Tuesday, December 20, 2011

New well house, well kinda.

Well, (pun intended) our well house has been looking pretty sad for the last year or two and really had gotten to the point that it was going to have to be repaired soon so it didn't fall down and break something.  I have seen the fake rocks that people use to cover up items in their yard but hadn't ever seen one large enough that it would actually cover the well and pressure tank until on a recent flight looking over the skymall magazine.  Once I got home I did some looking and there were actually a couple different sizes that would cover everything up.  I decided to go with the one that would be large enough to cover up what it needed to without being way too large (the largest one I found was 5' tall and 6' square).

I was able to spend Saturday afternoon knocking down the old well house and swapping it out for the new hollow rock.

Here's the old well house.  You can see it was in pretty bad shape.
Here's the well house with the new rock sitting next to it.
Here's the well house after I've started knocking it down.  It came apart pretty easy, but getting the roof off without dropping it on the pressure tank or well was a little tricky.  You can see how tall the pressure tank was compared to the height of the wall of the well house and also how tall the post is that had the electrical connections.
All the walls knocked down and starting to get them loaded in the ranger.  In the last 2 pictures you can see the house in the background and see how odd it was to have a well house sitting out there so far from everything.
The rest of the debris loaded up on the ranger.  It squatted down a little bit under the load but it actually has the same payload capacity as a 1/2 ton pickup.
Here's a test to see if the rock is actually going to work.  I was for sure going to have to change up the way the electrical connections and cut the post down to get it to fit.
Electrical connections rearranged and the rock is ready to go.
Everything in place.  Again, you can see the house in the background.  The rock is actually held down by 3 stakes for now.  Hopefully they will hold up to the wind.  That was one consideration when getting the smaller rock, it should do better with less surface area to catch the wind.
One more look from a little distance.  The rock is still noticeable if you are looking for it, but nothing like the old well house was.  I haven't decided if I'm going to plant a few shrubs around it to help it blend in or just leave it as is.
I don't think anyone really cares other than me, but I really think the new rock looks a lot less out of place than the old well house did.

Ended up salvaging most of the timber and turning it into firewood.  My chainsaw got a workout and I did too when I ended up spliting a bunch of wood with an axe.  It's probably going to burn pretty quick being dry pine, but it should be easy to get it started.  Spliting wood was actually fun and I for sure got a workout doing it.

That's it for a Saturday afternoon project. 


Thursday, December 15, 2011

Eli is 5!

Can you believe that Eli turned 5 yesterday!!!  It is amazing how fast time flies!

We had a little party for him at Chucky Cheese before church last night.
He was really happy with his Mac truck that he got.
He actually smiled for a few of the pictures!
He was pretty excited to get to see everyone and with the presents he received.

Thanks everyone that was able to come!


Wednesday, December 14, 2011

A few pictures from the Toys for Tots Race.

Here's a few pictures from the Toys for Tots race last Saturday.  The running club has a few volunteers who take pictures during the race and then they post them on their website so I copied the ones of Cathy and I and am posting them here. 

This first picture I actually took myself on my phone as we were getting ready for the race to start.  Nice dreary morning!
The remaining photos are courtesy Susan Caudle and the West Texas Running Club.

Here's the start of the race.  This is as close as Cathy or I got to the leaders.
Cathy making the turn onto the bridge for the first time.

Here's me coming over the bridge for the 2nd time.  Almost done with the first 2 mile loop.
Not 100% sure when this picture was taken.  I was focused on running!
This is at the finish.  I was actually ahead of some people and it almost looks like I am running instead of jogging!
Cathy at the finish.  She finished ahead of some people too!
That's pretty much it for the pictures.  Kind of nice to not have to worry about trying to take them on your own. 
I'm a bit surprised at how much I have enjoyed going over the race results and looking at the pictures and where I finished in my category and things like that.  I already signed us up to be members of the running club for 2012 and signed us up for the first race in January.  It's only 5 miles, but hopefully the weather won't be too bad!
That's it for now.  Nathan

Monday, December 12, 2011


Well, hunting season is over and I'm still trying to stay in shape.  My last day of active hunting was November 5th and I'm still getting out and running about 3 times a week.  I still don't think I actually would be able to say that I enjoy running, but I sure do like the results that it provides.  According to the runkeeper program I've burned over 67,000 calories this year jogging or hiking!  According to the stuff I've read, it takes 3,500 calories burned to lose a pound so if I hadn't been working out and ate the same amount of food I would be about 20 pounds heavier right now!

One thing that I'm going to start trying to do is run in some of the local running club races that they have each month.  I've run in a couple 5K races at LCU and one in Austin and one in downtown Lubbock over the last 10 or 15 years, but they were races that Cathy was running in already and she convinced me to go with her.  This was the first time I actually felt ready to run in a race and the first time I actually pressed the issue of going.  Cathy did mention it to me, but I lined up a baby sitter and decided that we were going.

It was just a 4 mile race, but it was a cross country race at Mae Simmons park and that is one place in Lubbock that actually has some hills.  Not much compared to most places, but for folks around here they are memorable.  I mentioned to a few of my co-workers that I was going to run at Mae Simmons and they groaned with memories from running it in high school.  I felt like 4 miles would be a cake walk, but they had me a little concerned about the course.

Okay, enough lead in!  We ran 4 miles and it was easy!  I ended up running it in a 9:15 pace and Cathy ran it in a 9:35 pace.  I didn't feel like I was pushing it very hard at all, I treated it as a training run and just tried to keep my pace.  It was a little different than running by myself or with Cathy as there were 125 other folks out there doing the same thing.  I ended up taking 62nd which was pretty much smack dab in the middle of the pack.  Cathy finished in 71st.

Here's a picture from runkeeper showing the route and my splits.
We did a 2 mile loop twice to get to the 4 miles.  The graph looks pretty consistent for each loop on the elevation.  It was actually a pretty decent elevation gain for around here anyway.

In retrospect I probably could have run quite a bit faster, but since it was my first race when I was actually in shape I just didn't know.  I ended up running another 6 miles yesterday and decided to push it a bit on the last mile just to see how I would do and was surprised that I was able to run the last mile in an 8:17 pace and actually broke an 8:00 pace for the last 1/4 mile or so.  That was after running 5 miles at a 9:30 pace.

Just last week I ran a nice flat 6 mile route at the house and actually beat a 9:00 pace on it. 
My splits were really close on that run with my fastest mile at 8:48 and my slowest mile at 9:04.  It was a MUCH nicer day than yesterday though.

I've been tracking all of my running and hiking with the runkeeper program and it is showing that I'm up to 388 miles for the year.  229 of that is running and 153 of that is hiking with 6 miles on the elliptical thrown in too.  I really didn't get started on running to get in shape until May and I've actually averaged 31 miles of running over the last 6 months.  I'm hoping to get in 400 total miles by the end of the year and would like to get to 250 miles of running.

I'm still very slow compared to any real runners, but I'm closing the gap.  Looking back at my first 6 mile run this year back in June I have cut my pace by over 2 minutes per mile!  I the same route in an 11:18 pace and had to walk twice.  I was beat when I was done and don't think I got anything else done the entire day.    Last week I ran it in an 8:56 pace and felt great when I was done.  That's over 14 minutes faster over the same 6 miles in just over 6 months of working out!

I'm sure I'm going to get to the point of diminishing returns pretty soon, and when it all comes down to it I'm perfectly fine being the slow big guy out there plodding along, but it is nice to see some results anyway.  I'm setting a goal to run a 1/2 marathon in 2012 so I can't quit now.

Being in shape is really nice, I guess the time spent running is worth it.

That's it for now, Nathan