Thursday, April 26, 2007

Not Much

I have not posted anything here lately. The reason is that I haven't had much time to sit down and think. All my time has been consumed with our home projects, which are already over on the family blog so I am not going to repeat that all here.

But, after we wrap things up, I am going to take a couple days break. We have a busy weekend, but I plan on trying to get Brendan out fishing because the weather is supposed to be nice. So look for posts then.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Good Quotes

I ran across a couple of good quotes, both by Theodore Roosevelt. So, I will put them here.

"Just one more reason he is my favorite Pres. “Americanism means the virtues of courage, honor, justice, truth, sincerity and hardihood – the things that made
America. The things that will destroy America are prosperity at any price, peace at any price, safety first instead of duty first, the love of soft living, and the get-rich-quick theory of life." - Theodore Roosevelt

"It is not the critic who counts, not the man who points out how the strong man stumbled, or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena; whose face is marred by the dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions and spends himself in a worthy course; who at the best, knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who, at worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly; so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory or defeat."

(Paris Sorbonne,1910)

Tuesday, April 17, 2007


Jen might be mad at me for letting the cat out of the bag here first, before she announces it on the family blog. But, she will be the one that gets to do all of the fun updating with photos and

We have a major list of projects going on around our house. It all revolves around me really wanting to have a woodstove again. In case you didn't know, the first house that I owned, I heated it entirely with wood. Didn't even use the furnace. It is a lot of cutting, splitting and stacking, but well worth it IMO. Some tend to argue, but the type of heat from a woodstove is just different. Plus, there is the atmosphere of it as well. I also did all my splitting with a 6 pound mall through the winter.This will give me something much better to do than stay inside or lift weights at the gym. I would much rather have my work accomplishing something.

I originally wrote it off for our house. Saying that our next house HAS to have a woodstove. But, we decided to just do it. We are going to be here awhile. Besides, there is free wood everywhere, and it will be nice to not be at the mercy of natural gas prices.

Here is the woodstove that we are putting in.

I am sure there will be photos later, but another neat thing about our installation area, is that it is right next to the wall that contains the main heating duct carrying ALL the furnace air to the upstairs. So, I will more than likely tap into it with a manual or automatically controlled damper and fan to pump the hot woodstove air all through the ducting system upstairs.

Being in the city poses a couple of challenges, mainly with wood storage. So, project number one involves a wood storage spot behing our garage. The plan is to have 4 feet wide, by 18 feet long, by 6 feet high wood storage area. That should be enough wood to get us through the winter. We are working on that right now. Our neighbor works at a place where they have massive piles of split firewood. So, once this spot is done, we will start haulin wood.....

But, this is just the beginning. Since the woodstove requires a thru the wall installation, I do not want anything to change the stove height in the future that could screw up the hook-up. We have always wanted to have hardwood floor in the downstairs, so now it will be going down before the stove goes in. But, that meets up to the small entry pad, and kitchen which are currently linoleum. So, those are both going to be replaced with porcelain tile. New flooring throughout means that all the trim needs to be ripped up. The kids have done a good job of banging up the walls and such, so that means painting the walls. You see where I am going with this????

But, it still gets better. When we first moved in, I threw together the cheap entertainment center and shelves on a $50 budget. I never really liked it, so that whole thing is going to go, and we will regain floor space there. That means no TV downstairs. That area will be used for large print display.

So, here are the projects....semi in order:

- Wood Storage area
- Porcelain tile in kitchen and entry way
- Paint
- Wood Floor
- Trim
- Woodstove

Of course, Jen will be busy too with getting all the plants and stuff going outside. We want to have a lot more vegetables this year.

The other cool thing about the wood flooring that we are putting in, is that I am doing it the old fashioned way. No Pergo type stuff, and no pre-finished stuff. Bare wood boards. But, I am also buying it direct from the mill. Besides being much cheaper, the boards are usually between 8 and 12 foot long. That is not something that you typically see in wood flooring these days.

