Crazy Warren County Moth-Thing

Crazy Orange Moth Thing

Yesterday afternoon, I stepped outside the office to make a phone call and saw this crazy moth-thing clinging to a cinder-block wall.  My cellphone photograph fails completely to capture the creature’s strikingly vivid orange colorations and its size.  The moth’s about 2 – 3 inches in length, overall.  Big and strange-looking.

Edit: It is a Regal Moth – http://www.insectidentification.org/insect-description.asp?identification=Regal-Moth. Some of the areas that look yellow in the picture above were a sort of light olive-green.

Aleut on the Elk River

Did I mention the Folbot Aleut is slow compared to the kayaks I’ve been used to?  It is.  Back when I was paddling every available free day I had, was used to traveling fast and a lot farther.  This weekend, I’d planned to paddle the river that runs alongside McMinnville, Tennessee, putting in at Smooth Rapids and having them shuttle me back from the VFW lodge – only about 8 miles and maybe four hours, but downstream so the Aleut’s speed limitations wouldn’t bug me as much.

NOAA indicated only 30% of thunderstorms which meant, to me, 70% chance of no thunderstorms.  Weather radar imagery was clear.  I attached the Folbot to my car’s top, put my overpreparedness gear in a large bag and that bag in the car and set out.  You’ll notice what I’d failed to do before driving 30-odd miles – didn’t call the outfitter to make sure they were operating.

The fellow running the place asked, “Are you sure?”

“Why would I need to be sure about this?”

“The river’s at flood stage – we’ve had storms all week.”

“Yeah, the weather has been crap.”

“Whenever we have storms here, we get trees falling across the river.”  He went on to mention that two or three people had died during the past couple of months in the area – a kayaker on that stretch of river a couple of weeks ago when his boat capsized caught in a strainer and he panicked, and two swimmers drowned at Rock Island.  He said he had no way to tell whether the water was passable.  Said the water was about three feet above normal level.

“Would you do it?”

“No,” he said, “and I’ve (paddled those eight miles) a hundred times.”

So, I left and went in search of some other water to paddle.  On the way back to I-24, I looked for an access point to Womack Lake, but finding none, I decided to put in at Prairie Plains Road Bridge, on the Elk River in maybe Coffee County, and drove out there.

This time, I’d remembered to take my Magellan Cyclo 505 to measure progress in addition to what my wife considers my usual over-prparedness.  It might have been about 11:00 a.m. when I arrived at the put-in.  No one else was there, and during my entire paddle upstream and most of my paddle downstream past where I’d launched, I saw no one else on the water.

Magellan Sat Route Photo

The furthest point on this image shows where I found a place to eat lunch. The 505 unit shared a PFD pocket with my camera and it’s touchscreen apparently got bumped and it shut itself off.  I didn’t get much past this point after eating.  A ways into my paddle back downstream I again looked at the unit and recorded part of the downstream paddle.

I did see about 30 turtles sunning themselves on logs, one large snake, also sunning on a log, and three otters swimming fast downstream while I ate my lunch.  A few great blue herons, numerous other birds I couldn’t identify, and a flock of swallows swarming around the bridge as I came back downstream.

A few pictures with brief descriptions from start to finish:

Elk R 7-8-17

Not far upstream from Prairie Plains Road Bridge.  It turned out not to be as jammed up with broken trees as it looks here.

Elk River Snake

So, as I was paddling by I saw what looked like an iguana sunning itself on a log.  When I got closer, I saw it was instead a snake curled up, sunning itself on a log.  I snapped the picture when I got a little further away using zoom.  During the rest of my time on and around the water I remained mindful of the possibility of snakes on over-hanging tree limbs and nearby logs.

Winged Visitor

This creature landed where you see it and rode with me for about a mile upstream.

Elk R Local Color

My photographic skills and camera failed to capture the bright beauty of these occasional pink flowers I saw from time to time on either bank of the Elk.

Campsis Radicans

Campsis radicans growing on a tree overhead.  Also the name of my old Pouch E68 kayak.

Some Water...

The camera got wet; I guess I paddled more vigorously than usual, yesterday.

Lunch Stop

Here’s where I backed in and ate my lunch – peanut butter and jelly sandwich and one of those wafer-cookie bicyclist snacks – before paddling out and turning left. I made maybe two-tenths of a mile more upstream before I turned back.  I’d wasted half the day driving to McMinnville and then trying to find access to that small lake.  And the current was stronger the farther upstream I paddled.

Flooded Creek

On the way back downstream, on my right, I explored a flooded creek that’s normally impassible. I got this far and photographed the flooded vista beyond.

Flooded Creek Water Plants

Here’re some of the plants growing under the water on that flooded creek.

The Way Out

And here’s the way back out to the Elk.

Floating Downstream

As someone has noted on a FoldingKayaks.org forum thread, the Folbot Aleut is stable enough you can sit back put your legs up outside the cockpit. Floating back downstream was lot less trouble than paddling upstream.  I ate another pbj sandwich and relaxed a bit.

