Archive for category Home Ec
We have several high-intensity / long-attention-span home projects scheduled this summer, all of which will keep me away from the Basement Laboratory.
We’re OK, all is right with our world, but painting rooms and yard maintenance always take way more time than they should, while having close to zero intellectual content.
Like, for example, the result of a strenuous morning devoted to removing a severely overgrown holly bush:
I’ll post odd & ends a few times a week until maybe mid-August, whereupon I should get back to more usual pursuits.
Enjoy your downtime …
Prompted by RCP’s battery misadventure, I replaced a handful of the Forester’s incandescent bulbs:
Despite what look like “squeeze here” markings, you must push the license plate bulb holders toward the center of the car:
They were both stuck firmly to the trim plate, so I braced a screwdriver against the outboard edge of the trim panel, after which it becomes obvious how pressing inward compresses the (plastic) spring clip so you can pull the outward side of the holder away from the hatch.
Casual searching turned up a bunch of exceedingly helpful advice for anyone DIY-ing through a Forester.
The bulbs with conical ends, known as “festoon” lamps, (unsurprisingly) come in several lengths. The Forester bulbs are about 25 mm long, (unsurprisingly) much shorter than the 31 mm LEDs that seem to be the smallest available replacements, but (surprisingly) the socket tabs have barely enough compliance for the extra half dozen millimeters:
The LEDs are much much much brighter than the incandescents, although I’d prefer warm white to cool white. The cargo compartment lamp in the back is still way too dim; I don’t understand how Subaru decided on a plastic cover tinted tinted dark smoke gray.
All in all, a worthwhile upgrade!
I wonder how long they’ll last? I have one spare of each type …
Mary harvested a great bunch of spearmint from a place where it wouldn’t be missed and, after rinsing, plucking, and chopping, we now have a liter of Mint Extract in the making:
The big jars got 3 oz of coarse-chopped leaves apiece, the smaller jar 1 oz, and the (removed) stems added up to 3.5 oz, so call it 1/3 waste. Not that this is an exact science, but I’d say 3/4 pound of just-picked mint, packed slightly tighter than those jars, would produce a liter of extract.
A day later, the leaves definitely look dehydrated:
Those bottles are lying on their sides with the camera above, looking through the air bubble to the leaves. Unlike commercial mint extract, this stuff is green!
It’ll be finished after a month of daily agitation, but surely it’s an exponential process: a few hundred μl already pep up a mug o’ cocoa just fine.
In very round numbers, I get 10 drops / 0.1 ml, so 1 drop = 10 μl.
Bonus: the cutting board smells wonderful.
(*) It may be Olde White Guy Privilege, but clerks don’t even blink when I stagger up to the counter clutching a bottle of high-octane hooch; they don’t even card my age!
The blade from our current Craftsman mower is on the right:
The other two came from our previous Craftsman mowers.
Stipulated: Sears sources their mowers from various suppliers, but it’d be great if everybody could agree on a single blade mount and be done with it.
For the record, a 5/8 inch socket works fine. One could surely use a 16 mm socket in a pinch.
Wear leather gloves to prevent a nasty gash from the stamped-steel muffler shroud as you pull the sparkle plug cap to avoid an absolutely impossible engine startup while you’re wrenching under the deck.
Replace the air cleaner while you’re at it.
The first white LED fixture built to illuminate one of Mary’s Kenmore 158 sewing machines has been in regular use for the last four years:
We never found a good time to rip-and-replace the “prototype” with brighter SMD LEDs and one of the LEDs finally gave up.
They’re 10 mm white LEDs with five chips wired in parallel, which is obvious when you look into the remaining LED running at 1 mA:
The center chip is just dimmer than the others, which means their QC doesn’t tightly control the forward voltage spec.
The wire bonds on the anode terminal of the failed LED look a bit sketchy:
Fortunately, I hadn’t removed the 120 VAC wiring for the original bulb and I have two OEM bulbs from other machines, so I just removed my LED gimcrackery, installed a good old incandescent bulb, and she’s back to sewing with a pleasantly warm machine.
The fixture holding the LEDs broke apart as I extracted it, but it’ll never be used again:
The LEDs are rated at 3.5 V and 200 mA (!), but were reasonably bright in series from a 6 V unregulated supply. Perhaps a power glitch killed the poor thing? We’ll never know.
LEDs are reputed to have lifetimes in the multiple tens of thousands of hours, but I’ve seen plenty of failed automotive LEDs and fancy new LED streetlights out there, not to mention many dead and dying traffic signals. Seeing as how they’re in (presumably) well-engineered fixtures with good power supplies and are at most only a few years old, there shouldn’t be any failures yet.
This cheerful assortment came from a friend with an assortment of happy chickens:
Even though none of the chickens had the digital upgrade, the morning omelet tasted just fine!
I’m trying to get a crew … together and live the demolition derby dream
By the time I arrived, the dashboard trim had vanished and the air bags were safely out:
Diligent application of a Harbor Freight “Professional Windshield Removal Kit” cut through the side window seals, but the rear window rested on four impossible-to-cut locating studs:
I managed to pry the glass off using a Gasket Scraper and considerable muttering.
With all the exterior trim, lights, and mirrors gone, the Sienna was in fine race trim:
But, being no longer street-legal, it required trailering. For the record, not all huge pickup trucks have bulky guys with pot bellies behind the wheel:
A few hours later, it was in the Short Track Full Size pack at the Upperco Volunteer Fire Company’s Demolition Derby:
The driver required a few laps to shake off years of safe-driving indoctrination:
But eventually the spirit of the thing took over:
We now know the transmission oil cooler sat just ahead of the left front wheel, where it was exposed to damage by a glancing collision:
The Sienna finished the race and made it almost all the way to the trailer before bleeding out through the ATF cooler.
The driver emerged in fine shape, although the door didn’t work nearly as well as it had fifteen minutes earlier:
A race staffer in a Bobcat aimed the carcass in the right general direction and shoved it onto the trailer for the return to base:
We piled the windows / parts / detritus into the back, a scrapper hauled it away the next morning, and that’s the end of our Sienna’s story.
Toyota sold a lot of Siennas, which means the Hot Topics list over on the right will show a need for Sienna ABS trouble codes long into the future.
In fact, the adjacent motel slot had a disconcerting sight:
I think it was a 2001 model, but …