Sunday, 31 March 2019

A Couple of Flutters

Comma on ivy outside my fencing


Small Tortoiseshell on stones removed from the church


alongside a couple of seven spot ladybirds.

Saturday, 30 March 2019

Tadpoles by the Hundred

Just sixteen days since I noticed the frog spawn in the garden pond.
Thought I would check to see how it was progressing:

These two short video clips don't show even half of what was there.
If they all mature into frogs I won't be able to move in the garden.

Friday, 29 March 2019

From Tiny Cones .....

One of the evergreen trees which was already growing in the garden when I moved here nearly 50 years ago is, I think, a Cypress.


While I was cutting the grass nearby I noticed how pretty the newest growth looks when you get close up. I tried to take a close up in situ but even the slightest breeze was wafting things about. I snipped off a small section and clamped it in a retort stand.


That way I could get the camera in close for a decent shot.


Thursday, 28 March 2019

Not the Visitors I Am Waiting For

No sign of any bird activity in the camera nestbox since mid February.
Just the occasional bee and wasp

Tuesday, 26 March 2019

Off With the Old, On With the New

The roof on my large shed / workshop has been deteriorating for some time. I finally got round to having some quotes for putting it right. Yesterday it was finally achieved.

Off with the old, torn, rotting felt.


The two lads from B L S Roofing in Horncastle did a really professional job.
Removed rotten timber slats and replaced them with new.

On with the new, thicker, heat bonded felt.


The original felt was tacked on, the new is well and truly stuck down.
All the old material was taken away and everywhere left neat and tidy.

I can now stop worrying about the mains electric supply in there when the rains return.

Wednesday, 20 March 2019

Tuesday, 19 March 2019

A Blue Show

Among all the yellow dwarf narcissus I have several patches of blue:


Chionodoxa sardensis (lesser Glory of the Snow) bulbs


Monday, 18 March 2019

Seeing Red

The flowers on a nearby flowering currant bush:



A 7 spot ladybird - usual view

2019-03-18-16.21.33 ZS PMax2



Friday, 15 March 2019

Tinkering Again

I decided to 3D print a name sign for my home.
It is taking a few trial test prints to check my CAD efforts are producing what I need.
The sign will be made with seven individual letters.

Just working on the first letter at the moment.
I started with a letter height of 120mm with three holes for screws.
That was bigger than needed really and took about 5 hours to print.


For a second test print I reduced the height to 100mm - much better.
Also at Adrian's suggestion I tried to make countersunk holes (middle red letter A)
Unfortunately I didn't get them centred over the holes and the slope was too sharp.

Back to TinkerCAD to try again.

Screenshot (2019-3-15 6.05.38 pm)

The holes are made with thin cylinders.
The countersinking made with inverted cones and nicely aligned after much jiggling.

Saved and the file loaded in Cura

Screenshot (2019-3-15 6.07.58 pm)

Reduced the infill to 8% and speeded up the extruder moves.


That brought the time down to 2h 45m
That print (in green above) looked much better.

Thursday, 14 March 2019

Cymbidium Time

A bit disappointing that only one of my Cymbidium orchid plants has produced a spike of flowers this year.
At least I have half a dozen large blooms on that plant.

Cymbidium Orchid

Cymbidium Orchid

Wednesday, 13 March 2019

Frog Spawn

In February, when we had an unseasonable spell of warm weather, I had heard frogs croaking in the garden pond. I only heard them the once so it was with some surprise I saw they had been busy in the meantime spawning in spite of the drop in temperature and the icy winds we are now enjoying.

A bit fuzzy as the gusty wind was making hand help shots a tad difficult:


Monday, 11 March 2019

Blue is the Colour ....

.... I had chosen to use as a theme when I was ordering Spring bulbs last Autumn.

Hanging basket:


with Winter flowering Pansies still going strong along with Russian Snowdrops and Hyacinths.



more Pansies, Hyacinths and Russian Snowdrops along with a few Muscari.

As it was about 1C with a bitter wind my hands were feeling more than a bit blue when I took those photographs this morning.

Friday, 8 March 2019

Panic Stations

The saga starts about a month ago. Phone call from doctor's surgery - time for my 3 monthly blood check for kidney function. Earliest appointment to get it done at the local surgery, three weeks away. I duly turn up at the appointed time. Blood pressure checks OK. Attempt to draw blood from right arm - fail, nothing. Attempt on left arm - fail,  just one drop. Apparently there is some rule or recommendation that only two attempts are allowed.

I'm given the choice of trying to make a new appointment with a different nurse or have it done at the local hospital. I chose the hospital. I turned up bright and early as the queue is always short at that time of day. Within 30 seconds of my turn being called all is done successfully and I am back on my way home.

Doctor receives the results next day and is not happy as they are 'borderline' so I have to go back to the hospital the next day to give more samples. Again all runs smoothly. This time the doctor receives the results by the afternoon and thinks they show abnormalities and insists I attend the hospital Urgent Care Centre straight away. (The UCC replaced the A&E unit)

More blood samples taken. Those had to be sent to another, fairly local, hospital for testing. I had to hang around until the results are sent through. Estimate about an hour and a half. Meanwhile I get a BP and ECG check. BP a bit high. Usually is when I go anywhere near a medical unit of any sort. ECG turned out to be normal. Doctor listens to heart. All OK.

After another two hours the blood test results came through. Most within normal levels. Just Potassium is slightly raised.  Referred back to my local doctor for continuous checking.  Given some advice on what to watch out for with my diet as raised Potassium in the blood increases the chance of a heart attack.

My doctor wanting an immediate hospital check didn't do a lot for my panic level but the thorough check up showing I'm still in decent shape for my age made it worth it in the long run. One thing I can say from my experiences of local NHS services over the past 20 - 25 years, in spite of all its staffing and money problems, if they perceive a need for swift action they don't hold back.

Wednesday, 6 March 2019


I've been meaning for a while to photograph one of the seed cases from a Chinese Lantern plant.
They have been left outside in all weathers until tonight.


Photo taken with an iPod using its built in LED light.

Sunday, 3 March 2019


Last week I was experimenting with printing 3D nuts and bolts / screws.
FreeCAD includes data for many standard sizes.
This is a 12mm screw + nut:


What I found was when printing a 12mm screw and then the corresponding 12mm nut, the nut was slightly too small and wouldn't fit. In the end I had to increase the size of the nut in the X and Y directions by about 10% in Cura to produce one which fits.

This week I have had a look at TinkerCAD. This is an on line 3D modelling site run by Autodesk.
Free to join up and experiment with. One can start with basic 3D solid shapes and 'tinker' with them to produce whatever your imagination can come up with. An ideal site for beginners to CAD (computer aided design), such as myself.

Once I had gone through all the basic tutorials what to build as a first project?
A small free standing sign with my amateur radio callsign came to mind.

Screenshot (2019-3-2 9.21.43 pm)

The base is made from a basic cube, stretched and resized.
Fortunately a block letter alphabet is included in the choice of 3D shapes.
These were added singly, rotated and moved to fit on top of the base block.
There are very easy, once learned, facilities for aligning the various parts.

Once designing was finished the project was saved to the laptop as a .stl file.
Then loaded in Cura to produce the instructions for the 3D printer.
Temporary thin supports had to be included in the instructions for sections of the design which would be created overhanging the base level.

Resulting 3D print:


Once the temporary supports had been removed:


The base may look as though it is a solid lump but it is mainly hollow with a 20% infill of criss cross supports. Total print time 1hr 9min..

Saturday, 2 March 2019


Seen resting under the sneck on my side gate:


It was there at 2p.m. yesterday and still there at 10a.m. this morning.
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