Jesse Glessner wrote:These posts got me to thinking about my Shop and my storage problem.
I'm thinking that a 12 ft X 16 ft shed would just fix the problem.
I'm sure that if I do have it built that it won't be enough storage space!!!
I think you could have a pretty good shop i that space. Not sure what you mean by "shed". For instance, I can imagine a roof atop an open-sided frame. Depending on your climate, an enclosure is usually a good idea. And I'd think electricity would be essential, too.
What do you want to do in a shop? Carpentry related? Fine woodworking? Any metal work & welding? and/or?
I'd love to have one enclosed shop of the dimensions you mention. I could probably do most (maybe not all) of what I need to do in it. I have three work spaces for "shop" type functions, and I wish I had one. No single one of my three offers that floor area. And only one of mine (the smallest) is the only one that I can keep warm in winter. I wind up walking swiftly from one to another to grab or use certain tools.
On the topic of the Brown Recluse... Two years ago I found an unfamiliar spider in our house, and I remembered images of the Brown Recluse. I'm not an entomologist, and we don't have a specialist like that in our neighborhood or friendship circle. So I didn't capture, I just killed the spider.
Checking out photos on the internet, that spider definitely resembled a Brown Recluse. Coloring, form, and size range. Then I did a web search for our general region -- not just southern-interior British Columbia, but Washington state that lies just south of the national border. Well, turned out BRs are not common, but not unknown.
So when I spotted a second spider resembling the first, a few days later, I killed it too. Habitat? Most of us live in clearings in the forest around here, with substantial gardens. I made a point of mentioning the spiders I'd found in our home to friends, because of the fact that the BR bite can cause more than pain: it can result in flesh necrosis. I haven't come across any others yet. Hoping they're not proliferating.
Hi. I've been asked by a woman with a small homestead to consider whether I can modify a small C-can that she's acquired for use as a utility building. I'd need to drill holes for fasteners in the can's walls. I have a corded half-inch-drive drill (powerful)... also, for higher rpm, I've got a Makita 18-v cordless.
I'd be using 1/4' carriage bolts. I'm guessing the steel on these cans is pretty tough material. My question is how easy or difficult will the metal be for driving a 5/16" cobalt-steel bit through? Along with all the materials for the modification, the woman would pay for bits for the task, as beyond 1/4" my cobalts are various random sizes.
Had a single-cylinder, OHV, 7hp Briggs & Stratton rototiller engine breakdown. A friend & I tore the motor down. It was determined, by calling around, that the required crankshaft, connecting rod, seals & gasket would cost $500 (including tax) in our region. I asked about a short-block, but the local shops could not obtain it.
With a short-block, I'd have all the other parts in good condition already, with the exception of new seals & gasket. Started searching online, and found that there are companies in the U.S. that claim to have a service specializing in buying up short-blocks. A kink is, the engine model has been discontinued by Briggs.
But I found one supplier, Small Engine Surplus, which is probably a division of some larger company. They do business through smallenginesurplus.com. They provide a very lengthy list for Briggs short-blocks that you can search through, using your engine's manufacturing serial number (not .the engine's model number). I found my engine listed, with a price for the short block (under $190 U.S.). They enable you to order & pay online.
But they don't list a phone number. I wanted to make sure they actually had the specific unit in stock, and I wanted to learn where they are geographically located, so that I could get a good idea of the shipping cost. They have a handy little email form you fill out to communicate with their Sales department. So I provided pertinent particulars, and asked for confirmation of availability of the unit, plus the company's location info I wanted, and pressed send. I received an immediate automatic-reply email saying their Sales division got my message.
Well, it's now two weeks later, I sent the Sales dept another email ('cause I had that 'reply' from them, with the email addy)... No communication of substance coming back from this company!
Frustrating!! As we all know, there are way too many scams & empty promises on the internet. So if anybody reading this knows where I can actually get a price on availability & price for that short-block, please do let me know.
Ted Abbey wrote:.. when you pull discarded wheelbarrows out of the dump for spare parts!
