Sunday, May 30, 2021

Memorial Day

 Wasn't really going to post anything as you guys (and gals) always do it better than I do, but then I saw this on FakeBook:


"All Gave Some, And Some Gave All"........God Bless and keep our fallen Veterans.

Thursday, May 27, 2021

Woodpeckers.....

 A few weeks ago, we saw an unusual bird in the backyard. SLW thought it was a pigeon, but while it somewhat resembled a pigeon, after doing some searching, I decided it was some type of dove, or perhaps a Northern Flicker.

Well....the last week or so I could have sworn I heard a woodpecker banging away on a nearby tree. I heard it hammering away most of today, too. SOooooo...I started looking at "Colorado Birds", and then the "Woodpeckers" subsection on the wikipedia.

Son-of-a-gun, the Northern Flicker was listed as a woodpecker!

And this is almost exactly the same bird we saw in the backyard:


 

Anywhoo....Looks like we have some new neighbors in the area, as I don't recall hearing any here before. I wonder if some of the newer birds we've been noticing this Spring (Cardinals, Blue Jays, and lots of Ravens/Crows) are refugees from the burn areas of last summer.

Hopefully they won't be as intrusive as the %%$$%%!! Canadian Geese that spend Winter here.....

Tuesday, May 25, 2021

Sorry, But Ain't Got Nuttin'!

 Been in one of my periodic posting slumps. Doing yard work, configuring a drip system for SLW's new plants, sawing and stacking wood, and goofing off with TLG doing "Science Experiments" and whatnot.

Well Seasoned Fool invited the three of us to see some alpaca shearing at a relative's place in Pierce, CO. TLG was a bit overwhelmed with all the people, but looked at all the animals being sheared, and was interested in the peacocks they keep, but wouldn't get too close to them. He got a bit rattled with all the thunder and rain, and wanted to go home, so we left after an hour or so.

I learned that both alpacas and llamas are related to camels, of all things, which explains their spitting. Apparently if they get really agitated they can expel the entire contents of their stomachs, and hurl it up to 10~12 feet! YOW!

WSF has quite a collection of pix over at his place, and he explains things far better than I can.


We're supposed to have decent weather for the next week or so, and hopefully I'll be able to get the rest of the wood cut up and stacked so it'll be ready for the Winter.

And I'm getting back to work on the front bumper of the Supra. Have some sanding to do, another wipe ("skim coat") of the "Bumper Bite" followed by some sanding and priming, and then (ALL fingers and toes crossed) a coat of the special black flexible bumper paint.

Then I can put all the lamps and grille back in, and DRIVE it!

Monday, May 17, 2021

RAIN! And a Prayer Request for Our Daughter-In-Law and Her Unborn

 And quite a bit today, about .2", which puts us at .5" for the month. 

Also had some small hail, but nothing like we sometimes get.

Hopefully we'll have a good rainy season here this year, and get the reservoirs up.


The prayer request is for our Daughter-in-law, who's now in her 5th month. She's under more stringent medical guidance after her first pregnancy, and she had an ultrasound last week that revealed a disturbing item. The umbilical cord is not centered in the placenta like it normally is, and as a result the restriction, the baby is only about 50% of the size he should be now.

I'm not sure what the prognosis is for this condition, but it's serious enough that my Sweet Little Wife asked me to ask my friends to pray for her.


Thank you all.....


Saturday, May 15, 2021

100 Years Ago This Month

 A massive Solar Storm clobbered the Earth. Auroras were seen at the Equator, and telegraph and telephone exchange office erupted into flames from the huge voltages induced in the copper wiring.


This happened towards the end of Solar Cycle 15, a nondescript cycle with nothing extraordinary, until this happened.

Sunspot AR1842 appeared, and began blasting the Earth with Corona Mass Ejections, unknown at the time.

If it happened today, it could cause major disruptions with our communications systems, and possible knock-out the GPS satellites. They're hardened quite well, but Mother Nature has a way of laughing at man's puny works.

 Good reason to keep those paper maps and a good compass!

Complete article is here, at the SpaceWeather Archive site.



Saturday, May 8, 2021

Fixed The Faucet Splitter

 In fact, I went and did it right after I posted. Took about 45 minutes, and at least 20 of that was spent looking for my cordless Dremel tool. I gave up, and brought down the plug-in Dremel tool, which had an flexible shaft attachment with a flap whell in it, so I started there.

Cracked/split fitting:


Buffed with the flap wheel:

The legendary "TIX Solder" and flux:

And for a source of Thermal Energy, I have my trusty Weller SP-80, 80-Watt Soldering IRON:


This ain't yer Daddy's wimpy Temperature Controlled Soldering Station! No siree, this here's a gen-you-eine Soldering IRON, and it has a SOLID COPPER tip about the size of a 50 cal slug:

 It's 2" long, and a half-inch in diameter. In the battlespace of "Heat The Connection As Rapidly As Possible", it wins handily in this application.

Applied the flux after cleaning the brass again with an alcohol wipe, plugged in the iron, and went for a cold soda from the fridge. Applied the iron to heat the metal, and then flowed in the solder. After cooling, I cleaned all the flux reside off, and carefully re-tinned the tip of the iron with plenty of rosin-cored solder to get any of the other flux off. It has chloride compounds in it, and they're very corrosive if not cleaned off.

Ready to return to service:


Hey, I broke it, so I get to fix it!




Friday, May 7, 2021

Friday!

 And work continues on getting the backyard cleaned up, the damaged gutter repaired, the weeds beat back, and the trees fed and watered.

Dropped 475 bucks at the Home Depot last week, and I've been putting the items to good use.

