In an era when government takes too much
away from us already, why the bloody hell
should it be allowed to steal more?
The Norseman’s Diaries:
The Extended Summer Edition
by Jeff Fullerton
Attribute to L. Neil Smith’s The Libertarian Enterprise
Like many a Saturday I’m torn once more between writing an article and doing something productive on what is looking to be a really nice sunny day the likes of which will soon becoming few and far between. That after what I have started to call the Extended Summer. Literally extended well into the month of October. Perhaps a fitting compensation for another lackluster summer where I didn’t get to do all the things I had planned on. It’s very much like my search for the perfect day that never comes.
But I still hope I can make it happen. Or at least cobble together enough pleasant experiences and photos and use a little poetic license to create a collection of memories worth looking back on. I remember someone commented that 95 percent of science fiction—along with everything else—is crud. And that is certainly true of many of the photographs currently tying up the memory space on my phone—and totally filling my iCloud!
As for seeking the ultimate perfect day—it is more or less a collection of perfect moments spread out over a succession of some of my better ones that I managed to capture fairly well in some of the past Norseman’s Diaries. Some of my best best were probably the three written over the course of the previous summer that chronicled the emergence of the local brood on the Periodic Cicada and the building of new turtle pens with at least a climatic finale—in the Curse of the Dry Belt and Adventure at Summer’s End.
And then there was the account of last winter’s unseasonably mild conditions and a spectacular show of flowering bulbs that just might be the closest thing to that elusive perfect day in anybody’s vision of Paradise as far as that time of year is concerned . On top of the weather being kind to my own situation and heating budget! I was very lucky in that regard. Just as I’m lucky that the ravages of Norseman’s Hell have held off thus far this Fall with summer-like weather holding on almost until the end of October. There were a few chilly spells but it was in the 70s as recently as last week and there is still one more day of that kind of weather coming this Sunday—so I cannot complain.
Going back to recap the summer—it had stated out on the wet side but got very dry toward the latter part to the point I was really hurting for water and the waterfalls did not run until just a few days ago . I will start off with some overlapping of the timeline of the previous article in this thread in the diary format. A little repetitive I know but it captures some of the best moments of the Extended Summer which I decided would be the most fitting title for this edition!
Recovering, catching up and replacing. That was the title of a prominent thread late this summer and a good place to begin since it was pretty much what I have been doing in lieu of major projects or serious travel plans which have been on hold due to financial reasons. Plus I’m just plain tired and I must confess a little risk adverse given current vehicle problems and other issues.
August 12 2017—10:11 PM
Another wild goose chase Friday morning. Busy Beaver and Baker’s Supply did not have the pipe I was looking for. I started to commit to a purchase at the latter and had settled for the blue poly but when we went out of the shop to cut it—I didn’t like the look. It seemed like it might not be the same size so the guy told me to take back my check and bring back a piece of what already have or a compatible fitting to be sure.
After a long day at work I slept on it and decided to try the other Lowe’s in Uniontown and I could also try Rural King and Spotto’s in C’ville. Was also contemplating a possible howlin adventure amongst the Injuns—that entailed a trip to Fort Necessity and Braddock’s grave along with some other sites including Jumondville Glen where the Iroquois leader Half King killed the Marquis de Jumondville and started the French & Indian War.
But first it would be worthwhile to check out Brilhart’s in Scottdale on the way to see Uncle because I was sure they said they had the black 1 1/4-inch pipe I wanted. And they did.
I should have gone with them in the first place because not only was it the color I wanted but also came out ten bucks cheaper. My plan over the last few days had been evolving toward using a Y fitting and a couple of valves so I could run a temporary tap-in to hook up the corrugated tubing to top off 70 Behlen in the lower DD. And I was getting ready to order another faux rock to cover the valve assemblage and I could probably use what I saved by going to Brilhart’s toward getting the valves and fittings from Baker’s. After the nursing home I decided to run home and see what I could do with the new pipe first. While I was deploying it I began thinking more and more that maybe it would be better to just go with the original plan before I started contemplating the tap-in and faux rock covers to hide it.
