Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Kirkpatrick McMillan - The Devil on Two Wheels

As many of you know, I have a lot of Irish and a lot of Scottish in me.  Some of it in the form of DNA and some in the form of beverage for which each country is noted.

Being a little of each gives me both curiosity and enthusiasm in a world where technology is quickly exceeding my ability to absorb its advantage to the world about me.  But I am blessed with a decent mechanical aptitude that sometimes allows me to repair what can be repaired, and even create something that has never been created.

Even so, nothing has ever gotten in the way of my curiosity nor has it stopped me from trying to understand things I can't change.  And there's great joy in changing what I can change.

I would dearly love to leave this planet in better shape than I found it.

There was another McMillan (also spelled MacMillan)  (note the spelling is slightly different than my own name: McMillin) who's ability to apply ideas to the technology of the day set in motion a form of human transportation that quickly changed the world.  And it continues to do so today.

My distant relative, Kirkpatrick McMillan, is now recognized at the person who invented the human powered bicycle in 1839/1840.

And in doing so, he changed the world for the better.

If you have ever owned a bicycle, you owe its existence to Kirkpatrick McMillan.

If you have a few minutes you might read this accounting of him and his invention.

Devil on Two Wheels

Sunday, April 22, 2018

Jack Semmes Ranlett Baptism and Party

Nephew Chase Ranlett, and his wife Cheryl, asked if I would take pictures of their new son, Jack, as he was baptized.  Of course. 

But there would also be a family celebration party afterward.  Of course.

The timing was perfect.  It was Easter and the day was beautiful.

Everything went smoothly, and before the day was over I had over 200 photos and a lot of video.  I had to discard some, of course, and edit others, but in the end I think I did a fair job of showing the two events.

The whole day was very nice.

Here's the link to the YouTube video: 

Jack Semmes Ranlett Baptism and Celebration

Friday, April 13, 2018

Another Sod Day at Maison des Poulets

You wake up thinking that it would be a nice day to recover from yesterday's sod wounds.  But no - there's even more sodness to be dealt with today.

Maison des Poulets just doesn't look like it did yesterday.  And in many ways it looks even better after we came to grips with our sodlessness.

The truth is, we really needed some 'Sodness' in our lives.  If for no other reason than to perhaps serve to remind us that not everyone is lucky to even have Sod.  We had it but Mother Nature took it from us. So Sod.

We were fraught with worry over what we should do.  But in the end it became clear that we just had to take matters into our own hands.  We did, and we feel really good about it.  And we decided that Sodness can be a good thing when handled properly

So once again we're off to the Sodest place in Covington, knowing that we would end up being even more banged up and dented, and a lot Soder than yesterday.

Maybe these photos will show you what I mean.  These were taken this morning as a new sun arose.  You can actually see the sodness as it spreads to the right, affecting everything in its path.

Here too...

Yes, we need about 1,500 more pounds of Sodness before we can truly say we've got our sodlessnes under control and our feet firmly on the ground.

Next day, we added another 1,500 pounds of Sodness, plus two full wheelbarrows of beach stuff.  Then we waited for the promised rain.  It came and looks like our efforts to achieve Sodness Nirvana paid off.  We feel the power of success.

More proof that Sodlessness can be overcome with a plan, some $$$ and a lot of effort.

Saturday, March 24, 2018

Finally, A Shed

A shed for our growing collection of lawn care and gardening tools equipment was high on the list of 'things to do' here at La Maison des Poulets. 

(Yeah... I know I said I would no longer have to do lawn mowing, but somehow my plans went awry)

We flipped and flopped as to what kind of shed (build it ourselves or buy one) because of the area where it will be located.  We wanted it to look nice but be functional.  But most of all, it needed to accommodate items that were unnecessarily taking up space in the garage.  And it had to meet the Homeowner's Association guidelines.

