CacheCrazy.Com: May 2014

Friday, May 30, 2014

Meet Fred

Fred came into my life a little over two years ago.  His role back then was quite different than it was now.  Fred had a penchant for scaring young children, often much to the delight of younger or older siblings involved.  Under bedsheets, in the fridge, in the toilet, there seemed to be no end to Fred's reign of terror.

Over time, Fred mellowed out.  Eventually, he retired to the cubbyhole inside our living room end table.  Gone were the days of screaming children, taunted by his dagger-like florescent green eyes.  Fred led us all to believe he had walked off into the sunset, never to be heard from again.

We were wrong.

Fred's back and, to the surprise of us all, he's taken an interest in geocaching.  He said he's been cooped up all this time, and is ready to get out and explore the world around him.   Also, he wants to get out and socialize with human beings, without scaring the bejeezus out of them.


Let's hit the trail.


 I  think we're dealing with a kindler, gentler Fred.  He has, however, provided me with a list of pet peeves, and he wanted me to share it with you.


  • Being alone.  Fred hates solitude.  He won't go caching alone, and hates being left in the woods.
  • That screeching sound a lamp post skirt makes when you lift it up.  No matter how much you try to avoid it, you're gonna scrape it against the pole.  Like nails on a chalkboard, he says.
  • Phantom log signatures.  If you want to say you found the cache, get out and go find the cache.  Fred can do it, and he doesn't even have any limbs.  Or a torso, for that matter.
  • Frogs.

Fred is ready to tackle a keoki_eme cache!


Fred doesn't ask for much.  In fact, all he really is asking of the geocaching community is that if you see him at an event, or out on a cache hunt, to give him a shout out, and log it at geocaching.com.

See Fred's Page Here

Thursday, May 29, 2014

HEMLOCK WOOLLY ADELGID


Today we're going to look at a pest that is devastating our woodlands. It is called the Hemlock Woolly Adelgid.  It is commonly pronounced WULL-ee uh-DELLjed.   (This article is taken from the PA DCNR.)


What is the Woolly Adelgid? The hemlock woolly adelgid is a sap-feeding insect that attacks hemlock trees throughout eastern North America along the Appalachian mountains and surrounding regions, including Pennsylvania. It is particularly bothersome to both the eastern hemlock (Pennsylvania's state tree) and the Carolina hemlock (found further south in the Smokey Mountain sections of the Appalachians). These adelgids are also found as far north as southern New
England.

                               Woolly Adelgid

The insects appear as white sacs clinging to hemlock twigs, resembling the tips of
cotton swabs. These sacs are on the underside of the twigs at the base of the needles, making them hard to see at first.  Hemlock woolly adelgids feed throughout the year, although spring is when they do the most tree damage. The pest sucks sap from the young twigs, depriving the needles and causing them to turn a grayish green (hemlocks naturally have a shiny, dark green color).

                               Hemlocks affected by the Woolly Adelgid

Obviously, the loss of sap jeopardizes the trees' health, and within a few years of
advanced infestation, hemlocks may lose most of their needles, and can often die if
other stresses, such as drought, affect them. The insects are dispersed as they hatch in spring by wind, birds and various mammals.

These forest pests are becoming a larger problem, both in the forests and in residential stands of hemlocks. Since Pennsylvania's hemlocks prefer relatively remote locations, such as near a stream or a protected, shady locale, it is somewhat difficult to treat the trees to rid them of the pests.

The hemlock woolly adelgid, Adelges tsugae, was introduced to North America in the Pacific northwest in 1924, probably from Japan. It was first spotted on the eastern seaboard (in Virginia) in the early 50s. Defoliation due to the insect has been occurring ever since, and it is spreading.

                                      Close-up of a WA

About 35 (out of 67) counties in Pennsylvania have now confirmed the presence of this adelgid, mostly in the southern and eastern counties. The pest first appeared in Pennsylvania (in Chester County) in the mid-'60s; at the time, they were confined to ornamental hemlocks. Over the last 20 years, however, the hemlock woolly adelgid has become a significant threat to Pennsylvania's state tree.

