Monday, November 26, 2012

Mary "Redneck" Kay

I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving, I know I sure did.

Having five days off without any Chili Cook Offs made it where I was able to get a lot of things done around the house. It seams like forever since the last time I was able to do some routine maintenance and cross out some of the nagging items that have been like a monkey on my back, taunting me every time I walked outside.

Even though I spent most of the time working around the house, I still found time have a little fun. The oldest daughter was up from A&M and she just started a new adventure selling Mary Kay. She is looking for a way to supplement her income and drop her hours at work so she will have more time to study and I am all for that.
The wife and I support our kids in everything they do. We give them our two cents and we go from there. If she was selling dog crap in a bag then we would do whatever we needed to help her out.

She asked if she could host a Mary Kay party here at the house while she was up. Of course I said yes and that I would help with whatever she needed to make it a success.
We decorated everything up in Pink and really put on a show. The whole house was girlyfied by the time it all done.       

Being I ain't much into all that pink stuff I decided to Redneck it up a little. I guess you could have called it a Mary "Redneck" Kay Party when it was all said and done. The guys needed a place to be while the women folk were in the house getting all prettied up so I pulled out the big smoker and went to work. Forty pounds of chicken were cooked, two gallons of beans, ten ponds of potato salad and a whole bunch of odds and ends like stuffed peppers.
It was a lot of food but having around forty friends and family show up made it all worth it.
Yup, that's me sitting by the smoker.
With Gorge Jones playing in the background, all the guys sat around outside and cooked, spited, cussed and drank.
(Good times right there)

The middle daughter came out to give ol' dad a hand at basting the chickens. You can't see it in this picture, but she was bare footed out there doing this. Bunch of hillbillies. 

 The wife did a great job in the house playing bartender and keeping all the women's Mason Jars full of margaritas. There was some hooting and hollering going on in there and I had to check and make sure they didn't hire a male stripper or something. From the sounds of it, they had a great time and I am sure the Jose Cuervo had something to do with as well. 

Thanks to all that came out in support of the Girl. I owe you all one for this,

So there you go, for you real manly men out there that are too cool or macho to do a Mary Kay party just remember, all you have to do is redneck it up a little.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Weekend Cook Off Results

For the ones who are keeping up with my Chili Cooking Career, here are the weekend results.
Saturday our team won 2nd in show. For our chili, I made final table and another team member won 8th.
Sunday our team won 1st in show and I made final final table again.

Okay, I want to get something off my chest about competing for show. At every cook off we set up a big area with all kinds of Texas props. We also interact with the crowd and have a good time. This is our second month cooking competitively and we are getting better and better every time.
I am not a sore looser by any means as long as I loose legitimately. First place show on Saturday set up one table, one cooker and that was it. Then he stuck his hand in a puppet monkey and walked around touching all the women. That won him first. If his booth would have been decked out like a jungle and if he had a Tarzan outfit on then I would have said he deserved the prize. If this is the case, then I don't need to haul around two truck loads of crap and spend hours setting up and taking down. All I have to do it stick my hand up a monkeys butt and be a perv.
I promised my team mates I would have a filter this weekend due to the fact I pist off over a dozen folks at the last cook off. I did just that, I was muzzled like an animal. But when they called out the first place winner of show, the muzzle was off. I don't know how many I offended.
Sunday I was a smart ass. I took a little scarecrow we had as a prop, ripped his butt open and shoved my hand inside and walked around with it. People were laughing because they knew what I was doing. After we won show Sunday a lady walked up to me and said, "See there, you just needed to find something to stick your hand up it's butt to win."
That's all I got to say about that.
Our next cook off will be December 1st in Irving Texas.

Friday, November 16, 2012

It's Time

As well as you know for the past couple of months I have been mainly posting about projects and chili. I wanted to do an off topic post this time to show some of the newer readers I also have a life outside of working and competitive cooking.

It's Time

Let me explain, my personality will not let me leave something unfinished. If it's a project, a goal or a promise. No matter what it is, I have to be able to close the book on whatever it is I started. If not, it will haunt me until it is done.

Twenty one years ago I was standing in city hall of the town I was working at. I had just completed a repair of a water leak and was a little dirty, but I was summon to meet my supervisor and had to go. I was standing along the wall outside his office waiting for my turn when the City's engineer walked out. He paused, looked me up and down, then asked my boss why they let the dirt people in here. He then turned and as he walked away he looked back over his shoulder and told me to get an education.
That next semester I enrolled in College just out of spite for his kind.

