Saturday, June 12, 2010

Bits and Pieces

Today we harvested ginger planted over a year ago from some bought in a market in Tepic.  It's not common to find it in Mexico.  We enjoyed the plants for it's handsome foliage.  Eventually I cut the foliage back and it was dormant for about 6 months.  A month or so ago I noticed some of the roots were exposed and I started watering them again,  We now have new shoots which will make more roots to harvest later.  Amaranth likes to use ginger in her cooking and for making tea.  She plans to preserve some by candying it.  Whatever it is we like we try to grow it.  We like going to larger markets to look for things we can use for starts or seeds.

We also harvested a large pomegranate and the first of our kumquats.  We've been planting trees over the past 6 years which are bearing fruit now.  It usually takes 2 or 3 years for fruit to appear, normally the first harvest is small with the amount  increasing every year after until around the 5th year when you have a good harvest.  Around here the top soil isn't too deep so the trees spend their first few years producing roots and then foliage.  When they have enough foliage to shade the ground around them the roots stay cooler and the ground doesn't dry out so fast.  It also helps keep the weeds down.

I spent the afternoon fixing things for a neighbor.  There was a boom box that needed a cord and repairs on the volume switch.  Once I opened it there were a few more things that needed tweaking. It was made from plastic which becomes brittle with time.  There was also a bamboo lamp that needed a new cord an socket.  I'm  replacing part of the bamboo stem with our bamboo.  We grow several types of bamboo.  My favorite is yellow with green stripes.  Bamboo is great for building projects around the farm.

The tinkering section of my brain thrives on problem-solving and there's no lack of stimulus here.  I like digging through my cache for just the right something that will work as a part.  I salvage as many pieces as possible when I run into something that is truly shot.  It's satisfying to find the right piece and make something like new, in some cases, better. 

I've got a Kitchen Aid blender that some one gave us that cost over $100.00.  The impeller on top of the motor that drives the blades was made out of a rubber that had become soft with age - so soft you could roll it up into a ball.  I looked on the internet and there were hundreds of complaints to the company.  The company's position was the impellers were breaking down with misuse and they didn't acknowledge a problem with the material.  Their solution:  replacement impellers in 12-packs.  My solution:  make a mold from a new impeller out of J B Weld epoxy.  No more replacement impellers.

We have a weed eater-type mower made up of 4 or 5 different mowers.  The part that spins on the ground kept wearing out because it was made of plastic so I had a friend make one out of stainless steel.  A perfect solution, its a solid piece so it'll last for many years.

A problem I've run into with the mower motors is that they quit making them after 5 years.  They change everything just a little bit on the new models so you can't use the new stuff to fix up your old stuff.  I'm looking on the internet for someplace where some old-timers have figured a way around this problem.  Never give up.

Amaranth asked me the other day if I was an old-timer...

I'm enjoying blogging.  Usually, after a shower I'd lay down with the intent of writing in a bit, but that doesn't work cause I'm just too comfortable.  Now I do my writing after a nice hot shower and then I hit the hay.  Seems to be working.  Amaranth and I have challenged each other to write a little each day.  Not so hard once you sit down to do it.

No comments: