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Monthly Archives: December 2010

what happens when you cross a couch pototo with a camp fire..

So we had a guest for the night last night. Had some drinks and good talks..then the topic of conversation got around to what we needed those 2 couches for that were out near the shed…I told him that we needed to demonstrate what the couches were for:

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With all the snow in the last 2 days there is no risk of fires starting from the couch fire. Not really the most environmentally friendly thing I have done all year but it really is amazing how a burning couch can light up the night! I don’t recommend standing anywhere near the couch while it burns..very hot and very smoky.

 
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Posted by on December 29, 2010 in fun

 

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WonderWash..

Its like a 1950's homemakers dream come true! Wow..technology!

No, this WonderWasher is not flying an invisible plane or wearing bullet reflecting armlets…it is a washing machine..of tiny proportions. A* and I wanted a temporary/small scale solution to laundry woes and emergency washes. We do not have a washer and dryer and over the holidays we were very busy..so when we finally got a chance to go to do laundry on the 27th we did 9 loads. Personally I like the laundromat..it is efficient..you put 9 loads in..wait 25 minutes..put those 9 loads in the dryer and wait 35 minutes and voila..you are finished..folding aside it beats 20 trips up and down stairs to do all of this in my opinion but it is not really cost effective…those 9 loads cost around $30 when it was all said and done. So, last summer I bought the WonderWasher with the intent to do things like underwear and small items as we need them and air dry the articles once washed…as the product page states:

“When you put warm or hot water into the drum, fit the lid in place and seal the machine,the air inside the drum will absorb the heat of the water and expand (i.e., just like a hot air balloon). When the air expands it creates pressure inside the drum. The pressure forces the detergent (which is diluted into the water) into & through the fabric (which is porous) about 100 times faster than you could by hand or machine.”

So, this week we are doing small things by hand to try to see what its like…one thing is that once the wash is done you need a way to get the excess water out of the clothes..we are doing it by hand now which is a pain. It is good in that it does not use much water and a load takes about 10 minutes to do..7 of those minutes are waiting for water to drain..and then around 5 minutes of wringing dry.

drainage spout for water..


CLEAN!

 
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Posted by on December 27, 2010 in power, Purchases

 

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as the snow flies..

..I need to get my flooring properly covered. I bought a new ‘Portable Garage’ the other day…and I started setting it up. It said it would take 2-4 hours to complete..and after 4 hours I now am to step 3 of a 6 stap process..hell, it took me 45 minutes just to unpack it! Oh well. We ALWAYS have storage issues so I wanted something that I could have outside to keep things dry..mostly the flooring and in the Spring I will put my motorcycle in it..The motorcycle will die an early death if I don;t get it out of the rain.

..the chickens were not much help.

After we got to that stage I needed a break..my fingers were freezing. Later in the day as the snow continued to fly we took another trip to the stillwater to see the progress the beavers were making..looks like the water level went up another 1/2 foot or so…and I still have not seen one in the area..I wonder how many there are there. As I mentioned there is no damage this location can cause so hopefully nobody will trap them:

..no traffic on the road over Christmas.

..I hope its a lake soon..

 
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Posted by on December 27, 2010 in Animals, Construction, Purchases, todo, Wildlife

 

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Pak-lite…over and done.

..so last night the old pak-lite got to a level that it was not really lighting anything up anymore..it WAS still lit but it was not doing much more that that..so for the porpoises of this eggsperiment I am going to say: DONE.

the final totals are in…1 pak-lite with one 9v battery was switched on and stayed on for a total of:

2,851,200 seconds or 47,520 minutes or 792 hours..which equals out to $0.0025 per hour.

…not too bad for $2 worth of batteries. I set up the new red light too..looks really great and lights up the front of my video camera. its only a trick but from anything further then 20ft it looks like a security camera that is on..so it will accomplish its task for now.

Anyway..just a quick post. Happy Holidays everyone!

 
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Posted by on December 24, 2010 in lighting, power, Purchases, security

 

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pak-lite…it is like inhuman lighting machine…

 I guess the title is true..it really IS an inhuman lighting machine. so is a match. I digress.

.the pak-lite..avert your eyes..AHHHHH! 2 settings..high for 60 hours, low for eternity setting

We have officially had the pak-lite lit up for over 1 month. It was rated for 600 hours on an everyday cheap 9v battery and now we are up to 756 hour of non-stop running. Neat stuff..you can get 9v batteries for next to nothing so this is going to be great. I also got my red light pak-lite in the mail yesterday so I am going to run this one too and see if there is much of a difference when using different LED’s..I got the red so I could have night vision but still see for when I do things like star-gaze or hunting snipes…and for security too. If someone is thinking of breaking into a place and they see a video security camera  lit up with a red light I think that they will think that security is active..Its sort of like the movie ‘Clerks’..not the movie but an idea in that movie..If people think they are being watched they will usually follow established norms..I am hoping that the norm that they feel obligated to follow is the one where people don’t break into other peoples houses. If they decide to break established norms then I hope they break into my house ONLY to make my bed..that would be really odd and against so many norms it could blow my mind.

