Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Pick Axe was In Play

A bring-to-work list like this one is the sign of a good day to come, indeed. I've been trying to pull field equipment from various stream monitoring sites. I'm paying the wages of sin though - the debt of the procrastinator... now chipping this stuff out of frozen sand and ice instead of simply loosing it from beatiful dark bank-soils and wet oozing sand.

This site was greatly affected by the August flood. So much material was moved down the channel, that all of our equipment was completely buried under 1-2 feet of sediment of varying particle sizes - ranging from fine sand up to large cobble. The pick axe was surely in play here... as were various shovels. Cold is one thing... but being wet while working in extreme cold is another. Ironically, the saving grace here is the work itself - keeps one warm. Constant swinging, digging, etc.

This site gave me fits - here is a diagram I drew in the field to document the failure to extract the sensor. Since that day, I returned with help and we were able to retrieve the most critical pieces of equipment... bud we did have to leave an important cable stuck fast in the streambed.

More of this coming this week... tough, but highly enjoyable. The data make it all worth it.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

With Shotguns as Bedfellows

I've been trying to shoot some geese... can't do it though. They are too wiley. We have approximately 8 million of them around here, but they stick to safe havens. A week ago two coworkers and I layed out in the middle of a field - hidden under tarps... "layin' in the cut" I guess you could say. The only bedfellows we had were trusty weapons of destruction - those being 10-12 gauge shotguns. We slipped in and out of sleep for four hours.

We never saw a goose or even heard a honk-honk-fricking-honky-honk.

It was good though. I learned how to set up a goose mirage using decoys. Also got quality time with good guys. Also came to understand the shot pattern of modified choke and 12 gauge BB shot at 30 yards by shooting a wine box.

Friday, November 16, 2007


This blog gap is indicative of what has been happening for me lately... not a whole lot as far as those events that would be particularly interesting to other folks. Home life is demanding and work is busy. In balancing those things, other dimensions like fishing, travel, etc. are edged out. I'm struggling greatly with this... trying to do my job as a parent but maintain some sort of identity as an individual. You want to give yourself over to your kids, but it's not healthy to abandon yourself. Enough of that... it's called Fishing and Thinking after all - not "personal journal." I just figured I should explain the dropoff to the four people who might read this (if they're bored). Since there's no fishing, here's the most thinking-related item I can come up with:

Waste management at our place is becoming more and more fine tuned (an at-home project that fits well now). We have kicked our garbage pickup to the curb... too expensive and it took us weeks to fill up a garbage can. I found a guy who sells castoff 55 gallon barrels... bought four for $5 each and made one into a garbage can - had to use a skill saw to cut out a hinged lid because the tops are not removable. It makes a good air-tight container. It's been 2+ weeks and I can still see the bottom of the can. We sort all of our recycling into bins too... when we get enough, we'll take a car load to the waste facility in town. It'll cost either $5 or $10 depending on how full the barrel is (recycling is free). This will be a major savings over curbside ($25 per month), and it will make us use even less and be more aware of our waste. All food and much paper goes to compost, which is churning away wonderfully. I'm telling you - we are a family of four, and this stuff is easy to do - we are not put out or inconvenienced by it. Let's stop filling up our garbage cans to peeking-caddis state! The garbage can should not be a catch all, it should be a last resort.

Here is some interesting related art work that is also very cool:
Depicts two million plastic beverage bottles, the number used in the US every five minutes.

See this person's art here