Journey Into Composting

Compost is considered black gold for gardners. We buy large quantities every year to try and amend our soil and make it more suitable for growing food. Compost is also a great way to get rid of food and yard scraps and “recycle” them back into good nutrients for the soil. Back in 2017, Allyson and I started our composting journey, mostly as a way to reduce our food waste. We bought a vermicompost box at that time. Vermicompost is made by putting food scraps into a bin with worms, typically red wigglers. Unfortunately, our first foray into vermicomposting resulted in a large number of fruit flies in the small apartment we were renting at the time. Luckily, we bought a home shortly after and had space to make a large compost pile outside. The vermicompost still lives on, but we put way less food in it now. This helps…

Continue Reading

Bathroom Upgrades – Part 2

Last week I wrote about installing a vent fan in our bathroom to help with the humidity (and smells). This week is about the chandelier that we installed. All of the wiring in our house when we moved in was ungrounded, including the lighting. I spent a couple weeks after we bought the house, but before we moved in, to run new wiring to all of the outlets with grounding. At that time I got an electrician to put in a new 200 amp service to our house and add the grounding rods. What I did not do, however, was upgrade any of the lighting. At the time I didn’t want to open up any walls or ceilings to access the wires. Honestly, the lighting circuits worked fine and there wasn’t a big rush to upgrade them.  That all changed when Allyson asked me to install a new chandelier in…

Continue Reading

Goal Setting – Update

Well, I figure it is about time I wrote an update regarding goals I set last fall. This feels like it is several months late, but better late than never. In that post, I laid out two different goals for myself using the SMART principles. Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time bound. I think it is fairly obvious to say that I did not meet my time-bound goals, but let’s revisit them now and see how I am doing.  Goal #1 - Weight loss My original goal was to lose weight and get down to 165-170 lbs. I specifically laid out that my goal was to lose 2lb/week until I hit 160 lbs. At that point I would try to put back on some muscle weight. Since I wrote that post about 28 weeks ago I obviously got down to 160 lbs without any problems. And it would make sense…

Continue Reading

New Workbench, Who Dis?

In another addition of Weekend Builds™ , I have made myself a new workbench/assembly table. (If you’re confused by Weekend Builds™ it’s because I just made it up). In general, I have been trying to finish my workshop completely before moving on to other projects. However, this has proven to be relatively difficult as other projects have come up. These other projects would be much easier if I could build them on a table, rather than on the ground, so I designed and built a simple workbench last weekend. To begin, I first had to decide what my main goal was for the workbench. While I would love to have an amazing woodworking bench with all of the clamps, bench dogs, and various contraptions I could ever want, I needed something simple and quick to get started. I wanted something sturdy, but I’ll be using it mostly for assembly, so…

Continue Reading

Grill Me

A couple of weekends ago I got a new grill. No, not the blinged out jewelry for your teeth grill; it is a "get hot and cook your food" grill. Allyson has been wanting an upgrade over our old grill for quite some time. In this case, probably a fair viewpoint considering I originally got that grill for $20 off of Craigslist. It didn’t heat evenly and really only had 1 setting, lava hot, but it lasted us for almost 2 years and we got 2 full propane tanks along with the grill for that original 20 spot. Whenever we decide to get a new kitchen/cooking item, we turn to Cook’s Illustrated to check out their reviews. In this case the highest recommended grill was a Weber Spirit II E-310. A three burner grill that they couldn’t say enough good things about. To top it all off, Allyson’s parents were very…

Continue Reading

French Fries and Gravy, Sir

Super Troopers is the first thing that pops into my head any time I hop into the car for a long road trip, and last weekend was no different. The blog is a couple of days behind schedule this week because my buddy needed some help moving from Indianapolis, IN to Loveland, CO (quite an upgrade if you ask me). While driving through some of the most boring parts of this country may not sound appealing to any of you, having the chance to fly out to Indy and drive back with my friend for a couple of days was amazing. Since college, I have had a fairly good history with road trips. It all started in 2010 (maybe?) when 2 of my 3 best friends hopped in a purple minivan with me and drove from Atlanta to Niagara Falls during our fall break from school. The “Purple Palace” served…

Continue Reading

Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone. I hope your holiday was filled with a healthy amount of unhealthy food and the perfect amount of family time (whatever that means for you). I also hope that your post-holiday days were filled with zero shopping. As always here at the Branchbarks household, we recommend buying used and limiting consumption, pretty much the exact opposite of black Friday. I won’t go on a rant today about consumerism; just know that it sucks the big green weenie as an old mentor used to say. Today I want to talk about gratitude. Obviously, this is an original and topical post that no one else could possibly think of around this time. The thing is, regardless of what time of the year it is, being grateful is a healthy practice. I’ve personally tried to keep a notebook on me all of the time that I fill up with…

Continue Reading

The Power of Community

While Community was a good show that I thought had a lot of interesting storytelling methods throughout the course of the series, it is not what I am talking about today. I want to talk about the community that we all build up around us every day.  I believe that building healthy communities within our friend groups and neighborhood can be a powerful way to make the world a better place. That may seem like an exaggeration to you, but there is so much good that comes out of a healthy and caring community.  You can learn so much from those around you. It is extremely easy these days to find yourself in an “echo chamber” of ideas that match your own. Getting outside of those environments and hearing from other perspectives and experiences makes us all more empathetic and understanding of others. As an example, I’ve enjoyed getting to…

Continue Reading

Do You Even Lift?

It seems as though winter has arrived early here in Denver. I’m currently looking at a light dusting of snow outside and the forecast is predicting 4-8” overnight and into tomorrow with another 4-8” expected on Tuesday. If this continues it will definitely put a damper on my typical exercise plans. It is pretty difficult for me to find ways of exercising that keep me interested and committed to doing it at least four days a week. So far, the only thing that I am able to do consistently is run, which really takes a hit during the winter. If I want to actually reach my goal of weighing 160 lbs and then adding muscle to 165 lbs, I am going to have to figure out a way to exercise consistently during the winter. Some of you may be thinking that a gym membership should be in my future, but…

Continue Reading

Idaho Stop

Who knows what it means to perform an “Idaho Stop”? No, it does not mean stopping for farm equipment or a giant load of potatoes, but I can’t blame you for thinking that initially. The “Idaho Stop” is actually a term that applies to bikers, named after Idaho became the first state (and still one of the few) to pass a law allowing bikers to treat stop signs as yield signs and red lights as stop signs when safe to do so.  All the way back in 1982, which I am sure was a simpler time full of neon clothing and large hair, Idaho updated many of their traffic laws and in doing so made it legal for bicycle riders to essentially do what they were already doing. As anyone who has ridden a bike can tell you, stop signs are the enemy of a smooth ride and are often…

Continue Reading
×