Saturday 6 February 2016

Biker Boy

Our first 2016 'clocker' goes broody in a completely useless
place. And sitting on NOTHING. No eggs. Nada.
In the last post, in all the excitement about the Lisacul 365 project, I managed to completely forget to note 2 good signs of Spring. The first is that lovely burst of realisation when your eye falls on a 'new' clump of crocus which you obviously planted at some point last year but then promptly forgot. I have two nice ones in the bank beside the driveway. One is nicely backward so may do OK but the other came out into the teeth of the last named storm and it's little retinue of fronts.

Barbara on some hay bales.
Crocus should (and like to) push their flowers up through the warming grass into the Spring sunshine where they can open the top part of their flowers nice and flat and bright. These poor things emerged into a howling gale and lashing rain, so they have sat and sulked, firmly closed, for the last week and I fear are being knocked about so much they may never open properly before they rot off. Our other spring note was our first 'clocker'; one of the Buff Orps went broody in the worst choice of place ever - in the car port. Yes she was well hidden behind the wheel of my pushbike and she was on the remains of a good, dry bale of hay. She was also slotted in between the 2CV and the hay-barn wall but she was, too, exposed on 3 sides to Brer Fox.

Progress on the Sligo house. The pale upper walls in the centre
are 'scratch-coated with a pale clement. 
We think from her subsequent behaviour that she is the one from last year who was fiercely determined to go broody under an elder bush and had to be protected in situ becuase we couldn't persuade her to move or quit. No option to do that this year and anyway she has gone broody on nothing - not one egg, so I am reduced to gathering her up at lock up time and carry her, chuntering angrily to herself, back to the safely of the main coop. When we release her in the morning she makes a beeline back to her little slot and humpily sits down on the empty nest for another day. Idiot bird. I expect when we want her to go broody on some pure Buff Orp eggs she will have lost interest.

The porch - I get to lay some blocks!
Good progress out on the Sligo house rebuild and, for me, 2 new experiences. The exterior is coming on well with 90% of the fancy stone work done and now the upper 'half' of those new walls given their 'scratch coat' (rough plaster) of special pale cement made with crushed granite sand and white cement powder. This looks gorgeous and sets off the darker stonework beautifully. The outer finish coat will be the same pale buff colour and will not need painting. The chimney stack has now burst out through the new roof and is being dressed with a stone capping and that same pale cement covering. The roof is now 99% covered with membrane and battens ready to take the natural slate which was delivered today. The 99% thing is due to the old western chimney still having the original electricty supply lashed to it and needing that removed (by ESB) before we are allowed to take down the stack and finish off that gable.

The way that day worked out found K-Dub minding his poorly young son in the mobile home while Mum shot off to the shops, giving us an enforced, rather long lunch break. I'd finished and was ready to go back to work but was on my own. We were all set up to lay blocks up into the gable of the new porch so the boss suggested I just start on my own. Never laid a block or brick in my life but I've (now) seen quite a few laid and anyway, if I made a complete Horlicks of it, it would have been the work of minutes to tear down and start again. I did OK. When I step through that front door now and look up, I will know that up there, above the 'head' (lintel) stone are 2 courses of 4 inch "solids" that were all my own work! "There's kudos in building porches!" said K-Dub. My work stood and he carried on up when Mum returned to look after the boy.

An old gravestone for the 365 Project
My second treat that day was to be given a lift home the 20 minutes riding pillion on K-Dub's 'serious' motorbike. This, I am told, is a BMW 1150 RT, a cruising bike with saddles like armchairs, built for comfort rather than racing performance. I have not been on any kind of bike since the 70s (I was asked to ride a moped home from the hay fields to the home farm) so all the leaning was a bit of a surprise (a thrill, if you like) but K-Dub was very gentle with this rookie who was hanging on tight round his waist. I survived and was delivered safe home intact.

Dead now, my faithful Canon EOS D1000
Finally, who knew that you could fry the mother board of a Canon EOS digital camera by taking too many long exposures of night sky in succession. I managed to make my lovely, faithful but old camera go sick while photo-ing the Perseid meteors (or, rather, failing to capture any on film). It was suddenly unable to stay turned on and would power down at the first hint of work (auto focus or the need to use the pop-up flash). I parked it and have been using a little 'compact' ever since but with all this 365 photography going on I decided to disinter it, find out what was wrong and whether it could be fixed. Liz was off to the local camera club to do a presentation about 365 to them, so I asked to come along too in support and might as well bring the EOS and see if there were any experts in the club.

To cut a long story short, long exposures can warm up the mother board on "some Canons" and successions of long exposures overheat the board. They only have a design life of about 10 years anyway so my 7/8 year old one is now not economic to repair (it would be €250 touch). This  thought-process and research has now led me to a rather unwanted conclusion and , combined with the imminent need to acquire archery equipment, to making a hard decision and a life-changing move BUT, that is for another post so you will have to hold yourselves in patience till next time. Mean, huh?


Care Towers said...

Pity about the camera, Matt. My old EOS 400D has done some serious long exposures to try and get the Northern Lights in Iceland, and behaved - but that might have been because it was sat on a tripod at -15°C, so overheating wasn't an option! Sadly though, mine too is largely 'shelved' due to a colour imbalance in the sensor, leaving everything a bit flat and green... Since the compact is no good at long exposures it's decision time here too, but for the number of times I'd need long exposures, I think it's unlikely to be replaced just yet. Maybe before we go back to Iceland, which may be 2018!

Matt Care said...

Fear not. I have a CUNNING plan. All will be revealed in the next post.