Ottertail Country

Ottertail Country
Ottertail South

June 28, 2011

Nearly the 4th of July already!!!


Lots going on, I'll give a brief synopsis.....

After looking through my pix, I realize that I did not take a photo of the pulp pile before it was sawed into firewood lengths.  Oh well, here we are after splitting one 32' long pile. 

This trailer that I've talked about is really a handy item.  We decided that where the first pile is located, the wind and sun will have a somewhat limited effect.  So we decided to stack it in a more open location.  So we split until the trailer was heaped full, then transported it to the north side of the property.

I fired up the mower and gave the old field a butch cut.  We piled all the remaining wood out here in the open.

I'm a lucky guy.... part way through the process my dear Peggy delivered a plate of soft boiled eggs on toast for lunch.  That hit the spot!

At last we finished up the splitting process.  We have a good supply, probably way more than we will need next winter.  But I'm not complaining, mind you.

Anyway, I'm still battling the bats.  After plugging up all the holes on the east wall of the garage, we discovered evidence of continued habitation.  Last weekend I cut brush and mowed all the way around the garage, then started in with screening, caulk, great stuff foam, etc, and started filling in any hole that looked like a bat might fit through.  Next evening we left the overhead door open at dusk and watched a bunch of bats fly out.  We closed the door and hoped for the best.  Next night we watched a bunch fly out of a gap that I had not noticed on the south front corner.  Tonight I filled that hole and a few other spots that looked unlikely, but I'm not taking any chances.  Then I watched them fly out the big door again, and after about 20 minutes of no more exits, I closed the door.   We'll see.......

And here's hoping that we'll have a new masonry heater in the house this fall!  This is one of my favorites, but probably not quite what we will end up with.

In my spare time I'm finishing the kitchen items.  Tonight I got the rest of the temporary counter tops fit and put in place.  We ordered the new tops through Home Depot, and decided to go with the Corian tops.  These use less square footage because of the joining method, and there are no seams in the finished top.  The parts are put together with an epoxy that makes the joints into one piece!  Next week a guy is coming to do the final measure up, then they make the parts and some guys come and install the stuff.  I was not to keen on this until we found out that it would not be too much extra cost, and (most importantly) I won't have to deal with the install job.  That can be a real pain........  These guys will install it complete, including cutting the hole for the sink.

Well, that's it for now.....

I gotta go, Carlo


June 21, 2011



I'm so far behind on this blog that I'm not even going to pretend I will be able to catch up.... so on with what we are doing at the moment.

Back to the bats.  One evening last week I constructed a 'bat house'.  I researched a little on-line and then set out to invent my version.  There are five little vertical compartments, quite narrow, scored to provide traction for the little beggars. 

O.K., it's all together, now for the finishing touches.  I built the whole thing out of various recycled items that remained from tearing the kitchen out of the house.

I covered the outside with left-over water & ice dam stuff that was used on the Chalet roof.  It's really sticky on one side and kind of grainy on the other.  Added a few staples in strategic spots, and a bit of wire mesh at the bottom opening so the little creeps can get a grip on it when they land.

Here you have the exclusion device.  An open ended garbage bag that is stapled to the wall and roof, making the only escape dropping out the bottom and into flight.  The key is that the doorknobs can't figure out how to get back in!!

Here you see the Carlson Custom Suites nailed to the back wall of the garage, about eight feet from the now closed main entrance.  After a week, I don't seem to have any tenants in the new place, but there are still some bats that are now exiting the building right at the very top of the wall at the roof line.  The first nice day we get will be spent adding more exclusion devices, namely some loosely draped window screening along this wall/roof area.  The same idea, they will be able to get down and out from behind the screen, but not back in.  The garage is noticeably less bat infested now, and I'm hoping with the next treatment they will be gone from the building.

Peg and I were on a big cleaning and organizing spree in the big garage.  Trying get things onto shelves or into the garage sale pile.  We were pleasantly surprised by a motorcycle driving into the yard and having cousin Bob greeting us!!

Jan was away for the weekend and he decided to make a run up north.  Here he is getting set to take off again.

And thanks again for the house warming gift.  As you said, that wine is really good!

I had done the last drywall finishing on Saturday afternoon and evening, and Sunday afternoon Peg and I tackled the painting tasks.  Lots of edges and angles to paint around.

I'm not much on painting, but this seemed do-able, not too much area and I could always quit whenever I wanted.  Peg doesn't mind painting, so that's a good thing.  But I hung in there until we had it done.

Monday evening Peg had a boy scout meeting, so I hurried home and started on the upper cabinets. I managed to get the north wall units hung, cleaned out and the doors put on.  I used an old sheet to simulate a finished look on the lowers.  We're thinking a burgundy or dark red counter top.... wutcha think?

Tonight Peg and I got the south wall units hung, cleaned out and the doors on. It's starting to look like a kitchen! Still lots to do..... counter tops, an upper cabinet over the fridge, finishing the ends of upper cabs, finishing the ends and back of the island cabs, etc, etc, etc.................

Any readers, cousins, Mattson kin please feel free to stop in. You're always welcome.

I gotta go, Carlo


June 14, 2011

It's mid-June!!!

A couple of notes:
Thanks for the card, Beth, and congratulations on your little one.