Coincidentally, three days ago a neighbour woman brought over a junkyard wheelbarrow (contractor's style) to upgrade, for which she'd taken certain parts from another barrow. She wants help disassembling certain things on the better one, so it can be fitted with the good stuff. It's in the works right now, I've got rust-buster spray on four bolts, plus a plan for reinforcing the frame. Worth doing.
thomas rubino wrote:
My question is the fact they do not mention the file size, one would guess they are 7/32
See those four bits at the top of the pic? To me, they look like they're diamond-coated. The selected bit is spun by a crank, and gradually moves in to the depth of the abrasive. Probably the four bits coincide with the common range of needed "file" diameters.
For decades, I've used a fairly simple file jig for sharpening my chains. Clamps onto the bar. Theres a nut which you trickily adjust with a pair of pliers to switch the file angle for sharpening one row of teeth, then for the other.
I saw a very short video about this gadget, which would eliminate the step of adjusting that nut for the correct angle of approach for the two rows. Looks like an interesting system. One trade name this gadget is sold under is Emery, but there's more than one trade name. It appears simple to use, and the precise sharpening angle (for cross-cutting) appears to be ensured for absolute precision.
In Canada, Amazon is currently selling the kit for $40. 61% of purchaser feedback either 4 or 5-star, with 53% being 5-star.
But has anyone here used one? if so, what do you think of it?
About the Husqvarna cordless saw I started this thread to report on: I 'll add something about the battery (37 volt, model BLi22). I'm told it's also sold with some other types of Husky cordless tools. I'd been using the saw to cut a lot of Douglas-maple rounds, varying from about 2-5 inches. At one point, I checked and of the three battery cells, two were still lighting green (charged). I continued on for maybe 20 minutes, and got a red-triangle symbol — you shut the power button off, when you see that... and wait a moment or two. But the red triangle continued to show up whenever I pushed the power button on.
I carried the battery to where I have the charger, and plugged the charger cord into the battery. Saw one flashing red LED on the charger and another on the battery. In four years of ownership & use, hadn't seen this before. Turns out this indicates the battery unit is hot inside, though the little booklet that came with the saw doesn't mention this! I left the battery in our basement for about an hour, tried charging again and everything worked out. (Really didn't want to have to buy a new one.)
I've been feeling this thread is languishing from neglect.
I thought I'd upload the URL for this Youtube vid I came across. In part, it's my attempt to revive this thread in Permies members' minds. There's lots in the vid, generally the sort of stuff gadgeteers like us can appreciate. Many interesting techniques, and some easy-to-make gadgets. A succession or mixed-bag of ideas!
I've taken away several ideas that were worth seeing in this how-to (I'm glad it's a Web video, where you can skip back and re-watch just how something is done).
PS: I found it easy to separate which things I would use from those I would not.
Here's a video by a container-plant expert showing a way to solve one common problem faced by indoor plant growers. I realize that this method may seem extreme to some people, or rather "advanced" and not for beginners. But this information seems to me quite worth knowing and comsidering.
I’ll describe what I did, first then give the backstory on it.
We have a small Toro string trimmer. Along with a scythe, grass shears, and a gas-powered brush-cutter/weed-whacker, it enables us to manage feral grass and weeds on certain areas of our land.
I gave up recurrently re-winding the monofilament plastic .065” “cord” (first pic) around the reel, and instead rigged it with one piece of .095” steel-core cord (which I use in the gas-powered whacker). I’d cut this piece to about 9” long then (with some effort) tied a knot in one end, and threaded the segment through the hole in the reel casing (2nd & 3rd pics). The need for the reel and the casing cap is eliminated. While the machine functions, centrifugal force keep the cutting cord in place. Now the cord doesn’t break all the time when put to task, and no more fouling!
My motivation: This is a small, battery-powered motorized grass-managing tool my wife can use with ease. It’s lightweight enough that my wife can handle it comfortably and deftly. It cost about $160, but is cheaply made by comparison with the professional-model Shindaiwa brush-cutter/weed-whacker I use for challenging areas. The Toro’s cord-feeding mechanism gradually wore to the point that the small-gauge filament was fouling around the shaft that spins the reel that feeds it out. This would drag the machine to a complete stop, and restoring things to working order sometimes took a half hour.
