email: cavebear2118 AT verizon DOT com

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Another Good Workout In The Yard

While I'm waiting for The Next Step on the new deck (Monday), I spent almost all day outside.  No one particular project, but a little of everything.

First was watering the plants.  We've had more rain than average since last Fall, but it hasn't rained much for 2 weeks, so that was a priority.  I built a tripod watering stand a few years ago and improved it last Fall (changed the nozzle from a shower wand type to a fan type) and used it today.  Much better coverage in my long but narrow beds.  I use a cheap digital kitchen timer than resets to the previous time after running down.  Great for repetitive waterings as I move the tripod along the beds.  The fan spreads out about 9' wide and 6'deep, which is perfect.

And in each 6 minute I can do other things until the timer beeps in my pocket.  I had noticed poison ivy under the old deck after it was removed, so I dug that up.  That took one watering spot cycle.  On the next, I started cutting down junk tree saplings .

I should explain that.  I've left some of the back yard "wildish".  Meaning its not lawn, but not "woods" either.  Its awkward to mow, so ivy, native vines and trees keep trying to grow there.  After the deck is done, I think I will arrange to have it leveled.  I don't mind the ridge itself, but it is a never-ending source of weed-seeds that find their way into my flowerbeds. 

I don't love great expanses of lawn (I never saw much lawn I didn't want to plant something more interesting in), but if I could use the riding lawn mower to keep the brush down, that would be nice.

Anyone want to take away 1200 square feet of very healthy english ivy?  Free? 

But for now, I was just cutting down the 3" to 5' unwanted tree saplings.  I cut them down 2 years ago and applied Roundup to the stumps.  I think most of those died, but there are always new ones ready to take their place.  So I would like to end that cycle. 

Then after the timed watering cycles were done, there were individual spots that needed hand-held watering.  That took a half hour, but I was in the shade by then and it wasn't too bad.  Plus there was a Washington Nationals baseball game on the radio and they were winning.

Not to say that I didn't stop each hour for 15 minutes inside to cool down and relax a bit...

I finished the day with the boat.  Its not much of a boat.  Its a 16' aluminum shell jon boat that I haven't used for 5 years.  It was full of leaves.  But one of the crew that demolished the deck Friday expressed an interest in buying it as he was about to retire and just wanted a small boat he could fish from.  Said he had always wanted a small boat but couldn't afford one.

I suggested that, if I cleaned it up, I could get $1,000 (with the trailer).  He offerred $500, as is.  And I have to admit the "as is" was not very impressive.  It was full of leaves and there was even a plant growing up from the leaf compost.  And "as is" meant it might even leak.

I'm a softy.  I agreed to $600  "as is".  He said he would come by next week.

Well Gee, I couldn't just let the boat be driven away with leaves blowing out of it, so I decided to scrape them out.  And then old habits of cleaning the boat out took over.  After 21 years, I know the ins and outs of cleaning this boat, so I just did it!  Wearing heavy rubber gloves and using a wide push-broom, I went after the leaves.  And in a selfish sense, I coveted the 1" thick layer of leaf-compost covering the inside.

So I scooped it all out as best I could.  Well, after that, it seemed only reasonable to use a hose on "jet" to beat off the remaining debris off the floors.  Then there was all the planty debris floating around inside and I decided to remove that as best I could.

It became "A Project"!

I ended up cleaning the boat.  I don't mean scrubbing the benches and floors to get rid on mold or mildew.  But in a macro sense, I cleaned the boat.  Wearing rubber gloves, I scooped out all the large debris and powered the smaller remaining compost to the back where there is a drain hole.  That got clogged a lot, so I found a bit of tree branch that fit the hole and unblocked it frequently.

All the while, listening to the baseball game then classic music while having a couple beers.  I was actually enjoying cleaning the boat!  Until...

In the middle bench, there is fillable compartment for keeping bait or storing caught fish.  When I opened the hinged lid on the top, a wasp flew out.  I have a bad history with wasps.  I ran half the yard away until I could see it left the area (yes, I'm far-sighted, I could see the wasp 20 yards away).

When I got close again, I saw there were wasp nests all around the inside of the bait well.  I don't like to use poisons, but I cannot work around wasps or hornets.  So I searched deep into my under-the-kitchen-sink-cabinet and found some wasp spray.  I committed waspicide...

Even with heavy rubber gloves, I was twitchy about picking off the wasp nests and stomping on them.  Please know that I understand wasps are beneficial and I try to leave them alone.  They are good for my gardens.  But they can be in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Can you imagine what might have happened to the guy who is buying the boat and after driving the boat for miles opened that bait door cover?  The wasps would have been in a REALLY bad mood. 

So I killed the wasps and gingerly poking around in the bait well, found the drainage hole.  It took a while to get myself to pick out the dead wasps and nests blocking the drainage hole, but I did it.  And got the bait well cleaned and draining free.

Then I realized there is another great place for wasp nests under the raised area at the front of the boat, so I sprayed into there too.  

So much for wasps...

After having pretty much gotten rid of all reachable leaf debris, I needed to know if the boat leacked.  After 5 unused years, who knows.  So I propped up a shovel under one side of the boat to make it perfectly level from port to stern (sideways).  Then I lowered the front so that water would fill it up evenly stem to stern (front to back).

That took a half hour, while I went around the yard digging up all the poison ivy plants I could find.

Finally, I got it up to an exact point toward the front I can use as a guide.  If the water level in the boat drops any below that (and after 6 hours it hasn't) and if I see no drips from the boat, I know it is still waterproof.

The guy buying the boat is getting a real deal.  Did I mention that aluminum Jon boats have only a 1/16th thick aluminum shell and bottom?  Well, I bought 3/32nds aluminum plate to put on top of that.  Over a cover of outdoor carpet to deaden the sounds transmitted through metal as you fish?  And more outdoor carpet on the top of the aluminum plate so it doesn't get hot in the Summer?

But so am I (getting a good deal).  What value is something you have stopped using?  I'm going to get another boat soon.  It might be a smaller Jon boat (easier to manage as one person).  Or It might be a fancier one I can take out on Potomac River waters.  I'll decide that after I am rid of the old one which is neither.

And I had a WONDERFUL time working outside today!


Katnip Lounge said...

I just love days like that! No particular plan in mind, but TONS of good things done. I too prefer no wasps...

Megan said...

Ooooh - I wish you'd thought to take before and after pics of the boat Mark. Even though you didn't set out to undertake this as "a project" it would have been interesting to see the impact of your efforts.

I admire you for taking this on, even though you had sold the boat 'as is'. I'd like to think that the chap who's buying it will express his appreciation by doing a particularly fine job on your deck.

And your mindset is exactly right: no point telling yourself that the boat is worth $1K and refusing the $600 deal if you're not using it anyway and you hadn't done anything about cleaning it up and organising to sell it. This way it's gone, easily and quickly, and you've got $600 to spend on the cats. (That is what how you're going to spend it, isn't it? lOL)

Sydney, Australia