Out and about, yardwork, flowers and more rain

Posted By on May 24, 2020

It has been a slow start to getting our yard in shape. By now we usually have the pool open and flowers planned, but for some reason (probably rain) we are not ready for summer.


Thankfully though, Saturday was nice most of the day. I waited as long as possible to add a few brown stripes to the backyard (not quite this bad) and beat the rain (still don’t have the fuel pump I ordered from Amazon for the Kubota, but gravity still works if I keep the tank full). Brenda and opted to venture out with about the entire county after following the last 8 weeks or so of stay at home orders (COVID19). Besides eating in a restaurant for the first time in a while, we also picked up some flowers in a local nursery. It was very busy … about half and half with masks?


On returning home, I continued to let the grass dry and worked on our pool decking "half-moon" area and then planted the wave petunias .. they seem to do well in that area. Brenda’s transplanted pots from last year are blooming too and we’ll need to get them in the ground soon. All in all it was a good day of work … until the washout again. More rain. Ugh.


Woodworking: Table Saw Clutter – a place for push sticks

Posted By on May 23, 2020

TableSawShelf200516The workshop runs smother when there is “a place for everything and everything is in its place”  … to quote the printer and publisher Benjamin Franklin. On the other hand, perhaps the British are not fond of a “revolutionary” like Ben and prefer to credit Samuel Smiles, Mrs Isabella Beeton or John Hacket, Bishop of Lichfield? (link) Yes, I’m off topic with idioms … again.

If you are like me, one of the areas of a woodworking workshop that can get overly cluttered is the top of the table saw fence (or side table for that matter). I would stick everything from thin strips, hold down blocks, pencils, an aluminum yardstick, a sawdust brush and several sizes of push sticks there. I had had enough and didn’t like bending down UNDER the saw to pull a push stick or brush off of a hook either. I was usually just when I needed it most … while the saw was running – yes, a dangerous habit.

So … I decided to cut and bend a piece of leftover aluminum from my airplane building days into a shallow box/shelf right at hand height level. Here I now keep a brush and a few regularly used push sticks … although I now often use the MicroJig 3D Pushblock (top right of above photo). This anti-slip Grr-Ripper (click for image) is pricey compared to simple homemade scrap wood push sticks, but well worth it if it saves a finger or two (put one on your “want list”… you’ll thank me someday).


Where’s the strangest place to find wild mallard duck eggs?

Posted By on May 22, 2020

Ducks200501I know it seems like a strange question, but our annual pair of ducks spend a lot of time in and around our pool. It doesn’t matter if it is covered or not, these mallard ducks do enjoy the relative safety of sleeping on the pool cover in the spring. My guess it provides them some protection from predators, namely coyotes lately. On the other hand, it does seem very strange to see a duck egg sitting on the pool cover? Was the mother-to-be frightened off just as she was ready to lay eggs or do they sometimes just plop out?

Whichever, an egg is on our pool cover … even though I know where her nest is this year – in the middle of our fire pile!  (I probably should build a coyote resistant duck house for them next year?)


And a snippet of video from the front yard nest below … 😉


Happy Birthday Ron! Did you know you had a doppelgänger?

Posted By on May 21, 2020

RonCorbett_DopplgangerHappy Birthday to my brother today. Although it is not every year I mentioned birthdays, particularly for those of us who prefer the year count be ignored, but this year with social distancing and lack of a physically connecting, I’ll post a birthday wish to Ron. Happy Birthday!


While I’m thinking about it, I came across a look-a-like or doppelgänger for him this past year (as well as our Uncle Sonny below – my dad’s brother). Ron’s look-a-like is a French businessman named Nicolas Babin who was at one time the CEO of Sony Europe and has expertise in programing and robotics. I came across the illustrated image of him on Twitter and eventually connected with him based on technology posts.  Nicolas and Ron are close to the same age and total unrelated … and although not a perfect match, people would likely believe they were brothers rather than the two of us!(see the “doppelgänger” post from 2018).

