>> Monday, December 19, 2011

The following story, by an unknown author, was sent to me by a friend.  I enjoyed it so much that I thought I would share it with all of you, the readers of this blog.

One Sunday morning the pastor of a fairly large church was about to begin his message when a man dressed in grease riddled jeans and leather jacket walked in and sat down in one of the pews.  The pastor felt rather embarrassed by the burly man’s appearance.  So, after the service was over he asked the man if he would pray and ask God if it was right to dress in such a way when attending his church.  The man said he would.

The following week the pastor was just beginning his message when the man walked in wearing the same greasy jeans and leather jacket and takes a seat in the back of the church.

After the service the pastor was furious and went to the man once again and said,  “I thought I asked you to pray to God and ask Him if He thought it was right to dress in such a way while attending my church.”  The man replied,  “I did.”  The pastor said,  “Well, what did God tell you?”  The man said,  “He told me that He didn’t have a clue as to what to wear in this church because He’s never been there before.”


“I Was In Prison, and Ye Came Unto Me”

>> Wednesday, November 23, 2011

The past few weeks have been quite eventful for my wife and myself.  Those events have taken place, not on Cedar Ridge, but in the state of Texas.  While on a trip to visit my wife’s sister and brother-in-law we spent several days with the founders of a prison ministry that we came in contact with a few months ago.  My wife had been reading from the 25th chapter of Matthew where the Messiah answers the question “when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink?  Or when saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in?  or naked, and clothed thee?  Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee?”  His answer was “Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.”

Connie asked me, “How do we visit anyone in prison?”  We didn’t know many prisoners.  There was one young man that Connie had written to off and on over the last several years.  Perhaps writing to him was in effect visiting or coming to one in prison.  However, a short time later we were brought into contact with Broken Vessels Prison Ministry.  We were drawn to this ministry in a way that is hard to explain except to say it was a divine calling.  We began by contributing a bit financially, then by corresponding with a prisoner and later by “adopting” a couple of men who had no financial support whatsoever.  (In the Texas prison system inmates are required to work if they are able but receive absolutely no pay.)  A few dollars a month on their books allows them to obtain personal hygiene items, occasional snacks, stamps, etc.

We felt the need to receive a bit of an education regarding the needs and what we can do to assist in filling them.  The few days spent with Thomas and Raquel was a crash course in prison ministry.

We went down to Huntsville and observed and participated in what is called “first contact.”  Each day, Monday through Friday, quite a number are released from the Huntsville Walls.  Those who do not have family waiting across the street for them to come out of those gates walk down the street about two blocks to the Greyhound Bus station, carrying their meager possessions in an onion bag.  They have in hand the $50.00 check they are issued, a voucher for a bus ticket to their destination in the state of Texas.  Their check will be cashed there for no charge.  The voucher is exchanged for a ticket and soon they are boarded for either Dallas or Houston, the transfer points for most.  They are given a free cell phone (or the phone number to call to get one if phones are not available on that day.)  These are made available to individuals that have no income.


Perhaps the most important thing that is offered by those who were there from  two or three different prison ministries is a smile and a warm welcome back.  We were blessed to be able to join in that morning.  We visited with several men, many who had served many years, such as Robert who had been behind the razor wire for 20 years.  It was hard for him to fully express the emotions he was experiencing;  fear, strangeness of everything, anticipation of meeting family and especially grand children he didn’t know.

After the fellows had all boarded their buses we went to the Texas Prison Museum.  We saw and read about many interesting things but perhaps the most striking was a full-size prison cell.


The following day we were able to meet and spend some time with one of the fellows we had been writing to.  He is now in a half-way house and had a pass for a few hours.  We were able to take him with us to a local park and enjoy some time along with a picnic lunch.

The following morning, before heading on down to Connie’s sister’s home, we went to Navasota, Texas, to the Pack Unit and went behind the razor wire to visit two men we have been in contact with.  When we began planning our trip they had added our names to their “visitor” list.  We went in together and visited Troy for 2 hours.  We had to come back out and go through the security check again to re-enter to visit Wesley for 2 hours.  We certainly enjoyed our visits and found it sad to have to go.  It really was heart rendering to learn that our visit was the first that Wesley had received since 2002!

After leaving Connie’s sister’s home we drove to Beeville, Texas where we spent the night.  The following morning we went out to the McConnell Unit, a maximum security unit, and had a 2 hour visit with Robert.  (A different Robert than referred to above.)  All 3 visits were non-contact visits.  Regular visits are all non-contact if you aren’t family.  At the Pack Unit we could talk through a heavy mesh but at the McConnell Unit it was over a telephone, just seeing Robert through heavy glass.

