Tuesday, November 30, 2010
3) Attach a cross-piece at a vertical height of 7 feet above a line from one butt end to the other (ground level) to make an “A” configuration.
10) Toss ropes (I use baler twine weighted with sticks for weight) over the ridge board at tarp grommet intervals, fasten to tarp and pull a tarp up. When a tarp approaches the top, push it with poles from the ground or a ladder to help it get over the ridge board without tearing. Then do the same for the other side. Make sure they are lapped. If the shelter is not as tall as this one, one tarp may cover the whole thing.
12) Add a floor supported by the cross-members, and you’ve got a loft. The loft I made for this is 6 feet to the peak.
Saturday, June 12, 2010
Rock is pretty basic stuff. It’s the firm part of terra firma, certainly. Where would we be without that?
I’m sort of a nut about rock – Not whole mountains like the Alps or Rockies, but the moderate sizes I find in hidden outcrops and boulders strewn around by glaciers, earthquakes and such.
I was in New York State last month – the part they call the Southern Tier. Found some nice rocks where natives may have camped along the Susquehanna River centuries ago. Also found several stone fences in the forest where early settlers placed stone from their fields.
It was surprising to find large amounts of flat stone peeling from some of the boulders that no one had used for building. When you consider what you’d pay for stone like that at a stone yard, it’s amazing that it hadn’t been used or sold. They call it Bluestone or Graystone there, depending on the color. It’s so abundant in the region, nobody thinks much about it.
There’s oil and gas in the Marcellus Shale there too, but that’s not being utilized, either. Makes you wonder about what they once called Yankee ingenuity. I guess a few of the environmental nuts have good intensions, but my own thought is that true ingenuity (as opposed to corporate greed for quick profits) is all that’s required for safe resource production and utilization.
To me, ingenuity means getting things done with a combination of smarts and lots of experience to determine the proper way to do things safely. Personally, I think any corporate manager or bureaucrat that doesn’t have hands-on experience in the matters he makes decisions on ought to be thrown in jail and left there. I’d rather pay for his keep there than the cost of his errors. British Petroleum management and Mr. Obama, please take note.
Sunday, February 7, 2010
This was the background for last year's Christmas letter. It's lightened and adjusted in contrast to give a soft image. Some trial and error is necessary to get a level of color that won't detract from the writing. I print in draft mode to get a lighter print than this looks here. Draft mode saves some ink, too.
The picture is of blazing star in bud. Maybe it gets the "scaly" part of its name from the bud. The rose-colored scales look like petals here, but after blue flowers grow out of the buds, the bud scales become the basal portion of the flowers.
The winter has been about average so far here in the Midwest. Plenty of snow and cold weather, but no really bad storms. If anything is exceptional, it's been all the sunny weather here. My sympathy to those in the south-east and south-central states who have gotten a lot more cold and snow than they are used to.
Burning wood has kept the heating bill down a bit, but it would be nice if fuel wasn't so high. I have a feeling that prices won't get any better, though. I've tried other things to help on energy. Had a 2 Kw windmill once, but it wouldn't keep running, and had to climb a 45-foot tower every time it needed work. Now I have a 400 w unit for charging batteries at the barn if the wind is blowing above 20 mph - that's maybe 10% of the time. It has a spruce prop, and seems to have soaked up some water on one side. Started shaking the whole barn from being out of balance. The prop is down now to dry out. I'll balance it and give it another coat of epoxy paint when it's dry.
I've had solar lights and solar battery chargers, too, but none of them lasted more than a few years. If I lived in the desert where there's plenty of sun, I think I'd give solar another chance. The newer ones may be better. Firewood is the only alternative (renewable) energy source that has had a payback for me so far.
Days are getting longer. I'm looking for spring.