Saturday, October 22, 2016

He Eats Like a Bird

An update on the feral cats:

Dodger has left the area. I think. I haven't seen any photos of him using my spy camera (wildlife camera), so evidently he lived up to his name and dodged the situation as soon as I paved the way for his exit. (I saw him in the garage three days before I let the cats free, so I do know he put in the mandated two-week sentence. Well, perhaps I should say, I had a brief glimpse of his distinctive tail as he ran behind the bales of hay.) Perhaps he will return after he scopes out the neighborhood, or when the weather takes a turn, or whenever he feels like it. He is a cat, after all!

Freddie (the Freeloader) comes and goes. I catch him on camera now and then. I guess he's the sort of cat who likes to eat out on occasion!

Bob seems to be hanging around. He made the mistake (and I compounded it) of coming up to the house the other day. The dogs were excited. I thought they saw a bunny. I didn't see Bob slinking through the yard, until I opened the door. I am thinking that Bob may not come up to visit the house anytime soon! He was not received well by the dogs. They see "little animal that runs". They don't understand that I want him around.

When I upload pictures from my spy camera they pop up on the screen like this. They all look the same.

Bob eating. 
Bob eating.
Bob eating some more. 

Each picture has a time and date stamp. 
(As well as the phase of the moon and the temperature!)

When I look at them in my picture file, the information looks something like this:

Bob seems to be a snacker! He likes to eat a little every 3 hours or so! I guess you could say, he eats like a bird!

Thursday, October 20, 2016

A Tale of Two Kitties

My new feral cats were incarcerated for two weeks. At least I'm sure that's how they viewed the experience! I had them locked in the garage part of the barn. I cleaned the litter box and made sure they had food and water each day. Other than the fact that food went in, and food came out in another form, I had no clue that cats were residing in the garage. I saw neither hide nor hair of them. Finally, the day arrived to let them loose. We have a small opening between the garage portion of the barn and the run-in shed of the barn.... and freedom!

I set my wildlife camera up in the run-in shed and lo and behold, I captured kitties. Well, at least images of kitties!
Here's Bob. All but one picture I captured is a picture of Bob. He loves looking through the hole, sleeping half in and half out of the hole, and sitting on the platform outside the hole.

Evidently, he also likes exploring. This silly cat went between the walls.
Do you see him peeking out?
Oh, boy. The little critters that plague me and eat the horse grain 
are in trouble with this guy around!

There were quite a number of shots of Bob sitting in this safe spot.
Here he looks like he actually took a snooze there.

Bob is black.
This is Bob.

This is Not Bob.
Therefore, this must be Dodger.

I published a post when I brought the cats home from the shelter two weeks ago with the only pictures I had of the cats. 

This is Bob

This is Dodger

This is Not Dodger.
This is Not Bob.
Who is this??!!

I have had a mysterious magical cat swap! 

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Case Restoration

I've written a few posts about my new addiction to Singer Featherweight sewing machines. My first was an eBay acquisition, and the second was found locally.

When I picked up the local machine I realized that the bottom of the case was split and would need to be repaired. I began working on the case bit by bit.

You can see the split on the bottom of the case on the left side of the picture. The split went all the way across the bottom.  As I have acquired more machines (I think that might be another post in the future.) I have discovered that many cases need restoration as they have suffered water damage sitting in damp basements. Mr. Dreamy even bought a machine where the bottom and the lower edges of the case were missing and eaten away by carpenter ants??? termites???)

In order to restore the case, the first task was to get the hinges and the other hardware off of the case. They are put on with split rivets. (They remind me of the old brass paper fasteners I used in elementary school.) Those on the hinges were larger and had a heavier gauge wire than those on the latches. 

Looking online I learned the you can use a small screwdriver to wedge under the ends of the rivet on the inside of the case to bend them up. Once both ends are bent up, you can hammer it out a bit, or pry the hinge or latch off. Hah! That didn't work so well. After gouging my hand a few times I pulled out the Dremel and used a burr to grind away at the "legs" of the hinge, and then used an awl and hammered the rivet out.  This was probably the toughest part of taking the case apart! (You can see the remains of a few split rivets near the Dremel head.)

The next step was to remove the vinyl covering.This was easy, as Mr. Dreamy divulged the secret. The cover is glued on with animal hide glue. (Post about hide glue is here.) This glue is water soluble and readily softens with warm water. I had a large roasting pan that I placed on the stove. I heated the watered and dipped the parts of the case, one side at a time, into the water for a few moments, then peeled a bit of the covering off. Dunk, peel, repeat.

The residual glue was easily removed with a warm, wet towel and a plastic scraper. The case is made from a soft wood and has beautiful tongue and groove construction.  I discovered I had dented the wood in trying to clamp it as glue was drying where I added adhesive at the corners. Next time I clamped it, I used small wood blocks to avoid this happening again. I used a wood filler to patch up dents, those I made as well as others, and dings.

This case was used for a 1938 vintage machine. The case had a leather handle, which was in poor shape, and in addition to prongs that go through the case to hold the handle on, it also had leather tabs that are sewn through the vinyl and then through the case. I used a razor blade to cut the threads, straightened the prongs holding the handle and hammered it out, and then used needle-nosed pliers to pull the threads out of the case. The handle was in poor shape and would not be safe to use in the restored case. I had a Bakelite handle from another case that I used. But new handles are available through the Internet. 

I purchased some 3/8" plywood and cut it to size to replace the bottom of the case. I used hide glue to secure the bottom to the case, and sanded the corners and the edges to round them similar to the original. 

The next step was to cover the box with Tolex. Tolex is a vinyl fabric that has been used since the 50's to cover books, amplifiers, and... Featherweight cases! There are a number of suppliers of Tolex 
on the Internet. 

I chose a lightweight vinyl and it went on quite easily. I stuck with the traditional black, but in hindsight wish I had picked something wild and crazy!,. I mixed up some hide glue and water in a large can, and kept it warm in a rice cooker/slow cooker. Using an old paint brush, I applied glue to the outside of the case, wetting the case first so it wouldn't suck all of the moisture out of the glue, and then applied the Tolex cover, one side at a time. I taped the seam where the Tolex lapped near a back corner, but later had to reglue the vinyl on vinyl area using a modern craft glue. I tucked the vinyl around the edges at the top, and put it top down on the table to work on the bottom. 

After 'wrapping' the case in Tolex I reattached the hardware. I could not find split rivets in the correct size, so settled for small black screws and nuts.

I found a jazzy cotton/silk blend of fabric at an upholstery fabric shop and glued that on the inside. 

It is far from perfect, but it is now serviceable and looks tidy and clean. I am sure that the I will find the next case I restore to be much easier and proceed much faster!