Peevish Pen

Ruminations on reading, writing, rural living, retirement, aging—and sometimes cats. And maybe a border collie or other critters.

© 2006-2018 All rights reserved

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Location: Rural Virginia, United States

I'm an elderly retired teacher who writes. Among my books are Ferradiddledumday (Appalachian version of the Rumpelstiltskin story), Stuck (middle grade paranormal novel), Patches on the Same Quilt (novel set in Franklin County, VA), Them That Go (an Appalachian novel), Miracle of the Concrete Jesus & Other Stories, and several Kindle ebooks.

Wednesday, August 08, 2018

Signs of MVP

The Mountain Valley Pipeline folks aren't supposed to be doing any actual pipeline work until some things are settled, but they're using their time and equipment to put up signs in the area. I guess they want to be ready.

Here's the sign that we had a kerfuffle about earlier today. It will say "road work" when it is opened.

 The picture below is the corner of my property, which ends past the bushes on the right. In the distance you can see the next signs in the series (there are four total) that warn of "one lane," "flagman," etc.

My husband drove me "around the block" this evening to see what they'd done beyond our property. Just down from us is what used to be a dairy farm. The pipeline will cut through this property. The signs are on the other side of the road to warn the few folks who live down that way of "road work," etc. as if they couldn't already see it.

Because the pipeline will cross Bar Ridge Road (the next road over from us and where our Polecat Creek is located, we drove us to see what the pipeline folks had been doing. They put up the series of foldable signs before the crossing.

Here's where the pipeline will cross Bar Ridge Road and head toward us. Way in the distance, you can see a blue porta-pottie near one of the big power lines. That's beside the former dairy farm on our road. What you can't see from either road is where the pipeline will cross Dinner Creek, but the creek is at the lowest part of this picture.

They want everyone to know that what they're doing is fine with VDOT.

Here's some of the equipment and the portable signs that they'd previously used. The flags to the left mark power lines to the house. . . 

. . . which is within spitting distance of the powerline route. The woman who lives there is elderly and had a stroke a few years ago.

The pipeline will be close to the big power lines. If there's ever an explosion, it will be truly spectacular. You can see some kind of equipment to the left.

A closer shot of Jack's Mountain. The quarry there has provided a lot of gravel for the pipeline project. Again, you can see the pottie on my road.

They didn't finish adding the signs on the north end of Bar Ridge. I guess the hard rain and much thunder that we had this afternoon might have discouraged them. 

In upcoming blog-posts, I'll try to document other things I see.

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Signs of Destruction

The Mountain Valley Pipeline—which will provide natural gas for overseas, the hell with folks around here—is coming through our area, leaving much destruction in its path. Supposedly the work is temporarily stopped, but workers were out in force today. A whole gang of them wanted to put up signs along the edge of my lawn—the place where I drive my golf-cart every morning as I go from feeding barn-cats to collecting the newspaper. When I saw a man poking into the grass that grows over our underground drainage system, I golf-carted out and stopped him.

In the picture below, there's a white stake where the sign-post will go—right over our drain that CenturyLink messed up a few years ago and spent over six months repairing.

When I told the guy about the drain, he had no idea it was there. I showed him the open part of it and pointed out where the buried part ran along the edge of our property and then crossed under the road.

A little farther down, just behind the "Be Prepared to Stop" sign, is another white stake on our property—for an identical warning sign. I convinced them to wait until my husband got home before proceeding with their work. They said they'd start at the other end first.

When my husband came home, he convinced them not to mess with the drain, which starts in the shrubbery behind the "Loose Gravel" sign, so they moved the stake up a bit.

Apparently putting in a sign no longer requires just a guy and a post hole digger. It requires a half dozen guys and a machine that makes a hole.

And several other trucks.

Apparently, the machine pushes water down into the ground and then lifts up the mud.

My house is in the background in the picture below. The pipeline doesn't come through my property, but my house is in the thousand foot blast zone.*

A lot of the road had to be blocked off to set the post.

Finally the post was in the hole, but several guys had to straighten it.

Then they poured little bags of gravel around the post.

Finally, the convoy was ready to move out.

Next came a VDOT crew spreading tar and gravel on the road which is in pretty bad shape. Apparently not bad enough shape to actually repave, though.

A lot of that gravel is going to get slung around by cars as they go past, but luckily we don't have much traffic—unless you count all the pipeline and VDOT guys driving up and down the road.

*Although we'd heard for over a year that the blast zone extends to a thousand feet beyond the actual pipeline, one of the pipeline guys said it was more like a mile. So that means not only is our house in the blast zone, but so is our Polecat Creek Farm down the road.

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Monday, July 30, 2018

Alfreda Moves Up

by Alfreda, resident mom-cat

We're movin' on up
To the south side,
To a deluxe cat condo
In the den. . . .

If you read my earlier blog-post, you know that I adopted twins about seven weeks ago and am now a single mom-cat. For six weeks, we lived in cardboard boxes in the dowstairs den which has been a mess since the water heater malfuntion of June 11 when the furniture got moved out.

My little family and I are facing eviction in two weeks when a new carpet will be installed, so we decided to move out early.

We are currently residing in Tanner's former condo, which offers a south-facing view onto the deck. It also has some artwork, so we don't have to do much decorating.

Otis and Charlotte like the picture of the gray cat. Maybe because they're gray, too. Tanner's old condo is next to the big one, so we have maybe taken over that one, too.

It is a tight fit for all of us in the penthouse section. When the kittens grow a little more, they will have to move down to some of the lower levels.

Tanner is aware of what my kitties and I are doing, but he isn't too happy about it. Right after we'd moved in and had lunch, Tanner stopped by for a snack and to see what was going on.

Tanner pointed out that it was his cat-condo, but he might sub-lease it to me. The problem is that I don't have any money to pay rent.

Before I adopted Otis and Charlotte, I was working part-time on rat patrol at night in the garage, but Tanner said I wasn't doing a good enough job, so I quit to stay home with my kitties. Good cat jobs are hard to find, and Tanner won't even give me a recommendation.

Plus I confess I have a bad addiction to Temptations Cat Treats (I especially like the Chicken flavor and Dairy flavor). Unfortunately, the kittens saw me indulging and picked up this addiction from me. I shouldn't have gotten them hooked, but what's done is done. But I cannot afford to support this habit for the three of us without a source of income.

Consequently, if you would buy some of Mommy's books that would help pay my rent and buy Temptations for me and Otis and Charlotte. Her books and ebooks are on Amazon.

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Monday, July 09, 2018

Alfreda's Kitties

by Alfreda (who used to be he youngest resident cat)

I don't know nothing about raising no kitties!

So I don't see why I had to be the one to raise the two refugees that Mommy took in last month. Tanner should have been the one to raise them because he has more experience, but he said that raising Arlo and trying to raise me was enough. Arlo just flat out refused. He said his artistic temperament doesn't allow for interaction with kitties. So I have to raise Otis and Charlotte whether or not I want to. (And I don't!)

I had to show them how I used to play with this cat-stick that Mommy used when she tamed me.

They got the hang of it pretty quick.

Otis really likes it! It is still my cat-stick, though. I don't want to share it, but I guess I have to.

However, I reserve the right to play with my own cat-stick by myself if I want.

Sometimes I stand back and watch Otis and Charlotte while they play on their own.

Or when they cat-rassle. Sometimes I jump on them while they rassle, but then they kick my head.

Sometimes I watch close—like when Otis plays with a toy mouse. I like real mice myself, but the kitties don't have my experience.

Sometimes I have to think inside the box to deal with these kitties.

They are a paw-full.