We had steady but not heavy rain overnight. This morning I found a depredation in the squash patch that I've never seen in nearly three decades of homesteading and an even longer period of vegetable gardening. Two weeks ago, I transplanted out, from 6-inch pots, the squash plants that my wife had nurtured in the greenhouse. They'd been doing well, showing good color & growth. This morning I was walking around in our larger garden and found that three of the plants had been dug out.
The plants were left sort of complete, none of the three showed damage to the stems or leaves. In two cases, the root ball (which had obviously developed nicely in two weeks) was laying within an inch of the hole left by the digger. But with one of these, the root ball had come apart into two portions (one still at the top of the hole the digger made). The third plant was also complete, but while the digger did bring it up from its position, the root ball was sitting at the top of the hole. Naturally enough, I suppose, the leaves of this third one were showing the least wilt among the three plants.
Our corn is planted in a patch adjacent to the squash, and is undisturbed. In fact, all other plants in the whole garden appear well and undisturbed. I was unable to find any tracks in the squash patch. We don't have a dog at present. We're fenced against deer & bears. We've had trouble with skunks, but they dig in drier areas for chafer beetle grubs and haven't disturbed any plants except for digging down through the grass growing in those areas. Raccoons also seem to have gone only for those grubs in drier areas, or to our compost bin.
Zaratustra, I agree with what you've spelled out. It's somebody's "Utopia" but it's only realizable & maintainable by a tiny fraction of humanity. I stopped believing the popular-culture hype, the general myths behind advertising & TV commercials, and all that sort of stuff by the time I was 17.
Not to say that I haven't worked hard to achieve the lifestyle we have on the land, but I had a different aim than that portrayed by those Hollywood protagonists you allude to. I wanted to learn to do things for myself & family, live on the land, pay bills & save money, take part in the positive aspects of the local community, and help with environmental conservation/restoration (in some of whatever spare time I might have).
If you want to read a thread yielding a sort of synopsis of how a number of Permies.com members actually live & have worked to achieve their intended situation, try this one: https://permies.com/t/62005/don-job. (By the way. some posters didn't necessarily agree with the blunt message of the thread's title, or at least expressed some well-founded caveats.
Wheelbarrow. Earliest one-wheel-type examples (with evidential support), China early 2nd century AD, depicted in art & an actual one (preserved in a tomb). A wheelbarrow was one of the first non-carpentry tools I bought when I moved onto rural land. Very important.
Phil Stevens wrote:In a word: coppice. The advantages of having established root systems in place and just taking off the tops of suitable species are considerable.
Agreed. And applicable, sometimes. But... "Most well-established broad-leaved trees respond to coppicing, most conifers do not" according to Ashridge Nurseries, UK, and to my personal knowledge & experience.
I live in a forested region (some old growth, much natural second growth, some large-scale commercial tree farms). My province, British Columbia, has, for well over a century, had a worldwide reputation as a producer of lumber, plywood, strandboard, milled timbers, etc.
I strongly support getting more useful work out of sawmill waste, which has actually made great strides in British Columbia for 30 years. Also, I believe the efficient burning of wood for homestead space-heat is usually acceptable.
My question about modern, higher-efficiency steam power relates to the extent to which home- or farm-scale steam tech could be utilized, if wood dependent. Forests in much of the world have been over harvested. We need naturally regenerating, mixed-age, mixed-species (wild or semi-wild) forests as part of ecosystems & the biosphere. When a given forest is significantly harvested, regeneration can be unpredictable & slow. If slopes are involved, upper forest-soil layers can be devitalized, even eroded to varying extents. Modern forestry has frequently carried out restocking (tree planting) plus fertilization, which are costly. Even then, some very respected foresters here in BC say replanted forests are more "tree farms" than true forests, and that by time of a third cutting of such a tract, the trees are very far cry from the original natural forest.
Sure, some homesteaders have a private woodlot that they can harvest, but drawing too heavily could echo the challenges of modern commercial forestry. How would the average farmer or homesteader deal with this aspect... restocking & fertilizing? I do understand that biomass of various sorts could be burned to supply heat.
Anyhow, to envision where steam technology might fit into a green picture, we'd need to look at all the costs, labor, and other practicalities of obtaining fuel supply.
K Eilander wrote:I think it comes down to not just the "right tool for the job", but the right quality of tool for the job.