Being a husband, having two jobs and going to school was tough. For over two years I slept less then two hours a night. My primary job was from 7 AM to 5 PM, school was from 6 PM to 1 PM and my second job was from 1 AM to 6 AM seven days a week. Some say you can go insane if you don't get at least four hours of sleep for any length of time. Maybe that is what's wrong me? I remember the wife nudging me to wake me up when I would fall asleep at red lights when it turned green. I looked for every possible second to get some shut eye. 

The wife and I started having babies soon after and all that I had going plus being a young father was too much. My priorities were drawn in the sand so I quit college and my second job to do what I needed to do and be there for them. No regrets, it was all my choice.

I have pushed and guided my three girls from the time they came home with us from the hospital to be something I chose not be. I would sit and talk to them while they slept in their crib and tell them they will be somebody some day and that they would make a difference. I would talk about higher education while driving them to kindergarten class and even after all these years, the talks still continue. My friends would ask me what I would do if they chose not to go and I would always respond with "That is not an option" and it is still not.
 All these years I have preached the importance of a getting a degree of some sorts to my children and here I sat a college drop out. How hypocritical is that? It's not that I made a mistake and it's not that I would change anything, it's about trying to get your kids to do better then you, go further in life and not have to struggle as much. I think that is same with almost every parent. Yes, it is their decision once they are of age, but how in the world can I look at myself in the mirror every morning knowing I did not try.                   
I was 18 years old sitting on the couch with my soon to be wife when I told my parents we were getting married. The only thing my dad said was that he had higher hopes for me. I never really got that until later on in life. Now I fully understand.

Going back to the beginning of this post, after 21 years, January 14th I will be starting college again. It is not in the same degree I was in, but it's still a degree. I am not doing it for any reason other than for me. I made a promise to myself twenty one years ago that I was going to be a college graduate. That promise has haunted me for way too long and it is time to dust off that old book, add another chapter and then finally close it.
It may take me five years to complete it, but in the end I will be able to hold to that stupid little piece of paper and say I did it.

More New Folks

I know I am doing this back to back, but I am so thankful for all the new readers and members to MDR.

I want to welcome the very talented Melissa Lynn, Kironbutterfly and Donna Walker.
Thank you for becoming members of the Modern Day Redneck family. Please feel free to comment whenever you like. If you need anything else, my email is on the right side of the blog.
Thanks again,

New MDR Members

First off I want to give a big thanks to homesteadsurvival for featuring the Beer Can Heater on their blog. Welcome all who has come over and I hope you hang around. More projects are on their way. 

I also want to welcome two newest members of the MDR family. 
 April and Quixote Kid, both have great blogs that I am now a reader of.
Thank you for hitting the follow button and being a part of this mess. If there is anything I can help you with, you can leave a comment or email me at any time.

This little project has already had over 5,000 hits from being featured on different websites, I am honored. 

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Solar Beer Can Heater Results

First I want to say thanks to for linking up this project. They sent over 1300 people to MDR so far.

 I hooked up the heater using a 3" water heater flex tube. The flex was the only way to go because of the pivot motion of the heater.
You can also see the placement where I get the temp readings   

 The other end of the flex goes through the window of the shop. I made a block out for the window and sealed it off to keep the drafts out.
The out flow really needs to be higher, but I did not want to start cutting holes in my new shop until I did some testing first.

It was early in the morning and the ambient temp was around 40 when this picture was taken. The output air was already at 150 degrees.

The high readings for the day were,
Ambient = 55 degrees
Air Output = 180 degrees
 I could improve the output temperature a little by insulating the box. I really don't want it getting much hotter because I did not use high temp adhesive.
Right now I am loosing 20 degrees by the time it leaves the box and gets into the shop. The metal tubing is cooling the air back down a little. I will insulate the tubing to try and hold on to the heat a little longer during its travel into the shop.
Another step I plan to do is to attach an additional tube and bring the inflow from the shop instead of the outside. This way the air that is circulated will be from the inside and when the shop starts heating up it will be more efficient by circulating that same air.
Doing that I will have to build a filtered return air box inside and on the floor of the shop and put the outflow pipe at a higher level. The fan will also be placed inside the filtered return air box to increase the efficiency of the fan.
If I am going to go that far I might as well put the heater on a thermostat and go ahead and hook up a battery bank to it as well. That means I will need to increase the solar panel to a higher wattage to charge the batteries.
The one main problem to all this that the square foot of the heater will not heat the shop quickly or keep it at a constant temperature. The cubic foot of the shop is too massive for such a small heater. This design was made as an experiment to see if it would work. This heater would heat a well insulated room of about a 10'X8' with 8' ceilings. I originally designed this to heat the bathhouse.
This means to achieve the desired temperature in the shop at a reasonable rate, I will need to build one 2 1/3 larger than this one. That is a 230 can system. Or I could just build another one like this one and attach them together. I guess I need to call my buddy and have him start collecting cans for me.

