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repairing flood damage on Island causeways

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It was embarrassing this morning because I was too weak to take the hydraulic hoses off the soil conditioner so I could put the bucket on the bobcat. I had to get my seventy year old neighbor to take the hoses off. I feel like a child.....a weak child. You can never realize how strong you were until you lose that strength. The good news is that I am getting in and out of my bobcat better than the rental unit I used in Florida.

Had 3.5 yards of concrete delivered as the flood cut dangerous holes in the road bed. We have semis coming onto the islands with rock for roads and I could not have a causeway collapse. The hole just about ate up two cubic yards of concrete. Expensive way to fill a hole, but I cannot take a risk with other people possibly having the causeway collapse. The main causeway I cleared as best I could but these huge maples which the ice shears into the river piled up on the main causeway. I pushed most off, but one requires a chain saw. I cannot chain saw as I am too weak, but I can use an old fashion saw to put a grove in the limb which is projecting over the roadway and hopefully apply downward pressure with the bobcat bucket to break it off and allow a car to pass safely to the other islands.

About five hundred dollars of grass seed from last fall is now somewhere near Memphis as we will have to reseed everything......your expenses in retirement were supposed to go down. I am going to have to hire someone to chainsaw the trees which have piled up on the north side of the main causeway. I got both smaller causeways clear, and pushed a porta potty upright.....that is going to be a treat to clean up as the guy who pumps it does not clean up flood damage, just the usual weekly visit where he keeps it very clean.

The ground was covered with two inches of snow this morning. I melted by three, but quite a difference from the warm weather I was working in Florida.

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Oh my!

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2seaoat wrote:.....your expenses in retirement were supposed to go down.

Obviously that common wisdom never contemplated the type of projects you've elected to undertake.

But SNOW??!!   Ugh.  You can have it.

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The gravel trucks were suppose to deliver at ten am. They called and said they would like to do it on Monday. That is why we use our dump truck, but I am too weak to open and close the gate so I have to depend on a third party.

Web designer phone conference scheduled for 9am, and after repeated requests to delay.....we got it done at 3pm. I had to get diesel for the bobcat, but because I am too weak to fuel a full five gallon container, I am putting about three gallons which means I will need to make about three trips very early in the morning because I simply cannot lift fifty pounds or less. The flood damage is amazing. I will try to take a photo of all the trees which have stacked up against the causeway.

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You've certainly had your share (and maybe your fill) of obstacles, Sea.  As for people delaying you on various fronts, apparently things aren't perfect in Illinois, either.  I guess it's we imperfect humans, no matter where.

The one thing that keeps bothering me is, once you go through all the gargantuan struggles to remedy this latest flood damage, what's to prevent its happening again, and yet again, given climate change's tendency to upset the weather apple cart going forward?

Not trying to be a Debbie Downer, just really interested in your thought process in this regard.

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The river always wins. Each flood you identify weakness in your road systems and causeways. With each repair, you harden the causeways. We have owned the islands for 13 years. During this period since the river gauges began recording river levels since 1910, eight of the top ten flood events have happened since we have owned the islands. Concrete delivered is about 100 dollars a cubic yard. Each spring we put down about 15 yards of concrete. Over time the blow outs and weak points become less and less. The beauty of these islands are amazing. It is probably one of the top twenty natural areas in Northern Illinois.

I have a feel sorry for seaoat poker game Sunday afternoon as friends from high school have gotten the report from the friend who was visiting in Florida, that I am declining rapidly. I appreciate the concern, but if I make the PRRT trials, I am going to become a bad penny which you just cannot get rid of.......of course I could be gone in less than a month waiting, but Sunday morning I will move logs off the islands so we can cut grass and clear the mud deposits off our gravel roads. I filled the diesel five gallon container and poured it into the Bobcat.....so weak, but I got it done. Life is beautiful, and I am thrilled with any extra time, and waking up in the morning and being able to get out of bed. I will post photos Sunday morning.

