Thursday, December 16, 2010

Outdoor Ice Skate

I have been watching our little 5 foot swimming pool which is flipped upside down and has about 5" of water in it freeze solid over the past few days. This made me alert to watch out for the freezing of those small patches of water that collect into pools by the side of the road or out in open fields. They are not very deep and they are the first to freeze up. This morning on my way to work, I noticed a great spot only a few minutes from our house. I decided to try walking on it when I passed by it again after work. Sure enough, it was solid. There was a little cracking but no major cracking. I got home, changed my clothes and grabbed my skates. I got my hockey stick and puck out of the garage and headed over. It was about 24 degrees outside and cold but not uncomfortable. A light snow was falling and you could see the moon through a light haze. I laced up the skates and ventured out. I started slow and tested many areas of the ice. There were some parts I stayed away from because of some loud cracking. I think the cracking was due to it being too shallow in some spots. I still had plenty of ice to skate around on. A narrow stretch about 80 feet in length by 15-20 feet wide. What great fun. It is hard to beat ice skating outdoors. I learned to skate with my sister on top of our outdoor swimming pool cover. We would skate for hours. I got started early this year and this is New Jersey to this is a treat. This is really the first time I have ice skated outdoors since those times on the swimming pool cover. I hope for many more outdoor skates this winter. I will keep my eye out for other sites or maybe even make my own backyard rink. I plan to take my son over to the ice after dinner and after he finishes his homework. The moon and street lights will provide enough light to pass the puck around.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Outdoor Soccer Season Experience

The fall soccer season started on August 12, 2010 and just finished up a 10 week season today. This was my son James first participation in organized sports and it really was a fun experience. The team was U-8 Boys and they finished up at 7 wins, 2 losses and 1 tie. Great job! James had 8 goals and 4 assists during the season. Bobby-Joe Esposito was the coach of the team and did an excellent job coaching the boys and having very productive practice sessions during the week. Bobby-Joe is the second highest scorer in the Rutgers college team history and played 14 years professional soccer. We really were grateful to have such a great coach for James first time with soccer. I really looked forward to practices and games. The action was always exciting! Next up is a winter indoor soccer season which will provide more good experience and practice for the boys.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Boat Pulley Hoist System in Garage

One of the problems with having a boat is where to keep it when you are not using it. Let's face it. If it is not easy to use, it will not be used. If it is mostly in the way, you may think of getting rid of it. You could just put it up in the rafters or on the wall, but once up there, it will be hard to get down and you will make excuses that it is too hard to get down, so it won't get used.

I now have two row boats and I was thinking about what I would do with them in my garage. I thought of building a rack behind my garage and I would store outdoors under a tarp. Then, I recently came across a website, by Michael Krabach where he has come up with an inexpensive pulley hoist system to store his kayaks. I loved the idea and had to try it out. For about $50 in items from Home Depot, I made a pulley hoist for my 74 lb. rowboat. It works absolutely beautifully! I love it. The prusik knot to hold the lines is a great idea! It lifts the boat up out of the way quickly and high enough where I can drive a car underneath it and then set down on roof racks. I made 2 safely ropes under the boat as insurance in case of an unlikely pulley system failure, the safety ropes will catch the boat from falling to the floor.

This is so much better than my rafter system I had been using. Once I finally got it up in the rafters, it was not coming down because it was such a pain. With this system, all the work is done by the rope and pulleys using the age old mechanical advantage technique of a simple pulley.

I am now making one for my new Adirondack Guideboat and the boats will stay indoors and out of the way during the winter. Thanks Michael!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Guideboat Construction Pictures

Click on this link for a set of 58 Adirondack Guideboat construction pictures on Flickr.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Halloween Pumpkins 2010

Pumpkins carved from Left to Right by James, Dave and Gib.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Adirondack Guideboat First Launching

Today I launched the Adirondack Guideboat for the first time at Union Lake in Millville, NJ. I got together with Steve from work. His blue kevlar guideboat is pictured next to mine. We had a great time rowing and it was a beautiful fall day at the lake. This was our 3rd annual October row where we get together for a little friendly rowing competition. My guideboat did a little better job keeping with Steve and his guideboat than last year with my Natoma skiff. I am very pleased with my new guideboat and it is a pleasure to row. The glide between row strokes is what I expected and the boat tracks very straight. The fixed pin 8' oars make a big difference in speed and performance too. I still have more to learn in rowing this craft, but the launching was a great success. It is fun to be taken back in time to row a boat with a hull design that was designed more than a century ago. It was built differently back then of course, but the hull shape and weight are essentially the same.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Adirondack Guideboat Finished

A long time has passed by again since my last post, but I have been busy working on completing this boat. My initial plan was to build a "quick and dirty" hull to see how this hull design was. That plan was last November 2009. As the build progressed and more hours were put in, the boat became more than just a fast build. Eleven months later, she is ready to row. I figure it was about 5-6 months of build time because I did not do anything during the winter months. My garage is just too cold in wintertime.

