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Homestead Update 11/20/16

20 Nov

I started thinking what did I do this week to write about. Then, I kept thinking, “what DID I do this week?!” So I just went through my pictures to remind me.

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I drove my SIL to her doctors appointment and that took all of one day. I worked in my office on paperwork quite a bit each day. So I guess I spent the rest of my time organizing my work shop. I built and painted this charging station for my rechargeable tools. I put slots in one shelf to slip my drills into and I have all of the chargers on the top shelf. I even have room for drill bits and supplies. Now, all of my drills and batteries are all together where I can find them when I need them! I put castors on the unit so I can still hang tools on the wall behind it, then I just roll it out of the way when I need to reach the wall.  I painted it Tennessee orange to give a splash of color in my otherwise drab white and brown shop!

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Speaking of castors, I went to Harbor Freight to get some to use for some other projects I have planned in my shop. I picked four of the 2 inch castors from the bin, and they were on sale for $2.99 each, which is $12.00 for the 4. But wait! These furniture movers were on sale for $9.99 and there are four 3 inch castors on them. So quickly doing the math in my head, I can take the castors off of the mover and have four 3 inch castors for $10 compared to $12 for the four 2 inch castors. It doesn’t take a genius to figure that out! I bought 4 of the movers to remove the castors, and I also got sixteen 2 inch flat head bolts with washers and nuts, and four slats of wood from each unit to use as well. What a deal!

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Two weeks ago I was so sure Hillary would win the election, I went to Sports Academy and bought some 30 round AR magazines, some 38 Special bulk ammo, and even some 22 long rifle. That is the first time I have seen bricks of 22 on a shelf since Obama was elected. I also went online and bought more 30 round magazines because I figured with Hillary in the White House, the first time there was another shooting with an AR rifle, she would issue an executive order banning high capacity magazines. I wanted to stock up before that happened. Even though she lost, I am still glad I bought them anyway. I probably won’t get much accomplished this week due to the holiday coming up and needing to meet with some of my clients this week. If I do anything I’ll keep you posted. Until then, keep prepping everyone!

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Homestead Update 11/13/16

13 Nov

This week I have spent most of my time cleaning up and rearranging my workshop. I am making a French cleat system for hanging my tools.

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As I was making the cleats, I realized I needed to make an out feed table for my table saw. I think it turned out really well, although it is fixed so that I can’t move it by myself. I have some modifications I need to make to make it foldable as I get the time.

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Before I started, I bought this Incra Precision Miter gauge. It is highly accurate with an expandable aluminum rail. It has a fold down fixture for holding the wood, as well as T-tracks for adding additional accessories.

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I also bought this Woodpecker brand precision T-square. This thing has holes bored in every 1/16th of an inch that you can stick a pencil lead through to get highly accurate measurements.

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I used those tools to make this exact width dado jig for my router.

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The jig allowed me to cut dados for a shelving unit that are so tight I really don’t even need glue or screws to hold it together. All of my other tools are from Sears or Harbor Freight so it has been really nice being able to use some high quality equipment for a change!

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Oreo and Kensey didn’t care for all that sawing going on. They spent some time out in the shop with me while I was cleaning and reorganizing but when the sawing and hammering started they retired back into my “Man Cave” and curled up in my old recliner. I hope to be far enough along with my project to post some pictures next week. Until then, keep prepping everyone!

Homestead Update 2/21/2016

21 Feb

I am in a really bad mood as I sit here writing this post but I will get to that part in a few minutes.

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I was visiting with one of my clients in his office this past week and his big handsome Sheppard was laying at my feet. I took this picture and sent it to Sweet Thing and asked if I could bring him home. She said NO! You already have two dogs. Yeah, but mine are not even remotely well behaved like this dog. I need to get busy trying to train mine I guess.

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I also went downtown and early voted this week, and yes, I voted for Donald J Trump! I don’t think he can beat Hillary, but I am tired of voting for the lesser of two evils just because I think they might win. I want Donald to go to Washington and tear the whole system apart! We need to just burn the whole thing down and get back to the basics of the Constitution once again. I probably agree more with Ted Cruz than the others, but I know he has no real chance. His personality and appearance are just too off-putting for many people. I probably should have voted for Marco Rubio because he has a slight chance of actually beating Hillary in the general election. But I am ELATED Jeb Bush dropped out of the race. If he had been the Republican candidate I would have had a really hard time pulling that handle for him.

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I managed to put together 10 swarm traps this week, and I even painted a few of them in a sort of camouflage design so they would be harder to spot hanging in a tree. Maybe then some YaHoo won’t see them and use the traps for target practice!

