the homestead

When the Mundane Is Sublime

Sometimes it is the very small or simple things that make life out here in Shangri-La rewarding.  Some recent happenings and observations certainly fit into that description.

Last winter we had several large trees removed from alongside the driveway, and to make that happen with the least disruption and greatest efficiency I dismantled all the split rail fencing on either side of the road.  The rail pieces were stacked at the edge of the yard awaiting reinstallation.   My brother visited recently and we got about half of the fencing re-built, and earlier this week I finished the job.  Given my temporarily limited mobility it was a slow process of negotiating uneven and rocky topography, but slowly and surely it came together over parts of two days (it also happened to be pretty hot days for September in these parts with temps in the low 80s.  Unseasonably warm!)

The result is both mundane and sublime, slowly sorting through the split rails and placing them to find the best fit for every stick.  I was also hindered by a diminished inventory as a goodly number of the rails were degraded or damaged to the point where they were not useful in this application.   Still I was able to construct substantial sections of fencing, enough to re-establish the charm of our driveway appearance.

About one truckload of these unusable rails went straight up into the basement of the barn to be sectioned on my chop saw and used as firewood (it still burns great especially as fire starting material).  Another truck load was leaned against a tree adjacent to Mrs. Barn’s flower garden that she has carved out of the hillside next to the cabin.  I take no responsibility for it whatsoever beyond helping to move some of the materials, like these rail pieces that she will use for terracing and such.  The season for flowers is mostly past and the brilliant colors of last month are faded, but she plans to expand and extend the garden another twenty feet or so to the rear so she can admire the flowers directly from the kitchen window.  I am not a flower aficionado but they sure do add a sparkle to the homestead.

On top of that we are seeing the first hints of fall color as a few leaves of the walnut trees are turning yellow, the maple trees are showing their first hints of vermilion, and the locusts are soon getting their rust color.  In another week or two the hillside will be an explosion of color.  Perhaps not as brilliant and varied as my left leg, which from knee-to-toes looks like someone painted a psychedelic mural on it.

An Adventurous Day

I had a close call today, a couple inches one way or the other, a couple degrees more off center, or a slight differential in the gravitational constant and Mrs. Barn would be trying to figure out how the survivor benefits of my pension plan worked.
The weather has been uncooperative lately, raining a lot and clear only when I was unavailable to mow, so the grass was getting mighty lush.  Today it was supposed to rain in the afternoon, and the grass was wet from a light overnight rain, but it was not raining this morning.  So, I decided that even though the grass was wet my new monster riding mower could at least knock it down.  It’s a 24 HP V-Twin Husqvarna with a 48″ deck and can pretty much mow the whole place except for the trim work in under two hours, including the hillside next to the pond.
I was zipping around getting it done and was working between the driveway and the creek.  When I turned the wheel to the left just before the mulch pile, due to the slickness of the wet grass the mower went straight and then off the edge of the ravine with the creek.  In the blink of an eye I was tumbling down while in the saddle of a quarter–ton machine that was in the process of flipping over on top of me.  It happened so quickly I had no time to react.  A six-foot fall later I wound up prostrate in the creek underneath the overturned mower resting on my legs.  Seriously, had it gone an inch or two one way or the other, or rolled another couple of degrees, it would have snapped my legs and been resting entirely on my torso/chest.  It could just have easily been a fatal mishap in that event.  As it was the mower was balanced precariously, trapping but not really damaging my legs.  I lay extremely still so as not to disturb the entropy of the situation.
I gently called my bride over from her gardening to assess the situation, and at first she did not know where to go since I was out of sight  She immediately called 911 and they sent out the call to any volunteer rescuers in the neighborhood.  In about ten (?) minutes the first rescuer ( a Deputy Sheriff) arrived but the machine was far too heavy for him to budge (Mrs. Barn had known at a glance she could not help physically).  Soon two more rescuers arrived, and it took all they had for those three burly mountain men to roll the mower just enough for me to withdraw my legs and feet.  With the Deputy’s help I was able to extract myself from the invigorating experience of laying in 56-degree water with a rough bed of rocks underneath me.  By then the Rescue Squad ambulance and attendants arrived and I scampered up the ravine wall and they checked me out.  Well, maybe not actually scampering, but I was upright and under my own power after the numbness of my feet was gone.  My BP was 130/70, my heart rate was ~70, and my respiration about 18.   One of the medics asked me how I could be so calm, but I figured the jitters would probably come in a couple hours (they did not)
After I assured them I was not badly injured, the first rescuers rolled the mower upright and out of the creek bed and towed it up the ravine bank and back up onto good flat ground.  The “hood” had all come apart and was whomperjawed, but it is all snapped together in the first place and I did not observe anything broken.  I am certain I can put it all together without much fuss.  I let the mower sit until after lunch and it started right up, blew out a little oily smoke from being upside down, and drove into the barn without a hitch.
I probably should have had two broken legs and at least one broken foot/ankle, and substantial structural damage to the torso and head.  But, nothing much at all.  My left shin and calf are pretty sore and swollen and will really hurt tomorrow.  My right triceps is sore as is a right rib from laying on the rocks in the creek bed.  Oddly enough my gimpy knee seems to have emerged unscathed.  There may be other sore places tonight or in the morning, but I call out fervent thanks for God’s mercy in saving me from any more serious injury, or sparing Mrs. Barn far-too-early widowhood.  God’s lovingkindness is ever bountiful, even when things do not go especially how we would like them, and even more especially when we do them to ourselves.  It is truly miraculous, and I do not use the word as hyperbole, that I was not seriously hurt or killed.  Given the situation it should have been catastrophic,
I will now know to not mow anywhere close to the creek with the lawn tractor, no matter what.
I spent the afternoon working in the barn and will probably take it easy this evening.  I now pray for a painless and dreamless night’s sleep.
Singing the Praises of God’s Providence
D

