We don’t have a pet: the closest we get is our BeeHome for solitary bees. (If you’re looking into getting one, I’d vote for the classic version, not the Observer we got. While we’ve seen a bee or two cuddle up in the drawer for the night, none has ever laid any eggs in there.) Researching other ways to provide for wild animals that struggle in urban and suburban areas, I came across several options. Bat lodgings seemed neat, but the bats need two meters of free space beneath their dwelling to launch into flight. A sparrow hotel sounds interesting, but I’m still shying away from drilling through our insulation into concrete to hang it up, because I haven’t figured out how to get it down again easily to clean it. Hedgehog houses, on the other hand, avoid a lot of these problems, so that’s what we built.
And here’s how we did it:
Next, put the thing in the cellar as you mull over getting shingles for the roof and mull over how on earth to make the shingles work. But finally, one fine summer’s day, a day off thanks to it being our national holiday, pull it back out and work on the roof.
So with the smaller volume (just under the ideal 30x30x30 cm) and the missing newspaper floor and the slightly smaller entrance, this HedgeHotel isn’t 100% to spec, but it should still pass muster, if indeed a hedgehog comes looking.
Wish us luck—and a boarder!
Update August 18, 2019: In the meantime, the straw has been moved—twice! We know someone’s gone in there, but was it a hedgehog? Now I’m starting to consider a game camera…
Our yard isn’t ideal for growing. In the morning, the house casts a shadow. On a sunny day, the awning that keeps our sun porch from boiling casts a shadow. The tree casts a shadow in the afternoon. The grill stands in the way of conveniently working on one strip. So if I wanted the kids to enjoy gardening, I needed something accessible and sunny.
Enter the planter box. After plenty of reading and research, I found AlboPepper’s sub-irrigated planter, 30 minutes of clear instructions and a system that was self-contained. (Most others stood on soil, which I didn’t want, given that our lawn is so small the kids can barely play ball on it.)
I planned to modify his plan to include caster wheels to make the box movable on our patio, and the size of my box would be that of the standard European shipping pallet, 80 by 120 cm (32 by 48 inches). Getting the shipping pallet with frame was the easiest part: I got it used for 6 francs. And then it sat in our sun porch for a long time…
Finally, I sat down and did math, calculating the total length of my 10 cm corrugated drainage pipe and the total volume of soil I’d need, as well as the dimensions of the pond liner that would keep the wood from getting wet. I purchased those supplies along with the wheels (picked to support the weight I’d calculated), struts, and screws. It was hard to translate the soil components into German, so I’m still not sure my planter box wicks the moisture up as intended, but 2019 has been rainy, which means the jury’s still out.
And then, I got busy building.
The pallet has holes, so I repurposed cupboard backing I no longer needed (the cupboard had also seen a makeover) to spread the load and keep the pond liner from stretching.
All of 2016 is up in the usual place. Well, to be precise, it’s Christmas 2015 to Christmas 2016. Because there are a large amount of photos, displaying them can sometimes be delayed. As usual, e-mail me if you don’t have the sign-in info and want to see the pictures.
Not me, myself, but our lab has a 1000 kN tensile testing machine. That is the metric equivalent of the 220 kip tensile testing machine shown in this Slow Mo Guys video of a tensile test on a roughly 600 MPa rebar. What did I learn from their video? First, what we do is cool, and second, there is a unit out there called kip, and it’s not for measuring hotel capacity.