General Interest | Home, DIY & Stuff

General Interest

No Frustration Egg Deshelling – Making Perfect Eggs Every Time!

February 24, 2016
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Easy peel egg shells.  It's all in the cooking.

Easy peel egg shells. It’s all in the cooking.

If there is anything that could make a free range chicken grin, then it would be this little snippet of time saving information.

You know those occasional boiled eggs you get which have the soul intention of ruining your day?

The eggs you pluck from the hot waters of your saucepan, only to spend the next five minutes fumbling around burning your fingers and separating the tiniest pieces of shell from the diminishing volume of egg left in your hand? Those eggs which …just … won’t … peel!

Well here’s the good news!

We have cracked the secret to cooking the perfect egg every time.

There is no reason to put up with clingy shells and crunchy mouth syndrome with your egg meals any longer! The perfect technique probably only takes a small adjustment to the way you’re cooking eggs already.

Here is what to do!
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Growing Lettuce in the Japanese Freeze

January 22, 2016
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lettucefreeze

Lettuce plants grow protected from frost and snow in the weak Winter sun.

winter-seasonFresh, abundant fruit and vegetables in year round supply are what most residents of the modern mega-cities of Japan have come to expect.   People rarely stop to consider exactly how any of the fresh produce got there, let alone giving extra thought to how it is grown during peak Winter seasons.

In reality however, the cold temperatures and conditions in rural Japan in Winter dictate a major difference in how vegetables need to be grown in the off season.  While Summer sees various farming techniques that protect crops from persistent heat, insects and high humidity, Winter farming calls for warmth and protection from bitterly cold winds, frost and snow.  As such, when the growing days become shorter, farmers all across Japan turn to plastic …  And mountains of it!

lettucefreeze5Frost protection tunnels for lettuce are a common sight in the agricultural areas of Japan in Winter.  Preparing and planting the tunnels with seedlings is a labor intensive activity.  Specialized machines are used to both mound the soil into raised rows as well as to stretch black plastic over the leveled mounds.  This aids heat capture and prevents weed growth as the seedlings develop.   The plastic liner is pre-cut with staggered holes positioned abreast for placement of the individual plants.  The liner has the edges automatically tucked neatly under the soil to secure it in place.

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Leaves Fall, Frogs Change

November 15, 2015
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Fall Season at HomeDIYStuff

Japanese Tree Frog - Hyla japonica

Japanese Tree Frog – Hyla japonica

Remember the cute, yet exceedingly greedy little terrestrial Japanese Tree Frog, Hyla japonica, we mentioned last Summer? The endemic frog species of Japan which helped scientists give the world more efficient Wi-Fi communication by getting croaks heard in the congestion of mating season airwaves?

They used to be colored a vibrant green. Now they are not!

The gardens and habitats have dried as the air has cooled. As such, most rain frogs have also thrown off their garish Summer tones of green for cooler, more camouflaged grays. Others still can’t yet make up their minds and have chosen to wear splashes of both green and gray as they hop between dried perennials and hide amongst remaining outposts of greenery.

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Japanese Garden Flowers

July 17, 2015
By

Cosmos Flower

Bright garden flowers of Spring and Summer are always a delight to see.

In most parts of the world, the image of Japanese gardening is not usually associated with abundant use of brightly colored flowers. Most instead think of clean lines, meticulously clipped trees, bamboo fences and perhaps a water, or stone feature or two.

During the Spring and Summer months in Japan however, the beauty of colorful flowers are strongly embraced by most Japanese home gardeners. Western and European styled gardens have become extremely popular. Flowers of the late Spring and Summer tend to be bold in color and can be used as features against the many tones of flourishing green.

Rainfall is also regular and abundant, bringing lots of greenery as a base coloring for many gardens. Plants generally grow extremely easily in Japan once the growing seasons kick in.

There are all sorts of examples of garden sculptures and great uses of flower coloring in DIY gardens in Japan. It may surprise many, but even many ancient and traditional temple gardens often burst with color during the Spring flowering season.

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Greenhouse Farming in Japan

February 8, 2015
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winter-seasonJapanese Winter temperatures plunge below freezing on a regular basis, despite skies often being bright, clear and sunny.  In these low temperatures, seed germination is usually impossible and growth usually grinds to a halt in any open air farming environment.  Snow and frost damage is also a very likely risk for most unprotected crops.   Greenhouses are therefore an important part of farming in Japan for both large and small scale operations.  Die hard DIY gardeners also use greenhouses to produce home grown food for their close knit families, friends and communities.

Winter Greenhouse Farming

Snow engulfs the greenhouses of a private DIY gardener in Japan.

Japanese greenhouses

Commercial scale greenhouses sit in the bright sunshine and bitterly cold Winter air in Japan.

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Looking Inside a Lead Acid Battery

November 21, 2014
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lead acid car battery cut awayHere’s something just for interest’s sakes.  Photos of a modern, but humble lead acid car battery and its internal electrode plate arrangements for those who may not have seen similar before.

