DOWN WITH POWER
Narrated by talk show host, Brian Wilson, “Down With Power” a Libertarian
Manifesto, by L. Neil Smith now downloadable as an audiobook!
L. Neil Smith’s THE LIBERTARIAN ENTERPRISE
Number 950, November 26, 2017

You don’t want to be trapped
between the force of nature and the
doubling down of human stupidity.

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The Norseman’s Diaries Extended Summer Edition part 2
by Jeff Fullerton
born2bewild1962@gmail.com

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Attribute to L. Neil Smith’s The Libertarian Enterprise

With a heavy heart I say goodbye to all those wonderful 70 degree days.

It finally did come to an end as all things eventually do. And a rather dramatic one at that as far the weather and personal affairs are concerned. The latter has been a serious impediment to finishing this and the previous installment—of which this remaining text would have been part of had I not run out of time and energy then late one Saturday night. When you have so many irons in the fire—time and energy are limited resources.

Time being the most critical limited resource; I’m going forward with this story instead of tweaking it another week to maybe get it better because there are so many other things begging to be written about. So I might as well get it over with and share those remaining halcyon memories of the bygone Extended Summer before it fully transitions into M4GWs vision of a Frozen Wasteland!

So without farther adieu we go back to the nicer days of September:

September 5 2017

It was a really nice sun going down yesterday but it vanished behind a thick veil of haze as I was rolling back into Kecksburg. And the winds were stirring up—a sure sign of instability in the atmosphere. Storms are possible sometime after midnight and through the day tomorrow before another big cool down.

Today went well. Sort of anyway. Was at the greenhouse first where I watered with the hose and gave some of the potted plants a good soaking with jugs of rain water and flushed out the watering pool for the Florida Boxies. Then I retired to the house for a break and went at the other site taking worms, shrimp and pellets. Fed the male Euro Pond first and isolated him in his bucket to give the female a chance because in the process of trying to find her she got too agitated to feed from the forceps so I had to leave food in the water for her to find on her own while the male was away.

I threw the fish some pellets and opened up all the other enclosures to get ready. I noted that the DD is still loosing water so I shut the pump off. This is damned frustrating. What the hell must I do to make it more stable like the home pen for the adult JPT Trio that is never an issue. I’m thinking of routing the discharge from the barrel directly into the upper pool via a bulkhead at ground level so there is no splash. Should also expose and check all bulkheads on all the pools to make sure they are tight and not leaking and check the spill basin that bridges the gap from the discharge pipe coming through the wall of the upper pen to the Behlen tank pool. Maybe tomorrow since I diverted back to feeding turts.

Rethinking inside accommodations again. With the prospect of purchasing another trio of newts and more fish I will have to put the land tub enclosure for the CBTs on the back burner. Maybe indefinitely if another idea I have in mind pans out. I’m thinking of cutting the ends off of two 33-inch long cement trays and seaming them together to make a 5-foot long enclosure for the greenhouse. It will cost a lot less and leaking will not be an issue there because I really want it to leak anyway so it won’t fill up with water draining out of the potted ferns above. The current enclosure already has holes made for that purpose and I’ll use it as one half of the new enclosure. That way I can still get it done in time to move in before the weather turns chilly long term and I’ll let them cycle down in there along with the Florida Boxies and Striped Muds.

The latter I finally have the ideal setups for. In addition to the improvements on their outdoor enclosure they’ve now got their own corner in the greenhouse that was cleaned out earlier this summer. It has the same cement tray I’m using for the CBT enclosure that serves as their pond—I should make a shallow water platform and add some ramps to make sure it will be safe for them since the sides are steep and slippery. And I can just use the filter that services their outdoor setup in since it needs to be brought in out of the cold anyway and it will keep the bacteria on the bio balls and sponge media going and save time in the spring.

