Blog

Build Your Own Wheel Hoe From Plywood

Last Spring I decided to build my own wheel hoe. I didn’t want to spend several hundred dollars to buy a commercial model. Using some scrap plywood and salvaged lawnmower wheels, I built it in just a few days. Here is an example of my double wheel hoe that I built for just about $30.

Wheel Hoe

I used 1/2″ plywood for the frame and body and some salvaged lawnmower wheels. I experimented with various wooden handles but I eventually settled on some lightweight electrical conduit pipe as it is very light, durable, and cheap to build.

Wheel Hoe

I looked at the old Planet JR wheel hoe designs from the first part of the century. They did a lot of experimentation back then and they found that by placing the plowing points far behind the wheels, the effort to push and use the wheel hoe was much easier. I liked how they used slots in the frame to make various attachments useful and to adjust for width and spacing of the plowing points. Lastly I also admired the simplicity of the design with the only moving parts being the wheels. The company made both single and double wheel models and in my experience the double wheel model is probably the most useful for me. I do like the single wheel version for cultivating between the rows when the vegetable plants are large and the space is limited.

Wheel Hoe

I did use some old cultivating teeth that I found at an antique shop, but these can also still be bought new online for a reasonable cost. Various other attachments can be used also such as a stirrup hoe and turning plows, etc. In my experience I found that the simple cultivating points to be by far the most useful for light cultivation and weed control.

Wheel Hoe

Anyone who has just a few hand tools such as a saw and drill can make their own wheel hoe just like this one, and they will quickly find it to be the easiest way to control weeds in their garden. I was simply amazed at how easy and efficient it was to keep my garden plots clean and pristine all summer. Even someone my age can easily push the wheel hoe. I spend about 10 minutes a week and my garden plots are all beautiful, healthy, and weed free!

Wheel Hoe

I am in the process of drawing a set of plans and instructions so that you can also build your own wheel hoe. I am drawing the plans to build either a double or single wheel version, depending on your needs. If there is enough interest I will publish these plans soon and with winter fast approaching, now is the perfect time to build your own and have it ready to go for your next springtime garden!

Drop by my Facebook page and let me know if you are interested in these plans! https://www.facebook.com/authorextraordinaire

Slap Your Grandma!

Well no, don’t really go and slap your Grandma. Really don’t. It’s just a Southern expression we use a lot when we are frustrated. The hurricanes and tropical storms are unrelenting this year and it seems that the poor folks in Louisiana are getting the brunt of it this year.

Here it is in Fall and yet again they are bracing for Hurricane Delta to arrive any moment. My heart and prayers go out to those in the path of the beast. I’ve been through many cane’s myself and I know what misery it can bring. Evacuate when you can and seek safe shelter.

For those who want to help, The American Red Cross is a good start. Let’s all do what we are able to help our neighbors and fellow Americans.

Memories of Fall

It’s a balmy 83 deg. outside today as I write this post. The weather is sunny and beautiful and I hope that this is the last hurrah of summer. One thing I have noticed in my part of the world is that you can always tell when the weather is about to change seasons or “break” as we like to say here in the South. Tonight a strong cold front is about to blow through and tomorrow will be much cooler.

Fall always brings a touch of sadness to my heart. Years ago my Father who was an avid outdoorsman, was dying of Cancer at about this time of year. Once, when I was driving him to his cancer treatments, we were passing through the beautiful woods near our home on a crisp and cool autumn day. He mentioned that this kind of weather always made him want to get out into the woods. I choked back a tear as we both knew that was never going to happen again. He passed away a month or so later.

These days, fall weather makes me want to get out into the woods also. I inherited my Father’s love for the outdoors and I do try to make it a point to spend a few moments here and there just walking and admiring the beautiful scenery and nature at my feet. It’s always amazing to just sit very still in the woods for a period of time nearly motionless. Eventually the birds and other animals around you will ignore your presence and they will start acting naturally again. What you see then among the life around you will warm your heart and recharge your spirit in how our world around us really works.

Dad, your spirit lives on inside of me and it is my hope that somehow, someway, you are able to see through my eyes, the glory of fall and “getting out into the woods again.”

Ebooks and Their Quandary

Ebooks. I’m not really sure exactly how I feel about them.

I have also published a few short Ebooks. They have had mediocre success. It was more of an experiment than anything else. My latest book, “The Gardener’s Chairside Reader” is published in paperback form only.

There is just something about physically holding a book in my hands. It’s organic, friendly, and comforting to me. I have a beautiful library at my home and it makes me happy to see all of my books on the shelves. Each book is a different size, shape, and color. Some books are so distinct that I can recognize them from 10 feet away just by their color and shape, long before I get close enough to read the spine text. Ebooks have none of that. They sit in drawers with dead batteries mostly.

In their defense, Ebooks have made reading much more portable in that you can take an entire library with you when you travel. The books offered are usually a bit cheaper to purchase most of the time. And lastly, if you live in a transient lifestyle such as a full time RV person, I can see where Ebooks would be pretty much the only viable option to collect reading material.

