Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween, Did you write? 10-31-11

Happy Halloween, Did you write? 10-31-11


It is that frightening time, where you suddenly find that a whole week has gone by and all those monsters, dwarves, aliens, exotic creatures and space ships, strange people, are still haunting you, begging to come alive on paper. Leaving the un-dead within you is a horrible thing. Get them out of you and onto paper.

The purpose of this note is to remind you that next week, you need to write something. It is best to post here, even if you don't write, and just tell a little about what is going on in your life so you have to come up with excuses for not writing. After a while, the excuses will not sound good enough and you will find a way to write just so you don't have to come up with an excuse.
Repeated writing each week develops the habit of writing (not all habits are bad) and eventually something actually might end up being finished, which is a good thing.

As to what is writing, we all agree that all new writing is writing. Editing is also writing since many of us write by editing, and it counts even if it is someone else's work. Critiquing also counts as writing as it is a form of editing.
Poetry, technical writing, writing assignments, blogging, article writing, worked and character creation, are all writing. E-mails and board posts can also be counted as writing if they are very wordy AND pertain to writing or story. In essence, if you have to ask if it is writing, our answer is yes.

As for me, I did write.
I have worked on my SPIRIT OF VENGEANCE story all week long. I am in the process of solving some questions a first reader brought up. I started the week about three pages from the end and am still at that point. I only added 183 words this week. it does not sound like much but I added two scenes and removed one, and did a lot of editing in between.
The scene I removed was new. It was an action scene and after some work, I sent it to my last reader to see how it worked. It missed my target entirely. Her comments and clues had nothing to do with what I was after so I knew I failed. After a lot of thought, I ended up removing the scene and will fix the previous scene to do what I need done for that section of activities.

On the story idea front, I did fairly well for the month. With the story idea I post tonight, I did 31 story ideas for the month, which comes out to 32 pages, and 19109 total words of pure drivel.
I was actually surprised at the page count as I had several three page story ideas, but I see I had more than enough half and one page story ideas to make up for them.
I used to try to make the story ideas as full and detailed as possible, some being nearly complete stories. Once I got into some serious writing, I cut the word count down, just telling what the stories are about rather than actually telling the story, and I have posted them in batches rather than every single day, just so I can have more time to write my stories.

Last weekend, my brother and nephew melted some aluminum that they will use for future casting, and gave me a few pieces to play with.
This weekend, I took a large piece of it and using wood working tools, I made one piece of metal so I could mount it onto my little machine lathe. Once I did that, I mounted it onto the lathe and with the help of my nephew, I machined it into a nice clean disk.
Aluminum cuts sort of like a hard wood, but when my lathe was running at full speed, the hot aluminum stuck to the hot steel of my cutting tool so I had to stop and pry the aluminum off many times I later found that if I ran the lathe slower, it cut better, with less sticking.
Of course on the little lathe, it was really easy to work compared to steel. It was fun. I now see that if I can get my hands on some blocks of the metal, I can convert them into some tools I need in half the time that it would take to work steel.
I made the aluminum disk without any real plan, just working metal. I now know what I can make out of it and it will be an excellent tool for wood working.
Each year, I make Christmas ornaments. I sell a few but most end up as gifts. I try to come up with four new types of hand carved ornaments each year. A few years I came up short.
This weekend, I started making some ornaments I am out of and finishing some ornaments from blanks I did last year and ran out of time. I use various machines to remove excess material so I can spend my time actually carving and the result is a blank. I remove what excess wood remains and then add details.
While I have yet to come up with new ornaments for this year, by starting with the old ones, I am getting into the swing of making them. when the ideas come, I will be already in an ornament mind set.

As to the question of the week,
I can honestly say,



Sunday, October 30, 2011

Week 616 Wood Working.

Year 11, Week 42, Day One (week 616) (January 17, 2000 was my first carving day.) 10-29-11 Saturday

76 degrees in the morning, 85 degrees in the afternoon. The Weather radar shown a front passing through. I expected a lot of liquid sunshine all day long. The liquid sunshine never reached us, it appears like we were between two bands all day long. I did hear a few large drops on the awning, but I did not feel it when I went out from the awning to have a look. There was some blue sky between ripples at different time and I actually saw a bit of sun for a moment. There was a light breeze, enough to move the leaves around well. I was not actually out in the wind much so I really did not notice it. This weather report is brought to you by the City of Pompano Beach department of Tourism.

