Simple jig for hand sawing

    Yesterday, I was hand-sawing some plywood panels when I had an idea for stabilizing the task. I started the cut and then clamped a scrap of wood across the cut. This stabilized the board, made it easier to cut straight , and there is no splintering at the end of the cut. I’m sure this is not an original idea, but I’m happy to have discovered it. πŸͺšπŸ”¨

    Hand saw in board with stabilizing jig


    My wife and I had dinner this past week with a couple who we had met recently. This was something that we hadn’t done for several years.

    Why is it unusual? One reason is we are introverts. We do enjoy meeting people in small gatherings, but you will rarely find us in settings where there are lots of folks. We don’t have the opportunity to meet many new people, and we don’t make much of an effort to do so. We also live in a rural setting. It is easy for us to go several days without speaking with anyone other than each other. We’re not hermits. We have children, grandchildren, and close friends who we see often. We volunteer in nearby communities and attend a local exercise class where we met our new friends.

    It was good to spend an evening with some genuinely nice people who we knew nothing about. We shared our story and listened with interest to theirs. We are all at a point in our lives where there are more milestones behind us than ahead. The stories were much more complete than when we met people in our younger days, and this made them more satisfying to me.

    A Farm Mystery

    3 chickens

    We have a small flock of chickens, 15 hens and a rooster. The birds have a large fenced yard and a spacious coop. A month ago I noticed that one of the new hens we had purchased as a chick this year was missing. My wife and I searched the birds’ pen carefully, and then the area around the pen. Occasionally a chicken will fly over the fence, but they never go far. Our search was unsuccessful. We concluded the hen had fallen prey to a predator. This isn’t common but happens occasionally. In the past we have had problems with raccoons and weasels. We also have coyotes, and had watched a hawk make an aborted attack this past Spring. Attacks by any predator usually leave an explosion of feathers, which was missing in this case. We were disappointed as the hen had just started to lay, and produced eggs that were a dark brown. She was one of a trio of chicks we purchased this year. Even after they were big enough to be released into the general population, they hung out as a cohort separate from the rest of the flock. It was sad to see the trio reduced to a pair.

    Several weeks went by and I was emptying the compost bucket into pen when I noticed the prodigal hen had returned. She seemed no worse for her absence, and immediately started contributing her dark brown eggs to the daily production. We are at a loss to come up with a logical explanation for her disappearance. Chickens are not solitary animals, and it seems unlikely that she could have been nearby without our notice. We are glad to have her back, and will have to let it go at that.

    Dark brown egg

    Is America Broken?

    I just finished listening to The Gray Area podcast titled β€œIs America Broken? “. Sean Illing speaks with Alana Newhouse about an essay she published in Tablet magazine this past November. The discussion presents the idea that American society is breaking into two camps - those who believe America’s institutions are irreparably broken and need to be replaced with something new (Brokenists) and the Reformists. The latter believe that the institutions are still solid, and only need to be improved. The Brokenist / Reformist dichotomy doesn’t align with this country’s usual binary divisions. I found the conversation fascinating. It will color how I evaluate current events from now on.

    Roof Socks

    We have some heavy snow predicted for the next few days, so I decided it was time to refresh the “roof socks”. There are a couple of places on the roof where snow and ice accumulate forming ice dams. I’ve found that tube socks filled with eco-friendly ice melt help prevent the problem.

    roof socks

    Three cheers for utility workers

    We had several days of thick ice fog this past week. The power was out for 11 hours on one of the foggy days. We were fine. We have an emergency generator for just this reason. The outage affected twenty households, but in our sparsely populated corner of the world that meant many square miles needed to be searched to find the break. This is on a day when the visibility was less than 100 feet, and temperatures were in the low twenties. The ice had caused a pole to snap. The utility crews brought in and erected a new pole and by 10 pm power was restored. We are grateful to have such skilled and dedicated people working at our utility, Inland Power.