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The rhubarb leaf stepping stones worked out very well. My friend across the street (who has been losing his leaves to my projects) had a fairly large leaf, because I had left his patch alone for a while. One look told me that it was a nice leaf to make a bird bath with.

I had been watering my newly seeded lawn twice a day for a few days and every time I did this , a robin came by and hopped though the spray from my hose. Seeing that planted a seed, because I saw the need. The robin was trying to tell me something.

The procedure is quite simple.Take a piece of plywood and lay it on a level surface. Put a piece of very thin plastic ( you could use a garbage bag) over the board.  Make a mound with moist sand the shape of the leaf on the plastic sheet on the board. Place the leaf on top of this mound. It should be a nice natural fit.

Put a layer of concrete about an inch thick over the entire leaf. Place some wire or wire mesh over the concrete for added strength. Remember to pat down the concrete so you get the air bubbles out. Lift up the plastic around the edge: shape and pat the edges so that you have a relatively smooth and thick edge that will be strong enough to avoid breakage.

Bird bath materials laid out.

Bird bath materials laid out.

Beginning to make the mold.

Beginning to make the mold.

The mold is ready for the leaf. For better results put the plastic on top of the sand and then place the leaf on the mold.

The mold is ready for the leaf. For better results put the plastic on top of the sand and then place the leaf on the mold.

Leaf ready to have concrete applied.

Leaf ready to have concrete applied.

Sorry, no pictures of the cement process. I mixed two batches with different dyes. This produced the mottled appearance.

The finished bird bath installed in my garde.

The finished bird bath installed in my garden.

Within minutes of installing the bird bath, a bird was flying overhead, checking it out. You can see its reflection in the water. This project is definitely for the birds.

After completing my birdbath, I found the following article and videos  for making a rhubarb leaf bird bath in a sample issue of GardenGate magazine. The author used a latex patch concrete, while I used regular premixed concrete, which has a bigger aggregate in it.

Written instructions on  how to sand cast a bird bath.

Videos on how to sand cast a bird bath.

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Before school is out for the summer, the students who were working on the S10 truck conversion finished installing the complete drive train. We hooked up the motor to a battery charger, as per test instructions that came with the motor, and ran a test with the clutch depressed. Success: the motor rotated!

Then the transmission was placed in 1st and the clutch released. There was an increased draw of electricity, but nothing turned. A quick check revealed that the parking brakes were on. When they were  released, the back wheels turned. Here is a very condensed video of the process so far:

A quote from Josh, one of the four guys working on the electric conversion, says it all:

If we grade twelves can do it, anyone can.

There’s a challenge for you!

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