58) Went to the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum #NewThingEveryDay

LEGO Peacock
Today my wife and I went to the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum. Our street reconstruction is coming to a close and we are ready to look at a new driveway, walk, and front stairs — a whole new yard plan really — and we wanted to get some ideas.

Our visit also happened to coincide with the display of Sean Kenney’s sculptures with LEGO at the Arboretum. So there were a lot of families there that probably wouldn’t have been there otherwise. Still it wasn’t very crowded on a Friday morning.

The Arboretum is quite a drive from our house, it took us about 45 minutes to get there. I didn’t realize that it was so far away, I was wondering why my wife wanted to leave so early.

When we got there, they charged us $12 a person to get in. Right away after we parked the first thing we saw was the LEGO peacock. After a visit to the restroom we started exploring around the grounds.

Japanese Gardens


The Arboretum is a huge place. You can drive a three mile loop around the grounds or you can take one of many trails. It’s organized into gardens and and other collections. For instance you can visit the Rose Garden, the Japanese Garden, the Wildflower Garden, etc. or you can drive out to the Sculpture Garden or the Maze Garden…a real hedge maze. There are way too many to list.

Water Feature

There are also many different fountains and water features including a river that runs down several waterfalls into a boggy area. Walking on the boardwalk through the bog, continuing through the woods, and then ending up in the wildflower garden was probably my part of the trip.

LEGO Hummingbird

57) Subscribed to MOD YouTube Channel #NewThingEveryDay


I judge a podcast or show by how many times I need to stop it to go check on something they are talking about. A good one will start a cascade of things to check out that gets me lost for hours. This just happened to me with MOD on YouTube.

I just heard about this channel on another podcast I just started listening to: Making It. I think it was Jimmy DiResta’s pick on one of the many shows I’ve listened to so far.

I am absolutely horrible about reviewing media. This includes, books, movies, podcasts, and videos. For some reason, when I start to write, I just can’t think of anything to say. Which is weird because I’m hardly ever at a lack of words.

Let me just say, if you’re into tech and making things, you’ll probably like MOD.

56) Learned to Play Mancala #NewThingEveryDay

Lego Mancala board

My daughter has been playing Mancala in her summer program. She couldn’t wait for me to either buy or make her a board, so she made her own out of LEGO.

Since I was the only person available to play with her, she insisted on teaching me the rules for the version of the game she has been playing. It’s pretty simple really, who ever gets the most seeds, tokens, or whatever you want to call them wins. It’s much easier to show somebody how to play than describe it, but I’ll do my best.

Looking at the board, your “home” is the long pocket on the right. You pick a pocket on your side (bottom) and take out all the seeds. Then you have to place a seed in each of the pockets going counter clockwise from the pocket you picked the seeds out of. If you make it to your home you can drop one seed into it and then if you have more you can continue clockwise into your opponents pockets. You don’t have to drop seeds in your opponent’s home pocket.

If you drop your last seed into a pocket with more seeds you can take out all the seeds and keep going around the board. If you drop your last seed into an empty pocket your turn has ended. If your home is the last pocket, you can go back and pick seeds out of another pocket to continue. If there are no seeds on your side, you can go to the opponent’s side and pick up seeds. Whoever has the most seeds in their home when there are no more seeds to pick wins.

I think that’s it. It has very simple rules, but you can use as much strategy or as little as you like. You can count ahead before picking up the seeds to find your best move or just pick up some seeds and play.

55) Listened to the Making It Podcast #NewThingEveryDay


In my twitter feed, I kept seeing posts for a podcast called Making It. It’s a a bunch of guys that I’ve either followed in one way or another: Bob Clagett of @iliketomakestuff, Jimmy Diresta of YouTube fame, and David Picciuto the Drunken Woodworker.

On the podcast they talk about tools, making things, workshops, and other stuff. For instance the episode that really caught my eye was Episode 25: Staying Playful.

It’s not a bad podcast, I’ve listened to four episodes so far and think I’ll keep it in my playlist.

54) Using Zip Ties to Secure Pegboard Hangers #NewThingEveryDay

1 - Bent Paper Clip

I’ve read in many places that you can just use zip ties to secure pegboard hangers that have a tendency to pull out. What I never see is how the heck you actually accomplish this. So what my little slide show demonstrates is one very easy way to grab the end of the zip tie if you don’t have access to the back of the pegboard. This technique works well in pegboard with 1/4? holes. If you have the type with the smaller holes this might not work because the smaller zip ties you’d need to fit in the holes might not be long enough.
I started by partially straightening a paperclip and bending a square hook the size of the zip tie in the end. By leaving the loop in the paper clip, it also makes the “tool” easier to handle.

