Down With Power Audiobook!

L. Neil Smith's

Number 868, April 17, 2016

We have a terminal case of government

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Cooked Skunk Cabbage!
Cooked Skunk Cabbage!

Norseman's Diaries: Global Warming I Wish—Update
by Jeff Fullerton

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Attribute to L. Neil Smith's The Libertarian Enterprise

It was looking very grim for a while last week between the glancing blow of the dreaded Polar Vortex and the possibilities of whatever might go wrong with the job that could render my hot water heating system useless on an upcoming frigid night.

A recap of events last Saturday also documented in my letter to the editor which was written or the previous edition. Bruce arrived late morning and we began working on the project. It started off with me trekking up to the spring vault in a snow squall to plug the line so it could be drained out before we started taking the plumbing apart—least we ended up with the drama and mess of water shooting out onto the cellar like the time in my high school days when Uncle Budd disconnected the main to remove a huge Spring Salamander—Gyrinophilus porphyritucus much bigger than the one that came out of the bathtub spigot right before I capped it last fall! I was determined not to get as wet as we did that day. But I was destined to get wet at least a little above my knees since I had to get into the vault to plug the line and like a classic case of no battle plan surviving the first encounter with the enemy—it was with this project. Unable to find the wooden plug that is for this purpose I bought up some plumber's putty in a plastic bag that I was unable to get into the end of the pipe and I ended up molding it over it instead and it held good enough. Then stopped at the greenhouse on the way down to water plants and them let the hose drain into the pond to get the line drained to that level before opening the line in the cellar to let the remainder bleed out.

Again the battle did not go according to plan. When does it ever? Bruce decided to start with disconnecting the hot water heater and the water was draining out that way instead of the place intended. I already had a piece of the corrugated tubing used for transferring water between ponds and I slipped it over the end of the gushing pipe to divert the flow to the floor drain. Then the heating system became a concern. So we cut the left end of the T connection going to the oil furnace and was lucky that the shut off barb fit in that pipe and then shifted the tubing there to catch the remainder of the flow. Which soon subsided; and we went to work.

Bruce then put together the new T connector with the shutoff valve while I got other resources ready. I did most of the work with the crimping tool and the o-rings. We got as far as getting the kitchen sink ready but did not hook it up. I did that later in the evening on my own after my friend left. It was not prefect because the threads on the hot water connection leaked. And so I called it a day.

Last Sunday

Another long one. Didn't get it all done but I'm still better off than I was beforehand and sure damned glad we did it this weekend instead of kicking it down the road another two. Indeed I'd really be kicking myselfSunday afternoon when it went back up into the 40s.

I had already hooked up the kitchen sink but had a leak on the male adaptor on the red Pex pipe. Bruce took that apart and used pipe dope which is his favorite rather than Teflon tape which I use. And that stopped it. We spent much of the afternoon just running lines to get them in place for later. Was short on some items so had to run to Busy Beaver twice. First time to get a shutoff valve for the toilet since the original looked hopeless as far as getting it off the copper it was on and 3 male adaptors for the Pex lines to cover that and the bathroom sink. They only had two of those adaptors in stock so I got another thingamajiggy that I thought would work. Which didn't- but discovered that I already had male adaptors on the hoses that go to the sink so now had one for the toilet plus one extra! That project turned out fairly easy. But had to go back again to exchange the boot that Bruce insisted I get for the kitchen sink drain and I took the thingamajiggy I didn't need back as well. I made that trip after we ran the remaining lines to the cellar sink which cannot be hooked up until we procure a hammer drill and bolts to secure the board that supports the new faucets to the wall. I ripped the old one out. We also cut up most of the old copper plumbing and piled it outside.

Went back to get the new boot and refund the thingamajiggy after Bruce left for the day. I was pretty much on my own after that. The deal with the boot was a mother of all clusterfucks. For some reason I couldn't get the 2 inch poly pipe to stay connected to the kitchen sink drain. So I did the mother of all Jerry rigs with a threaded pump adaptor (to the pond pumps) with the male threads into the lower end of the boot and tightened the clamp down on them and pushed that into a piece of corrugated tubing like I have on the tail piece of the bathroom sink! And inserted that down the same drain tile. Not exactly what Bruce had in mind but it works and I was just done with trying to do it the right way. And the stores were closing too! At least it is better than the milk carton funnel taped onto a piece of tubbing that I am using to catch the drip from the leaky furnace pipe! That was formerly under the kitchen sink to replace a rusted out tail piece—so I'm definitely the King of Redneck Jerry Rigging!

After that I took on the bathroom sink. That liked like it might go smoothly at first but this time it was the cold line that leaked and had to be taken apart and rethreaded with fresh Teflon tape. And then the port on the drain thru which the lever that works the plug goes. Got that but then the lever came undone. I can live without a plug for a while—possibly forever.

