All posts by Richard

Burnin’ up the slash

Today we went up to our cabin in the mountains to close it down for the winter and got to watch the logger, who cleared some timber for us two years ago, burn the “slash” piles that were left as a result of the logging. I had been wanting not to miss this because the piles were huge! We’re talkin’ a pile the size of a house with huge logs in it.


It started out slow, mainly because the loggers must wait until this time of year, after a few good rains to light the piles. It is good and dry, having sat for two summers but the rains do moisten it up a bit. once it got going we had to get back 100 feet and could still feel the heat.

That’s my son Chris standing there to show how large the pile was.

The Jeep is seen far back from the fire. He did get to play some today. We found a logging road left over that was cleared of major debris and we rode around the property, definitely a 4-wheel road.

Cranberry Harvest!

This last weekend we went to Bandon Oregon to see if we could catch some of the harvest. Two years ago we were there in the late summer and took a tour of a “Bog” and learned that they can be harvested different ways. One way is with a “scoop”, a device that runs along the vines and brushes the berries into the collecting end. Then there is the flooding method. This is the preferred method for many reasons, one of which is that only the “good” berries float, the bad ones sink and are not harvested. Harvest time is throughout October. Watching some videos of the local harvest was intriguing enough to make us want to go back in October sometime and watch. We were probably a week late as most of the bogs we saw were already harvested, so we didn’t get to see the actual harvest but did see a flooded bog and a fellow churning the vines with a machine that knocks the berries off of the vines and then they float.

Then the workers “round them up” and either use a conveyor belt or a vacuum type hose to load them into the trucks. We couldn’t stay long enough to see that part of the harvest but I was excited enough just to find a bog that was right next to the road and could reach down and grab the berries.

The berries are sorted and shipped to many places such as “Ocean Spray” for use in juice, canned berries, fresh berries etc. Reading up on cranberry facts you will find that they are one of the few truly native fruits of North America. Bandon has the perfect climate for them. Berries grown in the east coast and other places on the west coast are mostly white or pink in color, claiming about 80% of the juice we drink. The Bandon berries are prized for their rich red color. Yes those bright red berries you buy for Thanksgiving most likely came from Bandon!


Kitchen Remodeling IV

Well, the counter top people came and installed counter tops in the kitchen and bathroom. The bathroom is also getting a face lift but not as major as the kitchen. New counter top (keeping vanity), sink, faucet, shower faucet set, re glazing the tub, new linoleum floor, adding a wainscot of rustic wood and seashore items for a nautical theme.

After the counter top people left, I was anxious to install the new sinks. I was up all night worrying about it because I just knew that the old drains wouldn’t line up. I was right no matter what position I put the sinks and their drain “traps” it couldn’t line up with the old 1962 plumbing. I tried removing the old tail pipe from the wall (in the bathroom) but it was rusted frozen. I tried Jerry-rigging the pipe but the old chrome pipes and washers were shot, and I cracked the tail pipe.

I gave in and called a plumber. Best thing I ever did, he totally replaced the drains, and inlets, under both sinks with modern valves and pipes. Now their set for another 40 years! Plus he hooked up and set the bathroom sink. Cheryl was highly upset with the mess the plumber made, gunk and caulking all over her new counter top and sink and faucet in the bathroom, so we installed and set the kitchen sink our selves, and the plumber hooked up the drains (not lining up there either)

After the stove and dishwasher were installed it is finally finished. Only a few trim pieces and an over head light remain. Here are a few pics of the finished kitchen…


We were looking for some sort of antique we could use for a phone stand or desk. I spotted this beauty, a kids role-top desk in great condition!


Kitty is checking out the new back savers. Drawers for pots and pans, and our canned goods.


