It’s time to take an inventory of the fun stuff within a fifty-foot radius of where I’m sitting.


(1) The Big Book of Catapult and Trebuchet Plans            (2) Backyard Ballistics

(3) Fun Projects for Dad and the Kids                                    (4)  Dangerous Book for Boys

(5)  Humble Homes, Simple Shacks, Cozy Cottages, Ramshackle Retreats, Funky Forts

(6)  BSA Handbook for Boys (editions back to 1937)       (7) Homemade Bread

(8)  Reinhold Craft and Hobby Book                                (9) The Outdoor Cookbook

(10) The Two Fat Ladies Ride Again                               (11) The Texas Cowboy Kitchen

(12) Homemade Root Beer, Soda, and Pop                  (13) Compact Cabins

(14) All-Day Singin’ and Dinner on the Ground          (15) The Tiny House Book

(16) Handbook of Model Rocketry                                  (17) Model Cars and Trucks

(18) The Humanure Handbook                                         (19) Craftstrip Braiding Projects

(20)  Model Rockets for Beginners                                  (21) The Hand-Sculpted House

(22) The Art of Making Wooden Toys                            (23) Tiny Homes, Simple Shelters

Those are most of the (camp) books downstairs.  I can’t leave the desk right now to check the shelves topside.  Galahad the cockatiel is dining, and flock protocol requires that all three members of the flock remain in the room while he eats.  Thus Kathryn sits and reads;  I sit composed and composing.

 Specific Kits:

(1)   four different solid-fuel model rocket kits to build and . . . uh . . . adapt for summer camp.

(2)  two tracked vehicle chassis with a couple of Arduino boards to meld with to make at least one homing bot.  This is a long-term project.

(3)  a couple of Tamiya 1:32 scale battery-powered cars with studded tires for carpet racing.  These are small, indoor cars; I need to check out the big honkers for outdoors.

(4)  An electric Piper Cub radio-control model airplane . . . I keep crashing and trashing the puppy

Loose construction materials and the tools to work them:

(1)   a stack of yellow pine to turn into a pirate sea chest.  I saw a really neat idea today that, instead of using yellow pine 1x4s, used shiplap house siding.  Got to try that out.

(2)  a pickup truck load of cement footers for a wooden tipi deck . . . around 750 pounds.  My rusty, trusty truck just wallows like a pig in a mud puddle.

 Other stuff:

(1)    an aluminum Grumman canoe to haul up to Missouri.

(2)   an electric homemade ice cream mixer to try out different recipes with.  (Somebody’s got to do it.)

(3)   a hydrogen gas inflation tube to fill up the flat-smooth dozen surplus weather balloons, two Hero cameras, a pair of radio trackers, and a Styrofoam carton for a high-altitude launch . . .still gotta get the hydrogen (there’s a shortage of helium).  And a couple of large-gig sim cards.

(4)   a root-beer-brewing bucket with three different recipe extracts and yeast . . . waiting for the bottles to arrive.  (Shortly after Thanksgiving.)

(5)   one built-up brood box for a new hive of bees . . . three more brood boxes to build with four honey supers per hive.  Lots of hammering and laying-up going on in the shop between sessions of PineWoodDerbyWorkshop.

(6)   three handmade bows with lots of store-bought arrows.

(7)   a .22 rifle (two more are already up there).

(8)   four two-pound ingots of pewter and a melting pot with another half-pound solidified in its bottom . . . and a collection of spoons and forks to use as mold-masters

(9)   two complete sets of stained-glass-worker’s tools

This is the stuff I have kept.  There is no way to calculate how much I have tossed over the years, how many kits and models I have chucked because they didn’t hold up to what I figured they should.

Thanks for reading.

Uncle Pat

Rates and dates are at Image

What the hands learn the mind cannot forget.



Photo of  Philip taking it to the limit on the downhill racer

he built.  This was not last summer . . . Phil’s a daddy now,

with a daughter of his own.