Things have been rather busy at a fine-grained level and rather slow in terms of larger direction over the last couple of months. Moving quite a few things incrementally towards completion and getting things done at work, but nothing of great heft on any front.
Leak on the Ethernet Switch
Had a nasty little pinhole leak in the house piping last weekend…fried the main household network switch by hosing it down with water. Thankfully the router is a largely sealed, fanless computer and came through without a problem. Very impressed with Amazon’s electronics delivery, I had a new 24 port switch (16 ports had been getting tight, but not worth replacing a working piece of hardware to upgrade) in hand by the following day. Spent one day with only eight ports of ether connected…
Lorna got us started on ‘Yum Boxes’ last month. These are small, relatively inexpensive, boxes of treats from some country in the world each month with a description of each treat and enough for each of us to try some. Nice surprise each month and small enough to be no real issue.
We did mess up the address for the initial shipments..curiously the first box reached us regardless. When the second box failed to arrive we went looking and found that the house number had been entered wrong (almost certainly our fault) and pointed to a swampy empty lot across the street. I contacted the company after we fixed the error and they had a replacement box out to us in short order. Very happy with the product and the service.
Inlaw Walkway is almost finished.
Putting the soil back into the shallow trench along the edge of the walkway where the plastic retaining strips run. Sifting the soil before I drop it in so it is taking a bit longer than it otherwise might (but I expect the results will be better). Once that is completed, we’ll only need to rent a plate compactor to settle the stones and the walkway will be done.
Tiles in the Catio
We bought and laid down patio blocks in the bottom of the catio area. With dirt or mulch down there, the cats did what cats will do with loose material. Now that there is a hard surface they’re behaving better in their outdoors area.
Almost done finishing the swing bench
We’ve had a nice swing bench from before Alyssa was born that has followed us from house to house. It has been in the bare wood for all of that time and has come through everything wonderfully. Recently I’ve been staining and applying spar polyurethane to a number of items around the yard lately and thus decided to stain and poly the bench. So far it is looking great. As long as the spar poly doesn’t get damaged by sunlight (and it should not) this will be a nice upgrade to the bench.
Staining and finishing the well house
The little wishing well that sits over the well head in the front yard has been looking rather ragged lately. I’ve made a cap for the center area at Lorna’s request (she puts bird seed on top of it) but the rest has been aging poorly.
I’ve started in on staining and finishing the exposed wood on the well to better preserve it and make the structure look a bit better cared for.
I still need to replace the roof shingles as they’re also badly warn at this point. The rim wood has been stained and coated with spar poly. The sides have been stained (though I think they need another coat this weekend). The upper part if still in dire need of attention and should be some soon enough.
The Light Pole
Something hit the metal light pole in the front yard last fall. The impact was strong enough to shear through the metal pole where it met the concrete that held it in a vertical position.
I’ve built a pressure treated lumber box to run maybe a third of the way up the exposed pole and provide support for it (we had looked for a replacement but this season the color isn’t a popular one it seems). I’m filling the inside of this box part way with rocks to secure the pole in place. Once that is done, I’ll line the rest with plastic and fill that section with soil so that this can act as another sort of raised bed down in front.
I’ve stained the lower box with the same stain I’m using on the well and the swing bench. I still need to do the final fitting on the rim and then stain and apply spar poly there. I expect to poly seal the top rim, but leave the lower part just stained.
Left side of the back yard
Slowing down on this area with rainy days and trying to wrap up work on the in-law walkway. Got much of the near area cleared out and some of the larger wood cut and cleared but still lots left to do. The old electric chain saw seems to be chewing through the old pine back there pretty well so perhaps no need to replace it any time soon. Hoping to get this all cleared up by the end of the summer. Ideally would also get the grape arbor/pergola footings poured and side braceings removed by then.
Cluster game and the sandbox
A particularly slow front at the moment. Lots of low level (and less directly fun) bits to put together on this. Database definitions for storing game state, moves and other such. Server setup details as I’d really like for this to run over a secure connection for password management. Web server programming in PHP to get everything from user sign-up to game turn execution at least fundamentally together.
I’m still not even sure whether I’ll run this through my main web hosting here or use an external connection to my home network. The hosting option is likely more robust, but less flexible. Using my home connection puts all of the security concerns squarely on my shoulders but gives me the flexibility to use a broader range of technologies than my main site hosting makes available. Soon to be decided.
I did grb an evaluation license for PHPStorm (a development tool for creating PHP code) and then allow the license to expire without really getting a good feel for the tool’s value. Perhaps I’ll ask for an evaluation extension…perhaps I’ll just pay for a year of JetBrains tools as they’ve got a range of very useful tools that support a variety of activities.