CacheCrazy.Com: February 2014

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Maple Sugaring Part 2

Well folks I'm back with some more maple sugaring. This year I decided to do things a little differently. Last Saturday my daughter, Kyo-Kat, and I started tapping our maple trees.

I'll explain as I go along what I am doing at each tree. I know this is a little odd since most folks tap about 3 to 4 feet off of the ground. I've been told that I am a little odd anyway so now I think you'll understand why.

                     
This is the first tree and the start of my tubing. It goes around the tree and then through the little plastic eye/drop line attachment. I start high in the tree to allow gravity to take the sap from this tree down line to my barrel. A friend of mine actually taps his trees so that his sap flows up hill. His system is another unique one.










This first tree now has the taps/drop lines attached. The sap is then able to come out of the tree and down the drop line to the main line. It then goes around the tree and to the left to the next tree.






From here the line continues to the left to the next tree.























Here I am drilling the hole for the tap and drop line. You can see the drop line just below my left arm.















Now I gently "tap" the tap into the tree and the sap begins to flow.


















Here are three taps that are now allowing the sap to flow downhill by gravity.








This is the main line from the last tree all the way back to the barrel, which is where all of the sap gets collected.









This is the end of the line. The sap comes from the right around the pole and into the barrel.










Looking down the sap line. Don't get too close because here it comes.
















This Saturday I will build my fireplace where I will boil down all of my sap into maple syrup. I plan on putting the fireplace to the left of the barrel. That way I will only have to walk a few steps to retrieve the sap. In previous years I had to drive my truck to the front of the house and then dip it out into a cooler and then drive it back up to the fireplace. This new system should make my life a lot easier.

In just one day I had about 5 inches of sap in the barrel, and that was with only 5 taps. By this Saturday I will have all 12 taps in, and as long as we have some warm sunny days I should get a lot more sap. The perfect day for a good run of sap is 40 degrees with some sun and then dropping off to 32 or below during the night. You don't want the sap to run all night. I really feel this is going to be a great year for us.

I hope you have learned a little bit more about maple sugaring. If you would like to try tapping your own maple trees just let me know and I'll help you out as much as I can.







Friday, February 21, 2014

And here we go.....HAPPY BIRTHDAY CACHECRAZY.COM!!!!!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY CACHECRAZY.COM
you are 3 years old today!
well, actually 5 years but, 3 to the date in it's current awesome blog format! Below is the actual FIRSTpost (unedited) from Feb 21, 2011 DAY ONE!
Thanks guys! BH
_________________________________________

Someone asked me, "how long do you think you can sustain a blog and keep it fresh and interesting?" My answer was not what I wanted to write and knew in my heart that CacheCrazy.Com was bigger than just me, it needed many! More thoughts, more talent, additional support, moral support and just some damn good blogging. 
Is that asking too much?

That was two years ago when I first started goofing around with the CacheCrazy.Com site. Today, I think I am as close as I have ever been to answering that question positively. There are many people to thank and a lot of time and persistence dedicated however that will come another day!

Today is the beginning of a new CacheCrazy.Com and I sincerely thank you for being part of it!

Here are the very basic criteria of the site:
  • Each author will post one (or more) posts per week
  • There is no criteria for the post. It's as the author intended
  • Many people can join as guest authors or just send in a submission (and many have, thanks)
  • Its easy to work and trouble free. All you need to do is show up and check us out
  • Our authors and myself sincerely appreciate you following us and commenting so please participate
  • Have Fun!
It's a geocaching blog and that's about it, I'll let the blog speak for itself.


Thank you Administrative Authors for your time and commitment. Truly, without you guys it could not happen. And even if it only runs one year, month, week, day.....It is a success!!!!!!


Kevin AKA Bloodhounded

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So there you have it! "If I could make a wish and blow out all the candles, I wish tomorrow is exactly as awesome as today" (from the book of Bloodhoundedisim). It was never my blog, it's always been ours and forever it shall be! 

Thank you all, every stinking one of you, come on now, group hug!!!!!!!!! You're the BEST!
Happy Birthday CacheCrazy, may you live long and vicariously.
______________________________________________


Hello all, Bloodhounded here!

