April 1, 2006

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WELCOME BACK:  After 5 1/2 years of newsletters this will be your last! We're sorry to say that but we've just completely run our of words and ideas, or not! April fools!! We're afraid that you're stuck with us for the duration. We love doing our little newsletter and will continue as long as there is someone out there willing to subscribe to it.

Spring has sprung, sort of. Here in Western Washington spring is a time of warming weather, flowers blooming and weather of every kind. The first day of spring was one of the most beautiful first day's of spring we've ever had. The next day it rained! On any given day we can have sun and blue skies followed by big black clouds and rain followed by hail followed by more sun followed... You get the picture. It's always an interesting time of year and we like it.

Of course along with spring comes Easter. We're hoping that the weather will cooperate for a change with all the egg hunters and sunrise service goer's. I don't know how many Easter Sunday's I sat on a grassy knoll with an umbrella and blanket for a sunrise service. Historically it is cold and rainy in our neck of the woods on Easter. We are having an optimistic outlook this year and it will be a beautiful and warm day.

If you haven't been to our web site lately we've added a new button. It's our shameless "Make A Donation" button! As you should know by now all our project and craft plans are free. This newsletter is free. Our recipes are free. Jezz, we must be loosing our shirts! Actually the only cost besides time is the materials we buy for our projects and the web hosting. Still this can really add up over time and we've asked for a little help from our readers and web surfers. If you feel compelled to donate a few bucks to our cause we would really appreciate it. You can click on the "Make A Donation" button on our web site or if you are really moved you can click on this button!

It will take you to PayPal where you can donate with a credit card or your PayPal account. We've suggested an amount of $5.00 but anything really does help defray our costs. We'll keep bringing you great projects and tips even if you don't donate but you might feel awfully guilty :-)

Butcher Block Oil

One of our readers wrote that she was having a hard time finding a good oil for her new butcher block. As it turns out our Spoon Oil is just the ticket. It's called Spoon Oil because it was developed to use on wooden kitchen utensils but it works equally well on butcher blocks. If you've been looking for a good oil to protect your butcher block look no further, Spoon Oil will do the trick!

While you're at our Spoon Oil site check out all the different spoons and kitchen tools that we have at www.runnerduck.com/woodnwares.htm.

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Thank you,
Ken and Marilyn

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What's New?   Daylight Savings Time! Well it will be new tonight. Remember to turn your clocks back one hour when you go to bed tonight. You might want to think about going to bed an hour early if you have something to do in the morning, you wouldn't want to be shorted on sleep.

We kind of wish they would just leave it all alone and set it permanently to daylight savings time. Here is the Northwest we get up and go to work in the dark so why not leave it alone so that we might at least get a little peek of light on the way home in the evening. It probably isn't going to happen but no big deal, we'll just catch back up our one hour of lost sleep next fall.

While we're talking about new and exciting things this month, Marilyn will have yet another birthday on the 22nd, yippee!! She won't say how old she is but lets just say that her mother was probably singing along with Teresa Brewer's "Baby, Baby, Baby"! Happy birthday Sweetie Pie.

One more thing, don't forget your taxes are due this month. One tiny piece of good news is that they are not due until the 17th since the 15th falls on a Saturday.


It seems like we've had an unusually high number of natural disasters lately with Katrina, tornados, wild fires and floods. We got to thinking about those poor souls that have lost everything and are now doing battle with the insurance agencies. Can you imagine how hard it must be to try and remember everything that you had? Well here comes our tip for this month.

Thanks to the digital technologies of today it's very easy to make a record of nearly everything you own. CD's and DVD's are a pretty bullet proof medium to store information on. They have lots of storage room for pictures and videos. So how do you get started.

Using your digital camera take a picture of every room in your house. Stand in the center of the room and take overlapping pictures as you turn around. Once you've covered the room zoom in on special, expensive and irreplaceable items. If you have an antique take several pictures of each piece. If it has a manufacturers mark take a close up of that too. For electronic equipment record the make, model and serial number. Some cameras do not have a good enough macro to get close enough to record this information. Write this information down and you can add it to the photo later. Some cameras have a video feature and you can actually video a panorama of the room.

Now take all these photos and burn them to a CD or DVD. If you need to use more than one that's OK because they are cheap! I first save all the pictures to my computers hard drive. I go through each photo and change the name to something recognizable. Most cameras will create a picture that is something like IMGP0394.jpg and that doesn't tell you much. Include copies of important documents. You can go to most any copy place and make Adobe .pfd files of them.

Once I get all the pictures on my computer I burn several copies of the CD's or DVD's. Keep a copy in a safe place like a fire safety box in your home. Give a copy to someone you trust and maybe even keep a copy at your place of work. Now if the unthinkable should happen you've got everything you need to make a good insurance claim.


Everybody likes to look at pretty or interesting photos. Well what if every day you got to look at a new photo that had an interesting tale to tell?

