Converting a watersnake trolling motor for a Hobie outback Kayak

Lately as I get older it has been a bit more difficult for me to always use the hobie mirage drive for all day. Finishing a day of trolling, and barely being able to walk due to back pain is a bit discouraging. So after some searching I found a build to convert a Watersnake 18 lb motor into a trolling motor that fits into a hobie mirage slot on the kayak. This build looks like it will work on any size of watersnake. But really I cant see the need for a bigger thrust then I currently have. Now for some long ocean trips maybe to deal with the current.

Things needed to do the conversion with link if you need them

Watersnake all ready to start the conversion. Total weight at start is just 8 lbs
First step as with most things is to remove screws. There are 4 screws that hold the top to the bottom part of the control panel
Before removing any wires make sure you take a picture of how it looks. This makes it a lot easier to reassemble after you shorten the shaft. There are only three wires that have to be removed. All three lead into the shaft so it is easy to tell which three they are
After removing the controller from the top you will need to insert a small PVC pipe into the shaft. These will keep you from accidentally cutting the wires as you shorten the shaft.
Before cutting the shaft you will need to get the the cassette plug set up to insert the shaft into it. The easiest way is to use a 1″ spade bit. A hole needs to be made on each side of the cassette so the motor shaft can fit into it.
Once the cassette is seated onto the shaft use a piece of tape to mark where you will cut it off. I put the cassette just above the blades of the motor and then added about 5 inches above to where I cut it off. This is right at 10″ cut off. Do not discard the top. You will need it as a template to cut out guides into the new shortened shaft.
Once the shaft is cut off you will need to cut out the gap and the hole through to reattach the controller. Once you have it cut out reassemble everything.
Once everything is assembled you are ready to go

Once you are done the set up is ready to go as is. There are several other adaptions that are useful in the long run while using this set up. At this stage you are limited to only the two speeds that are set up on the motor. high and just slightly less then high. Good for going from place to place but way to fast for trolling. At least for my trolling.

Some things to note from my first test run:

  • The cassette is made to be put in only one direction and not both. Some rubber pads would be helpful to prevent kick up every time the motor starts and stops.
  • I added a DC controller between the battery and motor to give it a variable speed while trolling. (worked perfect for this)
  • The clamps on the motor made it difficult to hook to the controller box. They should be removed and some circle ones installed so it can be screwed down. Same with my connectors from the battery to the controller
  • Add Volt meter to controller box.
  • 21AH battery lasted just over 4 hours of trolling. A 2nd battery will probably be needed at some point.

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Compact DIY Emergency fishing kit

No one can predict when an emergency will happen. It can be anything from as simple as having your vehicle break down, to a natural disaster that effects the entire area you are living in. One thing that is good to keep in a vehicle just for an emergency is a small kit filled with basic fishing supplies. For this kit I use a small metal altoid can. But any container that is small enough to fit in a glove box will work. The nice thing about these little metal boxes is that they can be used for several purposes once you have removed the fishing supplies. This also makes a great 5 minute craft to put together with children

Simple kit with basics in it. I do recommend more hooks and weights then what is shown in the picture.

Possible list of what you can put into your box:

Still some room that more weight and hooks can be added and a small folding knife

This list is for a very basic kit and can easily be customized to whatever works for you. As you can see from the pictures there is still lots of space inside the tin to add some other things to the kit. One additional thing that would be good to have in this kit is a compact knife. I always carry a belt knife so it is not needed for my kit. this would be very useful for gutting any fish and cutting a pole to use as a fishing rod.

The best way to store the line is to wrap it around the box and then secure it with tape. For this kit I am using 100lb nylon braid. Very strong and can also be used as cordage for any needs.
Wrap multiple layers of tape around the kit to secure the line and also to use in an emergency.

If making your own mini kit is not something you would like to put together then there are several pre-built kits available on Amazon that can be purchased.

This is a good list of books that are fairly compact and can be carried in the glove box or in an emergency bag.