The final good thing about this project is the cost. I have recently unloaded a lot of stuff that I now consider pretty useless. Some of the stuff I got more than I originally paid for it brand new! So far, that money will be able to fund just about everything. You can't beat that.

So, keep checking out the family blog to see pictures and updates of the projects.

E85 Fraud

I hope nobody is seriously buying into the idea of ethanol as a fuel alternative. The fact that big players in the auto industry are trying to pawn it off as a viable alternative is just a huge fraud.

If you don’t believe me, do some research of your own. You will find that corn is a poor choice for creating ethanol. In order to turn corn into ethanol, it requires about 70 percent of the energy derived from ethanol!! Sugar cane, cellulose, or soybeans could have been better choice. Are we just stupid? It is a net loser as far as energy is concerned. But don't trust my word, check into it yourself.

Not to mention that all this corn is planted and harvested using oil based machinery. So, it is really an oil based derivate rather than an alternative.

Finally, we do not have good food storage reserves in this country. If it comes down to it, would you rather drive your SUV, or eat?

Monday, April 16, 2007

March 10th - Hunting Again

Saturday, Brendan and I went hunting again. The temperature got up to the mid-50's, so I figured we actually had a good chance at it today. We went out for about 2 hours. For the first half hour, we were actually serious about hunting. Brendan was quiet, and we were doing good. The rest of the time, we just played.

Brendan had me cut him a walking stick. So, the rest of the time it was his light saber, and he beat up every tree that he came across : ) We also spent some time throwing rocks and sticks in a creek. Of course, we had plenty of snacks and hot chocolate. Overall, it was just a good day to be out.

I only took a couple of pictures this time. Brendan brought his own Quigley rifle. He carried it like I was carrying mine, and also had to sit it next to mine as well.

Along our route in and out, there is an old deer blind, that still has a chair there. We usually use that for a break point. Here is Brendan with a cookie in each hand.

Being that there was snow, and we were making tracks, I made Brendan lead us out back to the truck. One time, he wasn't paying attention, and wandered away, looked around, then re-found our tracks. He did an excellent job.

I forgot to mention, that with it being so warm, the snow was pretty much all gone, everywhere. Except for in the woods. It was still hanging on there. So, it was much warmer than the photos make it look like. By the time we were done, Brendan's pants and boots were completely soaked. Luckily, we brought extra and changed at the truck before leaving.

That is all for now. Until we do something fun again.....

March 4th - First Dog Father Use

When I first gradutated from college, and had more disposable money, I bought a pretty cool stag handled 10 inch bowie knife. At the time, I really didn't know what the real uses for a knife that size was, and bought it purely for the look of it. When your camping from your car, weight isn't an issue and you can always have a hatchet or small ax. Since then, I have learned how to use larger knives more effectively than even a hatchet.

That stag handled knife had too many design flaws to be used hard. It was too pretty, and now that it is no longer being made, was more of a collectors piece than a user. So, I decided to sell it. With the money from that, I was able to get 3 knives. Two of similar size, and one smaller that are real users, and not safe queens like the first one. Besides, I don't like to have stuff sitting around that is not used, or is not going to get used.

The large knife is called the Dog Father from Scrap Yard Knife Works. You can see the specs here. Hence the blog entry title.

Today, I had to do some work outside. The right front tire of my truck was squeaking. Just to make sure it was nothing serious, I wanted to pull of the tire and check it out. Being that it is hard to work like that with gloves on, and I could be a while, I built a fire to warm my hands with.

I keep a bunch of wood cut, and split in decent sizes because we have fires all summer long. But, it is not covered this time of year, and most of it either had snow or ice on it. So, I had to split some to get to the inner dry wood. Here is the pile I started with.

Normally in the woods, or while camping you would not be able to find wood already cut to this length. So, normally I would carry a small foldable bow saw in my back pack like the Gerber, or Sawvivor. In weather like this, you would have to make sure to get dead wood that is off the ground, like dead standing trees. With a folding saw, it is pretty quick and pretty much necessary to get a fire going in either wet weather or snow. Even dry and seasoned wood will be wet for the first 1/8 of the exterior making it nearly impossible to get a fire going in those conditions. The only solution is to get to the center.

