Aquaponic Gardening

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My love affair with the perfect tool

Yes we all have that perfect tool. The one we are proud of and treat like jewelry. Alas we are bigamist and have several of them. Even the old ones. I have a collection of my grandfathers tools he used to build his bungalow colony in upstate NY. The ones he taught me to use as a small child. The wood handle screwdrivers and Chisels. I use them with tears of nostalgia. I also have several of his wood planes. Those I keep on display. But alas they are not the ones I am writing about.
These are the tools we keep close and show off to our buddies. I recommend to friends and can't understand why they haven't bought them. So here I will tell you of some of my favorites.
First the pocket knife. I never carried one until about 4 years ago. So at age 50 I discovered the pocket knife. Sure I now have a small collection of them but only one is THE BEST. I resist buying one for my son as I want it to be mine. I have bought several others for him over the years but when he swoons for mine I just smile. I carry this knife every day. It is awesome. It opens and closes with one hand. It locks with speed safe. You must have this knife. The blade design is the right shape for ropes, or smooth cutting. This is the number one tool I own. I have about 6 different Kershaw Knifes but this is the one I use almost exclusively. It is the only small knife with both speed safe and stud lock.
Kershaw Ken Onion Mini Mojito Pocket Knife with Speed Safe

"Ken Onion" design for 2005. Features a 2 3/8" 440A Stainless Steel blade with 410 Stainless Steel handle and G-10 insert. The "Mini Mojo" combines Speed Safe assisted opening design with our newly patented "Stud Lock." Stud Lock offers superb locking, yet easy to release when you're ready to secure the blade back into the handle. The safety is incorporated into the flicker and locks every time the blade is closed."

The next tool is the one power tool I discovered two years ago. Yes I have that tote with over a dozen battery powered drills, drivers and saws etc. I have hundreds of hours on my Dewalt 14.4 $300+ drill I bought 10 years ago. But it seemed to be getting heavier and heaver. So I figured it was time to get a Lithium Ion tool. I was about to build the green house and knew I had to drive thousands of screws. I have never owned a driver so I was curious if this may be better than my Dewalt drill. Being a research addict. I of course spent way too many DAYS trying to find out which tool is the best. So it was between the Bosch right angle driver or the Makita. Both quality tools. I bought the Bosch and it was very disappointing. Bosch PS10-2A 12-Volt Max Lithium-Ion Driver Kit. I returned it the same day. Bad tool bad tool. Go back to your store.
I was wary of the Makita as the Bosch was 12 volt and the Makita is 10.8.
Makita LCT302W 10.8-Volt Ultra Compact Lithium-Ion Cordless 3-Piece Combo Kit.

This is the BEST tool I have ever owned. To explain how good it is. My son asked to borrow it to assemble a large swing set. When I saw it on the GROUND unprotected. I bought him a set for Christmas so he wouldn't have to borrow mine. He didn't want to use the Dewalt. Now too heavy. I can't say too much about it. It drives 3" deck screws through 4x4s. It drives Lag bolts through 2 staked 2x4s. I had read this in the reviews, but I didn't believe it. Yes it comes in that very cool metal foam fitted insert. I have spent more for a similar camera case 30 years ago. It fits in my pocket. It charges very quickly. Now I have driven thousands of screws and Lags with it. I have drilled hundreds of holes with the drill and I have yet to find anything ti won't drill or drive. I use it so much that it hasn't been back in the case in over a year.

Well that is enough about my love affair with the perfect tool. I know you all have some of them. Great deals and favorites. I will post some more of them to this blog as I get time. You can confess your loves here also. I need company.

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Comment by David Hart on August 23, 2011 at 5:56am

Very nice find Cosmo. I want one !

 I've seen that type of vac in 'pond' ads going for 4 and 5 times the cost.


@TCLynx, I'm so sorry, I never saw your question about the thermometer. I bought that one at my local Home depot, in the pool section. They may be less cost online (?)

Comment by TCLynx on August 22, 2011 at 7:20pm

I got a shop vac almost like that to clean out the settling tank on the duck system.  Yea, the pump in the vac can't keep up with full speed sucking of water and if you are sucking up duck muck and feather and leaves, the intake screen on the pump will get clogged up and require cleaning out.  I found that if I set the vac up on a pallet over my metal mesh wagon and line the wagon with shade cloth, I can periodically stop and open the bottom drain on the vac and let the muck out onto the shade cloth, once it drains enough it makes really nice worm food for the worm bins. while it's draining I can clean off the pump intake screen to be ready for another round. 

Just be sure to rinse the vac off and out well and let it dry before storing between uses.