Tweaking The Hydro Weir

I recently made a tiny modification (with a huge impact) to the hydro weir/sluice to address the imperfect alignment of the sluice and the capturing basin to which the penstock is attached via a shower drain fitting.  I was losing a lot of the weir flow because of that mis-alignment which caused a lot of the water to wick back underneath the sluice when the creek flow was a little reduced.  The clue to the need for this improvement was the noticeable belching of the water jet at the turbine nozzle a thousand feet downhill, indicating the system was sucking in some air.   Normally the turbine is nearly inaudible from the rocking chair on the front porch of the cabin, but the system breaking wind was clearly audible.

With a piece of copper flashing I bent a liner for the sluice so that the complete channel of water would be directed onto the screen on top of the capturing basin rather than to the closest edge, which was causing the water loss for the system.  I had intended to place the capturing basin directly under the end of the original sluice but there was a boulder in that precise spot, preventing me from getting the basin at exactly the right height (by about 1/2″ inch!).  This was a minor thing but the improvement was noticeable immediately.

I’m thinking about making a new capturing basin as this one might not be deep enough,  Given the weight of the 22 cubic feet of water in the penstock and the siphon function resulting from that 1400 lbs. of water, the flow of the system exhibited an intermittent air incursion into the flow, noticeable as a momentary gurgle at the turbine.

A new capturing tub needs to have the water level a couple inches higher than currently relative to the penstock intake.  I might accomplish this easily by simply making a new tub with the shower drain fitting right at the bottom of the tub, or at least as low as I can get it, so the water level would be adequate for minimizing the vortex sucking in air.  The space does not allow for a deeper setting for the tub as I mentioned earlier, but I also might make a wooden collection box so that it can be longer and lower in the water at the penstock intake.

Stay tuned.

Making A Replacement Octagon Awning Window

During my most recent foray into the battle of the cedar shingles I was finally at the location of the octagonal awning window in the master bathroom, indicating only another hour or two to completion of that side of the house.  Alas, this is what I saw; the window was beyond repair even though I had painted it thoroughly when it was installed 33 year ago.  Admittedly I had not monitored it for a very long time and the unit was made from white pine, not renowned as a durable exterior material.  Both Barndottir and I searched the web diligently for a replacement unit, but a suitable one was not to be found.  We could get one that opened, or or that was the right size.  But not both.

Using a cat’s paw and small pry bar I got the window and casing out safely and more easily than I had originally feared, throwing away the exterior trim even though it was cedar.  I made the opening weather-tight then hauled the carcass back to the barn to start on making a new one.

I decided to make the new window from my stash of prized old-growth cypress for longevity’s sake and set to work.  I re-sawed the 11/4 cypress mostly by hand then dimensioned it with my lunchbox planer.

I spent the most time of the project getting the angle for cutting the miters perfect on the table saw so that all eight corners were tight when gluing it up.

