going to look good so that's definitely a plus going forward. Sometimes you lose sight of the final result when you are knee-deep in nasty construction debris.

ffj
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Re: ffj's early retirement

Post by ffj » Sun Jun 18, 2017 8:20 pm

Behold the power of chicken shit:

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This is my tomato patch this year with Rutgers, Better Boy and an heirloom called Mortgage Lifter. This was just normal grass a couple of years ago but the amount of composting the chickens did just by eating, pooping, and digging tons of vegetation is pretty remarkable. I'm seriously considering buying an electric poultry fence and surrounding my main garden this fall into spring and throwing a bunch of chickens in there just to work the soil and fertilize it.

Well it's been 3 years since I quit full-time employment and I was kind of evaluating my decision the other day. I can still say with complete honesty that I'm glad I did it. Life is so much more interesting now that I can find the time to explore various things that interest me. And I still don't have an overt interest to travel a lot like I thought I would, which is kinda weird because I would fantasize about it while employed. I'm thinking now that all of those travel thoughts were escapism at the time.

However, I did take a small fishing trip lately with a couple of friends and one of the neat things we got to do was explore a bridge over the river we were fishing. This thing was at least 150 feet in the air with a tunnel at the end and of course we assumed we would hear a train in time to get out of the way but in retrospect I'm not so sure. :roll: Thankfully we weren't tested that day.

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Dragline
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Re: ffj's early retirement

Post by Dragline » Sun Jun 18, 2017 8:29 pm

Nice pictures.

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GandK
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Re: ffj's early retirement

Post by GandK » Mon Jun 19, 2017 7:37 am

ffj wrote:
Sun Jun 18, 2017 8:20 pm
Well it's been 3 years since I quit full-time employment and I was kind of evaluating my decision the other day. I can still say with complete honesty that I'm glad I did it. Life is so much more interesting now that I can find the time to explore various things that interest me. And I still don't have an overt interest to travel a lot like I thought I would, which is kinda weird because I would fantasize about it while employed. I'm thinking now that all of those travel thoughts were escapism at the time.
Congratulations! 8-) Great observation about escapism. Glad you're enjoying yourself.

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cmonkey
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Re: ffj's early retirement

Post by cmonkey » Mon Jun 19, 2017 7:59 am

Nice large doorway. When we put in our second doorway (about that size) it really transformed the house.

Also glad the shingles worked out for you!

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jennypenny
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Re: ffj's early retirement

Post by jennypenny » Mon Jun 19, 2017 8:52 am

Ha, my house looks like that half the time and I'm not doing any remodeling. ;)

ffj
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Re: ffj's early retirement

Post by ffj » Mon Jun 19, 2017 8:16 pm

Dragline, Katherine, cmonkey,

Thanks all for the encouragement and advice.

@jenny
One of these days I won't have a project going and it will probably be the time to pack it in. I don't always like the mess but I always love becoming immersed into something, however odd or obscure. I'm guessing you are the same.

ffj
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Re: ffj's early retirement

Post by ffj » Fri Jun 23, 2017 12:11 pm

Here is what happens if you spend too much time on Craigslist:

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I bought over 250 wine bottles for $20. The next logical question should be why I would need this many bottles and the answer would be I don't. I originally answered the ad to buy a couple of dozen so I could bottle some more wine I plan on making soon, but I thought what the hell it's so cheap that I'll just recycle what I don't want. haha

They are nice bottles that just need cleaning and de-labeling. The easiest ones are the water-soluble labels that require a good soak.

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The other ones require some sort of a solvent to release the glue. I'm currently just working on the easy ones for now and I'll reassess whether I want to invest that much time in the other bottles.

Maybe I'll start making these and selling them on Etsy :D

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SCcvIErebL0

ffj
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Re: ffj's early retirement

Post by ffj » Wed Jul 12, 2017 1:56 pm

Garden, garden, and more garden. That's all I've done for the past week or so. Between processing beans(30 gallons so far), making pickles, picking peppers, and very shortly the corn and tomatoes will be ripening all at once, I'm about sick of the garden. At least until I look at my pantry and freezer that is. I also bottled 10 gallons of beer the other day too; I'm tired. This was this mornings haul:

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Found a little bird hiding out in the sunflowers:

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I've also had a problem with Japanese beetles for the past couple of years. They've eaten my plum tree down again and are working on my hops like crazy so I decided to get a trap for them. I don't know what kind of attractant that is in this thing but holy crap do these beetles go crazy over it. This is a two-hour period. There must be at least 2,000 in there.

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Also finished all of the wine bottles with the final tally coming in about 280 usable bottles. I would like to make a 5 gallon batch of blackberry wine but I don't know if I'll have time to pick the blackberries with everything else ripening at the moment. We'll see.

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cmonkey
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Re: ffj's early retirement

Post by cmonkey » Wed Jul 12, 2017 3:25 pm

I hope you don't have to empty that trap!! I'm assuming they are still alive, how are they not getting out?

ffj
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Re: ffj's early retirement

Post by ffj » Wed Jul 12, 2017 4:11 pm

Two bags came with the trap and Im already on the third bag which will probably be full in another hour. It's kind of fascinating watching these guys dive-bomb into the bag.

Yeah they are alive but I've been drowning them in a 5-gallon bucket while they are still in the bag. Then I squeeze them out and reuse the bag. I was wondering if some soapy water hanging underneath the trap wouldn't accomplish the same thing?

Meanwhile I have picked another 5 gallons of peppers... :roll:

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Riggerjack
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Re: ffj's early retirement

Post by Riggerjack » Wed Jul 12, 2017 4:25 pm

Wait, I know I'm a bit behind, but your house settled, you have a basement, and rather than jacking it back to level and shimming, you leveled the floor with shingles?

Why?

Now you still have an unlevel ceiling (upper floor), and if you corrected your floor level, the shingles throw you off level. What will you cover it with? And in the summer, are you concerned about the off gassing?

I know, former fireman, so you can tough it out. But it seems the hard way, with extra complications.

That seems like an awesome trap, BTW.

Jason
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Re: ffj's early retirement

Post by Jason » Wed Jul 12, 2017 7:44 pm

Maybe that owl was "pretty" up close, but from where I sit, it looks as though it flew out of Satan's asshole.

But whatever specific area of butt fuck heaven you landed in i.e. wheelbarrow shot, I want to be there.

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cmonkey
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Re: ffj's early retirement

Post by cmonkey » Wed Jul 12, 2017 8:48 pm

Riggerjack wrote:
Wed Jul 12, 2017 4:25 pm
Wait, I know I'm a bit behind, but your house settled, you have a basement, and rather than jacking it back to level and shimming, you leveled the floor with shingles?
From what I can tell it's difficult to get a house level again by jacking and shimming. For dips that wouldn't work at all. Also you can damage a house if you jack too much.

Didn't know about any off-gassing with shingles, but I used 10 year old shingles that had been in my shed. Hopefully they gassed enough.

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