Repairing a Cast-Iron Christmas Tree Stand

I don’t expect the specifics of this project to apply to many, if any, readers. But I do hope you’ll stick around and see the problem I faced and how I fixed it. I have owned a wonderful enamel-coated cast-iron Christmas tree stand for many, may years. This year, we had a little uh-oh when … Continue reading Repairing a Cast-Iron Christmas Tree Stand

Open Architecture Security Cameras

About a month ago, I got a pair of security cameras for the house. It took a bit of research to arrive at the right ones. There are a lot of cameras on the market, and most of them are cheap things locked into a vendor ecosystem. It was a bit more expensive, but I … Continue reading Open Architecture Security Cameras

Hacking the squirrel feeder

Two years ago I built a squirrel feeder. It was a simple little thing with a flap on top and a plexiglass window. It didn’t live unmolested for very long. Squirrels started chewing on the feeder itself! Over time, I discovered the very bottom of the feeder’s contents would mold. The retaining channels got chewed out … Continue reading Hacking the squirrel feeder

My mysterious house

My house was built in, depending on whom you ask, 1908 (Portland Maps) or 1924 (my insurance company). Like many old houses, it has its own quirks, oddities, and secrets. It has organically grown over the years. I believe it has just about doubled in size since it was first built.  We have been here for … Continue reading My mysterious house

A conversation over weed pulling

Today I got to continue a 4th of July tradition: pulling up the past 6 months of neglected weeds from the back yard.  This year, though, it was a little different.  Sure, there were still plenty of weeds, but more interestingly, there were worms — lots of them.  In previous years, the lawn itself has … Continue reading A conversation over weed pulling

The power (and cost savings) of fixing it yourself

I did something the other weekend that kind of pushed my comfort limits.  I fixed the refrigerator.  You see, usually when I task myself with fixing something, I actually know how to fix it.  At the very least, I have a reasonable idea of how to fix it.  This time was 100% guesswork. You see, … Continue reading The power (and cost savings) of fixing it yourself


Almost exactly a year ago, I built a compost bin out of spare palettes I scrounged up in the inner-SE industrial area. For various reasons, we never quite got around to using it. Part of it was knowledge and experience. Part of it was laziness. Part of it was being a little unsure of the … Continue reading Compostification

Photo dump: mystery switch, window perch, bathroom, sun

When my main machine was the 17″ laptop, I had a great system for pulling pictures directly from my camera, almost immediately after taking them, then pushing them to Flickr with FlickrExport for Aperture. The new (well, not terribly new now) MacBook Air does not meet the system requirements for Aperture (I got the low … Continue reading Photo dump: mystery switch, window perch, bathroom, sun