Author Archive

Random thoughts October 26 2016

I am 48 years old, getting close to turning 49.  Life has not gone anywhere near like what I wanted.  A large part of that is my own fault.  When I graduated high school I went into the work force rather than joining the military or going to college.  The older I get the more I regret those decisions.

At 17 and 18 years old I wanted to join the army and try out for special forces.  Some may call that a pipe dream, while others call it silly.  I call it having a dream. Par of life should be following your dreams. Rather than joining the army I got married and had children.

The other things I wanted to do, and have wanted to do all of my life is archeology and anthropology.

July 3rd of 2016 I quit my job on a tugboat. I got tired of working 100 hours a week, and I got tired of hearing grown men whine and complain. Working on a tugboat is like working around a bunch of high school teenage girls. Backstabbing, gossiping, always worried about what other people think,,, life on a tugboat was downright bad.

[Read the rest of this entry…]

Thrunite TN4A Flashlight Review

Up until a few months ago I had never heard of Thrunite. The leaders of the high quality flashlight pack are names like Surefire and Streamlight. Those guys better up their game because Thrunite is offering a quality product at a very affordable price.

Full disclosure: I received the Thrunite TN4A at no cost to myself. Receiving a sample at no cost to myself will not influence my opinion as I look at the results of the test. The most important factor is if the flashlight passed all of the test and continue operating.

The test: Some of the youtube viewers have accused me of abusing the flashlights in my test. One example is the Thrunite TN12 review where the flashlight is put through all kinds of test.  Some of the viewers asked what running over the light with a tractor proved.  Some testers run over gear with a car or truck, so I thought why not be different and use a tractor.  Due to the feedback I decided not to run over the Thrunite TN4A with a tractor.


[Read the rest of this entry…]

Watchmen The Sound of Silence

The watchmen, released in 2009 is a superhero movie of such epic proportions it is somewhat difficult to describe. Is it a love story, maybe a war story, vigilante story, underdog story, or maybe all of them?

There are so many parallel plots going that there is no lack of action or lack story. The Watchmen is not just one story, or two stories,,, but a bunch of stories all rolled into a beautiful mess.

While browsing through youtube I found this video and wanted to share it with all of you. It is beautiful, elegant, moving and a work of art.

Life in a medieval castle

If you have ever wondered what life in a medieval castle was like, this is the book for you. Joseph and Frances Gies describes in great detail everything from how, why and when castles were first built, their evolution and finally their decline.

While reading life in a medieval castle I sometimes forgot this was a book about castles. The authors offer such a wide spectrum of history that surrounds castles that it is easy to lose oneself in the book.

Chapters include:

The castle comes to england
The lord
The castle as a house
The lady
The household
A day in the castle – which I found very interesting
Hunting as a way of life
The villagers
The making of a knight
The castle at war – another chapter I found interesting
The castle year
The decline of the castle

[Read the rest of this entry…]

Building a railroad track anvil

Rather than buying an anvil, I decided to build one out of a piece of track and tie plate I found in my grandfathers old barn. The barn is maybe 75 – 100 years old and has various pieces of farm equipment in and around it.

There are various examples on youtube of railroad track anvils. A lot of them involve drilling or cutting holes in the base of the track and then securing it to a stand. Why not weld the track to a tie plate, and then bolt them to a stand? Seems to me having a wider base of the tie plate would distribute pressure while beating on the track.

I wanted something besides your typical piece of railroad track welded, chained, or bolted to a stand. I wanted something that when people see it they say “that is cool”. I wanted something that was semi-portable. So that when I build my pole barn I can move the anvil and stand to the barn.

Prepping and welding

[Read the rest of this entry…]

Mama guinea with her keets

Guineafowl are loud, not as friendly as chickens, not very smart, but for some reason they are fun to have around the farm.

In late summer of 2015 I got a dozen guineas along with some chicks. Over the course of the next few months 4 of the guineas went missing or died. I found one guinea chick dead from what I suspect was heat stroke.

