Disaster Strikes

Let me first warn you that if chicken disasters make you queasy then maybe you should just pass over this post.

Three nights ago we were hit by the edges of a tropical storm which dumped about 4 inches of rain on the wReggie compound.

I went out in the morning to see my exterior chicken coop crushed under the weight of a tarp loaded with water. The tubular bars on the chain link collapsed like match sticks and the whole coop pulled away from the newly expanded Duke Hunnicutt Poultry Institute. The whole thing reminded me of when the Dallas Cowboys practice field went down in a storm last year.

Fortunately all chickens were accounted for and Gigi and I loaded them in their winter indoor coop until repairs are made.

I then tried to contact Federal, State, and local authorities and apply for aid.

Seeing that no aid was coming we commissioned our original designer and builder and he went into action.

First the coop fencing was braced back up, and then the exterior was wall was completed with shakes and the two were joined once again.

Now the new exterior roof is being constructed.

Today for the first time we used out state of the art turd management system and if worked rather effectively. The trays were removed and hosed out to reveal a clean floor.

Thankfully order is returning to the chicken coop and egg production was never an issue.


One of Mt Favorite Places

Same spot that inspired the top banner of this blog. There is a great little bar there that serves great pizza and there is fantastic diving and snorkeling here too. And there are cigarette trees and big lakes of whiskey.


Stoned Again

Last night brought torrents of rain..so much that the outdoor portion of the chicken coop collapsed under the water weight acuminated on the tarp.

All the chickens were okay and I moved them from ankle deep mud to their indoor quarters for a while until the outside is repaired.

Last night also brought kidney stone pain abruptly at 3 AM.

Today I have been hanging at home just in case I needed to go to the ER and drinking quarts of cranberry juice.

A friend suggested a home remedy that is a can of asparagus ground to a mush followed by a two liter coke chaser. I tried it. Three hours later rather uneventfully the pain has subsided.

I decide to wonder from my sofa to check on the chickens and they seem to be having the time of their life in their winter coop. Before this incident they only went in the coop to lay eggs.

The rebuild of the chicken coop will be a roof capable of bearing a load.

And finally…why does one have to force down two liters of coke when two liters of beer would flow easily?

Fall

Take a peek here. Isn't the internet great? Now just sit back and watch the fall colors evolve before you eyes.

Cheap Heat is the New AC

The southern United States didn’t start to prosper until the 1950’s and the advent of plentiful air conditioning. Laugh if you want but it is a fact.

According to the Wall Street Journal futurists are betting that plentiful and cheap natural gas will make Arctic cities the next boom area. They are talking about way up there too far beyond what we consider north.

The article cited Las Vegas as an example of a city built in an undesirable location and thrives because of AC and piped in water. Throw in an airport, a slot machine and Wayne Newton and you have the makings of a city.

I wouldn’t expect to see me living up there. I love the outdoors too much. And I watch Survivor Man and he nearly dies every time they toss him in the Arctic. He thrives in the tropics eating coconuts and fish.

Mental Revenge

On a day like today when I have nothing but phone and desk work to I will dress extremely casual at the office. This means I am on an elevator in cargo shorts, a Hawaiian shirt and flip flops with others in suits looking at me as if I am a roach. You can tell they feel superior to me. They feel even more superior when they see me crawl out of a vintage Wrangler Jeep.

I know what most of them do for a living and I make more money or as much as most of them. This is how they measure success.

This is sweet mental revenge.

Don't get me wrong...I keep a suit when I need to navigate their world like a keep a wet suit for cold water.

I Want This Dry Suit

I want this dry suit at $599.95. If ya’ll will pay half, I’ll match it and pay the 8% local sales tax.

I will bring you a lobster too if I catch one.

PayPal only please. reggie@reghunnicutt.com







Annual “I Hate Winter Message”

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Two Things

When I wake up, rather than actually sticking my head out the door I prefer to check the weather on the computer and imagine what it actually feels like outside.

Irish folk dancing and hillbilly clogging embarrass me as a race. Why do white people dance that way?

Fish and Chicken

Something I have noticed between fresh and salt water diving is that fresh water fish are more curious about my presence than salt water fish.

Last Saturday night I had a small bass hang with me for about 30 minutes. He would stay to my left side and would always be with an arms length.

He followed me from 40 feet in the cold water to the shallows and warm water.

In chicken news I tried to film a hen in a receptive posture but none were accepting my rooster advances this morning.

video

Sunday

Yesterday was game day and like all early season games we sucked and it was very hot. The tailgating was fun.

