Tag Archives: harbor Freight

Homestead Update 3/19/17

19 Mar

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Tomorrow is the first day of Spring, but this is what we had last week, maybe 2 inches of snow.

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I ordered these large bags of wild flower seeds but I need to wait another month before I plant them. I wanted to have some flowers for my bees to feed on. Speeking of bees, I split one of my hives today. I opened it up and every frame was crawling with bees and there was a LOT of brood, much of it capped and ready to hatch. I did a walk-away split on this hive last year and it worked perfectly, I hope it turns out that well again.

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I made 10 telescoping covers for my hives recently and I wanted to put metal on the covers like the ones I buy from Mann Lake. I bought this metal brake from Harbor Freight two years ago so I decided it was time to give it a try.

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I have to admit my first attempt was an abject failure! The cover on the bottom is my second attempt and it looks just fine. The cover on top is the one I had to re-bend and try a second attempt, that is why it is so wrinkled and ugly. After covering six of the tops, I realize I really didn’t need the metal brake because the aluminum flashing is so thin. The flashing might be twice as thick as a store-bought pie plate, but describing it like that is being generous. I could have made a metal brake using a couple of 2X4s and it would have worked just fine for this task, but I might need to bend something heavier in the future so I will hold on to it.

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I had a meeting with one of my clients at his office and I checked out his train set. This is not a child’s set, this is a big-boy set!

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I doubt if I will ever see a more elaborate set than this one!

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I was looking through my pictures for this post and I realized I haven’t posted a picture of Brandy lately. She weighs 9 pounds now and that should be her final, adult size. It is a real ball of laughs watching her play with her toys!

 

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I was in the restroom of Subway recently, and I saw this sign written in braille stating employees must wash hand before returning to work. Then I wondered to myself “how many blind people do they have making sandwiches at this Subway?” Just more unnecessary government regulations intruding on our lives. Keep prepping everyone!

Homestead Update 2/12/17

12 Feb

The temperatures have been unseasonably warm the past 3 weeks so we are having a false Spring. When this happens, we always get  another hard freeze after the fruit trees have bloomed out so we will have no locally grown fruit this year. The daffodils are starting to bloom, the trees are budding out and the forsythia is blooming. This is 2-3 weeks too early for here. It has been so warm my bees have been really flying! They are not just cleansing, they are foraging and bringing in pollen. I plan on adding some sugar water to the feeders next week so they don’t starve. I went into Winter with 5 hives, but now I am down to 4 hives.

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This is the dead hive. I was one frame short in the lower hive body so when I placed the medium super on top of it, the bees drew out the comb to fill in the space anyway. The comb just hung down from the frame above it.

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I set up 7 hives in anticipation of swarm season and I will add 3 more hives next week. I am tired of the grass growing up around the hives so I put down a layer of landscape cloth before I set the hives.

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I will come back soon and add some pine bark mulch on top of the fabric to hold down the grass.

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I took this picture of a tree outside of one of my farmer’s shop.

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That is what a 20 year old crepe myrtle looks like if it hasn’t been butchered back to keep it short. I really like the look of that trunk with the bark peeled off, that tree has a lot of character.

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I used my front end loader and pushed up a pile of old limbs and I discovered this really nice looking composted material on the bottom of the pile. I flipped it over with the old compost on top of the fresher limbs on the bottom. I think in a couple of more years, I can get some good usable compost from the bottom of the pile. I also uncovered a big brown snake under the pile. I’ll have to start watching out for them now since the weather is so warm.

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I put together this 12 inch bandsaw from Harbor Freight. And like anything from HF that has a lot of parts, following the instructions is a bit problematic because they are obviously written by some Chinese dude with only a rudimentary grasp of the English language. You really have to use your imagination and judgment to put this together. But after a little trial and error, I only had one small screw hole that had been drilled incorrectly, but I redrilled the hole myself so problem solved! I’ll have another post next week, until then keep prepping everyone!

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!

Homestead Update 11/6/16

6 Nov

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I took a little trip this week to Heaven on Earth, otherwise known as Baxter County Arkansas. I had the opportunity to trout fish on the White River for two days and just relax and take in the scenery.

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I re-tarped my Harbor Freight Portable Garage after the original cover finally deteriorated. The cover lasted three years even though it was not set up on a level as the instructions said. I think if you bought this garage and set it level I think you might get 5 or more years out of it. That’s not bad for something that only costs $169.

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I noticed Missouri is voting on whether or not to require IDs for voting. I can’t believe you can vote ANYWHERE without ID, you need photo ID for almost anything. I’ll bet 99.999 percent of the population already has photo ID and if not it is really easy to get one. There is no excuse for not requiring an ID to vote, that is unless you want to make it easier for people to commit voter fraud. Humm, who is dead set against requiring IDs to vote? Democrats, that’s who! Enough said!

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I am in the process of reorganizing my work shop so I hung this cabinet on the wall with French cleats. The cabinet came with a dart board which I removed. I think I paid $5 for it at the second hand store.

