Friday, February 24, 2012

I don't need to plant, that was done last year...

Lettuce gone wild.

While other gardeners are bemoaning the last days of winter, I am already started on this year's planting. Well, actually I started last spring. The lettuce plant you see above is a seedling of lettuce I planted last year. Half-a-dozen plants bolted before I could eat them and I left them in place to give the wind a chance to do its job.

Surprisingly, the new lettuce plants are near where the originals were. Less surprisingly, they are all in divots where the wind is too weak to blow them back out. While I have never been strong on a smooth seed bed, I think it is time to make them even more rough.

Rhubarb and a pea.

A few peas have found a way to sprout in mid-January as well. The one above will be an interesting companion plant to the rhubarb and strawberries that I planted last fall.

I will plant a few more lettuce and pea seeds since I don't quite have enough to cover my expected needs. I will be sure to leave a few of the best plants to give me seed for next year.

Now my biggest problem is what to do with the time that I was going to use for planting. Hmm, maybe it is time to talk to the landlord about digging up more lawn....

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Sustainable Carpentry

I found a recent listing for an army carpenter's kit. Please note, although I recently found the listing, I also found a recent listing. With that said, I tracked down a kit that was newly issued as of 2011. With all the new electric motorized gadgets that most people work with these days, it is refreshing to know that at least the army has the sense to know that the power is not always on.

With the list still fresh on my mind I went to the local big box store to see what they carried. Although my tour was not complete for all the parts on the list, I did not find much. Files and screwdrivers were abundant. But of the other tools that were common only twenty or thirty years I could only readily find were an all-purpose-saw (no cross cut or rips saws), key hole saws, and a small sized plane.

The salesman for the tool department thought I was odd for being interested in had tools and continual recommended that the only manual tool I should be interested in is a trigger. 

Fortunately, I ran into Roger and his son-in-law Ron. Both of them are highly skilled hobbyists with an interest in good skills and good tools. Their suggestion was to find good old tools from antiques shops, on line, or preferably, from garage sales. While there  is some risk in buying old tools, the quality of the tools makes them well worth the time restoring them. 

They also recommended one web sight for good quality new tools: The prices are high compared to the big box, but if you are serious about carpentry and woodwork, the price is worth it for tools you won't have to replace.

Ron also has a woodworking blog that is well worth looking at: He goes into all aspects of woodworking as well as the tools used. I enjoyed his blog more than any others I have found recently.

Have a good a time finding more sustainable skills. And don't forget, there are more people out there that think like you. You just have to find them.

P.S. The list for the tool kit is below.

Carpenter's Kit
Item Description National Stock Number
Pinch Bar 26 in 5120-00-224-1372
Wrecking Bar 30 in 5120-00-293-0665
Wrecking Bar 12 in 5120-00-223-7218
Sliding T Bevel 8 in 5210-00-278-0645
Auger Bit Set 5133-00-293-2396
Bit Expansive7/8 in-- 3 in 5133-00-223-4987
Phillips Screwdriver Bit  5120-00-250-5576
Rachet Brace 5110-00-293-1958
Twist Drill Case (bits) 5140-00-837-5313
Countersink 5/8 in 5133-00-224-9096
Glass Cutter 5110-00-222-4401
Mechanic's Dividers 5210-00-263-0376
Hand Drill 5110-00-293-3411
Glazier's Driver 5120-00-596-9552
Hammer Face Insert 5120-00-293-2997
Hand File Flat 8 in 5110-00-203-4935
Hand File Slim Taper 6 in 5110-00-234-6528
Hand File Auger Bit Type 7 in 5110-00-251-9000
Hand File Taper 6 in 5110-00-234-6522
Hand Saw Filing Guide 5110-00-860-3377
Safety Goggles 4240-00-052-3776
Engineer's Cross-Peen Hammer 5120-00-900-6103
Carpenter's Hammer 16 oz 5120-01-112-8346
Carpenter's Ripping Hammer 20 oz 5120-01-112-8345
File Handle 5110-00-595-8325
Hatchet 1-3/8 lb 5110-00-228-3161
Hammer Face Holder 5120-00-903-8553
Craftsman's Knife 2-1/2 in 5110-00-240-7070
Pocket Knife  5110-00-240-5943
Aluminum Level 24 in 5210-00-239-0892
Hand Oiler 6 oz 4930-00-985-2604
Pencil 7510-00-275-7213
Jack Plane 2 in x 14 in 5110-00-224-7911
Pliers w/Cutter 8 in 5120-00-239-8251
Brass Plumb Bob 5210-00-224-8794
Glazier Point 5340-00-538-6791
Saw Set Anvil 5120-00-244-1167
Crosscut Hand Saw 26 in 5110-00-293-3435
Rip Saw 5110-00-142-5015
3 Blade Nested Keyhole Saw 5110-00-501-6014
Phillips Screwdriver Size 2 5120-00-764-8067
Phillips Screwdriver Size 3 5120-00-234-8912
Phillips Screwdriver Size 1 5120-00-240-8716
Screwdriver Flat 6 in 5120-00-234-8910
Screwdriver Flat 8 in 5120-00-237-6985
Screwdriver Flat 3 in 5120-00-236-2127
Screwdriver Flat 4 in 5120-00-222-8852
Carpenter's Square 5210-00-273-1948
Combination Square 5210-00-241-3599
Steel Staples 5315-00-132-8302
Sharpening Stone Couse-Fine Grit 5345-00-260-0759
Staple Tacker 5120-00-388-6821
Tape Measure 100 ft 5210-00-527-9429
Tape Measure 25 ft 5210-01-139-7444
Portable Tool Box 42 in x19 in x19 in 5140-01-237-3233
Waxed Nylon Twine 4020-00-954-1118

Friday, February 3, 2012

Old Houses in a Growing Town

I usually like photographing old homes in Provo. But this time around I went to Lehi, a nearby town where I did most of my growing up. While both have wonderful old homes, each city has developed with a different pattern.

For instance, an old neighborhood in Lehi is likely to have filled in more slowly. This makes it so that you are more likely to have a hundred year spread between one house and the next. This is great if the house you are looking at is an original farm house or a 20's bungalow. But not so great if it is a split entry or a McMansion.

This house is much newer than I usually take pictures of,
but the later addition of a porch created a much more
comfortable feel to the house.

Old areas of Provo are likely to have a seven foot or wider boulevard strip. This is a great spot that can handle large trees and gives a buffer between the road and the house. Lehi is more likely to have a dirt and gravel strip, suitable for parking only, between the side walk and the road. This does create a more open feel, but the potential for trees and flowers is greatly reduced.

Regardless, I enjoy the old structures in both places and hope that we will start building more houses that are up to being admired a hundred years from now.