April Flood II

It rained pretty hard exactly one week ago.  I got a few pictures of the high water then.  It rained 2.6 inches this morning in about six hours.  The creek peaked just when it was starting to flow over into the slough below the trailer.

creek     creek     creek

It rained so hard at one point that the yard was flooded and the fire circle was completely under water.


yard     fire circle     shelter

Along the creek bank the water was swirling around trees and bushes.  It came right up to the edge of the lower bank.  It was running into the down stream slough in a fury.

tree     bank     slough

The noise is something you have to hear.  When the creek is at a normal depth the noise of the riffles will lull you to sleep at night.  When it’s this high the roar keeps you awake.


I took the dogs on a ride down Mexico Ridge Road after they had supper.  I wish I’d gone earlier.  Both Laughery Creek and Bear Creek had been over the road in spots when the water was at its highest.  One culvert was so plugged with silt and rocks that the stream was going over the road.


To illustrate the power of a gully washer like this, there was someone’s chain link dog pen in the rill that runs down beside Fisse Hill Road.  It had been wadded up and shoved through the culvert under Mexico Ridge Road.  That is some fierce water.


It’s been an interesting day.


P.S. It rained another inch overnight so I uploaded more pictures to Picasa.


Spring Flowers

This is a small group of the flowers that are already blooming here. You can see from the dead leaves showing through that the woods is just starting to wake up from the long winter. We had measurable snow every month from November through March. Things are greening up real good though.

The dogs were wanting in here again so I have a picture of them in a patch of blue bells. I’ve got blue bells all over the place now. Too bad they don’t last longer.

I’m trying to identify these so if you know some please comment. I know the bluebells, dutchman’s britches, buttercups, phlox, trillium, violets, and redbud. The others I’m working on.


Tomato Bucket

The last several years I’ve grown tomatoes in the upside down hanging contraptions known as Topsy Turvys.  It’s worked real well other than having to move before any tomatoes got ripe last year.  Note: it’s real hard to move plants that are hanging out the bottom of their pots.  The only real problem is these hanging planters are cheaply made and to get two years out of them requires a liberal application of duct tape.

This year I decided to try something different.  I went with the plants growing out the top of five gallon plastic buckets. I didn’t have a way to hang the buckets high enough to keep the plants away from the critters down here.  Not if I have the plants coming out the bottom. Also, if I have to take the tomato plants in at night, because it gets cold again, I can sit them on the floor in the pump house. If they were hanging I’d be hard pressed for a place to hang them inside.

I drilled holes large enough to put small S-hooks every third of the way around the tops of the buckets.  Then I used some parachute cord to make hangers for them.  The hooks I used were actually shelf brackets with hooks on the end for a hanging clothes rod.  They were the strongest looking hooks I could find that would put the hook out away from the carport posts I was going to hang the planters from:

tomato bucket

I drilled some small holes in the bottoms of the buckets so they’ll drain. Then I put a small flat rock in the bottom to keep the dirt from clogging the holes. I put a couple of inches of creek sand over the rock because the sand will drain well. Then I filled the buckets to the depth of the plants existing pots with potting soil. I used Miracle Grow potting soil to make sure the plants are fed well. Then I tore the bottom and sides off the fiber pots the plants came in and put the plants in the middle of the bucket. I filled in more potting soil around them to the same depth as the dirt in the pots. They’re about an inch from the top of the bucket.

I put a gallon of water in each bucket tonight. The temperature is only supposed to go down to 48 tonight and not below 40 in the seven-day forecast so I should be able to leave them out there.  You can see both plants are blooming already but that’s not a sign I’ll get any tomatoes soon:

I’m really hoping these tomatoes do better than the upside down plants. There’s so much root trauma trying to stuff the root ball through the relatively small hole in the bottom of those Topsy Turvys that it really takes the plants a while to recover and get going. Well see about these.

Another advantage is the buckets were way cheaper than Topsy Turvys, or other pots that size. It was only about $2.50 for a bucket.  Add in the S-hooks, brackets, and parachute cord and it’s still less than $5.00 for each plant.  And I should be able to use them for years.

Last but not least, since the dogs can’t talk I don’t have to worry about anyone complaining that the buckets are ugly.  I can see my daughters and sister cringing at these pictures.  I’ll take ugly all summer if I can get some good tomatoes in the bargain.


April Flood

It started raining Mondayrope rails morning and didn’t stop until sometime last night.  I got over two inches of rain before it was through.  The water is back up in the slough.  Now you can see why I rigged ropes to get across the backwater and over to the creek bank.  Not that I mind a little water, but it was cold water back in February.

Normally you could the fordford the creek just upstream from my place.  You leave Mexico Ridge Road when you enter the south side of the creek and hit Harding Road when you exit on the north side.  But not today.  Nobody is crossing the creek at this ford for a while.

