Posts belonging to Category Home

Eating Healthy!

We have long been wanting to eat better.  I’ve taken a nutrition class and we have attended Weight Watchers meetings. We wanted to learn more.


My wife came across the ‘documentary’ called “Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead” by Joe Cross and it made us think “we should juice”.  Joe’s primary audience is the more extreme cases, and his tool is the ‘juice fast’ or as he calls it, a ‘reboot’.  Fiber is good for some bodily functions, but the nutrition is not in the fiber, it’s in the juice, so juicing, even occasionally, is for everybody!

(click watch the movie here)
. We got a juicer (one of the recommended juicers, the Breville Juice Fountain Elite) and we enjoyed the juice.  This juicer is of the ‘centrifugal’ variety; it spins at high RPMS to shred and extract juice.  It works great for the harder fruits and veggies and somewhat less well for soft fruits (think banana) and leafy green veggies.  Read this Wikipedia article to learn more about the types of juicers.

John Kohler talks about Juicers

John Kohler talks about Juicers

We read web pages and watched videos on juicing.  A man named John Kohler has done quite a few videos on YouTube to support his business ‘Discount Juicers’ but the amount of information he presented gave me confidence in making purchasing decisions.


We got the Breville juicer used on Craigslist.  It is a very good juicer, fast, feels high quality, but you still have to clean and sometimes chop your food and clean up the juicer when you are done. If you want to juice then there is some work involved!

Phase 2

Within a month I became curious about my leafy green veggies. I wanted to know if I could get more juice out of them and so decided to get a “crushing” or “chewing” (masticating) juicer. I found a nice used one on Craigslist, the Omega VRT350 vertical masticating juicer.  This is a NEAT machine.  The hole on top is not as large as the Breville juicer but I didn’t generally throw whole apples in anyway so it was fine, especially if I had a helper peeling and chopping while I fed the juicer.

Omega VRT350 Heavy Duty Dual-Stage Vertical Single Auger Low Speed Juicer

I really enjoy juicing but it does take time.  I would generally spend an hour per evening doing the preparation, juicing and cleanup of the machine to make enough juice for myself and my wife for the next day, and on rare occasions, up to two hours, depending on what I made.


I also found a Breville Hemisphere blender on CL and we tried it for a while but were not happy with it’s style of blending. Then one day we were at Costco and heard a really good presentation on the Vitamix blender. The food was good and it looked very easy. When he said “if it’s quick, you’ll do it every day” I was sold (remembering the 2 hours I spent one night with the juicer). They were “$100 off” of the $475 price so I ended up spending about $400 on it, with tax, but I do actually use it every day. 🙂


Here’s a link to the Vitamix site.

Blending is not juicing. I tried blending carrots in the Vitamix and guess what you get… baby food, not carrot juice! I think the combination is a ‘best of both worlds’ thing.  The Vitamix is hands down a better blender than the Breville Hemisphere so I’ve sold the Breville blender on CL. I really like the Breville juicer and since the thing I mainly make with the blender has two whole handfulls of kale or spinach, I could get the leafy greens from the blender and the fruits and harder veggies from the juicer. The Breville would work fine this way, and it is faster but the Omega is more thorough even if a bit slower.  I had to pick so, for now, I’m selling the Breville and keeping the Omega.

I have a car that costs less than this juicer!

I have a car that costs less than this juicer!

More Juicers

I couldn’t finish this without mentioning triturating juicers, like the Green Star. They use twin interlocking gears. They have their own unique benefits and liabilities.  At $2495, the top end has to be the Norwalk 280 juicer, with it’s two stage combination of trituration and an actual hydraulic press!  Try doing a web search of Norwalk and an alternative cancer cure called Gerson Therapy.

Controversy alert!

There are some other things you might enjoy looking at. One being the vegan diet touted in the movie Forks Over Knives (which some claim is bad science). We got the recipe book! One of the doctor’s sons, a fireman, has the Engine 2 Diet website with more recipes and even exercise videos. Going vegan may be too much even if you ‘stay mainstream’ but few would argue against reducing meat and sweets combined with increasing fruit and vegetables. And exercise!

And Finally…

Look at the current research and evangalizing against GMO’s done by a woman named Vani Hari, a.k.a. the Food Babe, who has a lot to offer in the arena of healthy eating on her website,  Are GMO’s really bad for you?  Who really knows; the big food moguls have only just started experimenting on us.  What is proven is that it’s more profit for them.  The case is still out on whether we grow a third eye, gills or have new as yet unnamed diseases to die from, or if they are, in fact, harmless.  With no serious body of evidence (certainly not independent of ‘big food’s labs) it’s all opinions at this point.  My goal is to look for reduced ingredient counts and good ingredients in that short list!

Eat healthy!

It never smelt so right :)

So I finally did it… I got around to melting down those soft drink cans I’ve been collecting for years. I was going to make my own furnace, per these plans, a modification of the David Gingery Crucible Furnace. But something wonderful happened…

Geared up for a ‘melt’

My son bought a kiln and we installed it in the garage. It is supposed to reach slightly over 2000 degrees and that is plenty for aluminum. I began by adding cans one at a time with 18″ needle nose pliars. This causes the gloves to start smoking so I came up with a method where I ram a hole through the crushed can, slide them onto a metal rod like shish kebab, and then they will slide off rapidly when I’m ready to charge the crucible.

Nicole helping me charge the ‘furnace’.

Aluminum cans are supposed to be 95-98% pure, but they sure produce a lot of trash when you melt them.

Skimming the dross

Pouring an ingot

I have upgraded to actual firebrick for the two places where I need to set the crucible dawn, and I have some leather top boots to wear instead of the running shoes. I would also like to get much heavier shirt and pants, maybe leather or canvas.

Two half pound ingots

Once I get enough I will start experimenting with ‘lost foam’ and ‘greensand’ mold casting.

This is a link to my metal pouring images page (it’s just the rest of the smelting photos like what I’ve posted here)

The Great Pool Project (also called “Don’t try this at home”)

Let me give you the highlights of the The Great Pool Project that I’ve been working on for the last five years.

Photo of pool

Photo of pool

Back when (in 2004), it was a yard with a swing set, trees and a shed.

The backyard 'before'

Trees and shed

Gibson and Lucas on the hammock

Gibson and Lucas on the hammock

Someone at work put their above-ground pool up for sale on the employee classifieds. It was huge and only $800. I had always wanted a pool and this looked like the right ‘deal’. They even let me do ‘lay-away’ payments. And so it was that I bought and installed the largest above ground pool you can buy

'The Hill' at 3/4th level bottom

Man, shovel and wheelbarrow.
I didn’t want to rent a Bobcat so I dug and leveled the yard by hand.

Before I buried the trees with fill dirt I put brick ‘wells’ around the them to keep them from dying.  I used water as a tool to find out how level the pool actually was becoming.

Two of the trees had to go to make room for the pool. One was Nicole’s lovely peach tree.

Nicole's peach tree, bearing fruit.

Nicole's peach tree, bearing fruit.

I kept it maintained for 5 years and then last year the liner cracked.  Pool liner damage

Pool gone and moving out This year I decided to sell it and get my yard back!

With a shovel and a wheelbarrow and hard work!

Just level and add grass.

Pool hole almost gone.