Global Skywatch

Ted’s essays

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 […]

winter heat

In 1980 I built my dream house on a south-facing hill with winter solar gain thoroughly designed in, and an efficient woodstove as the only other heat source. Both Good News and Bad News: it was in Northern California. That meant ample supply of oak, madrone, eucalyptus, live oak and other hardwoods that put out A LOT of heat (30 – 36 million BTUs per cord), little creosote, smoke, ash, and burned long per fireplace loading. The bad news was cultural, political and governmental. I did not fit there, moving from my childhood homeland in March of 2000. I had not heated with firewood again until 2013. Hardwoods are essentially unobtainable while the fir and pine (13-20 million BTUs […]

greenhouse design

I enjoy old-school mechanical drawing, drafting and design … with paper, pencil, T-square, triangles and such. Having a simple drawing board, perhaps even a genuine drafting desk has been on my short list every time I end up with a home that has space for it. My new studio may well be the place this happens, but not until we are fully moved in and settled. Meanwhile, I have a lot of projects that really require some planning and drawing to insure they fit together well, have the right materials, and in some cases, communicate to the builder when I am subcontracting the work out. In other words, I have a lot of drawings to do before I can get […]

grid jeopardy

Three major actions of the sun may hit the Earth hard September 8th and 9th. The possibility of SOME EFFECT is near absolute. We WILL KNOW something hit us. The likelihood of some damage to electronics and electrical transmission somewhere on Earth is very high. Some communities somewhere will lose their power. The probability of global grid failure is around 10%. It is not likely to be catastrophic. That is also to say that it could be catastrophic. Check your preparations for that sort of catastrophe TODAY. While in the midst of moving, I cannot drop everything and go on a prep-shopping binge today. But I can certainly re-prioritize some of my moving activities focusing on electronics and power-failure gear. […]

repair, re-use trumps recycle, re-purchase

These scissors have been a part of my ‘riverside tool box’ for a lot of years. They have a nice edge, cut well, seem heavy enough for shop use, and have required no maintenance. Until a couple days ago when the pivot pin broke, turning the pair of scissors into two useless pieces of plastic and steel. Fortunately I have tools, assorted hardware and ingenuity. Rather than a trip to the new scissor store, I drilled the pivot point out to fit a bolt I had on hand. After reassembly, the reunited PAIR of scissors now works as well as they ever did. Quality I like, form that functions, less time than a trip to town and my familiar […]

cleared the workbench… again

In the never-ending battle for clear horizontal spaces, I lose more often than I win. I still have not fully unpacked from our five-day adventure north to a basic long-range rifleman course. But time did not stand still for me. The PatchWorks business sold. I had to get new designs created and patches produced right away, or forever hold my peace. Then the local practical pistol match got all that gear out, and added to my collection needing post-match servicing. My workbench was getting real ugly. It gets that way sometimes, and as often happens, “More Shelves” is the answer. Unfortunately, the workbench I use for creating shelves was covered with STUFF needing put away. I shifted it here and […]

stove-top coffee roasting

Last July I put up a detailed post describing my home coffee roasting process. I am still roasting the same way and won’t repeat that post here. Go there if you want to know step-by-step how to purchase green coffee beans and turn them into wonderful, fresh coffee to suit your own tastes. coffee roasting at home What I am adding with this post is a link to my Vimeo channel where I published a short video clip of the process. Ted roasting coffee beans on gas burner Vimeo is kind-of a liberated YouTube; minus the agenda, censors and big brother aspects. It has the free version that I am currently using and several upgrade levels. I do not appear […]

Ted’s awesome meat loaf recipe

I combined a few recipes, added a dash of improv and made a lovely meat loaf today. I wrote it out tonight so I could come close to repeating it another day. Of course the measurements are approximations and wild guesses, but I’m betting they are close to what I used. Ted’s Awesome Meat Loaf 3 tablespoons coconut oil 1 cup chopped onion ½ cup chopped green onions 2 chopped carrots 2 chopped stalks celery 2 tablespoons minced garlic 2 8-ounce cans tomato paste [homemade] 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce 4 tablespoons apple cider vinegar 1/2 teaspoon salt [Himalayan pink] 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper [fresh ground] 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper (untested addition) ——– Stir fry the above ingredients, using only […]