First Fire

It that time of year again.  Last night we had our first fire of the year.


We’d have had the first fire a few days ago during a cold spell, but we weren’t ready for it.

Because of our work completely the “great room” there was now insulation surrounding the chimney pipe as it ran through the attic.   I brought a ladder in for Julie who climbed up and moved it away and placed a barrier around it.  Heaven knows we don’t need another house fire!

I also spent the day getting firewood prepared.   My dad has had piles of old lumber in the yard for years, and so this served the dual purpose of cleaning up the yard and getting ready for winter fires.   I used the tractor to pick up the piles of lumber and move them over next to the chop saw where I sorted through lumber that was to be burned and that which was still usable as lumber.   The former was cut into pieces and the latter stacked again to be moved and covered.  (We’re going to want it to build a chicken coop next spring.)   Kids came home from school and stacked it neatly on a pallet near the back door, ready for use.

We were ready to go!


And, as expected, that first fire made it unbearably hot in 1/2 the house.  Julie of course was thrilled.   She sat down in front of the fireplace and labeled it “the best spot in the house.”  She even coaxed Bella to come over and sit with her, telling her that it will probably be her favorite place too.

Meanwhile, I was turning on fans and trying to get the heat to dissipate.  The furnace had been on when we started the fire, so the house wasn’t cold to start with.  But I knew that the added heat of the fire was going to make it scorching.   I was right.   Within 30 minutes of striking the first match I was starting to sweat.   Julie was still in a jacket and blanket.

It’s going to be a hot winter for me I’m afraid.

Thanksgiving Invite

Our family tradition for Thanksgiving?  To offer a hot meal and place to relax to everyone we know.   If you have no other place to go this Thanksgiving, then you are welcome with the Jensens!

With the events of the last year, you can be sure that it won’t be very fancy, but we will have plenty of good food and we always have lots of laughs.  So don’t sit home alone, don’t feel unwanted, and don’t be depressed.   Come share in the joy of the holiday and the friendliness of our family.

Some years we have more people come than others, but nobody is ever turned away.   If you need or want a place to go, come see us!

Even if you don’t come here, I hope you all have a great Thanksgiving!

pic from



Book Review: Midnight for Charlie Bone

Midnight for Charlie Bone (The Red King Series) by Jenny Nimmo

I don’t remember who suggested this series to me; but they mentioned it in a kind of “If you liked Harry Potter, you ought to read Charlie Bone.”  Our family loved Harry Potter so I thought I would try this series and give Kristie something else to read.  But here is MY warning!  Other than magical abilities and a school for “gifted children,” I found this book to be NOTHING like Harry Potter.  I almost quit after 100 pages, but Kristie finished in record time.  She spoke excitedly about the fast paced plot.  So I soldiered on and finished.


Charlie Bone is a young boy who discovers he can hear voices from photographs.  At the same time, he acquires a mysterious case that is the key to finding a girl who was lost as a child and would be Charlie’s age now.  Charlie’s grandma and 3 great aunts immediately send him off to Bloor’s Academy, a school for gifted and talented children.  But Bloor’s is not Hogwarts.  It is not a home away from home, but more like a boarding school straight out of a Dickens’ novel.

Charlie enlists the help of new found friends to solve the mystery of the missing girl rumored to be at Bloor’s.  But in so doing, he finds himself at odds with the headmaster and his daunting Grandmother and aunts.  But with the help of an oddly powerful uncle, Charlie may have a chance to find the girl and uncover a greater mystery about himself.


I give this book a 5 out of 12 buttered rolls.  I’m just not a fan.  The backstory is so flawed, I can’t figure out what Charlie doesn’t know or understand and what is common knowledge.  The character development was non-existent.  Characters who were passed over as merely names, later accomplish important tasks and then treated like an integral part of the storyline.  In the last few chapters,  the characters discuss maintaining the balance between good and evil, but the entire book focused on the evil characters, good guys were merely footnotes.

There was nothing in the story that I would caution readers to avoid (or discuss with their children), but I found the whole thing kinda lame.  Kristie’s excitement has me reading book 2 though.  I guess with this kind of beginning, things can only get better from here.   However, I thought it only fair to give the recommendation of my 11 year old daughter, Kristie.

