Alkahest my heroes have always died at the end

September 30, 2009

Always with the water problems

Filed under: Plumbing — cec @ 3:33 pm

I’ve mentioned before that I (we?  maybe it’s K’s fault!) seem to be cursed with water problems.  Since we like our current house, and the well is drawing very acidic water, we’ll probably continue to have water problems.  Two of the more recent ones:

  1. Two months ago, we started noticing that the average daily water usage (as shown on the water softener) had gone from 60 gal/day to over 100 gal/day in a very short period of time, maybe two days.  Needless to say, K and I were more than a little concerned with where all that water was going.  So I ducked under the house and heard the water pump quick cycling: on, off, on, off…  Well that’s not supposed to happen.  It’s supposed to kick on when the house pressure drops to 30psi, and turn off when it hits 40.  We called a plumber, because I’ll do a lot of plumbing, but anything like the water pump that combines water, electricity and problems underground is way out of my league.   Turned out that we needed a new pressure tank (my guess: the acidic water ate away at the inner lining of the air bladder).  Joy.
  2. The next month, the power bill came in very high.  Our first thought was, “well, the pump was on a lot last month, so maybe that’s the problem.”  It came in high again the next month.  We started looking for the source, keeping a log of power use and finally, on Sunday resorted to shutting off all power in the house and adding the breakers back one at a time.  I should have guessed – the pump was using a lot of power.  Went under the house, watched the pressure build to 40psi, the pump cut off and all the pressure drained back out of the lines until the pump came on again.  The cycle repeated on maybe a 30 second period with a 50% duty cycle.  Yay!  my pump was running half the day.  This time, the plumber found that there was a leak at the pump itself and all the water was being dumped back down the well.  On the bright side, we weren’t wasting water – just power.  🙁

One fun thing did come out of all of this, we bought a digital, in-house electricity meter.

September 21, 2009

Peter Piper picked . . .

Filed under: Cooking,Personal — cec @ 2:25 pm

Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers;
A peck of pickled peppers Peter Piper picked;
If Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers,
Where’s the peck of pickled peppers Peter Piper picked?

When I planted the garden, I put in a couple of banana pepper plants.  I seem to recall that my thinking was along the lines of, “I’ve got a great idea, I’ll plant some banana peppers – I love ’em.”  Great in abstract, but I don’t actually have any recipes that call for banana peppers.  I only seem to eat them pickled.

Well, I couldn’t let them rot, so yesterday I went out and picked, not a peck, but maybe a half gallon (0.25 peck) of peppers and spent part of the afternoon pickling them.  I’ve got two pints of whole peppers and four pints of sliced.  We’ll see how they taste in a few weeks.

Before and after:


September 17, 2009

Ph34r t3h cut3 0n3s

Filed under: Gallery,Wildlife Rehab — cec @ 9:27 am

Last night, I realized that K had quite a few baby animals around the house and that I hadn’t posted any pictures.  So, without further ado, may I present the cute ones:

The first picture is of a young opossum.  He and his siblings were in one of our outdoor enclosures, but he didn’t seem to be doing too well, so he’s back inside for a bit.

The next set is a group of baby (week old) snapping turtles – note the remnants of the yolk sack.  This is sort of an interesting story.  The old non-profit had a snapper that died.  However, we knew that the turtle had eggs.  So we sent the body over to the vet school’s turtle team where they extracted and incubated her eggs until they hatched in August.  These are the her babies.

The other mammal in the set is the baby (3-5 week old) flying squirrel.  Some people called up K when their cat found the squirrel out of the nest.  The little guy is doing well, in spite of the great Esbilac debacle.

The last set of pictures were taken last night.  K has a friend who is also into turtles (let’s call her J).  Between K & J, they probably have more turtle husbandry experience than any other two people in the area.  J is heading out of town and wanted K turtle-sit for some of her more critical patients.  When she came over Tuesday night, she also brought over an incubator with two turtle eggs.  There had been 3 eggs, but one had just hatched (second picture in the group), so who knew when the others would hatch.  Apparently yesterday.  They were still working their way out of their shells when I got home, so there you have it – baby turtles emerging from their shells.

Too cute.


September 16, 2009

It’s official!

Filed under: Personal,Wildlife Rehab — cec @ 11:09 pm

I managed to get into the office a bit early this morning, which meant that I also got to leave a bit early (working as a federal contractor definitely has its perks).  The only reason I mention this is because I beat K to the mail and when I reached into the mailbox, there was a rather thick envelope with the non-profit’s name (C/O me).  It was from the IRS.  Well, the only thing that we have out-standing with the feds is our non-profit status.  So, I was a bit nervous in opening it.  It felt a bit like opening a college application letter.  I was really hoping that, like with the college letter, a thick envelop was a good sign.  After all, if you’ve been turned down, they send you a one page letter.  If you’ve been accepted, they send you a packet of information.

I opened the envelop, and sure enough, it was a two page letter saying that the Triangle Wildlife Rehabilitation Clinic is now an official non-profit and it included a lovely pamphlet with information on our responsibilities as such.

Also nice – our status is retroactive to the end of *last* year.  So all of the donations that we’ve received are officially tax deductible.  As are any future donations if anyone wants to donate 🙂


September 9, 2009

Communication and learning styles

Filed under: Personal,Social — cec @ 10:58 pm

A while back I mentioned that K, some associates and I had started up a new non-profit.  Things are going reasonably well.  People have been more supportive than I had thought.  We’ve had about 70 patients so far and we’ve got the systems set up so that patients entered into the database post up to Twitter, along with any Facebook updates.

One thing that I have noticed in working with the others on the non-profit is that learning styles and communication styles seem to be closely related.  You can divide learning styles (among other ways) into verbal vs visual learners.  Verbal learners prefer to hear things explained to them.  whereas visual learners prefer things to be written down.  Based on some of our recent experiences, I think that this plays into communication styles.  And it’s communication styles which are (occasionally) biting us.

We’ve got two people (including me) who have a strong visual preference – we like email for communication.  We have one person who exhibits a strong verbal preference (prefers the phone or in-person communication) and one who has no strong preference either way.  On a couple of recent occasions, we’ve had some missed communication.  Our verbal communicator will say something or mention a project or deadline and expect that the rest of us have kept up.  Our email/visual communicators don’t catch these verbal references and do the same thing with respect to email.

I was talking to our verbal communicator (by phone, of course! – she called me after I emailed her) about this and mentioned that I don’t ever catch the details when she’s talking.  At the last board meeting, she had mentioned a project and I *assumed* that if there were deadlines, they would be sent out in email.  In fact, I don’t ever consider anything to be real until I see it written down.  It’s just how I think.  People might *talk* about a lot of things, but until I see them commit some details to something written (email, memo, etc.), I don’t think they mean it.  After I described this to our verbal communicator, she confessed that she often never reads the details of the email that our visual communicators send.  In other words, in the same way that I don’t give enough consideration to non-visual communication, she doesn’t give enough consideration to non-verbal communication.

All in all, this isn’t the worst problem that a group of people can have.  I think the most important thing is to recognize these differences and to know that if you want to be certain that your message is received, you have to consider the expected medium for your audience.  (shock!)

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