Friday, 26 March 2010

Survival: no Internet for a week

I'm going to be taking a week off from the CFZ, to attend to some family-related matters... but which does involve my being in a very isolated spot, without any Internet access.

The scenario reminds me of one of these social experiment shows on tv, where we see a group of people suddenly deprived of one or more things that they've hitherto taken for granted, and we watch to see how they cope.

I don't think my situation would make very exciting tv, though: watching a DVD, chatting to people, and, later on, reading a book. Not exactly the 'raw emotion' stuff that is the lifeblood of 'reality tv'...

Friday, 19 March 2010

Meanwhile, back at the ranch...

You know, I'm not so sure about the title.
Jon and Corinna are away in Texas, so I suppose it's they who are roaming around ranches, not I.

Right, that's got the stereotyping out of the way, and now here's a view of what's going on at CFZ Central.

The latest recruit to the local Neighbourhood Watch anti-crime scheme... Biggles likes that chair near the front window, so's he can bark at anyone walking past!

The real nerve-centre of the CFZ?

This is the CFZ Workshop, from which little hammer-wielding pixies and elves emerge to fix things that are starting to fall apart.

The process of moving tools and DIY-type resources from the CFZ Museum into here is continuing.

This is the plaster cast that I mentioned a week ago.

It's still not dry!

Poured as a test one week before Jon and Corinna shipped out, this particular brand of plaster has not distinguished itself as a potential expedition resource. It's been setting for over three weeks, now!

And finally, a look at the CFZ wheelbarrow... its colour scheme echoes that of Biggles' quite nicely - but structurally, it's not in such good shape. The front stays (white vertical struts) have come adrift and it's going to have to enter the CFZ Vehicle Repair Bay before it's once again "fit for purpose" (as the UK Government would no doubt phrase it).

Saturday, 13 March 2010

Skull impression test is still under way.

A busy day at CFZ Central yesterday.

A short-term objective is to get the CFZ Museum looking decent, before Easter. It's currently looking like a bomb-site, as the entire contents of the adjoining workshop were turned out into the museum, in search of missing CFZ resources and missing tools. I'm currently putting the stuff back, but in rational order, so the job's taking a while.

One item amuses me.

A week before Jon and Corinna went to Texas, we decided to check the ability of some builder's plaster to form a cast of impressions in mud. There was a bag of plaster handy, in the workshop. I wetted some sand and then, for testing purposes, pressed a skull into it. Then withdrew it, and poured plaster in.

Well, over two weeks later, it's still not dry. The way things are looking, it'll still be soggy when the guys return home.

Clearly, the dampness of the sand is hindering the drying process. Cement will chemically set, even in quite wet conditions, but this particular plaster evidently doesn't. It's not fit for purpose, as the UK Government would say.

Anyway, after doing the website updates and then emailing the info out to various newsgroups, I resumed work on the CFZ perimeter, seeking to make it impervious to Biggles the collie. This is a good time of year to do it, as the gaps are visible - not much foliage growth yet - and I regard the weather conditions as tolerable for outdoor working.

Well, just about.

Monday, 8 March 2010

Going through neighbour's rubbish bins


Yes, I'm not in the habit of rootling through other people's garbage cans... but this is a special CFZ project, and so I put my gloves on, and went forth...

Our neighbours don't have large and boisterous dogs, so they put all their garden cuttings into the green wheelie-bins provided for such material. We, on the other hand, use all such stuff for reinforcing the perimeter of the grounds to try and prevent Biggles from escaping, and donations of waste from nearby properties are very useful.

Every little bit helps, as the saying goes.

The end result - mounds (or banks) of stuff - look pretty OK, really.

Of course, any animal container is only escape-proof up to the point where the occupant proves you wrong. Kids keeping white mice and zoos keeping tigers have found this out. So... the ball is now in Biggles' court.

Sunday, 7 March 2010

CFZ ploughed field?

It'll soon be time to start mowing the CFZ lawn... except that parts of it are in a somewhat distressed state. And one doesn't need to look very far for the reason....

Biggles' fun and games with his apples-on-a-rope are good for him, but not quite so good for the poor old lawn.

Here, you can see parts of it resemble a ploughed field!

Anyone have any ideas for some restoration? We tried grass seed last year, but it didn't work. Not sure why: surely grass isn't that difficult to grow? I mean, the prairies of North America managed to grass themselves over, without any help from Mankind at all. So what's going on?

Friday, 5 March 2010

Holding the Fort

A fairly calm day at CFZ Central.

Jon and Corinna should be arriving in America around now, at the start of their hunt for the Blue Dogs, and I spent a chunk of the afternoon re-editing the video footage of their departure from the railway station.

I was unable to upload it to YouTube yesterday, and so I took the opportunity to rework some of the sound transitions.

Movie Magix is a fun program to use; it's the same editing suite that Jon uses for things like the On The Track monthly CFZ round-up.

It's very easy to get absorbed in such work, but Biggles the CFZ Dog pushed my door open from time to time, dropping hints that he wanted to go out... and I've always liked having breaks from work, anyway!

And here's the vid! And yes, I managed to get the thumbnail pic to be Jon in the doorway of the train.