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Coatsville Update

The Miss Kim lilacs made up for the sad showing of the big lilac bush, attracting Swallowtails every morning.
Last spring I traded a neighbor a bundle of Boulder “Mindy” iris for this nice orange variety.
These are the Mindy.
Lemon Cupcake Land, from our days in Cupcake Land, Kansas.
Pond Iris are doing well!
Miss Kim’s and red rose all being quite showy this year.
Redwood addition for the pergola upholding the Wisteria. A 10′ post set in concrete, with a 2×8″x12′ plank, supported by two five foot sections of 2×6″ plank. Then multiple coats of linseed oil/thinner mixture.
Next are nine 2×2″x4′ spanners for the Wisteria to climb across. The hummingbirds helped me with this part.
The original section is around 10 years old. Out on walkies with Carmine 14 years ago a nice house on the way back from the park had Wisteria plantings for free. We took two, and this one survived. It has never bloomed; I thought this would be the year, but maybe now with the addition it will be inspired for next year.
Lucky is already much cooler, as I trained some vines about 5′ out over the new section.
The lilac bush bloomed white with subdued scent and the leaves are sparse and tiny; throughout the neighborhood lilacs are are all normal.
The interwebs say it is due to heat shock from our hot spring, or possibly September’s week over 100 degrees.
The cherry had a normal bloom, and is now beginning to carpet the ground with petals.
Today’s jerb is full service for the Ficus. It didn’t really fit in the sunroom this winter and has overgrown the deck.
The sideways-ness is from multiple years of being blown over in summer squalls, coupled with under-rotating.
The patient is doing fine.
The root ball is reduced down to the core by loosening the soil with a little steel pick, then the ol’ Ginsu knife cuts through like a foot through a watermellon.
Potting soil, coconut coir, perlite, and earthworm castings blended to my custom mix. Should be much better than last time’s yard dirt and garden soil.
This is the biggest planter that can fit through the sliding glass door for winter, but the Ficus still overpowers it and will fall over, or just spin out of, the containment. So today I drilled some holes and ran bolts with welded hoops (leftover from an MFA mold I tossed out), and tied the Ficus to the planter. Prior to surgery I tied the trunks together midway up with the red rope, and at the bottom with green velcro tape; this stabilizes everything so she doesn’t rip apart her roots.
Stood upright and the crazy overhanging branches stand up straight. Now it is even taller!
After getting out the ladder and doing quite a bit of pruning. I should go shorter, but how much more can she take?
Next all the ferns and other plants can find places. The Ficus is on the E side this year, as the morning sun was rough on the ferns last year. This way everything should be in shadow by 10am. The ferns are up high enough, and far enough back to keep out of direct mid-morning to afternoon sun.
50# of stone sits on the Ficus’ planter to keep it grounded from wind. The little Jade is tied with hooks and plant tape, as are all the other plants on the deck. The wind takes it as a personal challenge, at worst toppling everything while we are in Montana. Next I’ll hook up all the water lines- which all need rethinking for the new configuration.
Four to Six! feet up on the mountain, and 16″-22″ here in SLC.
Every Monday for the past three weeks she has worn this outfit. This week she went for Tues as well.
Heavy stuff, (the hedge was bent low, and here is rescued) but the ground is warm and temps are already in the mid 30’s, heading for 70’s by the weekend.
Bluebird houses continue to evolve (R to L), and get cheaper per unit; now down to about $5 per house as I stopped using new wood and pieced together an alternate design with leftovers.
Too many to line up on the bench!
The first three of the next gen were the same interior dimension as the blackened new originals, this dimension was a byproduct of the wood dimension of the new originals. This results in a nesting space that while adequate, doesn’t allow the parents to both fit easily in the box at the same time- which the bluebird society mentions as a concern. I made a triple set, then realized the size constraint was artificial and made the final three at a larger dimension.
The thin walls are house panel, with a build logic similar to making a crate where structural supports are external. The blackened wood is the structural aspect, from runs of rough-cut hardwood. These materials are from the previous homeowner, including a hardwood floor, and sub-roof made from old pantry shelves.
The door is switched to the opposite side of the house, so that it will open to the South. This makes the Northern windward side more secure. The door is store-bought pine. I could have ripped a wider plank down, but that seemed a waste of wide wood.
An extra inch on one side of the floor makes an exponentially larger dimension. An additional support for the house runs at the top, for structural attachment of the roof. I just realized I’ll need to add a similar kicker-board at the bottom so the house mounts flush to its post. All sorts of little cascading effects when Frankenstiening from the original.
The white paint is an oil based primer to seal the ends of the panel board. To really do these right they’ll “need” a topcoat of exterior gloss paint.
