Sunday, September 26, 2010

Fall has Come

Though the fall equinox came earlier this week, I always said fall starts when the sumac turns red. . .

. . . and it has!

The  leaves are starting to change.  The maples are already changing.  The maple by the barn is near peak.  I've already started to rake leaves and put them in the compost pile.  The temperatures are steadily falling.  We'll see frosts in a few week.

I finished the puffin decoy.  Overall, I am pretty happy with it.  The hardest part was the bill.  I need to give it a coat of wax or a coat of epoxy.  On to the next project!

Puffin Decoy Before

Puffin Decoy After

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Caress of Steel

In a previous post, I mentioned I had picked up a 2-man crosscut saw at our local auction house.  I finally got around to cleaning it up this past weekend.

The saw was in very good shape.  The handles were sturdy and well-fastened.  The blade did not appear to be too rusty, and the teeth looked to be in good shape.

I sanded the blade first on both sides with 100 grit paper, and then rubbed it with steel wool.  A good coat of WD-40 was rubbed over both sides.  I was happy with the surface.

I then looked at the teeth.  There are a number of tooth patterns for saws.  This saw is set with a champion tooth pattern.  Two triangular teeth are set slightly out of line of one another, while a smaller 2-pronged tooth (known as the raker) is set in line.  The triangular teeth do the cutting, while the raker help to clean the shavings out of the cut.

I checked the height of the rakers.  They should be just below the cutting teeth.  If the rakers are above the level of the triangular cutting teeth, it will be hard to saw.   Luckily for me, all the teeth were in good shape and at the correct level.  I then mounted the saw in a vice, and proceeded to sharpen the teeth with a file.  I still need to check the set of the teeth (i.e., the offset angles between the teeth) to make sure that they are properly aligned.

I'll have to get the wife out soon and give the saw a try.  I am sure we aren't a matched sawing team.  Hopefully using the saw out won't cause a big fight!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

One Year Passed

I can't believe its been a year since I started this blog.  I thank my daughter for being my inspiration.  Our blogs allow us to keep in touch even though we are separated.

The Moon Setting over Spook Hill

 Another year has passed by.  Summer is waning fast.  There are still a few of the plants which are in their peak splendor. The silver lace clematis on the arbor is splendid.

Silver Lace Clematis

However, the tomatoes are fading fast.  The wife collected 12 dozen this week.  She has also put away 6 dozen which we picked last week after we let them ripen.

I look over my blog to see what I've done.  There are lessons to be learned.  When might I expect our first snow, when do the plants flower, what project was easy, what is the hard way?  I look forward to another year (as we all do).  I hope this journey brings me (and my followers) new insights.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Giant Puffballs!

The end of the summer has come.  We have been to reunions and parties the last three weekends.  We had a great get-together this past weekend here at our home.  My cycling as been erratic, but I did get a chance to get a few rides in this past weekend.  On one ride, I saw a large white ball sitting in the woods about 15 feet from the road.  When I was riding back, I pulled off the road and went up to the white ball.  Was it a bag of trash, a mushroom, a deflated toy ball?

I pushed it gently with my hand (no, I did not think it was some alien life-form preparing to turn me into a blob).

It was a giant puffball mushroom (Langermannia Gigantea).  I took some pictures of it (in one photo I have a water bottle next to it).  The puffball was about 12 inches (30 cm) at its widest.  It was the largest one I had ever seen!

Just yesterday I saw 2 more nearby our house by the historic Bement-Billings homestead.  It must be puffball season.

A site I frequent states these are edible when newly emergent.  I like mushrooms, but think I'll pass on picking some myself.  It would have been nice sliced and sautéed with a little butter though...