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Two dump truck loads of gravel spread with the bobcat as all major causeways are passable. The debris build up on the causeways from the floods this winter are just impossible to remove at this time. The debris on this causeway is about half of what is on the main causeway. I am going to try to start a fire above the river and see if I can burn some of this debris so it will be lighter when we begin chaining and removing the trees. If I get lucky, the fires could render the wood down to manageable until the river starts to rise.

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That's a lot of work.

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With each flood, the water carries sediment and sand. It deposits it over the surface. I have been spending the morning scraping the sediment off my gravel roads. Once I hit the strata of the gravel, I can add some more rock, but just enough to sprinkle a little gravel because it will flood again and you do not need to pile it high because the base of the road is growing with each flood, and hitting our pocketbook. The good news is once the road bed gets to a certain elevation the sediment does not deposit and is scoured off the gravel road and deposited in low areas.

Unfortunately, the bobcat is overheating at the one hour mark. This will mean that I will be running it in forty five minute increments giving it an hour to cool down and adding coolant each day until the overheating stops. I will post some pretty cool photos of the 11' tube on the main causeway and show you the size of trees which are swept down the river with winter floods and ice jams.

The islands are simply stunning this time of year, and ten years ago I would be fishing most of the day, but with the limited time I have, I must remain on task. We are in the process of posting a help wanted sign to get some help chain sawing and cutting grass as I am uncertain how my liver will take to being bounced around on the John Deere zero turn commercial mower. With all the little sand deposits and uneven ground from the flood deposits, it will take about to sept. to level off the ground through mowing and rains which dissipate the little mounds and the islands become self leveling after about six months of rains. The problem is my liver is bounding around with three large painful tumors........so......Mrs. Seaoat will be doing most of the cutting.

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Gravel work is done on the second causeway, and as you can see the flood debris on the front side of the causeway. Unfortunately, I am overheating because I need to replace three bearings in the lower unit of the bobcat. We replaced the left side and drive motor last fall.....it was a bear. I will work the bobcat for only a half hour at a time until I get everything open, and we will repair the bearings in June.....never ending challenges, but it is keeping me alive. These are full maple trees swept down from the flood waters.

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Good grief, what a royal mess -- in the face of which your efforts seem positively Herculean.   Glad to know this is life-sustaining work for you.

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This is why I do it:

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Beautiful! So tranquil.

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Perfectly gorgeous. Even better if you can allow yourself at least a little time to actually enjoy and reflect on the beauty. Seems to me a peaceful, stress-reducing sojourn, even of very short duration, would also be good for body and spirit, no? I get the feeling you're on a go-go-go schedule (and understand why), but...well. Up to you, of course.

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RealLindaL wrote:Perfectly gorgeous.   Even better if you can allow yourself at least a little time to actually enjoy and reflect on the beauty.   Seems to me a peaceful, stress-reducing sojourn, even of very short duration, would also be good for body and spirit, no?  I get the feeling you're on a go-go-go schedule (and understand why), but...well.  Up to you, of course.  


Shades of On Golden Pond

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RealLindaL wrote:Perfectly gorgeous.   Even better if you can allow yourself at least a little time to actually enjoy and reflect on the beauty.   Seems to me a peaceful, stress-reducing sojourn, even of very short duration, would also be good for body and spirit, no?  I get the feeling you're on a go-go-go schedule (and understand why), but...well.  Up to you, of course.  

I agree.

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The guy upstairs has a plan for each of us. I do not know when my exit will be, but I am packing in plenty of living. My son correlates work with punishment. So in high school I made him get a job as a bagger in a grocery store. I worked since I was 15 and celebrated hard physical work. Most of my 35 year career was in the realm of using my knowledge to make a living, but I was always drawn to back breaking hard physical work.....I think my son has a more balanced approach, but I look at it as being a wee bit lazy, but I have noticed tis across the board with males in their thirties. When we had our poker game of high school friends, one of my friends wrote a wonderful email to our group how he cherished almost 50 years of us playing avalon hill war games, risk, acquire, poker, and blackjack. He noted without exception all of us worked in high school jobs which helped pay our college.

