Sunday, August 4, 2019

Homemade - Zero Calorie Flavored Water

I gave up soda years ago, well almost. I will treat myself to an orange crush and popcorn when I go to a movie. But at home all I drink is tap water and home made ice coffee, black no sugar.

When I go out I normally just get water. I like water. I like tap water. I don't always like the water when I go out because sometimes there's a chlorine aftertaste. I'm also not a fan of hot coffee unless you add lots of cream, and I'm trying to watch my calories / carbs.

I tried cold brew for a while, and frankly found it too much work, now I just brew about 4 tablespoons or 2 ounces of what ever Ground Dark Roast that's in my freezer with about 12 cups of water.

Once it's brewed I turn off the coffee maker and let it sit for an hour or more, and then transfer it to an open top glass pitcher in the refrigerator.  I also keep my tap water in an open top glass pitcher in the refrigerator. I like the taste better if I let it breath.

So now I have two pitchers in the frig, one with cold black coffee and one with cold tap water. When I want a drink sometimes I get coffee, sometimes I get water, but very often I will add a splash of coffee to a glass of water, making it flavored water. I never measure, but if I had to guess I would say I add an ounce or two of chilled ice coffee to 12 to 16 ounces of chilled water at the most.

I like the flavor just a splash gives the water. I never feel like I've been cheated with watered down coffee, if anything I like that my 12 cups will last longer.

I also keep chilled salsa bottles of coffee, water, and / or premixed coffee-water in the frig for quick travel options.

Now the math, 8 ounces of cold black coffee has only 2 calories, so 1 or 2 ounces is like zero, or close enough.

Note: Whenever I've tried taking hot coffee and pouring it over ice, black no sugar, its awful. But when I brew it, let it sit, and then chill it overnight I love it.

If you like to mess with your friend's heads, you can take a bottle of chilled lightly flavored coffee water out of the frig, and offer it to them, telling them that its Ice Cold Tap Water, and then take a big long drink before admitting that it's really ice coffee.

Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Leather Ring

A leather ring, designed like a small belt.

This project took about an hour. I started by selecting my worst looking scrap. I find the most flawed looking leather or wood make the most interesting finished products.

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

A short story

I'm working on a short story, I started it here in Blogger, and was very happy with the spelling & Grammar checker built into the Chrome browser. But felt that I needed someone to proofread it for me, to catch my mistakes. So to make it easier to print, I copy & pasted everything into a Google Doc.

I was amazed at all the additional spelling & grammar suggestions I received from Google Docs, and they were valid suggestions. Thank you Google.

I then printed it and gave to a friend, and she found several missing commas, and a few wrong words.

I think I understand the use of commas, they separate ideas, or join what could be two sentences into one. Commas can be confusing sometimes, to me anyway. Sometimes I think I use to many, and sometimes I think I use too many words. Other times I feel I did not use enough words, or commas.

It is normal, and so you should expect your friends, and other people, or software to find mistakes, and hopefully make suggestions. That does not mean you should make all those changes, but you should listen, make your own choices, and hopefully learn from them. Our brains are not wired to see our own mistakes, partly because we know the story. This is also why we see the mistakes made by others, quicker, and easier than our own mistakes. This is also why working in a team is often more productive, than working alone, even when it sometimes seems silly to do so.

I've now sent my short story off to my daughter for her input. I'm doing this for two reasons, I want to see if she agrees with the suggestions made by my friend, and I want her input. I think I will feel worse if she does not make suggestions, than I would if she said, ya its good.

Saturday, July 6, 2019

It's a wrap

Or is it a cellphone burrito? Nope, it's a wrap, and don't worry, this is not the finale product.

I liked the way this large funny shaped section of leather looked, but it just did not fold up nicely to go in my pocket. So I had to trim it up a bit. Oh so sad...

So the requirements for this wrap, a phone case that can sit / rest on my leg, and not easily fall off while driving. Whether you're in the car, at home, school, or work, sometimes you need to put your phone down so you can focus on something else, like, I don't know, driving, or work...

My issue in the past was, I'm in someone else's car or just picked up a rental car, and I'm using Google navigation with no good place to rest my phone.

