Saturday, May 31, 2014

first mackerel of the year

I took the boat out last night for a fish and ended up having a really nice few hours, caught 4 mackerel and six pollack four of which I gave away at the pub actually I got a pint for them so they weren't given away as much as bartered. The weather was calm sunny and warm and it was a pleasure to be out there, I had a wee breeze on the way down the bay so trolled some feathers under the headsail at about two knots and motored back as the breeze had dropped right off.

Today I have spread some grass seed and it looks like it may rain later and I also planted some swede, lettuce and courgette. Got some grass cut early on and did a bit more work on the new bear who we will call "Skipper" I think, as he is a tubby fellow who looks kind of authorative.

Other projects in the offing are an octopus and a hippo head as I have two stumps that look like them already.
Lots of cars stopping and commenting on the sculptures out front.

Am going to smoke the mackerel fillets in the barbi with cracked black pepper and have them for dinner in a salad tonight. Plenty wood shavings around to make the smoker lol.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Midgie traps and soil laying

I saw an idea to catch mozzies on face book the other day utilising 2 ltr plastic bottles, brown sugar and yeast so I gave it a try, there were about 3 million midgies around and I thought well they are attracted to Carbon dioxide (as the yeast gives it off) too so hopefully they will get caught, I did catch three woohoo hey don't knock it they could have been the three destined to bite me. So my midgie traps weren't a huge success.

Keith delivered the topsoil so I have been alternating between spreading that and making more furniture, have another seat similar to the one with the back and two sort of outdoor coffee tables, and been doing more work on Freddy the frog. Lots of people have been slowing down and stopping out the front to look at the carvings and a local joiner stopped and came in for a gander so I showed him the seats and tables. He was impressed and recons they would sell, the fact that there are half inch gaps and they are rough sort of adds to the rustic charm lol He gave me some good tips about how to use half inch dowel and lots of glue to make some joints and we had a chat about routering. I got a router off my Dad and aim to router out a design on the chair backs maybe a Celtic cross or fish or something.

Ordered a burning tool from Ebay and a hot glue gun for making Christmas decorations for this coming season, there is quite a market for Christmas decorations near the time and I was thinking of making animals out of pine cones as I have a lot lying around and also saw these cute reindeer made from twigs.

My next carving is another bear I saw a good one posted on ebay so will use that as a template( mine will probably look like a pig again)
I have a log selected already only it is well and truly wedged on its side and is going to be hard to sit upright.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Todays offerings

Made a single bench seat with a back this morning and a small side table which still has to have the top cut flat. The table thingie is one lump of wood.

Excuse the weeds that end of the patio was out of reach of the power washer water supply when I weeded the pavers last week, so I have to move the hose reel to get it, and the brambles well they are a job for another day they are popping up all over.
Midgies were out today keeping me company as the wind has dropped down, had a bonny morning with plenty sunshine but it has clouded over a bit this afternoon.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

rustic outdoor benches and a fush

Well I was creating some outdoor benches this last couple of days using recycled wood, old scaffold planks and tree stump rings.

The first one I made I put an old fence post in as a brace and the other one I canted the sides in at around 45degrees towards the front which seems to give it strength, both are stable and rigid so I am happy with them. I'm no joiner lol. The other thing I was working on was a salmon, I mounted him on a bit of log and aim to write the house name on the log with a soldering iron. One of the aboriginal skippers at Baystar used to do artwork on boomerangs with this method when he was on standby on a Sunday on his own at work. I used to be doing paintings or something on my laptop when I was there alone too, it passed the time.
The weather has been breezy but dry the last couple of days and I managed to get the lawns cut this morning as well.

Monday, May 19, 2014

The bear and the frog

Well my electric cables wouldn't reach down to the bottom of the pond where the bear was so I moved him so I could do a bit more work on him with the grinder sanding disc lol so now he is in the front garden and there are three sculptures lol my modernist take on wildlife sculpture. One is meant to be a frog one a tortoise and the other a bear see if you can guess which is which and no cheating, don't read the text below the photo.

I'm meant to be a bear
Apparently I'm a frog
I think the guy who carved me needs glasses as a tortoise looks somewhat different to me.
You may have noticed there is no fresh soil around about, that's cos Keith was busy this last week hopefully it is coming tomorrow evening and I can spread it and get some grass seed down.
It was torrential rain last night and the culverts blocked so the lawn was awash this morning and the pond overflowing but I cleared them and all is back to normal apart from some debris over my nicely cut lawn. Ohh well it will need done again in a few days Rob so don't panic.
Not much else in the way of news here, John seems to be recovering well and Alan is coming on Tuesday to look after him for a week or so, then hopefully he is coming up here to do my list of jobs I need a hand with ( rebuilding walls and roof erection and chopping ohh yes lots of chopping, will be good for him).

