Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Congratulations, MOM!

Congratulations, MOM!  India's Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM) returns its first photos of the entire disc of Mars.  Very impressive for the first try of the Indian Space Resource Organization (ISRO), and on a shoestring budget to boot!

Weather, and road trip...

Weather, and road trip...  Our forecast for today had a “chance of rain” – and we won the lottery.  So far today my rain gauge is showing two tenths of an inch, and there's a line of intense squalls bearing down on us – maybe ten minutes away – as I write this.  The rain was enough to put the kibosh on both the driveway paving work and the barn building work.  Dang!

On the other hand, another craftsman showed up today.  This was in response to my reporting a problem with our shower grout on Friday.  The fellow who did the tile work showed up, took one look at the problem I reported, and immediately went to work to repair it – no push back, no guff, no debate: just “Yup, that sure does need to be fixed!” 

I've had enough experience with this sort of thing up here in Paradise now that I've come to expect that workers of all types will unhesitatingly take responsibility for any problem that arises.  I've recently seen this with the two guys (Terry and Jerry) who did the grading work on our driveway here.  The care that they took to get the slopes correctly is way beyond what I'd expect.  One of them even drove out here after he saw a rain squall pass over Paradise, so he could see how the rain water drained off the road base – that's better even than their instrumentation.  A few decades of experience in California led me not to expect this kind of care in contracted work, and it's taking a while to undo that.

This morning I took a trip up to Blackfoot, Idaho, to see the vendor of reclaimed wood there.  These are the same folks (Trestlewood) that supplied our mantel, and we're so happy with it that we decided to get another piece of reclaimed wood from them.  This piece will fit up against our kitchen's ceiling, and the lights for the island will hang from it.  I went up there this morning to walk around their (enormous) yard full of wood to choose a piece.  I found an oddly-shaped hand-hewn piece of wood that I just loved.  The folks at Trestlewood aren't sure what the species is, but they suspect it's a species of birch, or possibly even a lighter-than-usual cherry.  Whatever it is, it's a (very) hard wood, and the chunk we're getting is about 6' long, 2' wide, and 8" thick.  I'm guessing it weighs about 140 pounds, but it's wet at the moment; it will lighten up a bit after it's dried and finished.  The ax and adze marks left on it are quite pronounced; this piece was used as a timber and was never finished in any way.  As with our mantle, the folks at Trestlewood are going to do the finishing for us.  I can hardly wait to see the result!