Sunday, November 15, 2015

Mason Jar Topper by Tom Usher

Wood turned mason jar lid.
My husband made this cute mason jar lid from
some scrap wood that he had in the garage.

I'll let him do a guest post below.

I glued up a piece of hard maple and a scrap of poplar that was laying around the shop. Having never done this before I didn't want to waste any expensive lumber. There is a dowel rod in the center holding the pieces together. A joint made with end grain up against long grain is inherently weak so it has to be reinforced.

The lathe is set up and ready to turn the top. I used a set of long nosed jaws on the chuck for the additional gripping power on the maple block that would become the handle. It will take a considerable amount of abuse during turning and I wouldn't want it to break off. The drill is a 2 7/8" Forstner bit.

The bit is held in the tailstock and it does not revolve. The wood spins in the chuck and the bit is slowly pushed into it with a crank on the rear of the tailstock. 

               After the hole is drilled I roughed the material to shape with a

 fingernail bowl gouge.

I continued shaping with the gouge until I got the shape that seemed right. Is it? Who knows?! That's what I really like about turning. Unlike most of the insanely persnickety trim work I usually do in my day job it's fun to just kick back and let the material sort of dictate the final product.

After I sanded the top I flipped it round on the chuck and supported it from the inside.  I slid the tailstock with the live center in it up to the maple block that had been in the chuck up to this point. This way the work was completely supported as I roughed out the top with a roughing gouge. Supporting the work with the chuck from the inside is not as secure as when it's clamped between the jaws.

It gets a little tricky where the two pieces of wood meet because the grains run perpendicular to each other. That can cause the gouges to catch and ruin the job. I used a little finesse, a scraper and a skew to finish off the connected area and a small spindle gouge to shape the top.

I sanded it down and just put a simple finish on it. Then I took a mason jar ring and glued it into the top on the small ledge that I left in it for that purpose. I used the normal tacky glue that you find in most craft stores.

And there you have it. That's the first time I've made one of these tops and now I have at least a small feel for it. I'm going to make good use of a whole lot of scraps around here making more. I've got plenty of walnut, maple, oak and all kinds of exotics that are too small for most things but ought to glue up just fine for this.

Monday, November 9, 2015

Taylor and the Gyroscope Plus a Chemistry Lesson

Who says kids are only interested in electronic gadgets?
Enough of staring into phones or tablets, we're moving to 
some hands on experience and a little "hidden" schooling too!

My husband stopped into a nice hobby shop and found a 
gyroscope for Taylor.  She was absolutely thrilled, like having 
a little space station right on the tip of her finger.  She would
wind the string, pull and watch it spin:  on her finger, in its stand,
absolutely sideways and ever going-- although the photo stops
the action.  She had a ball with it.

We also got her a chemistry set that has many different 
experiments that build upon each other.  Pops and Taylor
got to geek out at the dining room table going through
several of the experiments on Saturday and Sunday.
We have our son's old set in the attic so I'll dig into that and 
see what else is still good.  There is a microscope somewhere.

We will build on this kit, upgrading to more advanced kits
as she learns.  We're wondering where you buy chemicals these
days, it used to be the pharmacy carried it when we were kids
but with elevate security maybe you have to order on line now?

She requested her great grandmother's mostaccioli recipe 
for dinner.  You start with a chuck roast that cooks all day in 
the crock pot in tomato sauce and other ingredients until
it breaks down and just falls apart into beefy pulled meat.
You add the cooked noodles and it is almost instantly gone if
there is any sort of crowd.  We had a couple of plates left
over for lunch the next day after everyone had their fill
the night before.  Delicious stuff!

We topped it off with a cookie cake when her mom arrived 
from work.  We ended up the evening sitting by the fire pit,
both Taylor and my daughter spending the night.  Then up for
church on Sunday morning.  

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Lathe Upgrade- Seam Rippers, Pens and More

Wood working is both an occupation and passion for my 
carpenter husband who has converted our garage into
his shop with the exception of a space for my car at night.

Our newest acquisition is a Nova 1624/44 wood lathe upgrade from his old
Craig's list acquired Craftsman which had limitations due 
to size and stabilization. He will be able to use this
both personally and in his occupation.  

The first order of business was to create a handle for 
one of the tools that came with the lathe.

He has orders for seam rippers as well.  These are
the first creations using the new tool.  The image below
will show how the seam ripper pulls out of the end, 
is reinserted so the ripper is exposed and can then
be pushed back inside for storage.  

There is no set shape to these, it is all free hand.

He has also been creating pens, these were on the old 
lathe.  He has an order to turn a pen for a friend's daughter
made from a walnut tree that grew outside the daughter's room.
He will also make a wooden business card holder from the same tree.

