Browsing Posts published in June, 2010

Yesterday, I mentioned all the, er, ‘fun’ had by Ian and Nick (no relation) when they realised that the new wood was correct in width, but not in depth.

This had two knock-on effects.  The first was that the bolts didn’t appear to be long enough to go through the depth of wood.  They got round this by counter-sinking into the wood wider than the width of the nut, thus:-



As you can clearly see here, when viewed from the outside of the greenhouse, the nut is sat inside the extra thickness of the wood.

And yes, I realise that the nut is on the outside, and therefore a possible security weakness, but as the door won’t actually be locked on the greenhouse and there’ll be no actual tools or anything of value stored there through completely clear polycarbonate ‘glass’, so potential thieves will be able to easily see there’s nothing there, we thought it wouldn’t be a problem.

Despite all this, Nick (no relation) later decided that the head end of the bolt, whch has a non-standard fitting may well be the best way.  It would match the first one that did fit without the countersink anyway…

The next, er, challenge Ian and Nick (no relation) faced was that with the new wood being just too thick, it wouldn’t fit ‘inside’ the aluminium extrusion of the louvre mechanism:-



The famous line quoted on the ill-fated Apollo 13 Mission sprang immediatley to mind:-

“Er, Huston, we have a problem.”

Why would this be such a problem?  Well, if you think about it, if the extrusion wouldn’t ‘sit’ properly flush with the wood surround, it would make the gap between louvres smaller.  In this case more than about 6mm.  Given that the measuremnts taken were pretty precise, then this would be a problem -the ‘glass’ wouldn’t fit.

Luckily, Ian and Nick (no relation) immediately spotted this yesterday and Ian brought his ‘bastard file’ (…No! That’s not swearing, honest!  …Though if truth be told there were moments went the air went blue…) to remedy the problem.

Nick set about ‘taking a corner’ off the wood, and soon enough, it all fitted prefectly, so the rest of the wood on all the louvres was filed down.

Corner, wax and stain

Corner, wax and stain

While this was happening, Ian was busy sealing up the top of each wooden post with melted candle wax.  Diane insisted that Ian use green candlewax, so after this was applied and Ian had given them all the first coat of water-based woodstain, they looked something like this:-

Two mouse-clicks to get it to a decent size, and you can clearly see Nick’s chamfer, Ian’s wax and the wood stain.  Neato, eh?

More soon!

Bit of a Bash.

On Saturday 3rd July from 6.00pm we’ll be holding a ‘Mini-Bash’ down at The Plots to celebrate one of our junior member’s birthday the following day and to present to the world our hopefully fully-finished main greenhouse, complete with safety glazing and automatic venting system.

A fire will be lit, no matter how hot it has been during the day on which we’ll roast potatoes and sweet potatoes and the ever-excellent ‘Plot Soup’ will also be prepared.

Why are we saying this?

Because you’re all invited!

If you want to bring some of your own food to share, then you’re more than welcome.  The more the merrier!

Hope to see you then!

p.s. Don’t know where we are?  Simple!  Look under ‘Contact Us’ at the top of the page and see how easy it is to get here.

p.p.s. If you want to come early -say, during the day, for instance, then you’re more than welcome to come and see what we do and even lend a hand if you want.

New Recruits!

You may remember last post I mentioned my two new recruits.  Well, I’m proud to announce their imminent arrival.

Here is Odin, the owner on Ian:-



This lad will, when he’s fully broken in and trained up, be a fine Private.  I suspect it will not be long before we see him pushing up through the ranks for promotion, and who could argue!

See the alertness of his eyes and the quickness of his paws as he utterly demolishes yet another flying insect.  See how upright his ears and whole demeanor are.  Officer material if ever I saw it.

This lad has killer instincts!

On the other hand we have Alfie, Nick (no relation)’s owner:-



No, your eyes do not deceive you.  They are definitely not the same cat.  Whereas Young Odin is a fine, young upstanding soon-to-be-member of the elite ‘Special Regiment’ of which I am in command, this specimen is a disgrace to the uniform.

He is idle, he stays out partying and womanising all night.  He is the absolute opposite of soon-to-be Private Odin.