I taped all the segments together, applied Titebond II to the insides of the miters and just rolled it up, holding everything in place with the tape after double checking the squareness.   I toenailed each miter joint with brads from my pneumatic gun and set it to dry overnight

Thus the first session ended with the octagon box glued up, a very satisfying stopping point.   Foolishly I did not take a picture of the octagon box at this stage but you can see it in the next installment.

Update From The Department of Redundancy Department

As they say in the world of supply logistics, “Three is two, two is one, and one is none.”

The great thing about providing all your own power for a facility is that you get to provide all your own power.  The bad thing about providing all your own power for a facility is that you get to provide all your own power.  Thus you are enjoying the fruits of your own power plant or you are tending to the power plant.  That is why I have redundancy built in to my system.  For example, in the winter when I decommission and drain the water line to the hydroturbine I can fall back on my solar panels, which usually suffice.  And if it is a particularly cloudy stretch of days I can fire up the 6kw gas generator.

But sometimes even that is not enough.

Recently I did some routine maintenance to the system requiring me to take the solar panels off-line.  It was nothing exotic, I was just cleaning the battery terminals for the storage batteries.  When I brought everything back on-line the solar system simply refused to work properly.  Grrr. If it had been performing at zero efficiency I would know one thing.  If it performed at half efficiency, I would know another.  But those stinkers are only performing at about 10%, which has me and the engineers scratching our heads.  I need to undertake  thorough troubleshooting session once the weather warms a bit.

So, I fired up the generator and sent the juice up the hill.  But friends, when the temps are in the teens, pull-starting an 11HP motor can be a challenge.  Under those conditions pull-starting a big motor can result in pulling a muscle in your abdomen.  Which happened.  Grr, grr.

Still for three weeks I relied on my generator, but that has its own problems too.  A typical generator provides “dirty” power meaning that the current is pulsing and so too do the lights. The eye can get used to that, but the video camera cannot.  Thus we had to cancel a long-scheduled video session, no small thing since Chris now has a full time job, a new/old house, and a baby on the way.  We have not been able to schedule the make-up session, and I really need to get the Gragg chair video finished.  Grr, grr, grr.

In semi-desperation I undertook another upgrade/redundancy to the system and have yet another in the works for this summer.  I hired the electricians who have worked with me in the past to come about two weeks ago and wire in a 50A 220v circuit from the cabin to the control shed, so now I have the option of sending ~11kw of clean juice up the hill if needed.

This summer I will build a second hydroturbine about 100 feet downstream from the current Pelton wheel micro-turbine, but this one will be a cross-flow turbine with an open hopper penstock so it will not need to be decommissioned in the winter.  I’ve got the perfect location for the sluice and hopper where it will capture 100% of the water flow with about  a five-foot drop and will begin work on them as soon as the weather is more congenial and I get caught up on my projects in the studio.

I am currently four-is-three and will soon be five-is-four…

Stay tuned.

 

Lunch Comes A-Callin’

One of the things I really like about the way the barn is outfitted is that my friend CraigC and I installed scores of fixed windows in the place, including an uninterrupted band of windows all the way around the second floor where my studio and the classroom are.  This has its downside as well, reducing the amount of wall space I have to put storage in the space.  I might be the only woodworker in the world who has too many windows -in his shop.

On the other hand I get to observe the natural world outside whenever I want to look there.  I recall an instance a couple years ago when I looked up from the bench just in time to see a bald eagle swoop by the corner of the studio, zooming down the hill probably after lunch.  It was only a couple dozen feet from me with fully outstretched wings and my only regret is not having a camera capture the moment.  As was usual my camera was within arm’s length but by the time I grabbed it the eagle was gone.

Recently I looked out the windows and saw that lunch was coming to me.  A flock of about a dozen big, heathy wild turkeys were out in the driveways nibbling on grass seeds themselves (my hunting friends were ecstatic at the account), and then about a week later a herd of a dozen deer emerged long before their usual dusk.  Like the eagle they were too much in motion to get a really good photo.  I’m not a hunter even though I like to shoot, but hunting is not a skill I possess although I should try to acquire this complex skill set before the collapse.

Envelope Efficacy

Now that we are a good month into wintry weather here in the hinterlands we have at least a few data points for evaluating the work on the cabin over that past year.

Last January I hired a local electrician/chimneysweep/handyman/spelunker to work with me to insulate the walls of the crawlspace underneath the cabin (actually he did the overwhelming proportion of the work, mostly because he loved squirming around in the spaces where I would not even fit).  We also installed a heavyweight vapor barrier and a sump pump to lower the moisture encroachment and empty the pond that had been constructed underneath the kitchen.

