So my cane mill is around 105 years old. It has rust slightly younger than that, but that’s not saying much. Pretty much all un-restored mills have old rust to some degree. Some folks like the rust look and it technically will not harm you if it is otherwise clean. I don’t like the look though and the mills weren’t rusty when they were new so it’s not like I am changing its original state.
So, I was searching around for the best way to remove rust from old iron and there were tons of people using electrolysis. I had heard of electrolysis for hair removal (which is becoming increasingly more interesting as I age and my ears have started to sprout). Anyhow, it is a well known technique for rust removal too (Here is a great bit of info on it). I put my rusty iron into a plastic tub filled with water and laundry soda. I hooked up my battery charger and hee-haw if it didn’t start bubbling!
Cut the power on and wait a few hours and poof…science happens! Search around for more details on your own because, of course, this could kill you if you do it wrong (Just look at my de-rusting tank…those bars are electrified when it’s running). Abigail and I enjoyed our little experiment and I am here to report that it works pretty well. I will still touch it up with a sand blaster (or maybe a soda blaster) but I think it is going to turn into a really nice piece!
My cane mill stuff
I have been remiss in writing about a significant event that took place last weekend. Isaac plays in his school’s jazz band and they had a regional band competition and rating. I had a certain expectation of how the middle school band would sound. I mean, I have heard Isaac play a lot at the house, but getting an entire band to play together is another thing…and middle school kids…well, they aren’t always known for their attentiveness to detail.
We headed to Huntington to one of the high-schools where school bands had been playing all day. Band kids are super cool and mostly a lot of fun to hang around, but I wasn’t sure I wanted to spend my day sitting in an auditorium listening to a bunch of hormone fueled kids screeching out jazz tunes.
I couldn’t believe how wrong I was about pretty much all of my assumptions. I still think band kids are really cool, but I had no idea how awesome they could play a huge variety of jazz tunes. Most of these kids had only been playing 1-2 years but to hear them, you would think that they had been playing since way before puberty. Anyhow, their music speaks for itself so without further adieu:
Extra points to anyone who can identify the names of the songs! I am so proud of all of these kids. They did one heck of a good job and all of their hard work definitely paid off. They were given a superior rating, the highest rating possible!This entry was posted in Audio, Awesome, Family, WV and tagged Band kids are the coolest! by warren
Isaac was born early and under very hard conditions. You can read most of the details here. We had to make many hard decisions and face many hard realities when he was born. We were told that he would likely have a variety of issues that might present themselves as a result of his premature birth and the subsequent treatment to save his life.
As it turns out, Isaac does have one issue that resulted from some of his treatments. During his time in the NICU when he was most critical, we had to sign several releases acknowledging that some of the meds they were giving Isaac may result in his being deaf. In fact, he does have moderate hearing loss in both ears and it centers around higher frequencies…right where most voices tend to fall. As you can imagine, that makes school and sports teams and even home life sort of interesting.
Now Isaac has never been a particularly organized kid. He loses his shoes almost daily. Sometimes he even misplaces his toothbrush if you can imagine. We were hesitant to get him hearing aids when he was younger for that reason. Now that he is in middle school though, he seems to be rounding the corner on keeping track of himself. The school situation was becoming more of an issue as well. The county had been making accommodations for him and provided in-school sound systems in his classrooms but it became hard to manage and he didn’t enjoy the extra attention that went along with it.
So, we decided it was time to do something. Last week, Isaac was fitted for new hearing aids for both ears. They are very inconspicuous and work super well. I think the best thing was when we first walked outside from the doctor’s office. The office is near an interstate and Isaac stepped out and immediately looked around, sort of confused. He asked me what the hum was. He was truly shocked and neither of us realized how much he had been missing…I only wish his first “sound realization” had been something other than the traffic noise from the interstate. Still, it sort of made me happy just to see that he was finally going to hear like me!This entry was posted in Awesome, Family, Technology and tagged Awesome, Family, Technology by warren
I guess most couples have funny phrases or things they say that only they get. Actually, lots of times, many couples have the same set of things they say. My blog friend Capri-Kel is a master of funny words and statements and I think we probably share a lot of the same phrases. In our case, many come from a handful of movies we really enjoy. For instance, the BBC version of Pride and Prejudice is loaded with awesomeness and also many good lines that we use as they appropriate situation arises. Another favorite is Good Morning Vietnam. Most of you who have seen it know the line when Robin Williams gives the weather report…”it’s hot, #$@% hot…so hot you could fry a snake’s @ss”. That’s a line that Emily and I use pretty much every time that one or the other of us asks about the upcoming weather.