Whereas Odin talks, nay converses with his pet in his dulcet tones, Ian; Alfie on the other hand, shouts abuse and swears at his pet in his harsh local dialect.

Over the coming weeks and months of their basic training, I shall keep you fully informed of their progress (…or utter lack of it in soon-to-be Private Alfie’s case…), along with stories of their exploits (…or mishaps in soon-to-be Private Alfie’s case…), so you can see how they progress (…or don’t, in soon-to-be Private Alfie’s case…).

Watch this space for details!

Cooling down a little.

After yesterday’s triumph in managing to work out all the details of fitting a louvre to a greenhouse window, Ian and Nick (no relation) today tackled the remaining three.

Yesterday’s sheer luck in finding a piece that would cut into two to make the first ran out, so Diane, armed with the off-cut for size comparison went down to the nearest DIY store while Nick drilled the 18 (!) remaining holes in the steel greenhouse frame.

Much fun was had when Diane brought back the wood and it was realised that the new stuff, while being the right width was about four millimetres too thick meaning the bolts were not long enough to be able to bolt the aluminium louvres in.



When their legs had fully dried, Ian and Nick (no relation), with the aid of a really nice drill-bit set that Diane also purchased, figured they could countersink into the holes drilled for the bolts to fit the nuts on the outside, thereby negating the need for longer bolts.  I’ll get a close-up tomorrow to post to show the detail.

If you double-click on the image on the left, you’ll see the black cylinder on the right hand side is the automatic opener, and if you look even closer towards the back of the greenhouse to the right of the blue bin, you’ll see another.

The other side of the greenhouse is fitted exactly the same.

So, all four of the automatic louvre-openers are now fitted, and they work!

Ian and Nick (no relation) realised this in the afternoon as the sun swung round.  In full sunlight -and therefore very warm, the openers were fully open, but almost as soon as the sun went behind the trees, casting long shadows on the greenhouse, the openers closed.

Time for a high-five!

And another cup of tea…

In the heat of the day.

Putting the glass (…actually, its virtually unbreakable polycarbonate…) in our ‘main’ greenhouse has been a project that has stalled somewhat…

…Anyway, its finally going in before the weekend, and Ian Ward and Nick Ward (no relation) have kindly er, volunteered to fit the four automatic louvres and four automatic window-openers for the roof.

The greenhouse back in early March 2010

The greenhouse back in early March 2010

Simple job, they thought.  Get it done in no time.

No danger.

Here is a shot of one of the sides from seemingly way back in early March this year. The 3rd to be precise.

If you double-click this image a couple of times to enlarge it, you will notice the door, laying on it’s side.  If you’re really sharp-eyed, you’ll notice it has a cat-flap in the bottom.

Well, we wouldn’t want Mitzi to get cold in winter would we?!

A trial louvre was purchased, and Ian and Nick (no relation) had to figure out how to attach it to the steel frame of one of the side windows.

After a fair amount of ‘humming’ and ‘hawing’, they agreed that rather than fit it directly to the steel frame, they’d put chocks of wood either side like this:-

First louvre left

First louvre left

This is the left hand side of the first louvre -the ‘dumb’ side without the operating lever.  Quite by chance, Ian and Nick (no relation) managed to find a scrap length of wood that was exactly the right dimensions after they cut it to length.

Rather a neat solution, no?

The alternative would have been mounting them directly, and this would have been fiddly and, well, pratty (…in the author’s opinion.).

Frist right hand louvre

Right hand louvre

Next came the fun in fitting the right hand louvre, first with the handle, then working out just how on earth they were going to fit the automatic opener to it.

Anyway, they managed it, and the shot on the right shows just how they did it, this time showing in better detail the wood used between the frame and the louvre.

You can also see here the black auto-opener without the top adjusting screw fitted and how it connects to the aluminium handle.

The Sweet Williams and Lavender.

As you enter LEAF from the main road, through the old green painted iron gate, down the steps, you can’t help but notice to your left, a blaze, a riot of color and as you breathe in deeply, you can’t help but notice the sweet fragrance of lavander assault your nostrils.

This is because the top four-most beds as you walk down the path with the old wooden-stake fence have been planted, not only with autumn and spring garlic and onions, but on their ends nearest the fence have been planted with Sweet William and Lavender.

