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Posted to Tanglewood by Steven in Colorado Springs, CO on 9/15/2019

I've been working on trying to get any number of things "done" now that the chandelier is up and solid.  I took down all of the scaffolding, moving one section up to the second floor for eventual ceiling work and the rest around the edges of rooms right now.  I moved some big and heavy bookcases I inherited from Colleen's grandmother to their desired locations (and they are indeed heavy; the man who owned them originally had them on rails and small tracks at his place).  

One of the issues that had cropped up over the course of the summer was some solar work I had Solar LeRoy do, and today he was back up today to finish the some final work and tweak some settings.  I had noticed that one of my charge controllers didn't seem to properly handle amperage and when the panels were in full sunlight it would seem as if all of the charge "moved" over to a different controller, leaving the original pulling zero amps.  It took some trial and error but we eventually figured it out, tweaking some voltage biases that had somehow been introduced that were throwing things off.

While waiting for Solar LeRoy to arrive I took the opportunity to cut up and haul up all of the remaining plywood from the old shed I'd stacked out of the way.  It was good to get this all cleaned up, and now I have a huge pile of stuff to burn once we get some wet weather again.  I know from experience that old plywood burns pretty well, and cutting it up gave me a chance to tweak the chainsaw a bit too in preparation for potential winter fun.

All and all a good and useful day all around!


Steven in Colorado


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Posted to Tanglewood by Steven in Colorado Springs, CO on 8/27/2019

Now that I've got the chandelier up I spent the day cleaning up the huge mess that I'd accumulated in the Great Room over the last year of construction.  Much of it went back out to the garage where it belonged, a few things got redistributed to the designated locations, and generally there was much sweeping and cleaning and whatnot.

Once I got things cleared out I was able to deploy one of my toys.  A couple of years ago my company gave me a huge 20-year bonus gift voucher, and I selected to get a Roomba.  My intention was pretty much always to set it free in the Great Room, where it would rove around and keep that room clean.  It can't climb and the room is definitely of a specific size, so I figured it would work out quite well.

And today I got him up and running!

His name is Huey.  There's a short pic from one of the Arlos of him busily cleaning up the enormous mess that was on the floor.....



Steven in Colorado

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Posted to Tanglewood by Steven in Colorado Springs, CO on 8/21/2019

In order to understand this posting I have to set the stage a bit.

About a month ago my mother decided she wanted a red hibiscus plant.  This took me a bit by surprise, but like a good son I went in search of one.

I checked several local nurseries....nothing but some yellow and white varieties.

I checked some of the local hardware stores like Ace, Lowes, and Home Depot since they all have nurseries for many flowering plants....nothing.

I checked Wal Mart since they sometimes sell plants like that....nothing.

And then, that following weekend I went into town to fetch groceries.  There are the grocery store was a huge collection of plants of various types....including a Red Sunset Hibiscus!

Okay, bought and presented and mother Very Happy.

Fast forward to today, and we spotted that it had put out a gorgeous red flower.....

Huzzah!


Steven in Colorado




Photos

Just a gorgeous flower I think.



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Posted to Tanglewood by Steven in Colorado Springs, CO on 8/10/2019

At long long last, with many mistakes, false starts, re-trenchments, near-disasters, delays, breaking equipment, and whatnot else.....the chandelier is now IN ITS PROPER PLACE!

Yes, Tanglewood's Crown has finally been installed.

I had decided last week that after many trials and problems over the last nine months (great Scott has it been that long!?!?!?) I needed to stop with what, in retrospect, where half measures.  I'd tried a manual winch and I'd tried an old-fashioned come along, neither one of which worked properly while attached to the scaffold itself.  I finally decided to completely move everything and mount the winch to the railings outside the big door.

So after a brief bout of problems early in the morning with a pulley that decided to fall apart, I finally just checked everything about four more times, hooked everything together--and up it went!

I had initially thought that the chandelier was a tad low, but after a couple of hours with it I decided otherwise.

The. Chandelier. Is. Up.

HUZZAH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Tomorrow I'll caulk everything in properly and get the shades properly installed.  For now, I simply wish to bask in the glory...….   ;)


Steven in Colorado

Photos

A short trial run with everything connected....note the chandelier is in fact off the floor.
A close up shot.
Here you can see it's going to go Way Up There.
Look at it all ready to pull up....
Partway up!
At long last!
All lit up! Gorgeous!
A shot from the second floor.
A close up shot from that same spot on the second floor.
One more shot from down below.....so happy this is DONE.



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Posted to Tanglewood by Steven in Colorado Springs, CO on 8/10/2019

SO....here I am getting things ready to make the final lift of the chandelier up to its proper spot.  I had hooked things up, done a couple of short test runs of the winch and the lift to make sure everything cleared properly and all, and to make a judgement on how long I'd need to run the winch and such.

And as I lifted the chandelier a couple of inches on the test......I was suddenly pelted by bits of metal!

What the heck....?

So after making sure the chandelier was well anchored I climbed up the scaffold to find out what was going on....to find that the main pulley I was using had apparently disintegrated!

It had just fallen apart.

Broken into pieces.

No longer a pully, just miscellaneous hunks of metal.

Good. Grief!

Thank you Odin for not having this happen when I was winching the chandelier up!

Pics of the debris below....



Steven in Colorado


Photos

What the heck happened here? It just fell apart!
No warning that I knew of either....just broken pieces....good grief....



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Posted to Tanglewood by Steven in Colorado Springs, CO on 8/3/2019

More footage of my awesome bee hive...


Steven in Colorado

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Posted to Tanglewood by Steven in Colorado Springs, CO on 8/3/2019

Well now, I finally was able to turn my attention to the chandelier yet again after a few weeks of relative inaction.

In truth I had not been idle, but everything I'd attempted tended not to work as successfully as I'd wanted.  I could raise the chandelier but using the winch (which I switched to after trying to use a come along) ended up moving the scaffolding to which it was attached.  As I would raise the chandelier the scaffolding which actually creep towards the chandelier, with the upshot being it would end up in the chandelier's way--I couldn't raise it any further because everything was in the way.

Mind you I figured this out after various attempts to relocate the winch to different spots in and around the scaffolding.  I did actually succeed somewhat it getting the chandelier well off the ground (as you can see in the pics), but after a long day of failures one after the other I eventually decided I simply was not going to be able to lift it while attached to the scaffold...it is simply too heavy.

SO.  I figured out what I'm going to do to get this done.  It's well past time to get this done and off of my to-do list, to be sure.

I'm going to bolt the winch to a 4x4 (I have several left over from the deconstruction of the old shed) and then attach said 4x4 to the railings on the porch.  The line from the winch is long enough to reach up to the chandelier mount and back, so that shouldn't be an issue.  The winch will be pulling against the railings tied in with a half dozen or so strong tie-downs, which should prevent any unfortunate accidents.  I'll borrow a spare car battery I have up here in the garage which should maintain power long enough to get it up there.  I want to try to have the scaffolding nearby so I can untangle things or move the line as needed, but I also have to make sure there's a clear line of sight and such.  

