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The Internet Ramblings of Matt & Lori Knowles

July 2008

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Sat, Jul. 5, 2008 - Spindles


With all five colors finished, the porch spindles are looking great. I would have had more photos from late last month and early this month if I had been able to find my little camera. That's one problem with making things smaller, it's easier to lose them. So now that I found it again we can get back to our story.

Sun, Jul. 6, 2008 - Bocce


A group of volunteers raised money and with donations of supplies and labor, built 3 fine bocce courts in Firemen's Park in Ferndale. Then they started the Ferndale Bocce Club. We have a potluck and play bocce on Sunday afternoons. A nice way to meet people and get away from the house projects for a few hours. That's fellow Druid (our bocce team) Phil watching from the bench.

Tue, Jul. 8, 2008 - On The Road To Trinidad

On The Road To Trinidad

I got a call today that Loleta Fire Dept was getting a mutual aid call and needed a third person. So along with Dave and Bob from Loleta, we headed over to the CalFire station in Fortuna. A lot of hanging around waiting to find out what they were going to have us do. Just as we were getting ready to sit down to a great steak barbeque dinner, they assigned us to the Trinidad station. We grabbed out still cooking steaks off the grill, and headed up to Trinidad to cover the empty station up there. We didn't get any calls so we spent most of the evening playing horseshoes.

We figured we'd be spending the night up there, but at about 10pm we were told we'd be coming back to Fortuna as a CalFire crew was expected back in Trinidad later that night. Finally at midnight they showed up but by then the Fortuna station had already filled up, so they told us that we could stay at the Loleta station. The problem being that Loleta is also a volunteer station and it doesn't have living quarters. So I spent the night sleeping on the back seat of their rescue truck.

Wed, Jul. 9, 2008 - Putting Out Fires

Putting Out Fires

We didn't get back to Loleta until around 1am and by 6am my back was hurting so I got up to watch one of the weirdest sunrises I've seen. With all the smoke drifting in from the fires, the sun looked more like a stage light. Very red, and dim enough that you could look right at it. It looked more like a red moon than the sun. Stayed that way for a couple of hours.

After breakfast at Denny's where there was an open tab for all the firemen, we headed back to the Fortuna station. We were there with another crew from the Fortuna Fire Dept. They got more calls than us, possibly because they had a Type 2 engine. But since all their calls seemed to happen just as they were sitting down for a meal, we were more than happy to let them respond. We did go on one call for a small vegetation fire in Rio Dell on Highway 101. It was out by the time we got there so we just helped with mop up.

Again we went back to Loleta for the evening, but this time we were provided with some old army cots. They're only slightly more comfortable than sleeping in the back of a truck.

Thu, Jul. 10, 2008 - Rediscovering Roses

Rediscovering Roses

While I was out playing fireman, Lori decided to hunt for our rose bushes that had disappeared beneath the horsetails in the back yard. We now have a huge pile of weeds that we're going to have to find something to do with because we can't burn them now. Still a lot more horsetails to get rid of too.

Fri, Jul. 11, 2008 - Smoky Sunset

Smoky Sunset

With all the smoke in the air, and an interesting layer of clouds forming, it seemed like a good night to try to get a sunset at Fernbridge. Everything went well until the battery in my camera went dead, and I went to grab the spare battery I had just thrown in the bag before leaving. Well that is, I thought I threw it in the bag. I only managed to get a few shots off, this is two of them stitched together.

Sat, Jul. 12, 2008 - Gable Balls

Gable Balls

Each of our gables feature 11 half balls and the old ones are pretty rotten. I figured it would be expensive to have them remilled so I started looking around for replacements. I found the perfect sized half balls online, only problem was that they weren't available in redwood, and anything less in Humboldt County just doesn't last outdoors. But at $4.50 for a bag of ten they were too good of a deal to pass by, so I ordered them anyways. I saturated them in Abatron epoxy, which is a wood consolidant. Then two coats of primer, and three coats of finish paint. I figure that ought to work. If not, at that price I can afford to replace them every few years.

Sun, Jul. 13, 2008 - Phil's Gold

Phil's Gold

These little spindles above the porch have been a real pain in the butt. Originally I was going to have them tan and blue. So that meant painting them once with primer, then twice with tan, and then the middle sections three times with blue. It's really hard to paint them because of their shape and the fact you have to paint them from two sides. With the stairs in the way it was hard to find a way to ladder up to them without getting the ladder in the way.

