scouting the boughs of a tree
Monday, October 14 2013
The small wooden rooflike contraption that will be going high in a White Pine near the doghouse and contain various radio electronics is mostly sealed with asphalt roofing cement, so it's more-or-less waterproof already. I was going to give it a proper roof of asphalt tar paper, but the two rolls of that stuff that I stole from my mother's dilapidated garage have, it turns out, become unusable with rot after sitting outside in the elements for a couple years. You would think that because it is designed to be out in the weather, tar paper wouldn't have such problems, but evidently it rots unless it is kept off the ground and allowed to dry off. The main reason to put any roofing on my contraption is to protect its asphalt from being broken down by ultraviolet light, though I can't use metal because I want the roof to be transparent to radio frequencies. But I can do that with non-traditional roofing materials. Today I decided to go with Portland cement as that material. (I'd bought a 94 pound sack of it yesterday.) So I lay a grid of fibreglass mesh over the dorsal surface of the little roof, mixed up a batch of cement, and spread it on with a drywall knife. Unlike grout or mortar, Portland cement has nice adhesive qualities and sticks to surfaces at any angle as if one is spreading peanut butter. I used the leftover cement to fix some bad spots in the ceiling of the greenhouse basement. (It may have developed some trivial cracks and a few instances of minor delamination eighteen months ago when I jacked up the roof to insert the upstairs.)
Today I also completed most of the wiring necessary to power the devices that will be up in that White Pine tree. I even pulled a wire up into that tree and scouted around for a place to put the contraption. One of the devices I'd like to put up there is a webcam with pan and tilt capabilities, but the foliage is so dense up there that a webcam might be useless there unless I do some radical pruning. But I don't want the results to be ugly (or even noticeable).
As part of keeping the results unnoticeable, I painted the grey PVC conduit and electrical box at the base of the White Pine to match the tree's bark pattern. This included patches of light green to mimic the lichens. It's obvious if you know to look for it, but now it's unnoticeable if you don't. Of course, Gretchen has an aversion to camouflage (which she associates with human hunters instead of, say, chameleons, tree frogs, walking sticks, or cuttlefish), so the hope is she never becomes aware of it at all.
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