At least that's the plan anyway.  I started moving pieces parts outside to do all this but unfortunately given the time of day and other chores in waiting it'll have to wait until next week.  But I know what I'm going to do.

Until then the pics below are actually pretty good.  You can see how it's all mounted along with a  good pictures of the pulley Up There.

I will get this done!


Steven in Colorado


Photos

The chandelier sitting prettily on the floor.
The chandelier lifted!
Another a shot from the side, showing the chandelier is clearly off the floor.
A picture from above.
A longer shot showing the chandelier is a good three foot off the ground.
A shot of the mount and pulley Way Up There.



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Posted to Tanglewood by Steven in Colorado Springs, CO on 8/3/2019

I just happened to be stepping out on the patio and caught this little girl busy on the flowers on the weeds hereabouts.  There were a bunch of them all over the place; they apparently are taking full advantage of the pollen and nectar.


Steven in Colorado

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A bee happily doing its thing on a flower.



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Posted to Tanglewood by Steven in Colorado Springs, CO on 7/31/2019

Captured this from one of my cameras during the day today.

The bees seem happy....


Steven in Colorado

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Posted to Tanglewood by Steven in Colorado Springs, CO on 7/26/2019

I spotted this beauty running up the canyon after work.  I'ts a big, very "dense" white mushroom very well defined cap and base.

Colleen's gonna love it!


Steve in Colorado

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The top of this beauty, dirty but in good shape.
The underside.



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Posted to Tanglewood by Steven in Colorado Springs, CO on 7/20/2019

This time I spotted a variety of unusual ones--some smaller "dense" white ones outside near the woods, a yellow that has a very dense undercap that looks exactly like a piece of foam insulation, and then a cluster of very "loose" and fragile ones on the back of the house.  The smaller ones were particularly interesting...they looked a lot like eggs, and contained a very liquid yellow center.  It was very difficult to extract these smaller ones since they were so very fragile, but I did what I could and set them out to dry for Colleen.

Amazing the variety of these things!


Steven in Colorado

Photos

A whole bunch of white mushrooms here....
A larger white one definitely different than the others.
This one is very "dirty"; that's its natural coloration too.
This puppy is VERY yellow and "dense".
Another dense white mushroom, very similar to the red one I found a couple of days ago.
All of the shrooms all laid out to dry.....



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Posted to Tanglewood by Steven in Colorado Springs, CO on 7/20/2019

Looks like nearly all of the little babies we capture on camera a couple of weeks ago are still around....I counted around twenty in these shots.  They started over by my mom's apartment and then wandered over to the patio outside my kitchen.  I got a couple of pictures from down there, then moved up to the deck where they didn't realize I was there (they never look up, apparently).

Cute little buggers!


Steven in Colorado

Photos

Not a great shot with the patio door in the way.
The mama turkey on the right stuck her head up to look at me, so I figured I needed to perhaps change my vantage point.
This one is from the deck, which basically is right above and to one side from the patio.
Another good shot of the many many babies.....
They're starting to wander off here.
You can see a couple of the babies wandering down through the weeds.
They sure are cute little things.



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Posted to Tanglewood by Steven in Colorado Springs, CO on 7/16/2019

Colleen has asked me to start "keeping" mushrooms I find so she can dry them out and put them into bottle as decoration.  I am nothing if not accommodating so.....

Spotted a big red-caped (kinda pink, really) this afternoon while moving some old wood up from the old shed.  After I snapped a pic I dug it up for Colleen.....

Steven in Colorado

Photos

Very nice big mushroom....it was very "dense" and meaty looking.



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Posted to Tanglewood by Steven in Colorado Springs, CO on 6/29/2019

I happened to catch this clip of the bees "doing their thing" during the day.....they SEEM to be happy enough at least....  :)


Steven in Colorado

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Posted to Tanglewood by Steven in Colorado Springs, CO on 6/21/2019

Summer, 2019 passed into history at 10:54 AM this morning.

From here on out, it gets darker......

Sad face.



Steven in Colorado


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Posted to Tanglewood by Steven in Colorado Springs, CO on 6/14/2019

Not really important enough to actually merit a picture, but I'd taken out the door lock late last year to test something.  I never put it back, just stuff insulation into the hole to stave off the colder weather.

I finally got tired of it lying around while puttering around my chandelier, so I put it back on.

So mote it be!



Steven in Colorado


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Posted to Tanglewood by Steven in Colorado Springs, CO on 6/10/2019

Tanglewood is exploding with hummingbirds and bees; now we can add a healthy crop of turkeys to our list of passersby.  We count roughly 20....it's difficult to be certain since they hide and dart around...but we think it's the combination of two clutches (the two larger hens in the center).

I suspect they will be coming by a lot....it will be interesting to see how many are lost to predators.....


Steven in Colorado

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Baby turkeys!



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Posted to Tanglewood by Steven in Colorado Springs, CO on 6/7/2019

One thing I may have mentioned in my very early posts is how Colleen and I really wanted to keep a honeybee hive up there at Tanglewood.  We actually tried it once but it did not take; we're pretty sure the poor bees were beaten up severely getting up our road and then we didn't do anything at all to protect them, so they were probably at the mercy of the ants once they discovered them while they were still weak.

Time passed.  The old hives were given away.

And then Colleen wanted to get bees again!  I was fine with that, so she ordered them way back in December, 2018.  They were supposed to arrive in early May of this year (2019).

We immediately had as many bouts of snow in a month as we'd had in the prior three!  So the shipping was delayed (since they would arrive in cold weather)....and then it got delayed again.....and then it got delayed again.....

BUT NOW THEY ARE HERE.  Tanglewood now has an official beehive, in as safe a spot as we could put it (out on the deck).  Colleen and a friend helped to put together a great video of the "unboxing" ceremony and it looks like it worked pretty well.  There are roughly 30,000 bees in a "nuc" (short for nucleus) in this shipment; bees are apportioned by weight  (since they certainly can't count the buggers).  A few were lose in shipment of course and I'm sure a few died en route, but as you can see from the video there are a heck of a lot of them. 

WHOOP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Steve in Colorado

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Posted to Tanglewood by Steven in Colorado Springs, CO on 5/25/2019

My mother finally got me to clean up the (misguided) attempted to keep plants over the prior winter by burying them in straw.  Not only did that not work, but it cleaning all of the straw out to prep her plants for this year's fun made a gigantic mess.  Straw everywhere!  Somehow the pile of straw I ended up with was roughly three times the size of the mass I put in there last winter.....not quite sure how that happened, but I assume it either involved swelling due to water and/or invading straw monsters attempting to hide among the pile.

While cleaning out this sodden mess I ran across some very oddball mushrooms, the type I had not seen before.  Given their pale structure and dark blue/black heads I'm pretty sure they would not be good to eat, so after I took some pics I pulled them out and tossed them down the hill with all of the other mass of straw and associated weeds I took out at the same time.

Lots to do, lots to do....!