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I put some shelves inside so I can store my safety glasses, pens and pencils, and latex gloves. I even cut a strip of Plexiglas to go across the bottom so I can see my pencils and markers. After I get a little further along I’ll post some pictures so you can see my progress. Until then, 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!

Homestead Update 11-1-15

1 Nov

It’s hard to believe it’s already November isn’t it? Well how about this?

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Only 54 more days till Christmas!!! Better get ready! Oh, I took that picture in Lowe’s back in SEPTEMBER! Please, can’t we wait until after Halloween to start Christmas? Maybe we need to pass a law.

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It rained 4 inches this past week. Most farmers in the area need about 7-10 days to be finished with harvesting their crops, so hopefully the next rain can hold off for that long. I didn’t do a lot around the homestead this week, I took the opportunity to catch up on some paperwork since it was wet and rainy. I did assemble this drill press I previously purchased at Harbor Freight. I had it out of the box and up and running in a matter of minutes. I also mounted on the wall this antique metal sign I purchased on Ebay.

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I used the drill press on these metal shelf mounting tracks. I bought six foot sections and cut them in half so I have two 3 foot sections from each unit. There was only 3 screw holes in each one after I cut them, so I drilled 4 more holes in each one for a total of seven screws each. Why so many you might ask? I am going to put 5 foot wooden shelves on these tracks and fill the shelves up with books from my prepping library. This is in the bathroom of my shop so that is a perfect place for a library. I have books on Survival, Prepping, Homesteading, Do-It-Yourself, and many other subjects that will be handy after SHTF! Those books will be heavy, but with 7 different 3 inch screws in each track I hope they can withstand the weight.

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I also did a little work on my MIL’s truck. The fan belt broke and as it was whipping around it broke the upper radiator hose. The two hoses are made together with that plastic valve body as one unit. I replaced the belt, hoses and refilled the radiator with anti-freeze so now she should be good to go. Keep prepping everyone!

Happy New Year!

31 Dec

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Well, once again we find ourselves here on the eve of a new year. I like to look back on the past year and remember what has transpired as well as look forward to the new year. All in all, 2014 was a good year for Sweet Thing and me, although there has been some illnesses in my family that have kept me from getting much homestead work done lately, but that is just part of life I guess. I think it is time to bring out my list of resolutions from last year and brush off the cobwebs and just reuse it again for this year. After all, it is always the same old things isn’t it? I’m not any thinner, richer, wiser, nicer or more helpful so I can just look at last years list and scratch off the date and start again this year.

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Oh, but I think I need to add one new resolution to my list. That would be to stop buying so much crap from Harbor Freight! Today I bought this multi-position ladder and this section of heavy-duty scaffolding. I am a little leery of the ladder when I get too high up, it feels a little shaky for comfort, but the scaffolding is really nice and sturdy. I have wanted both of them for a good while, but I really didn’t have any room in my barn for storage, but since I added on the new section I have plenty of room. I need to get to work enclosing the new washroom, but all those good college football games are on tomorrow so I will just have to put it off a while longer. Keep prepping everyone!

Backup Water Supply

11 Oct

I finally got around to doing something about a secondary source of water for the Homestead. I found a man from Missouri that was willing to come and drill a shallow well, and it turned out he used the “water jet” method of drilling the well. If you don’t know what that is, you can go to Youtube and watch some videos of that method of well drilling.

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This man is 86 years old, and he is still growing strong! We had talked on the phone several times over the past month but we couldn’t get our schedules to mesh until last week. He shows up early in the morning, and says his helper didn’t show up for work, but he wanted to come anyway and not disappoint me since we took so long to get together. I told him if he didn’t mind I would be glad to help and do what I could. Well, the first thing he did was take a shovel and start digging a hole and he said “Uh-Oh”, This ground sure is hard! I said let me get my tractor with my backhoe attachment and I will have the holes dug in no time. He wanted 2 holes dug about a foot apart, with each hole being about 2X3 feet in size and 2 feet deep. After I dug the holes, he dug a shallow trench connecting the holes. I didn’t know why he wanted 2 holes instead of one large hole, but I found out later.

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He had a 250 gallon tank of water in the back of his pick-up truck, and we filled both holes with water. He had a small 2.5 HP water pump which sucked the water out of the hole and pumped the water to the boring tool, which was nothing more than 5 foot long pieces of PVC pipe.

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The first piece of pipe had jagged teeth cut into the working end, and the other end screwed into a metal T joint on the other end. The outlet hose from the pump was attached to the top of the T, and the sides of the T had pipes screwed into it to form a handle. As the water pumps through the pipe, you use a twisting motion to loosen the dirt in the bottom of the hole. The water bubbles up from the borehole, runs into the first reservoir hole, goes through the shallow trench into the second reservoir hole where it is picked up by the pump and recirculated into the boring pipe. The reason for two reservoir holes is the water coming up from the bore hole is bringing up lots of mud and sand and other debris, and having two holes allows some of this material to drop out in the first hole and helps the water stay a little cleaner so the pump doesn’t have to recirculate all that junk. After the bore hole reaches five feet deep, the pump is shut off and the pipe is unscrewed from the handle and a second piece of pipe is attached to the first pipe on one end and the T handle on the other. The pump starts circulating the water and the process continues. The driller and I took turns twisting and pushing on the boring tool, and it took us probably 2 hours to get it as deep as it needed to go.

