Thursday, September 27, 2012

Firewood measurement

So, I took a photo of the amount of firewood I used to heat the earth oven yesterday when we baked 2 loaves of bread, 6 trays of crackers and 6 trays of granola (sort of a light baking day).  This was it... 2 buckets of small sticks.  My chimney is doing a great job of a hotter cleaner burn.  It could have been a little hotter... so next time, maybe 3 buckets. 
I'll never get through all that firewood.

Back on Timber Framing

We've been working on the timber frame structure for the car port for a while now (usually in between getting urbanite and running out of it). Melissa, as usual, does the exact marking up with pencil (in the shade whenever possible); here she is working on a knee-brace:

Once she's done some markings, I get to do some cuttings.  Luckily with the knee braces, they are small enough I can hold them in the vice, which makes for much easier cutting. Notice the old buck saw that my mother bought at some rummage sale many years ago:
 Then the chiseling starts up, with careful work with the Japanese 'slick' chisel to smooth out the tenons that will slide into mortises in the posts and beams:

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Bringing down some firewood

This should have been a video, but these photos make it look pretty cool. It was a high speed event.

Monday, September 17, 2012

New Handle

Put a new handle on an old knife... came out pretty well. Throws great now.

The basic bread

So, a friend asked to see the bread making process, instead of just the fire in the earth oven.
3 cups warm water
1/2 teaspoon of yeast
3 cups white flour
3 cups whole wheat flour
1 tablespoon of salt
let it sit overnight, covered, so it looks like this in the morning:
 scoop it out onto a floured surface:
 fold it into thirds and tuck it into a ball (this is the slightly artful part):
 let it rise for 90 minutes, bake for about 25 minutes, cool, slice, eat:

Monday, September 10, 2012

Lots of work, or "why I don't cut down trees very often"

So, a while back I had a tree guy come and cut off the top of a madrone that is to the west of the house.  The top was shading out a bunch of the sunlight on the solar panels. It made sense to cut the tree to gain the environmentally sound power boost.  When the tree guy left, there was a huge pile of branches and leaves. Maybe 8 feet tall and 15 feet in diameter:
 I spent a bunch of time pulling off the smaller branches and cutting them up with the machete, and then the other day I finally got the chainsaw out and cut up the big branches that still need to be split:
 The smaller branches that I could cut with hand tools got cut and stacked:
 and all the little tiny branches get broken up and the leaves removed so the leaves can go in the compost and the small branches can be used as kindling: 
 Here's a shot of the new compost pile with a couple loads of madrone leaves added in:

Thursday, September 06, 2012

Logs and Clay

Well, time to make some more boards.  I finally decided to take a look at a big log above the meadow that's been laying in the same spot for maybe 70 years.  I cut out a 9 foot piece (cutting the rotten end off but still trying to keep it short, but long enough to fit on the mill) and dragged it out of the woods with the truck.
 Getting this thing that probably weighs around 2000 pounds onto the mill was an interesting struggle, but I got it up there. You can see the bit of rot at the one end, but that will be the first slice off once I turn the log a bit.  Looks like plenty of wood for the second bedroom doors!
 And, just to keep you up to date on the glacially slow patio project, I've got clay in between the rocks on the second level, and we've begun to puzzle in the final, top/first level.  The thing slowing this project down is the supply of good urbanite; it's hard to find the time and the energy to drive somewhere just to pick up just the right rocks in someone's driveway. 

$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 ...