Monday, May 20, 2013

A hard few days' work

Friday last, the 10th, was the last day of formal classes for the year at our college and place of work. Monday morning was our Student Conference, a combination of poster session presentations, and a kind of Prize Day event, with awards for the best academic work of the year. Monday afternoon and evening, Tuesday and Wednesday were for exams and grading. That made Thursday and Friday my first official days off of the summer. So last Thursday night, of course, the phone rang and I was asked to take the college Search and Rescue team the next day to a call-out for a missing girl in Bangor. This happens only four or five times a year -- we're not a busy team like the Lake District teams I used to work with, or even Bay Area Mountain Rescue in CA. But the timing was awful, with graduation on Saturday, with the rest of the students not staying for the commencement ceremony well on their way home or home already.

I was able to rustle up one student team member, young Rebecca Z, experienced by now after three years on the team, as well as my own Rover for gear and a college twelve passenger van for people. The van proved the most useful at the search as we were able to easily shuttle large groups of searchers around all day. My group, comprised of members from various teams around the state, all experienced, ran three large grid search patterns through the woods and bogs. It was nasty thick, boggy country, but we had good folks, including a lot of guys I've worked with before, so it was easy on the brain at least -- no great efforts were needed to teach folks how to search properly.

Here's 'Becca and the team starting a grid around some cabins on Pushaw Lake:

And here''s me in the woods during a brief break, taken with the cell phone:

I'm no longer a young pup, and so several miles of grid searching swamps and thickets will tell eventually. I got back home late that evening good and tired, and went right to bed after a PBJ sandwich and two glasses of milk.

The next day I was busy all morning in the garden and dooryard, doing odd jobs and setting out sheep fence for grazing. By noon I was all cleaned up and soon on the stage at graduation, making the short little speech that the Faculty Moderator gets to make each year. It's a nice little speech, encouraging the graduates to thank their parents and teachers, and I quite enjoy giving it, but was too tired still to hang around much for the garden party afterwards. Apologies to all the graduates and alumni who wanted me to stay and chat. Aime and I got pizza on the way home. I had an early dinner and fell asleep in front of the TV twice before getting to bed early, around 8.30, but not before getting a phone call telling me that Sunday's annual SAR training, at which I was scheduled to give a talk on the new Search Team Leader training program, had been cancelled, so all the teams could instead help with the ongoing search.

Without any search team at all now for the duration of the summer, that left me off the hook for Sunday, but there was another call from my firewood source, Ricky H., who would arrive just after noon with two cords of green hardwood for me to put up. That meant I'd have my work cut out for me Sunday afternoon, since the wood couldn't be left to block the driveway. In the morning I was able to take my last large truckload of trash wood to "Brown Goods Day" at the Jackson transfer station. Brown Goods Day is the one day a year when you're allowed to drop off large items of furniture and construction waste without being charged, and for nearly a week I'd had the truck pre-loaded with the last of the "bomb dump" gubbins.

The cancellation saved Aimee a job, since she had been scheduled to take the load in while I was off giving the talk. Her plan was to plead weak womanhood, to convince the brown goods day attendants to off-load the waste for her, but in the end there was no need for such subterfuge.

Ricky's giant dump-bed truck arrived around 1pm, leaving a daunting pile of nice oak, ash and beech in our dooryard. I set to, and was able to get it all picked up. I used the tractor loader to help out a little, to push the logs closer to the pile so I could stack without also having to carry.

While this stacking business was going down, Aimee gave the dogs a bath. Earlier I'd pressure washed one of the animal water tubs for this purpose. Here's Ernie getting a good course, as soon as the dogs are done, they go off to try to find some sheep poop to roll in, so the SOP is to confine them on the porch until they dry.

A second night's dinner of left-over pizza went down very well. I was pleased not to have to cook after stacking all that wood. But again, I fell asleep on the couch while watching Grand Designs. That's usually a show that can keep me awake, so I must have been tired.

Today's a slightly soggy rainy day, so I think I'll take it easy.

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Welcome to our Farm Blog.
The purpose of this blog is for Aimee and I to communicate with friends and family, with those of our students, and other folks in general who are interested in homesteading and farming activities.

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