So they finished up installing the metal roof yesterday, applying the panels to the front of the house and capping off all of the seams. I feel less stress about the panel inconsistency I saw on the west side as after a day the contrast already seems to be lessening, making me think it was just some panels being directly exposed to the elements while others weren’t for three weeks.
I did not see the same variation in the panels across the front of the house which was good. I think everything will be fine. I am looking forward to the first decent rain to get a sense of how it will sound in the house. I expect it to be a sound I will enjoy.
I had a long day of work yesterday, having to do some work down at our Marco Island office after business hours. If things went well I would have been done in 15 minutes. It took me 90 minutes so you can draw your own conclusions.
So as high tech as our chicken coop is a couple days ago I ordered something to make it even more cutting edge. The chickens are early risers. Usually when we get up in the morning we see the hens bunched up in the corner looking at the house for any movement. They want to be let out of the run and into their fenced area.
The other day I got an idea in my head that I floated past Cindy. When we built the coop we incorporated an automatic door to the coop itself, allowing the chickens to escape in the morning while closing automatically at night to keep them safe. My idea was to buy a SECOND unit and build it into the fenced in run, allowing the chickens to go out into the yard as early as they want without any interaction from us. Ditto for securing them at night. It could allow us to not require as much help if we are away as the chickens could have secured access in and out of the coop without us lifting a finger.
The unit should arrive early next week, I look forward to the next step in building the most futuristic chicken coop in southwest Florida.
Yesterday was my first day of the staycation without a to do list hanging overhead. After our early morning run we cleane dup and headed out mid-morning. I actually stopped in at the office for about a half hour to say goodbye to a co-worker that was retiring after 36 years. She and I always have had a funny relationship where we pick on each other like brother-sister. It will be sad to see her go but she is still young enough to enjoy her retirement which is cool.
We stopped for lunch on the way back at Fuzzy Taco’s one of our fav eating establishments. It was nice to be able to live like a retired person for the day. Later in the afternoon we had to head back out to drop the Tacoma off for it’s 20,000 mile service, even though it is about 500 miles short of that mileage. When you buy a Tacoma they give you free maintenance for 25,000 miles or two years, whatever comes first. I did not realize that I am actually a few days past the two year mark. Since I have been daily driving the Prius, the Tacoma has been seeing a lot less mileage. My service advisor said she would still be able to get me the work done for free since it’s so close but this will be the last freebie. On the way back to the house we picked up Sadie for another long weekend.
Last night Cindy and I worked on stuff, with my attention being mostly on solving an odd 3D printing problem which turned out to be a bad SD card. I also dove into WoW hard core for the first time during the staycation.
This morning when I was cleaning the coop I saw this thing on the floor that almost looked like a hardened egg yolk. Upon researching it later I discovered it is a “lash egg” which appears to have come out of Kristen, our only white chicken. A lash egg is not an egg at all as you can see from the words on the picture. It is a symptom of a serious and potentially fatal infection in the bird’s reproductive system. There is a chance a chicken can recover on it’s own from such an ailment but I read that it is more common for this to be the ultimate demise of the animal.
I am going to see if I can find some sort of antbiotic we can give Kristen as well as getting liquid yogurt to try to help boost her immune system as well. I am crossing my fingers she can recover. She is a sweet hen, one of my favorites. She is still acting normal otherwise but that is often the case with chickens, they will hide ailments until the very end.
So our only white chicken, Kristen, was not acting normal yesterday. I had noticed the night before that she may have “pasty butt”, a rather disgusting scenario where the back end of a chicken gets clogged up with dried “organic matter”. Not only is it gross but it can also be lethal if not cleared. Cindy is the one that does all the leg work when this comes up, I usually just serve a support role.
Cindy said Kristen did not want to come out from under the coop, even for treats which is a big warning flag. She eventually got her out by using a hose and then worked on cleaning the hens backside. When I came home I noticed Kristen was back under the coop and still not responding to me like she normally would. I asked Cindy if we could try cleaning her some more with me helping to hold her so a more thorough inspection could be done. Kristen was pretty calm as petted her softly while saying sweet chicken things to her.
Cindy saw some pieces of stuck on broken egg back there. It seems like possibly an egg broke on the way out, dried, and caused the problem. Cindy worked diligently cleaning things up. I was worried that when I went to put the chickens to be that Kristen wouldn’t be up on the perch but she was. This morning I checked again on the coop DVR to verify she was still doing ok. Cindy said this morning Kristen seemed to be doing well and was out and about with the other birds. It’s things like this that make me nervous about leaving the hens to go out of town for an extended period of time.
