Tag Archives: homestead az

Felco F-2 Hand Pruner – Item of the Day

Every day I bring you an item on Amazon that I personally use or has been purchased by many members of the audience and I have researched enough to recommend.

Today’s TSP Item of the day is the Felco F-2 Hand Pruners.  To me pruners are a tool that you absolutely go with the “buy once cry once”, model.  I have owned many different ones over the years, from cheap ass stuff, to mid priced stuff like Fiskars and say Corona.

Some were complete crap, some like Fiskars and Corona are damn decent but nothing compares to Felco.  I found Felco by asking a few different nurserymen what they used, including Bob Wells and most said Felco.  So I bit the bullet and ponied up 48 bucks for a pair.  This was hard to do as you can get a decent pruner for 20-30 bucks.  In the end though, there is the best and there is the rest.

My mantra is buy the best you can afford.  So when we are talking cars, I fall back to 2nd fiddle but when you are talking 50 bucks for an item you will use often and use for years I say step up to the best.

These cut like a razor and are easy to sharpen, see video below on sharpening options.  Personally I use a simple carbide sharpener like this.  Note that I linked to the two pack of sharpeners, because it is a dollar more than buying one, and well I can’t understand it but I sure as hell take advantage of it.

And after many seasons if you really wear out that blade, what then?  You just pick up a replacement blade and install it and rock on.  Winter is here and the next few months are ideal for pruning.  And many of us are doing back yard orchard culture and prune several times a season.  So if you want the best hand pruners you can get check out the Felco F-2 Hand Pruners today.

Remember you can always find the TSP Item of the day by just going to TspAz.com and by shopping at TspAz.com anytime you shop online you help support TSP and the work we do here no matter what you buy.

P.S. – Some folks with smaller hands find the F-2 to be a bit large, another option is the F-6 which is the scaled down version, it also has the ability to have the blade replaced and women and smaller handed people may find it more comfortable.  You do give up some leverage though, so it won’t cut larger limbs quite as well.

Also if you just can’t bring yourself to spend 50 bucks on this tool, my number two pick would be the Corona 6250 at 28 bucks and my number 3 pick would be the Corona 7100D at about 20.  If you want to go under that, just by generics from a box store, expect to be unhappy and expect replace them in one season or less.

P.S.S. –  This video shows how to sharpen and clean pruners.  I jumped ahead to 1 minute and 9 seconds in because I figure you can work out how to clean dirt off yourself.  What I like about this video is he shows how to use several different tools so you can find the one you think works best for you.

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Dura Heat Kerosene Heater – Item of the Day

Every day I bring you an item on Amazon that I personally use or has been purchased by many members of the audience and I have researched enough to recommend.

Today’s TSP Amazon Item of the day is the Dura Heat Convection Kerosene Heater.

What!  My God Jack don’t you know how
dangerous those things are? 

Hold on, calm down, let’s take a look at this concern.

We now live in a society where they put, “do not iron clothes while wearing them” as a warning label on irons.  Think about that for a moment please.  Oven doors have a warning not to stand on them and use them as a step ladder, (yes really).  So do you think if Kerosene Heaters were the death machines some claim them to be any company would be in business selling them today.

That said safety is a concern which is one reason I like this model.  If you bump it hard or if it gets tipped over, it will shut itself off.  It also has a great heat cage to prevent accidental burns.

What about CO2 you fool, we will all die!

Please take a breath and let me ask you, when exactly was the last time you heard, “Kerosene heater kills family of four”?  Anyyyyyyway, yes CO2 is produced when burning any organic fuel, but here are basic rules for using a heater like this.

  1.  Do not use in a small closed in room
  2.  Always make sure your wick is in good condition
  3.  Don’t burn the fame too high, if it is smoking it is way too high
  4.  Crack a window or two just a bit to allow circulation

Number 4 likely isn’t needed with modern heaters but it is such a cheap insurance policy there is no reason not to do so.  By simply doing the above these heaters are safe and hundreds of thousands of people are using them all the time.

