All the world is buzzing with the new smartphone game Pokémon Go! People wandering around trying to "capture" pre-stationed cartoon characters. It does get people outside and to knew undiscovered locations. I honestly do not see the fun in it. But I can see the value in the hunt. But I've got the game beat!
Since we've had a week of only low 90s the past week at the station, we decided to get some of the outside work done while we could still function outside. (We'll be well over 100 humid degrees again this week.) One of our projects, well MY projects, is lifting the height of the septic tank clean out stacks for both the house and the barn. When we moved in, just the top 2 inches of the domed caps were visible. I thought nothing of it, as they were white and easy to spot in the crummy "lawn". That spring, as the grass I so carefully babied the autumn before and pre-fertilized in spring began to grow, and grow and grow. Still I could spot the caps when I mowed. In fact, our OLD mower would sometimes chink the tops and they would be easily spotted. I distinctly remember thinking to my self that I should glue quarters to the tops of those caps so IF they ever disappeared, I could locate them with our metal detectors. At that point, I must have been distracted by a puffy cloud or a butterfly or something, because I never DID glue those quarters to the tops.
Fast forward a year. and TWENTY cubic yards of new dirt and naturally composting lawn and thatch, and my caps are missing. I knew the general location of one. It was near the old, old chicken run. Some grid walking and foot swooshing later, I managed to catch a glimpse of a one inch patch of white PVC in the deep lawn. I marked it with a lawn flag. I KNEW the other one was between that find and the taller 2 foot cleanouts in the hayfield. I KNEW where is was, or so I thought. I was off by about 8 feet. When found, it was marked with a flag.
Now came the hard part. There are two more in the real back lawn. I LAST saw them right after the debacle with the crummy landscaper we had. He constantly ran over them with the bobcat. When he scrapped the topsoil, what was left of it, away he covered my clean outs with grass seed and then that idiotic hay netting. When his attempt to grow grass on compacted clay failed, I added a couple inches of composted black topsoil and seed. I worked around the caps, on purpose. They remained visible, for a while. Each week the lawn grew up and out, it's thickness increasing. Each time I would mow I would see less and less of each of the caps. Until one day, I not only didn't see them, I didn't even notice they were missing and went on with the day.
We had a general idea of where they were, but that a LOT of guessing for a 4 inch circle in 2000 sq ft. YOU'D THINK they'd be in a straight line, but aren't.
We started by just walking the yard poking the lawn with rebar. That didn't work.
Then we figured where the line came out of the house and drew a straight line to the known line further out in the hayfield. THAT didn't work.
We then searched through photos of the yard we took while playing with the chickens or detailing the bad landscaping job. THAT didn't work.
We sought the help of the internet at this point. We loaded Google Earth time machine and went back to an aerial shot of the property right after the house was built. While we didn't locate the caps with this method, we did figure out we were about 3 feet too far north in our search. But then....BINGO, Doc found one of the caps by the driveway about 6 feet from where we KNEW it to be.
There is still ONE missing. Sigh.
We took angle and distance measurements from Google Earth. We paced it out. We dragged out the cell phone compass app. We played with the 100 foot long tape measure. No luck. SIGH.
It was becoming an after dinner obsession. As the temperature would drop near sunset, we could be seen pacing the yard, putting out guessing flags, poking, raking thatch, swapping theories, then the sun would set and we'd be forced to stop for the night. The hidden PVC cap mocking us in the cool evening protected by its veil of darkness and mosquito army.
Yea, it was getting personal.
Thursday evening we had cloud cover and a cooler breeze, which made it a PERFECT candidate to wash the windows on the barn and house. It was during this 72 window marathon that I discovered ANOTHER cleanout vent hidden beneath a window, buried in landscaping stones and covered with landscaping fabric. This confired the Google Earth assessment of the line being 3 feet further south than we had been looking.
Renewed by this exciting find, we went high tech after the sun went down. We used our laser printer on the newest cap and aligned it with the nearest the driveway. The missing cap HAD to be in a line bewtween the two. As we tipped the laser pointer across the lawn, through the mass of flags guessing at a location, the beam hit one flag square on. Could it BE THAT EASY?!
Of course not. We still haven't found it. It has to be there. As the rains came, the new seed and soil gently covered the plastic lid enough to grow over. I will lightly hose this area to see if I can spot some white. Otherwise it will remain hidden.
All for the want of time, a little glue, and 4 quarters. Forget Pokenmon Go!
IN OTHER NEWS
Chicken jail has been busy. Merriweather has come and gone. Daisy spent three days in the lock-up. Flora decided to be her companion and is still in. She's a tough, mean, hyper broody. She squawks, bites, and climbs the walls. She also tries to escape at every opportunity.
With the weather cooperating, I decided to add the two additional nest boxes to the coop. For the original nest boxes, I used Threshhold brand cubbies from Target. I simply needed to add perches, a stop back and a piece of ply for the back. I used a two by three cubby. Sadly they do not make a stack of one by three, just one by two. That would be enough to add to the current next wall. I put the cubbies together and decided that insead of centering the two on top of the 6, I would slide it over and have an open air nest area on the very end. For the nest space, I simply purchased a large desk basket from Hobby Lobby for $8 and attached it to the cubby below it with screws and washers. The girls LOVE IT!
The garden is starting to awaken.
The peppers are a total bust and I'll pull them at the end of the week.
Today I will braid the white onions that have been harvested and drying for the past few days.
The yellow and sweet onions still have another week, at least, until harvest.
I harvested the potato plants last night. 6 plants, 6 potatoes the size of golfballs. ARGH.
The tomatoes are starting to set fruit, but the plants are suffering in our heat. I'm not holding my breath for a great harvest.
The nitrogen setting peas have been planted in the old onion and potato beds.
The cucumbers have decided to take over the world. We've had plenty and by the looks of the vines, we'll have more than plenty. I made 9 quarts of dill slices and spears yesterday and today.
The county fair is next week. I have garlic-onion-dill pickles, applesauce, dark sweet dessert cherries, jalapeno sweet relish, and jalapeno grilling marinade to enter.
We shall see.
From here on the Farm... Have a great week all !