Saturday, November 2, 2013

Benton, Babies and a Wedding

I like the 1/2!!
      Recently Christine and I headed over the great Sierra Nevada Mountains and headed to Benton Hot Springs. Over the years we have driven past Benton Hot Springs without much thought as to what was there and why hot springs would flow in that exact location. This time, Benton Hot Springs was our destination. We went to meet our wonderful friends and celebrate the mother of the house and her 34th glorious trip around the sun. It was a wonderful time to go back and explore geology for a few days!
        My formal education in geology and working in the geologic field for a number of years gave me a good idea as to why the water was warm. Magma is close to the surface based upon the proximity of Mammoth and the Long Valley Caldera. But the more precise question was, why there? I knew there was a notch in the granite above the hot spring and a fair amount of ground water must percolate through there based upon the surrounding water bodies and the rock types. But why the heat? From the  looks of the surrounding landscape and rock types, the granite has been very stable for being located adjacent to the massive Long Valley Caldera. Secondly all along the contact of the granite heading north was a deposition of hot spring materials. The material was not quite as solid as your typical travertine, but definitely a solid and solidified deposition. Furthermore, there was none of the deposition to the south. It was obvious that these hot springs have flowed in this proximity for many many years. With the adjoining granite along the contact between the two it made completely sense. Plus the hardened deposition has continued to push the springs further and further to the south. These are at least my theories, regardless of how and why the springs are there, the nice wooden baths for soaking were awesome!

      I par took each day and enjoyed the relaxing spring (which were not sulfery in the slightest). Christine only let the water come up to her thighs because she was worried about cooking our little unknown inside her. As you can see by the photos, and by the commentary, we are quite pregnant!! In fact, tonight is Nov 2nd, and tomorrow is our due date. We still do not know if we are having a boy or a girl. We wanted to have "life's" greatest surprise, surprise us!!
Christine and I at her Mother's Wedding
    Life has been filled to the max with prepping for the arrival. But in the interim, we had to head South for a wedding. It was a grand trip to Manhattan Beach, Newport Beach and San Diego for Terry and Carl's wedding. Terry is Christine's mother and Terry and Carl have been together for 26 years. They sure took their time getting married. I guess I can get away with waiting a little longer. Christine and I had a blast. Here she is 36weeks, at a wedding, 9 hours from home.........well... 13 hours since bathrooms breaks were often!! Plus we broke up the trip and stayed with friends and family on the way down and back. Still, very close to the due date. Although, being on the eve of the due date tonight, we are on the very brink of heading to the hospital!

         When we go on these wonderful trips, I go to the antique stores, art galleries, children's stores and anywhere else I might be able to find designs and ideas. You never know what you will come across, or even find. Many times I compare if I could build them or replicate them. Do I like the style? What the asking price is? Often I make a rough estimate on the time it would take me to make the item. Would I make it from scratch? All good questions for days out and about. I love my hobby!
             On these trips I love collecting wood. Down in San Diego there are interesting trees that I wish we had closer to home. The dry desert and the moist coastal climate produces some wonderfully stunted gnarly trees, many of which  have amazing burls! Although I love seeing and drooling over these semi exotic woods, I still love my mountain trees and the items they offer. 

        One of our favorite woods is Black Oak. The black oak changing table in the photos I made a couple months ago. The tree fell near my fathers home during a big storm a few years ago. We actually milled the tree where it fell with the alaskan mill. Afterward we let the wood cure for about two years. We planned and cut the wood down to size. I (my father thought this could be my personal enjoyment into fatherhood) shaped, carved, sanded and put the pieces together. It was a super fun project and hopefully be rewarded with a nice healthy baby to change those little diapers! I was so excited to complete the project I found myself bummed waiting for the glue to dry.  Now obviously two years ago when I milled the wood I had no idea that we would be pregnant. To be  honest, I originally planned to make a rustic kitchen table. I find it funny that I am happier with it as a it is. We know how plans change when you get pregnant!!

Christine and my little sis


Sunday, August 4, 2013

An Excursion brings a Bargain!

