Refilling propane tanks safer with the Flame King refillable tanks

So I recently came across this Flame King refillable tank adapter and I figured it was worth checking out. As you can see in the video it is pretty easy to use, even easier to get a completely full tank with no chilling needed. I also like the stand to get the tank in a usable position, and I LOVE the lever actuated filling! I am thinking about hacking it to fill the disposable tanks; as it comes it only fits the flame king refillable tanks , which aren’t exactly cheap. They aren’t terrible though, so I think it is worth having a couple.

Here is my Amazon link to the Flame King adapter with current pricing:

Here is what I like:

Easier to assemble and use (uses the outside threads of the tank with a hand wheel, vs the left handed threads of the Mr. Heater refill adapter which you have to get pretty tight (otherwise, when you tighten the disposable tank it loosens the adapter if you don’t have it in tight) The tank is meant to be refilled. There are a TON of people on my original video commenting that it is unsafe or illegal [… click to continue reading this post]

Video – clearing brush with the Kubota compact tractor

I decided to do a bit of clearing to open up some of the front woods while the family was gone for the day and also decided to make a video about it. It has been much too long since I’ve made a video and I thought this would be a good one.

Now, I’ll admit I was a bit rough on the tractor. I don’t typically run it that hard, though I do on occasion. The folks on were getting on me about it a bit. Well, a bit of damage is inevitable in the woods, even when I’m not being too crazy. I had taken the bush hog out to help clear some areas of woods, but to help the maneuverability I took the loader off. Well, it turns out the loader helps protect from brush a ton. I poked a stick into the grill and cracked it, as well as bent the front brush guard (which didn’t do much). I got the tractor to help improve the land as well as snow blow, so I am going to have some wear and tear on it I’m sure.

Most of the time the brush clearing I [… click to continue reading this post]

How to subdue a duck for easy transportation

I wanted to share this technique I learned from one of the people I purchased ducks from. It is an amazing trick and really makes it much easier to transport them. The lady did this and laid 3 or 4 ducks in the bottom of a banana box, I drove an hour home with them like that and they hardly made a peep and they were quite secure. I did recently have one duck I was getting that was able to slip its feet out of the rubber band, I had them in a plastic recycling tote and he occasionally was able to stand up but couldn’t really get his balance and kept falling over, he couldn’t flap out of the container (and probably didn’t want to too much since his buddy was in the container with him

Check it out, it definitely take some time to get the hang of. I’m sure it is easier if you have seen it in real life, it probably took me 30 minutes or so to figure out. The real key once you have the wings crossed the first time is to move them in a scissor motion OPEN and cross them [… click to continue reading this post]

Video – how to pressure can chicken – raw pack method

Here is a video showing how to pressure can chicken the raw pack way. As mentioned in the video, I added water to my jars as that is what my 2008ish version of the Ball Blue Book listed to do. I found a ton of .edu and .gov websites saying NOT to add water, which is what I will be doing in the future, primarily from a convenience standpoint! However, since the way I did it here is a published recipe, I still stand by it being a safe method.

When pressure canning, you NEED to follow a published (not just on a blog) recipe from a reputable source. The makers of canning equipment, .edu extensions, and .gov guides are all safe to follow. If you need a Ball Blue Book, it can be found most places that sell canning jars, or like most things, it can be found on Amazon ( Ball Blue Book guide to canning on Amazon ).

In the video, you can see me using waterproof silicone oven mitts, this is because some of my canning equipment is still at my house, including my lid lifter and jar lifter. You DEFINITELY want to have canning [… click to continue reading this post]

My review of a quality vacuum sealer – Vacmaster Pro305


Here I am reviewing my quality vacuum sealer, an ARY Vacmaster Pro305. I go to a meat distributor where I get great deals on meat (a whole new york strip for $4 a pound, where the grocery store charges nearly that for ground beef, or a whole ribeye for $5 a pound where the grocery store charges $9 a pount). When spending that much money in meat, I wanted to preserve it well. I had been wanting a vacuum sealer for a while, but I wanted a GOOD one that would last longer than a cheap one. While I haven’t had this long enough to know for sure, it sure FEELS heavy duty! It is fan cooled, has a double piston pump for quick sealing, a double sealing bar, and it comes with a replacement set of the consumables (sealing wires, teflon tape, and the sealing foam).

This wasn’t cheap (around $280 or so), but I feel it is worth paying for quality. A cheaper $100 or so one I have seen too many accounts of people not being happy with the sealing, with the vacuum level, or it just plain stopping working.

