Wednesday, July 13, 2022

Hello Little Blossom!

Two flax flower blossoms emerged on 7/13/22!

This was a surprise for me this morning. I expected the stalks to grow for at least a couple more weeks before blooming. But we are about on track for the bloom time, mid-May to mid-July. I just thought/hoped they would grow taller before blooming. So, apparently, the pots have created shorter flax stalks, now running about 23 inches tall rather than the 36 inches or more they would reach in a field. It will be interesting to see if they continue to grow taller, even while in the blooming stage.

More on the flax brake project for the ASI Teaching Tools Grant…

I intended to get my pine prototype of the tabletop flax brake in good shape last weekend. That intention went by the wayside when I had an accident while walking my dog last Saturday morning. That has put my physical life on a hiatus for a bit while I recover from lacerations and bruises that occurred from a face and body slam into an asphalt road. I hope to start back into the prototype work this weekend, body willing.

Wednesday, July 6, 2022

'Tis Wise to Prototype!

I usually jump into a project with both feet—let the chips fall where they may! But in the case of the ASI Teaching Tools Grant, I thought it best to be cautious with the precious maple lumber that I have in my possession and purchased under the grant money. So, on my dime, I purchased an equal amount of pine lumber to use to create a prototype of my self-designed tabletop flax brake. 

Today, the work of cutting the lumber to size began! (Actually, it started a few days ago, but since then, I re-evaluated my measurements and decided to cut the pieces a bit smaller.)

The first cut is the scariest, 
to misquote the lyrics of Sheryl Crow.
Measure twice...

I am using an old miter saw that leaves some shards in the cuts, redeemable with good sanding paper.

The cuts are done!

This weekend, I will move on to making a space in my basement to test the special cuts needed to hold the brake's bottom blades and test out the best drill hole size and drilling technique for the screws. Fortunately, I have a drill press to make those tricky holes, some of which will need to go through a narrow width of lumber without cracking.

And back outdoors, the flax continues to grow in pots…

The tallest stalks are up to 20 inches now!

The flax plants seeded in the black pots just a week after the first flax crop continue to do poorly. They are only 6 inches at their tallest. At this point, the chance of those stalks catching up to the flax growing in the clay-colored pots is slim.

Pretty pathetic-looking plants!