Ken's brother Ron pointed out this site that we check every day. It's the Astronomy Picture of the Day! They post a new picture each day that has a very detailed description. It is absolutely amazing what is going on in the world of astronomy.

We offer this site with one warning, the links in the text can take you and your mind to some wonderful places that will suck up the better part of a day. At least we find it so interesting that you can get sucked into following the links and before you know it time has evaporated!

For great photos and awesome information about space and science go to http://antwrp.gsfc.nasa.gov/apod/ and enjoy. By the way this is a great site for students who have to do book reports.


Flower Pot Easter Cart

As we mentioned above Easter is coming fast and this cool cart will help dress up your house. It's a little difficult for kids to make but you can use their help in painting the pot.

Here's what you'll need:

  • Small Terra Cotta Pot
  • Acrylic Paints
  • 2 Chennel's
  • Tacky Glue
  • Household Glue
  • 4 Wooden Wheels
  • 2 Wooden Beads
  • About 9" of wooden dowel the diameter of the holes in the wheels and beads
  • Paper Grass
Paint the Terra cotta pots to make it look festive with pastel colors.
You can buy wooden wheels at a craft store or make your own. We cut about 3/8" off each end of two small spools to make our wheels.
Determine how long your dowel axles will be by holding the wheels on the sides of the flower pot. Cut both dowels the same length.
Glue the wheels onto the axles with tacky glue, then paint.

Glue the axles onto the bottom of the flower pot with household glue.
Cut another length of dowel for the handle. We've added a wooden bead to each end for looks.
Glue the beads on and paint the handle.

To add the chennel's fold a length in half and in half again. Place the handle inside the last fold and twist the remaining length of chennel to the end. Repeat this for both sides.
Glue the chennels to the inside of the flower pot with household glue.
Fill the pot with Easter grass and add a colored egg or your pet's favorite toy :-)

Kitty Kitty's Mouse

Happy Easter, we hope it's a grand one!

Remember we have all of our past projects archived on our web site at www.runnerduck.com. Just click on the Projects or Kids Only Eggs.

Kids Stuff


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The Tempos
News and CD of the Week

The Tempos have firmed up their first summer concert of the season. Thursday, July 6th, they will be performing at the "Burien Concerts in the Park" series. They will perform from 6:30 to 8:00 at the Lake Burien School Memorial Park under the big monument. It should be a great evening so mark it on your calendar right now!

Check out The Tempos music from our "Swing Set" CD on line! That's right, you can listen to The Tempos anytime just by going to their web site. The music files are MP3's and some are as large as 9 MEG but we think they are well worth the download. If you like traditional old swing music then you will probably enjoy our CD. Just go to www.runnerduck.com/tempos_cd.htm and click on any song title.

The Tempos big swing band is available for hire. If you have a special event that could use the wonderful music of a classic sixteen piece big band be sure to contact kennyb@runnerduck.com. We perform all over the Seattle area for all sorts of events.

Album Pick of the Week

"Good Road"
by Dave Peck

It's been a while since we've featured a jazz trio and a northwest performer. Dave Peck is a wonderful piano player that has a very soft and unique style. His trio consists of himself, drummer Joe La Barbera and bassist Jeff Johnson. These world class musicians have performed all over the world and their class shows through on this CD.
"Good Road" is one of those 3:00 in the morning type of CD's that will put you in a mellow mood. If you haven't heard Dave and his group you really need to do yourself a favor and get this CD.


Be sure and visit the RunnerDuck Music Store for great savings on just about anything.


We're doing something a little different this month. We are soliciting you for ideas on saving gas. Our favorite and cheapest gas station just went up to $2.53 per gallon. I know to some of you readers in other countries this is a small price to pay but here in the states it's a pretty big deal.

We're looking for some realistic but creative ideas. We all know that walking or riding a bicycle saves gas but in this day of long commutes and congested traffic we're hoping for something more. Just send your ideas to kennyb@runnerduck.com and we'll pick the best one or two to post next month.

Keep in mind that the summer travel season is coming so travel ideas would be great! Thank you and we look forward to hearing from you.

If you have a conservation tip please send it to kennyb@runnerduck.com and we'll post it in our newsletter.

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This months joke comes from Tina P. It's not so much of a joke as a list of things to ponder. There were 44 one liners that she sent but we paired them down a little for our newsletter. Thanks Tina!

Why is "abbreviated" such a long word?

Why is lemon juice made with artificial flavor, and dishwashing liquid made with real lemons?

Why is the third hand on the watch called a second hand?

Can fat people go skinny-dipping?

Why is it considered necessary to nail down the lid of a coffin?

Why is it that rain drops but snow falls?

Why is the time of day with the slowest traffic called rush hour?

Why don't you ever see the headline "Psychic Wins Lottery"?

Why isn't there mouse flavored cat food? There is fish flavored!

Why is it that when you're driving and looking for an address, you turn down the volume on the radio?

Why is it called lipstick if you can still move your lips?

If Barbie is so popular, why do you have to buy her friends?