The sun came out by 10:00 back deck galleryand it turned out to be a nice day.  I sat at lunch and watched stuff go floating by in the flood.  Logs, branches, the ubiquitous water bottles, tires, and even a boat seat.  It occurred to me I had a whole shooting gallery drifting past my trailer.  So after eating a sandwich I sat out on the back deck and took advantage of the floating targets.

I scared the daylights out of all the logs and sticks and bottles sailing down the creek for about an hour.  I got some good practice with moving targets.  So what if the creek’s too high to ford or wade across.  I turned that lemon into lemonade.  I did see one big old root ball go floating by that I had to snap instead of shoot.  You wonder where this stuff comes from:


With all the rain the culverts were gushing today when the dogs and I went on a bike ride.  I posed Chili standing next to one culvert that goes under Mexico Ridge Road.  I have to throw the dogs in here once in a while or they get cranky.  It’s your turn next time Lucky.


Firefox 4 Fail

This is a little off topic for the creek, but maybe someone from Mozilla will pay attention here.  March 22nd, the first day it was available, I downloaded and installed Firefox 4.  I was able to handle the interface change.  It was annoying, but you get used to companies ignoring the vast majority of their users, who are happy with the software they have, and changing things around to be new and fresh.  New and fresh is so much more important than being reliable and consistent.

Firefox Logo

The real problem was the features that stopped working, or stopped working right.  The following is a fairly complete list of the things that finally added up to my backing out Firefox 4 and going back to Firefox 3.6.16.  Yes I still use Firefox.  It’s still the best browser in my opinion.  I hope someday they get Firefox 4 to work as well as Firefox 3.6.16.

  • Roboform would not work from the right-click menu.  The entries in the right-click menu were there, but when you selected them nothing happened.  You could enable the Roboform toolbar and fill forms that way, but the Roboform toolbar was not integrated with the other tools bars correctly.  It was below the Google toolbar and when you entered a search pattern in the Google toolbar, the Roboform toolbar would block part of the auto complete drop down menu.  It was ugly.
  • Bookmarks were not saved properly.  I would drag bookmark icons to where I wanted them in my bookmarks, and next time I looked they were not there.  This happened multiple times.  I never got a new bookmark to save with Firefox 4.
  • A second Firefox window wasn’t configured like the first.  If I opened a second Firefox 4 window in a virtual desktop (Dexpot) it wouldn’t have the toolbar and menu settings of the first window.  I had to reconfigure the tabs and toolbars all over again.  It behaved the same way even without using virtual desktops.
  • The IE Tab add-on was not working.  I even read more than one post that said you had to disable it to make other parts of the Firefox 4 interface work.  I tried that and it didn’t help.
  • The Google toolbar wouldn’t auto complete.  It would show auto complete choices in a drop down menu, but when you selected one, the menu disappeared and you had only what you’d typed so far in the search box.  This behavior got old fast.
  • The Google toolbar wouldn’t configure on second and subsequent windows.  I’ve configured a few buttons to the right of the search box on my Google toolbar.  The first window would show the buttons most of the time.  A second and subsequent Firefox windows would lose the buttons altogether.
  • I couldn’t pull a tab from the tab bar to open in a new window.  This worked prior to Firefox 4 and was a very nice feature.  In Firefox 4 it was a NOP, or it would open a new window with no content at all, and leave the old tab and content in the original window.
  • The address/location bar wouldn’t show the URL of the current page.  It would sometimes start out showing the URL of the current page, but eventually it just stopped showing anything, or even worse, it would show a URL from several pages ago.  In other words, the wrong one.
  • Eventually the back button would stop working.  Sometimes you could right-click to get to a Back selection in the right-click menu, but most of the time that would stop working too.
  • The reload button would stop working.  At that point the only way to reload a page was to type the URL in the location bar and hit enter, or click the corresponding bookmark a second time.
  • Prior to Firefox 4 the back button was a combination back/forward/history button.  This was very handy if you stumbled onto a frame based website that was determined to hijack your browser window.  You could click on the little down arrow and see the last several pages in your history.  Then you could pick a page prior to the bad site.  As far as I can tell there is no such feature in Firefox 4, unless you use history explicitly.  And as I said above, even the back button itself didn’t work most of the time.

So I’m back to Firefox 3.6.16 and happy with that decision.  Maybe someday Firefox 4 will be out of beta, but they seriously jumped the gun on this release.  Interesting, they don’t tell you how many of their 76 million plus downloads were removed after the first few days or weeks.  You can count mine in that list.


P.S. Another problem to add to the list:

  • Evernote doesn’t work right with Firefox 4.  If I right-clicked on a page and selected Add to Evernote, a window popped up and asked me to login.  I’d never seen that before.  I tried my Evernote login and password and it just popped the login window back up like the password was invalid.  The only way I could save a page to Evernote was to select everything on the page, copy it into the clipboard, and paste it into a new Evernote note manually.  Now that I’ve backed out to Firefix 3.6.16 Evernote works just like it should.