Tag Archives: building

Welcome To Freedom Intro

My first narration video clip. I have room to grow but it is a start. Let me know what you think.

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Playscape Build Pt 1

The playscape is a build that I am doing to enjoy our backyard to the fullest. The skills required to build it though is something I can use in a survival situation when a shelter is not available. Yes, I scavenged most of the wood, but concept of framing, decking, roofing, and making sure it is safe.

Enjoy the video .

Go, live your life, and enjoy your freedom.

 

Planting Day 3-25-17

 

 

IMG_0289Today was a beautiful day. Sun was shining and a breeze. I got in super late last night due to rain delay and lightning delay for our game. Weathermen said 80-90% chance of rain yesterday, but I think they may have meant  80-90 sprinkles at our house or we are in a geographical bubble. So, I needed to water today. I didn’t get my pump set up yet but I got another bed planted.

Today, I planted my okra, and most of my cantaloupes. I spaced theIMG_0285 cantaloupe and the okra in the row of 1 cantaloupe to every 3 okra seedlings. I found a companion planting chart (http://permaculturenews.org/2011/12/02/companion-planting-information-and-chart/) and showed that melons and okra have a symbiotic relationship. I planted 60+ okra and about 15 cantaloupe plants. If they all make, I guess I will set up a road side fruit and vegetable stand.

For the rest of the garden, the corn is coming in great, along with the potatoes. The potato box needs another level. The third picture is a close up of a potato plant. I believe those little guys in the middle coming off the stock are where the potatoes will be produced. I cannot find anything online to tell me for certain though. I need to get dirt around these if that’s the case. There are a lot on the 20 plants I have. I have cardboard lining the walking/picking rows. I am trying to find some mulch to lay over it. I also have paper to line what I could not cover with the boxes. We did this in our front flower bed as a weed barrier, and worked like a charm. It helps with moisture absorption and retention, worm food, and weed barrier. I will biodegrade and will add nutrients back to the soil. Since I am a geometry teacher, I took all the old worksheets and will be lining the garden. I will have the smartest worms in all of Texas.

The squash is coming along nicely. I have a few plants that are about 8 inches across. This IMG_0291guy here is pretty nice. His little brother not doing well but I will keep him because I am doing a trellis (field fence) with the all my vine growing vegetables. Melons will not be so lucky. I will just trim them once onset of fruit is showing to make the plant pump more energy in producing the melon.  I will be using some fish emulsion this weekend as well. I was waiting for the secondary leaves to sprout. Most postings I have read for fertilizing told me to wait until secondary leaves are formed. Next feeding will be at onset of fruit. I will double check the different plants to make sure I am feeding them the right thing.

Yes, I see the grass growing next to the fence, and I will handle that. I will be trying the vinegar and salt mixture to see if it will solve my issues. I have some ants invading, so I will use the sugar, borax and water to get rid of them. The harvesters stripped my peach tree last year and I will not let that happen this year. I think my peach tree never reached its required chill hours to produce. Not a single bloom or leaf yet. Wait and see on this one.

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Outdoor Dining Table

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Over the weekend I made a table (mostly done). My wife wanted a table for the backyard so we have a main table when hosting things at the house. The table is made to allow people to use folding lawn chairs to sit at the table without too much trouble. I will be adding a cross piece underneath, and end caps (after thought and hope it works). The tabletop is 7.5 ft long as is and 3ft wide. It stands 30 inches to the tabletop. I found various lengths of 2×6’s at the local construction site (and their dumpster) and found almost enough wood to make all the pieces. I am missing 3 6 ft boards to finish it out. I need to go around to find them in order to finish the base.

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Even though the legs and cross members are hollow, they are plenty heavy. I ripped the 2×6’s down to get rid of the imperfections on the edges and the round over edges that they come with from the mill. The wood was weathered, muddy, and dinged up but with my planer, the wood looks great! After the small amount left to finish, I will stain it. I will also will be building a bench for the table, but that will be another weekend project.

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Survival Multiplier

What does survival multiplier mean? Survival multiplier is a skill or characteristic that one possesses that gives him or her an advantage in a situation. In a physical fight, if one of the fighters had extensive hand to hand combat training, then that would be their survival multiplier.

How do we gain a survival multiplier? People enroll in many different courses to gain an advantage over an obstacle or an opponent. I wish I thought of this when I was in college, I would have signed up for some of the recreation and combat classes Texas Tech offered. I did not. Others sign up for courses in building and construction trade, cooking, botany, survival schools, and many other courses that allow them to learn a skill or a trade that one day will help them survive. Some people read books and watch educational videos.

What happens when you do not have time or money to enroll in all these different courses? What do you do?  If you are like me, I eat, sleep, and work. I don’t have much time outside the normal work day to do anything extra (until summer break). So, I take the time at lunch and my break to watch videos (mainly YouTube) to learn different things. You have to be wary of which videos you do watch. For instance, I recently watched videos on canning, so I made sure it was filmed or sponsored by a canning company like Balls or Kerr Jar Co. Many people out there have techniques and practices, but some of them don’t know their elbow from their earhole.