Common lead acid batteries in cars and trucks work by developing and storing electric potential between sets of positive and negative electrode plates.  The electrodes are commonly made of Lead (Pb) and Lead Dioxide (PbO2) mesh and paste, separated by a non-conductive porous material to stop them touching and short circuiting.  The battery cells are submerged in approximately 35% Sulphuric Acid (H2SO4(aq)) which acts as an electrolyte and allows electrons to flow between the plates and to deliver current when the battery terminals are connected to a circuit.

The basic energy storage and delivery concept of lead acid batteries was invented over a century and a half ago by French physicist Gaston Planté.  Since that time, this kind of battery chemistry has been developed to become a standard and efficient workhorse in everyday life for us all.

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Japanese Miso – DIY Fermentation Project Complete

November 20, 2014
By

winter-season

DIY Japanese Miso Cracker Dip

We have completed the fermentation of our DIY Japanese Miso Paste from raw soy beans.  The Miso making was a great success.

Many readers could be forgiven for reacting with an “Eeuuuwwwww!” upon seeing some of the photos of this process, but believe us, the final miso paste product is extremely tasty.  And healthy too!

It has been almost a full year since we started making our paste. The fermentation started in cold Winter months early in the year, soon after when we first discussed home DIY miso making. We later provided a full DIY how-to of miso making guide” when we started the mix, where we showed the ingredients required in the preparation and the techniques used.

Time has flown by. We provided a half year report on the progress of our fermentation project when the soy bean paste received a good mixing just prior to the arrival of Summer’s full heat. At the time, being exposed to only cool temperatures, little had changed in our premature miso paste and there wasn’t even a thread of flavor altering mold to be seen.

Given five extra months of development and an a blast of Japanese Summer heat in between, and that all changed!

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Home DIY Electrostatic Powder Coating

November 2, 2014
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Electrostatic Powder Coating Spray Unit

DIY electrostatic powder coating requires some upfront investment in workshop equipment, but the surface coating results are worth every cent!

brush-100x100We can’t rave enough about electrostatic powder coating in our DIY workshop.

Why? Because even when most liquid paints let us down completely, electrostatic powder coat paints consistently give our metal DIY parts and projects an extremely professional looking finish.

There are no spray cans, liquid solvents or messy paint brushes involved in powder coating.

The paint is supplied as a dry, finely milled powder and applied using a specially designed electrostatic spray gun.

The array of powder coat colors available, with finishes, metallic effects and textures to suit any DIY project desire or need, is stunning. Powder coated finishes are quality coatings which are thick, vibrant and extremely scratch resistant.  They last!

With powder coating equipment available, a fully protective dimpled coating in an exotically wild metallic red or green color over a metal surface is simple to achieve – whether with or without an holographic like lustre! As is a a more conservative, yet very professional looking coating of silky matte black.

The ability to spray this level of coating quality at home expands all sorts of DIY project horizons.

Unlike liquid paints, powder paint can be applied evenly in one shoot without the risk of dripping or sagging. Over spray can be easily swept up and re-used.

Following a paint shoot, the coating is cured by heat treatment. Then, after just 20 minutes in a workshop oven …. the job is done!  The parts are good to go!
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DIY Powder Coating Glasses Frames

October 23, 2014
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DIY Powder Coating Reading GlassesNo matter how good glasses frames look when first selected from the optician’s display rack, the surface design and coating inevitably chips and rubs off over time.

Fashions also change and those ‘hip’ frames we bought a while back, although still functional, often just aren’t ‘with it’ any longer.

That’s where home DIY electrostatic powder coating comes in handy!

Powder coat painting techniques are perfect for quickly revitalising run down steel framed reading glasses.  A huge array of powder coat paints on the market are capable of producing a stunning range of vibrant colors and textures.

With the right DIY workshop equipment, powder coating techniques produce results with many benefits over normal paint application techniques.

It is quick to apply; quick to oven cure and is as tough as nails forever and a day after that.

It took us less than two hours in the home DIY workshop to strip down, prepare and completely transform an old, yet favorite pair of beaten metal framed reading glasses into something new, fresh and exciting to wear.

After completing our DIY frame revitalization project, the glasses looked great!

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Rice Harvest in Japan

September 3, 2014
By

summer-season

A Japanese rice farmer begins harvest of his roadside rice paddy with an open cab rice harvester.

A Japanese rice farmer begins harvest of his roadside rice paddy with an open cab rice harvester.

As Summer draws to a close, the most important event in the Japanese farming calender has arrived – the rice harvest.

Rice crops grow rapidly in the heat and humidity of the Japanese Summer. As the rice develops, crops becomes heavily laden with grain and eventually start to dry and yellow.

The soil beds of the paddies remain moist, but are generally no longer flooded or soaked through.  Farmers have allowed the water levels in the paddies to drain and evaporate in the sunshine as the rice has matured.

The rice harvest does not begin until the the moisture content of grain heads fall to around 20-30%.  Once dry enough however, there is a sudden burst of determined activity and the rice harvest is on for another year.

Farmers, harvest machinery and trucks can be seen scurrying around the rice paddies; harvesting and moving the precious rice crop as quickly as possible.
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