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Hot Tub & Deck Project Updated 6-23-05
Pumphouse Remodel Updated 3-7-07.
Wildwood News Archives
5/31/14. Jenn graduated High School! Yay! Congrats Jen! Dave Suzy Jessica and I went to Sacto for an after grad BBQ, and Matthew drove in from Reno and we got this pic.
10/2/12. The past few months I've been working on and off building a new desk for my room. This is how it turned out. I like it! The desk top was the most time consuming, it's made up of tongue and groove flooring from an old basketball court. Recycling is good! I do want to make a hutch/shelves along the short wall. One of these days.
4/15/12. A week late, but the Easter Bunny finally arrived! Too bad Jessica missed it last weekend. Friendly little thing, I think it's been around since last summer, the neighbors up the hill say they've been feeding it.
This video file below is about 10 megs, give it a minute to load after you click on it. And it's about 5 minutes of video. Such a cute little thing. I was very surprised to see it in our driveway.
Around the time of the superbowl we moved this tank from outside the back door of the house to up the hill behind the garden. It was fun trying to lift this onto the stump, it's probably 200+ pounds. We're going to try collecting rainwater for the garden this summer.
We've been doing a lot of wood splitting. The neighbors had a few dead trees cut down, but they don't have a fireplace, so they let us take the wood. We got 8 or 9 truckloads of split wood out of it. This isn't all of it, below.
This video file below is about 10 megs, give it a minute to load after you click on it. This is a timelapse of about 15 minutes of splitting wood.
Here's what we got out of that wood project. The "tarp" is a banner we made for my work, but was tossed after the event. Thought it would be useful.
Last summer we cut up a huge pile of scrap wood from various projects. The wood was from Kenneth projects, and part of my effort to clean up some of the area below our house. We got some 30 wheelbarrow loads from it. Some stuff had sat in the pile so long it was rotting. Probably 20 years. A lot of it had nails, but I used a battery operated circular saw to cut 99% of this. It worked great, but after hitting a couple nails I need to get a new blade.
This is the area we cleaned up.
Burning so much wood, watching it is sometimes funner than watching TV. One night I saw this fire monster with teeth blazing. It even has eyes at the top.
One more picture of the varied wildlife here: A huge moth.
A huge windstorm just after Thanksgiving knocked this tree down. It snapped a telephone pole to splinters. Hi Ma! Watch out for cars on the street.
Just missed our own mailboxes, but went right through a house.
At Thanksgiving we got to go to a friends parents house near Santa Cruz. Where you have to watch out for the T-Rexes...
I got to go with Gail and Alex to a UC Davis football game late last year. Mainly to see Cailey play in the band. Cailey got us tickets to sit "right behind the band", but what she didn't know was that the seats she got us were behind the opponents band! It was a trying day, since their band overflowed and were sitting in our seats, (and once they got kicked out) we couldn't see the game because all the band members were standing up the ENTIRE time. Oh, and then it started raining. But it was a memorable day!
Cailey, the short one in the middle, looking right at my camera. Sorry Cailey, you're not that short, just that everyone else is tall. ;-)
In October I got to go on a trip to Reno to visit Matthew at college. I worked an invite from Suzy because they were going up, staying overnight at Suzy's mom's place near Tahoe. Saw a bit of snow over Donner Summit. A shot from the moving car.
The trip was great. Mainly because I didn't have to drive! I did drive from the Tahoe house to Reno though.
Here's the Tahoe cabin. Very nice place. Love to be snowed in with someone...
Dave is cleaning the porch of some leftover snow.
It was actually quite a nice day, Jessica and I walked a few hundred yards down to the Truckee river. I told Matthew later he could innertube this all the way down to Reno.
After eating at Outback in downtown Reno.
In back of the Tahoe house the next morning. This rockfall was amazingly fun to wander through. I eventually made it up to the first line of trees.
These don't looks so big. No Problem!
Yeah, these are boulders. Big suckers. Bigger than me.
I'd love to spend the day wandering around back here.
An attempt at an "artsy" shot of this tree.