Striped Muds will go there and then when they come ashore and burrow in—I’ll put them back in their crate until spring. I learned a good many years ago that mud turtles hibernate on land like box turtles do after reading about the Eastern Muds at the Savannah River Nuclear plant ecological research station in Whitfield Gibbons book: “Their Blood Runs Cold” and observations of the Mississippi Muds I kept before getting into the Striped ones.

07:45 PM

Cause for celebration. While getting some last minute turtle feeding in before the coming cool down I decided to scratch around in the Gulf Coast Box pen and see if I could find the eggs this time. And I did—right in same spot beside the remnant of a stump where the female nested last season and probably before. Funny thing she does not care to deposit her eggs in the areas where I replaced the native clay loam with builders sand but there where it must be incredibly hard for her to dig. It seems once they find a spot they like they usually stick with it year after year. My North American Woods were like that too.

She probably laid around the end of June or early July so hatching time is near. The plan is to exhume them tomorrow and finish the process indoors in the incubator I bought last spring but never used because I couldn’t find last year’s clutch and the other turts never laid. The babies from last year’s brood began emerging during a warm spell last December and 3 more of them overwintered and were recovered in the spring plus there were a few more eggs left in the nest chamber that didn’t make it. Hoping for better odds this time around.

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September 6 2017

Exhumed the eggs today and moved them to the incubator along with three eggs from the striped muds that were found in the pine straw bedding in the crate I hibernate those in.

The mud turtle eggs may have been dried out when I discovered them a month ago because they were dropped sometime before I put the parents outside in the spring but they actually look fine and I’m trying them anyway.

The Gulf Coast clutch was 6 eggs this year and all look good. Chances are good they will hatch soon because they were probably laid early summer. This will be the first run for the Zoo Med Reptibator purchased last spring. It is set at 30c / 86F. This temperature will also be ideal also for germinating palm and cycad seed. Going to put the Dioon and Bamboo Palm seed in tomorrow.

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If only I had gotten started earlier—like too many a day—I might have gotten more done. I did manage to weed out the flower beds around the front porch and cellar entrance and mow the yard around the house and behind the trailer. And then a quick look around at the pond and greenhouse before I had to go. At least it was something.

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In the greenhouse the Rain Lily—Zephranthes “Cookie Cutter Moon” was blooming on the ledge above the Florida Boxies habitat. Put that one there a few days ago when I noticed it was in bud. I have two pots of that one that were salvaged from the unoccupied half of the baby Gulf Coast pen where I had them in pots sunk in the ground. The slugs were mowing them off big time so I brought them down to the house. Before that I salvaged them from a clump of bulbs that were languishing in a pocket of soil on the ledge between the Waterland setup and the pond. They were another acquisition from the late Yucca Do Nursery and quite precious since they are slow to reproduce unlike the pink one that also lives in the greenhouse.

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It is a sterile hybrid of natural origin collected in Mexico probably in the 80s or 90s. I like it because it reminds me a lot of the Atamasco Lilies of the Southland that Mike and I saw while herping in the Panhandle. Common roadside flower that blooms in spring rather than fall and is a shy bloomer in cultivation and hard to grow here because of its winter foliage habit. Cookie Cutter is the same in that regard but does well as a greenhouse or patio plant.

Shame that was all I had time for but it did make my day. Tomorrow morning will be tied up with an emergency dental appointment to replace a filling that came out the evening following my original visit earlier in the week. Hopefully that will go well. Have to rise early and get out of here and then the rest of the day is a 12 hour shift. Luckily I got my money order for the Yunnan newts and will not have to squeeze that in also. Just get it in the mail on the way.

The weekend I will try to catch up again. Always looking forward to that.

September 10 2017

Reptibator Update: It seems to be working well so far. My major issue has been that the thermostat sensor is taking the temperature from the air immediately under the hood which is a few degrees higher than the temperature at egg level according to the mercury thermometer there.

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I am getting it to the magic mark of 30c / 86F which is the threshold for producing predominantly female offspring by bumping the setting up to 32.2c / 90F in slow increments over the last two days.

