Thursday, December 29, 2016

Interesting and Fun Alternatives to Conventional Freshwater Fishing

The reasons to go fishing are many. It is a time-honored sport that can be relaxing, fun and contribute to a healthy mind and body. A rod and reel are what most think of as the primary tools, but a few alternatives to conventional methods for catching freshwater fish, namely bow fishing, cane pole and survival fishing can also bring another level of fun and excitement. Catching a fish is challenging enough even with the most sophisticated equipment and years of experience. On the other hand, it is a sport that can be done with success by a young child under adult supervision with equipment that can cost less than $25. To the angler who is experienced and thinks they would like to try an alternative, using more primitive methods can be rewarding to connect the fisherman with traditional methods, ways that were once the only means to provide fare for the table. Additionally, the target species of fish caught by these primitive methods are nongame and non-native fish, which are a threat to native game species.

Bow Fishing is done with archery equipment but using a fiberglass arrow with a barbed point, and the arrow is connected to the bow via a mechanical reel or simple spool. Done from land or by boat, during the day or night, this is an exhilarating challenge. Image left is Gus in 1976 with Gar and bow in hand. Photo description below.

Cane Pole Fishing often referred by Florida statute as the cane-pole exemption, because cane pole fishing does not require a license. The law states, “In Florida you must be a resident who is fishing with live or natural bait, using poles or lines that are not equipped with a fishing line - retrieval mechanism, and you are fishing for noncommercial purposes in your home county. However, you must have a valid fishing license to fish by any method in a fish management area.”

Survival Fishing is simply cane pole fishing, but without the pole. Using natural or artificial bait, natural or synthetic string, this method will strip away most of the technology and just leave the fisherman verses the fish.  If successful, it will bring a sense of confidence to the angler that perhaps they could survive in the wilderness with minimal tools. Exciting!

Although Florida fishing laws are used as an example, other states have similar laws and/or exemptions so checking with the state game commission on a regular basis is important. Fishing regulations change so what may be legal this year may not be the next.

Since not all Florida fish can be taken by all methods, clarification is necessary. Florida freshwater fish are divided into game fish that have specific bag and length limits and may only be taken with pole-and-line or rod-and-reel, and nongame fish, which are all others.

See the chart for types of Florida Game Fish. Non-native fish are those that do not occur in Florida naturally; most should be harvested and never released. Florida Nongame Fish includes all freshwater fish that are NOT defined as game fish. A license is required to take nongame fish, but additional gear types are allowed (as mentioned above).

** See regulations for exemptions other than Cane Pole.

♦ See regulations for special region-specific restrictions.


Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, Freshwater Fishing Regulations, 2016-2017.

Photo description: The photo was taken by my Mom when I was 16 or 17 years old in Fort Worth, TX after a day of fishing on the Trinity River, downtown Fort Worth.  My buddies and I would go there regularly to shoot Carp and Gar. Although some were just thrown away (because they eat game fish), most were harvested and given to resident neighbors to the river who ate them.  We made a lot of friends when we gave away our catch. In the background is my first car, a 1967 Rambler American which I kept until 1982.

This article also appears as a University of Florida / IFAS, Brevard County Extension Fact Sheet Number 6175, by Gus Koerner 4-H Program Assistant.

Monday, December 26, 2016

Holiday Greeting To My Friends at B.O.S.S.

Merry Christmas to my friends at B.O.S.S.!

I just wanted to check in and wish you Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

I like to check in every year or so, and as I've mentioned in the past - in 1979 I was a student in the month long BYU Youth Leadership 480, Course D-12 under Doug Nelson. It changed my life to this day. I was inspired to attend by my Dad, Karl Koerner who attended two years earlier, and at the time was the oldest person to complete the course at age 56. Wow - I'm 57! Where have the years gone?

Some of my life long memories of the course include:
  • My 7-day solo spent in an overhang on the Escalante River. That inspired me to devote much of my adult life to study the outdoors, ecological theology, and share that with others in my career.
  • To this day I still remember scrubbing my big #10 can in the river every morning and on my way back up the mesa would collect more Brigham Tea. One day a baby Rattlesnake greeted me by my shrub, so I gave him his alone time and found another bush to harvest.
  • I remember laying by my fire, eyes fixed upon Polaris and through the night watch the Big Dipper rotate around that fixed beacon that always points north.
  • I remember starting my fire in the first 30 minutes of my solo and while blowing on the embers getting a piece of glowing ash on my arm. I have a scar to this day, and it’s a sweet reminder of my days in the desert.
  • Thanks to technology, I've deduced the location of my solo spot is N 37.774437° W -111.423868°
  • I remember my ~13 mile run in from the river basin into Boulder. I think I came in 1st or 2nd! When I got to Boulder I called my family from the payphone for a nickel!
  • I remember sharing pot holes of water with my brothers and sisters on our small group week. One of my buddies later got Giardia.
  • I recall my breath taking traverse through Devil’s Canyon, knowing Butch Cassidy and his gang might have followed the same route.
  • I’ll never forget my deep gratitude to God and for the sacrifice the sheep made of his life to feed our large group.

Does any of this ring a bell to you?  Since then I’ve had a number of friends and family attend the course upon my recommendation and it made a profound effect on their lives too. Professionally I work in Youth Development through the University of Florida 4-H Program. Here is a synopsis of the program I developed, in part by my experience with BOSS.

The Youth Ecology Series (YES!) is a unique University of Florida / IFAS / Brevard County Extension 4-H program for youth ages 10 to 16. The mission of YES! is to teach and inspire young people to learn about and conserve their natural outdoor environment with a combination of hands-on, classroom and field activities. The goal of YES! is to give young people a broad overview of our natural ecology and tangible skills to thrive and participate in nature and an appreciation for the methods of sustaining our fragile ecosystem. Side benefits of the program include having fun, meeting new people and getting to know some of our local outdoor treasure sites, organizations and related programs.

If any of you would like to participate in a consulting role to my programs I would welcome it. Feel free to share this letter, or parts of it with your staff and alumni. Give them my best and tell future participants they can do it! and are part of something very significant and that the program you deliver is having a positive effect on its students and beyond. 

Blessings to you all. 


Thursday, November 10, 2016

My Letter to the Trappists

Always a student. Each of us should seek counsel and training when ever we can. Follows is partial copy of the letter I wrote to the Trappists of Holy Trinity Abbey in Huntsville, Utah. A few days later I found out they closed down, moved out and sold the property. I was so disappointed. That next day I sent a similar copy to the national organization of Trappist Monasteries. In the future I'll let you know how things turn out.

Dear Father and brothers of Holy Trinity Abbey,

In 2012, tomorrow (Nov. 11) being the anniversary, I was awakened by God that my work is His work and I was called to His ministry. This happened when I was helping soon to be released prison inmates get back to and successfully integrate into their communities. The calling was so clear it was virtually audible and I contemplated over that for months. Finally, I spoke with my local pastor, began the process and became a Certified Lay Servant in my church. The next year I became a Candidate for the Ministry in The United Methodist Church and I am my third year of that process.

The reason I chose you is because one of the “sparks” that ignited this change and evolution of my spirit occurred at your abbey about 1996. About that time, I was introduced to your community by mutual friends Jim and Gary. In the winter of ‘96-‘97 Jim brought me to a personal retreat there and I worked with, toured, worshiped and broke bread with you. I felt so welcomed. It was also that weekend that I picked up a book in the lobby and read it cover to cover for the next few days. The book is, “Return of the Prodigal Son”, by Henri J.M. Nouwen. I discovered that not only I am the prodigal son, but I am also the older brother and the father in that story. I’ve since gone on to read more of Nouwen’s work as well as Thomas Merton, Dietrich Bonhoeffer and currently a fan of Fr. Richard Rohr.

My request to you is that of searching for a mentor from your community to communicate with me on a regular basis by telephone, letters and perhaps video conferencing. Perhaps sometime we could meet in person. I am looking for someone to encourage and be encouraged by, to lift and be uplifted by; someone in the faith but with spiritual experience and finally perhaps someone who can hear confession and advise. I chose your organization because you are out of my spiritual, religious, personal and professional loop and I trust and respect you all.

Thank you for the positive Christ-like influence you have had upon me and the service you do for our Lord.

With deepest respect and blessings.


