Coping with the heat: building a screen “door”

Our current heat wave continues.

At 5pm, we reached 28C/82F with a humidex of 34C/93F, and we continue to get warnings for heat, flash floods and high water. Looking at the weather radar, however, it doesn’t look like the storms will hit us. We’ll be lucky to get rain. Usually, these systems come in from the North West, dip to the South of us, then get pushed back north to the East of us. Sometimes, they pass to the West of us. This time, there seems to be strong enough winds coming from the Southeast to actually push the system back to the Northwest of us!

The long range forecasts are not showing much relief, either. We’re looking to stay in the mid to high 20’s for the next two weeks. The only relief is that the lows are finally dropping to the mid to high teens, instead of staying in the 20’s, as they have been lately.

With this house, typically the basements stay cool, the main floor gets warm, while the second floor gets insanely hot. With the temperatures being so consistently hot, even the basements are starting to get warmer, though they are still significantly better than the rest of the house. The upstairs is getting unbearable. My daughter just had to stop working and shut down her computer, because it was over heating.

Normally, to help keep the house cool, the basement doors would be left open. With needing to keep the cats out of the old part basement completely, and keep the kittens in the new part basement, we have not been able to do this.

Last year, we used my daughter’s grid wall to act as a barrier in front of the old part basement door. The doorway is wider than a panel of grid wall, so we had two of them hooked together, at an angle. It did the job, but was very much in the way.

Today, I decided to do something about that.

After finishing my rounds this morning, I went into a shed not far from the barn, where I’d found some wood that was still in good shape. Some of them had 3″ deck screws in them, so I left those behind (though I did end up with a couple that had a screw at one end that I’d missed). The little wagon was great for bringing the pile over. 🙂

Earlier, I’d also cleared away and hosed down the patio blocks in front of our kitchen window.

One of the things we need to do is build some sort of bin for our garbage bags, because the skunks are tearing them apart when we put them outside. Normally, there is a bench against the wall, and some other stuff, but when I cleaned up the mess and saw the gunk from however many times this has happened, left behind, I just had to hose it all down.

This meant we had access to the basement window.

It was much easier to pass the wood through the window, rather than trying to get it in through the main doors, then the basement door, then down the stairs.

All while dodging cats and kittens.

So this worked out very well.

I had enough of the wire mesh we’d used to make a divider between the basements, to make wire mesh door.

The kittens were very … helpful. Yeah. That’s it. 😀

I measured the basement door and sized it to match that. We were considering taking the door off its hinges and putting in the screen instead.

Of course, it didn’t quite work out that way.

I had also considered putting it on hinges on the inside of the door frame, but it turns out the frame is narrower on the basement side of the door jam than on the door side.

Which makes no sense, but at this point, we’re pretty used to things not making sense in this house! 😀

For now, we’ve got it rigged up with hooks and Bungee cords. I will be going into town tomorrow, and am thinking of stopping at a hardware store and seeing what they’ve got that would work.

Personally, standing in front of it, I felt nothing. We have the big blower fan going constantly in this basement, trying to keep the floor relatively dry, but I felt no air movement at all. Later, my husband went by and said he could feel a cool breeze, so I’m hoping it was just me.

If we can work out how to secure this, so that cats can’t push their way through, I have enough of the wire mesh left to make another one for the other basement door. We could even hinge it to open into the entryway, instead of over the basement stairs. Which would be so much better!

It isn’t much, but every little bit helps to cope with this heat!

One of these years, I hope to get an actual air conditioner installed.

The Re-Farmer

Wood carving: lilac wood hair pin

I am actually not sure I would even call making this hair pin “carving”! I used the natural shape of the piece of wood, and just sort of whittled away a bit. The wood was already very close to the size needed.

I didn’t take a “before” picture, but you can see what the branch I’d cut the piece from in this photo.

It’s being grasped by Nicco. 🙂

Though the wood is from a branch that broke off in a storm more than 6 months ago, the bark was surprisingly green as I whittled it off. I think the humidity in the basement might actually have something to do with that.

