Rodent-Approved Carrot Crop

The final garden harvest included several carrots minus their leafy tops:

Rodent-approved Carrot
Rodent-approved Carrot

I sliced that top from a rather rotund carrot and the broad tooth marks suggest a large rodent. Mary found and blocked a tunnel under the fence, so we think it was a groundhog, rather than a rabbit, but we’ll never know the rest of the story.

The rest of the carrot was fine, so the unknown critter had mmmm good taste. Unfortunately, it sampled far too many root crops as it toured the buffet, leaving Mary’s root-cellared stockpile unusually low for our winter meals.

Pixel 6a Camera Protector vs. Leaf Shredder Chaff

Much of my exercise of late has come from blowing leaves into piles and shredding them:

Leaf Shredding - GPS track
Leaf Shredding – GPS track

My GPS drawing hand is weak.

I wear 30 dB over-the-ear protectors with a pair of Bluetooth earbuds tucked inside for a rhythm track. I had been carrying my Pixel 6a in a side pocket, until I noticed a remarkable amount of crud inside the glass protector over the camera lens:

Pixel 6a camera protector dirt
Pixel 6a camera protector dirt

How crud could get inside (what I thought should be) a sealed compartment inside the phone’s armor case became obvious after peeling the protector off:

Pixel 6a camera protector dirt - overview
Pixel 6a camera protector dirt – overview

Come to find out the protector’s adhesive layer has an opening near the edge of the camera, leaving a slot allowing the howling chaff storm onto the camera glass. Random pocket fuzz certainly contributed some particles, but the entire phone case had a surprising amount of yellow-brown dust tucked inside.

So I left the protector off, dumped the music files into my old Pixel 3a (which never had a camera protector), and will henceforth leave the 6a indoors during similar adventures.

The bagged leaves will become next year’s garden veggies, so the whole project isn’t a total waste of time.

Dripworks Mainline Puncture: In A Good Cause

Mary poked a garden fork tine into the mainline pipe of the garden irrigation plumbIng:

Mainline pipe puncture
Mainline pipe puncture

Fortunately, I have a pipe clamp for just such occasions:

Mainline pipe puncture - repaired - with cause
Mainline pipe puncture – repaired – with cause

After installing the clamp, we excavated the reddish lump just beyond it:

Mainline pipe puncture - excavated sweet potato
Mainline pipe puncture – excavated sweet potato

It’s a purple sweet potato, one of several that had escaped from their assigned plot, grown beyond the pipe, and burrowed under the path.

Her garden is as neat and tidy as a garden can be, but digging in the soil to find the crops isn’t an exact process!

Squash Frog

Mary persuaded the squash vine to run along the top of the garden fence, where it would get good sun, stay out from underfoot, and produce what we call aerosquash:

Tree frog on squash - overview
Tree frog on squash – overview

That bright green spot is a misplaced tree frog:

Tree frog on squash - detail
Tree frog on squash – detail

Well, maybe it’s the same frog we’ve seen elsewhere; it’s hard to tell with tree frogs.

Not everything green is froglike, though:

Green stink bug on squash
Green stink bug on squash

That one got dealt with … harshly.

Champion Hose Nozzle

An old brass hose nozzle emerged from my garden hydraulics toolbox when a much newer plastic nozzle failed. Unfortunately, this one leaked a bit too much to serve as a replacement, so I grabbed it in the vise while pondering how to disassemble it:

Champion brass hose nozzle - disassembly
Champion brass hose nozzle – disassembly

It turns out the knurled ring is threaded into the nozzle and, even at this late date, responds well to gentle persuasion with a Vise-Grip:

Champion brass hose nozzle - parts
Champion brass hose nozzle – parts

The washer is a lost cause, but I managed to find an O-ring that fit perfectly in the space available. Clearing some crud around the nozzle hole and buffing up the matching conical section improved its sealing ability, so I’ll call it a win.

The word ITALY stamped opposite CHAMPION suggests this thing might be as old as I am; it’s been a while since either brass or Italy was competitive in the world of cheap manufactured goods.

Onion Maggot Flies vs. Sticky Traps: Round 2

Mary decided the second round of sticky traps had collected enough Onion Maggot Flies (and other detritus) to warrant replacement, so this season will have three sets of cards.

The two sides of each card after about a month in the garden:

  • VCCG Onion Card A - 2022-07-17
  • VCCG Onion Card B - 2022-07-17
  • VCCG Onion Card C - 2022-07-17
  • VCCG Onion Card D - 2022-07-17
  • VCCG Onion Card E - 2022-07-17
  • VCCG Onion Card F - 2022-07-17

There are many flies that look (to me) like Onion Maggot Flies, in contrast with the first round of cards which had far fewer flies after about six weeks in the bed.

Some could be Cabbage Maggot Flies, but my fly ID hand is weak.

One of the frames screwed to a fence post suffered a non-fatal mishap, so I made and deployed a seventh trap. We’re pretty sure the garden has enough flies to go around.

Please Close The Gate Signage: Painted

It seems two months of sunlight will fade laser charred MDF down to its original state:

Please Close The Gate - unpainted faded
Please Close The Gate – unpainted faded

That’s through a thick layer of indoor urethane sealant slathered over MDF without any surface prep. Obviously, not removing the char had no effect on the outcome. On the upside, the urethane did a great job of protecting the MDF from rainfall.

So. Back to the shop.

Lacking wider masking tape, two strips of tape laid along a cut-to-suit slab of fresh MDF will serve as a paint mask:

Please Close The Gate - masked engraving
Please Close The Gate – masked engraving

Belatedly I Learned: cut the tape close to the edge, then fold it under so the autofocus pen can’t possibly snag it en passant.

Shoot the entire surface with a couple of black enamel rattlecan coats:

Please Close The Gate - masked paint
Please Close The Gate – masked paint

Yes, the engraved areas look reddish, most likely due to another complete lack of surface prep. Perhaps brushing / vacuuming / washing would remove some of the char, but let’s see how it behaves with no further attention.

Peel the tape, weed the letters / antlers, slather on a coat of urethane, and it looks downright bold:

Please Close The Gate - sealed
Please Close The Gate – sealed

Of course, if those two tape strips don’t exactly abut, the paint produces a nasty line:

Please Close The Gate - mask gap
Please Close The Gate – mask gap

Should you overlap the strips a wee bit to ensure cleanliness, the engraved surface will then have a noticeable (in person, anyhow) discontinuity due to the laser losing energy in two tape layers, which wouldn’t matter in this application. We defined the few paint lines as Good Enough™ for the purpose; a strip of absurdly wide masking tape is now on hand in anticipation of future need.

Burnishing the tape might have prevented paint bleed around the engraved areas:

Please Close The Gate - paint creep
Please Close The Gate – paint creep

But, given that I was painting raw / unfinished MDF with an unsmooth surface, burnishing probably wouldn’t produce a significantly better outcome.

By popular request, the new signs sit a few grids lower on the gates:

Please Close The Gate - fresh painted
Please Close The Gate – fresh painted

Perhaps these will outlast the garden season …