Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Fruits Of Labor ...

All the (little) work we put into our garden is starting show results:

We sprinkled some diatomaceous earth on the cabbage to kill those buggy buggers, who started chewing it up.

Matthew finished the roof above the main entrance, and it looks fantabulous!!!

We're helping E!'s sister move this week, so there may not be much excitement around Gunk Haus, but don't despair, there's always something cooking.


Monday, June 29, 2009

See Yesterday ...

It was one of those unexciting days. E! cleaned the remaining portion of the kitchen floor, it really needed a good scrub, so we can seal it. Myself I continued wiring the second floor. I am almost done, and maybe tomorrow I'll turn on the lights. One of the things I'm adding as part of the rewiring is a ceiling fan in the bedroom, which we both a looking forward to.


Sunday, June 28, 2009

Two Coats ...

E! finished painting the kitchen today. Now it's all shiny and white. The shininess is for the health department, not that they care about shiny walls, but they do care about cleanability, and that means we used high gloss paint.

I busied myself installing conduit and wire on the second floor, so we can soon disconnect the old wiring to the second and third floors, wall up the wait station, paint, hire staff, and open up. Welcome to Futurama ... ;-)


Saturday, June 27, 2009

Golden Crown ...

Matthew was back and is almost done. The copper makes the entrance look so much nicer, and once we restore the rest of the entrance it will look spanktastic.

E! was busy painting in the kitchen. Soon it will be almost done (there are still a lot of little things that need to happen, fire alarm, fire suppression, etc.).

I started rewiring the second and third floors. We still have old and brittle cloth wiring up there, and I am eager to get rid of it. Plus, the current wiring for the upstairs runs through the wait station, and we need to remove it, so we can wall up the wait station.

Here's yours truly with a handy tool for bending conduit pipes. I didn't see myself spending $20 on a tool I'd only use once, so I quickly built one. It works just as good.


Friday, June 26, 2009

Topless Entrance ...

It always feels great, when contractors show up and work gets done (not that we don't get any work done, but some work we contract out, and sometimes that work needs to get done so that we can do our work).

Today Matthew came by. He is a roofer recommended to us by an architect neighbor. E! always wanted copper on the building, but copper gutters would have been prohibitively expensive, so we didn't get them. Next on the list was the roof above the main entrance, and because Matthew gave us a really good price, we decided to go for it.

As visual refresher, here a picture of the main entrance. The roof was covered with tin or something, and painted many a times with tar or something.

Not anymore. Matthew and Chris ripped it right off, and here they are already installing new trim (remember my post about table saw magic?).

If there hadn't been a downpour in the early afternoon, they might have finished today, but it is starting to look good already.

Mike, our beloved electrician, was also here today, and things are starting to fall into place. Here he is working on the dishwasher.

We fired it up, and the heating element worked great, and then we let the dishwasher run. The motor worked fine, too, until the fuse blew. After many a trial and error we realized that although the dishwasher is a 3-phase, someone (we may actually know who) replaced the original motor with a single phase motor.

Theoretically, and practically, that works, you just need to know this and wire accordingly. Thing is, we want a 3-phase motor, because it uses a lot less energy, and wiring and circuit breaker are cheaper, too. I drove around to various electrical motor places, but they all said, I'd have to go to the manufacturer, because we don't have a standard size motor. Oh, well, always something.


Thursday, June 25, 2009

679-WIRE ...

Mike was here, do I need to say more?!

We now have a sub panel in the dish station, which largely serves the dish washer, and on the second floor, which serves the second and third floors.

Here is the meister himself pulling the wire for the dish station sub panel.

He'll be back tomorrow to punch down the panel, i.e. making all the circuits life. Exciting!!!


Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Water, Water, Everywhere ...

Oh happy day!!! We have running water, in all the right places and nowhere else, cold, but running. But I am jumping ahead.

When I left the house this morning to walk our door bell / floor mob / bed warmer / dog, I saw that our trusty digger meister Greg was here already. After having found water yesterday, we asked him if he could quickly dig a trench from the well to the house before he was taking off to Colorado until next week.

A little later Jim's (our well meister) well-hooker-upper-guy showed up and went right to work, you guessed it, to hook up the well. He said, that he may have to rent a jack hammer to get through our stone foundation wall (which should be about 20 inches thick). Being money conscious (hey! are you calling me cheap?! I said money conscious!!! ... ;-), I suggested to chisel away, while he was busy doing other stuff. In case you don't know me, I am stubborn, and if I put my mind to it I can be really stubborn.

