Browsing Posts published on 02/02/2013

Second Box? Done! 02/02/13

Yes, yes, yes, I know, Dear Reader.  You’re about to faint.

But it is true.  The second box for TradeBase is actually finished.  What isn’t finished is the A-frame bit that the bike sits in.

But I will finish it, come Hell or high water.  It only needs the wheel sensor whacking on, and if I get a clear run at it (HA!), it’ll only take me a morning or an afternoon.

This second box now has much brighter LED’s than the original ‘demo’ box -bright enough to be easily visible even in direct sunshine.  And it only took another 16 transistors and 30 resistors on one board to achieve this.  Piece of cake!

Other news is that since Ian (no relation) gave me that little TV with the HDMI input socket, I’ve been ‘playing’ with the Raspberry Pi, and having a Big Lot of fun in the process.

I ordered a tiny little ‘wireless dongle’ for it -so I can use it on the Internet at home running wirelessly from my router. This really was a little swine to get going, and it took me a full half-day to get there, but it’s now working fine and very fast when you consider it’s a full computer the size of a credit card for less than £30.00.

“So what?” you quite rightly shout.

Ah, I actually plan to have a Pi down on The Plots in the top shed.  Because it’s so small, I can easily hide it away -probably behind somewhere or even under something, so any potential thieves won’t be able to find it.

I may take an old, empty PC case, and put that in there, complete with a couple of bricks in the bottom.  A scabby old 14″ CRT monitor (…which won’t work…), and a knackered keyboard and mouse will finish off my ‘stage set’.  If any thieves do break in, they see these, and take them.

I can imagine them picking up the empty PC case (…plus two bricks), and saying to each other;-

“Eh, Wayne!  Feel the weight of this!  Must cost a fortune, one of these!”

Ha!  Wait ’til they get it all home and try to plug it in.

Okay, an idle, but very fun thought…

Those were the words of the penultimate sentence of my last entry.

Despite the wall-to-wall sunshine today, it was really, really cold.  If you stopped for more than a couple of minutes, you could feel it seeping into your bones.

So the answer was to not stop.

And we didn’t!

Today, we were blessed with many willing volunteers, and we certainly made good use of the time.  Unfortunately, these posts are kind of limited to 1000 words (…unless I hack it, and to be honest, I haven’t got the strength tonight.), so there’s no way I can put everything that happened in so short a space.  You’ll just have to use your imagination.

But I’ll just highlight some of the wonderful things that have happened today…

Firstly, and most importantly it was the banking just down from the main road that needed finishing off.  We’ve been kindly awarded some money if we could get this done by the end of January.

So, we’re two days late.The New Path

Here is a shot of that path we were working on last Thursday, and you can now see that we’ve finished laying the ‘foundation’ for this path, and Gary and Tom had just finished laying a layer of the ubiquitous woodchip over the top. We fully realise that this path will ‘sink’ as the privet and other cuttings rot down beneath, but we’ve got loads of spare soil to whack on as it does. Then we can add another fine layer of woodchip over the top as we have here, and as you can see, it makes a very serviceable path. Again, Derek, Gary and I lopped more branches from the overhanging trees and bushes so the pathway is now clear of obstruction.

Also in this area, as part of the grant, we’ve been working on the surrounding paths and beds.More pathway laid

If you do a 180 degree from that last shot, you’ll see the shot on the left here.  Up until a few minutes previously, this was a mud-bath as we’d been literally running along and up it with fully-laden wheelbarrows (…I told you we had to keep warm!), but Gary and Tom worked their woodchip-magic, and you can appreciate the result.

We’d also been busy further along and down by the compost bins.  Here, Barry had very artistically laid a load of woodchip that was set aside nearby for this very purpose.Woodchip around the compost bins

Elsewhere, and Sara, Pam and Carol were having fun with the 45 million Plot Kids that made an appearance.  Actually, I’m exaggerating here.  It was more like only 10-or so, but if felt like much more. Plot Kids have this great way of seeming to be everywhere, all at the same time.

After a very swift lunch (…did I mention just how bitingly cold it was?..), Carol had brought a treasure hunt to keep the kids busy for an hour while Jon and I fed the bees.

“What are you up to?” asked one of the little girls.

“Feeding the bees!” I replied.


“Well, we’ve got some really tiny little spoons, so Jon and I will sit there for a few minutes, and as each one comes out, we’ll give it a quick spoonful of this sugar syrup we’ve been warming especially for them before it flies away.”

“Cooo!” she said…

In reality, we checked our two remaining hives to see just where we would put the slightly-warmed sugar syrup, went and got it, and by the time we came back to put the feeders on, there were quite a few crawling around beneath where we put them.  So all’s well with the bees.

In laying that new path above the banking, we’ve used quite a lot of privet cuttings and other partially-rotted muck that was sat all around the site.  In particular, there were various piles around in a ‘dead space’ that we’d been meaning to put raised beds on this season. I don’t have the photos of it, but I can now definitively say that this area by the bottom of the entrance path is now much clearer, so in a few weeks, Gary and the rest of us can work our magic and build raised beds using the scaffolding boards we bought last season, then fill them from the remainder of the earth that has been on ‘The Mound’ that had virtually nothing in it last season.

All exciting stuff, and I’ll be sure to keep you, Dear Reader, fully up to date with developments and progress.

Today, we were all done and put away by an astonishing 4.50pm, just as the sun was starting to dip below the horizon.

We like this.  Do the work, clear away, then home for tea.

But not before finally feeding Mitzi for the night.


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