Last week, Mom got high speed internet. I called her last night and this morning and was told by the machine that her number was not available so leave a message. I got to Mom's house and we found out her phone was down completely. After a few calls, we went out for breakfast. The phone guy came, replaced her phone line which was old, then found that the problem was in the line down the block. She should have phone by now, hopefully.

I dashed and picked up two eight foot long sticks of two by two whitewood and two bags of mulch. The mulch was for Mom. I spent a whole seven bucks.

I cut one of the sticks into twelve inch long pieces, the length of the throat of my band saw. I dragged out the lathe and mounted a stick into the lathe. I mounted it a full centimeter off center toward one corner and then turned it. The off center is to make the face and body stick out from the neck. One corner really sticks out giving me plenty of room to work in shaping the body. By setting the wood a whole centimeter off, it will make the neck really small which is the effect I am after. I am really only turning the neck, going almost straight in beneath the chin, and then tapering up fairly evenly until about half way to the bottom of the section.

Showing set off center for turning the pole cats.

I was making blanks for pole-cats. These are cat ornaments that are tall compared to other ornaments. I made each one six inches tall, or there about. I did trim the top and bottom so they weren't quite that tall.

Snow men on lathe

With one, I got a catch and ripped chunks of the wood. I globbed on glue and put it into the vice to glue up. I pulled it out too soon and turned it again and it broke out even worse. Now I was making two out of each stick. I cut the broken end off and tossed that, and kept the other one. I just have to do more carving to get ii down to size.
After making several sticks of them, I then made two sticks of seated snow men. These were set off center half a centimeter, again toward one corner. The proud corner becomes the feet of the sitting snowman.

After I was done turning, while still watching the pregnant grey clouds, I put the lathe and cleaned up, I dug out all the ornament blanks I still had left. I had a pair of light bulbs and thread spools I made and painted. I had one bulb I had started carving so I tackled finishing that first. It was one which broke, split off a piece, while carving it. It was good enough. I carved it, then added red paint. I need to use white paint on it now. The beard and hair will be white, but the skin will be wood colored.
I have several swan blanks I had cut and never finished. I should finish them also.

I took one of my seated snow man blanks and carved it. he has his hands in his lap and I carved a face on him. I need to finish his feet, which I might use the dremmel for to avoid the wood splitting out on me. I then have to paint him. He is the kind of carving that will likely be completely painted. I just thought of something. I should do a snowman wearing a hood and have his face wood colored while the rest of him is painted. I might try one tomorrow and see how it looks.

I carved one of the cats. Mom says I have the ears too far out. They need to be almost over the eyes. That is what I get when I try to keep all the wood that is there. I will try to correct that on the next one.

carved figurines and blanks

Pole cat and blank

Snow man and blank to be carved

Santa face light bulb and un-carved light bulb.

I still have to come up with new carved ornaments to make. I try to make them out of two by twos if all possible. I like the ones I got. they are square cornered, not finished with round corners like most I get. there are different grades of white wood. This is the easy one to carve.

Wood has several properties. One is the length of the grain, the fibers, that run through the wood. Another is the binding material that is between the grains. Then there is the composition of the binding and grain materials.
When the grains are long and the binding material is not as strong as the fibers, you get a wood like Cedar or Redwood were it will split out over long distances very easily. When the grains are short and are nearly the same consistency as the binding material, you get Basswood which is almost, but not quite like working in a material that is the same no matter what direction you cut.
The composition is important. some materials are very weak like in Balsa Wood, and some materials are very strong like in iron wood. The combination of consistency between the fibers and the binding woods is what dictates the nature of the wood you are dealing with.
Good whitewood cuts as easy as basswood but splits a bit easier. I have had the noses of several carvings come off because of an accidental twist of the knife.
I found that generally, the best carving whitewood is in the two by twelve boards. a lot of the two by two boards are a harder consistency and that makes for strong wood but not easy carving. The two by twos I got are like the wood in the two by twelves. the knife loves it.
When I carve, I am not afraid to use splitting to remove wood. It is not really the way to do it but I do it when it works, especially if I make the cuts to control the splitting.

