Wednesday, February 9, 2011

February 2011

Skiing, snowshoeing and broomball.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Some random images from our trip to the cabin over spring break. Thawing creeks, frozen deck, west Texas wind turbine, and fun in the snow.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Water Woes

Spring break 2010 was a trip to the cabin in the Hills. we needed some R&R. The weather has been beautiful. It was mid 50's today and they say tomorrow will be the first day to hit 60° in Rapid City since last Thanksgiving. No one seems to care that 6-8" of snow are predicted for Friday.
But for now, heaven.
We spent the morning scraping sap that has oozed out of the logs over the last few summers. It is time to re-stain the south and west walls. It has been 4 years since the initial coat.
But the real story at the cabin has been the water woes. Whenever we close up the house, we never know what we will find when we return. Since it dips to -20-40° below 0° here at times, we must drain the water pipes. No big deal. I've got it down to a science.
But lets count the small problems that we encountered this March.
  1. Hot water heater didn't work. Turns out an element was bad. It was under warranty but the parts were 20 miles away and I had to drain the tank to get to it.
  2. Kitchen sink leaks at the drain. I know I am the one who installed the sink. Plumbers putty just ain't what it used to be.
  3. Downstairs bathroom toilet would not stop running on. Bad valve. Again, parts 20 miles away.
  4. Kitchen faucet leaks at the hand sprayer whenever you turn the water on. This is the same sprayer that we replaced last year under warranty.
  5. Washing machine was spraying water as soon as I turned on the power. Then when I got that shut off, it would not fill up with water even when I turned it on. Turns out when I drained the water pipes last fall, I switched the hot/cold hoses and yadda, yadda, yadda.

So is that enough water woes for one day? Let's hope things dry up.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Can you hear me now?

Sometime around 2002 we bought this piece of land up in the Black Hills of South Dakota. My brother asked me if I was really going to build a log cabin. I said "I have to now, I already said it out loud."
Below, you can see pictures of the property before and after we built. They key was saying it out loud, not just dreaming.

So the time has come to voice my goals for the upcoming year. We have many hopes and dreams for the family, but I just roll with the changes there. I will limit my talk of goals here to running. Saying them out loud is my way locking them in. You heard it here so you can hold me to it.

After suffering a stress fracture of my 2nd metatarsal on my right foot 11 weeks ago, I am back to running regularly now. I am pretty sure I will be able to continue so here is what I would like to accomplish in 2010. (in some particular order)

I've got a 1/2 marathon scheduled the last day of January. This will be my test to see if I am really ready to continue.
It will be my third time to run the Lake Benbrook Half Marathon. The first time was over ten years ago and was my first race more than a 5K. The second time was last year and I was deathly sick with the flu. I couldn't break 2hrs. I did run a 1:47 1/2 marathon in June on a very fast downhill course. I would like to beat this time but the courses are very different so I am not going to be dissapointed if I don't PR. (maybe a little)

I'd like to set a PR in a 5K somewhere. Ideally, it would be after the 1/2 marathon but I doubt I will be able to wait that long. There is a local 5K on Jan 3 that I will probably do. My goal of a PR shouldn't be too hard. I don't even know what my PR is since I haven't run an organized race at that distance for some time. This is the way I look at it. Anything over 24:00 will mean I am still injured. If I come in uder 23:00, I'll feel great. Ultimately, I'd like to see a sub 22:00 in my future. For those of you scoring along at home, I'm 46 now so I feel those are respectable times and would allow me to place pretty high in my age bracket in any small races.

Okay. Here it is.
I want to run a marathon. I know, I know. Big deal. Many people say that and thousands do it. But I don't want to say it unless I think I can do it respectably. I nearly did one last year but the training needed was taking too much time. As soon as I decided not to run one, I enjoyed my running soooo much more. Best decision I could have made at the time. But I am ready now. My weekly long runs before injury were regularly in the high teens up to 20 milers. I'll work back up to the 13.1 by the end of January and then start training for the Deadwood Mickelson Trail Marathon on June 6, 2010. It is a gourgeous route along an old railroad track. The first half is all uphill and the second half (where the 1/2 marathon starts) is all downhill. The race start is only about 20 minutes from our cabin so I plan on participating in this one in some way or another every year. This race is organized by the same guy who does the Lean Horse Ultra (from Hot Springs, a bit farther to the south). He also just announced a new Crazy Horse Marathon that will also pass through and end in Hill City, SD.
By my "respectable" comment above, I mean my time. I know you are not supposed to shoot for time in your first marathon but I can't help it. So here it is in print. anything over 4:30 will be a disappointment. Anything under 4:00 will make me ecstatic. even at this stage of my recovery, I regularly do sub 4 minute Yasso's so convention wisdom says it is possible.

In addition to these specific goals. I will run every trail race that fits my schedule. I love the camaraderie and atmosphere surrounding these races. I love to run trails by myself but once in awhile it is nice to hook up with others. Our cabin borders the National Forest, so all I have to do is step out my back door in the summer and 50' away is the largest trail system, playground you can imagine. The 40th annual Mystic Mountain Run in July is one I will surely do.
In case you are wondering...Yes, I would love to run an ultra someday but will wait to announce that another time. The 50K at the Lean Horse 100 the end of August would be great if I am ready.

If not, there are some great trail Ultras in Texas in the fall. the Rockledge Rumble in November. I was training for the 30K trail race when I got hurt. I'd rather do the 50K. We'll see.

So there you have it. It all bcomes official as soon as I hit "publish post". Wish me luck. Keep up with me here, on Facebook and at


2009 pictures

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Many people sit indoors over the winter with seed catalogues in their lap dreaming of how the garden may look in the spring.
That is kinda what we do when we plan our next summer at the cabin. Except this year I think we will get the opportunity to spend a week or two up there around New Years.
So I have already begun my day-dreaming of what can be done even if it is the dead of winter.
If the weather is really bad, I plan on working on the basement. We do have electric heat down there and I need to get walls up in the bedroom to separate it from the tool room/laundry room. This will also cordone off a "den" area. At some point in time, at least half of this area will get some kind of floating floor. I don't really want to do that in the winter as I really should do some moisture testing and I don't think it will be accurate on Jan 1.

Secondly, no matter what, I need to do some work on the outside logs. Ever since we put them up, they have been oozing sap. They obviously were not that dry to begin with. So the first few summers really made them look like someone just poured honey down the side of my house. It is so messy in the summer, it is hard to clean off. But I am sure that in the winter as the old sap hardens, I'll be able to scrape it off likety-split. And since it's been about 5 years since we first built this thing (is that posssible?) it is time for a new coat of Sikkens Cetol 23. At least on the south and west sides.

Thirdly, I'd like to get power and lights out to the new carport. I may not be able to dig my trench to bury the conduit, but I can do all the fixtures, outlets and such in the carport and then just hook it all up next spring.

So that's my plan. Plus all the hiking, ice fishing, geocaching, broomball playing and skiing the weather will allow. They are expecting 12+ inches of snow tonight and tomorrow. Sounds like a good base to me.