Friday, March 29, 2013

Shoes and Food

So, a couple years ago I bought these shoes at goodwill to mix cob with (it must have been during the cold part of the year and my feet were hurting). I just pulled them out from under the yurt, and they still had mud on them:

A bit of elbow grease and a bunch of actual grease and they are ready to go.  I love rescuing old stuff.

And, you can get get a lot of baking done in the earth oven while you're cleaning shoes:

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Made a Trap

Well, I thought I could make a video to demonstrate this, but it would seem my simplistic editor on my laptop isn't all that great.  Still, I did post it to youtube. Check it out here:

and here's a few more still shots. The trigger stick:
 The trigger stick actually holding the door handle open:
 and the view of the door, with the closing latch at the bottom.  Notice the brick on the door adds speed to the closing.

Edit/Update:  I'm not making this *because* I want to catch something to eat (unlike what I say in the video) it's that I've been seeing evidence of varmits around the house and I want them gone.  I went out late the other night and just out of the corner of my eye I saw some bushy tailed thing take off. 

Thursday, March 21, 2013

First Day of Spring

I set up a bunch of seeds to get started in my mini-greenhouse:

A few of the seed-saved tomatoes from last year have already started

Monday, March 18, 2013

Ongoing Repairs

The earth oven has been a trooper for quite some time (has it really been 6 years since it was made?) In all the expanding with the heating and cooling, as well as baking the moisture out of it, it's needed repairs a couple times. Today was another time.  I was able to pick out the chunk above the door with my finger.

So, a bit of mud and sand later, and we have a new upper lip for the dragon. The divot in there is to hold the chimney pipe during firing, which I find works very well to reduce smoke.

and this machete has been a challenge ever since it got up here.  I've made probably 5 handles for it, and the latest one is always my favorite.  However, because of the short blade, the handles I make extend beyond the 'tang' of the handle, and always end up splitting from the huge forces of hitting stuff over and over.  This time I glued the split and did a wrapping job with some nylon cord, but it won't last too long.  
 I could make just a short little handle that has the metal all the way through, but that cuts down on the reach (of course) and the blade is too wide to fit comfortably in my hand.. which would mean grinding it down to fit, a huge project. 

Friday, March 15, 2013

Monday, March 11, 2013

Busy Bees and Upgraded Cart

I added a chicken wire 'floor' to the old steel framed cart, which continues to help me drag firewood and brush out of the woods.  This photo is all the wood I used to fire up the earth oven for 3 hours and cook goat shanks in the dutch oven.  

And, as the spring sun warms up the area in front of the house, the mason bees are back and thriving.  They don't make honey, but they do a good job spreading pollen around.  Here's one coming out of the 'house' hole I built for them and we have on the windowsill: 

Saturday, March 02, 2013

Wash and Wood

This is a little less than what one tank of fuel on the chainsaw can cut.  One tank is about all I have the energy to do anyway, as it's usually about climbing around in the woods to get it done.

So, now that we're washing more laundry (diapers) [and that I'm the one doing it] I notice that sometimes the washer dies half way through due to a short tripping the GFI plud we have it in.  This load, I decided to monitor it, so I moved the washer out to the edge of the deck (after it had blown the fuse) and saw that there is a leak -probably from the door seal- that splashes water all around the lower insides. 

Now, besides wanting to beat up the designer who put the motor and the sensitive electronics *below* the container that potentially leaks, I decided what the motor needed was a little shelter.  Once again, vinegar jugs to the rescue.  I cut the bottom off and slit up the side and slipped it over the motor:

 Here's a shot from the back of the machine, where you can see the motor attached the the belt that moves the container. You can just see an edge of the vinegar jug.  Once I did this, the thing ran fine.  Of course, I can do this rather than fix the leak because our machine is outside, where spills don't matter.  

$1 tool rescue

Had a moment last week, so we strolled the flea market. A woman had a pile of rusty tools "anything $1!" and so I dug through it ...