Steven in Colorado

Photos

Weird....
More weird.....
PRETTY sure I shouldn't eat these....



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Posted to Tanglewood by Steven in Colorado Springs, CO on 5/17/2019

A couple of shots here of the chandelier being lifted a little bit to test the weight.  It's only about three inches off the ground, which ought to be more than enough to test the weight of the mount while still allowing the chandelier to not be damaged should it crash to the floor.

You can see the windlass style winch I got over at Harbor Freight for this job.....I think it should work okay.  Not entirely happy with the way I've got the windlass mounted up there but it is solid, which is the most important thing.

Progress, slowly but surely.....


Steven in Colorado

Photos

The mount WAY UP THERE.....
The chandelier a couple of inches off the floor....



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Posted to Tanglewood by Steven in Colorado Springs, CO on 5/17/2019

Okay, basically since I'm taking this incredibly, ridiculously, ponderously slowly I decided to hoist up the chandelier again to test its weight with all of the onyx light shades/covers.  I want to get the most up-to-date data before I execute my plan.

The chandelier and all of its fiddly bits comes in right at 147.5 pounds.

Okay, that's good.  Now I need to look for proper lag bolts that can handle the chandelier's load.

So here's my plan as of now:  I intend to drill out the two screw holes that had held the Arlington and the old ceiling fan so I  have two holes completely through the rafter.  I then intend to put long lag bolts--threaded completely--through the rafter, put the Arlington over those, and hang the chandelier's mount (which Dan so cleverly built) on that.  Nuts and appropriately sized washers will be liberally used throughout.

I'll need to find some longer lag bolts...the ones I had were only 12" long and that's not nearly long enough.  I expect I'll need a couple of feet.  And of course they need to be heavy enough to bear the weight.

SO....the hunt is on......this will take time, but I WILL NOT put this puppy up there until there is zero rational chance for it to fall...….

I also still need to figure out exactly how I'll  hoist it.....gonna look at a hand-cranked hoist, that should work I think...….hmmm...…...


Steven in Colorado


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Posted to Tanglewood by Steven in Colorado Springs, CO on 4/16/2019 1:57:51 AM

Well it certainly took a much longer time than I'd thought it would, but I finally got the Arlington FB-900 down and got a good gander what's up there.  Found some good news too.

I got the screws out holding the Arlington into place and figured at that point it would be easy to drop it down.  Turned out to be a lot harder than I'd expected--it was definitely loose but I couldn't easily pull it down.  I tried for a solid hour, pushing and pulling it, double checking there weren't any other fasteners holding it up, comparing it against the one I'd bought on Amazon.

After a good lunch and a couple of other minor chores, I decided there was nothing at all "extra" holding it up....I just had to pull more harder.  So I got a pair of vice grips, gave it a good yank--and that worked!  Out came the Arlington!

And as suspected there wasn't anything holding it up at all, it was just pretty tight.

Once I got it down I dumped out the debris inside it (lots of mouse droppings, dead moths, etc.) and set it down next to the new one (picture below).  They were identical which was more or less as expected, but I had concerns that a newer model might be different.  At least they weren't.

Looking up into the hole I made a pleasant surprise.  The builders put a 2x6 across the rafters rather than the 2x4 that the instructions actually called for--this is good as it's heavier duty and less likely to have any issues.  I was duly impressed.

A minor minus however--I'd already bought lag bolts (in the picture below the Arlingtons) for 6" holes, since I thought that would be long enough to get thru the stud and anchor the chandelier from the top.  Since the cross-beam is a 2x6 I'll need to go get some longer lag bolts (8")….so it's Home Depot for me tomorrow!

Still it's all good.  I'd much rather do it right and if that takes more time, so be it!


Steven in Colorado


Photos

The new Arlington is on the left, the old one on the right. The lag bolt (too short now) is below.



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Posted to Tanglewood by Steven in Colorado Springs, CO on 4/13/2019

Okay, it's taken a bit of time to figure out what I'm going to do but I've got a plan now.  Major pieces of the plan are in place, and the rest are more or less spread around the Great Room floor.

Folks might remember that a month ago we nearly had a disaster with getting the chandelier mounted properly.  Since then I've been able to re-examine the whole setup and what I really needed to mount things properly, and so now we've got a plan.

The first was the need for a true steel mount.  The old mount (the ball) worked fine enough but couldn't handle a truly heavy load, and wasn't really designed for that anyway.  Looking around I found a lot of various types of steel and solid mounts that would attach flush to the ceiling, needing only a small flat cover to tidy it all up.  Since I have a vaulted ceiling the Arlington FB-900 was more appropriate to the ceiling and so the canopy I'd purchased would be used instead.  Once the chandelier is up there it'll actually have a lot of "empty room" inside that cover, but that's all good....it'll be a good 14 feet up anyway.

A friend of ours volunteered to build a heavy gauge steel mount and it came out perfectly.  There was a slight need to make an adjustment to accommodate the sloping canopy shell but that was pretty minor.  It looks fantastic and is now undergoing repainting to get it ready for deployment.

With the mount being built the other issues was the Arlington mount itself.  The Arlington FB-900 is carefully built to allow for very long (three inch) screws into a cross-beam stud installed in the rafters; this beam is nailed into the rafters and then the Arlington itself is held up with two small screws and those two long screws.  It's then sealed with caulk to make it all pretty.

My issue wasn't with the Arlington itself but with the nature of how it's mounted.  Those two long screws are just wood screws, biting deeply into the cross-beam 2x4.  I know from personal experience that I myself have taken down those screws and put them back up at least three times as I write this, and very possibly four.  Quite simply, with all of the installation and removal of those screws I frankly I wasn't sure how well they would take the weight any more--screws do work loose over time, and having had them removed/installed several times made me uneasy.  Would the screws actually hold reliably a fourth time?

Quite frankly, I didn't trust it any more.  I needed to be sure that my 131-pound chandelier wouldn't come crashing down at 0300 in the morning when this screws pulled out.

So.....after some though I've come up with A Plan.  I have decided that what I'll do is to actually remove the Arlington, giving me a good 8-inch square hole thru which I can work.  After ensuring the cross-beam is solid, I'll go ahead and drill out the two holes which are already 3" in on the 2x4 (which means there's about a half inch left).  Then I will install heavy duty lag bolts, with double nuts and lock washers thru the holes, thus allowing the weight-bearing bolts to be sitting on the cross-bream rather than simply screwed into it.  This makes gravity work for me in this case rather than against me, and I think it will be vastly more secure as a result.  Once those bolts are in I'll reinstall the Arlington and caulk it all up cleanly, then attach up the newly-built mount with more lock washers and double nuts.  

THAT oughta hold that sucker.  IF it ever comes down it'll be because the roof came down too, so I'll have more bigger issues anyway....

Below are two pics, one with the (somewhat mangled) ball mount that Was Not Good and the other that is the big heavy gauge steel mount that probably could hold a car if we could get it in there.  

Next up I've got to get the holes drilled and the mount installed, then there will be another Weight Test.  Fingers and miscellaneous appendages crossed....


