When life gives you melons..

Camera ~ LensNikon D3400 DSLR ~ 18-55 mm

Prompt / Theme: Share a good thing that happened today.

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Getting started on a car inspection pit

I filmed this with the lock down measures in place, I could not go to our other house and continue work on that so I started on something at our house that will take some time.

Behind or house I want to add a space to park two cars, with an inspection pit in the one parking area. I do not work on cars often since moving to Portugal but hope to at some point. At the very least I want to be able to service / inspect my own car.

An inspection pit will make that job easier and will not add that much to the costs, the biggest thing is digging the hole for the pit. That’s how it works out in my mind anyway.

The soil I am digging out is healthy, rich and dark soil filled with earthworms, so I want to keep it to one side for when we get started on planting vegetables. For that purpose I put down a tarp and have been putting the soil I dig out onto that.

Anyway, hope you enjoy watching!

Much needed upgrade for a strimmer

About a month back I bought a petrol powered strimmer, so I could maintain our yard and the border around it as well. Summers in Portugal also unfortunately mean fires and in areas where the fires were quite damaging the last few years, the policing of properties is quite active and fines are steep if your property is overgrown.

We got a guy in with a tractor to do most of the cutting, as the grass was quite tall, but I still need to clean the edges as well as the part between the trees which has so much wire, we asked the guy to just skip it.

The strimmer came with a metal blade, which I have not used (more on that later) as well as the normal auto-feeding kind, that you get with pretty much any weed whacker. This makes use of a nylon cord that auto dispenses when you push the end onto the ground.

I ended up buying a replacement made out of aluminium. At €10 it was not the cheapest, but still about a quarter the price of a ‘quality’ plastic one.

Here it is almost finished installed. I do love the look of turned metal!

Here’s whats left of the plastic one that came with the strimmer. It flew apart as I was cutting some grass, I am missing some of the parts, like the spring and two washers.

To be honest I really do not think I was that hard on it. I certainly did not handle it roughly nor bash it into rocks or anything like that. The sections where the top piece clip in seem particularly weak, here you can see a whole piece broke off.

On the cover, you can see a clip broke off too, somehow it wore holes in the side of this piece too, where the plastic seems particularly thin.

Same happened almost all the way around. This made me quite unhappy. The rest of the strimmer seems ok-ish, nowhere near as weak and brittle as this part.

The replacement part in pieces, instead of auto dispensing, you need to cut the cord to length then clamp it using the allen head bolt.

The part on the left is bolted to the end of the strimmer and the kit came with a few different washers, seemingly allowing it to be fitted to different models/makes.

Here the first part is attached, as you can see it just bolts onto the shaft.

The part that holds the cord is then screwed into the threads. It all feels nice and solid and likely will hold up to much more use / abuse than the plastic one ever could.

Here’s the metal blade I mentioned before. I have no doubt that its more effective than the nylon cord I am using, but it’s not allowed here (they still sell it in the stores though?). Apparently these could cause fires, if you hit a stone or rock with them, there could be a spark starting a fire and then big problems.

Two years ago there were really bad fires where a number of villages were badly affected, with a number of deaths because of the forest fires and people left without homes. Whether these things can start a fire or not I am not going to take any chances.

Post workout shot. It’s done some work and I have changed the cords, it’s actually pretty trivial and I find it much quicker / simpler than trying to wind that damned cord into the previous plastic housing. In my mind this is more convenient that the other way.

It also has the added benefit of being lower, almost double the distance from the shaft. This helps me as I am fairly tall, and was finding the agle I had to hold the strimmer at was not great. It’s still not ideal, but is a bit better.

The rest of it looks fairly new, it should, it’s not had a hard life.

Maybe this is just a case of an ok tool being let down by cost cutting on a part that will see the most wear? I am not sure, I will have to see how things go. I don’t know too much about the Einhell brand, but it looks to be like all the others where it has a European brand but all the actual manufacturing happens in China. Not alway a bad thing, unless you drop the ball on quality control that is…

Gardening – D.I.Y. raised bed frame.

We have a big problem at the allotment from pigeons stripping brassicas as soon as we put them in the ground. So i decided to build a frame to cover my raised bed.

I bought some 15mm flexible plastic tubing and a packet of clips from B&Q.

Then cut the tubing to your required size….

The hammer a clip into the side of your raised bed and place 1 end of the tube into the clip. then do the same at the other side.

I then cut 2 more pieces of tubing and place at equal distance over the full bed and secured with clips…

Then place a gardening cane over the centre of all the hoops and tie with string, twine or tie wraps…..

Then cover with netting.

Cabbages planted.

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Allotment update 30/05/2019 – Rotivator now working, potato’s and sunflowers planted.

A robin came to visit while we were digging.
A bit more work done in the allotment. We managed to fix the rotavator. It had a damaged fuel tank so we took the tank off an old petrol generator and bodged it onto the rotavator.

Paddy and Minnie rotavating 🙂

Now the ground is ready to plant into, its Time to plant some potato’s.

First lot of early potato’s

Bought some aloe vera plants for the greenhouse, only £1.50 each, bargain.

Voddy and coke break lol.

Sunflowers transplanted.

Cabbage ready to be transplanted.

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This week at the allotment – Sowing seeds, preparing the new greenhouse, digging and tidying.

Weve still been getting frosts so ive held off planting and sowing too much at the moment.
Took a trip to the garden centre to get some seeds and plants……

tomato’s potted on.

Sowed some seeds : Tomato, cabbage and sweetcorn. Using John innes potting compost.

give them a watering….

Then into the polytunnel. As its still cold on a night, ive put the tray on some blocks of polystyrene for insulation.

We aquired a new greenhouse last Autumn. We’ve now raised it on breeze-blocks to give a bit more height inside.

New water barrel.

Time to do a bit of tidying and digging… Thanks Max and Paddy 🙂

Pear tree in blossom.

Its time to get things growing in the allotment again – New polytunnel

Its been a long winter this year in the UK. We are still not out of the woods, still getting the odd ground frost but its time to get things going as the allotment is looking a bit of a mess.

I decided to buy a new polytunnel to get seeds and cuttings started.

1st job to do was to dig and level the ground and lay some membrane to keep the weeds at bay. My arthritis means i struggle with the digging so thanks to @pedrosgali, @shammyshiggs, Diz, Spike and Max for the help.

Then the frame went up…
Then the canopy..

Polytunnel looks pretty good and does the job.
Time to get planting. 🙂