Today is the three year anniversary of CacheCrazy.Com in its “blog” form! So many thanks go out to everyone who has had a part in making the site so successful! Way too many people to thank here but you know who you are….

  Thank you!

Let me cut right to the chase. I am personally going through some very difficult times right now and have decided to take somewhat of a backseat of the CacheCrazy.Com mobile. I can’t insure that we will be posting every day as we have in the past three years, but on the other hand, I’m not taking the site down either. There are many excellent admin authors that may want to continue to write, link their blog in for dual posting, post pics and enjoy the blog so, I’m letting it roll (and YES, I’ll still be scheduling and pop in from time to time to post as well). I just cannot commit to the leadership position as I need to focus my efforts on other important matters at this time.

I pray things will change in a positive direction and who knows, I may be back before you know it but friends, for now anyway, its time for a break for me. I love my blog family and I will dearly miss each of you.
Thank you,
Kevin aka Bloodhounded










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Monday, February 17, 2014

WARNING : Geocaching May Cause....


AS SEEN ON SONNY'S BLOG

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Where's Lady Magpie Gone?


 

Where's Lady Magpie Gone

I know all you readers have been wondering what happen to that mad pensioner Lady Magpie, that used to write on this blog. Has she finally gone on to caches new or just faded away in the lost valley of Geocaching. Well I'm sorry to disappoint you, but I'm live and well and still kicking, although perhaps at a reduced rate.

It was way back in November 2012 and I had just completed an arduous 7 cache walk along a very a rugged green track, approx. 5 miles all together solo. Well who needs men to get the GPS wrong anyway.

The following morning I awoke in discomfort having discovered an abscess in a place that you really wouldn't want an abscess. A visit to the old doc followed, where he poked, prodded and generally made me more uncomfortable than when I arrive. It's incredible how all those years of training can give them the medical knowledge to utter the words "You've got an abscess", when in fact that's just what I said when I walked into his surgery. A prescription was issued and I hoped that was that.

Gloucester Hospital Tower.
Well by the time that abscess disappeared another had entered my world of ailments, thus curtailed my caching activities once again. Suddenly I discovered that I was having problems sitting on any chairs due to a serious pain that had started in my groin, and also an infection was starting right through my stomach, liver etc. By Christmas I had become very ill with nobody able to find what was wrong. Suddenly, on Boxing Day, I was rushed into Gloucester Royal Hospital by ambulance after being found by my brother in distress, Santa Claus had to wait this year.

I have hated this hospital since both my parents died here in the 90's and 00's. Not that I'm blaming our brilliant NHS (National Health Services), but the ward I was in was so understaffed it was ridicules, similar to when they were in there.

My room of gloom,  everyone else had left.
OK they were treating me with antibiotics, but within a few days they had kindly given my a serious bout of the Nora-virus. Now I don't know if any of you have had this, but for a few days it felt as if the world had dropped out of every orifice in my body, I will say no more. Due to this virus being so contagious our ward was shut down. We therefore had no visitors and even the nursing staff wouldn't come in, they just left what food they could by the ward doorway for us to pick up. I was not a happy Magpie, because I had no internet, no good television and was just lucky enough to get a slight signal on my mobile phone.

I was really fed up by now and all I wanted to do was get home again which I did after ten days. Yes they had stopped all the infections in my stomach, liver etc, but they had not found the reason why I felt I had on one of Tiger Woods' golf balls in my groin (Don't you dare say it must have been a hole in one).

Mo will be remembered by many.
The following year has been one of hospital visit, followed by more hospital visits, as they searched for the problem, I'm certain Mystic Meg would have solved my problems quicker.

Unfortunately I was also taking my my beloved Sister Mo to a cancer hospital every 4 weeks (chemotherapy) as she battled with the disease for a second year. Mind you, although the long journeys back and forth was teddious, I did sneak in a few geocaches in when I could. Her hospital was in the famous town of Cheltenham with many splendid Georgian Terraces, The picture below shows just what Cheltenham is all about and the cache I found was one of those little magnet nano's on the fencing.

