I wasted little time before heading outside last night to resume mounting the fence extension poles.  This time I utilized the wheel barrow to conveniently move supplies from one mount spot to the next.  It went very well, by the time I finished up for the night I had extension poles on 3/4 of the fence perimeter.  I am hoping to get the remaining poles mounted tomorrow night and then over the weekend I can concentrate on getting the barrier hung up.

Once I got out there I of course released the chickens from their captivity.  They seem so excited when they are allowed access once again to their yard.  If chickens could smile, they would have been sporting big toothy grins.  I am really looking forward to completing the work so Cindy and I can resume letting the hens roam without feeling the need to be constantly looking over our shoulder for coyotes stalking the yard.

 

Tonight Cindy and I are going to be on the live stream of The Black Cobra at 6:30. (look him up on YouTube)  He does a weekly EUC themed talk show where he has various people on in the community to just shoot the shit.  Last night we hooked up with Erwin for a few minutes on Skype just to make sure everything was good to go.  He is a cool guy with an outgoing personality so I think it should be a fun time.

It’s an odd thing that not once but twice my hobbies have resulted in people all over the globe knowing who I am.  The first time was via my hardcore calisthenics days where I was involved with the Bar-barians and posted countless workout challenge videos.  Now courtesy of my EUC/PEV obsession much of the same has happened. If you have been in the EUC scene for a decent period of time, no matter your geographical location around the globe, you probably know who Duf is.  I’m not mentioning this as bragging point, it’s more of an oddity and weird side effect of living in such an interconnected world as we do today.

Last night after work I stopped at Home Depot to get upgraded hardware to attach my fence extension supports.  I grabbed a big box of 3 inch high quality deck screws and a container of 3/16 fender washers.  When I got home I grabbed some supports and got busy.

I decided to align the mounting plate with the top of the fence.  This allows it to be low enough on the posts so I can do additional securing down low where it matters.  I used a level to get the new poles straight from a left/right perspective.  There wasn’t much I could do on the in/out plane as most of the wood posts have some degree of bend to them.

Despite only using two of the four available mount holes the metal extensions felt locked in to the wood posts when I snugged them up.  If I didn’t use the bigger/longer screws and fender washers there was no way the hardware they included would be sufficient.  I got the back fence line done in about a half hour or so.  Tonight I want to start placing posts down one of the sides.  I would love to have the posts mostly done during the week just leaving attaching the fencing for the weekend, which is going to be interesting since most of it will require working on a ladder.

 

This morning as I was putting the chicken food out I noticed the live trap was closed.  I had it open but unbaited last night.  Evidently a small palm rat was curious, went in the trap and activated the door.  I have seen two of them scurrying around at night on camera so I was happy to have snagged one.  I sat him in the garage while I got ready.  I did give him a small piece of bread to eat while waiting.  When I came out to leave he had eaten it all.

We had a nice ride to the customary drop off point.  When I opened the door and told him he was free he came out the door and paused for several seconds looking at me.  In my animal loving mind it almost felt like he was saying “thanks for the bread and not killing me”.  After the pause he scurried off into the underbrush, hopefully to live a life where he does not impact human beings.

Another sad animal story happened on the property this weekend.  I started smelling something dead around the coop area.  I saw nothing at first but upon closer inspection I saw the carcass of a snake half hanging out of the hardware cloth that lines the bottom of the chicken platform.  Ironically it was probably targeting the palm rats and misjudged it’s ability to squeeze through the tiny squares and died.  I felt bad for the snake as well and sad that I had not found it and freed it before it kicked the bucket.

 

 

Friday when I got home I was welcomed by the box my used Prusa arrived in.  Despite the efforts by the seller to mark the box as FRAGILE, UPS looked like they tossed it around like a football.  The top of the box was crushed and it looked like lid was opened and sloppily re-taped.  I was frustrated by UPS not being able to read or just not giving a shit.  I was lucky, the printer still was intact and printed just fine.