So that’s what I’m doing for now rather than spend more money. I will eventually get a rock cover to replace the inverted rubber feed bucket that hides the junction by the Rosyside Pool. Indeed I’ll probably put another plug box on a post there to plug in pumps for future pens that are planned nearby. And I may still do a tap in where I replaced the corrugated tubing with solid poly pipe.
Or I may not.
I opted to keep it simple for now. And it went very smoothly. From the point of the splice the line sweeps onward on a gentle curve across the path and into a bed of Crested Iris which hides it nicely and the rest of the run goes up along the perimeter of the low fence around the old Wood Turtle paddock and then I elbowed it onto a short piece of the same which discharges into the watercourse just below the bio-filter tub. The new portion was easy to bury in the mulch of the path much like the first piece I put in last year.
The Iris hides it well beyond that point and farther up the black pipe is so out of the way and inconspicuous that it does not matter if it is buried or not. Reason I wanted black and not the blue. Eventually it will get buried in the buildup of leaf litter and humus.
And so it came to pass. Another project done and one step closer to getting the harmonious setting I always dreamed of.
I ran the falls a good bit—first with just the Hurricane. Then turned it off and ran the two Pondmasters for much of the afternoon and ran all three for a short while after I finished up at that site. Too bad I didn’t get pics of that or the feeding of the turts afterward. I’m trying to conserve phone memory so I’m going easy on the pics.
August 17 2017—late night
Very productive day. Pulled off my second major project of the season—major in the incremental improvement category since it was a significant accomplishment in the way of getting another step closer to where I want to go with the development of the pond site/ also referred to as Site A to distinguish it from the area around the greenhouse which I sometimes refer to as Site B. The final expansion of the fence on the upper perimeter. That is the stretch between the compost bins and the Ishigame pens.
Decided it was time to break down and buy some rolls of hardware cloth and fiberglass fence stakes to expand the fence uphill and gain a little more space for the woods garden that will accommodate additional plantings of ferns and rhododendrons and even a small pond near the end by the turtle pens.
This is a radical departure from my original design minted back in the 1980s when I intended to build a large tree range habitat for the turtles. The idea was to have a perimeter path of hard packed gravel that would make it easy to visualize the entire circumference of the fence where the turtles might try to dig out. Or varmints digging in. Since I shifted to confining my flocks in smaller enclosures within—it makes less sense to do things that way and it would have been more awkward and less aesthetically pleasing to reroute the path up slope. So I’m doing it this way.
Took a few days to pull off.
The view from the end of the DD.
Reason it’s being called the final expansion is because it is unlikely I’ll go any farther outward. There is not much room left to go if I want to have at least a decent waking path on the outside of the fence between there and the Fargasia rufa (Red Panda Bamboo) hedge I planted on the property line. That will be my means for patrolling and scrutinizing that section of fence. Will add an electric fence for enhanced security. Most likely next year because I’m just too busy and cash strapped. I actually have the fencer that was purchased several years ago but need more stakes and a roll of wire and of course the time to do it!
August 22 2017
Had an awesome day yesterday at work. It was the day of the Great American Eclipse which came around 2 PM. In lieu of the special viewing glasses (NASA approved!) I put together a pinhole viewer starting the day before with a big box I found right after I clocked out. I cut a small rectangular hole in one end and taped a sheet of white paper opposite on the inside wall and put it in a safe place overnight and brought some aluminum foil with me to cover the pinhole aperture the following day. Used a pencil to poke the hole and I was set.
However I did not have much faith in the device I had made until the moment came. It was impossible to test because the strongest indoor lights—mostly fluorescent tubes and CFL bulbs and the otoscopes are too weak compared to sunlight and I didn’t think to try the halogen exam lights that are over every bed! And the skies were a bit cloudy when I first took it out late morning because some of the nurses wanted to try it. Was kind of comical the way one of the nurses got confused and kept turning the wrong way. Another made a video that it probably on Facebook by now!
