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The Internet Ramblings of Matt & Lori Knowles

May 2008

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Sun, May. 4, 2008 - All Hands on Deck

All Hands on Deck

Maybe I should have save this one for mother's day.

Sun, May. 11, 2008 - Rhodies


The first season with new plants can sometimes be a trial. Last year we bought three rhododendrons and one azalea at the end of the season when prices were better. That meant they had already flowered so we bought them based on the descriptions and the recommendations of the nurseryman. Last fall, the azalea seemed like it got burned either by heat, or by the cats and I wasn't hopefull that it was going to make it. It still had one little bit of green on it, but by winter that had died too. I figured I'd leave it in the ground and see if anything came back after the hard frosts that we had this year. Only because my attention was on other projects did it not get ripped out earlier, and this week I thought I should finally get rid of it and as I grabbed it to yank it out I noticed that it finally had new growth. So I guess it's like my sister, and it really likes to sleep in.

Of the three rhodies, we've been surprised by two of them so far. The first surprise was by one that had buds that looked like flower buds, but when they opened they were weird looking green spikes, that eventually turned into the new leaves, at which point all the old leaves immediately fell off. Still no sign of flower buds on that one.

The next one to wake up actually flowered, that's the one in the photo. We're still waiting for any signs of activity from the third one, which seems healthy, it's just not doing much.

Mon, May. 12, 2008 - Back On The Fence

Back On The Fence

With the parlor on hold until I get my graining lesson, and the weather turning nice, my attention got focused on outdoor projects. First on the list is to get the fence arbor brackets up that I've been working on. These brackets will support 2x6's which will then support 2x2's which will someday support 13 Cecil Brunner rose bushes.

Tue, May. 13, 2008 - Winning Points

Winning Points

It's been a long time since we''ve had enought flowers in our yard blooming at once to make a bouquet. With the deer eating most everything before it blooms, it's rare that we actually get to enjoy our flowers. But with the iris in full bloom I thought I should cut some to enjoy indoors and then I started to notice that I had a nice selection of coordinating flowers to choose from. With chives and wild onions, it wasn't the most fragrant bouquet, but it brought a big smile to Lori's face, and that was the whole point of the endeavor.

Wed, May. 14, 2008 - Glad I Had A Camera Handy

Glad I Had A Camera Handy

Without the photographic proof, Lori would have never believed this if I told her that Meg and Artie were peacefully sleeping together in the same bed. Usually if these two get close to each other they start doing an impression of Frazier vs. Ali. I had to go down to Fort Bragg and Meg, sensing that she was going to be shooed off of the futon, went out to the back porch where Artie was sleeping in his bed. She climbed up, I think expecting that Artie would just give up the bed. She climbed in and Artie just looked scooted over a bit and then ignored her and continued his nap.

Thu, May. 15, 2008 - Bugs That Make You Smile

Bugs That Make You Smile

There's something about a ladybug that is just so cute. Is it because of the color and willingness to wear polka-dots whether they're in season or not? Is it because we know that they are good bugs, eating all kinds of other nasty bugs? I'm not sure, but they sure are photogenic when spotted in the late afternoon sun on a purple lupine.

Temperature in Ferndale got up to 88 degrees. I'm not sure what the all time high for Ferndale is, but 88 is the hottest it has ever been since we moved here. Since my iMac is in the shop (again) I decided to work on the house. I did until about 11am when it was just too hot to continue. Made for a nice evening though, and we got to enjoy the new window in the TV room that now opens to let in the breeze.

Fri, May. 16, 2008 - Prep Work

Prep Work

When the porch was restored, it got a coat of primer. Which fell off after a couple of winters. It got another coat of primer. Which fell off after a couple of more winters. So now I'm getting ready to prime it the third time. But this time it's actually going to get painted. I promise.

Another warm day in Ferndale. Not quite as bad as yesterday, but still too hot to work in the afternoon. It sure is hard to find decent painting days in Ferndale. It always seems like it is too wet or too cold. Now it's too hot. Days in the 70s are a rarity indeed.

Sat, May. 17, 2008 - Ready for Color

Ready for Color

I primed the areas I had spent the last two days prepping. The house is going to take a lot of prep work so it's going to have to be done in small sections, much like I did the house on Cleaves. I wouldn't be surprised if it takes me several years to complete it . I won't be stripping everything like I did on our bungalow, but the painting season is so short here in Ferndale I don't expect to get more than the front done this year. Also the paint job on this house is going to be more complicated, with at least 5 colors being used. We're using the same four colors we used on the barn but in a different order, plus I'm going to adding some blue accents. I'm still not sure where the accent colors are going to go, I guess it's time to start working on some mockups.

Mon, May. 19, 2008 - Some Assembly Required

Some Assembly Required

Yesterday I got the first bit of the new color up on the house. Looking great so far. Today, we picked up some scaffolding from some neighbors so I can start working on the gables. We had some trouble getting it assembled with just the two of us, partly related to working with a deaf partner, but mostly related to the fact that one of the four x-braces was about 3 inches shorter than the others. Once we exchanged that piece for the right sized one it went together much better.