Saturday, October 8, 2016

Purifying Water During an Emergency

This story is posted on the exact date and time that a tree fell on our home during hurricane Matthew. I decided on that day, that emergency preparations should start now and be ongoing. One never knows when a disaster will strike.

Purifying Water During an Emergency

The treatments described below work only to remove bacteria or viruses from water. If you suspect the water is unsafe because of chemicals, oils, poisonous substances, sewage or other contaminants, do not drink the water. Don't drink water that is dark colored, has an odor or contains solid materials.

Storing Water Safely
  • The best source of drinking water during an emergency is water you have stored with your emergency supplies.
  • Store one gallon of water per person per day--enough for at least three days.
  • Store-bought, factory-sealed bottled water is best. Check for an expiration date and replace as needed. 
  • If you choose to fill your own water containers:
  • Collect the water from a safe supply.
  • Store water in thoroughly washed plastic containers such as soft drink bottles. You can also purchase food-grade plastic buckets or drums.
  • Seal water containers tightly, label with date, and store in a cool, dark place.
  • Replace water every six months.
  • Never reuse a container that held toxic substances such as pesticides, chemicals or oil.

Purifying By Boiling

If your tap water is unsafe, boiling is the best method to kill disease-causing organisms.

If tap water is unavailable, the following may be considered as potential water sources. Water taken from these sources should be boiled before drinking.:
  • Rainwater
  • Lakes
  • Rivers and streams
  • Natural springs
  • Ponds
Caution: Many Chemical Pollutants Will Not Be Removed By Boiling.
  • Cloudy water should be filtered before boiling. Filter cloudy water using coffee filters, paper towels, cheesecloth or a cotton plug in a funnel. 
  • Bring the water to a rolling boil for at least one full minute.
  • Let the water cool before drinking.
Purifying By Adding Liquid Chlorine Bleach

Add two drops of household bleach per gallon to maintain water quality while in storage.

Place the water in a clean container. Add the amount of bleach according to the table below.

Mix thoroughly and let stand for at least 60 minutes before drinking.

Treating Water With Household Bleach Containing 5.25-8.25 Percent Chlorine

Volume of Water to be Treated Bleach Solution to Add

For 1 quart (0.946 L) of water, use 5 drops (0.25 mL) of bleach.

For 1/2 gallon (1.89 L) of water, use 10 drops (0.5 mL) of bleach.

For 1 gallon (3.79 L) of water, use 1/4 teaspoon (1.23 mL) of bleach.

For 5 gallons (18.9 L) of water, use 1 teaspoon (4.92 mL) of bleach.

For 10 gallons (37.9 L) of water, use 2 teaspoons (9.86 mL) of bleach.
  • Treat water by adding liquid household bleach, such as Clorox or Purex.
  • Household bleach is typically between 5.25 percent and 8.25 percent chlorine. Read the label.
  • Avoid using bleaches that contain perfumes, dyes and other additives. Be sure to read the label.
  • Cloudy water should be filtered before adding bleach.
Caution: Bleach will not kill some disease-causing organisms commonly found in surface water. Bleach will not remove chemical pollutants.

Source: Washington State Department of Health, 2013, Link here.

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Rust Removal by Electrolysis

Rust Removal by Electrolysis

The following article details the process of using electrolysis for removing rust from tools. Credits are listed at the bottom of the article. I think you'll find it applicable reading for those flea market tools. Now here's the disclaimer: I make no claims as to the effectiveness of this process as instructed by the authors, nor am I responsible for any injury or otherwise negative consequences from employing their technique. Pay attention to any warnings in the article, and if you are not comfortable with the process, or cannot agree with the terms of this disclaimer, then do not read the following text and do not employ the technique. Thanks, Rick.

Cleaning Rusty Tools; Electrolysis Made Easy

Rust removal and antique tool cleaning is a very controversial subject among old tool collectors and users. Antique tool collectors tend to buy the finer examples of their tool of preference and most will not attempt to clean, fix or restore it in any way. Old tool users on the other hand tend to avoid the high priced "spiffy" tools in favor of tools that show their age. These tools are often found in grampa's basement or at estate sales and they may have either been heavily used or long forgotten and allowed to deteriorate with age. These tools need some form of restoration to return them to working condition.

Electrolysis is the least destructive and most thorough method available to remove oxidation. Electrolysis removes no base metal and does not require grinders, wire wheels, scrappers, acids or sandpaper, and when done properly can remove rust and oxidation yet leave the appearance of "patina" so valued by the collectors. Electrolysis comes as close as possible to a compromise to the ideals of both categories of old tool enthusiasts.


This is a fantastic way to remove rust and oxidation from steel and iron tools. It is not recommended for brass, aluminum, copper or exotic metals and alloys.

Electrolysis is a method of removing iron oxide by passing a small electrical charge from a battery or battery charger through the rusty metal to stimulate an exchange of ions while the tool is submerged in an electrolyte solution.

Don't let that description worry you because the actual process is quite easy to accomplish. Let's get to the stuff that makes it work.

This system is so simple, easy to make and to use that anyone that collects or accumulates old tools for use or preservation should keep a small electrolysis system available in their shop.

There are many variations of the setup but this is the simple, down and dirty method that requires a minimum of time, resources and understanding.

After you have a system cookin' you can bone up on the whys and wherefores. You will gain the experience and understanding to begin creating a custom system based on your own needs and understanding.

I'm no guru. I've tried it, I liked it, so I learned it. My background is/was industrial electronics so the theory wasn't new to me but the application was. I find it fascinating that something so simple can accomplish something so significant.

The credit for the first post on this subject should go to Ted Kinsey. Larry Holland contributed a technical description of the electrochemistry at work. Many thanks to Ted, Larry and to Scott Grandstaff for their editorial reviews of this text and help in making it as accurate and to the point as possible. At the end of this document I've included a couple of url's on the subject.

What I'll try and do here is cut to the meat of the subject and get you started so you can answer most of these questions on your own without having to ask "what if?" I'll also be glad to help anyone with questions by private mail at anytime. For those of you that like the technical side of things Larry Holland's description of the electrochemistry at work is included at the end of this page.

List of Supplies

1. A two to five gallon plastic (non metallic) container.
2. A two amp or larger automotive battery charger with an ammeter.
3. A moderately flat piece of iron or steel.
4. A box of Arm and Hammer "Washing Soda" or "Baking Soda".
5. A tablespoon measure.
6. One to five gallons of water.
7. A pair of kitchen type rubber gloves.
8. A kitchen or similar sink full of warm sudsy water.
9. A non metallic 3M type Scotch Bright Finishing Pad product #10144NA.
10. A small tooth brush size stainless steel wire brush.
11. Paste or liquid, non-silicone, car wax.

Supply Discussion

1. The container can be any shape, size or configuration that is large enough to hold your tool completely submerged. Kmart, Walmart and many other department stores sell small, 6-7 inch deep, flat, clear plastic storage bins for $3 to $5. Restaurants and fast food chains often throw out five gallon buckets with lids that will work well. Small to medium trash cans are a possibility The key element here is non-conductive (plastic) containers.
2. Any power supply that provides a steady 6-24 volt dc current at 2 amps or larger should work well. Remember "this ain't rocket science." An inexpensive 10 amp battery charger with an ammeter can be bought for under $30 and is the best suited device for the job. The charger with an ammeter is almost essential. With heavily rusted metal getting good contact to the tool is not easy, and the ammeter is the simplest way to tell if you have got it. Avoid using the little overnight trickle chargers.
3. You need an anode for the (red) positive side of the battery charger. Best? A stainless steel kitchen pan lid because it is small, has lots of surface area and is usually cheap (if your wife doesn't catch you). The anode is sacrificed and will eventually erode away to nothing. Stainless steel is best because it deteriorates the slowest, however one reader advised that using stainless steel creates a toxic waste, so you may want to stick with plain steel or iron, although this whole procedure is arguably potentially toxic. Anyway, most any steel or piece of iron will work. Its size in bulk is not as important as its size in surface area. Look for something about 5 inches square or what will fit your container and still not come into direct contact with your rusty tool. You can bend it, fold it, cut it. Again, "this ain't rocket science." Many kitchen tools are stainless steel, but perhaps it's best to use an old cookie sheet. The larger the surface area the more efficient your system will be.
4. You need to obtain one of two chemicals to add to the water. No complications here. Get yourself a box of Arm and Hammer "Washing Soda" or "Baking Soda." Both are readily available at your local food store.