My 3D stands are selling well. Last night I had one person order three stands, the last three of the the newer 2.1 models I had. I may wind up putting some of the stands I am using for my own wheels up in the store if I can’t keep up with demand. 🙂
So yesterday I was at one of our larger remote branches and suddenly heard someone say “Do you have a YouTube channel?” With a surprised look on my face I looked up and saw the question was coming from the security guard. He went on to tell me he is a 3D printer hobbyist like me and has seen a number of my 3d printing videos. He said he heard my voice and recognized it immediately.
We talked a little bit, he has five printers as I do so he is as deep if not deeper into it than I am. It was the first time I have been recognized out in public by a stranger solely from my channel, it was an odd but cool experience at the same time. The channel has now added another 10% to it’s subscriber base in the last couple months and the channel is closing in on 2.5 million views.
So last night when I put the chickens to bed I immediately noticed that Pumpkin was out of place. For some reason she was under the nesting boxes on the floor, in a corner. I picked her up and placed her on the perch but she looked uncomfortable. Cindy just happened to come in the coop while I was doing this. I told her where Pumpkin was and how she looked a bit odd to me.
When we looked at her more it sort of looked like she might need to lay an egg. It is not unusual for the hens to sometimes drop an egg during the night although it doesn’t happen often. Well, with Peaches fall and ultimate death several weeks back I didn’t want to take any chances. I pulled back the netting we cover the nesting boxes with at night and placed Pumpkin in there so she could lay an egg if she needed to and that she would not be at risk of falling if something else was wrong.
This morning when I woke up I looked at the coop camera and saw she was in the box with her head down. I didn’t see any movement so I was concerned. I then used my phone to turn on the light in the coop remotely to see if she moved. I still didn’t see anything however after the coop door opened up automatically at 6:30 I saw she was up and about which brought out a literal sigh of relief. I don’t need any more abrupt chicken deaths in my life.
I made this last night. Katie still has her mail delivered to our house so it can pile up in between her pick ups. The 3D printed mail/key holder should be just the ticket to keep it safe and organized moving forward.
So despite my repeated efforts to thwart an animal from trying to dig up Peaches, the latest being covering the spot with the chicken tractor, the behavior has continued. We thought the digger had to be a possum but I don’ think a possum would fit in between the wires. Well regardless of the animal, the behavior had to stop. I resigned myself to the gruesome task of having to dig Peaches up and relocate her.
I got out my shovel and wagon and started on the miserable task. I gave the other birds treats to keep them distracted while I dug away. At first when I was close to two feet deep and didn’t see anything I though that possibly somehow the corpse was drug out of the grave completely. However after going even deeper I reached the burlap that we wrapped her in.
To be honest I was preparing myself for awful carnage, figuring the animal that has been digging has been eating the corpse. Well to my surprise the burlap was intact and I saw no signs of any carnage. I did mouth breathing to insulate myself from the smell as I wheeled Peaches back to the far corner of the property, beyond the back fence line. I did put the body inside of a plastic garbage bag as well to further insulate it.
I had tears in my eyes as I dug another deep hole that I back filled and then topped off with more dug up grass. I then covered the grave with palm fronds and a dead cactus as further deterrent and marked the grave with a piece of palm cross thatch that I drove into the sand with my shovel. As I went through the somber process I just couldn’t shake the feelings of guilt that weighed on my back. I just kept thinking about how a few different choices could have meant Peaches would still be following me around the yard, first in line, as always.
I have yet another tiresome week of nearly all day work meetings that I am in the middle of. I just keep trying to focus on the finish line, despite it being far away at this point.
So when we first got Elsa it took awhile until she started to trust us. There seemed to be something in her past that obviously made her skittish and untrusting of people. However over time we have been able to melt away those barriers and now Elsa is just a bundle of fun and love, although still filled with plenty of quirks.
When I get home at night she is just so ecstatic to see me. Usually I will try to immediately sit down on the couch so she can jump up for a thorough petting session. Her excitement level is off the charts. It seems like she is most happy when Cindy and I are both home, when one of us is missing it’s just not the same. Even though I had some trepidation about signing on to getting another dog, I’m now glad we jumped in as she is a bright source of fun and love in our lives.
