ffj's early retirement

Where are you and where are you going?
ffj
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Re: ffj's early retirement

Post by ffj » Sat Jun 18, 2016 5:15 pm

I've baked 4 loaves of the sourdough bread so far from the above recipe and it is really good, although it makes me want to buy a free standing mixer with a hook for kneading all of that dough, not because I'm too lazy but because it doesn't make such a mess. I had flour everywhere hand kneading. I would encourage others to give that recipe a try. And I've given away a ton of starters for the Amish bread and everybody has been raving about them. I think I'll make a bunch of loaves for Christmas gifts this December.

Here is a fun little project I came up with the other day that is light, portable, and doesn't cost much at all. It's a target stand for air rifles or even for regular guns. The poles are tomato stakes that are 5 feet tall, which I paid a dollar apiece for, and the clips are what you would find at Office Depot for two dollars/box of four. The cardboard and 2 x 4's were scraps I had lying around. Works great.

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The garden is plugging along with the beans flowering, tomatoes bearing small fruit, and I've already picked quite a few peppers. My chicken pen is now a flower garden as I gave my chickens away to a friend of mine. I got tired of fooling with them, buying feed, and constantly having to find ways to do something with all of the excess eggs. They now belong to a much larger flock with a rooster, so maybe they are more happy. ;)

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And I am still remodeling the house now that the kitchen is done. This time it's my new office, which was formerly the dining room. I am no where near the pace set by the likes of cmonkey, but I've replaced the window, replaced trim, fixed the walls, painted, and enlarged an opening. I still need to finish the floor and put the baseboard down.

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Life is good.

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GandK
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Re: ffj's early retirement

Post by GandK » Sat Jun 18, 2016 5:51 pm

Looks great, ffj. 8-)

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Dragline
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Re: ffj's early retirement

Post by Dragline » Sat Jun 18, 2016 8:38 pm

That's some serious plantage. Is your workshop in the barn?

ffj
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Re: ffj's early retirement

Post by ffj » Sun Jun 19, 2016 9:19 am

@K
Thanks. I'm ready to have an office again as right now my computer and desk are in a corner of my bedroom which drives my wife crazy. Apparently she doesn't want to hear whatever I am watching on my computer while she is trying to sleep. I get to hear " put on the damn headphones" all of the time. :D

@dragline
I would say the garden is about 20 by 30 feet with beans, corn, tomato, peppers, and squash. And sunflowers. I planted the sunflowers about 12 years ago and they come back each year even though they are technically an annual. The chicken pen measures 10 by 20 feet which I planted in wildflowers because I thought that the soil might be too rich for vegetables after all of the chicken poop over the years. Ironically, I counted 10 volunteer tomato plants in there the other day from when I used to throw rotten tomatoes to the chickens, and I am curious to see what variety they turn out to be. Anyway, next year it will turn into a vegetable plot.

My workshop is in my basement actually. I have plans to build a proper shop/garage in the next couple of years and reclaim my basement for other uses. It's really hard to keep clean if you do any kind of work and you end up tracking some of the dirt and dust to the nice areas of the house. The barn is for my outdoor tools and lawnmower, tiller, etc.

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cmonkey
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Re: ffj's early retirement

Post by cmonkey » Sun Jun 19, 2016 9:04 pm

Nice bit of remodeling, it sounds like you've done a lot. I like that crown moulding you have. We are going to put something similar to that in our livingroom.

I don't feel like I've set a quick pace but I'll believe you. Feels like it just drags on and on.... We are painting the bathroom this coming week so am excited for that transformation.

ffj
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Re: ffj's early retirement

Post by ffj » Sun Jun 19, 2016 9:11 pm

Trust me, you are moving at a fast pace considering you also work a full time job. I don't have a job, so no excuses for me. :D

ffj
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Re: ffj's early retirement

Post by ffj » Sat Jun 25, 2016 10:18 pm

I went out to the garden this evening to find that my plum tree has been overrun with Japanese beetles. I have never seen them this bad around here so it looks like I am going to have to build a trap for them. My concern is that they are going after my veggies next. I threw a bunch of them in the neighbors pond and I didn't see one strike from the fish, so maybe the fish don't like them? Anybody know?