So it was not until the moment came that I got to put my device to a real test. On the way back from running a patient upstairs I ran into someone between 1:30 and 2:00 out in the glassed corridor trying to use a piece of translucent amber colored plastic to see it. Hope it was NASA approved! It seemed a bit early because I thought 2:30 was supposed to be the time—but I decided to get the box and give it a try when I got back to the department.
After a cloudy morning the sun was finally blazingly bright and strong enough to throw a beam of light through the pinhole onto the white paper viewing screen and project an image of the disc of the sun with the leading edge of the moon already creeping over it ! I was astonished that it worked at all let alone so well. It was even more satisfying than using the NASA approved glasses that others had brought along. There is just something about something you make yourself that works as well as my box contraption. It made for a really fun and memorable experience that was made possible by a fortuitous combination of good weather and a not too busy ER that would have made it impossible to go outside.
This is actually the right way.
Looks like a mini theater screen inside!
First astronomical instrument I ever built and I’m proud of it—even through it was retired for recycling promptly afterward. I worked much better than the pinhole viewer my dad made back in the 70s and I’ll build an even better one for the next event coming in a few years plus pick up some of those NASA approved glasses on sale now that the current hoopla over this one dies down.
I noticed the Prog media have been fawning over how this interesting celestial event has caused the nation to take time out from the political infighting over confederate flags and memorials—and I’ll admit that they really have a point worth expounding on in my next article. If more people had hobbies to channel their energies into ; the world would be a much better place. Both the white supremacists and the rampaging leftist radicals obviously have too much time on their hands that could be invested in things more productive and socially redeeming than picking fights and opening old wounds aimed at starting a new Civil War. Seriously they should take up hobbies to absorb their passions and energies—after all Idle hands do the work of the devil and the proof is in the pudding.
As for the eclipse—it made for a great day—even though I missed the best part of it which came when the department was getting busy again. There is another one coming in 2024 that may be even better if the weather is decent. The path of totality will be in the neighborhood of Erie and Buffalo which even closer than Tennessee. I’m going to see if I can pick up some of those special viewing glasses to have on hand but I intend on making another box. I retired the one I made yesterday to the disposal cart from where I originally got it—but they are so simple and easy to make that there is no point keeping one around for the next 7 years.
I did learn one good lesson. The image projects better on bare brown cardboard than on the white paper which creates a lot of glare.
August 24 2017
Morning started out chilly but is already warming up. Will probably cut some more grass and feed turts and a few other odd jobs before heading off to maybe do that day trip I’ve been wanting to do for some time now. Then I am going to meet friends for work this evening at Sharkey’s.
Stopped by the credit union and got my money order for now the two rhododendrons and Camellia bush on my way into work yesterday.
Looking forward to getting those new plants. The rhododendrons are the yellow maximum-roseum x Skipper that should be a close approximation of the cryptic yellow species described by Maurice Brooks in his book about the natural history of Appalachia. Going to plant those on the leading edge of the new area by the home pen of the Ishigame trio. That area is going to become something of a Rhododendron theme garden though I was thinking of making it a Lost Plant theme as I thought maybe this might be the place to put Box Huckleberry because the drainage is better. Box Huckleberry is one of those plants that were discovered, lost and rediscovered. So was Shortia which I also have. For years it was known only from a herbarium specimen in Philadelphia and a live planting in a botanical garden in Berlin collected by a German botanist in the 19th Century and was destroyed by allied bombs in World War 2. It was presumed extinct in the wild until rediscovered at several locations in the southern Appalachians in the 1950s. Astonishingly it grows very well in my Woods garden. Even better than some of the more common plants. Has round evergreen leaves like Pyrola and white bell shaped flowers in early spring.