So our slimy governor, Rick Scott, who was in opposition to medical marijuana which was passed in the state during last years election, is playing games to try to make the implementation of legal medical cannabis problematic. You see Tricky Rick has deep ties to Big Pharm and the medicine for profit industries. His lobbyist friends are not interested in a simple, natural product elbowing in to their extremely fat bottom line.
Late last month Scott signed a bill regarding how medical marijuana dispensaries are supposed to be managed by individual counties. Basically it says a county has only two options, they either have to ban medical marijuana completely or they have to allow it anywhere with no middle ground. So in a very image conscious place like Collier County, despite their desire for legal marijuana dispensaries inside county lines, the idea of having no control over the number of them or locations is not realistic so this law would force them into banning it completely, which is not what anybody really wants.
Of course the Trickster knows that a lot of counties are not going to be comfortable with having no control but he can put on a false face and say “Hey, the law says the counties can have medical marijuana anywhere they want!!” with that slimy, disingenuous grin of his. It’s so transparent.
Luckily, there is a good chance that Rick’s shenanigans will not stand up in court. It is likely the legislation will be challenged in court and be overturned but in the meantime many Florida residents just continue to wait for something that have voted to implement for over 5 years.
Cindy and I started off the weekend with a track 5K. I forced myself to do it even though as recently as Friday night I was walking around gingerly due to hamstrings still sore from deadlifting on Tuesday. Much like the week prior, the run felt like a struggle pretty much the entire time. The temp almost being 80 degrees with high humidity at 7AM didn’t help matters.
I wanted to get all weekend labor out of the way on Saturday and I worked diligently to make that happen. Weeding was a particularly large pain in the ass. The frequent rain combined with steaming temperatures provides the perfect conditions for weeds to pop up everywhere.
It was bright and sunny for most of the day Saturday, so much so that once again the dreaded standing water had dried up. Around 3 o’clock I decided I should take advantage of this and jumped on the tractor as I saw a few gray clouds starting to form. Well as I was about half way into mowing the first front section when it started to rain lightly. Since the tractor has a sun canopy it also does a decent job as a rain canopy so I pressed on. By the time I called it quits after finishing the front of the house I was mowing in the middle of a monsoon. Of course the recently dried up sections of the yard were now back under several inches of water…..sigh.
Another thing I got out of the way on Saturday was my weekly bill paying session. I actually had very few bills to pay this week so a wave of inspiration hit me. My primary 15 year mortgage was real close to being paid off. I had planned to pay it off in a couple months but I decided I would dip into one of my other budget columns and pay the sucker off now. I have been overpaying a little bit each month ever since the house was refinanced which has allowed me to get to this point roughly a year ahead of schedule.
A looong time ago I had set a goal of having the house paid off before I was 50 so it feels good to accomplish that. However when I initially set that goal it was the intent for the house to be COMPLETELY paid off which it is not. I still have my home equity loan which was opened almost as long ago which was used to pay for things like the pool, the two terrible land investments in Lehigh Acres, divorce settlement funds, and home improvements. Now that the primary mortgage is cleared out I can attack the HELOC as well as having some extra funds to both save and do some other things with. I would like to open up a Roth IRA to give me a third retirement account to lean on when I am old, gray, and feeble. (if I make it that long) So anyway, yes, it feels good to have the primary mortgage satisfied, it’s something a lot of people never get a chance to do in their lifetimes.
Saturday night we stayed home and watched Aftermath, a recent movie I never heard of with Arnold starring in it based on a true story. I was somewhat surprised that the movie was missing pretty much any of the classic Arnold physicality even though there is a weird, twisted, revenge plot going on. I thought it was well done although extremely sad and tragic. It gets a solid B but don’t expect to be jumping for joy afterward. I think this movie never hit theaters and went direct to Blu-ray.
Sunday morning Cindy and I got out on the wheels, riding directly from the house over to the high school roughly three miles away. The wide open and traffic free roads are great for practicing. I did more seated riding on the Monster and Cindy worked on a number of skills as well. Her comfort level on the wheel is approaching mine.
It felt like I was wasting time not having my 3D printer building something so over the weekend I printed Arthas the Lich King, a big character from World of Warcaft lore. It was a very complex model and I was skeptical of how it would turn out. When it was done printing it was encased in support material but after a lot of careful clean up by Cindy this was the end result. Cindy will also be the one to take on the very intricate task of painting the model when she has time.