There are so many things he can make from bottle stoppers,
furniture, rolling pens, kitchen utensils, toys, ornaments, etc.
I'll post about his mason jar toppers on a separate post.

He's going to give me lessons so I can try turning so that should
be fun.  

Update on Medical
I'm feeling better but on quite a few meds for my 
now full blown colitis.  I have to consult with the Dr. on
the steroid, it seems to play around with my blood sugar
and I have to eat something or have a hard candy to feel
better.  Also I am experiencing some lower leg and foot swelling.
All in all I am doing better than the last couple of months and
hope to avoid another hospital stay!!!!

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Hospital Stay

My colitis situation has worsened, going into full blown
colitis rather than just the last 6-8 inches of the colon.
I was admitted through the emergency room last Sunday
after almost fainting several times following an extended
stretch of very little food, chronic intestinal issues and
dehydration.  I was down 25 lbs in 5 weeks.

After initial blood work they discovered that my potassium
level tanked, which was causing me to pass out, and my 
hemoglobin level was low so into a room I went with both
arms hooked to IVs with 5-6 different things going into me.
One of the IVs worked itself out and gave me this nice bruise.

I had to have another colonoscopy where they did several 
biopsies to determine the full colitis. I was in for 4 days and
allowed to start a soft gastric diet on the 3rd day, 
continuing on as I add a little bit more here and there.

I started out taking only 1 little thyroid pill daily and now
have 8-10 additional pills in the morning and one at night.
Three of them are steriods, one a pepcid, iron, vitiman C,
and four are the same pill for colitis.
I should mention, ever since I was a kid, I can't swallow pills.
This is a huge struggle for me.

They intend to move me off steriods and onto a program
of tier 2 drugs that, in combination,  have shown a 50%
cure rate, otherwise there is nothing but cramping, blood loss and
diarrhea, particularly in the morning.  

I am watching my diet.
No soda, no coffee, no processed foods if possible,
more fish, soft meat and no cookies, cake, etc.
No milk, ice cream or sherbet, although they say 
cheese, butter and things cooked with milk is OK.

I'm keeping
a diary to see my symptoms vs what I ate.
Since this is autoimmune, I am going to start having some
local honey for its anti-inflammatory properties.

I have to get back to work tomorrow and I'm concerned with 
the drive in.  I am up for hours with symptoms, how will I drive
45 min into work?  The Dr said I could take an Imodium
so I may do that to get there, afternoons are better.

So that is why I have been missing for awhile.
I'm hoping to get back into a normal routine once
I figure out the right food, the right time.  

Friday, October 23, 2015

Carry All

This carry-all for the tractor is one of my husband's latest
projects that has proven very handy lately as he moves
wood around and transports heavier objects from place to place.

He started with this King Kutter carry all frame, 
click on the link for more info.

He added the back and base

plus side rails

He is pretty insistent that I ride in the back
up and down our road waving to my subjects neighbors
along the way.  I am still very much under the weather
so I opted out, but Taylor didn't!
My granddaughter had a lot of laughs as Pops 
slowly drove her down the gravel road.

Health Update-
I'm still not out of the woods with complications
from my recent bout of diverticulitis.  I manage to get
to work and back but that's about all.  Then I crash 
in my recliner until I can go to bed.  I've hardly been 
on Blogger even to read your posts.
It's improving so hopefully I'll be up and running soon.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Oh Nuts!

Oh Nuts about describes it.
I've been missing a few days due to a bad bout of 
diverticulitis that had me pretty much bed ridden
for a few days and in a lot of pain.  The colitis complicates
it so my vacation plans have changed.  I'll be doing 
a lot more indoor activities, and they won't be pleasant.

Just before all this I walked up the tree line of our property
to where I knew the buckeyes grow.  We have two up there
and one always has nice blooms so I figured there would be nuts.

I found one right away buried in the leaves and then
another still in it's outer shell.  

We also have hickory nuts, this one with its outer shell off,

and an assortment of acorns, this being a pretty dark one.  

The buckeye is supposed to be lucky and if you find one you
should put it in your pocket.  I'm hoping these are extra lucky!  

I'll be catching up on your blogs soon!

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Into the Belly of the Beast

Well here you have it, Gone.
Not Gone with the Wind,
Not Good as Gone
More like 

Lost and Gone Forever
into the
Belly of the Beast

(yes, think of the tune to O My Darling Clementine)

The night before I had a lush crop of bush and pole beans,
green and thickly sprinkled with tiny baby bean pods to 
a few overlooked giant pods too tough to eat but good for seed.

It was dark when I left for work Friday morning so 
I didn't notice anything amiss; however, when I rounded the 
corner to the side garden I could only stand there stunned.

What Happened?

 I told you all that the deer were scoping out my beans.
So where did they go?

Into the Belly of the Beast.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Autumn Arrives, No Pumpkins for Pies!

