Tuesday, November 21, 2023

Autumn Colors

 Some images from Bay Area (November 2023)

This is America!

Very unlikely these scarecrows may scary any crow.


This Thanksgiving gas is relatively cheap. Especially  if your car is that small.

Holiday Mushrooms family reunion. 

Children, don't be lost! Keep closer.


Wednesday, November 8, 2023

Soda Can: Bottom Part


Two years ago I published  the post   about using soda can tab in DIY projects. Now I have found one more usage  for a soda can: this time for its bottom part. I used can bottom part  as cheap LED reflector for some home lighting projects, in particular  for Halloween Decors. Above you can see  Pumpkin Glister with  multi-colored eyes.

Here is the Bat Decors  with Red eyes..

The last picture is the Bat Decor shot at the moment, when eyes were not that bright and with some whitish color, so reflectors are better visible as they are.

Making  reflectors is very simple: just cut bottom parts of cans, bend edges of these parts with pliers, drill holes for LED to fit, and attach reflectors to the Glister or plywood decor with staples or pieces of cooper wire.

Thursday, August 31, 2023

Apples & Birds


We have an apple tree in our backyard. Apples from this tree are no that special, still  we like them. But there is a problem: birds like them too. Honestly speaking birds never  eat fruit as a whole: just a small part of it, but that is enough damage for apple fruit to start rotting. How to protect apples from birds? At the beginning we tried to hang scare bird ribbons, like this https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0C3WBNCBT?psc=1&ref=ppx_yo2ov_dt_b_product_details 

That worked somehow last year, but not this year. Either different  birds found our backyard this summer, or may be birds adjusted, but scare ribbon does not work anymore. So  we have to find some other mean of protection. 

In one hour I built net canopy: wooden frame out of old floor molding (I took that molding out during room renovation). This frame I attached to the long wooden post. Length of the post is slightly more then tree height).

We put  square bird net https://www.homedepot.com/p/Vigoro-14-ft-x-14-ft-Polypropylene-Bird-Block-Netting-and-Barrier-NMVBB1414/310977979 on top of the canopy and tied canopy post to tree trunk:


After that we attached another net to the bottom of the canopy net with small pieces of wire. 

Below you can see that "engineering  beauty" in a full view. 

And guess what? It works!  Birds do not  eat our apples  anymore. On the photo you can see scarry bird ribbon   as well, but  only because I was lazy to take it out, these are useless against our birds.  Next summer I have to  rebuild this project in more aesthetically  looking way.

Update on October 23, 2023.

Thanks to the bird  net the harvest  was saved.  Here is the photo of  collected apples  under the guard of  our  corgi.  

Saturday, July 15, 2023

For the Safety of the Office Mate


Here is our eighteen months old corgi. I share my office  space with him. If you pay enough attention you'll find that arm chair, next to which dog lays, does not have wheels.  I had to get rid of  them to provide safety for the dog . Easy to say but not so easy to do. Office arm chairs with  no wheels do not exist.  I could not find one neither in local stores, no online. At the beginning I replaced arm chair with regular home chair, but later I decided to proceed with DIY modification of my old office chair.     

Here are some steps of this project. 

First I removed wheels. That was relatively easy to do. I just needed to pull it hard enough. Then I came up with   design of stands to be put in place of wheels. Here is a design sketch. 

Body of stands I made out of wooden post  taken from  broken hat hanger.  Some additional components I bought in Home Depot: felt glides for chair legs  and  drywall anchors.

Anchors I screwed into holes where wheels previously resided. Anchors fitted perfectly apart  to be a little long. That I fixed  by cutting there  ends with the metal hacksaw.  Here is anchor in place.

Five wooden cylinders I cut from the post. Then  I drilled them through whole length  with 1/8 '' drill and after that with 11/32 drill  only half length. I put anchor screw inside and then taped plastic glide socket into hole. Below you can see wooden stand ready to be attached to the chair.

Inner opening of glide socket is wide  enough to insert screwdriver to screw stands to anchors. Final step was to thread glides into sockets.

Now my office mate my occupy any place in the office he wants. I never will harm him by accidently rolling the chair fast. But if needed I may slowly glide chair over hardwood floor.

I published  this project on to  Instructables website and  submitted it into "Unusual Uses" contest.  For such a modest project it was accepted well enough. Editor of the site featured  submission and even included it into e-mail newsletter. Some users favorited this project. Maybe I have a chance to win some prize?

Update on 07/24/23.  I just got comment on Instructables that actually chair wheel replacement available to buy. Indeed search   through Amazon for ""Office Chair Feet Glides"   reveals a lot of them. If only I  knew before I would buy it  and not "invent the wheel"  myself.


