Well, spring has sprung here at our little urban homestead, bringing with it all manner of projects, activities and refections on the meaning of it all.
I went out to check for eggs this morning, having not done so for a while, and found that the girls have at last started laying! There was, in fact, a bumper crop of eggs, guess they are making up for lost time. At this point it appears that it may just our duck who is laying at the moment, with luck Henrietta hen will join her soon.
I am making slow progress on my latest bike related project: Around the first of the year I got it in my head to create some sort of trailer or other kid/cargo enclosing device that would allow me to ferry the Boy through foul weather, and also allow me to transport large bulky items that I don't want to have get wet. So, a while back, I picked up a Burley flatbed trailer as a base from which to work. At the time I was thinking of something tow-able, but as I began tinkering and researching, the project morphed (on paper) through a number of incarnations, finally evolving into a sidecar arrangement.
Some of my “bikey” associates think I am coddling the Boy, that he should pedal like the rest of us, rather than getting a free ride. Maybe he should, but the Boy has a liver condition, which I have not discussed much, here or in life, because it is rather depressing. He is less robust than most 12 year olds, and very sensitive to temperature drops and the like. He HATES getting wet or cold, and his kvetching really detracts from my enjoyment of our rides. I figure that going by bike (in any form) is better for him than traveling in a smog-mobile, even if I were willing to operate one, and by making cycling pleasant for him I may be instilling longterm habits.
One reason for a sidecar, rather than a trailer, is it will allow the Boy and I to chat while riding, I love being able to do this when he rides behind me on the Xtracycle's snap deck. The main deterent to the sidecar idea was the puzzle of how to attach it securely without permanently altering or damaging the bike. But after tinkering with the Burly a bit, I found that the hitch and arm are easily detached from each other, and from the trailer body, by removing a couple of bolts; meaning I could alter how the trailer attached to the bike without damaging or permanently altering it . This was a fabulous discovery, as I am reluctant to make permanent changes before knowing that the sidecar will work.
With the hitch removed from the arm of the trailer, it was possible to attach a piece of EMT tubing on to the hitch, and attach the other end to the trailer. A second piece of tubing connects the back of the trailer to the Xtracycle frame. The final puzzle will be putting together the "box", which will hold the Boy/cargo. Not so much a challenge from an engineering or carpentry stand point, but simply in terms of finding the time and energy.
The Boy is hoping to have a bean bag as a seat, although unconventional and -I think- decandent, this arrangement would make switching between passenger and cargo use a snap. I will be making bike-powered smoothies at this years Earth Day celebration, and hope to have the sidecar done in time to use for that ~I figure, if I am going to loose a load, or have the trailer malfunction, better to have it happen with an inanimate load on board.