Fall has officially arrived but without the grand display of 
color that typically blankets our area from the top
of the ridge to the winding county back roads.  

It seems that Summer never arrived, it only passed
through for a couple of weeks.  We went from drenching
rains with cool temperatures to blazing heat without
rain resulting in a poor gardening season.

It was my first year without squash bugs for a while.
The deer grazed on the lush greenery in the woods
but now that has changed.  Currently, my only good 
crop is the small patch of bush beans and a few
pole beans winding their was across a couple of cattle panels.

I saw three deer scoping it out last night, 
it won't be long before the beans are nibbled to the ground.
And I'll let them, it's slim pickins for them right now and
they are dealing with hunting season as well.
Now I don't mind some fine venison tacos or sloppy 
joes but a couple of these are young ones
so I hope they stick around.

The last of the golden rod.  Most of it has dried
and withered.  The bees enjoyed it while it was fresh.

I've tried leaving the hose running at the base of the viburnum
but still they just can't get enough water right now.
They are in raised beds, mostly filled with rock and a little dirt
that is in the retaining wall out front by the court yard.  
I don't know why I'm worried about them, their fragrant
flowers, abundant fragrant flowers I might add, smell
like rotting flesh, right next to the seating area.
I had no idea when I planted them. 

The bees are now choosing the marigolds which are doing well.
I planted them to help rid the small side garden of bugs
but they are doing better than anything else!

Even the potato tower was a bust.  
You can see a few little buds in the upper left corner.  
(Click the photo to enlarge)
Normally I can dig down and pull out what I need for dinner.
I still can if I want to eat giant worms!
Which I don't.

And the coleus is magnificent bedded down with the 
hostas which are protected from the mid day sun.

I am off work tomorrow, taking most of the remaining days
one day at a time other than a few together in October.
We had some restrictions during the time our company
split into two separate companies so a lot of the vacation days
were put on hold and now that we have half as many people
we really have to watch coverage since there are fewer
to take over if you are out.

Nothing big planned except running out to get cat food
and then I might spend some time in the girl cave since
I have seriously neglected sewing these last few months.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Deutsch Country Days

One of our favorite events is visiting the annual Deutsch Days or German Living Historic Festival in Marthasville, MO at the Luxenhaus Farm.  This is a historic preservation projects This opens only one weekend each year and volunteers work exhibits, clubs and non profits offer good eats, exhibitors show off their talents and sell their wares plus at times it is a hand on event, especially for the kids.

Click to enlarge the map.

This year it is October 17 and 18th.

We usually come home full after eating the treats exhibitors offer for sale and having lunch from one of the food vendors.  There are crafts to purchase or lots of food and cookbooks at the general store. 

It's a good hike for the kids too!  I usually do not try to walk to the top, although there usually is a wagon or something that you can ride up in.  Here, at the top, is the trapper and trader section, knife makers and teepees.  I've been a few times but my knee may not take the walk anymore.  Sometimes I hang around the fiber art building and dream about purchasing one of the wooden latch hook rug kits (very expensive but beautiful).  They usually have a beekeeper selling honey and all sorts of honey products as well.  I like the honey straws and usually purchase a few.

Their goal is to set up an educational barn that can hold up to 100 guests for meetings and overnight stays where they will hold workshops, exhibits and shows.


Sunday, September 20, 2015

Doodle Bugs In My Garden

There are funnels of sandy dirt in my side garden
and some little inset that is below the surface kicking
up the loose pieces.   I have waited and waited until
finally whatever it was emerged.  

And it was sort of scary!

What the heck kind of beast has moved in?
This image is enlarged quite a bit- enormously in fact,
the creatures are tiny but nonetheless looking as if they
should be something that wants to eat humans
from Journey to the Center of the Earth.

What was I to do?
Google it, of course.

They are ant lions, a beneficial insect and boy,
do I have a lot of them!  This is the larval form.
When they grow up they will resemble a damselfly
but they come out at night so you don't see them much.
As larva, they dig steep funnels which capture prey,
primarily ants but also other insects that could damage
your garden.  The more the prey struggles, the deeper they fall.

After the short rain the other day it was as if a 
major construction site was in my garden.
They were all down there kicking out the fine
mix of compost to remake their funnels. 

I planted some pole beans and bush beans later in the season
which are just above the funnels.  I tried to plant more but
between the heat and lack of rain (so different than the
soaking, cool spring we had), I was not getting much to grow.
The beans are now producing so I hope the little ant lions
are working hard to keep bugs away.

The other name they are know by is Doodle Bug.  In sandy soil
you can see their meandering trails as if someone were 
doodling in the soil.  I even saw songs and poems about them on line.

Here is an adult version- see photo links below for the 
larva and the adult.