What Did I Do To Prep These Past Two Weeks: July 17th – 31st 2021

Hey, pack! Hope you had a safe and productive few weeks. 

It’s been an incredibly productive and fulfilling few weeks for me. But first, thank you for reading my musings and for sharing your comments. There is so much for me to learn from them. I’d also like to thank Tara for sharing this space. You are such a wonderful community!

Ok back to the progress.

The big task at our little off grid camp has been the kitchen. Over the past 5 years, we’ve been updating the interior by lining the walls with knotty pine boards. Previously we did the living room and the entrywaymain hallway. It’s mostly cosmetic but a few core improvements come with the work.

Last year was a minor departure from that as we added a small solar system. This required a complete wiring of the camp for electricity including outlets, LED lights, a ceiling fan, and Franken-Fridge.

Ok, that requires a brief explanation. Franken fridge is a chest freezer with an upgraded thermostat that allows it to run at fridge temperatures.

For a few dollars spent on the thermostat, a bit of time spent in YouTube University, we now have a highly efficient refrigerator that sips energy from our solar system rather than takes greedy gulps. The inverter doesn’t even register that the fridge is running.

For a brief look at how this is done, here’s a great video.

Back to this year.

I’m currently in the middle of the kitchen renovation. Over the last weeks the cabinets came out, we stripped the walls of any hangers, etc. We then installed a few hundred square feet of tongue and groove knotty pine. Finally, new cabinets went up.

I love working with wood. I’ve tinkered more or less seriously with it over the last 25 years. Home projects, church furniture, and a crib have been a part of the hobby.

Working on a living space is pretty wonderful. It goes quickly and is rapidly transformative. The best part is I get to work with a special tool.

My great grandfather (and namesake) was a carpenter. I’ve inherited several of his tools. My favorite is a small hand plane. Every time I work on a project with wood, I pull out the plane and put it to use.

My great-grandfather’s hand plane put to new use fitting the last board on the wall. The plane sits on a much more modern chop saw.

For this project, I used the plane to chamfer the edges of each board and to trim the final course of boards.

I have all the power tools I need for these jobs, but I prefer the pace and precision of the hand plane. Especially with fitting a board to a specific spot. I’ve even used it to convert a piece of TNG to a square sided board for a shelf by planning off the tongue and the groove.

A tougher job is trimming window extension jams. These are all cherry which takes a bit more effort. The result is still precise and beautiful.

We have a bit more to do on this project. Countertops must be installed. Trim boards have to go up. The hand pump needs a quick refurbish. And, most importantly, we need to savor the new kitchen when it’s done.

The effort will result in the obvious upgraded look and feel, but also, we are gaining more storage and organizational space. That is a huge plus in such a small space.

Nevertheless, the time spent with my great grandfather’s plane is the best part of this project. It’s more a time of reflection rather than work. I hope he approves.

Questions for you this week.

  1. Now that we’re well into summer, have you started/finished any big projects?
  2. What part of bigger projects do you prefer: designing and planning, doing, or just having it done?
  3. Do you have any precious old tools?
  4. Do you prefer power tools or hand tools?


M. I. Grey

Thanks for joining me on this prepper’s journey. I hope to see you in the comment section!


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