Thursday, November 18, 2021

Once More Into The Breach!

 We've had our first snowfall of the year (last Saturday into Sunday--only about 1-1/2 inches that melted swiftly) and also our first fire in the fireplace. We needed the latter because the temperature in the house fell to 57 degrees overnight when the power went out just long enough on Saturday to send the furnace off the deep end. A quick "Reset" was all that was needed to get the old heater working properly again. Seriously, I turned the thing off then on again and pushed the reset button and voila! Hot water was soon being produced and pumped through the pex piping to warm the floors and the air above. Still, I needed some quick boost in the form of fires in the livingroom and basement to take the edge off.


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I had a follow-up appointment with the vascular team over at Robert-Packer Hospital today. I've not been experiencing any severe pains or anything else since I went to the ER several weeks ago so I expected a fairly routine check-up and an in-and-out visit.

The tech doing the pressure testing on my legs seemed moderately optimistic but ended her stint with a "We shall see." that produced some little concern.

Then it was Dr. B's turn. He and his physician's assistant declared my right leg A-Okay, but my left.... The left is a problem child. 

The left leg is the leg that started the whole mess. First the foot was pronounced DEAD at the Troy ER back in June of 2019.  Then, as the last staple and stitch was removed from the emergency bypass, an infection developed that had me back in the OR. That was followed by several weeks on an open wound vac. Then came a series of angioplasties (3? 4? I forget) because the vein used to bypass the blockage of June 1 was too thin. Then I had terrible pains in the quad muscle just above the knee the source of which could not be determined. Finally I had so much pain one morning I just couldn't put any weight on the left leg at all so it was back to the ER for a CAT Scan and other tests which showed deep bruising, a lump of tissue--perhaps dead or dying because of the lack of circulation--or some such.Then for two months--nothing! Things seemed to be back to a new normal.

Well, Dr. B didn't like what he saw from the tests today and declared I should have another angioplasty. This time, instead of just stretching things out with balloons and calling it a day, he will try to insert a stent in the upper portion of the bypass to keep it from narrowing down--again. 

Surgery is scheduled for bright and early Monday December 13. I'll have to go get tested for Covid the Thursday before that. The surgery itself will be a couple of hours long but they will keep me overnight.

Dr. B wanted to do the surgery earlier but that would mean no heavy lifting for a couple of weeks or so and deer season runs until December 11th and I wasn't going to give that up. As it is, if I can fill out a tag or two (three?) early the week before, I can relax after the Covid testing is done.

Friday, October 29, 2021

Firewood Finished

I finished splitting and stacking the the firewood yesterday. I managed to get eight stacks 18x18x48 inches. They are loosely stacked to allow some air circulation since the wood was pretty well moisturized by Mother Nature while in felled tree and cut to length form this summer and fall. Even so,my supply has nearly doubled and, if I use it judiciously, there should be enough to get us through the winter. 

Stacked Firewood

 

The wood under the light green tarp is the new stuff. The ten stacks in the left end, under the camo tarp is from last year and will be the first I burn. Everything is ash. 

I've got a couple of trees picked out for next year's supply and hope to get them down and cut into length after the hunting season. They are also ash trees that show signs of borer infestation. Two are close to the house but not so close as to require a pro to come in to drop them. Two smaller ones are on the edge of the same field in back that I took this year's three trees from.

Of course, that depends upon two things: 

1- Weather. Last year we got snow in mid-December and every so often until March. The worst part about that was that it never melted. It just kept getting deeper and deeper. 

2- Health. Even if the snow hadn't kept me out of the woods, my health would have. Too many trips to the vascular team and eventually surgery on my right leg (Yeah! I've now got matching scars!) plus other disorders that turned out to be the "rewards" for a full and active life.