Steven in Colorado

Photos

This is a picture of the older ball mount. It held up well enough, but not good enough for the chandelier.
This is the new 1/4" steel mount. This sucker is heavy!



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Posted to Tanglewood by Steven in Colorado Springs, CO on 3/23/2019

Well now, this was an unexpected development.....

As I'd noted earlier I had decided to do another weight test with less "stuff" on the chandelier (I decided the shades made it too yellow).  So today with Colleen and Dan up here I decided it was time to get this puppy Up There!

I had bought a small winch to help lift it gradually up to the ceiling and was busy putting all of the hardware together when Colleen suggested we use their vehicle winch to pull it up instead (with all of the appropriate offsets and pulleys and such).  I figured that was a good idea in general and wanted let her be a part of the fun, so I readily accepted.  We got everything all hooked up, drew tension onto the line in preparation to starting to pull the chandelier up.....

….and danged if the entire ball and socket mount didn't come right down!

This rather surprised us, so we figured we'd just not set the "ball" in the ball mount properly (here's one for reference).  There's a gap one side that allows you to lift the ball up over the edge of the "saddle", then set it back down so it's firm and solid in the mount.  So we put it all back up, cleared all of our lanes for pulling on things, began putting tension on the line again.....

….and danged if the entire ball and socket mount didn't come right down!

Well okay...what the heck is going on?

It took us a bit but we figured it out.  I'd used this ball and socket mount because that's what they used for the ceiling fan.  They're done that way so that the ball allows the fan to "wiggle" a bit with as the blades from the fan are whirling around.

However, that type of mount is NOT A GOOD IDEA if you just have a big heavy chandelier like, for example, one made of elk antlers.  The mount holding the ball had spread with the couple of weight tests I'd done and very likely would have fallen thru the mount at some point (probably at 2:00 AM in the morning), sending the chandelier to a probably fatal fall.....

Ouch.

SO.  We're regrouping.  The only reason I put the larger canopy up there in the first place was the ball and socket mount, and that was only there because the construction crew put in a ceiling fan as a temporary measure until we had the chandelier up.  Looking at it that isn't really what is needed though.  What we really need is just a solid cross mount (metal) that can support ~200 pounds, attached to the deep screw mounts that are with the Arlington FB-900 that we have up there.

With that in place I'll get another canopy of some kind to clean it all up and make it purty.

So....I'm glad we found this now!  We'll end up with a better and more solid installation anyway, and (hopefully) will avoid disastrous problems down the road.

That's life at Tanglewood!  BWAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Steven in Colorado



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Posted to Tanglewood by Steven in Colorado Springs, CO on 3/14/2019 8:06:12 PM

So with the hardware complete I figured it was time to look at getting the chandelier up...BUT I wanted to make one more weight test.

It was pretty easy to put together at least, since I'd done it just a bit ago.

The current weight test is coming in at 132 pounds (without those shades).

Now we wait while I suss out how to hoist it up there!


Steven in Colorado

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A nice 132.4 pounds.....



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Posted to Tanglewood by Steven in Colorado Springs, CO on 3/10/2019

After getting everything all  properly painted I wanted to actually put the hardware together so I could move on to ponder how to get the chandelier actually hung.  Today I finally got that done.

It was of course trickier than I'd expected.  There was no trouble at all in getting the canopy on and around the chandelier hook-and-ball itself, but it turned out that the screws that came with the canopy just wouldn't fit.  To be precise, the screws that tie up into the hanger and hold the canopy "up" and attached simply weren't long enough.  Grrr...

That little problem of course took hours.  I have approximately nine billion screws in various buckets in the garage (that's just a rough estimate), but finding the right one--color, thread, and length--took a lot of trial and error.  The most annoying part was when I would find only one candidate....I knew there had to be a second one in there somewhere, but finding that special second one always proved to be a bit elusive.

However, with much trial and error, I was finally successful!  Huzzah!

So now the hardware is complete.  I think I want to do one more weight test next though--I want to be very careful here, as one would expect.  On the plus side I decided not to use the covers for the bulbs, so that right there will reduce the overall needed weight by a good 20 pounds.  I'll get that rigged in the next couple of days.

Slow but sure, there's progress!


Steven in Colorado

Photos

Everything is nice and tidy Way Up There....



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Posted to Tanglewood by Steven in Colorado Springs, CO on 3/9/2019 1:35:59 AM

I got a little bit done on the chandelier, mostly due to conflict between available time and snagging the wrong parts.

Last weekend I carefully set out the various bits of hardware that I'd decided to spray paint to match the canopy and such.  I let things dry for a couple of day--there didn't seem to be any hurry and I wasn't going to try to put anything up until I had a weekend again--but when I checked how things were looking I realized I'd very, very carefully painted the wrong eyehook.  I had bought a shorter one originally and then discovered that I needed a longer one to make everything work properly with the eyehook.  Naturally I'd managed to recolor the wrong one.  Sigh.

Fortunately this was an easy problem to correct, and the parts are doing what I hope is their final dry-in as I write this!

So once all the hardware is done I'll get all of the hardware assembled and installed up there, probably tomorrow (Saturday).  Once that is done, we'll be down to the fun part....hanging the chandelier itself!  Some challenges there I haven't quite figured out yet, but I'll work on it.  I very much want this to be right, as one might expect.

In other news we had a bit of a winter storm over the last weekend with 4.5" inches of global warming gracing the outdoors. Combined with some very low temperatures, the trees became these frosted, gorgeous sentinels lining the canyon....it was remarkable.  I was able to take a few pictures with my cell phone and thought folks might enjoy them.

I've also been slowly re-staining some of the old furniture I had inherited from Colleen's grandmother.  I have pretty much decided that the object of my attention at present is fine little cabinet/drawer thing that I simply don't have a need for, so once it's all stained I plan to donate it to the local ARC.  I think it'll be a good little dresser for a child.

I've given Colleen some measures for some of the more "odd-ball" windows around Tanglewood that I wasn't able to find any curtains in such odd-ball sizes.  I also given her an existing 64" curtain that she will be cutting up and turning into properly sized curtains for the odd-ball windows.  Looking forward to what she comes up with!

And that's about it since my last post.....there are some slight signs of spring here and there, so soon it will be summer again!


Steven in Colorado


Photos

Great shot of the road heading up the canyon.
I liked this shot where you can see the road far in the distance.
A line of frozen trees with Black Mountain (one of many such in Colorado, as it happens) in the background.
Looking out across the creek bed area to the ridge to the other side of Tanglewood's boundaries.



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Posted to Tanglewood by Steven in Colorado Springs, CO on 2/24/2019

Well now, when we got up this morning and started Doing Stuff we quickly found a whole bunch of odd tracks wandering all around Tanglewood.  After some examination I decided that they are definitely from a cat--and since it's unlikely there's a housecat running around I assume it's a bobcat.