That said my primary use for them was always outbuildings, shops and sheds and they are fantastic for that.  But when we lived in Pennsylvania and the electric heat went out they saved our bacon, and two heated our entire 2200 square foot home to comfortable levels with one up and one down stairs.

What makes this great is they produce deep heat and radiate it 360 degrees.  If you live in a truly cold climate bang for the buck this is YOUR BEST BET FOR BACK UP HEAT if you don’t have a wood stove or a fireplace insert.

There is one big concern that to me makes something like the Big Buddy Propane Heater a better option, and that is kerosene availability.  Now you can generally get prepackaged cans from hardware and specialty stores for about 8 dollars a gallon just about anywhere, but that is not economical.  These things burn about 1 gallon per 4-6 hours.  So do that math over a week!

Now where we lived in PA every gas station had K1 at the pump for about the price of gas and diesel.  Here in Dallas – Fort Worth it is hard to find more than a few places with kerosene and it seems there are less each year.  So in short I recommend kerosene heaters for colder states with wide availability of fuel at fair prices.  I recommend propane for back up heat for many southern states because you can get cheap propane everywhere.

Again though bang for the buck if you have kerosene available these heaters heat far more efficiently then propane portable heaters, they are easy to maintain and safe if used properly.  If your primary heating solution is electric, let me simply say whether it is the Dura Heat Kerosene Heater  or the Big Buddy Propane Heater, get at lest one or two of these into your winter preps if you don’t have a solution already.

The alternative is that one day it is say 12 degrees outside, an ice storm takes out power and you and your family have 3 days or more of shivering to look forward to.

I do want to be clear I have not used this particular model.  I switched to propane back in 2004 when we returned to Texas due to fuel availability.  We actually gave our two kerosene heaters to neighbors when we left.

To find a heater to recommend what I did was intensively research safety, service and customer satisfaction and found this one to be the best currently available.  With over 120 customer review and 4.5 stars overall, along with a price of only 140 bucks with free shipping, I simply think in this area the Dura Heat Kerosene Heater  is the best value currently on the market.

Final note, fireplaces are great, but they don’t heat homes, they at best warm one room.  I am not putting them down, I love fireplaces but they send 85% of their heat up the chimney and out into the sky. Don’t think simply having a fireplace is a complete back up for cold weather grid down scenarios.

Remember you can always find the TSP Amazon Item of the day by just going to TspAz.com and by shopping at TspAz.com anytime you shop online you help support TSP and the work we do here no matter what you buy.

 

Century 24 Hour Mechanical Timer – Item of the Day

Every day I bring you an item on Amazon that I personally use or has been purchased by many members of the audience and I have researched enough to recommend.

Today’s TSP Amazon Item of the day Century 24 Hour Mechanical Timer.  Recently I purchased and installed a very high end aeration system for my small pond.  The compressor is in my duck house and 100′ of weighted air line is run down to the pond.   The compressor is a 1/4 horse power system and it really boils the water with wonderful oxygen.

Problem?  Well, you don’t want to run that thing 24/7 so a timer was a must.  Gets more complicated though.  See we run the electric fence off the power to the duck house, I have a mater switch on the pool deck right next to it.  This means when we are working with the ducks and letting them out during the day we just kill the power.

So now what we need to do is unplug the fence charger during the day and turn the power back on for the compressor, not to mention my new boats charger for the trolling motor!  So a normal timer is going to end up resetting every time you kill the power!  Enter the mechanical timer, set it to run 15 minutes every hour and you are good to go.  Frankly it does not matter what time it is set up that way, it just runs 15 minutes out of every 60.

This gives some good water agitation 6 hours a day but nicely spread out and reduces over heating risks to the compressor.

Okay so now the real problem, my buddy David pointed the above out to me this weekend, really obvious when you think about it but I HATE timers.  It amazes me how something that should be so simple is often so damn confusing and unreliable.  So I went on Amazon and found the Century 24 Hour Mechanical Timer. Wow, where has this thing been all my life?

Look when I say I hate timers let me be clear, my hatred of times is only over shadowed by my hatred of network printers.  (NOTE THAT LINK IS NOT WORKPLACE SAFE) Well, that has changed I love this timer, so simple there are two steps to using it and it is pretty fool proof and very easy to see how you have it set.

