Monday, May 28, 2007

Memorial Day 2007

I wouldn't accept a million dollars in exchange for the three years I served in the military. I volunteered in 1965, trained at Fort Gordon and Fort Benning, spent the year of 1966 in Vietnam, and finished my enlistment time at Fort Campbell and Fort Bragg.

The people I met, the places I went, the aircraft from which I parachuted, the training I received, the actions I undertook, and the leadership to which I responded were invaluable.

I am thankful for all the men and women who served before, during, and after me.

Have a wonderful day!

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Hardwood Floors

A friend and I worked fifteen hours to mill two trees into the lumber as shown in the above picture. The trees produced 6 logs, each at least 24" in diameter, and 12 feet long. One additional log the same size came from a tree on another site. The tree in the pictures below started this hardwood floor project for a new house which now is in the planning stage. Gusty winds uprooted a neighbor's tree which fell onto my friend's back lawn. The limbs struck his house as the tree fell. The enormous root ball in the pictures was over 12 feet in diameter.

A second red oak tree stood in the backyard and presented similar danger so it was removed when cleanup of the fallen tree was underway.

We sawed the huge logs using a method that yielded quartersawn and riftsawn boards. This method of sawing consumes more time but produces choice lumber due to the orientation and visibility of the tree's growth rings in the finished boards. The sawlogs' pithy cores were removed as was most of the sapwood during the sawing. The final lumber yield was around 1,650 board feet.

The plan is to allow the lumber to air-dry for four months, then kiln dry the boards to bring the moisture content down to 6%. Next a woodworking shop will finish the boards with tongue and groove in dimensions of 3/4 " thick and 3, 4, 5, and 6 inches wide.

The finished floor produced by this lumber should approach museum quality.

Have a good week!


Sunday, May 20, 2007

White Incandescent

After seeing full page ads by Walmart and viewing the Discovery Channel's program Green: The New Red, White, and Blue by Thomas Friedman, I became further motivated to conserve energy. I've always been thrifty with resources by not wasting clean water, conserving hot water, turning off lights, heating my home with wood, planning car trip errands to minimize mileage and much more.

I moved to the next level of energy conservation by investing in new incandescent light bulbs as shown in the picture above. My wife and I purchased several packages of these energy saving bulbs after we tested a purchase of one package. I wanted to make sure they made no buzz sound and needed to verify that the bulbs illuminated quickly when switched on. I am satisfied with their performance against that criteria. I learned through trial and error that the bulbs don't perform in conjunction with dimmer switches. After I destroyed one bulb this way, I read the fine print on the package that expresses: not intended for use with dimmers.

I used these bulbs to replace ceiling recessed fixtures that previously contained 75 watt flood lights. These were the ones most often turned on in our home. The 100 watt incandescent lights give brighter light with a promised reduction in electricity consumption.

Have a good week!

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Stock Picks

If you're interested in seeing and hearing a screencast about how a stock trader chooses stocks, click on the below link. When it opens, scroll down past the text and beyond the charts of numbers and red hearts. Turn on your volume, click play, and listen to 4 minutes and 27 seconds of instructions on how to winnow a long list of stocks to a few through automation and criteria. The voice you will hear is Dave Mabe. As you watch and listen, follow his cursor as it points and moves.

Have a good week!

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Carbon Footprint

Shopping at discount stores, malls, food markets, and the services of laundry and newspaper result in an accumulation of plastic bags in my home. I need a few plastic bags for can liners of kitchen garbage, but the ready supply far exceeds my usage.

My wife and I deposit excess plastic bags in recycle bins at the grocery store, then proceed into the store only to depart with 6 to 12 new plastic or paper bags.

In order to curb this accumulation of plastic and paper bags, I began to use cloth bags to pack groceries at the food market. I take a cloth bag to the grocery store filled with various plastic bags and empty them into the bin at the store entrance.

I place the empty cloth bag(s) in the shopping cart, locate our grocery needs on the shopping list and proceed to checkout. There, I pass the cloth bag(s) to the clerk and request that my purchases get packed into one or two cloth bags.

This idea is not original, but I don't see other shoppers using their own reusable containers to carry out their purchases.

The idea came to my attention while vacationing in Los Angeles last summer. There, my wife and I visited Trader Joe's, a store I recently heard on a podcast. While touring the store, I noticed cloth bags for sale to pack groceries. I didn't buy one, but thought it was a great idea.

My wife found similar bags in our home that we acquired from attending a T3 Mathematics Conference in Salem, Virginia.

Does this new habit move me toward a Carbon Neutral footprint? I believe it does because fewer plastic bags will be extruded because of my reduced usage. This should reduce CO2 emissions at the plastics factory. I know this is a baby step, but this is one step among many I've taken over my adult lifetime.

Recycling of newspapers, glass, plastic containers, paperboard boxes are habits in our home. Recycling for me began over 35 years ago while in college where I developed a habit of recycling newspapers. I almost never place old newsprint into the trash. I've been known to bring newspapers home from vacation or business trips just to add them to my recycling heap.

The picture above shows typical plastic bags and the picture below shows one cloth bag filled with groceries.

Have a good week!

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Roof Shingles

Class A Fiber Glass Asphalt Shingles, Algae Resistant, and Self Sealing are the product features by Land Mark that I used to replace the dated, weathered, and atrophied 3-tab style shingles on this patio roof.

This twenty-nine year old patio is located to the rear of my house and has served as a carport, picnic shelter, firewood and lumber shelter, and a place to sit in the shade during hot summer days. The roof is supported by 4 red cedar posts planted in the ground and surrounded by a cement floor.

The unit of measure for roof shingles is "square". A square is any dimension equivalent to 100 square feet. It takes 66 shingles to cover one square. There are 22 shingles per bundle so a bundle is 1/3 square. Each shingle measures 13 1/4" X 38 3/4". Four galvanized nails 1.5" in length, 11 or 12 gauge with a 3/8" diameter head are recommended to secure the shingles to the underlay.

This patio required 3 squares of shingles plus several 3- tab shingles for the first course on each side and one bundle of ridge cap shingles. This means I hammered over 800 nails as I squatted over each shingle and scooted to position the next shingle.

The total cost was $255 for supplies including the $10 landfill tipping fee for the old shingles. The labor cost was zero since I performed the work. If hired labor had been used, the total cost would have been more than double the materials cost.

The top picture shows new shingles installation underway; the first picture below shows temporary braces and scaffolding, and the bottom picture shows the patio after new shingle completion.

Have a good week!