Guineas are not supposed to be good parents, and that may be true. What I am seeing with my guineas, the chicks have to keep up with the flock, kinda like sink or swim. While at the same time the flock protects the chicks.

The guinea flock will run off any chicken that dares get close to the keets. Guineas do not seem to share food with the keets, but rather shows the keets where the food is at. At a week old I saw the flock taking the keets close to 100 yards from the chicken house.

The mama guinea hatched out 6 keets. A week and a half later all 6 chicks are still alive and well.

CNN reporter admits media giving Hillary free ride

CNN reporter admits the media has been giving Hillary a free ride.  The also admits they are the biggest ones promoting her campaign.

When the media is corrupt, who are the people supposed to turn to for the truth?

This is the downfall of capitalism.  News agencies are nothing but a business to make money.  If they do not make money they close their doors and people lose their jobs, which may not be a bad thing when it comes to CNN.

Major media has a responsibility to present the people the facts.  This does not include censoring the details, such as omitting wikileaks.

In all honesty, this is nothing new with CNN.  They have been pushing liberal agendas as far back as I can remember.  Back in the 1990s CNN was a big proponent of gun control.  And now CNN is censoring the news.

CNN cuts feed when WikiLeaks is brought up

Interview is going on with Rep. Chris Collins, he brings up wikileaks, feed it cut in a matter of seconds.

This is not the first time CNN has been caught censoring the news.  How can the people expect a fair and balanced election when major media outlets are censoring the news?  How are people supposed to be informed voters when just all of the major news outlets are bashing Trump?

The news outlets are all over how Trump has been accused to treating women.  But not a single mention of how Hillary treats the Secret Service.

If a news agency is more critiical of a certain political candidate, then boycott that station.  Ratings go down, they lose money, something will have to change.

Snake while filming flashlight review

While walking along a creek taking stock pictures for a Thrunite flashlight review I heard leaves rustling behind me.  I turned around and saw a snake slithering down the bank and into the creek.

Upon reaching the water the snake stopped and was looking straight at me. I have heard that the water moccasin (cotton mouth) can be aggressive. I do not know if this is true. Most of the cotton mouths I have came across where happy to slither away, or they coiled up and stayed still.

There was a dried vine hanging close to my head. I reached up and snapped off a piece of the vine that was about 2 feet long. The snake started to slither towards me, so I stepped into the middle of the creek where the water was running at a faster pace than close to the bank. The snake continued along the edge of the bank and went into a clump of roots that were in the water.

I just happened to be at the wrong place at the wrong time. It appeared that I may have spooked the snake and it just wanted to get back to its home, and I was between the snake and where it wanted to go.

Looking at the snake for a few seconds I realized it was a water snake and not a cotton mouth water moccasin. The head was not that of a water moccasin and the body was much smaller. This snake had a narrow head and slim body. The water moccasin has a well defined triangle shaped head and thick body.

Honestly I do not care what kind of snake it is. It can go on its merry little way and leave me alone.

Blacksmith Essentials

A buddy of mine has been talking about getting into blacksmithing. This got me to thinking, why not get into it myself?

I have a poor mans anvil that has been laying around the farm. Awhile back a large hickory tree and large pin oak fell on the back of the property. I have the anvil and I have something solid to build the anvil stand out of, sections of a tree trunk. All I need to do now is put everything together and pick a few odds and ends.

While looking through youtube I came across this video that discusses in great detail what is needed to get into blacksmithing. I like that the person making the video is not recommending top of the line tools. Obtain what is needed to get started on the path to blacksmithing and go from there.

Three blacksmith essentials:

Anvil, or something hard to work the steel.

The video discusses in great detail different types of forges, different types of anvils, such as the London pattern and the European style anvil.

This type of video is exactly what I was looking for to help on my future blacksmithing endeavors.

Farm welding basics

While bush hogging through some heavy brush the front of the tractor ran into a limb and broke a weld on the radiator guard. The brush guard frame is inch and a quarter angle iron with perforated steel making the actual guard. This is probably the second or third time the weld has broke. The weld itself is fine. The issue is the leverage put on the weld with the brush guard.

