Last weekend I went to an auction that benefits the FFA in Ravenswood, WV. I heard about it sort of accidentally so I didn’t really have any sort of a plan together but I heard that there were several different qualities of junk available.
I have heard people say that at flea markets and auctions, you can only get junk…you can find your plain old, run of the mill junk up through first class junk. As I wandered around the Jackson County Fairgrounds, I was surprised. To be sure, there was a lot of junk available for a few dollars per ton. There was some really great stuff too, and since I really like stuff like this, I spent a few hours perusing the piles.
I think what I enjoyed more than anything was the sound of the auctioneers. Most everyone knows the general sound of the auctioneer’s call and most people wonder how anyone knows what price they are paying for something. If you have never heard a real auctioneer calling, take a listen to a recording I made of my favorite guy.
From the recording, it is hard to tell what is going on I suppose, but I have to tell you, in person, I was never really in doubt about what he was selling (even if he just named it a big box of junk) or what the current bid was when he was calling. If you have never been, go to an auction some time!
I think next year I will go again to this auction and this time, I will have a plan!This entry was posted in Audio, Fun, WV and tagged auctioneers are cool, Audio, Fun, My lips would be numb by warren
We were sitting in the car (aka our recording studio) when the kids decided to sing Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer. Abigail was going to sing it with her kindergarten class so she wanted to practice. I just happened to have my handy dandy voice recorder with me and I recorded this…the debut of Isaac and Abigail with backup vocals by Mom. Maybe it’s just me, but I think kids singing and having fun is about the best sound in the world. I don’t like regular kids’ albums where they have kids singing in wishy washy, overly sweet voices (do kids ever do anything gently or softly?). I really love to hear kids singing loud and proud!
This entry was posted in Audio, Family, Fun and tagged Audio, Family, Fun by warren
I was just a few days ago lamenting the fact that I was not yet in the Christmas spirit. Things still feel a little different this year, but we are making great strides towards getting us fully Christmas-ey. I may work half a day tomorrow but hanging with the family, just playing (and singing this song a bunch more times) will bring us into full Christmas swing. I didn’t ever get how Mom and Dad could be content getting each other underwear for Christmas, but their real present was seeing their kids have a lot of fun playing games, singing, dancing, eating too much, and crashing at the end of a hard fought day. I am a slow learner but I think I get it now. Getting myself in the Christmas spirit is a change in attitude…it’s not about me anymore…and that’s cool!
I was browsing through some old Firefox books a while back when I came across some folks talking about making banjos and dulcimers. In particular, one fella talked about making a cookie tin banjo. I had 4 cookie tins in my office that I saved after we emptied them last Christmas which seemed perfect for the job. So, since I had one insignificant piece of junk I needed, I felt compelled to find the rest and build a banjo!
For the neck of the banjo, I used an old piece of bamboo flooring which I glued to a pine 1×4. The floorboard by itself was not thick enough to provide support where it enters into the cookie tin. I am not exactly sure that it’s the right thickness now but it seems to fit in my hand ok. I left the bamboo top squared off but I rounded the back (the pine part) off smooth so I could hold it easily. Now, I know you are curious how I came up with the shape for the peg head…I traced two Mt Dew cans. This part is important…you have to use Mt Dew to get the thing just right.
The tail piece is a chunk of an extra slat from plantation blinds we installed last Summer. I think there must be a proper way to do this but it seems that the only measurements that really matter are the distance from the bridge to the nut (basically, from the wooden peg on the face of the banjo to the point where the neck joins the peg head. My length is 25 inches though there is some flexibility in that size. The distance from the bridge to the 5th string which attaches to the side of the neck is 18 1/2 inches. Just about everything else negotiable as far as I can tell from reading in Firefox 3.
The hardest thing for me to do was carve the tuning pegs. I tried using steel thumsbcrew and eye bolts and regular screws but none of those things would hold the string tight enough to tune. That left me with carving wooden pegs which hold their position by friction. I bought square 1/4 poplar dowel rods and cut off 2.5 inch sections to carve the pegs. I rouded the bottom 2/3 of the peg to fit in the hole. The top part I left square so I could get a better grip on it for tuning. It seems simple enough but it was a real drag to carve them round. My hands are killing me from messing with those tiny pegs. Anyhow, I drilled a small hole in each to catch the string and they seemed to tune and hold pretty well.