Here is the finished hair pin, before oiling.

I cut the piece above where it branched off, to take advantage of the angled shape. You can see near the point, where there had been another bit of twig growing out.

I used the Dremel and the engraving tip to create the holes, so my daughter can use them to hang dangle-y bits. The natural hole at the end was where another twig had been growing out, and I included it, without trying to sand out the roughness, just for interest.

The tiny knots from the twigs where the only thing that made it more difficult to work on.

After general shaping with a carving knife, I used the tiny engraving tip on the Dremel to make the holes, and a small drum sander tip to get into the bends, where it was more difficult to safely get into with a knife. After that, it was must a matter of sanding it smooth.

Here is how it looked after oiling.

I love how the oil brings out the details in the rings.

The whole thing, including time spent playing with kittens instead, took about 2 hours.

My daughter loves it!

I’m really happy with how this turned out, and how quick it was to make! I hadn’t thought of making hair pins (which can also be used as shawl pins), but they are prefect for some of the smaller pieces of branches. I think I’ll be making more of these!

The Re-Farmer

Better than I expected

Today, I finally got the riding mower in to the shop for some TLC. We finally got to use the new ramps my brother bought me. ❤ The girls and I had to take the middle seats out of the van (one of the first things we did after buying the van was take out the bench seat in the back; we never put it back and left it behind when we moved) to fit it, but we got it in, with room to spare.

It was rather funny when I got to the shop. After talking to the lady at the counter and getting the work order form filled in, I asked about getting it unloaded out of my van.

She did a double take and looked at me. “It’s in your van?” Yes. I can fit a lot in that thing!

She got someone to come out to unload it with me. As we were walking out, he asked me where it was, and I told him it was in the van. My van was the only one in the parking lot at the time.

He did a double take.

“You got it in a van??”


Yes. Yes, we did!

So that is now delivered, and I will get a call with an estimate before they work on it. I made sure to mention the drive chain had come off, and that I didn’t bother putting it back on, since I can’t reach under to tighten what needs tightening. I also mentioned the tire I think may need replacing, as well as mentioning that it’s had a hard two years, so if they see anything else, let me know!

Thankfully, we have the new push mower, so there is no rush to get it done.

Once that was done, I called up my mother to see if she was home for the next while. My timing was perfect, as she did have something booked later. The building she lives is has started to hold social events again, organized by a social worker. I had just enough time to pop over. I told her I had something for her; a mushroom!

“Oh! I hope it’s okay,” she says.

It took me a moment to realize she thought I meant mushrooms I’d picked at the farm. 😀 I cleared that up with her!

Now, I wasn’t sure how she would respond to the spoon. My mother is not exactly gracious with gifts. In fact, she is often very cruel, and I would not have been surprised if she refused it. As it was, when she finally saw it, she immediately started talking about what kind of mushroom it was that she wanted me to carve for her, and doodled it on the back of an envelope. I explained to her (again) that I got a spoon blank in my carving kit, and when she asked for a mushroom, I decided to include on in the spoon, and a morel was basically what fit. I would need wood in a different size and shape to carve what she wanted – and now I have her sketch to go by. She just laughed and said there was no hurry.

I had to ask specifically if she wanted to keep the spoon or not, since she had dismissed it immediately to do the sketch. I told her it was my first carving, and that I was offering it to her, if she wanted it. She said she would keep it.

Getting that straight was a bit like pulling teeth! I think she might actually like it, but I’m not sure.

Then she asked me if she’d ever shown me her Russian spoon. No, she hadn’t! So she brought it out for me to see.

While the spoon is from Russia, she got it from her late aunt, who was born in Canada. My mother said that it was spoons like this that they used for eating, when she grew up in Poland. (What a large size for an eating spoon!) She mentioned that the spoons they used were painted, too, and commented on how they must have been eating the paint, as it came off over time. Who knows what was used to make the paint; it’s unlikely to have been something commercially prepared, in that region and time period. Home made or purchased, any paint still could have been potentially toxic!

