Ceiling fans

As summer started approaching this year, I knew it was going to be HOT come June through September time frame. Having sat previously through a couple summers in an off grid cabin I knew how hot it can be in a “metal” building that has no electricity and little airflow can be uncomfortable.

With that knowledge I started looking for ceiling fans that are outdoor rated and are pretty low on the electricity consumption scale. I found a pair at Lowes that ran about $130 each and only consume something like 15 watts on the low setting and just shy of 100 watts on high. I wanted them on the front porch to move air around when I sit out there. So began the next project.

Pretty straight forward considering, I used the existing porch light electrical box as my source of power and feed off that circuit to make the fans go round and round. This was also my first foray into bending my own conduit. I still bought a few 90’s but the goal was to bend as much as I could by myself.





The following weekend, I had plenty of extra conduit and wire left over so I added a switch and a outlet to the circuit. Cause? why not? Actually the last pic shows why I added the switch and outlet. Lights! Yes there are LED lights on the fans themselves, however they are not for ambiance. I think I paid $26 on Amazon for these old school yellow bulb lights and fixtures. I don’t remember the consumption or wattage of the string off the top of my head. But they are not much.

I will be honest, currently I have to run a generator to power anything I want in the cabin. Not a big deal. Last weekend, I ran all the lights, a box fan, and 4 (2 inside, and 2 outside) ceiling fans for almost 5 hours and used just over a gallon of gas. Compare that to running all the above and throwing in a 18000 BTU A/C running the same amount of time and the gas consumption jumps to about a gallon an hour, sometimes more.














Seriously you say “no” to this girl.

New floor, and yes some drama

This past January, I finally had enough of trying to keep a painted plywood floor clean with the mud and dog hair and all the other crap you drag in with you after being in the woods. I mean duh! right? A person is probably going to have to clean more when most everything around you is either hard as a rock clay and real rocks, or rocks and wet clay that sticks to everything, like that unwanted booger that will stick anywhere on your face but not a Kleenex? that kind of wet clay.

I purchased a product called Allure that is made by TrafficMaster I believe? You can purchase the product at places like Lumber Liquidators and Home Depot, I choose the latter out of convenience. I purchased the Gripstrip version for a couple of reasons. This is a vinyl product that has self adhesive “tabs” on each side of the product, two tabs face up, and two face down that stick to each other as you lay the flooring down across your floor space. I have included a install video at the end of this post if I have confused you.


Here are my main reasons for choosing this particular product.

Thickness, (hence the vinyl product) I had to deal with a door and similar wood based products would not have allowed the door to open and close properly or at all. The wood based products on the market are pretty thick once you add the underlayment that is generally required for a wood flooring type install. I was still looking at 10 or more millimeters thickness and the door just wouldn’t have cleared the flooring. And wood, at least I think would not have held up well with the dog and tracking in debris on my boots.

  • Color, I like the color of what I purchased.
  • Stupid easy to clean.
  • Familiarity, I helped my brother install the same product in his vacation home a few years previously.
  • Tools, you only need a few simple hand tools to cut and trim with. No chop saws or any power tools for that matter.
  • It is a floating floor. No padding or under-lament needed.
  • Forgiving to work with. Yeah I messed up a few pieces but I didn’t feel bad about trashing a piece because of the cost per as opposed to a similar wood product.
  • The finish does have a texture, and not slippery to walk on with foot gloves. Or socked feet if you must.

I did the install over 4 weekends and it turned out pretty good. Just take your time, measure, cut, trim, lay down, repeat. In those areas where you do not have to trim around doors or other room features, this product goes down fast! In a few areas where I had to trim, I made a template out of the waxy tissue paper that is used as a separator between each plank of vinyl found in each box. This worked perfectly! It is very thin paper that can slide underneath most objects and allows you to scribe with a pencil or sharpie the outline of what you need to trim or cut.