I built her to match as close as I could to Steve Kaulback's kevlar design. She has not been in the water yet so I don't have any water shots. Next week I will. I am also going to put together all of my building photos in Flickr. I can't wait to see how she rows!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Guideboat Update

It has been quite some time since I have posted any progress on my Adirondack Guideboat. Here is the latest. The gunwales, inwales and scuppers are installed. I am now working on the deck supports and decks. This part is taking longer than I planned. I want to have decks with a slight crown and also a curve in the front. I am still trying to work out how I will do the curve in the front. I hope to launch in August. I am committing to that month here so I will have a target to shoot for. Otherwise it is easy to do other things. I have lost some motivation in this build as you can probably tell.

100 Pushups

I came across this site in April. I have always liked pushups and have done them many different ways. I never thought about doing 100 in a row though. I started on April 25, 2010 and my initial test was 35 maximum. After going through the program that the website shows, I then did 60 on May 15, 2010. I recently just made it to 100. It does take about 6 weeks to do like the website says. I was able to enter in at week 3 in the training program, but I had to stay with week 6 for 3 weeks more before I could reach 100. It really works. Pushups are a great exercise and work the entire body. No equipment to buy either.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Back to a Local Decentralized Farm Economy

A solution to our employment and economic problems would be to revert back to a farming economy. Farming? Let me make some points. First of all, food and energy are two of our most important commodities. They provide tangible value and are necessary for survival. However, while we have migrated to a high technology economy, we have outsourced our food and have become reliant on foreign petroleum based fossil fuels. We don’t know where the food has been in the supply chain or what it has gone through to get to our supermarkets. Two or three large corporate agribusinesses control the production of our food supply using monoculture practices which are destroying the land. This goes against natural design and the war goes on to fight nature with pesticides and herbicides which further compound the problem. Massive amounts of petroleum based products go into the making of these chemicals. Food may be cheap but we pay for it by subsidizing agribusiness with our taxes. Health care costs balloon due to carcinogens and toxic chemicals in the food chain. Obesity is at epidemic proportions due to processed cheap food loaded with high fructose corn syrup. We subsidize petroleum with our taxes also by our massive defense spending to assure we can get oil tanker deliveries safely to the country.
As corporations continue to downsize and maximize profits, the game of musical chairs has intensified for the middle class worker. No longer is just the blue collar worker affected when the music stops. The white collar worker now lives in daily fear of a pink slip as the available chairs left are removed in massive amounts each day with no end in sight. Meanwhile, the stock market continues to go up. Shareholders demand unsustainable growth in their investments while friends and neighbors are let go. Uncreative managers are fighting for their own jobs and doing the only thing they know how to reduce costs quickly. Are the answers really alternative energy technology jobs that produce super expensive hardware that only a small elite can afford? Can we depend on academia, the government and corporations to develop ground breaking technologies which will create sustainable employment for all?
This is the wakeup call. I ask myself each day, “Am I really providing value by making this power point presentation, doing this study or doing an excel spreadsheet report?” One way to provide tremendous value to society is to provide safe, healthy, locally grown fruits, vegetables and farm products. I know no one wants an organic carrot when Big Gulps, Big Macs and Twinkies taste so much better and can be eaten while driving the car. Most people are now conditioned to despise food that makes noise when you bite it. However, to the desperate unemployed, business opportunities can abound if we change that attitude. We can provide all of our fuel energy needs through small farm ethanol and biodiesel plants and still have plenty of land for food production. Local farmers can generate income for the surrounding economy rather than sending money overseas. By eating more healthy organic fruits and vegetables we can see health improvements. Medicines can be from herbs and plants rather than chemicals with dangerous side effects. We can live sustainably by having these small farms and cooperatives. We don’t have to become migrant workers toiling in the hot summer sun all day long. Small farms, permaculture practices, crop diversity, crop rotations, livestock diversity, and biofuel production can be the new-old economic model which can provide people meaning and purpose to work. Everything goes in cycles. Why not an agricultural economy which instead of mass production, is run by the masses? No longer are we performing menial tasks in a cubicle that provide more humorous content for tomorrow’s “Dilbert” cartoon. We are all then contributing to the local economy and doing no harm to man, animal or planet. We are no longer living under the daily stress of getting fired from a corporate job. Working with our hands and contributing to the greater good of all will bring more meaning and purpose to our employment. We need to work. We don’t need more handouts or entitlement programs from the government. We don’t need megabanks either because local community banks can be started in the local farm based economy.
I see how beautifully nature operates and it all seems miraculous. The life all around us in trees, soil, micro-organisms, animals, birds, seeds all work in harmony with air, sun, and water. When I dig a hole for a plant and get my hands in the soil I feel really safe and protected for a brief moment. Maybe this is what the ancients were trying to teach us about God or a powerful, creative, practical, tangible presence that is all around us. The earth is the most massive, living, breathing entity any of us will ever come in contact with yet we treat it like it is just dead matter for the sole purpose of human consumption. I don’t agree that we need to save the earth. The planet needs no help from us to survive. The earth can shake humans off like bad fleas and then go on to regenerate itself over millions of years to pristine conditions of balance and harmony where all kinds of life thrives. The planet will go on but will humans? Survival as a species will only be attained by working in harmony with nature and the planet. I like what permaculturist Geoff Lawton said “All the world's problems can be solved in a garden”. We don’t need to re-invent anything. Everything we need to get back on track is already known. I think it is now time to stop praying and start planting. By taking the stance that our purpose for employment is to do no harm to man, animal or environment, we give nature the opportunity to meet our every need. Clean food and energy can become sustainable local businesses run by the many rather than scarce dangerous commodities controlled by a few.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Pond Hockey