I’m really glad she showed it to me.

Once at home, I decided to spend some time in the basement to work on a hair pin my daughter requested. I’ll post about that separately. Before I do, though, I just had to share my company!

Of course, as soon as I sat down at the work table, I had kittens all over me. They did eventually move on, except Big Rig.

Who decided to give my arm kisses.

My goodness, she looks like Susan (who would be her big sister!).

Then she heard a kerfuffle and ran off to join her siblings.

Beep Beep is so patient! 😀

Later, I looked up from my work and found this face, staring at me.

Nicco looks ready for a nap! 😀

The lilac wood she has a paw on is the branch from which I’d cut off a piece for the hair pin.

Unfortunately, at the point I was at when I took that picture, I was needing to use the Dremel, and the noise chased her away.

I was actually able to start and finish the project, even with the kittens crawling all over me, so that worked out much better than expected!

I’ll have photos of the finished hair pin in my next post.

The Re-Farmer

Heat wave continues

I missed my daily post yesterday. The day was pretty much a total write off!

This is largely why…

This screencap was taken shortly before 1pm. We were at 30C/86F with a humidex of 37C/98F, but we easily reached the expected high of 33C/91F and humidex of 39C/102F by the end of the afternoon. The hottest time of day is typically about 4:30-5pm.

I realize you folks living in the south are probably getting a giggle out of our thinking this is really hot, but my goodness, how do you guys put up with it??? 😀 It’s a lot cooler in the house, thankfully. Well, on the main floor, at least, but we were all just melting. The girls have it the worst, on the second floor, though.

We ended up with three weather warnings at the same time, too – for the heat, high water levels and potential flash floods! Several towns and cities in the South West of our province did get hit with flash floods and severe thunderstorms. Some areas even had tornado warnings! I was keeping a close eye on the weather radar, watching the storms.

They went right past us!

The most severe parts of the system got pushed up to the North of us, and while some towns to the West certainly got hit, we got the edges of the system. Just some rain!

I am increasingly fascinated by our little local climate bubble. What is it about our geographical location that causes these weather systems to be pushed away or around? There are a lot of lakes in the area, including one huge one, so that certainly would have an effect. We’re kinda in the middle, East to West, between the biggest ones, but well to the South of the middle, from North to South.

Whatever the reason, I’m thankful that it means we aren’t getting hit by the worst of the storm systems. I really feel for some of the small towns and cities in the South-west, though. They get hit by every one!!

Today is going to be another hot one; we’re expected to hit 32C/89F with a humidex of 39C/102F again, by about 5 and 6pm. We still have the three alerts for heat, high water and flooding, throughout the South of our province. Right now, however, we’re sunny and clear. It’s insanely humid. Yesterday, I made a quick trip into town to get a couple of our 18L water jugs refilled. Even though the water was not at all cold, the jugs were covered with condensation by the time I got home! This morning, everything was still wet, as if we’d just had a rainfall.

We did, but at about 3am!

In the old kitchen garden, one of my mother’s roses has been blooming, for the first time since we moved out here.

This rose was little more than a scraggly stick for the past couple of summers. It’s overshadowed by one of the ornamental apple trees, and I really wasn’t sure if it would make it. We still worked around it, when cleaning out and mulching the garden, just to give it a chance, and it seems to have paid off! All the other roses around the house are the white Cherokee roses. I’m glad the one different type of rose is managing to survive.

When checking the sunflowers, I found another loss.

This pretty much confirms it’s a deer. The other critters it might have been would have clipped it much lower down.

It’s like a deer decided to have a quick snack while passing through!

This one will likely survive, but I doubt it will produce a seed head.

Thankfully, lots more seedlings are popping up. The replacement variety I’d picked up had lots of smaller seeds in the package than the ones I got before, so my daughter was able to plant two or three in each spot. We’ll actually have some to thin out, as they get bigger.