Coming back from Tahoe we stopped in Sacramento and had lunch with Tammy, Lauren and Jen.
One sad bit of news. Fluffy the cat disappeared one night. A few days later my folks saw a mountain lion by the front driveway, as they looked out the kitchen window. One guess as to the fate of the cat. She was a very nice cat and I'm sorry she's gone.
One of my projects was to use up some junk iron pipes by making a hammock frame. We have a couple of pipe bender tools, but a larger pipe works as well. A fun project. 3 different pipes, with a smaller pipe inside to hold the pieces together. Very portable, since it can be disassembled in a minute without any tools.
One of the mornings on my way to work, heading over the hill I saw this and couldn't resist stopping to take a picture.
Another project was to reorganize the shed a bit. We added some shelves, so went from this:
Jen Austin, Dennis' old girlfriend came to WW for a visit, not long after Camp Wildwood. We had a BBQ and invited the family up.
We dolled the place up for the party.
Jessica learns the fine art of BBQ-ing. "Don't bug the cook!"
There's Jen, in the green shirt and skirt. It was a fun visit.
7/2/11 Day 8 of Camp Wildwood.
Wow it sure doesn't seem like it's been 8 days of fun, but it has. It's amazing how quickly it went, and how much we did, and we still had things we wanted to do, like more timelapse and long exposure movies and pictures. It has been great having company. I'd do it all again in a heartbeat. But it's all over now and onwards to new adventures.
All packed up and ready to go back home. The kids have been together for 2 weeks now.
7/1/11 Day 7 of Camp Wildwood.
Today is the Boardwalk day! Some of us had to get up earlier today. The Boardwalk opens at 11am and we had a 40 minute drive. Dave and Suzy were bringing Matthew and Jessica's friends Cailey and Alex to join up.
Bumper cars are one of my favorites.
At the dime toss. Won lots of glass. It was extremely crowded there, and hot to boot! We spent a good hour plus at the arcade, and in keeping with tradition, one of the kids got a jackpot prize on one of the games and got 2300 tickets, for which Lauren got 3 huge stuffed animals. The other kids got smaller prizes.
The fantastic four.
Tammy had driven to WW straight after work, from Sacramento, and got there before we got back from the Boardwalk. Ma made 2 homemade pizzas, and then we played a game of Pictionary. I was wiped out after the hot day at the beach so I crashed early. But we did get in a few episodes of The Walking Dead. Some nights I heard laughing and chatter long after I was in bed, so I know some kids didn't get much sleep.
6/30/11 Day 6 of Camp Wildwood.
Jessica was our late sleeper again today, putting in an appearance about 11:30am. The rest of us had already started on our day. Ma and Pa read the water meters with Matthew and Lauren.
Then Ma and Pa went off to the store, while Jen broke out the Risk game. The zipline got some use today by Matthew and Jessica.
The Risk game got put on hold with Matthew and Jen fighting it out, but Matthew has the upper hand.
We never got back to it today to see who became the world dictator. The kids made their own lunches and about that time Ma and Pa got back from the store so we all hauled in groceries. Matthew and I worked on our brick/cement project, and finished it up.
Matthew made sure we'd remember this project and when it was done.
Then I showed Lauren how to use one of the saws we have to cut out her name in wood. I made one for Jessica.
I saw this spider crawling along our new ping pong table surface (a double glazed window), thought it was neat, and took this pic. Then when I was looking at it later I thought I'd print it out, much larger than actual size. Then I cut it out so just the spider was showing, and placed it on Jen's arm and said "Wow! Look at that spider on your arm!" She was all set to yell, but noticed it was just paper in time.
Ma had help from Lauren and Jen in making a huge batch of spaghetti. Played Cranium, then we watched the first episode of The Walking Dead. At one point Jen pointed to a zombie and said" Oh look! A penguin!" which set me off laughing through the whole rest of the episode. Another marathon session of Half Life multiplayer and we're off to bed, we have to get up a little earlier for the Boardwalk tomorrow.
6/29/11 Day 5 of Camp Wildwood.
