Day 8 Sabbatical, Part Deux

Too windy to work outside today, but plenty to do inside. An early rise with a few things on my wind. First was catch up blogging, since I was up late. Then racing to the gym for an early workout. Too late for yoga, but I just switched lifting around for yoga tomorrow.


Then a few errands. Dog food and more hardware supplies.


Then back home for breakfast and a little guitar. Since I had a little time, I spent about 20 minutes going over another blues lesson, getting a few licks to practice. I’ll do more tonight.

Next, starting chores. Too windy for shed work, and while I was waiting for the tractor service guy, so I decided to do a few things. First, go get the ladder from the shed, which let me take a shot of how far I got yesterday.


Looking good.

Next, I did a few minor things, like change lights in the 20ft garage ceiling, wire up a second garage opener for the shop side, and clean up a bit. These little chores ate up some time, but they let me catch up on a few things I always let go because time feels precious.

Tractor serviced, which is good, and another thing off the list.

Next, the winch. I had all these parts, which I needed to bolt this to the building. In trying to work out the best way to do this, I walked out and put things up in the air and tried to visualize the best way to do this. With a small idea of what to do, I next laid things out and tried to mark up where to cut.


Then some metal cutting. The Dremel helps here.

Once I got this cut, drilled a few holes in my clamp and then assembled once side. I realized this might not quite work. However, I have other ideas. I’ll just need a few more bolts to make this work. I have a massage tomorrow morning, so I can likely pick up more bolts and see if I can then actually assemble this on the table, which will help me decide if it’s worth dragging things out to the arena.

For now, it’s about time for volleyball practice, so I need to spend about 15 minutes coming up with a plan of things to work on. Then, practice, dinner, and more guitar tonight.

A less productive day overall, but not too bad. At least I have a few things working that I’ve been wanting to get going for awhile.

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Day 7 Sabbatical, Part Deux

Another ranch day, in more ways than one. This one started early, with me up at 630. My wife and daughter were out at the National Western Stock Show, and I wanted to get over there later, so I started early. Packed up and out at the loafing shed by 745. This is what I found.


Just how I left things last summer. Well, minus the tools, ATV, etc. There was a touch of wind, 5mph or so, and I was slightly worried, but I decided to get going. I measured the first panel, marked it, and went to cut it.

I got about 5s from the generator before it died. No fuel. I went to get more, which is when I snapped the picture above. Minutes later, I had this.


We’re off and running. Each panel has to be put up on the side and the angle marked. This is the best way to go, since the ground is uneven.


When I measured for the metal, I measure at the long end, to get the length. Then I move 3ft in and repeat.


I wrote the measurements down, since I have a few panels here and some on another small shed, all of which need to be sorted out. For instance I have 2 99” panels, one for this one, one for the other. I also have a few on the back side that are similar to the West (other) side.


That last cut is tough, since it’s a 10ft shed, and I need to get 1 foot out of a 3 foot panel. Cutting these by myself is hard as they are sheet metal and flimsy, with just some wood to hold it off the ground. But I got one side done.

Then the next side.


The panels are sorted by size and stacked. That’s how the vendor sends them, and I got smarted this time. As I found panels I didn’t need, I set them aside and marked the length on the back. Later, this makes things faster.

Around 10:30am, I was looking good.


It’s chilly, but not too cold, and the wind only causes problems during gusts. I usually pause slightly there, before lifting a panel off the ground.

Cutting these things goes through a blade.


And gloves


I was in a hurry, trying to get going at 12:30, so I forgot to snap a final picture of where I ended up. All sides done and one corner. I need to cut and fit other corners, but also more roof work, but it was getting late, and it looked like rain, so I packed things up.

I also have tractor maintenance scheduled tomorrow, so not sure I’ll get back out there Wed, but we’ll see.

I changed and raced downtown to the Stock Show, where my wife was competing. It’s an obstacle course, which is hard for horses. They don’t like change, and little things, like a tarp on the ground or a moving plant, are scary.  At least she made the jump.


Afterwards I hung out with them, walking around, taking care of the horses, and enjoying a difference side of life. We even watched a little mutton busting, which I wish I’d made a kid do years ago.

A late night getting home. No real guitar today, a couple minutes at bedtime, but I was beat. Tomorrow should be better.