Assuming nothing eats them, first!

The Re-Farmer

Almost there!

I am happy to say that, thanks to my awesome, awesome daughter (and an amazing sale at Ikea), we have a new stove!

Still in it’s box, but we’ve got it! 😀

Before heading out this morning, I measured the old stove. We’re not too concerned about the dimensions, as the counters along that wall can be moved, if necessary. The main issue is actually the space between one counter along the wall, and the island counter the sink is part of.

I also emptied the drawer under the oven – something I have been avoiding since we moved here – and took it out to see what was there.

Besides a couple of toy mice, and the missing tube of After Bite.

And Cheddar. I had to sweep Cheddar out of the space! LOL

I missed a couple of things.

Also, that’s a tiny walrus that used to be among the many critters I had decorating the dash of our previous van. I don’t know how the cats got it under there!

Once we got the measurements, my younger daughter and I headed into the city, with Ikea being our first stop. We’d checked online the night before, and according to their listed inventory, we had two options, and the one we preferred had only 2 left in stock.

By the time we got there, found the displays and talked to a salesperson to check, there was only one left!

My daughter snagged it.

Now, on its own, the stove would have fit in our van, no problem. In its box, however, it was too tall, so it had to be loaded in on a side. Which is fine. The installation instructions that were available online included doing things like laying it down to remove the packaging on the bottom, and to adjust the leveling legs, so we knew that would be okay.

After that was loaded up and we went for breakfast… er… lunch… we headed to a hardware store. The new stove has the controls in the front, not the back, so my daughter wanted to pick up a self-adhesive backsplash. While we were there, I also found a new taps and faucet set for our kitchen sink. What was merely a drip when we first moved here is almost a constant stream. My daughters had opened it up, but could not see why it was dripping. The faucet is one that tends to get in the way when we want to wash our bigger pots, so I made sure to get one with a faucet of a different design.

That done, we made a quick stop at the pet store so I could get some more plants for our fish tank, then hit the grocery store, to get the last items we didn’t get after our big Costco trip, yesterday.

After several hours of running around the city, we could finally start home, with only a stop at the gas station, so I could fill a jerry can for our lawn mowers.

Once at home and all the groceries were in, we had to get that stove inside. My daughter and I managed to wrestle it out of the van and up the 2 steps in front of the main door, but then we had a problem.

The box was just narrow enough to fit through the doorway. Perfect, right?

Well. Except for the arm bar.

My other daughter put me on cat duty with the spray bottle, then the two of them tipped it on its side again, the wrestled it through. It was a really tight fit, but the hardest part was squeezing it through the door, while also lifting it over the bottom of the door frame, at the same time.

So here it is!

So excited!

We are not, however, installing it today.

It is about 3 inches too wide to fit into the kitchen. We are going to have to move the counter out and into the dining room.

Which will require moving the dining table into a corner, move shelves we have under the dining room window, pull the counter out (which will give me a chance to finally clean back there, and reclaim some stuff that has fallen behind it), take out the old stove, clean under that, put in the new stove, put the counter back again, then haul the old stove to the pile of stuff that we’ll most likely have to hire someone to haul to the dump for us.

This is going to be a huge job.

Until then, we can use the old stove to make supper! 🙂

Oh, and the new faucet and taps will be installed tomorrow, too!

It’s going to be a huge job, but I am so looking forward to not having to use the old busted up stuff anymore!!!

My daughters are awesome.

The Re-Farmer

Growing things, wins and losses

Oy, what a day it’s been!

Our high of the day was reached at about 4:30 pm! 32C/89F, with the humidex putting us at 36C/97F. We’re not going to be cooling down much, even overnight, either.

At least there’s a wind, and on the weather radar, it looks like we’ll at least get some rain this evening, if not the thunderstorms. Those look like they’ll go right past us.

