Muscadine crown

There is a tremendous amount of muscadine growing on the mountain here. I looked up and saw this on Tuesday while walking the dogs.

muscadine crown

 

This is actually a dead oak growing right next to the road. Its crown is a clump of muscadine vines.

The wikipedia article says that muscadine grows “wild in well-drained bottom lands that are not subject to extended drought or water logging.” But they seem to be doing quite well up here in the highlands. A few years ago I cut my way along our rear property line so I could find our interior property corner. A short straight section of the boundary had been staked at some time, so I used it to set my course through the woods. I had to cut a number of thin but tall trees to get a clear view up the property line. The trees are very thick there, so even in the best of circumstances it would be hard to get them to fall, but many times the crowns of the trees were intertwined with muscadine vines so the trees actually couldn’t fall.

I have tasted only a few of our native grapes. They are small, deep purple grapes with a strong flavor but very little flesh. The skins are very thick and tart.

The muscadines seem not to have produced much of a crop this year. I have been seeing unripe green grapes on the road and very few, if any, ripe or even ripening ones on the vines or on the road. Although, according to Wikipedia, some muscadines are green when ripe, as I mentioned, our muscadines are dark purple when they are ripe. The plants look fine, but they just seem not to be producing ripe grapes.

A septic system

Monday morning the septic system installers showed up and began work. I met them at the site and we decided where to put the tank and the lines. I have been impressed with this installer. Before he even met with me the first time he had already called the health department to talk about what kind of system should be installed. After I hired them, they continued to talk with the inspectors, finally convincing them that a fairly conventional system could be used, even if installed at a shallow depth because we had plenty of topsoil to to cover the lines.

I was afraid they would need a jackhammer to get the septic tank in, but the backhoe did the job.

digging for tank

This equipment is actually called a track hoe. They’re compact and powerful little machines.

The tank itself came from a company up in Summerville. The driver arrived just at the right time. Here they are dropping the tank into the ground.

setting tank

I came back periodically to check on progress. Here they are installing the leach field drain lines.

setting linesThe lines are roughy half circles in cross section and made of plastic.

This depth would not be sufficient without additional fill, which they are adding in this picture.

covering the lines

The job was inspected and completed by late afternoon. The entire crew left with all their equipment and a check before we ate supper.

The installer warned me to keep any vehicles off the leach field because the drain lines are so near the surface. The health department inspector called me later in the afternoon to tell me the same thing. I made a “KEEP OFF” sign Tuesday and put it at the edge of the installation, and then I put yellow caution tape around the entire leach field.

The top of the well driller’s rig is visible just above the foundation walls in the last photo. The driller hadn’t worked on the site for the last two weeks, but he came back on Monday. The well is now at about 170 feet. They have hit water but only with a very low flow. I expect the well to end up at least twice as deep as it is now.

There is no real hurry on the well, which is a good thing since patience is necessary when the driller is using an old cable rig.

We hired a framer last week. He should start work in early August. If things go well, it should take only three to four weeks to dry in the house. So, by sometime in September we will probably be able to see the house in something other than our imaginations.

Parking lot clouds

As seems to be the usual case, we saw some nice clouds on Friday when we went to the grocery store. And, as usual, it was hard to get a good shot. This was what we saw when we walked out into the parking lot.

walmart clouds 25 julyOr at least this is something like what we saw. I tried a panorama.

clouds 25 july pano

 

It was quite a sky. Too bad the pictures don’t really do it justice.

 

Turtles all the way down

We haven’t seen many turtles lately, but within the last week we (or I) saw two on Fouche Gap Road. The first one was immobile but apparently trying to cross the road near the bottom of the mountain.

lowbackturtle

We stopped so that I could move it out of the road. At first, from a distance, I thought it was a snapping turtle because it seemed to have such a flat back. Up closer I realized it wasn’t a snapper. It was a full hand-span wide. I put it at the closer side of the road, but Leah and I both worried that it was going to head back out into the road after we left. Fortunately, there was no sign of it when we came back home.

Monday morning Zeke found another turtle closer to the top of the mountain.

turtlehoundZeke is a good turtle hound.

This one was safely in the weeds, so I didn’t bother him/her. Here’s a closer shot.

turtle2

Maybe two turtles doesn’t qualify as “turtles all the way down” but two within a few days is a lot for up here.