Category Archives: Yard & garden

A Campfire in a Can? It’s Made in America

After three  Nor’Easters in less than 10 days here in New Jersey, anything to do with warmth sounds pretty good to me. A campfire in a can? Sold!

Disclosure: We’ll get a small commission if you buy through the links in this post: Please do!When I saw this portable campfire by Radiate it made me think back to the days when we used to fill a wheel barrow with dirt and build a fire in it (sort of a poor man’s fire pit). This has the advantage of being easier and WAY more portable.The Radiate  contains non-toxic, recycled soy wax mixed with recycled paper pulp. It doesn’t create soot or a have smokey smell. There are no embers to worry about and it is waterproof.  A typical can will have a  3-5 hours burn time.The Radiate also comes in a version with an all natural Eucalyptus bug repellent. The only downside: you can’t roast marshmallows over that version.



Behren’s Manufacturing: Everyday Galvanized Steel Items, Made in USA

This morning we learned about a new Made-in-USA manufacturer. I say “new,” meaning “new to us,” since the company has been around since 1911.

Disclosure: We’ll get a small commission if you buy through the links in this post: Please do!We try to plan ahead on our purchases, because it can take a little time to find Made-in-America items. That often means purchasing online. But today, we needed a metal bucket right away, so we took our chances at a local store. Luckily, we found a galvanized steel bucket made by Behrens Manufacturing, a company that produces the majority of its products in Winona, Minnesota.

In addition to buckets, they make garbage cans, pans, funnels, watering cans and more.And you’ve probably seen their galvanized steel beverage tubs at parties.If you’re looking for the kind of heavy-duty tubs and tanks used to water livestock, there’s a very similarly-named manufacturer called Behlen, located in Nebraska.

Regards, Kathy


For Your Backyard: The Blaze Tower, Made in the USA

As we reach the end of July, there is still plenty of time to be outside enjoying the summer. Here’s a new way to “gather around the hearth” with family and friends.

Disclosure: We’ll get a small commission if you buy through the links in this post: Please do! When I saw the Blaze Tower Kit, it was love at first sight. A fire pit, a grill and smoker all rolled into one! Made of 3/16″ thick American steel, the Blaze includes a thermometer for getting the perfect cooking temperature, a hanger for smoking meats and screens if you just want to sit back, relax and be mesmerized by the fire.If you have a few clear square feet to set the unit up (it takes two people to assemble the Blaze), then it really doesn’t matter if you are sitting water side, mountain side or in a small backyard with your nosey neighbors looking over the fence -because you will have your very own private outdoor fire pit.While my cooking skills over an open fire are pretty much limited to potatoes wrapped in foil, hot dogs and marshmallows (I love it when they go up in a ball of fire and you wait till every inch is covered in black), I can’t help but think that this multi purpose unit might inspire me to try something really daring like double stuffed baked potatoes or anything smoked.

If you are serious about the outdoors and spending time with your loved ones or best buds, then give this unit a try. I don’t think you will be disappointed..




Kalamazoo Grills: Made in Michigan

Spring is in full bloom here in the Northeast and the outdoor grilling season has begun. So, when I saw these American-Made grills, smokers and pizza ovens offered by Kalamazoo Outdoor Gourmet, I knew I had to bring them to your attention.

I really like the stainless steel finish and the robustness of the products. Of course, I am also impressed by the dedication of the owner to keep the business in the USA when so many companies are moving offshore. That’s what motivates us to write this blog. When I saw this smoker all I could think about a was how useful it would be at the annual food orgy one of my friend organizes. He calls it Moo,  Cluck and Squeal and the event centers on smoking /grilling brisket, chicken and ribs.Pizza is one of those foods that I could eat for breakfast, lunch and dinner and the pizza oven from Kalamazoo is something I really would love to own.If you are a purist and want to cook with wood or charcoal, then the Gaucho Grill is perfect for you. You control the cooking temperature by adjusting the height of the grill surface.

Now, not all of us can afford these high-end grills (the stand-alone smoker above is more than $13,000), but when finances allow and if you love to cook outdoors, you owe it to yourself to check out the range of products available.

Happy grilling.



Tackling The Wood Pile The All-American Way

This past weekend I spent time doing two of my favorite things: riding my bicycle and working outdoors on my wood pile. We recently had some tree work done and there are lots of logs that need to be moved and split.  councilaxeMy Council Velvicut felling axe.

I split wood with a maul, wedge and sledgehammer. No hydraulic splitters for me, I love doing the work and being outside with some great music playing in the background.

I also use a Council Velvicut felling axe, shown above, which is manufactured in the USA and has a handle made of American Hickory. Council is celebrating 130 years in business and it’s a brand I really like. I own several products and the quality is excellent. Check out some of their other products:SledgehammerSledgehammerHookaroonHookaroonAxesRailsplitter Axes

PickaxesPickhead Axes

You can find a number of other Council Tool Products here.

I like to think that I use my tools hard but don’t abuse them. I’ll end up replacing a handle here and there but, oh, the satisfaction of doing the work yourself makes it worthwhile.