Worth trying yourself!

I have to say I’m fortunate to have had a grandfather who was a guy who could fix/build anything. I spent a lot of time with him and as a little guy was always wide-eyed when he would work on cars,  building things from wood or making home improvements. 

    I guess my brain works in such a way that I can look at most thing and understand how they work. So when my starter decided to go out, 

  I decided to change it myself. Fortunately if you’ve never done it before, there will most likely be a video online with details on how to do it.  Most repairs are not difficult, they just take patience and confidence. 

The starter on the trailblazer is not easy to get to.  You have to remove the front wheel and end up working through a small space in the wheel well.  

 Patience was the key. A starter has two bolts (in most cases) that hold it in place and two more that connect the wires that make if function.  

 So do your research, make sure you have the right tools, and tackle that next project yourself.  In the process you will save some money and learn something. 


L.L. Bean Guide to the Outdoors

I picked this book up at a used book sale for a dollar. I am a fan of L.L. Bean clothes but this book shared so much more than what I’m used to seeing from L.L. Bean.   

Besides the practical guide to outdoor skills, it also shares the story of how the company was started by Mr. L.L. Bean. 

His desire to create a hunting boot that would keep his feet dry turned into a business built in only selling outdoor products that were field tested by the avid outdoors men and women who worked for him. There are several stories of manufacturers that were turned down to be a part of the  L.L. Bean product catalogue but with suggestions for improvement from the company, the products became better and they were added.  

This book was published in 1981 and is a combination of the original Outdoor Guide published by L.L. Bean along with the stories behind he company. I’m sure there are resources for used copies of this like I found. 

Of course its available on Amazon

Not bad for a guy who only finished the 8th grade. 

Fiberglass reinforced PVC Bow

Backyard Bowyer has all the pertinent details for making this bow. This is by far my favorite one I’ve made so far…. And the most powerful and accurate.  I used 1″ PVC to give it a little more power. But the basic of the fiberglass rod reinforcement are the same. The backyard bowyer video show a no heat option. I tapered the limbs and added the decorative ends with use of a heat gun and a vice. If you need to know how to do it, send me a message and I’ll provide info on how I did it. I also used a 60 grit sand paper, along with a screwdriver to scuff up the PVC to help the stain provide a wood grain look. The arrow rest is a 1″ piece if PVC made to snap on to any bow, but I used superglue to secure it in place. Again, send me a message for details on how to make it. 

So with the previous bows build, I have had success making functional bows from PVC. My next step was to make one that was stronger and quicker than the prevoius builds. I found this video on the Backyard Bowyer youtube chanel. He outlines the way to build a fiberglass reinforced bow. I used the measurements he gives on how to cut the rods and secure them with duct tape, but I added the tapering and decorative ends for a better look. I also used some 

Supply List:
Fiberglass Rods


Shooting video:


This is a fun and easy project that takes very little money.  It does require some patience, but in the end you have a pretty cool and effective bow that you could use for target practice or light hunting.  I’m not going to get into the details of the build because there is an expert on the subject who has a website and youtube channel, The Backyard Bowyer. He also has a book available on Amazon. The best option is to go to his website,and from there you can access his videos as well as see all of the info he has available.  There are so many cool designs and with some creativity, you can make pretty much any style of bow you want.  I use paracord for my bow strings. With a little paint, they can be customized any way you want.   I am going to highlight a few of the ones I built and also videos of me shooting them.

5′ Longbow: 
Traditional Horsebow:  

Snakey Recurve:  


DIY Magnetic Pistol Holder

Simple and inexpensive magnetic holder. Instead of laying your guns in the top of your gun cabinet, this simple DIY will give you an easy and accesable storage option for your handguns.  For me, I allows me to store my pistols upright allowing for easy access and taking up less room in the cabinet. 

   I also made one for the side of my gun safe to hold knives. I followed an easy guide with two magnets, a paint stir stick and some electrical tape.  

Here is one link to the DIY site that requires shrink tube.


 I used super glue to glue the magnets to the paint stick and electrical tape to wrap it. 

Of course they can be bought on Amazon. Click here

Every man needs to know how to start a fire without matches!

If your like me, you have a bug-out-bag with items that you would need if there were ever (or as Creek Stewart says, not if but when) there were a survival situation where you had no power.  Fire is one of those important things that can be useful for cooking, purifying water, and warmth.  So i’ve had the Gerber Bear Grylls Survival Series Ultimate Knife for a while.