Kitchen Remodeling III

Now that the old cabinets have been completely removed, we did some patching and spackling of the sheet rock. I am comfortable with spackle, even filling quite large areas (where the old back splash tore the facing of the sheet rock away) is no problem with my trusty “5-in-1” painters tool but patching the sheet rock with tape and mud was new and a little intimidating to me at first. Good thing that all the areas that we patched will be hidden either by cabinets or the tile back splash we will put in. I first used self sticking mesh type sheet rock tape, covering holes too big for spackle. Then you put a thin layer of sheet rock (s/r) mud over the mesh tape pressing it in to just fill in the mesh. Let that dry over night and sand smooth. (I didn’t use it but there is also a fast or “hot” mud that dries in 20, 45 and 90 minutes if you like.)

Then you put another thin layer over the patch, this time wider and feathering the edges, making sure to not allow any of the tape to show. Wait over night and sand again, trying not to expose the mesh like tape underneath this time. Now for the final coat of mud, this time using an even wider “knife” and feathering the edges of the mud thinner so when it is sanded and painted it won’t show.



Before the new cabinets were installed, we thought it would be a good idea to paint the areas that would show first, avoiding a possible mess taping and painting the brand new cabinets. Boy are we glad we did! The installers only scuffed a tiny 1 inch area that had to be touched-up after they were through. We also wanted new moulding around the windows and door going into the laundry area, and so I removed the moulding above the sink window before they installed the cabinets so I didn’t risk whacking and scratching the new cabinets with my pry bar. The other moulding will be swapped out later, as it isn’t near the cabinets.


Here are the new cabinets just after being installed.



After the cabinets were installed, the electrician came and finished installing the under cabinet lighting, replacing the outlet cover plates, and the county inspector was already by to approve it all. And the counter top people were by to do their final measurements and should be ready to install next week. It was very reminiscent of the movie “Money Pit” (Tom Hanks, Shelly Long) here yesterday with different people coming in and out.

I have now competed putting on the new moulding around the sink window, installing the new microwave oven-hood above the stove area, and installed a new light over the sink. My wife put her new curtains over the competed sink window and she says it is shaping up very nicely!

Kitchen Remodeling II

Well the cabinets arrived today! Tomorrow the installer will give them a look over for damage, if they are correct etc. They were a day early in getting here so that gives us plenty of time to tear out the old cabinets and prep. The electrician is coming Monday to move a few outlets around, add some new switches and such for the under cabinet lighting etc. A plumber is coming Wednesday to install a gas line for the new stove.

After they were unloaded, the installer came over the next day to check them out for damage. Everything is good to go, just one little minor thing to be replaced (a drawer front that screws on) that won’t hinder installation.


And so begins the tear out. These are old built-in cabinets, and the fellow who built them left a note scribed to one of the boards in the upper cabinet for posterity. It reads “Cabinets built by Sam Hollander, Sept 11 1962. Wages $4.00 per hour, My age is 35″…

These are “Before” shots”



The counter tops are glued down and nailed so my son and I are using a car jack from my Jeep to slowly “pry” up the tops. Normally you would just use a sledge hammer and not care, but I am practicing on these to eventually remove the bathroom counter top with out damaging the cabinets because in the bathroom we are keeping the 8ft. cabinet and just replacing the counter top.



First getting out the base cabinets seemed to be the right thing to do, and not having to bend over to get the top cabinets out. The base cabinet came out in one piece, the upper cabinets had to be dismantled to remove them. After all has been removed, I did some sanding and spackling. So much for day one.



Kitchen Remodeling I

My wife and I are currently planning a kitchen (and bathroom) remodel. We have been to Lowe’s for the cabinets and (believe it or not) got a pretty good deal. We are choosing the KraftMaid brand. They seem to be well built, stylish good selection of accessories.


I have been toiling over the idea of installing them myself. Our kitchen isn’t large just a 10×10 square with the cabinets running down the two sides.

Our existing layout has the stove right next to the refrigerator YUK! I have always hated that. Now there is a nice “Island” between the stove and refrigerator. We are also getting new appliances, refrigerator, over the stove microwave/hood, and I got to pick out a new stove/oven.

I have wanted a gas stove for a long time, after having one in my “first” apartment years ago (26 years), I liked the way the heat was instant on and better yet, instant off or down if something is scorching, and better control of the heat in general. We have been watching Food Network a lot lately and 98% of the chefs use gas stoves.

