Archive for January, 2010

While enjoying some darn fine Doc Watson videos on YouTube tonight I figured I would check to see if Doc was still touring and if he had any dates in the area this summer.

Much to my surprise I discovered that he was playing in Ann Arbor, MI tonight!  Of all nights, the evening I searched he was playing live just a few hours drive from here.

This was truely a missed opportunity of a lifetime.   Hopefully I’ll get the opportunity to see him play live before he stops touring, perhaps at Merlefest.

In my opinion, Doc is a true musical legend.

Here’s a link to the current tour dates…

Here’s a nice playlist of Doc (and the likes of Chet Atkins, his late son Merle, and others) from YouTube. 

Hope you enjoy these as  much as I do 🙂


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The survival and homestead library

This week the postman delivered the most recent addition to my Survival/ Preparedness/Homesteading library.  It’s a 1999 reprint of William S. Wicks’ book “Log Cabins and Cottages- How to Build and Furnish Them”.

My copy is a nice little fabric covered hard bound 1999 version.   The original was published in 1920.

The book covers some basic design variations, steps, and considerations that one would use to design a cabin or cottage.  Topics include location selections, foundation, walls, beams, siding, roof materials, fireplaces, etc.

It’s full of wonderful hand drawn illustrations that are more informative than useful.  The floorplans that corner some of the prints are very small and provide only a basic insight of the cabin’s layout.

I bought this book on Amazon, from a 3rd party bookstore.

With shipping, it cost less than $8.  In my opinion, it’s worth every penny.

Here’s a link  for the paperback copy at Amazon… Log Cabins and Cottages: How to Build and Furnish Them

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First Amendment to the United States Constitution- “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

Say what you will about the advertisements that will flood the airwaves come election time,  but the underlying principles of freedom of  speech and freedom of press (for all!) were defended today by our US Supreme Court.

There is HOPE, after all!

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Window sill green onions

A few weeks ago I planted a green onion kitchen scrap root trimming.

Looking at the roots on the green onion and the plantless pot sitting on the window sill, where a spider plant start failed to take,  I figured ‘why not give it a try?’.

Within a few days the center of the green onion started growing like crazy, followed by a new shoot, about a week and a half later.

I’ve since added four more green onion roots to the same pot.  Three of the four have already started growing.

Last night was the first opportunity to use the home-grown green onion.  The flavor and texture of the fresh onion was fantastic!  It was unlike anything I’ve experienced from grocery-bought onions.

The time from plant to plate was a whopping 20 seconds.   The home-made BBQ Chicken flatbread pizzas were awesome!  BBQ Chicken Flatbread Pizzas

I’ve since started a few garlic plants from some nearly dried out garlic clove slivers.  These sprouted after only three days in the pot.  I plan on transplanting these outside come springtime.

This experiment has proven a great success.  Time to check the fridge and see what else we can grow or start on our window sill.

I wonder if a regular onion eye will sprout.  Or maybe a baby carrot…

What do you think?  Is there anything you would recommend trying?

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hybrid willows in backyard- summertime

ten year old hybrid willows

The time has come to take down the rest of our messy hybrid willows.  Come Monday, they will be nothing but stumps.  We’ll have those ground out come springtime.

We were in no rush to deal with the last eight willows but after seeing the mess of switches they littered all over the neighbors’ yards after just a few good wind storms, we knew we would end up dealing with these sooner, rather than later. 

These cheap, fast growing trees make a mess and can cause severe damage to drain tiles and irrigation systems.  

The previous owner planted these as a privacy screen.  Since these have grown so tall, they are no longer serving that purpose.   Once these are gone I hope to never see them again.

I suspect we’ll get a better privacy screen from a nice slow growing, productive patch of blueberries and raspberries.  They won’t grow as quickly, but they also won’t be as destructive and messy.  Maybe we’ll plant a cherry tree or two back there, also. 

Time will tell.

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Posting topics in the works

Another of my 2010 goals is to publish at least one blog post each week.  This post is to serve as my motivator to keep up with my blogging.  

The original intention of “SPISBLOG’s Journal” was to chronicle things that sparked my interest, things I was doing or researching, and to share some of my knowledge and experience with anyone who might stumble upon my blog.

That said, here’s the short list of some forthcoming posts…

1.) Create the long overdue “About Me” for SPISBLOG

2.) A white pine tree propagation project I’m thinking about

3.) The winter windowsill garden (of sorts) I’ve recently started

4.) Low key food production in a suburban environment- (starting with herbs, expanding to greens)

5.) More posts about weatherproofing and energy conservation projects

6.) Review some new books (some actually ‘new’, others just new to my library)

7.) Some random product reviews

8.) Experiment with Quickpress

This should give me a good start from which to build upon.

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As I mentioned in my last post, one of my 2010 goals is to complete 5000 jigsaw puzzle pieces in 2010.

Last week my step daughter Lisa and I began working on a Ceaco Jigsaw Puzzle she gave me for Christmas.  Today we finished it.  It was the “Trump’s General Store ” puzzle from the “Joan Steiner’s Can You Find” series.

We estimate that it took about 20 man hours to complete.

Joan did a great job using over 150 real items to create the miniature scene.  Very clever!  Check out the link here for a better image of the puzzle.

This was a very fun puzzle to complete.  The pieces were small, there was a very good variety of shapes, and the fit and finish was very nice.   I am extremely pleased with the quality and value of this puzzle.

I was also happy to discover that Caeco  makes their puzzles in the USA.

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