Life is short, break the rules. Forgive quickly, kiss slowly. Love truly, laugh uncontrollably and never regret anything that makes you smile. - Samuel Longhorne Clemens (Mark Twain)

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Renovating the Garden - Round 2

We learned even more interesting things about that wall today. One its like an iceberg with more concrete underground than above. I think its about 20" top to bottom (the contractor is estimating a full 24"). The long side and one short side are out but the concrete on the west side is almost completely buried. Also the earth is so compacted after years of use that its almost like concrete itself.

They brought in a Bobcat instead of my predicted jackhammer. The Bobcat just didn't have the torque necessary to really dig into something this compacted but they made it work, mostly, in the end.

If all goes well this morning, then they will be able to install the paver wall on Thursday.

The primary tool for the day, none of that electric jackhammer business. They wanted a bigger version of the bobcat but this is all that was available on short notice.

Serious progress by noon.

Finally the east wall gives up the ghost. Note that it came away in three large chunks rather than the hoped for easy to handle pieces. It took about an hour to get this part of the wall out.

End of the day the west wall stands alone

There is still a lot of dirt to pull out of there. Hopefully the grapevines aren't going to suffer to much.

The pavers ready for installation, we hope on thursday

A pile of large concrete pieces. Earl didn't mess around when he built the wall for his garden.

Taking out the west wall will be a challenge since its mostly buried.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Renovating the Garden

The house sits on a L shaped lot with approximately a half acre in the front and almost a full acre in the back. This is right in the middle of a residential neighborhood that was created from old five acre horse properties, when it was at the edge of Denver.

Keeping the back acre mowed was quite the chore, so the decision was made to sell it off. This required that a long drive way (120' long or so) 20' wide would be carved out of one edge of the property to provide access. The land has been sold and now the vegetable garden extends on to the new property and has to be revamped to fit on to our property which is now only extends 2' from the south wall of the garage.[There is a reciprocal use agreement that allows the two properties that are next to each other to access their garages using this driveway. Talk about twisted legalize!]

The vegetable garden is approximately 10' wide and 42' long and runs along the wall of the garage. It is surrounded by a concrete wall about 12" high and about 6" or so thick (it might be 8" I didn't measure it). Originally I thought I could just take a sledge hammer to it so I talked to the original builder and asked if he used rebar in it. He said no, although he didn't mention what he did use. This wall was poured about 30 years ago and in that time it only developed one crack in it. That should have been a clue.

Since concrete would have to be removed and dirt relocated we decided to contract this little job out. They started yesterday figuring that they would have all the concrete knocked out and broken into nice size pieces for handling. 8 hours later they hadn't even managed to get a third of it knocked down, let alone move any of the very compacted earth that was behind it. It was thirty year old concrete and they figured it would come apart pretty easily. The electric jack hammer just wasn't cutting it. They didn't count on the fact that the builder poured concrete for a living and replaced a good portion of the flagstone sidewalks in Denver. He really knew what he was doing and didn't cut corners just because it was a wall for his vegetable garden. The foreman said that if they still built foundations this way no one would ever have cracked basement walls.

Seems that while there isn't any rebar in there, the builder did use some braided metal wire pieces that kind of look like barbed wire, but quite a bit thicker. Today they are coming with a real jackhammer, the kind that uses compressed air. If that doesn't work I'm not sure what they will do.

Here is the garden in full bloom one year. 12 Kale plants, 30 zucchini and 60 tomatoes by the end of the season.

No planting was done this year because the land was up for sale. Although the grapevines produced a bumper crop this year. They will stay in place.

The crack in the wall was here. They didn't make much progress,

Did better over here.

The pile of concrete. Not to many nice sized chunks though. Some of those will still have to be broken up.

The culprit. A six inch piece of twisted wire with hooks at the ends. It really holds things together.

Monday, September 19, 2016

Lead Adventure - Back of Beyond Painting Club Entries

Its been a hard finding time to just sit down and paint. The current painting club over at Lead Adventure though seems to have kick started things a little bit and I finished a couple of miniatures for it. It also gave me an excuse to make an order from Pulp Figures by Bob Murch. For this particular adventure I picked out a couple of packs from the Heroes and Personalities line figuring I could use these for just about game. Of course I'm now intrigued by the genre and may buy a few more. The minis from Bob are top notch so I'll definitely be picking up a few more packs from his inventory.

I'm also using these minis to teach with and they are excellent for that!

I picked up PHP-02 Rugged Heroes 1/New Version and in particular I painted the one Bob calls Carson Smith, He is very nice Indiana Jones style mini. I had a good time painting this one.

I also pickup up PHP-19 Dangerous Dames 2 and picked out Oberleutnant Heidi Reitsch to paint. Again thoroughly enjoyed getting back to the brushes.

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Kickstarter Loot 2 - Girl Genius Book 2 The City of Lightning

I received this bit of Kickstarter loot a couple of weeks ago, but I didn't realize the package had arrived as it got buried beneath a pile of mail. This is yet another gorgeous Girl Genius book from Phil and Kaja Foglio at Airship Entertainment. This is Book 2 in the Second Journey Series; The City of  Lightning. The First Journey of Agatha Heterodyne consisted of 13 volumes, I have all of those about half in hard back. If you have a hard back in this series that you are interested in parting with let me know!

Like the rest of the series this is a high quality full color graphic novel. It also came along with a variety of extra little goodies, like a new bookmark, signed book plate and stickers (most of which will end up on my hardbody miniature travel case). I love supporting Airship Entertainment, they really make the whole kickstarter journey fun and they have gotten very good at the game now so it doesn't take long to get from start to finish.

Everything has been so busy lately that I haven't been able to keep up with the strip so this is the first time I haven't read the story before receiving the book. I'm looking forward to sitting down for an evening and enjoying the adventures of Agatha Heterdyne; Girl Genius.

Friday, August 19, 2016

A Sad Time for Model Railroaders Caboose Hobbies Closing its Doors

Caboose Hobbies is closing its doors. The landlord is not renewing the lease and the owners have decided to retire. While it doesn't seem like something like this would have an immediate impact on gamers and painters it removes a major source of easy access to materials for scenery, different types of paints, airbrush equipment and all kinds of other stuff suitable for gaming and diorama building.

Yes, I know I can buy everything I need online. But that store is truly an experience as you would expect from the Worlds Largest Model Train Store (certified by the Guiness Book of World Records no less). I loved taking out of town guests and painters to the store and watch them go wild purchasing all kinds of stuff that they might eventually need!

I'm going to hope that maybe some of the current employees decide to band together and buy out the store and open it up in another local spot. This store really is an institution. I started going to it when we moved to Colorado in 1975 when it was downtown on California street and I had even easier access to it when they moved to Virginia and Broadway in 1981. I literally worked across the street from it for about a year. And for those of you up on your Denver area trivia the Blue Bonnet used to be right next door and not in its current location across the street.