The Nuclear medicine people are doing their calculations, and if I am approved, the first treatment could be after May 16th. I have given some thought if this gives me 1-3 years additional quality life will I stop the physical work.....there is not much left of me now.....just a skeleton of the man I once was as I have trouble carrying a case of water, but I will work and push the envelope until I draw my last breath, not because of some tough guy routine, but simply because I love life and all its challenges, and this illness has taught me one important lesson, celebrate the opportunity to be productive and hope that your concepts and life goals can reach a happy balance. My son and daughter in law were mad at Mrs. Seaoat and myself for missing grandparents day in the preschool my youngest grandson attends.....my response, bring them out to the islands where we can enjoy them for days without an arbitrary framework of a grandparent day. So I guess my son would agree with many here that we should slow down, but heck I cut two acres of low area on the islands and last year it was underwater at this time......and a year ago I never thought I would be on a mower again. God's natural beauty is so much better than man's silly attempts to create cozy little pockets of comfort as we watch our TVs.....well until you see the beauty of the modern NBA.....

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I've been teaching my oldest how to rebuild the front end on her explorer. Literally every link, ball joint, struts, upper and lower control arms. She's having a great time. The left lower ball joint was going out... so it was just the beginning of the end unless we totally rebuilt it. It'll be better than new. I got the entire kit for 277. It'd probably cost 2500+ to have a shop do it. She really enjoys this... much more than I expected. I was going to leave my tools to my nephews... but now I might have to rethink that... lol.

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You guys rock!

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My oldest granddaughter is showing remarkable interest in engineering and taking things apart. She is only in 3rd grade but she is one of the top three math students. They love to build things with leggos. My wife can probably do more things mechanical than most men, but she called me last week and said that she is going to a spa and putting some curl in her hair. She was called sir twice, as it seems to be a southern thing that men in their sixties have pony tails with gray hair......well when she goes into Hall's twice she has been met with can I help you sir......from the back.....she turns around and says I am not a sir. They apologize, but the last straw was when this three year old was with his father in Halls when the little boy announces to everybody around that Judy was his "papa", to which the father apologized and told the kid....no she is not papa, she is a lady. We laughed but she has not curled her hair since the big hair era in her twenties. Looking forward to her make over, but we have both worked ourselves to death, and she will not return home for a couple weeks. You do not realize how much a caretaker does for a sick person until you are on your own. It has been good for me to get some of these things done by myself because it forces the issue.

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I am going to try to burn some of the flood debris this afternoon. I will post a photo of the pile burning in the river.

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What a mess. I am finding that the flooding last summer, and the winter floods have created potholes all over the islands. I am slowly using the bobcat to plow the roads and adjacent area. Illinois is in drought like conditions and the river is low. I having been breathing dust now for a week and hope early in the morning we will finally get some rain. I have been seeding and repairing the flood damage, but this is the worse in 14 years we have owned the islands.....summer floods followed by winter ice jams and floods has made my job impossible.

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Ouch, sounds like a massive task. Won't try to tell you to let it go...but there's only so much one person can do, and right now, with a significant and rare chance to live longer for your and your family's sake coming down the pike very soon...well....you're a big boy and can figure it out.

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What Real Linda said. If you must work the cat, wear a mask.

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We have really cold weather and a drizzle in Illinois, while my wife said she is in sweltering heat finishing up some tasks in Florida. I am putting up four tents for friends to come out for the memorial day weekend. I am putting a marine battery, an inverter, a fan, a night led light with two usb charging ports so our guests can have all the comforts of home. I am looking for a 40 watt solar trickle charger so we do not have to drag the batteries back to the house and charge them. At 40 watts I will need to get a controller so as not to overcharge the battery. I will be building a 2 x 4 entry to each tent secured by black walnut trees and the wooden entry. It has been really hard for me to erect this tent as I do not do well bending over and as easy as these 7 person tents are to erect with the collapsing fiberglass support poles, raising it and putting the rain fly on was a bear. I get weaker by the day, but I am convinced if I keep moving and working, I am buying time for the PRRT. I have looked at the survival rates, and some patients have lived five years but sadly with my high hormone levels and liver failure, the best I can hope for is 24 months, but the idea of getting rid of the bone mets and the pain associated with the same have me hopeful.

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