My dear Sister Mo, who was my life, lost her battle and past away peacefully at home in October 2013. As you can imagine it was hard to actually get through each day let alone go out caching, but this did show one thing to me, my medical problems were nothing in comparison to what she had to go through.

The Spender of Georgian Cheltenham
By now the doctors have given up and decided what I needed was lots of medication. Now I'm sure the amount they have given me could kill all the buffalo on the prairies of North America. let alone ease my pain. I'm also sure that I now rattle as I walk around with the amount of pills I'm taking. This has caused me even more problems, well being such an old fart, I keep forgetting to take the flipping things. My Niece, Kernowboo, that's her caching name, came up with a fantastic idea. She has made me set up my mobile phone with an alarm that goes off every time I have to take some tablets. Very clever, but she didn't appreciate me asking if she could now ring me up to remind me to switch my phone on.

So where am I now in terms of geocaching after being limited to only 59 during 2013. I do plan to get back as much as I can, even if muggles can hear me rattles as I walk along. I have also started getting into photograph, combined with the caching, and have a few websites where my photos have been viewed. I leave you with a few of them and a reminder, look out THE MAGPIE IS BACK.

A few examples of what an old pensioner can do if found with a camera in hand, enjoy.

The Home of the Woolly Jumper.

The heart of a poinsettia.

Very close to my home.


 















 

Thursday, February 13, 2014

CAN YOU SAY Mmmmmm Good?

Well folks believe it or not February is moving by and with all of the snow and cold weather comes a season I really enjoy. It's called Maple Season. As some of you know I really enjoy making maple syrup. There is nothing like fresh maple syrup on your waffles or pancakes. Don't even get me started on all of the store bought stuff you can get. Yuck!!

When February rolls around I begin getting my maple tapping equipment together. Then at the specified time, whenever, I will tap the trees in my front yard. Last year I tapped four trees and my yield was 3 gallons of syrup.



I would have gotten more but a four legged critter who is big and black decided to knock over one of the sap barrels.  I tried finding him this past hunting season to show him what I thought of his stealing my sap, but he eluded me. Now I have to pray he doesn't return for another treat this year.

This year I am going to try something different as to where my barrels are situated. I also might just use one barrel and it will be behind my house. Once I get it all set up I'll post some pictures of how it all looks and how the collecting and boiling is going.

With the new season approaching I needed to use up what I had left from last year. Sometimes I make maple cream, which is to die for.



And sometimes I make Maple Peanut Crunch (MPC). It just depends on how much syrup I have left over. This year I decided to make some more MPC.



The first batch turned out pretty good. It was a test batch since I hadn't made it since last year and I could not remember how to make it. Here are the directions I received from a friend who makes it every year.

'Put maple syrup into a pan. Bring it to a boil and get it to 260 degrees. Boil it until it starts to come up over the edge of the pan. Keep boiling it; you're almost there. When it's ready pour it over a cookie sheet that is lined with foil and peanuts. Let it cool and then break it up.'

I decided to use one quart of syrup in a very large pan and like I said it turned out really good. I'm still not sure how I did it so I decided to make another batch for a get together at a friends house. This time I was going to monitor things more closely.

Well as I was boiling it I noticed it was getting difficult to stir. So I kept on stirring and I stirred a little faster. This SEEMED to help. I lined the cookie sheet with foil and sprayed it with cooking oil. This would help in getting it off later on. Then I poured it over the peanuts on the cookie sheet and let it set.

The next day I broke it all up and did a taste test. It sure was good. My wife said it seemed like glass. Maybe that's why they call it peanut "brittle."


We all decided that we like the maple peanut crunch better since it has a more creamy texture from not stirring it so much. I guess I'll have to make some more, but first I need to tap some trees.


Monday, February 10, 2014

The Beale Ciphers


DctrSpott


The Beale Ciphers










Most geocachers love taking on a cache with a challenging puzzle. The brain-strain makes the eventual find that much more rewarding. So naturally, geocachers should be keen to take on an urban legend involving a cipher, adventure, and a hidden treasure worth over $20 million.