When I finished, I didn't like the way it looked as there wasn't enough contrast between the tan and blue and the disappeared against the shade of the porch. So I decided to paint the tan part of the spindle cream, keeping the blue portion. That meant two more coats. Then I thought I'd paint the flat part red, but after painting four of them it started looking too much like a flag store. Lori agreed, too patriotic. So then I tried brown on the next four, and while it was better than the red, it still wasn't to my liking. Finally I tried Phil's suggestion, gold. Since I already had gold leaf on the gable, I was hesitant to use gold paint, but it seemed to match well. Now with the blue and gold it looks kind of presidential, so maybe it's still patriotic after all.

Mon, Jul. 14, 2008 - Next Step

Next Step

Some paint went on, some came off. With the balls in place, the right gable is officially done, so the top level of scaffolding was removed and work was begun under the eaves. I'm finding that there is one real chalky layer of paint several layers down that is causing bonding problems so it seemed easier to just strip it. While I swore after stripping out Cleaves house I'd never do that again, at least this one has flat siding. I'm still not sure how much I'll strip, but I want the front to look good and I want it to last since it's the hardest to paint because of all the detail.

Sat, Jul. 19, 2008 - Oops


I was stripping paint today with a heat gun, something I have a lot of practice with. Still I realize that it does have the potential to set your house on fire, which is what I did today. The piece I was working on had a strip of lead flashing on it for weather proofing. The board was pretty rotten and I wanted to get down to bare wood so I could fill it with epoxy consolidant. As I was going along I noticed that it was smoking and it looked like it was actually starting to char. So I sprayed some water on it to cool it off but it kept smoking. I started digging out the rotten wood and saw that the charred portion went quite deep into the wood, almost as if it was burning from the middle out. Then it dawned on me that the lead flashing had transferred a lot of heat into the numerous nails that held it on, and that in turn started a fire in the middle of the rotten section. At this point I started thinking how embarrassing it would be to have to call the fire department and so I just ripped the whole piece off of the house. I decided that it wasn't worth trying to fix because it was so rotten anyways, and there was another piece next to it that had suffered the same fate so it's going to get replaced. Hey, the house is 120 years old, this stuff happens. But now I need to find a place to get true 1" dimensional lumber.

Sun, Jul. 20, 2008 - Avenue of the Giants

Avenue of the Giants

After more than a week of cold foggy days in Ferndale, it was time to venture out and find the sun. So Lori and I decided to pick a few random turnouts along the Avenue of the Giants and do some hiking and photography. I also wanted to get a panoramic photo of the avenue itself, so on the walk back to the car I kept my eye out for a good corner to feature.

Mon, Jul. 21, 2008 - 5th Street Fire

5th Street Fire

Around 12:30 am my pager went off for a structure fire on 5th Street. Those two words, "structure fire", will wake you up and get the adrenaline flowing pretty quickly. When I arrived the middle section of the house was completely engulfed. The main fire was extinguished pretty quickly but it had already spread into the attic by then, and then eventually into several rooms including the kitchen. After a couple of hours we had everything under control and spent about another hour on overhaul.

The house was for sale and it looked like it was undergoing some renovation, but the family was still living in it. Fortunately they all got out safely.

Tue, Jul. 22, 2008 - 2008 NA Velo Rally Visits Ferndale

2008 NA Velo Rally Visits Ferndale

While I was in town doing my errands, I noticed a bunch of vintage motorcycles pulling into Tipples for gas. Most of them were Velocettes, although there was an odd vintage Honda and a few vintage BMWs tagging along. Some of the Velocettes were from Australia and New Zealand. I guess those guys are very dedicated to the brand. It was nice seeing and hearing them all, but I kept thinking it would have been even cooler if it had been a Vincent club that rolled through.

Wed, Jul. 23, 2008 - Godspell


The Ferndale Repertory Theatre is doing Godspell and I took the publicity and cast photos for the production. I haven't seen the show yet, but maybe next weekend we'll get the chance.

Fri, Jul. 25, 2008 - Monochrome Meal

Monochrome Meal

Lori and I have long joked that she can turn out a monochromatic meal better than almost anyone else. Here's tonight's proof.

Sat, Jul. 26, 2008 - Ayrica & Jeremy

Ayrica & Jeremy

Ayrica, who interned for me a couple of summers ago and has modeled for me a few times, announced that her and her boyfriend Jeremy are engaged. Since they both dance I thought it would be fun to take some pictures of the both of them. We kept hoping to do a sunset shot at the beach, but it's been way too cold and foggy lately so we ended up in the studio. Jeremy did a number of lifts with Ayrica, and it had my back hurting just watching them.