Ted’s essays

clock contortions

Sigh … it is our bi-annual forced homage to the ruling class that we all must scurry about our small worlds adjusting every clock therein so we may continue to speak the same language regarding time-of-day as our peers speak… in all actuality, saving no daylight whatsoever. Here is a supremely accurate analog clock to help with your big chore for the day: Do not forget to reset each and every clock in your life today or you will be late tomorrow. I also added it to the Bitterroot Bugle’s left column so you can find it any time of any day … so long as my site and the Internet last. A regular un-favorite day of mine when […]

ice dancing

Occasionally the winter snowfalls conspire to make walking around our yard treacherous. My wife responds by putting ice cleats on a pair of snow boots and switching to them to walk on ice and from them to climb into her van, enter her destination or go back into the house. I walk very carefully. For the most part, her plan is a lot smarter than mine. Old brittle bones break easier than what we grew up with and heal a lot slower. Being a gambling man is not very clever. On the other hand, I am also a solution man. Here is the harrowing solution. On a sunny afternoon with temperatures well above freezing, I connected a “blanket harrow” […]

pictures from our cold snap

I suppose if you grew up in Wisconsin, Michigan or North Dakota, this wouldn’t be all that impressive. But I grew up in coastal northern California and haven’t lived anyplace that touched yesterday’s minus 41 low, let alone today’s minus 28/29. Dang, that bites… Literally… chews on, stings whatever skin you offer up to it. Storm doors, double-pane windows … yeah, they all grow frost coats. My foresight to install wood heat and stock up on both free kindling and moderately affordable local forest BTUs is looking rather clever today… wait until the electricity shuts off for a bit. Wow! Genius!!! We took yesterday off from wood heat. It was just too darn cold to go across the yard […]

winter battery tool storage

Batteries have no love for cold temperatures and my Montana workshop gets plenty of those. My response has been to haul all my battery-operated tools along with their battery packs into my basement during winter months. That puts them where I don’t use them and adds a whole lot of inconvenience to their use. This year I decided to change that. I came up with an extra thermostatically-controlled seedling heating mat from my greenhouse and built an insulated compartment in my workshop shelving unit to contain the batteries, the warmer and a beer fridge. The mats are designed to keep pots of seeding mix at desired germination temperatures, but ought to work fine for keeping the battery compartment around […]

possible CME hit here December 1st

This could be an important event to prepare for. If a massive Coronal Mass Ejection (solar flare) strikes the Earth as is a predicted possibility, electronics could be devastated, along with our entire electrical distribution system. This might be an auspicious time to put some effort into a Faraday Cage or two … and employ them for electronic stuff you value highly. I don’t want to overstate the warning, but I think it prudent to put some time in Friday protecting our electronics and have at least half a plan for a complete grid-down power failure. Hope and Faith are not plans. – Ted – Thank SpaceWeather.com for this warning GEOMAGNETIC STORM WATCH (G3): Three and perhaps four CMEs are heading […]

Sundews

Thanks to California Carnivores from my old neighborhood, I picked up a variety of insect eating plants. Expecting to enjoy their beauties and appreciate the insect population reduction for one summer, I have been pleasantly surprised to get several years from them. This particular bog that lives next to a south facing window in my studio is far exceeding expectations, surviving, growing and even reproducing well. Another bog garden is in its dormant stage now, but will likely be a fine pitcher plant in our laundry room again next spring. A third did not come back last year and will likely need to be refreshed with new purchases next spring. Sundews (Drosera) If an insect ever evolved the brains […]

operating on Farmer Time

Today is the biannual celebration of control our overlords wield over details of our lives. They remind us twice a year that even little things are within their power. For absolutely NO GOOD REASON, they send us scurrying around our houses, shops and vehicles resetting every clock and timer therein. It is just a little jab, not like they are starving or poisoning us … with that poke anyway. I am approaching the mark where half of my life will have been spent self-employed. When you do not report for work at a time fixed by others, the annoyance level of biannual clock manipulations is reduced. I get up when I am awake and go to bed when I am […]

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 cold through their double layers, my back was cold through its triple layers and my cheeks were genuinely frosty in the non-bearded areas. (Interesting […]

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 schedule, not mine. Count me in on Montanans For Global Warming… Though I keep missing the meetings because I am either […]

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 as a place where I document some of my creations and share ideas I have come up with. I wish I […]

settled in to my domain

A main driver of my life is gaining control of my homestead, estate, working spaces and equipment. After each move from one to another, the list of urgent/critical projects is immediately followed by the crucial, then important and so on until I reach the settled in phase. In each case there is some marker that gives me the feeling I have arrived. Seven years into our Bunkhouse occupancy, I finally hit what I think is that marker. I am comfortable that I know what spaces I want to irrigate, have them relatively easy to wet and no longer have to disconnect hoses, move pipes and reconnect to run my mower around the yard. This evolved irrigation system will be reasonably […]

my pillow

I am playing that phrase two ways, but mostly talking about the pillow where I rest my head every night. A couple months ago, Mike Lindell, the founder, owner, operator of the hugely successful company MY PILLOW became newsworthy for his open confrontations with the election fraud, and great public support for the massive demonstration surrounding the Freedom Convoys, or Trucker Convoys. My tiny contribution to all of that was to purchase a pillow from them/him. It was a pillow I did not need as I was quite happy with my “relatively new” one I found at Bed, Bath & Beyond a few years ago. It was shapeable to accomodate my various sleeping positions and quite affordable. A few […]