Backyard Race Car Track & …Dinosaur Garden? 🚚🦕


Well.  Damn, you Pinterest.  Ha ha.  We made more progress on the Back Yard Race Car Track.  It may now also be a construction zone, gravel pit, monster truck arena, and dinosaur garden.  Molly even asked about building a volcano.  I do have an extra bag of concrete.

Check out the latest photos.  We added a gravel pit, some large rocks for edging-work to try to contain the gravel, and dug out the grass so we have a dirt pit.  Not sure if I should plant grass and leave a dirt track, or make it all a dirt pit.  I may try to buy some river rock to make the outside edges look a little neater, and mix some more extra sloppy concrete to smooth it over, and fill in the edges smooth.

I bet it will evolve greatly over time.

I’m anxious to see photos of other projects like this.  Show me what you’ve got in the comments!

 

 

🚧 🚧 🚧 👷 👷‍♀️ 🚚 🦕 🚗 🏁 🧚 🌱 🚧 🚧 🚧

🚧 🚗🏁 Backyard Race Car Track & Fairy Garden Construction! 🧚🌱🚧


So, on Labor Day this year, we labored.  We finally got around to pouring cement for the Backyard Race Car Track, and we started a Fairy Garden.

I have been sitting on the race car track idea for a while, and wondering what to do landscape-wise around the one small tree in the back.  We recently got some fairy garden furniture stuff as a gift… so we thought that would be a cool second (3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th?) backyard play-space.

I had purchased some Quikrete coloring from Amazon a while ago, and some bags of Quikrete Sand/Topping Mix from Home Depot this Saturday knowing that we had a full day to work today.

We had also started the digging a while ago when Ian was over-zealous and wanted to “Dig, Dig Dig!” in the back yard.

We had an easy enough start, put down some gravel, and mixed two of the three bags of Sand/Topping Mix with the coloring.  I mixed it a little thick, and really what was all the coloring was meant to cover.  The track was only about ‎⅔ of the way complete.  So, I mixed the one other bag we had on hand.  It was a little sloppier and went on really well.  The kids helped in a kid-helping capacity, and Bethany did nearly all of the troweling/finishing work.  Molly told me that she wanted to use the trowel because that’s what “brick builders” use to put the stuff in between bricks.  I have no idea where she learned that.

So.  It was obvious we needed a quick trip back to Home Depot to get some more bags.  Ian & I went on a mission.

I asked the little man if we should get 3, or 4.  He was adamant about getting 4.  We also got the cheapest bag of garden soil, and some pebbles.  Sadly, the bottle of coloring didn’t last long, and maddeningly Home Depot didn’t carry it… even with two shelves full of Quikrete products.  I ended up asking if they had anything in the paint department, and they just had a concrete paint or dye to use after the fact.

We got back and Bethany made us a delicious salad for lunch.  We needed to re-fuel for more work out back!  I mixed 2 more bags, with some help:

After that, we did use just one more bag… but that’s OK.  I can use the rest for some driveway patch work now that I have some more recent practice with this stuff.  (A long time ago, I worked for a bit for a general contractor, and would sometimes mix mortar all day for the subcontracted bricklayers.)

For now, that’s about all we can do.  The bag says it needs to set up for five days.  Hopefully we can be patient and the neighborhood wildlife (including my children) stays out of it.  I did grab an odd old brick from out front that had originally been in the back yard, and made a sort of garage out of it.  I plan to get some river rocks or pebbles or something to kind of clean up the edges of the track.  Maybe they will need to go on with concrete, or some of that stuff that comes in a caulking-gun dispenser.  If they’re not stuck down, they will end up all over and most likely destroy my lawn mower.

The other quick family project was to make a fairy garden.  I was hoping to use stuff that we had around in addition to the recently gifted furniture and starter items.

After thinking about a couple of different ideas, we settled on me taking a chainsaw to some large branches and small logs that we had out back, and driving nails partway into the bottom so we could drive them into the ground and they would hopefully hold.  It worked!

I played with the chainsaw, demonstrated the nail technique, then Bethany and the kids did most of the nail-driving… and I think that was mostly Bethany.  Molly helped me place them around the tree in sort of a kidney bean shape, including an old wooden bucket that I think we bought from the estate sale of the previous owner of this house (who coincidentally said she would miss the little tree in the backyard most of all).

Then we pulled up 90% of the grass, and Ian hauled it away in his wheelbarrow.  We put down the bag of cheap garden soil and it was perfect for coverage & fairy garden decoration placement.  We also planted a small succulent plant that my mom had recently given us in a small pot that should be durable outdoors, but may look cool covered in small round stones so it looks like a fairy house.  We’re putting Grandma on craft duty to help make little projects to decorate the space.  I would love to use some of the stuff we have around the yard or house like tiny terracotta pots, or Popsicle sticks, or wire.