         My influences that come from the mountains are endless. Excursions in the woods and seeing mother natures creations are infinite. Mother nature is filled with influential sights, even insights and ideas!! My recent excursion has given me the idea of a Bargain Day. My lady and I hiked into Powell Lake just inside the Emigrant Wilderness border this past weekend. We did a simple overnight for her annual birthday backpacking trip and enjoyed some mountain sun. We relaxed along the waters edge and had some wonderfully inspiring views. Often these trips are filled with our many friends and family, but it was nice to spend a short trip with just my preggo sweetheart, myself, kakao the dog and the wonderful world in which we live. The time spent around the water edge gave way to a great business idea. How wonderful would it be to have a special bargain for my woodwork. A bargain day for item that have not sold over the last year, and let folks pick something up at a discounted price!!
     I was contemplating this idea yesterday at the Farmer's Market in Sonora. There were many, many wonderful folks around town yesterday, all of whom I enjoy spending time with. As a result I have decided the weekend after Strawberry Music Festival would be perfect. Many of my customers attend the Farmer's Market almost every weekend and they would truly appreciate that opportunity. So....I will have a Bargain Day discount on  September 7th, the weekend following Labor Day. The bargain will likely be just one table, with a discount of 25% or 50% off the tagged price ( I do have some red stickers, how funny would that be!).  The table will may include: items that are odd; time invested does not match our expected price; great ideas that we did not fully sell or advertise correctly; items that need new homes, other than inside of my boxes; and just to be nice and give someone a great deal!!!
         The actual goal of this sale will not necessarily be to make money (although it is a perk), but to show us which items are actually good ideas and have potential. If a product does not sell at a discounted price, then the product is poorly designed, not actually as great as we thought or completely priced wrong. For example- the photo above shows 9 bottle stoppers with a corkscrew within each one. I have sold a few, but are all the designs good enough. The ones that sell are obviously the most liked and have a nice form. Next, the ones that only sell at a discount are obviously nice but, but do not have great form. Now if none of them were to sell, then the product itself is a poor idea and I should concentrate my efforts elsewhere. I have already sold four, so I know they are enjoyed!


Thursday, June 20, 2013

Summer time is for flowers!

        Summer time is for flowers! For us at Yosemite Goat's Woodworking we love flowers too! As a result, one of our favorite items to make (and sell) are vases. When we first started out with a simple lathe, we made many, many simple dry flower vases. They were all fun to make and we were learning out to use the lathe. While at Humboldt State University, I purchased some large test tubes for a piece of driftwood I found. The result was a cool vase. Today we continue to dabbled with larger vases with glass tubes. For some reason our early designs were not up to par and they were not a hit. Plus they are hard to make while drilling a long straight hole. So we went back to making cool vases similar to the few I made at college.

      Today we continue to make free standing vases from local woods, primarily manzanita. The intricate colors and designs in the manzanita wood compliments both glass and flowers! After three years of making vases, these are truly the best we make. We are always making more, so check in or ask if you are interested in one!

This great manzanitia vase is featured on Etsy.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Adjusting Antique Style Pepper Mills

After having a few questions about how to adjust my Antique Style Pepper Mills I thought a good idea would be a quick explanation on how they work. We use ours often and typically keep the size on a finer setting for the dinner table. On occasion we will loosen the bottom bracket when adding straight into a pasta sauce or curry. 

 Classic Mills are adjusted on top, as are these. 
The difference, these have two dials, the bottom adjusts coarse to fine. 
The top keeps tension on the bottom dial so you do not have to adjust as often.  

Classic Mills often self adjust when they are turned unless there is an internal spring
that keep the tension on the grinding mechanism at the base of the mill.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Summer and Spring of 2013

          This Spring and Summer will be a busy time for me. I have decided to forgo another summer field season in Yosemite National Park. Over the past three summers I have worked as a Hydrologist in the Park. During my time in Yosemite I have met many wonderful people, traveled many amazing trails and made many memories. This summer season though, I plan to spend more time at home with my wonderful lady and concentrate on Yosemite Goat's Woodworking.

       This past winter I have concentrated my efforts on my position at Dodge Ridge running the Children's Ski School Program. It was a wonderful position with a specific role. During the winter I met many wonderful people at the resort and look forward to another successful season in the winter to come.

        Now that the ski season has come to a close, I am ready to come full swing into summer. This summer I plan to attend a good many of craft fairs and local farmers markets. To attend so many shows I will need a great number of products. I am excited to say that I have purchased a last key component to the wood shop which will aid in my product production,  a dust collector. We (Yosemite Goat's Woodworking Team) purchased a 2hp cyclone dust collector. This dust collector's main purpose is to suck the dust from the many tools we use. Mainly to keep the shop cleaner and prevent any types of respiratory issues.

   I have truly enjoyed making many of the unique items found at Yosemite Goat's Woodworking, as well as expanding into new ideas in which folks bring to me.  Currently we are building our stocks of product and preparing for a wonderful and successful summer. This summer my goal is to focus on the items we currently sell and maintain those as our main source of products.
    The first event we attended of the spring was the Sonora Celtic Faire. This was a fun event that brought many smiles to us. Many folks truly enjoy our items and love to hear the stories of where the woods come from and how I, or my father, make the many items. Yosemite Goat's Woodworking will be at many local events, a few local galleries, and if requested, perhaps a short to your community event would be a fun trip! My next post will be a basic post outlining my summer season. Keep in touch!