That’s a long bunch of rambling just to say I bought a kerosene heater this weekend. There is a church about a quarter mile down the road that has a junk sale every year. It’s sort of locally famous and with good reason…there is a little bit of everything there. So, I was among the early birds this year. I woke before the rest of the family on Saturday and decided to walk in the rain over to see the stuff in this year’s sale. I walked in and immediately spotted a poor, lonesome kerosene heater and they only wanted $10 for it!
Of course, new, such a heater would go for $100 or more so I was pretty pleased with myself. Of course, since I wasn’t thinking properly at 8 am on a weekend, I didn’t think about the fact that I had to walk a quarter mile home in the rain carrying a kerosene heater that seemed to grow increasingly heavy.
We didn’t have to own a kerosene heater but this winter when the power eventually goes out, we will have some heat. That’s way better than burning the dining room table in our questionable fireplace. I love to go junkin’ (that’s a word I picked up from my friend Granny Sue). Mostly I am not a packrat and I do not usually buy anything when I go to a yard sale but I really like to check out other people’s junk and occasionally find a deal that is hot, dang hot!
Edit: Emily just reminded me of alternate meanings for the word “junk”. It gives new meaning to “I really like to check out other people’s junk”. She is not amused…she also took the opportunity to use some of her favorite phrases…I’ll spare your sensibilities…This entry was posted in Awesome and tagged Awesome by warren
Time has been flying lately and I have been remiss in keeping up with writing about things. Take for instance, Dralion, the cool Cirque du Soleil show we say 9 days ago. That’s good stuff and I haven’t written about it for 9 DAYS! Well, as I mentioned in July, Emily and I celebrated our 18th wedding anniversary and our gift to each other was tickets for the family to see the show. We got incredible tickets in the second row back. They were acrobatting right in front of us!
So, I don’t know if you have ever seen a Cirque show but they are amazing acrobatic shows where the audience is left wondering if the laws of physics apply to the performers. I am not kidding…the performers fly through the air and do things that people should not be able to do. And they do it every day and somehow, apparently, survive to fly day after day.
I first saw the Cirque show called KA in Las Vegas (if you ever get the chance, see the show!). It was amazing so I was so excited to see how the kids would react, seeing this show for themselves. As much as I enjoyed seeing the show this time, I enjoyed even more seeing the look on Abigail’s face. She couldn’t stay seated. She perched in her seat, she sat cross-legged. Her eyes lit up and she smiled and frowned and clapped. It was so much fun to see her watch the show!
Even with things being so hectic, it was so wonderful to be able to share such a cool time as a family. I don’t figure that things will slow down in the next month or two but it’s all in a day’s work around here! We aren’t defying the laws of gravity around here but we are squeezing more into 24 hours that I ever thought possible!This entry was posted in Awesome and tagged Awesome by warren
I was headed home from harvesting honey on Sunday when I passed a friend on the road as I was coming off the ridge. I skidded to a stop on the gravel road (which is always a thrill!) and we talked about bees and stuff. Last week, my friend had offered for me to come pick grapes from his vines. I ran out of time last week, but my friend offered again and I took him up on it!
We picked a basket full of grapes without even working at it and I have to tell you, the smell of freshly picked, perfectly ripe grapes is incredible. I sort of hated to get out of the car, the smell was so incredible. If they made fresh grape cologne, I would consider wearing cologne. I would not consider it long as I do not like cologne at all, but I would consider it…it was that incredible.
Imagine my surprise Tuesday night when I walked into the house and smelled the grapes that Emily and Abigail were cooking into grape juice (and soon to be jelly!). The house was heavenly! Have you noticed how bad store-bought grape jelly is? It used to taste grapey and pretty good but now it just tastes purpley. It is awful.
