The Real Catbird Seat

Nancy had her first appointment with the Oncologist which resulted in a firm schedule for corrective surgery scheduled for March 18. That could move ahead if there are any cancellations. If all goes as planned, it’s an overnight stay. The surgery will be robot assisted and, unless something unexpected is found, will be the final treatment – no follow up radiation or chemo required. As with all cancer regimens, you do follow up scans on a routine basis.

Tom and family got me a weather station for Christmas and after the dust had settled right after the first of the year, I decided to fire it up. It measures temp, barometric pressure, humidity, wind speed and direction, and rainfall. From those it does a weather forecast. When I got it all together, I got temp, pressure and humidity but no wind or rain info. I messed around with it a bit to no avail and decided to call customer service to find out what to do. I never did that and instead went back to the setup instructions to see if perhaps there was a cockpit issue. On reading the instructions, I learned that the sequence of events was critical. For example you can’t put the batteries into the display station before you put them into the gauges. And at the proper time you uncover the solar cell on the wind gauge and press an almost invisible reset button just once, with the word “once” underlined. Then you put the batteries in the display station with all of the sensors within a couple of feet of each other. Reading on, seems that the sensors synchronize with each other and with the base station within 10 minutes so if you don’t follow the instructions precisely, it never works right. It also says that if something doesn’t work, you have to remove all the batteries and start the procedure again. This time correctly, dummy. Sure enough, I now have wind info and probably rain too although I haven’t tested that. I think the rain gauge was doing it’s thing before since when I hit it with the hose, I could hear some clicking sounds, but it wasn’t hooking up with the base station. Now it is. The predictor worked too since it was showing rain coming the night before we actually got some rain. I checked it first thing on the cold morning and sure enough it said it was 31 outside, the same as the TV guys said. I have the wind sensor in a location that keeps it from ever giving an accurate reading. It needs to be in a place with no wind blocking obstacles within 200′ of the house and we don’t have a place like that.

I frequently mention the compost piles. I have two; one nearing maturity and closed to new material and another for all new inputs. I don’t think I’ve mentioned that I have compost pile buddy, a Catbird. We add new material almost daily and I turn the piles twice a week. Each time I visit the piles, the bird pops out and perches on the back edge of the frame. If I step back from the pile, he/she jumps into the pile, picks out a few things – maybe bugs, maybe seeds – then when I start turning again, he goes back onto the frame to wait for me to finish. We work as a team as close as 3′ apart. Clearly he’s comfortable with me and must be nesting very close by. He likes tomatoes for sure and when there are none in the compost pile, I’ve seen him inside tomato plants pecking away at the ripe fruit. He seems to be thoughtful though and doesn’t hop from tomato to tomato taking little bites out of several but focuses on one so I just accept the cost as part of the entertainment. We certainly have not had a shortage of tomatoes.

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