I prepped by drinking plenty of liquids and much fewer beers. Still by 4th quarter I was feeling lightheaded and decided to bail out of the sun.

A repeated ice cold towel dipped in the cooler and wrapped on my head brought welcome relief.

Dive 25

I got off an unplanned quarry dive last night. The visibility was maybe 5 feet and the water was around 50 degrees below 27 feet.

Three of us were searching for a lost dive belt.

It was difficult to track each other even with the use of bright dive lights.

Total dive time to date 16 hours, 49 minutes.

Average depth 55.5 feet.

A Query

Why it that emotional outbursts caused a female organ is are considered excusable? People just give wide berth until the organ balances again.

Yet a testicle drive emotion is inexcusable?

Sexist? Double standard?

Lobster Tales

Ever since I saw those lobsters sashay by me in a rumba line my thoughts have turned to melted butter and steaming lobster tails.

And so I was looking at Divers Supply this morning and saw some handy lobster gloves when it occurred to me that I own some butchering gloves made of 78% stainless steel and enough polyester woven in to keep it together. It seems to me that these gloves would be superior to the off the shelf PVC lobster gloves.

Then I will need a snare, a bag and a gauge. The bag and gauge are extremely optimistic that I’ll actually catch a lobster. That should put me in the lobster bidness.

There are lobsters off our coast and they are huge but there is a limited season and even more limited opportunities to catch them.

I’ll be ready next trip down. I suppose I will spend time now mentally catching a few and checking local laws and size limits.

I’ll need to figure out how to measure them…it is something complicated like measuring their ear lobes.

Please feel free to share your personal lobster tales.

First Blog News Conference

Things have really changed around here. First my collection of three legged dogs has doubled. The delivery of my insulated Dickies is imminent. I am debating the concept of actually buying a snuggie. And I bought a Magic Jack yesterday and the darn thing works well.

I am dealing with an egg surge of epic proportions and must come to a long term conclusion. 10 to 11 eggs a day is a lot of eggs.

Plus the studios at Mental Vacation have been remodeled. According to modern education theory, if you spend more money on school buildings you produce smarter students. Assuredly you will see better content in this blog from the recent remodel.

In the past year we have installed new windows, replace carpet with fake hardwood flooring, complete wrapped the home in shake vinyl shingles, new garage door, new exterior lighting, repaired rot where is was found (we found a lot of rot), new chicken facility, a barn extension, and more to come before we button up for the winter.

There were a lot of things wrong with this house built in 1974.

This concludes my formal statement. I am willing to take a few questions from the floor.

Special Bonus Post - 25% More! Free Prize Inside


Look at the size of this one egg. They are double yoke eggs.

Stuff Going Down

I usually run around with a pocket bulging with change and I have change reservoirs stashed at work and home.

In St Croix there is no sales tax and most everything is rounded to the dollar. I came back last week with one single quarter.

A friend of mine is going to prison. He has pleaded guilty and is working out a sentencing deal. I just can’t believe anyone would do such things at the risk of prison to benefit financially.

My assistant is back albeit part time. A load is off me. She does all the shit that must be done and I hate to do.

Conditional Relationships

As a general rule I don’t like conditional relationships with one big exception and that would be marriage. Marriage has a set of conditions that I willingly accepted at the onset.

I became keenly aware of conditional relationships as a young adult in a competitive work environment.

Whenever I hit my production goals I would be lavished with perks and praise but if I fell short I was shunned. Supposedly this was to motivate me to receive phony praise and get my mind right and hit production goal. This conditional praise turned me off at the onset because it wasn’t genuine. I chose not to play the game. This may have been the roots of my mental vacation.

I recently had a relative by marriage ambush my wife down to the “f**K you” in retaliation for a rather benign comment she made in comparison to his retaliation. His conditions were not met without questions on a family matter and his behavior far out weighted the benefit of any pleasure derived from the relationship. This guy can apologize or kiss my ass for life.

I had a friend once since 1st grade and over the years the relationship became more and more conditional. It reached a point that 12 years ago I left him a message to call me please and just recently he returned the call with an apology and sincere effect to re-establish our friendship. There was just too much bullshit tied to the old friendship.

I have struck up a casual friendship recently through this blog with Micky-T and we know exactly where one potential rift lies. He is a screaming liberal and I am a dyed in the wool conservative and we have very different back grounds and vocations yet we are enjoying our new founds friendship. No conditions for now. I think we have agreed to not go to the mat on politics because it would only be destructive. We do fire shots over the bow but never press.

