Wednesday, Mar 9
Just in the last few days I have learned that at least some, if not most, comments visitors to my websites have been posting online to me did not actually reach me.
I am sorry for not responding to the many kind and generous comments and inquiries that I now know were posted over the past several months (and only showed up in error logs which I seldom review). While spam-type and other malicious comments were supposed to be trapped and deleted by the system (which it did and on which I get regular monthly reports), these other friendly comments were supposed to be forwarded to me via email, but were not.
This problem was caused by a slight change in basic server functions by the company which provides this service for my websites. Last fall I noticed some irregularities in how certain other functions behaved and was able to fix them, but was not aware of this other problem until now. I will work to get this problem fixed soon.
I apologize to all those affected by this and will try to get in touch with those who may have been expecting a reply over the next few weeks.
Saturday, Feb 13
I seldom mention or promote one of my first and most successful websites - The Kidney Stone WebSite. But it has remained a highly ranked website for most of the time since it first appeared online in 1997 when 17 people discovered it on the Internet the first day it was online - a little before the time the Google search engine first became popular in the early days of dial-up web access.
In the first 80 days The Kidney Stone WebSite was online it was visited by over 10,000 web users. Within 5 years there had been over 2 million visitors. And last year there were an average of about 2000 site visitors per day (a rate of over 700,000 per year).
After I gave it a minor "facelift" which improved its looks when viewed on mobile devices a few months ago, it has continued to gain popularity and is now viewed by about 3000 visitors each day.
That means that, on average, there is a visit to my Kidney Stone Website by as many people as the number who visit hospital emergency rooms each year because of kidney stones!
Friday, Oct 30
Our house exterior update is nearly finished - just a few mainly painting related items left to complete.
Since the last blog "update" I have fabricated the wrought iron railings for the front porch and the sunroom stoop and steps. The antenna mast mount was made and installed along with a higher mast, new digital antenna, and quad-shielded cabling.
Right now we are knee deep in falling leaves and enjoying the colorful sights of fall leaves against Carolina blue skies!
So if we can just get a final color selected for the front door and have a few days of warm weather for the remaining painting projects still on the list we can, maybe, call it finished pretty soon!
Wednesday, Jun 10
Here is a quick update on the latest things completed on our remodel of the exterior of our house -
I have painted the garage doors to match the green trim around our new windows, painted the two rear entry doors white to coordinate with the new color scheme, installed new "mini square" lattice underpinning on our front porch, painted the back porch railings, installed ridged PVC "roofing" panels under the back porch to keep things stored there dry when Janice washes off the porch flooring, fabricated and installed a metal crawl-space access door, and welded up a guard to protect the new gutters whenever I need to put a ladder up to the highest (main) section of our roof.
Plus we have gathered the materials for several other exterior projects such as new over-the-air TV antenna, cabling, and mast (we have never had cable TV); and the new "wrought iron" railings for the front porch, entry sidewalk, and sunroom steps.
I took a couple of days off to prep for and get my every 5 years (due to a family history) colonoscopy today.
Now we can start work on those projects for which we have collected materials. And there are still lots more items on our to-do list yet to be tackled. So it looks like I had better get back to work!
Saturday, May 2
Spring has definitely arrived in North Carolina now. Our iris plants are starting to bloom. Jaince picked the first strawberries of the season from our garden today. All the trees are full of leaves once again - and the early flowering azeleas, dogwoods, and redbud trees have all faded now.
My finishing tasks for the exterior house remodel project have been slowly progressing. I installed the new fern hooks today that I welded together and painted earlier in the week. The new porch and exterior steps at the new sunroom door were finished last week and I filled in that area with brick pavers and added an extended walkway out from the steps towards the back yard. The white PVC paneled section around the dining room windows has now been painted to match the new siding on the rest of the house.
There are still several exterior painting projects on my to-do list along with a few more significant upgrade tasks before I complete the exterior remodel. So no time to rest right now. Certainly looking forward to finally finishing up this project.
Sunday, Jan 25
This is the first Sunday that Janice and I have been able to enjoy our finally finished and straightened up new sunroom. The newly fabricated heavy duty plant hangers that hold the four big front porch ferns up at the level of the top sunroom windows ... and then allow Janice to lower them down to about 3 feet off the floor for watering ... are now installed and all the plants have been able to be relocated to their final positions around the room.
The contractor finished his work the first week of December - which allowed us to put all the sunroom plants back in there on temporary benches, tables, and rods - and then we took a break from remodeling to enjoy the Christmas season.
We put up our big Christmas tree with all new LED lights this year. (I need to install a dimmer on those lights to tone them down a little.) And we had a nice, quite Christmas at home this year.