The Original Beale Paper Pamphlet (Wikipedia)
As the legend goes, Thomas Beale, on an expedition to Colorado, discovered a gold mine in an area of what is now Colorado. After several years of mining, Beale returns to Bedford County, VA, where he buried the gold, silver, and jewels in a vault. Beale left a local hotel manager, Robert Morriss, with three ciphered papers: describing the location, contents, and owners of the treasure, in the event Beale cannot return to claim it.



 Morriss, unable to translate the cipher, gives them to James Ward to publish, hoping someone might uncover the treasure. Ward's published pamphlet contains everything we know about the cipher, including a translation of the second page. The cipher is called a book cipher, which uses a text as the key. The words of the text, in this case the Declaration of Independence, are numbered sequentially, and the first letter of each word is synonymous with each word's number. In this way, common letters like E can be disguised with multiple numbers, making the cipher very difficult (if not impossible) to break without the key text.  The deciphered text is as follows:

I have deposited in the county of Bedford, about four miles from Buford's, in an excavation or vault, six feet below the surface of the ground, the following articles, belonging jointly to the parties whose names are given in number three, herewith:
The first deposit consisted of ten hundred and fourteen pounds of gold, and thirty-eight hundred and twelve pounds of silver, deposited Nov. eighteen nineteen. The second was made Dec. eighteen twenty-one, and consisted of nineteen hundred and seven pounds of gold, and twelve hundred and eighty-eight of silver; also jewels, obtained in St. Louis in exchange for silver to save transportation, and valued at thirteen thousand dollars.
The above is securely packed in iron pots, with iron covers. The vault is roughly lined with stone, and the vessels rest on solid stone, and are covered with others. Paper number one describes the exact locality of the vault, so that no difficulty will be had in finding it.

Woah! 1014lbs of gold! Today's value of gold is $1742/troy oz,  or $25,398/lb. This of course, makes the gold alone worth almost $26 million. Have I caught your interest?

Of gold
 Before you take your caching team to Virginia, digging equipment in hand, know that the remaining pages are to this day unsolved. The legend is the Beale left a letter describing the keytexts with a friend in St Louis, but the letter never reached Morriss in Virginia. Others claim the whole story is a hoax, a short story written in the style of Edgar Allen Poe's "The Gold-Bug". Whichever the case, every year sees treasure hunters swarming the Buford area, hoping to find Beale's treasure.

So, whether you're heading to Virginia to treasure hunt, or hoping to attempt one of the many Beale themed caches, good luck to you!



Saturday, February 8, 2014

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Friday, February 7, 2014

Cache Crazy Re-Visits "A Walk Into Darkness"

Ever since our own DctrSpott took on keoki_eme’s “AWalk Into Darkness” and wrote about it here, the rest of us at Cache Crazy headquarters have been enviously awaiting our chance to tackle this beast.  So we went on a mission to recruit some of our friends and best geocachers in the business.  After much planning, schedule shuffling, and big talk, we went after it this past Sunday.  Between the rain, the scenery, the history, the stages, and the camaraderie, this was an adventure that won't be forgotten.  To talk too much would be spoilers galore, so you'll have to fill in the blanks from the pix below...!

THE ALL STAR TEAM
Dave aka "Smithie23"
Kevin aka "Team Bloodhounded"
Val aka "The K-Team"
Allison aka "walnut-tripper"
Steph aka "Team Bloodhounded"
Mike aka "Team Bloodhounded"
Dan aka "Dodger"

TERRAIN, SCENERY, HARBINGERS
Lisa Simpson a geocacher?
The old Hanover Reservoir
Some of the "easier" terrain
Old flume
A long journey
Ain't nothin' stoppin' this gang...
...Not even this


THE STAGES
Just another day...

Free climbin'

We do it all

Mine drainage tunnel

Teamwork

Everybody's having fun

We're all friends here

Thinking over the next stage

NOW where are we going?

Spooky spooky

Gettin' in the swing of things

Just how many stages is this??

SO AFTER ALL THAT, WERE WE SUCCESSFUL?




YOU BETTER BELIEVE IT! 

DO YOU HAVE WHAT IT TAKES TO WALK INTO THE DARKNESS??

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