Milwaukee Compact Blower 0884-20 – My Little Red Housekeeping Buddy

milwaukee compact blower

Using power tools is a messy business. Drilling holes, cutting lumber, sanding trim smooth and pretty – everything seems to generate an amazing amount of wood chips and sawdust. And while it’s gratifying to see the result of all that work, someone’s got to clean up the mess at the end of the day. If that someone is you, you may want to take a look at the new Milwaukee M18 Cordless Compact Blower. Milwaukee recently sent one for us to evaluate, so put down your broom and take a look! [Read more...]

How to Plant a Tree – as Easy as One, Two, Tree!

planting a tree

I’m a tree hugger. Not in any kind of political sense, but simply in an I just love trees sense. Sadly, we had to take down one of our old aspen trees this year. It was a large one that provided shade and seclusion to our deck. In its healthy years, it also provided that quaking aspen sound that made me feel like I was in the mountains. It was hard to see it go. And it was really, REALLY hard to remove. It took most of the day. We sawed off branches and then the upper sections of the tree. We kept moving down until we got to all of the underground roots and shoots where we dug, yanked, sawed, and hacked. When we finally wrangled the stump out, we had a huge hole to place a new tree into. So we went and bought ourselves a new tree. [Read more...]

Kitchen Table Facelift – Refinishing with Chalk Paint

refinishing with chalk paint

I’m not one who will ever lift, nip, or tuck any part of my own person. However, I have been known to use the above mentioned methods to recreate my furniture. One of the simplest ways to give just about any piece of furniture a better-than-Botox facelift is to employ the miracle of chalk paint. [Read more...]

To Backup or not to Backup – That is the Solar Question

solar2

As a solar installer, one of the most frequently asked questions I get is: “The solar panels will give me electricity when the power goes out, right?” The questioner inevitably exhibits a disgruntled facial expression when I give them the least satisfying answer of all time… “It depends…” Whether or not to include solar battery backup into your system is determined by your particular needs and how your system will be used. Read on for all the ins and outs of solar and battery backup. [Read more...]

Growing the Homemade Dill Pickle – A Tasty Morsel Indeed

cucumber

I have enjoyed pickles since I was a small child. They make the perfect snack. They are sweet, crunchy, and tangy all at once. And my grandmother makes the best sweet pickles in the entire world. I have yet to get her to part with her secret recipe. No amount of pleading seems to budge her on the subject, and mentioning that she should tell us before it’s too late didn’t seem to have the desired effect. Instead, she swatted me. All of her descendants are, therefore, going to be in quite a pickle if anything happens to her (more likely, without pickles). But, the tedious politics of acquiring top-secret family recipes aside, a quick Google search reveals all. Or at least, the main ingredients in most recipes for a homemade dill pickle so I can expound upon how to grow these things in more detail. [Read more...]

Guilt Free Shopping Spree – Salvaged Building Materials

salvageflooring

I experience a lot of internal conflict when shopping for building materials. I like to buy from the local lumber yard, but the home center is cheaper. I want to buy American, but all the fixtures are made in China. I want to buy “Greener,” but I’m almost always disappointed in the quality of the products. What’s an old carpenter to do? One thing I have learned over the years is that you don’t have to worry about any of this if you use salvaged building materials. [Read more...]

Ego Cordless Chainsaw – Be A Gas-Free Lumberjack

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Is your yard starting to look like the Forbidden Forest? Time to get rid of the deadwood (and I’m not necessarily talking about your son-in-law here)? If you have trees on your property, from time to time they’re going to need a trim job. At some point, they’re leafy lifespan will come to an end, and some Paul Bunyan type will have to bring ‘em down. If that Paul Bunyan wannabe is YOU, you should take a look at the new EGO 56V Chainsaw. One arrived at HomeFixated HQ recently for our evaluation; belly up to the (14”) bar and see how it performed! [Read more...]

Get Squashed – How to Grow Pumpkins

how to grow pumpkins

According to the Chinese calendar, this is the Year of the Horse. For me and my house though, we are officially proclaiming it to be the Year of the Pumpkin. We planted nine pumpkin seeds just after Mother’s Day last May, and we’ve had the delight of twirling pumpkin vines, delicious flowers, and now five plump pumpkins growing all over the garden area this year. We’ve not had this much success in years with pumpkins! Typically, we’ll get one or two vines with a pumpkin apiece, but for whatever reason, pumpkins have been the “bumper” crop for our 2014 garden. [Read more...]

Building a Geodesic Dome Greenhouse for Under $200

geodome greenhouse

WARNING: Building domes can be very addictive…Building a dome may be one of humankind’s earliest D.I.Y. projects. Dome shelters, framed with the curved tusks of mastodon are among the oldest structures unearthed by archaeologists. Wigwams and yurts provided strong, lightweight and mobile shelter for nomadic people. In modern times, architects and designers like R. Buckminster Fuller have used the dome to erect huge enclosed spaces like stadiums and observatories with a minimum of materials. [Read more...]

Haiku Ceiling Fan Delivers Nest Compatibility and High Tech Style

haiku fan

We don’t often write about ceiling fans here at HomeFixated. Although they’re in a majority of US homes, ceiling fans are usually pretty boring. You flip a switch to turn them on or off, or, worse yet, you pull a chain that might just as well have been connected to a water wheel mechanism somewhere. Not exactly cutting edge stuff. Some recent news from Big Ass Fans (well known for their . . . big ass fans), has us paying a bit more attention to the artificial breeze. Big Ass Fans released the ultra high tech Haiku ceiling fan with SenseME technology, and recently announced compatibility with the very svelte and sophisticated Nest Thermostat. What’s so special about all this? Get ready to get your inner ceiling fan geek excited! [Read more...]