After about an hour I saw the light. This was largely because there was a lot of loose rock inside the stone wall. I wasn't not sure whether I should be happy about my accomplishment or concerned about the composition of the wall that carries the whole house. I chose happiness.

Yes, the hole doesn't look very big, but I didn't want to create a bigger opening than necessary. Meanwhile, the well-hooker-upper-guy had rescued the pump from our old well, and started lowering it into our new well.

Last not least, he ran wiring and tubing to the house (through a tiny opening in the foundation wall, which some cool dude had chiseled out ... oh, I'm so vain ... ;-).

Inside I had already run some PVC piping to connect to the tube coming in from the outside, as well as the wire for the pump, and after we had let the PVC cement cure for a while it was time to put the system to the test.

Gush!!! Water came from the pump through the tube and the PVC piping into the pressure tank. and that was it, it worked, we had water coming into the house again (and not from a roof leak, like it was until we got the new metal roof).

Next I slowly turned on the individual water lines to test if water was getting there, and at adequate pressure. Eureka, it worked.

The only thing that didn't work yet was the hot water. I still had some soldering to do, and hook up a few loose ends. By 6pm I knew that there wouldn't be any hot water today, as I didn't want to finish the day by starting the boiler and the hot water heater, which could result in problems, and I wasn't willing to stay up all night, plus after 9pm all the hardware stores and home improvement centers are closed, so if I needed something I was out of luck.

But I hooked up all the connections for the hot water and test ran it, and it all worked without a single leak, until I noticed that the pressure on the hot water line had dropped. Then I noticed that the pressure on the cold water line had dropped, too. #@%$!!!

After looking around for leaks, checking the pressure tank and such, I concluded that it might be the solenoid valve, which is part of our UV treatment system (if the solenoid valve is broken, there is no water in the building). I was mentally mixing an extra large martini, when E! mentioned that maybe it is the particle filters in the water system.

I had my mind set on the solenoid valve already (did I mention that I am stubborn?), but at least I wanted to rule out the possibility that it could indeed be the filters. After quickly running to Lowe's and getting new filters I put them in, and lo and behold it worked!!!

We really hadn't replaced the filters ever since Jeff installed our new water distribution system, and I guess firing up the new well added a lot of particles, but I never expected such a tremendous drop in pressure.

Anyhow, all's well that ends well ... punny, aren't I ... ;-)


Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Deep Down ...

Jim, our drill meister, was supposed to be here at 10am this morning, but we received a call that he had to take care of an emergency (it sounded like a situation we had: digger severs water line, but unlike us, the other people wanted their water back on).

It almost looked like Jim wasn't going to show at all today, but he got here a little after 4pm and fired up the drill, and by 8pm he had packed up his rig and moved it across the street. At around 6pm he had hit water, and at 140 feet he stopped. He estimated the flow rate at about ten gallons per minute, which is more than adequate for us (yes, Jerry, we know, you have 100 gallons per minute; maybe you should open a water boarding business ;-).

By tomorrow we should have water flowing through the house again. There is still some plumbing that needs to be completed, but I'll make it, and if I have to work into the night. First and foremost I want to be able to use the bathroom again without concern whether I have enough water to flush. Aside from that it would be nice to be able to take a shower, and clean the dishes again.


Monday, June 22, 2009

Drill, Baby, Drill ...

I won't bore you with whatever else went on today (E! was busy sanding the walls in the kitchen, I was just running around trying to make up my mind, going from store to store to find bits and pieces I would need to complete the hot water tank plumbing - I still don't have everything, including my mind made up).

Jim, our trusty well driller meister, showed up this afternoon, along with all the heavy equipment one needs to drill all the way to China.

The drill tower is just as tall as Gunk Haus.

You don't want to mess with these teeth.

At about 25 feet we hit bedrock, which is good, because that's how long the casing will have to be (and the casing you pay by the foot). Jim stayed until almost 8pm hammering the casing into the ground. He'll be back tomorrow, hopefully finding water soon.


Sunday, June 21, 2009

Spackletacular ...

Day 3, still no water, but it's working out well so far. Speaking of well, the well driller will be by tomorrow, or on Tuesday. Soon we'll have running water again. The only question will be of what quality. Depending on the water quality we have to treat it differently, and we would like to avoid having to put in a water softener or a chlorination system, because the water wouldn't taste as good.

E! was busy spackling and taping the remaining wall in the kitchen, which is never fun, but it needs to be done, and that gets the kitchen closer to completion.

