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  • Writer's picturekimhuntauthor

A surprising use for pegs. This week in the garden and carport.

Updated: Jan 7, 2023

"Where's Sticky?" The missus asked. Well, here's Sticky's little niece or distant cousin. Colour does seem to indicate familial relationship among stick insects. Big Sticky, recently sighted on the back wall with 3 others, was all faded greys and browns matching the timber surrounds.

Little green sticky on car window at dusk, 5-6cm long. Such cool looking little critters.

So, during the biblical rains earlier this week, and needing a break from writing and the computer screen, I tackled the leaking rocker cover gasket for the 3rd (and hopefully final) time. The original was crispy like a cracker and beyond reuse. Previously, due to major Covid-related delays for car parts bought online, I had attempted sealing the cover to the head with a bead of heat-resistant silicon. This after diligent scraping, de-greasing and neutralising the 2 surfaces. Well, that hadn't worked. It only takes one tiny pathway for oil to creep through and with the hot exhaust manifold nearby, the pooling oil burns and I didn't want to test if overheated engine oil can actually ignite under the bonnet.

Pink plastic pegs for the workshop, who knew?

So, time to entrust over-worked couriers and order a new cork gasket online.

Praise Jah, the part arrived in days, not weeks. After unbolting various hoses and cables and giving myself a clear run at the rocker cover, I spent the next 20 mins trying to get the bastard off with paint scrapers, screwdrivers and a hammer. Oh yes, I'd done a fine job with the silicon.

Once I had the *$%#*&^!= thing off I had to get every miniscule scrap of silicon from both surfaces. Did I mention what a simple job this should have been? Fast forward another 30 minutes, time to fit the lovely, thick, spongy, new cork gasket. But it refused to stay in place either sitting flat on the top of the cylinder head, where it kept slipping down beside the pushrods, or trying to hold it inside the cover with dods of silicon to keep it in place as I lowered it around the studs, tappets, sundry cables etc.

I tried from both sides of the engine bay, again and again. No joy. I blew my fufu valve and Gabby the dog looked concerned and I tried to placate her as I stormed around the carport.

I had to find a way to hold the thing securely as I lowered it into position. I needed delicate little clamps of some description. Hmmm. Pegs.

Making sure the missus was no where in sight, I nipped out to the clothesline and grabbed 4 matching pink pegs, because colour-coordination is always a good thing. I secured the cork gasket, lowered it into position, checked both sides, and gently removed each peg keeping downward pressure so the sandwiched piece wouldn't move. Tra la la. It worked. What a palava.

This bloom will only last a couple of days.

On a lighter note, despite Welcome swallows chicks fledging a week or so ago, they still visit daily, (to poop on my car), and today I noticed one beginning a new mud nest. I've never actually seen them do this before so it was very exciting. It takes an inordinate amount of work and I guess this must be the offspring not wanting to use mum and dad's nest because often they lay multiple clutches each season. Tiny mouthfuls at a time they bring pieces of mud and grass and stick them to a beam until they have a nest about 8cm wide by 6cm deep. I don't know how far they go for mud (plenty round after the rains atm) but the effort is an impressive marathon.

2yr old nest with 4 hungry babies this spring. Lotta work in that nest.

I watched a young female blackbird gathering long, dried grass strands and disappearing up the bank into a thicket early this morning. Also nestbuilding I presume.

The missus has planted some vege seedlings. Tomatoes, rocket, pak choi, basil and spinach. Lets hope the chicken-retardant fencing works.

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