Cheryl “get’s” a new refrigerator. She hates my old “side-by-side”. We are getting one of those kind with the freezer on the bottom so you don’t have to bend over as much. We are also getting a newer microwave/hood as the old one has the handle duct taped to it.

The main feature of the new cabinets I have always wanted is slide out drawers for the food cupboard and a special heavy duty drawers for the pots and pans. No more climbing on the floor to reach a frying pan deep in the cupboard.

Yreka Western Railroad

We recently took a day trip and rode on the Yreka Western Railroad steam excursion train that goes from Yreka, CA to Montague, CA and back. The YWRR is a short line working railroad as well as a tourist line. It serves (lately) only two mills, taking plywood veneer, wood chips and landscape bark to Montague for drop off and pick up by the Central Oregon and Pacific RR, CORP, located along the famous (former) Southern Pacific RR Siskiyou Line. It used to serve several mills along the line until recent mill closures reduced it’s revenue.

The railroad had recently fallen into financial problems, the steam engine needed repairs, the track needed repairs and to top it all off, the Main line served by CORP had been closed for almost 2 years due to a fire and collapse of Tunnel 13 on the Siskiyou Line. Only southbound loads were taken. But now things look good for the line, slowly gaining revenue and tourists, now that the #19 is back in working order

(click thumbs)

We started our journey at the YWRR Depot / Yard here is the #19 waiting to pull forward and hook up to the excursion train.

You can wander around the yard and explore if you’re careful.

The #19 was the star in the movie “Emperor of the North (Pole)” staring Lee Marvin, Ernest Borgnine, Keith Carradine and more about depression era bum’s hitching rides on a train that was guarded by an almost evil conductor (Ernest Borgnine) and was filmed in Cottage Grove OR

The trip is about 7 miles long but takes about an hour and a half because the train moves very slow due to poor track conditions. Be prepared to sit back, enjoy the scenery, watch wildlife and relax!

In Montague we had lunch at the “Dutchman” and it was wonderful. Clean decor, great food. We then walked up to the old Montague Depot, now a museum that houses almost exact replicas of how life was for the station master and his family, who lived upstairs. Afterward we walked down the street to a “tea room” and got drinks and cookies for the ride back. The people in this town sure depend on the tourists, and were almost devastated when the excursion train wasn’t operating.

If you’re ever in the area, be sure to stop in Yreka CA, explore the old historic mining district, eat at one of several great restaurants and ride the train!

Dress up those greying – fading Jeep exterior trims!

I recently purchased a beautiful ’99 Jeep Cherokee Sport. The only problem with the exterior is the faded greying black exterior trim pieces. I tried a couple solutions, “Back to Black” and “Black Again” exterior trim finisher. They work on all colors, not just black.

There are others on the market but these were highly suggested in newsgroups and by friends. Simply wipe on the product with a clean cloth or cheese cloth then wipe off excss with another clean cloth. They both had identical results but the “Black Again” seemed to remove the oxidation better, judging from the darker areas left in application rag.

See images for a before and after. You can click them for a closer view

 Above you can see unfinished on the left and finished on the right

Above you can see, that even from a distance there is quite a difference in color.

These are the products I used. If you have a newer Wrangler, those fender wells are probably, or someday will fade. This is a cheap alternitave to replacing them at about $3-$4 a bottle. One drawback is it must be reapplied in about 2-3 months, depending on weather and washing conditions

“Rooster Crow”

We went to the annual “Rooster Crow” in Rogue River Or. today. Saw a good ol’ fashioned parade, ate hot dogs etc.


We saw a booth with a fellow selling yard statues and we bought a rooster statue that is about 1 foot high and only cost $10. He also had this cool lighthouse statue about 2 feet high that can turn into a yard fountain for $50.

We have been looking into adding a patio area to the backyard. We already have a nice yard swing, and one of those fire-pits. A fountain, planter boxes and we’re set. Anyway we had a good day