The reason Cindy’s time has been taxed is her relentless work on her cosplay costume and props. She has been spending a ton of time assembling the 3D gun that we printed the parts for. Putting all the parts together and making it look pretty is a far greater task than the printing of the parts. It’s exciting seeing the gun come to life bit by bit. Hopefully by the end of this week it will be more or less done.
While she was plugging away on her stuff I was plugging away in WoW having a good time rotating through my various characters and getting stuff done in a virtual manner. I always feel somewhat guilty after prolonged gaming sessions but I enjoy them all the same.
I have a weird week where after a day at the office I am treated with another day off. Cindy and I have no definitive plans for the 4th but I am sure EUC riding, gun building, and WoW will be part of the itinerary.
So I have been doing better the last 48 hours or so with not dwelling as much on Tuki’s demise. However that changed after work. We gave Tuki’s cage to Cindy’s ex-sister-in-law and niece since they have birds. Having the cage out of my field view removed one large glaring reminder in the living space but at the same time it’s absence was also like a black hole in some ways. Well tonight I was unloading the dishwasher and had the emotions kick back in which may seem like odd timing to most, unless you knew one of Tuki’s many quirks.
For some reason that will remain a mystery Tuki found the act of someone emptying the dishwasher extremely entertaining and enjoyable. As you unload dishes he would say his name repeatedly in one of the many variations he could say (Tuk, Tuki, Tuki-Tuk, Tuk-Tuk). He also would make some of his pleasant sounds instead of the bone chilling screech he was so fond of. His absolute favorite part of the process was when the silverware went back in the drawers. Perhaps the clinking noise was something he just liked for his own bird reasons.
Like I mentioned the other day, his contributions to the house environment were so established that it felt like they were woven into the very fabric of my day to day living experience. I don’t want to overly embellish the relationship Tuki and I had personally because it was not great although we both learned to get along, more or less.
We used to have a hard time getting Tuki to go back into his cage at night but discovered that if I was the one to refill his water and food dishes he almost always would go back into his cage because he saw it as an opportunity to try to bite me as I pulled and reinserted his food crocks. Most of the time it seemed like he was just acting like he wanted to attack me to establish dominance but a couple times he actually did bite me hard which I never reacted well to. He was always very fond of Alison and Cindy, letting them handle and pet him with far less consequence than if I would have tried it. Hell he was more fond of pretty much every visitor we had to the house than he was of me.
I swear Tuki lived in a time vacuum. He never seemed to look or act much differently from year one to year seventeen. He never had any health problems and likely would have lived for decades to come if not for my terrible judgement call which I will regret for a long time to come.
So due to a mechanical issue my buddy’s flight was postponed till today instead of yesterday so we had Lucky in the house for an extra night which Elsa definitely was happy about. The contrast between how Elsa was when Lucky first came in the house till now is hilarious. She now wrestles and plays with Lucky constantly and he has clearly been accepted into Elsa’s elite inner circle of trust.
Don will be coming to pick up Lucky around mid-day while Cindy is home so I said my goodbye’s to him before I left for work. He is such a good and loving dog, it breaks my heart that he has to be associated with such a painful event like what happened Friday. However I didn’t blame him then and I don’t blame him now.
So there again was a lot of 3d printing work last night. Cindy and I are learning as we go. With the gun I am trying to make for Cindy’s costume I came against a piece that was far too big to print at 100% size. It was even too big to print at 80% scale like I did with the other parts I have made so far. I found if I shrunk it to 67% it would just fit.
I started the print job but then realized it was sort of dumb for two reasons. All of the pieces need to be printed at the same scale so if I print this piece at 67% it would mean I would need to reprint the other pieces I already completed as well to the same scale which would be a pain. Plus reducing the model size that much would make the gun look too tiny I think.
So I instead did my first slicing job. I reset the big part to 80% scale which put a good portion of the model outside the printable range. I then did a slice on the Z axis, lopping off about 25% of the top. I then broke the bottom and top sections into their own print file.
I printed the larger section over night. It took close to nine hours to complete but turned out well. I am now printing the chopped off section which Cindy will clean up and glue to the first part to make it whole again.
I also figured out a way to finally print some parts that I failed at a half dozen times before. I was able to separate the four parts and print them on their ends instead of flat. Sure it used extra support material but the end product was pretty good. I am happy that I am slowly understanding some of the basics so I can come up with ways to get around obstacles as they pop up. Since we have never done this before we are hoping it all turns out half decent. The quality of the printed parts so far has been really good for a $500 device.
