Monday, December 26, 2022

Chicken Coop - DIY or Premade Kit?

Have you been to the grocery store lately? Have you seen the price of eggs? Have you been able to find eggs? Just this week my local grocery store had only the "cheap", bottom shelf eggs, and they are now $8 per dozen. 

Thankfully the city in which I live just recently passed a chicken ordinance that now allows chickens. Unfortunately it takes some time to raise chickens from chicks to egg laying age. But fortunately I have been planning for this for some time, so my chicken farming days are already in the works. 

Let me back up a little bit. As my

Saturday, November 26, 2022

DIY Tree Collar from Scrap

I love Christmas! I love decorating. I love putting up lights. I love the joy of the season. I often go over the top, but at this point in my life, that is just expected by the people around me. 

We recently got a puppy. After we decorated the inside of our house for Christmas, one of the last things that we did was put the tree skirt around our tree. Within minutes the tree skirt had a puppy pee spot on it. So we took the tree skirt off, washed it, dried it, and hung it outside to air it out. We put the tree skirt back around the tree, and, I kid you not, hadn't even gotten it around the tree before there was a new puppy pee spot. 

So we decided that this would be the year to put a tree collar around the tree instead of a tree skirt (note: I find it kind of ridiculous that we have so many names of things that go around the bottom of trees that we decorate our houses with, but apparently that's where we are. For those of you not familiar, a tree skirt is a cloth that goes around the base of a Christmas tree, while a tree collar is a rigid barrier.)

I wouldn't pee on 
the tree skirt...

Tuesday, October 25, 2022

How to Seed a Pomegranate in Under Two Minutes

One of the most prolific fruit trees in my yard is our pomegranate tree. We've had our tree for a few years, and this year, finally, we got a bumper crop. Once I got the first ripe fruit, though, I realized how much I hate pomegranates. Not because I dislike the fruit, but because I dislike getting the edible part out.

If you've never seeded a pomegranate, let me explain what it's like. Imagine 1,000 tiny grapes all superglued to tissue paper, tightly packed in a leather ball.

I spent years trying to find the best way to seed them, reading all the infinite wisdom that the internet has to offer on the subject.

"Break them up submersed in water and all of the inedible parts float, while the seeds sink." Nope. The inedible parts sink as well, and—45 minutes of seed-removal later—half of the seeds go down the drain with the water.

"Roll the pomegranate with the ends cut off, pulling out the seeds as they loosen." Insane. This creates a mess and most of the seeds end up bursting on your fingers. And 45 minutes later you're trying to scrub the red stains off your counter.

Sunday, September 18, 2022

Upcycled Stained Glass Bicycle Wheel

 In 2014 I got together with some friends and learned to do some basic stained glass. Two years after that I started a big stained glass project that culminated in 2017 with the installation of an 8-panel stained glass piece (https://www.renaissance-dad.com/2017/06/diy-stained-glass.html). Since then I have dabbled in stained glass, doing little projects as an artistic stress relief. 

Fast forward to the COVID years, and stress levels were high. So amidst the other things that help me find balance (woodworking, gardening, DIY projects, home improvement). This past spring I decided to start another stained glass project, and figured my garden could use a little color. My inspiration was something my mom sent me years ago as a possible project, and it has been living in my brain for all these years. 

I started by obtaining an old bicycle. I took the front wheel and the fork off. After stripping the wheel of reflectors, the tube and the tire, and after cleaning up the wheel, I had the base for my project. The plan was to put glass pieces in the triangular sections of

Tuesday, August 16, 2022

An Amazing Fall Beverage

I love fall. I love fall because Arizona is so hot during the summer, and fall is the sign of many months of wonderful weather. During the summer in Arizona, I can walk out of the house at five in the morning and the temperature is already 90 degrees. Hope comes on that first day of fall when I walk out of the house and am hit with air that is cooler than the air in our house. That is always my favorite day of the season. And while that day is not quite here yet, I know it is just around the corner. 

And now I have a new fall experience that I would like to share with the world. The other night my wife and I were sitting on the couch after we got the kids down. We each had an adult beverage - she had a hard cider, and I had a delicious pumpkin beer. We each took a couple of sips, and then we had the epiphany. And by "we" I mean my wife. We looked at each other, looked at the beverages, and my wife said what we were both thinking, "What if we mixed these?" GENIUS! I am married to a genius!

So here is the Renaissance Dad's Fall beverage - equal parts pumpkin beer and hard cider. This is such an amazing beverage, and I am here and now claiming naming rights to this deliciousness. However, I now need help from my readers. What should this beverage be called? Apple Jacks? Apple Spice? Pumpkin Pie? Apple and Tan? Let the naming suggestions begin.

Here's to the hope of fall weather, and the beverages that help us along!