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Hope this works out. I should know in a few weeks when the eggs are likely to hatch. I also put the unit to a dual use as a germinator for the Mexican Cycad and Bamboo Palm seed that has been on the back burner for a while. I was concerned that the good warm weather for germinating tropical seeds had passed me by until I discovered the Gulf Coast Box eggs which prompted me to dust off the Reptibator and then this option occurred to me. Should be good for, Dwarf Palmettos, Cannas, ornamental bananas and Bird of Paradise also.

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Colchicums and Newts

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September 11 2017

The major ordeal of today was planting a box of Colchicums and Autumn Crocus which came last week. Will be nice fall color in a few weeks but I do worry about the latter as crocuses—unlike Colchicums are non toxic and prone to be stolen by rodents. Especially the ones I stuck in the bed of Crested Iris which I did to give the flowers a ground cover for support so they won’t flop over as much from the wind and rain. Learned that from a little research. If they don’t pan out I’ll try a different approach in the future: put them in pots.

Colchicum are less problematic. I already have some in the rock garden and by the house.

And another trio of Yunnan Bluetailed Newts—Cynops cyanurus are on order from the same guy I got the first ill fated three from at the Hamburg Reptile Show last fall. Decided to go with Bluetails instead of the Japanese Firebellies because the young newts can be more readily coaxed into skipping the terrestrial eft stage which eliminates the need to mess around with the tiny bugs needed to feed them which simplifies husbandry and with so many things to take care of all ready I have to choose my battles carefully. They are at least as interesting as the Japanese Newts are worth more detailed treatment in a follow up article to the Tale of Two Newts piece I did a couple years ago. While looking into the availability of specimens in my state I recently learned that the federal ban on interstate transport of Newts and a long list of any other salamander species had expired due to what looks like a matter of government oversight in the legal arena—and at a convenient time with a new administration in power that is not exactly friendly to the radical environmental agenda that was beyond any doubt a major driver of the ban. The relief to the dedicated newt and Salamander enthusiasts whose hobby was on the verge of being crushed out of existence must be akin to that felt by people in the 1930s when Prohibition was repealed. And my existence remains richer as well.

9/11/17

Didn’t do as much yesterday—the major ordeal was planting a box of Colchicums and Autumn Crocus which came last week. Will be nice fall color in a few weeks but I do worry about the latter as crocuses— unlike Colchicums are non toxic and prone to be stolen by rodents. Especially the ones I stuck in the bed of Crested Iris which I did to give the flowers a ground cover for support so they won’t flop over as much from the wind and rain. Learned that from a little research. If they don’t pan out I’ll try a different approach in the future: put them in pots.

Colchicum are less problematic. I already have some in the rock garden and by the house.

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I got a few more varieties to try.

My other big task was cutting my way to the spring house earlier in the day. Managed to get through and found the door open again. Fixed that and then rescued a blue lobelia and the English Yew I planted years ago in the rotted remains of the stump of an old oak that once towered above the vault.

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Going to need some feeding and a cage to keep the deer away until it can grow some foliage up beyond their reach. Not sure if I’ll live to see it but it would be nice to enjoy the shade someday. English Yew gets much bigger than all the others. Cat of course always has to get into the picture.

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Steve also visited to look at the tree stand and is mulling the possibility whether we should move it or not for a better shot at the deer.

Monday now. And late getting started as usual. Going to be a nice day and nice week. Got to feed turts as the end of feeding season is near.

9/14/17

The day was a bust. Never got outside despite the good weather and the newt delivery is on hold until next week on the account of Irma which has slowed the mail and screwed up the ideal window for delivery tomorrow. Rather than chance it we opted to push it on to next Wednesday.

It was one of those days when writing and just plain flumdiddling prevailed .Will have to try again tomorrow and I need to get some rest so I’ll have at least some time before work.