All That the Rain Promises and More: A Hip Pocket Guide to Western Mushrooms by David Arora (smaller pocket guide that is excellent to use)

The Forager’s Harvest: A Guide to Identifying, Harvesting, and Preparing Edible Wild Plants

Pacific Northwest Foraging: 120 Wild and Flavorful Edibles from Alaska Blueberries to Wild Hazelnuts (Regional Foraging Series)

SAS Survival Handbook, Third Edition: The Ultimate Guide to Surviving Anywhere This is the go to guide for most people looking into survival

And some good survival gear

There are also several E-books that can be found on Kindle unlimited

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How to make a stove out of a soda can

If you have ever wanted to make your own stove this is your chance at an easy stove for day trips, hiking, or to cook after the zombies arrive. With all the trash that tends to be anywhere in the world you should be able to find some type of can that can be used to make a simple stove. To make this stove you will need two cans of the same size.  Even though most cans look like they are the same size there is a small difference between brands so if you can find tow of the same kind it would be best.   The fuel used for this type of stove can be any type of denatured alcohol that is over 60% alcohol. If you use 60% rubbing alcohol you will get a sputtering burn and a cleaner burn with a higher percentage of alcohol.  I typically use the bottles of HEET used to treat gas tanks.  They are inexpensive, and as long as they are sealed will last for years until an emergency.  Typically a stove will burn for 10-15 minutes on one ounce of alcohol.  Which if you have a full bottle will give you at least 160 minutes of burn time total. Just remember to let the stove cool down in between adding more alcohol.  I did some testing with different pin hole sizes for the burner, and didn’t get too much variation on the burn time.

Items needed to make a can stove:

  • utility knife
  • two aluminum cans of the same type
  • thumbtack or something of similar size to use to poke holes through the can bottom
  • needlenose pliers

Start off with two of the same type of soda.  Different soda cans may look the same size but often are not
Start off with two of the same type of soda. Different soda cans may look the same size but often are not

Use an exacto knife or utility knife to slowly etch around the bottom edge until you cut through the bottom of the can.
Use a utility knife to slowly etch around the bottom edge until you cut through the bottom of the can.

Remove the bottom carefully.  The edges can be sharp where you just cut.  Some emery cloth or steel wool can dull the edge so it doesnt cut you.
Remove the bottom carefully. The edges can be sharp where you just cut. Some emery cloth, or steel wool can dull the edge so it doesn’t cut you.

Use a marker and mark off 16 holes evenly spaced apart.  then use a thumb tack and poke a hole in your marked spot.  The size of the hole will determine the size of the flame
Use a marker and mark off 16 holes evenly spaced apart. then use a thumb tack and poke a hole in your marked spot. The size of the hole will determine the size of the flame.

Use a book or a block to draw a line around the can with a permanent marker.  This line is about 1 1/2 inches up
Use a cloth measuring tape (or a piece of paper) to draw a line around the can with a permanent marker. This line is about 1 1/2 inches up.

You can poke a hole above the line and then use sizzers to cut the bottoms off the can.  Take one can and cut an even strip as in the top of the picture.  The strip should be just a little taller then one of the bottom sections of can.
You can poke a hole above the line, and then use scissors to cut the bottoms off the can. Take one can and cut an even strip as in the top of the picture. The strip should be just a little taller then one of the bottom sections of can.

Take the strip you cut and insert it into the bottom section.  It should fit right inside the inside rim of the section
Take the strip you cut and insert it into the bottom section. It should fit right inside the inside rim of the section.

use a small pair of needle nose pliers and crimp the edge of the can on the upper section with the pin holes in it.  If you crimp and do it the other way the alcohol will leak out when you light it.
Use a small pair of needle nose pliers, and crimp the edge of the can on the upper section with the pin holes in it. If you crimp and do it the other way the alcohol will leak out when you light it.

And you now have a completed stove.  now you can add one ounce of alcahol to the center of the can and light it up.
And you now have a completed stove. Now you can add one ounce of alcohol to the center of the can and light it up.

These are very simple stoves to make and cost very little.  They are surprisingly durable considering that they are made out of aluminum cans.  I have used them for cooking many times while out in the woods.  The only thing you will need is a way to keep your pan above the stove.  Two flat rocks side by side work very well to rest a pan on.  If you would like to see one burning you can go to this you tube link.  There are many variations to making this stove.  I have tried several of them and they all work well.  This version is the easiest to light out of the ones I have made.  But if you make one try different hole sizes and designs until you find one you like.

For other survival tips and builds please visit our main page

Wilderness and Urban survival

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homemade root beer version version two

Time for a second version to test out and see how it is.  This one is lighter on the roots and includes more herbs for flavors.

