Aqueduct Maintenance

There is an aqueduct from the 1800s which runs through our property.  Over time, land use changes resulted in a road across the aqueduct.  The road is actually an easement through the north end of our property.  So, there’s a culvert under the road (thankfully, aluminum — if it had been steel it would have rusted and collapsed by now).  Culverts are notorious for leaking around the entrance.  Water has a way of finding holes and making them bigger.

For the past six years, we have watched half the water coming through the aqueduct return to the creek before it goes into the culvert under the road.

A little excavation today (or a lot — shoveled by hand) revealed the problem.

Someone had put concrete at the entrance, but didn’t bother to do it properly.  So, the water was basically running under the concrete.  About half was going away before entering the culvert.

The culvert on the right is an overflow/discharge culvert that we leave open in the winter and shut in the spring.  The culvert on the left is the aqueduct conveyance.

The picture on the right is after adding two, 80lb bags of concrete mix and properly “keying” the concrete in.  A key is a small trench filled with concrete (sort of like a foundation) under the concrete.  This “key” makes it harder for the water to just run under the edge of the concrete.

When people make dams, they also “key” the dam into the soil so water doesn’t just start running under the dam and wash it away.  Anyone who builds a dam without a key is creating a big, future problem.

Liberty. Will we guard it at home?

“Liberty and justice for all” — does not mean “whatever we can get by with”.  The current U.S. president has said he could “stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot someone” and not lose any voters.  Might as well have said, “right and wrong do not matter when you are as good as me.”  That’s the attitude on display, being modeled, and rapidly, openly spreading as a “value”.  “Whatever I can get by with” does not walk with Liberty.

Corruption, greed and extreme selfishness make a mockery of all good we think we stand for.

Ralph Nader contributes a timely, and important story today:

On black background, a shiney, U.S. penny, with "Liberty" in clear focus, along with Lincoln's head. "In God We Trust" and date are out of focus

Lists and appreciation

Springtime: busy and beautiful.  Here’s a sampling of this weekend’s list and beauty.

  1. wash F-250 and move to barn
  2. paperwork and bills
  3. weed trim
  4. mow yard
  5. mow pastures 1, 2, 3, 4 and upper (need more ruminants!)
  6. pool maintenance
  7. fix creek fence gaps after flood
  8. rebuild fence along road that creek tore down in flood
  9. plant gladiolas
  10. start melon seeds in greenhouse
  11. repair driveway damage caused by flood at little house
  12. burn brush piles
  13. bush hog blackberries
  14. cut fallen tree on path to upper pasture
  15. cut tree fallen over fence
  16. clean dog runs
  17. finish bottling hard lemonade
  18. pick out walnuts
  19. plant beets and carrots
  20. weed garden
  21. start tomatoes, peppers and eggplant seeds in greenhouse
  22. build gopher-proof, raised beds for melons
  23. unload feed
  24. look for mushrooms
  25. harvest rabbits
  26. clean goat pens
  27. check bees
  28. Appreciate beauty – see below. (Azaleas are blooming now — just like the list itself, this never gets scratched off/finished)!


Let them eat bugs!

Wow!  Insect farms gear up to feed soaring global protein demand.

Is it possible that being stuck in a relentless marketing machine (previous post) is related to a global population extended far, far beyond the limits that Gaia imposed on hunter-gatherers?

I have always suspected we humans would saw down the last, great, redwood when push comes to shove, that young people would start hauling old people to court for bequeathing them an overpopulated, resource-ravaged planet (assuming a functioning, just, justice system endures).

But I never stopped to imagine that we’d farm and eat bugs after we reached the limits of soy row-cropping.  I wonder what the net energy is (externalities included)?  If net energy is positive, it probably makes sense to do it.

Marketing, promotion and manipulating public opinion … for money.

I am trying to imagine life without all the constant messaging, all the jockeying for attention in order to get … funding.

Imagine a tribe of hunter-gatherers on the North American continent prior to being displaced by settlers from other continents.  Imagine a self-reliant band of 200 or so people, living in a community according to routines honored by time and culture.  Just let that settle in.  Where we have relentless jockeying for our clicks, our likes, our attention — they worked together to ensure their community functioned, day-in, day-out, season after season, year after year.

That is SO NOT what we moderns have as a way of life!  Then watch your mind go to all the wonderful things we have, the technology, the comforts, the energy — and then to the rationalizations that dismiss such a life just imagined as primitive, hard, dirty and anyways long-gone.

I just read the talking points to smear striking teachers.  We are locked in an intense competition with each other — for beliefs, for attention, for money, for votes, for sales.

Just having a blog may not be part of that competition, but it could easily be if I find myself wondering how to reach more people should I feel lonely missing Facebook or that I want to generate sales of something — photos, or food, for example.  The quest to “get from others” is woven into our days, our dreams, our lives.  It is relentless, it is the only way we know.

But it does not “feel” right at all to me.

Does it to you?



Update 4/20/2018 — great follow-up for this blog post showed up this morning:  … capital would “nestle everywhere, settle everywhere, establish connexions everywhere”.

Spring flood 2018 – less than 2016

By 6:00 a.m, the water was already receding.  But the poor old barn got flooded again while we slept.  You can see the debris line almost went around the barn, and water went in and through it.  It’s drying out, now.  🙂

In the lower right photo, the goats are happily grazing, oblivious to the water rushing by them.

Not picture though are significant areas of damaged fence at creek crossings.  In one location, the cable crossing the creek must have been hit by a big log and pulled 50′ of wooden and wire fence and fence-posts into the creek with it.  That’s a mess!

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