Summer 2016

Summer 2016
Summer in Tsukahara

Spring in Tsukahara

gkimbal's Spring in Tsukahara album on Photobucket

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Telescope Pier and Remodel Part 1

The big day!
The concrete for the telescope pier has been poured. The concrete will cure for a few months before I install the telescope. I’ll try to frame the observatory floor before the house remodel begins. This will free up precious floor space in the garage to make room for kitchen cabinets. I don't have room in the garage for the materials to build an observatory so further construction will have to wait...for now.

Ready for concrete

Beautiful day to pour concrete

Used a bamboo pole to tamp out any bubbles

Floated the concrete until it hardened enough for the pier.

About 45 minutes later, the form was added and additional concrete was shoveled into the tube

Filled the tube with concrete. Added the pier plate. Carefully leveled and aligned the plate with "true north".

Woo Hoo! Leveled and aligned. NICE!

How's that for a view?


Close enough!

This should be a seperate post, but so much is going on that I'll combine two posts into one. Part one of the remodel will begin shortly. Many of the large items (unit bath, windows, doors, etc.) have been ordered. I’ll post a diagram to give you a general idea of what will be accomplished. It’s going to be a very extensive remodel. Log walls will be removed to gain access to the new addition. Several of the foundation logs are rotted and will require removal. The new addition will include the removal of a section of the old roof and an extended roof installed. Erika and I have been spending our spare time thumbing through home improvement catalogs. The process is exhausting since neither of us enjoy shopping. Currently, I’m trying to select light fixtures from a 1000 page catalog.

I’ll be using local materials to build the kitchen cabinets. The problem is that I’m not familiar with some of the materials I’ll be using. I’m hoping a paint store in Beppu will answer some questions I have about sealing plywood for paint. Fortunately, the cabinet doors, drawers, faceplates, hinges, and sliders were purchased when we were living in the states. After three years, I still haven’t inventoried any of those items. The building process is backwards as I have to build the cabinets to fit the doors and not the other way around. This was the only way I could have the style I wanted plus make it affordable. I’m sure there will be lots of compromises that will have to be made. Stay tuned…    George

Monday, October 6, 2014

Our Third Year in Japan

October 6th marks our third year in Japan. My first impression is that time goes by fast. I find that I have fewer complaints and fewer compliments. I guess that’s a good thing.  Everyday life is just that…everyday life. The biggest change since moving to Japan (drum-roll please), I have my weekends back. What does that mean? Well, sit back and have a listen.

When I was living in Washington, my weekends would start by complaining about how much I disliked my job and that I was glad it was the weekend. In other words, I was working for the weekend. Sound familiar? I would often begin thinking that I was only two days away from the beginning of another workweek. I actually dreaded Sunday because it meant I had to go back to work the next day. These negative thoughts clouded every weekend. In essence, I gave up my weekends and chose to be negative. Erika had to endure my sour attitude and eventually we both had enough. If you have ever spent any time with a negative person then you know that nobody want to be around that kind of person. Even I didn’t like being around myself!

It did take some effort to change things around. It was a matter of attitude. I found that a change in my environment was the solution to changing my attitude. Three years later, I’m positive almost EVERYDAY. I no longer dread going to work on Monday. Friday's are nice, but so are most of the other days. It’s great to have my weekends back. I can go places and do things on Saturday AND Sunday and not worry about being mentally exhausted on Monday. Being negative is mentally exhausting for everyone.

I made a choice, with the help of Erika, to change my life. It’s been three years and I can honestly say, “It’s nice to be home". Now, if I could only speak Japanese…       George

Wednesday, October 1, 2014


I think I need another wood shed

The wood pile consists of maple, cherry, oak, and mystery wood

We are finally finished cutting, splitting and stacking firewood for this year…yeah!! Erika thinks this amount will last about 5 months. Staying warm in the winter is a lot of work!

Not sure if he knows what he's doing

Ready for concrete
On another note: the rebar cage for the telescope pier is complete. I just need to compact some gravel in the bottom of the hole and build some wood supports for the concrete-forming tube. It looks like pouring the concrete pier in October is a real possibility. I have my fingers crossed for some consistently good weather.   George