Tuesday, May 26, 2015

A farming we will go

Here is our little home on the range.  We tried this last year and didn't get it planted early enough, so the plants had a hard time competing with the weeds (might have been a lack of weeding on our part too...).

This year I ended up planting a bunch of sweet corn, more than I really planned but once I started I just kept going.  So we will hopefully have an abundance of that and enough so that it can pollinate properly.

I ended up with a small parcel, maybe 16 square feet for my beans, peas, lettuce and spinach but if it all works out we can do better space management next year.

The gate is in process, we have frequent deer visitors, so I am hoping that the effort of jumping the fence is off putting enough to keep them out.  We will see.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Things to Note about Syrup

If you make syrup, be sure to clean out your buckets in a timely manner.  I left mine for 2 weeks after buds started to appear, and went to empty them out this weekend.  They smelled terrible and there was a layer of slime on the bottom.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Making Syrup

 The last two years we have been tapping a few box elder trees in our yard and making syrup.  We just use a couple food grade 5 gallon buckets to collect the sap, with plastic tube connectors as taps.

It is amazing how much fluid moves up and down the tree trunks.  Then we just boil off the liquid in a turkey cooker.  We go through a tank of propane to get a quart of syrup, so not the most cost-efficient way of doing it...  But it is still fun.

Once it is boiled off most of the way, we take it inside and finish it off on the stove-top.  You have to boil the syrup until it boil at 7 deg F above the boiling point of water.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

My former place of employ


Thanks Tim for setting up this site and going out and taking pictures.  It was a good place to work and I was sad when it closed.  Seems like such a waste.

I have been at Trane for 4 years now (how is that possible!), the closing didn't really affect me negatively, though you never know.  I do miss my short commute, and working on airplanes.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

My favorite Power Tool

My Father-in-Law purchased a Ridgid cordless drill and saw combo for me a couple years ago (7 I think) and it has been a great tool.  I have framed walls, build decks and drilled holes for wiring with it.  The battery lasts pretty well and has stood the test of time.

The drill that I have is a NiCad, while the new ones are Lithium Ion.  When you buy them from Home Depot they have a lifetime warranty, which I used to replace a battery.  My Father-in-Law used it to replace the whole drill!

The battery that I received in exchange was a Lithium Ion, so when I called to extend the warranty to it they wouldn't let me.  The lady on the phone told me to go back to the store and return it and get a Ni-cad one instead...  I didn't.  My old charger seems to work with it, though I imagine I might be shortening the life of it.  I am planning on getting a new combo when I find a good sale, because I can still use my old batteries with the new kits.

Ridgid is a bit more expensive, but the quality and warranty make it worth it, I think.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Some minor flooding...

The ice maker in our fridge worked for about 9 months after we bought the house.  At that point the fridge told us to replace the water filter, but there was no way we were going to pay $50 every 6 months.  So we never replaced it and it stopped making ice.

Fast forward to last week and I get the idea to look around for a bypass filter for it.  We have good water, so why do we need a filter anyways.  They are hard to find, especially since the filter basically are referenced by a large string of numbers, and there are many numbers and models.

I found our regular filter on Amazon for $30 (generic replacement I guess), in the comments for the filter, someone had referenced the bypass filter and provided a model number.  I searched for that and found it on Amazon UK, but couldn't order it from there.  Then I found it in the US here.  Ordered it and it came in 2 days.

I installed it and turned on the water.  Some water ran and I thought I would come back to some ice.  No ice...  I pushed the button in the back that is pressed when the ice box is pushed against it, nothing.  Closed it up and went on with my life.

As we are getting ready for bed, I hear Jen calling me down to the kitchen.  There is water dripping out of the freezer.  She opens the freezer (it is a drawer) and water comes pouring out.  The damn thing must have been half full of water.

I pulled the filter out so the water would stop.  Turns out that when I turn the water on, it just drains into the ice bucket.  So...  that will be turned off for awhile.

So needless to say we had fun cleaning that up, hole in the floor to the basement, so a lot of the water drained down there as well.  Luckily the basement isn't finished yet.

Chimney Sweeping

I cleaned out the chimney on the fireplace this fall and had to replace the insulation blanket and baffle board.  I think that I will start cleaning the chimney every other year, because it is pretty hard on the those two part when you take them out.

The blanket was $36, and the baffle board was $120.  They are 5 years old now (wow), so I guess it isn't that surprising.  They do get blasted with a lot of heat for 3-4 (5-6) months of the year...

Quadrafire 7100