Yes I have a kindle reader and I have purchased books for it. I tried to like it. I honestly did. But for now I still prefer print books. What is your opinion on Ebooks? I would very much like to hear your thoughts and experiences. Do you feel the same satisfaction sliding an “off” button as you do closing a book’s pages when you read the last sentence?

A Typical Day In My Life As A Writer

6:00AM I wake up and slug down 2 cups of coffee and sit in bed with my laptop trying to get some actual real news from the media outlets

7:30AM Help my wife get off to work and pour some more coffee

8:00AM I sit in my library/office and check email, social stuff, and then I check my book sales stats to see if I can actually afford that new refrigerator yet. (nope)

8:30AM I freehand write mental notes of my to-do list on sticky pads. I also try to plan out my day’s chores and try to get a sense of what my week ahead should accomplish.

9:00AM Since my creativity is at it’s peak in the mornings, I try to write at least 2000 words in my latest book. I usually play jazz music on my phone nearby while my old dog sleeps under my desk on my feet. I have a terrible habit of cruising the kitchen pantry for various snacks during this time while I am mentally outlining my book’s chapter. Food is a vital part of my writing.

11:30AM I am always surprised at how fast time passes while I am writing. I always seem to have the same emotions of, “Why do I spend so much time at my computer?” on writing days, yet I resign myself to the fact that I simply love what I do for a living and I am thankful instead.

12:00 I may or may not eat lunch. My wife always gripes when I do not eat, but if she saw the pile of cookies that I just ate an hour ago, she would understand why I am not hungry now. I usually go for a walk out to my garden and cabin and sit on the porch.

12:30PM While sitting on the porch at my garden cabin, I ponder heavy thoughts such as the meaning of life as it seems to be the proper thing to do while enjoying a lunchtime cigar.

1:00PM Back at the computer, I try to spend the rest of my afternoon working on blog posts like this one, I usually make another cup of coffee and try to take care of various business chores, and pay bills etc.

 

4:00 My wife is preparing to leave work, so I usually cook dinner for her and try to have it ready when she gets home. Since we have a menagerie of dogs and cats, they get fed also and this takes time.

6:00 We sit down to eat in front of the TV (YouTube stuff usually), and after dinner I go for another walk around my ranch. The rest of our evening is usually filled with family time and just enjoying my wife’s company.

10:00PM Off to bed finally…

I live a ordinary life pretty much like anyone else. I have my good days and my bad days too. Folks always seem to think that writers are reclusive introverts who dislike people and drink tons of coffee and never comb their hair. You know what? It’s true!

 

My Little Garden Cabin Tour

A lot of folks have asked me about my garden cabin. I wrote a piece about it in my latest book The Gardener’s Chairside Reader.

I built this little cabin last Spring after I had the idea to build something in which to be able to wash and process all of the fresh vegetables from my garden. I always seem to go overboard when I am doing things like this and it ended up being quite a project.

I wanted it to be built in style that the early German immigrants who settled in central Texas used when they first started out in the late 1800’s. Their style usually included a tall and steep roof line and large windows. One thing led to another and eventually I added a porch also which is a peaceful place to relax and enjoy my garden.

Inside the little cabin I added a beautiful old antique farm sink so I could wash my produce. Among other things I use my cabin to store gardening tools and supplies.

I also installed a small solar power system as the cabin is off-grid. I use this for some small interior lights and to have electricity to run a few power tools when needed. So far everything has worked out wonderfully.

Lastly, I have enjoyed my cabin so much that I intend to enlarge it a bit so that I can have a bed and small bathroom. After that is completed next year it will become nap central for me and the pups!

 

What’s Next?

Now that I have published The Gardener’s Chairside Reader, I have been pondering my next book.Oh sure, I have a few projects on the back burner, but this time I want to ask my readers what they would most like to read next?

I have an idea to perhaps write about what it really takes to move from the city to the country. These days it seems that a lot of folks are tired of suburban life. They long to buy a few acres someplace in the country and live a simpler and more fulfilling life. Country life can be idyllic, but it is definitely a learning curve for city folks who aren’t prepared for the changes that are ahead for their family.

Time and again, I have witnessed people who move from the city to a rural location. Most have the vision in their minds, but the realities often set in and they eventually move on someplace else.

Another interesting phenomenon that is occurring are the many young folks who are buying older rural properties and are “homesteading” and trying their hardest to live off of their land by raising vegetables, livestock, and chickens. These young people could use some advice from those who “have been there and done that.” Thankfully most of these young couples are doing just fine on their own, but a little guidance would make their journey much easier.

People are generally tired of the rat race and eventually they will find a way to make their dreams of living in the country a reality. I hope they all find their perfect place to raise their family.

If you have an idea about a topic that you would like to read about, drop a message in the comments below!

Hi There!

If you have stumbled this far into my website, you must be curious about me or my work. Of course you already know that I am an Author. But you may not know me as a real person.

Here is where I post almost daily about things that interest me and information that I want to share with you. Not all posts will be about my writing of course, as I have many varied interests.

This blog is just chit chat really and I will faithfully try to answer your questions or comments.

Thank you for reading this far and check back daily as you’ll never know what might pop up here!

Bud