Wednesday, April 23, 2014

What's in your food? WEBSITES!`

Just wanted to make you all aware of two great websites that you can use to find healthy food grown nearby. - this is a great site for finding organic / grass fed products - this is an up and coming site designed to go beyond the limitations of "Organic."  It is a way for farmers to provide information to the customer about how they do things and the customer gets to decide for themselves what they think about it. 

I highly encourage you to check them both out!

Monday, April 21, 2014

Find of the day! Wheel lift for a Chicken Tractor

As some of you know, I am in the process of building a hoop house style chicken tractor... it is 10' x 12' and it is kinda heavy right now.  So one thing I found today might really help out when my wife goes out to move it for me... never know when I'll be on a business trip!

Brilliant application of kinematics to solve a real world problem!

First off, here is the link.  These guys have a great web site and sell the chicken watering nipples I'm planning on using... review to come later.  But anyway, this looks like a wonderful idea based on the "Toggle" concept discussed in my Kinematics class in engineering school.  I highly advise you guys to check this out and support their business!

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Chickens... baby steps...

Last summer we moved into our new house, with 3 acres of land.  Land!  I had never owned land before!  Why is it so important?  Just ask Delmar and he'll tell you!  While I am quite excited about this land, I've quickly grown sick and tired of spending 3 hrs a week mowing the lawn.  I want to know how my land can work for me AND make it such that I do not have to mow the lawn.

Here's the options as I see them...
Orchard - This one is a done deal.  A few years and some sweat equity and I'll be rock 'n rolling with apples, peaches, pears, almonds and more!
Cows and Sheep - These guys can mow some serious grass!  More on that later...
Goats - Yea... they can mow, but they might mow down the neighbors flowers or garden when they escape!  (Not a good way to Win Friends and Influence People!)
Chickens - I like eggs, fried chicken, and I have the land! 
Rabbits (meat) - My wife is strongly opposed to this... but I have a feeling we'll get there some day...

Well, since I'm on a budget, I'm going to have to start small.  Small... chickens are the smallest of the bunch*, so we are starting there.  *See explanation on rabbits.

Now I do have neighbors, and I don't want to be too obnoxious or offensive.  But on the other hand, I live out in the country and there are some things they are going to have to put up with.  In this case, my one neighbor has a strong opinion on not letting chickens free range.  Between my desire to maintain a good relationship with him, a healthy local hawk population and a lack of shelter for my birds, I will choose to respect his wishes... for now.  So hopefully my next post is going to be an awesome post on how I came about building a Hoop House style chicken tractor.

Till then, a sunset from my point of view...

The Gospel of Bloomberg

Bloomberg 3:16

For (if there is a) god so loved the world that he sent his only son.  That whosoever should fight for gun control, smoking cessation and against obesity, should not perish but immediately pass GO, collect $200 and enter into the gates of heaven.

...hmm, that's not in my bible!

Original story on The Blaze

Monday, April 14, 2014

The Jewish Leaders and the Modern Media

First off, I don't consider this to be, nor do I have plans to make this, a "religious" blog.  I just happened to have a thought that I wanted to put into words and share with the world.  I want to know what you guys think.  Oh, and this is a pretty off the cuff posting.  Please don't expect a doctorate level thesis presentation including references, word studies, cultural context and all that jazz... it's just my thoughts and some paraphrasing.

Whether you agree with me and my view on the Bible or not, there is profound truth that you can see looking back in history (assuming it has not been re-written to meet an agenda).  So as I was sitting in church yesterday, something I typically do on Sunday mornings, I listened to the sermon as the pastor spoke about Jesus' grand entry into Jerusalem as well as his crucifixion and how that came about.  While going over the chain of events in my mind, a thought came to mind.... but let me provide the context first.


On Good Friday Jesus came into the city, riding on a colt, while the people waved palm branches, threw their coats on the ground for the colt to walk on and praised him as the new king of the Jews.  Three days later he had been arrested under false charges, flogged, and presented to the people to see if they would want a well known robber (and general bad dude in general) to be released from prison or if they wanted Jesus, innocent of any wrongdoing, released.

I'm paraphrasing all this by the way.  Maybe I can provide reference later on...

The Bible says that the leaders of the Jews stirred the crowds and, when asked whom should be released, they cried out to release Barnabas (the bad cookie).  When Pilot, current Roman appointed leader over the Jews, asked what should be done with Jesus, they cried "Crucify Him!"

What happened isn't new

As I was sitting there thinking about all this, I couldn't help but be caught by the parts where it said that the leaders of the Jews stirred them up against Jesus.  What do you mean they stirred up the people?  How did these people go from waving palm branches one day and shouting crucify him a few later?  Only one word seemed, and seems, to be able to explain this...


Manipulation of me people - In the Bible it states that the Jewish leaders (Sadducee's, Pharasee's, Sanhedron, etc - sorry about the spelling, I'm sure it's wrong) were always looking for a way to trick or trip up Jesus, looking for reasons to have him arrested, etc.  In short, THEY HATED JESUS!

Now at one point Jesus was brought before Pilot, who sent him over to Herrod.  Herrod only wanted to see a miracle and sent him back to Pilot when Jesus wouldn't do one.  At the end of the second interview, Pilot brushed off Jesus, asking "What is (the) truth?"  This statement seemed to indicate that Pilot was going to decide what truth was, as he had the authority to do so under Roman law.