We stopped by and spent a bit more time with Thomas and Raquel before heading back to Cedar Ridge.  The many hours of discussion, asking questions and being given countless bits of information hopefully has prepared us for greater service to our brothers and sisters behind the razor wire that our Father is dealing with in some amazing ways.


Another Set of Eastern Red Cedar Candle Holders

>> Sunday, October 23, 2011

Due to numerous activities going on I have not posted for quite some time, neither have I been in the woodworking shop doing any projects.  I finally took a bit of time a few days ago to turn a couple of candle holders on my Craftsman Router Crafter.  I used a piece of cedar that had been cut while cutting firewood.  Since it was about the right diameter I pulled it out of the stack of wood.

Here is a photo of the finished candle holders.



Harvesting Rainwater-Part Five

>> Friday, September 9, 2011

In the last four posts I have described our move to put in a cistern to hold the rainwater captured from the roof of our house and the means we have put in place to use this water for our household use. This week we have been blessed with some wonderful rain. Tropical storm Lee dumped huge amounts of rain on the Gulf coast which caused major flooding. It created some tornados in some areas and added to the flood woes in the East, but here in South-Central Kentucky we received gentle but substantial rain from the outer bands of this storm. Throughout the week we received over 3 and 1/2 inches of rain, which completely filled my cistern tanks.

IMG_0126In the photo to the left you can see the water is up to the overflow pipe. So, in just a matter of days we went from having two empty 1500 gallon septic/cistern tanks to having over 3000 gallons of water ready for use.

IMG_0129The ball valve on the water line coming into the crawlspace from the public water has been turned off. As of this afternoon, September 9, we are now on cistern water! Everything seems to be working well.


Harvesting Rainwater-Part Four

>> Monday, September 5, 2011

(If you would like to check out parts one, two and three here are the links:  Part One, Part Two, Part Three )

I mentioned at the end of Part Three that I had to take care of the overflow once the tanks were full.  My overflow pipe is installed on the opposite end of the tanks from where the water goes into the tanks.

IMG_0118In this photo you can see the 3” PVC pipe that comes out of the tank, runs to the side of the house and runs down to the corner where the roof washer is located.

IMG_0117The pipe turns around the corner and runs along the back side of the house, down to the end of the deck.  There it turns back to the right.

IMG_0110As you can see in this photo the pipe goes over half-way across the end of the deck and then turns again, going under the deck.

IMG_0113The pipe runs under the deck and into one of the two poly tanks that are under the deck.  These have been collecting the limited amount of water previously for use in watering flowers and garden.  I plan to run a pipe from these tanks in under the house and by using ball valves make it possible to draw from them if the main tanks should run empty.  The two poly tanks hold approximately another 950 gallons of water.

IMG_0124Here is pictured the pumping set-up.  It may be a bit unconventional but I have installed a 12 volt DC pump.  It is plugged into a converter that converts 110 volt AC to 12 volt DC.  Electrical usage should be less.  The blue tank is a 20 gallon pressure tank.  Instead of the pump coming on every time a faucet is turned on as is common with most DC pumps used in RV’s or on boats we will have several gallons of pressurized water to use from before the pump kicks on.

Some have been wondering, I’m sure, whether we can survive on what rainwater we can harvest.  Let us look at some figures.  The average rainfall for our county is a bit over 46 inches per year.  One inch of rain yields .6 gallons of water per square foot.  The roof of our house is 32 feet by 47 feet (the “footprint”).  That is 1500+ square feet.  Multiplied by .6 we find that one inch of rain will amount to 900 gallons of water.  At that rate it will take only about 3 and 1/3 inches of rain to completely fill the tanks, or the average rainfall would fill them almost 14 times.

Some figures found on the internet will tell you that the average person uses 60 gallons of water, or more, per day.  I know that figure is much higher than our usage.  Being quite liberal with my figures I  calculate that we use 40 or less gallons per day, each.  And, we will do some things differently knowing our supply will be limited at times.  For example, the reverse osmosis system we have for our drinking water is a water waster.  Depending on the system of course, but from 4 to 10 gallons of water goes down the drain for every gallon of filtered water you obtain.  We plan to quit using the RO system and use the Big Berky fulltime.

We plan to switch over to the cistern soon.  We have been receiving rain the last couple of days.  When I checked mid-day today our tanks were about 60% full and it is still raining.  We will keep you posted.


