Saturday, June 20, 2015

Progress in Paradise...

Progress in Paradise...  Did you ever have one of those projects that you thought was going to be a trivial thing turn into the project from hell?  That happened to me today.  The project?  Installing drip irrigation for the five pots of color that we have on our second floor balcony.  What inspired me to do this was discovering a spigot immediately below the balcony.  No particular part of this project was hard – the only real problem was that I kept forgetting one part or another for the system.  Since this was the first drip irrigation I've installed at our home in Paradise, I didn't have the box of all the miscellaneous parts and tools you need for this job.  There's the filter, the faucet adapter, the pressure reducer, the back-flow preventer, the timer, the 1/2" tubing, the 1/4" tubing, the barbed flow emitters, the bug stoppers, the stakes, the emitter installation tool, and 25 or so other things.  I made a lot of trips to Ridley's.  Had to fill up on gas.  I'm thinking about new tires.  And I definitely am now overdue for maintenance on my truck.  My wallet is overstuffed with Ridley's receipts, most of them for under $5.  Sheesh.

Well, now I have that box of miscellaneous drip irrigation parts and tools!

And the drip irrigation is working fine.

I also finished installing three swinging bird feeder arms on our balcony.  I started the installation a couple days ago, with that effort ending with a couple coats of black paint.  Now that the paint was dry, I could install the actual arm and hang some feeders out: two hummingbird feeders and one oriole feeder.  We've seen quite a few of both around here, including a nesting pair of Bullock's Orioles near the southeast corner of our property, in a black willow along the irrigation canal.  I like these swinging arms, though I wish they were made of a bit heavier gauge steel.  Still, they're strong, mounted easily to the balcony rail columns, and the swinging action is perfect for getting the feeders out over the yard (instead of the nice, clean balcony floor).  The hardware that comes with them assumes you're mounting them to wooden beams, but all I had to do to make them work was to buy some good sheet metal screws and an “L” bracket to hold up the bottom.  This was both inexpensive and easy.  The black paint was a choice of mine, to make the swinging arms match (and blend in with) the balcony railing.  That worked great!

The dogs and I just got back from a roughly one mile walk, which we made very slowly because it's hot outside.  Our thermometer reads 90°, and I believe it.  The weather site says it's 23% relative humidity right now – not bad.  Except that I know that's wrong, because we have irrigation running upwind of us – it's probably more like 80% at our house.  When we had walked about a quarter mile away, the humidity dropped sharply; the difference was easily perceptible.  The dogs had one exciting moment along the walk today.  They all stayed on leash, but at one point they all three (even the ancient and venerable Mo'i!) zeroed in on a dead robin about 4 feet off the road.  Suddenly I had three dogs pulling me with about 500 pounds of force.  It was simply not possible for me to hold them back – until it occurred to me to grab onto my neighbor's fence post.  For a good minute or so, those damned dogs did their level best to separate my left arm (holding their leashes) from my body.  If they could have mustered just a few more pounds of force, they'd have succeeded.  When I hold my two arms straight out in front of me now, my left arm is now about a half inch longer than the right.  If it's still that way in the morning, I'm going to be a little worried about it!

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