This was our 2013 Jayco Flight Swift 198 RD


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!

Wednesday, 19 April 2017

The work saga continues and what happened at the nest?

Some days ago I posted two pictures of what I thought were “Flycatchers” of some kind building a nest in our birdhouse but now there is a “Robin” nesting in it. What happened?  I have no idea if the original nest builders vacated voluntarily or, if these Robins just took over and evicted those birds.  It’s a mystery to me. However, there are a lot of Robin birds in the area. Often they sit on the fence to rest and then we watch them as they take a bath in the birdbath right next to other birds drinking from it. So obviously, they have no manners.  But we love them nevertheless!

Now I will continue from my previous post.
The next morning, after the gravel bed posts had enough time to have cured in the cement (the Quikrete is some kind of Portland cement I found out) foundation and for our tired joints to recuperate, Benno got to work on the frame. Basically, four of the planks we had purchased were bolted to the posts after being cut to the exact lengths. It looks simple, but it takes some time if you want to be precise to have them equally level because the ground is not.  For the planks to sit level he had to dig out grass sods from underneath to make everything fit. Nothing is ever easy!

When that was done out came the Makita Saw All.  In no time at all Benno cut off the posts to make them level with the planks.  I painted the stumps with a protective coat of the green wood preservative and distributed all the leftover sand/gravel from the three pails we got the other day underneath the cavities of the wooden planks. Then we collected the dug out grass sods and added them to the other pile of clay waiting to be disposed of.

This morning, after learning that we might be getting some rain in the afternoon and plenty more tomorrow, we decided it would be a good day to order some gravel/sand mixture.  Our trusted contact, Jim, from Ciliska Excavating, did another prompt and super service by coming by with his big backhoe to drop off two full buckets of that gravel/sand.  He does such a precise job that the raking of the pile went easy.  Now we have a sandbox!

It turned out to be a much better day than predicted with a temperature of 26C/79F so I spent a few hours pulling weeds from the driveway until my back told me to go inside to rest.  This evening we got that promised rain and that will pack the gravel/sand nicely down.  We will let that settle for a few weeks before we are going to add more gravel to the top.

I hope I don’t tire everyone with my account of the building of the future shed, but that is what is going on in our lives for the moment.  Stay tuned…