Don’t get me wrong, this is the typical scenario to the beginning of spring since time began here in the Catskill mountain area of the Hudson River Valley. One day the sun is bright, the sky blue and there are birds singing as the temperature soars from sixty to seventy and sometimes even eighty in the mid day breeze. The next day, there is a frigid chill in the air that cuts through long sleeved shirts, making you shiver. The sky is a gloomy gray and rain falls off and on all day long, bringing uncomfortable memories of the recently departed winter weather. That winter weather kept us at bay...locked away inside our comfy homes for as a long time...waiting for the warmth of the spring sun which would sooth our bones and make the beautiful daffodils and tulips bloom. With winter lasting so long in the Catskills and Hudson River Valley, we all look forward to spring and the warmth of summer. We embrace it until it arrives in all it’s glory...driving us again into our comfy homes; this time not in front of our cozy fireplaces, but in front of our refreshing air conditioners, where we reduce our body temperatures from the blistering mid-summer heat which frequently tops the one hundred degree mark with a relative humidity approaching eighty to one hundred percent some days. This is grueling, dangerous conditions for old farts such as me. That heat can kill an unsuspecting individual which is over doing it with chores or physically demanding projects. One can become dehydrated quickly during such times of hot and humid conditions, throwing you into heat exhaustion and possibly putting you into a heat stroke. It is very easy to succumb to such conditions before help can arrive and if you are alone, you can pass out and die undetected.
Many people enjoy alcoholic beverages as they work around the house in the summer time. This is a really bad combination if you are working hard, sweating and expending energy doing things better left for cooler days. Alcohol will dehydrate you even more and actually faster in these conditions. Water is the safest thing to drink which will replace lost fluids during the hot summer months as you sit in the shade to rehydrate. Leave these days to the young pups and stay in the shade until the heat passes. You’ll live to become a year older if you do not stray from this suggestion...
Today will not be a problem....for it is only forty-four degrees and we just went to the breast of the dam to repair the winter damage incurred by the melting ice and high water. As usual, the beaver built the dam and then left to travel further upstream, leaving us to manage and repair the dam if we want to maintain the water level in the Pupskill lake for our ducks. Well, it serves the beavers right...... because when the moved upstream to the bigger lake, leaving us to mend and repair their work...the landowner up there agreed to a request by a hunter to trap the beavers off of his land. Now they are all gone. Had they stayed in our lake, they would have been protected for life and would still be living and thriving. Alas...they are gone and we are stuck with maintaining the breast of the dam forever...or until more beavers decide to come upstream from somewhere down the hollow.
Below is a few pictures of the dam....how we repaired it and how well it is holding the water back. We will need to reinforce it better in the near future by gathering large stone and placing them on the downstream side of the dam and then adding dirt and gravel to the stones to keep them in place. We will lay flat stone for a raceway below the overflow section to eliminate erosion of the stone, dirt and gravel. These stone dirt and gravel on either side of the raceway will support the entire dam to eliminate future ice damage. The ice should actually be able to flow out over the top of the dam without damaging it if the back side is re-enforced and built up to keep the ice from pushing it out of the way. Right now, there is nothing to support the dam against the pressure of the water, let alone a thick ice covering and high water during the spring thaw. Once we’re finished with it, it should withstand everything dealing with ice, high water or both!
Anyway, below are a bunch of pictures from the dam and around the farm. Click on any one of them and it will open a slide show program for your delight!
|Our Royal Palm Turkeys|
|The repaired beaver dam|
|We still need to re-inforce the downstream side of the dam|
|We need to re-inforce the lower side with large rock, gravel and dirt.|
|This side needs more rock and dirt to seal leaks off|
|It has raised the water level a full eight inches to the overflow in center.|
|The ducks are enjoying the day with renewed interest in the pond again.|
|Little ducky duddle...went wading in a puddle...|
|Two beautiful young ladies.....|
|All the guys enjoying life|
|What a beautiful Strutt you have young man......|
|This is our Doodles...a wild Canadian goose...living free and staying in the bunny brothel each and every night...|
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