Saturday Projects : Compost Bin
January 30, 2011, 8:06 pm
Filed under: Saturday Projects | Tags: , , , ,

So I have been meaning to build a new compost bin since we moved to our new house last spring but kept putting it off until now. With this weekend’s heat wave of temperatures above 40, I was looking for any reason to be outside and building something. There are many ways to build a compost bin and many designs to get the job done, but at the end of the day you want something that is going to hold a bunch of leaves, yard clippings, and your food scraps and turn them into amazing fertilizer for those raised vegetable beds.

First thing to do is gather a bunch of wood and other materials, preferably some 2×4’s of various lengths and some chicken wire.

First build yourself two simple identical frames, and then get that dog of yours to help raise them and using several more 2×4 to span between them create essentially a rectangular¬† box.

Clad the front side with other wood members to keep the compost from falling out, but use chicken wire on the back and between the sides to allow for air to penetrate the compost. Also on the ends attach the boards in such a way that you can easily take them off so you can get inside and clean out your compost when it is ready. By this time you clearly deserve a beer for your hard work so crack one open, stand back and observe your masterpiece.

More Scouting Books
January 20, 2011, 8:42 pm
Filed under: Friends, The Great Outdoors | Tags: , ,

Because of a comment from a reader in my last post, I was made aware of an amazing site which has done the painstaking work of scanning and transcribing an an immense library of old scouting books from the 50s, 60s, and earlier. I have posted on scouting books before, however this collection is huge and a great way to waste away some time. Thanks Brad for the heads up and make sure to check out “The Dump.”

*Click on the images to see the whole books.

Mapping Simplified
January 18, 2011, 9:25 am
Filed under: Maps | Tags: ,

Being able to read a map and use a compass are essential skills to have if you are going to spend some significant time outdoors. Making your own maps however is something very different. Recently my brother and I spoke about mapping some trails in the woods near the house we grew up in, a conversation we have had many times. We know these particular trails like the back of our hands, and to our knowledge  they have never been mapped.

I was thumbing through some books I have on mapping and cam across this one which I had picked up at a yard sale somewhere and never really looked at. The book describes some great techniques for mapping including how to use your body as a measuring device.

Also included are some great diagrams like these with ideas for marking different conditions for when you are in the field sketching. Might have to finally map those childhood woods come this spring.

Winslow Homer – Outdoorsman
January 11, 2011, 7:56 pm
Filed under: Angling, Art | Tags: , , ,

Winslow Homer, arguably the most important American landscape painter was also an avid outdoorsman and he especially liked to fly fish. Many of his paintings and works that explored these subject matters were done while on his frequent trips to the Adirondacks. An exhibit at the Chicago Institute of Art right now is showing some of Winslow’s works which explore these pastimes of the artist, wish I could get there to see some in person.


Low and Clear
January 6, 2011, 8:10 pm
Filed under: Angling | Tags: , , ,

This is a beautiful film about fly fishing which I highly recommend whether or not you partake in the sport. It follows a journey for steelhead endured by John Townes “JT” Van Zandt, (the musician John Townes Van Zandt’s son), and his good friend Alex Hall. From the film’s creators Finback Films the piece is, “A meditation on friendship, the film seeks to examine how for some, life can be about fishing. And for others, fishing can be about life.”

The Craftsman in America
January 4, 2011, 9:16 pm
Filed under: Craft | Tags: , , , ,

I am not even going to try to define or fully explore what it means to be a craftsman, or craftswoman for that matter, in America and especially not in one singular post. However I found this book, The Craftsman in America published by the National Geographic Society, which does a pretty good job a capturing a sense of what it means to be an “craftsman.”

Along with the images of the people themselves who craft these handmade objects the book also depicts the great variety of crafts made by Americans at the time, and with hope today.

Enjoy the rest of the set here.