When it comes to carving, there are purists that believe one should never use power tools. Austria master carvers will certify that no power tools were ever used on a piece of work.
I am not a purist. I will use anything to get the job done. These ornaments are carved by the knife. I will use the lathe, sanders, grinders, bandsaws and so on to remove the excess wood so I can spend my time actually carving. I don't use many chisels, but will use them when they will give me the effect I need. I have not learned the proper selection of chisels so most of my work is with the V tool only. I guess I am not a chiseler.....

For tomorrow, I will have to see how the weather is going. I have a large number of projects I can work on, either with the lathe out of the awning or sitting down beneath the awning. My main project is the ornaments. I am making a bunch of ornaments I am out of, before I really start thinking about new ornaments.
One turning project I need to do is to finish the spout on my tea pot so I can get close to finishing it completely. I have to drill the hole through it, turn the rough shape, and then carve it to the final shape, before I can attach it and the handle to the tea pot. I also need to finish the bottom of the tea pot that still has the tenon it.
I have a dragon to carve on, and a couple vases to carve. I have loads of wood that needs to be made into saw dust. I have some crochet hooks to make and some metal to machine.

I will see what I actually do tomorrow.

Year 11, Week 42, Day Two (week 616) (January 17, 2000 was my first carving day.) 10-30-11 Sunday

76 degrees, fast moving pregnant clouds with a higher cover of some sort. A fine mist, a drip here, there, kept the ground wet but it was not enough to pay attention to. there was one bout of liquid sunshine but that as done before I had time to react. A really strong breeze blew aluminum shavings all over the place. They were about as heavy as wood shavings. This weather report is brought to you by the City Of Pompano Beach Department of Tourism.

The day looked miserable so I decided not to do anything out from under the awning.
I dragged my equipment out of the truck and shed, setting up for the afternoon when my brother arrived, along with my morning projects.

I got an idea for the piece of aluminum that my brother gave me last week. He and my nephew had melted aluminum and put them in a muffin container. They gave me one and a half of the aluminum muffins. Last week, I cut a piece from the half and turned it a little bit to see how it worked.
Today, I took the aluminum muffin and after checking it on the little lathe, I decided I needed to make a tenon to hold the metal in place.
I measured carefully on the diameter I needed to have. it is kind of difficult as the chuck has three jaws and when one is at the gauge, the second one is on an angle away. The way I solved this was to adjust the gauge, spin the chuck and make corrections until the chuck jaws did not touch the gauge other than a nick which I assumed was because of my holding it by hand.
The jaw on my lathe can hold the whole aluminum piece. Using my wood turning tools, I scraped both faces somewhat flat. I then cut the smaller face (bottom of the muffin) until I had a tenon that would fit in the small lathe.

aluminum muffin blanks, one is cut in half to see if there were bubbles.

I learned something about aluminum. My brother explained it to me. Aluminum is a sticky metal and will stick to other metals. I was running at the highest speeds and the aluminum would built up in a glob on the cutting edge of my tools and would stop them from cutting. I scraped the stuff off regularly. Near the end, I slowed the lathe down and found it cutting easier and more effectively. I am thinking that the metal was heating up too much at high speed. I do know that the cutting edges get hot enough to burn me at times.
I did one miscalculation in the process. I was thinking that the metal working chuck had an edge or tooth or something to hold the metal, so I gave an inset on the tenon for the tooth to hang onto. I then found out that it was flat and was not going to put it back onto the big lathe to correct that. That little error made for a bit of work to get it holding tight, flush and square.
I finished the big surface and then made a few passes on the side, removing some of the rounded side.

finished front, nearly finished sides

side nearly done side, showing tenon gripped by chuck.

Finishing the back and tenon

Later, my nephew came and he finished machining the sides. The piece was small enough and he turned the jaw around to hold the work on the outside and then machine my tenon and that face to be clean and square. They rescued a baggy of aluminum shavings which they will melt next time they are ready to cast aluminum. We figure it might be a few tablespoons of aluminum but that is some they won't have to get someplace else.
We found that there were tiny bubbles in the metal. it is not a problem for just about anything we are doing, but if one looks really close, one can see it. We think that vibrating the mold as soon as we pour the metal in would get rid of them.
I am not sure what I will do with this piece, but it proved I can work it with normal woodworking tools and can also work. The idea of a face plate did cross my mind. Making it mount in the either lathe requires some planning.

aluminum shavings to be re-melted

I just did come up with an idea I can check out next weekend.
I might make it into a face plate that fits into the jaws on my big lathe. I would cut a groove and reduce the diameter on the back end of the piece a little so the chuck can hold it firmly. I can then cut in my holes and thread them.
There is a drive-spur type face plate available that has adjustable pointed screws. The wood is pushed into the pointed screws and it will hold wood really well because of the distance between the points.
My idea is to thread for some screws and machine the ends to a point so I have what is essentially the same thing, just that it is held in the chuck rather than mounting directly onto the lathe. I
I will have to explore this idea a little.