Ya I would rather have my phone mounted on the dash, but its not always an option... and that's a whole different rant about rental cars, and no place to put a phone... I mean really in a new car?

Anyway, my regular cell phone case is a bit slippery, so my phone is at risk of falling, plus my cell case doubles as my wallet, and yup, now my wallet is laying open.

But anyway for the most part, while driving I just need to listen to Google's turn-by-turn directions, with a quick glance every now and then. So sliding around in the passenger seat is not an option.

I found a simple phone rubber online and added some leather. I thought I could skip the holes for the camera and fingerprint reader, but I was wrong.

Poke the holes. When your going out of town, it's not time to experiment with new ways to use your phone. And, make the finger hole big enough for your finger to actually touch the phone.

My plan was a simple TriFold phone case with the phone in the center, that's it.

No ID or credit card holder. No magnets, or snaps. Just keeping it simple.

Well for this project, first the leather was too thin, so I doubled it up. Then it was too thick, so I had to cut grooves between the two layers of leather so it could fold.

Then I discovered I apparently can't be trusted to remember my PIN, so the next day I cut holes for my finger and the camera.

I still need to make the finger hole a little it bigger, but I have a couple days so I'm going to buy a bigger punch, vs, cut it with a knife.

While on the way to the airport is not a good time to figure stuff out. Lucky for me that day I was only doing a pickup, not heading out yet.
More Photos

Wednesday, July 3, 2019

Hard starting mower

I picked up this lawn mower in December of 2012, found it on craigslist, it was free, I still use it.

After I got it home, I pulled and pulled and pulled and could not get it started.

In the end all it needed was a new spark plug.

It's now the summer of 2019 and I'm still using this lawn mower today. I don't use it every week, hell I don't use it every year, but I discovered an easy trick to getting it to start after it's sat for months.

This is not my primary mower anymore, my lawns a bit too big, My primary mower is still a push mower. Cause, why go to a gym when you can just mow.

So like I said, I don't use this mower every year, it sits a lot, but I've figured out the trick for how to start it quickly. For a while it seemed like every time I wanted to get this mower to start I was right back to pulling and pulling and pulling.

The problem, I discovered a few years ago was the carburetor. It has a little rubber push plunger on the side to squirt gas into the carburetor. After sitting for a while it does not squirt.

After I figured out that their was no point in pulling the rope, till it squirted, I went from lots of pulling, to lots of pushing that plunger, and eventually it would start. So I figured I just had to be patient. I was wrong. (** Don't replace the carburetor yet **)

If you are having the same problem, the rubber plunger is not squirting, try this.
1. Make sure you have gas in the tank. ** Note if it Does Not Look Full, its empty.
2. Take the Air Filter off and look inside the carburetor. It should look clean and dry.
3. Dump a tiny, and I really mean tiny, like a tablespoon of gas in the top of the carburetor.
4. Now push that rubber primer plunger till it squirts gas. You may have to dump a second tablespoon.

Once it squirts, try again to start your mower.

If you dump in too much gas, and now the carburetor is full of gas. You flooded it. Dump the gas out and try again.

Last week after I thought I had figured out a system to get it started. I had a whole new issue. Still nothing big, just different. There is a safety lever on the handle bar. You have to hold it to start, and keep the mower running. The bracket that holds the cable to the handle bar came loose. So holding the lever did nothing. A simple fix once I noticed the problem.

I love this little mower. It's small, lite, and normally easy to start, and use. I've beat the shit out of it, replaced the blade a couple times. I keep hitting rocks. Not a good thing, but I do. I use this little mower like its a brush cutter, stump grinder, and weed wacker.

It's lite enough to lift over the seawall. I often cut under 4 to 6 inches of water cleaning up the drainage ditch and the waters edge. If I don't keep a path over the seawall, I can't clean up the trash that washes up on almost a daily basis. So I cut back a path a couple times a year.

I feel lite weight is one of the most important things with a push mower. If you can't mow with one hand when you need to, your mower is too heavy, and you're not going to want to finish the job.

That's it for now Love this mower, and the simple tricks to keep it running.

Tuesday, July 2, 2019

Building a vendor / single bench picnic table

I call this my girl scout cookie table. I created this one bench version of my picnic table for vendors, yard-sales, and flea markets. It's also great when you need space for a separate bench or wheelchair.

