Category: book-skills

Thur. Dec. 29, 2022 – in praise of standards

Cool, turning warm later.   Part sun, and humid.  Probably.  If I guessed right.   But that was what the day turned into yesterday, so I’ve got at least a 50/50 chance of being right.  Weird to go out in low 80s temps after the cold.  Houston.

Spent the day catching up on stuff, not doing plumbing.  I did cut my hair, shave, and trim my beard.   Cleaned up around the house too.

Ended up selling an ebay item,  so now I have to find it.    It’s somewhere.  Not where the other listed ebay items are, unfortunately.   While looking for it, I went through about half of one storage unit.  Found stuff to bring home, sorted some bins, and found the bigger grinder I picked up earlier in the year.   It’s a vintage Enterprise “tinned” number 22 meat chopper.   It is manual, and bolts to a table.  I’ve got a couple of smaller Universal grinders, but they clamp to a table and tend to squirm around too much.

I spent a while boiling the grinder and parts, then scraping and cleaning.   It came up pretty nice, considering it’s about 100 years old.  The plates are razor sharp still.   Unfortunately, it was missing the blade.   Fortunately, grinders were sold by size, #12, #22, #32, #8, etc. for a long time. There are brand new parts available, plates and knives.   So I bought the cheapest one on amazon, to see how it works.   I don’t use the grinder very often, and a replacement blade that looks like the original was $37 instead of $13.  Even the cheap blade should outlast me, but if it doesn’t, we’re either living like it was 1890, or I can order another.  If push came to shove, I could make one from steel plate.

A manual grinder/chopper/sausage stuffer is a good backup tool, and a useful kitchen accessory.  If you are harvesting wild game, you already know that.  If you think you might in the future, or that you might process it yourself instead of paying a shop to do it, get you a grinder…  They are widely available in estates, and online.  Make sure it’s not worn out and comes with the blade and a variety of plates.   I see smaller ones still in the box relatively often.

Why my sudden interest in getting my grinder working?  I want to make some of my family recipe sausage for the holidays.  Pork butts were on sale, and allspice was back in stock, so with a working grinder, I’m good to go.  Just need to get some sausage casings.   My local HEB used to carry them, but doesn’t have any.  There is a sausage supply house near my secondary location, and I’ll be headed by there later.  They keep in the fridge for a long time, and are pretty cheap, so I’m not worried about the cost, just the availability.

Of course, anything I do today will be after my semi-annual trip to the dentist to get my fangs cleaned.   Whole family is going this morning.    That will probably occupy us most of the morning.  Dental care is important.   People died from dental problems.  Don’t be a people.

Get out there and find some stuff to stack.   This week, try to get everything you’d need to process wild game- or at least familiarize yourself with what is involved.   Knives, saw, grinder, lift, trays, pans, cutting boards… and watch a video or two.   You might not every need the familiarity, but the tools aren’t expensive, fit in a smallish box, and might feed your family.

Stack it up.

nick

Mon. Feb. 14, 2022 – Valentine’s Day in the US, so pony up for the pretty….

Cool, clear, some wind…  I hope.   Yesterday was, with a gorgeous sky.   I could use more nice days, without the freezing howling wind.

Did some stuff during the day, but mostly auction shopping for the <s>new house</s>  BOL.  Then ran a couple of errands, swung by the storage unit, and got ready for today.

Pickup and drop off today, with a visit to my secondary.  Then daddy and D2 will do some projects or play chess… and dinner, etc.

I feel more sense of accomplishment when I don’t list all the things I am not going to get done.  Funny that.

Getting to be time for some planting.  Officially, we could still get a frost, but it doesn’t feel like it this year.  I need a plan for home and for the BOL.  We’re still a week or more from signing, but there’s a lot to do and I’d hate to miss a planting because I didn’t do the planning.  I’m bidding on another of the seed displays too.  Isn’t it Alas Babylon that the lady decides to store seed packets as light and cheap trade goods?

Needles and thread might be a good choice too.   The old treadle powered sewing machines are going for crazy money in the estate auctions.   Hundreds of dollars if they are in good shape and running.   Electric ones, unless they are brand new and feature rich, are going for $20-50 for the most part.  Older Kenmores are solid machines and can be had cheaply.  If you don’t have a sewing machine, I’d recommend getting a used one, and a basic book on sewing, and use it.  Since the crowd here is mostly men, use it to do some masculine stuff, like making your own web gear, or covering some old furniture… or make a shop apron.  Or doll clothes for the kid.  Think of it as just another power tool to learn and use.

Stack some tools and the knowledge to use them.  Stack the stuff needed too.

 

n

 

(and get something nice for your spouse.  you need the support and help.)

 

 

Tues. Nov. 9, 2021 – why yes, I am tired…

Cool and damp. Possible sunny later. I really hope it’s nice as I’ve got stuff to do. Was nice yesterday but I ate something that disagreed with me and I was afraid I might do a Biddn if I strained lifting and toting… so I worked on stuff around the house until it was time to get D2.

Mondays are short work days for me anyway with the kid home and projects piled up. This time we did a sewing project. I picked up a fabric backdrop of a fantasy jungle scene, and put it up as the back wall of her lower bunk, making a kind of jungle play fort out of the bunkbeds. Unfortunately it was two pieces and they were only glued together, and they seam failed. Fast forward and we have a nice project to sew it back together. So we sewed. Got the machine out, set up, tacked the seam back together with fusible interface, and then ran a line down the seam. She did the next one. She did ok for her first time, and we’ll try something more complex next time.

Since everything was out, I did some small repairs on a back pack/ laptop bag that has been waiting for a long time for the repair. It ended up being a bit more complicated than I thought, but I got it done. It’ll either go into the auction, or my wife or kid will steal it…

I think everyone should know how to do basic sewing with needle and thread, and at least straight seams with a machine. My ‘everyday altoids tin’ has a golf pencil, with 18 inches of stout black thread on a heavy needle wrapped around it. It’s great for a quick repair, and works well on webgear too. I’ve got an embroidery capable sewing machine, a serger, the wife’s machine, and an antique mostly manual machine. You don’t need much- a set of needles, a few spools of thread, some fray check liquid, and some fusible interface will go a long way. A basic machine isn’t expensive though, and a pair of good scissors is worth spending money on. You can do a lot with just an iron, fusible interface, and fray check. Heck, for years I kept a variety pack of iron-on patches in my travel bag. If I got a tear in my pants or shirt while on the road, I could iron the patch onto the INSIDE of my pants and fix the tear very well until I got home. For fabric and leather, I hit up the Goodwill, and I used to hit the IKEA ‘as is’ section for drapes, bedsheets, or curtains to re-use.

In the last year I added specialized leather repair tools- mainly stouter needles, heavier thread, and something called a ‘jerk needle.’ I’ve got some hope that I can do some leather work at some point just because I think it is cool, ever since seeing a guy doing tooled leather at a craft booth at the Silver Dollar City amusement park when I was a kid.

I don’t expect I’ll be making shoes or shirts after the fall, but it’s definitely worth knowing how to fix your own stuff, whether it’s gear, shoes, or clothes. (I did make an entire long overcoat/trenchcoat modeled on the one Jack Nicholson wore in Witches of Eastwick for my final project in my costuming class. Well, I designed it and sewed it. The woman that ran the shop did the pattern and cutting…) For anyone who is too ‘manly’ to sew, it’s a POWER TOOL! Are you going to tell me there’s a power tool you won’t try to master??? You don’t have to actually master it for it to be useful, but it is good to have an idea of what you’re doing around sewing. One more skill, one more system to add to the stacks.

Keep stacking my friends,

nick

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