Monday, December 29, 2014

Xmas Come And Gone.

      I've been too busy or too lazy to post for a couple weeks you may have noticed. Most everything is back in order after that last storm we had. I'm trying hard not to write about my power system again, too many power system related posts lately so I'm not going to carry on about it now.
I'm sure it gets old to some out there quickly.
Been nice mild days right up until the 25th.

   The creeks have gone down to their seasonal normal and the salmon have moved up the channel to spawn in the creek out front. There wasn't a lot of them, maybe a half dozen or so out there every day.  Several eagles lurked about in the trees overhead keeping and eye on the run, and the spawned out fish eventually disappear one by one.

   The little guest cabins been busy over the holidays, and booked right up until next year sometime.
Jean Wu and her outfit stayed over Christmas. We got a fire going for them the first night over at the big fire pit, it was a crisp, clear night and stars filled the sky. They hiked all around and back and forth to the hot spring. I pointed out the salmon in the creek out front and they were all much impressed. I took the guys in for a tour of my man cave. Young Vincent stood looking up at my drums in there, all shiny and chrome, with big speakers on either side, and colored spot-lights from above. "Coool" he said slowly, nodding his little head, and you could just tell what he was thinking.
 And on the final night it snowed a  little bit for them, just to complete their holiday in the mountains.
Come back soon folks!

   I recall I spent most of Christmas Day in the man cave working on my pickup, because I was tired of posting about my power system. I crawled under the lodge to pull some wires around and get the cabin on another circuit, and a few projects around, and..., and I built a new intake screen for the power system.! I finally managed to get hold of most of what I needed to replace the intake screen that got blown out in the storm. I had patched the pipe up there together and running the intake wide open so I was keen to get a screen on the end once more before the cold weather hit or the creek came up again.

The fabricated screen frame and held together with stainless wire.
This is not my normal screen design, I'm trying out some new mesh, made from plastic rather than the metal type I have always used in the past. That worked out to 2000 square inches of screening area to feed an 8 inch pipe 250-300 gallons a minute. It is sure nicer to work with and held on there with about 200 little zip-ties. The old metal screen was hard to cut, and of course little poky ends everywhere and I always got all scratched up building it, scratched up and poked hiking into the dam with it, then poking holes in my rubber gloves installing it, pretty much negating any advantage to bringing rubber gloves along.
I packed my new user friendly screen up the mountain and hiked it into the intake dam.
I snapped this shot and got a long handled pole onto each end on the lifting hooks, and dropped it in the water then worked it onto the end of the penstock. There is red flagging tied onto the lifting hooks to make them easier to find when taking it off. I'm slowly learning these little tricks to make my miserable life a little easier. There is cold weather happening in the next bit, it will be interesting to see how the plastic mesh deals with the frazzle ice. But that's all I'm going to say about that.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

