Don’t Need a Swimming Pool – I Live By a Lake

Very few things in life beat the feeling of diving into a large mass of water and swimming through it. That first contact with your skin is amazing. The cold that hits you, shocking your body, lasting only for a few seconds before the body gets used to it. That feeling, it gives me a relaxed mood, and I get to forget about the rest and focus on stretching my body out. I also get some exercise out of it. My blood pumps right, and I remain fit when I swim frequently.

I live next to a lake. While some people have to find a pool near them or construct one of their own in their backyard, I am lucky enough to simply go to the lake whenever I want to go for a swim. And I think it’s pretty cool.

Why don’t I need a pool?

The maintenance costs

Maintaining a pool means regularly cleaning it, checking the water levels and chemical levels among other things. My friend Mitchell who has a house with a pool down in Visalia spends up to about $1200 to $1800 a year on servicing it. These costs do not include repair and utilities which would then double the costs. I have definitely dodged a bullet in terms of maintenance costs.

No chemicals

Swimming in the lake lets me interact with nature as it is. From the small animals inside, the frogs and fish, and the vast plant life in the lake, I am always in commune with nature. I also do enjoy watching the seasons change and their effects on the plant life around the lake; something I never would have had from a private pool. There is a therapeutic feeling around swimming in such an open water body that I would not trade for anything.

Of course, there’s the lack of chemicals as well. No chlorine or anything, as the place remains natural. This gives me a sense of relief and would give any lover of the natural side of life piece of mind.

Breaks the monotony

Swimming in a pool promises limited exciting new adventures. You can only do 30 laps daily for so long without getting bored of doing the same thing again and again, seeing the same view, going the same distance. The lake does give me space for adventure; I can explore new corners of the lake, see unique views and get a different experience.

While swimming in a pool is nice, going for a swim is exciting and beneficial. Do try out open water swimming one of these days, you will love the experience.

I’ll Rather Carve Something Than Wash My Windows

So Jenny and I have been doing some serious housekeeping this month. We had our roof washed, as well as the entire front porch of the house. We even had our walls pressure washed. Now obviously we also had to clean our windows from the inside and the outside -it would have been somewhat odd to leave dirty windows when everything else is sparkly clean.

Jenny assumed that we would do the window washing ourselves. I mean after all, you don’t need any sophisticated equipment for that. You just need a sponge, some soapy water, and a scraper. Of course you also need a ladder because we have a second floor.

But frankly we had somewhat of a disagreement here.

In all honesty I’m not too big on doing things like washing windows. I know I’ll have to climb up the ladder, my stand in this shaky position, with a bucket full of soapy water hanging off the ladder to my side, try to dip the sponge in the bucket, squeeze it off, hand wash the window, then get the scraper and scrape the window etc etc. I would then have to move the ladder to another place and repeat the same procedure. Frankly it’s all a bit too tedious for my taste, and also a bit too dangerous. As they say, most serious accidents happen not out on the street and not at work, but in the “safety” of your home.

And frankly it takes so much time, I would rather spend this time carving something cool out of a nice chunk of wood – maybe a bowl, maybe a little figurine, maybe even try a musical instrument. (This last one is something that I’ve always wanted to try.)

After a bit of back-and-forth, we decided to just hire professionals from Kennewick to wash our windows. After all it doesn’t cost all that much, and they do it quickly and the result is likely to be much better than whatever I would be able to achieve with my bucket of soapy water. By the way don’t assume that you can wash windows properly with a window cleaning spray. Professionals always use soapy water, from what I gather.

In any case the major housekeeping for the season is complete. Everything is ready for the upcoming spring. When the soil gets workable, out we’ll start getting our garden in order. Last season it was all left in a slight disarray.

The Real Reason I Love Woodworking

Woodworking is a job that requires imagination, passion, skill and patience. All to create something that I can then admire and be supremely proud of. This shelf and this vase? I made these! That office table you’re sitting on, I made that! This is why I love woodworking.