I went back to working on the water heater. I still need some parts, but by tomorrow I should have it back together.


Saturday, June 20, 2009

Hot Water Overhaul ...

There is an upside to not having water: No leaks!!!

The other advantage is that I can tackle plumbing work I would normally try to finish in one day, which puts a lot pressure on me, raises the stress level, and keeps vodka makers and liquor stores alive.

One such project is the water heater. I already explained to you what needs to be done, and today I started doing it. First I had to remove the water from the water tank ...

... 40 gallons of water, hmm, not sure what to do with it, maybe flush it down the toilet ... ;-)

After the water heater was empty I moved it aside to pour some concrete underneath so the floor got more level. And that's pretty much where I left off, no stress, no aggravation, and no martini.


Friday, June 19, 2009

Dry Well ...

Sometimes I don't know how to begin my blog entries. Should I tell you the end result of what happened, or bore you with a lengthy explanation of events leading to the end result.

Well, let's try to keep it as short as possible, while still providing some insight of what happened, and what and why we made certain decisions.

You know that we need a new septic system, and that the cottage was in the way of it and hence had to come down. I told you that we were all perky and that we had two holes dug to show what the soil composition is. While digging the two holes the excavator had hit the cottage sewer pipe, which wasn't a big problem, as it wouldn't live more than three weeks at that point.

The two holes were to be examined by our trusty engineer Lou and the person in charge at the department of sanitation, let's call him The Loafer Man. Lou and The Loafer Man were to meet to look at the two holes and discuss what it tells them. But The Loafer Man decided he'd just stop by cold, as he was in the area.

That had dire consequences, as Lou and TLM (The Loafer Man) didn't look at holes together, when they reconvened today to look at the cottage carnage they couldn't agree what the soil composition would be.

The end result is that we had to dig two new holes. So we called Greg, our trusty excavator meister, if he could dig the two holes real quick. No problem, after all he still had his digger at our place.

So Greg dug, and here is what he dug up:

The tube sticking out of the hole is our water line, and the little lines in the hole are the wires for the well pump. You guessed right, we are out of water right now. Thing is, we would have gotten a new well anyway, and we decided to forgo fixing the water line and having the new well drilled as soon as possible, i.e. this coming Monday or Tuesday.

In case you haven't noticed yet, I am having a bad day, a really bad, a beyond martini bad day. Also, if you haven't noticed yet, I have a very low opinion of The Loafer Man.

Here some tidbits about TLM. The first time he showed up, it was the middle of winter, and ten inches of snow on the ground, and TLM running around in his loafers, hence TLM. He complained that he had to change into muddy boots to walk down our lawn (with ten inches of snow) to our septic tank.

As mentioned before, he blew a meeting with our engineer, and complained that he wasn't there when the previous holes were dug. Of course he couldn't stay today, for some bogus reason, to see the new holes being dug.

He condescendingly asked why we hadn't filled in the hole left by the cottage basement, while we all knew, had we done just that, he would have complained loudly that we had done so.

The Loafer Man is the kind of person who enjoys having power, as little as it may be, and play the power card whenever possible. I pity people like him.


When Are You Opening? ...

The following dates have come and gone: April 2008, Memorial Day 2008, Spring of 2009. They all have one thing in common, those were dates we told people we would be open.

The naked truth is, whatever date we tell people doesn't matter, because in the end we will open our restaurant when we're done. It may be this year, it may be next year, it maybe in ten years.

As I mentioned a few times already, E! and I are doing most of the work ourselves, because we don't have the money to have other people do it for us. Of course we contract certain jobs out, which are completely beyond our capabilities, but the grunt work is done by us. The point being, it's just the two of us, and there is only so much we can do.

There are of course things that are beyond our control, like designing the septic system, and getting it approved. Although we are only marginally involved in this process, it nevertheless requires occasional attention, and therefore takes time and energy (and it can distract from what we're supposed to do).


Wednesday, June 17, 2009

More Plumbing ...

Don't worry, it's not martini night. It wasn't that kind of plumbing, but it could have been, had I run the 150 feet of water line with copper piping. Nobody does that anymore these days, or do you?! No, PEX is the answer. It's the untrained home renovator's friend.

I had to run two lines of water from the water heater to the dish washer in the dish station. The dish washer is a high heat dish washer, and needs 180°F hot water as input. In order to get the water that hot, we'll crank up the water heater to let's say 140°F and run a circulating hot water line (this guarantees instant hot water, and hence the two lines instead of just one) to the dish washer, where a booster heater will heat up the water to the target temperature.