Wednesday, October 27, 2021

Step 4 Making Firewood: Splitting and Stacking

Tuesday was a very, very rainy day. We recorded 1.81 inches of water from late Monday night through Wednesday morning. I took the opportunity to cut some 10' long pressure treated decking boards into 2-3/4" x 3' slats to be used in making new pallets upon which I can stack my split firewood. Several of the pallets I am currently using date from 2006 and are, well, rotting. I built two new pallets last year and the two I put together this afternoon will give me more than enough room to store a couple of cords of split firewood.

I did take advantage of a nice clear, cool afternoon to build the two pallets and then see if the log splitter would start after sitting since September 2020. The gas tank was dry so I filled it. Choked the engine and gave the cord a pull to prime the engine. On the second pull the engine roared to life and I pushed the throttle to "Run" mode. That Briggs and Stratton engine just purred! 

Over the next two hours, I managed to convert a little more than half the cut logs into split firewood. I'll be finishing the rest tomorrow and then stack the split wood and put a tarp over it so it will get a chance to dry a little more. Luckily I still have about a cord of wood left from last year's stack so there will be no rush to burn this batch.

Monday, October 25, 2021

Step 3 in Making Firewood Completed

 Step 1 was selecting and felling the trees. That was done last spring when it became apparent that several ash trees had been attacked by the emerald ash tree borer. Each had only a handful of leaves on their very highest branches. Felling them--and letting them lay on the ground for the summer--would allow the leaves to draw moisture out of the wood of the trees. Or so I hoped. The copious amounts of rain we had all summer long slowed the drying process--especially since there are a couple of springs on the hill side that fed water into the field in which the felled trees lay. Win some, lose some.

Step 2 was actually cutting the downed trees into 18" lengths. I managed to do that over a two week period in late September and early October in between visits to the ER and rain storms.

Step 3 was finished yesterday and today as I got the ProHauler 2 to haul the cut wood out of the field and to an area behind the house--again between rain storms. It took me a total of three trips, one for each felled tree, to get the wood relocated. 

Step 4 will be the splitting of the log lengths into pieces that will be set under protection to dry. (Luckily I still have a cord and a half of ash from last year that is well dried. This will be the wood I will burn when the temperatures drop to no higher than 35 degrees.)

Friday, October 22, 2021

Visit to Toyota Dealership

Terry and I drove the RAV4 and the Tundra (both 2017 models) over to Williams Toyota in Sayre yesterday morning. The RAV needed new tires and the Tundra needed an oil change, tire rotation and general dealer inspection. (It's too early for a state inspection. That's due in April and while they might be able to do it a month or two earlier...well. six months is just way too early.)

It took a little over 90 minutes for Terry to get her new tires mounted and balanced. My service took a little longer as it was discovered that the rear brakes needed pads and rotors. 

While the Tundra was in the shop. I asked that the sales manager do an appraisal with the ultimate goal of my trading it in. He came back with an approximate value of $30K!, which floored me. I know used trucks are going at a premium right now, but this was about $5K higher than I expected. 

When Terry's RAV was finished, she and I went to visit the sales manager (SM) to talk about the possibility of ordering a 2022 Tundra. All the reviews and internet information says they will be available "by the end of the year." The SM had just come back from a Toyota show and told us that the new models (completely revamped!) were really sweet looking. HOWEVER (he said) the SMs in attendance were given no delivery dates or even pricing information. Even now, he said, while they are still getting '21 models in, there is no pick-your-model-and-options. I reality, the dealers have to take what they are given. Yet, they are flying off the lot. He had just received five earlier this week and three were already sold. Folks are putting their names on waiting lists and being notified when anything close to what they were asking for becomes available.

As for the '22 models, he has no idea when they will make there way to the dealers but suspects it will be later rather than sooner. Being able to order the vehicle I want (rather than settling for whatever they get in) may be possible in the spring. A lot depends on the computer chips sitting on cargo ships and the truck drivers available to deliver them to the plants.

*Sigh* looks like I'll be waiting until April at the earliest. One more PA Inspection.