Today the kids got up between 7 and 11am. I won't mention who was the last to get up. After cutting our teeth on a few more Corner Gas episodes, we went outside to do a project, cutting up some old wood with the chainsaw - more boards from various projects in a pile down by the Jesee shack, that we've been trying to clean up over the past few months. Lauren jumped all over that one. We got a long extension cord for the electric chainsaw and went down the hill a ways, and I got Pa's pickup truck to put the cut wood in to haul it back up the hill to our woodpile. But Pa's truck battery was dead and his car wouldn't start. I suggested we push the car down the hill a ways and I could start it manually, since it's a stick shift. And it worked! So we left the car running while we cut wood. The kids did great helping with that, but we only were out there for about an hour. We brought the truck back and stacked the wood, and went in to lunch.
Then the kids went their own ways to do stuff. Jen on the computer to play Half Life. Lauren's been playing World of Warcraft. Matthew and I played a game of SET.
6/28/11 Day 4 of Camp Wildwood.
Surprisingly, June 28th we get a rain day! The day started out pretty warm and cloudy. We played a bit of Ping Pong, then went on a hike through DA trail out to where the neighbor was doing some work on his road. Ma and Pa actually went through the woods to see what was going on! Since it was raining so much we mostly spent the day indoors. But I did get Matthew and Lauren to go on a walk to take fog pictures of the forest. Tonight we watched one of my movies, Romancing the Stone.
6/27/11 Day 3 of Camp Wildwood.
I had put an idea into the kids heads about a catapult competition, have 2 teams and see who could launch a water balloon the furthest. It was a good idea until it turned out the teams were them against me. But the project was great. We got some redwood sticks from the forest and cut them to length. I had pipe and bungee cord and we used that for the launching arms. It turns out our catapults weren't too different, but the real factor was in how much bungee cord we used. The first launch was the exact opposite of spectacular. But in the end we got it going 50 or 60 feet. About as far as we could throw a water balloon.
Matthew wanted to try my catapult, so I tried theirs, and broke it! We got it on video. ;-)
We played a real game of Monopoly but with extra money flowing around, with $400 around Go and $800 for actually landing on Go. I gave up but Jen took over for me and won with some $24k. The Monopoly money supply was running out.
Later that night we got to do some trash burning. We'd been saving up our burning material for several weeks for this. Jen and Matthew burned marshmallows on sticks. We got out the leftover helium from Gail's birthday party in March and played around with it in balloons and voices.
6/26/11 Day 2 of Camp Wildwood.
So today was a lot of the same ol' Camp Wildwood stuff. Swing, water balloons and BB guns, see-saw, ping-pong, Monopoly on the ipods. Matthew was feeling ambitious and wanted to work on cementing the bricks along the edge of the pathway. He did a good job. We didn't do too much, saved some for another day. We watched a movie Jessica brought, Despicable Me.
6/25/11 Day 1 of Camp Wildwood 2011
Tammy brought the kids up pretty late - about 8pm. They stopped at a Jelly Belly factory and then at the Winchester Mystery House. I set up a treasure hunt for them earlier in the day. It involved a spray paint that is only visible under Ultra Violet light. I painted arrows all around the house pointing into the woods, about every 30 feet or so, then more arrows every 20 feet or so on a trail through the woods and up a tree that was growing sideways, and is easy to walk up. When it got dark I gave all the kids a UV flashlight and told them to look around. Jen found the first arrow and proceeded to find most of the rest. So the hunt resulted in a night hike, down the trails. I followed just for fun, and then slipped away while Matthew climbed the tree for the last treasure. I hid behind a tree not far away and tried to scare them as they went by. :-)
4/3/11. I went for another walk in the forest and found a few interesting sights I just had to take a picture of. These first 2 are a downed oak tree starting to grow a fungus.
I thought this might make a neat wallpaper image for the computer. Psychedelic! This stuff grows level with the ground.
A skull (and spine) of an unknown animal. Any guesses as to what it was? My guess is possum, but those teeth don't look right.
And I also found an animal nest or burrow made of large sticks. I'm wondering what made this as well. This thing is huge, about waist high to me.