(TIP) "Washing Soda" is found with the clothes washing detergents. It is a yellow box with the familiar Arm and Hammer logo and is usually grouped with the fabric softeners and detergent enhancers.

"Baking Soda" is also an Arm and Hammer product and can be found near the flour and baking supplies at your local food store. Chemically these products are different, but similar and both will work. If you have a choice between the two use the "Washing Soda." If you can't find it don't hesitate a second about using the "Baking Soda." Ask your wife about them. She probably has one or both in the house already. Repeat after me... "This ain't rocket science"

5. Using either "Washing Soda" or "Baking Soda" add about 1 tablespoon per gallon of water to your container. You now have an electrolyte solution. Although the solution becomes a nasty color and is filled with the residue of old rust you can continue to use it time and again, provided you keep your anode clean.

6. Add the appropriate amount of water to your container. The water should be deep enough to cover the tools you will clean but not so high that it will overflow when the tool is placed in the water. You now have a "vat."

(TIP) The first time you fill your "vat" add water one gallon at a time. After pouring each gallon into the vat make a mark on the outside of the container with a bold black marker and label it 1, 2, 3, etc. for each gallon you add. In the future you no longer have to measure your water. Just use a garden hose and fill to the appropriate line.

7. After adding water and Soda powder the water is hard on your hands. Wear the rubber gloves while working in and with the electrolyte. This is a general precaution. The electrolyte is not an acid nor is it seriously bad to contact your skin but precautions are always best.

8. After removing everything that is not steel or iron from the tool, clean it in warm sudsy water using dish washing detergent. Remove any dirt, oil and grease that might retard the electrolysis.

9. You're looking for the 3M brand "non-metallic" gray finishing pad part No. 10144NA sold in the paint departments of hardware stores. Trust me and stick with this one. Cut each pad in half for use.

(TIP) The 3M Scotch Brite pad is a pretty important piece to the process.

It is used to remove the black ionized oxidation residue left by the electrolysis. You don't want scuff pads. 3M finishing pads are very sharp but on cast iron they break down quickly. These are advantages because it gets the heaviest concentrations of ionized oxide off quickly and by the time you get to the base metal it has worn down significantly and does not leave any marks behind on the metal. The metal does not look sanded, scuffed or abraded.

If you use scuff pads of any make or model you will work at least twice as hard to accomplish half as much cleaning. Trust me. I've tried them all and you especially want to avoid kitchen scour pads. They're worthless.

I found that once I tried the 3M finishing pad that it literally took all the work out of the final wash up and they were well worth the few cents extra I paid. You'll get two sometimes three planes to the pad and I cut them in half before use so double that.

These are 3M "FINISHING PADS" gray in color, packed two to a wrapper and bear the part No. 10144NA. Cut them in 1/2 for use. They do have "grit" and they breakdown quickly thus they cut well but don't leave abrasions on the tools. It is used lightly and it wears out quickly. No metal is removed and the base metal is not scratched or abraded. In fact, you can clean down to whatever level of patina you desire be left on the tool. This is a subjective call on your part. How clean do you want it?

10. This small tooth brush sized stainless steel wire brush can be found at most hard ware stores for $2. It's used to get into the areas that your fingers and Scotch Bright pad won't fit. A light circular motion to the hard to reach area and the residue just falls off.

11. The final supply item is a product to seal and protect against future rust. This is a very subjective area so I'll make some points, a suggestion and leave it to you to develop a preference.

A. Make certain the product does not contain any silicone. It plays havoc on your projects when you apply the finish.

B. Avoid any product that contains an abrasive, like compounds and polishes. Most (but not all) of these are in paste form.

C. Use a product that is readily available and easy to apply so you don't put off protecting your tools.

D. The common practice of using WD-40 may be counter-productive. Based on the experience of other collectors I'm told that WD-40 has a high lacquer thinner content and may damage paint and japanning.

My preferences are liquid "Kit" brand car wax (yellow bottle) and Tri-Flo penetrating oil. Both are common products nationally.

Let's Make It Work

1. Put on your rubber gloves and wash your tool in warm soapy water and make sure to remove any grease or oil. These areas will not be de-rusted effectively if not thoroughly cleaned.

2. Fill your vat with the appropriate amount of water and add 1 tablespoon of your "Washing or Baking Soda" per gallon of water.

3. Clip the "positive" red lead of your battery charger to the object you've chosen for an anode and place to the side or at one end of your vat. It is not necessary that the anode be fully covered by the water but the more surface area that is available for the electrolysis to faster the process proceeds. Try to keep the red clip from your battery charger out of the solution to avoid it being eroded away with the anode.

4. For your first trial use an old junk tool or piece of metal. Clip the "negative" black lead of your battery charger to your iron tool to be cleaned and place it in the vat. Be certain that you have a nice tight grip on the tool with the black "negative" clip. Make sure the tool is fully covered by the water. So far I've not experienced a problem with allowing the black clip to be immersed in the solution. My clip remains intact and undamaged.

(TIP) The tool should have a clear "line of sight" path to your anode. If the tool is large you may have to turn the tool occasionally to de-rust it evenly and completely. If your anode is a cookie sheet or something similar you can bend it into a shape that will conform to the shape of the tool being cleaned or the contour of your vat for faster operation. The tool should be fully submerged at all times.

5. Check that the tool and the anode are not touching and have about 2 inches or more separation between them. If placed too close together the current on your charger will be higher than expected.

6. Set the battery charger to its highest setting. Plug in your battery charger and note the amount of current indicated on the ammeter. There is no right or wrong amperage except that you must not exceed the rating of your battery charger. Once you have applied power don't put your hands in the vat. Always turn off the power before attempting to check your tool or make adjustments to your system.

7. You will begin to see bubbles form on the tool and rise to the top. Congratulations, you're in business.

(TIP) A note about the gasses released during the process. Small amounts of hydrogen are released as a result of the electrolysis. You will notice while using your system just how small this amount of gas is. However, to avoid a concentration of hydrogen, never cover the vat while in use. Although minute this hydrogen is flammable and I would not operate the vat next to your water heater, stove or other open flame.

8. Once the rust has turned to a dark gray or black it's time to remove the tool and wash it in warm soapy water using the Scotch Brite pad to remove the residue. If the tool comes completely clean you're done. If not, place it back in the vat for another session. Dry your tool thoroughly and proceed to the next step.

9. A freshly electro-cleaned tool will immediately begin to rust again so it is important that you immediately treat your tool with your choice of wax or oils.

Trouble Shooting and Things to Watch For

If a brown or green "crud" begins to form and float to the top around the anode this perfectly normal. For as long as the anode lasts you will need to occasionally remove it and clean off the crud that forms on it. A putty knife works well for this.

If your tool is painted or japanned do not leave it in the electrolysis vat any longer than necessary to achieve your goal. If the japanning is in poor condition it can start to turn loose if left for say, overnight. Unless heavily rusted most tools clean up in about two hours.

If your tool has loose or moving parts to it you need to be sure they are securely attached "electrically" so they will cleanup with the rest of the tool.

For an example just because the blade adjusting fork on your plane is pinned to the casting don't assume that it has a good electrical connection. There are several tricks to assuring a good electrical contact of moving parts.

1. Wrap a rubber band around the tool and the moving part to make a tighter connection.

2. Wedge a paper clip or other small object into the joint or hinge of a moving part to tighten the physical and thus the electrical connection.

3. Attach a clip lead ($2.99 from Radio Shack) or similar wire to the tool and the moving part to make a good electrical connection between them.

4. Use your imagination.

If the current is too high and taxes your battery charger, here are a few things you can try.

1. Increase the distance between the anode and your tool being cleaned.

2. Reduce the amount of anode in the vat. Lift it out slightly.

3. Reduce the operating voltage or increase the current range of the battery charger setting.

If you don't see an immediate reaction beginning in the vat when you plug in the battery charger, check all of your connections carefully. It can be difficult to get a good electrical connection on a heavily rusted tool. This is where the ammeter on your battery charger comes in handy. You can tell at a glance if you have a good connection to the tool. The bubbling action should start immediately after power is applied.

