Monday, April 30, 2012

Odds And Ends

Before I start this weeks post, let us all give thanks to the computer gods for spell check. Thank you. Now if I may ask another favor of everyone. A couple of moments of silence for all who either try to read my hand writing, or listen to each post before type them up and publish them. ... ... ... Thank you. OK let me explain why I asked this by explain a little bit farther. You see the restaurant that I wash dishes in has a cook who has taken an interest in my posts. He has collected each and every final draft, that I use when I'm typing the posts up on my laptop. That moment of silence was for all who try to read my script, and try to understand what I'm trying to say in each post. Some people in the past have told me that the scrawl that I call handwriting, should be that of a doctor. Oh well maybe I missed my calling, am wondering which fork in my life's path that that one was on that I missed it. At any rate this cook has a complete set of all of my final drafts, complete with my bad grammar and even worse spelling. Not to mention my notes in between the lines. He tells me that making out what I write is an adventure, but in the end when understanding comes he is entertained. He recently asked how I come up with the ideas for posts. I think that I may have scared him a little bit with my answer of "Most of my ideas are off of the top of my head. Some I just keep my eyes and ears open, for related subject matters of this blog. That I might be able to embellish a little bit on". There you go my friend, you are now infamous ~ or is that famous.

On to another topic of interest I hope. My humble aid to jump start the economy is now over, now that my tax return moneys are all spent. I have not gotten anymore of the bike building plans that I wanted to from  That leaves me with just 18 of them, which should keep me busy for some time come. I also picked up two of their books, before my moneys ran out. The books are "Bicycle Builders Bonanza" and "Bike, Scooter and Chopper Projects, For The Evil Genius", both are written by Brad Graham and Kathy McGowan. These two wonderful people are the talent behind A website that they not only maintain and just upgraded on their own. But also are active in their forum and put out a weekly news letter in a pdf format as well. Still more that Brad and Kat do, was last fall they bought a 120 acre homestead. Here I thought that I had a lot on my plate, after all land stewardship has not yet been the cards for me.

Well on to another subject. Am still researching dome construction. As I plan to start building one real soon. Also am starting to set aside money to buy electrical conduit tubing and other supplies. As I'm taking notes to aid in construction of said dome, besides sometimes reading my own hand writing can be interesting. After all why let everyone else have all of the fun at trying to understand my 'hen scratch' ... LOL. All joking aside household chores, work and side projects that help to pay for my 'room & board', tend to keep me rather busy. So this blog and related projects are on my time.

So just what is it to have free time any way?
That's all for now my friends ...

Monday, April 23, 2012

As Ideas Evolve, Plans Tend To Shift

For some time now I have been looking at the idea of having a mobile garage/work shed/workshop, as I've stated in previous posts. Also have been leaning in the direction of a dome, mainly for structural integrity. Whose structural frame work would be made up by bolting electrical conduit tubing together. Now playing on google's search engine, it seems that information's about domes and dome construction are rather bountiful. As there are many styles and sizes from which to choose, along with varying complexities there of. Remember domes have been used by mankind ever since the first wiki-ups of grass and twigs were built by the original hunter/gathers.

At first I was thinking small and mobile, but the more that I researched the subject. Well now am thinking sedimentary or semi-mobile and moderate in size. I'm currently looking at what is classified as a 4v structure and being about 32 feet across. Although a 4v could be any size, you see with this being my first ~ Am thinking of copying another person's build. Another reason for this size is so that I would have ample room for building and/or repairing many things on the ground level while being in the shade. In the top of the dome there should be about 12 feet or so of unused space, where I could create a 2nd floor for some storage and maybe a kind of bachelor's pad ~ like a place to act as an office and a place to sleep at, without having to rough it to much.

Now about roughing it. In my life time I have been forced to live on the street, four separate times,  mostly from the economic problems at those particular times. One of those occasions I was able to put together a make-shift tipi and I loved it. It was kind of like living inside of a chimney. It was very comfortable, with a fire right next to you. A comfortable bed roll to sleep on and insulate you from the ground, with a double layer of canvas tarps all around you and the fire. Also a partial canvas tarp strung between poles above you for rain or snow melt protection and heat retention (this is called an ozan). It could be below zero degrees outside with a storm raging and the winds howling, while still being very nice and warm inside.

I am certain that there are many differences between a tipi and a dome, but as of yet finding a problem with either I am not. For if the dome is insulated enough, kind of like the quilted Swiss ski dome cabins that are heated with a small stove (yes I found them on the Internet), well I really don't see that much of a problem. Also if I'm semi living above the shop, well tools and supplies should have difficulty growing legs and walking away.