I believe many people forget one of the characteristics they need in order to survive, and that would be they need to be physically fit. You may not need to have 10% body fat, be able to run a marathon, or bench press 350 lbs but I do believe you need to be able to manipulate your body enough to get in and out of tight spots. For about a year now, I have been running. I am also starting Insanity Max. I am embarrassed that I have not done it much lately because I came down with the flu and tournament season in softball (I teach/coach high school students) got me off track. Spring Break starts this evening. I will try to get back on track with my fitness this coming week.

Other skills I believe are considered my survival multipliers are able to build and fix most things, cook, sew, fire starting from various methods, not afraid to scavenge for materials, and the ability to problem solve. My wife is one of my best survival multipliers because she comes up with ideas for me to try, usually from Pinterest. I play ‘podcasts’ while I am travelling to learn about things, or at least have a chance to spark ideas on how to improve items I already have.

Growing up, I had many different adults in my life, and I learned a great deal of skills from them. If you consider yourself a homesteader, a prepper, a survivor, or just an average person, there is one thing all of them need, and that is a teacher. I am not talking about a school teacher, but some do teach more than their content, but someone who you can listen to, imitate, and look up to in order to gain knowledge. Knowledge is the ultimate survival multiplier. Papa was a great teacher. Sometimes my brother and I would go fishing with him and learned different fishing skills, how to tie a knot on a hook, make our own fishing bait, or just watch our poles. He helped us one year roof our house and showed us how shingles were supposed be laid down. I wish I was able to spend a little more time with him, but he passed few years ago. I inherited some of his woodworking tools because he thought I would use them. I try to honor him by keeping his tradition of building gifts instead of buying them. I may have replaced some of the tools but it isn’t the tool, it’s the tradition.

I don’t think anyone is ever prepared for every situation, but I think with the proper training and learning, you can problem solve your way out of most situations. I tell the students in my classes, sometimes it is not the content we are learning, the teachers are trying to teach you problem solving skills through our content. I teach geometry, which I believe is a very relevant subject to know. Many industries and jobs require some level of geometric knowledge in order for the worker to be successful.

(Picture of a sword and shield I made for my sons.)

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Dinner Table Build

 

My wife wanted a round table to go in our newly refreshed kitchen. My wife wanted a table that would match our countertops without taking too much room in the kitchen. I scavenged wood from new home work sites. I always ask if I can take wood, which most will say yes.

The base was ripped down from 2×8’s. The pedestal was made from 4 2×8’s ripped down and screwed together. I braced the hollow center with square discs to keep it rigid.

The top was ripped down from 2×6’s and attached with wooden dowels and TiteBond III. I use this glue anytime I am gluing up projects to keep from having multiple glue bottles opened, even if waterproof glue is not needed. I used a circular saw to rough cut the top. Then set up a jig on the table saw to finish the round top. The top measures 42″.  I could buy a 3 foot roundtop or a 4 foot roundtop from our local Lowes Home Improvement, but it was either too small or too big. 42″ is just right. I used a planer to smooth out the rough surface of each board. I then used 80, 120, and 220 grit sandpaper to get it to a dining room table to a quality finish. I later stained it with dark walnut and put a polyurethane coat on it. The base is white-washed. I may go back and just paint it white to match our cabinets.

For my first furniture grade table, I think it turned out quite beautiful. Leave a comment on what you think.

Carpentry- How I got started

When you are a kid, you job is to play. I far back as I can remember, I played with Legos. I built anything and everything. I followed the directions that came with the kits, and I just thought of other things (a working crane came to mind) that I thought was cool. As I grew up, I always looked for lumber to pick up and use to make forts, tree houses, and ramps to jump bikes. I sometimes found some with nails, so I reused the nails. Other times, I had to figure how to attach wood together.

My aunt’s husband had me help him to demolish old houses. My grandmother’s husband had me dig ditches for sewer lines, learn a little about electrical circuits, and I worked after my senior year of high school for a HVAC man to learn other skills of the trade before I left for college. My adopted mom’s dad passed away 8 years ago and left me his wood tools. I started learning how to use them, and my skills have increased. I am not professionally educated, but my skills are pretty good, if I can toot my own horn. I have thought about going to take cabinet building courses.

I started making easels and toy boxes for nieces and nephews for Christmas, to keep the tradition of Papa alive. I also build things now for Christmases and birthdays to show my boys, as well as nieces and nephews, that not everything has to be bought. I have built cabinets, countertops, tables, chairs, a learning tower for my sons to be on the same level as I am or my wife in the kitchen or the garage, bed frame, picture frames, and many other things.

My wife will find pictures of items on Pinterest or other sites to have my build in my spare time (laughing). I also find things I want to build. When I have that thing I need to do, I wait until the boys are asleep, and then spend 3-5 hours a night in the garage working until it is completed.

I don’t like spending money on something I can build, or think that I can build. Also, I don’t like spending money if I can keep from it. This is where I save HUGE amounts. In the city that I live, there are numerous houses under construction. I go to some, talk to a foreman to see if I can clean up some of the scrap wood. It will just go in the landfill so they typically will say yes. Now, you may have to pull nails, which I save and reuse in some projects. I will also pick up pallets, which works wonders with the things that don’t require precision or perfect wood planks. Don’t feel bad scavenging for free things. The first time or 2 will make you feel uncomfortable, but soon you will understand that you are recycling, keeping perfectly good material out of the landfill, and you are saving a massive amounts of money. Most of the time, I run the wood through a planer, turning it into furniture grade wood.