Saturday, April 26, 2014

Lessons Acquired During the Week

On matters related to the production of propellant

Kiln drying wood vastly increases the speed of the charcoal production process.

Do not attempt to kiln dry willow wood in a household oven at temperatures above 250 degrees Fahrenheit.

Four smoke alarms sounding off simultaneously are sufficient to awaken King Tut.

Willow wood will sponatenously burst into flame at 350 degrees Fahrenheit when exposed to sufficient oxygen.

Ray Bradbury, author of Fahrenheit 451 is not to be trusted on matters of combustibility.

Streams of white smoke emanating from my windows no longer result in neighbors calling the fire department.

The power of suggestion is insufficient to convince others that the smell of willow smoke is due to the use of a new, bacon scented air freshener.

Observing that women were historically the gender to grind grain in the home, and suggesting that should extend to the production of pyrotechnic charcoal is not a path to marital bliss.

On matters relating to car keys

Few things motivate old geezers to start picking up the house.

Looking for misplaced car keys is one of those motivators.

Old geezers lose their car keys far more often than young geezers.

It is a strategic mistake to text your wife at work and ask if she accidentally took your keys to work.

Unless you strategically un-pickup the house afterward.

Mrs ERJ attributes the increased rate of misplaced car keys to the fact that I now putter around a larger, more random path about the house prior to leaving it.  My "morning" routine is no longer a rigid routine.

On matters related to cable sleeve crimping tools

The inexpensive cable sleeve crimping tool I bought has a generic, straight jaw profile.

The preferred geometry is cupt-to-cup.

The desired geometry can be approximated with a 5/16" diameter file.

Inexpensive tools might be inexpensive due to wide acceptance windows for component hardness.  That is, the components may, or may not, be tempered after quenching.

One jaw of my inexpensive tool was so hard it took the teeth off of my chainsaw file.

MAPP gas is good stuff.

Color charts for indicated temperature still work when used with discretion.   The very faintest of dark red glow when seen in a dim room is probably between 900F and 1000F.

Tempering a fully hardened, high carbon steel at 900F takes it down to about spring-hard.  That is, between 35 and 40 Rockwell C for hardness.

Garden stuff

The more I garden the more I see a need for a warm space.

The optimum temperature for callous formation is about 80 degree Fahrenheit.

Roots form out of the undifferentiated callous tissue.

Callous is the "glue" that bonds the scion and the rootstock of a graft together.

Some potatoes (like Canela Russet) have incredible storage ability due to their inherent, genetic make-up.  They are very tardy at popping up when planted into cool garden soil.  Pre-sprouting the tubers is like remedial reading classes.  It gives them a fighting chance of keeping up with their peers.


Baby calves are cute.

Puppies are aggravating.  Especially when they decide that full water dishes (we use two quart plastic snap-top containers) are their new, favorite play toy.

Few things bring more joy than watching one's children compete on the athletic field.

Kubota gave up on me.  He took matters into his own hands.  He decided that I was not going to scratch his itch for a motorized vehicle that he can ride on.

Kubota is buying (with his own money!) a used ride on lawn mower. 


  1. A ride on lawnmower? Around here we call those "riding lawnmowers". Interesting bit of regional syntax, how common names differ around the country.

    Several years ago my daughter had a teacher from the PacNorWest, who mentioned that her daughter used a "floater" in the pool. Her deep-South students were shocked and dismayed. In these parts, those toys used to provide buoyancy are called "floatees", whereas a "floater" is a corpse you've discovered in a body of water.

  2. Busted!

    I think most folks up here also call them "riding mowers".

    But to me, it is still a new-fangled, ostentatious doo-dad. Sort of like the "SEE-ment pond" in Beverly Hillbillies.

    Figuring an 18" swath, the person mowing with a hand mower must walk 5.5 miles to mow an acre of lawn. At two miles per hour, that takes about three hours which is a pretty light day's work or a solid-but-not-arduous workout.

    Watching a townie mow their 3000 square feet (about 1/15th acre) with a ride on mower (Sorry, riding mower) is a source of mirth.

    OK, I have some empathy when the person who is mowing is an octogenarian. But it calls to mind Willard Fox of Dimondale, Michigan who did not go to see his doctor about his hernia until he had the hay in the barn. Willard raised sheep and they are fussy about quality. Willard was 91 when that transpired.

    Usually, the person riding the mower on that 3000 square foot lawn would benefit from some additional exercise.

    As Belladonna would conclude, "Just saying."