Monthly Archives: December 2017

Calculators and Carpenters

Calculators are one of those “tools” you might not imagine being on your handyman shelf. But you’ll be surprised just how useful it can be sometimes. Say you’re building a room with walls, floor, and roof – the whole works. And you’re at the wall phase and are at the point when you need to add diagonal bracing.

How can you find out how long your diagonal bracing needs to be?

Being that you just made your actual wall, you obviously know how high it is. Say it’s 4 meters high. And I suppose we all know that a 45 degree angle is the strongest angle for diagonal bracing right? So how long does a bracing board stretching from a top corner of your wall to the wall base at a 45 degree angle, need to be? Obviously, if your wall is 4 meters high, the base point of your diagonal bracing needs to be 4 meters to the side of the bottom wall corner so as to make a 45 degree angle.

The Pythagorean Theorem

Now comes the fun part! Perhaps we’ve all learned the famed Pythagorean theorem in school. Well, this is what we’re going to use to find out how long your diagonal bracing needs to be. So to brush up on the equation: a2+b2=c2. In other words, a and b are the 2 adjacent legs to the right angle of your triangle – which in your case is the bottom corner of your room. These 2 adjacent legs should be the same length – 4 meters. Sooo, a and b are both 4 meters, which translates to: 42+42 is equal to the square of your diagonal bracing (c2)! – Hint: Find the square root of 32!

In short, your diagonal bracing should be roughly 5656 mm long. For you to be able to do this equation fast, it’s important that your calculator has the “square root” function on it. Without it, the process is a bit more time-consuming – albeit still doable. So as you can see, you can use this little piece of circuitry called a calculator to accomplish this and many more equations, ranging from simple to difficult. It can save you a pretty major headache – especially if math wasn’t one of your favorite subjects!

If you found my article helpful please visit my websites at Free & Handy and Your Japanese Garden for more, thanks!

Fragrance of the Garden

The western garden can be filled with fragrance in June – fragrance with all the mystery and appeal of the most expensive “bottled” perfumes… if you select the right shrubs and vines. So, why not have the real thing growing in your garden?

Not all fragrances are “feminine,” According to the experts, men like the fragrance of roses. Practically everyone in the family goes for the fruity fragrance of shade-loving banana-shrub, Michelia fuscata, and of Meyer Lemon blooms. These lemons are 6-foot sun loving shrubs, loaded with clusters of bloom which eventually turn into juicy, golden-orange lemons.

Another old favorite is Bouvardia humboldtii. It makes a grand shrub 2 to 3 feet tall and the large tubular white flowers are intensely sweet. Brunfelsia calycina, especially the variety fioribunda, is one of the best evergreen shrubs of medium height. It has rich violet flowers which fade to almost white. Many California plantsmen, recommend this Brazilian shrub highly.

With the exception of the exotic magnolias there are not many fragrant flowering trees and it is not easy to select small evergreen shade trees but here is one which is both… the lily-of-the-valley tree, Clethra arborea. It is a compact 20-foot grower and an evergreen which loads itself in late summer with clusters of little white, cup shaped, intensely-fragrant blooms which resemble real lily-of-the-valley blooms. The Australian tree, Hymenosporum flavum, is also low-growing yet loaded with hundreds of creamy-yellow fragrant blooms.

Look into the idea of fragrance more fully. Explore your neighborhood nurseries. June is a good time to set out shrubs and vines.

Gladiolus are most satisfactory for both beginners and experienced gardeners. For a succession of bloom all you have to do is to plant some corms every two or three weeks up to mid-July. Begin at once. Although not at all fussy about soil, gladiolus do best in a rich, fairly sandy loam.

For the cut flower garden the corms should be planted 3 to 4 inches deep and 4 to 6 inches apart in staggered rows. This staggering will enable the plants to support each other in case of strong wind or heavy rain. The rows should be 2 feet apart to allow for easy irrigation and cultivation. For landscape effect they should be planted in groups of six to a dozen.

Dig in a little bonemeal or a good complete fertilizer 2 inches below where the corms will be set. Gladiolus should also be given a light liquid feeding two or three times during the growing season.

Gladiolus require plenty of moisture in this part of q the country and should be irrigated copiously. First, though, be sure that you have good moisture content in the soil at the time of planting. Thrips are no longer the menace they once were. Malathion sprays quickly rout them.

Pinch off all faded blooms from rhododendrons to prevent the formation of seed pods. This conserves the plant’s strength and helps promote sturdy new growth.

Tuberous Begonias are rapidly becoming one of the most popular flowers today. This is especially true in the Far West. Supply lots of moisture and plant in a loose, friable soil somewhat on the acid side. Feed once a month. Don’t be afraid to cut plenty of flowers. Begonias are heavy producers.

Plants for special places in western gardens: For partial shade use lobelias, fibrous-rooted begonias, larkspur, alyssum, cornflowers, pansies, candytuft, lupine, petunias, asters, snapdragons and primulas.

For full sun substitute marigolds, petunias, zinnias, gazanias, verbenas, coral-bells, stocks, cosmos, chrysanthemums, ageratum, larkspur, salvia, scabiosas, sunflowers, coreopsis, dahlias, delphiniums, gerberas or poppies.

In deep shade try forget-me-nots, cinerarias, columbine, ferns, blue hydrangea tuberous begonias and violets. Low edgings are successful with alyssum, English daisies, pinks, lobelias, forget-me-nots, ageratum, fibrous begonias, primulas, pansies and violas.

Ground covers: there are campanulas, ajuga, mesembryanthemums, verbenas, gazanias and alyssum. For window boxes use alyssum, nasturtiums, ageratum, candytuft, pansies, violas, balcony petunias, verbenas and ivy geraniums.

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