Then, over the summer we had the log cabin  portion of the home re-chinked, which involved chipping out the thousand linear feet of c.1965 chinking that had been done skillfully but improperly.  The new chinking both enhanced the aesthetics of the cabin but also, as we hoped even more, would provide a much “tighter” envelope for the domicile.  Given that we live in a windy region and in previous winters we could literally observe tissues in the living room waving in the breeze on a stiff winter night, anything to slow down the wind through the house was a good thing.

The effects on the home are notable, one curious and the other remarkably beneficial.  As to the first, the subsequent “dry out” of the crawl space resulted in shrinkage of the sub flooring and thus buckling the underlayment beneath the vinyl flooring.  As a result I will almost certainly have to re-floor the new part of the house (c.1985), probably with some selection from the tongue-and-groove bamboo menu.

As to the issue of tightening the log cabin front half of the house, it is nothing short of astoundingly good.  There is no observable flow of air through the space.  Admittedly, we have plastic taped over all of the c.1985 triple-track windows (which provide excellent ventilation open or closed) we hope to replace with high efficiency units this coming summer.

Combined, all these elements result in a cozy home for the first time since we bought it two decades ago.  It has always been charming, but now it is cozy, too.  Mrs. Barn is now comfortable walking around the house in normal attire and footwear rather than bundled with multiple layers of wintry clothing.  One important outcome for me is that we will probably only need about half as much firewood as before.   A full morning charge in the wood stove’s large firebox suffices pretty much for the full day, adding only the occasional piece of firewood from time to time, and a second full charge at bedtime will keep the house warm though the night.  In previous winters I needed to load up the stove again late in the after noon then get up around 3AM to re-load the wood stove in order to be comfortable in the morning.  Now the house stays about 68 degrees through the night with a nice bed of glowing coals ready to start up again first thing in the morning.

I call that a good development.

Cockroach’s Cousins, Part 3

With the repairs completed on the south side of our daughter’s house it was time to start the re-siding.  It was the beginning of a process that included singing the praises of the Hughes Flying Boat.  It was on that project where the first pneumatic nail gun was invented, which in turn was the grandfather of the shingle stapler I used for attaching several hundred cedar shingles to the house.  (A project that will continue through the winter no doubt, making it about six months’ of work intermittently.  The crazy thing is I can still work as hard and as long as I used to, but I just don’t get as much done.  Huh.)

I finished the new shingles up to the top of the first floor, dealing with the area I had excavated to repair and replace the window framing before re-inserting the window.

Compared to the stating point I was not displeased.  I will be even less displeased once the entire wall is completed.

Once that milestone was reached I wrapped around to the east side of the house, peeling off the cedar shingle panels that had served us for the past thirty-plus years, and nailing on the new shingles over new tarpaper.  NB – the shingling “mistake” on the right side of the door is simply a “cover up” for a box to the defunct lighting that will be replace.  Some day.

Another week of work done with many more to go.

Cockroach’s Cousins, Part 2

My routine and rhythm of life in the shop has been disrupted for the past three months due to travel, processing firewood, and running back and forth to work on the house with the termite damage.  (In fact I have not spent any quality time working in The Barn since early September)

The damage itself was both isolated and pretty straightforward to repair, but we decided it was time to replace the 35-year-old cedar shingle panel siding on the house.  Two loads were soon on-site, the trim lumber (I would salvage all the trim I could but bought enough that I could replace it all if needed) and a palate full of shingles.  Bought any premium cedar shingles lately?  I had not bought any for many years and the sticker shock was breathtaking.

When opening the exterior wall of the first encroachment I found what I expected.  Much to my delight the damage was confined to the area immediately under and adjacent to the one window.  The framing around that window was pretty much shot and the wood frame of the vinyl clad window was lightly riddled but still structurally sound (we were not so lucky with the window on the other side of the house).

I took out the window and executed my standard epoxy consolidation protocol, namely soaking the affected area with West System epoxy diluted 1:1 with acetone for greatest penetration, then following that up with straight epoxy, and finally, if needed, epoxy bulked with wood dust filler.

 

I removed all the affected materials and burned them out in the fire pit and began the reconstruction.  Needless to say everything was borated to the max, repeatedly.  Fortunately I was careful enough to leave the interior fabric intact, needing only to remove the trim around the window.  I would have been grieved to need to remove all the interior sheetrock.