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After boring down to 42 feet, he pulled the boring pipes out of the hole and inserted a 2 inch PVC casing into the hole we bored. The lowest piece of PVC is a factory supplied well screen much like the homemade version pictured above. There are tiny slits cut along the length of the pipe which allow the water to enter and at the same time filter out some of the sand. The factory version we used had much thinner slits cut into it which should be more efficient than the version pictured above. Anyway, now that the pipe was inserted into the well, the driller hooked his pump onto the pipe and pumped water up from the depths. The water wasn’t exactly gushing out of the hole, but he said it would get better with use. He let it run for 15 minutes and the water certainly cleared up a lot, and he said it would be crystal clear someday. When I got ready to pay, he charges $8 per foot, and my well was 42 feet which was $336. He said he wanted to give me a discount since I had to help and do the work myself but I said “Heck No, I’m not doing that”! I looked at this as a valuable learning experience so I didn’t mind being actively involved in this project. What I didn’t say was now that I have seen this done firsthand, I can rig up my own boring rig and dig another well myself next time! I had intentions of putting a quick coupler on the pipe where I could use a pitcher pump like this one,

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but after doing research, I am worried because these pumps are only rated for pulling water up from 25 feet. It is a matter of physics, that water can only be siphoned up from a maximum depth of one atmospheric pressure which is 33.9 feet. Since my well is 42 feet I don’t think this will work.

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I had also planned on using a quick coupler to attach this gas power pump I bought from Harbor Freight. It was on sale for $179 and I had a coupon for 25% off which made it $130 plus $7 shipping. The reviews were positive so I got this model instead of getting a more expensive unit elsewhere. This pump is almost identical to the one the well driller was using. But strangely enough, as I was reading the manual for this pump, it also stated it was intended to bring water up from only 25 feet. I know a pump like this will work on my well because I saw it in person. Maybe the water is rising up in the pipe and it is not really 42 feet down to the water? Anyone else have any experience with shallow wells like this? I’d like to hear from you. I really hope this works out because being a prepper you know I need a backup system! Someday I may have a submersible well with a solar panel setup to power it! I’ll let you know how my new well operates as soon I get a chance to hook it up. We have received several inches of rain this week with more predicted through Monday so it may be a while before I get a chance to work with it. Until then, keep prepping everyone!

Welding Table

3 May

I was at the in-laws last week doing some Spring cleaning. The entire family was supposed to be there, but Sweet Thing and I were there a day early and I spent most of that afternoon pulling up 30 t-posts with a handy-man jack and chain. My MIL told my nephew he could load up all the old metal objects and sell them for scrap. There was an old meat smoker made out of an old hot water heater tank, some old tire rims, some non-running lawn mowers, etc. and even though I could have used some of it myself I thought OK, she can do what she wants with it. But, I looked up and saw my Nephew heading to the scrap trailer with an arm load of t-posts I said “Whoa big boy, that ain’t happening!” I took great care to pull them up without bending them and they cost about $4 each new, so I am going to claim those.

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I also claimed this home-made lawn mower trailer. I have been looking into building a welding table for my shop, and after pricing the raw metal, I realized the table would require about $250 worth of new metal to build a 4X4 steel table. Then I look at this trailer and see that the floor is made out of a 4X8 solid sheet of 1/4 inch steel plate and the frame is made from 1X3 inch steel tubing. I can cut that up and have the steel I need for free! I winched it up on my trailer and brought it home with me. Sorry Nephew, finders keepers, losers weepers, better luck next time! At this point I head to Harbor Freight to purchase a cutting torch set that is on sale this month.

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It was on sale for $299 but with my 20% off coupon that was about $240. I ended up spending the same money as if I had bought the new metal, but now I have the old metal and a torch kit for the same money!

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Then while I was in Harbor Freight I discovered this welding table on sale for $59 less 20% or just $47, so I bought it! I read the reviews on-line and they were mostly positive. It seemed well built for something from Harbor Freight, and when not in use it folds up and stands next to the wall out of the way. So now what do I do with the old trailer, do I let Nephew have it? NAHH! I might build a table anyway and put it outside close to the door and I could use it there. Or I might put new tires on the trailer and use it as it is. Decisions, decisions! Keep prepping everyone!

Harbor Freight Portable Garage

17 Feb

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Well, I still have a problem with the roof on my Harbor Freight Portable Garage. Even after putting a support slat across the rafters I still have rainwater pooling up. The single slat just moved the sag up towards the peak of the roof. I am going to add two more slats and see how that works out. I’ll keep you posted on that. Oh, and even where it doesn’t sag, the condensation on the roof material will drip a good bit on the inside so this setup can’t be called completely waterproof. If you store something inside that must be kept completely dry you will have to cover it with some additional material. I’ll keep you posted.