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Back from the dead

I finally found the time to deal with the horrific comment spam overrun that had occurred a couple of years ago when one of the anti-spam plugins on this site failed. There were so many that I couldn’t clear them manually, and I didn’t want to delete all of the comments in bulk and lose the older (legitimate) comments. I didn’t have time to deal with it so I deactivated the site until I ‘had time’ to fix it. Little did I realize that health issues, another house move, and, well, life would get in the way and it would sit in that state for well over a year.

The issue with the broken WPG2 Gallery2 integrator (and the discontinued Gallery2 program itself) has also mostly been resolved. The plugin I used to import the gallery items into the native WordPress format is itself no longer being developed and wasn’t tested on the current version of WordPress, so I’m not sure it got everything without breakage – it kept timing out – but it seems to be working. I’ll test more later.

I’m not sure how much updating this site is going to get from this point on, but I’ve at least restored access to the existing content. It’s kind of hard to look at some of it; there’s lots of heartache and loss there, but deleting the blog didn’t feel right.

Winter Wonderland

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The forever hike

This morning Gwen had a vet appointment. I really hadn’t planned out the day beyond that, but when we got out of the vet’s office the sun was shining brightly and it was shaping up to be a wonderful day — it seemed a shame to waste it. I decided it would be a nice day for a hike.

Hmm… where to go? Somewhere new, maybe. But I didn’t want to drive too far, and I didn’t want to go somewhere too remote, by myself. The Pink Beds trail in Pisgah National Forest seemed like a good choice and off we went…

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At the trailhead

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Gwen is eager to be off.

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The first of many boardwalks.

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Not a good place to lose your footing.

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According to the hike book, a lot of the areas along this trail are flooded by beavers.

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No beavers here.

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Beautiful

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I saw this, and I was like, ‘that is neat looking’ – and then I realized that was my path.
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No problem for Gwen, all that agility training came in handy here.

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Posing with the tree root monster.

There are more pictures in the full album here.

Some time¬† after all these pictures were taken… a looooonnnnggg way along the trail, I started to wonder just how much further we had to go? My GPS program I was using to track my distance (not very well, it kept freezing and then skipping in a straight line from point to point instead of following my path) had already registered over three miles and the entire trail was supposed to be 3.4 miles. I encountered a lady ahead of me hiking with what looked like a whole pack of huskies, and asked her how close we were to the end of the trial; imagine my surprise when she told me the trail was a seven mile loop! “But I thought this was a three mile trail?” I asked, and she said that if I had turned at the bridge I passed it would have led straight back out to the parking area, but that the trail we were on would ‘eventually’ loop back there. I asked how far along the seven miles she thought I was, maybe halfway? “I’m not sure if you are that far, but don’t worry, your dog looks like she’ll have no trouble making seven miles.” she replied cheerfully.

Suddenly, the joke I had made in my text to Joy (letting her know where I would be, to be safe) that she should ‘call the park rangers’ if she hadn’t heard from me by four O’clock wasn’t funny any more. We’d been maintaining a really brisk pace the whole way, including jogging on the areas that were flat enough for it to be safe, but now we really got a move on.

The trail seemed to go on forever. If it wasn’t for the fact that it was getting late in the afternoon, I wouldn’t be in such a hurry. It wouldn’t get dark for a few hours, but it would start getting cold soon, and the shadows of the trees would make it darker in the woods even before sundown. Joy really would think I was lost. Every chance I got where I wasn’t risking a broken ankle, I’d put on a burst of speed. By the time we got to the car my legs were numb and wobbly.

I have no idea what trail we were on today. Most of it was definitely the Pink Beds trail…¬† I thought I followed the signs and the orange blazes all the way, but obviously I deviated somewhere, because the books all rate that trail as about an hour and a half normal hiking speed and fairly level, and we spent two hours at speeds ranging from a brisk march (before I had turned it off because it was draining the phone battery, my GPS measured our average walking speed between runs as 4.7mph) to a full-out sprint, and it got a fair bit steep in places. I don’t know if it was seven miles, but it was definitely way more than three and a half so apparently I took ‘the scenic route’.

The dog has been passed out cold most of the evening and I think I totally earned that whole piece of tiramisu I demolished at dinner.

Dear unrelenting rain: please stop.

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Clockwise from left: the handle of our spade, which was (I thought) protected under the overhang of the shed, the fruit of our since-euthanized botrytis (gray mold) plagued tomato plants, fungus on the feet of our two year old Adirondac chairs on the patio (note green algae spots on patio itself), black algae growing under the front porch, and what I assume is some other sort of blight.

Of course, there are some things that thrive under these sort of conditions…

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Meet the Elephant Ear That Ate Hendersonville.

The Feline Escape Pod is ready for takeoff

Feline Escape Pod

Take one iMac shell, a piece of plywood and 4 wooden doorknobs ; combine with paint, glue, and some weatherstripping, and you have a groovy little cat pod! As you can see it has the Calvin seal of approval already.