Wednesday, April 24, 2013

A Bluing Primer

A Bluing Primer
The Process Of Making Your Old Rifle Look Like New

After a while, a rifle's luster will begin to fade, and the finish on the barrel will wear off. You can blue it yourself at home to return it to the brilliance it once had. Alot of gun stores and sporting good store will have kits available an by doing it your self it will save you money.
Here are some of the items you will need to get started:
1. steel wool
2. de-greaser
3. alcohol
First, remove the stock from the rifle. You want to be working with only metal and no wood or plastic. Refer to the manual for proper disassemble procedures. If you do not have the manual, see if you can find information about your gun's dismantling online, YouTube is a great source for these types of things!
Next, use your steel wool to firmly, but evenly remove any rust spots. If there are any nicks underneath the rust and on the surface of the gun, rub on them until the metal is completely smooth and polished looking. Make sure you take it all down to the bare metal. Now thoroughly clean your hands with alcohol, paying special attention to your fingertips. This is to help you not leave any fingerprints on the metal. At this point I like to use surgical gloves.
  Now you will want to use a small square of toilet paper and plug both ends of the barrel. Use a clean cloth saturated with the de-greaser and rub until the metal is clean. Now rinse the metal with warm water and dry it with a clean cloth or towel. Repeat this process again. Now let it rest for about ten minutes. I would recommend cleaning your hands and fingertips at this time again with the alcohol.
Now soak the sponge until it is completely saturated with the gun bluing compound. Gently, apply bluing to the rifle barrel using the same stroking technique as you would use with a paintbrush. I always think of the Karate Kid's training at this time! Definitely do this until every single bit of the metal is coated. Now let the bluing rest and dry for about five minutes, then rinse the entire surface of the barrel with luke warm water. Now take the time to wipe the surface dry and again let it rest for for five minutes. OK, now give the surface of the barrel a gentle and light once over with the steel wool. You may see streaking in the finish at this point, and if you do, repeat the process from the beginning until you are satisfied with the results.
step by step summary:
1. remove the stock from the rifle
2. steel wool to firmly, but evenly remove any rust spots
3. de-grease, rinse, repeat
4. blue, rinse, and rest

Zen & The Art Of Lawn Maintenance

A basic guide on how to mow your lawn like a zen rock garden & why you would even want to. Quickly look out your window at your lawn. Is it boring? Why not transform what grass you have into an extension of the life within and without of your lawn? And while you are add it, why not add in some food or medicinal herbs? After taking time to make your lawn more than just some grass growing out there, you will feel a sense of accomplishment and peace.

The art of mowing your lawn like a zen garden is something I noticed while a young kid, mowing lawns around the neighborhood for small change. It was quite simple to just mow back & forth, in straight lines, but I noticed that the older gentlemen where rolling around in circles on their riding lawn-mowers. And then I saw the grass. It looked, well, like it was supposed to! A wonderful thought came to me... what if I added this around and around technique, even though I had a put mower, and could I not, because I had a push mower, add even more maneuverability, and thus more definition to this technique. And so I committed myself, and to this day, I cannot mow a single lawn without mowing in tune with not only the outer objects, but the objects within the lawn's boundaries themselves.

Just what to do?
So, as you start at , lets say where the corner of the lawn meets the walkway to your front door, start mowing the outer edge, moving around, tracing the outline of your yard. If you are using a gas or electric mower with an out chute, make sure you are pointing the scraps and cuttings chute away from the yard, not into it. If you encounter any trees, shrubs, or planting boxes, or lets say, your mailbox, add that to the tracing you are creating. Now, slowly spiral your way inward, one outline at a time. As you encounter new objects, treat them with the same respect as your mailbox, and add them into the entire groove of it all. Eventually, you will get to the point where there is no lawn left. At this point, either turn off the mower and wheel it out, or pick up the reel mower and carry it out of the yard. Now get a sweet tea, lemonade, beer, or whatever, sit back, and notice how great your yard looks!

So, next time you want to add some fun to the chore of mowing, try focusing on all the things within and without of your yard. Add more texture and life into your life!

