Tuesday, July 23, 2013
  Essex Lions and old white coots

Reprinting a brief note from a week ago:

A few days ago I jibbered about 'improving the universe' and 'adding order and beauty'. After focusing on that wonderful hidden formal garden, I looked at the back of my own tiny lot and saw disorder. A stack of old wood, cement blocks and furniture that had been gradually accumulating since 2008 when I had the foundation repaired. Well, I'm not going to build a formal garden, but I can at least decrease entropy. So I finally called a local hauler and had him take it away, along with some furniture that had been sitting in the storage room for ten years. Decided to keep the cement blocks because they can be arranged decently and may be useful. Doesn't look neat yet, but after some weed-cutting and rearranging, it will look neat.

= = = = = End reprint.

Continuing from there.....
I tried moving the blocks by hand, but realized after the first one that my old joints aren't what they used to be. If I moved the rest, I might risk permanent damage. Left them in place for several days, then decided I'd better get on with the task regardless of damage, because the lawn needs mowing, and I really want to mow the newly cleared.... PING! Mower! Mower has two wheels! Mower looks like a dolly!

And sure enough, mower works like a dolly!

I made a crappy photographic record of the whole thing.

Here's what the situation looked like just before the hauler came last week. I had added some stuff from the storage room. [Picture is somewhat confusing because the neighbor has her own junk pile on the other side of the fence, but this is about my junk pile and my need to create order!]


Here's how it looked after the hauler was done: Eight blocks plus a few pavers.


Dolly-mower in action. Block rests on the rollers, leaning back against the blades. I pushed the handles down to balance the object, then pushed the mower in the ratchet direction, as shown, to move the blocks about 50 feet into a hidden corner of the yard. Very little lifting involved; pretty much tipped the block onto the rollers, then tipped it off at the end.


The neighborhood Essex Lion wanted to supervise** but walked away as soon as I pulled out the camera. Birds and squirrels and Essex Lions seem to know that the camera represents a special level of attention, and they don't like it.


Finally, here's how the area looked after all the blocks were moved, and after some weed-chopping.


Wasn't easy, but it didn't ruin any knees or hips. I'm rather proud of the improvisation. Not bad for an old white coot. (Improvising is, of course, one of those things that Africans do best!)

= = = = =

**Footnote on supervising: I think it was Annie Dillard who noted that the line between higher and lower intelligences is marked by watching. Humans and most of our familiar big mammals and birds will spend time watching an activity just because it looks interesting. Some fish and cephalopods will do the same. Other critters, including smaller mammals, don't seem to have the concept of 'interesting'. Watchers tend to be capable of innovating and creating, while non-watchers are strictly automatic.

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Polistra was named after the original townsite of Manhattan (the one in Kansas). When I was growing up in Manhattan, I spent a lot of time exploring by foot, bike, and car. I discovered the ruins of an old mill along Wildcat Creek, and decided (inaccurately) that it was the remains of the original site of Polistra. Accurate or not, I've always liked the name, with its echoes of Poland (an under-appreciated friend of freedom) and stars. ==== The title icon is explained here. ==== Switchover: This 2007 entry marks a sharp change in worldview from neocon to pure populist. ===== The long illustrated story of Polistra's Dream is a time-travel fable, attempting to answer the dangerous revision of New Deal history propagated by Amity Shlaes. The Dream has 8 episodes, linked in a chain from the first. This entry explains the Shlaes connection.

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