Garden Rake Cross Bolt

Mary’s long-suffering garden rake pulled apart while we were flattening a section of what will become something like a lawn next to the garden:

Garden rake - shank and ferrule
Garden rake – shank and ferrule

For whatever reason, there’s no cross bolt holding the shank into the ferrule, like there should be on any tool subject to pulling force.

After marking the wide spot on the shank, a couple of good shots with a two pound hammer flattened the ferrule around it well enough to start a hole with a 3/16 step drill:

Garden rake - cross drilling
Garden rake – cross drilling

Go through the far side with a 13/16 inch drill for a generous 5 mm fit, drop a bolt into the hole while it can’t get away, tighten the nyloc nut, and it’s all good:

Garden rake - cross bolt
Garden rake – cross bolt

In fact, it’s better than it ever was, because now the shank can’t pull out until the ferrule falls off the handle. Which could happen, but I’m not averse to another bolt.

Admittedly, it’s not a stainless steel socket head cap screw, because that’d just about double the value of the rake. The handle is in such bad shape that the bolt will probably outlast the wood …

Done!

Update: The consensus says I totally missed the Ritual Invocation of the Epoxy, so:

Garden rake - epoxy fill
Garden rake – epoxy fill

Now all is right with the world …

Monthly Science: Organ Pipe Mud Dauber Wasp Nest Disassembly

The empty Organ Pipe Mud Dauber Wasp nest popped off the wall with relatively little damage:

Organ Pipe Wasp Nest - overview
Organ Pipe Wasp Nest – overview

The open cells on the back side show the wasps don’t waste any effort on putting mud where it’s not needed:

Organ Pipe Wasp Nest - wall side
Organ Pipe Wasp Nest – wall side

Cracking it in half shows the rugged walls between the cell columns:

Organ Pipe Wasp Nest - cross section
Organ Pipe Wasp Nest – cross section

Several cells contained three or four (thoroughly dead!) spiders apiece, evidently the result of un-hatched eggs:

Organ Pipe Wasp Nest - failed egg - spiders
Organ Pipe Wasp Nest – failed egg – spiders

Each successful cell contained a brittle capsule wrapped in a thin cocoon, surrounded by fragments of what used to be spiders, with an exit hole chewed in the side:

Organ Pipe Wasp Nest - capsule detail
Organ Pipe Wasp Nest – capsule detail

I regret not weighing the whole affair, as all that mud represents an astonishing amount of heavy hauling and careful work by one or two little wasps!

Pileated Woodpecker vs. Stump

A pileated woodpecker devoted considerable attention to debugging the remains of a stump in our front yard:

Pileated Woodpecker - front yard stump
Pileated Woodpecker – front yard stump

It’s surely a descendant of this one, eleven years ago:

Pileated Woodpecker
Pileated woodpecker

If you’re willing to wait a decade or so, a stump pretty much falls apart on its own, meanwhile providing habitat for critters both great and small.

Update: By popular demand, a slightly pixelated pileated woodpecker:

Pileated Woodpecker - front yard stump - pixelated
Pileated Woodpecker – front yard stump – pixelated

Round Soaker Hose Splint

One of two new round rubber soaker hoses arrived with a slight crimp, enough to suggest it would crumble at an inopportune moment. Rather than return the hose for something that’s not an obvious failure, I clamped the crimp:

Round Soaker Hose Splice - top
Round Soaker Hose Splice – top

Unlike the clamps for the punctured flat soaker hoses, this one doesn’t need to withstand much pressure and hold back a major leak, so I made the pieces a bit thicker and dispensed with the aluminum backing plates:

Round Soaker Hose Splice - bottom
Round Soaker Hose Splice – bottom

The solid model is basically the same as for the flat hoses, with a slightly oval cylinder replacing the three channels:

Round Soaker Hose Splice - OpenSCAD model
Round Soaker Hose Splice – OpenSCAD model

The OpenSCAD source code as a GitHub Gist:

Garden Mole: End of Life

One of the moles aerating the ground around here ran out of steam beside the garden:

Mole - dorsal
Mole – dorsal

It has wonderfully soft velvety fur!

Flipping it over:

Mole - ventral
Mole – ventral

A closeup of its digging paws and gnawing teeth:

Mole - ventral paws - teeth
Mole – ventral paws – teeth

Those choppers seem overqualified for a diet of earthworms, but I suppose they know what they’re doing.

We left it in as-found condition, ready for recycling …

[Update: The consensus seems to be it’s a vole or shrew, not a mole. It’d be the biggest vole I’ve ever seen and “large shrew” seems oxymoronic, but the teeth are diagnostic. ]

Monthly Science: Vegetable Ice Crystals

Mary made a batch of veggies in tomato sauce and froze meal-size portions as winter treats. The moist air inside the containers froze into delicate ice blades on the zucchini slices:

Veggie ice crystals - overview
Veggie ice crystals – overview

A closer look:

Veggie ice crystals - detail
Veggie ice crystals – detail

The blade cross-sections might be oblong hexagons, but it’s hard to tell with crystals melting almost instantly after the lid comes off. Some of the smaller hair-like blades reminded me of tin whiskers.

Yummy!