Close up, they look like this:-

Dark Sweet William

Dark Sweet William

Abolutely gorgeous to behold.

Red Sweet William

Red Sweet William

In about six or seven different colours.

So, the total effect is something like this:-

All Sweet Wiilams
All Sweet Williams

So, apart from the blue bins in the background, you’ll agree they’re pretty good to be greeted by.

Just a few of the many, many reasons why we love working down at LEAF!
(These photos have not been re-touched with ‘Photoshop’.  This is how they really are.  Honest.)


Don’t get me wrong, I just love this heat.

It means I have every excuse to do less than nothing; not that I ever really need much of one normally, but you know what I mean…

A fortnight ago, well, a fortnight by The Big People’s clocks you understand, it was much cooler, so I was kept very busy most days, out catching and eating everything from birds to my complete favourite, squirrels.

I just love those things.  Pretty difficult to catch, but when I do, I quickly kill it, then eat it.

All of it.  Delicious!

Well, apart from the tail, you understand; I keep their tails as ‘trophies’.

Now, the Big Person, Diane has taken some pictures of me as I eat one, but she says that our readers would really, honestly, not like to see them.  Especially if its just after their dinner.  Dunno why, but well, she’s The Big People’s boss, and apparently what she says, goes.

Well, that’s as maybe, but when I want something, then she quickly finds out just who’s the boss round here.

So, this last few days has seen The Big People here every day, which has been pretty good for me, all told.

Not only do I love the Big People’s company (…please don’t tell them, it’ll only go to their heads…), but as I’ve said before it means I don’t have to worry much about food for the whole day -They’ll feed me twice! See how well I have them trained!

Anyway, I’m much too tired by all this heat, so if you don’t mind, there’ll be no photos today, but if I can be bothered, I may post some more up of me soon.

Oh, and rumour has it that I have two new recruits starting pretty soon.  Young Odin (…who owns Ian…) and Young Alfie (…who owns Nick (no relation)).

By all accounts, they’re still pretty raw to this outdoor-living, but I’ll soon lick them into shape.

Oh yes.

Too hot for work!

Well, I think the title says it all.

Despite all our best intentions, what with the weather improving so dramatically so quickly, virtually all of us felt that this afternoon, it was, well, as the title suggests.

We had intended to plant some more out, but it was far too hot for that.

We had intended to do a load of hoeing to cut down some of the weeds, but it was far too hot for that.

We had intended to prep up more beds, but, well, you get the drift.

Instead, we pretended to do jobs pretty slowly, with plenty of time for chats and cools drinks in between.

Long may it continue.

This is the Life.

Free at last, been at home for so long, now it’s different, now I can go where ever I want. To see things I have not seen before, and I have a mate. I’m not the sort to mess around. She is fine,  she is fit and will go far. I suppose I love her. Not like mixed up humans. Although I do find them interesting, silly beings.

That’s what we do, go far. I see things that you cannot, and I find myself at peace. Drifting on the wind. You know at one time I thought we would have something, but no greed and want spur the humans on. They are not at peace. Shame really. But you do what you do. Perhaps they will destroy us all, what can you do.

I wonder what happened to my Ma an Pa they were nice, didn’t know them really but they fed me and kept me warm. What more can you ask. Humans seem to have things that are not necessary to life. They kill for pleasure and are constantly bickering with each other about those things.

Look at me, so lucky to be me, to glide above it all, not seen land for long periods of time, perhaps I aught to look, nah just do what I do best, that’s the way. Free and easy.

You know at one time we were revered by sailors. Perhaps even today we are by some, but not all of them. Different times eh!

I may return home soon but I am not in any rush. But we have to start thinking of a family of our own. Oh look a ship think I will follow it for a while the wind is good. Hum this could take a few days at least. We’ll on my way, good luck humans and please try not to kill us all.

(What am I ?) Answers to

Ian Ward 16/6/2010

What’s this?

I am part of the CARROT family. My latin name is Conium Maculatum. I am deadly poisonous and confusable with other, harmless umbellifers, I was used for execution I am a sedative and fatal. Socrates killed himself by drinking me.

Send your answer to
I will give you the answer !

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