The Camellia is of course Hokkaido Red. It will be going to the greenhouse and become a stock plant to provide cutting for outside so I don’t loose it like I did “Survivor” a few years ago. Will try to get that one back again too.
I used to have “Yuletide” which looks like Hokkaido Red. It lived in the greenhouse for several years until it died. Either from drying out too much or a severe infestation of scale.
August 25 2017
Yesterday was a great day for a change. Spent the early afternoon mowing the field and then fed turts at the pond site. Also fed the fish in the pond starting off with leftover Hikari pellets from the CBT pen. Those were waterlogged and sunk to the bottom. The minnows and goldfish came in first and then the Bullheads which were maybe less shy because of the cloudy skies that were moving in. There was not much left by then so I went back and got some sinking shrimp pellets.
That really brought them out even though I could not get any pics that would have done the occasion justice due to the glare and poor visibility down in the water. The chubsuckers too and eventually the bluegills were also picking and pecking at it. Looks like the beginning of a good feeding routine and it will make a great show for guests. I just hope we get some more rain because the water level is down again.
Shut down the DD system again because the water in the Behlen tub has dropped precipitously since I topped it off the other day. I’m going to have to do some serious troubleshooting on that one. The splashing from the discharge of the biofilter into the first pool seems to be the culprit as the rocks and ground around that end appear very wet. The best solution appears to be shortening the pipe and then elbow it down to ground level and elbow it again to reduce the splash.
By then the day trip was looking doubtful on the account of the time and the threatening skies that had been moving in as the day progressed. So I was thinking about a trip to Baker’s to shop for parts to solve the splash problem but I never made it there either as I ended up doing some major weeding and pruning around the greenhouse when I went to feed the turts there.
Went from feeding to weeding—starting at the east end and working around the front end along the ditch pulling out lots of Japanese stilt grass and other weeds and then went into the ditch to remove massive amounts of hornwort and bladderwort saving new growths and winter buds of the latter. Also did major pruning of the sheep laurel and other shrubbery on the uphill side. On the greenhouse side I lifted a few clumps of pitcher plants with intent to move some of them to my other site. There are also some nice ones of rubra wherryi too and I rescued the last clump of psitticina—the parrot pitcher which yielded 3 divisions. A decent start for a hoped for reboot but very sad as I have no idea now which locality and the thought of all the others—the minors and Okeefenokee Giant psitticina & minor and leucophylla and various forms of purpurea are all gone. All the stuff I pulled got piled on a strip along the edge of the embankment on the east end to smother the weeds and reclaim that area. Possibly for another standard turtle pen. I will continue that process on the flat behind the greenhouse and maybe get the whole way around by Summer’s end.
Other highlight of the day: I discovered fry in the tub with the three Blackbanded breeders. That ought to give me another good run and I can probably retire that trio and let them live out the remainder of their lives in the ditch and put surplus offspring in there too. If I can get that place reconditioned back to some semblance of what it used to be in the beginning I might be able to get a self sustaining population going like the Bluespotts in the other ponds.
Guess the crowning achievement of the day was my trip to Sharkey’s . It was was a gathering of people from work to honor two nurses who are becoming nurse practitioners. I got to sit by one who is a really swell gal and I had a great time! Even felt inspired to go home and do more writing but ran out of steam right about the time I got to part about the pitcher plants and fell to sleep.
In wrapping this up I will try to get a little done in the morning before I head out. Will try to knock out a bunch of stuff Saturday and then do Fort Necessity and write my article on the go. If I can manage it all.
August 26 2018
Gas Prices Rise Because of Hurricane
The latest headline forwarded from Ray in Wisconsin.
Cripes! What that will do to propane I don’t want to contemplate as I struggle to get off the ground on my way to howlin adventures amongst the Injuns. They always celebrate an existential crisis as a gateway to a centrally planned command economy with themselves controlling and doling out the scare resources. That’s why they don’t want the pipeline or upgrades to the power grid. Because they want to keep the nation one Hurricane or blackout away from catastrophe and their ultimate power grab wet dream.
