Thursday, August 31, 2017


when i got to site 21 there was a rake head without a handle.

i found a suitable deadfall branch and the ranger supplied me with two screws, and it was back in business.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

late to the party: 2017 eclipse

stories of the eclipse are SO last week, but i just got home from the campings and i'm showing you my pictures now.

i went to the viewing party at the deborah rawson library in jericho, which is one of vermont's fantatsic little libraries. i have talked often about rural libraries in particular and libraries in general, and it's still true that it's libraries that get you hooked up with the good stuff.

in this case the rawson hooked us up with eclipse viewing glasses, some other viewing gear, and jack st. louis, the president of the vermont astronomical society.

it was one of the loveliest parties i have been to in some time. astronomer guy brought a telescope he had rigged with a funnel and a piece of rear projection screen and it was cool to watch on that.

here's astronomer guy's telescope with projection screen.

and here he is with his telescope. he's goofing a little because he was stepping out of my frame and i asked him to stay in because a picture of a telescope is nice, but a picture of a guy with his telescope give it context.

here's a little pinhole projection i made.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

2017 venture vermont: Find a painted turtle & take a picture

i see turtles a lot, but not as often as i'd like and not as much since i started doing the venture challenge.

and more snappers than painted turtles, so i had sort of given up on finding one and having my camera handy, but then the other day i was paddling up into the moscow canoe access channel and there was this turtle basking on a log.

from the looks of all the turtle poop on the log, she basks there often, just not when i'm there to see it.

good to know.

Monday, August 28, 2017

let's get this show going.

ok, i am home for the time being from the campings.  it turns out five and a half weeks is about the time it takes for me to feel like i could go home a while and be happy staying there.

i still don't feel super ready to leave even then, like i want ONE more day.

interesting phenomenon, though. the longer i am out there the less i think of to say that doesn't sound like oh, look. fish.

it seems fully interesting at the time but does not make for good blog posts.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

2017 venture vermont: Weave a camp placemat or sit-upon.

i wasn't going to do this one, but i was doing knotweed abatement at my camsite and decided to make crafts with the knotweed, just because.

turns out it makes a sturdy weaving material, if not an easy one to work with.

Monday, August 21, 2017

2017 venture vermont: ID two different invasive species outside.

unless you just walked in ten minutes ago, you know i spend a lot of time on waterbury reservoir, which, sadly, is an infested body of water. it has a number of invasive infestations both aquatic and terrestrial and i have both done my research and have blessing of management to conduct my small invasive abatement programs, which boil down to whenever i am staying on a campsite that is near an infestation (sometimes i choose a site based on an infestation) i spend a little time each day pulling and properly disposing of the invasive.

the department of forests, parks and recreation recommends this site: vermont invasives

so here are the two invasives i work with most:

 this one is brittle naiad.

and this bad actor is japanese knotweed.

what these two have in common is that although they will prefer to flower and seed, they will be happy to propagate and can send out new shoots and roots from ANY NODE, so any part of a stem floating around is a potential new infestation.

when you pull it, you have to be careful not to leave stray pieces floating around (particularly important with the naiad) and you have to make sure to dispose of the plants properly. if you have time, it's as easy as leaving the plants in a hostile environment until they are dry and dead. naiad simply needs to be pulled out on land where it can't grow and left somewhere it won't blow back into the water.

knotweed will be happy to grow in water or on land so any part you cut needs to be left in the sun and turned regularly until it turns brown and then you can drop it anywhere.

break up the root ball as much as you can and maybe hang it up in a tree to be sure.

knotweed are versatile and sneaky.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

i have not died.

i'm just, you know, camping.

later there will be pictures.

i promise.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

bring in the crops

i have berry bushes outside my house. they arrived by way of neglect and they fit in with my natural state of neglect landscaping.

my neighbors can have flowers and junk. i have a half dozen delicious raspberries.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

relaxation grade: advanced

i think i told you that mb got me one o' them inflatable sofas last year for my birthday.

here i am lounging on it on the rock beach of site 13.

why, yes. it is a warm day. this is my bathing suit, because i sunburn through clothes.

this is the view from my inflatable sofa.