..I'm not even supposed to be here today!

 
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Posted by on December 22, 2010 in fun, lighting

 

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Baseboards..and wardrobe in…and more prep work.

So we spent Saturday getting the place rearranged back like it was before..or at least all setup. We attached the baseboards for the floor and moved a waredrobe we bought a couple of weeks ago into the bedroom. Its a small space so there is only so much we can do but it looks more roomy now with the new arrangement. We did not want Jango to scratch up the floor so we moved th bed closer to the door and the wardrobe on the far wall. Looks nice and we were able to dismantle the old wardrobe that had been cramping the living room. Without the wardrobe the place looks much roomier. Its amazing what removing something will do even in a space this small.

With the remainder of the old wardrobe I placed the pieces over our bonfire pit in prep for snow..ever tried to have a bonfire in deep snow..it sucks. Unless you dig all the way to the ground you cannot get the fire going good..the snow melts and the fire continually drops..so with the pit covered I should be able to start a fire easily..and to make things even easier I covered the scrap wood with a tarp to make sure it stays dry..yes, fire is crappy in deep snow but so is trying to find wood under 3ft of snow..a couple of years ago we had a winter bonfire to burn all the excess trimmings from the trees we cut up for firewood..it burned great but we ran out…until the snow melted..turned out we were all standing on 2ft of wood that we could not see and didn’t even know it.

We are also in the process of setting up a 10×20 portable garage..with a small space such as ours we are always having issues with storage..and in the winter when we need to put stuff under roofs the storage crunch becomes even more acute..we run out of room..I only stored my motorcycle in the shed and put the scooter in a friends garage ( in a trade where I took all his junk away to burn ) so its not as bad a storage crunch as previous years..but we needed something for the wood if we want to do the flooring over the winter. We have the frame up now..’..setup time should be 2-3 hours with 2 people’ according to the instructions..well..we are 2-3 hours in now and only have the frame set up..hell..it took us 1/2 just to get all of the pieces identified!..then there is the whole ‘where do we put something this big that is level’ question..with the lay of my land finding a level enough shot could be the biggest issue!

 
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Posted by on December 21, 2010 in Construction, todo

 

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1 Year Since..

goodbye Nova

..we lost our little dog Nova. I am actually a little choked up as I type this too after collecting the pictures. A dog is part of the family..and after 13 years I knew her better then I knew 1/2 of my friends..Its never easy saying goodbye but I take solace in the fact that she was sick  and suffering. Jango is now #1 and thats the way he likes it..but he still will not play tug of war with other dogs due to fear of getting bit on the nose by Nova..so her legend lives on. All future dogs will suffer from being compared to Nova..she was a legend. Rest in peace Nova. We miss you.

Nova and the gang as a pup..

 and

Nova is older..taken a couple of weeks before she left..we had a feeling the end was near..we tried to emulate our expressions from the first picture.

..not a very Merry Christmas in 2009..

 
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Posted by on December 14, 2010 in Pets

 

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binocular stand

In the spring I purchased some new binoculars.

here it is..I bought a couple of cheaper tripods and they did not work. A tripod that worked would cost more than the binoculars..I returned the cheap ones.

I already have a small pair that I bought in high school and they worked fine for general sight seeing and bird watching but with the darkness at night with no lights around I wanted more magnification for stargazing. I was going from 7×35 to 25×100. The first number is magnification and the second is width of front lense which allows for more light gathering so you can pick up the less bright stars. They are Zhumell Tachyon and when I first held them up and looked at the moon I was amazed…at how heavy they were. These things weigh 15 pounds or so and holding anything steady is impossible.

..this is not me but it gives you an idea as to the size.

I was able to lay some objects under them and look at the moon..and it was amazing too. I could easily see craters from meteor impacts and the dust sprays from them. When you looked at a star that seemed alone when viewed with only eyesight the star would become hard to detect when viewing in the binoculars due to so many more stars being shown. I needed a more permanent solution. I bought and returned 2 tripods that could not support the weight. Then I got onto some sites that were on building parabolic mounts. So I bought some cheap materials and tried that. I had some issues with supporting the weight once again, even with a counter-weight on the other end..the problem was the mount..plus the whole thing was unwieldy and would have been a pain in the butt if I did not want a permanent lawn ornament..which I didn’t. So, I stumbled upon a small setup where you basically point the binoculars down towards the ground on a 45 degree angle and the binoculars point to a  mirror that you can then reposition to point at the stars. Seemed like a simple solution to the weight and size issues I was having. A base that does not really move pointed at mirror. I have been out 3-4 times this year at 3-4AM in the morning watching meteor showers and I can tell you the neck strain sucks sometimes. When I watched a lunar eclipse a couple of years ago my neck killed me for 2 days afterwards..but then again it was -6 and I was outside for 2 hours. So, after watching football all day with my friends I decided to make one. Or at least a prototype. Just some left over 2×4’s and screws. I needed some washers to make the binoculars stay tight..but it all needs some work..and support. Want to check out the sizing and see if I want to make it bigger or smaller…but, just in time for the Geminids..if its not cloudy.