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I can give a favorable review of the battery powered Porter Cable brad nailer. A fully charged battery will drive a lot of brads, and I mean it will fully sink these 2 inch brads into plywood and pine boards. I’m still not sure how well the brads will hold once the plywood starts to warp and buckle. Those 18 gauge brads are 2 inches long, but they are really thin. We shall just have to wait and see. Now on to the part putting me in a bad mood.

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I bought this used Honda ATV for Sweet Thing to have for her exclusive use. I went to check it out prior to purchasing it and I was happy with what I saw. The only negative the owner could tell me was it had a gas leak when the engine was off, so he had to shut off the gas line after each use. I looked and decided that could be fixed so I bought it. It also needs some brake work, but that is something I can handle myself.

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I decided the leak was coming from this spot on the old carburetor. That black knob is a fuel pump knob for use when the temperatures are extremely cold. I researched it on-line and discovered that part has a rubber seal that often goes bad after years of Ethanol gas. If you buy that knob as a OEM it would cost $51. Even buying it as aftermarket it costs $31. I bought that entire new carburetor for $57 and figured if that knob didn’t fix it I could replace the entire carb. Well, sure enough I replaced the knob and it still leaked. RATS!! What I hoped was a 10 minute job is back to a two hour job if I am lucky.

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But what really upset me is I discovered two of my bee hives have died since last week. The temperature was 68 degrees today so I opened the hives to add some more dry sugar on top of the inner cover. As soon as I lifted the outer top I knew it was bad news. I pulled up this frame and all those bees are freshly dead. I guess they starved to death even though each hive had a deep super full of honey going into winter.

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I opened the other hive and saw these bees also dead.

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If you look closely you can see some hive beetles in that open section, but they are also dead! I took several more pictures to show to the old timers at my next bee keepers meeting to see if they have any ideas about what happened. Last week both hives were flying on warm days and I had no inkling that any thing was amiss, so I am really ticked off by this development. Oh well, that is all part of the learning experience. I still have two hives with live bees, and I gave them some dry sugar today so I hope they make it. That’s all for this week. Keep on prepping everyone!

Homestead Update 2/6/16

6 Feb

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I was in the Post Office yesterday and I saw this flier posted on the door. $25,000 reward for assaulting a postal worker in Memphis. That is a big no-no. I thought everyone, even the crack heads, knew better than to mess with a postal worker. The Postal Service don’t play that! Traditionally, in the past all of the government checks and Food Stamps were delivered by mail and it was just understood that the Postman was off limits. Postal workers could still go into some of the roughest parts of town without being assaulted or robbed.  I guess now since the checks and EBT are delivered electronically the hands off tradition is ending. Although I guess a $25,000 dollar reward might just make some thugs own Mama turn him in. (for his own good, you understand) That should make even the most stupid criminal think twice about robbing the Postman.

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I was going into one of the local Flea Markets/Antique stores last week and they had one of these signs posted on the door. I asked the proprietor if he really meant it.  He replied “absolutely, the more good guys that carry, the fewer bad guys will be willing to rob and assault people.” I felt right at home in a store like that. I sure feel safer there than at Starbucks!

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Today I put together my first swarm trap of the new year. I need to get on the ball if I expect to have 25 ready to put out when the time comes. I was finally able to use my Porter Cable battery powered brad gun. I discovered you really have to be careful to hold the gun straight or it will shoot those brads out of the side of the wood. Oh, so that’s why the instructions say to keep your fingers at least 3 inches away from the nose of the gun. I can imagine you would NOT want one of those brads driven  into your finger. The tool has enough power to drive a 2 inch brad completely into the wood. I still am not sure how well those skinny wire brads will hold once the wood begins to warp and twist. I will give them a try and if they don’t hold well, I will put some nails into the top and bottom just like I did with the three traps I made last year.

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I even had the opportunity to use that piece of wire grill that I salvaged off of the air conditioner unit I found on the shoulder of the road last Summer. I cut it into small sections and stapled the wire over the entrance hole to keep birds and squirrels out of the box. Tomorrow is Stuper Bowl Sunday, but there is no way I am going to sit around and watch the pre-pre-pre game show all day. I will go out to my shop after church and put a coat of paint on the trap. I plan on painting it a sort of camouflage pattern so it will be difficult to see hanging in a tree. Maybe that way, some Yea-hoo won’t shoot holes in it for target practice. Keep prepping everyone!

Homestead Update 12/19/2015

19 Dec

I haven’t done much actual Homestead activity this week, but I have been Christmas shopping! I always buy myself some nice gifts for Santa to bring me.

