Archive for April, 2006

The Indignity

April 29, 2006

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Busy Dingbat had a rather traumatic day. The day started out fine. The pet caddy was brought downstairs and the door left open. That made a pretty neat hiding place! Once an hour and half had passed it was time to head for the veterinarian so Busy Dingbat headed for her new hiding place instead. Surely, we would never find her there. We shut the crate door and headed for the car. The short drive was uneventful. We then sat in the waiting room with other critters. A significant amount of growling surely kept critters and kids away. Busy was then summoned to the examination room where she was not coming out of the crate. We disassembled the crate and got her onto the exam table. That loose skin on the back of the neck sure is handy. Growling uncontrollably did not seem to be working on the vet so in payment for two needles a claw was left in the hand of the vet. Back into the crate, home, and restoration of dignity. Unfortunately, restoring dignity is hard when the innoculations make you sleep for hours on end – even on the computer desk! Safe for another year.

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How Much Car Could a Woodpecker Peck?

April 25, 2006

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While taking pics of the robin in her nest a pileated woodpecker flew onto the bole of the cherry tree just a few feet away. While trying to maneuver for a pic it took off to the neighbors and pecked a bit on a short pine tree stump. Got a couple of mediocre pics of it there before it took off for the front of the house. We headed around the house and there it was pecking at the chestnut rail fence along the road. Just as we were snapping the best pic yet a car appeared in the viewfinder. Some pictures just are not meant to be!

Now, this guy was one big woodpecker. He was the size of a crow and he had one impressive pecker. No, not that! Its bill, which is used to demolish any piece of wood standing between it and its creepy crawly morsel. Hope this guy makes another appearance. He was one impressive critter.

I’ve Been Robin Egged

April 24, 2006

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The weather has been nice, winter is almost over (spring doesn't start until May 15th), and the house needs some work on the exterior. I headed for the stepladder, which hangs in the carport against the shop wall. However, I was startled by a loud squawking that nearly scared the bird poo out of me. A robin had built a nest on top of the ladder and upon inspection I found it contained four bright blue eggs. That means no ladder work until the eggs hatch, the birds mature, and leave the nest. How long does that take!? If Busy Dingbat was an oudoor cat we might get this to progress a whole lot quicker. Oh well, plenty of other work to do in the meantime and there is a lot of summer left. Heck, winter isn't even over yet!

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A Holey Day

April 22, 2006

Thursday was my last day in The Hole. Since november there has been a strong solvent odor in the cave and it was so bad in December that I am sure my assistant and I would have died in an explosion had we been using carbide. The owner of the entrance found out that I had reported the chemical odor to the state DEP and boy was he pissed! I told him he had nothing to do with the chemical – it was his neighbor. That didn't matter to him. He told me I could not go into the cave anymore, not even to remove the research equipment. After a couple month's cool down time he allowed me the one trip to retrieve the equipment. So, my assistant and I hauled out about 200 pounds of equipment while on our hands and knees. I am still sore.

 I am still convinced I was right in reporting to the DEP. I was worried about the health and safety of other cavers, cave critters, and the neighbors. It is possible that the fumes could have seeped into somenone's basement and caused some deadly fireworks. But, the owner is a retired coal executive and he is upholding the stereotype for that breed of person – no respect for the environment or the lives of others.

It was a good run of 16 years of research in The Hole. I have a huge water quality and hydrology data set. Actually, I have been considering getting out of the cave anyways because I was concerned about the impact our frequent visits were having on the cave.

Hello world!

April 19, 2006

Busy Dingbat at Rest

Busy Dingbat, an unsociable cat, part Siamese and part bulemic, owns a home in southern West Virginia and grudgingly allows the Boyers to share her space. All others, of the human or canine persuasions, are rarely tolerated. Life is good!