As a vendor you need a place to sit down, and a clean side for customers, this table provides that.

You can sit on one side of the table comfortably, and display your cookies on the other.

Visit, building a better picnic table for more info

Monday, July 1, 2019

Own it, good or bad, it's yours

It is up to us, to pick and own our priorities, and to put them in order of importance. It's often hard, especially when two or more priorities conflict, and when goals change. And changes can happen sometimes daily. The same is true for other people around us.

And, no matter how strongly we or they feel, we can only advise and sometimes we need to just shut-up and let friends and family make their own choices, in their own time.

For myself, at this point in life, my top priorities are to get my health & weight under control. To do this I've had to give up a certain amount of food. It's not always easy.

My reasons to focus on my health & weight are that I want to be able to enjoy life, to be able to get down on the floor and play with my grandchildren, and be able to get back up without help, and if I should fall, get sick, or find myself in some sort of assisted living type arrangement, I feel it's important that I'm able to recover quickly, so I can get around on my own, wipe my own butt, feed myself, and not find myself dependent on somebody else to do everything for me.

It's that simple, as much as I enjoy eating something yummy, I cant. When I was younger I could eat anything and not gain weight. Now things can go bad real quick.

That certainly doesn't mean that I don't cheat from time to time. When I do cheat I own it. I make it worth it, otherwise I'm just going to want to cheat again tomorrow because yesterday's cheat wasn't quite up to par to satisfy the need in the urge to cheat.

Sunday, June 30, 2019

Building a better picnic table

There are a few things you want to keep in mind when building picnic tables.

Like who's going to sit at the table? Do they have health issues that could make it hard to get on and off the bench?

Where is the table going to be located? Is it going to see a lot of rain? Is it in direct sunlight? Is it on your lawn? Is someone going to have to move this table every week to cut the grass?

One problem with picnic tables, is they are heavy. If someone has to move it every week, and they do not do it properly, it could destroy your table. It's like taking a pry bar to a crate to open it. It doesn't take much to destroy a table when you have leverage. Grabbing that table from the wrong side and heaving it back and forth to move it around by yourself is like taking a pry bar to a crate. In time, it's going to come apart. Maybe not right now, it'll take a few tries, but things are going to get looser and looser and looser every time you start manhandling that table to move it around the yard. So use two people to move your table, or build it a better way.

Do you build with pressure treated, yellow pine, or both, again, where is the table sitting?

You may not want the table and bench tops to be pressure treated lumber, but if the table legs and supports are going to see a lot of rain, they should be made with treated lumber.

Look at the photos below, do you see the 2x4 supports under the table and bench tops, moisture can build up on top of these supports when it rains. It would be a good idea to use pressure treated lumber for the support braces and the legs that touch wet ground.

To make it easier for people to sit down, and to allow leg room for a wheel chair or bench on the ends, keep the legs away from the edge. That alone will make this table a lot more accessible.

Are you eating messy foods, like corn on the cob? The gap between the 2x6's for both the benches and the table top needs to be wide enough for an ear of corn to fall all the way through. This gap will also help keep water from puddling.

My table design shown above is designed to allow the table to rest on its side when not in use. For the safety of yourself and your table, you should still use two or more people to move your table.

I hope this little bit of information has helped you design your own table.

If you're a woodworker you'll have no problems just looking at the photos of my table to build your own using what you've learned both from me and other sites. The angle on the leg cuts is 22 degrees.

If you would like to buy a copy of my Picnic Table Plans, it's $12 with Free Shipping
You supply all Hardware and Lumber.

The Picnic Table Plans include easy to follow step by step instructions. A full materials list, and helpful tips, photos, diagrams and more to help you build your table quickly.

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Thanks for stopping by to look at my picnic tables

Saturday, June 22, 2019

My version of a Boiled Egg Breakfast

I was skimming my Google news feed a few weeks ago and saw an article for a Boiled Egg Diet.

Being curious I took a look, it was interesting, but not something I would do forever. My viewpoint on diets is, if I can't do it forever, I don't do it.

The article even said people don't normally stick with it, because it becomes too boring over time, it does not contain enough daily calories, and lacks other essential nutrients.