If the tool in your vat appears to be eroding instead of de-rusting verify that you have the battery charger polarity correct. The tool must always be connected to the "negative" black terminal. On your first attempt I urge you to use a piece of scrap iron or other insignificant item to get the feel of how the system works.

If you have a lot of cleaning to do and want to rev up your vat, try using a larger vat, place anodes on all sides of the vat and connect them all together to the positive (red) lead of your battery charger. Be sure your tool never comes into direct contact with the anodes while power is applied or you run the risk of damaging your battery charger.

There are other specialty applications for tools with non-removable wood parts or other obstacles. It is always best to break the tool down into as many small parts as allowable for cleaning but in cases where you have non removable parts that will be harmed by electrolysis such as wood handles or brass and aluminum parts you can still use this cleaning method. Try dipping non removable wooden handles in molten candle wax or dripping candle wax or paraffin onto the parts to seal them
from contact with the electrolyte solution. The wax is easily removed with a warm hair dryer.

For flat objects like saws try using towels soaked in the electrolyte on each side of the saw, hook the battery charger to the saw and place a flat anode on the towel atop the saw. This method is very inefficient and will require moving the anode around to various locations as the rust abates but it is still a means of cleaning a saw without removing the handle.

You might also consider using a large diameter PVC or plastic pipe, stood on end with one end capped, as a vat to hang a saw blade or other long object into. Plastic rain gutter can also be useful for cleaning long objects.

For anode material I shop the flea markets and second hand stores. I buy up all of their loose stainless steel pan lids for about 25 cents a piece or less. These can be flattened, cut, bent or mangled for any configuration. Avoid the aluminum lids, they're trouble with a capital "T". If stainless steel is not available an old baking sheet or similar iron or steel object will work well. It simply deteriorates faster. Again, keep in mind that stainless steel may create a more toxic result to deal with.

As for the disposal of the nasty water after use, you can save it and continue using it by replenishing the water as it evaporates. Or, you can pour in on your lawn. I have dumped mine on the lawn all winter here in South Texas and the grass loves the iron rich water and does not seem to suffer from the other contents.

What if you're using sodium chloride as the electrolytic salt. Think again and please don't do it.

Nothing much changes at the cathode...but at the anode, chlorine is oxidized...that is, each chlorine ion donates an electron to the iron...thereby becoming a chlorine atom. Chlorine atoms combine to form chlorine gas (CL2).

**Caution** Chlorine addition to being poisonous...facilitates combustion...just like oxygen. If you must use sodium chloride...use precautions. Make certain you have plenty of air circulation in a large environment. Don't take's far better to be safe...than sorry.

Have fun with this and remember "this ain't rocket science."

Copyright © 1998 all rights reserved
Contributed by Bill Tindall
& Spencer Hochstettler


The Electrochemistry of Rust Removal By Electrolysis

The cleaning process has 4 components- a battery charger, the water with sodium carbonate (washing soda) dissolved in it, an anode (stainless steel object such as a spoon) and the cathode (the rusty iron).

The solution The solution of sodium carbonate has two purposes. First, sodium carbonate is basic. The electrochemical reactions that occur at the rusted iron work best in a basic solution. Lye( sodium hydroxide) would work as well but it is less safe to use. Sodium bicarbonate, baking soda, may not work as well as sodium carbonate because it is less basic. The other purpose for the sodium carbonate is to make the water conduct electricity. When the salt, sodium carbonate, is dissolved in water it becomes sodium ions, Na+, and carbonate ions CO3-2 . These positive and negative charged ions carry the current in solution. Carbonate moves to the positive wire from the battery charger and sodium moves to the negative wire. This movement of ions through the solution results in a current, just like electrons moving in a wire results in a current. Pure water has a high resistance, about 20 million ohms per centimeter, and negligible current would pass without the sodium carbonate ions.

The battery charger is a source of electrical current and voltage. Current is the flow of electrons in a wire. Voltage is a measure of the electron energy. So, the battery charger provides electrons with an energy of 12 volts at its negative lead and accepts electrons at its positive lead. The current indicated by the meter provides a measure of how many electrons are flowing. Current can also flow through water, if the water has ions dissolved in it, as provided by the sodium carbonate.

**Caution** Hydrogen gas reacts explosively with oxygen (in the presence of heat) to produce water vapor. Take Michael Sullivan's advise seriously about shutting down the power before adjusting/removing the electrodes.

If you are using electrolysis to remove rust...and have a considerable broth of very cautious. That broth is not the place to discard a glowing cigarette ember, lit match...or any other spark. Be warned...!!


Monday, August 1, 2016

The Power of Words. On Writing: Poems, Journals and Individual Expression

At the prison where I work, I was on Outside Post duty the other day and heard this story on NPR's On Being show by Krista Tippet.  I love this show.  Through this story I intellectually, emotionally and spiritually confirmed the writing of this blog and my personal, hand written journals.  It also convicted me of writing online, but not publishing all my stories publicly.  If you wish to read these other stories, more personal, with more detail, send me a note and I'll send you a link or personally email you my entries. Email to

Here is the story from that inspired me.  Thank you Krista.

By Naomi Shihab Nye

Your Life Is a Poem (Audio Interview) A must hear of 51 minutes.  Give it at least 15 minutes and you'll be hooked too.

Growing up, the poet Naomi Shihab Nye lived in Ferguson, Missouri and on the road between Ramallah and Jerusalem. Her father was a refugee Palestinian journalist, and through her poetry, she carries forward his hopeful passion, his insistence, that language must be a way out of cycles of animosity...

Thank you Naomi.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

This Officer's Duties

I'm starting to re-think my philosophy on prison reentry. Some prison inmates are just not ready for Rick Warren quotes on turning their life around.

This Officer's Duties
Standing outside the prison wire.
I am free, but those inside suffer dire situations that cost them
Their lives, families and hopes that oft' tire,

Over time some will adapt.
But some are apt to continue acts of desperation,
That worsen their situation of being trapped.

What's my role of a human with compassion?
To protect, teach and inspire with passion.
Duties of an officer not held in fashion.

But reflect a higher meaning of Care, Custody and Control, which I gave an oath to serve.

Saturday, July 9, 2016

Make Your Own Dad-Gum Sports Drink

Recently in my work and frequency outdoors in this unbearably hot Florida summer, I've come to crave Gatorade in the afternoon. After an exhausting day in the heat and humidity I can come in and literally drink a quart in a single five minute break. This past week we had 98 degree days and 95% humidity. The cost of that refreshment and electrolyte replacement is usually $1.50 or more (per quart) cold from a convenience store or $1.00 if you have the forethought to keep some in the fridge you were able to buy on sale.

With some online searching, comparing and modifying others research I developed my own recipe. It is virtually the same as Gatorade Recipe by fungus amungus on Instructables, but this one is sugar free to be diabetic friendly because it uses Stevia instead of sucrose. You really need to read the article Gatorade Recipe because Mr. Fungus Amungus does a great job explaining the sodium, potassium and sugar ratios and cost breakdown.

After creating the recipe and putting it all together, I had an original bottle of Glacier Ice Gatorade. Using powdered Kool-Aid as my flavoring, a similar flavor is their Blue Raspberry Lemonade. I then used my best scientific skills to put together a taste test for my wife to compare.  I call it double-blind, because I didn't know what I was doing and she didn't know what it should taste like. The results were that she liked my recipe better than the original. Hooray!

Here is my recipe for a 2 quart batch which cost about $0.65 (65 cents) a quart.  Using table sugar would cut that price down significantly, but would raise the carbohydrates. My recipe has about 2 grams of carbohydrates per 1 cup serving, using sugar raises that to about 15 grams per cup.

Gus and Sandy's Gatorade

64 fluid ounces of water
1 packet of Kool-Aid of your favorite flavor *
8 single serve packets of Stevia **
1/4 teaspoon table salt OR Sea Salt OR Pink Himalayan Sea Salt (sodium)
1/8 teaspoon Morton Lite Salt (potassium)

In a juice pitcher add 1/2 the water.  Add all the ingredients and stir.  Add the rest of the water, stir again, refrigerate and serve.

* 1 cup of 100% fruit juice can be used as a substitute for flavor.
** sugar or honey can be used as a sweetener substitute depending on your dietary restrictions and taste.

