Quotes

It is better to travel well than to arrive.
-Buddha

courage

It is not just the guy who earns a Silver Star risking his life to save the platoon. Sometimes courage is right there in front of us in our everyday lives.

When the crowd is WRONG, going along might be easier, but standing apart is the right thing to do.

summer solstice – this year’s longest day

Today is the summer solstice. Celebrate it. Go dance in the sunshine… Or walk… Or play… We are in it, but few know, having been disconnected from nature and the real world. For most of human existence, people knew seasonal cycles from direct experience. They paid attention because summer, winter, spring and fall mattered.

Today experts tell them what they need to know, there’s an app for that covers much of their research, and food comes from grocery stores completely disconnected in their minds from farmers, agriculture, seasons and shipping technologies. In our location, today is the longest […]

solar controller upgrade

The beast of a solar panel was too much for the economy controllers I tried. As I mentioned in my previous article about it, solar power upgrade, I put an antique ammeter on the incoming power that I could know how much was hitting the controller and a blade switch in the line so I could cut off the incoming juice when it became too much.

This was not a system I could just leave on its own. If I was ever going to be able to ignore it, and if I wanted to absorb maximum power […]

keeping your cool, Montana style

Montana

Air Conditioning

Open windows mornings cool house below 70

Summer acclimated bodies need long sleeves

When outside temperatures rise to 70 close windows

Yard work best be completed before noon

Fans are often appreciated afternoons and evenings

So are cool drinks – remember nice, cool, clear water

Watch outside thermometers

Open windows when evening cool finally arrives

I printed this out as a reference document; posted it under refrigerator magnets on, where else?, the fridge. In case you want a neatly formatted copy for printing, here is a .pdf of it.

Montana air conditioning […]

.45 vs 20-gauge

There are three standards in the shooting community that are simply not worth challenging within a group chatting behind the firing lines. Chief among them are the irrefutable power of the .45 ACP (“forty five”), the superiority of the 1911 (“nineteen eleven”) among handgun platforms, and the requirement that shotguns must be 12 gauge. Even if not a majority, the acolytes will be adamant, staunch and vociferous in defense of the aforementioned religions. You may not lose, but you will never win those arguments.

Fortunately we are here not there. I brook no counter-arguments, in fact I don’t want […]

long handled tool storage

Nine years ago I turned some thrift store bedframes into tool storage – see tool jackstraws. Today the need for something like that finally made the top of my ToDo list, but the salvage bedframes were not in my inventory.

On the other hand, I have a bunch of hog panel scraps lying about…

The plan is quite similar. Construction substantially easier. Results are every bit as rewarding. I suspect that hog panels, also known as livestock panels are more readily available to most folks.

Dang this went quick and easy.

If you are looking for […]

a basic home armory

Inspired by the “10 Guns Worth Keeping” article that I copied and linked below is my more fundamental version of that here.

Author Bob Campbell describes his double-handful with make/model specificity that is always welcome to people considering one or another of the recommendations. However, as I read through the article I was confident that my long and short guns were functionally every bit as good as his favorites, perhaps better in my opinion. Of course opinions are like ________ , everybody has one.

I am a mid-pack shooter with at least a little experience in most shooting […]

solar power upgrade

When I set up my ham radio shack six years ago, I chose to go solar-powered 12-volt because amateur radio needs to work regardless of the grid up or grid down situation.

Last year I upgraded to second and third deep-cycle lead-acid batteries. I added other uses to the system and last winter was frequently running low on stored energy. So I upgraded the panel and controller to modern, more powerful ones. The new panel overwhelmed the new controller.

It should not have according to the specs on both, but there it was. Controller said, “Too much juice”. […]

planting moon

The moon over Montana will be full on Thursday, May 7th.

Bob Cannard, my organic gardening mentor encouraged us to plant on every full moon. He did not touch on whether or not he believed it cosmically favored the plants themselves. His expressed reasoning was that it organized us to do regular plantings whether that was seeds, starts, bare-root, or transplants. Get something started every full moon and you will always have a good garden. From long before there were computers, televisions and electric lights, people on nature-driven cycles have called the first full moon of May, […]

Ted Dunlap, STEE

You have-to have initials after your name to lend credibility to your projects and pronouncements. My latest creation inspired me to append “STEE” to my name. Further explanation will wreck the aura, but I’ll go ahead anyway. It stands for Shade Tree Electrical Engineer… similar to the Shade Tree Mechanic title I earned repeatedly with my auto/truck/motorcycle/tractor repair toolset.

Running a ham radio shack requires steady, clean 12-volt electricity. Handheld transceivers, HTs, or walkie-talkies if you prefer, have their own batteries. Cheaper ones use AA or AAA, but most use rechargeables whose chargers plug into standard 120-volt […]

honeydew

I enjoy my carnivorous plants a heckuva lot more than flypaper, to understate more than a little. The wonderful folks at California Carnivores provide insect control for me year after year.

My honeydew from a couple years ago is still among the living – and presumably happy campers in my home.

Officially known as drosera capensis, my honeydew is highly photogenic and wonderful for keeping little flying insects in check.

Peter D’Amato, founder and principle at California Carnivores told me the little dewdrops at the end of the leaf hairs are ounce-for-ounce the stickiest substance known to […]

table saw, router table upgrade

My OLD, second-hand Ryobi table saw was the weak link in my workshop. Since I use the heck out of it, and the safety, ergonomics and power were all marginal, I finally brought that tool up to my shop standard. That, of course, necessitated construction of a new stand. This time I wanted to integrate my router so I could quit having to bring it out to set up every time I wanted to use it – a diversionary task that often had me selecting a plane, files and lots of sanding rather than going through the router […]