One, Two... Twelve (Wait, Stop Flitting About!)Like many of you, I enjoyed taking part in the Great Backyard Bird Count over the weekend:
Locality: 48108, Ann Arbor, Washtenaw County, MI
Snow Depth: 2 - 4 in (5.1 - 10.2 cm)
Habitat(s): deciduous woods, scrub, suburban, freshwater
February 14, 2010, 10:00 - 11:00 a.m.
Mallard - 15
Downy Woodpecker - 1
Northern Flicker - 1
Blue Jay - 1
Black-capped Chickadee - 1
White-breasted Nuthatch - 1
Northern Cardinal - 2
House Sparrow - 7
February 15, 8:30 - 9:30 a.m. 15, 2010
Mallard - 12
Red-bellied Woodpecker - 1
Downy Woodpecker - 1
Northern Flicker - 1
American Crow - 1
White-breasted Nuthatch - 1
Dark-eyed Junco - 3
Northern Cardinal - 3
House Sparrow - 12
Comments: I normally also see mourning doves.
Wonderful, Wacky WildlifeThe other afternoon, out of the corner of my eye, I spied a brownish, cat-shaped movement near my bird feeders, and yet the brownish cat-shaped lifeform who lives with me was stationary by my side on the couch. My brain slowly came to terms with the idea that the groundhog may be awake form hibernation and my butt left the sofa to check outside.
Squirrels (fox and red) are much more common visitors at my feeders, and I don't mind. The feeder to the left, which you can hardly see, is especially for squirrels. They can't resist hanging off the normal feeders, either, and this upside-down technique is the normal approach.
Finally Snow!While the rest of the country has more snow than it knows what to do with, we had our first real snowsotrm all season here in southeastern Michigan.
Photo by Laura Crawford, Washtenaw Community College
We finally got some snow a few days ago. I love the smiley face added to this sculpture on the campus where I occasionally teach.
Thank You, Kind Bloggers!Aunt Debbi! Here it is. It's hard to see the subtle color gradation, but the bottom of the bag (which you can't see at all) is primarily black with some beige, the bottom shown is more primarily beige and black, and the top is primarily white and black. Cool, huh?
As long as you're admiring the bag, feel free to also admire my cool, retro metal canister and spice rack, but please ignore the crumbs on the counter!
Thanks also to Country Mouse who recently tagged me with an Honest Scrap / 10 Things You Don't Know About Me award / meme. I've previously posted 7 Things You Don't Know About Me, so I'm going to say that's close enough for rock 'n' roll. Do stop by Country Mouse's blog, though, as Duncan, her canine companion, wrote an amusing post about himself!
DC-3 Cleared for Building, Over
Every so often, I like to try a new hobby. My friend Pete is an avid and long-time modeler, mostly of scale model rockets, which he flew in competitions and made many of the parts for himself, but also of non-flying plastic model airplanes, assembled from kits.
I've never been super interested in airplanes (and don't enjoy flying), so I really wanted to build a house for a model train layout. Not that I have one, but I like trains and I like houses. Investigating the cost, it quickly became apparent that building a surplus airplane kit of Pete's for free would be way more commensurate with both my pocket book and skill level.
So I was given this plastic model kit of a DC-3 by Italeri. These are all the parts and how it looks out of the box. (The decals to the left came with the set, the ones to the right are 1970s German Easter decals from my grandmother, left over from my childhood, which clearly had to be incorporated.)
Pete also built a DC-3. His is the smaller, more completed gray model to the right. My fuselage sections had to be clamped together while drying. The glue to the right isn't truly glue, but liquid cement for plastic, which spreads through capillary action. I loved it. I also used what I would call tube glue but which modelers call plastic cement.
I was expecting this project to be a challenge because I don't have the finest, precision motor skills or the best vision. That ended up being an issue, but not a real problem. What I hadn't been expecting was all the modifications I needed to make to the pieces. In my mind, a kit means you should be ready to rumble with only minor fussing.
Apparently, that is not the case. Now, I get that parts might have excess plastic from being removed from the sprue (the non-part plastic that holds the pieces together) and I felt marginally capable of using an Exacto knife, fine. But my whole interior section (except the pilots, which I insisted must stay) had to be scrapped because it was a fraction too wide for the fuselage to fit around it. Pete assured me this was the kit's issue, not my clumsy hands' fault. Shouldn't the pieces of a model just fit together?!
Also, I had to do a lot of trimming and scraping of plastic edges to get some seams to match up more precisely. Other seams didn't fit flushly, so I had to use putty to fill the gap. (That was actually fun, but not something I'd have expected to have to do.)
Here are all the first-coat painted parts. The gloss silver enamel paint didn't coat as smoothly as I would have liked. (Advanced modelers use spray paint, but I didn't fancy masking all those tiny windows!)
Here's the almost-finished version (only missing the decals). Most of the colors are accurate--the body was most often metallic silver, the propellers were black with those yellow edges, and the navigation lights and location of numbers (next photo) are accurate. But I took some liberties, because I was doing this for fun. Hence the orange tail (though both paints are Testors' gloss enamels, though the orange has 100x better coverage and a much smoother look. I'm now wishing I'd painted the whole thing orange, and apparently some Dutch versions of the plane were entirely orange, but I wanted silver for a more retro look).
Apparently, adding the water-transfer decals is sometimes tricky, but for me that was the easiest bit. I had some awesome rabbit decals for the rudders, but they had disintegrated due to age. Fortunately, Pete had some Flying Tigers decals, which are just as cool. The rest of the decals are those from my Grandmother.
The only one you can't see in the previous photo, on the port wing, is this one. Ignore the crappy painting job and instead marvel at the cuteness of the decal and how nicely it lays over a three-dimensional surfaces!
I enjoyed the process, overall, but don't think I'll be making any other models any time soon! (Though I am fascinated about creating landscapes for train layouts...)
Crimes Against HorticultureJean recently posted some photos of very bad planting and pruning techniques. I suggested she post them to Billy Goodnick's Flickr group, Crimes Against Horticulture, which she did. That reminded me there was a house in a nearby neighborhood whose photo I was meaning to take to add to the group myself.
Blogger Grumble #459After fixing the "Read More!" that Blogger was automatically adding to all my posts, I switched to the new editor, assuming new was synonymous with improved. HA!
Where the heck did the spellchecker go, and why can I only upload one photo at a time? I used to be able to upload 5 at a time, and the spellchecker icon was obvious.
And I had this post almost completely done, when I went to hit return and somehow the whole screen went blank/all content was erased. No big deal, I hadn't saved it, so I navigated away from the window and came back... to an empty screen. Blogger had automatically saved the cleared screen, which meant I had to re-do the whole post. Where do I set the timing for autosaves?
Also line spacing seems to be randomly weird.