Step one each hour has 4 small pins you can push down, simply push down the pins for each 15 minutes you want the power to be on.  So say you wanted your time to run from 8AM to 10AM every morning and 7PM to 9PM every night.  Okay just push all the pins down for 8, 9 and 10AM and 7, 8 and 9PM.  Step two turn the dial so the arrow points to the current time.  That is it!

You then simply plug it in and plug the device you want to control with it, done.  In my case I pushed down one pin for every hour in a 24 hour period.  So my compressor runs 15 minutes per hour which again is 6 hours a day.  The pins are a bit small I used the tip of a pocket knife to depress them but it was very easy.

I love this timer and its simplicity so much I am trying to figure out what to automate with another one.  About the only complaint I read in reviews (from thinking humans anyway) was that it is a large device and it takes up so much space as to block the second outlet.

There is a simple solution to such things, I have covered it before and it applies to any large plugs, just get some of these one foot extension cords and it keeps all outlets open.  Or is my case I am using what Jon Dowie calls, “a fricken orange, three way, fricken Steven Harris fricken thing“.

Anyway I absolutely love the Century 24 Hour Mechanical Timer and think you will too. So check it out for any of your power automation needs.

Remember you can always find the TSP Amazon Item of the day by just going to TspAz.com and by shopping at TspAz.com anytime you shop online you help support TSP and the work we do here no matter what you buy.

P.S. – Check out this quick video of how I am using this product.

K&H Ultimate All-In-One Stock Tank De-Icer – Item of the Day

deicer

Every day I bring you an item on Amazon that I personally use or has been purchased by many members of the audience and I have researched enough to recommend.

Today’s TSP Amazon Item of the day is the K&H Ultimate All-In-One Stock Tank De-Icer.  Winter is either here or coming soon depending on where you live.  I love these De-Icers in my view it is the best option on the market.

They come in several sizes including…

  • 250 Watts
  • 500 Watts
  • 750 Watts
  • 1000 Watts and
  • 1500 Watts

Why this Item Rocks!

Its in the name, “all in one” that is what you get an all in one solution.  Previously I have reviewed the thermocube, it is a great product and would be ideal for use with many stock tank heaters.  Why have your heater running when it is 50 degrees?

But you don’t need a thermocube that feature is built in.  When your water hits 35 degrees the heater comes on, all by itself and when it hits 45 it shuts off.  So you only draw power when you need it.

Choosing the Right Sized Heater for your Needs

Personally I use the 250 watt models.  There are a few reasons for this.  First and foremost my belief is when you use anything electrical you should use as little power as necessary to do the job. In my climate for a 50 gallon tank 250 watts is sufficient.

I also run two (two is one and one is none you know right) to two separate 50 gallon stock tanks.  If I ran two 500s that would put a 1000 watt draw on a single circuit doing other things as well and could pop the breaker.  These are only useful if they work you know.

In the end you should consult K&Hs great chart right here, just click on it for a full sized view.

khchart

You will note that for my zone (USDA 8) a 50 gallon tank requires a 250 watt heater.  So that works for my needs.  I personally only use mine to make sure there is some water available at all times for my ducks.

These can be used as floating heaters or submerged by removing the foam that makes them float.  This gives you flexibility.  Say you want to keep a poultry watering going you can put one of these inside it and let it sink.  To me for a stock tank you want it floating because it ices up from the top down.

In any event if you want to keep your critters watered this coming winter, check out the K&H Ultimate All-In-One Stock Tank De-Icer today.

Remember you can always find the TSP Amazon Item of the day by just going to TspAz.com and by shopping at TspAz.com anytime you shop online you help support TSP and the work we do here no matter what you buy.

Monoprice Releasable Cable Ties – Item of the Day

cabeltiesEvery day I bring you an item on Amazon that I personally use or has been purchased by many members of the audience and I have researched enough to recommend.

