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Number 956, January 14, 2018

Two words: Wall Bonds.

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Norseman's Diaries Supplemental: The January Thaw
by Jeff Fullerton

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Attribute to L. Neil Smith’s The Libertarian Enterprise

Saturday January 13 2018

Been an interesting week since the temporary break in the onslaught of Norseman’s Hell. But a rough one too. Last weekend there was an issue of the furnace at my uncle’s place that was not keeping up with the extreme cold weather. That problem resolved as temps began to rise outside and by Monday eve it was nice and comfy again.

But then the following evening I noticed the room where I sleep was getting a bit cool, falling into the 60s. Fine for me but not so fine for Uncle Budd who likes it warm. Investigation of the gas furnace revealed that the pilot light was out and this was potential for big trouble. At the worst time too. You know how these things like to happen after midnight. Luckily the weather had moderated to the point where we would not be exposed to mortal danger if we chose to ride it out until morning. So we did.

Took a repairman about 3 hours and $330. to fix it. And I was able to get out of there and off to work in time that afternoon. A small price I guess to have a warm roof over your head.

Wednesday was sort of the start of a really nice but short lived January thaw as the sun came out and it climbed into the high 50s to near 60. Was a good day for that long overdue visit to see Bruce The Historian—which was the high point of my day and week. Then it was downhill from there.

I had a short stopover at home to tend the greenhouse and get into the Gulf Coast Box enclosure to check on the three adult specimens that were left outside to hibernate under less than ideal circumstances. After a long, unseasonably warm Fall the first bought of Norseman’s Hell came down so fast that there was barely time to put on a hasty application of pine straw and throw a tarp over for additional protection and then I got overwhelmed with other things and before long the snow had blanketed everything and I could only hope that would be sufficient until the next thaw when I might be able to gather up additional material to cover up the site.

Fullerton article, issue 956 - image

What I found that day was not a pretty sight. Both the younger male and the female were only partially dug in and the earth around them was still hard frozen. Like I said, not a pretty sight. I was unable to get the female loose but the male I was able and his limbs and head were still flexible so I had hope —given the fact I had one survive even worse conditions years ago—all might not be lost. I still could not locate Franklin —the bigger male who briefly went AWOL a few years ago and starred in a previous article. Time was also running out so I would have to put off the search and efforts to rescue the turts until later after work or on the way back the following morning.

Thursday night was the beginning of the end of the nice weather so I ended up making the attempt then on the way home rather than wait for morning which I wanted to do because it might be better than doing it in pouring rains which would be even more likely by then.

It started raining of course as I was nearing home. All the more reason to go for it then. So I did with a plan to utilize an old cooler that I sometimes use for hauling fish in warmer months to gather them up and store them in a safer location until spring.

But that plan hit a wall as I was still unable to pry the female loose from her frozen prison. And I also discovered Franklin in his final resting place in the water filled cavity left by the removal of one of the potted palmettos used to dress up the habitat in the warmer months.

Fullerton article, issue 956 - image

Fullerton article, issue 956 - image
Franklin’s final resting place

Was hoping he might be ok as Box Turtles sometimes will hibernate in water—but when I pulled him out I found that he was dead—probably froze to death and was partially devoured by something. Most likely mice or shrews. It was a grisly sight and I took pictures the following morning but won’t share those ones because it was so awful!

I rescued the other two on Friday morning and put them in the cooler with moist pine straw around them so they can slowly warm up in the greenhouse —to minimize damage as frozen tissue thaws.

Fullerton article, issue 956 - image

Franklin I removed from the hole he was in and left him in the pen with a covering of pine straw for now.

Friday was the end of the nice weather and it felt like the end of the world. I didn’t even feel like going back there later that night after a long day of full ER dealing with everything from the routine stuff to flu out the wazoo and maybe even bedbugs! But I had to respite the worsening conditions of rain turning over to sleet and wet snow. There were still the turts I’d moved back out to the garage that had to be shifted back in before the next bout of frigid weather set in. I barely got in and out of there and safety to what has become my home away from home before the worst of it hit.

This morning I woke up late to a winter wonderland that might have felt more like a wonderland were it not for what just happened. Almost needless to say I did not have much motivation to go outside today and I won’t make it back home to check on the two turts I rescued until Sunday. Maybe for the better that I give them time to completely thaw before messing with them anyway. I spent the day working on indoor projects. Mostly other writing and research and took a little time to put together this supplement to the previous article.

I have my fingers crossed for the two I rescued. If they survive and recover without too much damage —I still have a possible breeding pair. If not—at least I still have a bunch of offspring that I might live to see produce another generation —if I’m lucky.

As for the weather—they’ve backed off the zero degree prediction in favor of single digits. How wonderful. I’m still hoping my outside palmettos will come through —they will because their meristem tissue is protected by virtue of being underground. But the leaves of these hardier ecotypes tend to burn when it gets down to zero and we’ve been there already. Some are already showing signs of delayed damage. I’m sure the source populations In Oklahoma and north Texas are taking a bit of a beating too as it has been cold there too. It’s been colder than normal lots of places around the globe—even in Australia according to Ray who is a bit of an Austraphile who follows the weather, news and talk radio from down under. Again I should have got him to write this article. He sent me enough links on abnormally cold weather and ridiculously outlandishly claims of climate change activists trying to attribute cooling to warming to fill an entire documentary.

Fullerton article, issue 956 - image

Fullerton article, issue 956 - image

Hopefully I won’t have that much bad to write about by the time I get around to the next installment. Between furnace issues, a dead turtle and rhododendrons stripped bare by the deer; I’ve had enough of winter!

If only they could always be like the last one.

Propane getting low:

Fullerton article, issue 956 - image

Hope it will last another week until I can get a refill!

And: “The hypocrisy of the climate alarmists reached a new low last week when Al Gore—one of the chief proponents of climate alarmism, suggested that the current extreme winter that we are experiencing is because of climate change”.

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