  • 1 gallon water
  • 1 tablespoon sarsaparilla root bark
  • 1 tablespoon sassafras root bark
  • 1 tablespoon birch bark
  • 3 star anise pods
  • 1 vanilla bean, split and scraped
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed ginger
  • 1/2 tablespoon dried spearmint
  • 1 1/2 cups brown sugar, packed
  • 1/2 cup molasses
  • 1/8 teaspoon yeast

Herby goodness.  I am glad there is a local company that has all of these.
Herby goodness. I am glad there is a local company that has all of these.

what to do:

  1. Combine water, sassafras, sarsaparilla, birch, mint, star anise, ginger, and vanilla in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil, and reduce to simmer for 10 minutes. The remove pot from heat, cover, and let steep for 2 hours.
  2. Strain the root beer tea through a fine mesh strainer lined with cheesecloth into large pot. Add the brown sugar and molasses. Stir until mixture is integrated, then cover.
  3. Let cool to 75°F, then stir in yeast and let it sit for 15 minutes. If you don’t let it cool you can kill the yeast when you add it to the root beer.  Fill up some cleaned and sterilized plastic bottles with mixture, leaving 2 inches of space at top. Screw on caps. Keep bottles at room temperature for 36 hours, then open a bottle slowly and carefully to see if it is carbonated (or squeeze to see how firm the bottle is).
  4. Place bottles in the refrigerator for 2 days before drinking. This will allow the yeast to drop to the bottom of the bottle.

rating for this batch:

  • Color: Nice dark color,  just a little lighter then commercial root beer
  • Aroma: Smells great, not as rooty as batch one i tried
  • Flavor: Delicious, I should have made a bigger batch
  • Rating: This is the best so far.  5/5

This is going to be a keeper recipe.  Staci thought it was good and she only tried it while it was still warm and not carbonated.  Next will need to be a big batch, bottle them to carbonate, and then heat pasteurize so they don’t blow up on me. My 7 year old might even like this one.

Granola bars with Almond Butter

I thought I would try something different then my normal trail bars for a change.  Which normally consists of using peanut butter and dried fruit or berries.  This one is a simple recipe, with a lot less ingredients.

  • 3 cups rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup powdered milk
  • 1 cup dried fruit (I used dried blueberries)
  • 2/3 cup honey
  • 1/2 cup almond butter

What to do:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a large bowl, mix the oats, berries, and the dry milk.
  3. In a sauce pan, combine the honey and almond butter, and heat until smooth and liquidy
  4. Pour the honey-mixture over the oat mixture, and stir until all ingredients are moist.
  5. The put into the oven for 20 minutes and bake.

The dough is very dry compared to what I am used to for granola bars.  It was easy to press into the pan and was not sticky at all.  I added some mini M&M’s to the mix so I could get my chocolate fix also.

Kinda looks like a giant cookie right out of the oven.
Kinda looks like a giant cookie right out of the oven.

growing mushrooms from a box

For Christmas this year my sister got me a mushroom grow box for oyster mushrooms.  I have seen these available before but never bought one to try.  The instructions are easy to follow.

  1. Pull tab off of one side of the box
  2. cut an X in the plastic bag and scrape off the white fungus mat to expose the darker growing medium. (looks like saw dust)
  3. soak bag in water for 12 hours
  4. Place plastic bag back into cardboard box.
  5. place in a spot with good light.
  6. Mist daily and you will have mushrooms in 10 days to harvest.

It sounds simple enough to do. Also according to the manufacturer of the kit if you share a picture of your grown mushrooms on their facebook page then they will donate one kit to an elementary of your choice.  Sounds like a great deal to me.

Mushroom kit in the box.
Mushroom kit in the box.

Cardboard square pulled out and ready to have X or a + cut into the plastic.
Cardboard square pulled out and ready to have X or a + cut into the plastic. You can see the fungal mat of white through the plastic.

+ cut into the plastic and the white fungal mat scrapped back to the sawdust.
Cut into the plastic, and scrape the white fungal mat back to the sawdust.

Mushrooms starting to pop out.  This is less then 24hrs from when they first started showing on the sawdust.
Mushrooms starting to pop out. This is less then 24hrs from when they first started showing on the sawdust.

Fast growers.  I wish my veggies would grow like this
Fast growers. I wish my veggies would grow like this.

And the final growth with Katy the mushroom farmer
And the final growth with Katy the mushroom farmer

From start to finish it took 9 days to get them this big.  Not bad for a crop of mushrooms.  Tomorrow will be cooking day with them.  Then I will mist them and see if any more mushrooms grow on this side.  If not I will cut the plastic on the other side and start the process again.  Overall I am impressed with the ease in which these grow.  Katy loved spritzing them with water morning and night.

