Monday, December 27, 2010

Merry Christmas and my best wishes for the new year

To all my loyal followers I want to wish a Merry Christmas and may the new year bring you success in whatever your endeavors may be.

Some of you may be visiting for the first time. Probably because I recently started following your blog. I spent several hours over the past few weeks looking at blogs of people who list similar interests in thier profiles. My purpose is to see what others are doing and learning what I can.

For those of you that are new reading here, here's the reason.

For years I attempted to get where I'm heading by working multiple jobs, and trying to do the homestead thing at the same time. I thought I could abuse myself for a time and get far enough ahead to be able to homestead full time. What I ended up doing is making myself sick enough to nearly kill the homestead dream entirely. You see when you work constantly you end up getting in situations where you are spending more than you make with the extra job. Then there is the damage you do to yourself in the process. Bad diet also became a factor in my case. Always being on the verge of exhaustion, I tried to solve the problem with caffiene, sugar and nicotine. Stimulants are OK, until you seriously hurt yourself. Now I find myself 47 years old, with diabetes, asthma, and arthritus in both legs.

Even though I meet the criteria to be considered legally disabled, I won't give up the homestead dream until the undertaker pats my face with his shovel. I also refuse to stop working, not yet at least. Odds are those of you most recently added to my list of followed blogs write about foraging wild foods, homemade old fashioned foods or natural herbal remedies. I've been ruminating on a new plan recently. More is to follow soon. So, if your stopping by for the first time, stop back now and again. We might just be in the same frame of mind.


Monday, November 22, 2010

A Kudos for Thompson Center Arms

I have to give a hat's off to Thompson Center Arms. Several months ago I picked up a TC Renegade at a local gun show. The gun was represented to me as being unfired and it was still in it's original box. There were also some accessories included. The gun was priced around $200 and the dealer was willing to move on the price. Too willing to move on the price. I figured I could sell the extras for around $50 if I had to. The stock alone would bring $100+ at auction, so, I figured an offer of $170 was safe. He took it and I made a phone call to a friend. He had seen it the day before and informed me it was without a nipple when he saw it. He also informed me that someone had cross threaded and messed up the nipple hole. sure enough I got it home and got a nipple wrench out. Pulling the nipple confirmed it was the same gun. Still it was a pretty safe buy.

Some further inspection revealed an issue with the lock. Everything seemed fine until the barrel was on the gun. Then the the half cock was too far forward to be functional. A quick call to Thompson Center was made. They informed me the lock was under warranty and to send it in. They wanted $85 to replace the bolster which would have solved the nipple problem. I sent in the lock and bought myself a couple nipples with oversize thread diameters from Cains. The oversize nipple carefully forced into the damaged threads succeeded in chasing them out to funtionality. A week after sending in the lock, it was back with a new style hammer which solved that problem. At this point I was ready to put the gun up for sale in an attempt to make a profit. Which was my original intent. Then my 14 yr old stepdaughter out of the blue asks if she can deer hunt with me. Well, she would need a gun. Heck, I have the perfect gun right there waiting for her. So off to the range to get it sighted in. It liked Maxi Balls over round balls and it didn't like tripple seven or pyrodex. Real black powder in fffg granulation got the ignition right.

Saturday we went hunting. At lunch time I told her to shoot the gun and we would reload with fresh powder when we came back. Well sometime in the last 15 minutes we were in the woods the new hammer screw was lost and the new hammer with it. Today I called TC again and talked to Tim in the service dept. A ten minute phone call got us a new set of parts at no charge sent via fedex They should be here in time for the princess to be back in the woods this weekend.

Quite a few companies could take lessons in customer service from Thompson Center Arms.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

The Scot stikes again!