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Day 6 Sabbatical, Part Deux

Today starts week 2. Life doesn’t end over the weekend, so a quick review of that and then today. I know this is a break from work, but one of the nice things is being able to get some continuity across multiple days.

The Weekend

Saturday was skiing, or rather, snowboarding, for me. My son came back from college, and we all headed up to the mountains. My son and I snowboarded while my wife and daughter shopped. My daughter is still recovering from surgery over break and my wife has a broken toe, so it was just two of us on the mountain.


It was a nice day. A little cold, but not too windy, and we had a good time. With the chill, we decided to spend a bunch of time in the trees, which was good. This kid is the only one that likes doing that with me, and he’s fairly fearless.

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He’s also much faster than me.

When we got home, he and I played guitar a bit. He’s gotten really good and inspired me to spend the time this sabbatical on that.

Sunday was chores. First, some self help, with morning yoga.


Next, chores. My wife had things to do, so I did hay and water for the horses. Then it was vehicle cleanup and maintenance. I had purchased oil and filters last week, and Sunday I put them to use. First, the ATV, which doesn’t get used a lot, but it’s been 6 months, so time to change things. First, a spray with the hose to clean off mud, then doing the oil.


After one was done, I started on the second. Actually, I started cleaning one while the oil was draining. Then, the second.


I also realized I needed some filters, so I ordered those, along with some transmission oil, since I’ll do that sometime this week.

My son was home and cleaned his car, so I spent a little time on mine as well. Just a quick wash before the sun went down. Once it did, I was inside. First, cleaning and replacing lights.


This has been on the list, but getting the ladder over and back from the barn is a chore. With more time, I just did it. Then it was cleaning time. Some laundry, and cleaning the master bath a bit. We lost our maid a couple months ago, and while we look, my wife and I are chipping in. At least I got to watch some NFL while I was cleaning.

Only a little guitar, as I was worn out.

Day 6

I had big plans today, back doing ranch work. Actually, this is turning into more ranch work than house work on the sabbatical, but I/we have let some things go and need to catch up. The plan was to put metal on the side of a horse loafing shed. Things started well, then fell apart.

I woke up at 7, and headed to the store. I’d skipped shopping the night before as it had been a long day, so I went early. I got a few things for me wife, and then started to prep dinner in the crock pot. I’d planned on Honey Garlic Crock Pot Chicken, but when I started, I realized I didn’t have soy sauce. Not gluten free nor regular.

Grrr. My kids wanted a couple other things, so I decided to just quickly hit the store again. Nothing is quick, as even a 10 minute in the store trip is nearly an hour, but I went. At least dinner looked good getting started.


Next I went out and gathered up some tools. I’d made a list, and I loaded the ATV up with things. A calm day and it felt like I’d get something done.


Next it was the metal siding. However, when  I checked the pile of stuff, I had no screws. It’s partially my fault, as I forgot to ask, but they’ve always included them in the list when I did this in the past.

Grrrrr, another store trip. At least I called to be sure some places had things. Since I was going, I needed a few other supplies, so I made it a trip. Not quick, but a trip.

Once I got back, I set up an area protected from the horses, as if I leave things out, they’ll walk on them. I put up some horse fence near the shed and a portable fence charger to keep them off for now.


More tractor time getting the metal loaded and moved. This 10ft, about 1/2” thick pile is heavy. My wife was gone, kids sick, so I manhandled it out of the trailer and onto the forks. I’m going to be sore later.


This done, it was too late (3pm), getting chilly, and really to windy to do this. A 3ft x 8 ft piece of metal is quite a sail, even in a little wind, so I didn’t want to wrestle these things any more. I’ll start in the am.

Two last repairs. First, fixing a fence bracket. This one has sunk into the wood, so I added a new washer. Not had, but not quick. Even less quick waiting for some help from my wife.


Lastly, we’d broken a strap in the riding arena. The fabric cover is essentially stitched with nylon webbing to the frame. It seems every couple years a strap breaks somewhere. Not hard to retie things back together, but in this case the break was about 22-25ft in the air. I don’t like heights, and I also needed my wife to hold the ladder.

The repair is done, and I’m somewhat tired at 4:30.

Still to come, I want to hit the gym and lift a bit. I’m proud of my progress over the last week. Most weeks should look like this. My annual review only showed about 250 workouts, which is too low for me.