On Saturday I was grinding pretty much all day long.  In addition to normal chores I wound up doing mowing and weed whacking of the property with an assist from Cindy.  It was brutally hot and humid.  I also finally got around to replacing the piece of screen on the lanai that had a tear in it.  Cindy patched the rip by hand awhile ago but we noticed the tear had reopened.  At the time we thought it was just from exposure to the elements.   However once I replaced the screen section Cindy caught Sadie just before she tried to create her own exit point, which is how it got ripped in the first place.  Seeing that confirmed that Cindy’s patch job only failed because Sadie ripped it open, again.

Replacing that section of screen sucked as I was sweating profusely as I was alternating between sitting on a dry rotted plastic bucket that was breaking and crawling on my aching knees.  I had not replaced a section of screen in awhile so perhaps my technique was rusty as well, adding to the difficulty.  The section wound up looking nice and tight at the end which is all that matters.

When I ran to Home Depot earlier I picked up yet another security device for the chickens, a Ring Spotlight cam.  I already have a Ring device on the front of the coop, this one I wanted to put on the rear fence line.  My only concern was having the coop WiFi signal reach all the way back there which it luckily did.  This device has two way audio, bright LEDs and even a siren if needed.  I am hoping to be able to proactively monitor any coyotes that are scouting the fence line as well as possibly scare them away with unexpected bright light.

I finally got to slow down as evening arrived when Deb came over to hang out.  We watched Angel Has Fallen with Gerard Butler where he reprises his super Secret Service Agent role.  It was entertaining, with my sense of enjoyment probably chemically enhanced from the wine I drank.  I’d give it a B+.

On Sunday after paying my bills I wanted to go out on a new range test with my production V11. Supposedly there were changes made to the production model which were supposed to result in longer range of the wheel.  I wanted to test that out.  The ride took a very wet turn on the return trip from Ave Maria where I rode through rain, torrential at times.  The final numbers I came up with did not seem to be an improvement at all which was slightly disappointing.  Overall I love the wheel and the range, even if it less than I expected, is more than I would use in my normal riding situations.

While I was on the ride the fence extension materials were delivered by FedEx.  I was very surprised they delivered on a Sunday as I never knew that was an option with FedEx.  I cracked open the hardware to take a look.  The extension poles are massive but I am going to need to improvise some.  They don’t have a kit specifically made for a round wooden fence post so I ordered the closest thing they had, a pole for a split rail fence.  The mounting surface is a large rectangular plate with four screw holes.  I will only be able to use two of the four holes if I want to be able to mount into the beefiest section of each post.

The other thing I will need are longer/better screws.  The screws they include look drastically undersized and barely cover the size of the holes in the mounting plate.  I will be getting long aggressive woods screws with fender washers to apply pressure to a larger area.  I hope to start attaching poles this week after work.  It will be a lengthy process for sure.

 

 

 

 

Last night I was once again up late thanks to the V11.  I took a quick ride after work and then edited the video from that ride later in the night.  I then dug into the machine a bit more, checking/messing with the air pressures.  There are no less than 5 spots where air pressure is added/utilized, the tire of course but then each suspension shock has two fill points as well.  During this experimentation I realized that I was possibly not using the included air pump correctly.  It has a lever in the fitting which is designed to minimize air loss when disconnecting the pump.  Since there were no pump instructions included with the wheel I was not aware of how you were supposed to use that lever.  I think the end result was my not having the amount of pressure I thought I did.  I should be good to go from here on out.

My amount of things to take care of list is getting pretty overgrown.  I have my used Prusa printer showing up today and my four foot fence extensions showing up tomorrow if FedEx tracking is reliable, which usually isn’t.  If the fencing does show up getting that installed will be a big priority.  Then I have stuff like mowing the grass which needs to be handled and oh yea, I have a brand new electric unicycle that I would like to ride a lot of as well.    In addition there are tons of little pesky things that I would like to swat off my list as well.  I wish early retirement was something tangible.

