Thursday, August 30, 2007

True Confessions: I was a unpaid scout for the power company

We've had three lightning caused power outages in the last few weeks. It's fashionable to blame weather weirdnesses on global warming, so I'll jump on that band wagon to explain it.


A few hours after this latest lighting induced power outage, yesterday, a large Excel Energy Truck with a cherry picker shows up.

A "old fat man" (these were his words) jumped out and started asking directions to a pole so that he could replace the fuse.

It was twilight and I knew the moon would come up any minute because we'd had a lunar eclipse the day before. I'd not had my habitual walk either.

So I volunteered to show him the way. OK, I admit, I was curious too how this all worked.

The power pole he was looking for was in the narrow valley on the other side of Winiger Ridge. This meant going up 100 yards, then down 300 very steep yards. At night.

Fortunately, I knew most of the faint trail that would take us there pretty much by heart.

We set off and about 30 minutes later we where at the pole with the blown fuse. This is where it gets tricky. The fuse is nearly 40 feet up and the only way to get at it is with a 40 foot long telescoping fiberglass pole. Given the flex of the fiberglass pole, this is not easy.

Also, if the lightning had taken out more than just the fuse, it would have created a very loud explosion as the new fuse also blew.

After about 15 minutes of fussing, the utility line man was able to install the fuse. It held. No explosion.

My curiosity was also satisfied about how this all works.

On the way back up , I learned that the lineman would retire in 3.5 months, after 37 years. I wondered where the new talent would come from to replace him. Nobody in "the younger generation" seemed interested working in the wilds of Colorado in all kinds of weather conditions.

I had volunteered to carry the collapsed telescoping fiberglass pole back up after seeing how much of a strain it put on the lineman to manipulate the pole to get the fuse back in place. It got quite heavy by the time I was back on top of the ridge.

After we got back, I got to keep the old blown fuse as a souvenir.

Then, it was back to business as usual... at least until the next global warming induced lighting strike.

Monday, August 27, 2007


I just picked up some folding tables that I had loaned to the NEXT DOOR neighbor over the weekend.

While I was there they showed me the passenger side front door on their van. The window had broken and the top of the frame was pulled back about an inch from the body.

This was the latest episode in a nearly nightly harassment by a bear.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Lions and Coyotes and Bears, Oh My

I just got word that neighbor saw a mountain lion in the woods below the house yesterday morning.

Other neighbors have seen the same cat at other times as well.

Also, the coyote infestation in the valley here seems to be particularly bad this year, judging from the nearly nightly yelping and howling. The deer have taken the hint and left.

And I read in the paper that bears will need to be spending 20 hours a day eating, so that they can pack on the weight for winter.

Friday, August 17, 2007

3 mile fox was hit by a car.

I feel like I lost a friend. The fox mentioned below seemed to take a special delight in greeting cars on the way home.
If you drove down Magnolia today you probably saw the dead fox on the side of Magnolia, past Magnolia townsite. He (or she?) must've been hit last night by a car. This fox was very wily to cars and people. He would run to the side of the road and turn around and look as you passed by. I'm amazed he was hit knowing how fast he got out of the way for me in car or bike. The driver must've been going very fast.

I know I'm speaking to the choir on this list (I hope) but lower speeds mean you can slow down faster and not hit wildlife (or dogs, pedestrians, runners, and cyclists). Driving 30mph down Magnolia from Lazy Z takes about 18 minutes (yes, i did the math). Driving 35 gets you there only 2.5 minutes faster. Driving 40 gets you there 4.5 minutes faster. I have 5 minutes to about you?

Thanks for reading,

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Now that's a big bug

This bug landed on the living room window. The black circle next to it is a quarter that I taped to the window. The body of the bug was about 2.5 inches long.