I’ve always liked autumn. “Back to school” was an exciting for me as a kid. New clothes! New faces! New things to learn! Autumn here is familiar: crisp air, blue sky, bright sun (and a few sort-of-almost-colorful leaves). But northern hemisphere signals persist, and part of me thinks it’s spring cleaning time: focus on clothes, tools, organizing nooks and crannies, passing on unused items. One morning my little tinkering-space caught my attention. It was trivial to cut a shelf in half to make cans more…Continue Reading “Shipshape”

Over three years ago, I scored the better part of a deck’s worth of dense curupay boards. I did only one small project, then a picnic table which, despite complete sanding and refinishing with marine varnish after a couple years, quickly weathered again into a mottled mess. I lost interest in working with this curupay again, and have from time to time cut up some of the smaller lengths for firewood. Today I got a load of “real” firewood delivered, which prompted me to clean…Continue Reading “The great curupay cleanup”

I bought a hand truck (dolly) a couple years ago from some departing Americans. They warned that one of the tires loses air over time, an issue I tried to deal with a couple times at local tire places. Eventually, though, to no avail. With no inner tube, you can’t get air back in with something as slow as a bicycle pump. So I brought an inner tube back from the US, since I happened to be going and was an easy add-on to an…Continue Reading “G-clamps”

This is so not a big deal. But it is. Last time we saw this fork, I had been using it on the barbecue grill outside. And then it was gone. I looked around the grill, around the yard in case the dog had decided it was a chew toy, and of course we both looked through every kitchen drawer several times. And naturally the dishwasher, which we mainly use as a drying rack, where it should have been. But wasn’t. But was. Turns out…Continue Reading “Found!”

When we installed an “inverter” split (DC, variable, no motor noise) in our bedroom, we moved the noisy split (AC/heater/dehumidifier) unit to our dining room. Finally, today, I mounted its remote control to the wall, removing two pieces of clutter from the counter top. But that’s not the story. In north North America, hanging something on a wall is pretty simple, dealing with drywall and (usually) wood studs. In south North America, and South America, our home for ten years, you deal with a different…Continue Reading “Taco wisdom”