Friday, May 16, 2014

Get that strimmer !!

My dogs love the day I spend trimming the grass or weed whacking as its called in Aus, they go crazy over the machine dancing around its path trying to bite it and barking as loud as they can. Thankfully there are no neighbours to annoy, no close ones anyway and I wear my logging helmet with the ear protection and visor so I'm in my own wee whacking world, you knew that already ehh?
Anyway they get so clarted with bits of weed and mud because they go sit in the water culverts leading down to the pond to cool off between exertions that I have to take them for a swim after I finish.
The last owner must have been thinking about breeding trout or eels or something as he made some big ponds down at the bottom of my property and they are deep enough for the dogs to get a good swim in without disturbing the bottom, at the moment they are outside in the sunshine drying off absolutely exhausted.
My left foot, the good one is sore, I have Achilles tendonitis in that heel now so am giving the road walking, jumping, stretching exercises a bit of a break to see if it comes good, no doubt the physio will complain but its not her limping and in pain.
A couple of goats would be the go here, and an electric fence I could cordon them off with, mind you I would probably give myself a belt from the fence and turn off the defibrillator or something so I guess I will have to keep spending the time weed whacking and pushing the lawnmower about.

Ok what's on the to do list now hmmmm ohh I started on a crocodile carving, its huge, I'm thinking of making an articulated body with rings of wood I have cut, gradually decreasing them till I get to the tail. The head is looking good but I need the grinder and sander to round off the teeth and that and it is miles from the house so I have to use all the extension leads I have to get down there, maybe I will do some more work on the bear while I have the tools and power there. Who knows.

Irish hamburgers almost as good as the pollies here

Well it was a lovely day here today, I'm quite burnt this evening. Spent this morning (about 5 hrs) cutting my lawns and to celebrate getting them all cut I decided to treat myself to a sail. Wind was just perfect for my boat, light breezes, and I had a nice wee sail around the bay, I actually sailed right back to within 20 foot of my berth before starting the engine and furling the headsail, wee touch astern and all fast, perfect boat handling as is my way.
Decided a beer was in order on the way home and stopped at a takeaway for a hamburger and chips seeing Angie isn't here to complain. The hamburger was woeful so bad in fact I ignored it completely and gave it to Gus, I then proceeded to make a proper one like they have in Australia, none of this plastic cheese, cardboard burger and long life bun, the sort of thing that can sit in the fridge for 24 weeks and be as fresh as it was when bought. Nope I had some lean mince, onions, an egg, lettuce, real cheddar, beetroot and fresh bread, even made up my own barbi sauce with tomato sauce, teriyaki, Dijon mustard and a wee bit honey it was lush and I got sauce all over my chin.

The Irish government is almost as good as the Irish hamburger but my dog wont have a bar of them, Lots of TV commercials at the moment on the lead up to the elections. Well we did the austerity thing for you over the last three years, you took all our savings, made half the country emigrate to the great hamburger land and taxed everything under the sun. You made woeful decisions and deals behind the publics back, corruption is rife in politics as well as the Gaurda so its time for change, say bye bye to your cosy burrow Mr Rabbitte.

John was getting out of hospital today after his stem cell replacement and consequent isolation until his blood count and immune system recovered so I shall have to call him and see how he is, he was going to bin his three pairs of pyjamas the last I heard as they had a hard time of it. Hope he is feeling well.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Tortoise and some Spring colour

Well I should be out mowing the grass as its dry today but I had a wander round with the camera instead to catch some of the spring colour. I had spent a couple of hours carving the tortoise and another two stacking wood so the grass can wait a wee while yet. Angie is away tomorrow until Saturday evening so I will have plenty time if the weather stays half decent to get the grass cut. I was thinking as I was chipping away at the stump how the sculpture will last but the grass will only look good for a couple of days before it needs done again.

Another couple of days and some soil over the bottom part of the stump and he should look ok. 

Another couple of woodpiles below, I haven't got my new shed roof on yet but need a hand with that so am waiting till Alan comes to visit I think.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

summer in april

Well April was bonny this year and May has been woeful so far hardly a dry day. Has not stopped progress in the garden right enough all the wood out the front has been chopped and piled up and I started raking down all the chips and burning them yesterday, the soil under the sawdust and pine needles is a rich dark colour so I am hoping it will be good enough for wild flower seeds to flourish in. We have lots more blue bells than ever before with the extra gaps in the trees.

