Sunday, April 30, 2017

Louisiana Bound

Photo From Here
Heading down to Louisiana for the Golden Gloves so posting will be a bit light. Hope my boy does well. It's a long haul down there and back but should make for a nice little vacation regardless of the outcome of the fights.

I haven't really been anywhere in the last couple of years - at least not anyplace I haven't already been to before. The only problem with this trip is that I've been to Louisiana but I still haven't made it to California and Nevada. I would have rather gone west rather than south, especially since I'll have to ask the Missus extra nice if I want to make that trip yet this year. With all that's going on in the news, I'd like to finish up the states on my bucket list and then just plan on staying close to home. Of course, if you've got the ramblin' fever, sometimes you just need to go.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Rolling, Rolling, Rolling

It's a start - a couple of pieces for the sheet metal roller I'm going to make. I've got a couple of other pieces gathered up also. I need to make a trip to Tractor Supply and see if they have the hubs, bushings and sprockets I need. If not, I should be able to order those items from MSC. I'm planning on building it over vacation between spring and summer sessions at the college. I should be able to complete it then as long as I have most of the parts in house. With a roller I should have most all the equipment I need to do motorcycle and automobile sheet metal work. I'm thinking about buying a plasma cutter but I've got ways to shear sheet metal and saw or flame cut heavier material.

I got my peppers and my tomatoes planted the other day along with some glad bulbs and a couple more lilies behind the house. The pepper plants in the photo are a couple extras I planted on the south side of the shop. I need to trim back a tree so they'll get more sun yet and I still need to get a few other things planted but things like radishes and carrots I stagger the plantings anyway. Not sure what else I'm going to try and get in - cucumbers for sure. I'll decide when I go to TSC for the roller parts and peruse the seed rack.

I got the shop racoon proofed. At least I think I did. Doesn't look like there's been any more activity in there. I've still got a lot of cleaning up to do. I'll probably have to take some of the ceiling sheets down and replace them. I'll also have to decide what I'm going to do with some of the things the raccoon pooped on. Probably end up just tossing most everything. Time to start down-sizing anyway.

And one last item that points to how far we've fallen when it comes to using our prehensile thumbs: I was working in the lab and I observed a couple of the machining students using a hack saw. The project requires a stud to be threaded into a block of steel and then trimmed off to a specific length. The instructor has them thread a bolt into the block, cut the head off with the hacksaw and then mill the stud to the proper length. Simple enough but it was quite obvious that several of them had never used a hacksaw before. The saw was going every which way - one guy was even sawing using only one hand. There was nothing wrong with his other hand. I guess he figured it just wasn't worth the effort to use both of his hands. If what separates us from the apes is the ability to use tools, we might want to bring back shop class to get these boys an opportunity to learn how to use basic hand tools.

Those boys could learn a few things from Primitive Pete like I did back in the day.

Monday, April 24, 2017

Weekend Welding

Cuzzin Ricky and I went to the USAC Sprint Car races at Plymouth Speedway Friday night. It was the first time either of us had been there. Nice track - 3/8 mile dirt, stadium seating and 5 buck pork tenderloin sandwiches. It was a great night for racing other than the temperature - low 40's by the time the feature was run. I thought I had on plenty of clothes but I was still pretty chilly by the time we headed for home. The race itself was great. 30 lap feature and not even a single lap run under the yellow. Easy drive over there as well. Have to watch the schedule for more open wheel events there in the future.

Saturday I worked on Rick's trailer. I had the plate to mount the winch all set to weld on, just a matter of grinding off some paint where the welds were going and clamping it down. 

I had to cut out the tube that supported the top rail in order to mount the roller guide that the cable runs through. I made up a couple of angle iron braces to bolt the guide to and welded those in place.

He wanted a couple more tie-downs in the middle of the trailer, so I had to weld one of these in on each side. The loop that holds the "D" ring in place is wider than the channel the frame is made from so I had to remove the wood planking so I could weld the loop from the bottom side and I made a plate to go over the top of the loop that I could weld to the frame rails and to the loop since I couldn't weld it to the inside of the fender. 

Took me a bit longer than I had figured but mostly that was because I hadn't seen all the parts before the trailer arrived. If I had seen everything before hand I would have had everything ready to go. Not really a problem, though. It was a nice day to be outside welding and using the tools. Rick tells me I've got a free haul coming if I ever decide to drag home a farm truck! Always good to have one in the bank.

Got some other spring-timey chores done on Sunday. Took the covers off the air conditioners, did some yard work and some piddly things on the to-do list. Need to do a bit more with the garden and then get things in the ground. It's starting to look kind of scary if you pay any attention to the news at all. A couple of big cities lost power last week, things even more shaky on the international scene and lots of store closings across the country. Definitely need to have the garden going as well as checking out the rest of my "preps". Things just might come unglued one of these days before much longer. Forewarned is forearmed, as they say.

Have a good week. Be ready.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Life In The Country

Beautiful day yesterday. I spent an hour on the annual Spring cleaning of the chicken house. Can't beat the smell of nitrogen in the air. Actually, I couldn't smell a thing. I bought a good respirator to wear while performing that chore and to have on hand in the event there's a anhydrous ammonia spill around here. The railroad tracks leading to the co-op have a section missing right down the street from me and the tracks are blocked off presently but the farmers have been pulling a lot of anhydrous trailers out of there. Must be trucking in the nitrogen?

After cleaning up the chicken house, I went into the shop and noticed things weren't quite right. The duct work for the wood burner in the back of the shop had a couple of sections down on the floor and a coffee can with some tractor parts that was up on the top storage area was on the floor as well. I went to the front of the shop where I do most of my work and looked at the floor of the sidecar rig and the shiny aluminum wasn't shiny anymore. Something had pissed all over it! I suspected a raccoon had gotten in there and after I cleaned off the sidecar, I went up the ladder to the storage area and sure enough, lots of "evidence" of a raccoon having been up there.