Between the time I did some machining on the metal and my nephew showed up, I carved a little on a seated snow man. I have not formed the face and have to work the feet, but the basic carving is done. I never got a chance to do much more than that. We were watching the metalwork going on and chatting.
I now have a cat, a light bulb and two seated snowmen roughed out. they all need details, clean up and painting, but I have a good start. Not a great start but a good start.

Next week, I have scheduled a visit to the antique shop. I may have to do that Saturday since I may end up working all day Friday.
Ornaments are my main focus next weekend. If I can make a big dent in the ornaments I need to make, that will be fantastic.

I will see what I actually do next week.

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Friday, October 28, 2011

Catching Up On The Farm...

Boy has it been a hectic summer and fall! Between ongoing renovations here, shuffling back and forth between homes, storms, writing, new pets, and all sorts of things; I haven't had much time for the blog. I checked, and the last time I posted farm pictures was back around 4th of July, and those were from June. But I kept taking them, and now I have a bunch of that never got viewed, because I've been so doggoned busy, I haven't had time to sort them out and put some up here. But now that we're in the slow season and I am living alone on the farm, hopefully between now and the holidays, I will get most of the best ones up. 

I am going to have to do them in batches, there are so many waiting to be used. These first ones here are from back in Mid July.

My walkway pots or the beginning of them. Those marigolds were still in bloom today, even after a dusting of snow. In this pic it had just rained the night before. We had quite a bit of rain late June through mid August.

I finally found new cushions (marked down) for my glider bench. This was a nice spot to sit on a hot summer afternoon with a book and iced tea. The white lilac threw quite a bit of shade, if you sat close to it. With no AC here, I had to escape the heat and stickiness indoors now and then.

A patch of common daylilies over by the cellar door to the ell. Our propane tanks are there now, but in July these were in their glory. They are hardy, prolific and very forgiving of total neglect, so I will move some elsewhere and start again.

For wild birds who had never been fed, it didn't take these guys long to find the feeder and water over by the garden. Here a common grackle, a male house finch in his rosy red breeding plumage, and a dark capped house sparrow are sharing the bounty. This feeder was busy all summer, we even had crows come to check out spilled seed.

Over by the office trailer and garage the snaggy brush and vines are a mess! We cut some of it out but there were nests in the bigger sections so it got left for some undetermined time in fall that has not occurred yet. Likely not this year, maybe next spring before nesting season. I want it cut back before it ruins the building.

Queen Anne's Lace is the elegant star of the summer meadow.

This is an old schoolhouse bell that was a $20 thrifting find some years ago. So nice to have it back in service again. The ring is loud and can be heard for a distance. It's now mounted on the post of the porch, under the overhang.

Love those cushions! Makes the glider comfy. The dog thinks so too.

My first produce! We did really well all summer. The yellow peppers were sweet, but the green ones were moderately hot. I gave away a lot of summer squash and cucumbers.

First picking of lettuce, it came in late because I didn't get to plant until sometime in June. I ate every bit of it, and it was very sweet and tasty for marked down leftover plants. Some of it went to seed but I had salads as often as I could.

When it rains here, the water pours off that steeply sloped roof onto the walkway. We really could use gutters but I don't know if there is enough overhang for them. I was standing on the covered part of the steps for this. That's my livingroom window to the left, which can stay open during a storm unless the wind is blowing fiercely.

It was a rainy Friday afternoon right into evening. This is looking west, from the covered part of the walkway along the ell with the kitchen and dining room, and off toward the barn and the back of the property. That angle between the two roofs makes that waterfall effect, but the house is on a knoll and so the water runs off quickly.

Saturday dawned sunny, and the rain was long gone. A bunny came up by the driveway to graze and didn't mind if I stepped out in my robe and took a few pictures.