Special acknowledgement - To my sweet wife Sandy for being a good sport, so she gets her name on the recipe too! Thank you Honey.

End Note: I just realized now that my special recipe is just sugar free Kool-Aid with a pinch of salt. LOL.  I'm such a nerd, but it's special to me!

Monday, June 20, 2016

My Scandinavian Roots Appreciated

In 1980 I was a missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, serving in Denmark. I was 19 years old. This was a landmark period in my life where I was able to learn three important things. I learned to look beyond myself and for the first time in my life how to serve others. I learned to be on my own without the protective umbrella of my family, and I learned to appreciate my Scandinavian roots which I'd like to speak to today.

My name is Gustav "Gus" Koerner. I was named after my grandpa "Papa Gus" a Swedish immigrant. The name also belongs to the King of Sweden, Gustaf V (the 5th) (Oscar Gustaf Adolf 16 June 1858 – 29 October 1950) who was King of Sweden from 1907 to 1950.

On my mission I had two name tags, one read Elder Koerner - The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and the other one I had made was Ælste Kørner - Jesu Kristi Kirke af Sidste Dages Hellige.  When I wore the first name tag, people would say "What??" and when I wore the Danish version, they'd say "Hello" and never ever mispronounce my name - so I mostly wore the second. By the way, the Danish pronunciation of  Kørner in English is Kerner, which is correct.

Today is Summer Solstice (June 20, 18:34 hours ET), the longest day of sunlight during the year and appreciated at northern latitudes which takes me back to my Scandinavian roots and my mission in Denmark. While there, I learned this song and still know and sing it to this day.  It is one of my favorites of all time.  I hope my children can hear and learn it. –  I'll share it with you now, first in English and then Danish, with  YouTube performance link.

It was Written by Ove "Bager" Wulff (1917-2004) - Trained as a baker at the patisserie Bryggergården in Odense, Denmark. He was hired as a ship's baker at the East Asiatic Company. Known as entertainer, musician, show author and composer, especially for the song of Lundeborg the Lundeborg Hymn. Warning, the song is not impressive in English.  One needs to hear the Danish version in song.

Lundeborg Hymn
Are you sad, and depressed?
So go with me down to Lundeborg,
for it is the best place on Earth,
there I believe is the end of the world.
there is forest and beach,
there's port and water
there’s fisher girls there's fisher men.
Are you sad, and depressed?
So go with me down to Lundeborg.

Lundeborg, Denmark is a coastal town approximately 55°N 11°E, about 12 miles South of Nyborg. The song is performed on YouTube by Fynsk Harmoniforvirring, 2011. Link here.

Er du trist og har du sorg i sinde?
Så tag med mig ned til Lundeborg.
For det er det bedste sted på jorden,
Der jeg tror at verdens enden går.
Der er skov og strand.
Der er havn og vand.
Der er fiskerpige,
Der er fiskermand.
Er du trist og har du sorg i sinde?
Så tag med mig ned til Lundeborg.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Notes To My Inmates

I think I am the only Correctional Officer who does this. If not, like to meet other officers who do, and that have a passion for re-entry.

Everyday when I come into the dorm at 0600, at my first opportunity I leave an inspirational thought for my inmate residents. I jot it down on a piece of scratch paper and tape one copy to one side of the dorm, and another copy to the other side. I also write one more copy of it in my journal. The thoughts come from where ever - literally. Sometimes they are a quote I heard the day before, or they may come from my devotional time that weigh heavy on my heart and mind. I've been doing this ever since I started and I plan on continuing. Even though I am a by-the-book policy and procedure guy, there is no policy on this and inspirational thoughts I'm sure would be approved. The embedded images are some of the notes I get back from my inmates.

Why do I do it? As of June 5, 2016, 63% (92 of 145) of my dormitory residents will be released from their prison sentence by the year 2020. Will they be ready?  Is there anything we can do, indeed something I can do to help them in their successful re-entry back into society to help them be employed, responsible, caring and law-abiding sons, fathers and husbands. That is why I do what I do.

My guideline for notes to inmates is that it must be applicable to all. If it is religious in nature, which my notes sometime are, they must be acceptable to all faiths. The faiths represented in my dorm right now include several Christian denominations, Jewish, Islam, Wicca and Buddhism (that I know of). 

This is what my last note said:

Faith and Family

Faith and family are two things we should hold dear and value the most. What can you do today to strengthen these? A letter? A prayer? A thought? A phone call?  Think about it.

Follows is another note back from one of my inmates...

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

My A Dorm Canteen Poem

In the prison dormitory I wrote this for my inmates who moan, groan, weep and wail if they don't get to go to canteen. Canteen in prison is like a convenience store for us.  Items are limited and overpriced, but sometimes canteen food is better than normal prison meals.  They don't just sell food. In the canteen you can also purchase good soap, sweet smelling shampoo and deodorant - things that are not issued by the state. The canteen is also like a bank. When prison inmates pay back debts to other inmates, canteen items are the currency.  For example an inmate may say, "I'll write a letter for you for three packs of soup."

A Dorm Canteen
What will this afternoon bring?
I'm proud the dorm is so clean.
Rain may bring a mess,
But we'll do our best.
To help you get to canteen.

Everyday I leave notes in the window or speak with the inmates in a large group to motivate and encourage them to do better. To remember there is life beyond prison for most of them, and to do their best to better themselves.  Overall they are responding well to this type of encouragement, but some of my words are more accepted than others.  When I read this poem to them, they thought I was weird.

As you know the limerick is my favorite way to express short thoughts in the form of a poem. A limerick is a humorous, frequently bawdy, verse of three long and two short lines with a rhyming pattern of aabba.  These were popularized by Edward Lear in the late 1800's who wrote this:

There was a young lady of Niger
who smiled as she rode on a tiger;
They returned from the ride
with the lady inside,
and the smile on the face of the tiger.

For more information on limericks, just Google it.  There is boat loads of information on this style of poetry.

At One With Nature, My Journal Entry

This was taken directly from my journal, June 1, 2014 at 5:30 am while on Post Duty at work.

I need to set this up a bit.  Post Duty at the prison I work consists of alternating driving and sitting, always observing the facility for something that might look out of the ordinary.  Yes, it could at the worst be an escape attempt or break in, but other things that could arise too like someone wandering about when/where they shouldn't be, or simply a mechanical situation.  It can be extremely boring, driving 3.5 mph around a prison, looking at the same thing over and over for 4 to 8 hours per 12 hour shift, so I look for all that is happening around me.  In that time, I am extremely aware of the moment, noticing every sound, movement and potential smell.

This time allows me to get close to the surrounding nature as well.  Our facility is close to nature, so I get to see all kinds of animals which is always a highlight for me.  Here's my entry...

On Post duty, sitting in the car outside the prison, and get this! For the last 10 minutes I have been mocking the calls of a Mockingbird, just 10 feet away sitting on the razor wire inside the fence. (Whistling as I write, and I can hardly do so) This little guy goes on with a tune for a few seconds, then I mock him, and he mocks me.  It's incredible!  Never felt so one with nature, or experienced this before.

Also earlier on the other side I saw a brand new spotted baby Whitetail fawn and it's mama, still wobbly-legged, cute as could be.  I also saw tonight on this shift a big raccoon, I call Edgar, a possum, a Swamp Rabbit, and the other night I actually saw a mole, not on me, but the mammel kind about the size of a mouse, with a long nose.  These little guys dig in the dirt for grubs, and are famous for tearing up residential laws.  It's 6:30am now, and I'm observing a big black feral hog, digging up the ground, probably a 150 pounder.  Gotta go now, next shift employees beginning to arrive.

Nature surrounds us everywhere, if we'll only just take the time to stop, be still and observe.  What a great opportunity to count our blessings; realize an appreciate these spectacular creatures God has blessed us with.  Solitude can be our friend if we let it.

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Sinners and Saints, All Saints Day

As I prepare for my Nov. 1, 2015 sermon at Saint Andrew United Methodist Church I am called to preach this message: That we are all sinners and we are all saints, if we choose to be,

"For all have fallen short of the glory of God."  (Romans 2:23).

It seems a bit complicated, but not really.