Yesterday at lunch I opted to skip the gym to run errands.  Those errands included dropping off my Prusa printer to be shipped back for repair, depositing the cash from the tractor sale and finally picking up my Inmotion V11 which had traveled from Hong Kong to Florida in one day.

Last night I opened the box on a live stream that went on for an unbelievable four and a half hours.  I had a ton of people on the stream who were peppering with questions about the new wheel as it was one of the first production models to land in the United States.  It was a lot of fun exploring the wheel and the changes that have been made with the final version compared to the test wheel I had for about 10 days.  Cindy took over the stream for at least 45 minutes while I worked on the wheel in the background which was sort of funny.  I am definitely looking forward to putting the new wheel through a lot of testing this weekend.

 

So yesterday the inevitable happened, we had our first employee in our building test positive for Covid 19.  We have had four or five branches already be shut down for covid so it is not surprising it has struck here as well.  The case was a clerk up in the public area which I rarely enter.  I haven’t seen her in person in probably a month so I don’t have immediate concern however there are dozens of employees up there that have been in that circle of potential transmission.  There has not been a mask mandate yet in our area so not all employees have been wearing them.  I have not heard if the infected person was regularly wearing one but if I were to guess, she probably wasn’t.

With my job I could totally work remotely without anyone even realizing it as I can do most everything from my office computer which I can remotely access.  It is going to be interesting to see the fallout from the positive test.  In general I don’t think the outbreak has been taken as seriously as I think it should be in our area but once it starts knocking on your door, things change.

I was thinking about that scenario, how so many people like to dismiss or ignore a problem unless it is directly impacting them.  I then thought about how our recent loss of Georgie to a coyote predator this past weekend was a perfect example of how my behavior changed.  We had lost Cocoa to a coyote 2-3 years ago.  After that happened I recall adding more cameras to the DVR system for better surveillance and Cindy hanging ammonia soaked rags around the fence perimeter to dissuade coyotes.  However over time no further attacks occurred and the fear subsided.

Last year we lost Stephie to a predator that I now realize was a coyote. ( we did not have that attack recorded on camera)  That happened early in the morning, shortly after the automatic door let the birds out in the yard.  Our reaction to that was to change the opening of the door to the yard so it wouldn’t happen until we were out there with the birds doing morning cleaning.  However over time no further incidents occurred and we didn’t think much about it.

So now fast forward to this weekend.  Prior to the attack we had no concerns about coyotes.  They had not been an issue for a long time so we had a false sense of safety for our birds.  In the span of 10 seconds that all changed when Georgie was snatched out of the yard and then the anxiety was really piled on when Cindy caught the predator back within 5 minutes getting ready to do it again.

To me the coyote represents covid 19.  Until it got in my face I had lost focus on how devastating it can be.  However now that I have freshly seen the end result first hand I am doing whatever I can to ensure the birds safety.  Don’t wear a mask because someone tells you to do it.  Wear one because someone doesn’t need to tell you to make a small sacrifice for the greater good.

Last night when I got home Katie and DJ were still there which was a nice treat.  DJ, who now is quite an adept walker came right over to me with his arms overhead in his “pick me up grandpa” gesture which is very endearing.  I held the little guy for awhile before they headed out.

Last night I packed up one of my Prusa printers to be sent back to the Czech Republic for a second time for repair.  The first time it was sent out for a filament sensor problem.  The filament sensor has once again stopped working but the heat bed also has a problem now as well.  It’s a big pain in the ass to ship the printer halfway across the world to get fixed but all of the expense is on Prusa’s dime not mine.  All it costs me is time.

Today I am also supposed to be receiving my Inmotion V11 EUC, the same wheel I just got done testing a couple weeks ago.  This is the production model which has a number of improvements over the test wheel I had.  My wheel has had a whirlwind journey.  Less than 24 hours ago it departed Hong Kong. Since then it has gone through Anchorage, Louisville, and arrived in Fort Myers this morning, an amazingly fast journey.  I have it set up to be delivered to the UPS facility near my work so I can just pick it up.