Why do steam irons have a permanent press setting?

Why do you need a driver's license to buy liquor when you can't drink and drive?

Why are there flotation devices under plane seats instead of parachutes?

If a cow laughed, would milk come out her nose?

If you tied buttered toast to the back of a cat and dropped it from a height, what would happen?

You know that little indestructible black box that is used on planes, why can't they make the whole plane out of the same substance?

Why do we drive on parkways and park on driveways?

Why is it that when you transport something by car, it's called a shipment, but when you transport something by ship, it's called cargo?

Why did Kamikaze pilots wear helmets?

If corn oil comes from corn, where does baby oil come from?


Tomato Pudding

This months recipe was sent in by Nancy L. We haven't made it yet but it sure does sound good.

Here's what Nancy said about it. This is an old Colonial recipe which I've enjoyed using. It's festive at Holiday time or any other time as an accompaniment for fowl, ham or other meats.

  • 1 - 12 ounce Can Tomato Paste
  • 2 Cups Brown Sugar
  • 1 Cup Boiling Water
  • 4 Cups Bread Cubes, heaping
  • 1 teaspoon salt, optional
  • 1 Tablespoon Chopped Fresh Basil
  • 2 Sticks Margarine
Melt the Margarine and add Bread Crumbs. The bread crumbs can be fresh, frozen or stale.
Pour into a 2 quart baking dish.
Add other ingredients and bake 30 to 40 minutes at 350 degrees F.
Serves 10 to 12.

Thanks a bunch Nancy we are looking forward to this terrific sounding dish.

Remember, if you have a recipe you'd like to share please send it to marilyn at runnerduck.com. We'd be happy to post your favorite recipe on our Kitchen site or in our newsletter and give you credit.

     Every month we post a new recipe on our web page. Be sure and check out the New recipe at the RunnerDuck Kitchen Store.


"The Tomato Festival Cookbook"
by Lawrence Davis-Hollander


While Nancy's Tomato Pudding is a good recipe we found a really good recipe book that has 150 additional recipes using tomatoes. It's a paperback cookbook that has 150 Recipes that Make the Most of Your Crop of Lush, Vine-Ripened, Sun-Warmed, Fat, Juicy, Ready-to-Burst Heirloom Tomatoes!
Robert A. Williams of Oberlin, Ohio review this book on Amazon.com and wrote: "This first-time author brings together renowned chefs and tomato connoisseurs who share over 150 mouth-watering recipes ranging from common preparations like spaghetti sauce to fancy creations like West African Chicken. Sidebar's of information are included giving growing tips and historical lore for selecting the best-tasting heirlooms for each recipe. Davis-Hollander uses carefully selected and saved tomato seeds to produce exquisite tomatoes for his exotic recipes. This is a good source for specific information on heirloom tomatoes and a variety of tasty dishes."

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Spring is here and it's time to start thinking about flowers. One of the best ways to display flowers is with a nice trellis and we think this one fits the ticket just fine. While we think we have a pretty nice design you can certainly do your own. We just want to get you excited about making one of your own. They are really pretty simple and fun to make.

Here's what you'll need:

Cedar 1" X 2" X 8'
Outdoor glue

The first step is to cut all the pieces. Here's the cut list:

  • (2) A - 25 1/4"
  • (6) B - 48"
  • (2) C - 84"
  • (2) D - 96"
  • (1) E - 19"
  • (2) F - 16"
  • (6) G - 15 1/2"
  • (6) H - 17 3/8"

Click to Enlarge

Now lay out the pieces in a large area approximately as shown. Cedar generally has two sides and I put the rough side out.
Place all the pieces so the same side is facing down. Put the front pieces down and lay the back pieces on top.
I left 1/2" overhang on every piece. To keep them all even and not have to measure each piece I used a 1/2 in piece of scrap wood.
Position the outside pieces and use a tape measure to square it up. Measure from corner to corner, both ways and the dimension should be the same.

Glue and nail all four corners. I used my pneumatic nailer, it worked great! Porter Cable 18 Ga., 2'' Brad Nailer Kit, Model #BN200A Porter Cable 18 Ga., 2'' Brad Nailer Kit, Model #BN200A

Now lay out the pieces per the following dimensions, glue and nail each piece. All vertical pieces are behind the horizontal pieces. Check your pieces for level by measuring from the top down once you've established one end of each piece.

Click to Enlarge

I made the diamond separately and then nailed it to the trellis.
Using a strap clamp glue the corners together.Bessey Variable Angle Strap Clamp
Bessey Variable Angle Strap Clamp

I did not nail the corners since they will get nailed to the trellis.

You'll need to add two small pieces of wood to the trellis to mount the diamond flat.
We added a small 1/2" X 1/2" detail to the front of the diamond. Like I said you can dress yours up any way you like.

Now find a nice place to mount it and start growing some flowers.

To see this project full size go to www.runnerduck.com/trellis/trellis.htm.

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