Ted’s essays

my first Instructable

I have seen a few that captured my interest, but what really caught my eye was their contest for first-time Instructable authors. They didn’t mind at all that I had published most of it here in one way or another and at my own instructable website The Fixer .biz. So I re-crafted my coffee making posts into one targeted to their audience. I do think that exercise improved the product. https://www.instructables.com/id/Roast-Your-Own-Super-fresh-Gourmet-COFFEE/

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 […]

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. […]