9/15/17

And Thursday was a near bust. I was slow again getting moving. A bad habit to be falling into with Crunch Time so close at hand. Yet I managed to make up for it somewhat. Fed all the turts except the Florida Boxies and Striped Muds. Everyone else got the Hikari Gold which is dwindling and maybe one more feeding left before it’s gone. And I gave the fish in the pond the regular Blue Ridge pellets and sinking shrimp pellets. Will have to get more of the latter and forget the carnivore pellets—unless the newts like them—they wouldn’t be as expensive to feed since a little goes a very long way for even a whole colony of newts.

Those will be coming next Wednesday. As much as I’m anxious to get then it was probably a sound decision to wait another week. That gives more time for the tank to season and bacteria to establish in the biological filter system.

When I got home this eve I made up even more by doing partial water changes on the two 40Bs and the newt tank mainly to get into the habit

9/16/17

Summer’s Last Stand. Maybe the next Norseman’s episode. Looks like a really beautiful stretch of days ahead in the high 70s as they backed off on the 80 degree days in the previous forecasts but it won’t surprise me if it makes it that high or higher anyhow.

Just home now after an exhausting 8 hours that ended with a trip to take someone upstairs that involved a little OT but better than dealing with the drug overdose that just rolled in. And it was looking a bit scary and I felt a bit guilty going out the door with a full ambulance bay and another one coming in.

By time I got home I was very reluctant to do anything but I managed to get some daphnia out of the Euro Ponds pool

Sunday went fairly well. I say fairly because after the reptile show I spent a good deal of time composing a response to something I sent to Ken regarding the link to Neil’s second article that kept opening to Sean Gabb’s article. My reply turned into a lengthy letter to the editor that was in essence an excergeisis on the evils of clientelism as it pertains to the immigration issue and also ties into the article on The Case Against Civilization that was linked to the editors notes in the current issue of the journal.

Then a neighbor stopped by to inquire if the white chicken that has been hanging around his place down at the end of the road might be one of mine. It was not but it led to another lengthy conversation on chickens.

Then I flumdidled a little and the sun was getting low in the sky. To add insult to injury I spilled a turtle tray in my kitchen that I was getting ready to two new acquisitions I got today. Had it sitting on a chair while I was going to fetch the pending occupants and the weight of the basking rock must have caused it to shift and slide off the edge. When I heard it go I knew exactly what happened and I was outraged to say the least. You would not want to hear some of the curses that spew from my mouth in response to things like this. Stuff that is a sure fired ticket to eternal damnation in a place best not mentioned. Anyway I had to get it cleaned up and fast as possible to keep it from ruining the laminate flooring and I went for overkill using wool blankets, towels and even dirty clothes to sop it up and then brought the fan down from the back bedroom upstairs to blow across the floor for a while to evaporate the remaining moisture that stubbornly resisted my manual efforts.

Needless to say by the time I could move on to the outside—the day was pretty much gone. The chickens were already in the coop which I closed on the way to the pond and about all I got done was to toss the fish some pellets and a quick check of the turtle pens and then grabbed some magnolia seed before heading back to the house. Major fail. Another day down the drain.

I should have done lots of stuff this afternoon after I got home. Like I extensive attention to the turts, ponds and greenhouse and cut grass and maybe get more wood stacked and organized and other things in need of doing.

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At least the show was a good one and I finally hit paydirt—maybe—on a batch of Cumberland Sliders one of the vendors had.

Epiphany

Even if it is true—AGW will do less damage to us than those who are hoping to use it as an excuse to grab power and remake the world according to their preferences.

9/19/17

Latest bugaboo about global warming: they say painted turtles could be in trouble because a few degree temperature rise will make all offspring female. Good—now I won’t have need for an incubator!

The Reptibator is performing well. So far the eggs are looking ok and the Dioon seed is germinating I’m going to have to pot that up today. My day yesterday went well. Managed to get feeding done and mowed grass. And it seems the new Cumberlands are settling in well. Their eyes have apparently cleared up and they are eating Reptomin and last night when I fed the frogs I gave them some baby Dubias which they ate with gusto.