Harvesting Rainwater—Part Three

>> Monday, August 29, 2011

(If you missed parts one and two you can read part one here and part two here.)

It was hard to see in the photo in my last post but in the middle of the piping connecting the two tanks together I ran a 1/2” pipe up into the crawl space under the house.  This will be connected to the water pump. But, before any water can be pumped out it has to be “harvested” and put into the tanks.

I had put rain gutters on both the front and back of the house a few years ago and was capturing some of the rainwater in a couple of poly tanks that I had placed under the back deck.  The only problem with these gutters were that they drained the water in the opposite direction from what I needed now.  So, I took down the gutters and reinstalled them, swapping them front to back and back to front.  This was due to the solid end and the end for attaching the drainpipe being opposite to what I now needed.

IMG_0102This photo shows the front of the house with the gutter reattached.  While I had the gutters down I put a coat of brown paint on the fascia.  The brown blends in with the brown of the gutters which were prepainted.

IMG_0103The water from off of the roof goes into the drainpipe which you can see in this picture goes into a vertical pipe.  This is made from 4” PVC sewer pipe.  It is hard to discern in the photo but at the bottom there is an elbow which has a screw-in plug.  Near the top you see another pipe that tees off to the right.  What is this all about?  That my friends is my roof washer!  The idea is that when it starts to rain the first few gallons of water that comes off of the roof will normally have dust, bird droppings, etc. in it.  The tall pipe will catch this first runoff with this material.  Once the pipe fills to the tee the much cleaner water will run on over into this second pipe.  You can see that this pipe runs into a black box.

IMG_0105Here is a close shot of the box.  It is a “drop box” normally used with drainage and septic installations.  I ran the pipe in near the top on the left side and have another pipe running out from near the bottom on the right side.  Inside, between the “in” and the “out” I have screening to catch what debris that isn’t caught by the guards I have on the gutters.

IMG_0106The water then is directed down along side of the house to the cistern tank.  This pipe is 3” PVC and it goes into a 4” pipe along the end of the tank, which goes into the tank.  The water from the backside of the house goes through a similar setup and is piped to this same point—all of the water entering the cistern tanks at this end.

IMG_0109This picture is of the roof washer and screening box at the back side of the house.  I have 3” PVC pipe running along side the house to the other end of the tanks, going into the same 4” pipe that enters into the tanks.  In the photo below you can see the 3” pipe attached to the side of the house.

IMG_0119With this all in place we have yet to take care of the overflow when the tanks are filled and the installation of the pump to get the water into the house.  That will be in the next installment.


Harvesting Rainwater—Part Two

>> Monday, August 22, 2011

(Harvesting Rainwater—Part One can be read here.)

The last photo in Part One was of the first concrete septic tank ready to be set off of the delivery truck. Here are a couple more photos of the tank being set.



Darryl is helping guide it into place.


The first tank is in place. You can see that it isn’t going to be underground at all. About two hours later the driver was back with tank number two and it was soon set into place as well.


Both tanks are set. Now the work begins getting them hooked up and ready to harvest rainwater. Since the tanks were designed to be used as septic tanks the inlet and outlet of each tank is on the ends and very near the top. Using them as cisterns we wanted to be able to hook them together in such a way that they would fill equally and also so that we could pump the water from near the bottom of the tanks. To accomplish this we rented a drill with a 3” core bit which has diamond teeth and drilled holes through the tanks. (We did these two and then Darryl’s three.) After drilling the holes we put 2” PVC pipe through the approximately 4” walls. They were sealed with silicone along with a Plexiglas plate on each side.


Pipe with valves, etc. connected these together. I built a box to protect all of this.

IMG_0094This photo shows all of the pipe and connections within the box—the lid is lifted and we are looking down into the box.

In Part Three we will continue the story of turning two septic tanks into a 3000 gallon cistern for harvesting and storing rainwater.


Harvesting Rainwater—Part One

>> Sunday, August 21, 2011






I have mentioned before that we live on top of a “ridge.”  To have a well one would have to drill very deep.  Down the hill, near where Darryl is building his house, there is a well but the water has a great deal of sulfur in it.  The local water company has run water lines throughout the county, bring public water to almost everyone.  We hooked onto the line coming onto the property when we moved here seven years ago.  However, we have wished we could do something to have our own water supply.  Having a cistern to hold rainwater captured from the house roof has been an option.  But, we just couldn’t figure out where to put one.  We put gutters on the house and did acquire some poly tanks to catch and hold a few hundred gallons of water, primarily to be used for watering the garden and the flower beds.