Please refer to my story, my heartfelt poem, "Not A Saint" from Oct. 21, 2015, where I remorse in my own frailties.  In this poem, I relate a need for forgiveness and how blessed others are who have found freedom to walk in the Light of Christ.

As citizens of Saint Andrew United Methodist Church, who is this Saint we are named after?  What is his legacy and his background, that we should be the saints of Saint Andrew?

Saint Andrew from Loyola Press...
St. Andrew was a fisherman who lived in Galilee during the time of Jesus. He often followed John the Baptist and listened to his teachings. One day, John saw Jesus walking along the road. John said to his followers, "Behold the Lamb of God." He told his followers to go and talk to Jesus. He wanted them to know that Jesus was the One for whom they had been waiting. Andrew and another disciple followed Jesus and spent an afternoon with him. Early the next day Andrew found Simon Peter, his older brother, and told him, "We have found the Messiah."

Both men gave up their work as fishermen to become apostles of Jesus. Andrew was one of the first to be called. He seemed to take delight in bringing others to Jesus. Andrew was the one who told Jesus about the little boy who had the loaves of bread and the fish, the beginning of a meal that fed more than five thousand people. It was Andrew and Philip whom the Greeks approached when they wanted to see Jesus. These events indicate that Andrew was a man who was easy to approach, a man you could trust.

Like the other apostles, Andrew became a missionary. He preached about Jesus in the area around the Black Sea. Tradition tells us he preached in northern Greece, Turkey, and Scythia (now the southern part of Russia).

Andrew died as a martyr. Tradition says that in Patras in Greece he was tied to a cross shaped like the letter X. Ever since then, a cross in the shape of an X has been called St. Andrew's cross.

The name "Andrew" is a Greek name meaning "courageous" or "manly." St. Andrew lived up to his name.

It's my desire to follow the example of Andrew and "be a helper" to Jesus who is easy to approach, is able to relate with the common person in love and compassion and let them know by deed and example that indeed we have found the Messiah!

Friday, May 27, 2016

My Woes of Visiting A Doctor (a rant)

Why do I have such a hard time going to the doctor?

The irrational side of me seriously considers there to be health care conspiracy. The medical industry wants us to spend money any way possible. If we're ailing, they want us to visit doctors and clinics as much as possible, and if we're well they want us to confirm that on an irrational regular basis one co-pay at a time.

In my experience, when I finally get to the doctor the staff treat me like its a privilege to see them, and even if I have an appointment for a simple consultation I have to wait for hours. Below is the poem I wrote while waiting after I counted the flooring boards and ceiling tiles, rearranged the gloves in their cases to be in order by size, estimated the number of tongue depressors and Q-Tips in the jars and see how bright the ear light was in illuminating my little cubicle of a room. Even the broken TV in the room seemed to mock me whispering, "You can't watch me even if you wanted to, so I'll sit up here on the shelf to remind you how boring this experience is."

My Doctors Visit

I sit in a doctors room for hours at a time.
Nil to see or hear, except my teeth grind.
The nurses they greet,
All the patients so sweet.
All the while I'm losing my mind.


Tuesday, May 24, 2016

I've Got Friends in Low Places

As I was leaving my post the other night, an inmate yelled through the window, "Drive safe Mr. Koerner, see you Wednesday!"  I replied, "Ok, thank you."  Normally that would be a nice farewell, but the fact the inmate knew my schedule without me telling anyone bothered me a bit.

Most of my readers know I work in Corrections.  I am a Correctional Officer for the state of Florida, and formerly a ReEntry/Transition Specialist and prison educator.  My goal is to become a Chaplain one day.

It's a hard job that pushes me to my physical and emotional limits.  I have dreams about it at night and some weeks I get little done other than work.  At the prison I have twelve hour days, 60 hours one week, 24 hours the next, then I do it again.

The reason I do it is because God told me to, plain and simple.  In the prison dormitory I supervise about 130 men.  Their crimes range from everything imaginable, including multiple DUI's, sex offenses, fraud, drug crimes and murder.  Some will be released this year, some never.

When I was a Youth Development Agent for the 4-H program, every summer I taught summer camp for children of incarcerated parents.  I could see the developmental wounds their upbringing had caused and decided something had to be done.  Yes it's good to help the kids, but more importantly I told myself, "What we need to do is get these parents out of prison and have them raise their kids in a home of love and positive virtues." Then I ask, "Lord, how can I help with this?" Then an opening appeared on the Dept. of Corrections website.

97% of Florida inmates will be released from prison.  When they do, will they take care of their families or recidivate (commit another crime)? Is there anything I can do to make a difference? I cannot answer this question because only time will tell. But what I do at work is treat the inmates like human beings who deserve respect and hold them to the rules, policies and procedures.  I do not give special privileges to some or degrade any. I hold my dormitory inmates to a high standard and expect their best (but prepare for the worst).

My experience thus far has been a positive one.  I don't know if I'll remain in security for a long time, but working with these men in some capacity is something I feel the need to continue. My inmates are responding to respect with respect back to me, and I appreciate it. It is creating a positive environment that is more safe than it used to be.

It is said that no one truly knows a nation until one has been inside its jails. A nation should not be judged by how it treats its highest citizens, but its lowest ones. - Nelson Mandela


Thursday, May 19, 2016

I'm A Lucky Man

I was nursing my wounds the other day, feeling sorry for myself until I met Willie.  Willie and I have the same work schedule.  We leave the house at 4:45 in the morning, report at 5:30, work a twelve hour day until 6 PM, get home around 7 and in bed by 9.  Then we do it again the next day.  The difference is Willie does it on a bicycle and I drive a truck.

I first met Willie when I nearly hit him on his bike early one morning.  Then I would continue to see him every morning and every afternoon.  Finally while looking for him I saw him, and stopped to introduced myself and we became friends.

God bless Willie and all the other folks working hard to make ends meet for their families.  My story reminded me of my favorite Montgomery Gentry song, with partial lyrics below, Lucky Man.  I am so blessed.  I hope my readers will realize all the blessings in their lives and reach out to others who may not be as fortunate.

"Lucky Man" is a song written by David Lee and Dave Turnbull, and recorded by American country music duo Montgomery Gentry that reached the top of the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart and stayed there for two weeks. It was released in January 2007 as the second single from their album Some People Change.

"Lucky Man"
See this home video on YouTube by Matt Alves

I have days where I hate my job
This little town and the whole world too
Last Sunday when the Bengals lost
Lord it put me in a bad mood

I have moments when I curse the rain
Then complain when the sun's too hot
I look around at what everyone has
And I forget about all I've got

But I know I'm a lucky man
God's given me a pretty fair hand
Got a house and a piece of land
A few dollars in a coffee can
My old trucks still running good
My ticker's ticking like they say it should
I got supper in the oven, a good woman's loving
And one more day to be my little kid's dad
Lord, knows I'm a lucky man

Thursday, May 5, 2016

A Kind Word is Like a Sip of Water

Before I became a Correctional Officer (CO) and was in the process of considering the position, I received some wise advice from a CO Sergeant of 25 years whom I highly respected, and is now retired. She said to me, Mr. Koerner just remember, your job is about care, custody and control. Be firm, fair and consistent and tell the inmates don't mistake my kindness for weakness. As new CO again, I perform my job by those words, and I've not regretted it.  Kindness de-escalates tension which creates a safer environment. Conversely, there are times when a situation is serious and procedures need to be followed to the letter and kindness doesn't seem so kind anymore.

On my to work a few days ago, these words of clarity came to me, "A kind word is like a sip of water to dry lips. Give someone a drink." So I did. When an inmate passed by me I'd say "good morning" or
"How's it going?"I even admonished some with that new quote, and told them to pass it along. They said they would.

Then at the end of the day on my way home I got to listen to the NPR Orlando show Friends Talking Faith by the Three Wise Guys, and heard this:

The Dalai Lama once said, "My religion is kindness." Perhaps in this often angry, fearful and rancorous political climate in our nation, it’s time for people of faith to stand and be counted on the side of kindness. For it’s only through the spirit of kindness that we’ll be able to fashion a society, a culture and a nation fit to live in. – Reverend Bryan G. Fulwider

From Friends Talking Faith, May 3, 2016 – Faith & Politics: Difference between Separation and Distinction. 