With the branches that fell in the last few storms (16 inches of rain in March!) all cut up, Ma, Pa and I started raking the leaves. A daunting task. Going from this...
With piles of leaves like this to move...
Ma doing her part.
And getting to relax afterwards.
One last picture of Pa's tulips in his deer-proof (so far) garden.
3/26/11. What with all the storms lately we've had a lot of branches down, and some trees as well. Pa and I collected this pile and proceeded to chop them up with the chainsaw.
It looked a lot bigger when they weren't cut up.
And it looks even smaller when we stacked it on the woodpile.
And on one of my walks through the backyard forest I found this madrone tree had uprooted, knocked an oak tree down, and that knocked another, smaller oak tree down, like dominoes. Not to mention the fir broken off in the picture.
3/12/11. It's been raining a lot lately, only about 8 inches in February, but another 8 inches in March. Here's a couple of shots I took while walking around on some of those rainy days. The fog makes for some nice walks.
This is on the path to our water storage tanks.
I wanted to see this in action, it's the asphalt I put down a few months ago to divert the water into this drain. The asphalt is less than an inch high, but it worked fine. If you look at the entry for 1/8/11below, you can see it when it's not wet.
Also, another oak tree broke in half and came down just behind our neighbor's house on the hill above us. Hard to see in the picture, because it's nothing but trees. Ma and Pa both heard (and felt) it come down.
3/5/11. Here's an updated picture of the shack down the hill that we've been cleaning up around. you can see a before shot if you scroll down to January. We displaced whole ecosystems when we moved the main pile of rotting wood. I saw centipedes, scorpions, snakes, beetles, salamanders, lizards and a whole host of things I would just have to categorize as "bugs." Pa and I cut up the wood and stacked it on our woodpile.
But there's more on each of the other sides.
Here's some of the metal that I've been hauling away to the recycler. About 1600 lbs so far. At 4 cents a pound it gives me some lunch money, as well as cleaning up the place. As we clean up we keep finding more metal, and other stuff.
The cat has been getting inside lately. I caught her here on my bed...
And on my truck...It's nice and warm after my drive to Wildwood.
2/12/11. My zipline leaves a lot to be desired. I solved the braking problem by using a block of wood on the wire, and attached bungee cords to the block of wood (I got a 100 foot roll of bungee - slingshots anyone?) The kids tested it out and pronounced it pretty good. Jessica rode on it 45 times in a row, so it must be somewhat fun. But the wire line (100 feet long or so) sags. Here I'm trying to use a come-along to tighten the line up. I probably got it about 6 inches further.
2/5/11. Today we replaced our community water pump. Here's the old one, it was pumping about 3 gallons per minute.
We bought a new pump a few months ago, and Pa has slowly been preparing for this installation. He had to redo the electrical system in the pumping shed, buy new fittings, wire up the new pump with a power cord, and a whole host of other things.
Here's the new pump. It gets 10 gallons per minute and uses half the electricity. It took 4 people 3 hours to install. Our electric bill went down from $70 to $17.
1/29/11. Here's another of my projects. Ma commented that the Gazebo is rotting away and wanted to replace the plywood at the base. At my work I often can get scrap material, old signs made of either plastic or aluminum, so I decided to replace it with stuff that won't rot.
Here I'm cutting a piece to size.
I also found some small evidence of termites. At least they left the paint. This is another ongoing project, I'm waiting on finding more material.
This old plastic sign worked great, just need to paint it.
Pa got this Chia pet of Spongebob for his birthday. He decided to paint it before growing it.
1/17/11. I was invited to go visit with Niomi and Ivey during their visit to Walnut Creek today. It was also Reva's birthday. I had a fun time visiting. Here's Ivey chatting with Reva.
Niomi, Pixie, Amanda, and Molly.
Crazy Women of the Other Branch of the Family.
L to R: TJ, Ivey, Niomi (back), Sari, Amanda, Peter, Reva, Molly, John. Oh, and Sari is holding Pixie.