Cost results,
Total out of pocket using junk on hand = $70.00
If I bought everything new = $200.00

I have seen some of these made using just 1/2 insulation sheets and sealed with duct tape and they work, but I wanted to build a heater that would last. The biggest cost if you have all the building material is the high temp paint and caulking.

That's all I got for now.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Solar Beer Can Heater Update

Just as I thought, I had way too much going on this weekend to complete the solar heater build 100%. I got close, but not all the way done.
Here is a little bit of what I did.

All the cans had to be drilled, cleaned and glues together. I had to make 10 rows of 10 and then painted.  At each end of the row of cans there is a board with holes in it to hold the cans in place and to let the air enter through the bottom and swirl it's way up through and out the top.
Just a note, you want to make sure to clean the cans because of the hot, sour beer smell.

 I designed the frame to have a air collector system powered by a solar fan to draw in the outside air and force it through the cans. The bottom collector chamber is pictured here.
 And another chamber for the hot air to collect and be forced out the exit and into the shop .

I could have left it at that and just leaned the heater up against the outside wall but you know that is not how I roll. I have to go above and beyond. 

I decided I did not want to man handle this heater all day to maximize it's potential by keeping it faced to the sun so I decided to build a swivel frame. With one finger I can turn the heater to face the sun all day long. 

One reason for this is because this heater is independent from any electric. I have seen some built where they use a powered fan to push the air. If I am building a solar heater then it needs to be powered by solar. The solar panel I have on this needs to face the sun to turn the fan on. You can see the cords running down the side of the frame in this picture.

And here you go. A 100% Solar Beer Can Heater. In this picture you can now see the two air collector chambers at the top and bottom and where the solar panel is mounted.

To finish this project I need to run a flex tube from the top of the heater frame to the shop window and that will be that.

If you look close you can see I installed a thermometer just below the air outlet to see how hot this get the air.  Once this is in use I will give feedback on how it works.

All I need now is some sun.   

Friday, November 9, 2012

Project Update

For those keeping up with my latest project, I wanted to give a quick update on the Beer Can Heater build.

Thanks to my friend who is a professional beer drinker, I have collected all 102 cans. It would have taken me months to have enough cans if I did it myself and it took him less than a week. You can see my small contribution to the collection in the back bottom corner. If you priced it all out, that is about $100.00 bucks in beer.

 For the glass I am using an old storm door that measures 63 1/2" tall and 27" wide. The frame is built to where the glass sits on the center of the 2x4s so I can use the hold down clips I took from the door.
If you are wondering what the wood frame is sitting on, that is my roll around work bench I built. It's kinda like a butcher block table so when the top gets all beat up I can sand it down and have a new table again. Genius hu?

Unfortunately work has kept me from doing much more to it this week, but this weekend looks promising. The next step is to drill holes in all the cans, fasten them together in columns of 10 and then paint them black. While that is drying I will finish the frame and air collecting points.
I probably will not get the heater all the way done this weekend because I have some other pressing issues I need to attend to, but I should be able to make a good showing. 

I wanted to say thank you to all the emails I receive on a daily basis. I enjoy reading and responding them.

I also wanted to welcome some new members to the Modern Day Redneck family.
Katidids, Rob68, Katlupe, Susan Ayers, Suerte and Tammy
Thank y'all for hitting the little button. If there is anything I can do for you please let me know. My email is on the right hand side of the blog and I love emails.  

Wednesday, November 7, 2012


Next month marks the third year of the Modern Day Redneck blog and I have made a point to keep politics out of my writings. There are many more blogs out there who's writers are a lot more knowledgeable and more articulate than I am to speak on that subject.

Saying all that I feel I need to at least acknowledge the most recent events so here we go.
After last night I have come to a conclusion, I am a minority. The way I think and my values are in the bottom percent of America. This nation has changed and I don't fit in anymore. This new nation believes in government hand outs, killing babies, same sex marriage and the removal of Christianity from the history books. They believe I do not have the right to protect myself, to keep what is mine or hang on to the money that I earned. My voice does not matter anymore, it is looked upon as I am a terrorist .

I am surprised and saddened by the way our media is so openly bias and the people are okay with it. The past four years with all the things that went with it seemed to have never even happen. My party would have been strung up and burnt at the stake for just half of what this current administration has done, wait, they were.
This country has changed. People used to stay busy leaving no time to get get brain washed by the media. Now days, nobody does anything except come home and sit on the couch, watching the derogation of our nation and believing every word. They take what they see and read as the truth, not ever following through and taking the time to learn more before coming to a conclusion. If it's on the news or on the internet it must be true.    

