Monthly Archives: September 2013

Looks Like…Snow?

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I went to let the dog out this morning and thought I was seeing snow; that early winter wet snow that falls in big clumps. These weeds are covering the hill behind the house and, in the almost-dark of early morning, my nearsighted eyes and pre-coffee brain said “snow.”

Bob wanted to go up there with the weed-eater, but I talked him out of it; it looks wild, and I like that. Besides, there are always birds back there looking for seeds and when the weeds flower, there are honeybees and butterflies. By early afternoon today, the honeybee work crew was out harvesting, along with several eastern carpenter bees:

Honeybee

Honeybee

Eastern Carpenter Bee

Eastern Carpenter Bee

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Filed under Department of Parks & Conservation

The New Animal Shelter

The new Transylvania County animal shelter

The new Transylvania County animal shelter

At first, there was only a sign, “Future Home of Transylvania County Animal Shelter,” on a small piece of land about a mile and a half from my house, near Our Country Store (which sells cigarettes, energy drinks, dog food, vice-grips, garden sheds, cattle feed, fencing and rents U-Hauls – i.e. out here in the sticks). Now it’s a completed building almost fully populated with cats and dogs that people didn’t want anymore.

It’s been open a few weeks now, but I’ve put off a visit because animal shelters are so depressing. We stopped in yesterday and it was depressing; I had to remind myself that these critters have a better chance of being adopted than all the strays running loose.

It’s actually a very nice shelter; it has much more space for each animal than most shelters. The dogs each have a raised bed and a door to an outdoor pen and the cats have little two-room condos: one room for a bed, food and water and the other for the litter box.

Two hopeful dogs at the Transylvania County Animal Shelter

Two hopeful dogs at the Transylvania County Animal Shelter

The dogs' outdoor pens at the Transylvania County Animal Shelter

The dogs’ outdoor pens at the Transylvania County Animal Shelter

The cat room at the Transylvania County Animal Shelter

The cat room at the Transylvania County Animal Shelter

There are closed rooms where prospective pet owners can get acquainted with potential adoptees:

"Take me home with you!"

“Take me home with you!”

Or you can get a leash and some dog biscuits and take a little walk with your new friend in the fenced walking area:

"OK.  I'm sitting.  Now give me that other biscuit!"

“OK. I’m sitting. Now give me that other biscuit!”

The lobby and hallways are decorated with donated local artwork:

Lobby of the Transylvania County Animal Shelter

Lobby of the Transylvania County Animal Shelter

Dog sculpture at the Transylvania County Animal Shelter

Dog sculpture at the Transylvania County Animal Shelter

…but it still looks like a jail.

"Pick me!  Pick ME!"

“Pick me! Pick ME!”

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Late Summer on the Blue Ridge

Late Summer on the Blue Ridge Parkway

Late Summer on the Blue Ridge Parkway

We’re only about 20 miles from the southernmost access point of the Blue Ridge Parkway at Beech Gap so we decided to drive up yesterday afternoon to see if the trees were turning yet. It’s still very green, even at the high point at Richland Balsam.

There are a few colorful signs that autumn is on the way: the bright yellow of goldenrod and an occasional splash of the red berry clusters on the mountain ash.

Berry Clusters on Mountain Ash, Blue Ridge Parkway

Berry Clusters on Mountain Ash, Blue Ridge Parkway

The cooler weather has slowed the butterflies and bees. Claire got several photos of spicebush swallowtails, a tiger swallowtail and a bee just by lurking near some wildflowers and goldenrod for a few minutes:

Spicebush swallowtail, Blue Ridge Parkway

Spicebush swallowtail, Blue Ridge Parkway

Tiger swallowtail, Blue Ridge Parkway

Tiger swallowtail, Blue Ridge Parkway

Bee on Goldenrod, Blue Ridge Parkway

Bee on Goldenrod, Blue Ridge Parkway

Spotted tussock moth caterpillar with a spicebush butterfly in the background

Spotted tussock moth caterpillar with a spicebush butterfly in the background

I think if we get a frost in the next two or three weeks and not much rain, we’ll have a colorful autumn starting around the first week of October.

A few rays of sunlight find their way through the clouds, Blue Ridge Parkway

A few rays of sunlight find their way through the clouds, Blue Ridge Parkway

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Incapacitated!

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A few weeks ago, my monitor started getting flaky: it would intermittently go black for a few seconds during boot or restart. The few seconds became a half a minute and then intermittent became every time and then, finally, it died for good.

Bob loaned me his laptop after seeing my hollow-eyed, addict-without-a-fix stare and I found a decently-priced Asus at Newegg with free shipping. A lot of outfits, when you use their free shipping, wait a few days before shipping so that you don’t get your stuff before “5 to 8 buisness days,” but Newegg shipped about an hour after I clicked “place order.” And they shipped UPS, which has been pretty reliable since the time I had to drive forty miles (each way) to Hendersonville to pick up a package because they couldn’t find my house. I wrote them a letter that included a lot of adjectives along with the precise GPS coordinates of my driveway.

So I settled in to wait a few days, maybe a week (“settled” is probably a bad word choice). Bob’s ThinkPad is so old it says IBM on it. That would be pre-2005. It was painfully slow, like when you hit a speed-zone after an hour or so doing 70. Mine isn’t brand new, but it’s a desktop gaming rig that can run non-3D stuff fast with one core tied behind it’s back. So, two days later, when I heard the crunch of gravel, I was waiting at the door of the UPS truck before the guy could get out.

This was the second monitor we had that failed and the symptoms were the same, so I did a few searches and found that this probably means that some things called capacitors failed. I took the thing apart and, sure enough, the ends of some of the capacitors, little cylindrical doohickeys, were kind of bulged out, indicating failure. A repair kit costs under $15, so I’m thinking of trying to fix it. It would be nice to have a spare monitor kicking around and it doesn’t look that difficult except for, maybe, the de-soldering and soldering parts. I watched a You-Tube video that shows a guy doing this in a couple of minutes. I’m still waffling; I’ve never soldered anything before but it looks like a procedure that requires at least three hands.

And what is a capacitor, anyway? Is it the part that is timed to fail a week after the warranty runs out?

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