Monday, August 25, 2014

Cut the Cord: Solar Lighting Part 2

I promised back on "Cut the Cord" to have more solar lighting ideas. 

It took a little searching for the right solar lights for the fixtures I had put aside to continue this project. With several completed and a few more to do later on, welcome to Cut the Cord;  Part Two!  

Basically all we are doing here is taking fixtures and turning them into unique solar lighting items.   Using an electrical fixture, candelabra, statue, bird feeder or what ever suits your fancy, to create a solar piece. 

Planter Lamp Shade 

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For this one, I used a brass lamp, a metal hanging planter, spray paint and a solar light attached to the lamp with a water seal epoxy.

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Having eight solar projects here today, I'm only going to give brief descriptions and limit photos to shorten the length of this post. If you have any questions, I'll be happy to answer them. 

Hanging Lamp Post 

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This old rusty light fixture was going to be a plant hanger. I changed that idea when I found this battery operated candle lantern.   
Removing the candle and adding this crackle globe solar light inside the lantern was easy.  Then I removed the bulb receptacle on the light fixture and spray painted the iron. When dry,  I attached the lantern to the iron fixture.

I love the "old world" feel of this one. 
Tall Brass Lamp 

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I chose this glass and metal solar light for this tall brass lamp.  I removed the wiring then spray painted the lamp. Then used the top only of the solar light attached with water seal epoxy. Super easy! 

I had to do this one because a friend, Darlene,  did a pair like this and shared it with me.  She was inspired by my "Cut the Cord" post and now I'm inspired by her lamps! I fell in love with them.  I just gotta show ya... 

By Darlene Devine 

Retro Lamp

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Wall Light 
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Long Wall Light Fixture 

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Sidewalk Lamp Post 

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Wine Bottle Light... or stopper? 

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NEVER easier!  Just the top of a small solar light stuck into a wine bottle!  

Ha! Maybe a new bottle topper after dinner relaxation outdoors? 

What solar light ideas are you working on? I'd love to see them! 


Monday, August 18, 2014

Herkimer Diamond Mining and Stone Buildings

A spur of the moment idea lead us to the Herkimer area of New York  for a much needed long weekend getaway.

We camped at the Herkimer Diamond Mines Resort. It was a one stop spot for our camping excursion and  "diamond mining expedition".  The place has everything you can imagine. A store complete with groceries, camper parts, souvenirs, clothing, firewood, and even  toothbrushes (we found out our son forgot his after unpacking).  

A schedule of activities started at 9 a.m. right through to 9 p.m. throughout the weekend. The pavilion based numerous family fun activities:  Even a pizza parlor/cafe  (you could order pizza and/or breakfast and have it delivered to site) bingo and other games, DJ and dancing, contests, and organized parades.  The playground is big enough to support a central school system. 

Lots are available for tents and RV's. There are cabins and green cabin rentals with plenty of restrooms and shower houses. 

We reserved an RV lot; right on the bank of the West Canada Creek.   It provides a fast moving water ride for those using tubes and kayaks. (Not recommended for swimming due to the currents and rocks.)

But wading at the edge and fishing is allowed.   "Crayfish catching" is encouraged and an organized activity for the kids. 

Swimming is allowed at the pool and of course my youngest son was very pleased.
A few different types of pedal carts are available for the kids and big kids to enjoy. 

Making smores is the park's theme. Complete kits are sold on the premises. A couple of evenings of these desserts were quite filling. (Only gained five pounds; I thought it would be worse.)

All is fun at the campsite but I had other things on my mind. Rocks. Diamond rocks. 

I came prepared with my wagon and tools. Bringing your own is welcomed and I didn't forget anything

The resort and diamond mines are pet friendly, so our dog enjoyed being with us instead of going to a doggie daycare. 

These Herkimer "diamonds" were the goal. The bigger and clearer, the better. I haven't chiseled this one out just yet. I'm saving it as is.

On a hardness scale, a true diamond scores a ten.  Herkimer Diamonds fall at a 7.5 on the scale, giving the real diamond a close race.  They are naturally faceted, each having eighteen facets and 2 points. 