If all goes well I should be cracking the box open tonight as I think I may be one of the first people in the United States to have a production V11.  It sounds like a good reason to have a live stream.

 

I left work early yesterday to meet a guy that was interested in buying my old tractor.  He was driving from Sabastian Florida which is something like three hours away so I knew he was serious.  However I was taking a bit of a risk as he told me he was interested Saturday but couldn’t come until Monday.  I told him I would hold it for him.  Since I committed to that I had no less than a half dozen other people ask me about the tractor.  Holding it for this guy with no money in hand made me a bit regretful, especially if something changed and he decided to not follow through on the purchase.

Luckily the guy showed up, albeit almost an hour earlier than we agreed upon.  He was a nice guy who moved to Florida from California a couple years prior.  He had asked me when I bought the mower and I told him 2011.  He thought he caught me in a lie when he read the serial number incorrectly. He saw an 06 started the number, he said he read that indicated the year.  I told him it was absolutely bought in 2011 and I have an accessory catalog that came with a tractor dated 2010, something an 06 model would be unlikely to have.

He asked me a few other questions which I answered. After doing so he confirmed he was good to buy it with only a small discount off my asking price which I was happy about.  We had to take a couple shots at getting the tractor loaded onto his truck.  The first time it got stuck and almost fell off the ramps.  He handed me an envelope of cash that I quickly counted and he was on his way.  I was glad my faith in him showing up paid off instead of having to deal with people whose number one priority is low balling the shit out of you.

After he left Cindy and I worked on tweaking the tunnel that I built for the birds on Sunday in the rain.  Cindy didn’t like that it was so dark because I had the roof and two walls covered with solid materials.  I addressed it at first with a hole bit to punch a bunch of “skylights” into the roof of the tunnel.  The other change was removing the corrugated PVC roof panel I was using as one wall and replacing it with a piece of hardware cloth to open the one side up completely.  We used the cinder blocks to pin down the wire so it could not be moved by a coyote.

I then pulled out the pressure washer which Cindy used to pressure wash the chicken tractor which had a layer of grime on it.  The vinyl siding almost looked like new when she was done.  Cindy was happy with the changes we made and so was I.  It should give the hens at least some variety of spots to hang out during the day instead of just standing in the run looking at each other.

I followed up with the company I bought the fence extensions from to try to get an idea of how quickly they would show up.  They said I should have the stuff by this weekend which would be great but I hope I am dealing with an under promise over deliver type of operation.

If you are looking for a happy, uplifting post to start your week you should look elsewhere.  My state of mental well being all weekend was not good, I would almost say it bordered on depressed at times.  I more than likely have taken my last stride as a runner.  My left knee has now got me limping more often than not for around a month.  Even if the pain does eventually subside enough to allow me to walk limp free I just can’t justify restarting a cardio activity that includes impact.  I’m just asking for knee replacement sooner rather than later.  I have non-impact things I can do like the rower, my road bike and Cindy’s new Echelon indoor bike that can easily fit my cardio needs but I used to take a small bit of pride in the fact that I could still run. Letting that slip away is hard.

Saturday morning we had to go to two different Home Depots.  I wanted to rent the manual sod roller since good old Miguel never decided to finish the job.  The first store had their roller rented out already so we headed down to Naples location instead.  The roller was a cheap rental of $25 for the day.

The roller is hollow and designed to be filled up with water.  When filled it weighs approximately 300lbs.  I filled it up and hooked it up to the back of the new tractor and got to work.  300 pounds is heavy for sure but not compared to the roller Miguel used which looked like a mini-steam roller.  I went over all the sod in varying directions.  It smoothed things out some but not dramatically.

As I was in the middle of doing one area I saw Cindy looking very upset and crying.  I turned off the tractor immediately.  Cindy said she just chased what she thought was a fox away from the chicken area.  From her description I immediately knew it was actually a coyote.  However the reason she was crying was because she could not find our one hen Georgie.