Show someone kindness today, and give thanks to God for kindness received.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

A Note to My Pastor

Dear Pastor,

If I were to title your sermon today it would be Opening Up The Kingdom.

When I was a child, I experienced so much rejection in my family church.  If someone smoked, drank, payed less than a full tithe or were immoral they were shunned, disfellowshiped and even excommunicated.  Fast forward now 30 years with prison populations probably doubled since then, gays out of the closet, pornography a challenge for 70% of Christian men, divorce the norm and and daily discussions on transgenders common.  What we see is our civilization being drawn toward two polar opposites - accept everything and everyone or close the doors to only the visibly righteous.

Your message today helped to mold my core values.  I shall accept every person as God's child worthy of acceptance, love and forgiveness. Period.  We the people, are God's people, that is our right and blessing given to us by the blood of Christ.

I will open my arms and my heart to love my brother and sister as Christ would.  That is my prayer.  I will treat the prison inmate with the same love and respect as my fellow officer or next door neighbor. That is my vow.

Build Your kingdom here
Let the darkness fear
Show Your mighty hand
Heal our streets and land
Set Your church on fire
Win this nation back
Change the atmosphere
Build Your kingdom here
We pray.
By Rend Collective - YouTube

Bless you in your continued work.

Saturday, April 2, 2016

My White Bread Recipe

I'm not a connoisseur of bread or bakery items.  I'm a utilitarian.  I make bread for toast, sandwiches and other uses to serve a family.  Wheat, Rye and specialty/gourmet breads are fine, but I bake family bread similar to American store bought white bread.  I've done the specialty loaves with exotic spices and herbs, cheeses and nuts, but I still come back to the trusted standard of simple ingredients.

If I were to bake my loaf from scratch, by hand in an oven or on a hearth I would still use the same recipe and order of ingredients because it has worked for centuries.

Back in about 1995 I purchased a ZojiRushi bread maker because it was "top of the line" by Consumer Reports at the time.  I have been using that same bread maker ever since, even though it makes vertical loaves and not the standard horizontal to simulate a loaf of store bought bread.  It is one of my top 10 purchases over my lifetime I'd dare to say

I use a balance (scale) when I can because of simplicity.  Flour is easier to measure by the gram, salt is easier to measure by the teaspoon.  I'll give both measurements and you can choose.  If you use strictly measuring cups and spoons you'll be fine, strictly a scale and you'll also be fine.  Use both and you'll save some time.  (I'm a poet and don't know it.)

Here is my recipe for Basic White Bread.

With the bread maker pan on the balance (scale) press Zero or Tare between ingredients.  Add them IN THIS ORDER.

  • 1 1/3 cups water (320 mL or grams)
  • 4 Tbsp. sugar (46 g) - sucrose for the yeast
  • 2 Tbsp. dried milk (8 g) which provides lactose for the yeast, plus lubricant.
  • 2 tsp. salt (11 g) - provides seasoning
  • 2 1/2 Tbsp. butter or vegetable oil (35 g) - I use veggie oil.  The important thing is oil provides lubrication in the process. Oils have less fat than butter, and are a better lubricant.
  • 4 1/4 cups of flour(544 g), a discussion item, but - I prefer Gold Medal Unbleached Bread flour, but frankly I will use anything in my cabinet.  I mix flours if I have to, rather than take a trip to the store.
  • Yeast - add 2 tsp or 1 packet of active dry yeast (6 g) to the top of the pile. - Check the date for expiration.
Place the pan in the bread maker, set the mode to Quick Bread  and press Start. Walk away for 4 hours - go somewhere. One note of caution here.  If I do this before I go to bed the bread machine keeps me up all night with the aroma more than the sound.  I have to bake my bread on the weekends or earlier in the day.

I add the ingredients in this order to keep the liquids separate from the solids as long as possible, and the yeast separate from everything else as long as possible.  This insures the yeast is not affected from contact from too hot or cold water, or die because it contacts the salt.

In about 4 hours you'll have an edible, tasty, utilitarian loaf of bread that is delicious fresh or for sandwiches this week.

My last batch went moldy after a week kept on the kitchen counter-top, because there are no preservatives in this bread.   We ate most and gave the rest to our backyard birds.

Thursday, March 31, 2016

As I Lay Me Down To Sleep

As I lay me down and reflect upon my day,
I see all the beauty that was placed before me.
I experienced so much goodness in my interactions,
Random people blessed me as a fragrant bouquet.

May tomorrow be like it, may my steps be blessed.
Let me be an influence, like a cool drink of water,
To those who thirst or hunger for kindness,
Help me see their needs are addressed.


Call Your Mama

One word daily is better than a thousand words yearly.
Kind words are always appreciated dearly. - gk

Write a note, make a call to a loved one. It will bless your life and theirs.

Sunday, March 27, 2016

An Easter Message of Hope

On one hand I cannot believe I wrote a Passover message prior to Easter.  What was I thinking?

Just let me say this...I know that my Redeemer lives. What comfort this sweet sentence gives! He lives, he lives, who once was dead. He lives, my ever-living Head.He lives to bless me with his love. He lives to plead for me above. He lives my hungry soul to feed. He lives to bless in time of need. Source

This Lenten season, Ash Wednesday through today has been a season of continual reflection.  One holy day merged into another, and now the Jewish holiday of Passover begins soon..  The Bible story can not only be wonderfully broken down into individual messages of inspiration and wisdom, but it also must be look at as a whole; the same with one’s spiritual life.

Long before I was positively influenced by Christ’s disciples in my high school (thank you), I was taught by my family and the religion of our past generations, the LDS Church.

Forty years later I recall some of the teachings and hymns of my childhood and fondly sing them under my breath, so as not to be seemingly judged by some of my main stream Christian contemporaries. As I think of Easter, this song comes to mind which is a traditional LDS hymn. I only included the first verse and the chorus because that is what rings in my heart and causes me to sing aloud.

The Day Dawn Is Breaking

The day dawn is breaking, the world is awaking,
The clouds of night's darkness are fleeing away.
The worldwide commotion, from ocean to ocean,
Now heralds the time of the beautiful day.

Beautiful day of peace and rest,
Bright be thy dawn from east to west.
Hail to thine earliest welcome ray,
Beautiful, bright, millennial day.

Now a message of hope written by a friend suffering from depression, that end in a message of hope reflected in Easter...

On My Finite Depression

Is it possible to be happy again, normal?
I get by daily by following my routine,
But sometimes it can get very dark.
Knowing deep inside I'm blessed, sometimes joyful.

Family, friends, a loving wife. A life blessed.
But shadows are comfortable and darkness my friend,
Hours pass, accomplishing nothing.
When I was younger, unstoppable this didn't need to be addressed.

I see a light ahead, just out of reach.
One week, month, year of this yet to go.
I'll hang in there, because of faith.
Faith in a a power greater, that will let this wall be breached.
I can because He is risen!

-author's name withheld.

Friday, March 25, 2016

Matzah 2016

I really have an appreciation for Jewish people. I'll never understand what they've been through, or the discrimination they've faced or face today. However, I have a deep respect for their traditions, therefore the following recipe, an adaptation from recipe Matzah.

Matzah - the bread made by the Jews during the Passover...I know Wiki is not the best source for information. I am only including this link as a reference for general knowledge...

In preparation for the Passover this year, April 22-30, this is how I made my Matzah, and it is a superior recipe to previous years...

Move an oven rack near the top of oven and preheat oven to 475 degrees F.

1 cup all-purpose, unbleached kosher flour
about 1/3 cup water (more/less if needed)
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 teaspoon all-purpose flour for dusting on the counter and the roller

Yields: about 4 – 5 inch diameter pieces of unleavened bread. In a religious ceremony, this amount would serve approximately 100 people.

Add in all ingredients to mixer bowl.

Move an oven rack near the top of oven and preheat oven to 475 degrees F.

Preheat a heavy baking sheet or baking stone in the oven. Dust a clean work surface and a rolling pin with 1 teaspoon flour, or as needed. Place 1 cup of flour into a mixing bowl; set a timer for about 16 minutes (18 minutes maximum). Start the timer; pour the water, about 1 tablespoon at a time, into the flour. Stir the water and flour together with a fork until the dough forms a rough ball, remove the dough to the prepared work surface, knead rapidly and firmly until smooth, about 30 seconds to 1 minute.

