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Sunday, October 25, 2015

Tables And Football

Nothing more boring than talking about the exciting job of staining picnic tables, but that has been the focus of our life for the last couple of weeks.  Weather has not always cooperated with our plans, but eventually we got the tables all completed in the one park here at J. Strom Thurmond COE.

I'd be lying if I said we did them all by ourselves, we didn't.  We were happy to have the help of another 8-9 volunteers here and we got them all done.  All 166 of them.

Some tables were small, some were very long.  It didn't matter, they all fell to the mighty paint brush and paint roller.  I think there is a special place in heaven for the inventor of the paint roller.  ;c)

We got them stained with a cedar colored stain and they look great.  The stain is a water and sun resistant type which should protect the wood for many years to come.  A worthwhile investment. 

Another worthwhile investment is Motrin.  It sure came in handy to relieve my back from all the bending and stretching I did.  I have to be careful because my back isn't what it use to be after all the pounding it took during my Coast Guard days. 

Now we'll be keeping a weather eye out because to completely finish the park, there are a couple dozen wooden benches and a dozen or so wooden swings that have to be painted before the winter.  These are a little more labor intensive because of the numerous pieces of wood slates that they are constructed with.  No worries, we'll get them done as long as the weatherman helps us out.

The ranger we work for has been very pleased with all we've gotten done.  So pleased in fact that he is talking about having us move on to another park here where there are another 90+ tables needed staining.  Some times you can be a victim of your own success!   ;c)

We've been enjoying our Saturdays driving a couple of hours to watch our grandsons play football.  This is the first year that Owie is playing, Andrew has been playing for five years now. 

I don't know which I enjoy more, watching the boys or watching their grandmother jumping up and down cheering them on at the top of her lungs.   :cD 

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Saturday, October 10, 2015

Epic Fail

I can't remember when I've seen so much rain.  Here in South Carolina, parts of the state have been hit hard by floodwaters from all the heavy rains.  Thankfully, for us, where we're located on the western side of the state, even though it poured for days on end, we didn't experience any flooding issues that have impacted so many other areas.  We do appreciate all the emails and comments from our readers and friends checking in to make sure we're okay. 

Certainly the benefit of having wheels under your home is the ability to move if things start to get too sketchy and we would have in a heartbeat if things in our area really got bad. 

One positive here at Thurmond Lake (or Clarks Hill Lake for our Georgia friends) was that the lake was at a very low state.  After all the rains, the lake is now up to normal levels, unusual for this time of year.  This is the view right outside the Journey's door.  Not too shabby, eh?  The sunsets are amazing.

It's been frustrating, though with a major project we're trying to do at the J. Strom Thurmond Corps of Engineers Project.  We enjoy the many varieties of tasks we can do here as volunteers.  We stepped up to take on the project of staining all the picnic tables at the Lake Springs area, over 150 tables need to have protective stain applied to extend their life for years to come.

Yet the rain keeps getting in the way.  Not only have we had days and days of rain, but the rare days when the sun comes out, we need a couple in a row to dry the wood so it can be stained.

We did get a rare period so far where the sun came out.  As the warm sun started drying the tables, I decided to make good use of the time and take some rides around the area on my motorcycle, I couldn't let the clear days go to waste.  The beauty of this area continues to amaze me.

Finally, on the third day in a row of sunshine and clear skies, we jumped in to start the work project.  We chose to start on tables in one of the protected group shelters where the wood was very dry, hoping to later in the day move on to the exposed tables, giving them a couple of more hours to dry.

I'm a person that is always looking for a better mousetrap, a better way to work smarter, not harder.  I came up with the idea that instead of using brushes and rollers to stain the tables, why not use a garden sprayer that would speed up the process and get the work accomplished much faster?

I picked up two sprayers to use, and set out to put my brilliant idea in motion.

Sadly, it turned out to be an Epic Fail.  I put the stain in the sprayer, pumped it up and was rewarded with a trickle like a water pistol, not a wide mist.  The stain is just too think to flow out of the nozzle.  No amount of fiddling with the nozzle was successful.  Bummer.  Major bummer!

Now it's back to rollers and brushes.  This is going to take a while to complete this project.  I know there are paint sprayers out there that would work, but there is no electricity to power them so the proven rollers and brushes are the way we're having to go. 

But don't think for a minute that the wheels in my mind aren't turning.  I'm still hunting that better mousetrap.   :c)
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