He clearly came down from the hill behind the house, then followed the side of the house and stayed out of the snow as much as possible.  He was apparently fascinated by the light fixture outside the patio door and (I think) thought about jumping up there before deciding he couldn't actually get on top of it.  After he visited he headed off towards the creek past the propane tanks.

Neat! Some pics below.

In other news I've made (slow) progress with the chandelier.  I finally received a canopy for the chandelier fixture.  There was one before but it went with the old ceiling fan, but fortunately after a bit of looking around I found one that should work well.  I also had to get another eyehook to hang it all from, and after a little bit of testing and experimentation I'll have the necessary parts all put together.  After that I'll need to spray point the hardware (everything up there is oil-rubbed bronze) but that won't take too long.  I'm getting close to actually putting this puppy up, definitely.

Another awesome weekend in Colorado!


Steven in Colorado

Photos

You can clearly see the cat print towards the upper left.
A close up picture, though not as good IMO as some of the others.
Very clean print here.



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Posted to Tanglewood by Steven in Colorado Springs, CO on 2/11/2019 2:34:42 AM

Well now, I'd hoped Solar LeRoy could come up to take a gander to Tanglewood's solar woes yesterday and danged if he didn't ping me first thing this morning to come up to do just that!  We spent a quality day looking at what the heck is going on...turned up some interesting things.  It took several hours to suss out what was going on and get all three controllers back up and running.  

As I had noted, charge controller #1 was totally "frozen"....no inputs at all worked no matter what we did.  Solar LeRoy shut down the system, rebooted that particular box several times, but nothing worked.  He finally swapped it out with a spare he happened to have (part of his system which had been down since last summer) and took the original back down to his house to contact Outback about what the heck it might be doing.

Once we got the replacement installed we were partially working properly, but things still weren't right.  The breakers didn't seem to be connected properly, and we'd get different inputs on what was "active" based on what breakers were thrown.  When left "normally" controllers #1 and #3 were pumping amps, but #2 was only showing voltage--no amperage at all.  In addition #1 was still going "high" on the amperage, hovering around 70A which is MUCH MORE than those units should be getting from good sunlight.

Solar LeRoy's first thought was that something was wrong down in the breaker box, but he took off the lid and there was nothing obvious.  We then checked all of the circuit interconnects along the backs of the panels as it seemed as if swaths of the panels weren't putting power on their circuits at all (the ones tied to controller #2)…..everything was tight and nicely connected.  We DID take the opportunity to clean up some of the cables that had lost their zip ties due to weather and the like however, which is positive.

Our next thought was that perhaps the line driving controller #2 had  a break in it, and we did some investigation along the run from the shed down to the panel breaker box.  That required a bit of digging up of some of the line to make sure there wasn't another box somewhere in the line we didn't remember (there wasn't). The most annoying part was that we discovered (rediscovered) that he'd apparently used a differently colored wire on the leg heading out of the shed, so we had trouble finding the precise connection.  Lots of amp testing and breakers on/off however eventually convinced us there were no problems.

So with that in mind, we took a break to get some more tools and then resumed testing, looking at the outside breaker box again--and THAT's where Solar LeRoy found the problem.  Two different wires inside the breaker box had shorted, one against the cover housing and the other along the left-hand side of the box.  BOTH were bad but the second was far and away the first...it was difficult to see because it was partially behind the "edge" of the box.  Once we got a look at it however it was very obvious--that particular wire was bundling the panels for controller #1, had partially pulled away from the connector along the top, and it in turn was touching the bundler wire for controller #2.  Controller was getting the amperage for BOTH strings of panels (24 panels in all), thus overloading controller #1 (causing the breaker to pop) and showing very erratic amperage on the daisy-chain of panels for controller #2.

Once he figured it out it was relatively easy to fix.  We killed power to both controllers #1 and #2, stripped out the bad wire (which fortunately he'd left long), and tied everything back in properly.  When everything was turned back on, all three controller were humming along and doing their job properly!

WELL DONE SOLAR LEROY!!!!!!!!!!!!

So at this point, Solar LeRoy is taking the bad/frozen controller back down to find out what Outback wants to do.  We still have a problem with one of the legs from the 240V generator only putting power on ONE leg....the circuits for the inverter/charger are different than the charge controllers...so that still needs to be looked at, probably after finds some details about the bad controller.

But we're making progress, and that's pretty danged glorious!  :)


Steven in Colorado


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Posted to Tanglewood by Steven in Colorado Springs, CO on 2/9/2019 10:25:48 PM

Things move slowly during the winter months, which is just the way it is.  I have tried to keep busy, though nothing seemed worthy of a post all by itself.  I thought maybe today I might catch up a few items:
  • The most annoying thing is probably that one of my three charge controllers seems dead, while another seems to be malfunctioning.  Charge Controller #2 shows it's getting current but not a thing is going into the batteries as amperage according to the monitoring tool.  And then just for fun, Charge Controller #1 seems to be completely "frozen"--it doesn't respond to button presses or resets at all.  To add icing onto the cake it does actually do its thing, but apparently it has lost its internal upper amperage limit--it hits the 80A limitation on the hardware and trips the breaker.  Happens most sunny days ~10:00 AM....danged annoying.  

  • This means right now I'm running Tanglewood on one good and one semi-good charge controller.  

    Yes, Solar LeRoy has been summoned!  More soon I hope.

  •  I finally started sorting and evaluating all of the furniture I inherited from Colleen's grandmother (she passed away just under two  years ago).  First up was an older dresser, rather smaller than I would like for just about anything.  I had considered simply donating to the local ARC but there was simply no way I was going to wish it on anybody while it was still that hideous lime-green shade that for some reason was popular in the 1970s.  It's received two coats of the Special Walnut shade I used on the door and now that I have some more rollers I'll work on trying to finish it more properly.  After THAT it may still be donated rather than find a place here at Tanglewood, but at least it won't be lime-green!  *shudder*

  •  Work on the chandelier has been proceeding.  I took down all of the weights that I left up there as a test after a couple of weeks and proceeded to thread the eye-hook through the fan mount that will hold everything.  And that's when I ran into a problem...it turned out the eye-hook I had wasn't quite long enough to pass through the downrod.  Well dang it.....

    I fetched a slightly longer one this afternoon while running around and hopefully will finish what I started tomorrow.   Assuming I have all of the weight-supporting hardware in place, I can then test how big a housing I need to cover everything up to make it pretty (of course the housing/base that was with the original ceiling fan went with it when I gave it away).  

  •  Since the weather was decidedly unpleasant and the stain I'd applied to the afore-mentioned dresser was in the process of drying I decided to get some more curtains up.  I'd been wanting to get proper curtains along the upper hallway for a while--both they and the curtain rods had been mocking me every time I walked by them--so I gave in and took a couple of hours to put everything up.  Now that there are curtains I can finish hanging up pictures along that hallway as well, which is a plus.

That's more or less what I've been doing over the last couple of weeks, that and sussing out that there was in fact a problem with some of the solar equipment anyway.  But it's all progress, and it's all goodly!


Steven in Colorado

Photos

Snapshot from one end of the hallway....
...and then again from the other end. I guess in retrospect I probably should have turned those lights on....



