Redneck Bootcamp: Workday

Not all of Mr. Basketmaker’s Redneck Bootcamp is fun and games. One day was reserved for Ben to make some $$$.

Here he is stacking logs that Eric cut from the tree that fell in our yard a few weeks ago…


I’m thinking he didn’t find the work too hard because he would only fill the trailer with about twelve logs, drive to the stacked pile, unload and then go back and pick up a dozen more. After several trips, I realized he just wanted to drive that tractor back and forth! So a 30-minute job turned into almost two hours. And he wasn’t trying to take longer for more $$ since he made a flat rate per job.

After the logs, it was time to pick up all the brush and leaves and drive it out to the woods. He helped us a lot since this was a large tree and last week we were not able to finish it ourselves before leaving for the family reunion in Vermont. So the grass got awfully long.


He liked this job a lot more because he was able to drive the tractor for longer distance.



And here he is, with his pal Jaxson by his side, making his way inside the woods…


His workday couldn’t have been that bad — at the end of the day he was still smiling. Even had time to hangout with another critter friend…


Redneck Bootcamp: a Box, a Basket and a Salamander

Mr. Basketmaker created a special project for Ben to do in addition to a basket. Last year was a birdhouse and this year it’s a hinged box. Which Ben was excited about since he told us he needed more storage for all the money he’s been saving (that comment made a frugal and thrifty Aunt and Uncle so Proud!). Here he is sanding the parts that Eric created ahead of time…



Next was burning the wood. He enjoyed burning a design into my walking stick last year that we wanted him to have a much larger “burning wood” project. He sketched out the lid design in pencil (on the right – hard to see in photo) and then started practicing with the different tips on a scrap piece of wood.


So far it looks amazing! I was impressed with his creativity. He is still working on it however, so no final pics of the completed project as of yet.


He also got started on his basket. Here’s Mr. Basketmaker adjusting his uprights and giving him a lesson on keeping them straight and uniform. I must also point out that he changed into his camo here… Not sure why but I’m thinking because Eric was wearing his Patriots ‘digital camo’ hat. Or, it could be that he wanted to look ‘manly’ while working on a basket. Could go either way…


Ben definitely is a multi-tasker. He would periodically jump from weaving to working on his box. I don’t know about how he treats other disciplines but for Art & Craft projects he is so focused! You don’t hear a peep out of him!


And at the end of the day, as we were walking into the house from the workshop he met his first Salamander…


Did you see those hands? After an hour with his new little pet, he went straight to the shower before dinner.

Redneck Bootcamp: Smooth Wood & the Flag on the Moon

It was another eventful day at Mr. Basketmaker’s Redneck Bootcamp with our nephew Ben. However, one task that was not on the agenda was working on his walking stick from last year. When he saw Uncle Eric’s and how smooth it was, he said “I want mine to be just like his.” So the schedule had to be slightly adjusted…


Out to the workshop he went, put on the “headphones” and got to sanding. He spent hours on this…


I sensed his frustration after the fourth or fifth time he came into the house to show me his progress.  On the next visit to my office he asked “how much sanding do I need to do to get it as smooth as Uncle Eric’s… His is like silk!”

I replied “He’s a professional Ben. It takes years to get wood to do what you want it to do. But you’ll get there. Just keep at it.” All I heard was a groan. I’m thinking he had a vision of way more work than he thought!

He eventually got it to where he was happy with it. And glad he is since it replaced the time were to spend on constructing the anchors for his very own tree house. But I’m thinking we should have some time for this on Monday (hopefully). He was able to complete the sketch of the house, so at least it’s in progress.

After our busy day, it was time for a little “Astronomy” lesson. Eric took out his huge telescope to look at the moon. Below, he’s showing Ben how to operate the equatorial mount sight finder and the slow motion cable controls.


They also went through all the different magnification lenses for Eric’s telescope and when Ben viewed the moon with the largest magnification, he yelled “Hey Guys! I can see the flag on the moon!”


We both laughed and said “That’s cool Ben.” Who knows… maybe he did!