Just so I don’t come off as a complete phony I do have conditional relationships with a hand full of clients. Most of my clients are great sincere people but a handful of relationships are conditional and so far the payout in return exceeds the bullshit of the conditions. I am always on guard with these people.

The Weather Changeith

On the agenda this week my lovely assistant of 4 years will return in a part time role. She has been away on maternity leave for 2 months and she has been missed.

I have a dive scheduled Thursday afternoon at the quarry to try and explore the bottom with my dive buddy Bruce. We figure it is as warm as its ever going to be so we might as well give it a try.

I can’t hang with temperatures below 50 degrees very long even with a 5MM wet suit. Hopefully it will be in the balmy 50’s for a look around.

Haley continues to heal and improve although her good leg smells like the skin may not be healing as we had feared. Gigi will take her to the doctor today for a follow up.

The Jeep is out baby! This summer was too damn hot and wet to use it. Saturday I washed and de-molded the interior with some bleach. I’m driving it to work today.

Just a few minutes ago I ordered some insulated Dickies coveralls. I figured it you can’t beat winter then join it. I hope this will make my twice daily visit to the barn more tolerable in the winter. They’ll also be a good layer during cold football games.

Coffee?

What kind of coffee do I like? I like most any kind of coffee ground in the past year that when added to hot water and run through a paper filter turns in to a black acidic hot drink. Then I prefer sweet n low and most any kind of milk.

That is how picky I am.

My World

Yesterday Haley came home from the vet one day after her amputation. I swear this dog has not complained once.

The doctor that did it is new to us. We took her to the closest vet about a mile away ending a 20 year feud. We never could stand the old lady that runs the place and apparently she isn’t about to die and she treats nice now. So we may have a new vet close by that does horses and dogs.

This is a country vet for sure. Big fat cats decorate the place, horses graze in the front and one of the doctors always has a big chaw in the jaw. Our doctor told me Haley was buzzing big time then took an old illustrated medical book from the shelf and showed me how he removed the “ham”.

In the middle of the emergency on Thursday Gigi and I were in the lobby of this place when the doctor came to us from the emergency area and asked her name. We told him Haley and he asked how it was spelled. He said he likes to talk to his patients and call them by name.

In other news I have been tweaking the Pickled Greek Cam from Home with the local help of Michael. We set this up a year ago and did some adjustment while I was down last week. Call it my Hubble Mission if you will. It is used as a security cam and a fun came. The images are saved 48 hours on the computer and I have control from here.

Phrankie showed me in a post how to set up a scanner on my iPhone. Now I have a police and fire scanner for Charlotte and I set up a scanner for the Charlotte airport all on my phone. Thanks Phrankie! I am a complete redneck now.

The chickens are laying about 10 eggs per day now.

I'm Sorry Haley


For all the sheer joy and love my animals give me I know that at some point I will pay for this joy with grief and loss.

Right now I am beside myself. I unavoidably ran over Haley this morning heading out to work. The motion almost severed her leg.

She ran under the deck and I had to destroy chunks of deck to make access holes to rescue her.

We think she will be okay but will loose the leg. I am an emotional wreck. I know she is just a dog but she is my unconditional friend.

UPDATE: She is resting in recovery minus a leg and has a fantastic morphine buzz.

Last Dives

Yesterday the remains of Gaston came chugging through St Croix in the form of rain and rough surf.

Being the adventurous fellow that I am I decided I would do two boat dives on this last day before I had to pack it in.

The seas were rough but the ride was short. The dive was nice. I saw the biggest lobster ever, a nurse shark and explored a wreck.

On exit the weather had turned for the worse. I banged and bruised my shins and knees climbing the ladder.

Before the second dive we got briefed on what to do if the boat broke loose of the moor. We were told how to signal the boat and briefed on rescue. The captain was trying to talk us out of going.

None of us gave in and I staggered to the back of the boat and jumped in. We had a nice dive. Things are much better down under during bad weather.

After 45 minutes we surfaced to a calm sea. Whatever was left of Gaston had passed.

Tonight I will be home.

Labor Day

Me relaxing in the tidal pool yesterday.

Yesterday I woke up a bit stuffy….like I was getting a cold. I had two dives on the schedule to complete my advanced open water certification.

Both dives were from a boat. We suited up and headed to some dive wrecks. The visibility was poor for this area and the wrecks non-eventful. The clarity and wildlife were much more abundant on the Georgia dive I did in July.