I agree, in my experience that matches everything I've read and heard about diets like these, things look good at first, but because it's not a good long term life style, first you cheat, then you quit, and then you gain back more weight than you lost.

But on the brighter side, I was thinking about the Egg Salad Breakfast that I've been making and eating for the past several weeks, added a second egg, and dropped the pickle relish.

My sunflower seed mix includes 5 items, raw & roasted pumpkin seeds, raw & roasted sunflower seeds, and almonds.

The only other difference between this breakfast and the one I was eating a few weeks ago is now in addition to eating 2 hard boiled eggs, I'm also eating 2 breakfast sausages.

I believe it's important to constantly re-evaluate what you are doing. Think about what is working for you, and what is not, and make changes as you learn.

Thursday, June 13, 2019

Peanut butter and jelly pudwich

This is a yummy and healthy option to a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.

The health problem is not the peanut butter and jelly, it's the extra 40 carbs and the processed flour in the bread.

If you compare a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, and my peanut butter and jelly pudding, you will notice the pudding has 40 less carbs, more fiber, more healthy fats, and more protein.

The pudding tastes like a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.

Read the labels and pick the brands you like wherever you shop.

I used a small travel cup, added about 2 tablespoons (32 grams) of peanut butter.

Then I added about half as much jelly (16 grams) , and half a tablespoon (8 grams) of chia seeds.

I steered the mixture till it was creamy, and then mixed in 2 tablespoons of my seed mix.

That's it. Eat it now, or save it for later.

My seed mix today is 5 items that I find in the produce section of my grocery store.
I dump all five containers into a 1 gallon container, mix it up, and store it in the frig.

1. raw sunflower seeds
2. roasted sunflower seeds
3. raw pumpkin seeds
4. roasted pumpkin seeds
5. slivered almonds

Be careful not to eat too many seeds each day, 2 tablespoons of my seed mix is about 183 calories.

I keep the chia seeds in a separate container.

Friday, May 31, 2019

Healthy egg salad breakfast

I recently switched from eating a single 88 calorie hard boiled egg breakfast, to a healthier, 1/3 of an egg, 320 calorie, fiber rich, Chia Egg Salad.

A single egg now feeds me breakfast for 3 days. I've lowered my cholesterol intake by a third. I get more calories and a better, healthier breakfast.

My egg salad mix is equal parts egg, mayonnaise, and pickle relish. In my breakfast bowl, I add 8 grams of Chia seeds, and 15 grams of my sunflower seed mix.

My sunflower seed mix is equal parts of both sunflower and pumpkin seeds.

This egg salad breakfast has allowed me to add fiber, along with healthier fats and protein to my meal without greatly raising the carbs.

Thursday, May 30, 2019

It's not just fruit, it's sugar.

It's amazing how something so seemingly innocent can potentially be a bad choice.

I went to see my doctor yesterday, just a basic annual appointment. I've lost a lot of weight in the past 6 months and I shared what I was doing, along with my challenges. I thought I was doing great. I am, but it seems I've developed a bad habit.

It's summer, blueberry season, and I started eating a container of blueberries a day. It started with a 170g container, then went to a 310g container. I mean it's not really that big, and it's blueberries. Their good for you, right. Well...

For me a handful of blueberries is about 40 grams. I would have a handful with breakfast and another handful throughout the day till they were gone. That's only like 8 handfuls, so no big deal, right...

OK, sometimes I munched on nothing but blueberries all day, and sometimes, I have blueberries for supper. But no big deal, right...

I told my doctor, that sometimes, I felt like I was starving, and, I thought it was because I had not eaten enough that day.

My doctor told me to think about sugar cubes. That if all I ate for super was blueberries, that's a lot of sugar, and, I will crash later.

Yup, that's what was happening. Even though on paper I had eaten my calories for the day, I would crash, and then almost desperately look for something else to eat.

Eating 40 grams of blueberries is about the same as eating 2 sugar cubes. So a whole container could be 16 cubes, Wow that's a lot of sugar. I was essentially popping 2 sugar cubes 8 times a day, and crashing.

The handful of blueberries for breakfast was OK, and the 200 more or less calories were no big deal. It was not eating enough of anything substantial to keep me from crashing that was the problem.