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Picked a bag full of peppers and I think I will string them up to air dry. They are all hot varieties that have been ready for picking so far, and as I use them to accent dishes, I don't think I will need any more for awhile. I'll see if friends will want the extra's for here on out. This variety is called Garden Salsa.

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My flower garden and vegetable garden are doing great. The rains here have been timed perfectly with the plants needs. I should have squash and beans ready fairly soon.

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cmonkey
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Re: ffj's early retirement

Post by cmonkey » Tue Jun 28, 2016 7:57 am

Japanese beetles are bad here too. They nearly destroyed what was left of our Rainier Cherry (after the deer were done with it). We leave a dish of soapy water sitting in the garden and go around knocking them off the plant into the dish. They can't get out. It works well since their natural defense response is to fall straight to the ground...or rather into our soap dish.

Nice looking garden!

ffj
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Re: ffj's early retirement

Post by ffj » Sun Aug 14, 2016 11:37 am

I found a meme that kind of sums up my life currently:

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First world problems right? :D I do feel I'm in kind of a holding pattern however with some new projects but nothing that has really excited me.

I did remodel a new bathroom for a client recently, put in a bottom floor to the treehouse I built, and am currently helping to spec out a new ladder truck for my fire dept. The last one is kind of fun as I get to help pick out a million dollar truck.

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I didn't plant any vegetables in my old chicken coop because I thought the nitrogen levels would be too high, so I planted wildflowers instead. However, I have a bunch of volunteer tomatoes from when I would feed rotten fruit to the chickens last year and these things have gone crazy. Some of them are over six feet tall but they don't have a whole lot of fruit just yet. Here's some pictures of the power of chicken shit:

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I've got a buddy who has some goats and I think after the growing season is over I'm going to borrow one for a week and let them eat everything inside so I don't have to clean it out. :)

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cmonkey
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Re: ffj's early retirement

Post by cmonkey » Sun Aug 14, 2016 12:32 pm

I really love that treehouse, just fantastic!

Nice bathroom job. Did you design or the client?

Any work done on your house lately?

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jennypenny
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Re: ffj's early retirement

Post by jennypenny » Sun Aug 14, 2016 5:19 pm

What happened to the chickens??

(if they ended up in a pot, lie to me and tell me they went to live on a farm lol)

ffj
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Re: ffj's early retirement

Post by ffj » Sun Aug 14, 2016 6:07 pm

@monkey
The treehouse clients spend the night in it every now and then and and have cookouts in the bottom. They really seem to enjoy it. If they weren't as old as they are I would put a zipline in it. That would be fun!

The bathroom was a complete gut job. It originally had a bulkhead over the bathtub and a partition wall next to the vanity. It really opened up that room once I tore all of that stuff out. The client picked all the colors and tile; simple but pleasing.

Taking a break from the house currently but the living room is on my radar.

@jenny
They went to live on a farm. Seriously, they did. A buddy of mine works at a factory and sells every egg he brings to work with him at $3.00/dozen so I gave them to him as I grew tired of eggs and feeding them. People love the farm fresh eggs.

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FBeyer
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Re: ffj's early retirement

Post by FBeyer » Mon Aug 15, 2016 2:26 am

Your journal has wood shops, fire trucks, and treehouses. I'm hesitant to say so, but I'm enjoying your journal more than mine...

ffj
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Re: ffj's early retirement

Post by ffj » Mon Aug 15, 2016 10:07 am

Haha, well tomorrow I'm testing an E-one ladder truck so I'll have to submit some pictures of that just for you. The above picture is when we tested a Ferrara. If you like that kind of stuff you should visit FDIC, which happens in Indianapolis every spring.

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What you see in the above photo is one small part of the convention.

henrik
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Re: ffj's early retirement

Post by henrik » Mon Aug 15, 2016 10:11 am

In an imaginary favourite ERE journal contest, this one would get my top vote too. Despite the complete lack of financial charts!

ffj
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Re: ffj's early retirement

Post by ffj » Mon Aug 15, 2016 10:23 am

@henrik
Thank you. I'm so happy to have found a community as neat as this one. For many years I thought I was the crazy one but to find others like me is very refreshing. And hats off to the chart makers, much easier to just take a picture. :D

ffj
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Re: ffj's early retirement

Post by ffj » Mon Aug 15, 2016 9:20 pm

Harvested the remainder of my cayenne peppers today and decided to make pepper flakes out of them. Basically all one does is wash them, pull the stems off, and dry them in the oven for about 7 hours at 170 degrees F. Keep in mind while you are crushing them you are making pepper spray basically! My nose is still burning from that, but I've stopped coughing. :D This should last me a while as a little pinch is all you need to liven up dishes.