In early January 2010, we had about of week where the ponds outside were frozen thick enough to stand on. I did not think of taking my son to play on any because I was not sure it would hold us and I did not know how deep the ponds were. Then we had a few weeks of mild temperatures where all the ice melted.

We have again hit a cold week where temperatures have been below freezing for about a week now. I found a great little body of water by the side of the road. The depth is only about 6" in some spots and the ice appears to be at least 2" thick. We played ice hockey on it yesterday and it was so much fun. It brought back great memories of ice skating outside on a pool cover when I was a kid. My sister and I would skate anytime we wanted right out the back door. We are going to go again today. This time I will bring my skates and try it out. It would be the first time I have ice skated outdoors in about 30 years. Now I am actually happy when the temperature get below freezing outside. It is funny how perspectives change based on how you look at things and what you want to do.

I have really wanted to skate outside again after I recently purchased the Pond Hockey documentary on dvd. This is a wonderful movie for anyone interested in outdoor ice hockey and just having fun outside with skates, a puck and a hockey stick.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Improving the Economy

Things we don’t need more of:
Cellphones, televisions, stereos, ipods, cars, homes, furniture, planes, weapons, weapons systems, defense spending, self-help books, self-help websites, internet marketing websites, religions, movies, pills, video games, government, lawns, lawn mowers, dangerous power tools, chemicals, restaurants, federal reserve notes, taxes, moochers, IRA’s, stocks, bonds, banks, handouts, bailouts, exercise machines, schedules, agribusiness, debt, talk shows, big retail chain stores, stadiums, regulations, high cost universities and colleges, administrators, copy machines, storage rentals, organized sports for kids, youth sports coaches

Things we do need more of:
Bicycles, healthy food, home grown fruits and vegetables, clean air, clean water, water conservation, renewable energy, solar energy, battery technology for renewable energy storage, environmental cleanup, modern intelligent education- Education of children in personal development skills, relationship skills, finance skills, sustainability skills, environmentalism, hope, sharing, benefits of peaceful economy based on sharing and honoring the land we live on, affordable health care, reputable and effective spiritual healers, community organizations, sharing, scythes, hand tools and skills to use them, natural organic fertilizers, compost, spending time with our neighbors and families, preparing home cooked meals, value backed currency, tree planting, art, Investing in yourself, self sufficiency, individual social value creation, contributors, bodyweight exercises, relaxation, family run farms, saving, music, radio stations that play music you have not heard, small mom and pop stores, permaculture, food forests, time banking-provide a service in exchange for a service, On-line interactive learning, electronic storage, sandlot baseball games, unorganized sports for kids to just have fun

As you can see, there is plenty of opportunity to provide things we need more of.