Restored (Re-sacked) Estie

My restored Esterbrook J-Series fountain pen is now back in service and back in rotation.

I posted an in-process image on my Instagram account yesterday. That image is of the section of the Estie with a new ink sack attached with some fountain pen shellac and drying.

The backstory (such as it is) is that I pulled my favorite old Esterbrook J-Series fountain pen from storage. I think it was my very first vintage Esterbrook. The cap and the body are slightly mis-matched. That is, the cap color is slightly different than the body color. My expectation is that someone down the line either mixed caps or a restorer pulled a matched up a set to make a whole pen from part-pens.

Regardless, when I received the pen, I renewed the ink sack (my very first Esterbrook restore) and added a brand-new 9556 Master Series nib unit. It’s classified as a fine-firm nib. In my experience, all of the Esterbrook nibs are nails. (Heh…)

When I decided to ink the pen yesterday, I dropped the nib into my bottle of Noodler’s Zhivago, a green-black ink that is bulletproof. The fill lever would not activate. So, I knew the pen needed service. I wicked the ink from the nib and set it aside.

After lunch I pulled out my tools and parts kit and started sorting through those items. It’s been nearly two years since I sorted through my pen kit. That was a kind of trip of itself. I mentally inventoried the parts and tools and found what I needed — a fresh Size 16 ink sack, my X-Acto knife (and blades), and the sack shellac.

I pulled the section from the body, with a little heat to loosen things up. The old sack broke apart in my fingers — ossified. It was, indeed, time for a new ink sack.

Back at my worktable, I removed the remaining parts of the old sack that clung to the section, scraping a little with a fingernail and my X-Acto knife. That done, I fitted and trimmed the new sack, shellaced the section, and attached the new sack. The assembly was then set aside to cure.

After an hour of puttering with other things, the shellac was dry enough to reassemble the pen. I dipped the fresh ink sack into pure talcum powder to lubricate it during operation of the fill mechanism. I lined up the nib unit and fill lever and pressed the section back into the body of the pen.

A function check followed and then the thumbs-up that all was well. I filled the renewed fountain pen with Zhivago and did some test writing. For an inexpensive pen (they cost a couple bucks new with the better nib units — now they’re about twenty bucks on ebay) it writes very well. The nib is wet and smooth.

I remembered why this inexpensive little vintage pen is one of my favorites. Like me, it’s a bit of a mashup of bits and pieces. But it’s functional and reliable.

Winter

On walkies yesterday morning, I captured this image over at the old State Children’s Home. We had a lot of precipitation over the last week or so and everything is wet.
So I noticed this morning that I have not written in a couple of weeks. That happens when I get busy with other things.

The weather is poor. This morning it is snowing. I think there is almost six inches of new snow on the ground. It rained, spit snow, and showed a little sun yesterday. There was enough sun to encourage me to get out for a bit and walk. But everything is so wet. The ground is saturated and any new rain will be runoff with little abstraction.

I thought the Carson River might make flood stage. I think it came in just a little less, with a peak discharge of about 9,000 cfs on Monday. I have photographs of the river near River Park and near Mexican Dam. I think I will post them and post-date them to their proper dates.

It is the new year. Happy New Year, friends. I pray your celebrations were safe and enjoyable. I know that I saw the new year in via my normal fashion… snoozing with my dog. Heh…

Life is good. I have more to write and more photographs to make and share.

Carson River Flooding

On Monday, 9 January 2017, the Girl and I drove out Sierra View to have a look at Mexican Dam. The discharge was about 9,000 cfs.

With all of the snow and rain, I really expected there to be a chance for a significant flood on the Carson River. There was plenty of nuisance flooding in Carson City, with crews out dealing with some minor damage to a few facilities.

On 9 January 2017, the Girl and I drove out Sierra View to have a look at Carson River. The flow was about 9,000 cfs. The river was at about bank full in this reach.

On Monday, the Girl and I drove out Sierra View, the road on the east side of Carson River. I wanted a look at Mexican Dam. The west side was “closed,” although I saw some hikers out and about on Silver Saddle Ranch. But, being the lawful type that I am, I eschewed parking outside the ranch and walking in because the gate was closed and posted.

Still, the view was pretty good. The discharge when I made the capture was about 9,000 cfs. That’s not a big flood, but is substantially greater than the normal spring runoff.

Before the Storm

On a cold Nevada morning, just before the big weather arrived, the Girl and I walked one of the loops out at Riverview Park. It was a great walk to do before the weather hit.

Before the storms arrived, the Girl and I had a chance to walk one of our favorite Riverview Park loops. I knew that weather was coming and wanted to get a good hike in before it arrived. We also met a prepper along the way and had an interesting conversation. His dog was a hoot — she would bark at overflying geese and aircraft.

