a nice place to put drywall scraps
Sunday, December 15 2019
I burned most of the available near-solstice daylight today salvaging firewood. Using the handtruck, I brought home most of the already-bucked pieces from west of the Farm Road. I also cut a felled chestnut oak into pieces about four or five feet in length, which I could carry home in my arms, though they weren't easily hauled in the handtruck. All of this wood was relatively dry, at least internally, though recent rains had made them moist on the outside, particularly between the bark and the wood. Since we would soon be having a housesitter inexperienced with burning firewood, I thought it prudent to build up the indoor firewood supply with dry ready-to-burn wood (not the stuff that needs to be pre-dried near the stove). There was plenty of such wood in the woodshed that I've been loathe to tap into, hoping to push my just-in-time salvaging strategy as far into the wood-burning season as possible. But today I carried six or seven armloads of that dry woodshed firewood into the house, stopping only when I encountered a deermouse nest under a piece of wood. (The two occupants scurried out, and I carefully replaced the removed piece so as not to ruin their home. It was a small thing for me but a big thing for them.) I then back-filled the woodshed with the freshly-salvaged wood, fully restoring the fourth tranche.
There still was a fair amount of recently-salvaged firewood in the house that needed to be dried before it could be used, so throughout the afternoon, I kept a fairly hot fire going in the woodstove as I burned through numerous cardboard boxes that had been cluttering up the garage. I kept forgetting that Charles the Cat was in one of the boxes, and when I'd tug on it to maybe tear off a piece, it would feel surprisingly heavy and then he'd emerge. He's a cute cat when he's not vomiting or on the kitchen island trying to lick vegan mayonnaise out of your freshly-made sandwich. (We've recently started squirting him with a squirt bottle when he jumps up there, as his behavior on the island has become untenable.)
Another pre-housesitter chore I undertook was the disposal of drywall scraps produced in the split wiring project back in November. As you'll recall, I'd had to cut a bunch of rectangular holes into the ceiling of the basement hallway in order to run the wire. My plan is not to patch the ceiling but instead to install a series of removable hatches (probably made of wood). This meant I had to dispose of multiple rectangular pieces of drywall scrap. In the past, I've buried such scraps in the yard, but I'd rather dispose of them within unused voids in the house, where they can contribute to sound dampening and thermal mass. Now that I have all these holes in the ceiling of the basement hallways, there are plenty of open voids into which I can push things like drywall scraps and liquor bottles. But I would have to cut the rectangular drywall scraps in half to get them to fit (since the holes were all bisected by ceiling joists). This cutting-in-half was a simple matter of scoring the pieces down the middle and slapping them against my thigh. That worked great until I slapped a piece from which two drywall nails protruded. These poked into my right thigh (one of them within the mysterious hand-sized numb spot that I've had for the past two years, though they didn't go very deep or result in any blood loss. I've had a lot of freak injuries over the last three months, but this was the first affecting the right side of my body.
This evening, well before Gretchen and Neville returned from the bookstore, I made a big pot of chili as well as brown rice. Gretchen had had a late lunch from the Garden Café and wasn't hungry when she got home, so I ate five delicious stand 'n' stuff tacos by myself in front of my computer in the laboratory.
Charles the Cat with his favorite of the boxes I burned today.
The state of the woodshed after today's salvaging.
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