Spent most of my morning writing the first installment and will continue on the road as I make for Fort Necessity and stop over at RK to get fittings for my project. I marked off the fitting where it comes through the wall of the pen with red tape and will take it with me for comparison.
Also threw the turts some blueberries while I was at it.
August 30 2017
The month is just about gone and summer along with it. Glad to have the Fort Necessity trip and article in and done! Today I fed turts again and tossed shrimp pellets to the fish in the main pond. Goldfish, Bullheads and everything else came running. Looks like shrimp pellets will be my staple for them over Sinking Carnivore—they cost only about half as much and the turts like them too. That’s what I fed to the young JPTs in addition to blueberries and superworms. CBTs and the adult JPTs got just the berries and bugs. Ran out of daylight and bugs before I could get to the baby Chinese Box and Euro Ponds. Will have to get them tomorrow when I do the ones at the other site.
Part of my problem was that I spent most of the day flumdiddling and then the late afternoon I was at the pipe place and then the hardware store figuring out which parts would solve my problem with the DD once and for all.
Was going to use that threaded white fitting in place of the elbow with a smaller elbow and some vinyl tubing but Johnsons didn’t have it so I ended up getting that gray female adapter to screw in the male elbow that is the discharge pip. And screwed another plastic male barb into the white fitting above as a simple drop in and I had to cut that down too so it would fit.
Kind of an eyesore compared to the previous arrangement but I’ll find a way to fix that in the future. What I’d like to do is run it through a small terra-cotta sleeve which would look nice. And drill another hole down low so the pipe can be brought in that way and the elbow moved outside the pen. That sounds like a project for late fall or a mild spell in winter when the pen is unoccupied.
This particular system is really turning out well despite the issue I just worked on. The plants are really taking hold and the Rosy Red fatheads that overwintered have spawned prolifically and the two lower pools are swarming with YOY and fry from subsequent spawnings. May give up on trying to grow water hyacinth in there as it just maybe is not suited for that particular plant.
Looking ahead—I’d like to build another DD set along the perimeter just below this one as a temporary pen for the young Euro Ponds and Sliders and possibly later I’ll use it to keep Kwangtungs as it looks like the prices are starting to come down to about what CBTs are going for currently.
So many things I wound like to do and the question is will I be able to do them before I die or the world goes to hell. Time has became quite the enemy alongside winter and the Progs.
And people once thought that Jefferson, Worms and Embargo were bad!
The real last day of the month and maybe the summer. But that verdict is still out. I’m currently discussing shrimp pellets with Ray. They seem to be good quality and the fish like em. Turns out to be a good way to ensure that the Lake Chubsuckers are getting enough to eat and maybe a shot at breeding them and keeping them around for a long time. And keeping the catfish well fed so they won’t suck up so many of the smaller fishes in the pond. A vision is beginning to emerge as to how I will start getting ready for this winter and it will likely set the course for the future of this endeavor.
Will try to get going early on moving the smaller fishes—like the Redbreasts and Green Swordtails—if there are any of those left—indoors. The juvenile Euro Ponds and Cumberland Sliders are already in and with a big cool down coming it might be a good idea to bring the two youngest CBTs indoors now.
I fed them berries and superworms and the big Euro Ponds got just the latter because they are primary carnivores and don’t care for berries. That’s a funny quirk because even spotted turtles which are carnivorous like berries though not quite as much as CBTs. Funny thing about my Asian species—they won’t nibble on green plants unlike NA woods that mowed down the Hostas along with dandelions and the only issue with them like most turts is trampling and trashing smaller plants.
Got a windfall of extra time in the way of 4 hours off my the beginning of my 3 to 11 shift. That was in a way a godsend because I don’t have to try to squeeze everything I wanted to do this morning into a couple hour window and I was able to be here to receive the order from Rarefind instead of having it sit all day on my porch.