Prairie Plains Rd. Bridge

There’s the bridge beyond which is the dirt ramp where I launched a couple of hours previously.  I paddled down farther, toward some of the islands at the top of Woods Reservoir, got repeatedly buzzed by a wasp, whack the snot out of the insect with my paddle, turned around and headed back to the car.

Red Car Blue Boat

And there’s the car with the kayak on top.

Garage Sale Camera and Other Items

This morning after spending an hour or so with about ten guys from our congregation, I drove home (because I’d overslept and didn’t have time to ride my bike to the restaurant) stopping at a flea market, a pawn shop, and three garage/yard sales.  The flea market and pawn shop didn’t have anything I wanted.  At one garage sale, I bought a dinosaur book, a dinosaur toy, a robot toy (Eve from the Wally film); at another garage sale, I bought a Panasonic Lumix FZ7 digital camera, and the guy kind of threw in a two-man tent.

The Lumix uses SD cards, and we’ve got a number of them.  Caution-Lady’s Nikon Coolpix L18 has turned out to be a real disappointment – ineffective flash, grainy images.  I wonder whether our son has dropped it at some time or other.  The camera’s so bad that I’d like to take a No. 3 wood to it.  The Lumix came with a spare battery, a charger, original software, original (ha – crazy small but true) 16 mb SD card, box, and so forth.  When I got it home, I tried a 4 gb SD card, but it wouldn’t work, so I think 2 gb’s about the limit for that camera.  It’s an annoyance, but the camera dates from about 2006 and is otherwise, at 6 megapixels, a far superior camera to the 8 megapixel Nikon it replaces.

Toyota-Corona-&-Waves

I took several pictures inside the house to test the flash feature and found it better than the Nikon’s.  Also, the camera’s shutter speed is more adjustable and faster than the other digital cameras I’ve owned.  Finally, this is the first digital camera I’ve had since a late 1990’s Olympus 1.3 megapixel DL-Something capable of producing a TIFF image.  The image above is one of those experiments with the flash; it’s something I drew with oil pastels on the back of a Lucky’s Market paper grocery bag in maybe 1980 or ‘81.  That car’s a 1969 Toyota Corona and one of those surfboards is 9’6” Jacobs longboard with a red stripe lengthwise to either the left or right of the stringer – I can’t remember now which it was.

Another Busy October

As usual, October was a busy month for us – leaves to manage, deadline work to complete, toddler to raise, extended family activities, Halloween, some paddling, in-state travel for a brief vacation.  I still have a couple of emails I’ve been wanting to respond to but haven’t had time for about a month.  It’s a little maddening to have stuff I want to get done and limited time in which to accomplish those goals.  Here are some October photos:

Giant-Leaf-Blower

Giant Leaf-Blower rules the yard making relatively short work of leaf-management chores.  The jet-pack Stihl blower is effective for smaller cleanup jobs.  The lawn tractor’s mulching blades didn’t make much difference, but I didn’t get the complete “mulching kit.”  I got a reprieve from the rain predicted for this afternoon, however I was only able to get two-thirds of the backyard leaf-pile to the curb this evening before dark.

CL-&-76-Walking

Earlier this month we got to spend time with cousins we don’t often see, and it was pleasant visiting with them.  We all met on Sunday afternoon for a cookout at their family farm on the other side of our county.  The old farmhouse is much as I remember it from boyhood visits.  Seventy-Six enjoyed meeting relatives, playing with other kids, chasing and playing with little farm kittens, and looking at the penned chickens.

Digicams

I bought a new camera that’d been waiting for someone to purchase it since its manufacture in 2007.  It is the 7.1 megapixel Pentax Optio W30 (at right).  I bought it to replace the somewhat older 3.2 megapixel Pentax WR33 I bought as a factory refurb in December 2005.  The WR33, about the same size and shape as Klondike Bar, has been devouring AA rechargeable batteries these past two or three months, but seems to “run” normally on standard AA batteries.  I put the WR’s lanyard on the W30, and the short wrist-strap that shipped with the new camera on the Klondike Bar.  I don’t think I could manage a camera in my kayak on a wrist strap without dropping it over the side.  The Giant Leaf-Blower photo was made with the W30 as was the close-up crop below from the control panel of my HP scanner/copier/printer.  The kayak photos further down the page were shot with the W30.

Scanner

I think the new Pentax (at $99.95 including shipping brand-new in box from an Amazon.com vendor) will serve pretty well for the next five or so years if its build-quality is anything close to that of the WR33.  Certainly, it cost less than the WR did five years ago.

Barton Springs Boat Ramp

Saturday before last I went to the county administrative complex and voted early.  While there, I spoke with a friend and we made plans to paddle the following day.  We met at a nearby lake the following morning.  He paddled the Pionier 450- S, and I paddled the Pouch E68.   We had the unexpected opportunity to practice a T-recovery and even though all was well, we decided to abort the Fall colors tour of Carroll Creek branch.

About-Ready

Tablecloth

My old-stock new Pentax Optio W30 arrived yesterday and I snapped a few pictures with it.  Today I am planning to take it with me while I kayak with a friend.