This is the resident woodchuck eyeing the all-you-can-eat buffet in my garden. We are not on speaking terms.

Because of our pond and the bigger one across the road, the place is loaded with redwing blackbirds that nest in the cattails. The lower part of our pond is shallow and infested with mats of those plants with shrubs and small trees growing amongst them. It is a wildlife haven.

The garden was thriving in July, and getting plenty of notice from neighbors. The folks at the town hall even mentioned it. In small towns, people love to see the old places like this farm being loved and cared for again. I spent many a day out there working, and got me a nice farmer tan. It really is a sunny lot! The garden got full sun from about 10:30 AM until 7:30 PM each day that it didn't cloud over or rain. And boy, did stuff  grow!

The peppers looked good at this point but later on lost a lot of lower leaves to some disease. They produced a little, but not like they should. The tomatoes did well until August when all the rain from the storms spread the diseases through them. We got plenty, and I gave a lot away, so no complaints. They were tasty!

I made a little friend. A juvenile female redwing blackbird came visiting with me every day for about 3 weeks until her family moved on. She would come within a few feet of me, and I'd talk and she'd listen and just go about her business of learning how to forage.

She was quite photogenic and seemed to pose now and then so I could get a good shot. The markings on these birds are spectacular up close and they serve to hide the females when they are on the nest, helping them blend in with the background.

It took her a while to figure out how to use the feeder. She seemed to prefer to forage on the ground. I always hang the garden feeder so that the seed falls mostly out of the garden and won't become part of the weeds. I used to come out every day with my books and my tools, and before I started, refill the feeder and water, and knock down some seed for her and the other ground feeding birds. It got so they'd watch for me and I could feel them fluttering around nearby as I worked. My experience with wildlife over the years tells me they can get a sense of your attitude by watching body posture and habits. I was the bird mama that had the open cafe. LOL

I missed her once she moved on. But that's the nature of life, nothing remains static. Hopefully she made it through the year and will be back next spring to find a mate and have a nest of her own.

That was the beginning of my winter squash and pumpkin 'glut'. I say that because we got something like 23 pumpkins, 140 butternut squash, and around 15 buttercup/kabochas. Yeah, I've been giving them away too! But we're keeping enough for the winter. I've never had such a crop before!

The summer squash did super, both the plants I put in and the ones I started from seed. We ate them like crazy and gave tons away.

Guess who? I left that stick there because she seemed to enjoy sitting on it.

A female house finch grabbing a snack. They started bringing babies to the feeder as soon as they were fledged and could fly well enough. The little guys would sit nearby, flutter and beg until they got fed. Watching them and the house sparrow young learning to chase moths through the garden was very entertaining.

My cucumber trellis on the far end and my tomato stakes coming toward you. I was in the midst of tying vines up. I kept up with them this year into August but after the storms it was a hopeless cause. Disease took out 2/3 of the cukes but enough survived that we were getting sick of them. They were also incredibly prolific. Since all cukes, squash, melons and pumpkins are pollinated by insects, we must have had good bee activity out there, likely because of all day sun and the proximity to a field with lots of clover. I never had such crops before!

Yeah, that's her again. It was getting late in this picture and she needed one more tidbit before going to roost.

A large part of the success of that garden was mulch cut from the fields around the house and applied liberally. It is always half dry so it doesn't heat up as much or get mucky and nasty like green grass clippings. Natural grass mulch is something I've always used in my garden when I could get it, and before we owned this place, we used to come here, cut it, and haul it to my other house, which is shadier and so always had a thin lawn. This stuff holds in moisture all summer and shades roots, letting the plants grow big and strong. It encourages earthworms and beneficial soil microbes, and gives cover to hunting predators like ground beetles, toads and garter snakes. It prevents soil erosion, keeps weeds down, and breaks down to add needed humus to the soil, which improves its ability to hold nutrients and prevent runoff. And it isn't sitting in a bag on the curb waiting for a truck to haul it away to some landfill. My fields get mowed a few times a summer, and they grow thicker and greener grass and clover for the grazing animals like deer and rabbits. The birds can hunt for bugs out there, we'd see dozens of them hopping around at a time. Swallows would swoop down behind the tractor, picking up insects stirred up by the mowing. We became part of the system rather than just another drag on it. And best of all, my weeding chores were fairly simple, and I only watered twice during dry spells.