So after the awful tragedy of Friday night I spent the rest of the weekend trying to keep myself as distracted as possible to avoid focusing on the loss of Tuki and my role in it. During the day I got on the tractor and did my best to mow the yard. After two weeks of torrential rain it looked like hell. I got more cut than I expected at first which at least made things look a little less chaotic.
I was glad that the submersible pump that I ordered showed up. I wasted little time before hooking it up behind the chicken coop. There was a small hole that was dug out by the chickens by their playground which is where some of the deepest water resides. I took an unused pot and placed it in the hole, it fit pretty much perfectly.
The reason I used this set up was I wanted the pump to be slightly below ground level so it pumps out as much water as possible. I ran two extension cords from the shed and 150 feet of hose to the large drainage ditch in between our property and the one to our east.
I plugged in the pump and it started humming along. The other end of the hose was so far away I couldn’t verify it was working until I walked over to the ditch. I was glad to see/hear a strong flow of water dumping out the end. The pump has been running constantly since about 3PM Saturday and has dropped the water level back there by several inches. The problem is there is SO much water, I bet it is easily 15-20 thousand gallons, that even with the 1/3 hp pump going full speed it is going to take a long time to get the water out of there. By yesterday afternoon there was an appreciable difference, enough that the chickens started to venture further back. I have a feeling the pump is going to be a permanent fixture in the chicken yard during wet season.
I spent a lot of time getting my feet wet with 3D printing. I had two big issues, oozing and some prints lifting from the print platform. I addressed the lifting print by using a trick others posted with this model printer. It involved flipping the print bed upside down so the glass side is up. After doing that I applied blue painter’s tape to the glass. The prints appeared to adhere consistently after that.
The oozing was a pain. Basically before a print begins the extruder (print nozzle) is brought up to operating temperature, somewhere between 200 and 220 degree celsius (400 degrees!). As it hit that temp some of the plastic filament starts to melt and run out of the extruder. Depending on how much, it can screw up the print as the unwanted plastic gets in the way.
To fix this I used multiple remedies. I set the printer to run at a slightly lower temperature which slowed down the oozing but didn’t totally eliminate it. I also would babysit the start of the print job. Just as the extruder got to temp but before it actually starts printing I quickly grabbed the stuff that oozed out and cut it off. Finally, I started putting “brims” on the pieces which creates a thin outline around the base of the model. During the brim creation any junk that was on the nozzle normally will come off and should not affect the model building itself.
The printer has been working pretty much non-stop all weekend. I printed a mudguard for the Msuper, an external spool holder for the printer which allows larger filament spools to be used and five pieces for a gun model that Cindy is making for her Supercon costume. I have quickly seen why 3D printing can become a rather addicting hobby. Watching the printer build a model is somewhat mesmerizing.
Saturday night we watched Assassin’s Creed, our latest Netflix rental. I never played the video game the movie is based on so I really had no frame of reference. I thought even without that background the movie stood alone pretty well as decent B+ entertainment.
Sunday morning instead of running I again put in time on the rower, 30 minutes to simulate roughly what my 5k runs consume. Rowing is a different kind of uncomfortable compared to running. The lack of impact is nice and the overall body benefit is surely higher. However I don’t get quite the sense of accomplishment rowing 30 minutes compared to running the same amount of time. I’m not sure why.
Cindy and I got out for a hot but fun ride on our electric unicycles mid-morning. It was the fastest sustained riding Cindy has done to date. She really is getting to the point where she can concentrate more on just enjoying the ride experience instead of having to constantly fear losing control.
I got to talk to my dad yesterday to catch up. As in most of our conversations there are portions where dad grumbles about various things in the world that just piss him off. I am excited that he appears to be still moving forward with his plans to install a large scale solar array on his property.
Sunday afternoon was pretty chill. Katie came over to visit for a little while and I spent time working on more 3D printing, paying my bills, and playing a little WoW. Cindy worked hard to make my Father’s Day as pleasant as it could be which I appreciated.
I took Sadie back this morning to Ali’s place. We spoke only briefly about the Tuki incident. If I would have talked about it more I am pretty sure both of us would have started crying. Lucky goes home this evening so all of a sudden the household gets a lot less crazy and quieter. The lack of Tuki’s steady contribution to the sound environment in the house is something that is going to feel very strange for a long time…