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Gilberto de Piento
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Re: ffj's early retirement

Post by Gilberto de Piento » Mon Aug 15, 2016 9:26 pm

I did that once with Thai peppers. It works really well, especially if you want pepper flakes that are hotter than the store sells.

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cmonkey
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Re: ffj's early retirement

Post by cmonkey » Tue Aug 16, 2016 7:25 am

We do this too. The taste is so much better than store. We grow way too many hot pepper plants for our own good and so 90%+ goes to waste actually. There is only so much "spicey" you can use in a year! The plants are very ornamental so we enjoy them for that.

We grew Fatalii peppers 2 years ago and you couldn't even be in the same room with the pepper after it was cut. Beautiful pepper, though.

ffj
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Re: ffj's early retirement

Post by ffj » Tue Aug 16, 2016 7:59 am

Haha, I rubbed my eyes this morning after waking up. Big mistake. I couldn't open them for a few minutes. :)

And they are pretty plants; I may plant a few in planters next year for the deck.

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Dragline
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Re: ffj's early retirement

Post by Dragline » Tue Aug 16, 2016 8:29 am

cmonkey wrote:There is only so much "spicey" you can use in a year!
Sacrilege! You must pray to the hot pepper god at least three or four times per day! :D

NIce pics, ffj.

ffj
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Re: ffj's early retirement

Post by ffj » Tue Aug 16, 2016 6:20 pm

I was able to test the E-one ladder truck today which went fairly well. I thought I would share some pictures of what it is like to be 105 feet in the air on one of these ladders. Sometimes I have to remind myself of some of the neat things I get to do. Here is the demo truck:

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The stabilizers are unique to this manufacturer as they use a completely different system than any other truck out there. I won't bore you guys with the details but it has to to able to support this ladder 360 degrees at any angle at full extension. It's pretty remarkable really. Here is my view before climbing:

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Here is the spectacular view once you get to the top. You will never clutch your phone as carefully as I did today, haha.

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And here is the view downward. From the tip I can rotate completely, bring the ladder downward or upward to 80 degrees, and retract and extend the ladder all while flowing 1,000 gallons of water a minute. It's a million dollar truck.

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Riggerjack
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Re: ffj's early retirement

Post by Riggerjack » Tue Aug 16, 2016 8:31 pm

Nice! I used a 110' boom lift to work on the underside of the roof of a big hanger (for rebuilding 747's). I was impressed by the controls. Rather than the usual toggle switch and very jerky motion, there was toggles plus a reostat for speed. Nice gentle starts and stops. I always figured I could thank firemen for that luxury advancement...

ffj
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Re: ffj's early retirement

Post by ffj » Tue Aug 16, 2016 9:21 pm

These controls at the turntable have something the manufacturer calls ramp, which eliminates the jerkiness you mentioned. Very,very smooth. At the tip, all of the controls are at quarter speed and the turntable operator has complete override over anything the guy at the tip does. The only thing I didn't like were the fold-down foot pedals that had sensors in them that had to be weighted before the controls worked. If you lifted one leg the controls stopped and it mandated that you had to be on the pedals to operate everything. Sensors are the bane of the fire service as they are the first things to fail or become very finicky. Open compartment door sensors are the worst.

But very nice truck overall.

henrik
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Re: ffj's early retirement

Post by henrik » Wed Aug 17, 2016 5:00 am

From your photo of the surroundings, the area seems mostly low-rise and with plenty of space for maneuvering. Are there any dense high-rise districts that the truck would have to operate in? Do you consider the ability to handle sharp turns, densely parked cars etc in your assessment of the trucks? Our fire service recently acquired some smaller ladder trucks for use in bigger towns. The trade-off seems to be that you lose in height and possibly operating stability, but make more areas accessible.

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