Friday Felines

Sylvester seems to change his personality from winter to summer. He seems to want more affection in the summer. He came in last week and jumped up on the couch. He seemed to like it when I started petting him.

sly with butt up

scratching sly earHe eventually settled down and really got into it.

content sly


House update, June 24

We had the basement and garage slabs poured for the new house on Monday, June 22. This is the final step required before framing can begin.

At 7:30 that morning we heard the concrete trucks turning around just outside the house on Wildlife Trail so they could aim directly up the drive instead of having to make a sharp right-hand turn coming up from Fouche Gap Road. I walked and fed the dogs, grabbed a quick bowl of cereal and then went up to see things. David and his two helpers were about halfway through the basement pour.


In this shot you can see several significant things. First, of course, the truck is dumping concrete down the chute while one worker directs the pour and the second spreads it. The gravel base is covered with plastic. David (wearing the orange head wrap) is standing close to a screed, the long piece of metal that looks like a 2X4. Just behind the man holding the concrete chute is a depression in the gravel with two pieces of rebar (reinforcing bar), which is used to strengthen the concrete so it can support a load-bearing wall. In the foreground you can see that a cut-off plastic bucket has been placed around one of the plastic plumbing stubs. That is where a shower or tub drain can go if we ever decided to put a bathroom in the basement. The bucket allows some adjustment of the placement of the pipe if necessary. You can’t see a large metal tub that was placed around the potential future toilet flange because the flange was installed slightly too shallow. That will allow the flange to be cut off and reinstalled at the right height. The area that has no concrete because of the bucket and the tub can be filled later with concrete mix from a sack.

The two other plumbing pipes in the foreground are a main stack (draining the two bathrooms) and a shorter stub that can drain a basement bathroom sink. There is a second stub against the far wall to drain the kitchen fixtures.

What you can’t see is that the main stack and the basement sink drain are almost two feet off in placement. That happened because the plumber got his locations by measuring directly off the floor plan, which indicates that the scale is ¼ inch to the foot. Unfortunately, the floor plans did not print out at that scale, so the pipes ended up in the wrong place. It’s a glitch, but one that can be worked around. Obviously, all future measurements have to be taken directly from the plan dimensions rather than by using a ruler and scaling a foot to each quarter of an inch.

Here one of David’s workers is using a powered concrete trowel to finish the basement floor.

slab pour2

I didn’t stay around to watch all the pour or finishing work; it was too hot. I don’t know how David and his helpers did it. It was in the 90’s before noon, and they were working in full sunlight the whole time. And they’re all old guys (probably not as old as me, but I’m not doing concrete work). But they did it.

Our next step is finding a framer. I should have settled this weeks ago, but no. I have found three potential framers. One has given an estimate. The second, who did neighbor John’s house, picked up a set of plans Thursday and will, I hope, give us an estimate by the weekend. A third promised an estimate by Wednesday, but I haven’t received it yet.

My lack of foresight is probably going to cost us nearly a month’s delay in starting framing. I hope I can get some other work done in that time, including the well and the septic system.

Evening clouds

As usual, we saw some nice cloud formations as we left the grocery store Friday night. This was from the parking lot.

crepuscular_wmlotThe crepuscular rays weren’t particularly noticeable as I looked at the clouds, but they showed up well in the photo. I like the way the cloud in the middle left is half illuminated and half in shadow.

When we drove home, there were more nice clouds. We managed to snap a few shots and got this one.

crepuscular_huffaker2Again, the crepuscular rays were not really noticeable as we drove, but they showed up in the photos. They aren’t extremely strong, but they’re definitely there.

Another interesting (at least to me) feature of the clouds Friday afternoon and evening was the way they changed. Late in the afternoon, but well before sunset, there were growing cumulus clouds everywhere. They had flat bottoms and billowing tops.

flat-bottom cloud

The bottoms of the clouds are all at about the same altitude, which is where the air from lower altitudes reaches saturation as it rises because of solar heating. At that point, water vapor starts to condense and form clouds. Condensation adds heat to the air, and it continues to rise. As it rises, more water vapor condenses and more latent heat is released. Under different conditions, these clouds could have eventually developed into thunderstorms. But, alas, none did, at least around us.

As the evening progressed and the solar heating decreased, the energy that drove these clouds’ development dissipated and the clouds began to change. There just wasn’t enough energy available to drive any more development once the sun went down. The flat bottoms became ragged and the tops stopped billowing. Some became closer to stratus clouds and others remained more like cumulus clouds. Eventually they turned into what we saw on our way home.

This is a panorama from our new house site made just as we reached home.

clouds_panoSome of these clouds still have billowy tops, but there was not much going on by this time.


Friday Felines

We took a walk Thursday evening to see what had been done up at the new house. It has been so hot and dry here that the whole lot was very dusty. Everyone’s feet were covered with red dust. And then when we got back home, this is what we saw.

sly_dirtyhead1It sure looked like his head was half covered with red dust.

sly_dirtyhead2Yes. Oh, yes.

sly_dirtyhead3He looks like he followed us to the lot and rolled in the red dust up there, but he didn’t. We don’t know where he got this.




Two thunderstorms, one night

Tuesday evening Leah and I noticed some dramatic clouds in the sky in two different places. I saw a yellow glow from the rear of the house and went outside on the deck to look. Off to the left, which is roughly east, I saw a cloud that was illuminated by the setting sun. It showed some fair vertical development.


At the same time Leah was in the front. She called me out there and pointed to a cloud formation directly behind the house that I couldn’t see from the deck because of the trees. This was pretty much due south of us. It also showed some vertical development to the right in this image.


Here is a panorama I shot with our little Nikon S9700, which has a built-in panorama function.


It looked like there was some rain beneath the cloud to the east, but it was late enough that it was hard to tell. A little later, after the sun had set completely, I went out onto the deck and saw this.

This was not a severe thunderstorm, so the lightning strokes were infrequent. I edited the video to get several strokes into a short period.

This was what my phone’s weather radar app showed at the same time. The red pushpin is our location.


You can see that both cloud formations were producing rain, although not heavy rain.

You can see in the first two images that there was no anvil formation on either cloud, so they were not exceptionally high. I tried to do some rough calculations of the height of the cloud to the east, which was just south of downtown Rome. I had to estimate its distance and the elevation angle to the top of the cloud. I figure that the cloud top was somewhere between 14,000 and 19,000 feet. That sounds reasonable for the early development stages of a not-particularly severe thunderstorm.