The baby Marsupial Frogs are have a great appetite for the baby Dubias as well and they are getting bigger and are also quite fat. If only I had more of them—though feeding and keeping track of scores of Froglets would be very tedious and time consuming. I’ve been thinking that selling some of them as tadpoles in lots of 6 per deli containers might be a better option as it might be a lot easier for customers to raise themselves a small group of froglets than for me to raise a huge population of them. I’d still raise some so they can come back later and cherry pick the nicer looking color morphs or even sexable sub-adults to even out gender ratios.

Of course I’m a little concerned my breeders didn’t produce this season. I’m still hoping it might happen and it actually might be better to raise the tadpoles in the winter like last year since they will stay in the larval form longer and give me bigger froglets in the end.

9/20/17

I will definitely have to write about this alarm over TSD and global warming. Much more worrisome a threat to our wellbeing and personal freedom is what happens when the government goes broke and wants to use the crisis as an excuse to force a command economy on us. Or the same if they can get us onto a major global conflict which we could not hope to survive let alone win without taking everything we have and force every able bodied person into military slavery.

Otherwise my mood is pollyanish and my worst worry is getting stuff done before winter. I’m slowly chipping away at stuff. I got the bigger cohort of young Euro Ponds out on the patio in a Rubbermaid to spend the night and the younger ones plus Cumberlands got out in their containers for the day yesterday and will get to be out for the next several/ until their wonderful heatwave gives way again to chilly fall conditions.

Last night I gave the Blackbandeds mosquito larvae from the rain barrel again. Will continue alternating those with daphnia for as long as I can. Need to get a culture of the latter going indoors and work on getting black worms and white worms again. Especially since I got the newts coming. Mr Schrom said the Bluetails are eating chopped earthworms, black worms and frozen bloodworms. These and the other frozen entrees are the staple foods of not only salamanders and fish that require live foods—but good starter diets for baby turts as well. I used to feed baby Spotted Turtles lots of that stuff until they got onto pellets. And when I was raising Blackbandeds and then some Spotted Salamander larvae out in Cali I had the culture of white worms plus daphnia in a gallon jar down to a science. My dream now is to get it all back together here and now—something I have never done after I got out of the service and came back home.

Today is the day I get the newts. I’ve been tracking them and the package has already left the facility in Pittsburgh bound for the local PO where I’ll watch for it while I’m visiting Uncle Budd and swing by and pick it up on the way home.

Got my fingers crossed it will arrive with contents alive and well. Guess I’ll have to work on getting some black worms to get another culture started.

09/20/17—Later that day

Got outside late morning after breakfast to feed turts. Still later than I wanted but doing better. Was doing blueberries, superworms and Crawlers for the CBTs and blueberries and superworms for the JPTs and just crawlers for the Euro Pond duo. When I was getting ready to grab the phone to take a really great shot of a CBT eating a night crawler; the call from the post office came. The package had arrived.

I picked it up around noon. The newts were alive and well. Two dark morphs, one lighter one. Otherwise similar red and black bellies like the other Asian newts. I acclimated them in the plastic bowl terrarium for several hours sitting on the floor of the fish room before putting them into the tank.

In the meantime I went on to feed other turts at the greenhouse site. Soaked pellets with spirulina plus blueberries and superworms for the box turtles there. The Floridas are getting picky but greedily consumed superworms. Bugs seem to be more preferred this time of year by that cohort. Gulfs on the other hand eat anything. The female Euro Pond has apparently lost her appetite and is off feed but the male did eat before I moved him out for a few hours to let the female have a chance. The crawlers were still laying on the bottom when I returned. Because the male is pretty fat I tossed the worms into the pond for the Bullheads to dispose of. They do a pretty good job and the goldfish may try but six inch crawlers are too big for them and the catfish just come in and suck them up.

