The Shop Tips and Country Wisdom of Dirt Farmer Jay

Gareth Branwyn

Gareth Branwyn is a freelance writer and the former Editorial Director of Maker Media. He is the author or editor of over a dozen books on technology, DIY, and geek culture. He is currently a contributor to Boing Boing, Wink Books, and Wink Fun. And he has a new best-of writing collection and "lazy person's memoir," called Borg Like Me.

4007 Articles

By Gareth Branwyn

Gareth Branwyn is a freelance writer and the former Editorial Director of Maker Media. He is the author or editor of over a dozen books on technology, DIY, and geek culture. He is currently a contributor to Boing Boing, Wink Books, and Wink Fun. And he has a new best-of writing collection and "lazy person's memoir," called Borg Like Me.

4007 Articles

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In 2001, the man who would become “Dirt Farmer Jay” and his wife Maggie were living in Arizona, working corporate jobs. When their company transferred them to Utah, they decided to also make a lifestyle change. They bought five acres within commuting distance of work and began building a house and a homestead on it. Now, 14 years later, they have two acres of intense landscaping and Jay has become a Master Gardener, an orchardist working with a variety of fruit trees, blackberries and raspberries, and a small vineyard. He has also built three out-buildings, a well-equipped woodshop, a garden shed, and a tractor barn that houses a compact tractor and the supplies for maintaining their grounds.

And today, Jay busies himself with his Dirt Farmer Jay YouTube channel. On his channel, Jay shares tips, ideas, and words of practical wisdom on gardening, woodworking, food processing, homestead maintenance, and more. We’ve covered his work in the past, like this excellent video he shared on how to store tangle-free power cords.

To give you a taste of some of Jay’s other videos, here are a few more, with great tips for around the house, the workshop, and for hauling tools and materials around in your truck.

Creating Jigs for Cutting Common Lengths


Jay does a lot of woodworking and makes multiples of the same furniture, so he’s made these measuring sticks for common lengths to cut. He cleverly uses large overhanging washers on one end to form a stop for holding the stick in place while scribing off the length.

Tying a Load

In this video, Jay shows you the method he uses for securely tying a load so that it doesn’t shift and so that the rope is easy to undo when you get the load to its destination.

Ratchet Strap Short Cut

Here’s a way to tie-down a load with ratchet straps when you have a lot of strap and only need a little of it to secure your load.

How to Locate the End of a Tape Roll

Jay does a number of “DFJ Quick Tips,” like this one about using plastic bread bag tags to create pull-tabs at the ends of tape rolls so that you never “lose” the end of your tape on the roll.

How to Reconstitute Wood Putty

With this quick tip, Jay shows you how to use a little cooking oil to re-soften a dried out lump of Minwax wood putty.

These are just a few examples of the videos that Jay has on his channel. He has a whole gardening playlist, so it might be worth subscribing to his channel for next spring. He also has a number of other good woodworking and shop tips videos. It’s really wonderful to see all of the niche areas that makers are producing content in, really well-done and useful amateur tutorials — maker-to-maker, like Dirt Farmer Jay.

What are some of your favorite maker YouTube channels? Please share some of your subscription list in the comments below.