Dube’s Greenhouses

Since Christmas is now safely behind us, I can now post some pics of a few of the things I was working on.

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A little back story; when my mother was growing up, my grandfather owned and operated a greenhouse business in Lewiston, Maine.  The business (and the greenhouses) disappeared in the 70s, and their loss has always hung on my mother’s side of the family.  My uncles managed to buy back some of the property recently, and in the summer of 2016 I was able to go up and visit the old Dube stomping grounds.   As you can imagine, there is a lot of broken glass produced when greenhouses are bulldozed, and the yards of the different properties are littered with it still.  I was able to collect a bunch of the glass and put a few projects together.

The first piece is a three by nine-ish frame of stained-glass style pieces over pictures of the original houses. I bought some copper foil and spent way too much time (and yet still not enough) soldering them together.

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I had a few smaller pieces left, so I made some ornaments for my uncles to hang.

Hopefully I will be able to visit up north soon and collect a larger amount of glass, since I have a bunch of copper foil left over.

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First Draft Rocket

First Draft Rocket

Funny story.  I’ve been waiting since August for the corn to be harvested next to the house so that I could test the rocket I made from a shipping tube.  The whole idea was the launch a cheapy yard sale camera and see what I got.

Whelp, it didn’t go as planned.

Turns out I’m not the only thing around here that needs to go on a diet.  The standard Estes rocket motors are designed to work in rockets less than 4 ounces.  My rocket came in at exactly 12 ounces, and the camera was another 4.4 oz.  So, yeah.

Get To Work

“The great French Marshall Lyautey once asked his gardener to plant a tree. The gardener objected that the tree was slow growing and would not reach maturity for 100 years. The Marshall replied, ‘In that case, there is no time to lose; plant it this afternoon!'” -JFK

Model Rockets and Photography

When I was younger I would build Estes model rocket kits and shoot them off in the large field next to my parents house.  This was always a lot of fun, especially since I tried to build the rockets that would “do” something, like convert the body into helicopter blades to softly land. One of the things I had always wanted to get was the rocket with a 110 camera built in.  That never happened, however, because of the cost involved.  Besides the cost of the rocket (which was at least $50 back in the 1990s), the camera only took one picture per launch.  Once you figure that rockets were $10-$12 for a three pack, you’re in deep just to use up a 24 exposure roll.  Oh, yeah, then you had to have it developed.

Now that I’m back in South Jersey I have available field space to start launching rockets again, but my old rockets are either broken, missing, or worth way too much money to strap lit explosives to.  The desire to take aerial pics of the area has led me to build this contraption.img_8130

It’s not much; some balsa attached to a notched-out cardboard shipping tube.  I bought a GoPro camera, but have a $5 yard sale digital camera strapped to the thing because I’m not *entirely* sure how it’s going to fly.  This is what happens when you start cutting before figuring out where center of gravity is.  I’m not even sure if it’s better to have the weight high or now on this thing.  I’ve always been a sucker for DayGlo test aircraft and NASA motherships, so the rocket got a nice high-vis paint job and a panel to record mission markers.  Hopefully I can get to plural.

Anyway, outta be fun to find out.  Now I’m just waiting for them to harvest the corn.

Rocket Dog repairs

I stayed up on Saturday night and made some quick repairs to Indy’s costume.  I patched in a double piece of vinyl where the front velcro ripped out, and started stiching reinforcements into the waist straps.  I also spread out the stiching on the velcro; instead of a heavy stitch in the center of the piece, I spread it out over a few inches so that there would be less stress on any one point.

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I am going to have to go around the outer edge with a heavier stitch to clean it up; You can tell that I was in a rush to get it done.  The rocket is going to have to be replaced as well, and while I’m at it I will try to keep it down to about 12″ long, as opposed to the 16.5″ it is now.  I might reinforce the spine area of the vinyl with other material as well, and use a large block of velcro instead of the straps.  The straps are a pain to get right when you have a wiggling puppy.  Anyway, it’ll hold together for now, and pups will look great for our non-existent trick-or-treaters.

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Rocket Dog!

Halloween approached a lot faster than I thought it would this year (I’m pretty sure that it’s still late August) and I realized I had to put a costume together for Indy dog.  I can’t remember what strange thoughts brought me to it, but I decided that he would be going as a Rocketeer.  Since he wasn’t going to be packing fuel in his rocket pack I decided that he wouldn’t need a helmet; he has a pair of Doggles that he won’t wear that would do.   At first I thought that I would make a quick cardboard rocket, put some velcro straps around his belly, and call it a day.  As I started putting it together in my head, however, I added a bit more and started stitching together a bomber jacket for the pooch.

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Rather than putting velcro around his entire belly, I made a quick jacket out of some vinyl fabric and sewed velcro onto the top.  I screwed some more velcro strips onto the cardboard tube of the rocket, and mistakenly called it done.  I have a bunch of my father’s patches left from his stint in the Air National Guard, so they helped flesh out the costume, as did a Columbia STS patch I had laying around.  I was going to paint on mission markers and kill markings ala WW2 bomber crew jackets, but the paint did not react well to the scrap of vinyl I tried it on.  Maybe next time.  After the above photo, I decided it needed something else, so I tied some green jute twine around some floral wire and super glued it to the back of the rocket so that it would have a fuse.

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Luckily the setup lasted long enough to get this photo.  Indy of course LOVED the attention, but as you can see the rocket flopped all over the placed and stressed the vinyl.  It would have been ok sitting on the porch passing out candy, but when you have a couple dozen other pets, kids running up and wanting to pet him, and a few crates of kittens waiting to be adopted…well, if you don’t have a jack russell in your life, it may be hard to imagine the insane amount of excited vibrating that this little dog did.  About a minute before the costume contest started, the vinyl failed.  BAD.  One of the waist straps ripped off at the seam, and the rocket ripped off, taking the velcro and a chunk of the top of his costume with it.  So, yeah. So much for that.

I’m stubborn as heck, so I’ll prolly try to salvage what I can, see what failed, and upgrade it all for next year. My first instinct is to replace the rocket; I weighed the rocket when I got home, and it came in a 7.8 oz.  For such thin material, a half pound held on with thread is probably too much.  Focusing on the rocket instead of the whole costume should also allow me to come up with something really eye-popping.

I did have one happy puppy, tho.  He pretty much slept the rest of the day 🙂