The Republican party died last night. The Overton window has shifted so much that real American values are skewed to where that party will have to follow it or stay dead. The problem with chasing the window is that you leave behind what is most important, our freedoms.

I am saddened for our nation, our people and our religions.
This is not the America so many have died for. That's all I got to say about it.                

Monday, November 5, 2012

Another Chili Post, Plus Some Other Stuff

For some reason this weekend took more out of me than was expected.
 The Whitewright Fireman's Chili Cook Off was a success. Our team had a blast and made a great haul with over $1600.00 in different prizes. As far as the chili goes, one team mate got third, the wife got tenth and apparently me and the other team mate didn't even show up.
Our booth got 2nd in show, but I expected that being we were in the lion's den so to speak. At a Fireman's Fest, with Firemen judging the booths. Go figure, First place went to a Fireman, but that's cool I guess. It's kinda like homecoming, no matter how good the underclassmen build their floats, the senior float always get first place. 
I want to say thanks to all those who came out to show their support for our team. It was good to see everyone. 

I was also able to get the trophies finished for the November 18th Chili Cook Off in Denton. This was a team effort with one half doing the staining and painting and me and the wife doing the cutting and assembling. I think they turned out amazing.
Just for the fun of it I made two more trophies not pictured here. Honorable Mention and Sexiest Cook. Those are not really ever done so I thought why not.

I never meant for this to turn into a Chili Cooking Blog, but it kinda has because that is what I'm into at the moment. So if this does not interest you in the least bit, sorry.

I was able to get some other stuff accomplished this weekend though. I had all my girls with me and you see, they have this dog. It's a dog I do not want, but they have banded together to form their own democracy to fight me on keeping this dog. This dog has tore up and broke many things outside and that is one of the reasons I don't want him. Some others are the fact he in almost a hundred pounds, still a puppy, barks all the time and the list goes on and on. So anyway, being I had them all there I had them fix some of the things their dog has tore up. One being the water line their dog ripped up and broke going to the gardens.
It was painful to watch but after a while with my instructions the lines was fixed. I had the girls also clean where the dog took my outdoor cushions and decided to tear them into little pieces along with two extension cords and water hoses. Yep, he needs to go. 

Other than that, thanks to a buddy of mine who is a professional beer drinker I have now collected more than enough cans to get the Solar Heater built.
This week I will be working on that along with fixing my weed eater, mowing and repairing more stuff the dog has destroyed.   
Y'all have a great week.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Buried In Projects Again

The break was nice, but it's time to get back to work.
Before I went on vacation I was doing research on some of the new projects that I have on the drawing board. I am excited to do them all and found myself almost starting three at one time. By doing that it will take longer to finish just one so I had to dial it back a little and do them in order.

First off I got roped into building thirteen trophies for the November 17th Chili Cook off we will be at. They saw the ones I build for my at home cook off and now the pod wants them for theirs. I have to build first through tenth for the chili and first through third for show. I will take pictures when they are done to show the detail that has gone into them. The good thing is that it's not all me, my teammates are doing the sanding, staining and painting. All I did was design them and cut all the wood. After I get them back then I will have to assemble all them.
While on vacation I took my scroll saw and cut out all the detailed pieces. Well, I didn't have nothing else to do so why not.    

I have my beer can solar heater all designed and ready to go. I am still collecting parts and materials, but I have enough to get started. The front glass will be from a storm door I kept because I thought I would need it someday. It will hold 100 cans and be on a swivel so I can turn it with the sun all day long. The air will be forced in, through the cans and out the top by the same solar fan I have in the dehydrator.
Tonight I start on the frame.

The next project I am ready to start is the Biosand filter. The water distiller did not work for me no matter what I did to it so for drinking water this sand filter will make the rain water from the storage tanks potable. Of course I will test the water before I drink it, but in the end this filter should do the trick.
I have been studying on this for about a year now and I am ready to pull the trigger.

The list goes on but these are the ones at the top. I am excited about the heater and filter and want them done as quick as possible. Now with a shop, my projects are being able to be completed rain or shine and the possibilities are endless.

This weekend we will be cooking chili in a little town about an hour and a half from here so wish us luck. Tomorrow night will be all about getting ready for that and believe me, it takes all evening to get ready.
The money will benefit the Wrightright Fire Department. 
We might stand a chance this weekend because all the big dogs are down south at the National Cook Off. Being this is our first year we were not invited because we did not have enough points yet. The good news is, we have already qualified for next year to enter in show so it may be a possibility to go except the drive is about 11 hours, but we will see.

That's all I got for now.