Yup! That's me. Born a mongrel with a strong scottish streak in my ancestery. Can you get any cheaper than me? Ebay has free listings this week, through today. We gave up internet at home due to the cost. Today is my day off. On the days I work, I stop at the local Coffee Culture for a coffee and muffin for two bucks. Every day I get my little card stamped to get my two free coffees. Today I sit in Coffee Culture listing stuff for free on ebay, drinking free coffee, and charging the netbooks and cell phones dead batteries on thier dime. Beat that for cheapness Woods

Saturday, April 24, 2010

The seasons first fire

If it were autumn, I'd be talking about the wood stove. But, the weather has for the most part broken, so except for an occassional evening fire to ward off a little chill, the stove is done. We have also managed to put by most of a winters worth of wood for next year. No, the fire I'm talking about is coal and smoky with the smell of hot iron. About a month ago I found my long awaited forge blower. A Buffalo "Silent 200". Located practically in my back yard, it was well worth the $80 it cost me. Now the possibility of incliment weather won't stop me from forging metal. Back in the scrounged hair dryer days there was always the possiblity of electrocution in the back of my mind. Even though I've had it, my plate has been too full to do anything. Whenpeople start telling you about free firewood for next year, firewood becomes the priority. Well, today Pelenaka asked me for a second closet rod in her closet. I thought there was a pair of closet rod brackets in the hell box, but, I sure as hell couldn't find them. The shop is full of scrap pipe and dowels, but, no brackets were going to mean a trip to work on my day off. Then I tought, "hey wait woods, there's I pile of quarter inch round stock in the scrap pile". So a couple six inch pieces, flaten out and shape leaves on the ends, crank them around the anvil horn. a little twist to the leaves made them stand out slightly from the wall. which allows for some bend in the 3/4" dowel rod. well it worked. Not as pretty as I would have liked. Shortly after the first leaf was shaped the fire didn't seem to do what I wanted. Either the metal seemed not to heat, or it was getting so hot it was burning up. Being the first fire I was coking off alot of raw coal. Later when the fire was out, I found a clinker the size of a golf ball. Biggest one I've ever pulled out of the forge. To those that don't know. A clinker is a big chunk of impurities from the coal. They all melt out and settle to the bottom of your fire. When they form the wreak all kinds of havok with your fire. Doing things just like happened to me today. Even worse when you are trying to weld, which becomes impossible. Maybe my next upgrade will be a comercial firepot with a clinker breaker. Then you use the breaker to bust up your clinker and then it falls though and out of the fire. Or maybe, I'll figure out how to build one. I'm sure it was some blacksmith that built the first clinker breaker. Maybe I'll follow his lead. Woods

Friday, April 16, 2010

What is a hero?

I've pondered starting a second blog for some time now. I honestly feel as a country, no, make that a civilization, we have lost our moral compass. Part of the problem is how we define heroism. Those members of our society that deserve recognition as extrordinary. Somehow over the years we have come to look to wealth or fame as requirements to be a hero or heroine. Sorry to say in spite of a youth spent being forced to wacth "Lifestyles Of The Rich And Famous", Robin Leach has never shown me anyone worthy of being called hero. Also, while thier are many fine personalities in hollywood, and many strong figures in the sports world, many as shown by Tiger Woods and Jesse James aren't really worth the effort expended upon them by our society. So, I have decided to point out fine examples of heros from the past. Men and women in my mind worthy of the term. So let me start with a fine example of what makes a hero in my mind. Eugene Bullard I came accross Eugene Bullard several years ago. I had just watched the WWI epic "Flyboys". The movie had a character that was an african american pilot flying for the french. The world not being the friendliest place for people of color in the early 1900's, I had to know if this was a real person or just Hollywood taking liberties with history. A quick google search showed the truth. What I found was a man. I mean a manly man, One worth showing our son's as an example of what is great. A man who took cicumstances and made them suit him. Not letting circumstance control his destiny. Facing death with and danger with courage. Doing the right thing in spite of great odds. Later living life as an average person and dying in obscurity, largely forgotten to history for most of us. I have to say, if I was fighting in the trenches or just standing on a street corner, Eugene Bullard was the type of man I'd prefer to have standing next to me. I've just asked my librarian to get me his biography, "The Black Swallow of Death". I will come add more when I'm done reading. Until then you can read more on wikipedia Woods