I went out to the chicken area and searched all of the spots she could be hiding and came up empty.  I then went inside and checked the coop DVR which thankfully still has a working camera pointed towards the back of the yard.  What I saw angered and scared me at the same time.  Evidently when Cindy saw the coyote it was coming back for round two.  It had already been in and out of the chicken yard in less than 10 seconds, snatching Georgie and clearing the two four foot fences on it’s way out.  In no more than 5 minutes it was coming back to try to grab another hen.  Thank goodness Cindy at least stopped a second attack from happening.

 

 

This happened mid-afternoon which is very unusual.  Coyotes are normally nocturnal hunters unless it is a female looking for food for it’s babies.  The two other birds we lost to coyotes (more on that in a bit) happened early in the morning. This was a very unusual time for a coyote to be out there. When I saw the attack it was scary just how trivial clearing the four foot fence was for the animal, even with poor Georgie in it’s mouth.

This attack ironically gave clarity to what happened to Stephie when we lost her over a year ago.  I came out in the morning to do the coop and she had simply vanished.  I thought the lack of feathers and/or blood meant that it could not have been a coyote attack.  However if I did not have the DVR working on Saturday we would have no trace of Georgie either as there was no evidence otherwise.  The coyote was like a surgeon, in and out of there in no time.

So I had an odd reaction to losing Georgie.  I didn’t cry like is normal when we lose a hen, I instead found myself more consumed by anger, guilt and anxiety.  The fact that the coyote came back scarcely 5 minutes after taking the first bird was very worrisome.  We decided it was not safe for the hens to be outside of the run so we coaxed them all back in there, to their dismay.  My mind was racing to come up with some sort of viable solution to the problem.  I looked online and found a site called deerbusters.com.

They sell fence extensions that are targeted at keeping deer out but coyotes are mentioned as well.  They secure to your existing fence posts to add extra height to stop animals with extreme vertical leaps from getting into a fenced area.  It is an expensive solution.  I spent near 1K for a kit that will add four feet of height to our chicken fence.  Some coyotes can supposedly clear a six foot fence but they definitely are not going to clear eight.  Without even chewing on the price for a second I ordered three of the 100 foot kits hoping they will offer us permanent piece of mind.

So now my concern turned to what to do for the chickens until the fence extensions show up.  Keeping them locked up in their chicken run all day would be pretty miserable for them.  Of course it is better than them getting picked off by coyotes but I still hated the idea of them losing all freedom.  Sunday morning I pulled the portable run from the chicken tractor around to the front and placed it in front of the automatic chicken door so they could at least venture out onto the grass if they wanted to. However I had loose ideas about expanding that protected space temporarily.

I headed to Home Depot to pick up some supplies.  I just sort of grabbed a bunch of stuff, not quite sure how I would put it all together yet confident I could make something out of it.

The first part of the plan was to install a back door into the existing chicken run.  I wanted to be able to utilize the more open space behind the coop.  With the help of Cindy we built a nice opening complete with a a locking door.  It was very frustrating working conditions because a good portion of the day was off and on torrential rain.  I was trying to get the stuff built without getting absolutely soaked.  For long periods of time I was just standing in the chicken run, with the chickens waiting for the rain to let up.

After the rear door was complete Cindy headed inside but I continued my work building a Frankenstein like 8 foot tunnel that lead to the side door of the chicken tractor. The tunnel was built with it’s temporary status in mind, I just threw stuff together to give the chickens a safe albeit ugly way to get into the back yard.  The design will get some additional tweaking but by the time I called it quits Sunday afternoon I was just mentally drained.

I allowed the chickens to be loose while I was doing the work as I figured I would be their security guard.  However the image of the coyote being in and out of there so quickly made me very nervous that it could come back and steal another hen while my back was turned.  I was constantly stopping and surveying the back yard.

