Update On Acquiring Building Materials

>> Sunday, February 28, 2010

I posted back in early December about acquiring building materials for building a woodworking shop. (Read it here.) An update is in order.  Tearing down an old house, cleaning up the lumber and hauling it home does take time.  I have tried to go up and work as often as possible but with cold, snow, rain, etc. I haven’t been able to do so as much as I might have liked.  This past week I was able to make three trips up which was much more than I have been able to do for some time.  Here are a few photos showing my progress.

Nov. 11 007                                                This is the house prior to bringing it down, as detailed in my earlier post.  There had been quite a bit previously salvaged by others, as can be seen here.

Nov. 12 079
This is a view of the house after we pulled it down.  One section of roof can be seen in the foreground.  The rest of the roof is on top of the interior walls, flooring, etc.

December 1-9 001                                              By the first of December I had most of the roofing metal off. 
There is a bit still showing in the upper left of the photo.

The photo to the right was taken last Friday morning.  There is still a bit to disassemble but most of the work remaining is clean-up.  That means pulling nails and picking up and taking all the small unusable pieces over to a burn pile.

005This picture shows the growing piles of lumber, metal and rocks I have hauled home and are sitting in my back yard awaiting to be used in constructing my workshop.


Answer To Question

>> Monday, February 22, 2010

After my last post about obtaining a copy of Word Perfect Anna left a comment and asked,  “What makes Word Perfect so much better than Word or Open Office?”  Even if she weren’t my daughter I would still need to answer such a question.  Word Perfect isn’t necessarily better than other word processing programs, it is what I have been used to using and from my point of view is a bit more user friendly.  Let me explain what I mean.

I don’t see a lot of difference in doing a straight text document but something I do frequently is insert photos into a document.  This is where there is a definite difference.  In WP I insert a picture and it shows up as a small image with little squares at the corners ready to be dragged into a larger size.  In Word the photo arrives quite large and only after clicking on it do I get the little squares to make it smaller.  Okay, that’s not a big deal.  But, what is a big deal to me is when I go to continue typing and wish to extend text beside the photo.  In WP I simply move my cursor to where I want to type and begin typing.  Not so with Word.  I kept fussing with it to try and put text beside the picture and just couldn’t get it to work.  Danny then told me I had to first create a “text box” and drag it to the size and space required. 

As I told Danny, that seems like a lot of extra nonsense.  I use Live Writer in doing my blog posts.  I assume that many other bloggers do as well.  Inserting photos and typing beside them works almost the same as Word Perfect.  It just seems like the way it should be.  Anyway, for me, Word Perfect is the word processing program of choice.


I Have Word Perfect Again!

>> Saturday, February 20, 2010

In my last post (Computer Musical Chairs) I mentioned my concern I had earlier about not being able to use my version 10 of Word Perfect on the Vista operating system.  I had checked briefly about purchasing a new version but received “sticker shock” when I saw the price.  That was last year when I was first considering a new computer.  With the shuffle we have just gone through I tried to work with Microsoft Works but found it just didn’t work like my old Word Perfect. I thought maybe Microsoft Word would be better.  Since Connie had a copy of Word I installed it onto this computer.  I was attempting to do a few things with it and was getting frustrated.  Danny came by and since he has taught classes in the past in how to use Word I asked for his guidance.

Needless to say I found out that it wasn’t going to be any easier to work with than Works had been.  I did some checking on line regarding a new Word Perfect program.  Corel’s website showed the price of the newest version, complete retail box, was $300.00!  No, not really.  It was only $299.99.  Too rich for my blood.

I did a bit more searching and began to find various software companies offering the CD of the newest version, X4, for MUCH less.  They emphasized that these were 100% legal and were genuine.  I decided to give it a try.  Well, I got my CD Friday, installed the word processing portion only for now and I found it was just like my old version in it’s simplicity.  And, I didn’t pay $300.00 or $200.00 or even $100.00.  Would you believe it only cost me $15.90 and I got free shipping! 

Maybe I should have done more searching a long time ago and saved myself a lot of concern.


Computer Musical Chairs

>> Tuesday, February 9, 2010

A little over a year ago I posted about my old computer that was suffering from a lack of memory and my concern over not being able to use my Word Perfect program on a newer unit with a newer operating system. (Read it here.)  I finally came to grips with the fact that I would have to use something else.  Text documents can be converted fairly well.  But, to keep all of the formatting for further printing I converted text and text with photos to PDF.  They, of course, can not be edited or changed.

