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Shallow Ford Natural Area

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I went on a hike yesterday at Shallow Ford in Burlington, NC. When I left the house is was sunny with clear skies but by the time I arrived at the park, 40 minutes later, it was pouring. Fortunately the rain slowed down before I'd gone very far and the rain stopped completely 40 minutes later.


We've had a number of days of rain at this point and you can see the effect the precipitation has on Basin Creek.

  This bridge is completely surrounded by water. One side is 6 feet from dry ground and the other is around 50 feet from the "shore."

You can barely see the bridge from dry ground on this side. The creek spread something like 50 feet on this side of the bridge.

Fortunately the path, despite being under water, was firm and easy to walk on.

I didn't see a single person on my two hour hike on the two main trails at Shallow Ford---I guess nobody wanted to cross the bridge over Basin Creek---but I did see a few deer and one really large black snake.

I wasn't fast…

Natural Gas Pipeline in Mebane

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Now the pipeline is looking a lot more like a pipeline because there's a few miles of pipe laying about.

The next step is when they weld all the pipes together. One of the workers told me that they do this above ground so that the welds can be inspected by x-rays before they lay the pipeline into the ground.

I guess you would want to be damn sure about how well the pipes are connected once you start pushing natural gas through them. Big booms are expensive and, given that the pipeline runs right behind my house, unhealthy.

Because of all the safety aspects of this phase of the work, it's going to take them 2 months before they're ready to lower the pipes into the ground. Until then, lots of dust and from time to time, mud too.

Orange County Natural Gas Pipeline

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There's a natural gas pipeline under the ground behind the house. It's been there for 65 years.

Now the two pipes that are underground are about to have company---a third pipeline is going in.

This is what the pipeline area looked like after they started trimming some tree branches back.

The dog loves to run after thrown sticks so she was in heaven.
Not so many sticks now and it's a bit ugly---and the dog is now red from clay dust. Just kinda ugly. :-(

It''s amazing how much of a difference 3 days can make!

Nihal of the Land of the Wind

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Here's an interesting book I received from Net Galley a few weeks ago.

Nihal of the Land of the Wind is a beguiling book filled with many bewitching scenes painted with words of power and grace.
I really enjoyed reading it and hope that the rest of Licia Troisi's novels are translated into English soon. My only issue with this book is that often the beauty of the prose interferes with logic but I doubt that will bother many readers. This book works much better using strong imagery and stark characterizations than it would otherwise. I strongly recommend this book.

The main character is Nihal and she's the last remaining person with Elf blood left in the world. This is due to a vendetta by the villian of the story, Tyrant--and with the voices of her slaughtered people constantly filling her dreams, she's out for vengeance wielding the amazing black crystal sword forged by her foster father. And there's dragons too!

This volume chronicles Nihal's childhoo…

Passion Play

By Passion Play I'm not referring to the dramatic presentation depicting the suffering of Jesus of Nazareth, rather I'm referring to the 2010 movie starring Mickey Rourke, Megan Fox, Rhys Ifans and Bill Murray. I recorded the movie a couple of weeks back because the description sounded interesting in a peculiar way, and got around to watching it last night. Here's the summary of the movie from Amazon:
The last thing washed-up jazz musician Nate Pool (Mickey Rourke) wanted to do was betray sinister gangster Happy Shannon (Bill Murray). But it may be the last thing he does unless he can deliver Lily (Megan Fox), a beautiful and mysterious carnival sideshow attraction. The stakes can't get any higher for the two lovers as they try to elude the merciless killer who will stop at nothing to keep Lily for himself. Kelly Lynch and Rhys Ifans costar in this gritty and unpredictable tale of redemption in the hard-boiled tradition of classic film noir. Believe me, that descri…

Book Review: The Sensory Deception

The Sensory Deception is an amazing ride. Ransom Stephens takes you from the moneyed halls of venture capitalists in Silicon Valley to the dirt poor coast of Somalia's pirates and then onto the deep jungle of the Amazon Basin. The sense of wonder he conveys using the idealism and technical know-how of the entrepreneurial protagonists is matched by the thrilling settings and the situations in which they find themselves. I highly recommend you read this book, it's incredible.

Farley Rutherford and his team of technical wizards have invented a device that allows a person to totally experience the world from the viewpoint of another being---human or otherwise---seeing, hearing, smelling what they do. This book is about how they use this technology to try to change the world. Let's hope that this is a case where reality soon catches up to fiction because this is a device that can really change minds and souls. Imagine experiencing the loss of polar ice from the per…

Easter Eggs

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We received 5 chicken eggs on Easter so in a way they're Easter eggs. True the hues are limited but you can see there is some variation: two white, two light brown, and one brown.

 And we also received one turkey egg but that didn't seem very Easter-y. As you can see, it's a lot bigger than a chicken egg. Around 50% or 60% bigger. They taste a little different than chicken eggs but not bad by any means.







After laying their eggs, I let the chickens into the garden next door, so to speak, and they had a grand ole time eating weeds, scratching out bugs, and munching on blades of grass.
  Even the rooster got interested for a while.
But then he stalked away. Apparently gardening is work for the hens.