R.I.P Carrie Fisher

Like so many others, I am adjusting to the fact that Carrie Fisher died yesterday. When I saw the headline, I sat back in my chair and reflected for a few moments. I recalled thinking when I first read of her sudden illness that she would probably not make it. That was simply my intuitive response to the news. I had that feeling.

So, I was not particularly surprised at the news. I had been watching since reading about her heart attack, hoping for the best and that we would have an opportunity to hear that voice again. Alas, that is not to be.

I appreciated her work in film. Who didn’t admire Princess Leia. But I also loved her role in the Blues Brothers. I think that I like that role even more than the Star Wars role. She was so funny in BB.

I intend to read her books. They hit my radar a couple of years ago. I just have not taken time to read them, yet. Now I think I must.

I am so sorry to see you go, Ms. Fisher. I will miss your voice.

Christmas 2016

It was cold last night and there was much frost this morning. This bottle caught my eye while we were on walkies.

The Girl is finishing up her treat. After walkies, I put a little peanut butter in her Kong toy and gave it to her. Merry Christmas, Ki! We’ll have a play in a bit, once I get my pumpkin pie in the oven. When the pie is done, then I can put the turkey breast in to roast for dinner later today.

My best friend and my youngest son will come over this afternoon to celebrate Christmas. It will be a good celebration and an excellent way to remember the birth of the Christ child. Wife would approve, I believe.

The capture is from walkies this morning. We got out a little late, given that it is very cold this morning — about 10F. That’s our coldest for this year to date and I didn’t want to get the Girl out in that until the sun was up. The sun shone this morning and that made the walk a wonderful time. The warm sunlight and the brisk air felt good. They certainly made for a very frisky Girl!

We met one of our doggie-friends at the old State School, Andy and Hercules. Hercules loves the cold air and will play a little bit, before walking over to me to lean on my leg for scratchies. We visited a few minutes before Andy and Hercules departed for other things. Ki and I finished our walk, had a bit of play, and then settled in for the day.

On the way home I reflected a bit on my life. It’s certainly different than it was and far different from what I expected a few years ago. Yet, I find myself happy with my life and enjoying the time to putter and spend with the Girl. I love my walks, our plays, and my project work. These are enough and I’m thankful and joyful.

I’ll get started cooking in a few minutes. I will finish my coffee first and then get on with it. There isn’t too much to do, really. The turkey is easy and none of the other dishes are difficult either. Perhaps Young Son will arrive in time to peel potatoes. Heh…

Merry Christmas all. Life is good!

Christmas Eve 2016

The Girl and I decided to have breakfast out on Christmas Eve. I decided to take a Christmas Card to the folks who work there. They treated me well this year.

I woke early this morning, thinking about some record keeping that needed to be done. So, I rose, made some coffee, and sat down at the computer for a few minutes. Of course, the Girl rolled out and needed to go out, so I took care of her. She ran back indoors after taking care of business, then looked over her shoulder at me as she jumped back into the bed. She seemed to be saying “Are you going to come back to bed?”

I gave her a pat and returned to my computer work. It was done soon enough, so I elected to take a nap before we started the day. (This would be about 0530 hours this morning.) She was snuggled into her little bed, which I had repaired yesterday. The seam came undone (again), so I sewed it back closed. This time I hope that I got the stop knot tied a bit better. Regardless, the seam no longer leaks stuffing and I can always resew if I need to.

In any event, I crawled back into the rack and looked at her, looking over the edge of her little bed at me. I patted the bed next to me, “Come snuggle!” I had to ask twice, but she rose, circled once, and plopped next to me tight. I draped the quilt over us and settled in.

I love that warm next to me. She is very snuggly, especially when the weather turns cold. She likes to have some part touching me when she sleeps anyway. It might be her back or her haunches, but she likes that physical contact while we sleep.

The Girl began snoring before I drifted off… it’s a pleasant sound…

I woke for the second time about 0700 hours, rolled over, patted the Girl a few times, and rose. I woke thinking that biscuits and gravy sounded real good and that I might celebrate Christmas Eve by treating myself to breakfast out. It took me a few minutes to gather myself together — and prepare for walkies after breakfast. So I collected our things and we loaded out.

There was a scattering of snow from the storms that blew over last night and the clouds threatened more snow for the day. That’s all good. We need the snow and it is not bitterly cold, so walkies in snow would be fine.

Breakfast was a treat. I saved back some of my hamburger patty for the Girl (with a bit of gravy as well), enjoyed my coffee, and read some of the news. I was saddened to read that Carrie Fisher is ill after suffering a cardiac event on the flight from England to the States. I hope she recovers. It’s not wasted on me that she’s 60-something-years old. That’s a little close to home.

After breakfast, we loaded up and drove out to Riverview Park. I decided to walk part of that loop this morning. I wanted a nice outing and wanted the Girl to have a good, long walk. Tomorrow I’ll be busy cooking and might not have as much opportunity to get her out.