Once I got the scaffolding together, I went to work on prepping the gable. Like I expected, it looked a lot worse close up than it did from the ground. Many of the half balls are rotted out so they're going to have to be replaced. I'm also going to be using a lot of epoxy filler and putty on this house. Constant humidity and salt air have definitely taken their toal on our 120 year old house.

Tue, May. 20, 2008 - Project Halted

Project Halted

I was hoping to continue working on the house today, but while having breakfast I noticed that it was extremely wet outside. So the little window for painting is closed for now. This is the reason I expect it to take a long time to paint the house.

Sat, May. 24, 2008 - Hippypotamus


Blake arrived last night for our annual Memorial Day Weekend ride, but in cleaning up some stuff in the garage for his arrival I managed to screw up my back. So instead of starting our ride today, we drove up to Arcata to watch the start of the Kinetic Sculpture Race. Since we don't have the studio on Main Street anymore, Lori didn't need to stay behind to keep it open so she got to join us.

Actually this year, due to some legal ownership issues, it wasn't the Kinetic Sculpture Race, it was the Kinetic Grand Championship or something like that. Hopefully it will never become the Budweiser Kinetic Race or something equally stupid. Doesn't matter what it says on the posters, it's still the one and only Kinetic Sculpture Race.

My favorite this year was Hippypotamus. The crew was in tie-dyed regalia, and the hippy-mobile included a gong inside, as well as an iPod stereo system with appropriate tunes to keep them motivated.

Sun, May. 25, 2008 - Riding with Blake

Riding with Blake

After we got back from Arcata we took it easy at home and I iced and heated my back in the hopes that it would feel better. I woke up today feeling pretty good but the weather was pretty iffy and I wasn't sure I wanted to sleep in the cold on the hard ground so we decided to just do a day ride and skip the camping part. We went up Kneeland Road where we came across this beautiful bunch of lupines in full bloom. We then took Showers Pass Rd. and then tried another road off of that but it dead ended at a locked gate so we backtracked down to 36 and continued on to Skeleton Tree where we took some more photos, and then got back in time to watch a movie with Lori.

Mon, May. 26, 2008 - Skeleton Tree

Skeleton Tree

While at Skeleton Tree I took this panoramic view of the area. This is about a 180 degree view.Today we drove down to San Jose with Blake's bike in the trailer. We were going down for Lori's appointment at Stanford and I figured we could save Blake a long ride back and I could have some company for the long drive.

Tue, May. 27, 2008 - Our Trip to Stanford

Our Trip to Stanford

We first met with the surgeon and after examining Lori's ears and looking at all the test results from the other doctors she's seen, he concluded the same thing. Lori's hearing loss is irreversible and unexplainable. He seemed to think she would be a good candidate for the cochlear implants. Then Lori went through several hours of testing, both with and without her hearing aids. The final answer wasn't what we had hoped for though. While one of her ears was well below the threshold defined by the FDA for receiving cochlear implants, her other ear scored high enough on one test that it disqualified her completely for now. After having done so much to get to that point in both testing and research, it was a real blow.

We still need to get the final report, and hopefully something may still work out so she doesn't have to delay getting the implants.

Wed, May. 28, 2008 - Selling the Homestead

Selling the Homestead

This weekend may be the last time I ever sleep in this house, the house that was my home for the first 18 years of my life and one that I've always been able to return to ever since. I can understand why Mom wants to downsize at this point in her life, but it sure is going to seem weird not being able to return to the home I was born in. So many good memories are attached to this home. Lori suggested I take pictures of it before we left and I got as emotional about it as I did when we left our own home in San Jose. There is a reason why we have separate words for home and house.

Thu, May. 29, 2008 - Greedy and Stupid at the Same Time

Greedy and Stupid at the Same Time

The North Coast has some of the highest gas prices in the country. While the average price for regular gas in the US still hasn't cracked $4.00, we're paying $4.46 for it in Eureka, and Ferndale is even higher than that. But what really ticks me off is most of the stations I've tried filling up at lately will only allow you to pump $75 worth of gas, which as you can see isn't even 17 gallons. Since my truck holds 25 gallons, $75 only allows me to fill it up about 2/3 of the way full. Maybe they don't want to be responsible for reviving people when they find out they just spent $110 to fill their vehicle with fuel.

Sat, May. 31, 2008 - Building a Bridge

Building a Bridge

We're going down to Fort Bragg for the weekend to take pictures for the Fort Bragg Super 8 Motel down there. CalTrans has been working on building a bypass around Confusion Hill the last year and the bridge is starting to take shape. 101 in this area is prone to landslides every winter which cuts off the North Coast from the Bay Area. This would have been a cool project to do a time lapse movie of. I can't imagine climbing up all that scaffolding to go to work every morning. I bet the workers were really glad when they finally got it connected to land on one side so they could drive up to it and then just walk out there to work.