So I have the major obstacles behind me. Spent a good deal of the evening just redding up and cleaning. Especially the bathroom. Also ran the python to the kitchen sink and used that to top off the fish tanks. Then fed the bullheads and sunnies some thawed krill. I have a fairly decent male Dollar but can use a female or two. Looking forward to getting my basement setups on order now that the Pex project is moving forward. And be able to do water changes on a regular basis and stay on top of Things better like in the good old days. That is my aim.

And now it looks as if it might be in reach!

What a difference a week makes!

What a difference a week makes!

Thursday April 15th

The weather has slowly improved over the course of the week.

Today turned out awesome. Almost as nice as Easter Sunday last month when I had the Chinese Box turtles outside for the day. I could have had them out today if the chilly night were not an issue. But they may be able to go out and stay outside for the weekend because it will be pushing into the 70s for the next several days and the long range is looking a lot better than previously. Spring was finally back today and looks like it is here to stay.

The Japanese Pond turtles were coming out of the water in their greenhouse enclosure so I moved them back to their outdoor setup where they can bask and start getting more natural sunlight. Will have to do something about the electrical systems that run the pumps in the pens. Either troubleshoot and fix what's wrong or bypass them with extension cords. May go with the latter short term and then keep those around as a backup in case there are other problems in the future.

Re-sited the new 4,100 GPH Alpine pump in a less visible position in the pond among the sedges and ran the tubing up the central path to the head of the watercourse—which will be the approximate route where I will lay and bury the permanent line when I get to that project. Today I ran the new one along with the two existing Pondmasters and it made a fairly spectacular show. Also found and fixed some of the spots where the liner was pushed down and letting water wick away into the Earth. Will have to pay close attention to this whenever running the pumps and in the new design I will have to widen the falls between pools to let the water move through faster and minimize the opportunity for leaves and other debris to obstruct the flow and cause the water to spill over the edges of the liner. Ran it twice- once in the afternoon and again in the evening when I returned from shopping.

While I was out I got some nice new plants from Walmart. Three yellow primroses—Primula vulgaris to plant by the big rock on the edge of the pond where the Alpine pump is stationed. Got some Phlox subulata to put on the interface of the sand bed and rock garden and some columbine hybrids for the edge of the upper pool between the pachysandra and the Harts Tongue Ferns. Had to dig out some of the Pachy to make room. And I still have a flat of Johnny Jump Up—the tricolored mini-pansies to plant.

My palmettos still look ok. The lack of long duration zero or subzero weather certainly helped. Your best bet is to grow them in containers—and being in for the winter.

I'll be working on my bathroom floor too in the coming weeks. Plan A involves putting down cement board and ceramic tile. Plan B which was in the beginning Plan A is to go with vinyl tile to replace the existing tile. Right now I'll probably do the latter because it is quicker, less expensive. Then hire professionals later when I catch up later. The hardest part looks to be disconnecting the sink from the Pex to move the vanity out of the way.

Will be brainstorming that and the rest of the bathroom along with the fish room. The later all I need is maybe the inner workings of a bathtub faucet mounted on a board to bolt up high where the Pex lines come into the room so I'll have valves to mix hot and cold water to the desired warmth when filling or topping off tanks. Someday I might even have a spigot on the patio so I can fill and top off the tubs rather than lugging buckets.

Took some good pics of the watercourse and flowers but those are on my phone and I will have to send them from there. Probably in the morning before I head out to the DMV. Another project that keeps getting pushed down the road. But I must since the temporary license is only good until the date of my birthday and that is only a week away!

And the irony of it all—I found the wooden plug I could have used when I went into the spring vault!

Test of new pump a success.

Test of new pump a success.

Friday April 15th

Another awesome day! Hard to believe this is the same climate zone on the same planet as of a week ago. After I got my drivers liscence I visited the Uniontown Lowe's & got some interesting flora in addition to pex fittings. A really awesome Asiatic Lily close to both the wild type and our native philadelphicum and a June Pink Rhododendron and more creeping phlox. Planted all of that when I got home and also had the Chinese Boxies out for the day and ran the watercourse for a while again.

New flora to enhance my existence

New flora to enhance my existence

Lower falls from Rosyside Pool to inlet of main pond.

Lower falls from Rosyside Pool to inlet of main pond.

Upper pool and falls.

Upper pool and falls.

Things are looking up—though the legacy of Norseman's Hell's brief visit and another cold snap the previous week have taken a toll on some plants that I did not protect—like the Western Skunk Cabbage which was thoroughly cooked along with the emerging spears of the Chinese Ground Orchids—Bletilla striata. Those may be ruined as far as this season's bloom display is concerned but they will likely pull through and recover like times past.

Some plants fare better than others

Some plants fare better than others. Skunk cabbage was melted while Marsh Marigold is unscathed.

Daffodils tough as nails.

Daffodils tough as nails. Hardly touched by cold snaps.

Asiatic Lily in the ground

Asiatic Lily in the ground

I guess that means we can survive Hilda Beastly or Bernie Sandman.

Nice place to chill.

Nice place to chill. And forget about the clowns who are ruining the nation. What else can I do right now?

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