Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Hootin Hollow

This is the view from the bottom of Hootin Hollow. This mile long trek led me down next to Norris Lake and back up to the Norris Dam State Park's campsite. I saw 3 squirrels, 2 deer, and some odd people in the campground (who might be worth a post of their own). I was able to walk the trail in less than hour even though I stopped several times to take in the surroundings.  I am trying to take advantage of every opportunity to get outdoors, we all should. I pledge to never pass an opportunity to explore new territory, Your pal the Envirocapitalist.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Grey water is common

It is illegal to run any waste water on top of the ground, even washing machines. In the biz we call water from sinks, showers, and washing machines grey water. It is much more common to find grey water pipes than black water (think toilet). Below are some pictures I took today of a small plastic grey water pipe sticking out of a bank along the road. Notice the erosion the waste water has caused. Your pal the Envirocapitalist.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Is that a sewage pipe or are you just glad to see me?

A nice stroll down a unnamed stream near a unnamed establishment, ( on going investigation so I can't name names) led me to this stunning but all to familiar sight .  A straight pipe discharging into a stream, I don't understand how I can find 40 - 60 of these a year for the last ten years and it never seems to slow down. I will send the land owner a notice of violation, if they remove it in 30 days there is no penalty even though the pipe was galvanized and weathered (obviously old). State law only allows me to take them to court if they do not comply with the notice and even then it is only a class C misdemeanor. When I an not analyzing soil or engineering septic systems I look for stuff like this. I will be posting more pictures in the future so more people might get the idea of what is actually going on. Your pal the Envirocapitalist.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Hard to Explain

I have a good job, I take water samples and analyze soil to determine its percolation rate. I stop people from running their waste water into the ground water and streams. But I also issue permits or don't issue permits and this causes people to.....how do you say.......H A T E me with a burning white hot passion. I have been cussed and threatened because I had to break the news to someone that they could not install a septic system in a crawdad hole infested flood plain.  I know that it is part of the job so I haven't let it bother me, I am just doing my job.  The Division I work for is funded through fees attached to these permits. In the past the fee someone would pay for a septic permit funded all of our other programs which protects the ground water. Recently the economy has went in the pooper and no one is building houses or buying permits. To adjust to the lack of funds we have reduced our workforce in third and increased the fees to $500. So now people hate my guts for the state charging them twice as much for a permit during hard times. Everyone thinks working for the government is easy but until they have walked in my shoes they have no idea, no one should have to put up with people threatening them but now one has sympathy for a "government worker". It is hard to explain why I keep working for the state but after seeing what I have seen the last 10 years  (straight pipes into creeks) I have a lot of work left to do. I choose to stick it out with TDEC.....hopefully new leadership in Nashville will be positive. Your pal the Envirocapitalist.

Saturday, September 04, 2010

Memory found!

I cleaned out the garage today, and with some of my books and maps I found a piece of paper with March 10th 2007-Big Ridge State Park- The boy and I written at the top. The following is what was written:
      The boy and I set out from the park's playground to hike to Meditation point. It was 60 degrees with a slight breeze and overcast. Even though the 1/2 mile hike was up hill the boy walked the entire way which was impressive almost a month before his fourth birthday.  We whispered and walked quietly in order to see more wildlife being careful of the numerous Virginia Pine littering the forest floor (they had succumbed to the appetite of the Southern Pine Beetle.) After reaching the covered bench at the summit of the ridge, we sat and listened to the loud voices of hikers on Lake Trail below us.  This was disturbing to the boy and he definitely did not want to proceed in the direction of the people stomping through the woods. The boy asked me if there were bad things in the woods. I reassured him that the mall was far more dangerous.

      Resuming our travel we left the trail for a short time (I know we are not supposed to but we were having fun) to try to  catch a peek of a gray squirrel we had heard but could not see as our view was obstructed by a dead fall. While we never made the squirrel, several turkey scratches were noted in the thick leaf litter.  We retraced out steps back down the ridge with the company of a hairy wood pecker who flitted about in the hardwood trees that were scattered about in this primarily pine forest.  Even though the forest was barren since most of the evergreens were dead and the deciduous trees had not leafed out yet, the views of Big Ridge Lake and its small dam were memorable.  The views were lost on the boy who busied himself collecting leaves and examining sticks. Which tickled me since he usually did not like to git his hands dirty. I think the natural instinct is in him for the outdoors.

     As we exited the woods, we made a left and walked down to the shore of the lake. I sat on a bench and watched the boy throw rocks in the water, scattering Water Walkers and overflowing my heart.  After thirty minutes of this simple but enjoyable diversion a light rain sent us back to our truck. However, before we could leave the parking lot, we were already planning the next great father and son adventure.

I stood in the garage in awe of the blessings in my life and all God has given me. A familiar voice shook me from my daydream, it was the boy who is now a seven year old second grader.  "Hey dad I finished cleaning the top of the deep freeze, will you throw me the ball please" he said with his baseball bat on his shoulder. I said " my pleasure son" and spent Saturday in the yard with my son. Your pal the happiest man on earth.......I mean the Envirocapitalist.