But soon enough the repair in that area was completed and a carful check of the rest of the wall revealed only one area at the corner needing a little attention from a tiny smidge of rot, about the size of a golf ball right at the corner where the side wall and front wall met.  There was no structural compromise, but I still impregnated and filled the area.

Then it was off to the races with the new cedar shingle siding.

Stay tuned.

Rethinking, or, “State of the Barn Address”

 

It’s been almost thirteen years since the skeleton of the barn was erected, nine years since it was outfitted with the first of more than a dozen workbenches, and over six years since the first blog post.  Now safely ensconced in my 65th year, lately I’ve been contemplating the entire enterprise, reflecting on how blessed I have been and continue to be.  Whether it is good news or bad news, after serious consideration I have no plans to change the fundamental structure of activity on the homestead for several more years, but at some point life in the mountains will simply become too physically taxing and the barn and cabin will be in my rear-view mirror.  Until then, however, it is still full(?) speed ahead with a big smile on my face, albeit not necessarily in the exact same direction nor the exact same speed.  I’m working just as hard as I did when I was 30, but the output is demonstrably less.   My Mom is 102 and lucid so I’ve got to think about another forty years of engagement and productivity.

Here is a sketch of what future activities might look like.  No telling if it is accurate.

Conservation Projects

Early on I maintained a fairly vibrant furniture and decorative arts conservation practice but have no plans to continue much of that except for specific projects and clients.  Yes, I will continue to work with the private collection of tortoiseshell boxes that I’ve been working on for more than a decade.  Recently I was approached to collaborate on a couple high profile on-site projects and if those move forward, fine. I love it but at this point I’ve got other things I want to do on the priority list.  And I want to truly perfect my artificial tortoisehell.  And I want to explore new uses of materials in furniture preservation.  And invent new materials, or novel uses of existing materials.   And, and, and…

Making Furniture

I make no claim as a furniture maker of any note, but I hope to concentrate on making more in the future.  I would love to maintain a small output of Gragg chairs every year, and even modify them and take them in directions Samuel Gragg never went.  I also have enough vintage mahogany for eight more Daniel Webster Desks, so perhaps there are some clients who might want one.  Only time will tell.  I’ve always had a hankering to make some furniture in the milieu of Charles Rennie Mackintosh or Alar Aalto, so maybe that becomes part of the equation.  And I have these sketches for pieces representing a collision of Roubo and Krenov while they are sitting on the porch of a Japanese temple.  And Mrs. Barn has a list of things she would like for the cabin.  And exploring parquetry more intensely.   And finally get pretty good at woodworking in general.  And, and, and…

Metal Work

I’ve always had a interest in metalworking since my boyhood when I would spend time with my Dad in his shed, melting lead weights and doing a little brazing and welding.  Many of those skills have grown fallow but I am trying to get them back and take them to new places.  My love of tool making has been rearing its lovely head in recent times and I have every intention of bringing that focus closer to the bullseye.  And part of that has to include getting my foundry back on-line.  And tuning up all my machine tools like my machinists’ lathes and mill.  And getting really good at brazing and silver soldering, maybe even welding.  And, and, and…

Finishing Adventures

I remain committed to looking both backwards and forwards into the realm of finishing materials, ancient and super modern.  I truly believe Mel’s Wax to be a transformative furniture care and preservation product for which I have not yet discovered the key to marketing.  But I will keep at it because of my knowledge of its performance and my commitment to Mel’s vision for it.  And as for beeswax and shellac wax? Finishing with them may be among the oldest and simplest methods, but they can be extremely difficult and I cannot pretend to have mastered them.  And what about my fascination with urushi and its non-allergenic analogs and the beautiful things I want to make from them?  And what about the fifty bazillion things I do not know about shellac?And, and and…

Writing

My plate of writing projects is full to overflowing, building on a strong foundation of completed works.  Notwithstanding my current struggles with the manuscript for A Period Finisher’s Manual, due entirely to my having too much esoteric material to include in a reasonably consumable book (really, how much solvent thermodynamics does the typical woodworker need to know?), I enjoy every minute I am writing even when it is driving me crazy.  I’d better because my collaborator Michele Pagan is one full book ahead of me in the Roubo Series.  And there are two or three more volumes after that one.  And some day I need to finish the almost-completed manuscript for A Furniture Conservation Primer created with a colleague while at the SI and thus will be necessarily distributed for free via the web site.  And what about my treatise on the technology and preservation of ivory and tortoiseshell?  And the dozen mystery/thriller novels I have already plotted out?  And who knows how many short stories about the life of First Century craftsman Joshua BarJoseph?  And, and, and…

Web

My first of almost 1,200 web posts went up six-and-a-half years ago, which I understand in the world of hobbyist blogging, where blogs come and go like the tides, puts me as some sort of  Methuselah.  But certainly not in the same class as The Accidental Woodworker, who has been blogging daily for even longer IIRC.  Ralph, I tip my hat to you, sir.