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Posted to Tanglewood by Steven in Colorado Springs, CO on 1/26/2019 8:49:51 PM

And now the Great Experiment begins!

The mount the crew installed Way Back when Tanglewood was being constructed was supposedly sized for a 200 pound dead weight (such as an elk antler chandelier). Now that I've got the ceiling fan down and packed away, the time has come to weight test this puppy. After all, I don't want it to come crashing down, especially if it was to fall ON somebody....that would kill'em lots.

I weighed the chandelier (took a bit of effort) a few weeks back  at 151.1 pounds. As you can see from the reading below, I've got 177.4 pounds of "stuff" hanging from a hook up to that mount as of this afternoon.

So now...we wait. I'll give it a good week or so to see if it suddenly gives way or anything untoward. That would be VASTLY annoying, but better to test it and have it fail this way than to have the whole chandelier come crashing down.

Fingers and appropriate appendages crossed.....

Steven in Colorado

Photos

The test weights (I just found a lot of heavier stuff to pile on) are hopefully stable.



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Posted to Tanglewood by Steven in Colorado Springs, CO on 12/21/2018 9:03:41 PM

The solstice passed on 12/21/18 this very afternoon at about 3:22 PM Mountain Time.

Now, every day, it starts getting a little bit brighter.

YES!


Steven in Colorado


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Posted to Tanglewood by Steven in Colorado Springs, CO on 12/16/2018 10:32:29 PM

I was taking the ceiling fan down a few days ago when I realized that I need a bit of stability when I'm standing Way Up There.  The scaffolding kit has a fine set of railings for working up on top of everything, so I decided to take the day to add that for safety's sake.

It took a lot longer than I thought it would....several hours....but I finally got it all done.

It'll be a lot harder to fall off now.  It's not really impossible per se, but I'd really have to work at it at this point.

Next up, adding the test weights (yeah, still haven't done that yet)!


Steven in Colorado

Photos

It was all remarkably heavy but I got it up there...



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Posted to Tanglewood by Steven in Colorado Springs, CO on 12/6/2018

Sadly I didn't get to see him, but I saw the tracks he left in the snow last night.


When I got back home I thought I saw some kind of disturbance near the porch, so I wandered over to take a look.  A bobcat apparently wandered by at some point overnight.  As near as I can tell he didn't do anything so i assume he was just scouting and looking for something tasty (perhaps those turkeys from the other day).

Love living up here!


Steven in Colorado

Photos

Close up of a pawprint...
...and a pair of them



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Posted to Tanglewood by Steven in Colorado Springs, CO on 12/2/2018

Well, I had to go track down a game scale (used to weigh deer and such that you take in a hunt), but I was finally able to track one down to test out the chandelier's weight.  


After that it took me about an hour to figure out how to get the thing up  "into the air" so I could take a weight measurement, but eventually I did.

That sucker is 132 pounds by itself with the seven foot chain.  With the rock light fixtures (shades) it's 151.1 pounds in total.

So now I know what to test again to make sure it's installed as designed...that's next....


Steven in Colorado

Photos

Took a bit to get a proper snapshot but I got it eventually!



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Posted to Tanglewood by Steven in Colorado Springs, CO on 11/25/2018

After being amazingly absent on Thanksgiving the two remaining turkeys (all the others have wandered off to find their own mates, or to be eaten by something) showed up again today.  


After checking out the area near the leach field they wandered up for some corn.  They ate a lot....


Steven in Colorado

Photos

The two of them were very casual, I'd say.



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Posted to Tanglewood by Steven in Colorado Springs, CO on 11/24/2018

Well, I had a thought that I might get up into the attic so I could double check that the installation is right and proper, but it turns out that's a lot harder than I'd thought it would be.


Venturing into the attic I took a look at the crawl space and the how tight it would be.  It's not impossible to get in there, for sure, but it sure wouldn't be easy.

I think instead I'll test the worthiness of the Arlington FB-900 in another way.  IF it was properly installed (yes I've learned to check these things) it should easily be able to carry a 150 pound load (the weight of the chandelier and the chain and the light fixtures.  I'll have to give it some thought, but I reckon I can rig something to test it with.  

I'm going to go very slowly with this....I don't want to have that chandelier come crashing down on anybody!


Steven in Colorado

Photos

Looking down the left hand side of the crawl space. Note all of the very difficult to navigate around metal joint plates.....
...and here's the right hand side of the crawl space. I can SEE the electrical where it runs down into the living space, but it would be pretty hard to get there from here.



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Posted to Tanglewood by Steven in Colorado Springs, CO on 11/22/2018

So I finally got a couple of days to focus on getting some work done (Thanksgiving) and so elected to taking down the ceiling fan itself.  I'd done a little bit of work the other day when I removed the light and discovered the tiny little bulbs that made the Great Room so dim.  

It all turned out to be a bit simpler than I actually thought it would be.  With the scaffold up to two lifts (about 12') then I could access the fan itself.  The first step was to take off the blades, which were affixed wit three screws per arm.  Once I got that down, I had to take a look at the ceiling fan box itself.

From way "down there" I had assumed the box was wood, basically a wooden block cut to fix the arch of the ceiling and a hole bored through the block for fan itself.  Once I was able to take a closer look I found that it was instead a heavy plastic, which surprised me rather a bit. Setting aside exactly what brand it was I removed the housing cover at the top to reveal the mechanism with the ceiling fan hanger (the standard ball fitting) and several wires connected with wire nuts.  I disconnected each (after double checking once more that the breaker to it was turned off) and then...simply lifted and lowered the whole fan assembly and downrod in one big piece.  Simpler than I would have thought.

While taking a lunch break I did some research on exactly what the ceiling fan box was.  Turned out that this is a much "heavier" assembly than your standard box--it's an Arlington FB-900.  These are rated to hold 200 pounds, which as it turns out Colleen had specifically asked for back when Tanglewood was being built.  It's basically exactly what they needed to handle the heavier weight of that chandelier--smart thinking indeed!

With food out of the way I was able to finish up pretty quickly.  There was some work disassembling the fan box and storing all the parts away properly, and of course I made sure to dust everything nicely as I packed them away (I had kept the original box the fan came in years ago).   

So it took a bit but most of my time (fortunately) wasn't spent Way Up High on the scaffold.  Next I need to do some research on the ceiling fan box and think about how I will hang the light; the wiring won't be a problem but I'm unsure about exactly how to fit it.  possibly I'll be able to use a ball system and hang the chandelier directly from that; I'll have to do some research. 

Getting there!


Steven in Colorado

Photos

The fan before deconstruction from Way Down There....
....and a closeup of the fan.
The fan with the light assembly removed.
The connections with the housing removed and the wiring moved apart so it's easy to see. There's a rectangular box on the left hand side that is the wireless receiver for the remote.
The fan assembly removed and set down safely to the floor.
The fan box with all the bits removed.
A closeup of the fan box (the Arlington FB-900).



