Saturday, October 28, 2017

A new look for Grandma's driveway

Time to replace the landscaping timbers at Grandma's.

They have served well for 30+ years.  Now they are shifting and disintegrating.

First order of business.  Remove all the perennials.

As well as the timbers.  Didn't get any photos of that part of the job.

Finally got the camera back out.... after getting the first tier of blocks pretty well in place.

Over 300 blocks and 13 tons of rock await curbside.

Rounding the bend. 

Starting the excavate dirt for the second tier.

Oh look, the supervisor showed up!  How are we doing Mrs L.?

Dig, dig, dig.  I suppose if we put in 13 tons or rock we must have dug out close to 13 tons of dirt.

1 tier to go.

Trevon hard at work.

Blocks are in place.  Now cutting the corner cap stones and landscaping.

Dave H creating a dust fog.

Hauling away excess dirt.

The construction crew.


Sunday, May 7, 2017

Cast Away Cast Iron

This cast iron skillet spent many years outdoors and in the weather.  It was rusty, rusty, rusty with surface pitting.  However, it was not warped, cracked or damaged in any other way.  I thought I'd see if there was any chance to restore it to usability.

Bottom side is very rusty but in good shape otherwise.  No pitting.
The rust in extensive inside the pan; deep and pitted.

Electrolysis is going to be my method in attempting to bring this skillet back to life.
So I start by suspending the skillet using copper wire and attached to metal object.  I had a builders square handy so used it to hang the skillet.

Next fill with water to cover skillet completely.  Two metal rods in the water on each sides but not touching the skillet are the anodes in the circuit.  The skillet is the cathode.  Hard to see here but the skillet is hooked up to the negative lead and the rods to the positive lead of my battery charger.

An electrolyte is needed.  This super washing soda is sodium carbonate (not baking soda which is sodium bicarbonate.)  1 tablespoon per gallon of water.

Battery charger which has manual settings.  Used the highest setting (12v 6amp).  Trickle chargers won't work I understand.

About 20 hours after plugging the charger in it is obvious something is working.  The water is beautifully rusty.

After taking the skillet out of the solution and cleaning it up there is certainly drastic improvement.

Then I took an SOS pad to it along with some hot water and scrubbed really well.

Last step.  Seasoned with light coat of oil and put it in the oven.  Did this 3 times and pan looks terrific.  Still has the pitting so I'll work on that next. 

Best of all, with the rust removed from the pan I can finally tell what I've got.  The solid heat ring and numbering style on the bottom indicate a Birmingham Stove and Range skillet made sometime in the early 1960's.  I haven't used it yet but will do so very soon. 

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

The last of Ecuador 2016

Bananas everywhere.  The only bananas I ate were fried.  Wish I'd grabbed some from a stand and tried them as there are multiple varieties available.  Probably for a very good price also.

Plenty of fruit also.  

Went tubing on this "Rio" later.  It was quite fun!

Now for a few shots during some of our hikes...

Cemetery of the indigenous Ecuadorians.

Funeral and/or burial service.

At the Equator.

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Birds & Butterflies

Bird watching is quite popular in Ecuador.  If what I read is correct, there are more than 1600 species of birds in Ecuador which is almost twice the number of species in all of North America.  Not bad for a country the size of Nevada.  Bird watching isn't one of my hobbies but no matter, when a few of these show up close by and you have a camera, you just have to take a photo!!

I found a website that has photos of 107 species of hummingbirds in Ecuador.  Here is one of idea what brand though!

Someone has tied a bunch of ripe bananas in a tree as a bird attractant.  It works.

This photo was at an outdoor restaurant where we were having breakfast.  A waiter started laying peeled bananas on stands around the premises and birds came from all over for their morning snack.

Hummingbird nest.

Butterfly species outnumber the birds as there over 4000 species in Ecuador.  We were able to photograph about 1/1000 of the lot. 

If you want to make friends and get an up-close-and-personal visit, smear some overripe banana on 
your finger and they are very accommodating.