Compost 2017

The compost pile for 2017:

I FINALLY got to close up the yard !

Almost every weekend for the past two months has been wet and cold and I had not the chance to do a final mow and rake leaves.

But last week I did have have a mighty fine weekend and got almost all of the work done.  I mowed the yard three times: once high, once normal and a third  time low with the mulching bag on.  I ended up with a great mix of fresh green clippings with dead and finely shredded leaves.

If you watched the video, you would have seen the steam coming out when I turned the pile over.  I will try to turn the pile at least every other day until it freezes.

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Weekend At The Park

The park, aka my brother’s backyard:

https://bacontime.wordpress.com/2017/09/17/another-day-in-the-park/

https://bacontime.wordpress.com/2016/10/04/sunday-afternoon-in-the-park/

Sadly, this was not a fun day, but a work day.

There is a crick that runs between my brother’s property and our dad’s.

They buried about 500 feet of it and we needed to build a head wall to contain high run off.

Oh, what’s a “crick?”

A crick is a small body of water between the size of a creek and a garden hose.

This crick a hundred years ago had a dam built across it to be able to hold water for making ice for the ice house on the farm.

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My job for the day was just mixing the concrete.  Not a difficult task at all.

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We started at 8 am this is how far we got by about 10 am.  My brother thought we would be done by 11.  My dad had to make a run to the hardware store for more concrete so we are doing a little prep work for the right side wall.

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Mini Ho in action.

My brother works for a plumbing company and has access to all sorts of really cool equipment.

 

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ALL FINISHED !!

But, we were not finished by 11 am. This was a freak weather day for September 23rd in northern Illinois.  It was 90 degrees and 80% humidity by 10 am and none of us could go past noon.  So we started again the next morning at 8 am and we finished up by 10 am.

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A little fine tuning with the tractor.

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Almost done.  Some grass seeding and it will be great.

Story.

I am fairly embarrassed to admit that I failed miserably on that Saturday of work.

By 10:30 am I literally felt like I was going to collapse from fatigue.

One of the problems was that I skipped breakfast.  Another problem is that apparently I’m not 30 years old and in tremendous physical shape.

Going way back to when I was 30.

I used to work construction until I blew my back out and couldn’t do that work anymore.

The center fielder on our softball team was a couple of years older than me and I remember one game night he showed up and said, “Man am I tired.”

His job was being a buyer for a major department store so all he did all day was sit at a desk and make phone calls.

I told him this was my day:

Up at 5 am, physical labor until 3 pm, home by 4 pm,eat, go to the gym and then play two games of softball and I would be glad to play two more games every night.

Man, those days are long gone !!

 

Another Day In The Park

Saturday at the park, AKA, my brother’s backyard.  Made quite a few improvements from last year.  Indoor range time in my area is about $20 an hour.  If you only shot once a month or less, that’s really not too bad.  But 2-3 a month, that will add up quick.  Also, it is just a hell of a lot more fun to shoot outdoors.  Convenience is also something that is great.  I can stop by with my four loaded magazines, do some quick shooting and go.

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Still looks a little “Hillbillyish” (no offense).  I pay my range dues by doing most of the grounds keeping around it.  Still have to finish the back and fill in the dirt behind, and have my brother figure out where he wants to move the rest of the logs to.

Just shooting at paper targets for practice.

I did about 220 rounds.  I have 4 magazines that each hold 15 and always have one chambered.  I shot alone this day but reloading is when all the good discussions occur.

I can stand and shoot at paper targets ALL DAY LONG, but when the training is done, it’s nice to turn the “fun factor” up up 11 and shoot things that go boom !!

I have had very inconsistent results with the baking soda and vinegar bottles we shoot at.  Some are really cool and some are complete fizzling duds.

So, enter Mr. Wizard. (science reference from way back if you are of my age group).

Going backwards, earlier this year I tried something to make it easier to mix the vinegar and baking soda.  If you are not quick with the bottle capping, it can be a mess.  So I thought up a way to make baking soda pellets.  I did not photo document that so there is little to show.  I had some plastic trays to use for a mold that could make pellets that were about twice the size of a 45 shell casing.  I knew that just mixing water and baking soda would result in a crumbling pellet so I had the bright idea of also adding white glue.  Well crap, I had no idea that would literally make “Slime.”

I sometimes think I am a genius.   But unfortunately, it’s not the Einstein type, it’s more of the Wily E. Coyote kind.

But the pellets did dry out and they work fine except it takes quite a while for the pellet to dissolve.  Need to have that be quicker, so I have some other ideas to try.

The other more simple idea would be just to go to Aldis and buy a 12 pack of crappy soda to shoot at.

Now, mostly just because it’s cool to watch thing go boom in slow motion, here it is.

The first four bottles were only 1/2 full of vinegar.  That was the type of reaction that I was looking for !!  I was only able to find one of those bottles.  I suspect that the rest blew into the cornfield.

NOTE TO SELF:   Put another bucket under the middle of the plank.  Tired of the first shot knocking down other targets.

