French Creek Valley Homepage

Pete & Sheran's (SPACO)

French Creek Valley Activities

Last Revised: June 25, 2014


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This is the home page of Pete & Sheran Stanaitis. We live on a 140 acre farmstead in a beautiful little valley in west central Wisconsin. We have developed many hobbies and a couple of small business ventures over the last few decades.
Our website's domain name came from an early venture where we needed a short business name. Sheran began selling special clear plastic protectors for certain knitting machine patterns. So we picked a name that had both our initials in it:
S for Sheran
P for Pete
A for "And"
CO for COmpany. SPACO was born.
In addition, we enjoy educating others in some of the skills we have learned along the way, particularly the blacksmith craft and the art of spinning yarns. To learn more about the things that interest us, choose one of the menu items below.


Blacksmithing,Treadle Hammers, Trip Hammers, Anvils and more
Blacksmithing and metalworking are what this page is all about. I cover how-to articles, descriptions of tools and other blacksmithed items I have made.

Circular Sock Knitting Machines
My (Sheri's)little collection of Circular Sock Knitting Machines and a little about the yarn stand top are featured here.

Communication Skills
Why don't people understand me sometimes, when I talk? This article explains one big reason why, and offers a solution.

Computing
This section contains a review of my netbook computer, a link to a client side image map test for you to try, my initial Arduino trials and tribulations and a few other miscellaneous things.

Cub Cadet Page
This page covers my interests in the Narrow Frame Cub Cadet garden tractors. Those are the 70, 71, 72, 73, 100, 102, 104, 105, 107, 121, 122, 124, 127, etc. (Have I missed any?) There is also a link here to my solution for the loose steering problem unique to these machines.

Fractions, the WHOLE process on one page!!!
Here's a flowchart that explains the whole process of performing math on fractions, on one page. Use it when your kids ask for help learning fractions.

Forestry
Here's what we do with our wooded lands: like black walnuts, sawing lumber, maple syrup and recreation, etc..

French Creek Valley
This is the valley in which we live. A tiny bit of history of the valley and the creek that runs through it, including a really surprising little ice formation that appeared on it some years ago.

Gas Producer Experiments (Woodgas)
Producer Gas, Woodgas and alternate energy. We are just getting into this area with a JXQ-10A Chinese Gasifier, fueling some Onan gensets. Here, you will see what experiments are going on. This page will be under constant construction.

How to Succeed at Work or: Lay-off, How to Avoid
Recently laid off and don't know why? Concerned about getting laid off? Want to know how to keep it from happening again? If any of the above scenarios hits home to you, this is the place to go.
You can also use this information to make your current job more rewarding, more secure and increase the chances of promotion in your current job.

Home Energy
Does a setback thermostat really save you any fuel cost? What about heat waste from a bad furnace filter? Making electricity from wood.

Machine Knitting
I, Sheri, like machine knitting as well as hand knitting, sewing, etc. The flat bed knitting machine allows me to make the large panels quickly so I can devote more time to design and finishing. Here I talk about my studio, my knitting machines and other fiber interests that I have.

My Machine Shop
Machining and repairing things are discussed here.

Maple Syrup
This site describes the way we have had maple syrup over the years. We started making syrup with very basic maple syrup equipment and gradually improved the process and the equipment over the years, although we still use wood for heat and a flat pan evaporator.. We discuss the important things to measure and how to make sure that your maple syrup is always of the highest quality.

My Shop (Really Our Shops)
Planning and building your own hobby shop is a real big deal to most of us. Here, I describe my woodworking, metalworking and blacksmithing shops. I list and discuss many of the things that you need to consider when planning one. For instance: floors, heat, insulation, power, etc.

Onan Gensets, Reviving two NH Models, one 4.0CCK, one 30EK and a 4.0BFA
I bought 2 Onan RV-type generator sets in 2009 and 2010 and got them running. Then in early 2011 I got a larger (Onan 30EK) genset.
Later that year, I added a 4.0CCK to the generator inventory, then I -------
Here's a chronical of how I got them running.

Reasoninng, Problem Solving & Decision Making for anyone
This is the most complex page on this site, but I think you'll find it worth your while. The focus is on Problem Solving, Decision Making and Selling Your Ideas. There's enough information in here to make you an expert, using tried and true techniques. I also discuss my feelings about related issues.

Rabbits
My wife Sheri has been raising rabbits on and off for many years. Here, she talks a little about them and why she keeps them.

Search Engine Optimization
Or: How to get more traffic to your website. We don't do website design for a living, but here is our advice on how to go about getting more traffic to your website. It covers some topics that website designers (or those free or easy-to-use website design programs) don't tell you about.

Solar Energy
Here is the log of my limited solar photovoltaic experiment. It uses the 45 Watt $200 Harbor Freight solar Panel Kit and some electronics that connect it to my home computer for data gathering.

Solitaire, How I Plan to Win
Solitaire, (Klondike Solitaire in particular) is the subject of this page. If you don't seem to be winning at Solitaire very often, then this page is for you. Using the rules and suggestions offered here you will certainly begin winning more often.

Spinning Yarn, Weaving Rugs and other Fiber Arts
I, Sheri, Spin Wool and almost any other fiber on any one of my many old-fashoined spinning wheels. Here I talk about my wheels, demonstrating to the public and getting together in groups to spin. Recently I added German Braided Rug Weaving to this section.

Tom and Kitty Latane
Thomas and Catherine Latane have been creating original metalwork in their Pepin, Wisconsin workshop for over 25 years.
Tom Latane forges functional ironwork by hand in traditional Gothic, Renaissance, Scandinavian and Early American styles.
Catherine Latane makes tin cookie cutters shaped by hand into a wide variety of shapes.".

Tunnel Mill Traditional Blacksmith Training Site
John and Carol Adams have been hosting blacksmithing and metalworking events at their Tunnel Mill Historical site for many years.
Tunnel Mill is located about 15 miles southeast of Rochester, Minnesota.

Vacation Page
This page contains our views on how to get the best out of a Mexican Vacation.

Vehicle Maintenance
Maintaining 30-some internal combustion machines around the place. My Cylinder Index = 91.

Videography (on an Amateur Basis)
This is a novice's page on videography. There may be a few useful thoughts, but the focus is on the old Videonics VCU-1 machine.

Whatzits, new as of September 23, 2011
People sometimes ask me to identify a thing from the past or a thing that they are certain I'll know nothing about.
Many times they ARE right; I know nothing about it!   So I thought I'd start this page to deal with those things.
What's in it for you? Well, if I do find the answer, I will add it to the original request so you, too, get to know some more stuff.


Pete's Blog
It's the place where I try out ideas.

Family Stuff----password needed.
Secure Family Folders

Some 3M Company Business Machine History
I, Pete, worked for 3M mostly in the "hardware" divisions of the company.
Here I take you on a little tour of a couple of the major hardware divisions in which I was involved.

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