A Saturday evening moon rising over the pines out front in mid-July is a good place to stop this for the day. I likely was done with my work by then too. I found out recently every one of those pines on the property was dug as a seedling on the neighboring hill about 15 years ago, and replanted in a line down the front. That property is still owned by the son of the original owner, so if we ever need more... These trees are now a good 50 feet tall and some of the trunks are 2-3 feet through at the base. Native white pines grow best here, so it was a good choice. They make a nice traffic noise barrier for the highway and a wildlife sanctuary. Nice to walk past too when the wind is blowing and the boughs are murmuring with that swishing sound I've loved since I was a kid.

OK, that's it for now, I'll try and get more pictures up as soon as I can. 


Monday, October 24, 2011

October Twenty Fourth, Two Thousand and Eleven, Did you write?

October Twenty Fourth, Two Thousand and Eleven, Did you write?.

Another week to tell about what is going on in your life, and to tell about your writing experiences. The idea is that if you write about your life each week, you will be forced to tell about what you wrote and how much, or more importantly, what you did not write and why. the hope is that the shame of too many weeks of "no I did not write" will add up into action of opening something, anything, to give a positive report.

How much is written is unimportant, especially if you are editing rather than writing fresh.
New writing, of course, is writing. So is editing, even if it is the work of others, along with Critiquing which is also writing. Poetry, blogging, technical writing, writing assignments, articles, world or character creation, are all forms of writing. Bulletin boards and E-mails can also be writing if they are very wordy and pertain to story or writing. If you have to ask if it is writing, our answer is always yes. Of course, many of us won't count much of the above as writing, but they are mainly just suggestions.

I am working on the re-working of my Spirit of Vengeance story. I have added a couple scenes along with expanding on others. I know the story is good, It is just a problem of getting the final editing up to a publishable level. I have had one page to go, for the past three pages I have added. Once I get to the end, I will then do a pass to clan up any dangling sentences I had left, and then one or two more passes to clean up the writing. As it is, I added two pages and nearly a thousand words. I am thinking I may have to add four more pages to the story to get it finished.

On the story idea front, I have 35 story ideas in the compost pile. I have come up with new ideas over the week but not enough. I used them and some of the ones on top the stack, so the count dropped. I am keeping up with the date, though. I generally collect the ideas for several days, Monday to Thursday or Friday, and then post them in a block. During the weekend, I tend to get the posts each day. It is not the way I want to do it but to have time to write and do a few other things, that is how I have to do it.

My brother and my nephew just melted some aluminum. It was a test of concept to see if they could melt it and come up with a solid block. It works nice. Now we need to come up with forms and patterns to pour the liquid aluminum into for our projects. We would pour it into the molds and then machine it to the final dimensions.
I did some tests with the aluminum and found it to be like a hard wood but without the grain. I need some nice sized blocks for a couple projects that I would have to work in steel if I did not get the aluminum. Steel is harder to work.
My mother had a fountain inside half an oak barrel. The lower metal band broke up and the upper band slipped down. We tried to get the ring in place and that failed, so we ended up stacking some "stone" to make a curved wall that represents the well. the roof with the crank now stands over that and while it does not look perfect, it does look something like a stone well. It was a fun project to play with.

AS to the question of the day,

I can honestly say,



Sunday, October 23, 2011

Week 615 Woodworking

Year 11, Week 41, Day One (week 615) (January 17, 2000 was my first carving day.) 10-22-11 Saturday

64 Degrees overnight, 68 degrees when I got outside, 84 as a high. the sky was an Indian sky -- Apache -- Blue sky with lots of nice moving puffs. There was a wind but it was barely noticeable, a very comfortable day. This weather report is brought to you by the City Of Pompano Beach department of Tourism.


The turning club meeting was Thursday.
I showed off my crochet hooks. I stuck the hooks into the hook gauge to show what I was missing. I have one in the middle and a few on each end of the gauge I have to make.
There were two demonstrations on making ornaments. One was made up of scraps glued up together in layers. He had two halves of alternating light and dark woods. He had a thin dark wood at the end of one half. He mounted each half in the lathe, shaped it except the ends, hollowed it, and then explained that he would glue them together. Rather than watching glue dry, he swapped out one that was already glued together. He hollows it as solid wood bulbs are heavy and hollowing them reduces the weight. He said that you don't want to go too thin as that would make the fragile. He also explained that there are reports of super glue giving way after a few years so he uses good wood glue.