    I bought it becasue, 1. It is a Gerber product and I really like their knives, 2. because it has the ferrocerium rod for fire starting.  This knife has a host of other features (which you can read about in the description on Amazon) as well which are an added bonus.  But for the purpose of this blog, I want to focus on practicing starting a fire without the use of matches.  If you follow @creekstewart, watch fat guys in the woods, or read survival manuals for fun, you’ve seen this method used.  Ive had the tools to do it for a while, but never tried.  So this past weekend, we decided to build a fire for the purpose of making smores. Instead of grabbing the aim-n-flame and starting a fire, me and daughter #2, set out to build it with just the fire starting tool on the Gerber.  We made our tinder bundle, started creating sparks with the fire rod, and before you know it, we had an ember.  Added some oxygen, and we have a fire.  Like I said, Ive had the tool for a while, understood the process, but have never done it.  Now I feel even better becasue I know I can do it, but more importantly, my daughter was part of the experience and it was a good learning opportunity for her.  I guess as parents we call that a teachable moment.  Remember, you dont have to be in the woods to practice.   Next time you want to grill, try to start the fire without matches and get a flame going before you add your charcoal.  Practice makes perfect!  Thats what my parents always told me! 

Official Man Day (unofficially)👍

Yesterday was one of those great days.  Not only did I get to spend time in the woods, I was able to fellowship with a great friend. To add even more to it, we built a deer stand for the upcoming season. One negative was the nest of yellow jackets that left me with 6 stings.  There is something peaceful about spending time in the woods. For me, part of getting connected with manliness, is being in nature. Our world is covered up with technology, activities, and well….life. An interesting quote I heard lately was:

We are running through life to sleep!

Most days I feel like that is true. Especially as a #threedaughterdad. But when you get to spend time in the woods, build something with you hands, these are the moments when time and hurry are not thoughts that enter my mind.   

View from a tree!  

DEER Stand big enough for two.


YELLOW JACKET NEST in the ground. OUCH!  

So…….  If all of the above wasn’t enough, one of my threedaughters wanted to set up the tent and camp. So that’s what we did. Set up the tent, built a fire and this is the view we woke up to.  Again, nature=relaxing. 

DIY Dog Treats (EASY)

With a new puppy comes new responsibility and expenses.  One of the easiest ways to keep the expenses down is making your own dog treats.  Super easy and good.  We know they are good because they are made from things that we humans eat.  The recipe was simple and the finished product was great.  With the help of my middle daughter, we whipped these up in just a few minutes.  We found this recipe on cesarsway.com and they are the basic dog treats.



– 2 Cups Whole wheat flower.

– 1 tsp salt

– 1 egg

– 1tsp bullion (we used liquid chicken stock)

– 1/2 cup hot water.

**You can add in pretty much anything at this point if you would like.  Some of the suggestions were bacon, liver powder, shredded cheese.  None of those seemed appealing so we went with p-nut butter (1 tsp).

We added all those ingredients to our bread machine and hit “dough”.  Within 5 minutes, we had a dough ball that was ready to roll out.  I did have to add another 1/4 cup of water to get the cosistency right.  If you don’t have a bread machine, kneed the ingredients until you have a dough ball. 

-We rolled the dough out on our flour covered counter to about 1/4″ thick.  (original recipe said 1/2″ thick, but we have a small dog so we fugured the thinner treats would work best)

-Used cookie cutters to make shapes.  

– Placed on a lightly greased cookie sheet.

– Baked at 350 for 30 minutes.

Final Product (Daisy’s Darlin’ Dog treats):


DIY air Conditioner for under $10

There are lots of post on this simple DIY ac unit. I plan on taking this on my next camping trip to provide a little comfort at night. Aside from the 57 degree air it blows out, it provides a nice level of white noise from the fan. 

All you need are a few supplies. (You can get all of the for under 10 dollars. 

-Foam cooler (plastic igloo type cooler would work as well). 

-1″ pvc connector 

– clip on 6″ fan 

Fortunately the fan is not assembled so you diagard everything but the main fan unit. 

I did use the front shroud as my template for the fan cutout in the top. 

Repeat the same thing on the side with the 1″ connector. 

Use a razor knife or some other sharp object to cut out your circles. 

With a little hot glue to secure, Insert the fan in the top hole and the connector in the side. You will end up with this.  

Load the cooler with ice or frozen bottles (bottles don’t distribute as much moisture), turn in the fan and you’ll get a nice steady stream of cold air. My test was over night and the bottles shown were still cold with a few of the bigger bottles still partially frozen. I’m thinking 4 two liter bottles would definitely provide cold air for 6-8 hours easily.  

Here is my digital temp gauge measuring the output temp.