Showing posts from September, 2023


 As you can see from this picture taken as a slightly different angle, I finished making the doors for the upper cabinets and got them installed last week. You can also see the two doors that I made also installed. With this milestone, it completes my promised obligations for the cabin build and I am going to move onto other things, what, I don't right know yet, at least when it comes to making things out of wood. My immediate project is to finish up preserving our fruit harvest. I'm about halfway done with the bushel of pears that I picked and I just picked a bushel of apples on my way back to town from the old tree in our fenced off farm garden area. It has always produces a lot of apples, but these were the largest, defect free apples I have ever seen outside of a grocery store shelf and we didn't do one thing to make them that way so they are completely organic. If will take me a few days to get all the fruit preserved and canned for future use so I have time to think u

Urban Garden: Part 2 (Daikon)

  After three waterings, followed by tilling as deep as it would go, I was able to scratch down a few inches and was pleases with what was revealed. It is darkish soil meaning there is organics present and it was large clods as it would have been with a lot of clay in it. I'm still not as deep as I would like to condition the soil, but it is a start. I grabbed a bag of daikon radish seed and sewed my first crop out behind my house along with some starter fertilizer for good measure. With a light raking, I have watered it every evening since because we are still in a severe drought of the worst magnitude and the package said radish seeds like continual moisture until germination. I'm not looking forward to my water bill next month. Four days later, I saw radish seedlings popping up everywhere. Oh how it made my heart flutter! The idea of planting daikon radish is two fold. First they are a cover crop until next spring when we hopefully will till them up to add organic matter int

No Partridges But Lots of Pears

  After hanging up the cabinets in my last post, I drove onto one of my parent's farms where an old pear tree stands in one corner, probably planted way before my time by a past owner of the farm. It is starting to show its age but as it has been nearly every year, it is absolutely loaded full of pears. They aren't a fresh eating pear but more of a baking pear, I think. I have never seen one soft enough to eat without breaking teeth in the process. But while listening to a gardening program on public radio, I heard someone say that pears never ripen on trees and need to be picked and left to rest to fully ripen. Two weeks ago, I picked a couple pears and indeed they did get a bit softer but aren't sweet like an eating pear. Several years ago, I had picked a bucket of those pears and pressure canned them in a light syrup to sweeten them up. The pressure can cooked them so they were soft and sweet but my kids just weren't into them and so I was slowly working my way throu

Hangin' Uppers

  I squeezed in a couple morning when I wasn't working on the urban garden to finish up the face frames for the upper cabinets and on a sunny midweek morning, took them out and got them hung in place. This wasn't without complications, namely the amount of strength I have available. I could get the single cabinet on the right hoisted up in place and screwed into the wall but the two upper cabinets fastened together were another story. I had thought about that of course and screwed a board to the wall underneath so that once high enough, they could just rest on the board while my other hand drove a screw home to hold it permanently. But I just couldn't get it lifted up to rest on that board. I was just going to leave it and enlist some help on another day when my mind got to thinking about hydraulic bottle jacks back at the farm. They don't have the stroke capacity to get the cabinet in place either but got my mind thinking about jacks and the scissor jack in the back of

Urban Garden: Part 1

  Great plans lead to great disappointment. Back in the spring when we finally made the decision to begin to transfer our farm garden up to our urban property, we weren't in the worst drought in over a decade. Our tiller was tied up at the farm garden and by the time I finally got it moved to town, the ground behind our house was harder than concrete. My plan was/is to seed it down this fall in daikon radish so that the roots puncture down deep into the soil adding organic material and providing a path for rainwater. For that, I need to plant them six weeks before the first hard frost which could be within six weeks already. I waited on the rain until I couldn't anymore and decided to run the tiller over it anyway. It was so hard that essentially all it could do was skin off the sod and chop it up. After two passes, I would say I got down to about 1/4" deep, i.e. jus scratched the surface. As you might see, I put a sprinkler out in the middle and have it hooked up to our w


With the cooler weather of September finally arriving, I got back to building the last piece of the puzzle for the cabin build project. I am making upper cabinets for the kitchen, one that will go on one side of the sink and two that will go on the other side. Like the lowers, they will be rustic and use many of the same techniques that I used for the lower cabinets. The only issue I had building the carcasses was that half way through the build, my pocket hole jig for drilling the fastener holes to hold everything together got misadjusted. I'm not sure how that happened. I can make things work but I have to now use shorter screws for about half the cabinets to hold things together without pocking through the show side. Not a structural problem but a mental one keeping things straight. Somewhat surprising, my mother-in-law decided she wanted to go home for a visit. Being a good son-in-law, I immediately purchased them before she could change her mind. She leaves in a few weeks and

Leaning Doors

I promised to make two interior doors for the rustic cabin and there they are, the front of one and back of the other. I need to do a little sanding yet  but other than that, I'm done with them and ready to move onto the three upper cabinets. I think they turned out nice and they certainly were easy to make. I made both in a short morning. 


