8/16/2015

Rocket Stove Fun

Rocket Stove

  Yesterday I worked on skinning all the milkweed I collected the other day. I only got through maybe a third of it in six hours and ended up with an entire pound of material.

  Since it's blazing hot here at the moment during our first heat wave, I set up the rocket stove outside last night and boiled my first batch in lye and soap water. I was tending the fire for nearly three hours. The water never did get to boiling, just a very light simmer.

  So tonight, I plan on lowering the pot closer to the heat. I ran out of wood last night so I gathered quite the pile of it this morning. It's so dry, it might just go up in a poof of smoke! I'm hoping it will be enough for a couple hours at least.




Milkweed Skins
I ended up watching three movies yesterday while I relaxed inside with blessed AC. Doesn't take much to cool my place down, thankfully.
Scrapping what doesn't come off with the skin



One Pound of skins


 This is what one pound of Milkweed skins looks like. It's a lot. I won't try to boil it all at once next time. It just takes to much to boil that volume of water outside.







Drying in the Sun

This morning, after they soaked in vinigar water overnight to nuetralize any lingering Lye, I picked through the liberated plant fiber and set it outside in the sun to dry. After only ten minnutes it was mostly dry and had whitened up quite a bit! I had thought that maybe I tried to cook too much at once and that was the reason for the yellowing. NOPE!!









Milkweed Fiber

I acquired a selfie stick that was on half off, so maybe tonight I'll do a vlog while I tend the fire.  I've never tried to do a live vlog. That might be fun!! 













Night Visitor
And while I was out there, in the lingering light of the evening, I watched this wild friend climb up my beach towel that I had out drying (I had a mini flood in my kitchen, whoops)! I seem to have a surplus of toads and tree flogs in my little nook. Found a baby toad in my rocket stove, chilling in the still moist ashes from last nights adventure. I only saw him because he popped out as I was scrapping away the ashes for tonight adventure. I told the wee toad that the stove is not a safe place to linger as I would have never seen him if I hadn't decided to clean out the ashes!!! He would have been cooked!!!









Momma Toad

This is the Momma Toad that I accidently stepped on one evening. I was heartbroken! She's been around the porch all season and she was quite big. She was right in from of the door and didn't move when I stepped out. The poor gal. But, her babies will always have a safe haven to grow up in and I am thinking all these baby toads I am seeing around the porch are hers. I now check before exiting now so it never happens again. I love my Toads.



Adventure...AWAITS!


Until next time...
***All content is Copyright year and date of posting, and are the sole property of C4G/CCW unless otherwise noted. All rights reserved. Unauthorized reproduction of any part of this website (text, photo's, etc)is strictly prohibited (linking to the post is OK). I've had to revert to moderating all comments due to spammers.***

8/13/2015

Milkweed fiber, AGAIN, after 8 years!


Yeap.

What? What, happened??
I'm at it again.

Click here for the original post about harvesting Milkweed for fiber. (opens in a new window)

I was on a bike ride and saw this HUGE swatch of swamp land that was mowed over for one reason or another and in the mess, where TONS of cut down milkweeds. Such a waste.


 So I went in after them and collected this mighty pile of cut down milkweeds. I checked the fresher ones for Monarch eggs and found three of them and one TINY 'piller.


Egg

Weeeeeeeeed, man.
MILKweed.

'Piller!



And I saw this fuzzy wuzzy on several of the mostly dead milkweeds and decided to bring it home. Apparently they are 'pillers of the tussock moth. They may get put back out in the wild, on a live milkweed that has no Monarch eggs or 'pillers. With four Monarchs, they are gonna be a handful to feed on top of the silk worms on the way. Yes, I got that itch to grow silk again. It's just so damn FUN!! Now that I feel better, I want to do everything I used to enjoy ALL AT THE SAME TIME! It may prove to be a big mistake, but it keeps me busy, and motivated.


Tussock Moth 'Piller 


And while I was exploring all the butchered bits of swaplands, I found all these crane feathers! I think the one on the right is an Owl feather.


It was a crazy, adventerous day in the hot sun, but the wind was blowing pretty well most of the day so it kept me cooler and I had plenty of water with me. I did get a bit of a burn on my arms, but it's not too bad.  


Until next time...
***All content is Copyright year and date of posting, and are the sole property of C4G/CCW unless otherwise noted. All rights reserved. Unauthorized reproduction of any part of this website (text, photo's, etc)is strictly prohibited (linking to the post is OK). I've had to revert to moderating all comments due to spammers.***

8/12/2015

DIY Wool Tumbler


(Being edited...)
I never heard of a wool tumbler until I saw a video recently on youtube and thought...WHAT A GREAT IDEA! Wonder how much that would cost?