I have a chromatic tuner that I got to tune my violin. I messed around a bit to get the tuning right for the banjo. I think it is pretty close although the 4th string doesn’t sound right to me. We’ll see. It definitely has a banjo sound.
So, the $6 Martin banjo strings are about the only money I have in this thing. Gosh, if only I had any idea how to play a banjo!This entry was posted in Audio, Tinkering and tagged Audio, Tinkering by warren
A long time ago in a state not so far away…yeah, well that’s it for the Star Wars bit. I was born a number of years ago but you’ll have to do some research to figure out how old I am…
So, I have no idea if I was born with or without hair, but I know I had it for some period of my younger years. I had hair for about 25 or so years and then I decided to shave it all off. For awhile, that was pretty cool because I shaved it before other people were shaving their heads. At that time, I was too young to be “old man bald” but my kind of bald was cool. About a year or 3 ago, my follicular karma caught up with me and I started sprouting hair in my ears. It isn’t fair!
Anyhow, it’s my birthday today so I will tell you a few odd things about myself. Apparently I was to be named Jedidiah (hey, that’s almost Jedi!) but when I was “out”, my parents though I looked like my Dad so they named me Warren instead.
I was almost continually sick as a child. I had pneumonia many times and rheumatic fever once before I got through 3rd grade. My illness made me exceptionally handsome…I am still plagued by it!
I remember my absolute favorite pair of shoes…it was in first grade. May parents got me a pair of green gum boots. I wore them to school…all day long…every day. I also loved western shirts more than any other style.
Seriously, though, time has surely flown but I can’t imagine being any other place or with any other people!
By the way, here is a family tradition we enjoy. We call it happy birthday – loud and proud!
This entry was posted in Audio, Family, Fun and tagged Audio, Family, Fun by warren
Emily and I watch very little tv (esp since we don’t have cable) but one show we typically watch is Heroes on nbc. I am typically even less likely to recommend a program than I am to watch one, but if you are prone to sci-fi, check out Heroes. Anyhow, one of the characters on the show is named Mohinder. He’s a scientist that holds the promise of saving humanity…you know, typical sci-fi fare. Anyhow, we really liked the name and decided that the next critter we got would be named Mohinder.
So, the next part of the story…We have a huge problem with stray cats on our hill and they seem to breed faster than rabbits. Another neighbor periodically gathers them all up and takes them to the humane society. Most are pretty wild and unfriendly but one was quite the opposite. We could always pick him out of the crowd as he is missing half of his tail. He is super loving and has a great purr. I am pretty sure the neighbor girls have tamed him and maybe even put him in a dress and makeup. Anyhow, on Friday evening, Emily brought him into the house. We spent vet-money on him over the weekend so he is our new inside-only cat. In Nashville, we had another all black cat named Baptist. He was missing his hind leg. I think we have a thing with parts-missing black cats.
Mo and Madeline (our other cat) aren’t exactly friends yet. In fact, if you look at the pic of our fat tabby, you can somewhat make out the sillouhette of her middle finger, extended for me, as I took the picture.
I was able to record a short snippet of Mo’s purr. He is a champion loving, purring cat!
This entry was posted in Adventure, Audio, Family and tagged Adventure, Audio, Family by warren
Cicadas go through life cycles where they appear in adult form every 2 to 17 years. Most of their lives they live underground and are harmlessly out of the way. As I understand it, this year was the time for the 17-year-between-adults type to hatch in WV. Sure enough, we have had a bunch of them. The big hatch where they molt and leave their dried, older shells everywhere occurred earlier this year. I am not sure how long the adults remain, laying their eggs and such, but they are still active in great number. Cicadas are harmless, except I think they can make a person deaf if proper hearing protection is not worn. We had one land on our kitchen door the other night while Emily and I were doing something. It started its “song” and nearly drove us from the room. I went around outside and was able to record the racket it was making for your listening pleasure.
