Wheelbarrow Rebuild

For reasons that should be obvious by now, I volunteered to rebuild a wheelbarrow used at the Vassar Community Garden plots. It spent all its time outdoors and one of the handles eventually broke off:

Wheelbarrow rebuild - old handles
Wheelbarrow rebuild – old handles

I’d already removed the wheel and front strap, which were in good condition.

The new handles were undrilled, so I marked and drilled them with a nice brad-point bit to get clean holes:

Wheelbarrow rebuild - handle drilling
Wheelbarrow rebuild – handle drilling

The metal “barrow” had cracked around the carriage bolts holding it to the frame, so I filed a quartet of fender washers to fit the square section under the heads:

Wheelbarrow rebuild - fender washer holes
Wheelbarrow rebuild – fender washer holes

After a false start, I marked the bolt heads and washers to line them up properly while tightening the nuts on the other end:

Wheelbarrow rebuild - fender washer installed
Wheelbarrow rebuild – fender washer installed

One front strut had gone missing, so I replaced it with a mashed-and-drilled section of ski pole:

Wheelbarrow rebuild - front strut
Wheelbarrow rebuild – front strut

All in all, a few hours of Quality Shop Time interspersed with a few pleasant bike rides to various local stores, wherein I learned who doesn’t stock the necessary hardware.

Protip: Home Depot has the highest-entropy hardware assortment.

For the record, all the bolts have a 5/16-18 thread.

Another Power Outage

We woke just after midnight to a completely dark and silent house, I padded around shutting of half a dozen UPS units under various desks and benches, and we eventually got back to sleep:

Rt 376 midnight crash - 2021-07-20 - status
Rt 376 midnight crash – 2021-07-20 – status

According to our clocks, power actually returned about four hours later.

Our grocery ride the next morning went past the crash site:

Rt 376 midnight crash - 2021-07-20 - A
Rt 376 midnight crash – 2021-07-20 – A

Tracks in the grass leading up to the smashed mailbox on our right suggest the driver didn’t quite make the very slight curve leading to the straight section.

It was garbage collection day and the debris field covered the entire front lawn:

Rt 376 midnight crash - 2021-07-20 - B
Rt 376 midnight crash – 2021-07-20 – B

Both poles have rectangular reflectors, but the one on the smashed pole (on the left) shows the pole is maybe four feet shorter than it used to be.

We have no idea how a can of white paint got involved in the proceedings:

Rt 376 midnight crash - 2021-07-20 - C
Rt 376 midnight crash – 2021-07-20 – C

[Update: Now we know where the paint came from.]

Quite some years ago, an errant driver demolished the front corner of that house and, more recently, the whole building burned out, so there may be a jinx on the site.

Other than that, we had an uneventful ride …

Power Outage

A gusty thunderstorm knocked out power across Dutchess County, including half the service to our house. Being glad the refrigerator and freezer were on the live phase, I shut off the affected breakers on the dead phase, as well as all the 240 V breakers, and, with the living room darkened, we skipped our evening storytime.

By the next morning, a quick lamp test showed the recloser out on the pole had worked its magic, so I flipped all the breakers back on. The living room remained dark, prompting an investigation of the fuse box feeding the original house wiring:

Blown 20 A glass fuse
Blown 20 A glass fuse

Yup, another blown fuse.

Given what happens while wind and falling branches knock power lines askew, anything is possible. I have no idea where the fault current went, but replacing the fuse brought the living room back to normal.

None of the various UPS / lamps / phones seem damaged; I admit not peering inside the outlets to check for arc damage.

Carolina Wren Construction

A great musical interlude on the patio announced an airlift of construction materials eventually producing this pile inside the top cover of the propane tank:

Carolina Wren - nest started atop propane tank
Carolina Wren – nest started atop propane tank

The male Carolina Wren switched from the Tweedle of Great Nestbuilding to the less musical Mighty Chirr of Disapproval, presumably because he noticed a mouse (or, perhaps, chipmunk) occupying the lower ring of the tank. Rodents and birds do not coexist well at all; I have no doubt a mouse would climb right up the tank for a supply of breakfast eggs.

I must blow the crud off the tank before the next fill.

Homebrew Mint Extract

I clearcut a stand of spearmint and turned it into three jars of what should become mint extract:

Homebrew mint extract - start 2021-06-17
Homebrew mint extract – start 2021-06-17

The left jar has 3 ounces of mint mostly covered with 80 proof vodka and the other two jars each have 5 ounces submerged in 180 proof grain alcohol.

Nine days later:

Homebrew mint extract - 2021-06-26
Homebrew mint extract – 2021-06-26

The vodka is now on the right and shows a weird layering caused by the leaves extending above the light yellow liquid; I’ve been inverting the jars every few days. The grain alcohol looks more like the previous iteration, with uniformly decolored leaves in dark green liquid.

A closer look:

Homebrew mint extract - vodka vs grain alcohol - 2021-06-26
Homebrew mint extract – vodka vs grain alcohol – 2021-06-26

What’s happening in the vodka jar does not look like a nominal outcome …