June 17 – Flood fighting and dragonfly pictures

More flood news.
Tuesday I was all day in the Emergency Operations Center working the radio again.  One of my major accomplishments was obtaining some big truckloads of straw.  Otherwise, it’s facilitating communication between others and metaphorically putting out fires.  Stacey came in after work to answer phones.  We both left at midnight or so. 

Wednesday morning we woke to some great news.  The levy across the river had broken, flooding the tiny town of Meyer and a lot of farmland.  While that’s a shame, it takes pressure off of our levy.  Other levees have breached both upstream and downstream of our location, which helps us a lot.  The river dropped a foot or so over the morning.  We have made the national news on multiple outlets.  Our state reps have been around a lot, and the Governor visited today, coming in on a helicopter.  I called for medical help for a few volunteers.  We finished all sandbagging operations in the evening and sent almost everyone home.  Only the National Guard remained to patrol the levee and keep the riff-raff off of it. 

Here’s a neat shot of the firefighter gear stored temporarily in a hallway at Culver.  That’s Stacey’s Chaplain helmet in the foreground.  I think Culver’s PR person took this photo.

Thursday morning Al Roker was in Quincy and the mayor was on the Today Show being interviewed by Matt Lauer.  The Daily Show even had a fake interview from Quincy.  I reported to the EOC for radio duty again.  The river had fallen precipitously during the night.  This was good news, except that it raised alarming questions about why it had done so, as there had been no known levee breaks at the time.  The crest prediction had been lowered and delayed.  There wasn’t much to do with the radio or phones so I got some other work done on my computer.  I translated an abstract into Spanish and got my friend Carmen to proof it.  Stacey relieved me at 4.  I went home and took some pictures in the back yard.  Good thing–we had a nice thundershower afterward.  I took a nap, ate some leftover tacos, and played with my kayak accessories.  I installed an anchor trolley, but I don’t think it’s in its final form.

Yet another grey hairstreak.                                        Flies getting acquainted.

This moth looks like a lace doily.

I paid dearly for these photos, as Friday I broke out in chigger bites everywhere that elastic meets skin.  I went to my office for the first time in nearly a month.  I had volunteered to work a RAP, to register new students.  It was a fairly typical event, and I had no problem children.  I went to the pet store for mice and crickets to feed my children who have gone without for quite some time.  On my way out of town I stopped at the park on the bluff that overlooks the river.  It was an impressive sight. 

Flooded riverfront in Quincy, looking toward Quinsippi Island.

While we were in California I dug an old polaroid out of my Dad’s basement.  I think it’s my first pheasant, probably dating from 1978 or ’79.  What interests me more is the rare image of my ’71 Camaro in the background.  I still have that brown down vest you can see peeking out of my collar.  I wish I had the car instead.

Saturday I went out to Lowell’s.  He had had his own flood out there, and the evidence was all around.  It had rained so much that the lake came up several feet.  We fished a couple rounds of the lake.  I had some difficulty figuring out which lure was best, until they started hitting the blue and white spinner.  We loaded my truck with firewood and had lunch in town.  We went around the lake a couple more times, but my lucky spinner broke.  I found a similar one and modified it until it was nearly identical.  Lowell caught several bluegills, some bass and a crappie.  I caught about 17 bass, and we kept a dozen to fillet.  But first we went up to the catfish pond for a last cast.  On about my third cast a big fish hit.  After catching foot-long largemouths all day, this hawg was quite a treat.

It looked about 3.5 lb, but the scale said 2 lb 1 oz.                                   Cottonball clouds made a nice landscape of the lake.

Dragonflies were everywhere on this day, and I took advantage.  Here are just a few highlights.

The Jade Clubtail, a new addition to the virtual collection.                       Spangled skimmer–with a bite out of one wing.

Eastern Pondhawk.                                                              Eastern Amberwing.

Sunday I unloaded the firewood from the truck.  I need just a little more to complete the racks that will get us through next winter.  Unfortunately, the brush dump is currently under water.  A lot of water.  It’s on the wrong side of the levee.  I changed the oil on the Tracker, and recaulked the bathtub. 

Savannah has been lifeguarding a lot.  One of her friends asked what she used to get such a dark tan.  She should have said, “DNA.”  Instead, she said, “I’m half Portuguese.”  She worked really hard filling sand bags, and was a little disappointed when it was over.

Monday I worked the EOC radios again.  Not much was happening so I processed some images and watched a few episodes of “The Tick” live action series on Hulu.com.  At one point a Guardsman radioed in that there was a silver and black snake on the levee.  I said, “Longitudinal or lateral stripes?”  She said, “No stripes, black above, white below.”  I said, “It sounds like the northern water snake, Nerodia sipedon.  They’re not venomous but they bite like mad if you pick them up.”  That’s probably more than she wanted to know.  The highlight, though, was when I was driven along the entire levee in an ATV in the afternoon.  I had never seen many of the
se areas even when the water was down.  The places that were familiar were, well, deep underwater.  I saw some small seeps and boils.  Nothing to worry about.  The river has crested here and is falling slowly, but we won’t be at a safe level until Friday.

The brush dump lies to the left of the sign at center.  The road (Route  lies to its right.  This is the bridge over the ditch on the way to the lockhouse.

They say the current is at ~20 mph, up from its usual 2 mph.                 This black swallowtail was hitting flowers along the levee.

Tuesday Savannah and I went out to Lowell’s.  She drove the Tracker back home, while I took Lowell to Quincy in his Taurus.  He bought a Chrysler Sebring convertible, and I bought his Taurus.   The Tracker will become Savannah’s and the Taurus will be Stacey’s.  Musical cars.   When we got back we readied to go fishing, but it began to rain.  We watched TV a bit and went to town for lunch.  We went fishing on our return.  In one round of the lake Lowell caught 2 bass and a bluegill, while I caught 1 bass.  We got less than half way round again when it began to rain hard again.  We gave up.  When I got back to Canton, I got the Taurus insured and inspected.  Tomorrow, registration.

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