Because the water heater is now set to a temperature that could lead to scalding were you to open up the hot water at a faucet, we also need to install a mixing valve, which will mix the hot water going to bathrooms with cold water to chill it down to less dangerous temperatures.

But why am I telling you all that, I'm sure you've done this many a times. Oh, you haven't?! Your head is spinning?! Need a martini?


Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Out With The Old ...

Now that the dish sink is installed, we have no more use of the makeshift sink I had built shortly after we moved into Gunk Haus. It has served us well, and may find a new life as work table.

Removing the sink allows us to finish most of the work in the kitchen, after all, we are determined to open up sometime, so we better start finishing things (er, Mike, we really need to have some of the electrical wrapped up ... wink, wink, nudge, nudge).


Pig Spa ...

At long last I hooked up the dish station sink today. So what, you'll say, hooking up a sink, what's the big deal. You're right, as you always are, it's just a sink, isn't it?

Yeah right, just a sink. Only twelve cubic feet of water (that's more than your bathtub holds), two sets of faucets (who needs that), indirect drain (water splashing all over; you'll like that, don't you), and a water stain on the floor (nothing is perfect).

Of course I had to christian it right away, by bottling my home brew, what better way to make use of such an enormous sink? Oh, right, give your dog a bath ... PIGLET ... COME!!! ... ;-)


Sunday, June 14, 2009

Weed Wacker ... ...

A week or so back a neighbor of ours stopped by. She asked whether she could graze her sheep and goats on our property. Of course, as long as they stay away from the garden.

Today she came back with two goats. Inquiring about their diet and favorite food I learned that they like poison ivy (ok, I knew that already) and maple, both of which we have plenty in the underbrush.

So our neighbor tied the goats to a tree and let them graze. Clearly the knot wasn't that great, because one of them escaped and went straight back home, well, with a detour or two.

Despite this little hiccup, I totally like the idea of the goats and sheep cleaning up our underbrush in a very natural and organic way.


Saturday, June 13, 2009

Low Tide ...

After this week's excitement, today seemed like a boring day. With the cottage gone we lost our laundromat. Our washer and dryer were in the basement of the cottage (because it was all setup for a washer and dryer), and our tenants were allowed to do their laundry there as well. In exchange they would pay for the electricity and oil we would consume doing our laundry.

Anyhow, I started to hook up the washer and dryer in our basement, which means installing water pipes and electrical.

E! was busy cleaning the dish station sink, so pretty soon (maybe Monday) we'll have a working sink in the dish station, party!!!


Friday, June 12, 2009

So Many Ideas ...

As I mentioned before, the main reason why we decided to tear down the cottage now was to make it easier for the brains at the health department, and take away the uncertainty of what could be hidden underneath (no, that shed roof really wasn't covering up an underground cellar, bunker, or intercontinental missile silo) that could impede the construction of a septic system.

Today Lou, our trusty engineer, surveyed the site, and it pleased him, which pleased us.

After he had left, we had a good chat with Greg, our excavation meister, about what to do with all the concrete and stone he had removed from the cottage. I know, I just told you that we had planned to bury it across the street, and build a plateau, but there are other options.

We had always wanted to build a deck for outdoor dining on the north side of the building, accessible from the beer hall. We would have most likely done that a year or two after opening, because it would cost a pretty penny to engineer and build.

However, Greg mentioned today that we could simply use all the concrete and stone from the cottage and fill up the side of the building so that there is a level area next to the beer hall, on which we could build a patio. This would have several advantages. For one thing, it would be a hell lot cheaper, and we wouldn't have to go through much rigmarole with the building department, as a patio is on level ground.

I can assure you, this got our minds spinning, we totally loved the idea. Of course, we still have to run this by Lou to make sure this wouldn't interfere with the septic system.


Thursday, June 11, 2009

All Gone ...

That's it, the cottage is gone. Greg, our excavation guru, was busy breaking down the rest of the cottage.

Take off the basement ceiling (in one piece) ...

... and let the sun shine in.

The concrete and cinder block were hauled by truck to the other side of our property ...

... where we will use it as fill and build out a little plateau (if that doesn't happen tomorrow, it'll happen next week, depending on weather).


Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Utter Distruction ...

You know the feeling (well, some of you may not, including myself), you slave over a dinner for hours, everything is tasty and the table is nicely set, and in five minutes everything is gone and the table looks like a mess.

