Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Olde Town Chimney Sweep

I've been meaning to have someone look at the chimney I have, or better yet get the thing cleaned out before it causes a fire. Chances are good it's never been cleaned out of the soot and creosote that has been building up. Is that right? Soot and creosote...maybe they're the same thing? Oh well, it's not like anyone has used the place as a permanent residence but more of a weekend getaway from Atlanta since it was built. So who ever thought of cleaning the thing?

Here I thought these guys would be on the roof sticking long poles down the vent chute. Good luck I thought, that roof is steep! Instead the reliable (that means they showed up when they said they would) chimney guys took care of everything from indoors via a snakelike gizmo with a course wire attachment thingie on the end. The chimney pipe must be twenty feet from floor of the wood stove to the top exhaust on the roof.

chimney sweep brush

All the soot was brushed to fall into the whatchamacallit area and sucked up with a shop vac. I can't find the words today. Been doing tax bs, and impatient/frustrated. All in all I got an assessment of my wood stove, good or bad...passed the test. I feel more at ease now that I know how to operate the thing more efficiently and properly.

chimney sweep snake brushThe owner...Sidney. Note the ponytail. Very nice group of guys and I appreciate their timeliness. Five stars! A rarity here in the hills.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

The Summit - Top Of The Hill

It's not often I climb the summit. At least that's what I now call it. It's the top side of the property, spanning two acres or so. The guy who handled the surveying when I bought the place didn't use good markers so now that the leaves are off the trees I can find older ones and make them more obvious.

It's not sloped as bad as I thought and there is a flat area (white arrow) on top for another small cabin. Double white line indicates the driveway that borders the east side of the property. Orange line shows the property line to the top or north side. Gravel driveway is the extreme west side line that extends to the creek and my neighbor.

And 'lil Freddie took the trip with me. He's become attached to me now that I save steak bones for him.

Oh lookie here, remnants of an old still my neighbor told me about. This lies on his side of the gravel road above. There's also another one across the creek from me. I'll get some piocs of that another day.

old moonshine still Ellijay

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Red Wood Chips For Path Extension

I didn't think they'd be that red. I assumed it was the stuff they had laying around the front of the office. After placing an order for a sizable load of chips, the gal called me later asking if red was okay. I said..."what's the difference they eventually fade or bleach out in sunlight don't they?" I sure wish she had gone through this more carefully because sometimes I don't listen too well. Imagine that:)

I didn't know there were options because I didn't see really RED wood chips at the landscape place. All I saw were standard wood chips. Oh well, I'm over it. Just wondering how long it will take to turn the brown color I've been reading about. A few good hard rains will help too.

red wood chipsSo it's the extension of the pathway on the west side that will keep me busy until I make the Christmas trip Thursday or Friday to Florida. Keeping clear of orange flags (wild flowers) that someone stuck in the ground a few months ago, the path takes a squiggly route and follows the creek closely in one area. Could be a spot for a small sitting area with flagstone I have left over. Dam up the creek a little and it could also offer a trout fishing hole, but not sure how my neighbor would feel about that. But he has kids, they'd probably enjoy it.

More firewood sources on this side of the spread. The maple below must have fallen the past few years or so. Large enough that I can barely get my 16 inch chainsaw through it. A few details about the picture. Orange line indicates property line; another fifty feet or so. White will be the direction of the path, and the arrow indicates a wash area I discovered. Actually I think some of it comes from the gravity spring ...not sure. More investigation needed.

Cool place for a whee lil bridge eh?

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Merry Christmas To Me

I could not resist picking up this little beauty. After all it's been on my mind for almost a year. I figured if I was going to get serious about video, I may as well invest in good tools. Video is in its infancy on the web in my opinion. YouTube is almost like a new search engine that gets real traffic and few in my industry are taking advantage of it.

That's typical, those folks (flooring) have been stuck in the 1970's for ages. The internet doesn't exist in their eyes the way I see it. One business related video I put up four days ago is already getting about 20 views a day from YouTube search. Overall with links to my main site it's over 400. Multiply 100 per day by 365 days in a year. Oh my-- 36,500 views! The topic isn't that popular either.

