More Signs Of Spring

After the rain ended today the critters came out to wash up and munch on the fresh vegetation. This little chipmunk seemed to be enjoying himself.


Last Day Of April

Where is this year going? Today is the last day of April. We’re entering May for goodness sake! It’s time to plant the tomatoes.

There’s a thunderstorm going on right now. I awoke from my little siesta to hear a roar coming from outside my front door. It was a sudden downpour spring shower coming down hard and fast. Free water for my garden! I have yet to see anything break through the topsoil as I only planted the radish, pepper, lettuce and cucumber seeds earlier this week. The three Roughneck Rubbermaid containers are perched carefully atop their wooden platforms about 15 feet from my front door.

Tomorrow is the day my pension checks gets deposited automatically. Just as automatic is how fast it all disappears. There’s rent to pay, car insurance is due and I have 3 2″x4″x8′ to buy to complete a couple of woodworking projects. Oh, did I mention I’m almost out of food, again! I calculate after all of that I might have $20 left to last me until my Social Security check arrives on May 10. What a routine! Welcome to retirement!

In the meantime I’m loving this Spring weather, even the rain. No more drought in the New England states, thank God! Later this week the forecast puts us in the 60s and low 70s, great for my Springtime crops like radishes and lettuce. It’s all good! Have a great Sunday All!

Memories Of Lions

While watching the video below of a freed circus lion getting to run free on real dirt and grass reminds me of my experiences photographing a 9 lion pride at the Oregon Zoo. Their outside environment had trees, boulders and a sloping hillside covered in lush green grass. When the groundskeepers chose to cut that grass the lions returned to an environment that actually caused them to play in the mown grass and clippings. They would romp and literally roll down the hill.

I miss my zoo and its wonderful collection of healthy, happy animals. I spent a lot of time getting to know each and every animal at the Oregon Zoo and can therefore testify that they lived happy, productive lives.


Orphaned Cougar Cub – Too Cute!

There are a lot of tree hugging do gooders that claim zoos should be banned for caging up wild animals. This short video demonstrates how wrong this class of people can be. While living in Oregon I visited the Oregon Zoo 200 days out of every calendar year. I logged nearly 1,000 visits in all, photographing every animal in their wonderful collection. The zoo’s policy of stray, orphans and injured animal was heartwarming. They embraced an opportunity to save an animal’s life and even though permanently injured they gave them a safe comfortable life.

The video I’ve attached below is such an example. This orphaned cougar cub stood no chance of survival on his/her own. Someone brought the cub to the Oregon Zoo the rescued cub knowing it would get only the best of care. Bravo for those involved in conservation!

Another Day Another Project

One of my senior neighbors, Karen, walked up to my unit as I was working on my garden planter platforms yesterday. She wanted to know If I’d make her a couple of flower planters for her outside garden. I happen to get an email this morning from Build Something, a YouTube channel subscription I get on a regular basis. Sure enough, they had a great design for flower pot stands that just might be the perfect answer to Karen’s request.

Judging by the dimensions of the lumber required to build this set of planter stands it would only require ripping 2″x4″ framing lumber down the middle to create the 1 1/2″x1 1/2″ pieces. That’s really easy on my new table saw. You see, dimensional lumber like a 2″x4″ is actually 1 1/2″ x 3 1/2″ when you take it home. The edges are rounded so if you cut it right down the middle you only must trip 1/8″ off the remaining edges to wind up with boards that are exactly 1 1/2″ x 1 1/2″ square. This would be a very cheap build, about $6 at the most for both planters, not including the pots. I’ll show Karen the photos and plans seen below and ask if they are what she wants. Remember, free is hard to beat! 🙂

Planter Stands

Planter Cuts:Parts List

Spring Tulips In Al’s Garden

Ah yes! You know it’s Spring when Al’s little patch of dirt starts showing signs of life. We got a bunch of rain this past week that kickstarted everything growing outside. Al’s flower garden is coming up just fine as he’s added his fencing around the plot as a clue for others, including the ground’s keepers , to stay away.

The photo below is the first of its kind for 2017 as I captures these two bulbs rising to the upcoming warm day. We’re supposed to make it to 80 today which will not only help Al’s flower garden out but play a role in my freshly planted vegetable garden. I finished planting the third of four containers, each sitting 17″ above the ground on its own wooden platform. That, added to the height of the Rubbermaid Roughneck boxes I’m using gets the plants almost 3 feet off the ground. My back thanks you!

Spring Tulips 2017 _Al

Share Your World – April 24, 2017

Share Your World – April 24, 2017

Wanting something to quench your thirst, what would you drink?

I’m a lifelong water drinker. The only variation on that theme would be unsweetened ice tea.

Complete this sentence:  Never In My Life Have I….

…physically harmed a woman. I’ve broken a few hearts in my time but never touched a woman in anger with the intent of harming her. When I see a man beating on a woman I will intervene and take him regret doing harm to the fairer sex.

If you could be given any gift what would it be?

That’s a tough question for me since I already have everything materialistically that I want. I would enjoy being able to return to Oregon where so many of my friends live. That would involve me getting given a place to live at little or no cost. I miss the Pacific Northwest.

