week of the 4th

The week of the 4th has been a great one. The drought has given in to the normal tropical rains. We were extremely dry thru June but this week – Monday thru Friday – 3.5” in the rain gauge. That’s great for the lake which is noticeably higher – still very low but heading in the right direction. The rain of course adds water but it also stops the fern growers from pumping irrigation water from the lake. The downside to the rain is that the grass grows like crazy. I’m now in the two mows per week mode. What’s bad about that is that timing is critical. You can’t mow in the morning when it’s cool because the grass is so wet it clogs up any mower, even the riding mowers. By the time it drys out around noon, it’s way hot but if you wait until late afternoon, there’s a high chance that you’ve experience afternoon thunderstorms and it’s too wet again. So as dumb as it sounds, you more or less have to mow at the hottest time of the day.

On the 4th we headed over to Joey’s boat with our friend Betty Tighe. Joey had invited a few friends and Tom’s family showed up. I think Tom was there too but he spent most of the day studying some programming book deep in the interior of the boat so he was only sort of there. The day was perfect – a bit overcast to hold the temperature down and a slight breeze. The company was great, food was great, and the wine was exceptional.

On Thursday we went to Simon’s scout camp where he had spent the past week earning his lifeguard creds. It was family day and we joined him for dinner. I don’t know yet for sure if he got the badges since his final exam and testing was on Friday. He sounded confident and we met a couple of his instructors and they seemed very positive that he had it nailed. His next hurdle is Eagle which he’ll probably earn right after the first of the year. He was having a great time and the only hitch seemed to be wildlife encounters. Several times his tent was invaded by a racoon which carried off his backpack. He had sequestered some beef jerky inside and I guess the aroma called in the critters. He managed to retrieve his backpack each time but the coon was actually smart enough to unzip the compartment and drag out the contents.

I ran an experiment with Barney the bass. He’s very predictably under the dock at 7 pm and hungry. I’ve always wondered how well they’d enjoy the giant grasshoppers we grow here. These hoppers are great yellow critters 3-4” in length and can strip a tree in minutes. Voracious feeders. But they’re slow and can’t really fly so they’re easy to catch. On 3 consecutive nights I captured big juicy ones and dropped them in front of Barney. Each time he came up and gave it a good look then swam away. This is the same Barney that leaps out of the water to catch a Bream similarly dropped from the dock. So clearly, grasshoppers are not preferred eating.

Nice wildlife sighting on Friday. Mid afternoon I was looking out the front window and spotted a red fox maybe 50′ away. He very casually walked up and got to within 10′ of me. I called Nancy and as soon as he heard me he scooted away. I’ve seen foxes in the field next door usually early in the morning or early evening but this is the closest I’ve been to one in the wild.

On the project front I completed a job that I’d been meaning to do for about 40 years. I had accumulated misc hardware – nuts, bolts, washers, brackets etc etc – in a set of old coffee cans. Typically I could find something to do most jobs by dumping out a can, spending 1/2 hour sorting thru and then dumping it all back in the can. When I’d actually have to buy hardware, I’d buy packages and then dump the left overs into the coffee cans. As of Monday I had 4 cans full to the brim so you can get a feel for the magnitude of the collection. There was absolutely no pre – sort – each can contained whatever it was that I had tossed in over the years. A year ago or so I bought a set of plastic drawers designed to go on a workbench and hold hardware. But it was such a daunting task that it had very low priority on my “to do” list. Well this week my list is current and it was time to quit procrastinating and do the job. It took 2 rainy days but it’s done. I am now officially organized. I didn’t really do it as well as possible – like organizing by size. Rather I have 3 categories of most things – small, medium and large. So I have nuts, washers, wood screws, machine screws, and bolts – each sorted in the small, medium large category. Springs, knobs, brackets and weird stuff that I have no idea about each get a drawer. Lots of picture hanging stuff and all manner of wallboard fasteners. Wire nuts, pipe straps and scads of nails and tacks. I left the nails in several jars and didn’t put them in the drawers. I know this is all hard to believe but get used to me being organized!

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