I started in the bathroom first and worked my way out. In hindsight I was pretty lucky that when I began on the main room everything just lined up and I didn’t have any planks offset between the main room and the bathroom. Glad the building is square.


These are the only tools I used to install the flooring

  • Measuring tape
  • Scissors
  • Utility knife (buy lots of spare blades, I found I needed to replace a blade every 2-4 cuts) I used this to scribe the material. After scribing, you then just snap off the excess material.
  • Carpet/vinyl cutter (I used this more as a pairing knife than for actual cutting)
  • Speed square
  • Sharpie
  • Needle nose pliers
  • Heavy duty straight cut tin snips or shears
  • Not pictured, a straight edge of some sort.

Some of the weird angles I had to trim

About 1/3 complete. The original plywood sub-floor is in the foreground.

Seriously how can you say “no” to this??
















End result? I like it, my cleaning consists of a wet swiffer mop and I am done. Sometimes I will sweep then swiffer, depends on the dirt level. My take when working with this product, at least the first few times you work with it, is just take your time. Unless you do floors for a living and already know a few tricks I suppose you could move faster.

Install tip: all the boxes say to let the product sit at room temperature for a few days before installing, and should be installed at a temp of I think it was in the upper 60 degree range? Well being January and the house is not heated or cooled while I am away. I disregarded that tidbit and plowed ahead with the task at hand. I never had an issue with the install over the 4 weekend period I worked with the product. I do run a heater when I stay at the cabin so I am not implying I did the install just above or at freezing temps. My point is I installed at varying temperatures and haven’t had any pieces separate or pop up. It has stayed flat for 9 months now? The product does expand and contract overtime but noting noticeable. Lets be real, anything you put on a floor is going to go through the expansion and contraction cycle, its normal.


So I received an email from Home Depot asking me to do a review on the product and I thought why not? I wrote my review, added a few pics and didn’t think about it anymore. About a month after posting my review I started to get phone calls from Macon Georgia, yep, my thought exactly! spam calls. So I ignored them. This went on for about a solid week everyday I would get a call from Macon. Then on a Friday morning at 0555 the phone rings as I am getting ready for work, a number from Macon Georgia again! I was pissed! Not being a morning person on any level, I racked the proverbial slide and answered the phone in the most pissed off voice I could muster. The conversation went like this:

Me: <answering the phone> WHAT!

Caller: Is this Mr. <insert name>


Caller: Sir this is <insert name> from Home Depot, I have been trying to call you for a week.


Caller: Sir, out of 8000 reviews, your name was selected to win a Home Depot gift card based on the comments you wrote about Allure flooring

Me: uh huh? (I was calming down some now) so whats up?

Caller: I want to congratulate your on winning the gift card. Your review is pretty good and the picture of your dog sitting on the floor is perfect.

Me: you said I won something already. (I do not trust any solicitors on the phone in any shape or form these days, and being a security professional I am even more skeptical than the average person)

Caller: I would like to verify your address, can you tell me your address?

Me: what address do you have listed for me?

Caller: <he had the right address> Sir this is a (get this) $1000 gift card from HD and I would like to send it to you via FedEx if that is ok? you should receive it tomorrow.

Me: <silence> ( I didn’t know what to say, I was being a total dick to this guy and he was trying to give me money!)

Caller: Are you still there?

Me: yes sir, (I apologized profusely and told him why I was skeptical and why I didn’t answer)

Caller: Well this was my last attempt to call you, if you hadn’t answered this time I was going to call the next name and offer the card to him/her.

Me: <I’m a dumb ass> Well glad you didn’t!

We verified name, address etc and I’ll be damn, the card showed on Saturday morning (maybe it was a Monday)! The long of the short is, I paid for my floor just by writing a review! How crazy is that? Forgive the pun, I was floored and really didn’t know what the hell to do. I later used the gift card for another project that I will explain on another post. Training time out: Not all calls at 0555 are spam, or bad news calls. I am still pretty selective on answering unsolicited calls, but I think a moment before I just hit the silence button on the ringer.