The second demonstration was on making bells. The instructions were essentially making a goblet, but instead of the stem and base, one made a stem shaped to be held. For the clapper, he gets those bells for toys and dangles them from an eye hook with a brass wire. Rather than clapping as a wooden clapper would do, it tinkles.

One of the members brought in a whole milk crate full of little pieces of wood. I picked out some pieces I know I can use and no more. I figured if the box was there at the end of the day, I could take it. I was happy someone else took it. there is a limit to how many small pieces I can use. it is one of those things where if I don't have it, I will need it, but if I have it, it will sit for decades in the way.

Mahogany, Popular, three genuine tree wood, Oak rod, genuine tree wood, Purple Heart. The genuine tree wood indicates I have no idea what it is.


We stopped at a church yard sale. Big mistake. A bag of yarn leaped out and grabbed me and threatened to choke me to death if I did not take them home. More expensive than other finds, but I saw the cotton yard and like that. I can make some useful stuff out of that.

Yarn I picked up. expensive compared to other yarn finds but not a bad price.

At the second yard sale, I picked up a scale. I figure I will give it as a present to someone. They told me that they were car shopping and they want something that will go from zero to one fifty in seconds flat. I hope not to be in the room when they open the present....

Scale I picked up at a good price. I can read it.

What I don't like is that it is close to accurate

Mom had a "LITTLE" project. the barrel of her wishing well was coming apart She wanted me to help raise the metal band and add a couple screws to hold it in place. As we were working, the staves were escaping us. We could not keep them together. She gave up on that idea. We figured out that the lower band, which was in small rusty pieces, was not there to contain the staves on the bottom as we tried to put in the upper ring.
Her wishing well had a plastic tub in the middle of it for the water.

I decided to try something and stood the staves up against the fountain's pot with a stone half ring to hold the bases in place. I drove stakes in the ground at each side end of the staves I put in. I then put in some screws into a few of the staves and stakes in back to try to hold the ring up. It just did not look good.

Attempt at faking the staves of the barrel. It was not good enough.

I then talked her into letting me try doing a stacked stone effect. I did about three rows and mom said NO. It looked chinchy.
We then tried edging stones, the ones with the bumps across the top. We had to make corrections a few times but we got an effect that does not look too bad. We had some interlocking pavers and we laid them on top to make a "cap stone."

Finished scene with well stones stacked up.

Mom re-did the entry to the back yard with this pretty display.

We then had to fix a hose. We have a utility sink out back and it is fed with a hose to a spigot. Mom found that the plastic connector on the hose at the spigot broke. we tried to remove the hose from the tub, a short connector hose from the damaged hose, and they would not release.
She had some hoses with problems and we decided to toss them. there were repair parts and we removed them. We then decided to cut off the good ends of the hoses before we tossed them.
There was one end that was the right kind so we used he hose connectors to connect that end to the hose. It was a trial as the end was smaller than the hose and required some work to get the connector inside it. We finally got it working.

Mom had a plant she had placed in a half of a wooden barrel. The metal rings gave way. We took the staves out from around the tree which had gone into the ground and set them to the side so that the ants could leave them. We then tossed them in the trash. The outside looked like they were usable, but the inside was really rotten since it was in contact with the potting soil.
Since the tree is in the ground, she will leave it. she will pile mulch around it and leave it as is. She will likely keep it trimmed to remain small.

The staves from the wishing well are in excellent condition except for the end that was on the bottom and a couple has some surface rot from being wet most of the time, but otherwise they are in good condition. We saved all of them for now. I have some ideas for how to use them in my projects. Mom said she had an idea for them. I told her go ahead. We will see who gets to them first.

This is half the staves from the well barrel.
The ends at the base, set at the top in this picture, was really the only rot.

After lunch I took a short nap. It helped. I then started cleaning up my stuff.
When we first came out, the Beast of the back yard was begging for attention but we were involved in the project and I forgot all about him. He showed up as I was packing up so I called him over and gave him a full half hour, to forty minutes of attention. I read some of a book while I was petting him. It was only when I decided it was time to get going that I interrupted his pleasures.