Our Uncle Sonny “Earl” Corbett and Ron from 2017 … and French businessman Nicolas Babin

Woodworking: Finished my Scrapwood Challenge project

Posted By on May 20, 2020


Several posts ago I mentioned that I was participating in the Makers Mob woodworking 6-week Scrapwood Challenge as part of the stay-at-home COVID19 orders. I can’t say that this project is anything great, but it did give me something to do in the evenings besides tweet political garbage or watch more outrage and debate from the talking heads on TV. Brenda is much smarter … she watches something entertaining on Netflix or Amazon Prime (although the same ones over and over). ScrapWoodChal_PictureHangerJig200514On the other hand, I was able to read a bit more and have a couple new birthday books to read (1 and 2).

Back to completing this little scrap wood project from my own questionable design.

I had been thinking about a couple simple woodworking birthday gifts for Katelyn and Taylor and also wanted to use my new lightweight MicroJig miter jig for precise cuts on the table saw. So I modified my original rectangular idea. These oddball angled cuts gave me a little bit more of a challenge. The project may never get used, but it is a simple way to hang pictures exactly where you want them on the wall (we are doing that now in the Library/Music Room after painting and my bookshelves project).



Use the lightweight jig to lift artwork by the picture wire with the  hooks at the bottom of the jig (above). The center lock knob is loosened and the cross bar is lowered to the top of the picture frame and locked in place – it slides in a dovetail track. Use a couple pieces of SWLevelblue painters tape to the right and left (or making slight pencil marks on the wall) at the top of the picture frame where the cross bar touch it. Check the small built in level (left) and overall height of the artwork to be sure it is where you want it located.

Take the art off the hooks and place the jig back on the wall lining the locked horizonal cross bar to the painters tape or marks. Then recheck level and put a pencil mark where the “V” notches meet the wall just below the hook (red circles above). Use those marks to line up the bottom of your new picture hooks push or hammer the hooks into the wall. When you hang the artwork, it should hang and STAY level on two new hooks at the correct height.

Amazon delivery woes puts me in a Grumpy Old Man mood

Posted By on May 19, 2020

AmazonRunningLate200519Sometimes ordering repair “parts” from Amazon is more critical than than others, like last week. On May 14th I ordered a electric fuel pump for our Kubota ZD326s zero-turn mower thinking it would arrive “as promised” by end of day Saturday. Then on Sunday I noticed that the package was still on its way, but running late.”

The new delivery “would have been” Sunday May 17th or Monday May 18th. Sure I was a bit irritated considering I was doing tractor maintenance over the weekend, but knew all delivery services were struggling to handle all the packages due to COVID19. Still, I felt Amazon could have communicated a little bit better.

Monday night rolls around and the next message is that it was still “On the way, but it’s running late” (message top right). 

Tuesday (May 19th) … now Amazon’s automated messaging system post something to the effect that “the package may be lost and you have the option to cancel the order for  a refund or continue waiting.” Instead I connect using Amazon’s chat online service which quickly offered to replace the order and continue waiting for the existing shipment (which I can return for credit).

I accept since I still need the fuel pump … BUT after ending the chat noticed the new delivery date is May 28th by 9pm … which is now over a week away. Good grief!


Nothing like a heavy and steady rain to add to our water woes

Posted By on May 19, 2020


The heavy rain overnight continued to add to our COVID19 spring misery, as SW Ohio is under flood warning. The warning started last night and after double checking our Zoeller pumps (shouldn’t really expecting them to do much considering just how much rain comes down). Two of the pumps keep our basement from flooding and two more “try” to deal with the run-off retention area in the backyard. 


Desultory - des-uhl-tawr-ee, -tohr-ee

  1. lacking in consistency, constancy, or visible order, disconnected; fitful: desultory conversation.
  2. digressing from or unconnected with the main subject; random: a desultory remark.
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