27 May 2012

No update¬† last week due to goofing off and going to a BBQ. The first shot is the eclipse as seen from our backyard through my welding mask. Too much trouble to set up the spotting scope, plus I wasn’t sure I wouldn’t damage it with the potential heat.

An assessment of the fish pond shade cover showed that the temporary brace is now the only thing keeping the truss from collapsing due to dry-rot. This pushed up my timeline to implement the design for the first test unit. I wanted to use this style of lightweight steel truss from the start but the city demanded crazy-heavy wood assemblies and having them signed-off by a structural engineer. I figured, well, someday they’ll need replacing and then I’ll “repair” them they way I intended the first time… and that time has come. A simple truss composed of chainlink fence tubing and cable was welded up and preliminary tests show that it’s plenty strong vertically but wants to turn upside-down due to its CG. Brackets on the support poles will have pins that keep them oriented vertically. So with that figured out, the real problem will be getting the old ones down. The whole thing is a bit of a Rubik’s Cube in that everything was assembled before filling the pond, thus making accessing the beams more challenging. I may have to build a temporary bridge that can be placed across the pond and a ladder sat on it. We’ll see.

Both hummingbirds have successfully left the nest. We knew the time was near when one was standing at the edge of the nest. My wife saw the first one take his/her first flight, then when I checked the remaining bird it was clear he was ready to go, too. Right when I told him, “have a good life”, he jumped and zipped up into our apple tree. It’s just amazing to me that they already have the “autopilot” in their brain already fully calibrated so they just “know” how to fly – no flopping to the ground like other birds. If you’ve ever tried flying an RC helicoptor you know just how tough it is to even hover, but not for these little guys. I wish them well, and the last I saw of them, mom was still feeding them.

About the car, ah, yes… I’m starting a vacation early this week and will be working on the car so hopefully there’ll be good progress (hoping that the rotting truss doesn’t let loose in the meantime.) At the same time I’ll try to come up with some way of lowering them while retaining some dignity.