Well, that's how it must have felt for the cottage: It was constructed in maybe four to five months, and it took less than half day for it to come done.

So without further ado, here are the pictures and movies:


Tuesday, June 9, 2009

And ... Action ...

Greg, our excavator meister, started work today. First he cleaned up the old vegetable garden, which we will use for personal and staff parking.

Next he started clearing some debris, which must be from when they tore down the school house that used to be on the parking lot side of our property until sometime in the 50s, if I am not mistaken.

Sometimes I get the feeling that people who drive by think that we must open any day now, from what the place looks like on the outside. Maybe we have spent more time making the outside look good than to work on the inside, I don't know. Regardless, here is an inside picture (E! was busy tearing down the old wall cover in the wait station, which seemed easier than patching it).


Monday, June 8, 2009

Anger Management ...

I'm sure you know those days when you just want to take a sledge hammer and bang down some walls. I am also certain that most of you haven't had that experience lately, if at all. Well, here is a little taste of what it looks like:

For those of you, who are really angry, I suggest heavier equipment:

Of course I wasn't angry at all today, in fact, I was in quite a good mood. The reason for my destructiveness was to recover materials from the cottage, which can be recycled (while at the same time bringing in a few bucks). Here's the loot:

I was busy cleaning out the cottage, moving all the appliances (washer, dryer, fridge) into our basement, and then ripping out all the copper (at the present a pound of used copper piping gets you $1.40 per pound, which is nothing compared to last Summer, when you could get $2.50).

As you could see in above picture, Greg, our cottage-destructioneur, dropped off his excavator today. He'll start work tomorrow, but not on the cottage, because he'll cleanup some debris first (which was there already before we bought Gunk Haus), and dig a hole so we can bury the concrete and cinder block from the cottage.


Sunday, June 7, 2009

Who Are You? ...

Around the beginning of the year E! turned me on to Google Analytics, which is a feature offered by Google that let's you collect information about how many people visit your website, which country they access it from, what they look at, etc.

I thought this would be neat, so I added the appropriate code to the blog, and today I'll share some information with you.

But before I do this, here's a word to all of you who are about to turn off their computers, because they fear they're being watched by Big Brother, some nerdy kid around the corner, or aliens.

Whenever you access the internet, you are giving away (unbeknownst to you) information about yourself. This isn't any different than you swiping your credit card, or all these super saver cards you signed up for at your local supermarket, car rental, airline, you name it. Unlike in these examples, accessing the internet does not give away any personal information, only things like your rough location, the web browser you use, what operating system your computer runs, and so forth.

But I digress, here is what I can tell you about you, my readers:

  1. The Gunk Haus Blog is read on average by about twelve people daily, which means you, oh my thirteen followers, don't read it every day (thirteen followers, because one is a duplicate - Brett, wassup? ;-). As I am reading my blog every day as well (yes, I do, several times a day in fact, because I want to know if someone left comments), that means only eleven other people read my blog every day, on average. Don't worry, that doesn't hurt my feelings, because all of you who read it are the ones I write for it in the first place.
  2. Most of my readers are from the US, which is no surprise. The second bigest group is from Germany, also no surprise, and then there are some strays from Brazil, Mexico, Spain, Argentina, Italy (Italy in seventh position?! Dagmar, you are clearly not reading my blog very often!!! ;-), Columbia, Canada, Chile.
  3. 73.25% of you are returning visitors, which means you are very loyal readers, and I thank you for that.

There was lots of action around Gunk Haus today, largely outdoors, and largely of the gardening, pardon, farming variety. I was going to get more material and equipment out of the cottage, but ended up spending the entire day transplanting strawberries, mulching, and tending the garden, and so did E!.


Saturday, June 6, 2009

Trans Plantation ...

We are continuing to clean out the cottage. My trusty boiler meister Matt helped moving the oil from the cottage tanks into our tank, so we can remove the tanks from the cottage.

Aside from that a major rescue operation was underway, to keep all the good plants around the cottage, and in the old vegetable garden across the street, from being bulldozered. Flowers, mint, herbs, potatoes, and strawberries were all moved to a new home.

E! started to prime some ducts for the A/C in the beer hall, which didn't go so well, largely because the compressor and spray gun she used failed after only minutes.


Friday, June 5, 2009

Free For All ...

We are clearing more stuff from the cottage, and while we're at it from our basement as well. I hate to throw stuff away, so we put a curb alert on Craig's List, and left all the good things out on the street for the taking:

Tomorrow I am going to start transplanting whatever is in the way of the bulldozer (if anyone wants sunchokes, also known as Jerusalem artichoke, or strawberry plants, come by our place, we have plenty).