Today’s TSP Amazon Item of the day is something I feel no one should be without.  They just do too much, for too little cost to not have some.  They are Monoprice Releasable Cable Ties and at only seven bucks and some change for 100 pieces they are a steal.

Get a few bags and do the following.  Make up bundles of about 20-30 a bundle.  Just use one tie to hold the rest together.  Put a bundle in your BOBs, put one in every glove box of your vehicles, put some in your garage where you can see them and just grab them, etc.  Heck I keep half a dozen as part of my EDC, you don’t even notice them in a cargo pocket until you need them.

The key is the releasable part!  We even use these for keeping gates closed on our low fences for our ducks.  I keep a few tied on top of various fences all over the property, so if you need one there is always one close by.   They are very strong and stay flexible a long time.  They tend to last about 1.5-2 years if in direct sun before becoming brittle.  Otherwise they seem to last forever.

I use them for many other things as well.  I use them to tie up new seedling trees for say a month until they stiffen up.  Since you can remove and reuse them it is cheaper than plant tape.  I use them to tie 4 large hog panels into a square and make an on the fly animal pen.  There is no limit to how useful these things are.

Sure they are kind of small at 6 inches, but you want 18 inches?  Put three together and when you don’t need that any more take them apart.

So just how versatile are cable ties in general, okay I am going to tell you a story, I am NOT SUGGESTING THAT you do it, it is just what happened.  Many years ago when I was in the Army I had two friends, Brad and Dean.  Dean was the one that owned a truck and he was a “character” to say the least.

Dean would just toss Brad or I the keys anytime we needed his truck.  One day we wanted to run to the PX, so Dean tosses Brad the keys.  In we jump and to the PX and back we go, beer run of course.  Brad is a typical guy from Southern Louisiana so he bends speed limits till they break.  We get back an Dean says, “oh yea, I should of told y’all to take it easy until the new tie rod gets here”.

Brand and I get down and look and see that fricken Dean had used 4 tie wraps to hold a broken tie rod together.  As in it had broken in two and he tie wrapped it back together.   For those that don’t know, the tie rod holds the front searing brackets to the frame so you can turn.   Kind of an important function!  So Brad almost kills Dean but later we laughed about it, because when you are 20 you are stupid!

That has always stuck with me and while I would not replicate it as a “temporary repair”, I would replicate it with great care and driving very slowly to get a vehicle to safety in a similar situation.   Trust me and if you don’t keep cable ties in your preps, start doing so and the best ones for flexibility and usefulness are Monoprice Releasable Cable Ties.

Remember you can always find the TSP Amazon Item of the day by just going to TspAz.com and by shopping at TspAz.com anytime you shop on Amazon you help support TSP and the work we do here no matter what you buy.

P.S. I have brought this item back a few times, the reason is simple, if I made a list of the top 5 most useful things on my homestead, I am sure it would change over time, but these would never fail to make the list.

 

 

 

Hatortempt Bulk Dried Mealworms – Item of the Day

Every day I bring you an item on Amazon that I personally use or has been purchased by many members of the audience and I have researched enough to recommend.

Today’s TSP Amazon Item of the day is Hatortempt Bulk Dried Mealworms.  I decided to do this item today because when I came in from  my morning rounds I had to order a new bag for my “little chickens”.  Who are the little chickens?

Well if you check the video at the bottom of this article you will see them nomming on some of these mealworms.  They are four bantam cochin chickens who live with the quail in my aviary.  The hope is now that they have begun to lay they will go broody and hatch some quail eggs, raise the young and allow me to have a steady supply of meat quail with little to no work.

Where the mealworms came in is I wanted to have something that when kids came to see the farm I could just pick up and let them pet, etc.  Bantam chickens are great for this, they are gentle and on some levels seem to even enjoy being held and pet.

I wanted a solid relationship with them, the view that when that big guy comes to the house, good things come with him.  As the birds in the aviary have food on demand, that means a treat was needed.  Mealworms were perfect for this.

So I cruised down to Tractor Supply and they had a 1.8 pound bag for 20 dollars.  Some quick math put that north of 11 dollars a pound!  Now I understand a dried worm is concentrated protein and since they are so light a pound is a lot of worms, but I am not paying per pound for a worm, what I would pay per pound or porterhouse steak!

