Autumn Harvest And A Paper Calculator

The rain stopped just long enough to tempt Mrs Widds and I out into the front yard …

Leaves, weighing almost nothing, sit quite happily above the grass, and moss, and mud

Leaves, weighing almost nothing, sit quite happily above the grass, and moss, and mud

… Yes, ’tis the season…

Cue the garden implements

… look at this little beauty? Isn’t Mother Nature grand?

Moss has taken over our driveway, but it does make a colourful backdrop

Moss has taken over our driveway, but it does make a colourful backdrop

… until all is but a memory. We’ll do one last rake-around when the last leaves have fallen, but that’s it for Autumn, which is just as well because it’s starting to rain again.

The Autumn Tree - all tucked in for Winter

The Autumn Tree – all tucked in for Winter


I may have a practical mind but the complexities of slide rules, abacuses, and other mechanical sorts of calculating machines, prior to the Computer age never captured my interest … (I truly appreciate how ingenious they are though)

… until the other morning, when I opened my daily newsletter from Instructables and came across, Genaille’s Rods! … here’s a hint – you don’t have to know your times tables!

So, of course I had to check the figures with my calculator and yep, it works!

Screenshot - 21879 x 5 =?

Screenshot – 21879 x 5 = ?

I printed out a couple of copies of the pdf (linked in the Instructables tutorial) and will go forth and entertain myself for a while playing with them.

- Why, oh why, didn't they tell me about these when I was in primary school?

– Why, oh why, didn’t they tell me about these when I was in primary school? (Note – I wrote down the wrong number. It should be 49,119 – Thanks for the catch, Tofino. 🙂 )


26 comments on “Autumn Harvest And A Paper Calculator

  1. quiall says:

    I love the pictures of your yard! You did good work. But I will admit that my eyes glazed over when the numbers appeared. I admire people who can do number puzzles but I need letters. Enjoy your new found hobby.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Those autumn colours are gorgeous.


    • Widdershins says:

      Never fails to amaze me, even after all these years … (quickly calculating how long I’ve been here in Canada) … over seventeen years! 😀


  3. A fascinating new way to calculate numbers! I’ve always been one to do them in my head. I call it “mental gymnastics”.
    So I am sorry to point out the answer of 49,111 is incorrect. I believe It should be 49,119?
    That number is probably close to the number of leaves you raked up in your front yard I bet!

    Liked by 3 people

  4. Ellen Hawley says:

    Those leaves are beautiful.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Ian Hutson says:

    Ever since that particular Python sketch I can’t see a leaf falling in Autumn without hearing a weak little suicidal leaf-scream too…

    Liked by 1 person

  6. My eyes have gone funny looking at all that black and white…

    Liked by 1 person

  7. acflory says:

    Gorgeous tree, baffled by the ‘calculator’. I can see the first line doing a times calculation, but the second? What’s with the plus 1? Sorry, it’s early , I haven’t slept well, and I need a second coffee. :/

    Liked by 1 person

    • Widdershins says:

      Got that second coffee under your belt? 😀 … Using the example I did at the end of the post, the 7 x 7,017 … we know the answer cos I wrote it down (and wrote it wrong! and corrected it 🙂 ) 49,119. (you might have to enlarge the photo to see clearly)
      So, the column on the left titled ‘Index’ is for the number we’re multiplying 7017 by … in this case 7.
      Using the other strips we line them up by the number at the very top of the strip. So, moving right from the ‘Index’ strip, there’s a strip for ‘7’, ‘0’, ‘1’, and another ‘7’.
      With me so far?
      Now comes the fun bit. Look across the strips from the ‘7’ in the ‘Index’ strip to the one on the far right. (it’ll be the one with the ‘7’ at the top)
      At the top of the matching segment, the first number is ‘9’.
      There’s two black triangles in that segment, and the one from the ‘9’ points to the ‘1’ in the strip next to it (on the left)
      The black triangle from that ‘1’ points to the ‘1’ on the next strip on the left.
      That black triangle points to the ‘9’ which in turn points to the ‘4’ in the strip next to the ‘Index’ strip.
      We take those numbers in the reverse order we just looked them up, and voila! 49,119!
      If you’ve made it this far through that convoluted explanation, you get a gold star!!! 😀
      The explanation in the Instructables link is probably far easier to understand.
      If we are writing about a culture/species that don’t have electronic capabilities we enjoy, these mechanical tools are a wonderful find!
      I’m going to introduce them in the next ‘Last Dragon’ book! 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Your autumn tree is all ready for winter. I love that. And the photo against the moss on your driveway (something I can relate to) is beautiful.
    And you lost me to on the math stuff… that’s why I write. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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