Archive for the ‘Home’ Category

So much thatch

May 3, 2009 Leave a comment

Yesterday I rented a dethatching machine for the front lawn. It looks as if it hasn’t been dethatched in so many years, and in our second year here I figured it was time to give the lawn some TLC.

I was able to kick up about 320 gallons of densely packed thatch! That’s a lot of thatch.

I didn’t do the backyard because about 1/3 of it is entirely moss and we have a slight drainage problem anyway: much of the rain water collects under the south fence and is rotting the bottom away. I want to till it up and landscape it, giving me a chance to re-contour it and put a French drain under the fence.

Today I’ll be over-seeding and fertilizing the lawn and in the next week or two I’ll aerate.

Categories: Home

Still no Color Wheel

March 25, 2009 Leave a comment
It’s been quite a while since the color wheel in our DLP died and it still hasn’t shipped. We’ve grown quite accustomed to Hulu but they really need new commercials. I hope it arrives soon, though. My laptop doesn’t have the best screen for viewing nor can I work on it while watching, say, Lost.
Categories: Home

The DLP has Died

March 8, 2009 Leave a comment

About 4 years ago Tracy and I bought a Samsung 42” DLP (HL-R4266W). At the time DLPs were much cheaper than comparable plasma TVs and much cheaper than LCDs. Of course, all have dropped in price – especially LCDs – since then. But part of the reason we bought the DLP is because it’s sustainable.

And now it’s time to replace a part but not the part we expected. For a couple of months the TV has gradually started making a whirring or humming noise; so gradual that most of the time we didn’t even notice (plus I’m just over 1/4 deaf). This morning I turned it on and it was much louder and then started grinding just like ball bearings that were shot. And that’s seemingly just what the problem is: the color wheel that sits on ball bearings needs to be replaced.

It seems easy enough to do myself. I used to build PCs and the TV is really not all that different on the inside. I also found instructions online for a similar Samsung model but all seem pretty obvious. By tomorrow I’ll order the new part after I make a call to hopefully confirm my suspicion so I don’t waste time ordering the wrong part. I did already take part of the TV apart to gain better confidence that the color wheel is bad. Even though I briefly stopped the cooling fan and the noise persisted I don’t know if there’s another fan inside without taking it completely apart which I want to avoid until I’m ready so I don’t accidentally lose or jar any other parts.

I’ll probably document the procedure so stay tuned if you’re interested.

Categories: Home

Seattle: Winter Wonderland?

December 22, 2008 Leave a comment

Seattle is a winter wonderland with emphasis on “wonder”.

This isn’t Nebraska or Iowa, but Puget Sound. It’s been snowing all week and I’ve been out there shoveling. This morning was particularly hard since there was 5-6” of snow to shovel and unlike back in Nebraska, I don’t have a snow blower. In fact, I’ve never seen a snow blower being sold in large or small hardware stores around here. And when I was nearly finished it started snowing again and another 3-6” of snow is expected tonight. Believe me when I say this weather is truly atypical for Seattle and it is unknown when it will let up – truly a wonder.

Driving conditions are pretty poor as well, and the metro is pretty much shut down. It’s good, though, since most people can’t drive in this weather. With experience growing up in worse and an all-wheel drive car I didn’t find it too bad but the streets were fairly clear of cars slamming on breaks or peeling out.

It has been beautiful and it appears we’ll have a white Christmas here in Seattle, but I do hope the power stays on with the lines and trees hanging over those lines holding up quite a bit of weight. The big winter storm of 2006 left many homes without power including ours – some up to 2 weeks without power. Hopefully those lines were bolstered.

I’ve also found shovel snow to be great cardiovascular exercise, so it’s not so bad. And I have a great shovel I bought sometime ago and actually use all-year round: they work great as dust pans without having to haunch over while trying to pull a large broom, or to scoop out sludge and wet leaves from the drain in the street outside our house.

Categories: Home

Waterfall Complete

September 10, 2007 2 comments

After far too long, I have put the finishing touches on our waterfall. It started out as a loose collection of flagstone and retaining wall blocks but now natural rock and river stone. We unburied the formed pond and I leveled it, reburied it, and landscaped around it. That should make it easier to mow and will keep the tall grasses down. Before the grasses were very high and growing between border rock.

Building the waterfall was fairly complicated and it looks nothing like those done by the professionals, like we saw at Russell Water Gardens in Redmond. Still, though, it looks nice and it’s my creation. I had fill a couple of holes with foam – as is common I read. The water was barely leaking but would’ve just ran down the rubber sheet underneath anyway. I just didn’t want the water filtering through the sand picking up grit.


Now we just need to figure out why the plants you see in the background – which were there when we moved in – are seemingly dying. The leaves are horribly withered and even seem chewed up a little bit. Other than that and the rocks you don’t see that will soon be removed, the corner looks great.

Categories: Home

There’s Grass in My Moss!

June 4, 2007 Leave a comment
"There’s grass in my moss!" I exclaimed to Tracy after she came out to see how I was doing after hours of back-breaking, heart-pounding thatching by hand. There’s a terrible amount of moss and dead grass choking the good grass in our yard, which was quite obviously neglected.
I do plan on renting a thatching machine next weekend, but I was trying to thatch the thick moss by hand so that the moss killer can act better on what’s left. The thatching rake will come in handy in the future to maintain the lawn and even to cultivate the garden, which Tracy has been working on this weekend.
Below you can see a couple photos (more in the "Home" photo album) showing just how much a thatching rake in just a few small areas (probably about 25% of the total yard) picked up: literally bushels.
Categories: Home

House Update, June 03, 2007

June 3, 2007 Leave a comment

Tracy and I have been diligently working on our new house. While she has mainly been emptying boxes, I’ve been fixing these around the house and doing yard work.

Tracy has the kitchen well organized and there’s really only miscellaneous items left that we need to determine where to put them. We have plenty of room, but want some organization to where things can be found later. We had a lot more boxes than expected.

After buying a mower, I mowed our yard – the first time I’ve mowed since I was in high school. It was good. I’ve also been doing a lot of weeding and started thatching today with a thatching rake, but we’re going to need to rent a powered one because after covering only a few square feet I pulled up bushels of old, dead grass and – worse – moss. I’m also installing an air gap and networking a couple of rooms, but in both cases getting stuck from time to time.

We’ve got a few items for yard work and plumbing. We’ve been evaluating what type of power tools to get.

Suzy loves her yard, but she needs to better learn to potty on her own. She also does fairly well off-leash in the front yard which is not fenced in.

We’re looking to have a house-warming party soon so we’re trying to get a lot of things fixed to look nice. All in all, we love our new house and it’s a good find.

Categories: Home