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Houseboat project

I cut the house off the boat in the spring of 2017. Then in the summer of 2017 I built the new house.

Click here for the photos from this project

I deliberately took the fall of 2017 off to watch for leaks on the inside and patch them as I found them. I had planned to continue on the inside in the summer of 2018 but due to health reasons I did not continue working on the boat again until the summer of 2019. I'm currently working on the inside of the boat.

Above is the before photo

Then the top came off. Over 10,000 lbs of lumber and fiberglass went to the dump that day.

The frame for the new house was built.

There was a lot and I mean a very very lot of rain that summer.

This link is to photos building the new Houseboat, Spring and Summer of 2017 along with a few photos from the summer of 2019.

This link is photos of the floor going in. Summer of 2019

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

How about a mask

Sometimes things just don't work out. 
This was supposed to be part of a rifle case. Now it's a mask.
The real goal in this Mask project was to not waste the leather.

Click here for all the photos in this project

Was the case a poor plan or poor idea? Who knows. I was not happy with it and with every cut things got worse, and worse, and worse. So I accepted the failure and moved on. I was able to use most of the leather you see in the image below on the left for other project. It was just the section on the right that went wrong.

Looking at the failed piece I saw a mask with a single eye. So I added a second eye and other facial features. With the failed project it was the first time I tried doing the two needle double thread stitch, a stitch used to sew baseballs. I want to remember what I learned here and salvage the leather.

On the left side the stitches are a bit farther apart. For a hollow project this made it harder to keep the leather lined up edge to edge. I also started sewing from the closed end. This made it harder as well.

On the right side the stitches are closer to the edge. As you can see from the image above (top right) I punched the holes first the ones I liked best (right side of mask) I eyeballed the distance from the edge for the holes. For the ones I don't love I used a special tool that was adjusted farther from the edge. I was lazy, I could have readjusted the tool, but I also wanted to see how it would turnout. The stitching is not where the original project failed. It was a design flaw on my part or unrealistic goals. For this mask project the two sides being stitched differently is actually good.

Anyway on the second stitch on the right side I also started on the open end. I feel for this made it easier to stitch, but I had access to both sides (inside and outside) of the mask.

Monday, May 13, 2019

Combined two Blogs

In an effort to be more effective, I exported and moved all my posts from into

Prior to this year was only my Wooden Stuff, Picnic Tables, and Chickens. This year I started adding other projects, like Leather, and the Houseboat. I also converted the site from old style html to using Blogger.

Prior to this year, was my Tech blog, using WordPress.

This year I added Health & Fitness, converted it from WordPress to Blogger, and then, just today, on a whim, exported and merged the two sites.

I created back in the late 80's when email addresses were linked to your internet service provider. After moving a few times and loosing yet another email address, all my saved emails, and my contacts, I decided there needed to be a better way to do email.

So I registered

Then with nothing better to do, I learned to program in html, php, MySQL. I loved php and MySQL, and went to to create some very intense websites. Then I retired, or rather quit my job and moved to Florida. I spent many years with no home-internet, telephone, cable tv, or AC. I have to say I love that more than MySQL.

With needing something to do, I got a part-time job at a college, and started working on projects. To share those projects with my grand children that live out-of-state I use my blog and Google Photos.

Some of my projects include, the Houseboat. Purchased for $1000 with termite damage I did not know about, it sat in the water for two or three years before I gave up on repairs and cut the old house off, and built a new house.

You will find a link to that blog post here as well as a link to two Google Albums

I've also been working with leather. Below are a few projects I done, but have not yet written up and posted in a blog, but I do plan to do so soon.

Like these two leather carvings.

I've also done some leather stitching projects like this flask.

And I stripped and re-did this leather chair.

I made a case for my kindle.

A pair of moccasins.

Then there was a rifle and holster project.

Some projects are already here and have links to more photos like
Talking poop againManual leather sewing machine, and a Leather wrapped thermos.

And some photos are here but with no words yet like. I will also from time to time add more info to a prior post and fix some spelling.

Chicken House

Picnic Tables

Wooden Plates & Bowls

Wooden Stuff

Wooden Trees