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Writing a novel while living a busy life

Some tips & information on how to write that book you've been thinking about while working 40+ hours a week I remember when I was in the first grade and we had a project to not only write, but then bind our own book. Hardcover and everything! I think I wrote something about a 'super smurf' or something along those lines.... well,... not only was it my first taste of what was to become something I did for the rest of my life, but the topic would still be applicable today. I am writing this because I just finished my synopsis/outline for the second book of a fantasy series that I am going to try to get onto kindle within the month. Sometimes writing is like an addiction, you know, and I just can't seem to get enough.... Squeezing in every spare moment just to write a few sentences... That's why I have recently adopted the synopsis/outline method. Currently I work forty-five plus hours a week at a 'regular' job, so most of my writing happens while I'm on break. Besides snacks and coffee, there is not much time and I really want to get my books out there ASAP. So, to help all you aspiring writers out there who just don't have enough time to write, I will give you a bit of advice on how to get started with the content of your book. Tip # 1: Always have something to write on and something to write with. - nothings more frustrating that getting a plot point into your head and not being able to put it down anywhere before you forget all the little details that makes it so awesome in your mind. I like to keep those little three to four inch tall spiral notebooks in my back left pocket. In fact, it is part of my EDC when I wake up in the morning. Get dressed, grab a notebook and pen. Tip # 2: Start with the first line you have in your head. - chances are, you already have quite a few things for your story worked out, in your head. To get them to paper fast, just start at the beginning. If it pops into your head, write it down! Tip # 3: Don't edit. - there will be plenty of time for that later. In order to be efficient and get it all down while you've got the time, you have to do just that - write it all down. Again, don't edit yourself. Tip # 4: Outlines work.... sometimes - part of the problem with getting it all down unedited and fast is our balance and order side of our brain is always trying to sort it out and make sense of it. Even when I'm writing about something mundane like 'how to fold t-shirts', when I first put it to paper, I try to avoid the dogma of English and I ignore a whole lot of grammar rules. It's not putting it down in order or with reason that's important, it's putting it down in the first place! And now for the biggest time saving tip that I know for writing: generalizations - In the process of writing, I was taught that the summary always follows the content, or meat of the article. This is true, however, when I was sitting in a classroom, there always seemed to be plenty of time to write. Now-days, things are busy and hectic and I cannot squeeze enough hours out of the day to do everything I want to. So, I have developed a tactic that ha,s in sense, revolutionized the way I write. I simply take the summary, and do it first. Like a synopsis, but only, I am writing this down before the book is even written. Even more loose that a rough draft, the synopsis/outline still follows the general timeline of the story, but lacks lots of flair. No, I won't write all the dialog, and no, I won't be writing all the nuances that ,ake a story a good one, but when I do get my chance on the weekend, or at the end of the day, I have something solid to build up from as a groundwork for the novel I want to write. It is very easy to drop the things you like to do in order to work. There is something to be said about gainful employment. However, does it have to be dropped? If you could, wouldn't you want to figure out a way to have your cake and eat it too? As a writer, I am always trying to improve my craft. Sometimes, it's just about figuring out how to do it in the first place.

killing my hubpages.

As neat as the format was, I believe I like blogger better for my purposes, and besides, hubpages is so far up adsense's craw, that I couldn't use anybody else! So, I left 1 hub up, and reverting everything to here!

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Goats - A prepper's asset

One of the things I've noticed in the prepping lists and documents I have perused, is little mention of livestock. When it is mentioned, it seems in passing, and not a lot of information on the topic is put forth, nor practical opinions. As an opinionated stocker-up of goodies 'just in case', I would like to put for my own practical opinion on the livestock I would definitely think about adding to one's personal 'prep list'.
As far as livestock is concerned, goats are not necessarily the easiest. Alot of hands-on time will be spent with these animals, whether they are being raised strictly for meat; for their milk; or for a conglomeration of both. But, I daresay, these critters have a way of creeping into your hearts and can quickly become family members that earn their keep!
Goats are known as the 'farmer's weed whacker', this is due to not only the fact that goats can and will sample everything, but also, because of their anatomy, they prefer to reach at eye level or above for their food, preferring to browse on the tips of woody shrubs, trees, and leafy plants. Think of them as miniature giraffes, they don't like to 'graze' as sheep or cows do. Goats are browsers, not grazers. This will help keep your land clear of not only those pesky branches that always snag the bottom hem of your shirt, but also the encroaching brambles.
The basic requirements, though simple, need to be thought out and planned for efficiency and effectiveness. First, they need shelter. Obviously this is not only a task to build correctly, but also, an ongoing project to keep clean. Once the 'goat hut' is built and function-able, it is important to set up a routine schedule for yourself of not only cleaning, but also maintenance and inspection. Buildup of yuckiness underfoot can and will cause sickness, and just like you, goats will not enjoy cold drafts and leaky roofs.
Second, they need space. With fencing. This is something that will definitely keep your hands busy in a SHTF situation. And here, once again, maintaining and repairing your goat's fencing and/or pen is an integral part of the upkeep of having goats. Keeping about 6 to 10 goats per acre is just about right. The amount of goats will vary with the quantity and quality of browsing material available.
Thirdly, they do need an alternative food source. Yes, they can survive on their foraging, but for the best meat and milk outcome, you will want to add some nutritional supplementation to their diet. Supplementation with corn and oats is much recommended. Lots of fiber in their diet prevents digestive disturbances.
Raising goats, while hard work and sweat, can be very rewarding. And in a teotwawki situation, you will be grateful to have a sustainable, yet productive herd.



