October 30, 2010

Ridgebacks: A Dichotomy

Thick skulls, yet transparent thought processes. I love that Rory can sit and maintain a furrowed brow for long stretches. It makes him look smart. Like he's concentrating. He sits at the very edge of the living room - maybe a toenail into the dining room, just testing - while he watches us eat dinner. Tonight was roast chicken, apparently one of his favourites. For all his "testing" and feigning ignorance of certain human words, all of which you could simply chalk up to stubbornness rather than a thick skull, his thoughts during his observation of our dinner time are pretty plain. They go something like this..."Hey, uh, I'm sitting here. See? How about this? See me doing a high five? Laying down? [snifffffff] Are you going to eat ALL that chicken? Why have you stopped eating? There's lots of chicken left. Oh, maybe you want to give ME the chicken. No? But I like chicken. A lot. And you aren't eating it. [insert Seriously Worried Look here] Just a bit of chicken. Chicken does a body good. [drool] Oh, wait! Why are you getting up? Where are you taking the chicken? Yay, you're walking to my bowl...that's the right direction! No. No. Oh no, don't put that chicken in the fridge...you'll never eat the leftovers anyway. [sigh]

October 10, 2010

And Another Thing .....

And Another Thing ..... This should be the sub-title of all reno projects.

As you loyal readers might remember, our living room and entrance is panelled with ribbon mahogany. Each panel is approximately 16" wide with a 1/4" gap between each panel. The joints between the panels are covered with some rather unique molding strips - also mahogany.

We speculate that in the entrance, the original owners had installed a boot shelf or bench along the stub wall between the entrance and the living room. In the intervening years, this shelf/bench had been removed and the newly exposed wall space obviously required molding between the panels. The owners had tacked up some ugly molding strips that didn't match the upper pieces and then proceeded to ignore it for decades. In the spring, when Kathryn was prepping the entrance for painting and finishing, she would not tolerate such shoddy efforts. The ugly molding strips had to go. "No problem", I said. "We'll just get some new strips and replace the molding from top to bottom on the stub wall". Kathryn said "OK" and put the entrance prep on hold until I could replace the molding.

On my next trip to the local home reno box store, I rummaged through the mahogany molding strips looking for something similar that would do the job. Nadda. Off to the specialty molding shops where I was certain I'd find a rack of said molding. Nadda. "Never seen it before" ... was the common comment from staff. Searches on-line yielded similar results. Nadda. Nowhere.

OK ... Plan B - rip all the panel molding off throughout the house and replace it with something readily available.... Ummmm, way too much effort with increasing risk of making a bigger mess not to mention the cost and the problems of finishing to match the existing paneling.

At this stage, Summer was upon us and the entrance prep work remained on pause. Renos are patient like that. They'll just sit there waiting.

Yesterday, as Kathryn was doing the prep work for the family Thanksgiving dinner, I decided that perhaps I should appear to be busy or I might be called upon to wash pots or peel some poor vegetables. Obviously it was time to go to Plan C - make some molding strips to match the original (Read this to mean hiding in the workshop making noise and sawdust so as not to be called upon to fumble in the kitchen under the watchful eye of the culinary genius).

As it turned out, it was not too difficult.

Take the salvaged mahogany door casing from the old broom closet.

Route channels to expose the runner that sits in the gap between the panels. I'm making two molding strips from a single casing.

Turn it over and route two shallow grooves on the face of the molding.

Now carefully clamp it to an EZ track.

And trim the first strip to width.
Don't try this with a tablesaw or you will end up with a projectile.

Repeat even more carefully for the 2nd very narrow strip.

A little touch up with a block plane, a rat-tail file for the groove and a final buffing with a sanding block and "Bob's your Uncle", you have 24' of custom molding ready to assume its rightful place on the stub wall. Only I (and now you) will ever know that it wasn't put there in 1960.

Happy Thanksgiving to all our readers, friends and family. We have a lot to be thankful for and I still have all my fingers.

October 3, 2010

First Impressions

I didn't get as far on this project as I had hoped. And now that October has rolled around, both the white paint and refinishing the cement leading to the front door will have to keep until next spring. Do I sound sad? Uh, no. There are plenty of other things to keep us busy this fall. On the plus side, having even this much done for the front door means it's enough fodder for reno blog readers since I've been delinquent lately.

Then. Dark blue door and upper trim, made colder by the light in the north facing yard. Brass mail slot and door knob. And tiny little overhead light. Sunlight brought to you by the month of June.

Now. RED door! A good deep red. Changed the blue upper trim to a dark grey to pick up on those tones in the stonework. Also added some of this grey in the inserts beneath the windows on either side of the door. Subtle, but it makes the windows look taller. Black mail slot and new door hardware. New carriage lamp too. Leaves brought to you by the month of October.

Quiet Time

Sometimes, I do stand still. I still like to run and jump and poke and play, but sometimes it's good just to stand and sniff and look. This time I was taking a breath and sending good thoughts to my nephew Atlas who is very sick. I've never actually met him, but he wears an orange collar like me, so I'm pretty sure we'd get along just fine. Get better soon buddy, and I'll come visit you. Promise.

October 1, 2010

Little Bits

September. When it's not raining, it's an awesome month. Especially days like today (yah, it's October 1st, but still, a textbook autumn day) when it's a Friday off of work. Because it tends to be a pretty month my library of September photos is extensive and Rory is the star in most of them. Well, Rory and his mostly anonymous friends. So before I get too far behind, here are some photos for the blog. I often delete these kinds of shots because they are blurry or the lighting isn't great or they're too far away, but here are some action shots before the delete button gets them.

Sometimes the action is in the tension. Will the little black doggie fall of the edge?

I like this one for the low spring from a crouch - and for the way the other dog seems to be leaning away from the springing Rory. See the other dog's tail and legs? He's looking at Rory but heading sideways.

Now it looks like he`s having a bit more fun. To know Rory is to love him I guess.

 Dark brown dog and Rory both have their front left leg straight out. Like ballet. I also like the ripple of muscle you can see in short-haired dogs.

This is just funny because of Rory`s flappy ear. And because Kiri seems to be thinking Rory won`t find her under there. 

But he does find her. And mayhem ensues. Not to worry, she`s a tough cheeky little thing. And when she grows into her legs I`m sure she`ll be opening a can of whoop-a** for Mr. R.

This was post-action. I love how when they get tired but still want to play they just flop down and chew on each other`s heads.

In this one you can see that only one of Rory`s feet is actually touching the ground, and just barely. I never knew this about dogs. And his ears make him look like a bat.

This might look like a landing, but it`s actually a take-off. I have a great still shot of Rory (I`ll put it in the next post). He was standing there scenting the air, looking all grown up and regal, and then something behind me caught his eye.

In this one, I love the position of Rory`s legs. Stability is what it`s all about.

A brake moment. Sometimes the other guy throws you off with those sudden stops and you have to put your front brakes on to avoid a collision.

More ballet. Synchronized.

A loping Husky and a powerhouse Ridgeback. With the next reach Rory passed right by him.

Sproing and pounce. Though I`m not sure what for. Sometimes he`s like that. You just gotta sproing when you get the chance. It`s a good lesson.