New Foreigner Book!


a few hardcovers and pbs available from Closed Circle, signed. Latest: Moonlover and the Fountain of Blood, Jane Fancher short story. Chernevog, part 2 of the Rusalka trilogy co-written by CJ and Jane; and Orion's Children, a tetralogy from Lynn. Plus, coming soon: e-books: Yvgenie, and books from Jane.



At Miscon 2013, around Memorial Day, Missoula MT, At SoonerCon, in OKC, around June 15, also Spokon in Spokane, in July/August, Beyond that, we aren't sure.
April 2014
« Mar    

One more day of post-setting.

But all the holes are dug, and it’s less our problem today. We just raise and lower the tarp fence, and let the crew do their thing, while we try to bring order out of the chaos the house has become—mud on the kitchen floor, tools and parts of tools piled everywhere, boxes of catfood bulk-ordered, and items that have to be mailed…

Not to mention…getting some writing done.

And—-immaculately on time—-the fence crew arrived, and we are setting posts..,

Turned out they wanted us to pull the fenceposts, too. I don’t think we’d have had it in us. We’re exhausted. And of course it turns cold, and we get a 25 mph gust with promise of rain…as they’re setting the concrete.

We turned out to have to move 3 large peonies that are in bud. Sigh. They won’t like that.

And we’ve collected a stray yellow dog, and a good thing Jane understands dogs. She got his collar and has dropped a notice on his owner’s phone as to where he is. He’s new in the neighborhood. And chewed through his tie and joined us to find out what all the jackhammering is about. Unfortunately we live on a major street, and it’s dangerous for him to run loose. We’ve tied him up to await his owner. [Cats I can figure. Dogs are a bit of a mystery to me. But he's a nice and somewhat worried dog, and trying to be a good fellow.]

The skies have cleared now…we didn’t get the eclipse last night because of the cloud. But here’s hoping it warms a bit…for one thing, to help the concrete set.

I had to go to Home Depot to pick up the fencing because I couldn’t find the receipt to give to the fence guy for him to do it…they bring it out with a forklift with a guy with flags, right down the aisle. And thanks to a huge flatbed trailer, we got here ok. I sure couldn’t have hauled even one piece of that in the Prius, good as its cargo area is.

It’s 2:30 and they almost have the west side done…which is the short side. Hopefully, things will go faster on the east side.

Jane and have decreed no cooking tonight. We’re going out.

I’m sitting here in the house freezing, in a down coat. I get chilled, I think because I’m so over-tired, when I go out there to see how things are.

Once more into the breach…

The last day before the post-setters arrive.
We’ve got some work, yet, which is to pull two gates, a last panel of the back fence, and to bring the tarp inward in the final setup that will protect the pond while the new posts set.

This involves less lifting, but more Rube-Goldberging.

I was so tired I went to bed about 8:30 last night. I think Jane must have lasted longer, but I was done in.

Jane wants to get up early tomorrow and pull the side panels before the post-setters get to work, and then while they work, get the tarp arranged on the west side, but I’d like to do the tarp today, and just have that part finished. It’s cold in the mornings!

We’ll work it out.

Meanwhile I’ve got to call the accountant and make sure our tax info arrived.

The day dawns, the tarp still stands, though…

…we’re going to have to move it. In the advent of the wind and rain we took the easiest course and fastened it to standing fence posts. We’re going to have to relocate it closer in, and figure how to secure it without the helpful posts.

Today we tackle a smaller area of fence, and the gates, each of which is about 8′. (driveway) We think if we can find some way to secure the tarp at the house back door, and the garage, we can use the hawthorn tree as a midway point.

The job Jane did yesterday, repairing an eroded slope, removing a tree and building a stone retaining wall to keep the steep slope from washing out under the new fence—we may only have done 18 feet, but it was a particularly difficult 18 feet, the worst area of the yard.

There’s the other half of the basalt pile to move. The big gates, a little gate, and a 8′ panel to take down. And the tarp.

And then the ivy. We’ll be clearing that back from the hawthorn: no threat to the ivy. It’s tough.

We did get some pix. Jane will be putting them up.

Wiishu and Pookie were there…they make us laugh, amid the mud and the wind. When you think of others of these dolls who are kept on shelves and sooooo carefully kept, —- well, these rowdy elves aren’t the houseplant sort.

You have to ask Jane, too, about Shu’s misdeeds. He killed a glass dragon she quite treasured. And this morning…

They lied. These sections don’t weigh 45 lbs. It’s more like 200 lbs…

No plan survives contact with the enemy.
In this case, those sections of the fence are, at least the 18 feet we just took down, handmade on the hardware offered for the ‘bought’ sections. We may have some ‘bought’ sections on the west side, but the north is a monster. One section was 10 feet long, the other 8. The posts are rotten. They scabbed a plank over the actual fastenings. Etc. Etc. Etc, to quote Mr. Brynner, in his most aggrieved tones.

We got the back 18′ down, but I had to go after tarp. Tarp does come in a 12×20 so I split it to get 2 20′s. Now it’s trying to rain and the wind is coming with it. Jane is out there with a level and gravel, trying to fix a spot that’s been an Issue since we bought the house. I have tried to move a quarter ton of gravel off the old broken slab ‘Rick’ swears his guys will take a jackhammer to, to give free swing to our gate. But I have shoveled. I have trekked to Lowe’s and back. I have shoved and dragged these sections. Jane has done all that and more.