Melissa, thanks for the note you left on our door.  Sorry we missed you, please stop anytime you're going through.

New photo at the top of the blog.  Some of you probably recognize the walnut tree and the red-leafed maple.  If not, this is a view to the west of our house.

One of the wonderful things that happened in the middle of our kitchen building and moving projects was a clogged drain at the Carlson homestead...... Dawn was due to arrive in a week, so I needed to get this solved.

I found a local plumbing outfit, The A-Team, that had a power drain auger.  Brent showed up with his rig and we set to work.  This thing has an electric motor that feeds a heavy duty snake up the drain.  On the end is a cutter tool and we ended up cutting through a bunch of roots.  Above is one of the spools of snake ready to go.

Once the entire 75' of snake was in the drain, Brent spliced on the second spool.  The empty one is in the background.  There is a little gizmo on the tool that engages the spinning snake and actually threads the snake into the drain.  He was on the job about 1.25 hours and the drain was working well again.  I always wondered how those rigs work, now I know......

Just before we officially moved in, we got Josh and Dave to re-shingle the Chalet.  This view is of the original roof from the northeast.  The shingles were about 35 years old as far as we can figure out.  A friend of mine, Swede Johnson helped Nort shingle it when the building was new.

This view from the northwest shows how the shingles had deteriorated.  The worst area was on the southeast corner.

We went with forest green shingles and I think they look pretty good on that building.

And the last corner view.  The roof is complete now and one item checked off the list.

We've had some visitors around the house lately.  Peggy actually got to see the second of a pair of fawns moments after it was born.  Still wet with the mother attending to it.  The ones above were about 15 feet from the house when I walked out the door, and they stayed around long enough for me to fetch the camera and get a picture.

When Tim was up the week before Memorial Day, he and I spent a couple of days splitting and stacking his firewood for next year.  I didn't get any proof shots of him working, but I remembered the camera when Russ and I finished up the last little bit of wood on Memorial Day.  Russ looks like he is ready to bust the splitter in half.

Yes, that was the piece we were looking for.... the last one.  We had some really warm, humid weather that week, but we pushed ahead and got it done. 

A good sight!  A full trailer, no wood left on the ground.

So I got the tractor out of the shed, put the back blade on it and cleaned up the wood yard.  Every little task brought me closer to being finished with that blasted wood.

Looks nice when it's all done though.  And firewood season gives me the chance to give Ivan a couple of shots about wood length.  He has volunarily sawed our wood the last couple of years, and I always complain about the length he sawed it..... I hope he knows I'm kidding.  His work on the pulp pile has made my life lots easier these last few years.  Thanks, buddy!

I just got back into the house after spending an hour and a half on bat patrol.  As soon as the weather warmed up, we discovered that we have a bat colony living somewhere up in the top of the garage.  Not a good thing.  I have been investigating how to get rid of them and the first task is to determine their entry/exit spot.  Now I know where that is and we will start screening those areas so the bats can get out but can't get back in.  We'll add a couple of bat houses nearby so they have somewhere to go besides one of the other buildings.  Finally we'll seal up the places where they are getting in, and maybe we will be done with that aggravation.....

I gotta go, Carlo


June 8, 2011

Ottertail Update.

Greetings loyal fans of Ottertail Country!! Busy, busy, busy we have been. As you know, our move was connected to Tim and Dawn's return to Wisconsin. What we did not anticipate was the time frame we were to face. Peg and I decided to re-do the kitchen in the a-frame before we moved in, so I started in tearing out the existing cupboards and related items. Soon after starting that, we discovered that we needed to be out of the homestead and into the a-frame in about four weeks....

One of the early tasks was the removal of the field stone planter in the living room, as it was against the kitchen half wall that was to be removed.  After an hour or so with hammer and chisel, it was apparent that I would have to call in some heavier artillery.

I borrowed a heavy-duty hammer drill from work and started in.  A couple of evenings later and the planter was in a heap on the garage approach.  Man, those stones were solidly mortared in place!

Next came the removal of the built-in-place cupboards and counter tops.  Notice the close proximity of the sink to the angled beam which ended up right behind your head when you were at the sink.  We thought we needed to move the sink to the right for head clearance.

I tore into the north kitchen wall, pondered the wiring, beams, etc, and started mapping out where the new cabinets would be located.

Another look at the north end.

A look into the kitchen from the south, with only the studs of the half wall remaining.  The ironwork piece on top of that wall was rather heavy and awkward to move, but I got it down and out the door without mishap.

Same view, only lower, showing the footprint of where the stone planter was.

O.K., all three walls are bare, ready for wiring, plumbing, and drywalling.

Wires, outlets, junction boxes, and a bunch of strategically placed 2x4's to nail the drywall onto.

There's the north wall mostly ready for taping and filling nail head holes.  I only put the drywall on areas that would be exposed after the cabinets are in, so it looks a little weird at this point.

The living room was filled with cabinets waiting for a home.  With the base cabinets all in place and a temporary counter top put in with a sink in it, we were ready to make a concerted effort to clear out the homestead house, shed, and garage and get the place cleaned up for the new occupants.  The limited time we had ended up a little shorter than we thought, as we ran into a clogged drain issue at the homestead.  I spent some extra hours there dealing with that, but that may be a different post......

I gotta go, Carlo