The lawn destruction continues apace.

When we bought our house it had what people would, probably, call a lawn. I mean, it was a crappy lawn – and we have since discovered that part of the reason it was so crappy is that a bunch of it had grown on top of what was, I would assume, plastic intended to stop things growing over a plant bed.

This had (again, I assume) become covered in enough rotted down leaf debris that the grass could take hold and bury the plastic where it slowly degraded under the soil into an irritating layer of nastiness that we keep finding bits of. But anyway, there was a lawn.

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Now, lawns are bollocks anyway. They’re just waste-of-space markers of wealth. Oh look, I can pretend to be lord of the manor, and instead of having a useful garden I can instead have this patch of useless monoculture that does nothing but suck up nutrients. And if you actually want it to look ‘good’ it’ll need constant attention with weeding, or worse with weed killer, and it’ll also need you to water it through the summer, and blah, and blah, and bleh.

I am not a fan of lawns.

If you love lawns, you do you (so long as you’re not spraying roundup on it, or pouring gallons of fertilizer on it).

There’s actually a creepily perfect lawn just down the street from us and I find it deeply unnatural.

Anyhow, we quickly set about ruining it – partially for practical purposes (having a soak-away), partly for having garden… and today we annexed yet another section, extending the bed that we grew stuff in last year outside the back door. We were doing some edging to make maintenance a bit easier… Last year, because of the somewhat rapid way that we did gardening (rotavate, throw in compost, rotavate, plant) the beds didn’t really have any edging. And that meant that it was harder to decide when the grass was invading.

So this year, we took the metal that was originally planned to go around the house (which we decided we didn’t like in that role) and used it to edge one of the veg beds.

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Of course we’ve done our super-lazy lasagne mulching (which is one layer of card then a ton of compost/soil). This does mean we have to weed afterwards, because the grass, unsurprisingly, survives this onslaught. But it generally only requires *some* weeding. And it means we don’t have to get an enormous amount of card. Which is handy – because that’s all the card we had left. In fact, we had to unpack our (mail order) toilet paper to get enough to do that…

Anyhow, it’s looking pretty good. We also unloaded the bed that was full of the worst soil. The stuff that turned out to effectively actually be gravel with some mud on it… That’s been piled up back around the edge of the soak-away which is meant to have a pond on top of it. There was once soil piled there, but the chickens… helped… with that.

The other quick ‘n dirty bit of garden fixing we did was to create some shelter for the chickens. A couple of weeks back we corralled them up at one end of the garden (so that we can actually grow things in the rest of the garden through the summer). They broadly seemed pretty happy with the high-quality deck we’d created to replace the our one at the back of the house (which they spent a lot of time on):

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The one problem was when it was hacking with rain they used to come and shelter under the eaves of the house. That no longer being an option and them seemingly almost unwilling to enter the run during the day (except to eat), we decided to create them some shelter on their deck.

This was constructed to an extremely high standard from the finest building materials (and not at all left over random crapity bits of cedar from other projects). We definitely spent more than about 2 minutes, total, on measuring. And we certainly didn’t just throw the whole thing together.

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It should give them some protection from the worst of the weather, if they choose to use it (which they obviously won’t, because they’re chickens).

In other news, the mixer doesn’t quite work as well as I’d hoped.

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There are three small problems. One is that the stop-button sticks. So I’m going to have to take the front panel off, remove the “stop” button, sand the edge of the panel I cut to give it a smiiidge more clearance, and then put it back together.

Not a huge thing, but slightly bothersome.

The other thing – which may be related, is it doesn’t always seem to want to latch into ‘run’. So you have to hold the start/run button in.

And finally, the belt seems to slip sometimes.

Now, new belts are available (as are new all the bits, really). But I don’t really want to spend $45 on it until I know that the rest of it is working properly. Since it is currently behaving like too much slippage causes it to switch off I may end up replacing it anyway before I’m totally convinced it’s all working.

But first we’ll fix the ‘stop’ switch.

Of course, now there’s a much cheaper – functional – one on ebay. Buuuut, I resurrected this beastie, and I will say the tealy blue looks damn cool.

So that’s…some of the stuff :)

There are things that are borked, and things which are less borked.

Life continues. At least for us. COVID continues to kill at a pace that is distressing, but the news media seems to be done with talking about it. Probably because there’s only so many ways you can say “because Donald Trump thinks you’re all worthless and mismanaged this whole thing, now hundreds of thousands have died and many are still dying and it’s going to be very difficult to clear it up”. Also, it’s much less interesting when the administration is actually trying to tackle things. Apparently, today Biden’s dog injured someone at the Whitehouse. So, err, that was big news.