OK, there are two websites that have been incredibly help full in making this decision and they are:
~ as these people have built a 3v style dome for many Burning Man gatherings, and for general camping in the American desert southwest. From what they have posted on their website about living in Arizona. Their website has many other interesting projects and simple living ideas as well.
~ also are associated with many Burning Man gatherings. This site has many tools to help you decide on a style and size of dome that you want. Also instructions that will help in constructing domes. Now in links to other sites is a link that leads to Earl's Recharge Dome, a 4v dome with a 32 foot radius (yes the one that I'm thinking of copying). Earl gives the complete breakdown of the number of struts, made of 3/4 inch electrical conduit tubing and the correct lengths of them all. Along with suggested construction techniques of the 6 different color coded and lettered struts. Also with a colored picture of the dome showing how to put the full size dome together. As well as instructions on how to go and build a model that should make putting the full size dome together a little easier.

Now as the title of this post suggests, I believe that it will now be closer to my 65th Barf-day, or about 7 years from now that I can say good-by to a personal internal combustion engine. At least that should give me a more relaxed time frame to make the shift to pedal powered transportation. Also available moneys might not be so tight while making the switch. An interesting side note is that in this self same time frame I will need to re-new my driver's license. So it seems like things are beginning to fall together in my favor after all at last.

Oh if anyone is interested in the material list, well that goes like this:
     Strut letter          color code          number needed          hole-to-hole length          total pipe cut length
            A                   yellow                        32                         4' 0" 11/16"                      4' 2" 3/16"
            B                     red                           32                         4' 8" 13/16"                      4' 10" 5/16"
            C                     blue                          62                         4' 8" 11/16"                      4' 10" 3/16"
            D                    green                         72                         5' 0" 3/16"                        5' 1" 11/16"
            E                    purple                        32                         5' 2" 8/16"                        5' 4" 0/16"
            F                    orange                       32                         4' 9" 7/16"                        4' 10" 15/16"
So yes I do have a plan to follow, one that someone else has already done. There by aiding me in building my first dome. Am thinking that more will follow after I make the first, time will tell.

So as the misty swirling fog of uncertainty lifts,
a path few have taken is revealed ...

Monday, April 16, 2012

Mind Blank & Muscles Sore

Hi everyone I feel that I owe all of you an apology, because I haven't had the time to work on today's post. Normally I spend 3-4 days working on an idea and putting each post together. However this past week, no idea presented its' self as a worthy post. Also my time and daily chores and projects, were keeping me busy to a point of being tired all week long. Just reading emails took longer, as I kept waking up from small naps. Guess I'm just feeling my age.

So I'll just quickly explain why I'm so tired. You see for the past 6 years or so, we have been burning household trash in pits in the back yard as about 90% of all household trash is burnable. What doesn't burn, gets buried. In that time we have had 4 pits now, each being about 20' square and 15'-20' deep. Well with last year being on the dry side and this past winter being really dry. Well we just filled the pit about 3/4 full and have been back filling the pit for the last 2 weeks now. I never burn unless it is raining, so as to not inadvertently start a wild fire. So now all that I need to do is to take a garden rack to rearrange the mound of dirt. In time it will settle in and be level with the rest of the yard. So this week is time to lay out the lines for the next pit and start digging. Yes all of the digging is done by hand, now you know why I'm so sore and tired.

I do have some more good news though. I picked up another 6 plans from . That makes 18 plans now, also have picked out another 6 plans for this week. Oh just so that everyone knows, this is a good deal since the PDF plans sell individually for $16.95 each. So that is a savings of about $72.00 for each set of 6, for a total savings of $288.00. Since I bought the 6 for $36.00 specials, instead of buying all 24 plans individually. At least that will be the savings after this weeks set of 6 plans. Oh if anyone is interested, last weeks set of 6 plans are:

  1. The Tricruiser LWB(Long Wheel Base) Trike
  2. The Wildkat Recumbent
  3. The Tour Master LWB
  4. The Meridian Touring LWB
  5. The Streetfighter Quad(racycle)
  6. The Kyoto Cruiser Trike (a side by side tandem)
Well that just about does it. So I guess I'll kill some time and space by imparting a couple of my favorite and cool summertime recipes both of which are no bake:

Pineapple Cream Pie

1 - 16oz can of crushed pineapple - drained (drink the juice)
1 large instant vanilla pudding package
1 - 16lb tub of sour cream (thick and creamy is best) save about 2 tablespoons for smoothing on top of the finished pie
1 package of dream whip (usually 2 packages in a box)
1 crumb pie crust (or crumble 1 package of graham crackers in a bowl, mix in 2 tablespoons of melted butter then press into bottom and sides of a 9" - 10" pie plate)

Except for the pie crust, place all of the above in a mixing bowl and fold together _ when thoroughly blended, fold into pie crust - there should be a mound in the center. Now take your saved 2 tablespoons of the sour cream and smooth it over the mound to about 2" from the crust. Lightly sprinkle some Cinnamon and Nutmeg over all, then cover the pie but make sure that nothing is touching the top of the pie and place in the fridge until set - about 2 hours. Enjoy!!!