So I checked Amazon and these were the best deal I could find, where customers were also happy.  Some similar priced brands had negative reviews that it was more like mealworm meal then mealworms.  So I ordered a bag of these and I am sold on them.  They get couple small handfuls a day and a bag lasts a VERY long time.

One note on that, my most recent bag didn’t last near as long as it should.  The bag is a zip close bag and well, I didn’t zip it one day, it fell off the rack where I store it, and I think the girls gave themselves a belly ache!

The quail eat them too of course which is great for their egg production.  So if you have birds or reptile or anything you want to feed mealworms too, 26.99 for 5 pounds is damn tough to beat and your birds will love you for it.  Note you can actually get a 10 pound bag for $50.99 which will save you a whopping $2.99, before you do that though, consider 5 lbs of worms is a damn lot of worms.

I do consider this more for the small flock owner, I don’t feed them to the ducks because there are just to many of them, but for folks with say a dozen birds these are a great addition to the diet and again your birds will love you for it.  So check out Hatortempt Bulk Dried Mealworms today.  They will make you and your critters happy.

Remember you can always see the TSP Amazon Item of the day by just going to TspAz.com and by shopping at TspAz.com anytime you shop online you help support TSP and the work we do here.

Litom 8 LED Solar Wireless Security Light – Item of the Day

Every day I bring you an item on Amazon that I personally use or has been purchased by many members of the audience and I have researched enough to recommend.

Today’s TSP Amazon Item of the day is Litom 8 LED Solar Wireless Security Lights.   I previously reviewed the 20 LED version and promised a follow up of its little brother.  Well here it is, these are excellent and very much a half sized version of the larger light, with one big difference.

The key difference is where as the 20 LED version is powered by a single 18650 Lithium Ion Battery the 8 LED version is powered by a single 14500 Lithium Ion Battery which has a capacity of 800mAh 3.7V.  Clearly running less light requires less battery so this makes sense.  In any even with the super efficiency of LEDs this is plenty of light.

Fully charged I got 8 hours out of them in steady on high mode.  They got though the night fully on low power mode and frankly I use them on motion sensor mode only, and that is the main thing I want out of them anyway and it makes the most sense to me.

As previously mentioned I ordered 4 of them and put them around my duck pen on the fence on the western side where we had most issues with predators approaching.  The entire east side is covered by the 20 LED version for our benefit during evening and night visits.

I have now had them working for about two weeks and no issues.  They will definitely deter predators as none like light suddenly on them.  They also paid off a few days ago when my young farm hand screwed up one of his tasks (yet again) and grounded out our electric fence wires.  The lights made the fault easy to find and even easier to correct.

Since the first time I reviewed these lights I have installed 4 more of them around my garden pond, I have them set to full power mode and always on once darkness comes.  They do a fantastic job of setting a great mood at the pond and attract bugs for the fish to eat.  I have been outside as late as 4am and noticed they were still on.  So far with 12 deployed only one has had its battery go bad, which is impressive for no name batteries.

The other difference is the price, as they are smaller they cost less.  Where as the 20 LED ones are 34.99 for a two pack the smaller 8 LED model is 39.99 for a four pack, just a bit over half the price.  They are also available in units of one if you only need one or two.

They both work exactly the same with three modes…

  1.  Steady On Dim – The lights come on at dark at about half power (200ish lumens), they will last 6-8 hours of steady on before draining the batteries.  Of course as a solar light that will be based on how well they charge the day before.  In this setting they are plenty bright to see where you are going.  They also switch to bight mode when they sense motion.
    ~
  2. Steady On Bright – The lights come on at dark at full power (440 lumens), they will last 4-6 hours of steady on before draining the batteries.  Of course once again as a solar light that will be based on how well they charge the day before.  In this setting they are very bright for a solar powered light.
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  3. Motion Sensor Mode – The lights will charge during the day and come on at night when they detect motion.  The manufacturer says they will detect motion up to 26 feet away.  My testing confirms this, of course how high you mount them, what is in the way, etc. will effect this distance.  This is my preferred mode and with the power the batteries hold you will never have a dead light unless the batteries have given up the ghost and need replacing.