I don’t think this recording does the volume justice, but it goes on constantly in the evenings. Really, they are fun to watch bumble through the air. They are harmless, crazy, prehistoric-looking bugs that the kids are almost brave enough to try and catch. I always enjoy hearing them is some ways as it is a definite sound of summer!
This entry was posted in Audio, Nature, WV and tagged Audio, Nature, WV by warren
School is back in session. Where has the summer gone?! Isaac was not exactly excited to get back to school though he mentioned that he did miss seeing some of his friends. I think he is secretly excited but didn’t want to admit it. I suppose this might be the year when he starts saying one thing when he really means another. We have to keep up an appearance afterall! Anyhow, Abigail is excited to start but is pretty timid about it all too. She asked me to go over what she is supposed to do when she gets to school, where she is supposed to go, how far I will walk her and for how many days. It’s pretty sweet but pretty scary for me too!
I asked the kids a few questions this morning about their first day of school. Take a second and listen to what they had to say…
This entry was posted in Audio, Family and tagged Audio by warren
Isaac and Abigail each had some more firsts this weekend. Abigail has been practicing and practicing her whistling but has never been able to do it. Friday night, she was puffing and puffing and finally let out a few whistles. She was SO excited and kept on blowing and blowing until she could do it more reliably. She has to work some on volume yet but she is well on her way. Click the arrows below to hear some of her first whistles
Isaac hasn’t ever really tried to blow bubbles with gum much but this weekend he started. At first, he took a lot of time flattening out the gum just right and holding his mouth just right. He blew his first bubbles on Saturday. These pics are from the same piece of gum as his first bubbles (though that might not be saying much as he would save gum for weeks if we’d let him!). By Sunday evening he was blowing bubbles with Dentyne which is not know for its bubble-ability.This entry was posted in Audio, Family and tagged Audio, Family by warren
We were working in the garden this weekend and had to walk by the bees a number of times. They were very active and I really enjoyed hearing the sounds of the hive. The honey flow should be done until this Fall so I don’t know what they are so busy doing. We have noticed them in great number on the corn tassels but it seems strange that they would be so active for that. Anyhow, we need to harvest the honey soon so I will know better then how this year has gone for them. Press the arrows below to hear some sounds I recorded near the hive. You may have to adjust your volume.
This entry was posted in Audio, Bees, Nature and tagged Audio, Bees, Honeybees, Nature by warren
We canned a bunch of green beans last night with the new pressure cooker. I really enjoy using the All-American pressure cooker for a number of reasons. It seems to come to temperature very fast. This could really be a perception thing since it has a temperature gauge . With a normal weighted-pressure cooker without a gauge (see pic below), I always watch the pot never knowing if it is almost at pressure, if the heat is actaully climbing, etc…and, of course, a watched pot never boils. With this canner, I can see the temp and pressure as soon as it boils. I also like this canner because it does not have a rubber gasket to break down and fail. The All-American is formed in a shape such that a metal-to-metal seal is formed. It is also American made (of course) which I appreciate.
Now, the bad stuff…you have to get the lid and base of the canner lined up just right or a seal will not form and the canner will not get to pressure. We ran into this problem last night on our second load of green beans. I didn’t realize it was not sealed until it got pretty hot. I couldn’t just open it and try again (it was still very hot, even though not to pressure). We’ll recan the beans tonight since it was almost midnight when we figured it all out. We’ll just put new lids on the jars and try again.
Most times this canner seals fine but I always have to gently pry the lid from the base after it cools.
It forms a very tight seal. The manual says that a screwdriver placed just right will break the seal (and it does) but I wish I could just pop the lid off every time. It is possible that I am not aligning the lid right when I screw down the bolts that hold the lid and base together. I think that task is nearly impossible though. This is a small issue but an issue nonetheless.
Finally, the All-American is very heavy compared to other canners. This is good and bad. It has a substantial feel to it for sure. The problem is that it is not recommended for glass top stoves and it is heavy to move when full. the price is fairly high but it should last a lifetime. It just has a quiality look-and-feel which I really appreciate.
I sort of like the sounds of canning so I recorded some of what we were doing last night with the canner. I hope you enjoy this “sound-seeing tour”. Click the arrow below to hear it :
This entry was posted in Audio, Canning, Garden and tagged Audio, Canning, Garden by warren