Tablecloth

As you can see, there is no spoon - not on this section of tablecloth. Because there was a birthday dinner yesterday at my mom's house, I took my camera to the table. Green tablecloth, yellowish incandescent lighting, Pentax W30.

Father’s Day

Although I’ve got a lot to say, I haven’t got very much time to get it written, so I’ll give you the short version and start with some photos from yesterday on Woods Reservoir where I put in at Morris Ferry boat ramp.

Up early yesterday morning for a walk then back home to finish assembling Campsis Radicans, my Pouch E68 folding kayak.  After that was done, Seventy-Six was ready to play outside for a while, and he wanted to blow soap-bubbles in the boat’s cockpit.  I held an old golf-umbrella to keep the already hot morning sun off his head.  He thought that was funny.

I loaded the gear and boat in to and on top the car so I could leave after worship service and head to the lake.  Until Caution-Lady asked me where I planned to paddle, I hadn’t made up my mind.  When she asked, I said, “Morris Ferry Landing.”  I thought I would paddle out and see whether any of the water-lilies were still in bloom (turns out I was way too late for the lilies).  I paddled maybe eight miles.  Then back home and unpacked the car and put the boats in the garage.

After that, I played in the too-small wading pond with Seventy-Six while Caution-Lady prepared supper.  Because we got really dirty, and I already stank from sweating all day in synthetic-but-quick-drying paddling togs, we both had to bathe before the evening meal.  Then a terrific supper and an evening at home with my family.  What could be better?  Nothing.  Nothing at all.

Here are some photos:

Another Pleasant Stepford Saturday

I’ve said it before, here or elsewhere, for someone like me the great adventure is living the ordinary life in an ordinary way.

Yep, I’m adjusting all too easily to life in this established neighborhood not too far from the country club.  This morning I slept late.  Ate buttermilk pancakes made with wheat flour for breakfast.  Drove to the store and bought PVC adhesive, bug spray, ant traps (for the mower-shed), 2-cycle oil for the leaf-blower and line-trimmer fuel, a small yellow bucket and a small yellow sponge for Seventy-Six to help out with car-washing.  I drove to the gas station and bought gas for the mower and other equipment, then home where to pick up sticks, run the line-trimmer, mow the lawn, and clean up after an early lunch (sandwich) with Caution-Lady and Seventy-Six who’d returned from the store.

Seventy-Six has been potty-training this past week with mixed results.  He has not been enjoying the experience.

This bloom looks like it has been open a while

This bloom looked to me like a crown

The magnolia tree out front has two blooms; I photographed them.  While mowing the front lawn, Caution-Lady brought Seventy-Six outside, and I gave him a mower-ride around the house, then she let him play with his new pedal scooter.  Did I mention that a couple of weeks ago Caution-Lady backed over the little push-bike toy he got for Christmas?  He was getting to big for it, but he really liked that toy.  She thought at first it was my fault (and telephoned to scold me about it as I drove to work in Murfreesboro) but later realized she was the one who’d put the toy away last.  The new toy is a real hit, too, and Seventy-Six is big enough to work the pedals.

I finished the back yard and cleaned up while Seventy-Six napped, then washed Whitecar, the cautious one’s ’93 940T.  We’ve had the car for eight years.  I’m guessing it’s been at least one year since I washed that car by hand, although we’ve run it through automated car-washes a couple of times.  Since the car stays in the garage when not being driven, it doesn’t get too dirty.  But it was freaking filthy when we got it back from the mechanic’s shop where it’d been parked outside under trees for a couple of nights last week when there for service.  We’re planning to sell the car pretty soon, as soon as we locate a reasonably priced and mechanically sound XC70 with which to replace it.

I did something I’ve never done before.  I washed the garden tractor like I would a car.  I sliced the fire out of one of my fingers as I was using a sponge to scrub the frame under the hood.  The blood, which quickly overflowed a tight band-aid, I thought might take a stitch or two to stop would have stained the dirty wash sponge if I hadn’t rinsed it out.  After I finished washing and dried the mower, some tightly taped gauze finally got the bleeding stopped.

Shade-tree hull repair

Masking tape makes even the most inexpert repairs look workmanlike while in progress

Another snack, and by that time Seventy-Six had awakened from his nap.  I took him outside and he played with his new scooter, and I repaired the RZ96 hull using genuine German parts.  Hope the hull stays patched. LATER: Here’s an excellent thread on the subject of gluing to repair PVC hulls.  Wish I’d seen it first, but I should have had the sense to do a simple Internet search for: gluing pvc hull.  http://www.mail-archive.com/foldingboats@pouchboats.com/msg00169.html

I showed the little boy his new bucket and sponge and predictably, although I was surprised, he insisted on using them on something to “clean-up Now.”  I asked him whether he wanted to wash his own car, and put about a quart of water in the bucket.  I let him sponge some water on Thursday, too.  Maybe I’ll get that one washed tomorrow.

Later, we watered the plants together using city water, but when the little monkey chose to rebel against my command to desist from jumping in one particularly muddy puddle near the front steps, I took him in to the house and gave him back to his mother for awhile.  She gave him a couple of crackers and a cup of water.