The next three shots were a 50/50 mix and the bottle was full.  Two of the bottles were through and throughs with jumpy, fizzy bottles.   Kind of cool, but not as cool as the first four bottles.

Next four were a 25/75 vinegar/water mix and the bottles were full.  3 of the shots were the “Jumpy Fizzy” kind like the previous 4 but the third shot that jumped straight up in the air was kinds cool, still not as cool as the first exploding ones.

The rest of the aluminum beer cans were full with a 50/50 mix.  Almost all of them had a good explosive result.

The results of the experiment?

I haven’t a clue.

If the beer cans weren’t as almost explosive as the first four, I would think having a half full bottle was better.

The good news is that I will get more bottles and blow more stuff up !!!!!

Just wanted to take a little look at the shot placement on the bottles.

Only had one of the first bottles and it went at about the middle of the vinegar level.  Interesting that the round went out the back, but there was damage to the bottom of the bottle.

The number twos had good solid hits.  Can see the two that were jumpy & fizzy.

The number threes were all low shots.  The bottle with the damage on the bottom must have been the one that went sky high up.

 

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Always have to clean up at the end of the day.  My dad’s property is next door and he doesn’t like seeing any messes or having any of the debris blow around.  My brother’s place already has too many hillbilly piles of  “stuff” around.  He’s a hard worker and very industrious so I can’t give him any crap about that.

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I even clean up the brass on the range.  Brass laying around is kind of cool and adds to the ambiance, but I pick it up to take to the scrapyard.  Get a few bucks back to buy more ammo !!  The .22 casings have almost no weight, so it takes a long time to accumulate.

Done shooting the bottles and now going to use my last magazine to try some quick double shots.

I’m going from a low ready and shooting.

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Bottom 3 inch target:

OK, that ain’t too bad for quick shooting !!  I’d like to say that I am just a freaking bad ass spot on shooter, but really, I think a lot of that was luck.

Well, so ends another good, safe day at the range.

Rain Barrel

My wife has always wanted a rain barrel and she finally got around to putting the effort in to purchase one.

She purchased the rain barrel from The Conservation Foundation:

http://www.theconservationfoundation.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=247&Itemid=200106

It was about $60 and from what I was told, it had been used originally to import olives.

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So this is where the rain barrel is going to be located.  There are two downspouts on the garage. (the other is in the backyard.)  Every decorative rock in my yard was brought there by me.  The picture does not show it very well but most of the rocks shown are blueish in color.  That’s my favorite rock color.  I do not know what kind of rocks they are because I really did not pay attention in Geology class in college !!  I also make things out of concrete and the bowl there is one that I made.  It is there for a birdbath and we get plenty of birds in our yards using the plethora of bird baths I made.

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Step 1:  Remove the rocks.  I have other spots in the yard where they can be used.

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Step 2:  Excavation and forming.  Not too much to it, dig a hole !

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Step 3:  CONCRETE DAY !!!  When I worked construction years ago, concrete days were the best days.  I forget how many bags of Quickcrete I mixed up but mixing and finishing only took about an hour.

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Step 4:  Strip the forms and a little landscaping.  I let the concrete cure for a couple of days and had the finished concrete covered with a small piece of plywood so the rain wouldn’t erode the newly finished concrete.

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Step 5:  Place the rain barrel.  It is placed on a platform about 12 inches high to get the watering can underneath it easily.

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I had to do a little work on the downspout.  There is a nice screen on the ingress of the rain barrel to keep out debris and insects.  We shouldn’t have any concern about stagnant water and mosquito larvae !!

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I had a piece of old damaged 5/8 inch garden hose that I cut for the overflow.

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This is the “Rain barrel” that I’ve had in the backyard for a number of years.  The yellow bucket is normally next to the black one to hold the overflow.

 

Bacon Fried Mashed Potato Pucks

So for Easter, I made a nasty good bucket of some of the best mashed potatoes that I have made in quite some time and there were plenty of leftovers.  Rather than just eat “plain” mashed potatoes, I thought I would try frying them up.  This batch of spuds was already great, but frying them should turn it up to “eleven!”

I suppose I could have just plopped a pile of the potatoes right into the skillet, but I wanted to do this with them:

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I’m using two cutting boards as rails so I can roll out the potatoes to an even thickness.

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Using the biscuit cutter for the pucks

The ultimate edible playdoh !

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I don’t like to fry in the house, so outside on the side burner of the grill while I cook some burgers.

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Tops and bottoms got a nice buttery crust on them

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Off the grill with some “tasty burgers.”

Now, here’s where I lied (just a little).

I didn’t use my stash of bacon grease.  Quite literally I have not added to the stash or used the stash in about a year.  It sits in a jar in the very back of the fridge, completely hidden.  I opened the jar and it did not smell rancid, but I wasn’t really sure what the time limit was of grease going bad, so I didn’t use it.  Instead I used some Ghee that I had.  Potatoes fried in butter, that’s almost as good as frying in bacon grease.