In the end, we opted for a resin (plastic) shed that would do the job.  And the one we chose comes with a 10 year limited warranty.  I take that to mean if it fails on the last day of the warranty, the cost of it's warranty replacement will be calculated by dividing its original cost by 3,650 days minus one.  So in this case the company would give us a prorated refund of $0.22. 

But hey, if I built my own, my warranty would be 'Zero.'  So we probably made the right decision.

It came in a box and was set up and functioning as a shed before the day was over. Judy and I assembled it ourselves.

Take a look.

I will be mounting some hangers and hooks to hold most of the stuff off the floor.

Next project: our outdoor kitchen...

Monday, March 05, 2018

More Concrete Makes For More Patio

Back when the house was being built we could not for the life of us make a good decision on what to do with an area between the house, the porch and where the New Coop (outdoor kitchen) would go .  So, as expected, nothing good comes from indecision.  Sure enough the area was unusable. 

So we finally called the concrete guys and they took care of it.  It really turned out well and instantly made our porch/patio/outdoor kitchen area more like what we really needed all along.

More photos will follow as we get it completely finished.

Visit From Texas Friends

February 2018 started off with a visit from eight of our long-time friends in Texas.  We really had a great time visiting, but we made sure we all had plenty to eat and drink.  We may be living in another state now but it didn't take long for the food and drink to start its magic for having a good time.

Lots of photos were taken and although it was hard, I edited out as many of them as I dared so we would not bore people with too many 'happy-smiley photos.'

I combined them into a video that should pretty much tell the story.


Texas Comes to Covington

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Jack Semmes Ranlett - Age 'New'

My Sweetie and her sister Joyce, have been waiting a long time to become Great Aunt and Grandmother.  And now they are...

Introducing Jack Semmes Ranlett.

He is the product of Cheryl and Chase Ranlett, and is not shy about showing off his good looks and captivating smile.

And he seems quite pleased about how quickly his parents respond to his commands.

Here's the short video of the momentous occasion - his first birthday.

Tuesday, February 06, 2018

Leroy's Elevator Update

When we lived in Texas, we stored a lot of items in our detached garage attic.  It was always awkward at  best to get items up and down from the attic.  I really hated it.  Not only was it difficult to use the flimsy pull-down folding ladder, it was unsafe.  So unsafe that I actually fell from the attic because of my losing my grip on the ladder.  Yes, my head was well into the attic making the fall about ten feet.  By the time I stopped falling my head was hitting the floor.

Yes, it hurt like a SOB!  But it could have been worse... Much worse.

So when we moved to our new house in Louisiana, I had hoped the garage attic had a better and safer means of access, especially when I found out the climb was three feet more than in Texas.  I knew I would not survive falling from this height.  In fact, my first time up the ladder was so frightening for me that I was shaking in fear.

So I had to come up with something better.

I looked at making a 'pull-down staircase.'    It would be just like a staircase except that it would retreat into the attic until needed.  At least I could easily carry boxes up and down a lot more safely than on the rickety fold down ladder.

I show my design to the builder, and although he found my creation 'interesting' he would not build it.  So I was on my own.

But then I got to thinking that perhaps there was even a better way to solve the problem.  And I started searching 'elevators' and 'dumb-waiters' and 'lifts' to get some ideas.  Eureka!  I actually found some creative people's videos on YouTube showing their elevators.  Not just a 'sling' type lift but an actual elevator.

So I drew some ideas from them and added my own.  I knew this would work and I could build it.

As it turned out, my brother-in-law and nephew stepped up to do the difficult work for me.  I'm glad they did because I'm clearly getting too old to do that kind of work by myself.

The results were better than expected.  We now have an elevator in our garage and we are the talk of the neighborhood.

Take a look at the video I just posted on YouTube.

Leroy's Elevator

Pretty darn cool...  But more important, it's much safer than me climbing the fold up ladder.  Plus, it allows me to take even larger and heavier items into the attic for storage.

It could not have worked out better.