TOO. MUCH.

And so I went to work putting one together that would cost a fraction of a commercial one AND be treadle powered.

Since putting this together I have continued to improve it. I've ordered 5/16 enclosed ball bearings to add to the posts, and to the wheel I am adding. More photos of that when it is done. If I can find a used motor, I can upgrade it even further! Need to visit Baraboo for that one.

Original Supplies used:

2 - 2x2" posts
2 - 4ft, 1/4" x 2, oak moldings, cut into 2 ft lengths (Used two short leftover pieces from a previous project to add braces to the cross)
2 - 6" 5/16 hex bolts
8 - 5/16 nuts
16 - 3/16 lock washers
4 - 1 1/2" wide, 5/16 ID washers
Approx 5ft of plastic fencing material, 3/4" or 1" mesh
4 - 1/4 Universal Hex Nipple (air tool supply)
Twine
Pipe cleaners
Size 10 D Sinker nails (2 7/8" long)
2 - 1" x 4 ft pine boards (stabilizers)
1 2x4 cut into 2ft sections
4 - 3/4 x 36" Square dowels
1 - 3/8" x 36" round dowel
8 - 3", small diameter, Hitch Pins (wish the receipt said which size they were, I can't remember)
Bailing Twine or other strong string

(3 - 5/16 Sealed Ball Bearings)
(1 - 10" wheel)

Tools:

Power drill
Scroll saw
1/4 bit
3/8 hole drilling bit
Hand planning tool
Gater bit
Clamps


Video
Oak Moldings
(Click to magnify)


Take the 2ft oak moldings, find the center, drill 5/16 hole for bolt. Drill 3/4" holes on both ends of all four, for the dowels to sit in. 


Cut out a piece of the plastic mesh to fit on the ends of the cross-arms, extending just a bit. Secure with pipe cleaners.

I marked the center of mine so I could easily line it up again after being disassembled.

Place a 6" 5/16 bolt through the mesh and center of moldings, adjust the arms so they are about equal distance from one another, in a cross. Add one wide washer, one lock washer, one nut and tighten.
Set Aside

Hitch Pin



Take your 3/4 square dowels and shave down the ends with planer until they are tapered enough to fit through the holes in the oak molding and extends about an inch outside the molding. Then take a 3/32 drill bit and drill a hole through the side of the newly rounded ends. This is for the hitch pins.

Take two of the dowels and drill holes just big enough for your nails, 3" apart along the entire length. Glue in place with Gorilla or wood glue.
Posts



About 2" down from the top of the 2x2" posts, find the center and drill a hole big enough for the Hex nipples, one on each side, and add them to the post.

With the scroll saw, cut out a place for the posts to be inserted into the 2x4 feet, in the middle. Insert into feet and secure with bolts or glue if needed.



Insert dowels into the ends of the moldings, secure in place with hitch pins. It will be very flexible and wobbly at this point. Insert the ends of the bolted cross-arms into the posts. Secure with one wide washer, one nut, one lock washer, another nut and tighten. Don't over-tighten as it will need to be able to rotate freely.
(this may change once the ball bearings arrive)
Repeat for the other side.

Add crisscross stabilizer bars on to posts underneath the barrel, one to each side.



Take plastic meshing, secure to one of the dowels and rotate to measure out meshing. Allow a 3-4" overlap. Secure opening with 3/8 dowel by weaving it into the mesh once at each end. Secure meshing to the dowels with pipe cleaners.

Sew the ends of the mesh to barrel using a whip stitch and string/yarn of choice. I used hemp, it's what I had on hand.




Make sure the dowels with the nail "tines" are angled slightly inward. Be sure to turn the barrel so the wool is impaled by them, left or right depending on which way you decide to angle them. They are easily readjusted. 

This is the wheel I cut from the old bookcase I got rid of. It's about an inch wide and I am slowly carving out a channel for the drive belt, which just happens to be an old bow string from my stick-bow. It's perfect! It's got grip and strength.

The width of the wheel on the shaft of the tumbler is about 4 1/4" It's a wheel I made some time ago for a DIY, cigar box, Book Charkha.


Upon further research and meditating on how to smooth out and improve the overall function of the tumbler and treadle, I bought some ball bearings off Amazon. They haven't arrived yet but I will update when I have them installed.

I recently got a new bookcase to replace a wobbly one, and I reused the old one to cut a couple 10 inch wheels from. I am in the process of turning one into the main treadle wheel. Since it's particle wood, it's been fairly easy to carve out a grove for the drive-band, which just happens to be an old drawstring to my stick-bow. Yes, I have a stickbow, and a recurve. I've also made my own arrows to shoot at the local SCA. Unfortunately I am no longer strong enough to draw either one. LOL! Working on it!