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This is a Porter-Cable 18 gauge 20 Volt cordless nailer. I haven’t seen a cordless one before and I just happen to have 2 other Porter-Cable batteries that will fit this tool so I just had to buy it. I’ll let you know how it works out after I try it on a project.

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We shopped at a local flea market/junk store and he sells hand-made metal objects-DE-art. This is a metal catfish sculpture that is about 4 feet long. I sure would have liked to have it but it was out of my price range.

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Two weeks ago, I had a bag of apples going soft. I intended to throw them in the woods behind the dog pen and just for kicks I threw some of them in the dog pen. Jethro loves apples! I kept feeding him one apple per day until the bag was gone. The first day that I didn’t give him an apple, after I filled his feed bowl, he just ignored it and stood up on the fence looking at me as if to say “hey, where’s my apple?” I had Sweet Thing buy a cheap bag of apples and I give him one each morning. You can see from the picture, he really munches them down.

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We went to a Christmas dinner party at the home of one of my clients. He had this big tray of 2 inch thick fillets which he cooked on a Big Green Egg and they were delicious. That Big Green Egg is on my wish list. They sell a generic version at Lowe’s for $300 so I may end up with one of those someday.

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Sweet Thing used some big cans of mixed nuts in her World Famous Chex Mix. After removing the labels, she then took those empty cans and covered them with Christmas paper and added bells, bows, and ribbons. I think they look really nice for gift giving!

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I went next door and visited with Little Bubba today. My neighbor said I can’t have him back! His Granddaughter loves him and they are best friends now. I think he just might wander over to my shop for a visit every now and then. Keep prepping everyone! Oh, I almost forgot our Christmas tune, enjoy!

Homestead Update 12/13/2015

13 Dec

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There hasn’t been much activity around the homestead the past two weeks. I did manage to put up this Rubbermaid Accu-track rack system for hanging up weed eaters and garden tools. I got tired of having all of my garden tools leaning in a big pile in the corner of my workshop. Invariably, anytime I wanted a particular tool, it would be all the way in the back of the stack and I would have to move every other tool to reach what I wanted to use. These tracks have sliding holders for quick adjustment and they feel nice and sturdy.

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These are some runaway goats I encountered back in October. I was driving down a turnrow of a field I check each week and I saw some animals way towards the other side of the field. At first I thought they were small deer and as I got closer I realized they were goats. I had seen some farm animals at a house I pass that is about 1/2 of a mile from this field so as I was leaving I stopped at that house. I told them if they were missing some goats, I knew where they were. He said those goats came from a house about a mile further down the road. They had been missing for 2 months but no one had been able to catch them. He told me the owner said if anyone could catch them they could keep the goats. HUMMM! I wonder if I could take some t-posts and cattle panels and make some sort of trap? I bet I could come up with something if I could get motivated enough.

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The man I was talking to had these cattle behind his house. I think that black one is just about ready to go to the freezer isn’t it?

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I have an update on Little Bubba. The day after my first post of him, I was telling my neighbor about him. He replied “I have been seeing some mice around my house and my granddaughter has been asking for a cat. How about I take him to my house?” He took him home the next day and now he spends most of the day inside the house and sleeps out under the carport at night. He just settled right in over there so he has a good home after all. Keep prepping everyone!

Homestead Update 11-29-15

29 Nov

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I haven’t done much around here the last couple of weeks. The weather has been rainy so I just spent more time straightening up in my shop and doing paperwork in my office. I hung up some of the saws I have collected in my work room in my barn. That small handsaw is one I got from my Dad many years ago. I wanted to drill a hole in the blade to hang it up so I got out my drill bit set.

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I bought this set at Harbor Freight a while back and I am really impressed with the sharpness of these bits. Not only are they really sharp, there are a lot of them so if I lose one or break one I can just go to the next size. When I drilled the holes in the shelf brackets I mounted on the bathroom wall, the bits cut through that soft steel like a hot knife through butter. Howerver, when I tried to drill a hole in the tempered steel of that hand saw blade it was a different story. I started out with a 1/4 inch bit and I quickly realized that wasn’t working so I went down to a 3/32nd bit and it still was not doing anything but spinning on the blade surface. That stuff is way too hard to drill through!

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I picked up this book at Tractor Supply for my prepper library. Yeah, I know there are lots of plans online to show how to build bee keeping equipment, but I wanted to have something on hand in case those on-line plans were not available to me. Besides I like to have something to carry into my workshop to look at while I am working. Maybe I can get started on some projects after the first of the year. Keep prepping everyone!