Two of the Rhod maximum—roseum “Skipper” yellow clone and the Hokkaido Red Camellia.
Very impressive plants well worth the investment if they live. I’m going to heel the Rhodos in on site where I intend to plant them and just build up a shallow mulch and humus layer on top of the native loam rather than deep digging and mixing everything like before. I’ve learned these plants like to have an undisturbed soil horizon so I may try putting down granite grit and apply sulfer for acidification to discourage earthworms from mixing it up.
Got to get back on it. Still have other turts to feed and other business to do.
Darkness closing in.
Nights are longer, days shorter.
September is here.
Time for Colchicums and Cyclamens.
September 1 2017
According to Ray—August is now part of autumn and it feels like Fall may have officially arrived—but in the Norseman’s saga the weather continues to blow both hot and cold and dry. Lack of rain and a total disappearance of spring flow have put an end to the amenity of running the watercourse. The curse of the Dry Belt has returned and it is even worse this time around than it was last summer.
Of course there is hope we might get something out of Hurricane Harvey which I have been following as it dumps a deluge on Texas.
September 4 2017
Labor Day. Yet another sign of Summer’s End.
Surprisingly or not so—Harvey didn’t amount to much. I haven’t been up to look at the water flow in hollow yet because I never had time this weekend. It shot through like a bullet over the weekend without giving us much of anything and Sunday was somewhat decent weather wise once it cleared out but I was too busy to even look much that day when I was at work. Most telling however was the comment from an old lady I took out to help into a car on Saturday evening. Something like “now it’s winter”!
These days wear me out. Sunday I got off easy. A slow day until the evening and I got lucky in the way of a trio of good, friendly young nurses who sure made the remaining 4 hours go a whole lot better—3 who are the epitome of sweetness as opposed to maybe one of the Mean Girls or the bossy old hens or the needy ones that will hunt a tech down to dump a bedpan or anything else beneath their dignity.
Never the less it was still a trying 4 hours in comparison to the slow evening with the new dude on Saturday. It was pretty light then and we mostly talked about the Air Force. He is a flight nurse in the reserves and has been through Andrews and to Afghanistan and is expecting to be called up to help out with relief efforts in Texas.
Sunday really took a lot out of me and despite good help I still couldn’t wait to get the hell out of there when the shift ended. Stopped to get groceries and some worms to feed the turts and it was late when I got in last night so it’s taking a while to get going again. But I’m going to push because this is going to be one of the few good days left to beef everyone up before they go off feed for the season.
I got a link from Ray to Zimmerman’s. About bloody time but apparently no Bantam Sunfish ready yet. I’m wondering if his fish were running late this year? I’ll probably order some more younger Dollars and Chubsuckers since those seem to be doing well in the pond and maybe a few more Marbled Bullheads as well. The Chubsuckers and Bullheads are both gobbling up the shrimp pellets in the pond so they are looking well on the way to becoming proven winners. If I can get them and the Dollar Suns and Bantams along with the Redbreasts going—that will be a crowning achievement.
Looks like a decent Labor Day on tap for a change. Will be sunny near 80 and ideal for feeding the turts outdoors. Which I’ll do later in the afternoon when it warms up. Will start off first with the greenhouse and there is still the new Camellia that needs to be potted up. And probably a few other things in need of doing.
Going to have to make this a two parter because time is running out and I don’t want to rush the remaining part and make it a rush job. Plus Ive been at it all day and I’m getting hungry! I’m working off my my correspondence with Ray which is the best way to give it the journal like format that I’d rather do with this particular series.
I have a few more entries going up to to last week where it looks like the Extended Summer that is the namesake of this article apparently ends—and it will even be easier to reforge into the diaries but I don’t think I can make it in time for tonite’s deadline—so it will have to be next week.
And that will be it until the really newsworthy stuff that is hallmark of colder weather happens. And I won’t be at all sorry if that holds off a little longer too!
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