So which is right for your needs.  Well the little ones are damn bright but the light only carries so far.  They are best for areas where you just need to see what is going on, or for use as security and predator protection devices.

The 20 LED models are as you would expect twice as bright, so I have one at our front gate to the property, and one at the front of the house.  And two by the pool to light that area and the area at the main gate to the duck pen.  The 8 LEDs would be fine in the second area but for our gate and where we unload our vehicles I would stick to the 20s.

Litom also makes a huge 54 LED Model that I am sure is very bright and based on their other products I am sure it works well, it just seems a bit of an eyesore in the day time to me?  But if you need a lot of light check it out.

Otherwise if you just want to light up some areas with motion lights and want maximum bang for your buck with out sacrificing quality check out the Litom 8 LED Solar Wireless Security Lights today.

Remember you can always find the TSP Amazon Item of the day by just going to TspAz.com and by shopping at TspAz.com anytime you shop on Amazon you help support TSP and the work we do here no matter what you buy.

The Thermocube – Item of the Day

Every day I bring you an item on Amazon that I personally use or has been purchased by many members of the audience and I have researched enough to recommend.

Today’s TSP Amazon Item of the day is the Farm Innovators Thermocube.  This little gadget is one of the most useful and slick little things you can get your hands on.  It is simply a two plug adapter, meaning you plug it into one outlet and you get two.  But inside is a mercury switch.  This makes it provide power only in a specific temperature range.

There are a lot of options with this device, the most useful to many homesteaders will turn on at 35 and off at 45.  This will keep say a green house on a heater from going below freezing for just one example.

These things also have options at the other end of the spectrum.  For instance on at 78 off at 70.  This could be useful for running say a fan in a chicken coop.  They way they are designed I am not saying they can’t fail, I just have not ever seen one do so.  They are designed with such simplicity there just are not many moving parts.

The temperature either causes the switch to be on or to be off, that is all, nothing more.

One little extra you may want to consider when using these is a Water-Tight Cord Lock.  To be clear this will not go over the Thermocube, you would plug that in at the outlet.  What this does is go over where your extension cord plugs into your device or where two extension cords are joined.  These are a great tool in their own right and I will review them stand alone on another day.

Another great little tip is consider using one of these slick little 1-foot extension cords if outlet space is an issue.

In any event the Farm Innovators Thermocube varies in price based on option and please note that some options are like for a 6 pack when making your buying decisions.  The on at 35 off at 45 is under 12 bucks and that is a great price given what it does.

When I had a small greenhouse one of these and a simple small electric heater was sufficient to get through the coldest nights with no losses.    Sure beats complex wiring, expensive thermostats, etc.

Remember you can always find the TSP Amazon Item of the day by just going to TspAz.com and by shopping at TspAz.com anytime you shop on Amazon you help support TSP and the work we do here no matter what you buy.

Excalibur 9-Tray Dehydrator – Item of the Day

Every day I bring you an item on Amazon that I personally use or has been purchased by many members of the audience and I have researched enough to recommend.

Today’s TSP Amazon Item of the day the Excalibur 9-Tray Dehydrator.   There are a lot of options from Excalibur but I am going to confine my recommendations to just two models.  Those are the…

So what is the difference between the two.  Mainly that the heater, the thermostat and the fan are all a bit more beefed up in the 3900 and the 3900 comes with a 10 year warranty vs. the 2900s 5 year warranty.  Given the two are only about 60 bucks apart in price, you might think I would just say “buy the better one” but it isn’t so simple with this decision.

Personally I do own a 3900 but something changed in it since I bought mine.  The temp range of the 2900 is 95-155 degrees and the 3900 is now 105-165 degrees.  My older model 3900 ran 95-165, I am not sure why they made this change.  But here is my rule on dehydration, dehydrate as LOW as you can to get the job done.