My dad (a retired mechanic) owns a small fortune in name brand Snap-on tools. For me, as a part-time tinkerer that wouldn't make economic sense - nor does getting the cheapest junk wrenches that will break when I look at them sideways (I live some distance from town and can't afford countless trips to replace things).
I think you're quite right when you advise to get the right quality tool for the job... right tool of right quality.
Here's something else I take from your post, K. Your dad bought Snap-on wrenches. Snap-on tools are among the best (some would say the best) you can buy. So you can keep this in mind when you're in a second-hand store, pawn shop, or yard sale. Sure, the seller may realize the top quality and be asking a substantial used price, but it'll be less than buying retail — and you'll make a beneficial investment.
So it's helpful to make a point of learning which brands of various sorts of tools are high quality, so you'll recognize those when you come across them second-hand.
I happened to look through this thread again, and I realzed there is something useful I could add to my first post here. What I wrote included:
You want any excess water to drain through the soil and escape at the container's bottom into a receptacle (dish/tray) underneath. I'd recommend against potting it in rich organic soil as indoors such soils, over time, can develop fungal problems.
... A lot of very accomplished indoor-plant growers recommend a coarse soil with lots of perlite mixed in to aerate it.
I used to be on an online indoor-plant forum and there was a guy on there who showed examples of his glorious house plants, This guy was involved with indoor plants professionally, but what he showed were his own at-home specimens. Of course, they'd each been given the right positioning to get the amount of light, direct or indirect depending on the species. But what was memorable in what he said was how important drainage is. And he said he could grow healthy plants in marbles rather than soil! IOW, given a hydroponic-type of watering (with nutrients in the water), the liquid flowing through the roots and draining out will feed the plant, and sufficient air will get into the root zone.
I've never gone that radical, never tried a hydroponic approach. But I learned from what he had to say how extremely important avoiding over-saturation of the contained soil is. Personally, while my wife & I use organic methods outdoors to keep our soil healthy for food crops, we've chosen to use a commercial chemical-blend plant food for our indoor plants. This, coupled with providing a well-drained soil & avoiding overdoing it with watering, has eliminated damping-off & root rotting and allows the plants to grow & mature.
My wife just finished a half hour of cutting with the battery-powered chainsaw I mentioned in my post on Page-2 of this thread. Those people who're just familiar with the later posts this thread might find my earlier post of interest.
I'll also say that I reviewed the specific Husqvarna battery chainsaw in the Gear forum here on Permies. You could search it or scroll through that forum.
Not an age thing, but interesting... maybe. Yesterday I was cleaning out some small, dead limbs & branches where a volunteer hazelnut tree had sluffed them, right over a covered valve along a buried water line. It was a task where I used a rake & a compact, lightweight chainsaw (L-ion battery machine). Most of the cuts I could easily do in my ordinary right-handed way, but a few would have required uncomfortable wrist twisting, so I tried it left-handed.
Normally, while holding onto the wrap-around with my left hand, I grip the handle with my right, squeeze the trigger-lock safety knob with my right thumb, and pull the trigger with my right forefinger. I thought, because of the position of the safety knob's position, that this might be very difficult or impossible for me. But turned out that was not the case — in a moment I'd configured my left hand in such a way as to run the saw (safely) left-handed. Afterwards, it got me thinking.
No one in my family is left-handed, but like everyone I have friends who are. After my experience yesterday, I thought about starting a thread for people to discuss tools and which ones are a problem for the lefties. And what you can do about it, including where you can buy tools made for lefties, when sometimes that's the best solution.
Denise Devynck wrote:I have tried straw, pineneedles, acidic soil amendment and was told by nursery owner to plant into peatmoss, as well as keeping in pots, but blueberries seem to only survive 3 yrs only. Please keep our school posted of what you do to succeed in growing blueberries, Utah Valley Permaculture Classroom Gardens & Greenhouse www.permaculturedesignschool.org firstname.lastname@example.org thank you
First questions that come to mind are: what is your climate (especially winter) like? and, what is your subsoil like?
I initially lost some plants during their first winter. Since I had planted several different varieties, I tend to believe that plant variety has some bearing on the survival of b.b. in a specific location. I replanted in spots where I removed dead plants.