It was, at least, much more bearable when I did my rounds this morning. That, and the basement is nice and cool for the kittens.

Since they have gotten so good and escaping as soon as the door is opened and my hands are full, I’ve sacrificed one of my slightly taller laundry baskets for kitten jail.

I succeeded only in catching David! 😀 He loves that thing!

I ended up just leaving the door open and let them be, until after I was done outside. By then, a daughter was available to help herd them back downstairs.

I am happy to say that some of the replacement sunflower seeds we planted are starting to sprout! They are just starting to break ground. The ones from the first planting have, for the most part, been growing quite well.

Something has been digging into the softer soil where we planted the seeds. Whatever it doing it, isn’t after the seeds themselves. This time, at least, the seedling didn’t get dug up in the process. My guess is, skunks are after grubs or worms.

We did, however, have a couple more losses of the original seedlings.

Something just up and ate a couple of them! Most likely deer. *sigh* The deer aren’t coming around much anymore; there is one that I’ve been seeing at the gate on the trail cams, but that’s it.

So far, at least, nothing has been eating the squash plants, and it doesn’t look like we’ve lost more beet greens.

The small mock orange by the side door of the house is going to be blooming very well this year! It got a major pruning, the summer before we moved out here, so that the walls could be painted, but it has recovered very well. The other one by the clothes line platform had a rough time last year, but it does have some flowers – all along the bottom! Most of it, however, has no buds at all.

These guys are finally starting to open. I expect to see many more, within the next few days!

This little shrub along the south side of the driveway has lots of berries on it. I have no idea what they are. There are quite a few of them around, but only this one has berries. I’m thinking location has much to do with it. It’s the only one that gets a lot of sun all day. The others are shaded by trees or sheds.

If anyone knows what this is, please feel free to let me know in the comments.

For now, I’ll just assume that whatever it is, is poisonous, and just appreciate it for its beauty. 🙂

The Re-Farmer

Heat Wave

Today was our day to go into the city to do our big shopping trip.

We didn’t finish.

We currently have more weather warnings. This time for heat!

I took the above screenshot shortly before 4:30pm. We might actually go a bit higher before it starts cooling down. 30C/86F is hot enough, but check out the humidex expected for Monday! 40C = 104F

We’ve been getting enough rain lately that our municipality has removed the burn ban, completely. No restrictions at all right now! We have lots that needs to be burned, but with the heat, who wants to be around fire right now? 😀

And we don’t have air conditioning in the van anymore, nor even working fans in the console.

It did make the trip into the city … interesting!

We managed to get to the Walmart and the Costco to stock up. After gassing up at the Costco, we were going to go to a couple more places. Then road construction and detours had us doing a route march through residential areas (why are they designed to be such mazes???) before we could back track, go back through the construction, and finally take a road that would get us to the street we needed, albeit at a different spot than I was originally after. By that time, I was done. We just went home.

Part of the reason I was okay with doing that is because my daughter asked for an extra trip into the city, which we’ll be doing tomorrow. She’s buying us a new stove! Since we’ll be in the city again anyhow, we can also pick up the rest of the stuff we need for the month.

Considering she is using her savings and had to quit her job, I am extremely grateful that she is willing to do this for us. The stove we have has only three working elements right now – we stopped using the 4th when we saw sparks every time we turned it on – and even those don’t heat up well, among other issues.

There isn’t much in the monthly shop we need to get, though. The freezer and pantry are stocked up again. We also have lots of cat food and litter – we’d run out of both, completely, as of this morning! The only things left are the items we don’t want to get in bulk quantities, like fresh fruits and vegetables, or ingredients we can only find in various ethnic sections of a grocery franchise we regularly visit now.

With the current heat wave, getting work done outside is going to be difficult. Unless I start getting up at 5am, while it’s still cooler (well; not so much over the next few days). I might just have to start going that. Which means, no more staying up until 2am!

It would mean kicking cats off my bed, too. 😀

Oh, to have the life of our cats! ❤

The Re-Farmer

Carving progress: it’s finished!