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Posted to Tanglewood by Steven in Colorado Springs, CO on 11/19/2018

I didn't have much time this evening when I got home (too late to see very well), but I'd told myself that I would take down the glass canopy and the bulbs on the ceiling fan.  With the second lift installed yesterday I knew this would be relatively easy, and looking at the manual looked like it was.

Turned out to be a lot easier than I'd thought.  Since I knew I was going to take the lights out I also knew I wouldn't have any light to work with, and since it was nearly dark I made sure to take a flashlight up there with me.  I got the canopy off very easily and then I was duly astonished....

I had always thought the light up there was a bit dim, but had thought that it was simply because the ceiling fan was so high up there.  I had loosely thought that there was a 100W or maybe a 200W CFL up there, didn't really know for sure.

Turns out the truth was much more horrendous--three small (candelabra sized) incandescent bulbs, rated at a measly 40W each.  And one of those had burned out!

Good.  Grief.

SO....I fetched down two of them with the lights on, then turned the remaining light off and shimmied up the scaffold to take down the third one.

I think that once I've got the antler chandelier up there it's going to make a world of difference....


Steven in Colorado


Photos

There were three of these tiny little things up there in that ceiling fan.....



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Posted to Tanglewood by Steven in Colorado Springs, CO on 11/18/2018

Once I got a couple of chores done this morning I was able to turn my attention back to the scaffold work I'd done yesterday.

With the room cleaned up and the pieces/parts that make up the scaffold all installed yesterday I turned towards getting the second lift/level done.  For the most part it was all very straightforward, though a bit heavier than I'd expected (this really is a pretty good quality construction I guess).  There was a bit of a problem getting one of the two truss supports fastened in (most likely that corner isn't as square as it should be, but I couldn't figure out where), but for the most part if went up quickly.  I took my time and moved very carefully since I was working roughly six feet in the air to start with, and by the time all was said and done I was setting twelves feet up.

Still I got the second lift done and now I can actually reach the ceiling fan!  Tomorrow or perhaps Tuesday I'll start taking it down, light and time permitting...…


Steven in Colorado

Photos

A shot with the second level installed! Ain't it purty?
Another shot with a better angle.
Looking down from the second level....tricky to get a great shot, but there ya go.
You can see the ceiling fan way up there....that's my next target....



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Posted to Tanglewood by Steven in Colorado Springs, CO on 11/17/2018

With winter weather and truly upon me now I've decided to stop the "outside" projects in favor of tackling the "inside" projects (i.e., projects that I can complete indoors while the weather is nasty).  The first task to tackle now is to put up the antler chandelier.

I moved this puppy into the house back in mid-2016, where it sat while I was doing door work.  With the outside part of the door finally done and various side-projects that had a higher priority I could finally get back to getting the chandelier installed.

Right now there's a big ceiling fan up in the Great Room which Colleen had tracked down for install back when Tanglewood was being built.  The primary reason for this was that we clearly needed to have something up there, and we honestly thought at the time that we would be able to install the chandelier the following summer by carrying it through the door and starting the process.  When we discovered much to our great surprise we were a bit at a  loss, and took me three tries and some pondering before I finally decided to tear the old door out and carry it in that way.

But that was in the past, and now it's time to get this task accomplished!

First up I had some cleanup to get done though.  Most of Saturday I spent gathering up and putting away many of the tools I'd strewn about while working on the door (and I made sure to put up the tools rather than simply building a new pile in the garage).  That took a good couple of hours to get done all by itself, but by the end of the morning I had a nicely cleaned out spot, had moved the chandelier over to one side of the room (pending erecting the scaffold), and had even done a couple of passes sweeping to clean up all kinds of mess that had accumulated over the last few months. (The end idea is to put a Roomba down in the Great Room, where it will live and vac, but we're not there yet.  I do have the Roomba though, which I admit is kinda odd....)

Once the cleanup was done and lunch consumed I moved towards getting the scaffolding inside.  I had built one lift of the scaffold earlier in the summer and so my first task was to roll it inside the house where it had been living on the porch outside the door.  Then I started to unpack all of the other scaffolding which I'd purchased but left out in the garage and carry it inside, which took a lot of time....much more than I would have guessed.  There's a lot of metal in three sets of scaffolding and I was amazed how much of I carried in....it was kinda like Christmas, and everytime I moved one box I found another!  (It all made a ginormous amount of cardboard to burn as well...wow.)

But once it was all inside and unpacked I took a couple of nice snapshots of all of the pieces parts, and then got a little bit of a start on building the second lift on the scaffold.  By the time I was done I had the outriggers installed (large feet to stabilize me when I'm higher up) and part of the second lift installed.  Tomorrow I'll finish that second lift and get the floor installed.

Lots of work but it was good work....more tomorrow!


Steven in Colorado

Photos

The first scaffold lift moved inside from the porch.
The "fancy feet" for the scaffolding if I were ever to use it outside (probably will eventually).
A view of all the "stuff" I brought in for the other two lifts of scaffolding.
Another shot of all the miscellany. There's a lot of stuff here.
A shot of the guard rails that I will eventually install at the top so I don't fall off and stuff.
Scaffolding with the outriggers installed.
Started the second lift. Note my little stepstool so I can hammer things down from the top (didn't need much, but did need some).
THAT is a lot of cardboard....



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Posted to Tanglewood by Steven in Colorado Springs, CO on 11/11/2018

After the visit a couple of days ago we got some good snow (about 11"), and danged if those turkeys didn't show up for some special attention again.

Some great pics here.  They were all fluffed up against the cold.


Steven in Colorado

Photos

Outside one of the bedroom windows, they are strutting around. The tom in particular is all fluffed out.
Here they are wandering down from the porch near the kitchen.
This guy is looking through the window into my bedroom.
Snow is kinda deeper here than he had thought.
Perched at the edge of the porch, hoping I would show up with food. They eventually went around to where my mother feeds them.



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Posted to Tanglewood by Steven in Colorado Springs, CO on 11/8/2018

Thought I'd share these....we had a couple of visitors (a tom and a hen) poking around lately looking for corn.  These are the two remaining batch of turkey who were around all summer long (nine at one point) who have presumably been chased off or gone on to find their own way as fall turned into winter.

These guys are very tame around my mother; not so much around myself though.


Steven in Colorado

Photos

Turkeys looking for some food, setting off the alarms.
Corn has been tossed down and they are very happy.
Turkeys munching as fast as they can.
Still eating. Neat looking birds.
After they had eaten they came up to the door to see who was in there.
The tom gets all fluffy now.



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Posted to Tanglewood by Steven in Colorado Springs, CO on 10/13/2018

Good weekend days are getting rather more rare these days as winter is coming on, but I was finally able to grout the rock around the wall!  Yay!

A step back for a moment about Tanglewood.  The house itself has a "dry stack" layout, such that there isn't any grout to speak of between the layers of stone....they are tightly positioned one against the other.  When I started with the door I actually wasn't sure I'd have enough rock to do the same around the door (despite the larger-than-expected amount I had managed to collect). So I went with the more classic "wide grout" layout and honestly I'm pretty happy with the way it turned out.

