Brian Lambert

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Prepare Your Home For Winter With These Hacks

Posted by Brian Lambert on Nov 24, 2020 1:59:00 PM

Prepare your home for winter with these hacks

It happened again. It seems to happen every year. I am sitting on the patio of my mountaintop home in 70-degree weather plotting out my next bike ride when the weather forecasters start sounding the alarm for winter. In my area, that means snow and wind. We have regular sustained winds of 60 mph and gusts up to 85 mph as storms roll through, so it is essential to be prepared, or risk serious consequences.

My first year living on the hill I used bungee cords to try to keep everything in my yard from blowing away, but the weather was just too severe for the elastic. The cords disintegrated over time and became useless. When I saw a lawn chair connected to a bungee hovering over the hill like a kite on a string, I knew I needed a better solution.

Keep your patio furniture safe from wind storms with Gear Ties

Since I don’t have the storage space to bring in all the patio furniture, I use Gear Tie Reusable Rubber Twist Ties to fasten most of the pieces to the deck rails. I use the 18” and 24” most frequently because they are easy to tie and untie when I want to move a chair.

Gear Tie Reusable Rubber Twist Ties

Once our first hard freeze is in the forecast, I know it’s time to blow out the irrigation system. I also wrap insulation around the exposed pipes, and secure it in place with 12” Gear Ties.

Insulating your sprinkler pipes

The hoses get disconnected, wrapped with 24” Gear Ties, and hung up for the season.

Gear Tie Reusable Rubber Twist Tie

I also have rain barrels that I remove from the gutters and store outside. I use KnotBone Adjustable Bungees as well as 12’ Dual CamJam Tie Down System to affix the barrels to the fence for the winter. I love both of these products because I can adjust the length and tension of the bungees, and respectively move the CamJam buckle to anywhere on the webbing, so it is easy to manage when I need to tighten or adjust.

KnotBone Adjustable Bungee and Dual CamJam Tie Down System

The heavy wind and wet snow can sometimes knock down trees or power lines, so we lose power a couple times each winter and must rely on our generator. We keep the starter battery inside the house and connected to a trickle charger, so it’s always ready when we need it. The rubber band that originally held the battery in place rotted, so I use an 18” Gear Tie to keep it in place when it’s running. I also keep 10 gallons of fuel just in case we have a sustained outage.  

My last little hack is for my truck.  There is not much room for me to chain up in the canyon and I’m concerned that someone won’t see me as I’m lying in the road at night, so I have a winter chain up kit I repurposed from summer products, including two NiteGem LED Luminaries, a red LED Mini Glow Stick, a Radiant 250 Headlamp, three extra AAA batteries, a pair of winter work gloves, and my Carhartt coveralls, all stored in a RunOff Waterproof Large Packing Cube. I can just grab it, suit up, and feel safe while I'm crawling around in the snow putting on the chains.

Winter chain-up kit

And just like that, we’re buttoned up and ready to hunker down for winter. Granted, it’s taken me a few failures before I found what works, but such is life. That being said, I’m always on the lookout for new tips. Leave a comment and let me know what other improvements I should consider for my winterizing strategy.

Topics: Gear Ties, DIY, Home, runoff, Tie Downs

How The Clip Pock-Its XL Utility Holster Became My Favorite Accessory

Posted by Brian Lambert on Jul 1, 2020 11:13:57 AM

How The Clip Pock-Its XL Utility Holster Became My Favorite Accessory

If you consider yourself a Do-It-Yourselfer, have home projects, or are thinking of adding a new feature to your personal sanctuary, the Clip Pock-Its XL Utility Holster is going to be your new favorite accessory. This is the story of how it became mine….

We purchased our dream home in the mountains a couple of years ago, and with it came the customary honey-do list of things to update. This included replacing some electrical outlets, installing blinds and replacing light fixtures. 

How The Clip Pock-Its XL Utility Holster Became My Favorite Accessory

I broke out the Clip Pock-its XL Utility Holster to begin the job. In mine I keep a Phillips and standard screwdriver, my DoohicKey Key Chain Knife, crescent wrench, pliers, and wire cutters, so I'm always ready to tackle basic tasks. I added a contact voltage tester for the work around the house and the holster carried everything I needed to complete the list (and maintain a healthy marriage).

NiteDog and NiteHowl in the snowIt was still dark when my dog Dexter came running into my room at 5:30am and woke me to let him out. It had snowed almost 3 feet the night before and it was still snowing. The moon was almost full, and it lit the falling snow like glitter gently falling to the ground. I could have used an extra hour of sleep, but the winter scene made it worth getting up early, plus I was going to have to plow the road in order to get to work. 

It was about 15 below zero, so I layered up, brewed a cup of coffee, climbed into my Polaris ATV, and started plowing down the mountain. I was about halfway down the road when I heard a loud pop. I didn’t think anything of it since the occasional rock would bounce into the plow, but when I attempted to brake as I started down a steep descent, the pedal went to the floor. I quickly dropped the plow to stop the rig and climbed out into the cold morning to see what happened. My tire chain had popped, snagged the brake line, and ripped it off. There was no way to move it safely, so I put a couple of rocks under the tires and hiked back up the hill. I was pondering trying to blast through the last half mile with my truck so I could get to work and to the store to get a new brake line, but the wind was picking up and covered what I had just plowed. Plan B…. It was MacGyver time. 

I grabbed my Clip Pock-Its Holster (already loaded with the tools I needed), as well as some silicone tape and sealant and skied back down the hill to fix the brake line. I dug under my rig through the snow, untangled the chain, re-routed the line, wrapped the holes in silicone tape, and spread the sealant to try to stop the leak. Even though I was crawling back and forth in the snow, the holster stayed snuggly on my belt, giving me easy access to my tools without having to take off my gloves. I started the engine to try to warm it under the Polaris enough for the silicone to dry. It worked! The brakes were soft, but I was able to run two lanes to clear enough snow enough to get out. (Warning: It was a temporary fix in an emergency sort of situation. I do not recommend this.  Broken brake lines should always be replaced.)  

How The Clip Pock-Its XL Utility Holster Became My Favorite Accessory

Living in the mountains has many advantages, but anyone with a house in a remote area that is forested is concerned about fires.  Wildfire mitigation to create a defensible space around the home is essential and, in many states, a mitigation plan is required by law. In my case, the area I live unfortunately already burned down. The fire mitigation plan is oriented towards clearing the dozens of downed trees and when possible, harvesting the tree for firewood. This was the perfect excuse to buy a new chainsaw.  Anyone that has used a chainsaw will tell you that it is essential to keep it sharp. I might have to sharpen the saw a couple of times a day, depending on the number of trees.  A good sharpening kit will include a couple of round files, a flat file, and a round file guide and depth gauge. I like to include my DoohicKey Knife and a tweezers, which all fit perfectly in the holster. I wear it around the property so I don't have to walk back to the house when my chainsaw needs to be sharpened. I ended up using it so often that I bought a second holster so I can keep my chainsaw kit at the ready when I need it.

How The Clip Pock-Its XL Utility Holster Became My Favorite Accessory

To sum it up, whether I'm accomplishing a simple task, or in a critical situation, the Clip Pock-Its XL Utility Holster makes the job easier. I don't have to constantly hunt for my tools or worry about how to get them where I need them. If you want an incredibly convenient way to carry essential tools, this holster is the accessory you need…plus, it works much better than a tool belt if you want to wear shorts. 

Topics: Emergency Preparedness, DIY, Home

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