I once thought the web site/blog would be a useful portal for soliloquies about my projects and things I’ve learned over a long and rewarding career, but now I am not so sure.  A while back I decided to make a concerted effort to blog at least five times a week for a year, and I think I came pretty close.  Surely this would increase my web traffic!  Well, not so much.  At the end of this effort my web traffic was 2% lower than when it began.  Despite fairly consistent blogging my visitorship has dropped by almost half over the past four-plus years.    So I just scratch my head.  I’m not whining, but instead recognizing that the flock who is interested in my musings is shrinking, not growing.  Oh well.  This is not a good or bad thing, it is just a thing, helpful in me making decisions about priorities.  I have no plans to really change anything about the blog, we’ll just wait and see where it goes.  When I am not somewhere else, with someone else, or doing something else, I will blog.

Recently I was chatting with someone who informed me that web sites and blogs are now passe and the currency du jour is the unholy trio of Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.  Given that and my antipathy towards the latter two it is likely that I will undertake the former at some near date (yes, I know the relationship between Instagram and Stalkerbook) .  Something inside me rebels at the notion of validating the post-literate world, however.  Still, the economic treatise presented by Larry the Liquidator is not only dramatic but accurate.  Even the Professional Refinisher’s Group is moving forward, transitioning from a moderated email forum to a private Facebook Group, which will leave me behind.  But they will survive without me and I intend to maintain contact with that circle of fellowship regardless.

Trouble is, I am by temperament a bizarre mélange of buggy whip maker and hardline “emergent order” Hayekian.  Hmmm.  Not really sure how that works out.

Workshops

Integral to my vision for the barn was to have it be a place of learning.  As the facility was coming together, whenever I spoke to any kind of woodworking gathering the verbal response was overwhelmingly enthusiastic.  The reality that unfolded was anything but.  I now realize that my vision was a faulty one and the enthusiasm was superficial.  Quite bluntly, almost no one wants to come to such an isolated location where local amenities are practically nonexistent, to spend a few days engaging in subjects I want to teach.  Fair enough, the barn is too remote and my topics are too arcane.  Like I said before, this is not a good thing or a bad thing, but just an instructive  thing to add to the equation.

As a result and in recognition of reality I plan to deemphasize workshops at the barn, perhaps even eliminating them altogether, notwithstanding that I created dedicated spaces for the undertaking.  Should a small group of enthusiasts approach me with the request to teach them, I will do so.  That is precisely what a quartet of guys have done for next June.  And, I might do an occasional blockbuster-type workshop (a Gragg chair class would be such an example, if that ever occurs; I had thought a ripple molding machine class might be such an event, but with zero response…), or I might travel a bit to teach but otherwise that part of the portfolio is likely to close.  Not definitely, but likely.

Videos

Hence my transition to teaching via video.  If I cannot get folks to come here perhaps my best strategy is to go to them.  I have a multitude of ideas (more than twenty full-length [>30 mins.]video concepts on the list) and a brilliant local collaborator to work with.  I am committed to this path to the degree that I have the time, energy, and resources.

Further I have decided that making shorter, self-produced and thus less polished “shop technique videos” might be a useful undertaking to post on donsbarn.com, youtube or Vimeo.  I will explore this avenue in the coming weeks and months.

The Homestead

With several buildings, several gardens, and a power system to maintain and improve there is never a shortage of things to do here on the homestead.  I want to build/expand more garden capacity for Mrs. Barn to spend time doing the thing she loves best.  And fruit and nut orchards.  And I want to finish creating a rifle scope for shooters like me who have lost most of the vision in their dominant eye.  And another hydro turbine downstream from the current one.

And, and, and that’s all I’ve got to say on the subject.

That is The State of the Barn Address, 2019.  To quote one of Mel’s favorite songs, “The future’s so bright I gotta wear shades.”  Yes it is.  I am living the dream.