Now instead of using lousy still pictures that are one to five years old, I have what many pros consider to be the best video camera out there in an affordable price range and not the $30,000 ones TV stations use. Great tripod as well. Real smooth panning function.

Lottsa buttons to figure out....

I've actually been considering grabbing some college classes on video photography too!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Rain...More Drainage - Video

I've been waiting for a good gully washer to see what my latest drainage situation may be.

I was thinking of putting some kind of cover that absorbs water where you see all the water laying. But it's not going to help I figure. Look like it's time for some kind of drain and underground pipe that will empty into the creek. Besides grass between the flagstones in that area will not grow with the runoff problem. I'm not looking forward to the trench digging. I guarantee a few monster roots will be in the way. I'll have to find more work to do so a trench digger would be worth the expense for a day. Something like the one below but smaller.

Creek Gone Wild

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

150 Years Ago - Could We Survive?

I was thinking about this today while chopping more firewood. If I was thrown into the past knowing what I know I probably would not last a few weeks in the mountains. I could probably make it in Florida (fishing) but not here. I'm no hunter so I would starve easily, but water would not be a problem.

Take the chore of finding and chopping firewood. With the use of a chainsaw I gathered enough firewood today to last five days. From actual cutting, lugging with an over sized wheel barrel and splitting, time spent was about three hours. Using methods from 150 years ago, I would imagine that would be a two day job in the least. That big cross cut saw above doesn't look easy to operate. It would wear me out in ten minutes.

Think about your ancestors and what they had to endure. Considering I don't use the heat stove 24 hours (electric heat in the morning) a day combined with housing insulation of today, what I cut today may have lasted those folks only a day or two. When is there time for hunting?

We have an obesity problem in the USA today. I have an idea. Throw 'em in the wild for a few months. They're bound to lose some weight.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Waterfalls - Nine Counted - "Running Waters"

This morning after checking out yesterdays snowfall (temps still at 32 degrees) around the property, I never have counted the small waterfalls I have. Being used to the subtle sound I don't notice it much anymore, but from time to time walk out on the porch and remind myself..."you have scenery with fantastic sound."

On the jaunt around this morning I counted nine small waterfalls up and down the creek. One on the far east side(first clip in the video below) of the property has taken on a different shape and sound thanks to some clogged leaves against a fallen log. It's now the loudest part of the creek. A few months back I had planned a continued walkway and a small sitting area. That additional log I was thinking about will make it a really nice secluded part of the property with cool sound.

Walking the length of the creek path there is never an absence of running or falling water. My mother had always wanted to put a name on this place. Why not simply running waters?

Monday, December 1, 2008

More Snow Video - Narration Of Pics

...and a better view of what is where on parts of the property. I think I can get pretty good at this video stuff. I kinda rushed it. Could definitely do a better job, but learning the functions of Window Movie Maker more than anything. It comes packaged with XP, but I never played with it. Beats that Pinnacle program I bought last year (steeper learning curve but with more options), but navigation is very similar making it easier for me to work with.

The UPS guy made it here before the second small snowfall. My lighting system arrived. This should definately improve indoor photos and video.

This guy was funny. "Are you such and such...better be." I don't think he likes coming down that driveway...LOL. At least he knows where I am after 3-4 visits since I've been here.

Snow in North Georgia - Ellijay GA

See the video wrap up below....

At least it's snowing east of Ellijay, Georgia where I am located. It has to be borderline as the temperature shows 34 degrees on the back porch at 6:15 AM. A few degrees warmer and it's bound to be rain. Another size able round of precip is on the way and should reach within an hour or so. Shown on the map it's moving left to right or west to east. I am located east of the circle and plus sign halfway to the county border.

Thinking back this is the first time I've actually seen any reasonable (more than flurries and something on the ground) snowfall amount since October of 1978 when I spent some time in Flagstaff, Arizona. Some fellow workers and I took a weekend trip to the Grand Canyon and stayed overnight near the campus of Northern Arizona University.

