Friday, April 1, 2016

Why Not

My partner fiddled with a shop light the other day, removing the always annoying bits of hardware that secure the socket to the clamp.He set the clamp on a vertical heat pipe, doubled the light cord at a convenient length, pushed it through the grip, and secured the thing by running a pencil through the loop. All I had to do to finesse the arrangement was set the length of the cord into the jaws of the clamp to keep it away from sources of heat.


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More after the jump.

Thursday, March 31, 2016

The Plate Hanger

Should you decide to decorate a wall with a plate, secure the wire coil on the hanger with zip ties to protect against catastrophic failure.

See Diana Phipps' Affordable Splendor for extensive tips about improvising home furnishings.

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More after the jump.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Old School Procurement


Four hours on line at the end of a ten hour work day is not an effective way to save a few bucks on a replacement for a well-worn side bag. I should have followed my first impulse to take pot luck at the specialist store where I bought the original.


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More after the jump.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

The Sampler

I store a few freeze-dried meal packets in the emergency kit. When pressed for time during a work binge, it's easy to rationalize opening one and pouring in the requisite boiling water. I do so to get an idea of how a given dish tastes.

The writer MFK Fisher critiqued the menus recommended by emergency preparedness experts during the Fifties. She concluded that the food could be counted on to impair the will to live. The Great Big Hiking Co-op's offerings keep me going. With a bowl of oatmeal on one end of the day and a bowl of leaves on the other, I end up in one piece, undistracted, and able to stay home and get things done.

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More after the jump.

Monday, March 28, 2016

The Cessna Theory


A recently published and very interesting book about efficiency, whose title I have inefficiently forgotten, cites a provocative example of effective thinking. The author was discussing the critical choices made by the pilot of a passenger airliner that was in serious trouble. One after another of the safety procedures in which he had been trained failed, and the plane had lost nearly all the  altitude it had left to lose.

The pilot remembered his hours in a small passenger plane, took action appropriate to the simpler machine, and was able to stay in the air. Over the course of my domestic career, I have found that untangling complicated demands is trivial if I simply drop back a few levels of technology and consider what my great-grandmother might have done in her homestead cabin. The traditional priorities of food, clothing, and shelter serve well.

The hippies' beloved Foxfire series of books about archaic life support techniques, and Susan Strasser's benchmark housekeeping trilogy are reliable sources of information. For current low-tech practice, check out the field manuals carried at the Great Big Hiking Co-op. Find advice from a rigorous source, like a climbing club or the Scouts.


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More after the jump.