I met a funny dog there at the staging area. He was standoffish until he figured out I’ll throw a stick for him. So, we played while his handler talking on the phone. Then the Girl and I started on our walk.

The sun was shining on the mountains north of Carson City, but the battery in my compact camera was low (and cold) so I couldn’t get a decent shot. The wind was a little sharp, but I had enough layers on. The Girl had her cover on and is less exposed to the wind. She’s fine anyway as long as she’s moving. And, moving she was!

I heard a group of coyotes calling in the sagebrush. They would bark a little and then howl. I like the sound but was a little wary because there weren’t more than a hundred yards out. I didn’t want the Girl to get into the middle of them.

But, they never showed themselves.

As I walked along I visited with other walkers. I was reminded how good life is. I love to be able to get out to walk, visit with others, play with my dog, enjoy watching her run from sagebrush to sagebrush, sniffing and marking. I sing a bit when we’re out and about. I’m grateful, not just for the season, but for the gift of life. I’m thankful for warm summer days and gray winter days, with a bit of snow on the ground and the wind spitting snowflakes. I’m amused by the calls of coyotes floating on the wind, drifting over the sagebrush to tease me. And I’m thankful for my best friend who loves to run, to play, to eat, and to snuggle.

I’ll spend some time thanking God for the birth of the Christ Child, which we’ll celebrate tomorrow. That Gift is, perhaps, the most wondrous of all.

Cold Morning

It was frickin’ cold this morning… cold enough that there was ice on the windscreen of the rig.

I woke early this morning and took care of some bookwork that needed attention. The Girl came into the office and checked on me a couple of times, then asked to go out. She didn’t stay out long, though… just long enough to eliminate. Then she dashed past me back into the house to go snuggle up in a warm bed.

I laughed and returned to my chores and morning coffee. I wanted to get some things cleared from my list and I wanted a walk.

I fed us, knowing it was cold and wanting the sun to be a little higher in the sky before we headed for Silver Saddle Ranch. Between her asking and my antsyness, we headed out about 0900. When we got into the rig, I noticed the ice on the windscreen. It was about 20F out there. Fortunately, there was not much wind or it would have been a miserable day.

I parked the rig and got us out. She immediately commenced her sniffing routine. I put on another layer, got my gloves out, and dropped the flaps on my hat. We headed out on one of our common trails, the frozen ground crunching under my boots. I worried a bit about the Girl getting cold, but she showed no sign of being cold. We were moving, there was sun, and there was not much wind. So I relaxed and enjoyed the bright, cold day.

The desert vegetation is sleeping now. The cottonwoods have shed the last of their leaves and are in their winter regalia.

When we got to the Mexican Ditch crossing, the Girl balked. There was a bit of snow and frost on the board we cross at the irrigation gate. So I crossed, checking the footing. It was not bad, so I encouraged her across. Once I crossed, she decided she could too… although gingerly.

The Carson River was up. I don’t recall seeing it that high in a long time, perhaps last spring sometime during the spring snowmelt. We had a lot of rain and snow and it showed. The high-water mark was about a foot higher than the current stage, so there was even more flow a day or two ago.

We approached the Mexican Dam, but I pulled us up short. There was no way I was going to let her out on the headwall or weir. It would have been a disaster if she fell in today. Not only was the current much stronger than she’s seen it, but the cold would have hurt her.

So we paused at a pull out where I could get an image/video and she cold sniff around. We greeted a few other souls who passed us along the way.

It was cold, so we didn’t pause long. I wanted to keep her moving so she wouldn’t get cold. On the way back to the rig, there was a little breeze in my face and that was not pleasant. It was cold enough to burn a little. I need to stick a shemagh in my pocket, I think.

Back at the house, a cup of coffee and a treat were appropriate. Then it was time to get on with setting up my house.

What a beautiful day, if a bit cold.

The Messy Middle

The messy middle is that place in a project where everything seems to be moving in a different direction.

Every project has that middle time when one is in the thick of it. Michael Hyatt calls this phase of a project the messy middle. It is a time when momentum is difficult to keep and distractions reign supreme.

About two weeks ago I moved into my place. There was an initial flood of things done and then the task of unpacking and organizing became more difficult. After setting up a workable kitchen, bedroom, and workroom, I repaired my bookshelves (new shelf pins, which required drilling out the holes). Then there was a flurry of unloading a buttload of books, and getting them onto the shelves in a semi-organized fashion, and moving boxes from the storage unit to my garage (where I’m staging them).

Now I’m in the messy-middle of this project. I am greatly slowed by the need to process the material in the boxes. I don’t want to just put stuff away; I want to sort as I go and choose which things I will keep and which will go away. This is daunting because of the level of decision-making required. I have to look at each thing, then decide.

So things are now much slower. I have to keep my focus and keep my momentum. I want to get this done. Then I can enjoy my place and the things I elect to keep.

But the lesson about the messy middle is well taken.