Chris Tully

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since Apr 15, 2021
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I am a casual gardener. I call North Carolina home and have lived in Utah and Maryland. In Utah, I learned about xeroscaping - changing a landscape from grass to sand rocks and dessert plants that are more compatible with the dry environment there. In Maryland one of my neighbors was a long time volunteer at the local botanical garden and saw no point in mowing grass so she slowly converted every inch of her yard in to flower beds.

Now that I have successfully grown a few things, I am thinking more and more about converting my entire yard to garden and flower beds.
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Garner, NC, USA
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Recent posts by Chris Tully

I have a bench top belt/disc sander from Harbor Freight that I was given. The table in front of the disc was floppy and would not hold my work piece square to the table.

I over engineered the fix, because I had some 3x4 angle iron. But I cut a short piece of that and used a door hinge to remount the table on the angle iron. I was able to reattach the original angle setting device.

The table is now rock steady!
1 month ago
This could be dangerous so wear plenty of safety equipment. But take a HSS drill bit of the appropriate size, chuck in you drill. Then turn on a bench mounted grinding wheel. Now reshape the bit to the desired shape.

I would probably try to setup an arm to hold the drill at a fixed angle and VERY slowly bring it into the doing grinding wheel.

If this works, you will ruin the temper on the bit so you may want to heat it with a torch and quench it to attempt to reestablish the harden surface. But for grafting you are drilling in to soft outer layers of a live plant so you should not have much trouble with the reshaped bit getting dull.
3 months ago
My problem with all metal working is that it is one more expensive hobby. I know conceptually how to weld, use a mill and even a CNC mill. But I just don’t have the budget right now for a decent welder, let alone a mill or CNC. And if/when I do get any of them, I’ll still have to practice apply that conceptual knowledge.
10 months ago
I would suggest following a much shallower slope than the typical 7” rise 11” run for indoor steps. With that in mind, you are probably looking at at least two landings with switch backs.

Also to get the longer run per step you may need two or even three half logs per step.
I used to volunteer at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences and the approach people there used for pressing flowers was the press described above with two boards sandwiching layers of paper and flowers. One difference is that the museum also used corrugated cardboard. I suspect that the corrugations provide more air flow and all the flowers to dry more quickly and possibly retain more color.
1 year ago
No pictures handy but my cast iron skillet is at least 50-60 years old and when clean and properly maintained has a glassy smooth finish. The best thing I ever did for this skillet was to start cooking bacon! Cooking bacon in it daily built up a nice carbonized layer of oils and as long as I keep doing that virtually nothing sticks to the surface.

When I acquired the skillet, it was rusty and useless. I scrubbed it to shiny metal and then treated it with cooking oil in a 500 degree oven to start rebuilding the carbonized/polymerized oil surface. It worked OK and slowly got better with use but when I started having bacon and eggs for breakfast it suddenly developed the surface I was always looking for!

Lisa Brunette wrote:

Matt McSpadden wrote:Hi Lisa,
I think it is good to have a reality check with alternative energy. There are limitations, and some people like to forget that. I like the list you have already. I would add solar hot water heater to that. There are many different kinds, but here in a cold climate, heating the water is a good chunk of our energy bill. Even if it is an on demand propane heater that barely uses electricity, it still costs a lot to heat it. A solar hot water heater, done right, could easily take care of all of the domestic hot water use for a family. With a large setup and a storage tank, you could probably do the domestic hot water plus supplement some heat.

Thanks, Matt! Is a solar hot water heater something you have to make yourself, or can you buy one that's permitted for suburban housing? And will HVAC maintenance techs know how to fix it if something goes wrong?

I know that you can both buy and have solar hot water systems installed. My parents did just that and it worked pretty well, but the there was eventually a leak in the roof where the panel supports were attached to the roof.
1 year ago
For me, normalcy bias has eroded with age and experience. I used to consider the “front” yard as a sacrosanct place ghat must be a green lawn. But over the years I have found that I just can’t grow enough plants in just the back yard so I started putting more and more in the front yard!

Now living in a 1/4 acre lot with a large fraction dedicated to wooded wetlands that I cannot touch means I don’t have a lot to work with, but I am gradually turning my whole lot into garden!
1 year ago
For me the most important thing that should have been taught in school and in college, but was completely ignored was personal finance. Not how to balance a check book - that is simple math, but really focusing on TVM - the Time Value of Money and in graining in all of us the benefits of saving early and consistently!
1 year ago
So true. My usual summer garb is shorts shirt and sandals but when going to doctor appointments I always switch to slacks shoes and a button down shirt. I have always found that I get just a little more respect when I dress more formally.
1 year ago