What do you do if you can’t sleep at night? Do you count sheep, toss and turn, or get up and try to do something productive?

LOL I’m laughing at this question because for the past 7 years since retiring I have no regular, routine sleep schedule. I often get up in the middle of the night, use the bathroom and then sit down at my computer for hours online. I check my two email accounts, my 4 blogs and then turn to YouTube for entertainment or an educational search. I routinely research products I wish to have, check a dozen or more online stores for the best deals and then add the item(s) to a wishlist. As funds become available I’ll return to those lists and put a few items on order that I still want, all in the wee hours of the morning. 🙂

New Workhorses Arrive

UPS has been busy delivering purchases to my tiny apartment. Two Dewalt Adjustable Metal Legs Sawhorses arrived today a day earlier than originally predicted. I bought them online from Home Depot for $36.97 each. With the adjustable legs I can raise or lower the sawhorses to accommodate my needs, making it so that I don’t have to bend at the waist to saw, cut, drill, plane or rout the wood being used. The 1 1/2″ slots on either end of the top rail are intended for use with standard 2″x4″ construction lumber that literally measures 1 1/2″ thick. The slots are about 23″ apart on the outside edges allowing for a 24″ x 48″ sheet of MDF or plywood to be placed atop two 2″x4″ to create a solid, flat work surface. These are folding workhorses that weigh just 10.64 pounds while supporting 2400 pounds. They are made with aluminum legs and sturdy plastic connecting pieces.

I can setup this bench outside in seconds for use with my table saw, router table, jigsaw table or just as an assembly table. It will make woodworking safe, comfortable and stable. I look forward to trying this system out. I already have two 8′ 2″x4″s and a couple of 24″x48″ x3/4″ sheets of MDF. This weekend sounds like I’ll have the 70 degree fair weather to get me outside working. 🙂

Dewalt Adjustable Metal Legs Sawhorse

Taking It Outside

I started a couple of woodworking projects this Winter designed to take my hobby outside when Spring arrived. For one thing the sawdust generated by my new table saw and any use of a router just wasn’t practical in my 10’x20′ main room. Dust collection using a 6 gallon ShopVac just wasn’t adequate and required that I literally needed to vacuum off my bed and hand clean my black computer table often. None of this must continue for a healthy lifestyle.

So I set about making plans for a portable workbench large enough to accomplish any woodworking task that I could fit through my 36″ new entrance door and storm door. I came up with a design after watching a YouTube video on a workbench kit available from Simpson Strong Tie, the WBSK Workbench & Shelving Hardware Kit. The kit comes with 8 steel brackets designed for use with simple construction grade 2″x4″s at $2.50 each. Plans are included with the kit along with a convenient cut list maximizing the use of the 4 boards necessary to complete a 4′ long 24″ wide bench standing 34″ high. The design incorporates a bottom shelf 24″wide by 4′ long, notched into the 4 legs. The top utilizes a second 2’x4′ 3/4″ thick sheet of MDF that is screwed to the frame below.

The resulting workbench is rock solid, of an ideal height and extremely flat, perfect for precise woodworking. It retains a 2″ edge all the way around the top for clamping purposes. Such a bench can be purchased online for about $1,400. I built mine for $80. I then spent another $80 to add cool casters that not only lock and swivel but raise and lower the bench 3/4″ off the floor, making the workbench totally portable. I can move this bench in any direction and guide it straight out my front door to an asphalt patch a few feet from my doorstep. I then lower that same bench to the pad where the 2’x4′ legs take over the support role. When finished working reversing the caster system lets me easily return the bench inside to its storage area in my living room.

I tried all this out with my completed bench as I built a second raised planter stand for container gardening. I carried out my DeWalt DW745 contractors saw and placed it atop my workbench. It was at the perfect height to use with my crosscut sled while cutting up the 2″x4″ pieces of that support frame. I also drilled all the pocket holes for the frame’s construction and screwed it all together. Keep in mind I built the prototype frame using a Japanese backsaw inside my apartment. Construction time was cut in half by being able to use my tablesaw outside. No dust collection was necessary. A simple wisk brush was used to clean the workbench & table saw so I could transport both inside. It all worked as planned, no mess, no fuss!

My next outside project will be to complete my new router table using my new outside bench, table saw and more 2″x4″s for the connecting framework to Melamine shelving I’m using in the router table construction. I’ll show you the completed router table in a future post. I want to also incorporate a power strip to my new workbench for any power tools I need outside. My table saw, router table, jigsaw table and electric hand drill would all reap the benefits of such an addition.

As time marches on these improvements to my workflow with the creation of ideal tools in ideal locations make each successive project better and easier to pull off. It’s all good, all fun and a whole lot cheaper when designed and built by me personally.

Making A Splash

I sure wish I could have seen and photographed Nora at the Oregon Zoo. She arrived after I relocated to Uxbridge, MA a bit over 18 months ago. I just know Nora must be a huge hit at the Oregon Zoo. Here’s another short clip of the new polar bear enjoying her new home.