We are not defeated, but I think tonight is a pizza night. My shoulders are protesting the shoveling. There’s nothing to bring home to you what a pain it is to add another decade like shoveling basalt gravel. I have just taken 2 Advil, and I can’t leave Jane sitting out there in the rain trying to finish that stonework without doing something useless to help. Did I mention a sapling had grown outside the fence? Jane also took that out.

We are going to be sore tomorrow, and we have another 18′ of fence plus wings to take out. Monday—there’s the final 30 feet.

Every single person who could help us is out of town. So here we are. The fence guys are starting Tuesday. Until then…we just nibble away at the job and swear a lot.

As we already knew, we have no buried utilities in the back yard. So we’re good.

THat’s done. The contract is signed.

Saturday we start taking the fence apart.

And we really, really hope we like the color we picked out.

I plan for us to have a camera during the takedown. And process. It’s too bad we don’t have a camera-person but hey, we’re the crew and camera operators.

We did get all the netting installed. 12.00 for the netting for a 5000 gallon pond. Yay us!

And we’re hoping for pretty good weather during the install. They come out Tuesday next to dig the posts and set them up, and I guess it’s Friday for the actual install. This is a heavy hit in the wallet, but hey, this is part of the house, and it’ll last as long as we do. So we’re real happy. I started out wanting the light color, but Jane has always had eyes very sensitive to glare, and light fence back there would just make it miserable, so we switched to the darkest. And this, like lint on black velvet, will make everything that’s not in apple pie order stand out. It’s not, of course, black: it’s dark brown. Mimics a stone wall. And has insulation in it so it will dull the roar of passing traffic—we hope!

The water is crystal clear, the fish have begun to eat…and we got the pond netting half renewed.

The larger area on the other side of the bridge remains to see to, and a little squib at the U end of the pond, but we’re doing well. I didn’t recognize Grant this year: I kept wondering where we had gotten a medium sized tricolor. But that’s our baby from last year. He’s a monster! I don’t know how they grow during the winter, with no food: they must store an immense fatty layer and use sit all winter in a sort of fat to bone and muscle transaction I wish people could do!

In an attack of brilliance, I called Lowe’s to ask them the weight of these panels…

The ones we have, that is.
Since they list every other parameter on their website but weight.
The answer is 45 pounds. Yay! Jane and I together could have done it if it were twice that, but we’d so much rather lug 45 pounds than 90.

We’re also hoping the installers had the decency not to strip a majority of the screws.

We’ll undo about 12 screws on each panel, leave the fence posts standing, and arrange and prop the pieces in a smaller ring from garage to side fence, then from side fence to house. Then we take down the big one that runs from garage to driveway gates, then to the front gate, then to the house. Hopefully this will not be too big a deal.

Getting them to stand up…we’ve got a few cinder blocks, some garbage cans, and various things we may be able to use as props. By the time we finish Rube-Goldberging this perimeter fence into some sort of fence-ness, it should be its own burglar alarm. Touch it and Lord knows what will happen, but it’ll be noisy!

Permit in hand, and contract signed, fence materials waiting…

I get a call from Rick, the fence guy stating the utility people are going to come to mark the buried lines. Fine. And I should paint white on my fence (dark red)…so,,,,
huh? I say, turn the telly off and ask him to repeat that.

Yep. I went out and nailed two dish cloths to the fence so the marker guys don’t mark up our rockwork in front, but concentrate their efforts on the fence line. Seems these guys don’t have to read a form—just follow the white flags.

Welcome to the world of bigtime construction.

I see now how bulldozers hit gas lines and create disasters. Somebody ran out of dishcloths.

We got the new filter in—and today we get the building permit…and call the fence guy…

We’re hoping for a smooth app and permit downtown—it’s only a mile or two from here. The weather for this operation is sketchy, but that’s the season: typically it rains often, but no gully-washers (Southern US term for a large downpour) or toad-stranglers (similar.) It’ll rain gently for a while (thunder is quite rare) and stop, rain a bit and stop.

I think I scored in this Watt brand 20000 gallon filter: from Home Depot, it’s about the same level of filtration as a Brita filter, it’s easy to replace, once you have the fittings in place, and it’s dense enough to do some good: most of these filter, including Brita, use a little zeolite and a lot of coconut shell charcoal for carbon filtration. This thing weighs about a pound or so, and it could go 20000 gallons, possibly. We’ll see. They call it a 5 year filter. That depends on how bad your water is. And the nasty trick of any filter using carbon—when it ‘saturates’ with whatever you’re trying to remove, it starts giving it back to you. In Jane’s case, stomach upset that is pretty definite as to kind and cause. So we know it’s filter-changing time.

We have our diagram for the permit people. We go down, say, ‘Existing fence replacement,’ pay the tax, and hopefully bring back our permit.

The big job is going to be unscrewing all those fence panels and trying to prop them up as a quasi-fence inside the perimeter, leaving the posts standing. Since what we’re getting is 6 foot rather than 8 foot panels, there will be new postholes. And hopefully this will be the end of fence woes. It’s a chunk of change to do it, but the fence is guaranteed for many years, and will look much better. Now we have to get to finishing the brick re-painting near the back door—when the builders put the brick veneer on the new addition (before our time) to the house, they used a brick that didn’t match—Part of our kitchen and our mudroom used to be an attached garage: they filled in the old garage door opening with dark brick, and the rest involves orange and red and dark and ochre tones. We had an inspiration and began painting the brick in the proper colors in the same staggered pattern as the rest of the brickwork, and it worked really well—but we didn’t get the bit around the back door. This is a summer’s project.

I do have a new article in the How to Write section, on how Jane and I work. YOu might find it interesting. And Jane has a new photo story on our trip to Priest Lake on her page.