The Fixer topics

The Fixer archives

taking a time out

I am cutting back on my webpost side to regain more of my other Renaissance Man aspects.

I am master of four websites. I am still wrestling with cutting back on the out-of-pocket financial costs without resolution, but certainly can pare down the time I have been donating to this slice of my life without a solution to the expense question.

Woodwork, metalwork, strengthening my 2-way comms, building physical things, making music, reading, two-wheel-riding, wrenching, drawing, artistic painting and more have been calling to me – and I have answered their calls less than I want.

Most […]

Communications Basics

Two-way radio communications is a tremendous subject that can and does carry people in many directions. Certainly among the most important are field communications to and from tactical and reconnaissance teams, particularly with some semblance of security or privacy to the information thereby exchanged.

Particularly well suited to teaching this fine art is NC Scout. He recently published a book on the subject: The Guerrilla’s Guide To The Baofeng Radio, which I recommend and am buying myself. He also has a web page covering a whole lot more range. I share the outline below, but encourage you to go […]

my new trombone bathtub

I began playing trombone at ten years old. I have taken significant breaks between then and now, but cumulatively I have probably a couple dozen years of playing – and cleaning – trombones.

Now, proving that old dogs CAN indeed learn new tricks, I have come up with a way to clean my trombone slides without kneeling, hunched over my bathtub.

I suppose this is as much a “necessity being the mother of invention” as proof my creative mind is still functioning… knees and backs being things old guys do not love to overwork.

I recently found […]

Guerrilla’s Guide To 2-Way Radio

For my heading, I purposefully modified NC Scout’s bestselling book title that I am discussing in this post. The Guerrilla’s Guide To The Baofeng Radio goes far beyond the make/model amateur radio he recommends in it.

I and a fellow active licensed radio operator (HAM) took a local class from him a few years ago. It was extremely informative and valuable. I expect this book to have much of what we learned in that class, and quite a bit more packed into it.

I have ordered my own copy, so this is a recommendation in advance of being […]

cold snap

Now THAT’s COLD.

At Sunrise (8:17), I threw on a wool coat, insulated gloves and boots for a one-minute outdoor job of opening the chicken door so my flock could get out to their heated water reservoir and food supply.

Whoops. My young back-saving helper yesterday did not close the double gate into / out of the chicken yard after blowing a foot of snow off their scratching yard.

So I did that while I was out there – to keep them in and predators out.

By the time I was back inside, my legs were […]

my toothbrushing compound recipe

I used Tom’s of Maine for many years until the business was sold and went mainstream. The current corporation and its recipes deserve no support. So I went shopping … for my own recipe.

Having tripped over the value of essential oils, they are integral to this. I will make no claims for any of the ingredients, choosing instead to send you off to your own research to discover what led me to these, or to decide for yourself that some other combination works for you.

My essential oil source is Eden’s Garden, but I am not recommending […]

simple pleasures in the workshop

Once in a while I simply get lucky as a photographer. I suppose as a modestly inspired amateur, that will be the only way I get a photo that really tickles me. Below is one of them.

At my skill level, getting the lighting just right to comfortably light the background while focusing attention, and projecting a welcoming feeling has to be totally a lucky shot, but this one speaks volumes for the shop guy, and the car guy in me.

I briefly opened the bay doors to admit the Honda for its overdue wheel swap from summer […]

white stuff getting in the way

Through the spring, summer, fall, I was prioritizing having our homestead prepared for the snow management season. Strangely, I was simultaneously putting off all those interesting, rewarding projects “that could be done indoors during winter”.

We are there. I am there. Meanwhile, that quality time in my wood-heated, well-outfitted cozy shop keeps getting kicked to the curb by mandatory snow management around the castle.

The university of hard knocks taught me that snow sheets and drifts allowed to set into glaciers and sheet ice are quite unpleasant around the farm. Some things absolutely MUST be done on their […]

being thankful

Among the things I am thankful for is that the manipulators have not messed up the language and culture of Thanksgiving Day. It remains on Thursday and is still widely celebrated as a day with families coast-to-coast gathering and giving thanks for what they do have.

My wife and I have now crested 20 years together and the team is holding up well, giving both of us comfort, joy, peace, support and happiness.

Though many have extolled the virtues of unpalatable yams, sweet potatoes and pumpkin pie, there is nobody forcing me to gag them down… and so […]

shop heat

One of the real treats in my life is a heated shop. I have a lovely collection of tools and workspaces enabling me to putter with woodwork, metalwork and a bit of mechanical maintenance. I am not great at any of it, but pretty darn good at solving the little challenges and opportunities life sends my way. I have spent some time turning my Jack-of-all-Trades persona into a way to make an honest living, but only at the wrong place at the wrong time. The Fixer business did not blossom, but my website The Fixer.biz is still kicking around […]

creating and repairing low back pain

As it turns out, I am reasonably adept at both.

The first came naturally and easily to me. Just be Ted.

Actually, the repair was natural as well, though not as easy.

Friday I spent hours with hedge shears cutting the noxious weeds in my potato patch. This involved A LOT of stooping and bending giving me a very sore back that evening.

Saturday morning I was happily symptom free, so I promptly FIXED THAT by taking my Dutch hoe to noxious weeds in the chicken yard. About three-quarters of the way through I was feeling […]

1958 Conn 6H trombone cleanup

Looking around my websites and disk storage archives I realized that I did not document my restoration of a very desirable old trombone that I ‘got for a song’ because it was screamingly ugly, non-functional, and in need of quite a lot of work. I am rectifying the lack of documentation today.

Nine years ago I got to hankering for a particular vintage jazz horn from Conn instrument company’s heyday, the apex of their evolution in Elkhart, Indiana when the craftsmen, culture, design and materials came together to make some of the finest brass instruments EVER.

In […]