Category: Domestic

The Good, The Bad and The Ugly (by )

Yesterday we went to the allotment to begin the slow down for winter.

preparing the planter for raspberry canes

Preping the allotment for some fruit canes 🙂 and broad beans, finding frogs which are now safely in Mary's container/fairy garden, digging up the last few root veg that were ready - all yay!

raised bed prepared for broad beans

We also have late tomatoes which are still producing green tomatoes so it is time for more chutney making!

Late green tomatoes awaiting the chutney process

Discovering someone has stolen two of my galvanised herb pots turfing my rosemary plant which I grew from seed when we first moved to the cotswolds >:( They left the third so I think they must have gotten interrupted. Big boo >:(

There was also wood smashed up and thrown into one of our planters and the grumpy man who is sometimes there came and stared at me and the kids for a while before moving on :/

Ending with the frog pics because they are cute - Mary has named it Slimey unsurprisingly. It is in the Fairy garden because a) cats b) streamers.

Mary's friend Slimey the Frog

Slimey is pictured her in the empty worry trays that I use for weeding.

Slimey the frog

Last night was the only opportunity we had to take the kids to fireworks but I hadn't slept properly and then had failed to have a nap so decided not to go with Al and the kids - he say's the fireworks would have been borderline for me as there were a lot of flashing crowns and wands and shoes and I hadn't had a lot of sleep so I made the right decision in not going - I want to get through this November without a seizure as they set me back so far and it's like I've hit my head all over again so I am being extra cautious because I am so much better that I just don't want to risk it - but I felt like a bad parent not going but Al would have had to carry a fold up seat and stuff for me as well and I think it would have made it miserable for everyone if I had gone - we toasted marshmallows over candles when the girls got back and I managed to cook my first meal proper with little mess and no burning or mess ups since the head injury (this is cooking on my own rather than with Al or Jean) - so pretty pleased with that.

Toasting marshmallows over candles

However...

TW: miscarriage

Having nightmares at the mo - the next week is going to be tricky but I have craft supplies and have already made a bazzilion cards and keyrings - my plan is to bulldozer through - this is the day last year where I left the house walking and excited about all the awesome stuff I had planned for November and had to be brought home by a friend as thing started to go wrong very quickly and I couldn't even walk properly and felt like I had been hit with the flu hammer - nightmares are of course all hospital based or searching for lost babies/kittens/cute things or failing to rescue them no matter how hard I try - very grateful to the NHS and very aware I wouldn't be here if they hadn't worked so hard - I ended up with a server BP crash and seizure fortunately I was already at the hospital - this one has affected me far harder than the one in the summer - but it was a pregnancy that was older and it was far more traumatic. Trouble is I get cascade so the memories of that hospital trip flash to others including the trips to A&E whilst half way through Jean's pregnancy.

Big irony about this is that I can recall peoples birthdays and I even struggle with things like Christmas but this and the ectopic are burned into me. I accidentally woke Al up crying last night which I wanted to avoid :/

I'm also getting hacked off with myself for still being so drenched in this - it doesn't help that the pelvis has just not really recovered so I have a reminder every time I walk - I basically gave birth to the placenta which was the size of a small baby.

It's eating at my core partly because I fear it was perhaps my last chance to have a baby.

My craft obsession:

Card making is a big thing for me when I am feeling too frazzled or sick to do much else. Alaric bought me supplies, including a Christmas gift box colouring in book.

christmas crafting supplies

I've been making cards including ones of my St Oswold's picture I did in the summer.

St Oswold's greeting cards

Last night when I couldn't sleep I remembered I had lots of split rings to make keyrings with - so I combined them with my bracelet charms.

snowflake keyrings

I am making lots of lucky dip pouches to go in the treasure chest.

keyrings in silver style

I have to end the post with my guardian cat - Hydrogen has been through the mill of life and still likes to sit with me and purr. Here she is being a Dragon Cat with her horde of keyrings.

Dragon Cat and her hoard of keyrings

Compressed air distribution in the workshop (by )

Up until now, I've just plugged flexible hoses into my compressor to run tools.

I've got a bunch of things that need clean air (spray guns, tyre inflator, the plasma cutter, and a blow gun), and a bunch of things that need lubricated air (nailer, drill, impact screwdriver, sander, angle grinder, chisel, and impact wrench), so I've standardised on using PCL connectors for clean air and the ones that come with cheap air tools from Aldi and Lidl (what is that interface called?) for lubricated air:

Aldi/Lidl airline fittings

To convert from one to t'other, I have my handy compressed air tool caddy. On the front is a regulator, filter, and oil injector, with a PCL plug on the inlet, and on the outlet a springy hose with a shutoff valve and a socket for oiled air:

Air caddy front

At the rear is a storage box with my bottle of airline oil, the key for my air drill, the spanners for my air grinder, and a box with a pipette and funnel for putting oil into tools:

Air caddy back

Now, this setup is OK, but it's a bit fiddly to go the compressor and plug things in; and I've been making something that needs compressed air as part of the building infrastructure (there will be a blog post focussing on it later so I won't go into detail now, but it's a pneumatic vacuum ejector):

Vacuum ejector

So, it was time to run proper pneumatic plumbing around the place! I had a bunch of copper plumbing pipe left behind by plumbers as we've had a lot of building work lately, so I had some 28mm, 22mm, and normal 15mm tube lying around. I decided to use all the 28mm tube for the long run across the ceiling, all the 22mm tube I had to extend that to make the distance I needed, then 15mm tube for the rest, because larger tube means easier air flow - and because all that volume inside the pipes gives me an extra litre or so of air storage...