One Year + Counting

    I noticed the date earlier today when I got up, started the backup genset and looked to see whats going on in the world. December 13, hmm, it kind of rung a bell...but it didn't. Valentine's Day! OH SH*T! No wait, that wasn't it.  I couldn't come up with any pending birthdays, but that's not too unusual.  Of course, it was my dog's birthday! Good Old Fang has been gone over 20 years now, but you know how it is. I thought back when she got me as a pup just before one long ago Christmas, ...but no, she would have been several weeks old by this time.
Friday The 13th maybe?, that didn't work out either but I recalled using that in a post I did at the end of last year. And it came to me. This day a year ago I was on day one of a doctor ordered vacation in one of Vancouver's finer hospitals. The post was called lamely enough, It Only Hurts When I laugh. 
   I can't says I recall much of the first day of my little expense paid vacation, at least after that tricky anesthesiologist got her hands on me. My last thought was, "It doesn't work on me! It doesn't work on me! I refuse to succumb!"  But succumb I did. 
   Next thing I hear a far away voice calling me by name, and telling me its time to wake up. If you have ever been there, after major surgery in that deep dark place, you will know despite what they say, its not quite time to wake up. But wake you up they do.  After the circuits began to warm up I opened one eye a little to peek around and see if I was in the morgue.
"Are you wondering where you are?" the nurse asked pleasantly. I bet she gets asked that one lots. 
"You are in Lions Gate hospital", I can still hear her say, "'ve had surgery".
Well that didn't clear things up a whole lot, because I felt like I had been thrown out a third story window, rolled down an escalator the wrong way, then used as a target for a knife throwing demonstration, by a guy with bad aim.
I lay there, half witted, and cross-eyed, attempting to comprehend my surroundings.
"Looks like your getting back to normal!" she says cheerfully, then walks off.
I wish I could have shared in her optimism at the time.
   So I was laying there, held immobile by heavy, hot blankets and looking around. Over across the room I can see a clock above a doorway. I'm pretty sure I didn't have my glasses on, I probably didn't know I needed them, but I'm looking at this clock and see the big hand on the 12 and the little hand on the 3. "9 o'clock?, those dumb bastards" I thought to myself, they knock me out at 7 and wake me up at 9! The procedure was supposed to take most of the day, and figured they must have lost interest or something, or gone on to something more important. I was going to bring it up with the nurse when she came around again. And like a half witted cross-eyed fool I did, she assured me that it indeed read 3 o'clock, and not 9 o'clock.
Now I was really confused, but mercifully, drifted off to sleep. 
   That was December 13, one year ago. And today, I look and feel better than I have for years. I thought the day might be worthy of lighting a candle, an anniversary of sorts, and the first of many, I hope. So thanks to Dr. Hoag and his henchmen, and herbal supplements, here's to being a one year cancer survivor.



Weather System Passed

   It quit raining finally, and the system seems to have moved on. 
Still running on generator power, and will be for some time yet, I'm antsy for the road to open so I can get pipe to repair my system. My unexpected guests that got marooned out here are quite enjoying the stay in the guest cabin, we've been sending over food hampers as they only came out prepared for a day trip.
The creeks and river have just started to go down, however slowly.

A pile of wood from the slide hung up on the bar out front, I'll be looking at that until the Spring floods.

 The Falls, below where I gather water for the power system, but not right now of course.
A section of my busted up intake, this started off at the top of the falls as an 8' section.

Helicopters still going over shuttling food around to the small remote communities.

The little creek by the hot spring is a little high but no bridges floated off this time.
One outfit camped out there until the road opens.

Quite mild though, mild enough to take lunch on the front deck.

I had to go rescue a fella tonight who got into a hole down the road aways, with a little chain, my winch, and a few wet feet we managed to get him out, just barely.
Never a dull moment around here.
The road crew is working their way down, repairing the washouts and missing bridges, they are still quite aways off, and difficult to say how long it might take.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Nasty Weather

   The past couple weeks have kept me busy. It rained hard the first part of December then turned cold, raising hell with the intake screen up the mountain.

The intake screen for the power system is clogged up down there somewhere. I managed to get water flowing again and was only down for a few hours.

Then it warmed right up, and began to rain in almost biblical proportions. 
It kept on raining, and the creeks began to rise.

 The creek out front here began to flow chocolate brown so I knew sooner or later the intake screen would get clogged up with sticks and bark and junk being washed downstream. Which it did.

 The main river came up fast shortly after, there was a slide upstream and the river was full of debris going by.

Up at the intake pond my poor screen never survived the night.
It got torn off and thrown out of the pond, hanging up in some trees so I was able to bring it home to rebuild. A long section of pipe and custom made elbow is missing, it would have been smashed to bits down the falls.
Where the creek crosses the road out back it clogged up the culverts and washed half the road bed away.
 There were several helicopters going over today checking the roads and hydro towers, and flying food out to the small first nation communities that are presently on evacuation alert. Someone came around and did a head count of everyone in the valley last night, including here and several folks stranded at the hot spring. A young couple was out on a day trip and wound up on the wrong side of the washout yesterday, they ended up finding their way here and staying in the guest cabin until the roads are repaired. By the sounds of things it may take until Saturday before access to town is established from here, and theres still several river crossings and washed out areas from here down on both sides of the valley. I need parts to repair the intake, so until I can get to town the pelton-wheel is down and depending on the spiffy backup generator as described in a previous post for power, for a situation just like this.
Its started raining again, I'm sure there will be a part two for this post.