So I now tend toward recommending the 2900 and saving the money but let me tell you the difference so you can make up your own mind.  Basically in addition to the warranty being 5 years longer, the main differences are as follows…

The 3900 has a “better”…

  • Heating element
  • Fan
  • Thermostat

Better in that they are higher rated and have a longer MTBF specification.  What is MTBF you ask?  Well, that is “mean time between failures”, meaning if you run them non stop the ones with higher MTBFs will last longer on average over time.  Here is the deal though, how often does the average person use a dehydrator?

Some people use them every week or multiple times a week, if this is you, I would recommend the 3900.  Most people, such as myself use them say 10-15 times a year, if that is you, I recommend pocketing the 60 bucks, getting the lower cost model and having the ability to dehydrate at 95 degrees.

What about the fact that the 3900 can go up to 165 degrees you say?  This point is irrelevant in my opinion, as there is NEVER any reason EVER to dehydrate anything at 165 degrees, EVER and yes that includes jerky.  Dehydration is dehydration, not cooking!  I recommend making jerky at about 130-140 degrees.

Again dehydration is dehydration, not cooking.

So here is my logic on this with the lower cost item.  First for the next 5 years, if anything does break Excalibur will replace it anyway.  All these parts are easy to swap out, if you can work a screw driver you can do it.  And if say in year six, your thermostat takes a dump, you can buy one for 30 bucks and replace it and still be 30 dollars ahead, IF it even fails.  Again if you use your dehydrator 10-20 times a year, it likely won’t.

In the end though if you are someone who is going to say, run a small business making beef jerky from your home, well, I would go with the unit with the 10 year warranty.  Personally though I do prefer to dehydrate vegetables at as low a temperature as possible.  So if I didn’t own one already and was buying for the first time today, I would buy the lower cost item.

Regardless though of which you buy, let me say this, in dehydrators at the consumer level, there is Excalibur and there is everyone else!  In my honest opinion frankly no one else even comes close!

I tend to be far away from being a “brand snob” I mean everyone knows I love Dewalt tools for instance but I will still recommend brands like Rigid and Porter Cable in some instances.  However when it comes to Excalibur they are so much better than any competitor there is simply no good reason to buy anything else.

Lastly, I know some will ask about some of the higher priced Excaliburs, my answer is buy what you want but I would not go above the 3900B for any reason.  Yea it is cute that for instance you can get a clear door, but I am not paying for that, it doesn’t do anything useful at all, if you want to see inside take the damn door off.  Watching a tomato dry isn’t actually exciting enough to gaze at for more than 30 seconds.

As for the model with a timer, no way in hell I am shelling out more than 90 dollars over the 2900ECB for a timer when I can get a Century 12 Hour Mechanical Countdown Timer for fricken 12 bucks!  A timer which can be used for other things by the way, then just my dehydrator.

A final word on dehydration for the homesteader.  Dehydration is a great way to go over say canning for a lot of gardeners.  Lets look at say tomatoes for instance.  How do you dehydrate a tomato?  Slice it, put it on a tray, stick it in the dehydrator for 6-12 hours and you are done.  Now many home gardeners end up with say a dozen or so extra tomatoes a week or every 2-3 weeks, are you going to can 12 tomatoes?  Does that make any sense?

As to longevity, I have not canned a jalapeno in over 6 years, why you ask.  Well because 6 years ago we had pepper harvest like this one, several of them.  Dorothy and I spent the better part of a week slicing and drying jalapenos, and we still have several jars of them left!  They seem just as good as the day I put them in the jar.

So if you are in the market for a dehydrator, I recommend choosing between these two based on your needs and either way you will not be let down…

Remember you can always find the TSP Amazon Item of the day by just going to TspAz.com and by shopping at TspAz.com anytime you shop on Amazon you help support TSP and the work we do here no matter what you buy.

P.S. – Many vegetables like peppers and tomatoes can simply be sliced and put into your dehydrator, others require blanching which is a short duration steaming them or boiling them.  If you are new to dehydrating I recommend Tammy Gangloff’s YouTube channel called Dehydrate2Store.  She stopped posting videos about 3 years ago but it is still the best how to dehydrate resource on the internet in my view, akin to a free ecourse in it.  Tammy also appeared on TSP all the way back in 2010 on Episode 367, so you may want to give that a listen.

