Tuesday, August 30, 2011

power recovery after Irene..

I'm not power company person or electrician. This is observation of those in the demanding and dangerous trade of maintaining the power grid.

The power companies have a good triage system and it's time proven. Fix the biggest failures and work your way down the list till you have only the few that have had the wires ripped off the house and need an electrician. Its and exponential decay to near zero. The last 1000 will take much more time to get fixed than the first 100,000. I've been watching them and they are tired and have been hustling. Still its about equipment and bodies as often a few people are needed to handle some problems and other require whole crews and specialized gear. It's fairly amazing that the industry has evolved that guys from Wisconsin, Vermont and the like can roll in with trucks and bodies and go to work effectively and safely.

The actual damage repair is interesting. They find a break or blown interrupter and the first thing they do is follow the line for other damage. The initial information comes from police looking for downed wires or poles and other trained eyes as well as phone reports of outages. If the damage is a side road they will break the link to that and then keep searching. If they have cleared all the faults they go back and power up the section and work their way down the line to the shut off sections. Sometimes like our area they have to power the section down to work on the fault before they can bring it all up safely. In our case the top line is 7.8KV and hacking tree limbs near that is very unsafe. To do that the lineman has to go to the source point and open the interrupters (fuses or pole mounted switch) and safe the line by installing a big fat jumper to ground in case someone else powers it due to improperly installed generator, other line faults or some lineman coming down to help and closing the switch. Once the line is safe the fault can be dealt with in our case a tree limb on the wire acting like a short circuit. Once that mess was cleared the lineman has to move back the cutoff point, remove the safety and restore (close) the interrupter. If all goes well the lights work. Repeat until relieved or too tired to be safe.

That said I'm watching Katy's kid, TS Katia now. I'm not putting the generator, cables, aux power sources, or other tools and gear away just yet! I will refill the gas can.

Be prepared, prepare before the first hint of trouble, and keep your power dry.


Saturday, August 13, 2011

Trap Line

a shot at a Flash Fiction challenge.. find it here.. terribleminds.com

Trap Line

Saturday, 2 PM and a fine if not warm summer day.

I was down at the Rod and Gun for our weekly round of Trap. Had my Ithica M37 12ga and a big bag of number 7 trap loads, my ammo bag, a shell bag for the brass and a vest.

Yep, dressed and ready.

Always struck me odd that out here in the boonies we enjoyed the civilised sport of trap shooting. We've been doing it so long it's just what we do every Saturday afternoon. Beats a day of farming or ranching. Some say its recoil therapy.

We are a mixed group. We at most have in common that we farm or ranch and the trap shoot. Almost twenty years shooting trap and talk. On occasion we all go for a bird hunt or maybe a feral pig hunt. But Saturdays we are always at the club and we'll shoot if its' not raining or snow. I guess we are all hard core gunnies. We have that common line of farm tools, ranch tools and guns as part and parcel of both.

The other four shooters on the trap line were outfitted like me more or less.

Angie sprayed on jeans and her sharp tight vest her shooter is the Mossberg pump. Always liked the mossie. Shes a horse person and does the show riding thing.

Mack with the fancy engraved over under and looking like an Outers catalog. He was serious about his shooting and believe after years of it that he deserved a proper trap gun. His other toys were just as cool.

Thats a fine Benelli. He let me shoot a round with it. I'm in lust with a shotgun.

Stu had an old Remington pump that shot well but looked like it had been his dads and was short on finish and bluing but no rust. He was more for rifles but he claimed this was this something he did beacuse.

He was never specific on because of what. His farm was hard hit by floods last year. I brought a box of reloads for him.

I always joked I'd borrow his gun and refinish it. He'd laugh and say it would be a terrible thing bein too purty to shoot then.

Liana was older than the rest of us and always with the farmers jeans, a belt and two old cloth bags for the shot and brass. She was one of the real old timers of the area. The farm was a family farm going back to the indians. As usual her Stevens single was in the bag. I've seen her shoot doubles with that. I've noticed that her shooting position was by far the most refined and natural. She never missed, least in my memory. When we went for game or varmint shoots the rifle was a Remington bolt action a 30-06 and she was very good with that too.

We'd get there early and set the trap machine and talk. Usually about the farms, the going on in town or guns. This week it was the varmits and guns. Everyone has em, those pesky coyotes, racoons, chucks and the feral pigs. There's plenty to go 'round. Too much so this year. Angie asked if we all might get to her place for a chuck hunt. They were getting to be too many again. I thought that would be fun to drag out the 06 for that. Stu offered that an AK might be better there's so many. Mack suggested we bring what suits us and suggested the fifty he splurged on. We all agreed we'd put into the ammo pot to shoot the MaDuce at chucks. We had a good laugh and started waving twenties for ammo.

Stu started complaining about the city folk wandering about sometimes trespassing mostly small stuff. Mack noted they were worse this year too. I'd had my share of them. I usually had some of them too. Angie and Liana were not quiet on that problem either. We agreed the economy was making the two legged coyotes more wide ranging.

Up on the Trap line we all take places, load, yell PULL, and shoot. On a good day I hit every one.

What makes it fun is usually Mack gets the sneezes, often they come in threes, the microphone for the trap launcher doesn't know the difference and usually after the first sneeze we have a free for all of shooting the clay birds. Why waste the targets. Then we settle down for the round. Load, pull, shoot and a kill. After the round we call the day go back in the club have a coffee and talk. Often the rare miss comes up but we're still on varmints.

Angie mentions two legged varmints tried to break into her place. We've all had that. Usually they get scared away. Angie mentioned she fired off a few near the barn but they got away. Occasionally we have a break in or other theft in the area and someone gets caught or shot for that. The sheriff is usually short enough on men and far enough away that the call is usualy answered maybe an hour later.

I've taken a shot at one ow two. Actually caught one once, had to turn him over to the sheriff. If I had my way he'd have done thirty days working and sleeping in the barn.

Liana, said the trespassers were over her place. She didn't say much but I did notice she opened two boxes because the one box was one shot short.

I thought I heard her say, it's best to shoot, shovel and shut up.