So, yeah anyway.

I have been noodling at projects, and noodling at the house. I can’t say I’ve been very rapid about anything very much (in a pandemic), but I have been making progress.

The garage is now heatable – sorta. If you throw a radiator and leave it, by the afternoon it’s adequately warm. This allowed me to oil some freshly obtained trim, and also to oil the ends of the trim that we already had that was cut to size. For the first time in weeks (months?) I put some trim up a few days ago, and a second lot today. Not loads. But it’s progress (in a pandemic).

I spent some time today measuring up for the pieces that I’ve oiled – so a bunch of them can be cut down and I’ll get them installed.

I’ve also put the mixer back together! (Whaaaaat?!)

I know, the last I posted it was in a lot of bits.

So – a quick recap of the repair:

The lasercut front panel came out AWESOMELY:

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I am so pleased with how it looked (foreshadowing there).

I also replaced the two very sickly capacitors with ones that are hopefully less inclined to go bang. At least, not for maybe another thirty years:

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These Rifa polystyrene capacitors are notorious for their ‘splody tendencies as they get older; so if you’ve got anything of the 20-30 year ilk with them in I’d recommend digging in and changing them. They’re pretty cheap and changing them is usually not too much hassle. Less hassle than waiting for them to let the magic smoke out, anyway.

That done, I sanded the outside of the machine. Now I wasn’t trying to get an as-new look. Otherwise I’d’ve stripped the whole thing right down, stripped the paint off, and started from scratch. Which might have been a wiser choice, but I’m not really that bothered about it looking perfect. I really want it to work and look fairly tidy, so I declared that a clean, a light sand, and a new coat of paint would do. I took it into my high-tech filtered-air spray-booth, and gave it some high-build primer and a coat of…errr, some blue paint that we had left over from doing the lights because we felt it was too bright a colour for the lights.

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Having left it a few days to dry I did a test assembly – and checked it was working, then I put it back together. Now my original (and better) plan was to screw the new lasercut panel to the original backplate/knob mounting plate (the original piece of metal was thinner and glued to it) – but I was concerned about alignment, so rather than do that I opted (foolishly it turns out) to glue the lasercut frontplate to the knob mounting plate. Now, if it breaks again then what I’ll do instead is just lasercut a larger mounting plate, etch the edges of it to make it thin enough to fit the slot, and it *should* fit straight into the case in place of the original knob mounting plate – and I can make it look pretty. It will have to have some screw holes for mounting, but that’s fine. I can break out some nice stainless steel jobbies for that.

Aaaanyway, back to the tale. So, I have a few adhesives around – car body plastic component adhesive (which is a contact adhesive); jb-weld and hotmelt glue are the main plastic friendly ones though.

I was a bit worried that both the JB Weld and the Car body plastic component adhesive might react with the paint. So I broke out the hotmelt glue gun. Which…didn’t work. Because it’s quite a big piece of plastic, by the time I’d applied a bead of glue around the whole thing, the start of it had dried.

After a couple of goes I gave up on that and gave in, trying the car body adhesive. This tempted me because it’s clear…

Unfortunately, it did indeed react with the paint which… went rather crinkledy.

But it still looks a damn sight better than it did on arrival:

IMG_20210218_133518 Anksarum Assistent / Electrolux n8

Unfortunately, it seems some other things are excited by the prospect of spending some time in pieces in the garage. My much loved Technics SL-6 record deck has decided that either only playing a minute or two of any record is enough. That appeared to be a transient fault, because it then after a few days rest seemed to be working fine…

…until it decided to drag the stylus across a chunk of my copy of Sgt Pepper having played most of the way through. So that… needs to go out to be investigated.

And despite my optimism of ‘just ignoring it and hoping it would fix itself’, our dishwasher remains stubbornly broken (it must be about a year since it broke). It reports an intake/drain problem which is usually a stuck impeller (per Miele), but in this case is not. The impeller moves just fine, and weirdly it will do a rinse/drain cycle, but not a wash cycle. I’m not hugely looking forward to tackling that repair; but after nearly a year without I’m starting to feel somewhat peeved about it, so I guess that’s an up-and-coming activity. Also, once it’s working I might be more inclined to put the kick plates on the kitchen cabinets, which is another job just lurking there.

Bleh.