To combine them, I had to buy reducers of the appropriate diameters; I went for solder-ring fittings because I'm well equipped with blowtorches. Plastic pipe clips hold it securely to the ceiling beams:

15mm 22mm and 28mm pipe

And the 15mm plumbing terminates in things like this:

PCL Compressed air outlet

To convert between the world of plumbing (15mm copper) and the world of compressed air lines (1/4" BSP threads), I searched on eBay and found adapters with 15mm compression fittings on one side and 1/4" BSP on the other end:

The PCL fittings, ball valves, and other hardware came from Airlines Pneumatics.

Now, at various points, I needed to interface to flexible hoses - to connect to the compressor or the plasma cutter, for instance. To do that, I needed to get adapters between barbed hose fittings and 1/4" BSP threads or PCL fittings, as appropriate (all from Airlines Pneumatics). Fitting these correctly needs to be done with care, or they'll leak, so I've made a video explaining the process:

(you can also watch it on YouTube)

Although the fittings are depressingly expensive, it's been very rewarding setting this up - I love working on infrastructure, and now it's a lot easier to use my compressed air equipment 🙂

The Gardens a Mess but BBQ like Kings Anyway! (by )

To sort out our drainage (clue - there wasn't any) our garden has had to be ripped up - I am quiet sad about this but electrics and plumbing where the priorities for the building works and everything else is just added glam. But this does mean that the garden is a mess - half the deckings gone - the painted part mostly (boo!) and because I'm going to use it to make planters it happens to still be lurking in the garden along with the smashed garden ornaments and plant pots. I like to eat outside and would normally have started this at the end of March - the weather has been dismal too be fair but I was starting to get twitchy and take us out for picnics and stuff instead. This weekend having already picnicked and having spotted the dutch oven that my bro and fam had bought for us a couple of years ago and that had still not been used, I was was like... RIGHT! It Is Time. And so it was.

The girls helped me clean and move what is left of the garden furniture after snowaggedon destroyed most of it and builders demolished a significant proportion of the remainder.

first BBQ 2018

Camping chairs are in play and once I dig out the shed there will be the long table and benches which we normally use for parties - it will be our garden furniture from now until it falls apart (something I don't think is far off). Same with all the half gazebos we have ended up with - they will be steadily worn out as the replacement for our canopy that the snow broke.

Tricoloured peppers

Food wise I went simple and we had jacket potatoes and chopped veg - the kids ate the veg raw and I lit up the second BBQ popped the griddle on and cooked up the left over bacon from my parents visit - Al being veggie means I don't want meat cooked on the dutch oven set at all due to how you clean it i.e. you kind of don't.

tatties wrapped and ready for the flames

Of course the Dutch Oven needed curing or seasoning, I wasn't sure if it was already seasoned so did one lot of oil burn on it just incase. This is where you rub some sort of fat on it - veg oil, lard - what ever and then heat it up so it smokes off. This creates a protective layer that prevents the cast iron from rusting and also makes it a non-stick surface.

dutch oven in bucket BBQ

And yes these are the old bucket BBQs we bought when we first moved in and yes we have had to weld new bottoms on them and paint them with heat proof black metal BBQ paint and yes they are now really falling to bits... it's on the to do list to sort! But we really just need somewhere to light a fire and put the lakwan, cast iron pans, girdles and dutch ovens in - they work so much better than trying to cook veg burgers on a grill over the hot coals!

I also put frozen raspberries in cream soda which worked really really well.

Cream Soda and frozen raspberries

The potatoes cooked fine and we got to just enjoy the sunshine in the garden - Mary of course was grumpy because she'd wanted pancakes because the chickens have started laying again but we are still putting everything away in the kitchen and I haven't yet found were I stashed the flour!

Industrial Snow Poetry Walk (by )

Sudden Snow (by )

When we went to bed last night, it was raining hard. So I was pretty surprised when I got up in the morning to find the world covered in about ten centimetres of snow.

And even more surprised to find that the awning over the back door had fallen down, blocking it so I had to get out via another door to investigate:

Fallen awning

The weight of the snow had been too much, causing the bracket on the left to shear off:

Left-hand bracket

This, in turn, pulled the bracket on the right out of the wall:

Right-hand bracket

And the falling awning crushed our little table:

Ruined table

Jean and I managed to undo the surviving bolts and get it off the wall without further destruction. The wall is undamaged at the left bracket:

Left-hand bracket holes

But the bricks are cracked where the bracket pulled out at the right, and the mortar has plenty of cracking too, so this will need some work:

Right-hand bracket holes

Also, our outside light is mangled and just hanging on by the cables, and will need replacing:

Damaged outside light

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