Lets hope this has birdy curb appeal. The new houses could fledge around 100 birds per year, if they have their usual two broods. The Bluebirds all flock together on the ranch in early fall, and it is remarkable enough that even the neighbors notice. I’ll be replacing some old houses that are too far gone, unused, as well as some of my “new” houses from a few years back that have become flimsy with deer/elk/bear damage and weathering- and the design had issues that choosy birds recognized and left them unoccupied.
These are for the ranch. Any guesses? Made from hardwood to live outdoors and provide a function. The function makes things easier for people to get around the property. No, not peg-legs.
It has this area smoothed down for easy hand grippage, like a baseball bat.
This welded bit is from an old MFA sculpture-mold, salvaged before I threw the mold out this winter. The eyelet will be anchored with wire to a post.
Each end has a metal knick-nack or geegaw for hooking over wire.
If you guessed “gate sqeezer” then I’d like you to guess the next powerball lottery on my behalf. An Aussie fencing you-tuber shared this “piece if kit” shown to him by a grizzled old outback rancher (his was made from a stick). It is a lever arm for opening those bruiser barbwire gates, and it leaves the gate super tight so livestock won’t pressure it.
These are in-process, the final roofing shows up down the blog; but this shows the series of six with all the basics covered. The dark color is a flame finish, an idea originated in Japan called Yakisugi (or Shou Sugi Ban). It takes about 20 minutes to “paint” the burn for each house with a little butane torch. This seals the wood making it waterproof, bugproof, fireproof, and UV tough. Bluebirds often nest in old woodpecker nest-holes carved in forests after big fires; so they should feel right at home in a flame charred house. This is a modified version of the “Carl Little” design from the National Bluebird Society, http://www.nabluebirdsociety.org/PDF/Carl%20Little%20Bluebird%20Box.pdf Cost per house is $14.00
Bottom floor is seated 1.25 inches up, with a cut-line 3/8 inches up- these both mitigate water. And the bottom tie-down eyehook.
The roof slopes at 20 degrees with its own underside cut-line to drop back-flow water. The lines on the bird box are grab lines for the birds, antithetical to the cliche’ perch. The smooth face keeps other birds from hassling them, and the slot entrance tucked under the angled roof deters other birds and predators as well.
The wall of the house drops open for clean out, and peeking in for brood checkups. The flat peak of the door is mirrored on the opposite wall, providing cross-ventilation in conjunction with the slot opening.
More airflow and water drainage is at the floor, with the points of the edges trimmed back. Another essential element is the climbing ladder, allowing the chicks to exit.
A secondary clean floor of cedar sits atop the house floor, with a thermal break between them of aluminum sandwich insulation.
Here the floor panels are stacked.
At top and centered in the wood slat is a threaded insert for the door lock.
This wingnut/thumbscrew bolts the door closed. Below and to the R is an eyehook, mirrored on the opposite side, (and the one already noted on the bottom) for anchoring wire that affixes the house to fenceposts.
Next is a thermal break of aluminum sandwich insulation (at L), then covered in cedar panel as weatherproof shingles (R).
The metal plates cover a little gap I added to the entrances, thinking I had made the entrances too narrow. Turns out they were fine, and the gaps needed covered. The covers are angle corners pounded flat.
Last Friday I built out this storage sled for/with an artist friend to hold seven 4×8 foot panels of a big mural. This will fit into the back of a moving truck and strap down, then the art goes in place for a 500 mile drive to Denver, where the art will then be unloaded from the sled by a specialty company for fine-art international air-freight to London, who will make the real crating.
The artist’s plan prior to this was stack them on the floor with blankets between them, I proposed that this would keep them safer: upright, separated, padded (pink gasket foam), and tied down via the frame rather than the artwork.

A Stouter Quip.

An empty zen mind may / STREW about for a STOUTER QUIP / A real BITER of a mental COUP / Casting a DRUID JINX to cut / A SWATH through unyielding conversation; / Yet FOAL up nothing, as all thought is TOO GRAINY / To conjure a MERRY WIN that cuts / With AXE edge into the visiting HE and his GUESTY buttress. / JADED jibes would BUT LAG, / Arising a NINTH behind, no GLUES to stick them, / NARY a thought to float within the AERO expanse / Where once anecdotes and retorts could demand a FEE.

His favorite carnival act had always been the Geek Throw,

watching the bodies hurl into the maw he felt a Queer dizzyness,

not felt since finding spoiled Lox deep int the chin whiskers of his Goatee,

And found by his own upper lip, thinking it had found a Cutie morsel of Interr sweetness.

Now the Horde of Lib-tards, in awkward Quad piles; he imagined the Farms that bred them;

a land without Sun, with fitness of enforced Jigs and dinners of squirming Bug Pie.

He felt they were unlikely Kin, and himself a Cad;

he began a Yern-clawing of his beard, as if it were on Loan

from an Oaf; a Lein against his entire summer crop of golden Oat.

(Quiddler Poem of ED 11/24/2022)