Divide the dough into four equal pieces. Swiftly roll each piece into a ball. Roll each piece of dough out into a 5-inch pancake and it will be about ¼ inch thick, dusting the top and rolling pin with flour as needed. Gradually roll the pancakes out to a size of about 5 inches  Roll from the center out. The bread rounds should be thin about 1/4 inch thick. Using a fork, quickly pierce each bread about 20 times, all over, to prevent rising. The holes should go completely through the bread. Flip the bread over, and pierce each piece another 20 times or so.

Place the rounds onto the baking sheet. Place the baking sheet onto the rack near the top of the oven, and bake for 5 minutes; turn the breads over and bake an additional 4 minutes, until the Matzah are lightly browned and crisp.

Recipe Modification! - April 2, 2016 - Today I didn't want to mess with a rolling pin and flouring the cabinet today so I mixed it in a bowl and made it flat like a thick tortilla, then popped it in the oven.  Bake @ 475 for 8 minutes, flip then 8 more minutes.  A longer baking time.

Transfer to a wire rack to cool. Lightly anoint each Matzah with olive oil, using a brush, and sprinkle generously with salt.

  • Making Matzah breads kosher for Passover requires using special Kosher flour that has been guarded from contact with liquids. I used Gold Medal, Kosher, unbleached all-purpose flour.
  • The cook is allowed no longer than 18 minutes from the point they combine the flour and water to when they remove the Matzah from the oven in order for it to be considered fit for Passover.

Monday, March 21, 2016

A Prison Teacher Begins His Day

A Prison Teacher Begins His Day

Safe light. I look across a field of blue,
Moving, stirring, coming this way.
A vertical white stripe runs down the pant leg.
An inmate comes into view.

They enter the classroom willing to learn,
Some more than others.
A few eager, and some not enthusiastic.
Many just come because it’s a safe place for time to burn.

Teaching men who committed crimes,
I’m here to do my part, to help transform.
Hopefully they will become anew,
As they survive and do their time. Some decades.

We all have our role to which we’ve been ordained.
Mine to help these men who’ve been imprisoned,
That they may eventually resume their lives,
And return to our communities again.


Saturday, March 19, 2016

This Week's Limericks

My Friday Note to Sandy

Today is Friday!
Wa Hoo! It's my day! (and yours)
May it be blessed,
Free of stress.
And your greatest challenge be child's play.


Outdoors Geometry
(Oh, the Wonderful Wedge)

Useful is the polyhedron,
Made of steel, preferred in Sweden.
Most call it a wedge,
Used with a sledge.
By lumberjacks before winter season.

Mathematically, its plane geometry.
Working equally on pine, oak and mahogany.
Splitting wood fine or coarse,
It works like a horse.
The finest of low technology.


A Tribute to Wimpy

I'd gladly pay you Tuesday, for a Hamburger today!
No, I'm not Wimpy, or the Galloping Gourmet.
A hamburger for lunch is,
The climactic ever-best is,
A sandwich, a bun, some cheese and mayonnaise.


Tuesday, March 15, 2016

What Do You Think Of Me?

What Do You Think Of Me?

Father in Heaven
What do you think of me?
I am so rich,
But feel I don’t deserve any of this.
What do you think of me?

My life is so blessed.
Strength on this journey is my request.
What do you think of me?

Have I helped someone in need,
Or passed by them, neglecting a good deed?
What do you think of me?

Please help me make my life,
To You a living sacrifice.
What do you think of me?

This gift from above,
Of unconditional love.
This is what you think of me! Thank you.


Friday, March 11, 2016

A Great American Love Story

Every once in a while I’ll run across something extraordinary that is brand new to me, but has actually been around for a long-long time. When that happens I am always so surprised and occasionally dumbfounded that I haven’t come across this earlier in my life. I ask myself, “Where have I been?” or “How did this wonderful thing exist without me knowing about it?”

The story and letter below knocked my socks off when I heard it the first time on public television (PBS).  It is the story of a Union officer and his last days before he was killed in action.  It is a love story in the form of a letter; expressing love of country, duty, honor, family and romance.  At the bottom I included references so you the reader can research further.

One last thought before the letter of Sullivan Ballou. Heroes such as these can be found all over the globe and throughout time.  The difference with this one is that it was recorded, archived, and shared.  I urge the reader to investigate and record your own ancestral stories so as to honor the heroes we have in our own families and in our communities.

The setting is Union Headquarters, Camp Clark, Washington, D.C., July 14, 1861, near the beginning of the American Civil War.  Major Ballou died in battle fifteen days after he wrote this letter. - gk

By Sullivan Ballou

My very dear Sarah:

The indications are very strong that we shall move in a few days—perhaps tomorrow. Lest I should not be able to write you again, I feel impelled to write lines that may fall under your eye when I shall be no more.
Sullivan Ballou
Our movement may be one of a few days duration and full of pleasure—and it may be one of severe conflict and death to me. Not my will, but thine O God, be done. If it is necessary that I should fall on the battlefield for my country, I am ready. I have no misgivings about, or lack of confidence in, the cause in which I am engaged, and my courage does not halt or falter. I know how strongly American Civilization now leans upon the triumph of the Government, and how great a debt we owe to those who went before us through the blood and suffering of the Revolution. And I am willing—perfectly willing—to lay down all my joys in this life, to help maintain this Government, and to pay that debt.

But, my dear wife, when I know that with my own joys I lay down nearly all of yours, and replace them in this life with cares and sorrows—when, after having eaten for long years the bitter fruit of orphanage myself, I must offer it as their only sustenance to my dear little children—is it weak or dishonorable, while the banner of my purpose floats calmly and proudly in the breeze, that my unbounded love for you, my darling wife and children, should struggle in fierce, though useless, contest with my love of country.

Sarah, my love for you is deathless, it seems to bind me to you with mighty cables that nothing but Omnipotence could break; and yet my love of Country comes over me like a strong wind and bears me irresistibly on with all these chains to the battlefield.

The memories of the blissful moments I have spent with you come creeping over me, and I feel most gratified to God and to you that I have enjoyed them so long. And hard it is for me to give them up and burn to ashes the hopes of future years, when God willing, we might still have lived and loved together and seen our sons grow up to honorable manhood around us. I have, I know, but few and small claims upon Divine Providence, but something whispers to me—perhaps it is the wafted prayer of my little Edgar—that I shall return to my loved ones unharmed. If I do not, my dear Sarah, never forget how much I love you, and when my last breath escapes me on the battlefield, it will whisper your name.

Forgive my many faults, and the many pains I have caused you. How thoughtless and foolish I have often been! How gladly would I wash out with my tears every little spot upon your happiness, and struggle with all the misfortune of this world, to shield you and my children from harm. But I cannot. I must watch you from the spirit land and hover near you, while you buffet the storms with your precious little freight, and wait with sad patience till we meet to part no more.

But, O Sarah! If the dead can come back to this earth and flit unseen around those they loved, I shall always be near you; in the brightest day and in the darkest night—amidst your happiest scenes and gloomiest hours—always, always; and if there be a soft breeze upon your cheek, it shall be my breath; or the cool air fans your throbbing temple, it shall be my spirit passing by.

Sarah, do not mourn me dead; think I am gone and wait for me, for we shall meet again.

As for my little boys, they will grow as I have done, and never know a father's love and care. Little Willie is too young to remember me long, and my blue-eyed Edgar will keep my frolics with him among the dimmest memories of his childhood. Sarah, I have unlimited confidence in your maternal care and your development of their characters. Tell my two mothers his and hers I call God's blessing upon them. O Sarah, I wait for you there! Come to me, and lead thither my children.


By Major Sullivan Ballou
Union Army, 2nd Rhode Island Infantry Regiment
Born: March 28, 1829, Smithfield, Rhode Island
Died: July 29, 1861, Age 32, KIA 1st Battle of Bull Run, near Manassas, VA
Survived by wife, Sarah Hart Shumway, and children William and Edgar

Buried: Swan Point Cemetery
585 Blackstone Boulevard
Providence, RI 02906
Tel: 401-272-1314
Location: Group 205A, Lot 6, GPS (DDS) Location: (Lat./Lon.): 41.85405, -71.38027

National Park Service Record of Sullivan Ballou
Wikipedia reference
Swan Point Cemetary