P.S.S. – Want a great use for your dehydrated veggies, take some like say tomato, sweet pepper, a bit of hot pepper and spinach, toss them in your trusty Coffee/Spice grinder, make up some Yogurt Cheese with this powder mixed in, it is amazing and a tip I picked up from my buddy David last year.  And hey for a final note you can actually use your dehydrator to make yogurt!

JB Weld WaterWeld Underwater Epoxy Putty – Item of the Day

Every day I bring you an item on Amazon that I personally use or has been purchased by many members of the audience and I have researched enough to recommend.

Today’s TSP Amazon Item of the day is the JB Weld WaterWeld Underwater Epoxy Putty.  I personally think this is an item that everyone should have a few tubes of at all times.  Let’s start out with why to choose underwater epoxy paste?

Simple really, WaterWeld will work on wet surfaces, IF USED PROPERLY and it will also work on dry surfaces.  I am a person that likes to standardize, it makes everything easier.  So instead of go grab me a tube of X epoxy putty, it is just epoxy putty that does all jobs such a putty can do wet or dry.

And it usually ends up being that when something needs fixing it ends up being wet!  Even if it is something that isn’t usually wet.  Translation stuff tends to break when it rains and snows!  So by choosing an underwater product it always works, every time.

Let’s talk a bit about proper use, if you read the reviews you will see a lot of very happy people, they used it right and you will see a lot of “doesn’t work at all, doesn’t stick to anything, does not work in water” etc.  Those people used it wrong.

First this stuff comes in a tube, it is two parts and if you look at the end you will see it has a light color and a dark color with one on the outside and one on the inside.  You cut as much off the tube as you need and mix it.  And you have to mix it fully, it should all be one color when done and it should smell like stale pee.  Yep, stale urine smell is a good thing here, I am serious.

Next if fully cures in about 20-30 minutes but it begins to set in about 7-10.  So if you are fixing an active leak or applying it under water, you have to hold it in place with pressure for about 10 minutes until it starts to cure.  Then it will hold and fully cure.  If you just stick it on something wet and leave it alone it will likely fail, may be even fall off.

Also the surface needs to be cleaned, no oil, no grease.  And if it is a smooth surface, a bit of roughing up isn’t always needed but it is always helpful.  In the end though this stuff can save your bacon in so many ways.  My most recent use was a conversion of my aquatic system.  My top tank was plumbed to my bottom tank with 3/4 inch pipe, it was a constant point of failure for many reasons but mostly because the return pipe at 3/4th of an inch was too small.

The solution was to install a 2 inch bulkhead in to the tank and plumb in a 2 inch return line.  Problem was this left a 3/4 inch line that could end up draining the tank and over flowing the lower one.  To fix that both tanks would need to be dug up as the factory bulkheads were on the bottom, the pipe fittings removed and then plugs installed.  This meant a lot of work and draining the tanks, not good.

Solution was simple, I mixed up some WaterWeld, formed a plug and plugged the hole with it in the top tank.  I then made a flat disc with the rest of the putty and capped it on top of the plug that was pushed into the pipe.  I held this in place for about 10 minutes, done.  Problem solved and the new system is running.  So about 5 dollars in epoxy saved me about 6 hours of work and draining tanks that were full of fish!  Just one example of how great this stuff is.

There are a few options when buying it on Amazon, first you can get a single tube for 5.07 or you can choose various muti packs as you see fit.  I think this is a good prep so having a few tubes around is not a bad idea.  I keep one in each vehicle kit and some around the house and shop at all times.

It will last damn near forever if you don’t mix it and keep it sealed up.   If you don’t want six just wait  until you have other stuff to buy and pick up a tube or two at the 4.55 price.

Remember you can always find the TSP Item of the day by just going to TspAz.com and by shopping at TspAz.com anytime you shop online you help support TSP and the work we do here no matter what you buy.