June 14, 2012 – walkways, stopped pump, and summer fires

Thursday, June 14

Figure 3. Darcy waiting on the dredge while I went ashore.

Figure 3. Darcy waiting on the dredge while I went ashore.

At 7:15, Darcy and I headed over to the dredge to get it started. Timmy would be occupied all morning, supervising a structure being put in on Vermilion property.

I dropped Darcy at the dredge, then went ashore to take a quick trip over to the pond for pictures. The water level was at -2” ML (2 inches below marsh level). While on shore, I picked up a few pieces of plywood to use as decking on the dredge.

I returned to the dredge, arranged the plywood pieces and then started up the dredge. I lowered the pump into the canal, increased the rpm, and engaged the pump. I was rather surprised and disappointed when nothing happened. Normally, the floats on the dredge hose buck when the pump starts pumping. I tried it again. Nothing. Watching the gages, I pushed the lever and watched the pressure gage max out with the pump not even twitching. I shut it down, pulled the pump back onto the deck, and used the winch to lean it over and lay it down. I got out my big flashlight and looked up into the impellers to see if anything was stuck in the pump that I had not been able to feel, but saw nothing. I tried to turn the blades, and that didn’t work either. Drat.

I called Timmy, knowing that he could not come to help, but was hoping he could tell me what to try next. He had no new suggestions and wouldn’t be able to do anything until late this afternoon.

At 8:30, John Cross from LSU arrived with two grad student volunteers to work on the walkway. With nothing else we could do at the moment, Darcy and I went ashore to watch their walkway construction. John gave me Javeler’s phone number, and I left a message for Les Cross about our pump situation. While waiting for a response, Darcy and I helped haul lumber.

Figure 4. John Cross awaiting lumber to extend the walkway.

Figure 4. John Cross awaiting lumber to extend the walkway.

Figure 5. Darcy helping with a 2x12 as John and Matt worked on the walkway.

Figure 5. Darcy helping with a 2x12 as John and Matt worked on the walkway.

After talking to Les who said he will send someone out, Darcy and I went back to the dredge to shut everything down and headed back to camp with thunderstorms looming. We crossed paths with Timmy again as he was on his way back to town for a doctor’s appointment.

Figure 6. Two of our backyard deer.

Figure 6. Two of our backyard deer.

Around noon, the LSU group showed up under the boatshed as it started drizzling, and they came inside to eat lunch and get out of the weather. The thunderstorm was intense but didn’t last too long. Lightening flashed from every direction. The resident deer showed up and wandered close to camp where everyone could get a good look. When the weather moved out around 2:30, so did the LSU group.

Figure 7. Marsh fire started by lightening south of Christian Marsh.

For supper tonight, I had planned to make quiche with the crab meat I had picked yesterday, but wanted a few shrimp to add to it. I hopped in the Avocet, but as I backed out of the boatshed, I noticed smoke rising from the Christian Marsh direction. I changed directions and headed south to find the fire, and determined that it was southwest of the Christian Marsh terraces. Another marsh fire resulting from summer lightening.

As I was heading back to the house, I met Timmy coming from the other direction. I had texted him when I noticed the smoke and he was just getting back from town. We parked my boat on the side of the canal and I climbed aboard the Goose to look over the Christian Marsh fire and to go check out a totally different fire that I had not noticed. This one was to the southeast, so we tied up at the “pig trap” and Timmy determined it wasn’t much of a threat. While there, we checked on the nighthawk nest in the grass and discovered a nestling. The adults were frantically trying to draw us away by feigning injury, so we didn’t stay very long.

Figure 8. Nervous nighthawk parent (left) and lone chick in its grass "no-nest" (right).

Figure 8. Nervous nighthawk parent (left) and lone chick in its grass "no-nest" (right).

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