This was our 2013 Jayco Flight Swift 198 RD


Sunday, 7 May 2017

Past week happenings

Our three nestlings have developed into fledglings in a matter of a couple of weeks.  They are still being fed and guarded in their nest by their parents, but I have the feeling that in a few days the nest will be empty and all three chicks will be hopping around in our garden.  With the dreadful weather that we experienced during their nesting time I had been worried that they might not survive the heavy downpours, strong wind gusts and cold nights, but all seems to be ok. 

The adult birds don’t seem to mind when we work outside around the garage.  Their nest is located in the birdhouse high up on the east side of the garage wall, however when I climb up on a stepstool to take a picture of their offspring, they protest loudly and stay close by to observe my every move.  Mostly I leave them alone, but to show these pictures of their development I had to invade their privacy.

Last Friday was Grandparents Day at the Catholic School in Waterdown, Ont. where our two granddaughters learn.  Last year we went to this event and this year we had also committed to come.  As most of our readers know, last Friday was the worst weather one could imagine.  We had heavy rain already on Thursday and our area was under flood watch. Nevertheless, at 5:30 a.m. we left in the dark with the rain coming in a steady downpour that never eased up.  Actually, it got worse since the traffic on the highway 401 (the 401Hwy is the major trucking corridor between Chicago, Detroit - Toronto and Montreal) was reduced to one lane for many kilometers because of construction and the many transport trucks that have to press on because they have deadlines.  We made the 280-km/175 miles long drive just in time for the start of the school’s grandparent’s attendance at 9:20 a.m. 

The kids, who normally wear a uniform, were dressed in casual attire with a green theme and various activities had been planned.  We, the grandparents, were shown around the school and attended the different activities.  Because we have two grandkids to attend to our time was split between the senior kindergarten class for Annaliese, and the 2nd grade class for Heidi.  Our daughter-in-law’s mom had also come from Hamilton for the event, so we took turns in attendance in the classrooms.  

After the school’s visit we did a few shopping errands and then went to my sister’s house for a visit. She and her husband live in Mississauga, which is in the greenbelt of Toronto. The rain never stopped, but we all went for a walk with our dogs in their neighborhood so the dogs could get some exercise before our return trip.  Needless to say, we were a bit stressed coming home around 8 p.m. having driven in the rain the whole time and close to 600 km/375 miles in one day.

Last Wednesday we, and just about every neighbor were out to cut the grass before the ground would be too soggy with the proclaimed soaker we got.  That of course takes the better half of the day including the trimming and cleanup. And then I cooked up a storm in preparation of my trip to Germany so that my hubby and the dogs won’t go hungry in my absence. I just mention this in case anybody thinks we are lazing around ;-)
While I spent my time in the kitchen, Benno found something to occupy his time and came up with an idea to improve his workstation at the lathe. He made a really nifty shelf that is attached to the back with the multipurpose of protecting the wall from flying metal pieces and to house his various cutting oils and tools at a practical level.  When it was finished he painted it in the same green shade as the bottom part of the lathe and lined the shelf with a colorful liner.  Then he modified an Ikea LED table lamp and installed it above the shelf with the on/off switch at the side of the machine. It looks like the additions came with the lathe, if I may say so. 

While we were in the Toronto area on Friday Benno bought a piece of brass at the Metal Store.  Yesterday, he showed me his newest creation made from that rough piece of metal.  It is a scriber, which looks a lot like a pen. It is a pointed instrument used for making marks on wood or metal to guide a saw etc. Of course you could buy one of these instruments, but this one is unique and he had fun making it. For the pointed end he used part of a heavy-duty needle, which we still had, from our canvas repair kit from our boat.

I wonder what other fabulous creations will emerge from that lathe…

Tuesday, 25 April 2017

Spring Flowers and Metal Creations

My garden is slowly waking up. Every day now more blossoms popping up in the flowerbeds. With each added splash of color I become more passionate to plant further perennials this year so that by next spring my reward will be even greater.

You have to keep in mind that when we bought this place there was only grass here. No trees, no plants, nothing, and all the dirt that was moved and added when the renovation was taking place.  So this is a work in progress.

The periwinkle I planted around the pompom tree has really spread out. My fairy garden is placed under the tree and the lilac flowers of the periwinkle enhance the charm, I think.  All tulips and daffodils are flowering and I wish they would bloom all year long.  Spring is really a magical time.

This is new garden art from Florida

Of course I use every opportunity to be outside now, cutting the grass, pulling weeds and tending to the flowerbeds.  My hubby does help with the self-propelled lawnmower where I cannot get to with the big John Deere riding lawnmower, but otherwise he leaves the garden to me and rather messes around with his lathe.  His issue was that the cutting tool holder that came with the new Quick Change Tool Post (the experts call it QCTP) had knurled nuts made in China. These knurled nuts were undersized and the 6mm thread was not up to “snuff” (Benno’s words) so he made new ones. In his opinion he has to streamline or personalize this lathe.

And then he thought the bed way had a tight spot where the casting might not have aged enough when it was machined and induction hardened in China. With a Norton Sharpening Benchstone he attacked (lapped) the tight spot and after a morning of elbow grease the lathe’s carriage glides now very smooth over the bed way.  (That’s what he said, because I wouldn’t know) So for all you guys or technical inclined people out there, here are some pics.

Left-the Chinese culprit, Right-his new made knurled nut

the knurled nut installed on the OCTP
note the big stainless steel washer under the grey lever
Benno made that one too
from these SS bolts Benno made the above two pieces
when screwed together they become a lever
here the lever functions as a carriage lock

And, this morning there are a couple of fledglings in the Robin nest.  Sorry, I try to get a better picture next time. Both parents are busy feeding them.

Saturday, 22 April 2017

A trip to Michigan

Today we popped over the border to Michigan.  Our readers will know that Benno got himself a Metal Lathe that was shipped to the campground where we stayed at in Florida this last winter. This new machine was purchased from the company “Grizzly Industrial” in Springfield, Missouri and the tooling for it from a company called “Little Machine Shop” out of Pasadena, California. Today and tomorrow there is the “28th Annual North American Model Engineering Expo” in Wyandotte, Michigan and the company “Little Machine Shop” was one of the vendors at that show.  Of course would my hubby want to go and see this exhibit and perhaps find some items of the “must have and can’t do without” kinds.

I came along for the 188km/117miles trip but I wasn’t entirely sure if there would be anything of interest around for me.  (I’m a good sport and wife)  However, the experience of walking into the exhibition hall was overwhelming. We were surrounded by hundreds of miniature machines that were humming, whistling, whirring, and making all kinds of sounds. There were mini gasoline engines, hot air engines, steam engines and other things that turned and pulsated.  Those creations I presume all involved the use of the home shops machinist’s small lathes and small milling machines. 

This exhibit was something unlike I have ever attended and I can honestly say that I was intrigued.  The show was primarily attended by men and I have to say the ladies missed out – big time! And yes, Benno purchased a few parts of the “have to have” kind for his lathe. One of this is a knurler, the other is a pump oiler and a shop apron, which deflect metal chips. I asked him why another knurler and he said that the other one, which came with the tool post, is putting too much stress on the lathe; this one is 100% better.  Hmmm, okay, all right, go for it!!!

 So here are some random pictures of the displays.

Fascination – men are all alike!