Ok, sorry…sidetracked. Anyhow, I used to freak out when I saw my mom and grandma canning grape juice. They always added a few grape into the jars and as they sat upon the shelves in the cellar, I swore it looked like jars of eyeballs. No, in our grape juice, there will be no eyeballs. Our jelly will be grapey and the sun will continue to rise in the east. This is just how things should be.This entry was posted in Awesome, Canning, Food and tagged Awesome, Canning, Food by warren
I was a weird kid…ask anyone. Some would argue I am still am weird. They are probably right. Anyhow, when I was a kid, I had a small black transistor radio from Sears that Santa brought. I listened to classical music frequently on it. I also listened to Charlie Pride and CCR on 8 track so I had a diverse listening experience as a kid. Anyhow, back to that transistor radio. I loved that radio and loved the smell of the ozone it generated (or whatever that smell that old electronics make). Surely I am not the only one who knows and likes that smell? I (somewhat) understand how radio waves work but I remain amazed at how people talking somewhere in the world can end up talking through the little speaker in my hand.
Fast forward to now. I have a little bit of extra money now and then and my fascination with radios is being reborn. I got my ham radio license a few months ago and that started me learning more about radios and antennae and stuff. So, with that extra money I mentioned a moment ago, I went junkin’ a few months ago and found a 40ish year old shortwave radio…for $1!
Just this weekend, I was driving by another pile of junk someone had for sale sitting out by the road. I spotted another old shortwave radio and whipped the car around to check it out…for a mere $7 I bought another 40ish year old shortwave radio. Both radios are in pretty awesome shape and tune very well.
Aren’t those faces just beautiful
I have a third more modern shortwave radio which is nice and all but punching in frequencies on the keyboard just doesn’t have that old fashioned radio feel and the new radio doesn’t make that old radio smell. I love to stoop in near the radio with my ear to the speaker as I slowly and carefully turn the dial listening for anything interesting.
I have all of my radios on a table in the living room and when the lights are dimmed a little and I can spend a few minutes tuning in the world, the world feels a little smaller…and a lot more crazy! Seriously, have you ever listened to shortwave? There are lots of crazy folks on there. Still, there is even more awesome stuff broadcast on shortwave and I love searching for every bit I can find!
Does anyone else listen to shortwave (or any band in addition to AM/FM)?This entry was posted in Awesome, Thoughts and tagged Awesome, Technology by warren
Today is our 18th wedding anniversary. I know, when you see pictures of us, you say to yourself that we cannot possibly be old enough to have been married for 18 years but it is true. We both turned 40 this year so that makes us…young when we were married. Sometimes I think back and can’t imagine how young we really were but I would not trade a single day of our 18 years…plus 3 before that when we dated.
I guess I don’t tell Emily how lucky I know I am to have been able to marry her. We probably won’t do anything fancy tonight and I expect we will probably act today much like any other day, but I am truly as happy as I have ever been and I am so proud to call Emily my wife!This entry was posted in Awesome and tagged Awesome by warren
It’s been a great week at the beach. When I got here on Saturday afternoon, I took my lace-up shoes off and have not had them on my feet since. It’s a pretty cool metaphor for the beach now that I think of it. When we are at the beach, there are really no rules and nothing tying us down. If we want to eat Oreos for breakfast, we do. If we want to read books all day and doze in and out under the tent on the beach, we do. Shoes are so constraining and sometimes life feels that way too. The beach is just the opposite of all that! I want to marry the beach.
Ok, so that won’t work and I really don’t like sand in every nook and cranny I carry around on my unshod feet. But I do love being here. Our family loves to read and we have vary varied tastes. We decided to take a picture of the books that we read this week at the beach. Some we read more than once. It was a great bit of fun and they will smell like suntan lotion for months so we will have great reminders of our time here.
We spent a lot of time together as a family just enjoying each other and we talked about a little bit of everything. We didn’t turn on the tv or do anything touristy (there isn’t anything of that sort at Topsail…which is why we love it here). We just sat and bared our soles (well, souls, and that might be a stretch but I am trying to work with the shoe metaphor here…gimme a break). I love my little family and it is so nice to be reminded of just how much on these trips. There are no appointments to make and no chores to do. It’s wonderful!
So, tonight as I pack my bags and try to find my socks and shoes, I am a little sad. Soon we will be back to the grind doing what we always do. I think of these getaways as almost sacred and everyone knows you aren’t supposed to wear shoes on sacred ground!This entry was posted in Awesome, Family and tagged Family by warren