My shop has three foot high knee walls with arched trusses going up from there. From the end of the building it looks like a Gothic style arch as you can see in the file photo above. The sheet metal hangs over the knee wall a bit and there's a gap that would be the eaves on a house. When I was rebuilding it from a dilapidated old machinery shed into my shop, I closed the gaps on all but a couple of spots. I left those open so the cats can come in and out and try and keep the mice in check. I've never kept any food in there so I wouldn't encourage any of the "trash pandas" or any other wildlife to make the building their home. Other than the mice and the occasional squirrel, I've never had an issue. Looks like it's time to close up the rest of the gaps and just be careful not to lock the cat in the barn for any length of time after that. And then break out the respirator and do some more clean up.

I put the sharp blades on the mower and cut the front yard again. I noticed while mowing all the fruit trees are loaded with blossoms. Should be a bumper crop of apples and peaches this year. One of my small cherry trees got chewed off, however. Deer or rabbit most likely. I also planted a few lily bulbs and took the dog for a walk after supper.

Typical "shitty" day in the country.

Edit: I forgot to mention cleaning up the dog poop in his pen as well - truly was a shitty day.

Monday, April 17, 2017

Rainy Days & Mondays

I got a chance to thumb through the Gingery book on making a slip roll machine. Looks to be pretty straight forward except for the end pieces. Those will be a bit tricky but I've done tougher. I'm going to start collecting material and making bits and pieces. I'll have to check out the local farm store or Tractor Supply for some things. I might get lucky and be able to get most everything locally. 

Started turning over the garden over the weekend along with mowing again and some additional yard work. The weather was nice when it wasn't raining. Enough that I could get outside at least part of the last three or four days. It's looking pretty wet for the upcoming week, however. That's OK. It is April after all.

Have a good week.

Friday, April 14, 2017


Photo From Here

Now ain't that the truth. I've pretty much given up on trying to establish any type of time line around here. I guess since most of the things I'm trying to get accomplished are not real important in the big scheme of things, it doesn't really matter when they get done. However, I would like to get a few of the bigger projects completed. I've got a bunch of little things I'd like to work on - the kinds of things that would fit in a suitcase or shoe box, bring me just as much pleasure as the cars and bikes and not take up all the room in the shop. 

However, I went to the Golden Gloves in Indy again Thursday night for the finals. Two of our guys were supposed to square off against one another but one of them couldn't make weight. The other guy gets a walkover win and a ticket to the nationals and I get to go along. The details are still being ironed out but I'm happy for the fighter. He's worked real hard to get there and deserves his shot at the top. 

I was pretty much retired from the day to day operation of the gym until Jimmy had his accident. I stepped in to help but for a variety of reasons I would be happy just going there for my own workouts and let it go at that. Maybe after I retire but not now. It'll be nice going to the nationals, though. But it also is one more thing to squeeze into the schedule and upset the plans.

Speaking of plans, I got my Gingery book on making a slip roll for forming up cones and cylinders. I just glanced at it but I definitely need one for a lot of the projects I do. After I get a chance to read through it a little deeper, I'll see about getting started on it.

In the meantime, I'll keep plugging away at things and try to get some work done in the garden if the weather allows. Enjoy your weekend and Happy Easter to all of you.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Cardiac Update

Today's the five year anniversary of my heart attack. Cardiac events, if you're lucky enough to live through them, are normally life changing events. I've known some people who didn't change their lifestyles after having a heart attack. Even after undergoing open heart surgery, they soon go back to the same habits that got them into trouble in the first place. Unfortunately, that doesn't usually end well.

I've been doing well since coming home from the hospital. I retired from the high school, cut back on a lot of other activities, changed my diet, and generally have tried to keep from falling into the trap of going  back to the old habits. I'm not a strict adherent to the vegan diet any longer. I've added some dairy, mostly cheese, back into the diet to get a little protein and I'll have a bit of pork at the breakfast buffet or on a sandwich when I'm at the races, but the cholesterol has remained under 150 and the balance of HDL/LDL is good. I continue to exercise pretty much on a regular basis but that slipped a bit when the Missus was undergoing her lymphoma treatments. Cancer will definitely add some stress to the family situation but we were fortunate in that her's is a type that responds well to treatment and I was fortunate in that she's a real trooper and dealt with it very bravely.

As mentioned previously, I'm currently training for a 5K race walk. I should have started my training sooner but motivation has been a bit harder to come by than in past years. While the exercise is beneficial to both my physical and mental health, it's not if I go all in. Still working on the "middle path" thing. That needs to be my philosophy in all things but it seems like that's where I'm most apt to stray.

The projects have been coming along. Not always at the rate I desire but with my job at the college and my increased role as a domestic around the shack here, something has to give. Again, "Middle Path, Grasshopper". The college job is going to be wrapped up at the end of the year. My boss, smart ass that he is, asked me the other day if I might be interested in subbing - only two or three days per week, though. Funny guy - but not only no, hell no.

So five years down the road, I'm in a real good place - healthy, wealthy and wise as they say. The Missus is doing fairly well, I'm much more relaxed and happy, I've got a real good support group with my friends and family, so in all honesty, I couldn't ask for more.

I would suggest all of you take a few minutes to take stock of your own situations, see if you're living a sustainable lifestyle and make any necessary changes if that's not the case. All things in moderation. Get a bit of exercise on a daily basis. Cherish your friends and family. Be well, be happy.