But, I still had not purchased a new computer.  Connie had been talking about getting a laptop for her use (and she says mine as well, especially when we travel).  Darryl had said he was going to get a laptop because it would require much less electrical consumption and since going solar that has to be a major concern.  In his searching he came across an outstanding “deal” and told his mom about it.  She agreed that it was an opportunity to get her a laptop at less than what she had been expecting to pay.

So, to make a long story short, she ordered and received her new laptop.  After transferring her data and programs from her “old” two year old Dell computer which has Vista on it to her new unit with Windows 7 she moved my data and various programs from my 7 year old Dell unit with XP to her unit with Vista.  Then after a lot of physical shuffling as well we are both learning new computers and new operating systems.

With much more memory I find that things move faster and that is great.  I’ve found a few little things that work a bit different and to me, at least, seem more complicated.  But, I guess this “old dog” will just have to learn a few new tricks.  I don’t have my Word Perfect but as far as I can tell at this point Microsoft Works will do the job and it converts my old Word Perfect documents pretty well.


All-American Pressure Canner

>> Friday, February 5, 2010

Shortly after we were married we began doing some canning but it was mostly fruit for which we used a water bath canner.  But, by 1973 we had other items to can which needed to be processed in a pressure canner.  We went to buy one but for some reason they were in short supply.  We placed an order with Sears and one with Montgomery Wards planning to accept whichever one came first and cancel the other order.  The Wards order came in first, an All-American 921-1/2.  The current 921 appears to be the same canner.  As far as we can remember we paid about $40.00 for our unit, which seemed like a lot of money then.  Now, the list price is $210.00!

Feb 5 020 Current info say it holds 21-1/2 quarts of liquid and can hold 19 pint jars or 7 quart jars.  Normally we have comfortably gotten 18 pints into ours and easily the 7quarts.

Feb 5 009 As can be seen in this photo it has a pressure gauge.  In addition ours had a petcock that was closed to keep the steam from escaping and allowing the pressure to build to the needed pressure.  Once there one had to keep a close watch on the gauge to see that the pressure  didn’t go too high or drop too low.

A couple of years ago it was brought to our attention that the new All-American canners (as well as some other brands) were using a regulator weight which allowed the pressure to be held.  This is achieved by the excess pressure causing the weight to jiggle and allowing steam and pressure to escape.

I did some checking and found that I could order a weight and a vent pipe that would replace the petcock.  This change has made canning much less of a stress in that once the pressure is arrived at one knows that it won’t go higher and can even walk away from the canner for a period of time.

Feb 5 015 To the left is the vent pipe screwed into the canner lid.  The petcock simply unscrewed so there was no major alteration necessary.

Feb 5 021
Pictured here to the right is the petcock I removed.  To allow the steam to vent the top piece was turned straight up and down.  Once steam was escaping it was turned over as pictured and the pressure was able to build up.

Feb 5 016 Here is a picture of the weight sitting on the vent pipe.  Notice that by turning it to different positions one can achieve 5, 10 or 15 pounds of pressure.

Feb 5 012
The pressure gauge is still in use.  It easily verifies where the pressure is.  Also, one never wants to remove the lid until all pressure is down.  Once zero pressure is arrived at the weight can be removed which would allow any small amount of steam and pressure to escape before the lid is removed.

If we just had a dollar for each jar of food that has been processed in that All-American canner in the last 37 years we might be able to take that cruise we often talked about!


Disposing of Old Business Records

>> Monday, February 1, 2010

I sold my sharpening business 6 years ago.  I had all of my business records in file folders within cardboard storage boxes and moved them with me when we moved to Cedar Ridge.  I knew that the IRS recommends records be kept for various lengths of time.  I again reviewed their recommendations.  Some seem a bit ridiculous.  For example, if you file a fraudulent tax return you must keep your records indefinitely!  Between you and me, if I were to file a fraudulent return I don’t believe I’d want to hang onto records that would prove it.

Some records should be kept for 1 year, some for 3 years, some for 7 years and a few indefinitely.  One web site stated that it was a matter of individual evaluation.  After 6 years I believe that most of my records can be discarded.  This morning I began the process with my oldest records from 1998 and 1999.  I tried to be totally above board with my business, kept meticulous records and didn’t try to claim any questionable deductions so I can’t foresee any questions coming at this late a date.  I may, just may, keep the last year of records until the end of this year.  7 years will be complete for that year as well.  We’ll see.  When I get into the mood of throwing things away I probably better keep at it.  It is too easy for me to hang onto everything.


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