You can see I had quite a few piece split into smaller pieces already.

Normally, at this point (If I really wanted to guarantee the fire would get going) I would take a smaller knife and create fuzz sticks. This is where you make curls in the edges of the smaller pieces. I just decided to go ahead and do it with this monster bowie. I was actually surprised how easy it was. The beast of a knife is so heavy that it basically made the curls all by itself. This is even maple, by the way.

That was about it with the wood. After all, I actually did have work to do. It was fairly nice outside, right around freezing. Brendan was outside with me the whole time, and even helped me with the truck. After we were done, we played hide and seek, and we even had a smore on the fire. I can't wait until camping weather comes!

February 18th - Hunting Buddy

Today, Brendan and I went out Squirrel hunting. This is really a much better time of year to be rabbit hunting. But, the brush you have to go through is usually really thick, and shots without using a dog, are generally very fast. So, it is not something that is easy to do with a 4 year old. So, we were squirrel hunting. The only problem is that this late in the year, most squirrels are sitting tight, and today was no exception.

That is okay, because we do not take our hunting too seriously. Mainly because Brendan doesn't know how to be quiet : ) Plus, he has fun running, falling, and making new trails. It was just a good day to be out.

Here is a picture of the silly guy. At first, he was making snow angels in the trail, but I made him sit up for a photo.

Now, Bunky really knows how to hunt in style. We came across a bench on one of the trails. Here is with a handwarmer, a snack, and a cup full of hot chocolate : )

Here is the Mountain Man himself, with walking stick.

We found a cool little creek around. Brendan was convinced he was going to get to go it. But, I just took our picture by it instead.

Finally, just another picture of the area we were walking in. We actually did walk quite far today, and Brendan did all if it, except the last little bit on the raod back to the truck.

February 14th - UP Trip

Well, I started this site quite some time ago and I have not done anything with it. Partially because Jen already has the blog going at that tells about all the family activities. I finally decided to try and keep this one updated with stuff that Jen wouldn't normally put there.

It is a very rare occassion that I go off and do something without at least one of the kiddies. However, my friend Mike bought 200 acres in the UP, and we were dying to check it out more thoroughly. So, I actually took off last weekend on my own.

Mike's property is 1/2 off the nearest logging road. So, there is no immediate access to it yet. The logging road is also gated about 2 miles prior to his property. So, it will be good for keeping people out. The below photo is about 6 miles away at the start of the logging road. It is also where we stayed the night. Since we had a 1700 pound camper in the back of his truck, and we were in BFE, and the snow was deep enough, we decided not to chance seeing if we could make it.

So, being manly men, we decided to try and walk it. Yup, that is 12 miles round trip, in lots of clothes, in the snow. Needless to say, we did not make it. We made it around 3 miles or so before deciding to head back. With all the clothes on, and in some spots the snow was pretty deep, it was just too tiring. We did however hike just over 6 miles that day, and I sure did sleep like a baby that night.

The land was really nice on the walk. I really wanted to take some photos, but I wanted the camera under my jacket, instead of in my backpack so that the batteries would not die. However, with the amount of layers I had on, then my day pack has a wasit strap, and a sternum strap, I just could not find a spot in my jacket that the little point and shoot camera would not bug me. So, no pictures along the route. The only other picture I took was of my Maxpedition day pack. If you look close, you can see the super trusty Camp Tramp strapped on the side. The entire main compartment of the bag is free, but using the front compartments, and the little bag attached to the right side (you can barely see it with the double zippers), I seriously have enough gear to be on my own for weeks.

That's it for now. I am not sure when my next adventure will be.


Starting Over Here

I have been infrequently posting over at Yahoo 360. Mainly stuff that Brendan and I have been up to. However, access to that site is not allowed at work. When I seem to have the most free time : ) So, I am going to move things over here.

I will put some of my old posts here, just so that everything is together.

Now that you know why you are here click this link to go to the main page and see what has been up lately.