Darryl had determined that he was going to purchase some concrete septic tanks and use them for cisterns at his new house.  We had considered that as well, but as I said, we couldn’t figure out just where we would put them.  A few weeks ago, while discussing this again, it just came to me that they could be put right next to our house, between it and the driveway.  Since Darryl was ready to buy his tanks and get them set in it seemed the time was right for us to go ahead and get ours and get them all done at the same time.

So, we are putting in two tanks, each with a capacity of 1500 gallons.  When filled they will give us 3000 gallons or a bit more.  We have had to be ultra conservative of water in the past and will have to do so again.  Generally we get rains regularly enough that we shouldn’t have much of a problem but perhaps during the summer months we will need to exercise more care.

Here are a few photos of the cistern project.

IMG_0063 Due to rock right under the surface we were unable to dig down deep enough to set the tanks under ground.

IMG_0067In order to put the tanks as deep as possible I spent several hours busting out rock with a sledge hammer.

IMG_0069This photo shows some of the rock along with dirt removed from the hole we had dug.  The fellow used a small backhoe to dig the area out.  I finished it with sledge hammer, shovels, and a lot of labor.

IMG_0073This is as deep as it gets!  This was taken just prior to delivery of the first tank.

IMG_0074The first tank has arrived and is being prepared to be set into the hole.  We will continue with the story in part two.


How Long Is Forever?

>> Saturday, August 6, 2011

I know there are many answers to that question but I think the appropriate response for me would be “since I last posted!”  The last post is dated June 19th.  A lot has transpired since then.  I’ll try to give you a brief recap of what has been happening here on Cedar Ridge.

The last weekend in June we drove up to central Illinois to attend a annual family reunion.  Our oldest son left his daughter, Tana, with us to spend about a month.  We went from central Illinois on to Wisconsin to our daughter’s home for a short visit—we also got to meet our new great-grandson, Jason.

Upon our return home we were in the middle of blackberry season.  I had picked 4 gallon before we left and Darryl, Danny and the grandsons had been busy while we were gone.  Connie and Anne were canning blackberries, Danny was freezing blackberries.  And, we were all eating a lot of them fresh.  We lost track of exactly how many we picked but we know it was over 60 gallons.  That is a lot of berries, and I might add, scratches and chiggers.

July was mostly hot and dry.  Our garden suffered.  I watered some items but some things just had to be let go.  I got our garlic pulled and hung up to dry, our potatoes dug and also the onions harvested.  We have been getting a few tomatoes but our plants have been hit with some kind of fungus and it doesn’t appear that we will get a lot of tomatoes. 

Darryl and Anne got away for a couple of days—a late anniversary celebration.  We kept the grandkids and did the milking.  One afternoon we took Darryl’s four and Tana to the county lake fishing.  The pan fish were biting and several were caught.  Of course we had to keep almost all of them.  After cleaning 10 or 12 I decided we had enough for our “fish fry.”  Darryl and Anne got home before we were ready to eat so we invited them to join us.  The kids were all pretty excited about not only catching fish but in have “their” fish for supper.

July 19th was our 47th wedding anniversary.  We had talked about taking a couple of days and doing something special but with the hot days we decided to put that off.  So, we took Tana with us and went to Bowling Green where we visited several thrift shops and finished off the afternoon by going to Chaney’s Dairy Barn for some of their farm made ice cream.

That weekend our son, Mark, from Illinois came to spend a few days and take his daughter back home.  Our granddaughter, Beth, from Wisconsin drove to Mark’s home and she and her new son (our great-grandson) came as well.  We had a very enjoyable weekend.

In the last two weeks we started another big project which I’ll write about in another post.  Also, this last week I helped Darryl put up more hay and Connie and I canned 35 quarts of peaches.  We bought enough peaches so that we could share with Darryl’s and Danny and have quite a few to put into the refrigerator to eat fresh.

I’ll try to not take forever before posting again.


Some Kitchen Remodeling

>> Sunday, June 19, 2011

In 2004 when we were getting the house ready to live in we laid down cement board and put ceramic tile over it for a stove board.  We also put the same on the wall behind where our woodstove would sit.


This photo was taken before the hardwood floor was put down.  Here is one after it was finished and with our newly purchased wood stove set up/

As you know, if you have been reading my blog for awhile, we replaced this little stove with a wood burning cookstove with a large firebox that allows us to both cook and heat the house.