By far the cheapest vacuum [… click to continue reading this post]

I have the snow tires on – also quick video on removing stuck wheels

Well, after an awesome Thanksgiving spent with my wife’s family it was time to get some stuff done. Up in Michigan there was a foot+ of snow on the ground at various points, and with it snowing a couple inches every day the roads were never in great condition. I was having trouble going so I started to put the snow tires on my car. As usual, the alloy wheels were a pain to remove. Now, I’m doing this under my car port at the apartment, not in my garage at home. As is pretty common, my lease says no working on cars so I was trying to be pretty speedy. Fortunately for me, MANY of my tools have been moved up to the apartment to get the house in a listable condition, so I had a few to choose from (though not all I’d prefer). At the apartment I turned the front wheels and used a dead blow mallet to knock the tires free, so was able to change those without TOO much of a huge hassle. However, when I moved to the rear it felt like I was going to possibly torque the lug studs right off, so [… click to continue reading this post]

Video – rear shock replacement & suspension troubleshooting

Over the winter my car was handling really funky and I just thought it was the roads heaving from the cold. At the same time, I also had a noise going on when I drove. I lifted the car up and grabbed ahold of the wheel and was yanking around on it. With the tire OFF you could see that the splines of the axle were moving around due to a bad bearing. In addition, with the wheel ON you could move it a bit side to side. I traced the movement down to a bushing that was shot. I replaced that and it solved the majority of my issues.

So now I’m driving along and everything seems a bit bouncy, not the sharp jerking that was before when I hit a bump, but a side to side bounciness. I pushed down on all 4 corners and found one that seemed to have a distinct difference. You can see me troubleshooting the rear and demonstrating my issues in this troubleshooting video:

Shocks/struts should be replaced in pairs, so you at least have to narrow it down front to back, but if you were really short on time and money [… click to continue reading this post]

Garden update – video and blog post

I made a quick video on pruning raspberry plants, that can be seen here:

It was kind of a rush job, I hope it doesn’t show TOO badly. I had under an hour to get the footage and get back inside while the family was away. It was also my first time using some new editing software, I wanted to get something made before the trial ran out.

Anyhow, the real update:

Seeds have been started and are sprouting! I planted a week or so ago with the kids and had sprouts in three days. If you keep the seeds warm, around 75-80 you will have similar results. If you have LOTS of light, now is likely the time to start seeds. If you do not supplement lighting you have a few weeks to go yet. Without enough light the sprouts will end up tall and spindly, then you plant them and they will either die or end up falling over when they put on weight. This was my major error a few years ago when trying to start seeds, I just had them on the kitchen table.

Last year I tried using my wire shelves and a couple [… click to continue reading this post]

Refilling 1lb propane tanks – video

Recently amongst the various forums I browse I have seen several mentions of refilling 1lb propane tanks, so I thought I’d get in on the action. I have had hoses to convert between the tank types, but I hadn’t actually pickuped up a refill adapter. I picked up this Mr. Heater for around $14 on amazon, at least $5 cheaper than the hardware store had it for.

The video is of my first attempt. Now, even before my first try, I was confident that I would be successful, mostly due to the various hints I had read in some posts on various forums. I am quite familiar with PV=nRT, vapor pressures, etc due to my chemistry and chemical engineering degree. You do NOT need such information to be able to fill the tanks if you follow directions. So, here is the video:

So the steps are:

Have a FULL or nearly full grill tank available Fully empty the disposable tank (the mistake I made) at room temperature or warmer until there is NO pressure left. Freeze your tank for an hour or so. Make sure your grill/big tank is room temp or warmer Weigh the small tank, [… click to continue reading this post]

Greenworks electric snow blower review – video

(Click for the full post to see the embedded video) (Be sure to read the full post for updates and hints)

Here, I am reviewing the Greenworks 12 amp 20″ electric snow blower (link to it on amazon). I have had this since last year and I am happy with my purchase so far. I have used it a few times. When there is less than 3″ of snow or so I prefer to use a shovel, but when there is 3-8″ this electric snow blower works great. It cant be super wet, so you do have to get out there when the snow is fresh and hasn’t been driven over or trampled. Up here in NW Indiana if we get a monster snow I do have to go out in the middle as the thing can only handle 8-10″ or so, and even then only if it is pretty fluffy. Still, well worth the trade offs. $166 new and it was still considerably cheaper than a used gas one, minus the headache involved. I wanted something I knew my wife could operate with no help, something she could maneuver, and that wouldn’t take up a lot of room [… click to continue reading this post]

Remake of string cheese – video

I remade the string cheese video, not the most homesteady/preparedness of skills, but its tasty and fun! A great project to work on with your kids, or even just FOR your kids since string cheese is pretty expensive.

I used 4 cups of water and 1 tbs of salt. I stretched and doubled the cheese 30 times, you can see in the video how well it strung!

Winter car kit contents – video

As usual, click on the post link to see the embedded video

I put this car kit together to get me by in case I get stranded in the snow on my 60 mile commute. This is not meant to be a traditional GHB, it is meant to keep me alive until AAA can get to me, or to double in case I get snowed in at work and spend the night there. It would be unlikely to be too bad at work, but where I live we can get pretty significant amounts of lake effect snow. Already in my car but not shown: Phone charger High power flashlight with strobe mode Heavy duty collapsible shovel Items in this kit that may be of particular interest:

Yak – Trax I have the heavier duty version I got for Christmas a couple years ago, but these have started to become knocked off some so you can find off-brands for as low as $5-10. They are amazing for walking on a solid sheet of ice. The above link is to the sharper, but slightly less heavy duty version from what I have, but still the name brang. I have seen [… click to continue reading this post]

Free mulch for your garden – video

Dont forget to click the title so you can view the embedded video.