Mr. R, working on the rock walls. 

Looking through the rock rubble on the ground also scored some finds. I found numerous loose diamonds on the grounds just walking to the rock ledges. (Very small ones.)

In its natural state, these sparkly gems are so much fun to chip out of the rocks.

This is my best stone so far. 

I haven't decided what to do with it yet.  If I get enough of them, I can use them to decorate a frame of a photo of our trip. Or put them in jewelry settings... or do both!  

The stones are of various sizes and clarity.  They can be evaluated and sold at the Diamond Mine Store.  We kept all of ours. 

You can keep whatever you find and take home your rocks too. My wagon held up the weight of several... okay... many rocks to haul home for leisurely chipping.  I think I'll keep this hefty diamond in its original rocky house just for display.
It was fun... and still is with the rocks we brought home to finish mining!  

So when it was time to pack up, with full intentions of coming back again and maybe very soon, 
we allowed plenty of time to do a little sightseeing on the way home and support local businesses.

We stopped at the Palatine Cheese Factory in Nelliston and bought some of our favorite flavors after sampling them.  A day trip back to Palatine Valley Dairy Store just for the green olive and garlic cheese is in order! It's not pictured here because we ate the whole package, thus need to go back for more. 

As we continued on Route 5 there was a castle that pulled us in. 
We stopped by this lovely old establishment too early for dinner  so we just visited the grounds.  We had no idea that this restaurant is one of the top ten castles in the US until we got home and further looked  up information about it. Hmm... "haunted"?  I don't know, but it is an interesting building with history.  A complete castle with a Dungeon

View of the Beardslee Castle from the front gardens.  A fabulous place for a wedding. 

Doesn't it make a great place for a Murder Mystery?  That is covered.  Check it out! 

Murder Mystery Dinner Theaters

You can guess, we are going! 

I love arched entrances and what makes this remarkable is the hand forged iron, of course. The trumpet vines have been allowed to adorn the building which frames the entrance beautifully and naturally. 

I peeked around the side into a courtyard garden. 

It gave way to another view of the stately stoned building.

I can't wait to revisit. Usually a sea scallop and shrimp diner, I have my mind set on the Walnut Crusted Pork Loin. It's just to experience the ambiance of the castle.

Moving on and just directly across Old State Road is this stone barn. 

A gorgeous Holstein farm meticulously maintained and bordered with perennials.

A kind gentleman caring for the flowers showed me where to get better shots of the barn.  

I couldn't imagine the work put into this unique structure but certainly well worth it. If it has stood this long, it will never be affected by any kind of storm. 

Oh how I would love such a barn myself. 

We continued to Fonda, NY. 

An old abandoned stone built church, it seems.  

Zion, circa 1866 

Intrigued by it, I didn't find much information about it and was just glad to stop and check it out. After researching it a bit, I found it was sold on an Ebay auction for $20,100 after 55 bids two years ago.  I wonder if anyone will do anything with it.

Next time, we need a week instead of a long weekend to take in all of the sights and activities. Along the way was Fort Klock in St. Johnsville.  A fortified stone homestead in the Mohawk Valley built by Johannes Klock in 1750. After looking it up, the Battle of Klock's Field was fought just northwest of the fort in October 1780. It was closed as we passed by it so it makes for some interesting reading on the net before we go back again. 

Fort Klock
Built in 1750 by Johannes Klock, this fortified homestead also served as an early trading post. Generals Schuyler and Clinton, along with Alexander Hamilton and Mohawk Chief Joseph Brant stayed here on their passages through the valley. Now maintained by Fort Klock Historic Restoration the complex includes in addition to the home, a Colonial Dutch Barn, blacksmith shop, and 19th century schoolhouse. Fort Klock is open to visitors Memorial Day through mid-October.

(After exhaling all of the fun and excitement... I inhale a breath here.)  Well, after chipping away at rocks and stones and seeing stone buildings, I think I had my fair share of rock examinations for now and best get back to work.