What a Difference a Day Makes

Baby Harbat is feeling better.  Now she’s back up to shenanigans like wagging her finger at various things (parents, pieces of bread, dolls) and saying, “No no no!”  Because she is such a gifted and advanced child, she is already negating at a 2-year old level!  We get the terrible twos a few months early!  She has gotten really good at the full-body-limp collapse when you attempt to pick her up to take her somewhere she doesn’t want.  I’ve never heard her say “Yes”, though she says no about a thousand times a day.  Still, she’s damn cute and lots of fun, so I’ll take the terrible twos any day.

In the marvelous yeasty world of bread, I’m learning about whole wheat flour and aging.  Apparently, you can use whole wheat flour immediately after it is milled (up to 8 hours later), or age it for 2 weeks in a paper bag at room temperature.  What happens between 8 hours and two weeks?  I think this no-man’s land produces inferior bread, somehow.  I made a double batch of multigrain sandwich this weekend, and it was very pale and somewhat crumbly.  I think it has to do with underkneading, as I’m still learning the feel of this new flour.  But maybe it hasn’t been aged properly!  This is what I tell myself.

Also, I’m thinking of adding another option to the Aurora Bakery menu:  pizza crusts.  I’ll pre-bake them and package them up like Boboli, so people can buy it and drop on toppings and just slide it in the oven for a few minutes to melt the cheese and get everything crispy.  Voila!  Artisan pizza in fifteen minutes!  We’ll see if I can get the oven hot enough for good crispy crust, or else I’ll have to bake on the barbecue.

It has been hot here.  Hot enough at night that I am tempted to turn on the air conditioning.  But!  We just had a tankless water heater installed on Friday.  Our big switch from an electric tank to gas tankless should save us tons of money on our gas/electric bill.  So I don’t want to put on the A/C because it’ll wreck my data set for savings comparison.  This is why we are sweating at night, so I can see how much money we’re saving.  I can’t put my finger on it, but something isn’t right.

This weekend will be, possibly, the Era of Power Tools.  We may rent a power augur to dig out the roughly fifteen thousand holes we’ll need to put in new plants and trees.  And I need to trim the tops of the 4×4 redwood fenceposts.  The radial saw I borrowed from my neighbor has an 8 ½” blade, but the maximum cut depth is only like 3”.  Which means I’d have to make two cuts per post and hope they line up for a flat top.  I’m thinking it’s better to rent a bigger saw so I can make one pass.  Or maybe Home Depot rents an ultra-sharp samurai sword, and I can just chop the tops off.  Remember that Mythbusters episode about cutting a sword blade?  I need that pneumatic sword swinger…

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  1. SRWood said:

    WAIT! Do not attempt to line up the cuts: even when using a carpenter's square it is very difficult. And if you mess it up and try again, you'll just keep trimming the post shorter and shorter. I've cut lots of thick wood (huh-huh-huh) and have made loads of mistakes, so I can save you the trouble of making your own.First, if both ends of the posts as they are now are square, who cares if the end in the ground is ragged and uneven? Cut it to whatever length you want and bury the crap end.But why tolerate poor workmanship even on an invisible end? Invest in a sharp handsaw; I recommend a Japanese pull saw, which can be got for $20 or borrowed for free. Scribe a line around the end of the post with a square, and proceed to cut carefully. A good saw is self-jigging, so once you've lined up with three sides you can whale away. A 4×4, even redwood, shouldn't be more than 60 seconds with a good saw — it'll take longer to set up and clamp.You can also set a 90' mitre gauge and run it through a table saw twice, though even then you're not guaranteed a smooth edge unless you bend over near the blade as you're cutting. Sometimes not even then. I've had mixed results. Especially when you've got 4 feet or more of lumber hanging off the edge of the table trying to kick the end being cut up into the air and remove your fingers. Or abandon the idea of a smooth right angle. Scribe a 45' angle on each side, so the end of the post forms a three-sided thing like the top of stop sign, and cut. If you set the circular saw to 45' you might be able to do it in one pass. DO NOT cut halfway through at a right angle with a circular saw and then finish up with a handsaw. The difference in kerfs will be noticable and crooked.Wait, are the posts already in situ? Then you're in deep situ. If that's the case the handsaw is probably the only option. Power saws are heavy, and cutting straight while you're holding them up in air is a known rampage-trigger. There is a bigger timberframe saw you can rent, I think it's a 16" Makita or something. Even in 10×10 oak (green) I ended up using a handsaw because the big 16" blade would bind and trip my circuit breaker all the time. Handsaw all the way!

  2. Babs said:

    That's exactly what I was going to suggest!

  3. Ha ha, I am in deep situ! The posts are in. I actually DID make two cuts (one per side) on each of the tall main entry posts, which are 4×6. They lined up pretty well but I took the electric sander up there to flatten out the top. But since the tops of those are above 8', they won't be seen, while the fenceposts will be around 4'. Now…we are thinking of adding post caps (copper thingamajigs) which would mean the cuts wouldn't need to be perfect. But I, the consumate craftsman, couldn't POSSIBLY do that.So I'm thinking about a reciprocating saw with a 6" blade. It couldn't be much heavier than that circular saw.Handsaw sounds great except we've got 17 4×4 posts to get through and most are in direct sun.

  4. I think we should take Seth's suggestion and try the handsaw…

  5. SRWood said:

    If you guys can wait a month I'll blaze through those posts in no time, for I am freakishly strong and quick with a sharp saw. The only downside is that my mighty turbine-like muscles run on double-hopped pale ale and grilled food.

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