View this post on Instagram

Is it a #FairyGarden or a #SquirrelPlayground?

A post shared by Eric Carroll (@aixelsyd13) on

It would be nice to plant some small ornamental succulents, moss, or super tiny flowers eventually too.  Luckily (?) Pinterest is an endless rabbit hole when it comes to fairy garden stuff.  Speaking of rabbits, our backyard is overrun with them as well as squirrels, chipmunks, birds, deer, and who knows what else.  Think they’ll leave this stuff alone?

At any rate, playing in the dirt has been proven over-and-over to be good for you.  These spaces offer two additional opportunities for the kids to get into the dirt in the back yard.  It’s great to learn about gardening, ecosystems, using your imagination, and more… all without even realizing that you’re learning.

Check out some photos from the day if you have the time and interest, and let us know what you think in the comments!

 

 

If this is something you’d like to try yourself, check out these Pinterest boards for inspiration:

If it’s something you have tried yourself, please share your stuff in the comments!  I would love to see some other backyard family projects.

So, I haven’t blogged in a while…


I’ve been working mad OT, and this has happened…

I hope to get back to blogging my usual insanity as the need arises or as things calm down!

Guitarz 2012 Calendar!


Some people who read this blog may, like myself, have an appreciation for guitars.  I like the weird, the odd, the strange, & the rare.

Not Enough Batman
Not Enough Batman

Guitarz is putting together a 2012 calendar of such guitars.

These guys put together a great blog, and I’m looking forward to their calendar.  I might take an artful photo of one of my weird axes, but with only 12 months in the year mine won’t be a slam-dunk… and sadly aren’t the weirdest/rarest out there.

Take some photos of your weird/rare/beautiful guitars and send them in!

They probably won’t take this photo.  So, get your axe in gear!  (Get it?)  Submit a photo of your rare/weird/cool guitar, or take a photo of a friend’s to submit.

Pittsburgh Zoo Photos


Got some cool shots from the Pittsburgh Zoo on Sunday, thought I’d share some of my favorites.  Just click on the thumb to see the full-size image:



You can check ’em all out here: Grid / Slideshow

Last night’s Tubonegro tribute! (via Ernie and the Berts)


Ernie and the Berts did some crazy Turbonegro covers last night… “Suffragette City” (a cover of a cover), “I Got Erection”, and “Sell Your Body (To the Night)”. It was captured in photo and video.  It’s a good thing we have no shame.

Last night's Tubonegro tribute! One lucky Ernie and the Berts friend & fan who goes by the YouTube handle johnnyaUSA captured a very special moment last night.  Ernie got to live out 3 rock n’ roll dreams (a.k.a. “steps to becoming a man”) at the 31st Street Pub and it’s all captured here on video.  What are they?  Well, you’ll just have to watch and see! … Read More

via Ernie and the Berts

The Dewey Deceibel FlipOut Guitar


FlipOut Guitars

FlipOut Guitars

I have a problem with weird guitars.  I’m drawn to them.  I love the classic Les Paul shape and sound, but something about goofy-looking guitars really speaks to me.  I’ve blogged before about my Galveston B.B. Stone, and drooled over the fanboy/kitsch factor of the Millennium Falcon guitar.  Now, I’d like to blog about my most recent 6-string purchase… the Dewey Decibel FlipOut Guitar.

I was drawn to the goofiness when I saw it somewhere online.  I even saw it hanging in Pittsburgh Guitars once, but I had no play money at the time, and couldn’t justify getting the thing.

I bought it through ebay a while ago, as my last band (Gasoline Dion) was kind of petering itself out of existence.  I hadn’t really gotten the chance to use it on stage until recently.  It always draws out a question or admiration.  I don’t think I’ve drawn ire from anyone yet… except the expressed-yet-repressed hatred that my friend and guitar-guru Dave has toward just the general idea of the thing.

Dewey Decibel FlipOut Models

Dewey Decibel FlipOut Models

Yet despite his disdain for the abomination of an axe, Dave did help me install some GFS pickups to replace the stock ones… since I do like that beefier fat-Strat sound.  They’re some great pickups for the price.  Ernie and the Berts recently recorded a demo, and I’m quite happy with the tone coming from the guitar.  I also like the feel of the frets.  This has become my “it” guitar of the moment.

The weird thing about these guitars other than the backwards body is the color schemes and names.  I oddly enough chose the “Lit Cigarette” color scheme.  I wouldn’t mind  a black pick-guard, but I don’t think you can walk into any guitar shop and just pick one up.

Eric Aixelsyd - Dewey Decibel FlipOut Guitar Lit Cigarette

Fallout Shelter - Oct 30th, 2010

Obviously, I like the whimsical/goofy factor with this thing, and my “stage name” being ERiC AiXeLsyD, I felt that that backwards guitar should certainly fit that quite well.

