28 Feb 2012

Things weren’t looking good for the remaining baby hummingbird, in the nest alone as of last evening. Last night was pretty bad, hard cold rain, fair-sized hail(!), and strong wind. Worst of all, the nest has no protection whatsoever so I expected the baby to be dead today, frozen, beaten to death by hail, and/or blown out of the nest. Got a surprise after getting home today – both babies were in the nest and mom and dad were taking care of them! It was very surprising that a baby that had already left the nest had returned (perhaps having gotten beat up last night and cold and hungry). This is posted in spite of being reminded that “yeah but how’s the car coming along?” Summed up, if reading about birds is a bother, don’t. I add such things because there’s more to life than just cars – it’ll get done regardless. Small diversions like this serve to keep people – okay, me – grounded in what’s important. So there.

26 Feb 2012

It’s amazing how much the hummingbirds grew in one week, and even more surprising that one already left the nest today. Mom is taking care of both but I worry about the smaller one still left. The concern is that between the two kids, mom may choose to take care of the stronger one. It’s supposed to rain tomorrow so the next couple of days will prove pivotal for the remaining bird – as of this evening it’s in the nest by itself, no mom around. Nature is very efficient at culling out the weak and doesn’t care if we humans use words such as “cruel” or “harsh.” It is what it is and nature ensures healty offspring – or none. Humans on the other hand force the issue by making nearly all offspring survive, which brings up all sorts of avenues for discussion – which I shall steer clear of. Note that the quality of the pictures improved after I figured out the camera mount on the spotting scope… Of the last four shots, the first three are of Mom and the last is the remaing offspring. I wish him well. The one shot of a bird on the ground is the healthy one, who surprising came and landed about 10 feet in front of me on the dirt, then flew back up for preening. Hopefully he’ll learn to not to hang around on the ground due to the cats around here.

Oh, the car. The windscreen frame is finally finished and the frame was accurately measured so the glass can be ordered. The passenger side seatbelt mount holes are done along with their bushings, several of which are threaded. This brings of the question of “what’s next?” Odds and ends, mostly mounting points for rubber-lined clamps, and tabs tacked on the subassemblies so they can be easily mounted. Oh, and another pass through the manuscript is underway.

20 Feb 2012

Goofed off and spent some time at the gun range shooting a .22 pistol, .22 rifle, several .45 pistols, an AR-15, .308, and a 12-ga shotgun. Fun stuff. There’s something strangely alluring about a 1911 .45 – which someone referred to as “a real man’s tool.” Uh huh. Shooting clays looks like fun, going to have to try that.

19 Feb 2012

Decided to start the engine… after what, 17 months? Took out the plugs and cranked it to build oil pressure, dropped the fuel lines into a fuel container, reconnected the battery and several connectors. The concern was that since running it the last time, the harness was modified yet again to get rid of loose ends, Since one wire at a time was fixed, it was unlikely to cause any mischief, but still. Also, I’d stupidly left the cover off the ECU USB connector and dropped some metal shavings down inside. That actually was kind of scary because even though the ECU was full disassembled and blown out with compressed air, little metal curlies can get stuck under the SMT parts, just waiting for power to be applied. So when the ignition was switched on there was a bit of trepidation, but nothing bad happened and it started right up. Let it run for about 15 minutes and the cooling fan never came on; not sure what’s going on there, I know it worked before. Unfortunately it’s been so long since I messed with the flat dash I couldn’t remember how to read coolant temperature, but suspect it wasn’t configured – for some reason – to display it.

Made six fussy spacers that’ll be threaded to hold the windscreen frame in place – good to have that out of the way, just have to thread them now. Next to finish is the passenger-side seatbelt mounts.

The hummingbird story seemed to have struck a nerve, thanks for all the positive e-mails. Nice to see there are people out there who care about our animal/bird friends. If I said that while sitting at the kitchen table, Mrs. Hummingbird flew right up to the back window and looked straight at me, not four feet away, that might seem made up, huh. Nope she really did, looking at me for about five seconds before heading off. Now, how much should I read into that? 🙂

18 Feb 2012

More backyard drama. We were trimming our Jacaranda tree and unbeknownst to us there was a hummingbird nest in it. When it crashed to the ground it wasn’t even noticed, and it was only after shredding the branches that we found two baby hummingbirds sitting on the ground next to each other.

Back when I was about 10-yrs old I managed to shoot down a hummingbird, and to this day feel bad about it. Because of that, I go out of my way to help them out, and here I’d nearly done in two more. So we fabricated a new nest using the stalk of a dead plant and some gauze cloth. About this time we heard chirping outside; it was Mom and Dad Hummingbird flying around wondering what happened to their home and kids. The replacement nest was put up as best we could and we hoped for the best. The pictures tell the story. I’m going to let them get used to it for a while, but want to put some sort of roof on it, both for rain protection AND crows – those guys are ruthless. In case you’re wondering, I held the camera up to a spotting scope to get some of the shots.

5 Feb 2012

Ground off the welds on the windscreen trim, adding a couple anchor points along the bottom for the glass to ride on, and started drilling the holes for the mounting screws of the windscreen. That would have moved along better if I’d had a 4-40 tap. I was going to drill the holes into the cage directly but I fear it’ll allow moisture to get into the tubes. So it’ll be done the hard way: contoured threaded blocks that’ll be welded on. Nothing photo worthy, and I don’t have an excuse about watching the game…