I've got nearly the whole door area done as of this writing; it actually is going pretty quickly.  There's a little bit yet to do and then I need to extend the grout down to the pillars themselves, but I should be able to get that done tomorrow.

One step at a time!


Steven in Colorado

Photos

The left hand side of the door, nice and grouted tightly.
The right hand side of the door. I think this dark gray looks pretty nice myself.
The upper right, showing the work and the bit of stucco that I need (eventually) to fix.
Another shot of the left hand part of the door.



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Posted to Tanglewood by Steven in Colorado Springs, CO on 10/9/2018

Well now that the rainy days of autumn have arrived, The Leak has (of course) cropped up again.  Dang it.

First the good news related to the turret.  I've been doing work up on top of the turret cleaning it all up and getting ready to put a new membrane seal onto things and I have to say it all looks pretty danged good.  There's a "dip" in front of the main scupper which causes water to pond rather than that I'll need to level out, but fortunately I'd thought about that and bought some stuff to do so.

The leak however is still present and we got enough rain to (of course) leak again (pics below).  Very frustrating.  Feeling around the length of the patio door it's wet along the whole way, but I think it's "more wet" along the southern edge than towards the northern (house) edge.  

Once the rain stops and I can clear everything off I'll take a closer took of course.  I need to completely clean off the top of the turret (pine needles, cones, etc.), then level out that one part before I can put a new layer on top.  Down below, I'll clean off the whole walkaround and then double check everything once more--maybe I missed something causing the leak.  I'll probably put a new layer on everything as well if the weather is amenable.

I want to fix the ceiling in that room but of course I can't until I've got that leak stopped.

I'll get you fixed sooner or later, Tanglewood--it will happen!


Steven in Colorado

Photos

At least I've got a pretty good system now to catch the water....dang it.....



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Posted to Tanglewood by Steven in Colorado Springs, CO on 10/5/2018

A friend of mine at work noted that she wanted to see what Tanglewood looked like.  After doing a bit of digging I realized I didn't have any good pictures, so I walked around the house this morning and snapped some for her.

And here you go.


Steven in Colorado

Photos

The front of the house from (more or less) the driveway.
The front of the house towards the turret side of Tanglewood. My computer room is up there at the top of the tower.
The back of Tanglewood looking towards the turret directly behind a tree (sorry).



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Posted to Tanglewood by Steven in Colorado Springs, CO on 9/10/2018

Okay, so after deciding last week that I was going to go with more rock rather than trying to cut wood curved to fit the arch of the door, I spent some quality time selecting rock and building a stockpile of stones to use.

After I got the rock selected out I worked on installing the wood for the straight portions of the pillars on either side of the door.  As much as I liked the idea of a "real pillar" I couldn't find any that weren't FAR too wide...I needed a very *narrow* pillar to fill in the gap between the edge of the door and the wall.  Every square pillar I could find was at least 4" wide, and the half circle columns were frankly worse size wise.  (I'm not sure why this is since you'd think there would be a need for them, but I guess not.)

So I got myself some nice pine and started going with a layered square look. The pillars had to have  slight stepdown as the edge went "up" the door (the arch apparently was deliberately designed to widen slightly towards the top) and so I measured carefully so as to make the transitions look a bit natural.  

By the end of the day I got the pillars in place and had started putting in the rock...well, *a* rock anyway.  More to come.  Once the rock is all done, I'll grout everything into place.

Step by step, I'll get this thing done!


Steven in Colorado

Photos

Pillar on the right hand side. It's not stained yet so it's a bit tricky to distinguish it from the door itself.
Pillar on the left hand side....
I got one rock on before it was time to shut things down for the day. But it's one!



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Posted to Tanglewood by Steven in Colorado Springs, CO on 9/1/2018

Okay, I had a plan and it just flat wasn't going to work....so I decided to Change the Plan.

My idea originally was that the upper part of the door would have all that rock, and that the sides would be encased pillars or pilasters or something like that.  The bottom parts are straight enough, but the top sections left and right needed to have a slight curve along the edge of the door.  After some searching I found wood suitable enough size wise, but of course I had to do some cutting to get them shaped properly.

Unfortunately I simply don't have the tools to do this properly.  I tried, I really did....I used a jigsaw that I simply could not keep under control, I tried a table saw while carefully working the wood as I turned it, I tried using a simple a handsaw.  None of it worked, and after basically wasting an entire day I basically only ended up with a bunch more scrap for the fireplace.   It was clear that I wasn't going to be able to make the arch at the top of the pillars properly arched, and I frankly was running out of patience.

So after some due consideration I decided to continue the rockwork down from where I had stopped earlier to the straight sections on either side.  As it happens that is exactly five feet (60"), so I needed to extend the rockwork about a foot on either side.

Attaching the rock per se isn't going to be hard because I have a lot of the thinset mortar.  The more difficult thing is to find rock that would fit the space to either side of the doorframe--I used virtually all larger rock and the vast bulk of the remaining decorative rock was all cut by the builders.  That meant they were basically flat on one side and certainly didn't look at all "natural".  Bugger.

Fortunately one aspect of living on a gravel road is that it is basically made of rock.  Lots and lots of rock.  Big rocks.  Small rocks.  Pretty rocks.  Rocks you can use on a door....

So I'll be spending the next couple of days gathering rocks for the door.  Thought I was done with this bit, but there you go.....monkeys gotta adapt!


Steven in Colorado



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Posted to Tanglewood by Steven in Colorado Springs, CO on 8/14/2018

Well bugger all.

First the Good News.  I took a good look at the grout work and it's all solid; I like it.  There are a couple of spots I'd redo if I was motivated but they're all WAY UP THERE over the arch of the door; nobody will even be able to see them from the porch.  So they're good.

I need to start taking measurements for the bottom half of the door and consider how I'm going to finish that bit off.  I'm pondering some type of pillar, or shallow extrusion or pilaster.  Given the slight slant of the door arch itself I might buy a larger single board and cut it down to size.  Not really sure; I'll have to ponder it.

Either way that leads to the Bad News.  A very close friend of mine has passed away unexpectedly, so I'll have to run back to Missouri to give him a proper sendoff.  Unfortunately that probably means this will delay furtherance of the door work for a week, though at least I have to spend some time gathering options anyway.

Life  happens!


Steven in Colorado


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Posted to Tanglewood by Steven in Colorado Springs, CO on 8/13/2018

I realized I probably didn't provide a good pic of the rockwork along the top of the door, so here ya go.

That "divot" along the upper right is where some stucco came down; I'll have to color match it before I can work on replacing it.

Next up, the grout work!  Since I didn't do the rock as a "dry stack", as with much of the house (I didn't think I had enough rock, frankly) I'll need to grout it up similarly to the tiles around the fireplace.  I'm thinking a gray or perhaps a black color; going to have to experiment a bit.


Steven in Colorado

Photos

Nice mix of sizes left from the original construction.



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