After all that I visited Uncle Budd for a few hours and then came home to get back at it. The biggest deal was introducing the newts to their new home. Then some more outside stuff. Before I went to the nursing home I got the Dioon seeds that were germinating out of the incubator and potted them up in a 6 inch planted that will be their community pot for a while.

Half of them had not sprouted so they went back in. I also started the process of dealing with the Hokkaido Red Camellia by giving it a good soak while I was away and potted it up in a planter of pine bark, peat and grit when I got back. It will be greenhoused for now until I can start some new ones from cuttings or layerings for outdoor testing. I don’t know if this one will be as hardy as promised after loosing “Survivor” in 14. If I ever get that one again I will keep a clone in the greenhouse too and use it to start backup plants.

After that I was running out of daylight so I made one last ditch effort at doing one more thing. I started weeding the bed along the wall above the furnace. The plan now is to clean up that area tomorrow and do some more grass cutting and other leisurely cleanup through the day. Will be working nights next couple days so I’ll be taking it easy—yet maybe make even better inroads on mundane stuff. I hope.

Had dinner. Now mulling whether or not to visit Bruce. Have not seen him since he went to the Eastern Shore but it’s getting late now so maybe I’ll wait until the weekend.

9/26/17

Summer’s Last Stand. And it’s still standing. Felt just like a summer eve walking out of work. And at 11p it’s still 71 in Mt Pleasant. Glad I put out pellets this morning for most of the turts. They were all active and I’m hoping they fed well. Going to offer worms and bugs tomorrow which is my off day this week. And continue feeding through this week and probably the next as it cools down this weekend but gets back up into the 70s next week. That could be the final week of extended summer as it is the first week of October. Probably the end of feeding for outside turts as they are going to need a month to empty out for hibernation.

Looking around the world I noted it is fairly warm everywhere pretty much except the station in Florina Greece which is near the location of my Hellenic Euro Pond bloodline. It’s actually cooling down a bit—highs in the 60s and lows in the 40s and appears to be turning wet with some rainy days that I did not see for a while when the highs were in the 80s and 90s. It’s a Mediterranean climate a lot like Southern California for sure. I remember the hot dry summers and moist mild winters where it occasionally got cold enough for a rare dusting of snow but was mostly like spring here in the east with the low desert in the valley greening up and wild flowers blooming and Pacific Tree Frogs and local species of toads breeding and then it was all over by the beginning of May when it turned hot and the land that was not irrigated turned brown.

That might not be a bad place to live if the eventual disruption of water distribution networks by the coming big one and the toxic combination of cultural rot and hydraulic despotism of Prog Rule were not an issue. You don’t want to be trapped between the force of nature and the doubling down of human stupidity.

If the Earthquakes and brush fires don’t get you, the ecofascist police state or deadly pesticides from the marijuana growers seeping into the drinking water will. Welcome to the Hotel California! Possibly the nicest climate on Earth may be Yunnan province in western China. I started following the weather for Kunming City on my iPhone because my newts and CBTs also come from there. The summer time highs are usually in the mid to high 70s and in the winter it occasionally gets cold enough to snow. It’s 75 degrees just about every day this week with thunderstorms. That’s probably Paradise for box turtles and newts.

My newest acquisitions seem to be doing ok so far. Been getting the newts to eat chunks of worms and trying thawed bloodworms this evening. I even got the Blackbandeds to finally eat the fresher ones from the pack I opened a couple days ago and the baby turts so there is hope the newts will go for those as well. I’m hoping this is the start of a good roll with the collection in general.

Tomorrow I hope to get back to unraveling the hot mess of things around here. Finish around the greenhouse and start on a few other places and start getting organized for winter. I got lucky last year but might not be so this time around.

I need to find a new pond net fast. But I’m torn between that and the cage and a better tub setup for the CBTs in the greenhouse. That’s why I’m looking into other alternatives to the Waterland setups. I really don’t need even the smaller water side for Box Turtles, just a watering pan should suffice.