My welding qualifications:

2 years experience structural steel welder.

12 years experience fabrication AMSE certified pressure vessels and shell and tube heat exchanges. I have been certified on carbon steel, chrome and stainless. I have experience fitting and working with Monel, Hastelloy, Inconel,,, and a few other alloys. The vessels and heat exchangers I built had everything from water to hydrogen to phosgene running through them, but not all at the same time.

MIG, stick or Fluxcore

[Read the rest of this entry…]

Splitting firewood with railroad spikes

A couple of months ago a water oak (pin oak) and a live oak fell on the back of the property. This has given me the chance to stockpile some much needed firewood.

While I have all this freshly cut oak firewood, I decided to play around with some ideas. One of those ideas is splitting firewood with railroad spikes. If someone does not have a splitting maul, 8 pound sledge or wedges laying around, what about railroad spikes?

Railroad spikes are somewhat easy to obtain. Ebay is loaded with them, then there are the flea markets, and the vast number of them laying around old farms. In the early days of logging mills, narrow gauge tracks would be built out from the mill in various directions. When the mills closed crews would pick up the tracks. Left behind were numerous bolts, plates and spikes. Using a metal detector it is common to find spikes left over from these narrow gauge tracks that went out from the mills.

How easy or difficult is it to split firewood with railroad spikes? That is what I set out to answer.

[Read the rest of this entry…]

Love respect and dignity for trees

A couple of months ago a couple of oak trees fell on the back of the property. At first I was going to do a video and article about stockpiling firewood. As the project progressed, I came to the realization that the trees were symbolic of what the world needed most – love, respect and dignity.

If people would show everyone around them, everything, and the world itself those things things, everything would be better off. Our lives would be better, the world would be a better place, our families would be better, our children would be better,,, everything would be better.

The tree I was working on in the video is a water oak (Quercus nigra), also called a pin oak. The other tree that fell is a live oak. The live oak has a bunch of intertwined limbs that is going to make it rather difficult to cut up. The pin oak has a nice straight trunk with just about all of the limbs at the top. Since the pin oak is going to be easier to cut up I started with it.

Both trees fell across a washed out area next to a creek. The tree top was on the bank of the creek, while the root ball was on another bank. A Stihl MS310 was used to cut off the top and cut up the trunk. The bank was too steep to carry the logs up to the truck, so a tractor and rope was used to pull the logs up the bank.

[Read the rest of this entry…]

Shotgun best all around SHTF survival weapon

When it comes to an all around SHTF survival firearm, there is no better choice than the pump shotgun. No other firearm is as versatile as the shotgun. No other firearm can go from snake protection, to hunting deer or hogs, to hunting squirrels like the shotgun.

We live in an era of firearms where tacticool is the name of the game. Fanboy clubs have popped up where only the best of the best is good enough. Then it is a pissing match to see who can have the coolest toys on their firearms. This translates to who can have the best optic, the best trigger, the best light,,, etc. In other words, firearm ownership has turned into a competition to see who can invest the most money into their toys.

Then there is the classic pump shotgun. Nothing fancy, no light, no optic, maybe not even a sling. There is something about the shotgun, how simplistic it is, how timeless it is.

Tactical vs hunting shotgun

[Read the rest of this entry…]

Modified railroad track anvil

Over the past month of or I have taken an interest in blacksmithing. One of my buddies has been talking about making knives and such. this got me to thinking about learning the basics of blacksmithing.

Rather than spend a lot of money on an anvil I have been looking at various anvils made from railroad tracks, also known as the poor man anvil.

While looking through youtube I came across this video about homemade railroad track anvils, which have had steel welded to the top and bottom. The larger anvil has a magnet on the side. One of the comments on youtube asked what kind of steel to use. The reply was AR500.

One of the things I have been thinking about is how do you mount a railroad anvil to a solid base? The video answers that question for me. A thick piece of steel is welded to the bottom of the anvil and then clips welded to the steel plate.