I’m glad that Dewey Decibel makes this guitar, and I’m glad that I found one… or it found me.  I’d love to see photos of other FlipOuts in action.  I know they even have basses if you want some backwards bottom-end.  They may just be prototypes, their web page hasn’t changed for quite some time… and as it last stands they’re available for pre-order, “to be filled in 2005.”

If you have one of these guitars, or know someone who does… post photos!

Dunkin’ Donuts on Allergy Signage… [Case# 7577485]


Did you see my allergen warning sign photos from Dunkin’ Donuts and Giant Eagle?  I wrote to both of them to thank them for displaying the signs.  Giant Eagle was the first to reply, and now I’ve heard from Dunkin’ Donuts.  I submitted the following via webform:

Hello,

I was in the Dunkin’ Donuts in Dormont this weekend, and I was pleasantly surprised to see this allergen warning sign:  http://i127.photobucket.com/albums/p139/worldandlunardomination/Signs/p_00527.jpg

As someone who has a severe allergy, I found this to be a responsible and proactive decision on the part of Dunkin’ Donuts, and I just wanted you to know that it’s an appreciated gesture.

Thankfully, my allergy isn’t to peanuts, or I’d most likely go nowhere near your fine establishments, much like I currently avoid Red Lobster and Long John Silver’s due to my shellfish allergy.

I did, as the sign suggested, go to https://www.dunkindonuts.com/aboutus/nutrition/ in order to see allergen information for some of my favorite menu items.

I also see that you have a blanket *.pdf available showing nutrition information for all of your products.  Do you have something like this for allergens in all of your products?

It’s a red flag for me that you have “Crustaceans” on the list, and even expand upon it under the data table with “Crustaceans include, crab, crayfish, lobster, and shrimp.”

Do any of these creepy little sea-bugs show up in any of your products?  My curiosity is piqued, my friends!

Thank you for your time, and for responsibly posting allergen warnings.  I look forward to hearing from you!

Not dead yet,
-Eric

Ant they wrote back…

From:customerservicereply@dunkinbrands.com” <customerservicereply@dunkinbrands.com>
To: me@my.email.address
Sent: Tue, October 12, 2010
Subject: Case# 7577485 – Dunkin’ Donuts

Hi Eric,
Thank you for taking the time to contact Dunkin’ Donuts.
To answer your questions regarding allergens, the stores should have a printed document available behind the counter that will tell you if any of the allergens required to be listed by the FDA are in our products.
If you call our Consumer Care line, they can tell you as well.
As far as the shell fish listing on our forms, that form is required by the FDA. We have to show it on the form but you won’t see it checked off for any of our products.
I hope this answered your questions.
You can reach us at 800-859-5339 M-F 8:30AM to 5:00PM EST.
At Dunkin’ Donuts we value our customers and are committed to making your visits to our stores a pleasant experience.

Thank you and have a great day.

Louise
Customer Relations Associate

Reference # 7577485

It’s interesting how people intemperate the laws… I certainly don’t see standardized allergen information on all food-related websites. I’m glad that companies like this are at least trying to be active in their warning, and hope it’s not just a “CYA” measure.

It’s also interesting to note that I received a the same  exact reply to this message at least 13 times, all with the same case/reference number.  Weird.

https://aixelsyd13.files.wordpress.com/2010/10/allergy-sign-d-donuts-p_00527.jpg

Tyson Foods, Inc. & Willie Barber FTW.


Yesterday, I got two surprises in our mailbox… One being that half of it was our neighbor’s mail, and the other being the promised letter & coupons from Mrs. Barber at Tyson  Foods!  OK, the mail mix-up wasn’t that big of a surprise… that happens at least 4 times a week.  It’s always good to get mail that’s not bills or junk mail though, and this made my day…

Tyson Foods - LetterSeems a little stiff compared to my earlier exchanges, but form letters are a necessary evil with a company as large as Tyson I guess.

Also enclosed were five  coupons for free Tyson Foods items!  Two coupons for one free bag of Tyson Frozen Breaded Product or Any’tizers Product, one for any one package of Tyson Individually Frozen Chicken Product, one for any one package of Tyson Wright Brand, and one for any one package of Wright Brand Product… which makes some awesome bacon.

Tyson coupons

This is much much more than I expected, or could have hoped for!  Really, it all started out as goofing around, not a complaint by any means.  It’s certainly better than the paltry pile of coupons that I received from Pillsbury when asking about funding further “how many pizza rolls can really fit in the microwave at once” research.  I let the ball drop on that one… perhaps I better write to them and ask again, using Tyson and Taco Bell as references of good coupon giving.

I’ll have to write back to Willie to say thanks.  This really was quite generous, and will certainly help in stretching the food budget in the coming weeks!