accumulated mosquito bites
Thursday, July 31 2014
Today marks the 18th birthday of this blaag. If blaags had the personhood of corporations, hell, what you're reading right now would suddenly be able to oppress people in the service of its religion (if not vote).
This afternoon, I attempted to work on replacing the passenger-side rear brake line on the Subaru. That was when my problems began. The first bad thing happened immediately after I had the car jacked up. Somehow, there wasn't enough resistance in the transmission to hold it in place and the fucker rolled right off the jack. This is the second time this has happened to me, and though the car always lands on a very solid part of its undercarriage, it could have easily been me under that thing (this is why I always place redundant supports under a car before I crawl beneath it). A car falling off its jack unleashes a great deal of energy, which destroys anything that stands in its way. Last time the Subaru fell off the jack, it crushed one of my Hitachi hammer drill's batteries (though I managed to get it to work again). This time it installed an unwanted warp in the long threaded bolt that operates the scissoring mechanism of the Subaru's jack. I was able to fix it (mostly) using a hammer and a piece of wood, but things that cars fall on are never quite the same again.
Once I had the wheel out of the way, I resumed work trying to detach the steel brake line from the rubber one that goes to the brake mechanism. But the nut I had to turn was inextricably rusted in place. I hit it with WD-40, hammer blows to a ViseGrips clamped to it, and lots of heat from a brazing torch. But I could not get it free. So then I cut the steel line off the nut (since that steel line was the part I was replacing) and blazed on it for a long time with the torch, hoping to heat it until it glowed orange, but sometime before that happened there was a loud explosion (it sounded like a gunshot) as the rubber cable exploded, instantly producing a globe-shaped mass of fibres. The nut flew a couple feet and luckily nothing was propelled into my body. I'm still not sure how that explosion happened; clearly it indicated I'd been heating a chamber that had no means for gas to escape, but the pressure should have been able to exit through the cut-off end of the steel brake line. Perhaps that line was badly jammed, and had been jammed a long time, meaning the rear passenger-side brake had a failed a long time before the steel brake line leading to it had. Now, of course, I had to replace the rubber brake hose in addition to the steel brake line. I cleaned the grease and grime off my hands, gave the accumulated mosquito bites a good scratching, purchased the brake hose online, and called it a day.
Yesterday Gretchen had wanted to know how our garlic crop had turned out. Last year it had been a bust because we'd failed to cut the scapes off in time, and I didn't have much confidence that it would be much better this year (mostly because of my failure to properly weed and fertilize the patch). But when we'd dug up the garden, the garlic crop proved surprisingly bountiful, with several dozen fat garlic bulbs as well as a number that hadn't done so well. Following online instructions, we'd put them aside with their tops still attached in the half-lit garage so the bulbs can reabsorb energy from the leaves. With garlic bulbs, it's all about managing the flows of plant energy. You have to keep it from going to the scapes, and later you have to reclaim it from the leaves.
Today I cleared all the weeds (and a few lingering garlic plants) out of the garlic patch (aside from the hot peppers and peas growing in its north end), shored up the wall with some gravel, and added some nice loamy floodplain soil that has been languishing in five gallon buckets for over a year. (One of those buckets had no drainage and had a single Cattail growing in it, while the other's bottom had split and it supported more land-loving species such as Jewelweed.) Then, to recharge the soil's nutrients, I added a bunch of not-entirely-composted humanure about four inches beneath the surface (enough, hopefully, to keep dogs from immediately digging it up). Then I sprinkled a bunch of lettuce seeds over it, hoping to get a crop of that before planting garlic again. We haven't had much luck with lettuce so far this year, but it isn't as if I haven't tried.
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