Global Skywatch

Ted’s essays

minus 18

It is probably my fault. Yesterday some great friends helped me blow insulation into our attic. I still have not personally visited the attic, but it doesn’t take a certified HVAC engineer to ascertain the need. I observe the snow melting off our roof, the prodigious icicles hanging from the eves and the 90%-efficient gas central heater’s inability to heat this house without the woodstove’s help and know our ceiling insulation is way below adequate. While a licensed HVAC contractor could double the price, they could not significantly improve the result. Tiny-town supplier Darby Distribution includes free rental of the chopper-blower with purchase of insulation – two pallets worth in this case. Their price beats Home Depot while delivering […]

tool tango

We are a couple months shy of five years since we started our move from our big subdivision home in Kuna, Idaho with my self-insulated, 5-car-garage shop to the Conner, Montana cabin. I spent the majority of that time estranged from my major tools. I had visitation rights, but the tools were not where I lived. I will never forget the gratitude I owe the great friend who housed them in a fully functional shop for me eight miles away. But, they were not where I lived. Today I am doing the happy dance around my tools. First things first, I fired up the mongo wood burner. Spotty insulation keeps my shop from getting real warm on cold days, but […]

alley dominated

In the grand war to make our homestead suitable, the alley between our house and garage has received little attention. The jetsam left behind by our squatters comprised much of what was heaped there, including the cat they abandoned. I am known to be anti-cat, but really am just against indoor cats; house-cats. Marmalade is a cool cat. A poorly kept secret is that I like having her around. She is a good rodent hunter, likes being scooped up, rumbles pleasantly when held, petted and fed, goes on walks with Mom, Missy and Scooter, handles herself with style, follows us around the yard, and is reasonably in control of her life. She and I seem to have worked out a […]

my pleasure

Visitors to my website might assume I enjoy political activism, truth telling, railing against The Man and such. Not so much. I hate bullies. I do what I can to thwart them. But it is not for fun. Knowing who is doing what to destroy us and the Earth is the first step in fighting them off. I don’t know if we can win, but we most certainly cannot without a whole lot more people knowing what they are up to, and who they are. That is my chosen role. Again, not that I like it. More that it chose me, or I was chosen to play it. Now what I LIKE TO DO. I built this. I designed it. […]

fresh roasted coffee

This morning is the one where I savor the coffee I roasted yesterday. High-end roasters consider their coffee ready 14 hours after it was roasted and too old after 48 hours. I compromise by roasting about once a week. I don’t notice any degradation in flavor as the week progresses, but the day after roasting is deliciously exciting. Today is that day. My how to instructions: Text and photos of my roasting with links to suppliers.

interim shop tour

I am definitely not yet moved in to my shop. BUT I am able to get stuff done in it. I got far enough along to move to getting my studio, radio shack, music room and entertainment center setting up as a bigger priority. The state of the shop is: tour of interim shop from Ted Dunlap on Vimeo.

barn boiler

My barn shop has a huge boiler-heater-woodstove that strikes me as well suited for powering a freight train across the continent a century ago. I’m thinking it might be just a bit much for my barn, though with the hopscotch ceiling insulation, my little fires in the middle of this only get the workspace up to 50 degrees or so. The limiting factor in this installation is overheating the nearby sawdust-board wall. It has scars from prior excursions into the way-too-hot zone, and I did feel it too hot to handle when I had a cranking-good fire going one time. Thus I must settle for less heat and scheme on better sealing of the ceiling. Besides, when I’m working, 50 […]

metric Montana draftsman

Earlier this year I decided to give go at using metric measurements. That system has many advantages facilitating gauging and related calculations. For target ranging through optical scopes using mil-dots, plus calculating hold-offs and hold-overs, it is far more fluid than the MOA, foot, inch, yard system. Thus I have lived in a mixed-system world for the last six months. Setting up my new studio, radio shack, reloading, hobby area requires quite a bit of design, millwork and cabinetry … all needing to be done before I could have a nice mechanical drawing station set up. I am incredibly happy with the cheesy little 30-dollar “interim” drawing board I bought to draw plans for my drawing table and more. I […]