I am happy to say that I have finally finished my first attempt at carving!


My trip into town was successful, in that I found a teeny tiny tip for my Dremel.

Saffron made sure to check it out, too!

I discovered something when I went to put it on my Dremel, though.

It didn’t fit.

The shaft is too small. By maybe a millimeter!

Well, it’s an engraving tip, and I have an engraving tool, so I got that out.

That one was even worse!

What to do? I wasn’t going to take it back. Not only did I have to destroy the packaging just to open it, it was the ONLY tip they had that was small enough for what I needed.

Painters tape to the rescue!

I got it on, and it was secure. Perfect!

After making a few practice passes on the piece of lilac I’d practiced the carving knives on, I started using it on the morel.

This is how it looked, immediately after I finished (and you can see the tape that allowed the tip to fit). I was really happy with this tip. It was exactly what I needed for the job. If anything, I would have gone even smaller, if I could!

While certainly better than the carving knives, it was still rather messy. Sanding it did take care of some of that.

I have sandpaper only up to 220 grit, which is adequate for the job. No way to get into the holes, though, which is okay. I wasn’t done with it.

The next step was to break out the wood burning kit. The kit has a very fine pointed tip that I used to burn inside each hole in the morel. This allowed me to also burn away any ragged bits.

Once the insides of the holes were done, I could use the side of the tool to burn the flat surfaces.

Here is how it looked, once done.

The only thing to do after this is to oil it!

Two Face decided to “help”. 😀

Here is the completed spoon.

For the mushroom, I basically poured the mineral oil over it, to get into all the crevices, then used a paper towel to apply oil to the rest. At this point, I will let it sit for a day or two, then see if it needs more oil. I’ve seen sites that recommend putting small things like spoons into a slide-lock bag with oil, making sure the air is all squeezed out, and the item is in contact with oil all over, then leaving it for several days. I might try that with future projects, but I think just a light coating of oil is adequate for this one.

I am really happy with how this turned out!

I feel much more encouraged about tackling some of the wood I’ve salvaged lately. 🙂 I think my next projects, though, will be spreaders.

No bowls to hollow out! 😀

The Re-Farmer

First, the fun stuff

Forecasts for today were for a high of 29C/84F, with the humidex at 33C/91F, with afternoon thunderstorms. So I wasn’t expecting to accomplish much outside.

In the end, I wouldn’t have been able to, anyhow. Pain levels are pretty high today. As long as I’m just walking on level ground, I’m okay – I’m just limping and hobbling like a decrepit old lady 😉 – but any sort of step sends shooting pains in my right knee.

I’ve been using my husband’s bath chair more than he has, lately! 😀

I was still able to do my rounds, as usual, though.

Rolando Moon has been hanging out in this tree, and on the roof, lately! She is so deceptively adorable. 😀

She even joined me when I was switching out the trail cam memory cards.

We have some new flowers I wasn’t expecting yet, this morning.

My mother has had a small flower garden along the East side of the house for as long as I can remember. This iris is near where we now keep the bird feeder. They and some lilies were completely crowded out by other greenery (I’m not sure they those were planted deliberately or not) and chickweed, but I managed to weed them out at least a bit. There were no signs of buds anywhere, then suddenly, this morning, there were two flowers!

Still no signs of other buds, though!

In checking the garden plots, it seems to me that something might be eating our beet greens in one of the plots. I’d thought at first that the cats were digging in the garden again, and that’s why it looked like there were fewer beets, but as I weeded, I noticed bare stems. It might be deer, but while I have been seeing deer at the gate in the trail cams, they don’t look like they came from the yard at all, but more like they’d come from the direction of the barn. Plus, I would expect deer to do more than nibble a few leaves here and there. I suppose hares are another possibility, but with the presence of yard cats, I don’t think we actually get them in the yard. So I’m not sure what’s going on there.