 

Cider testing project batch #2

Batch number two of my apple cider experiments.  I am going to add a little tannin to this batch as well as some yeast nutrient.  From what I have read the difference between american ciders and English ciders is the tannin that is in the English ciders.  I have always liked the dry English ciders that I have tried so this hopefully will taste close to one of them.  I really should use the exact same yeast for all of these experiments.  But I have several in the fridge that are getting close to end of life so I need to use them up. Also adding a smidgen of pectic enzyme to help clarify it out.  I forgot to add any to the previous 2 batches I made (5 gallon farm apples and 1 gallon store-bought)

Stronger cider then last bottle I got.  Going to be strong when it is completed
Stronger cider then last bottle I got. Going to be strong when it is completed

Hard cider ingredients:

  • apple mix: organic unfiltered Cider.  (same as I used for batch 1)
  • yeast: Montrachet
  • pectic enzyme
  • yeast nutrient

Measurements:

  • Original Gravity (OG): 1.060
  • Final Gravity (FG): pending
  • estimated alcohol amount at FG of 1.0=8.2%

Now to let it bubble for a month or so.  Go Cider go

Building of a new desk

My wife saw something like this when she was looking at random things online.  It looked like such a good idea that I thought I would give making a new computer desk a try.  The design is fairly simple.  It is just a wood desktop that is resting on two shelves that are the same height as you want the table to be.

Step one is lots and lots of sanding
Step one is lots and lots of sanding

For the desktop I used 2″ x 12″ utility cedar from our local hardware store (Jerry’s home improvement) .  Three that are 5′ long and two that are 3′ long. All of it is held together with some decking screws

desktop with stain
Tabletop with first coat of stain on it

Tabletop after 2nd coat of stain
Tabletop after 2nd coat of stain

Nice short shelf with my little helper removing the stickers
Nice short shelf with my little helper removing the stickers

Finished desk with one of my two monitors hooked up
Finished desk with one of my two monitors hooked up

Overall it came out very well.  Only cost me about $70 in materials to build it including the shelves.  Now to screw together another one for the wife and everything will match

Making Caerphilly cheese with a spicy twist

One of my favorite cheeses to make is Caerphilly.  Super quick aging compared to making cheddar but with the sharpness you get out of aged cheddar.  This is a different type of recipe then you will see on most other sites.  This is more of a mix of pepper jack crossed with cheddar.

Ingredients:

  • 2 gallons whole milk (in the Willamette valley the best kind is from Lochmead farms aka Dari-mart)
  • 1 packet direct-set mesophilic starter
  • 1/2 teaspoon liquid rennet (or 1/2 rennet tablet) diluted in 1/4 cup cool, unchlorinated water
  • 1/4 teaspoon calcium chloride diluted in 1/4 cup cool water
  • 2 dried peppers (whatever variety you prefer for spiciness)
  • non-iodized salt for brining

If you do not have a local brew store that has cheese supplies you can get them online at the New England Cheesemaking supply company  They also have a good selection of other cheese making recipes and kits that you can buy.

Steps to make you cheese

  1. Gradually heat your milk to 90 degrees in a double boiler or a water bath.  If you set it directly on a stove top you risk the chance of heating it unevenly and scorching the bottom.
  2. Once the milk is to temperature sprinkle the Mesophilic starter over the top of the milk.  Let it re-hydrate for 5 minutes before you stir.  Then stir for several minutes.  Cover and let sit undisturbed for 30 minutes.  To keep the heat in you can cover with a kitchen towel while you wait.  The starter will multiply and divide and acidify the milk slightly during this stage
  3. Add in your calcium chloride.  Since we are using store-bought milk this will allow the curds to form.  If you are lucky enough to have fresh un-pasteurized milk you do not need to add any.
  4. Make sure you milk is still near 90 degrees.  If not heat it for a short time to bring the temp back up.  Now add your rennet to the milk and stir in an up and down motion.  No making whirlpools in the milk.  Then let sit and let the curd form for 45 minutes.
  5. Once your curd show a clean break cut into ½ inch cubes.  A clean break means that the curds will hold their shape after you cut them.  If you do not know what this looks like there are several videos on youtube that give a great guide to telling you when they are at the right spot.  As with most things the more you do it the better you will be at seeing the correct curd formation. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
  6. After you have cut the curds slowly heat the curds up to 95 degrees.  This needs to be done slowly over 30 minutes.  Stir the curds gently every couple of minutes to prevent them from sticking together.
  7. When you hit 95 degrees turn off the heat and keep at this temp for 45 minutes.  Stir every 5 minutes or so.
  8. Now you can drain off the whey and separate out your curds.  I use a cloth lined colander to get as much whey out as I can.  There is no reason to pour the whey down the drain.  Whey can be used in place of buttermilk in any recipe, or you can feed it to acid loving plants like blueberries and roses. And my favorite use.  Feeding it as a treat to my puppy.
  9. Mix your crushed dried peppers into the curds at this point.
  10. Line a 2 pound mold with cheese cloth and scoop your curds into it.  Cap and press with 10 pounds for 30 minutes.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
  11. Remove the cheese from the mold re-wrap and flip then press at 15 pounds over night or for 12 hours