1/16/11. This is another of my projects. Kenneth had gathered stuff for 20+ years and left a lot of it in this spot. This shack was built many many years ago, but is a legal structure in the eyes of a county, and many new restrictions on building are relaxed because this is preexisting versus building a new house on this land. So even though the house should be torn down, it should stay up as long as possible, in case someone wants to build. It may fall down soon, on it's own. But I wanted to clean the area up around it. Wood is piled up and rotting, same with metal bits. It's just a dumping ground. Pa and I have moved a lot of the wood to chop up for firewood, and I've hauled about 1300 lbs of metal to the recycler so far. At 4 cent a pound. Woo hoo. This is a long term project.
1/8/11. Today Pa and I had a project to fix a few places in the road. Pa wanted this spot filled in. It was a spot from the new pipes that just sunk into the ground over the past few months. We had this asphalt left over from the pipe project so decided to fill it in.
And this was *my* fix. Rain water kept going across the road, missing the culvert. This was just enough asphalt so it would move the rainwater to the right spot, yet it's unnoticeable while driving over it.
12/25/10. Merry Christmas! It was kind of a wet day today. Ma, Pa and I drove down to Dave and Suzy's for our usual get together and dinner. I think we had 20 people there at one time. I got a gift wrapped by Jessica. 10 layers of duct tape and the tin box I finally opened had nothing in it. Then a bag with the real gift was handed to me. Nice! But I was somehow anticipating this and had prepared my own surprise for Jessica! Muhuhaha! I wanted to give her some money, but opening a money gift is so...so...yeah. I went into the forest and cut a stick, drilled 2 holes in either end, rolled up the money and stuck it in, with a marble capping the holes, wedged in tight. Then I made a label calling it a companion stick. Let her figure that one out! She did eventually, with lots of help! Just wait'll next year, Jessica! Heh, heh!
12/24/10. Christmas Eve! And a foggy one! I was outside playing around with my camera and my green laser, got a decent shot here. Timelapse, I couldn't hold the laser quite steady enough.
The Xmas lights in the fog.
I like lights. And the fog made everything pretty eerie.
12/18/10. We have a few recurring visitors this year. 3 deer come by virtually every day. Today was a wet rainy day and while looking out the kitchen window I spotted the deer taking a nap down by the zipline. (Right in the middle of the picture.)
Also today we had a visit from Tammy, Lauren, Jen, Matthew, and Jessica for an early Christmas gathering and exchanged some gifts. They're planning on staying overnight. Tammy usually picks up Matthew and Jessica, but Matthew drove himself and Jessica, since he turned 18 yesterday and can legally drive other people. Happy Birthday Matthew!
12/12/10. We got our Christmas tree and decorations set up yesterday. Unfortunately I didn't set up the tree stand quite right and the tree fell over in the middle of the night. A couple of ornaments broke and needles were everywhere, but we managed to get everything back in place without too much trouble. But 3AM wakeup calls are so not my thing.
We finally managed to coax the cat inside. Fluffy is still skittish about being inside, but it's pretty cold out, and feeding her inside means the skunks won't come around as often looking for her food out on the porch.
12/1/10. A nice picture of the sunset clouds taken outside of my work in Santa Clara.
11/26/10. Today I went with Gail, Dave, and Suzy to have another Thanksgiving visit and dinner with Suzy's sister Kristi up near Santa Cruz. The kids all came along and I think we had quite a lot of fun. This place is Tom's parents (Kristi's husband) place, who were out in Guatemala or someplace. Nice view, nice house.
Here's Matthew trying to be a ghost.
11/25/10. Happy Thanksgiving! We have pretty much the same crew as last year except for Tammy and her family. I guess I managed to shock a few people because I had started dating Suzy's friend Gail (who's here with her kids for her 3rd Thanksgiving) and they noticed something was up. ;-) I had set up a Zipline a while back and finally got a trolley for it, so the kids got to have a little fun with it. I still need to set up a brake system. Right now the tree at the end will stop you rather suddenly... We also had the usual suspects for some burning pit duties and flashlight fun. Most of the people shots came out blurry. Cailey and Gail showed their mettle earlier in the day by being handaxe throwing champions, while Alex, Matthew and I couldn't do much of anything. Don't get the girls mad!