It all that green stuff becomes snow, I ain't going anywhere today. The steep driveway will not be navigable. It's bad enough with wet slippery leaves. Almost forgot UPS is is due. I wonder if they'll make an attempt to get down here. I'll get some pics of him trying to get out...LOL.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Up Tennesee Way - Almost. Thanksgiving

I couldn't turn down an invite for a Thanksgiving bite from Chip who handled my stone work recently. He talked about his property but I didn't think it would be as nice as it really is. He was low key about it...grumbling more about how well my creek runs compared to his that now runs on a trickle. But, it trickles into a nice sized pond full of trout that he raises.

Apparently with the small trickle the pond isn't a good environment for trout at the moment due to the ongoing drought in the area. Trout need plenty of oxygen I'm told, and the creek is the major supplier. Not much of a fisherman on this end, he was talking about two foot long trout. Sounds big to me!

Apparently his six acre spread did well when conditions were good for the trout. With signs posted along roadsides in the area people would tent out in the yard and woods for a chance at a good catch. Only fee was $ 5.00 a pound if you took the fish home with you. It sounds so simple. He adores the place and I don't blame him. I'd love to see it with the trees in full cover.

Three year old Adrian gives me casting lessons. This little guy knew what he was doing.

A ride up some dirt trails with Laddy Boy in back of the pickup with Chip's son who is back from Iraq for awhile. The views are impressive looking east to where Georgia, North Carolina, and Tennessee meet. Some stubborn oaks dotted across the landscape yet to drop all their leaves.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Ice - Winter Creek Views

With temperatures far below normal the past week it was a matter of time I would see some ice build up around the creek. Not much, but I was able to zoom in on a few areas.

and some creek photos without the leaf foliage....

Looking east towards the pasture

West towards my closest neighbor

...and some logs waiting to be split. I really like this exercise though I am certain it will not be a fun chore after a few months.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Cold Weather Days

Need I say more? I've adjusted my activities. Good time to get into website updating during these colder days, but this is getting silly. Temps are 15-20 degrees below normal!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

No Water - Frozen Pipes?

I'm guessing there must be a clogged frozen area along the route to the gravity well. Part of it just lays on the soil deep into the woods leading from the well about 100 yards up into the hilly area to my north. Incidentally the well is shared with my neighbor if I hadn't mentioned it. It may be time to look into this situation but what else would be the cause? I do have a small drool once the spigots are turned on then nothing. Temps dipped below 20 overnight.
Frozen lawn:(

May also be time to get this wood stove figured out. It has a fan function but it didn't help yesterday after running for an hour. Should it blow very warm heat or not? It doesn't. Manufacture no longer in business. No luck in obtaining an owners operation manual. I had this thing burning from 10AM yesterday. Maximum temp achieved downstairs indoors was only 73. Upstairs much warmer as heat rises.

Another quandary. Should the stove be extinguished when the house is empty? I don't think the fire will go anywhere if I'm gone for an hour or so. I've done it a few times and it has spooked me, wondering if the place burned down. Problem is the warmth leaves the cabin very quickly once there is no heat source. I've seen it drop from 70 to 62 in a matter of a few hours.

Ah, life in the mountains. Fun, fun, fun.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Oak Fall Color On Rich Mountain

These are the oaks I've been talking about shown on Rich Mountain. Other trees are near bare of leaves. Rich Mountain lies north of state road 52 and east of 515 with a maximum peak elevation over 4,000. Not all my oaks have lost their leaves; a few remain but they are away from the cabin. Still not identified, but I'll get around to it. They are colorful once the light hits them, otherwise bland looking.

Identifying all the larger trees around here is a real piece of work. So far I know I have the following.

