Archive for category Home Ec
Their offspring began emerging in early July, with our first picture on 3 July. I’ll leave the image file dates in place so you can reach your own conclusions:
We think a titmouse (a known predator) pecked some holes, including the upper hole on the middle tube, as they seemed to expose solid (and presumably inedible) chitin from the outside:
More holes appeared in a few days:
The irregular spacing along each tube suggests they don’t emerge in the reverse order of installation:
Three days later:
Two weeks after the first holes appeared:
No more holes have appeared since then, so it seems one young wasp emerges every few days.
This nest produced about a dozen wasps, with perhaps as many launch failures. We’ll (try to) remove it and examine the contents in a few months.
We expect they’ll start build nests all over the house in another month …
The NuTone 8663RP (for future reference) vent fan in the Black Bathroom began making horrible grinding sounds and, after a day or two, stopped turning. Pulling it out showed the impeller had slipped downward on the motor shaft:
Which meant the impeller was now resting on the steel frame:
Curiously, there’s no retainer under the impeller preventing it from sliding downward, other than good intentions and a friction fit. Nothing lasts, although it’s been working for the last two decades, so I guess it doesn’t owe me much.
My first thought was to build a steel or aluminum collar with a setscrew to hold the thing up, but I decided to try a simple bushing made of UHMW polyethylene between the motor and the impeller.
Turning it to the proper length required a test fit, then another session on a mandrel made from some aluminum tubing:
The snout came out just long enough to clear the motor frame, resting the impeller’s weight atop the bearing around the shaft:
It’s hard to see between the impeller blades, but there’s actually a bit of clearance underneath:
Which left just barely enough room on the top for the retaining clip:
I had high hopes for the UHMW, but it seems any contact between the rotating impeller and the stationary bearing transmits enough sound to be annoying.
So I must break down and build a collar, although it’s off the critical path right now.
As far as I can tell from the pictures, dropping $50 on a new fan unit will get me exactly the same problem. Whether it would last for two decades before failing is an open question, but my experience with freezer fans suggests what we have is as good as it gets and making a bushing is the least-awful way to proceed.
After five years, I figured it’d be a Good Idea™ to replace the Forester’s wiper blades. Being in the Walmart at the time, I tried to use their helpful Wiper Selector gadget:
You’d think whoever is responsible for updating / replacing such things would have done so several times during the last eight years.
Back in the day, bathtubs had a porcelain coating over a cast-iron carcass, so embedding little magnets in shower curtains worked perfectly to keep the loose ends from billowing out of the tub. Surprisingly, even here in the future, with plastic bathtubs ruling the land, some shower curtains still have magnets. The mud-job tile walls of shower stall in the Black Bathroom have nary a trace of iron, but we though I could add ferrous targets for a new shower curtain, thusly:
The magnet lives inside a heat-sealed disk, so it’s (more-or-less) isolated from the water. As you’d expect, it’s a cheap ceramic magnet, not a high-performance neodymium super magnet, with no more strength than absolutely necessary to work under the most ideal of conditions.
My anchors must also be waterproof, firmly attached, non-marking, easily removable, and no more ugly than absolutely necessary. The general idea is to slice the bottom from a pill bottle, entomb a thin steel disk in epoxy, and attach to the tile with a patch of outdoor-rated foam tape.
So, we begin …
Cutting a narrow ring from a pill bottle requires a collet around the whole circumference, which started life as some sort of stout aluminum pole:
Bore out the inside, with a small step to locate the bottle:
Clean up the outside, just for pretty:
Slit the fixture to let it collapse around the bottle, then chuck up the first victim with support from a conveniently sized drill chuck in the tailstock:
I did a better job of cutting the second bottle to the proper length:
Nibble disks from sheet metal, half-fill the bottle bottoms with steel-filled (and, thus, magnetic!) JB Weld epoxy, insert disks, add sufficient epoxy to cover the evidence:
Fast-forward to the next day, punch out two disks of double-sided foam tape:
Affix, install, and it’s all good.
Actually, it’s not. The ceramic magnets are so weak they don’t hold the curtain nearly well enough to satisfy me. The next anchor iteration should have embedded neodymium magnets to attract the curtain’s crappy ceramic magnets, but this is Good Enough™ for now.
For reasons not relevant here, the lawn mower suffered some Foreign Object Damage:
I’m sure the hard stop loosened the tolerances along the shaft, but the mower fired right up (with that new blade!) and has no more vibration than usual, despite the seriously bent blade mount.
I no longer have a deep emotional attachment to lawn mowers, which is apparently common, as the label advises me there’s no need to change the oil:
Drive it ’til it drops …
The ancient utility pole on the north side of our property fell over a few hours after a thunderstorm rolled through:
Fortunately, the wire clamps were upward and it just lay there without sparks or excitement. It feeds the vacant house out back, so restoring power wasn’t urgent.
Unfortunately, the lines neatly bisected Mary’s garden:
The utility crew arrived a few hours later, disconnected the triplex at the fallen pole, rolled it up, secured it to the source pole out front, and promised a different crew would replace the pole in a while:
We agreed restoring service to other folks who needed it should take priority.
Mary’s been ducking the various cable TV / phone / FiOS cables ever since.
The pole has been God’s own toothpick for quite some time, as shown by this picture from 2001:
Fortunately for us, its pole tag hadn’t fallen off in all those years:
That little tag may save us ten large during this exquisite little inconvenience …
A pair of Step2 rolling garden seats (they have a new version) served in Mary’s gardens long enough to give their seat panels precarious cracks:
The underside was giving way, too:
We agreed the new seat could be much simpler, although it must still hinge upward, so I conjured a pair of hinges from the vasty digital deep:
The woodpile disgorged a slab of 1/4 inch = 6 mm plywood (used in a defunct project) of just about the right size and we agreed a few holes wouldn’t be a problem for its projected ahem use case:
The screw holes on the hinge tops will let me run machine screws all the way through, should that be necessary. So far, a quartet of self-tapping sheet metal (!) screws are holding firm.
A closer look at the hinges in real life:
The solid model now caps the holes; I can drill them out should the need arise.
From the bottom:
Three coats of white exterior paint make it blindingly bright in the sun, although we expect a week or two in the garden will knock the shine right off:
After the first coat, I conjured a drying rack from a bamboo skewer, a cardboard flap, and some hot-melt glue:
Three small scars on the seat bottom were deemed acceptable.
The OpenSCAD source code as a GitHub Gist:
This original doodle gives the key dimensions, apart from the rounded rear edge required so the seat can pivot vertically upward:
The second seat looks just like this one, so life is good …