Tuesday, September 21, 2010


Last weekend I pulled over 100 burmuda turf plugs and replanted them in struggling areas of the lawn.

The white sand marks show where I pulled the healthy plugs.  The cones mark the path of my internet and phone line locations.

Washington DC
Morning low of 48, daytime high of 81

Last weekend I gained a lot of ground in my efforts to have one variety of healthy turfgrass in my lawn at home.  I pulled over 100 burmuda plugs from healthy, weedless, areas of the front lawn and replanted them 12" apart in areas where I had killed off undesirable signalgrass, crabgrass and dallasgrass.

I learned this technique from one of the golf course superintendants I work with.  South Florida soils are full of broadleaf weed seeds and unhealthy weed grasses.  It is a great deal of work and maintenance to gain a nice green lawn of one grass type.  Burmuda is one grass that is tolerant to chemicals that will kill off the other southern grasses and weeds.

I'm working the first half of a two week swing in the DC Metro area.  I will return home late Thursday night and fly back up here on Monday.

There is some new activity in the Atlantic storm basin.  Tropical Storm Lisa has formed in the far east Atlantic and is not believed to be a threat to the US mainland.  Another system, already in the Caribbean Sea, has a high likelyhood of formation into the next named storm, Matthew.  That storm has potential to enter the Gulf.  Below are the current storm positions.  The remnants of Igor are seen at the top of the photo.  The potential "Matthew" is depicted in an orange circle.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010


Hyatt Hotel
Waltham, MA

Three named storms occupy the world's oceans as I write.  Hurricane Igor is a major, category 4 with winds of 145 MPH.  Hurricane Julia is but a shadow of her predecessor, at Cat 1 with winds of 85 MPH.  Today, Tropical Storm Karl was identified in the Western Caribbean, threatening Belize and the Mexican Riviera.  The good news is none of these storms threaten the US mainland.

I am spending the work week in the Boston area, having flown up Monday and with a return flight home Friday.  The weather here is very nice, with overnight lows in the upper 50's and afternoon highs in the 70s.  Today I visited Foxboro for the first time and had lunch in the shadow of the New England Patriots Gillette Stadium.  Lately, my travel calendar has taken me from our nation's capitol to south beach and from Hampton Roads, VA to Virginia Beach.  Next week it's right back to DC.

I turned a year older since my last blog posting.  I'm officially closer to 50 than I am to 40.  Over my birthday weekend Kathy and I managed to crash a private party, Trop Rock concert/dinner dance, in our little town.  For those who don't know, Trop Rock is a genre of music surrounding the lifestyle of beaches, boats, booze and (some would say) broads.  (Of course, I wouldn't say that).  Another way of putting it is Jimmy Buffet style music.  We also got ourselves invited to a Trop Rock singer/songwriters showcase the next day.  We had a nice time and met a few new friends.  We have decided to join the local chapter of the Parrot Heads, which is the name given to Jimmy Buffet fans.  There are over 500 members in our little village on the harbor.  They meet monthly for a private concert and are very active in local charity work and environmental cleanup work.

Our boat still sits on the lift out back.  I devoted a little time to it last Sunday and got the starter to crank over once before the battery gave out from lack of use.  I don't know if it really needs a new starter, a new solenoid or what, but I know it doesn't need new batteries.  We replaced both of those in the last year.  They do get drawn down from the automatic bilge pump during the rainy season though.  I need to get it fixed, cleaned and shined and sold.  I am browsing 17-18 foot center console fishing boats without outboard motors in our area.  There are plenty to chose from.  If I make that change, I will be able to launch without worry of tides too high to fit under my short bridge.  The downside of a smaller boat is very few days I can handle the seas of the Gulf but with Charlotte Harbor having 830 miles of shoreline, the Peace and Myakka Rivers, there will be no shortage of water to explore.  Plus, if I get enough on the sale of my current boat, I will be able to look into taking sailing lessons and earning credentials to be able to charter my own sailboats and explore the deep blue sea.  One of the world's most esteemed sailing schools, Steve and Doris Colgate's Off Shore Sailing School, is 45 miles away on Fort Myers Beach.

I sat next to a gentleman on a flight last week and listened with great interest to his many tales of cruising the Eastern Seaboard of the US, the Bahamas and the British Virgin Islands.  Someday...someday.  My goal is to be cruising blue water before I'm closer to 60 than 50.

From Jimmy Buffet's "A Pirate Looks at 40"
Mother mother ocean, I have heard you call
I've wanted to sail upon your waters since I was three feet tall
You've seen it all, you've seen it all.
I've watched the men who rode you, switch from sails to steam
And in your belly you hold the treasures few have ever seen
Most of them dreams, most of them dreams.
Yes I am a pirate, 200 years too late
The cannons don't thunder, there's nothing to plunder
I'm an over 40 victim of fate
Arriving too late, arriving too late.

To listen to the whole song, click here.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XPYNL5ioo8E

Wednesday, September 1, 2010


Hampton Inn Washington Dulles South
Chantilly, VA

Tropical Storm Fiona has formed in the Atlantic Ocean and is following a rough path behind Hurricane Earl.  With 40 MPH winds, she lacks much of the punch of Cat 2 Earl and his 135 MPH winds.  Yesterday Earl passed the Eastern edge of Puerto Rico but remained much off shore.  The top winds on the island stayed around 40, according to my colleagues on the island.  Some trees and power lines were downed and over 100,000 people were without power but there were no reports of injury among my friends/co-workers.  5 of our 33 employees couldn't get to work because of downed trees blocking their routes.

click on picture for full screen

Above is the current forecast track of Hurricane Earl.  It is expected to brush the US coastline but not make an actual landfall.  Still, preparations should be underway to defend against a direct hit.  A category 4 storm has incredible wind force, not to be taken lightly.

Below, Fiona's track is expected to have less of an impact on our mainland.

Pictured here are the storms approximate locations.  The orange cirle is a broad area of low pressure off the African coast, which has a good chance of becoming the next named storm on the list; Gaston.

I'm up at 3:30 AM to teach a 5 AM First Aid/CPR class so that I can get out of town on a 2:20 departure from Dulles to Tampa.  Tomorrow I drive 3 hours to Miami to teach an excavation safety class.