  • Poplar
  • Red Oak - type?
  • White Oak- type?
  • Black Cherry
  • Maples
  • Chinaberry - yea that's an odd one
  • Sycamore
  • Flowering Dogwood
  • Hickory
  • Sweet Gum
  • White Pine
  • Eastern Red Cedar

And there are a few of these. At first I though it was a swamp oak due to the very rough bark. Now I have no idea. This is the hardest I've found to split for firewood, and yet part of the trees that were cut down years ago! Still tough as nails. Had to cut a slit with the circular saw to get a wedge in there to split.

Flower updates. They're still alive! these things are hearty as well. Forgot the name already. I'm bad:(

Monday, November 17, 2008

Daily Chore For Winter - Firewood

No shortage of finding firewood around here and it looks like plenty will be used over the next few days. Temps are supposed to drop below 20 overnight tonight. Brrrr. I'm trying to stay away from using electric heat except for mornings to get the temps up to 70 inside. Turned off until afternoon for the stove.

The fallen trees along the driveway (fence in background) should provide a few months of firewood. I'm thinking they were originally cut and bulldozed off the bank when the cabin was built in 1991. After 17 years they are still quite good for firewood. Damned logs can get heavy. Good thing the stove can only handle 14 inch logs. I've been working the one in the foreground with another twenty feet to go toward the trunk.

No I haven't gained a bunch of weight. This is my early AM winter working garb. As mentioned before it's pleasant in the morning after a 15 minute workout lugging firewood or shovelling dirt (plenty of that needed around here). Otherwise I'd be cabin bound all day.

Btw the stone guys are finished, or so they say they are. The hippy was an artist. If I have work done again he will get the call. I just gave up on these guys and figured I could handle minor fixes with some missing or incomplete grout work. I notice it but others would not. These guys are starving. Absolutely no work on the schedule. I'll get some pics up once I get all the stone shovelled and the drainage completed (bottom pic).

Early stages...

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Where Did The Driveway Go? More Fall Foliage

A few pictures looking up and down my driveway upon returning from Florida last week. There's still some fall foliage to see but the colors are more on the darker side and not like the impressive colors of late October. I'll have to look more into the oak trees of North Georgia. Mine are almost bare of leaves but driving to town many haven't shedded. Incidentally the Live Oak is the state tree.

List of oaks in the state. Wow!

Oak, Black
Oak, Blackjack
Oak, Bluejack
Oak, Chestnut
Oak, Georgia
Oak, Laurel
Oak, Live
Oak, Northern Red
Oak, Overcup
Oak, Post
Oak, Scarlet
Oak, Shumard
Oak, Southern Red
Oak, Swamp Chestnut
Oak, Turkey
Oak, Water
Oak, White
Oak, Willow


Noticing some greenery around the area now that the leaves have fallen, I'll check into stuff that looks alive during the winter months. I didn't know ferns grew in the winter, but there are some healthy ones here and there.

More pics...

Here's a great source in identifying trees by leaf, bark, acorns etc. Now I'll know what I have.

Link to oak trees in Georgia.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Officially A Georgia Resident

After putting off a drivers license, primarily due to not being able to find my birth certificate, today I finalized everything by getting tags on my Ford. What a difference from Florida in the time spent obtaining a license and the plate. Blue Ridge is the closest driver license office(24 miles from home) a mere 25 minute ride up 515. Come to think of it no traffic lights in between either. Oh one, but it's a right hand turn. Find that in Florida!

The size of the DL office took me back. Room size could not be any larger than 15 by 15 feet, able to handle perhaps ten when they are busy. I showed ten minutes before open being the fourth in line. Had I arrived 40 minutes later when the crowd thinned out, time spent would have been less than 10 minutes. I was prepared ahead of time to take an hour plus. Love the rural life, no rush, no waiting in line...except WalMart on a Saturday night.

Upon practicing my photo pose it came out much better than my old Florida drivers license taken about a week after I quit drinking back in 2002. Shown with a six day beard. I just can't find the time to shave anymore...hehe. Note cold weather clothing!

Obtaining tags took even less time at the Gilmer County courthouse in Ellijay. Ten minutes...done. Those gals are probably bored most of the time.

Yes I consider myself lucky. Thanks Google.