My b.b. patch is part of a larger garden plot that 70 years ago had been conifer forest. The soil type is sandy-silty. Originally, the upper soil layer would have tested somewhat acidic, but in recent decades it tests basically neutral. So I specially prepared the immediate area around each b.b. root mass I planted. I dug holes, mixed some original soil from the hole with compost, sphagnum peat, gypsum, and a bit of alfalfa meal for nitrogen. Most of the plants got a good start, and then the soil environment in the patch, which I covered with fine (wood) planer shavings & sawdust, promoted the obvious natural establishment of fungal mycelia.
Because the patch has, for many years now, provided very vigorous, bushy plants that produce well, I'm kind of reluctant to abruptly alter the soil condition around the plants. But every spring I do a soil test within the drip line of each plant, with an eye to keeping the soil acidic. From experience, I feel that ideally the pH should be 5.5 or lower. If the soil is becoming too alkaline, I scratch-in some powdered sulphur.
There are amendments I'll add, some years, to keep strong shoots developing and ample production of berries, but I believe these have less to do with survival in the first few years.
roberta mccanse wrote:I would love to have blueberries but our soil is very basic, a high ph. I tried and lost two bushes with lots of pine mulch and additives intended to lower ph, to no avail. Should I try growing them in containers? Raspberries do OK , not terrifically well, on a sunny slope. I would like more of these as well. And of course I have lots of birds. We are zone 4..
There are numerous owls that live in our region. I once found a Great Horned owl creating pandemonium by standing on the door-sill of our chicken coop. Didn't have a camera or smart-phone with me, and just put my effort into getting it to take flight!
I've enjoyed hearing or seeing a number of larger owls, but sometimes only spotting one while in flight.
This is one of the types of owls we see, though not often. This is a Northern Pygmy owl — the experts say they rarely get any taller than 7 inches, head to tail tip. This shot was taken on a hiking trail somewhat to the east of where we live.
David Huang wrote:This time though it wasn't just a robin, or a few robins. It was an honest to god flock of robins! There must have been a few hundred! I don't believe I've ever seen a flock of robins in my life. I never realized they would gather in such large groups. Does this mean spring is coming with force?
All my life I've lived in places where robins are pretty common, but have never seen a flock! I didn't know they flocked, either.
During winter we see ravens, red-shafted flickers, Stellar's jays, downy woodpeckers, nuthatches, the very occasional small owl... but robins are a true sign of spring. And this year we've caught sight of just three or four by this point. That's attributable to the very gradual melting away of snow & ice on the ground.
Our household has both a cell phone (which my wife & I share) and a land line. The better sound clarity of land-line phones has been mentioned in other threads here on Permies. But the main reason we still want to have one is due to an experience of my brother & his wife.
They live in the northern half of California, inland from the coast. There have been big fires that spread pretty fast in recent years, feeding on brush, trees, and buildings. In the case of the most threatening one, it approached their town from the north & the east. Power went out when poles burned, so using their online computer wasn't possible. Cell phones for contact were a possibility for a while, but then some cell towers were damaged badly. (But in any case, cells would only have worked until the batteries drained down.)
They got into sleeping in shifts, so one of them could be listening to local radio all the time. The only way they had to keep in touch with friends & relatives (and possible recorded alerts) was via the land line (apparently not affected like the electrical system). Anyways, they were glad they had a land line.
K Eilander wrote:May be worth keeping around. Most cigarette lighter power adapters still use them.
Interesting. Adapters, not the cigarette lighters themselves, eh? But I wonder if any cars sold in North America (and built in, say, the last decade) were still using the older fuses in major functional circuitry? My 17-year-old Toyota 4W pickup, sold originally through a Canadian dealership, uses a different fuse.
So after we sold first the Volvo, then later sold the Datsun P.U., we started buying second-hand Toyotas (4-wheel drive). And since they were well designed & engineered, durable and good on snowy roads, whenever we've replaced we've bought another Toyota. I'm fuzzy on when Toyota started using a differently designed fuse but it's definitely been well over a decade ago — maybe 20 years?
Are some makes still using the fuse of the type in the pics I uploaded?
While tidying a closet... We just ran across these today in a box of miscellaneous patch cords, electrical stuff and varied fittings. The old type of automobile fuses that were common to just about every make & model.