Thursday, June 4, 2009

Stripping Down ...

Immediately after we had bought Gunk Haus we started renovating the cottage, rip out the layers and layers and layers and layers of carpet and vinyl flooring (finding a nice wood floor underneath), clean, paint, install new kitchen cabinets and bathroom vanity, install new carpeting in the bedroom, the list goes on and on.

So it is unfortunate that we have to tear down the cottage. But before that happens we will salvage as much as possible, keep what we need, and give away what can be reused.

The kitchen cabinets will be used in the wait station, the fridge will also come in handy. We are still contemplating whether we should rip out the wood flooring, it might simply prove to be too much work for what it's worth.

We have already given away the gas stove. Lights, bathroom vanity, ceiling fans, and other items are spoken for. We have no problem giving all these things away, after all, we receive many things for free ourselves, many times through email lists like Freecycle, which exist for the purpose of giving away things one no longer needs.


Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Never A Dull Day At Gunk Haus ...

Ok, I admit, there are dull days a Gunk Haus, today wasn't one of them.

This morning we tracked down Mike (our electrician). He was finishing up some work at my sister in-law's place, which is why we knew he was there. He'll be in the area for the next few days, and hopefully will manage to finish up some work at our place.

From there on things went down rather quickly. Just after we had returned, Lou, our trusty engineer, came by to measure the existing septic field, and as usual we chatted. From the conversation it emerged that it would be rather beneficial if the cottage would disappear as soon as possible, so that the brains at the health department wouldn't have to work so hard.

That was the starting gun: Cottage has to go, asap!

As easy as this sounds, it involves quite a bit, for instance getting the power, phone, etc. disconnected and removed. We also have our washer and dryer in the cottage basement, and need to move it, but we don't have any power or water connection in the main house yet, and we need to make space for the washer dryer.

So we ended up cleaning out the basement underneath the beer hall. We also called various companies to have all sorts of wires removed, my trusty boiler man to have the oil tanks removed, and our trusty excavator meister Greg, to talk demolition.

Never a dull moment ...


Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Dish Station Spritzer ...

I really should have used CPVC to hook up the sink in the dish station, but I didn't, and it took me until today to finish it. Encouraged by this I connected all the loose pieces, and turned on the water.

Oh what a fountain!!!!

Although I connected all the loose pieces (the faucets are screwed onto the water pipes), I didn't use any pipe dope, after all I just wanted to see if the pipes I soldered together were leaking or not. I was too lazy to completely water proof the whole assembly, as I would take it apart again so E! can clean the sink, but it seemed the pipes were holding, and I was content.


Monday, June 1, 2009

A Comedy Of Errors ...

It was to be the day of reckoning. We had seen it run around on the field, chewing up E!'s precious asparagus. Understandably E! hated the groundhog, which had built a home under our barn. We borrowed a trap and set it up next to the barn with some tasty strawberries and carrots. We waited for almost a week, until E! checked the trap again this afternoon:

They sure look cute, but they can wreak havoc on a vegetable garden. Interestingly enough, it is illegal (at least in New York) to relocate them, i.e. make them someone else's problem. Therefore there is only one way to get rid of them, groundhog heaven.

The most common stairway to groundhog heaven is paved by a small gun, or drowning. The latter was E!'s preferred method, largely because we don't have a gun. We carried the cage behind the shed, where we have plastic tuns full of water. Clearly we hadn't thought it through all the way, because after we had dumped the cage into the tun, it was still sticking out by a third, the groundhog staying above water, wet and scared, but very much alive. In all that confusion the top door of the cage came open, and a wet and happy groundhog bolted for freedom.

All hard feelings aside, we were somewhat glad it got away. I guess we're not natural born killers.

E! was very busy moving our kitchen stuff into the kitchen, from the wait station, so we can start work on the latter. Now the kitchen looks more like a kitchen ...

... and the dish station looks somewhat empty.

I almost finished hooking up the sink in the dish station, but I was a little slow today, plus I needed to do some soldering in tight spaces. If you want to know what I am talking about, take a propane torch and hold it against one of the walls in your place for two minutes, no, not next to the wall, engulf the wall with the flame. How does that make you feel?

Our friend Jerry would say: Why don't you just use CPVC?! Well, Jerry is right of course, I just wasn't thinking of it before I started the project. It doesn't require open fire, is easier to handle, and I would most likely be done by now. Next time.