The gutter guys came by today, and quoted us $600 to replace the damaged gutter and downspout, paint the gutter, and replace the busted "gutter guard" that keeps leaves and other trash out of the gutter on that end of the house.

Mixed up a batch of "Roundup 365", and sprayed the gravel beds, back porch and driveway joints, and the window wells so nothing gets started in them.

Fed the maple tree and crab apple tree with my "Ross Root Feeder", and watered the ash tree with my "Corona Deep Root Irrigator", so they're good for a couple of weeks.

Got the hoses, sprinklers, shut-off valves and other miscellany out of storage and ready to go. One of my two-way water faucet adpators surprised me the other day when I hooked up the hoses, turned the water on, and it started spraying everywhere. I'd left it screwed on the faucet, under the styrafoam "freeze protector", but it had some water in it, it froze, and split the cast brass body. I'll have to dry it well, clean the metal, notch it out with my Dremel, and then solder it up with some "TIX Solder", and return it to service.

Itty-Bitty, Teeny-Tiny split, easily repaired. Should hold 60PSI no problem, but couldn't withstand the pressure generated by freezing water. Probably a post will follow.

I sure don't remember my Dad doing anything special to the outdoor water faucets when I was growing up in Northern Illinois, and it gets pretty cold in the Wintertime. I remember people having frozen pipes, but they were usually the water pipes to the house from the city water system. Here we put little insulated houses on the outdoor faucets, and use special "Freeze Rated" types. They're also anti-siphon faucets, which is a Good Thing, as sucking dirty yard water back into the house is probably a Bad Thing.

And I've been sawing, stacking, moving, and sawing some more on the pile of wood we "harvested" from the fallen tree, and the sections of the crab apple the arborist generated. Looks like we'll have several Winter's worth of firewood, perhaps more. I suppose I should look into the Do's-and-Don'ts of storing some of it outside, off the ground, and somewhat covered, as otherwise it'll take over all the storage space in the garage, and that's hard-won territory I'm not willing to give up.

Beautiful day here today, high 70's and partly cloudy. Wanted to spray the weeds, but the NWS is calling for rain, so I'll have to watch the weather radar closely. I just hate spraying 30 bucks worth of chemicals on the yard and have them washed away the next day. I'd get the granular stuff, but that means getting a spreader, storing the spreader off-season, maintaining the spreader.......naw.........I'd sooner pay more per application, and be done with it until the next time.

And I'm perusing nextdoor.com and craigslist for a snowblower, "global warming" be damned. I know what I want, I have a truck now, and as soon as I find one, it's coming home with me.

Honest, Beans, I'm on the hunt now......


Y'all have a good weekend!

Sunday, May 2, 2021

The Rain Came Early.....

 Well, the big storm we were expecting has passed through. We received about .2" of rain in several hours, and there were times it was raining pretty hard, with little mini hailstones in it. There were flash flood warnings out for all the burn areas from last Summer, especially the Cameron Peak area. Mud and debris flows are expected, and there could be up to 12" of snow in the Rocky Mountain National Park area. The in-laws up in the canyon are ok, as it was their turn in 2012, and they were spared this year.

The creek that runs behind The Kids place is going full-bore, and TLG is suitably impressed.

Also made significant clean-up/re-organization of SLW's side of the garage, something that hasn't been properly addressed since we moved in 3-1/2 years ago. The wire rack to the immediate right of the ladder was put in the first few weeks we were here, along with the other four on the Toyota side of the garage. I'd pieced together one of those really flimsy grey metal shelf units, the kind with square nuts and slotted screws I'm sure you've seen, for her to put her "garden" stuff on. We had three of them abandoned here, and I made one "good" one out of the three. Well, she's outgrown it, and now has her woodworking stuff to store, too. So I pulled everything to the right of the first wire rack out, cleaned the area, went and bought another rack for the garden/lawn/woodworking rack, put it together, and then put everything back. She picked up about 8" of additional room between all the "stuff" and that side of her car, and everything on the new rack is organized. Yes, I still haven't got the flash settings figured out for a good fill, and I was too beat to photochop it after goofing off for several hours with TLG, so it's time to RTFM again.


 Two of the four identical racks on the other side of the garage got the empty/sort/organize treatment, and I wound up with more than one full "6 Tier" rack completely empty. I loaded all the crab apple wood on the bottom two shelves to dry with about a half shelf empty, and have four more completely empty shelves to stack the ash wood on. I'm still going to have beaucoup ash left that I'll probably have to figure out how to properly store outside.

The antenna is working great after getting it back in service, which is getting me fired up to sink the three 4x4 posts I have, and use them to mount the three antennas I "need".

Well Seasoned Fool asked the other day what I was using for lightning protection, an excellent question. For now, I disconnect the cables where they come into the house. After I get the poles planted, each pole will have an 8' ground rod driven in the soil next to it. The ground rod will have a "PolyPhaser" Surge Protector mounted to it with a solid copper plate. All three rods will be connected with a #2 solid copper wire. The feedline (coax) comes straight down to the surge protector, and the output cable from the surge protector to the house makes a 90* turn, and runs along the gravel beds to the feed-through box I built last year.

There's nothing you can do to stop a direct hit. You can divert some by providing an "easier" path to take, like by having the coax run straight down to a surge arrester connected to a good ground system, and then make a fairly sharp 90* bend and run along the ground.

The other thing I'm working with here is that the antennas are not higher than the houses or trees, and the higher structures provide a "cone of protection" to things lower than they are.

BUT.....lightning can do very strange things, as I've seen. The setup I'm using is to keep static electricity from building up (protects the radios and operators), while providing some level of nearby strike protection.

Update On The Pioneer SX-780 and Speakers

 Sooooo....I dragged the two speakers I made some time ago out of the basement, and set them up with the SX-780. When I used these speakers ...