    Final pressing
    Final pressing
  12. Add your finished cheese to your salt brine and let soak for 24 hours flipping once.   The standard cheese brine is 2 pounds of salt per gallon of water.  You can also use the whey to make your brine.  It will give a slightly different flavor then using just water.  I prefer to use the whey mostly because I hate wasting any part of the milk.
  13. Remove the cheese from the brine and pat dry.  Then place on your drying mat and let it dry for 2-3 days or until it is dry to the touch.  At this point you can wax it or allow it to form a rind while it ages.  You will need to age it for 3 weeks at 50-55 degrees keeping it around 90% humidity.  If you see any mold form on the outside of your cheese just take a cloth and dip in vinegar and wipe it off.  The molds that grow on cheese are easily killed and won’t harm you even if you eat them.  For all of my cheese aging I use a wine fridge with the rack pulled out. I makes it easier to keep the temp at the right spot.

    A nice looking final smoked Caerphilly.  now to let it age another 2 weeks
    A nice looking final smoked Caerphilly. now to let it age another 2 weeks

History of Caerphilly cheese:

Caerphilly is a hard, white cheese that originates in the area around the town of Caerphilly in Wales, although it is now also made in England, particularly in the South West and on the English border with Wales. It was not originally made in Caerphilly, but was sold at the market there, hence taking the town’s name.

Caerphilly is a light-colored (almost white), crumbly cheese made from cow’s milk, and generally has a fat content of around 48%. It has a mild taste, with its most noticeable feature being a not unpleasant slightly sour tang.

It is rumored that the cheese was developed over time to provide the coal miners of the area with a convenient way of replenishing the salt lost through hard work over ten hour shifts underground and so was a staple of the diet of the coal-miners.

Real Farmhouse Caerphilly production died out during World War II as all milk had to go to the Cheddar factories to help the war effort.[1] After the war these factories started making their version of Caerphilly (initially to help their cash flow as Caerphilly matures quicker than Cheddar), which is how it is mostly known today, dry and crumbly. However, there are now two or three farms making original Caerphilly which is dry in the middle and creamy around the edges.

The town of Caerphilly holds a three day festival annually to celebrate the cheese entitled The Big Cheese (Welsh: Y Caws Mawr). Also in Caerphilly, there is a sculpture of a cheese.

How to make Pemmican

This may be not be the healthiest food that you can eat (and it is sooo not). But it is a great high energy food to carry with you on long strenuous hikes.  Pemmican is a Native American Indian survival food that has an incredibly long shelf life, and it requires no refrigeration storage. It is similar to a Granola Bar except it contains no artificial preservatives. It is a high density energy source that contains protein, fiber, fat, carbohydrates, natural fruit sugars, vitamins, and minerals. It also tastes great because it is a simple combination of meat jerky and your favorite dried fruit.

There are three basic ingredients to making pemmican.  Lean dried meat, Animal fat, Dried fruit or berries.  Yep that’s all it takes to make it.

Small generic batch recipe:

  • 1 cup lean dried meat.  You can use any wild game meat and most domestic.  I do not recommend pork due to the problems of actually getting a lean cut of meat from it to make into jerky.
  • 1 cup dried berries or dried fruit
  • 1 cup rendered animal fat.  You can actually use the fat you drain from hamburger and bacon for this.  If you do make sure you heat it up to the point that all the water has evaporated from the grease and you filter it to clean it up.

If you plan on doing everything from scratch it will cost less in the long run, but it increases the time it takes to make a batch.  Even though it takes a while to make your own jerky you will at least know exactly what is on it.  A lot of commercial varieties have way to much preservatives in it for me.  Same goes for the dried fruit and berries from the store.

Take the meat and berries and grind them as close to a powder as you can make it.  Place them on a cookie sheet and put in the oven at 250 degrees for 30 minutes just to make sure there is no moisture at all left in them.  Any dampness before you add the fat into can cause it to go bad and make you sick.  Mix the two in a bowl and add a pinch of salt if you want to for taste.  It is not necessary to use salt to preserve it but it will give a better flavor to your mix.  Now add your cup of melted fat to the dried ingredients and mix. Next spread the mix out on a cutting board to a thickness of about ½ inch.  Then let cool completely and cut into 1”x 4” bars.

Store you finished pemmican in plastic wrap or in an air tight container.  Your pemmican can be safely stored and eaten for up to 8 months.  If you can keep it stored between 45-75 degrees it can last for several years.

My personal recipe

  • 1 cup venison jerky
  • 1 cup dried salal berries
  • 1 cup bacon grease(I love me some bacon)