The second dive was at the Swirling Reef of Death. On the descent my right ear began to hurt. I came back up the shallow water and tried to equalize. After several attempts it finally cleared but I could tell my system was at the dive limit for the day. Then my nose began to run. This is not fun in a mask, plus the fact that one needs clear nostrils to clear a mask of water. So I took on a bit of water and finished the dive.

After the dive we ate lunch and headed to Reef Jam a live outdoor concert fund raiser. By late afternoon I was exhausted, over sunned, well served with libation, so we headed back to the villa.

Puppies and Lobsters

Yesterdays dive was for fun. Cheryl my instructor picked me up early brandishing two lobster snares and two mesh bags.

We headed to Carambola Beach where she assured me that she knew that lobsters hide at 100 feet on the wall during the day. We poked and prodded and finally found the big daddy under the rock.

Has anyone ever told you how difficult it is to catch a lobster? It was like trying to snare a squirrel out of a bush. The lobster clearly had the advantage. Oh well it was fun.

I made arrangements to bring back two local puppies to be placed in the no kill shelter in Charlotte. This way they get adopted and live a better life in North Carolina.

Today I have two dives on the schedule.

Second Day

I got very lucky on this trip. We arrived right after hurricane Earl made a close pass. By the time we landed two more storms were headed our away. The next day when I woke up I could see that the storms had headed another way or dissipated.

Friday was an instructional dive day for me. Michael and I met up with Cheryl at Cane Bay. First on the agenda was a deep dive.

We went over our dive plans. While on shore Cheryl made us open a combination lock to test our thinking skills on shore vs 100 feet under water.

We entered from the shore and were soon kicking our way to a marker off shore. From there we descended, down a sandy slope through a coral valley and were instructed to land on a sandy ledge. I looked at my depth gauge and we were resting at 99 feet.

Here she tested us by handing off the lock and timing us. I did much better down there than I did on the surface.

We then moved off the ledge and on downward. From this vantage I could look up the sheer coral cliff or down into dark blue and blackness. My dive computer had me at 117 feet.

The second dive was navigational diving. We managed to get where we were going and had some time to play around afterwards.

The final dive was a night dive. I’ve got to tell you I was dreading this.

We suited up at dusk and jumped off the pier backwards. By now it was dark and we fired up our lights and descended.

The beam worked really well down there. The first thing we saw was literally a herd of 9 lobsters. Boy I wish I could have snagged those suckers. We moved on and saw several octopuses, fish, a moray ell, a star fish.

After about 30 minutes Cheryl had us cover our lights and our eyes quickly adjusted to the darkness. Then she moved her hand through the water and it lit up like green stars. Everywhere was bioluminescent organisms. There were thousands of green stars activated by the swipe of a hand or fin. It was amazing like I was in a dream. I forgot for a moment I was under a cruise ship pier in the dark 45 feet down.

There were several snags in this dive. I could feel my tank working loose but I ignored the problem until it actually fell out of the strap on shore. Second, fishermen on the pier started fishing and I actually got caught up in some line but freed myself. And lastly our shore point for our exit was rocky because all the sand had washed away form the last hurricane. It made exit difficult.

Back in the Sea

Yesterday I called Michael and suggested we do a shake down dive so he could test the comfort of the equipment I brought down. Plus it had been a while since he dove and I know practice is important in this hobby.

We headed out to Cane Bay around mid day. The water close to shore was kicked up a bit from the recent visit from Earl.

Michael and I suited up tank and all and began the awkward walk to the ocean. Walking 100 yards to the ocean with 70 to 80 pounds on ones back is taxing. It feels so good when one finally gets in the water and floats. It takes a big load off the body.

We swam on the surface, past the breakers and stirred up water. We decided to decent once we could see the visibility clear up and 30 feet below.

We had no real plan except not to exceed 60 feet and basically move along shore.

The water was fantastic. It was warm, very clear and there was no current at the bottom. We lazily worked our way toward the wall. Soon we were at 60 feet and below us was a white sandy slope that reminded me a ski resort in the mountains. We traveled along this slope and began to see clusters of giant sponges and outcroppings of coral. It always amazes me how a small coral outcropping (about the size of a car) can be such and oasis for fish.

We found a nice spot on the bottom and did some emergency breathing off by backup air so we would both be comfortable using it in an emergency situation.

After some time we decided to surface to get our bearings. We did our decompression stops and finally hit the surface to look around. From there we took bearings with our compass and dove again for the swim to shore.

It amazed me how accurate were with our compass.

Altogether, a very nice dive.