I love Midnight for Charlie Bone because there is a lot of adventure and fun in it. It is fun to read about stuff like this when I can figure out what to do and what is going to happen in it. For example, I’m pretty sure I have figured out who Charlie’s Dad is, even though they have no idea. I really like adventure books and it reminds me of books like Harry Potter and Fablehaven.  I like adventure and I really like books that have nothing to do with love. It is annoying to read a book when all they focus on is love. The only love in Charlie Bone is the love between family members. It is mysterious and cool how they are able to use there powers and able to solve the problems.

There you go.  I need a proper backstory or proper updates of history, non of this mere, “Oh yeah…by the way” stuff.  One-dimensional characters make one-dimensional books.  However, young readers are more forgiving of those fatal flaws.

More Roofing Fun

Turning this:

Into this:

Creates this:


We did 2 of those in the last 2 days.   The tractor bucket made a great “ladder” to stand in and hold us at the perfect height.   It also made clean up easy since all old shingles and cut scraps went straight into the bucket to be dumped in the garbage trailer for hauling away.

We’re slow, but we do good work!

All About Roofing

Today’s Project

This is the west side of the roof over the front (north) door of the house.  This roof leaked last winter/spring, and I bet that you can understand why.  And since winter is coming, I thought I better go ahead and get this fixed, NOW!  I’d have done it long ago, but the projects that gave us living space have all seemed more important up until now.

Damage from leaking last winter/spring – before we lived here

The Demo

Thankfully all of the needed supplies and tools were here already.  Dad reroofed almost the entire house a few years ago and had plenty of extra packages of shingles just waiting for me to use.

The hardest part was taking those old shingles off.  As worn out and rotten as they look, they were still solidly attached to the roof.  The shingles in the open were fine, but that small section under the overhang… those were rough.  As that space disappeared it became almost impossible to get the nails out.   And the space to grab onto them was almost too small as well.

It took about an hour to get that portion cleaned out on both sides of the door.  Truth be told, I did end up leaving a portion of the old shingles on the East side.  No amount of pulling or mangling could get it released since that upper portion of house was built on top of the already shingled entry way.  But since it is well hidden it won’t be an eye sore, and being covered the way it is there is no way it will cause a water problem.


When the demolition was complete we found that the tar paper was actually in really good shape.  On one side we left it in place, and on the other I did lay some new tar paper to cover a spot we ripped it while tearing shingles off.

As mentioned above, the shingles under the eaves had been put on prior to the eaves being built when the house was under construction 35+ years ago.  That made nailing down the shingles then easy to do.  Not so much today though.  There is no way to get a nail gun nor hammer into that space to secure the shingles with nails.

Instead, we glued them down.  After nailing each shingle down as much as we could, we used roofing tar to glue them in place.   No shingle is ONLY held by tar though.  We were sure to not to put any partial pieces in under that area that couldn’t be nailed.  Every shingle has at least 4 nails in it out in the open, and then some tar under the eave to glue that portion down.  I hope it will be just fine.

It only took about an hour of work to get the new shingles on.  It took more than a couple of actual hours due to the breaks I kept taking for my back and feet (ached terribly from standing on the ladder).   I knew this was going to cause a fair amount of pain, so I asked for help.  I guess my Elder’s Quorum (church group) dropped the ball on me.   C’est la Vie.


If you look closely at the photo you’ll notice that the fascia was never installed around this door.  Dad, who worked in construction his entire life (He was a project manager for building hospitals, shopping malls, and an LDS temple) never got around to finishing that small project.

So, after roofing, Julie and I decided that it was high time that it got done.   Again, all the supplies were here already.

Julie actually took over this portion of the project.  My back was killing me by the time we got to this point, so she found the items and started measuring and cutting.   She can do it all (must be part of her Cyborg programming).

(I wrote the previous paragraph while she was indeed out working and I recuperated.  After about 45 min I went out again and found she hadn’t put up any of the soffit or fascia, so I proceeded to do it myself while she went and got kids from school and ran them to/from various locations.  I left that paragraph in the post just to rub it in a little bit to her – a good natured laugh we were having).

Completed Project


More to Come

I wish that we were done with this, but it turns out there are 2 bay windows that Dad failed to re-roof as well a few years back.  So those are also on our to-do list this week.