Phil Swindler

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since Jan 21, 2016
Wichita, Kansas, United States
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Recent posts by Phil Swindler

Tina Gee wrote:I love this idea! A chart of weeds as an indicator of x soil conditions so y veg will thrive....
I bet Geoff Lawton and Matt Powers, John Kempf etc have I go on this?

Awhile back I saw a Geoff Lawton video on this very topic.  Sorry, I don't remember details.  I do remember he talked about what thistles tell you.  Stefan Sobkowiak of Miracle Farms has talked about weeds some.  He has talked about dandelions.
So, you are right about Geoff Lawton.  There is information out there.

Pearl Sutton wrote:Cement. I have sharpened and smoothed more things that I care to admit on cement. You can get a good long stroke on a patio or sidewalk, and a good angle on a curb.

I like the grind wheel idea, I have a pile of them too, I'll dig one out to misuse :D Thank you for that one!

As far as tile, be sure to get a piece of quarry tile, that's my favorite for sharpening with. No glaze to remove, and a nice medium fine grain, not as fine as porcelain wall tile.

Sometimes when I'm doing woodwork I'll use the driveway to round over edges.  It's like a huge sheet of 120 grit sand paper.  And, if I'm rounding over the end of a board at least 3 or 4 feet long, I can do it standing up.
2 weeks ago
11 years and a couple houses ago we added mirrors to the living room.  The living room was relatively dark paneling with a ceiling that was 6 inches lower than normal.  We added 1 square foot (30cm X 30cm) mirror tiles around the top of the wall.  It made the room feel bigger.  It also brightened up the room noticeably without spending any more on lighting.
I would think it would have a similar effect on a greenhouse.
3 weeks ago
All purpose is a middle of the road flour.  
It's mostly based on protein levels.  But, it's been enough years I don't remember the numbers very well.
Yes, cake flour is made from soft wheat and does have lower protein levels.  As I recall cake flour is ground a little finer and has more of the bran extracted.
You can use all purpose for cakes and pastries.  But, you will find your results to be different with different flours.
And, yes, the harder varieties of wheat make better pastas and noodles.  The higher protein gives more of the "al dente" texture and is less mushy.

Denis Huel wrote:Grew up and lived on small grain farm in Southern Saskatchewan where durum was the primary crop. Hardness is a quality characteristic and durum is milled into semolina (small particles) not flour. Anything that reduced the hardness of your grain (weather damage or poor fertility) lowered the price. Grain buyers measured HVK (hard vitreous kernels) and protein level to determine grade.

Yes the awns have a high PITA factor and durum varieties are still awned.  In fact it was our job as kids to climb into the combine harvesters at the start of each day to clean the awns that were clogging the grain separating systems of the harvesters. It was a dirty job delegated to the smallest, youngest, bottom of the pecking order member of the harvesting crew. Usually it was me!

The Ternier's at Prairie Garden Seeds sell seed of Wakooma. It was widely grown in southern Saskatchewan in the 70's and 80's. It is a good high quality variety, fairly tall, with long black awns (good for weaving). Modern varieties are very short compared to the old varieties. The old varieties lodged badly (fell over and didn't ripen properly). Durum in general requires a longer and hotter growing season than bread wheat and was only grown in the southern grain growing areas of Saskatchewan.

Denis is spot on with that first paragraph.
Years ago I worked in the corporate lab for a grain milling company.
Durum was what we used to make what we sold to pasta companies.  It was also ground noticeably coarser.  Semolina is the technical term for that particle size.
Companies that made other noodle types got a finer grind made from softer varieties of wheat.  They were still hard red winter wheat or hard spring wheat.  Soft wheat only went to people making cakes and pastries.
At home, I've made pasta from other things besides durum semolina.  But, it doesn't turn out quite the same.

Lew Johnson wrote:The pile remained a pile for too long. Now it's getting cut into more portable size to finish drying after I make a fire wood shelter.

It will probably eventually just become firewood or rocket stove fuel.

If I have enough will I might chip the fruit wood for smoking.

For smoking, you don't need those pieces to be very small.  I've smoked with apple wood an inch to an inch and a half diameter and 8 to 12 inches long with fine results.
That's 2.5 to 3.75 cm diameter and 20 to 30cm length.

I guess I should mention, it depends on how fresh the branches are.  Straight from the tree I didn't even need to soak the wood before smoking.  
1 month ago
I had some scrap pieces of Rock Maple wood left over from another project.
I decided to make myself a pair of chop sticks.  They turned out nice.
Since the school I teach at has loads of foreign exchange students, several from Asia, I figured I'd get an Asian's take on whether they were any good or not.
I walked over to the nearest Asian student and held out the chop sticks.
She looked at me with a "What the hell are you doing?" expression.
I found out later that in her country giving a woman a nice pair of chop sticks is an old traditional way of proposing.
2 months ago

Remelle Burton wrote:I shop the dump after dropping my stuff off.  My best score to date is two perfect "bronze" colored storm doors.  Glass and screens in place.  The metal pile is an amazing place.  I could spend an hour there.

My brother in law used to work for the county.  They would check the land fill after Christmas.  The stuff they found would boggle the mind, often things still in the box.
2 months ago
I have a kazoo on my desk right now that I made from scraps of wood.
It is oak & maple.
I have some scraps of mahogany from replacing some trim.  I'm planning on making more kazoos from that.
2 months ago