When we got the solar panels installed we both thought an unintended side benefit was it would make the chicken area less visible from the back of the property which might be good.  Well obviously the coyote still figured out where the chickens were and the downside was now MY vision to the back fence line was blocked and I wouldn’t be able to see a coyote until it was right at the chicken fence line.  It piled more stress and frustration onto the already sizeable pile I was feeling.

When I reentered the house I was beat up.  Lugging around construction materials and spending a lot of time on my shitty knees was a recipe for limp resumption.  The rest of the day I just felt whatever my version of depressed was.  There have been a lot of shitty situations in the world as well going on around me lately in my personal circle, several of which make my chicken security problems and physical aches and pains seem like blips on a radar.  The combination of it seemed to roll in with an over arcing feeling that there were lots of undone things that need my attention. It all just left me feeling what felt like my version of depressed, which isn’t something I encounter very often.  I’m usually too busy to worry about it.

There of course were some bright spots to the weekend.  Deb came by Saturday night and the three of us watched Old Guard on Netflix.  To be honest it wasn’t as good as I hoped it may be.  I’d give it a B.  I hopefully have someone coming to buy the old tractor today after work.  I am taking a risk as I am holding it for him without any cash.  Since he said he wanted to buy it I have turned away at least a half dozen other potential buyers that have expressed interest.

I do find the selling process on any of these online venues aggravating.  I listed the Craftsman tractor for $650.  I got a ton of messages from people that ask nothing about the tractor, just a stupid low ball offer dollar figure.  The lowest was $200.  In each case I tell people that I prefer to not negotiate until they at least see the tractor in person.

 

Yesterday I was texting with my vball partner and buddy Randall.  I had saw on Facebook that a friend of his that he cycles with often was in the ICU with Covid 19.  He has been in there for almost a week.  When I checked in it sounded serious not only medically but potentially financially as he did not have insurance.  In the locust swarm of conflicting information with statistics and talking heads filling the public with doubt and skepticism this was like a lighthouse of reality.  Yes Covid 19 is serious.

I know people that have had the virus but up until this point none of them were affected seriously by it outside of normal flu symptoms.  This was the first time a hospitalization was in a circle that touched my circle.  I have a number of people in my FB circle that are covid naysayers, mask haters, and not coincidentally Trump supporters.  Unfortunately the covid 19 stuff is just like so many other examples of people not giving a fck about a situation that affects others, for example climate change, pay inequity, health insurance, or racism.  If the problem is not standing on their doorstep looking them squarely in the face they ignore it and declare the problem to be marginalized because if it doesn’t affect them directly in that moment, it can’t be serious.  This attitude sickens me.

The last two days I have had my One Wheel Pint in the trunk of the Tesla.  I have used it to commute from the parking garage and fitness center to the office.  Normally I am all for the extra steps that walking around the campus provide me.  However with my left knee going on a month of chronic pain I thought cutting the 1000-2000  steps I perform to get to and from those places might be beneficial for a couple days.  As you can imagine I got quite a few strange looks as I snaked around the parking garage with my backpack, lunchbox, and DD coffee in hand.

My mental list for the weekend is already teeming to the brim.  I am going to try to rent a manual sod roller from Home Depot which I will pull around the 17 pallets of grass that was laid.  Since it seems a pretty safe bet that Miguel has no intention of finishing the work I may as well spend the money I was going to pay him to rent the equipment to do it myself.

 

 

 

Yesterday on the way to work I talked about the latest Tesla update that added some cool new features.  I also discussed the second half of the road trip, especially the hit and run incident as well as the near miss on I-95.  Feel free to check it out if you have 20 minutes to kill.

For a long time I have been waiting for my second YouTube channel, EUC Army, to reach 1000 subscribers.  It is the channel where I ONLY post PEV videos.  Getting to 1000 subscribers means I can start monetizing the videos there as well which presumably should help boost my monthly ad revenue check from Google.  Of course I am nowhere near the point where I could hope to create enough secondary income to retire early from the conventional workforce but that doesn’t mean I won’t stop trying. 🙂