Hopefully this week coming I will have a visit from a 12 ton excavator to rip up all the stumps along the North side, the driver thought he would manage to get them pulled out and dumped down behind my percolation area somewhere in half a day. I will get him to dig a wee drainage trench while he is there as the water is gathering in a low spot the way it is at the moment.

I would have to agree with the transport minister when he said this week that "we still have the culture of doing favours, the nod and the wink, the use of discretion and those type of things." and that a change in culture was needed. Its so apparent that deals are being done to feather nests here its almost laughable, it would be if it wasn't criminal. I'm guilty myself of doing deals, did a website last week for two loads of topsoil delivered and have been giving wood away "for a hand" with heavier jobs. Maybe I need to get into politics.

Bearded drag queen Conchita Wurst and her 'Rise Like a Phoenix' song won the Eurovision Song Contest for Austria last night, Ireland never made the final, because, well their song was rubbish and they had some twee dancers and a couple of bodran players that didn't look as if they could. The UK came 17th because their song wasn't quite as bad as the Irish one. Since the contest was launched in 1956, voting has often been tied to politics and the 2014 event was no exception, with the audience jeering countries that awarded points to Russia.

 The Giro d'Italia is underway, the cycle race takes riders from Armagh to Dublin and they have a lovely moist day for it with strong SW winds. Lovely if your a duck.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Killer hornets

Vespa velutina, sometimes known as the 'Asian hornet' is an invasive non-native species from Asia. It has recently arrived in France where it is spreading rapidly. As a highly effective predator of insects, including honey bees and other beneficial species, it can cause significant losses to bee colonies, other native species and potentially ecosystems. You know how sometimes your brain can rush ahead and end a sentence before the person talking finishes? Well this happened to me this morning when a medical professional was explaining about the hornets sting and anaphylactic shock he was saying that six people had died in France due to their stings but and this is where I finished off the sentence with " they were only French" instead of they would have died from a normal hornets sting too. 

It's wet here today which is a pain as I was hoping to log one of the last trees over the wall at the north end of the house, it came down after the rest were cleared and has demolished another part of the wall. There is another one beside it looks as if it will come down too so I may drop it before a wind takes the roots up too. Because the tree is over the wall I was hoping to log it when Angie was home so I can leave the dogs indoors so I may have to don the waterproofs.

I see my sister in law is out protesting on the Sydney streets today, good on you Gail. Her hubby didn't go as he said it would do no good, we have the same complacency here I did yet another submission earlier in the week to the Galway county councils development plan, it seems like every week now there is some request for submissions from the public re governments energy plans due to the Aarthus commission ruling that the public haven't been given enough voice in planning decisions, apart from the government just ignoring the submissions the sheer amount of them makes folk complacent. So I do my part anyway and put submissions in regardless. I think the Irish politians must be amongst the worlds most corrupt, it is quite common here to have a director of a wind energy company in charge of energy policy for the country, how much of a conflict of interest is that. 

Sunday, May 4, 2014

responsive web design and wood stacking

Well I had a couple of jobs making websites responsive, this means if someone visits the site on a small screen, like a smart phone then the page is changed so it looks better on that screen, the buttons might be bigger so you can click on them easier and the page will be narrower so you don't have to scroll across to read it. Also the mobile friendly version of the site might have fewer images so it loads quicker and any telephone numbers will open the phones software when they are clicked so you don't need to enter the number manually. I did a wee example with a site of my dogs past and present, I need to find some Kerry pictures somewhere. You might also notice that I have made the pages so they roll when you go to a new page, this is also a new innovation which is fancy, makes it look a bit like a powerpoint  presentation.

This morning I emptied the trailer load of wood into the peat shed on the road and stacked it all neatly and now I will fill it again with chopped logs that are stacked on the driveway. I levelled an area beside my other shed in the garden and put pavers down in preparation for the roof to go on and I will stack wood under that after the roof goes on. Managed to clean out the gutters on the front of the house yesterday used a staging with two ladders and a plank.

The weather has changed a bit back to the drizzly weather we are more used to but its not too bad today, just overcast.

Saturday, May 3, 2014

bluebells and the like

There is a white Roddy in full bloom just now so I took a stroll across to takes some snaps of it as the weekend looks as if it might be damp, and saw some other nice blooms on the way.

I upgraded some software I have to let me design responsive websites easier, basically a responsive site looks at what device / browser size you are viewing on and adjusts the webpage for the best viewing. The site if seen on a smart phone for example will have larger buttons and fewer images so it loads quicker.