I didn’t experience any off gassing of the product after it was down, which is what HD uses as a selling point. I was kind of bummed because I like the smell of vinyl fresh out of the box. Is that wrong? liking the smell of vinyl?


How not to mow grass, or a field expedient recovery

A number of the posts moving forward will be in the past, like 12-18 months in the past as I begin to catch up with posting and projects.


How not to mow grass? That is an interesting question. I will explain.

I purchased a used riding lawnmower a couple summers ago, it is used so the mower has it’s? shall we say idiosyncrasies? lets just pick one. The emergency or parking brake. I hadn’t had the mower long and only used it a few times that summer. I “parked” the mower, jumped off the seat for something, turned around and watched the mower roll down the hill quickly gaining speed as it conveniently went between two large trees. I will admit that I started to run after the damn thing until I had a thought, those kind of thoughts that pop into your head, those that happen in micro seconds, those lighting fast sequence of thoughts that happen so fast it takes your body an eternity to process what your brain NOW wants you to do? something so totally foreign and after it already committed to do something different?   Yeah one of those.

I decided to stop running and witnessed something that rarely happens more than once in a persons life. A riding lawnmower careening down a hill towards a four foot drop off a rock retaining wall, a short hop and a few scrapes towards a cliff with a drop of twenty five feet into the abyss. Oh and a crash into a metal railing.


Right in between two trees. If I was a betting man…….

Final resting place. I’m not going to lie. If it would have went through the railing, I would have taken pictures of the mower from above, and left it where it landed.

After the initial shock wore off of “what just happened” moment I set about doing a field recovery. I had to build a ramp of scrap wood to create a ramp to get over the rock wall.


I used the truck and a bunch of towing and tie down straps to slowly pull the beast up and out.

Well two hours and lots of cussing I finally was able to get the mower to the place you see above. What a pain. What I did learn is, stick a block behind the rear tire before getting off the damn thing.

This is the third summer I have used the mower, and over the course of hard ownership, it has lost its hood, I have zip ties holding various pieces on, bailing wire holding the deck up, and the dullest blades this side of the Mississippi. Those blades don’t cut anymore, they beat the grass in submission. The best $200 I ever spent. And fun to ride! either up a hill or down. Oh when I say “mow” the grass, I am really “mowing” rocks with great abandon.

A long time coming……… and a remora

16 months, it has been 16 months since I last posted. A long time indeed. Not that I have a lot of readers and in the last 16 months, to be truthful I haven’t had any readers. So what has been happening?

A divorce mainly. This legal dance has been on going for over two years and pushed closer to three before finalization. This whole experience is what I like to refer to is the Bataan Death March. Am I the only one that knows what the definition of “uncontested” is?

For the uninitiated (you know who you are),

Adj. 1. uncontested – not disputed and not made the object of contention or competition; “uncontested authority” contested – disputed or made the object of contention or competition; “a contested election”

I will also throw another word at you, Remora.

Remoras are able to eat scraps of prey dropped by the shark. They also feed off of parasites on the shark’s skin and in its mouth. One species is even known to consume feces from the host.

But to hear the other side of the story, my remora is the victim, and it is all my fault. OK, whatever, I can live with that. See my sushi statement below.

That is what I have dealing with, an entitled bottom feeder attached to my ass for over two years now, slowly consuming my feces.  The divorce is final and all other attachments are severed , the bank is closed, and remember karma? well it is a dish best served cold. Think of it as sushi since we are on a fish theme here today.

Seriously though, what have I been doing the past two years? Well a number of upgrades not only with my kit, but also on my forever home-stead. I will use the term homestead lightly, because it really isn’t a homestead at this time and place. None the less I refer to it as such. As I dig out my pictures I will begin again and share projects that I have done, how I did them etc. Most are not great, but maybe it will spark someone’s creativity for their own future project(s).

Stay tuned, I promise things will get back on track.