Friday, February 12, 2010

Shopping around

There is some good news. After several years of breaking my butt trying to save, there is a tiny bit in my savings. Enough that I feel comfortable shopping for a small piece of land. Not quite enough yet, but, enough to make a nice down payment if the right opportunity reared it's head. Really this is only practical if it is land close enough to home. Also, it has to be wooded. I can justify the thought if I don't have to pay the gas man for fuel to heat the house. I figure it took six face cords more or less to get us this far. So eight face should get us through an average winter and ten through a severe one. Ten face would set us back $750.00 if bought. I've recently found small 4 acre and up wooded plots within 20 miles for $1,000.00-$1,500.00 an acre. Land too wet or steep to build on, that is. However as long as it grows trees, squirrels and deer in harvestable quantity it's a practical idea. Payback in ten years or less for the purchase price just by harvesting heat for our house. Harvest a little extra to pay the taxes and we're good. The rule of thumb in these parts is a real cord per acre is a sustainable harvest. A real cord equals 3 face cords. And if we're real lucky, maybe we can find a place with a dry level corner that could hold a small cabin retreat eventually. Ideally this land would be located in either Wyoming county or northern Allegany. I would also consider Gennesee and Orleans counties. If any of my reader know of places for sale I'd love to hear about them. Also if anybody catches wind of the tax sales in these counties, I'd appreciate a heads up. Maybe it's just a foolish dream, maybe not. But, it's one I've carried for most of my life and I can't ever give it up. Also doing some other shopping. Looking for a flintlock rifle between .32 and .44 caliber for small game hunting. It has to be flintlock. Also looking for a 12ga single shot persussion or flintlock shotgun. It has to be traditionally styled. The old Euroarms Magnum Cape Gun would be the ideal. Just before hunting season I aquired a percussion Euroarms "Kentuckian" carbine for an unmentionable low price. The gun shoots clovers all day long at .50 yds with a tight patch, and keeps them in an inch at that distance with a looser easy to load patch. The Traditions flintlock I previously reported on will shoot as well from the bench. However the length of pull is so short I can't shoot it well off hand. The traditions may be available for trade on the right squirrel gun. I'm also looking to aquire soft lead scrap. If you're in the Rochester/Buffalo area and have lead let me know. On the tool front the only things that have evaded me so far are. A combination plane, Stanley preferred, though Sargent and Craftsman offered thiers recently enough to interest me. A broad axe, not a hatchet, I've already aquired a hatchet and an adze. A hand cranked forge blower. Pelenaka and the princess have confiscated my $3.00 hair dryer that was providing air for the forge. I'd rather be non-electric anyways. Other than that I'm pretty set for tools And I won't just be buying this year. I have the metal parts to build 2 wine/cider presses. Hopefully they will get built this year. Also I have decided to thin the herd a bit on the tool collection. There are many things that I have two and three of. And I plan on turning a couple old very worn out loggers saws into knives. I also have a big old spring steel plumbers snake I will be turning into patch knives. All will be sold for cash to add to the land fund, or bartered for other old fashioned stuff. Woods

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Sadder news!

We are out of wood! The furnace has been turned on for three days now. There is one small pile held in reserve against a storm/power failure. Enough to go maybe three days. The cat is ready to disown me. He's beeen sleeping under the stove for the last three months. Time to start cutting for next year. Pray for an early spring! Woods

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Sad news.

Hangmans Cottage is for sale! For several tears I have followed the blog of a Brittish homesteader. After several years of health issues he's selling his homestead. I'm posting a link to his site so others can get some inspiration. I know he's inspired me greatly. This is his post that got me started following him. Enjoy Woods

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

A just in time barter.

Brought home a face cord of seasoned apple wood today. Just in time as we are about 1/3 of the way through our last cord of soft maple. Figuring this should last us well into feb. if not till march. Hasn't been as cold lately so we aren't firing the stove so hard. I am going to have to file up the chainsaw, but, the cost was perfect. Two and a half hours of my time. Most of it riding in the truck. It turns out a coworker cleans basements on the side in exchange for whatever he can scrounge out of what he hauls. He's been driving around for a week with over a ton of scrap metal on his truck. Most of it an old steam heating boiler. His normal helper has been sick and it was too heavy for his wife to help. He got a chunk of cash and I got about $75.00 worth of firewood. I also got leads on three dead walnuts that need cutting up for next year. He also promised to send any tree calls he gets my way as he doesn't do trees anymore since he got rid of his wood stove. Gotta do what ya gotta do! Would rather spend $5.00-$10.00 for chainsaw gas and oil than hundreds to the gas company every year! Money not spent equals money that doesn't have to be earned at a job. Which means more time to hunt and fish, which also equals less earned money needed! Woods