Would articulate more but I’m running out of steam after a long day. Will have to catch up tomorrow morning.

9/27/17

At the end of a day that could have been more productive that it was. Mostly watering stuff and feeding turts interspersed with writing. It was a hot one—though I don’t think it made 90. Everything is getting dry and leaves are already coming down but not turning. Too warm for that. Just so dry that trees are sacrificing some of their foliage early line the river birch that used to litter my pond every dry spell. I wish it would rain but that looks unlikely. For a moment I thought the pattern had been broken when I took time out to glance at the long range forecast and saw storms and 70s starting tomorrow going clearthrough next week—but it was the forecast for Kunming. Oops!

If we are lucky we’ll get a day of steady rain on Friday during the cool down which strangely enough begins on Thursday after the temperature peaks at 85 on Wednesday. That could mean a dry push of Canadian air behind a weak cold front followed by a push of an overriding warm front. Those do sometimes bring good soaking rains.

Hope so because it will be another week at least before the next shot.

Oh well. This season is finished. It’s now a matter of picking up the pieces and saving them for next year. Will continue taking back ground and rescuing lost plants

9/29/17

Yesterday was sort of like the last day of summer which I was not sorry that it decided to linger until the end of September. Despite the air change from the frontal passage the night before the day was warm and sunny and well into the 70s. Probably because the warmth remaining in the earth like some of the times I noted on the transitional days following mild spell in winter. The cool down came dramatically after sunset when I left Bruce’s mom’s place and it had gone from mild and balmy to chilly in the time that we chatted and watched the Rush interview about the NFL flap on Hanity.

Went into the 40s last night and will be chilly over the weekend with possibility of rain. I might fire up the furnace today.

I’m pondering whether I should bring the CBTs in. They fed well yesterday evening and I’m considering moving the bigger ones to the greenhouse for a few days and the two little ones back to the setup in my bedroom. Next week it will go back up into the 70s so they will get at least another week outside. The CBTs were the only ones I fed yesterday. I might offer the Floridas in the greenhouse some Dubias but everyone else will be let go. Possibly for the remainder of the season. It is time to start prepping for winter sleep.

Was going to do the ponds next week but I haven’t decided on what new leaf net to buy yet. I’m definitely going to have to get a new liner. The pond keeps loosing water during this fall drought. I will have to maybe sacrifice a little joy in the way of a smooth uninterrupted spring to do a really good job on revamping the pond. I want to deepen some areas and reshape the basin so the shelves slope slightly toward the center and the mulm will tend to gravitate there and the fish will go there too during drawdowns and not get stranded above water.

Newts ate the frozen mysis shrimp yesterday. That is a good sign they may be acclimating. The mysis go over well with the fish and turts too. Even the Blackbandeds are eating them. That’s another good sign. I’m thinking now of getting more Flagfins and Appalachee Shiners in addition to the fish from Brian—which I still need to act on. If I could pump those with daphnia and mosquito larvae in my he breeding tubs next summer I just might get viable colonies established. Then I can work on the other stuff I’ve had success with in the past. Like the Topminnows and various other sunfishes. It’s mostly what I already bred and once took for granted that I’m struggling to get back to. I’m guessing part of the problem is that the winters got colder since the early 2000s and I cant depend on ponds to overwinter fish successfully. But another part of the puzzle is that I let too much tree growth overtake some of my sites and the water gets too shady and cool to facilitate breeding.

10/1/17

October finally here. And things are not going so well in Wisconsin. Ray is not at all happy about the weather and the harvest of his ponds is not going well. After his heron troubles earlier in the summer the fish did not spawn a prolifically as hoped for.

