The exact point when summer starts is hard to define, weather and calendar both playing their tricks. When your summer vacation starts can set a fuctional entry point for most purposes.
There has been more administrative and various reporting & statement writing work dragging into June than ever before. I am really looking forward to a break; no word that I would be using my hard- earned vacation days for writing my own research, like in so many summers before. That means that I wont be publishing anything, but – that is academic reality this year. My personal goal is to cut radically down administrative duties during the next academic year and work my way back towards doing my own research more. Lets see how that will work out.
Meanwhile, still a couple of days in the office, and then – off we go!
These days you can find pretty nice bird tables, like this little house we have now in our front yard. It was originally designed to be hung from a string, but it was pretty easy to hack into a suitable stick. So, now we have a regular show going on, with five pheasant, a flock of small birds and a squirrel fighting over the nuts and seeds.
Quiet at the night time, though. The photo was taken at the point when the snowfall had turned into light rain (of water), using my trusty old Canon EOS 350D (exposure time 3,2 seconds, I was using a Manfrotto stand), and I admit a serious graving of 7D with its environmental sealing and advanced autofocus point selection system… (More here: http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/canoneos7d/ )
Couple of years ago I wrote about our first lawnmower, a Stiga Collector model. In couple of summers I have managed to break the thing several times (I always run it against stones), until it felt not worth paying for repairs any more. Also, it had become apparent that the collector part was not really necessary for us — bio-clipping is really enough (like Eki then already commented). Our new model is hopefully simple and durable machine: a Klippo Excellent S GCV model. It has a solid aluminium base and motor built by Honda. To be ready for those stones, I asked it to be installed with a Blade Plate system: six small blades that cut the grass at different levels and which are hopefully more resistant against stones (or, more likely, breaking in a manner that makes repairs a bit cheaper). Lets see. The ultimate goal is to have a smaller lawn in any case.
Last summer, I wrote about our terrace and pergola project; and in May this year I mentioned that we are continuing with the paint layers next. After that, most of May and June free time was spent adding a couple of layers of paint to every surface of the construction. The rafters (or laths) supporting the transparent roofing were painted while still on the ground. The transparent roofing was made from Icopal Fastlock Uni — a strong polycarbonate sheet material, which has UV filtering top layer and a 10 year guarantee. However, I think “Fastlock” is a bit exaggeration on the fixing mechanism: it took a couple of days of dedicated pushing, pulling and nailing to get the thin, 20 cm sheets connected and then solidly fixed to the rafters. The outcome was nice, though. The roof looks pretty neutral (and it is a must in a climate like we have in Finland). Here are some photos:
Freshly painted terrace, doing some washing:
Fixing the “fastlocks”:
The finished terrace & pergola:
You can see the entire story of the project in photos via this link.
As you might remember, I spent the entire last summer vacation building a terrace and pergola into our garden. As these things take their time, this job continues this summer, including some additional constructions to support vines and other plants. The entire thing also needs to be painted (you cannot paint fresh preservative-treated wood as it contains too much water — now, as it is one year later, it is possible). We will be using Valtti Non-Slip from Tikkurila for the floor and Tikkurila Aitamaali for the upper parts. More photos in Flickr:
Filed under DIY, garden, house
Lying in our garden swing, I can currently see six wifi access points — that’s urban nature for you! :-) Comparing LCD screen and paper (Luontokuva magazine), it is clear that traditional paper is still far superior when reading anything outside. The screen in AA1 is very good, but still very pale in sunlight. Wonder if e-ink/ebook reader screen would make a real difference to the benefit of IT? At the moment — closing this webtop and app is the best way to relax, so: enjoy the summer, everyone!
I have been spending this week with my family, after a few months of busy working and traveling schedule. It has been mostly raining (slowing down some of the gardening work), but this has allowed me to spend more time with my son (pictured). Luka is growing very fast, running around and learning new words and tricks every day. Glad we got these few days together to learn to know each other a bit better (last autumn, when he just had born, I was all the time traveling around the world, and promised to change the situation this year).
This and the next two weeks are probably the busiest ones in entire Autumn term (at least that is what I keep telling myself — we’ll see). There are many wonderful things in this fall, too, including spectacular crop yield of mushrooms. Also, Laura’s work on flowering plants is starting to yield results, as this visiting Admiral also proves. Other regulars have included peacock butterflies (neitoperhonen) and Camberwell Beauty/the mourning cloak (suruvaippa).
This summer has mostly been spent in the garden. Our small terrace and pergola project proved to be much more extensive than I thought in the beginning. The part that took longest was making the foundations. It might be that we were a bit overcautious in terms of frost isolation, but it would had been shame if the entire construction would tilt to its side after the first proper winter. I think we moved more than eight tons of earth away Continue reading
After backlash of winter, this weekend is when we can officially announce that summer is back. Nights can still be a bit cold, but the sun is bright, skies blue and there is awful lot of garden work to do. (Had a little birthday tapas dinner out in the garden today.)