In this picture you can see how the cookstove takes up about all of the stove board. 


Once I built in the new cabinet we saw that we needed to move the stove a bit more to the left but there wasn’t room.  So, here came the remodeling project.

IMG_0001This is just prior to beginning.  You can see the limited amount of space between the stove and the cabinet on the right.

IMG_0003In this picture you can see that I have cut the oak flooring and am in the process of taking up that next to the stove board.  It did pain me a bit to think of the work my oldest son, Mark, put into laying all of this hardwood that summer of 2004.

IMG_0005All of the hardwood flooring that I needed to take up has been removed.  The next step was to put down some 1/2” cement board and lay more tile.  There was a bit of a problem there.  The tile I had used had been discontinued.  We got the tile that was listed as the replacement.  But, as we prepared to put it down we discovered that it was just a bit larger by almost 1/4”.  That forced me to squeeze the tiles together a bit more than I would have wished.

IMG_0008The tile is laid down and the trim between the tile and the oak floor is in place.  After the tile had set I grouted the joints.  To take care of the wall I decided to not add tile but to place a piece of metal on the wall with about an inch of air space behind it.  I painted the metal white.

IMG_0012Here is a view of the completed project.  Another and larger view is below.


Here you can see the new kitchen island, the new cabinet and the expanded stove board.  Now, what else can I find to do?


Another Project Completed

>> Wednesday, May 25, 2011

When we were getting the house ready to live in back in 2004 we bought and installed a 220 volt A/C in the corner of the kitchen.  The fellow who had started building the house had designed it to have a A/C there.  We found that we used the A/C very little, just didn’t believe it to be healthful coming out of the heat into a cold house, etc.  We had discussed taking the A/C out and building in a cabinet.  Since the area is right next to the woodburning cookstove it would be very convenient.

IMG_2887Here is a photo of the area.  We had a free standing cabinet in the very corner.  We set our trash can in the area as well as had an area for the animal’s food and water.

IMG_2888I started the project on Wednesday, May 4th by removing the A/C.  After getting everything ready, removing screws, etc. Darryl came and helped me physically remove the unit.  After putting up siding and drywall I started on a new cabinet.

IMG_2903This photo shows the basic framework done, the countertop built and installed.  The building of the doors and drawers had yet to be done.


This is the completed cabinet.  It was built to match the kitchen island I built a few weeks ago. (See my post.)  The countertop is made from oak flooring we had left over from putting down our floors.  The top was “finished” with a few coats of walnut oil.

I stood on a chair to take this picture.  You can see the countertop much better.  The small door on the right hides our trash can.  (We had to buy a bit smaller one!)  Connie has yet to figure out just what she is going to put into the cabinet.  What a problem!


Update On Connie’s Flowerbed

>> Saturday, May 21, 2011

I did a post two years ago (see here)

on the flowerbed I enclosed in landscape timbers and leveled out.  Connie has added more plants each summer and the flower bed is looking pretty nice.  Here are a few photos that I just took a few minutes ago.



A Ripe Tomato!

>> Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Never have I had a ripe tomato in early May.  But, I must admit I cheated a bit.  Late last fall I noticed that I had a volunteer tomato plant in the garden.  Just before the first frost I transplanted it into a flower pot and brought it into the house.  A few months ago the plant began to bloom and I shook the blooms and brushed them with my finger.  And, three set on .  Later there were a couple more.  A few days ago I noticed that the first one to set on was beginning to turn red.  Here are some photos that I snapped yesterday afternoon.



A Few More Projects Made on the Craftsman Router Crafter

>> Sunday, May 1, 2011

I keep playing with my Craftsman Router Crafter.  In the last couple of weeks I’ve turned out a few more items.


I made two of these candlesticks.  The basic part was turned several months ago, shortly after I got my machine.  The top was too small to allow me to drill a hole for the candle so I just let them sit.  Recently I purchased some brass candle cups and I just fastened them on the top.  I also made a base for each of them.  The effect is often called a “pineapple” pattern.  It is achieved by turning both a left and right spiral.IMG_2844
This is a close-up so you can see the effect.

IMG_2864This is a candlestick with 3 flutes and a hollow center.  I think it is kind of neat.


These two candle holders are just simple, short turned pieces of cedar with a candle cup.


This is a mug tree made from the cedar.  The “limbs” are made with shaker pegs.  They are almost too large.  I’ll have to try and find something else.

Which item do you like?


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