Friday, August 11, 2017

flask gets judgy: gas station

dear those people at the gas station,

i think you perceived that i had seen you and disapproved somehow.

i did not disapprove of your motorcycle, which is bitchin'.

i did not disapprove of your tats. those are on your skin and your business.

i did not disapprove of your badass swagger. more power to you.

why i judged you and found you wanting was YOU WERE SMOKING AT THE GAS PUMP. granted, most times at the gas pump the accumulated fumed do not coalesce into a ball of flame, but if they're going to do so, someone smoking that close to the working nozzle is a good way for that to happen, especially on a hot day.

don't be an asshat.

love, flask

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Wednesday, August 09, 2017

2017 venture vermont: Learn a new method for collecting water outside or making it safe to drink

i decided to make a solar still.

in principle i have always known how to do this but never tried it.

in principle you can use this method to purify or collect water, depending on how you set it up.

you need two containers and a plastic sheet, and a way to fasten the plastic sheet around your container. your inner container should be suspended or propped up about the water level.

if you are collecting rather than purifying, your outer container is a hole you have dug into the ground deep enough so that there is some moisture.

your plastic sheet should sag over your collection container so that condensation from the hole (or from your water that needs purifying) drips down to be collected.

since i usually have no shortage of water, i decided to set myself up with a purifying version, which also saves me the trouble of digging a hole.

 here's my setup. the materials are all things i typically have with me outside.

well, the rock is just a rock.

but a pretty heart-shaped one.

my collection jar is suspended under the low point with a shoelace.

i set it up and let it run for four days.
this is how much purified water i got.

i think what i learned is that the surface area of my evaporation needs to be much larger in relation to the collector, and that to make this work your really need warm sunny days.

Tuesday, August 08, 2017

critter baffle

i kept seeing things like this in shelters along trails, but was having trouble parsing what they were for.

apparently it's some kind of critter baffle. you maybe hang your food from there and it keeps the mice and squirrels out. won't help you against bear, but presumably your other food is hanging ten feet in the air between two trees.

Sunday, August 06, 2017

quiet, maybe

guys, it's not that i have nothing to say.

oh, wait. maybe i don't actually have anything to say.

i dunno.

i left the house to go camping three weeks ago and only occasionally show up at my desk. it seems like a lot of trouble to assemble pictures.

and thoughts seem to drain right out of my head.

so maybe i'll write.

maybe i won't.

it's very green out there, though.

Saturday, August 05, 2017

flooding at waterbury center state park

about a month ago while i was staying on remote site 2 there was some rain. a LOT of rain.

like four feet of water rise in a day rain.

i went over to waterbury center state park in my boat and took some pictures.

Friday, August 04, 2017

2017 vermont venture: Cook a meal over a campfire

you knew this was coming.

i told you i don't cook on a fire all that often, but when i do, i do.

so last weekend i made this meal:

it looks less fancy than it is: it is roasted eggplant mixed up with hummus and cider vinegar to make a thing not entirely unlike baba ganoush, a perfectly baked potato, stuffed mushroom caps, ans roasted sweet corn.


Thursday, August 03, 2017

2017 venture vermont: Start a fire with just one match. Bonus: use no matches

when i'm summer camping i don't make many fires. it takes a lot of firewood to cook potatoes, and i'm not keen on hanging about the fire when i could be inside by comfy bug net. plus i don't like to smell of smoke.

but if i have company, i'm happy to roll out the stops and make a fire and cook food (yes, you will hear about that later) because what seems like a waste of resources for one person making one meal seems reasonable as part of a larger entertainment.

so barb was out at the site last weekend and i made some food, but first i had to start a fire and my preferred way is with spark. i can DO it with a match, but i like using spark.

because i'm all fancy.

and it's good to stay in practice.

regrettably in this video it doesn't go up in one stroke the way i like, and i'm blaming it on breezy afternoon, shaky hands, and bad hand position.


Wednesday, August 02, 2017

2017 venture vermont: Climb a fire tower

it was a thing i didn't do much, because hurty things.

but after i started playing ingress this year for fun and fitness, (join the BLUE team, boys and girls!) i started thinking "well, maybe i CAN do some of those firetower hikes."

plus venture challenge.

so this year so far i have been in the firetowers on mount elmore and on belvidere mountain.

others may follow.

me on the belvidere tower

same clown, elmore firetower

Tuesday, August 01, 2017

things you're probably doing wrong: office

this woman is editing a contract. if your working space does not look like this, you are doing something wrong.


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