The irony here is that the truth was not brought into the light.  It was suppressed to meet the agenda of those who were in power.  The Jewish leaders hated Jesus.  Pilot, who determined that Jesus had committed no crime, just wanted to maintain the peace and get out of a sticky situation.  So where does that leave us?

The People

In an event that took place nearly 2000yrs ago, the people were manipulated, given non-truth, in order to accomplish the will of the leaders.  This is not a new method that leadership uses to accomplish their agenda's.  As a result, the people cried out "His blood will be on us and our children."  As a result, His blood is in fact on the people. 

Here's where this goes... the next time you get a piece of information from the internet, TV or newspaper, think about what agenda might be being pushed behind the information you have been given.  Don't think that just because we have technology doesn't mean that the media isn't being used by the leaders of government and industry to accomplish their agenda at the cost of innocent men and women.  There are a lot of wolves out there in sheep's clothing and there are a lot of efforts being taken to conceal the truth.  Sometimes it is hard to determine what the truth really is, sometimes it is obvious, and sometimes it takes faith in the person providing information to you to believe that really is the truth. 

Just remember, there is typically a small bit of truth in most things you read, watch or listen to.  You job is to determine and discern what that the truth is.

His Blood...

Lastly, His blood is on our hands.  I believe everyone has sinned and they only way to Heaven is to accept His blood on your hands, that you have sinned, and to also realize that the blood that was shed was done so in payment for your sins.  But based on my understanding of scripture, acceptance of Jesus as the savior of the world is the only way that God will accept payment for your sins. 

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Seed Starting... Getting Started

One tray of seeds, soil plugs and labels... ready to germinate
I already covered how I make the soil plugs here, so lets move on.  In the picture above, you can see my soil plugs in the baking trays, labeled and seeded, ready to go.  Getting to that point took too much time, but I'll just have to make things work for now. 

Since it is no fun to forget what seeds are in what plug or container, I need labels.  It is quite possible that part of the reason it took too much time is that I might have been slightly OCD on the labels.  To get a better idea, let me explain that process first:

Measuring out the labels

Starting with some 2" wide masking tape, I measure off the tape at 1/2" increments.  These are cut at every inch, but are labeled first on the bottom half of each 1". 

Adding text to the labels

Up till now I've been using a red fine point sharpie marker... but I'll need to do something different, as they are fading a few weeks later.  I'll try black, but I have my doubts about how well that will work.

Cutting the labels to length

One they are cut, I attach them to a square tooth pick.  The sticky side goes to sticky side, and they hold the toothpick quite well!

After you fold it over, stick it in the dirt wherever you are planing your seeds... Nuff said about that!

Putting the seeds into the soil plugs is relatively easy, assuming you can handle small seeds.  I typically take another toothpick and poke a hole, however deep the seeds need to be planted, into the soil plug and wiggle it to open up the hole.

Setting the seeds

Then I pull out the toothpick and drop the seeds in, pushing them down into the hole with the toothpick marked for whatever length they should be planted to.

Hopefully they germinate shortly after...


Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Starting Seeds... my soil plug maker


Have any of you ever heard of a soil cube?  I have, and they seem pretty nice... but they are expensive.  So this year I decided to make one.  I searched the internet for whatever I could find and landed here.  I thought it looked like a pretty good design and determined I'd make one for myself.

I started with a 2" piece of pvc pipe and a knockout cap (it was cheaper than the real thing). Then I took some scraps made by my hole saw while working on my Installing a Generator Transfer Switch series (Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3), ran a bolt through it and put a nut on the other side.  It's a crude handle, but it works.


You can't (to my knowledge, although I've never tried) just go out and use any old dirt for this... you're probably going to have to spend some money. You'll need to use the following mix:

3 parts peat moss
2 parts sand and perlite mixed
1 part garden soil
2 parts well composeted, compost
sprinkle in some lime and fertilizer
mix with water until it reaches oatmeal consistency... you might have to play with the ratios


Making the blocks took some figuring out... I'm sure the real SoilCube would be easier to use, but I digress.  I start out with the plunger in place, as shown in the second picture, and stuff the wet dirt mixture into the other end of the pipe.  When I have it good and full, I'll put that end of the pipe on a hard surface and press down on the wooden plunger/bolt on the other side.  This firms up the soil plug and helps compact it so it won't fall apart.  Then, trying to keep the bolt from tipping, I'll push the dirt plug out of the pipe and into the seed starting tray.



Some people use fancy tray from the store, made to starting seeds... others use tupperware or totes.   These aluminum cooking trays were about $1.50 each and work just fine.  If they get damaged, I can afford to buy a few more without hurting my finances too much... but I'll have to look into something more sustainable in the future.  I'll aso have to be a little careful as the plants get bigger, but by that time they may be outside anyway! 

Hopefully this information helps somebody out!

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

A wise man learns from the mistakes of others...

This has been on my mind for a few years as something I want to get done... I know that disasters of different scales happen every day to ordinary people, which is why I spent so much time and effort on the generator hook up.  But this takes is a step further...

In this blog there is a wealth of knowledge, which would normally cost you $$$ to get ahold of otherwise!  I highly suggest you check it out:

The place with no name, Lessons from Hurricane Katrina