Summer 2016

Summer 2016
Summer in Tsukahara

Spring in Tsukahara

gkimbal's Spring in Tsukahara album on Photobucket

Monday, January 28, 2013

Crepes and Kitchens

Erika purchased a portable cooktop from Trial for a reasonable price of 1500 yen. She felt sorry that I had to cook at the stove while she enjoyed her crepes sitting at the kotatsu. In Seattle, we had the same setup. I could cook and eat at the same time. Along with the crepes, we had bananas, pudding, whipped cream and jam…yumm.
After our kitchen is remodeled, we’ll be able to start baking all kinds of goodies. The kitchen will be as large as our kitchen in Seattle. All of the fixtures, cabinet doors, flooring, tiles, even the garbage disposer were purchased in the U.S. before we moved to Japan.

I think I miss the Cuisinart mixer and our convection oven the most. The Cuisinart is sitting patiently in the box waiting to be used. The oven still needs to be purchased. When I remodeled the house in Seattle, I completed the entire house before I did the kitchen. This meant that we didn’t have time to enjoy our beautiful kitchen. The remodel in Tsukahara will be different. The kitchen will be started as soon as the garage and deck are completed.   George

Friday, January 25, 2013


I have to do many things, but I’m not sure where I should start (or finish). The house is slowly taking shape. I’ve been removing water stains and clear coating the exposed logs in the kitchen and living room. It’s a painstakingly slow process to remove water stains. Over the years, the spruce has developed a “warm tan” patina. It’s a beautiful color and it’s almost impossible to reproduce. So, this brings up a valid question…“How do you remove the water stains without removing the patina?” Good question. The answer is…very carefully! The tools that are required are as follows: Water and a razor blade. I forgot the most important thing, patience. Each water stain must be moistened (ironic, isn’t it) and gently scrapped with a sharp razor. If it is done with T.L.C., the wood that is removed is minute and the log ends up looking like it’s brand new. This technique works well with stains that are less than a 1/16”. Deeper stains require more drastic measures. I’ve had to splice in wood with some of the more severe stains. Usually the area is rotted and it only makes sense to remove the damage. I have some old trim that matches the patina of the logs perfectly. No sanding is allowed as this will only remove the patina. Shhh, don’t tell anyone, but if all else fails, EnergySeal hides all sorts of things.

Recently, I was removing stains around the upper portion of the “great room”. The ceiling height in this room is over 25 feet. Erika was nervous about me being on the extension ladder. She kept asking me, “Is this really necessary. Do you have to do this? I hate this!” “It’s not necessary, but it will look good,” I replied. “I want to do this. I don’t want our future customers to think we have a leaky house.” I don’t think she was happy with my response. Eventually, she settled down and took a few pictures.      George

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Time to think







Thursday, January 10, 2013

Dog Door (Number 3)


We have a balcony that has not been used since we moved here. Every morning, the dogs wait patiently for me to open the door to access the balcony. They like to bark and howl at the volcano and deer…I guess it’s a thing that dogs like to do. We decided to install a dog door (dog door number 3) to give them the freedom to bark and howl from the balcony whenever they desired to do so. We also have doors that lead from the entryway to the dining room and from the dining room to the fenced backyard.

Before I cut the wall, I used a wire/ stud detector to check for electrical wires. I found two sets of wires located where the door was going to go. I spliced in some additional wire so that I could build a dog door frame to protect the wires from exposure. I was surprised to find that the exterior walls are framed with 2X6’s. I was also happy to find that the studs are 16 inches on center. Our home was built the North American way!  

Next, I cut the interior wall to size. When I was sure that everything would fit, I used a diamond blade to cut the exterior wall. It was -5C outside and I didn’t want to leave a hole in the wall for too long. I caulked the framing and door and installed the outer dog door trim.

I was having so much fun that I decided to decorate the outer door area so that it mimicked the exterior of the house. I made an “A” frame that was complete with hand cut cedar shingles. I’ll trim and paint the whole thing to match the house when the temperature warms up.

This was the first time that I cut the exterior wall of the house. I was hesitant at first because the walls are made of cement backer board. The diamond blade cut through the wall like it was made of butter. That’s promising news for another huge project I have in mind. When I finally get around to remodeling the house, I will need to remove a few walls. I want our future guests to enjoy the views from anywhere in the house. The new deck and garage are the next major projects before the remodel. Hopefully, I can get started on those fun projects before the rainy season…summer.   George

Monday, January 7, 2013

ASW 22 Conversion to Electric

I finally
got around to electrifying one of my sailplanes. The hardest part was cutting the nose off of a perfectly good fuselage.

I wasn’t sure if I had enough room for the motor, but it worked and I’m happy. Electrics are new to me so I had a lot to learn. I completed the conversion and I’m ironing out all of the wrinkles in the covering.
The fuselage will be painted when the weather warms up. I’ll be doing a test flight in the near future so I’ll keep you posted. The plane hasn’t been flown in over twenty years. It should be an interesting experience.     George

Friday, January 4, 2013

あけまして おめでとうございます。