Thursday, March 26, 2020

Propagating my Tempranillo Cuttings | March 2020

This year I took some cuttings from my Tempranillo grape and rooted them using the rooting compound I know and trust. Watch the video to see how it is done:

Thursday, March 12, 2020

Plants for the Pandemic -- Vegetable Gardening Under Quarantine | Coronavirus special

It is now the middle of March and we are at least a month into Coronavirus panic. As the grocery store shelves clear of toilet paper and canned food, you might want to consider stopping by the nursery.


Tuesday, March 10, 2020

Removing the Dead Grapevines | March 2020

Turns out those rabbits that attacked my grapevines were able to finish the job. The three grapevines I had at my house didn't return from dormancy. RIP.

Tuesday, March 3, 2020

Crown Victoria Blend Door Actuator Replacement

This part is one of the biggest pains in the ass to replace. But the job is worth undertaking for what you regain.
A common problem on Fords is the failure of the Blend Door Actuator. This motor controls the position of the air door in the plenum which affects the temperature of the air blown into the cabin. If the blend door actuator fails, you are no longer able to control the temperature with your climate control unit any more. Symptoms include AC stuck on cold, AC stuck on heat, and/or an annoying clicking noise from underneath the dashboard.

Saturday, February 29, 2020

Lemon Sugar Cookies

When life gives you lemons, you make......
Welcome back readers, we are going to be doing some more baking with lemons today. After making lemon bars, in this blog post, we will be making lemon sugar cookies. Let's bake!

Tuesday, February 25, 2020

Crown Victoria Tailpipe Hanger Replacement

Time for another car repair DIY guide for my 2005 Crown Victoria.
I had taken my car to an exhaust shop for what I thought was an exhaust leak. Instead I given a diagnosis for an unrelated issue. The tailpipe was hanging pretty loose. I guess I noticed the symptoms but I had no idea this was the cause of it until I fixed it.

Sunday, February 23, 2020

Lemon Bars

"I need lemons.... lots of lemons."
Well maybe not need, but I ended up with a bunch of lemons thanks to a generous friend. What does one do when life gives you lemons? Use them to cook.

Thursday, February 13, 2020

Transplanting Avocado Trees

Today, we are going to be transplanting my buddy's two biggest avocado trees from these pots into a more permanent location in the ground.

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Grain Mill Part 6 - Failed Roller Idea

When constructing the rollers for the grain mill, my original intent was to clad them with this stainless steel tubing because it felt more sanitary than having regular steel contacting the grain.  This didn't entirely work out for a few reasons.
Here we begin right after I had just finish turned the rollers to size.  The size was chosen for a press fit of this 2.5" diameter stainless tubing.  I began by hammering it onto the roller.

Wednesday, February 5, 2020

Grain Mill Part 5 - Nut Cracking Wheel

My vision for a grain mill that also cracks nuts didn't exactly work out the first time.  The major flaw was that putting a round nut between a driven and idle roller caused the second roller to spin backwards.  What I needed was a roller with lobes on it that would grip the nuts and force them into the other wheel instead of just slipping.

I had two options for making this;  1.  I could start with round material and mill a bunch of slots in the sides, or 2.  I could start with a rectangular piece, drill a bunch of holes in it, then cut it out with the band saw and turn it on the lathe.  I chose the second option because it sounded like more fun.

Thursday, January 30, 2020

Pruning the Container Vineyard | January 2020

Now that its winter again, the vineyard has gone dormant. This is the perfect time to prune and take some cuttings before they come back to life, so let's get busy.

Wednesday, January 29, 2020

Grain Mill Part 4 - Hopper

The next order of business for the grain mill was to construct a hopper to hold the pre-milled grain.  I decided on a one-piece folded design made from a scrap stainless steel trash can.
Here I am cutting out the flat pattern with aviation snips, and also punching holes in some of the corners.

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Grain Mill Part 3 - Assembly

Now that the rollers and housing have been completed, a few more articles need to be attended to before assembly can begin.  Firstly, we'll look at the handle.
I found this big cast iron handle at a garage sale for $2 which seemed like the perfect candidate for this build.  However, it needed a hole tapped in the side for a set screw to secure it to the fixed roller's shaft.

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Grain Mill Part 2 - Rollers

My selection of roller size was decided by the fact I had two identical scrap pieces of 3" diameter steel sitting around.  I thought it would finally be a good use for them.  What I failed to consider was that a larger roller would result in more force required to mill grain.  This is due to two factors:  The shorter lever arm between the end of the handle and milling surface, and the larger contact area from the increased radius of curvature.  This I wouldn't realize until the testing phase.
Design wise, one roller is fixed, and the other is movable to allow variable spacing for different sizes of grain, nuts, and so forth.  The fixed roller would require a longer shaft for attaching the driving handle.  For this reason, I decided to make the fixed roller in two pieces, while the movable roller has the shaft built in.  The fixed roller is secured to the bearings with set screw collars, while the movable roller is held by two 3/8"-16 bolts through either end.  This was another design flaw that I wouldn't realize until later when I found out the bearings for the movable roller weren't actual ball bearings and would seize up when tightened down.
We begin with the movable roller.  First turning one end, and roughing the diameter for the bearing.

Wednesday, January 8, 2020

Grain Mill Part 1 - Housing

We begin the grain mill build with the outer housing.  I decided to make this from some scrap pieces of 1/2" thick stainless steel.  Firstly, squaring up all the sides in the milling machine.
Next, I drilled screw and dowel holes in the side pieces.  The screw holes were drilled 9/32" to clear 1/4"-20 screws, and the dowels were reamed for 1/4" dowels.  The dowels ensure more precise alignment of the housing pieces.

Tuesday, January 7, 2020

5 Vegetables for 5 Gallon Bucket Container Gardens

Have you been looking to start a container garden, and have quite a bit of space to grow some vegetables? You may want to look into using 5 gallon buckets to grow some food. Being cheap and readily available, you can get your garden off the ground for next season with no trouble at all. Let's talk about setting up a 5 gallon container garden sand some crops to consider growing.