I got a neat LED flashlight that changes colors.
11/20/10. I've had a cold for the entire month of November so far, but I managed to get further with the attic insulation. I'm one more session from finishing, six rows 20 feet long. It takes it's toll on my body because the ceiling joists in this section are every 48 inches apart instead of a normal 16 inches. Who built this place? Anyway, moving about is extremely difficult and I'm sore for days afterwards.
Pa and I also put up the Christmas lights today, earlier than usual, because they were already down from the attic, and I wanted to have them up for Thanksgiving next week so people could see them. A few weeks ago I got replacement LED lights for all of our mini bulbs. The effect is quite amazing, they're really bright!
11/2/10. I found out during the week that our neighbor Jean passed away about 10 days ago. Last I heard she was in the hospital but expected to go to a rehabilitation ward in a few days. She outlived her husband Kenneth by 13 months, but cancer had her in it's grip and wouldn't let go. 2 of her children are now living at Wildwood, my 2nd cousins Dan and Dave. Nancy and her husband Jason live not too far away near the Boulder Creek Country Club, about 20 minutes from here. Jean didn't like her picture being taken, so I have few photos to share.
10/24/10. Yesterday I spent another 6 hours in the attic. This time I got the insulation fixed up over the bedrooms and hallways. All that's left is the area over the main room. It started raining while I was up there and continued into today. About 4:30 am I heard a crashing noise out in the forest and knew a tree had come down. So after breakfast I went out in search of it. I found it pretty quick. It was a medium sized oak that had broken off about 30 feet up. It came down on our archery range, about 5 feet from our stick where we hang the bow after we're done shooting.
10/17/10. I've been wanting to do this project for a long time and finally got a little ambition to get a start. The attic insulation has never been very good, and over the years the insulation seems to have dwindled, and is even gone from some areas. I was going to replace all of it with new insulation until I saw how expensive it was going to be. In the end I settled on reusing the existing insulation, but doubling it up.
The first part was pretty easy. Buy the insulation. I almost couldn't get it in my truck, but a little forcefulness and I was ready. Here's the 5 bags I got. Opening each layer of plastic is quite an experience. It expands your horizons.
Fortunately Pa installed this attic door/ladder a number of years ago. The prior way to get in the attic was through a built in cabinet in the kitchen.
This is a before picture of the insulation. There had been a re-roofing years ago, and a lot of material that came down from that still lay on the insulation. I cleaned up a lot of stuff, wood and nails, to stuff stored in the attic for a dozen years.
And an after picture of the same area. What fun to spend 5 hours in a cramped hot attic with dust and cobwebs all over, having to watch every step. And I only got about 1/3 of it done! The yellow insulation is the old stuff, the pink is new. This is the area above the kitchen.
9/18/10. It's finally here! The day our 50 year old water pipes get replaced! We hired a local guy, Chris Goodenough, to come out and dig the trenches. So far he's done a great job. I heard it's about 700 feet of pipe to be installed. We had a "halfway point" set up with a shutoff, and it made a good place to stop and reconnect everyone's water. The water was shut off for about 40 hours in all the new line went right along the old, so part of the old pipe was ripped up in the process.
This first shot is a cement driveway Chris had to cut through to get the pipe under the road. A huge redwood on the side of the driveway made it impossible to go down it the entire way on that side.
The 4 inch PVC line was the easiest part. The digging was the hardest. Along with a mechanical failure in the backhoe, the project took 2 work days, plus *a lot* of preparation on our part.
And here's a shot going along the Grandpa house. We're taking pictures for future reference because if leaks start showing up, we'll be able to see where the pipes are. The concrete is called a kicker, so the water won't displace the pipes as it zooms down them
And we only had 1 problem with the new installation, from an old pipe whose glued joint failed at 10pm Friday night. I went out to fix it because I hadn't been able to take a shower yet. I turned the water back on about midnight and all was well.
News prior to this has been moved to the latest archives.
e-mail me: TJFredrick@aol.com