The Spider Punisher

Happy anniversary to my wife.  Astute Intrigued blog readers should immediately cry foul as I already posted on our wedding anniversary a few weeks back.  Well, I didn’t specify in my opening exactly what the anniversary was – in truth it is her one year anniversary of her heart valve replacement surgery at Mayo.  An extremely stressful time for me and I can only imagine what she must have been going through on her end.  All is well now, her cuts have healed,  she’s made it through her cardio rehab, now close to completely recovered from the unexpected paralysis and once again able to do her favorite activities.  Congratulations to Linda and our bottomless thanks to the doctors and employees at Mayo.   I definitely do not have a good topic to go with such an anniversary, but I do have a …

Black and Yellow Garden Spider found on lot in Brimfield IL, September 2016

… yep, a Spider!  One of those creatures that are rarely featured here on the blog.  There’s a couple of reasons for that.  First being I don’t spend a lot of time out in the field with small glass.  When I go, I go big as most of my subjects prefer to stay as far away from me as possible.  The small creatures are better left for the light glass (macros and maybe some low wides).  We do have a nice macro glass, but that encroaches on Linda’s domain.  Besides, why not get a workout while enjoying one of your favorite past times.  The second reason is, although I live in the middle of a forest, it really do have that much variety in Spider species.  I can give you all the Wolf Spiders you can take, small ones, medium ones, large ones and “holy crap that’s a monster!” size.  We do have the Recluse but I would rather just leave those alone and then a smattering of other far less exciting web spinners that will make the ground look like hundreds of tiny lights when you shine a light on a summer’s night.

Black and Yellow Garden Spider found on lot in Brimfield IL, September 2016

Hit the jump to read a bit more about the Punisher!

Continue reading The Spider Punisher

A Bridge Not Far Enough

Greetings everyone!  I am finally back from a quick trip out to North Carolina.  Linda wanted to fill up on new waterfall pictures and I was hoping to get some new bird pictures.  That, and to support a state that understands the stick figure with a skirt is the girls bathroom and the skinny stick figure, well that is for the boys.  It was touch and go there for a bit since the news outlets were hyping up the hurricane potential to get everyone worked up.  This gave them the excuse to pull all their pretty hurricane rotation maps out of the mothballs they’ve been stored in for the past 10 years.  Storm passed, it drop some rain and toppled some picnic tables, but the Smokies looked untouched.  I was able to get a few posts out on the road, but most of the time was spent prepping a bunch of future posts. As of now, I have close to 4 months of blog fodder patiently waiting to be dumped like another batch of crooked Hillary emails.  I was able to get a good run in today, so figured it was a good time take a break and get a short post out of the way… and by short I mean 20 feet.
2016 Lot Bridge

That happens to be the distance of the latest bridge building effort on the lot.  It seems like every year around October I am busting out the hammers and drills in order to fix an existing bridge or make a brand new one.  This year it was a replacement bridge thanks to the destructive tendencies of my run-off stream.  When I bought the property over 10 years ago, we had a one foot trench that water coming off our hills would collect in and slowly make their way to the larger stream on the property that Serenity crosses (link here),  By last year, that little trench had widened to about 6 feet.  That prompted an 8 foot bridge project last year at this time – note, this usually becomes a problem around Haunted Trail time since I need to get the ATV down there with the decorations.  I remember putting that thing together in the dead of night by the car lights.  With the stream now at 8 feet, last year’s bridge was unsafe to cross. Crap, another bridge build and I already had enough to do to get ready for the party.  Luckily, I already had the 6x6x10’s above so that saved me some time.  As you can see, I had to put those end to end.  I used a post coupler to join them and then put planks across the joint to stiffen it up.  Those planks were shot with 16 penny nails – going nowhere!

2016 Lot Bridge

Hit the jump to read more about the build

Continue reading A Bridge Not Far Enough

Operation: Bridge to Vegas

Well, this has been an interesting weekend.  It started out pretty good with a lumber run to Lowe’s, a saw session followed up with a fun night of Rock Band with Billy and Pakage (the R!Vagiants reunion tour – with fans calling out where’s David all night).  Around 3 in morning things turned ugly.  That is when Pakage informed me our well had gone dry – major suckage.  We played a few more songs for the crowd and made our way off the stage.  After verifying the well pump breaker had tripped I set out to find a cause.  The master bath shower faucet had a few drips so I tried taking advantage of the water pressure loss to see if I could change out the springs.  An hour later I gave up lacking some needed tools and worried I’d snap the pipes at 4:30am – not good.  I hit the bed after putting the faucet back together to get some shuteye before the long day of hauling water.  6:30am I was back up, Linda helped me get the tank in the truck and 3.5 hours later I’d hauled 24oo gallons of water….. but that was just the beginning of the days work.. there was Vegas to build!

.. and that brings us to the topic of today’s post.  (Note, my brother has been giving me grief that I pre-write some of my posts ahead of time so felt obligated to write this the same day I completed the project).  Last year I built a foot bridge over a gully on the lot so the people at our Halloween party could go see Serenity (link here).  That bridge was working out great until the Spring flooding came.  One day it was there, the next it had taken a vacation down the stream.  Multiple searches up and down the stream have been fruitless which is odd since there are numerous places where trees had fallen across the stream.  You would think it would have been caught up in those branches.  With the Halloween party approaching once again, it was time to remedy this situation.  Ladies and gentlemen, allow me to introduce Serenity’s little brother VEGAS.

hit the jump to read all about the project.

Continue reading Operation: Bridge to Vegas