Better news here—sort of. Holding the line well against this foretaste of Norseman’s Hell. That after a chilly overnight going into Saturday without heat and the indoor temp dropping into the low 60s. It was in the low 40s outside and only warmed back into the 60s despite the sunshine and it felt strange after being able to take the shirtsleeve friendly and even shirtless warmth for granted for so long.

On the way up to the greenhouse I stopped to light up the furnace which I had not bothered with when I got in late the night before in favor of toughing it out with blankets another night. Then I forgot about it for a long while and discovered late that evening that the heat exchanger in tandem with the pump and thermostat on the oil furnace were functioning well and the house was up to a much more comfy 68 degrees with the thermostat set at 74. I bumped that back down to meet the current temp and heard the circuit click open. Then I went out to fetch a can of pop from the greenhouse and close the door which I had propped open earlier.

Already it was in the 40s and feeling quite chilly. Put in some more logs as the wood and small amount of coal put in earlier was nearly gone and that should hold for the night. As I awake very early morning it is still warm and comfy inside.

Will have to do this for another night and then I can let it go again for another week. Back into the 70s again for another long stretch. Which buys me a little more time to get the system prepped and organized and saves me a week of toil and fuel. Time to shop for oil too.

Regrettably I did not get much done outside or in the greenhouse. Just a little weeding and was going to go back out again after taking a break but never did.

25 November 2017

The post Thanksgiving wrap-up.

Been a while since last entry. My apologies to the readership for having essentially skipped over much of the last two months. That time would have made for an interesting storyline in the diary format —which in a way is part of the reason my contributions have been scarce. It was the time that Fortune took an unpleasant turn along with the weather.

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At least I managed to get ahead of things a little by getting the pond cleaned and covered with a new leaf net in early October. Did it one weekend in place of a trip to the Reptile Show in Hamburg and in the weeks since I do not at all regret my decision as the Crunch Time really crunched hard this year.

The seeds of my first dilemma were sown earlier in the season when I learned the mill that is the source of my firewood was going out of business. There were still filling orders and I got a delivery during the summer and there was the possibility they might continue to operate the processor but when I called a few weeks ago I learned they had decided in the end to part with that also and I had to find another supplier. Also my truck is down again—possibly for good—so the option of cutting a d hauling my own is very unlikely.

The lesson in this is to not become dependent on a single source of supply if you can help it and never take anything for granted. After shopping around a little I ended up deciding to burn up the remainder of the existing stockpile of firewood and go back to burning oil for a while. That means draining and mothballing the outside furnace and running my house at lower temps while I’m away to conserve expensive oil which lately seems to be creeping back up toward $4 a gallon like it was around the time I decided to set up my current heating system.

Since I’m also spending more time looking after my Uncle in “C’ville” it turns out to be a better strategy since the oil furnace is automated like the Modine that heats the greenhouse and that has me rethinking my whole strategy for dealing with winter under normal conditions. Considering the struggle it often is for the outside unit to keep up in colder weather (and me with it) I’m seriously considering going to oil every winter during the coldest months and burning wood in the transitional weather at the beginning and end.

Sometimes it takes a crisis to make you reframe things. Then there is that old saying: when it rains it pours.

As in the weather which finally turned wet as it was finally turning seasonably colder going into November and breaking the drought in the bargain. A little late as far as being able to enjoy my ponds and waterfalls but I did get to run them once. And I was glad to have the ponds netted and the breeding tubs drained and inverted in time before the really nasty weather arrived. Along with yet another setback the week before Thanksgiving.

I was on my way to the 9/12 meetup one evening when I got rear ended at an intersection coming out of Greensburg that put the kibosh on the golden opportunity to meet a skeptical climate scientist who had written a rebuttal to Al Gore’s fear mongering documentary that might have been a wonderful conclusion to this volume of the Diaries. It also slammed me with a $500 deductible that has created a financial crunch on top of existing bills. At least I was not hurt and the car was drivable and fixable.

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I will recover and get my deductible back from the at fault party’s insurance company eventually.

And the beat goes on. There’s always next year.

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