Friday, June 16, 2023

Broken Chuck


Two years ago my portable tire pump, which served me for almost twenty years died. In the local AutoZone store I have found this one Slime pump as a replacement. Honestly speaking it did  not look as reliable device, but choice was limited so I decided  to take a risk.  It worked OK, but couple days ago I could not attach it to the tire: plastic lever on the chuck got broken (take into consideration that  I  used it not more then 5-7 times ). The pump itself still looked OK, so I decided to fix it. On Amazon I have found  kit with two chucks for ~ $7. I bought it and two days later kit arrived. 

Kit  contained two brass chuck hose ends and two worm  hose clumps. Replacement was easy: 
  • I detached broken chuck from the pump hose end.
  • I put worm clump on the hose.
  • I Inserted replacement chuck into the hose end.
  • Last step was to screw  worm bolt until clump holds the hose end tightly.
Here you  can see the result.

I'll see how long this pump will serve me after the fix. (And I still have one extra chuck end for some future projects).

Monday, April 3, 2023

Corgi and Bess



 Actually name of the kitten is not Bess,  but Stormy. Still it was hard to avoid temptation to play the words with famous Gershwin opera. Corgi is true and real Pembroke Welsh Corgi. He is our one year dog. Cat is not ours.  Guest came to our house to introduce us to his brand new  kitten. That kitten was adopted  from the local shelter, so what is her breed is not clear. For what we found online she probably belongs to the local Californian breed line: Serengeti.  There is the hope our dog and that kitten  will become friends eventually, but they are not there yet. 

Saturday, December 3, 2022

Bells? Or Swallow?


Most people in the Western world will easy recognize the melody of the clip above as "Carol of the Bells". It is popular Christmas song. During winter holiday season you can listen it almost as often as "Jingle Bells" or theme from Nutcracker. While music is easy to recognize, with lyrics it is different story: they are not in English. British singer of Georgian  origin Katie Melua performs it together with Women's Gori Choir (Gori is city in Georgia. Just take into consideration that Georgia here is not USA state but country in the Caucasus region).  In which language they are singing it? Georgian? No, it is Ukrainian. Why? Because  it is actually Ukrainian folk  song. Ukrainian composer M. Leontovych made it known to the musical world at the beginning of 20th century. It may come to surprise that English and Ukraine lyrics of this carol have absolutely nothing in common. As proof here is beginning of English text, created by  Peter J. Wilhousky.

Hark! how the bells
Sweet silver bells
All seem to say
"Throw cares away."
Christmas is here
Bringing good cheer
To young and old
Meek and the bold

And here is result of direct translation of the lyrics from Ukrainian, which I borrowed from this Wikipedia post https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shchedryk_(song) To my best knowledge translation is accurate. 

A little swallow flew into the household
and started to twitter,
to summon the master:
"Come out, come out, O master,
look at the sheep pen,
there the ewes have given birth
and the lambkins have been born
Your goods [livestock] are great,
you will have a lot of money, by selling them.
You have a dark-eyebrowed beautiful wife
If not money, then chaff from all the grain you will harvest
you have a dark-eyebrowed beautiful wife."

As you can see there is no similarity between two texts . Why Wilhousky bringing the song on to American soil have chosen very different wording? I would guess he wanted for coral to succeed, and for that image of ringing bells easy associated with winter holiday and Christmas suited well. And indeed result was achieved.
Attentive reader may find that in the original text there is nothing which remind about Christmas or even New Year. Song starts with verse about swallow, which flew to the household. But wait, how that could be possible on Christmas or New Year Day? Swallow is a migrating bird, it can not survive in Ukraine in December. It will either freeze or starve to death, because of scarcity of insects, its only source of food. These birds usually return from tropics to Ukraine at the beginning of spring. Even more, one can tell that swallow is the symbol of spring in Ukraine. And everything in text tells about spring and future harvest. Why this song is associated with New Year and Christmas? I do not know for sure but here is my guess. Let us take as a starting point information from this source:
Modern calendar has its origin from early Roman times, when March was first month of the year. Later on Julius Caesar introduced new solar based calendar and that's when New Year moved to January 1. But things changed later. Here is direct quotation from the link above:

In medieval Europe, however, the celebrations accompanying the new year were
considered pagan and unchristian like, and in 567 the Council of Tours 
abolished January 1 as the beginning of the year. At various times and 
in various places throughout medieval Christian Europe, the new year was 
celebrated on Dec. 25, the birth of Jesus; March 1; March 25, the Feast of the Annunciation; and Easter.

Most likely lyrics of the song indeed dedicated to New Year was created in Ukraine during times when New Year was celebrated at spring. Later on (in 18th century) celebration of New Year again became legitimate and moved according to calendar to January 1. And together with this move moved the song, Then it became associated with Christmas, which precedes New Year.
That make me think that original text of the song is very old (definitely more then three hundred years).
But anyway disregarding if you find my version credible or not enjoy this beautiful melody with any lyrics in any language.