Sunday, June 10, 2012

Spring Sprung Sprang.....

   Our veggies in the garden are popping up everywhere! this is my favorite part of gardening...  seeing what makes it into newborns...  like babies, i want to tend them and watch them grow! I love the way the little sprouts push out of the soil and reach for the sun! We have a better organized garden this year, thanks to the Garden Party Extravaganza! I cannot wait to see wait this next week brings!

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Moving meditation...

Weeding is a simple practice that seems to require huge amounts of energy...   While weeding today I discovered a mathematical relation....  if I weeded just fifteen minutes every single day, that would equal to one and three fourths hours of weeding every single week....   given that the garden is planted and the herb beds are showing so much life, this is actually an awesome amount of time (awesome meaning cool & awesome meaning alot) to get the job done! Besides the fact that I weed half the time on my belly, looking at the plants at a level not unlike a 'good' bug.... weeding is another form of moving meditation (in the process of creating a Wiktionary for this word...) for me. A way to delve deep into myself and quiet the non-stop ramblings of my DIY brain. Yes, my to-do list may be over three pages long, and my dream board may fill up the wall, but when I am weeding, it doesn't matter at all.... 

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Amber Fox Apothecary's Newest Creations:

HYDROSOLS!


here is a re-print of her wonderful how to blog post:


Wednesday, May 23, 2012

My First Experience Making Hydrosols; A Surprisingly Easy How-To Blog

It was my birthday on Mother's Day, and I got to spend the day with my wonderful kiddo just lazing around the house and yard, laughing and playing with each other. When my partner Justin got home, we opened presents and went for a hike in one of my favorite wildcrafting places near the river. One of the presents he got me was a book by James Green called  The Herbal Medicine-Makers Handbook  (link opens in new tab/window), which is just a wealth of information about how to make nearly every herbal solution I'd ever wondered about, put into simple terms, with often several recipes in each section to choose from, in case one sounds a little too (or not enough) complicated for you. 
The first recipes I was eager to try out were the Hydrosols, as they've always had this air of complicated-ness about them, and they are often fairly pricey, which somehow lends to the mystery, but I was pleasantly relieved to find that they were quite simple and uncomplicated. Yet another reason I am so in love with herbal healing! It's so accessible!
It's pretty much as simple as this: Gather some Rose petals, or some other kind of fragrant flower or herb... (Wild Rose ((Rosa woodsii))is the most amazing smelling of the Roses IMHO, but you can try with any you like)
  Next get an enamel canning pot, add 3 quarts water and your loosely packed quart of herb...
Place a vegetable steamer with the center taken out in the bottom of the pot...

Then place a bowl on top of that (to catch your hydrosol in)...
Next, cover this, and slowly bring it to a boil, emphasis on the slowly. 
Once it's come to a boil, take the lid off and flip it upside down, replacing it back on the pot. This is going to help the gathered condensation drip into your bowl. You can place a bag of ice on top of the lid, which the book says adds a little something to the mix, and I did this, but it didn't even last half the time, and I didn't really have anymore ice to put on it again, as I'd used all the ice in the house and the newly filled trays took too long to re-freeze. So if it added that extra something, it added it in that first two hours only.
This is about 4 hours into the process... (steamy!)
 About 4 hours more and I was able to double this amount, or about a quart and half of Rose Hydrosol! And it smelled A-MAZ-ING!!! Put some in a spray bottle and use it to mist your face and body. Rose Hydrosol has been touted to help problem skin and reduce fine lines and signs of aging, as well as aromatherapy to help emotional and spiritual healing.
Good luck trying out your own hydrosols! Let me know how they go!


link to original blog post
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