Since then I have installed all the new exterior lights. I made Janice a new expanded clothes line and added an extra post on the back porch to mount it to. And I welded up a new bird feeder support post to replace the one that bent over (probably by the weight of a raccoon) last fall about the time the remodel began. I have recently ordered and received a few ornamental pieces to attach to it which should make it both look and function like a first class support pole.
Now, as weather permits, I will be completing the exterior remodel with the fatter front porch posts, some wrought iron railings for the front steps, a few bits of paint here and there on exterior doors that were not replaced and on the dog run fence and back porch railings, and construct the new sunroom entry steps.
After that all gets done this spring as temperatures outside warm up a bit, we should be able to call this exterior remodel project finished!
Saturday, Oct 18
This fall we are having the exterior of our house totally re-done - roof, siding, windows, and remodeling the sun room from floor to ceiling. This week the roof was very nearly completed, most of the old siding has been removed, and the work on the sun room starts on Monday.
Because of all the banging and vibrations (from the roof work and siding removal) we have taken down all of our pictures, etc. It looks like we are moving! The dining-kitchen, living room, and master bedroom each had about 15 framed pictures, needlework, art prints, or paintings, or other wall mounted decorations, and the stairway had 20! The walls seem so bare and bland now ... like all the personality has been removed.
Plus the pantry shelves had to be cleared of our hundreds of glass canning jars to avoid damage from the vibrations ... and so they are now scattered and stacked in every available nook and cranny in every other room of the house.
Normally at this time of year we are bringing all the plants that have spent the summer outside under the trees or hanging on our front porch, but since the sun room remodel is about to begin they are being sheltered in a makeshift tent covering most of the graveled dog run. And all of the other plants that have stayed indoors all summer have had to be relocated to other parts of the house.
And because the windows are expected to arrive next week, we have to keep each of them readily accessible. So needless to say ... the inside of our house right now is a crowded, junked up mess!
Hopefully all will be completed before Thanksgiving and things can be put back into their rightful, organized places. For pictures and further details of progress on this project see my Facebook page.
Friday, May 23
A quick update on my welding projects - I sort of got stalled on building a metal working/welding cart to facilitate the other projects and with all the various interruptions and weather delays over the past several months about all I have gotten done is work on that cart.
But the welding cart is about completed now and I have at last begun working on other projects as well. I made about a dozen more flower supports for the garden. Plus I modified an old standard garden hoe to make it into a triangular weeding hoe.
And today I began working on a "lay down garden work cart" that will enable our old backs to survive picking our strawberries that have finally started getting ripe after a delay due to the cold winter and late spring.
Sunday, Jul 28
This summer I have added a new skill to my repertoire - welding. And I am finding it to be fascinating to be able to stick two pieces of steel together to make things.
My first project was to modify our tomato trellis supports for our garden to make them easier to put up and take down. Next I fixed a broken plant dolly that had been laying around unusable for a year or two. Then I created two sets of gates for our garden (one on the north and a larger double gate on the south side) to make it easier for us to get in and out and still keep the deer and rabbits out.
Now I have a list of about a dozen other projects I am starting to work on ... and have progressed up to buying new steel from a local industrial supply company.
Tuesday, Jun 18
Last Thursday a storm blew through this part of North Carolina and took a toll on the trees surrounding our house. Fortunately the house itself was spared damage ... excepting for about 3 feet of guttering in two different places. But our front yard, side yard, and back yard were filled with downed tree limbs — some up to 8 inches in diameter. So Janice and I have spent the last several days cutting them up and hauling them to the curb for the city crews to pick up and haul away. Many others in our area were hit even harder with greater damage.
Monday, May 13
Among the old recordings that I have been digitizing and making available for online listening are some of my father's favorite Bible teacher, the Rev. L.W. Onstead. He was a long time family friend who stayed in our home many times as I was growing up. You can now listen to his Bible based teaching online.
Also, my online presentation of the Forgotten Recordings by various individuals and groups in the Rockford, Illinois area in the last 1960's has grown so that you can listen for over an hour just as if you were attending one of the gospel singings at which these were originally recorded.
Monday, Apr 15
Having begun digitizing old reel-to-reel tape recordings that I have stored for nearly 50 years of The Gospel Singing Baxter Family (see prior blog below), I also began converting the gospel singing of others who performed at those same church singings between 1967 and 1969 in Rockford, Illinois. And the first of them can now be listened to online. I hope that many of those who participated and others in attendance (as well as their younger descendants) can once again enjoy their performances.
Tuesday, Mar 12
I dug out my 46 year old reel-to-reel tape recorder the other day and a tape that was recorded in January of 1967 at Faith Tabernacle in Rockford, Illinois. With some tweeking I was able to get some decent digital copies of some singing by The R.V. Baxter Family on songs never before released on any of their vinyl record albums. You can now listen to them online and reflect on those days now long gone by.