Last weeks workouts

After that, guitar. I didn’t do any this am, but with all the driving, I watched a few lessons. My plan is to get one more blues lesson in and then do a couple “Perfect” songs. There’s a song by Ed Sheeran and one by One Direction that I like, and they’re pretty easy in terms of complexity. Just need some practice, so I’ll work on those tonight.

Tomorrow, I want to work on the shed. I’ll check the weather in the am and decide how to proceed. My wife is competing the next two days in the Horseman’s Challenge at the National Western Stock Show, and I want to go watch and film a bit. However, I also have weather and metal to put up, so I’ll make a call in theam. I may run down there for a half day and then come back.

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Day 5 Sabbatical, Part Deux

Closing out the week today, though things will continue over the weekend.

I got up early today, about 730, to get moving. First up, guitar. I wanted to try and get most of an hour in before yoga. A pile of stuff by the kitchen table that shows. As I drank some coffee and got shoes on, I put a second (half) coat on the new cutting board.


As you can see, I have a lot going on. A cutting board to finish, a winch to get into the riding arena, and guitar to play.

I started with a about 45 minutes of guitar. I worked through a few songs, practicing movement and then did a couple blues lessons. Not sure things went that well, and starting to use a pick is hard. I tend to finger pick, and I’ve gotten used to that. Palm muting is definitely a skill I need. In any case…

This was in the middle of my practice.

Then it was off to yoga. Friday  mornings are a class I usually attend, so I went to work a bit and relax my mind. A good, hard class, with about 1/3 of the time in my zone 2 heart rate.

2020-01-17 14_38_38-Garmin Connect

I got home, ready to get a few things done. I started outside, looking to try and work on the horse shelter a bit, and seal the edges from moisture, but there was too much wind. Not my favorite place to be. However, while I was out there, my wife showed me a few bolts that had snapped. These hold the base of the fabric building down. Some have broken before, so I dragged out a drill and a tap kit, and drilled out the bolts, tapping in new threads.


Only two this time, and since I’d done this before, it didn’t take that long. Next was replacing some webbing, but I needed my wife. Since she was feeding, I went out and emptied the manure spreader. On the way back, I could see this didn’t look like a good day.


Ugly weather coming in and lots of wind, so I took the ladder down. I don’t want to be 20’ in the air with a lot of wind. Oh well.

At lunch, I worked on planning for another project. It seems this sabbatical is becoming more ranch work than house work, but that’s OK. This stuff needs to be done. I need to brace the trailer from where we feed hay. The brackets have bent, and the end part needs some support. Should be easy, but I will need to get some angle iron and cut some supports.


Garage Organization

Finally, some garage project for me. I’ve been wanting to build a better miter saw station in the garage and start to add some drawers and other storage. I decided to start with the modular miter station as the first step. Once this is done, I’ll be able to then work on other parts of the garage.

As you can see, I’ve let the workshop go to pot. You can see the rolling miter station on the left, but it doesn’t really have good space or support for long pieces.


The first step is to cut some wood. I got some yesterday and I cut enough for two full supports today. I used a ladder to pile them up as I lack other space.


Next, I did some test drilling for the Kreg screws. I had to futz with this a few times, as it’s really hard to see the markings on the jig. One of the downsides of getting old.


I drilled out the side supports first. These will be the horizontal braces.


Then I screwed these into the legs. I ended up with two of these. which will support one half of the miter station. I struggled a bit to get the kreg screws tight, as I was worried about them pulling through. Once of these is a little loose, but it’s getting cold.


Enough in the garage today. Not a great start, but a start.

Now it’s time to get ready for volleyball. I need to plan the Friday night practice and warm up a bit before heading to the gym.

The Week

Not a bad week. I think I certainly had a relaxing week for the most part, though a little self-induced stress in that I felt I didn’t get enough done on the basement or garage. I’ll slightly blame weather and a slow start.

I did manage quite a bit of guitar practice, and my fingers are letting me know. I learned the basics of a few songs, with the need to practice a bit more.

I did manage to get to some workout in every day this week, which is something I haven’t always found time for with work. I got a day on the mountain, and am planning another tomorrow as my son is coming back from college for the weekend.

I’ll continue over the weekend with guitar and hopefully, the garage. I may have more when I come back Monday to start week 2.

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