These must’ve been replacement fuses for the vehicles we moved onto this property with — a Volvo station wagon, and a Datsun pickup. The cars were used (and therefore, “old”) when we’d bought them, well before driving them here. And wherever they are now, if they haven’t been hauled to some wrecking yard & crushed, they’d definitely be called “vintage”.
One little box is printed with the trademark of GEC Canada, and in very fine print says both “Fuses” and “Fusibles”, because Canada is officially a bi-lingual country. The other box simply has the trade name Littlefuse. “Littelfuse” is about as off as an ‘off brand’ could be… hmm, made by what company? Generic product, I suppose they were as good as any brand.
Kathleen Sanderson wrote:There's a sinkhole in my back yard, probably a little over 100' from the house; my brother and our nephew, who's been here most of the winter, got intrigued and dug the sinkhole out somewhat to see how deep it was.
I'm curious about the diameter of the sink hole. I assume it's more or less round, but how wide across it?
There's some land that's not on our property, but I can walk to it in seven or eight minutes. Part of a neighbor's place, but not near their house or outbuildings. There are sinkholes there, and they range from maybe four feet to seven feet across.
There's a hands-on environmental group I work with. A few years ago, we hosted John Todd to give a power-point-illustrated talk in the larger of the nearby towns. Over several decades, I'd been interested in his experimentation and accomplishments internationally — not really consistently, like an obsessive fan, but tuning in whenever some bit of news did come my way.
The event was quite well attended by people involved in the region's environmental projects. John's presentation was awe-inspiring and informative. Afterwards I talked with him a little... very nice guy, warm person. Can't say that I know him, but he gave me a signed copy of his well-illustrated newest book, Healing Earth (which rates a Wow!).
If he presents somewhere near you, I'd recommend you attend.
Jesse Glessner wrote:I'm glad to see that others have messy workshops - just like I do.
I figured everyone else had shops like they show in magazines and on TV!
My shop areas get pretty messy. I find I go through a cycle. At certain points, I'll have been dealing with a series of tasks requiring my attention. During these times I wind up with tools, trays of fasteners, cordless-tool batteries, cans of KanoKroil and whatnot jumbled on my benches. Then I realize (with some disgust) that I've arrived at the place where it's too hard to actually find what I need to do the next task... and I finally do a clean-up and tool put-away!
Hi r ranson. A hot topic right now (I posted about this recently). This is my heartleaf philodendron. I seem to remember it got to about this length & abundance in something like one year. If it had been growing from a suspended container, the vines would've reach the floor, but I pruned it.
Care of this plant is pretty simple, just water moderately about once a week (even less frequently in winter, unless it gets a lot of light to it wherever you've placed it). I believe this is one of the key points. And you want any excess water to be able to drain through the soil and escape at the container's bottom into a receptacle (dish/tray) underneath.
In my experience, indoor containerized plants are a whole different pursuit than growing outdoors in garden plots. Outdoor planting is done in a natural, fairly spacious soil system. I'm an organic grower outside, but I realize many houseplants don't do well in a rich organic soil. I learned not to use compost in indoor containers. Over time, organically rich soil can develop fungal problems. Especially so if coupled with watering too much or too frequently... you can easily end up with root rot which kills the plant. On one indoor-plant forum I was on, a pro said he can grow glorious indoor plants in marbles using hydroponic nutrients flowing down over the roots and draining well! I don't go that radical, but I plant in a coarse soil with lots of perlite mixed in to aerate it the total root zone. You can put a little liquid "plant food" into the watering water, either synthetic type or derived & refined from natural sources.
Michael Love wrote:Thanks for sharing this sparker. Very handy to have something to light gas devices and to have a backup other than matches. Interesting that this little sparker is now up to $31 on Amazon. Still worth it having a good alternative.
I want to get going on spring cleaning... I need to, and I know it. It's already the latter part of February. Sure, there's still snow & ice on the ground outside. And we could get another quite-cold spell, or even a considerable snowfall. But...
I need to tidy up my basement shop area, my office room, and our big shed outside with the lumber rack, tablesaw, vehicle-related odds & ends. It'll make life easier. I tell myself: "bit by bit", I've done it many times before, I can do it again. 😧