Strawberry Souffle
24oz of sour cream
2 large packages of vanilla instant pudding
1 package of dream whip
1 package of unflavoured gelatin
1 can of strawberry pie filling
1/4 cup of milk
1 pint of fresh strawberries - cleaned and quartered
1 crumb pie crust
grated white bakers chocolate
Put the top 6 ingredients in a bowl and mix together with a spoon, when blended thoroughly and starting to set fill the pie crust - mounded in the center. Now take the quartered strawberries and place them in graduating circles inward from the crust. Now sprinkle the grated bakers white chocolate lightly over all. Now sprinkle with Cinnamon very lightly. Place in fridge until set - about 2 hrs. Enjoy!!!

Well until next time 
Eat, Drink, and be Merry my friends ...

Monday, April 9, 2012

Things Tend To Happen In Three's

Well, finally some good news to report. I was having a rather spotty Internet connection problem. You see my camp trailer is set up in my friends back yard. With a distance of about 100' away from the house, and his WiFi broadcaster is inside and on the opposite side of the house. So my laptop WiFi was having trouble staying connected to the Internet, because of the distance of about 150' and obstacles like the house between my laptop and his WiFi broadcaster unit. When it did make the connection, all that I could get was 1-2 bars at best. Also my laptop isn't the newest one around.

Now with this years tax returns, I was able to buy a stronger WiFi receiver antenna from the C. Crane catalog. It can pick up any signal in a one mile circle from it. That means that my laptop external antenna is now dead center of a two mile across circle of reception. So now off of my friends WiFi broadcaster, I have a solid Internet connection. Have also seen about five or six other possible connections, they however tend to fluctuate in and out of my signal range but most of them are locked anyhow. For anyone wanting to know what the name of that antenna is, its' the Super USB WiFi Antenna 3. Again that is in the C. Crane catalog or on the web at

Now sine my Internet connection problem has been fixed, on to good thing number two. I started ordering some of the plans from that they offer for bikes, trikes and quadracycles. currently there is a spring time special being offered, where you can buy 6 plans for $36.00 through May 1st, normally the plans are $16.95 apiece. So two weeks ago I bought a set of 6 plans and last week I bought another set of 6 plans and this week I'll buy another set of 6 plans. In all that is 18 plans, about half of what they currently have. The best part is that the plans are down loadable PDF files. When they get your payment a link is sent to your email box, then simply follow their instructions and down load the files. I have the files on my laptop and a copy on my zipdrive for safe keeping. OK, here are the PDF file plans that I currently have copies of:
  1. The LodeRunner Trike
  2. The LodeRunner Tandem Trike
  3. The Vigilante Chopper
  4. The Delta Runner Trike
  5. The Dutchman Cargo Bike
  6. The Gladiator Chopper
  7. The Viking Tandem Trike
  8. The Overkill Phat Chopper
  9. The Warrior Tadpole Trike
  10. The Delta Wolf Speed Trike
  11. The Streetfox Trike
  12. The Timber Wolf Delta Trike
Yes the finished units are as exotic as their names sound. Also has a gallery where builders have sent in pictures to show off their finished builds. Now here are PDF plans that I am ordering this week:
  1. The Tricruiser LWB Trike
  2. The WildKat Recumbent
  3. The TourMaster LWB
  4. The Meridian Touring LWB
  5. The Streetfighter Quad
  6. The Kyoto Cruiser Trike also has a builders forum, where many have posted their build progress. Novice to master builders hang out here to ask questions and give advice. Everyone from around the world is welcome.

Now that I have started collecting other peoples plans, I need to start pushing myself harder to work up my own designs. As well as start building. But before I can build a rolling bike, trike or quad, I need to build a place to build. As I have stated in other posts, it will be a dome covered with tarps for weather protection and shade. Also will make it so that it can be put up or taken down in a couple of hours. That way I'll have a mobile garage/workshed/workshop. Am considering a generator as an off grid electrical source, or at least to have as a back up power source. Oh yes, bike building/repair tools are needed, more than I currently have ~ but I think that they can be acquired for the most part as I need them. Now I need to actively start collecting donor bikes for the needed parts. Will have to keep an eye peeled for yard sales and such now.