Until next time...
***All content is Copyright year and date of posting, and are the sole property of C4G/CCW unless otherwise noted. All rights reserved. Unauthorized reproduction of any part of this website (text, photo's, etc)is strictly prohibited (linking to the post is OK). I've had to revert to moderating all comments due to spammers.***

8/02/2015

Holy shit, I'm spinning again!


I'm back to my active, creative, happy self! Finally!!
I can't stress what a difference those two little meds have made in my quality of life. I resisted for so long, seeking medical help, struggling through every waking hour.
What a difference.
What a difference.


 I carded my first batt of wool in nearly five years and I have an itch to go to the sheep and wool festival which is next month. I really won't have the extra money for it, but I'll be working again so I can put a few purchases on the craft supply credit card. Everything during the summer gets charged while I am on seasonal lay-off so the rest of the year will be spent paying off the bills. OYE!

I also want to adopt another sheep. I found the wool from the one I adopted some time back and it is still so soft.

Also trying to remember how I cleaned the dirty wools, so I am chugging away at those old raw wools. I was told, some time ago that it was best to store wool in the raw if you weren't going to get around to cleaning it right away. Now, I'm being told, the opposite is true. However, the wool, so far...is looking fine.
Upcycle dreams. This was one entire Opera magazine, rolled into tubes, and then woven into a basket. Another skill to add to my Jane-of-all-Trades belt. Painted with latex paint which provides a sealant and a glue to create a basket as structurally sound as a basket woven of reeds.






I can't express how excited I am to get back to doing what I have enjoyed in the past, and actually ENJOY it again. Fuck the past, it's in the past. Looking forward to what the future holds and working on reopening my heart to make room for love again. Who knows what will happen, I just know I am ready to enjoy the journey again!

And I could really use a wool picker....LOL!!!

And did I mention I am loosing MORE weight?? Went swimming last Friday and my swim suit was so loose that I had to be careful when I leaned over. PEEP SHOW!

I love this little city I live in. All the basics are less than a mile away, Cafe, library, community garden, grocery, dollar store, walgreens, fuel, pizza, Culvers and a bunch more. All I have to do when I need something is hop on the bike and run over. Alternatively walk over when the cold arrives.

I've heard that there is an El Nino happing this year that is stronger than any that has been recorded. That could mean, a brown winter, or a buried winter and nothing in-between. Last time we contended with that we had 101" of snow in one winter. At least I'll get more skiing in than last year when I was only able to ski TWICE because we lacked the proper amount of snow. Twice in 6 months. FFS. I love X-country skiing. Me wants to do more than twice in a season!!

Until next time...


***All content is Copyright year and date of posting, and are the sole property of C4G/CCW/Rexie R unless otherwise noted. All rights reserved. Unauthorized reproduction of any part of this website (text, photo's, etc)is frowned upon (linking to the post is OK), and offenders will be reported to the appropriate authorities. I've had to revert to moderating all comments due to spammers.***

7/16/2015

What I've been up to...


I tried that 100 days of creativity but because I come home so exhausted from work, I couldn't keep up.

But now I am on seasonal layoff and loving it. I love my time off. It gives me time to do what I really enjoy, and that is creating whatever my heart desires.

I've gotten back with swapbot and have had several enjoyable swaps this summer. I really like the swaps that involve sending a card to a kid with cancer. That's the kind of swap I like.

I've not done much quilting but have come back to knitting. So goes the cycle of my life. LMAO!

Knitting has helped me cope with life. I've had quite a problem with insomnia this year and it was really starting to affect my life. I ended up in the hospital three months ago with what I thought were chest pains. Thankfully, my heart is strong and apparently it was just anxiety induced pain. That was the catalyst for more help. I am now taking anti-depressants and anti-anxiety meds. Life is funny. One minute you are okay, the next, everything is falling apart. I can't stress what a difference the meds have med on my mood and daily life. I had gotten in a pretty deep hole. I lost 20 pounds before landing in the hospital because my insomnia had gotten to a point where I would go straight to bed after work, and I was napping instead of eating on my breaks. Great way to lose weight, however I do not recommend it. LMAO!!

But now I am biking darn near every day, my garden is thriving and so am I. I'm creating everyday again and dreaming every night again. My friends have played a very important role in my life by offering support and activity.

You don't realize how precious sleep is, until you stop sleeping.




Until next time...
***All content is Copyright year and date of posting, and are the sole property of C4G/CCW unless otherwise noted. All rights reserved. Unauthorized reproduction of any part of this website (text, photo's, etc)is strictly prohibited (linking to the post is OK). I've had to revert to moderating all comments due to spammers.***