2- Poking the Zip Tie through the Pegboard

Then you thread the zip tie into the hole next to the hanger. It doesn’t matter which side you start on as long as you angle it so it goes behind the hanger.

3 - Fishing for the Zip Tie

Once you have enough of the zip tie pushed into the hole, push the fishing tool into the hole on the opposite side of the hanger at a slightly downward angle with the hook up.

4 - Caught the Zip Tie

Angle the fishing hook up until you feel the zip tie (you can more easily feel this if you hold the other end of the zip tie), and start pulling it back through the hole. If it is a thicker zip tie, you might have to pull the zip tie back until you get to the thinner tip, which will bend easier.

5 - Zip Tie End is Through the Pegboard

Hopefully you should now have an end poking through the hole on the opposite side. If you don’t get it the first time, don’t worry it took me a few tries the first time.

6 - Zip Tie is Fastened and Trimmed

Snug the zip tie and trim the end. Now your hanger won’t pull out when you grab the tool and you probably didn’t spend a dime because you have 1000 zip ties anyway.

52) Went Fishing on Big Marine Lake #NewThingEveryDay


Today my fishing buddy and I decided go fish at Big Marine Lake. It’s a 1100 acre lake located A little east of Forest Lake. It sports Largemouth, Northern, Walleye, Bluegill, and Crappie.

We got on the lake about 3pm and while it had been smoking hot when we were attaching the boat, it seemed somewhat cooler at the lake. Big Marine seems to be a popular lake because the large parking lot was full and trucks and boat trailers were spilling out onto the road.

When we got into the water ,we started casting the wild rice, we noticed there were a lot of bluegill following our lures, but we didn’t start trying for them until another hour or so. Once we put the worms on to catch the bluegill, we quickly tired of them and decided to toll the rice on the shoreline. Almost right away Gary had a Northern hit, so we stopped in a tiny bay right next to some guy’s yard and started casting. I caught two small Northern in that hole.

Largemouth Bass

Later down the same stretch of shore I caught the Largemouth bass pictured above, the nicest fish we caught all day. I caught all my fish on a Beaver Flick. A small spoon that used to be made by the Beaver Hut in Grand Marais.

Once we ran out of rice on that part of the lake we trolled around the island, Gary noticed that there were two girls in the water pushing their jet ski. It turned out that had been pushing for 20 minutes and nobody had helped them out. So we threw them a rope and towed them back to their dock.

After that we decided to go back to the shoreline where we had caught all of our fish. After catching a few more, we decided to call it a day before it got dark. We were a little worried that it would take us forever to get off the lake because there were so many trailers in the parking lot, but we actually didn’t have to wait at all to get off the lake.

51) Found Yeggi and Pinshape, Other Sources for 3D Models #NewThingEveryDay


I’ve found a whole new universe of things to print on my 3D printer. As of yesterday I was just looking on Thingiverse for things to print, but today I discovered Yeggi and Pinshape.

Yeggi is like a 3D model search engine. It pulls prints from sites like Thingiverse, Tinkercad, and many others, although those seem to be the two places where the models I’ve searched are coming from.

Pinshape is another community like Thingiverse, although unlike Thingaverse, you need to log in to get download the models. To be fair you need to be a member of Tinkercad to download their models too.


50) Bought Something at Snap Market #NewThingEveryDay

Snap Market

After dropping my son off at his Y program this morning, instead of going to Holiday to grab a pop or coffee, I stopped at Snap Market instead. Snap is a new convenience store located in an old convenience store.

I visited the old store and it was a dump and a place where people in a food desert would spend too much for their groceries. The new store is marginally cleaner and better stocked. I didn’t notice any real difference between prices here and another convenience store like Holiday.

49) Took My Daughter Rollerblading On the Rice Creek North Trail #NewThingEveryDay

Mia on the Rice Creek Trail

We bought my 11 year old daughter Rollerblades for her birthday and to our delight she has wanted to use them. At first she used my wife’s Rollerblades on our driveway and road, but since the street reconstruction she hasn’t been able to use her new blades. So we’ve taken her to a local park located next to a nice smooth loop of pavement to practice.

Today I thought that she has become proficient enough to try a more interesting route, so I took her to the Rice Creek North Trail. I’ve never actually skated on this section of trail, I’ve only ridden my bike. I knew there would be some debris on the trail, which I’ve been coaching her how to handle. On a bike I also didn’t realize how hilly it was, but if she is going to get better at Rollerblading, she is going to have get outside of her comfort zone.

We only went about 1/2 a mile down the trail before she wanted to turn back, but we at least we got a few hills in and negotiated the forest debris without falling.

Here’s a good guide for trails in Anoka county