Comment by M Cosmo on August 22, 2011 at 7:11pm

Always apply the KISS principle. My next magic tool. The need is to be able to remove the possible anerobic sludge on the bottom of the raft tanks. A thin layer of fine brown particulate that flows out of the bottom of the Vertigro stacks. I put hair nets on the bottom pot to catch this fine particulate. I will be reinstalling the hair nets next week.  

So to remove the settled sludge with a pump has a few problems. pumps don't like to pump water with stuff in it. Anything I could cludge together would cost at least 100 bucks and we all know that will climb up in costs. 

I found the solution.  A wet shop-vac with a built in Pump.   Here are some links to the one I choose. I just used it and here is the review.  

Shop-Vac 14-Gallon 5.5 Peak HP Wet/Dry Shop Vac Shop-Vac with pump model 9441411

The vac pumps the water our while you are vacuuming through a garden hose. The 2.5" hose draws up the sludge really well. I used the crevice tool.  it vacs faster then it can pump out.  I will try the 1.25 inch hose accessory that I will buy to see if it slows down the uptake to keep up with the pump.  

Here is a link to the Shop-vacs with pumps on the Shop-vac site

Shop-Vac Lowes

Comment by TCLynx on December 6, 2010 at 5:14pm
Where did you get that David?
Comment by David Hart on December 6, 2010 at 4:00pm

I'm not sure if this would be considered a 'tool' does perform a job...and helps make a job I guess thats close enough.
I picked up a remote pool and spa thermometer. The indoor display records the waters high and low for a few days. There is a freeze alarm, that can be turned on. It alerts you when the water drops to 40 F. It would be nice , if the alarm's set point was adjustable.
It's to be in the upper 20's in the morning, with the wind chill being around 16. Thats too cold to go out in central FL. My new 'tool', will earn it's keep, later tonight and in the early morning !
Comment by M Cosmo on November 10, 2010 at 12:10pm
Black Friday - Ahh!! christmas is early for us tool-smiths.
In case you don't know Black friday is the biggest shopping day every year. With lots of great deals.
I always buy tools for my guy pals and sons. Of course I have to buy a couple for me so Santa has something to put under the tree and my grandson is not suspicious as to why Santa didn't leave me anything. " I have been developing this strategy for years" Last year I bought a pressure washer, chain saw (from northern tools) at the store of course and lots of stuff from Home Depot and Lowes. So time to entice you into my addictions.
So here is one of my favorite sites to plan my attack.
There are lots more sites - just search for them. Make sure they are for you area and this year. Get there early. Don't be afraid to ask the store to call a nearby store if something you are looking for is already sold out. Ask them to hold it for you.
Comment by TCLynx on October 9, 2010 at 9:37am
I love tools. Am I strange? Are there other women out there who would spend more money in the tool department than anywhere else in sears?

Anyway, I'm sure definitely not as light weight as the kit Michael has reviewed above but we have the Ryobi one+ stuff. With the new Lithium 18V batteries and charger they are even better. We have the drill and used to have the hammer drill as well but it died a while back. We also have the battery powered circular saw, saws-awl, hand vac, flashlight, and radio. The drills are definitely a bit heavy and not pocket tools but I really like being able to have a complete set of power tools that all use the same batteries and chargers. Definitely worth it.

Now I'm gonna mention a favorite type of tool that many people might overlook. Buckets. 5 gallon buckets are a great garden tool. Great for toting compost and mulch. Smaller buckets are better for gravel washing operations and gravel toting. I love the 1-2 gallon buckets with the plastic handles that are comfortable to carry and small enough not to hurt me when moving gravel. Trying to carry a 5 gallon bucket full of water or gravel is rather dangerous for most average adults and those of you guys that do it are probably asking for a back ache if not injury, (I know, I've watched the Cook over do it moving 5 gallon buckets full of gravel, while I can move the same amount of gravel in smaller buckets without over doing it, just takes me more trips.) Anyway, buckets are a must for anyone keeping fish to dissolve salt or transfer water to a transport container or move small fish or many other purposes. You can usually get free food buckets from bakeries, delis, or warehouse stores. I use old paint buckets for not AP purposes like transporting mulch or as rain covers over feeders. Old buckets with holes or cracks in the bottom can become large plant pots. And when I'm not using the buckets I often line them up under the drip edge behind my house to help collect rain water to use for washing stuff and watering ornamental plants around the place, (I have no gutters on the house.)
Comment by M Cosmo on October 6, 2010 at 5:47pm
OMG how could I forget my 51 Willys wagon. I posted the album here
and the blog post here

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