I would imagine something in my mind, then with skill and patience, I can shape it to reality. It takes real passion, if I do say so myself, to be able to complete some of the biggest projects I’ve completed over the years. I’d decide to build something impressive, say. Just thinking of the tremendous work and time I’d need to invest in said projects can be daunting. But then, I start outlining the work and quantifying everything that needs to be done piece by piece. I put it all to paper because hey, I like planning meticulously. And then I start to build. It’s a fever in my blood. I’d work for hours or days on end. Every free time I get, I spend with only my project in my mind‒and in my hands. Then, finally, I can say the magic words. Voila, look what I made!

It’s difficult for me to describe the feeling of satisfaction in seeing the appreciation in my wife’s eyes when I presented her with her beautiful coffee table. Nor knowing that my children sleep in the beds I made or play with the toys I created. The tables, beds and toys that were all slabs of lumber before I got my hands on them.

Aside from being the guy who gives useful and unique presents for Christmas to friends and family, woodworking is a source of income too. There’s not a lot of capital required. I just need good wood, the proper tools, skillful hands and ample time. Not a bad start to turning out a good profit, eh? Don’t get me wrong, I do enjoy other hobbies as well. But I don’t believe football, fishing or my coin collection (as hobbies) have given me half as much extra income as my woodworking has.

It really is a fantastic hobby. Yes, I know that I have just waxed lyrical about my love of wood craftsmanship so I’ll stop myself there. But for anyone who wants to give it a try it, do it! I’d advise taking up a woodshop class in a local technical school. Or start even smaller by utilizing the power of the internet. Either way, always remember, safety first.


Keep Your Fingers: Wood CNC Router Safety Tips

Yeah, yeah, I know, there is a ton of safety advice for every little piece of woodworking equipment. But here’s some for a tool you don’t hear too often about: the wood CNC router. A brilliant device of the modern era that is definitely much safer than much of the traditional equipment, yet still needs some common sense to use. If you don’t one, read some CNC router reviews on some site.

There are general safety tips that one should follow when handling woodwork equipment; use machines that you have been properly trained to use safely, read the owner’s manual carefully and lastly, understand instructions before use. Ask questions if you are unsure of operating a machine or tool.

There are other safety precautions to be adhered to when using certain machinery. In focus here is a wood CNC router. It is a computer controlled cutting machine used for cutting hard materials, for instance, wood. When operating the machine, it is important to consider the following safety rules:

  • Wear safety glasses and hearing protection when operating the machinery. It not only helps protect against the noise but also protects against any shrapnel.
  • Never undertake any maintenance or clean up when the power is on to avoid the risk of accidental shock. Always put off the lockout power before attempting any maintenance or clean up.
  • Never reach into the working envelope of the machine while in operation. It is advisable to maintain a 6-inch distance between the running machine and any body part as a safety measure.
  • Check wood for defects before cutting or feeding the wood in the envelope such as cracks or foreign objects. Hard objects may clog the machine leading to malfunction, and careful inspection is necessary.
  • Do not leave the machine running unattended. Although machines run under no supervision, it is important to leave the machine to a person in case any defects develop.
  • After using the machine, clean the room and clear it of all debris. Note that the sawdust on the floor and other fragments can cause accidents. Leave the CNC room clean and the way it was before you began your project.
  • If you notice a malfunction, press the pause button on your computer screen or completely shut it down using the emergency power button. If you are unsure of what to do, inform the CNC technicians or the supervisor.
  • Make sure that all the work pieces are secured and firmly in place (well clamped) to avoid shifting during the routing process.
  • Do not operate electric routers in moist, wet or damp environments to reduce the risk of electric shock.
  • It is also very important to maintain your router’s equipment. Replace worn out parts and occasionally check the router. Proper maintenance is essential for the smooth operation of any of you woodworking

BBC Noah’s Ark: The Real Story

An excellent documentary by BBC on what the Noah’s Ark really was (probably). You can watch it here on Youtube:

I find it quite fascinating how they managed to approach the subject without it being too silly or sensationalist while also respecting the well-known legend.

Giving Birth to Babies with Bipedalism

Here’s an interesting fact: the heads of babies when they are born are 102% the size of the human pelvis. It’s the squeezing of the head that allows women to give birth to such giant brained little ones. One of the reasons we have such huge heads has to do with bipedalism – the ability to walk on two legs. This has allowed us to free up our hands that we could now use for making tools and such, rapidly accelerating brain development in early humans.