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Joel Bercardin

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since Aug 15, 2014
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Living on land for decades. At times a carpenter, retail clerk, freelance writer & editor, business-association manager. I'm a local environmental activist.
Western Canadian mtn valley, zone 6b, 750mm (30") precip
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Recent posts by Joel Bercardin

Nice work on all your items, David. Those stakes are very fine. Clever little gadget for the adjuster there.

Thanks for sharing.
3 weeks ago
I’m posting a couple of simple gadgets... bumping the thread mainly with hopes to get folks to post some of their own (and maybe better ones).

One is a weeding tool, made as a gift for a friend who used mine for a while, and liked it a lot — the original being shown & explained in page-1, post #4 in this thread.

The other is something I made for taking a few fasteners with a small load of stuff (hammer or cordless drill & bits, small number of screws or small nails). Generally, it's when going to do a minor task. For instance, I use it when carrying all that’s needed in my hands, or in my small work bag  — since it’s handier than a tray, box, or bag of screws. I simply epoxied a strong button magnet onto a section of a paint-stirring stick.

3 weeks ago
Hi Jeff. I just wanted to invite you to contribute (when you feel like it) to this thread:   It's all about gadgets we make, whether humble or ingenious, using whatever materials made sense or we happened to have on-hand.

Its a place where a number of us have posted pictures & stories or descriptions. The gadgets posted have been quite varied, and the one key idea is their usefulness for making our homestead/permies/self-reliant lives easier or more convenient. Of course, no reason why they couldn't be something one turns out for sale as part of cash income needed.
2 months ago

Niels van Wensen wrote:I am curious how (or if!) some of you prepared (well) before you got the opportunity to actually get stuck in 'in real life'?

In some ways I had prepared well, in some ways not. I grew up in a housing-tract lot in a modest-size city. I learned how to mark & saw boards, and in summer I worked in nearby orchards and also as a "yard boy" (mowing lawns, etc). With a friend my age, I put together a small motorscooter from spare parts. I received an academic-oriented education, though one year in high school I elected to take an "auto shop" class.  By chance, I learned to use a few woodshop power tools at a most elementary level.

Once out on my own, I rented a cottage on a farm and grew my first organic garden — and as for livestock , within a couple years I'd had my first flock of laying hens. When I got my own land, I have to admit I sometimes felt like I was learning what a 15-year-old boy is learning from his dad, on a country place! LOL But it all worked out.

A lot of what one does on a homestead involves manual skills, such as carpentry, plumbing, electrical wiring (mainly for buildings), fixing water systems, small engines... building & repairing fences & gates, dealing with invasive pests. And food-preservation methods. It's true that what's available through web sites like this one and from Youtube can help the learning process quite a lot. For instance, I learned much of what I can now do with welding by watching Youtube 'how-to's' (and practicing, practicing). But nothing completely substitutes for making friends in the countryside where you settle, and having real live people show and explain to you how they do things.

One other area I'll mention is that, in my experience (and that of most people I know who moved from town, city, suburb to rural land) you can't count on earning much money from efforts on your place itself in the first years. For a valuable discussion of this kind of topic, go to this thread:
2 months ago
Some further thoughts after four years ownership of the cordless Husqvarna 120i.

It’s a joy, and has replaced the 16lb Stihl gas-powered machine, in most of what I used to do with it. And truly, the 120i feels much safer to operate.

I stand by what I said about it being efficient for softwood-round cutting up to 6” diameter. And by “softwood” I’m referring to conifer limbs of pretty dense species such as larch and Douglas fir! It also works fine for fairly thick broadleaf wood like birch, so long at the log isn’t really dry (seasoned). Same goes for some thick hazelnut branches from a couple of trees/bushes I needed to cut down in late summer.

The battery that came with my saw stopped taking a charge (reason unknown) after quite a bit of usage. The hearsay is that this battery failure is unusual.  But mine was replaced by the dealership (no charge, as within warranty).

Drawbacks & cautions:
In a lengthy session, with a gas saw you can refill the fuel in a matter of a couple minutes to continue working. If, as I do, you just have the one battery that comes with the 120i kit, you may get about 45 minutes of continual work, then have to re-charge the battery for about that long before you can resume. And an extra battery, for alternation, is expensive.

I learned the hard way that when you remove the battery from the 120i to recharge it, you must not leave the saw where an unexpected  passing shower (or spray from an irrigation sprinkler) may drip into the saw’s empty battery chamber. Placed in a warmish, dry indoor environment, it took more than a day for moisture that had seeped into the saw’s electronic circuitry and/or motor to evaporate! The saw wouldn’t run normally before thoroughly drying out.
2 months ago
Hey Cam, can we see some of those projects? (And there are those threads I mentioned where some pics & descriptions might go.)
4 months ago
Thanks for the identification & story, Anne.
7 months ago
We got this bed frame for free, from people in the nearby small city who were downsizing. The wood surfaces needed a little cleaning & polish, but not a real refinishing.  We have friends in the re-upholstering business and they are cutting us a thick piece of foam and making a cloth cover, for us to use as the mattress.

Very happy to get it. This goes, as a small second bed, in a room we have for relatives or friends who sometimes stay with us.
7 months ago
It'd be great to see what berm sheds are now being used for. Pics, please?
7 months ago
And, guys, please think about posting or cross-posting to this established thread...

Your Homestead Workshop/Shed Situation?
7 months ago