With no plans to work outside, I made a trip into town. I wanted to pick up a Dremel tip so I could finish my spoon, as well as pick up another litter pan for the basement. The kittens are getting bigger, and one pan isn’t enough for them anymore! The kittens were thrilled, which is pretty funny. Who knew litter pans could be so much fun for kittens?

I’ll post about how the carving went, separately. While I was working, however, I did have company!

Two Face and David joined the kittens, too. Between playing with them, and crawling all over me, the kittens got tired right out! 😀

When I was done and started up the stairs, I found someone looking at me!

David found one of the kittens’ favorite spots!

Then he “pounced”. 😀

What a funny boy!

While uploading photos to write this post, we lost our internet as a thunderstorm rolled by. From the looks of the weather radar, there is a very long, narrow storm system heading our way, so I think I’d better get to my other post, then shut the computer down, while I have time! 😀

Uh oh. Looks like we lost internet again… oh, it’s back. For now.

It’s going to be an interesting evening!

The Re-Farmer

Spoon carving progress

Today, I got some really good progress on my practice carving, using the spoon blank that came with my carving kit.

Also, the basement is nice and cool. 🙂

I was down to cutting the last few divots out of the morel mushroom on the end of the spoon, so that didn’t take long. I also tried to deepen the bowl of the spoon itself.

Working on the inside of the spoon is a challenge. The tip of the sloyd knife kept gouging areas I wasn’t working on. The direction the wood grain is also means that, in two spots opposite each other, the wood did not cut as well or as smoothly, leaving more gouges, no matter how carefully I tried to follow the instructions from the various videos I’d looked up for beginner carvers.

The rough shaping of the outside of the bowl and handle are… well… rough. LOL

Here is how it looked, after I finished with the carving tools. The next step, was to “cheat” and use my Dremel.

I have a Dremel engraver, which I tested out on the divots of the morel. That did not work at all, which is really what I expected. I figured it was worth a try, though.

Also, that thing is incredibly loud, and scare the crap out of the kittens and Beep Beep!!

The other Dremel I have is a basic low end rotating tool. (The engraver doesn’t rotate, so there is nothing interchangeable about them.) I used a drum sander to smooth out and shape the bowl and handle.

This also took off more of the excess wood to add more shaping.

For the details in the morel, I’m going to have to pick up a fine, abrasive tip. None of the tips that came with my kit are remotely close to being usable for this.

I decided on a swoopy handle, just for effect, but it has turned out to be a great thumb rest. It fits remarkably comfortably in the hand.

This is after sanding the spoon with three grades of sandpaper. Unfortunately, even the edges of the sandpaper tends to leave little gouges inside the spoon’s bowl.

I also had an unexpected issue to deal with, though not a surprising one. The humidity is so high in the basement, both the sandpaper and the wood itself was affected. The wood dust had a tendency to clump up. It wasn’t too much of a problem, but I think it affected how well the sandpaper was able to do the job. Some things actually work better with wet sandpaper. This is not one of them! 😀

This is now it looks after I stopped for the day. After I get a new Dremel tip to finish detailing the morel, I’ll continue to sand with finer grades of sandpaper, singe the morel to add colour, then finish with mineral oil. I did some searches on food grade oils for wood, and it basically came down to mineral oil. Other oils recommended are derived from nuts or seeds, and they go rancid over time. Beeswax is something else that can be used, but it can start cracking and flaking and, of course, you couldn’t use it with anything hot (among the things I hope to carve are cups and small bowls).

Once finished, I plan to offer it to my mother, since she requested I carve her a mushroom. Talking to her since then, it turns out she wants a Portebello (she didn’t know the English name for it), but I hope she’ll be happy with a morel for now. I know she likes morels, too. Most likely, she’ll reject it, but you never know. I might get her on one of her good days.

The Re-Farmer

ps: after finishing this, I checked the weather before heading outside. Turns out the temperatures are still going up, and we’re even hotter now, in the early evening, than before!