Archive for December, 2008

Half somnolent at the ridiculous time of 10.00 am, I entered an already functioning kitchen where the bird feeding table has the kitchen window framing the scene. I needed no binoculars to declare "look a male blackcap" I froze lest to disturb, this blackcap was on the scoff like a starling he gulped beak full after beak full. I exclaimed amazing "what ten seconds of time makes", kitchen was unresponsive, Dad is mad on birds or just mad, the latter pervaded. Think about it I said, this is the first Blackcap ever in this garden, yeh that you have seen…

Dec 29th by Ian under Miscellaneous

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Started reading about the study of the Peregrine Falcon in Greenland, well the book is from the seventies and is about environmental effects of DDT and other organochlorides. Set me wondering 30 or more years on if we can do something equally stupid to the environment but not recognise it at the time, for it's potential harm. One on which the jury is still out. I cannot include the whole world, who knows what China does, when I worked in Hong Kong I passed streams that ran red, then next day blue and fragrance bay was better known for a…

Dec 26th by Ian under Miscellaneous

p1020611p10206101I like simple devices that work, my sometimes erudite son who made this site, got me a logmaker for Christmas. This if you have a woodburner or open fire will re-cycle waste paper and other burnable waste, into logs. well log shaped compressed paper etc. I have been raiding the paper re-cycling bin after the crimble present paper was used up. I made seven logs from wrapping paper! very pretty they were. I recommend this product, one hitch is you have to have a fire going first then add the "logs", I failed to start a fire with logmaker logs…
There is, I my opinion, a feel good factor that comes from gardening, allotmentering, (new word) and birdwatching. It is our link to the Earth and literally the soil. Is this in everyone's psyche ? mmm wii playing young things, maybe not cultivated yet, time enough. I grew up in the country and I only remember the countryside as a part of my education by one teacher in primary school, I hope things have changed given our environmental situation. Holidays never meant that much to me, well what I mean is the concept of " I am dying to go…
Does major industry use QA to hide behind? The cement industry appears to have accomplished this, who in the last 40 years remembers testing cement? we all now receive cement certs as a given, never challenged, well how could you? it's from a factory like an AUDI car, problem is when we have driven the product we can't sort out why the brochure product is not as advertised, we consumers of ready mix are the ultimate users, denied as real customers by the suppliers who use the powder, no link to powder maker so door shut. Is cement a hugely…
How hard can it be to mix four ingredients to produce a stated outcome? aggregate, cement, water and an admixture (or two) We have probably done three of them around the house with a shovel and a board. I once made a whole patio of slabs with my own formwork with embedded red chips floated into the surface. and the real reason for doing it was to prove a mason wrong, whilst having a pint with him he declared, you will never make them frost resistant! Want a bet, I internally cogitated? I was impressed one of his durability factors…
Running up to Christmas, just had company Christmas lunch, do you notice when the loud music starts the older guys head for the door? I am part of that congregation. Anyway I am old enough to remember digging sand replacement densities in lean mix and wondering at the mysteries of comparing them to a theoretical density. Then there used to be a minimum strength, then a minimum and a maximum, then if my memory is correct, a minimum again. Whether it was the blacktop lobby or a diminishing amount of long greenfield road jobs, the good old leanmix was no…

Dec 12th by Ian under Bird Watching

I have now stayed around Perth for 34 years, in that time the Magpie population has increased hugely where they were resident, Glasgow, Dundee etc. I used to see an odd magpie flying across the M90 motorway at Kelty 30 years ago, it is the same today. Now here's the point, why are there no magpies in Perth making a success of town living as other populations do? I am sure people may know of an odd pair in the outskirts, but I have never seen a magpie in Perth. As a boy magpies around Eaglesham were rare country birds…
Spent oil Shale is an industrially produced product, unlike blaze, or blase, which is not. Both materials have similar¬†properties as the processes are the same, combustion in shales. It's just that spent oil shale is more reliably burnt¬† being the tip product from retorts that produced oil. Unlike blaze, which is colliery spoil (shale) which has self ignited. So flying out from Edinburgh you have or could have, great views of spent oil shale, literally mountains of it, bings we call it. It is a "specialist" recyclable product to West Lothian. But here is fact lost in time and now…

Dec 1st by Ian under Miscellaneous

My daughter Rachel is a curious mixture of the town and the country, her country side produced a book for my birthday I was unaware off, wildlife detective. This is a book I always thought was the province of an early influence on bringing me back to my core interests in birds, Bob McMillian. Back to the book, brilliant, a door opener into the upholders of our law, as with any crime a reflection on humanity pushing the boundaries to suit themselves. Alan Stewart's book is a fantasitic read for anyone interested in wildlife, particularly if you live in Perth…
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