This pile of mulch is about 4′ tall and 8′ long, mostly of chopped up leaves from a guy that used his mower to collect them. It represents probably 6 or 7 loads worth, I also have a couple of loads already on the raspberry garden (though it could also use 1 or 2 more loads). Last year I collected a load worth or so for the kids to play in. After all, when you only have one deciduous tree that is 6 years old you don’t get quite enough for the kids to play in. After that I put them on the garden, though I was sorely short of what I needed. This year I decided to collect more, hopefully enough to last for all of what I need next year. Not too hard to do, people all across the subdivision seem to be wanting to help out my garden. After all, they are spending HOURS collecting up all this mulch and setting it at the roadside for me to come pick up.

Mulch does a variety of things for you: It keeps [… click to continue reading this post]

Video – how to make your vacuum suck (hair removal)

Click the title to go to the article so that the embedded video will show.[/embed]

This household chore is one that doesn’t take too long and will actually save you time in the long run. In the video I show you the buildup that can be caused by hair wrapping around the bristles and how easy it is to remove. About 1-2 times per year at about 5 minutes each time (30 or so when you are recording a video with multiple takes 😉 ) it will make your vacuum perform like new as far as picking stuff up from the carpet. Typically when you notice it doesn’t seem to do quite as good a job as you remember its a good idea to flip it over and take a look at the bristles. Other potentials may be a filled bag/clogged filter causing a loss in suction, a clog in the hoses/pipes, or a number of other causes.

Making ghee – a stabile fat made from butter – video

(click the title for the full post for the embedded video)

Today we are making ghee. Ghee is clarified butter that has everything removed except the fat. There is water, sugars, and proteins in butter, and these are what can contribute to it going bad. Obviously, fat can go rancid as well, so it isn’t indefinite shelf life.

The video can be “boiled down” (get it? Wait, you may not yet) to one step: Boil down the butter. This removes moisture, coagulates the solids for removal, and gives it a nice golden color and slightly caramelized flavor.

After some time the solids will kind of coagulate and separate from the liquid. It starts of frothy and ends up similar to when you make cheese (solids floating on the liquid). Shortly after this you can strain it out, return to the heat, and finish removing any moisture. The process takes about 30-45 minutes start to finish. I started off with 1 lb (16 ounces) and ended with 11.9 ounces, about a 75 percent yield. Based on my losses, I doubt that you can really expect any more than about 80 percent. I had some oil left on the pans, but [… click to continue reading this post]

Winterize your lawnmower or other small engines – video and blog

Today we are winterizing the lawn mower. This easy, quick task saves a lot of frustration come spring.

The basic steps are:

Empty your lawnmower of fuel. Not just empty the tank, but run it dry Remove the bowl from the carb Empty the bowl of fuel and clean any gunk out If you are trying to fix, clean the gunk out extra well. Then poke a wire into the nozzle / venturi / whatever it is called. Both sideways and up and down. This is where tiny pieces of debris will get stuck and keep your lawnmower from running well. If it will start on ether and then die you are short on fuel. If there is fuel to the bowl, then its probably the nozzle. If no fuel gets to the bowl check between the carb and the fuel tank Make sure your rubber gasket is in good shape. Mine was falling apart, so I’ll get a new one. I googled “briggs and stratton fuel bowl gasket” and found several places. There are different types, so chances are I will just take the old one with me to the hardware store After everything is clean of debris, [… click to continue reading this post]

Canning dry beans – video and blog

This video in 720p HD, we had a camera laying around with this capability. Unfortunately, very shortly into making this video it fell off the counter and the lens fell off. I also discovered it could only do a couple minutes at a time. That was fine for this video, but I was trying to do another at the same time which didn’t work. I’m hoping to upgrade cameras so that I’ll be able to get more HD footage.

So, on to canning:

Some points not put into the video or just barely touched on –

Only use published recipes. I suggest ball blue book of canning, but you can also trust pressure canning recipes from a .edu or .gov website. There are also some from the pressure cooker / pressure canner makers websites. Do NOT substitute. I canned pinto beans here. That does NOT mean I could have made refried beans with the same recipe because they would transfer heat differently and the middle might not get cooked right. The recipe was specifically for dry beans / peas (so pinto, kidney, black, etc). Had this been a chicken recipe that called for 1″ cubes and to top with [… click to continue reading this post]

First video published – making string cheese



I made a video on making string cheese at home. Here we are using store bought mozzarella, not homemade. Hopefully that will come soon.