After probably 20 years of very little problem with tires and none due to nails, I somehow picked up my third nail this summer. All though I have reason to hate them, my vehicle has run flats by necessity and that has paid dividends in this situation. I get notified on the dash that one tire has low pressure and after determining that it has issues by filling it up with air and getting another notification the following day, I can just drive to the repair shop with no worries. According to the manual, I can drive up to 50 miles on a completely "flat" tire.  Of course they were busy so I made an appointment for an hour later and then drove to do a couple nearby errands on the flat tire and returned at the scheduled time. I fully expected a 30 minute job. An hour and 20 minutes later, they finally called me up and said there was an issue. The TPS (tire pressure sensor) was evidently broken and needed replaced. Okay, do you have one in stock? They did and it would be installed m

A New Beginning

It was just an ordinary Thursday when my oldest daughter texted me with the news. She has been accepted into her university of choice as a Neuroscience major. I couldn't be more proud of her and I'm a bit envious of her new adventure that will be starting less than a year from now. She will leave the nest we made and cared for her in these last 17 years and begin to stretch out her own wings. Exciting times. The one drawback is that I went to the rival state college. It was known for it's engineering so it made sense. My daughter's college is know for medical science so I guess it also makes sense. Now, somehow, I am going to have to learn to cheer for her school. Fortunately I'm not a really big sports fan, especially college football or basketball which are the main rival sports between them so I probably won't have too big of a hang up on cheering. It will mostly be undoing brain muscle memory. Now a brief word on the picture above which I created using Micro


  I recently had one of those birthdays that end in zero, a number I hadn't been looking forward too. All my previous birthdays ending in zero, I have been able to say I might still have the same number or more years left on this earth. However, this one is one in which if I were to double my age, a minor miracle would be necessary. I think my wife was sensing all these thoughts going through my head so she planned a three day weekend away from home to celebrate and take my mind off of things for awhile. So we drove to the west across our fair state and ended up in an urban city in a neighboring state where our first order of business after checking into our motel room downtown was to go to a nearby farm to table restaurant where we had reservations. Dolce served us a four course chef tasting menu meal complete with a birthday card and a small bottle of Champaign. The meal was delicious. We drove back to our motel to park the car and then walked across the street to a nearby brewin

Preserving History

  Front side of page one I wrote not long ago about my uncle giving my my great grandfather's World War I photo album of pictures he took during his time in the war. I was loaned the album perhaps a decade plus ago and at that time had scanned the pictures one at a time but always felt that I hadn't done it justice in preserving it because I lost the hand written notes and the general context of the pictures on pages where there are lots of pictures side by side.  In the years since I had last seen it, it had deteriorated quite a bit and was in danger of just falling into a pile of scraps. It is such a treasure that I just can't allow that to happen so I started researching on how to preserve it. According to the experts, the best way to preserve it is to get it into a stable acid and light free environment and never look at it. They also suggest scanning the all of the pages first to preserve the context of the photos and to allow people to view it as a copy of the origina

Fully Loaded

  Above is the state of my canning shelves as of about two weeks ago. As you can tell, there isn't a lot of extra room on them and I still have more things I would like to preserve. I still have a good supply of pint jars and half pint jars that are in boxes for now until we free up some room by eating some of our stash. I've canned about all the tomatoes I want to can for now though I may do one more batch of popular end products to give out over Christmas. We still have tons of tomatoes, not to far off from being literal, that are ripening or in the process of ripening. After the next picking, I'm going to be giving them away to whomever wants them, if I can. Tomatoes are pretty easy to find around town, but not in bulk quantity for canning which is my forte right now. Still ripening on our tree are a bountiful supply of apples. We have lots of apple pie filling from last year's canning and so I think I'll try my hand at making apple jelly and giving the bulk of t

1933 World's Fair

  Awhile back, I wrote on here about going through my grandma's things and finding a 1933 World's Fair souvenir coin and an Indian head penny. I still haven't found the penny but I did finally find the World's Fair coin. Normally it wouldn't mean much to me and one can still easily find these for sale on the internet for $10 to $50 depending on the condition. However, it has a deeper meaning thanks to my eldest daughter. During school earlier this spring, one of her teachers assigned them to read from a selection of books, one of them being Erik Larson's "The Devil In the White City" which my daughter chose. As she started reading it and relaying back highlights, I was intrigued and remembered I had the same book in my to-be-read pile. I pulled it out and read it more or less with her though she finished it well before I did.  For those who haven't read it, it is a non-fiction account of the logistics of building and hosting the World's Fair in