Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Yikes Trikes!


Solution: Adult trike. Problem: How to transport the thing?
Although it will fit in the car (with the front wheel removed), I wanted it outside so we'd have room to pack for our holiday. Carriers can be found, but at costs exceeding what we paid for the trike in the first place. Ever the cheapskate, I opted for rolling my own.


Step One: Trailer Hitch

I found one on Ebay that had 3 bolt-holes on each side for a bit over a hundred bucks (shipping included).

Not too hard to install as long as you're prepared to spend a little time under the car. In my case the prep work included running a 12mm tap through the somewhat rusty holes. I also wire-brushed the rusty areas I could reach and applied some (what is that stuff). In lieu of a tap extension I was able to use an 8mm 12-point socket, but the exhaust pipe blocked one of the holes so I had to reach around it with a regular tap-holder.

Tapping out those holes (which already exist conveniently threaded) was probably the trickiest part. It's really hard to be sure you're going in square to the original hole when it doesn't go in easily.

Of course you can always pay someone like U-Haul for a hitch plus installation.

Step 2: Improvisation

Using left over wood scraps and some channel I had lying around, I constructed this basic shelf to support the bike. My idea was to keep the trike as close to the car as possible, thinking the further out would be more leverage, more risk of structural failure.

Step 3: How To Secure?

Wanting to avoid drilling holes in the car, I mulled around several notions until I realized I could probably attach straps to the hatchback hinges.

I fashioned bits of scrap aluminium to nest into the existing hinges with room for strapping to comfortably loop around. It doesn't even touch weatherstripping, a rather satisfying solution! 

I'm thinking those straps will share the weight with the hitch-mounted shelf. Additional straps below will hold the bottom of the trike to the trailer hitch frame underneath, keeping the trike from bouncing around and pulling the rear wheels snug against the bumper. 


I also found a frugal path to a rooftop carrier for the other bike.
Not sure if I was strong enough to lift my rather heavy bike up that high, I wanted to be sure it could be stable in an upright position should I manage to get it that far.
Once again the 'every solution creates a problem' axiom kicked in. With the success of getting it up I found the next issue, getting it back down, also challenging.
Lacking a crane, I think a small step-ladder (plus assistant) will have to be part of the travel plan.

(This shot is prior to figuring out the strapping solution.)
I really didn't expect it to fit under the shelter, but next time might remove the saddle!
(Sept 27, after 1st test-drive with the new arrangement)

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Nancy Was Right All Along

My wife has often told me I'd better trim those brambles before they droop to the ground, else they'd take root again.
While I'd certainly heard of plants doing that, I thought that was only in exotic far away places, Baobab trees or something. So I put it to the test and let the brambles go.

Fast-forward to
this morning.
Imagine my surprise to find conclusive evidence that she was right all along!
Several of the droopy ends looked like they were trying to burrow into the grass, but then I pulled this one up and became a true believer. Again - this is the part that was formerly reaching for the sky.


I see multiple telling factors too:

 1) Roots at the end of two branches.

2) Direction of the thorns points toward the original root, not the secondary root.

3) Tufts on what was the upper side of the leaf stem.

I bet you awready knew about this too.

I've always called these brambles, don't know what a botanist would call the plant, any ideas?

Monday, September 7, 2015

My Owen Back Yard

I think I found an Oriole nest. 
Image is processed, I was trying to reduce that shadow area and get sky colour, but it came out a bit surreal. Photo from a few days ago. All the rest are from this morning (Labor Day '15) in my owen backyard. 
I haven't seen any orioles for at least a week so maybe they hit the road. On the other hand, Nancy says she's seen them maybe less than a week ago.
Yellow-rumped Warbler? What a beauty.


 Finally got that little bandito - the male Common Yellowthroat!

Pretty sure I've been seeing the female as well (earlier post).

This is herself too I'll wager.

Here's a non-bird project to wrap up the day.

Speaking of animations, almost forgot this flycatcher on high. 
Those wing-bars make me think Eastern Wood Pewee.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Good Day For Birds

Twas a great Sunday morning here in Paris Twp. 
Here are some of the visitors to our yard.

This Yellow Warbler spent a while cleaning in pretty clear view to my delight. I made a sequence of shots into a little slide show posted here, on YouTube. I think I like it better than my typical animated GIF. Better quality but a bit more work! 

Field Sparrow on Jewel Weed
 Field Sparrow

The Rose-breasted Grosbeak is not a rare bird, we get them every summer. Harder to catch is my favourite: the male transitioning to adult plumage. What a nice blend of colours, and in such variation!
I'm thinking this is a Common Yellowthroat.

Not so sure about the one below.

Composite, same bird as above I believe.

Young Red-bellied Woodpecker.
Brown Thrasher

Northern Flicker, female.
What a day.