A happy and blessed fourth to you and yours. Two thoughts on patriotism: first, *you* are the pater, the father, to your country. Your job is to look after your country. It is not your country’s job to look after you. Second, and related, is something Chesterton said (paraphrasing drastically): that a patriot hopes to be worthy of the great gift of his own country. I would go so far as to say: a patriot, as any father, should hope and strive to be worthy of his own child.
Note that there’s nothing much individualistic about this attitude: no sane man could hope to take care of an entire nation on his own, but rather should hope to care for the little corner that has fallen to his responsibility, and should seek out the company of good men and women who strive to be responsible for theirs. Together, we try to keep the long-term health of our nation in sight. This is the true meaning of a republic, a commonwealth: we have received our great nation as a gift, and with it the duty to make sure that we can also give it as a gift.
On to the more mundane. The weather today was perfect: low 80s, low humidity, light breeze. We had both brunch and dinner on the back patio under the shade of our massive walnut tree:
For brunch, Younger Daughter made blueberry pancakes with fresh strawberry syrup and whipped cream – red, white and blue. For dinner, fresh guacamole, burgers, tomatoes and cucumbers from the garden, home made sweet potato fries. After dinner, we did an hour of Adoration at a local church, then caught some fireworks, then came home to Younger Daughter’s home made Baked Alaska – she made vanilla ice cream with strawberry, raspberry and Macadamia nut brownie swirls – outrageously good.
One of the best 4ths we’ve ever had.
On the Home Improvement front, over this weekend: (This is so ridiculous I’ll put in a break to make it easier to skip over. Really, amateur hour at the hardware store. Fascinating. )
A. Replaced the inner workings of 2 out of our 3 toilets. They all work perfectly now. Yes, big whoop, but it’s satisfying. You know how when a toilet’s mechanics are starting to fail, and at first you just have to jiggle the handle a bit, then you progress to fiddling with the innards, then it’s on to preposterous jury-rigging until finally, you can’t take it – it was like that.
B. Got the fiberglass shield, take 2, made, trimmed, sanded and the back painted black. The front is red gel coat. The Caboose has chosen a design for the front – a winged sword in black and gold, with some foliage in the margins – that will be pushing Dad’s meager and rusty art chops to the hilt, as it were. This could take a while. Pics and detailed rundown when completed.
C. Put in many hours and took several trips to Ace or Home Depot for the sake of the little extension I’m adding to the front of the brick oven. Went a little something like this: Cut, pre-drilled and painted a 27″ piece of 2″ angle iron:
Drilled 4 10″ deep 1/2″ diameter holes in the oven slab:
Epoxied in 4 2′ long threaded 1/2″ rod, and epoxied and screwed the angle iron to the slab:
Fitted some smaller angle iron to make a sort of bracket to support the shelf:
Clamped the angle iron down so I could bend the rods up without breaking anything:
Then cut a 2 x 8 as a brace so that I could bend the rods back down to roughly the center of the future shelf’s level:
Reassembled and bolted together the shelf bracket, and attached a piece of expanded metal over the angle iron/slab seam, in the hope that it will give the mortar something to bind to such that a crack doesn’t open up.
Tomorrow, I hope to mortar in the three refractory bricks on top of that seam. I’ll let it dry at least over night, and then maybe Thursday, attach the back 1/3 of the shelf, the part that fits over the bend in the rods and snuggles up to the bricks. Then, if all goes well, I add the remaining 2/3, glue and clamp. The shelf is a modified butcher block:
Utter time sink. It will look cool, assuming I can somehow make the bolts and the bracket work together so that it’s a least approximately level.
D. Added a hammock chair to bring the backyard into summer compliance. Now have a hammock and a hammock chair, and neither of the adults in the household have any spare time to use them. Yea, yea, I’m sure you’ll cry me a river.
And that’s it from here, other than to add: Younger Daughter, 19, home for another 2 months until she heads back to school for her junior year, has been teaching herself Journey’s Don’t Stop Believing on the piano,
and rented herself a cello for the next two months, to learn Bach’s Suite for Unaccompanied Cello No 1: Part 1.
She doesn’t play cello. This does not concern her. She just got the names of some local cello teachers, and there’s always YouTube. She’s worried she’s wasting her summer. Um, wha?
Kids these days.