And here are the pics:

No Geminids for me tonight..heavy rain and high winds expected…they do peak tonight but hopefully sometime during the week I will get a chance to use them..and buy a new mirror.

..a very base model. It should suit me for a viewing but in all liklihood will be in use until it breaks..with some upgrades. wordpress image interface sucks..this is supposed to be rotated wordpress..why must you complicate this.

 
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Posted by on December 13, 2010 in Construction, fun, Purchases

 

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winter prep part 2

..A* was not a fan of these bin..at least as a decorative feature. She said they clashed with the early snow.

a couple of weeks ago a friend and I had a chance to get some storage bins that someone had been using as part of a wood cutting business that was in the process of being sold..for free. The price was right, my back was still sore but if I moved slowly I would be fine.  He was driving his friends truck that was pulling a trailer. We could not use the rear of the truck so we had to use the trailer alone. We unpacked the 3 he had on the back and we set off to grab some more.  This guy had hundreds of these on his 3 arcres where he processes firewood. He had 2 horses a bunch of chickens and geese…and a great location on a lake. The place was set up really well and in fact this is the same place that I had bought hardwood from for my winter heat in past years. Anyway, so K* and I loaded up the trailer..with 9 of these bins..we needed to tie them down too and going back to my place I thought we would lose it, we looked like we were driving the leaning tower of Pisa!..but in the end it was fine and stayed up..We eventually did get 3 loads and ended up with enough wood for 4 cords of wood storage apiece..which equates to 12 bins each. Some of the bins are plastic so they stay on top of the other ones to keep the lower ones dry…at least that is the idea.

After a couple of days A* and I got a chance to get out and chunk up the 8ft lengths and put them into the new storage bins..While it does nto look great it is much more organized then it was before so I am pleased with the outcome…

..the processed wood in the storage bins. the metal thing in the middle is part of the structure I built to hold wood while I chunk it up.

SOme of the other things we have been up to as far as winter preparation:

  • moving the wood box to the patio..it can store wood for a week
  • cutting up a weeks worth of wood
  • turning off outside water and draining the line
  • resealing around insulation board and house
  • old hay on top of garden boxes
  • putting summer chairs and stuff out of sight/underneath tarps
  • planting bulbs for spring
  • planting garlic for spring

I also went to put some more feed in for the chickens and one of the bags of feed got soaked and turned into a mess..moldy and stinky..so I dumped it out after I got rid of the mold.

..I hope the chickens don't starve..I suspect they will not.

So, the bottom line is that we are now prepared for snow..and now that we are prepared I hope that it does not come.

 
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Posted by on December 8, 2010 in Construction, todo

 

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which came first..I KNOW!!



OK..so some exciting news this weekend while we are varathane’ing the floor..our chickens are finally laying eggs!

my first egg..it didn't hurt me at all!

Its been 4 months since we got these little bad boys and now they finally start producing eggs..just in time for the winter so they can stop laying eggs. Its Dec now so its sort of a miracle that its been warm enough for them to lay in the first place. I was out grabbing a tool from the shed and I noticed that there was only 7 chickens..I thought that a fox or something had gotten tot he chickens so I went to the coop to look..and did not see any chickens feeding so I went to the back and opened up the nesting box…there was the chicken..and it moved outside..but when it moved I peeked over where it was sitting and there was our 1st egg! I had been waiting for this and every day or 2 but it was really nice when it finally happened. So I brought the egg inside to show A* and she thought I was trying to trick her..after I assured her that it was legit we did a small photoshoot..then I went to show her which box the hen had laid in..when we got closer we noticed that the hen was back in the same spot..so when we opened the roost she took off outside again..and there was another egg!! Wow..from none over 4 months to 2 in 1 day!

Well, that was on Sunday..Monday I fried up the eggs on the cookstove with some butter and had some toast with them for breakfast..delicious!

I was so proud when I ate these it was almost like I laid them..

I know that it will not be that exciting in the future but it felt great getting that new egg…like we had finally accomplished something with those little squawk boxes..now that I have something good to report I will also report the bad..the roosters will be crowing no more soon..I cannot take it..the can and do start up at anytime and can go for 2 minutes to 2o minutes..’COCK-A-DOODLE DOO’..that will spell death soon to guys..there IS too much of a good thing and the time for finding the noise amusing has passed. Since I do not heat the coop in any way I am going to try to replace the roosters with hens so the heat in the coop stays above freezing for the most part..and more eggs..but that may have to wait until spring…no, waiting for spring is not going to happen for most of the roosters…1 will survive..and I suspect it will be the final rooster I catch that is spared..I do love elusive fowl!

I also got another egg on the day I ate the first 2 eggs..I have 8 chickens..imagine if hey were all hens..I would be swimming in eggs!!

a birthday gift from A*..good timing birthday! ;)

 
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Posted by on December 7, 2010 in Animals, Fowl

 

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