I stopped at the hardware store and picked up a buffing wheel for my dremmel.
when I get glasses, I get mono-vision glasses and reading glasses. The mono-vision glasses has one lens a reading lens, and the other long distance. The mind quickly learns which eye to look at things out of as you are glancing around. Within a couple days, it becomes automatic and you don't even notice it. the reading glasses are set to the minimum allowed for driving.
the anti glare finish of the glasses have been pealing. It slowly gets into your vision area which makes the glasses look dirty. When my normal glasses got bad, I switched to my reading glasses and have worn them for years. I am at the age where my nearsightedness is getting better. If I was normal sighted, I would be losing my close focusing vision, but since I am badly nearsighted, it is getting better.
This weekend, I ran across my normal glasses and found that they were in better condition than my reading glasses. After a few days, I can see pretty much normal in them except for at my monitor at home. It is at THAT distance where one lens is too close and the other is too far.
I had been told by several people that if you take tooth paste and rub the lens with a cloth, it will eventually clean up the surface. I picked up the buffing wheel and will use my FORDUM to see if it will clean up the surface of my reading glasses. If it works, I will do it to my regular glasses too. One has to use slow speed as high speed will melt the plastic of the lens. The dremmel will not slow down enough so I will use the FORDUM instead.
I also picked up razor blades at the hardware store. I want to make some wooden thread cutters that can be worn on necklace. I will be braking small pieces of the edge off and sticking them between two pieces of shaped wood.

I never got any of my work done, though the stones for the wishing well was one of MY projects.
For tomorrow, I will have the metal lathe out, but will work on that later. I want to make some seated snow men blanks and some Pole Cat blanks. Last year I made some cats as Christmas ornaments and someone asked me for one. I will make some blanks. cutting the ears was the hard part last time as I was trying to bandsaw the two by two while holding it on the corner. I also want to make the spout for the tea pot. that is really the last thing I have to do to finish that project besides removing the tenon on the bottom. I have more projects than time for.

I will see what I actually do tomorrow.

Year 11, Week 41, Day Two (week 615) (January 17, 2000 was my first carving day.) 10-23-11 Sunday

64 degrees very early morning, 70 degrees when I got outside, 74 late in the day. Computer weather said good weather until afternoon. Thee was liquid sunshine as I drove up to Mom's house. There was Liquid Sunshine at different parts of the morning, a couple times quite hard, then a few hours before it showed up again a little bit. The clouds were thin, not towers, and coming in fairly quickly from the ocean. The sun shown a couple times during the day, but that was fleeting. There was, though, a lot of blue sky between the clouds. This weather report is brought to you by the City Of Pompano Beach Department of Tourism.

I have a wood pile made up mostly of boards, two by sixes, two by twos, two by fours, four by fours. Most of that has been there so long that they show the weather real bad. I looked into it and there were some two by stock that looked familiar. I checked and they were black walnut. they had seen better days. I may have to trim the worst side away, but they will be serviceable. I cut one up and stuck the rest in the shed.
I cut up a white wood two by and turned a couple ornament blanks out of it. I made some POLE CAT ornament blanks and some seated snowmen blanks.
I don't think I like the looks of the wood. I might toss all that wood as it has seen better days and pick up a length of fresh two by two next weekend. fresh wood do a lot better.

I dug out the little lathe. At Thursday's turning club meeting, I had picked out a piece of purple heart. I cut a sliver from that piece and then cut that in half. I mounted the worst of the two pieces in the mini lathe and made a thin rod out of it. Purple heart is brittle. I do not know if it will do well as a crochet hook, even if I can make the hook without it breaking.

My brother came up and gave me a couple pieces of aluminum. He and my nephew had made a crucible and melted some aluminum of different kinds together in their forge. He put the liquid metal into a muffin tin. He cut one in half to see if there were any bubbles. It was solid. My nephew took one of the halves and I got another.

newly melted aluminum ingots

I cut the aluminum on the bandsaw and mounted a piece in the lathe and started machining it. This metal will be easy to work. I mainly wanted to see how it worked. my piece was really too big and not square for anything I would make out of it.
We will now have to make molds for stuff we want to make. The machining will then just be for finishing up the project.

Next weekend, I will pick up a stick of white wood two by two for my ornaments. I will try to get serious about the carved Christmas ornaments.

I will see what I actually do next week.