Thursday, September 17, 2015

Real Fire Breathing Dragons

When it comes to my favorite mythological creatures, dragons are only second to flying pigs.  I love things decorated with dragon, both Western and Chinese, especially metal objects.  But when they actually produce flame, well, that puts it over the top.  So I was quite tickled to find this dragon belt buckle with removable lighter:
Now if only I had a belt to go with it.  Perhaps I could make one out of paracord.  Of course, I would need a lot of it; Paracord Galaxy has a huge selection and seems to have decent prices.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

You Light Up My Life

Okay, so I even stole the title... but the pair of geeks over at TechNomadia have such great options for lighting that I am in awe:

  • Thin-Lite LED Surface Mount Fixtures
  • DIY Dimmable Undercabinet LED Lighting
  • LIFX WiFi LED Bulbs (Screw in Style)
  • Solar Ice Rocks
  • Solar Rechargeable Lantern
Their focus is on RVs, but these would be appropriate for anyone concerned with conserving electricity.

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Ulysses's Gaze

The world's attention has been focused on Greece for many months, but as a kind of economic spectacle.  I would like to pay tribute to their culture with this opening to Ulysses's Gaze, a movie with one of the most beautiful soundtracks I have ever heard:

Friday, July 17, 2015

Animal Power

English: Llama trekking experience, Forest of ...
English: Llama trekking experience, Forest of Dean Treks are available, starting from the Speech House Hotel, either with llamas or donkey/pony and trap. Here the animals are resting at Mallards Pike Lake whilst the trekkers take on refreshments. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Theresa Crouse at Survivopedia lists 5 animals to raise for survival transportation: horses, mules, donkeys, llamas, and dogs.  To that I would add goats and oxen.  Green Solutions Magazine points out that camels and elephants are important beasts of burden in some parts of the world.  Mythcreants covers most of these plus using humans or exotic animals -- of course, they're talking about creating fiction, but their goal seems to be making it realistic.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Pulling Up Roots

As a general rule, you will get better results from plants if you start them from seeds in the place where you want them to grow.  However, this is not always possible: seeds don't always breed true, your growing season is too short, etc.  In these cases, it is important not to let the plant become pot bound, where the roots hit the sides and start circling around.  These roots can end up killing the plant -- imagine putting a solid piece of wood around a child's neck and leaving it there as the child grows.  What was ample room at first becomes impossible to get food and air through by adulthood.

What appears to work best is treating the pots with a copper hydroxide solution ahead of time.  This kills the roots as they touch the pot, so they never start circling.  If that is not done first, you may want to remove all the soil from potted plants and cut crooked roots before transplanting.  This should work well when the plant is dormant; it is the way most plants are shipped by mail.  I'm not so sure how good your results would be for an actively growing plant, however.  For those, you may want to use slicing, butterfly pruning, or teasing to get more fibrous root growth.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Careful Without That Ax, Eugene

Need to cut some wood but don't have an ax or saw?  If you have a knife, you can use a technique called batoning:

 You do have to be careful, though, or you will break your knife; and if there is another way to split the wood, you want to use that, because no matter how careful you are, you are still making it duller.