Ted’s essays

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 […]

wasp nest VS Mossberg

I have no love for meat bees. They invariably figure out that I am meat. I can share my spaces with honey bees of all stripes and persuasions. If I don’t attack them, they don’t attack me. That is the essence of Libertarian relationships. I have employed various tools to minimize the meat bee populations in my area of operation, including baited traps and hired killers. With the leaves gone from our local trees the very large hornet population around here was explained by a mongo nest high in a tree above the corner of our house. The above photo is after application of birdshot and buckshot which I am confident will minimize the population next spring and summer. I […]

clearing the air

For the last few days, the wildfire smoke around here has been rated “UNHEALTHY”. I use the site AirNow to verify. Click the link to see any city. The Montana Department of Environmental Quality and relatives offer this advice: People with heart or lung disease, older adults, children and teens – take any of these steps to reduce your exposure: Avoid strenuous outdoor activities. Keep outdoor activities short. Consider moving physical activities indoors or rescheduling them. Everyone else – take any of these steps to reduce your exposure: Choose less strenuous activities (like walking instead of running) so you don’t breathe as hard. Shorten the amount of time you are active outdoors. Be active outdoors when air quality is better. […]

bargain basement boot rack

We have muck boots for ourselves, family, friends and guests – anyone who happens by to work or play in our chicken yard, creek, snow or mud. Mostly the collection has been standing in the alley between our house and garage. One such friend recently discovered a mouse nest in one of the boots we were loaning out. Turns out more than one boot was thusly violated. Fortunately this particular guest is an earthy guy who was not put off by this violation, but the ICK-factor was something we could not tolerate. My wife sent me links to several boot rack models she wanted so the boots would be unwelcome to mice, keep them dry, visible and ready for […]

finding peace

I realized an urgent need to find a peaceful place for my head. Knowing I live in one of the great places on Earth, it had to be somewhere around her if I looked. Sure enough, leaning back in my easy chair I saw it right in front of me. The clutter had to go. Hiding right there in plain sight was the studio space I had created as my personal ideal. I had simply allowed myself to move to rapidly from one project to the next without resetting my space to the order and neatness I require. Yesterday I restored it. Then I returned to music and art after a long absence. Lovely. […]

over stove rack

One attribute of mine appreciated greatly by my spousal unit she nicknamed “The Shelf Meister”. I never build any two alike. Everything is a prototype, custom for the situation, location and application. It is a constant game for me to move things off the flat working surfaces and her to bring more gadgets and gizmos out that then occupy the space thus cleared. Rinse. Repeat. My newest creation is from flat-bar steel and rods cut and heat-bent. The copper paint amuses me and fits the decor. I get a kick out of people puzzling over why magnets stick to my copper. […]

You have 34 days left in this world

We are between TEOTWAWKI and TSHTF. That is to say that the world as we knew it at the beginning of this year will never come back. It ended. Forever. However the worst is yet to come – in BIG WAYS. Most analysts who have any credibility put the latter date on or around the USofA November election 34 days from now. It could easily be plus or minus a few days, but The Big Ugly is on the visible horizon. Warnings come to us from people studying their own specialties; all are converging in about a month: weather, environment, crop failures and numerous hits that the global food supply chain is suffering global politics, friction and threat of regional […]

rack for long-handled tools

I have made several versions of this. My new one is based on heavy-gauge steel hog panels, also known as livestock panels. I had, have some scraps kicking around that needed repurposing. The photographs are actually celebrating my moving the tool rack from the “Tool Port” to the adjacent “Car Port”. Since my diminutive Honda CRX is occupying a full-sized parking space, there is plenty of room for the tools which were contributing to the overcrowding in my tool shed. Last year I repurposed a plastic strip door, but snow blew in and made a hash of it. Since I never walk or drive through that opening, I disabled the strip movement, making it solid so I could put […]