OK, here is the third good news of last week. I got a new pair of glasses so that I can see more clearly again. Yes most of my tax return has been spent now. It did pleasantly surprise me that with the eye exam, the new frames and the new lenses, totaled in at just under the $200.00 mark. The written word was getting quite blurry to read in the distance. Then again just writing or sitting at the keyboard was becoming a test of will.

Now seeing everything in sharp focus again, hopefully I'll soon be building my alternative transportation so that I can make my personal deadline. That of in less than two years from now (by my 60th Barf-day), being free of the gas pump nipples. For me the soaring costs of maintaining a gas or diesel guzzler has soured the milk. Not just the cost of the fuel, but also the insurance, license, tags and fees as well as general upkeep. Not to mention that vehicle price tags keep going up. While income is either static or dropping in this flat line economy.

A quick side note here, I like to drink a dark lager. Some young co-workers found this out and said that it was just beer. I tryed to explain that beer was an overall classification, but they weren't buying it. I said that you have beer, ales, stout and lagers. Again these young American boys claimed that it was all still just beer. I countered with this one ~ with that kind of thinking, then champagne was really just an expensive wine. They conceded. I don't think that I won in their eyes, but at least the subject changed. My point is simple really, when your back is on the wall ~ making your attackers stop and think, some breathing room you acquire.

So for some breathing room
As I raise my mug (glass) of dark lager (Michelob's Amber Bock)
A toast I offer to everyone's dream ...

Monday, April 2, 2012

A Dilemma To Consider ...

I have been recently asked if I am what is commonly refereed to as a "prepper". They were wondering because of the flavor of some of my posts. Now that made me stop and think for a few minutes, as I have followed that movement for some time now. Have never really thought of myself as a prepper though, after all are they not considered as extremists? Personally I have thought of myself as being a survivor. While trying to follow the "old ways" of doing things. Not those expensive freeze dried fancy packages, but the way it was done back in the late 1800's and early 1900's ~ using general knowledge's to put food into storage by canning, pickling, fermentation, smoking and curing meats as well as dehydration. I don't try to be a hoarder, just keep putting some necessities to one side a little at a time ~ stored for a time of need. Whether that need be caused by nature or a man made crisis or both at the same time.

Now there was a time when I did own guns and stockpiled ammo. However I learned that like food, ammo has a shelf life. Unlike food, ammo's expired attitude can get rather explosive when its' time is up. So have gotten rid of all of my guns and ammo years ago. Don't get me wrong as I am not defenceless by any means. It is rare that I don't have at least two pocket and/or sheath knives on me at all times. I can also set traps and snares for both defence and food harvesting. Along with knowing how to make homemade bows and arrows and crossbows. Have made them in the past and continue to make and practice, so that should the need ever arise I'll be ready.

A prepper ~ Hardly. A survivalists ~ Definitely.
A preservationist of the old ways and techniques ~ Absolutely.

After all guns and ammo don't taste all that good cooked. But if you have the food and the knowledge to harvest and preserve wild foods ~ meat, veggies and fruits. Then as the prepper slowly fades and starves to death, well ... eventually the survivalist will have the guns and ammo, that the now dead prepper no longer needs. Some may think that that is a morbid way of thinking. I however see it as advanced strategic planning, and a way to save money.

OK, lets look at this another way. A prepper stockpiles guns and ammo right? Some may even stockpile reloading supplies and powder, along with food for the long haul. However how many of them know how to make black powder from the raw materials? Like I do. Or for that matter what is called country explosives, made by using fertilizer? Both are simple recipes really, but like cooking a good meal from scratch ~ the devil is in the details and techniques, to avoid a possible loss of a limb or life in an accidental big bang.

Granted knowledge is power. However if said knowledge is used for good or ill, which will better serve the user of the knowledge? I bring this up because it is another dilemma that all who survive what ever is thrown at us will have to face. Yes morality will also play out its' own cause and effect, in mental scenarios and stress on those who survive. Along with the individuals personal intent when it comes to surviving.

As I said earlier, 'I am far from being defenseless'. You see I collect usable swords, daggers and sharp implements. I not only maintain them, but also know how to use each effectively ~ a watermelon doesn't stand a chance. However human emotions and humanity are what separates us from the animals. So when the veneer of civilisation and civility are peeled away, and life of self and loved ones is at stake ...

Well how would you react?