                         Affected areas

Well I hope this article has informed you of what is happening in Penn's Woods, which are our woods. Is this devastating? Yes, but it's not the end. We can still enjoy the woods, hiking, and Geocaching.


Thursday, May 22, 2014

Does Your Cache Need Maintenance








Have you ever had to perform maintenance on one of your caches before because someone posted a “Needs Maintenance” log, or have you ever had to disable your cache for a good reason?  In today’s article I am going to cover why you might have to perform maintenance on your cache, or why you might want to disable your cache, and how you can do that. Then I will cover what to do on the cache page (CP) after you have taken care of the situation. Let’s look at what happens when someone posts a “Needs Maintenance” log on your cache page.

If you receive several DNF (Did Not Find) logs on your CP then naturally you’ll want to check up on it. But what happens if someone posts the dreaded “Needs Maintenance” (NM) log on your cache page? 





When someone posts this on your CP the Geocaching.com Maintenance Squad will appear at your door within 48 hours and escort you to your cache and make sure you perform the required maintenance, and if you don't they will archive you for the rest of your life.  Okay, so I just woke up and realized I was dreaming. What really happens is that when a Geocacher visits a cache and either doesn’t find it, or they do find it, but it is in bad shape they might post a NM log. They can do this when they choose to “log their visit” on the right hand side of the CP.

The Groundspeak Knowledge Book says this:

3.8. Caches That Need Maintenance

FINDERS:
https://support.groundspeak.com/index.php?pg=file&from=2&id=24If you find a geocache that is in need of some help (e.g. container is cracked, logbook is full or wet), please post a "Needs Maintenance" log on the cache page so the cache owner and the community is notified. This log adds an attribute to the page (looks like a colored cross) to alert other geocachers of the needed repairs. Logging Needs Maintenance does not increase find count. Needs Maintenance logs are not forwarded to reviewers. (Italics and underlining mine.)
As a fellow cacher if I notice that a cache is in need of maintenance then I should post a NM log on the CP. Now I might do this if the cache is really soaked, or filled with ants or bees, or is thought to be missing.  When you go to the CP you choose “log your visit” on the right hand side.  When the next window opens up you’ll need to “select type of log” and choose “Needs Maintenance”. 

Then fill out the date and then fill in your comments as to why you are assigning it a NM log. Next just hit “submit log entry” and you’re all set.  Once this log is logged then an email is sent to the cache owner (CO). He should go and repair the cache and get it back in order for others to find.  When you choose this type of log entry then as mentioned above a colored cross is automatically put into your attributes on the CP.



Once you have made the repairs to your cache then you need to log into your account and go to the appropriate CP that you repaired and select “log your visit” and then choose the drop down menu and select “Owner Maintenance”. 



Check the date and then make your comments and then submit the log entry. When you do this the colored cross will then disappear from your attributes on the CP. If you do not do this then your CP will be excluded from any PQ’s that are run, and no one wants to be excluded from anything. Once you are done with all of this then you can go back to your CP and delete the entries. That way your CP stays nice and clean.





Now on to disabling your cache. You can disable your cache, and you should, if it is in an area where there will be hunting taking place. A good idea is to disable it during Big Game season. That way you don’t have people out in the woods looking for your cache when there might be hunters out there hunting for deer or bear. If you choose to look for Geocaches during hunting season PLEASE WEAR ORANGE so that the hunters can see you better.  By disabling your cache others who go to your CP will see that it is temporarily disabled. You can post a note as to why you disabled it, and when you expect it to be re-enabled.

So you would go to your CP and on the right hand side you would choose “Disable Listing”.



Then you choose “Temporarily Disable Listing” and fill in the date and then make your comments as to why it is disabled. Click submit log entry and your done for now.











Once you’re ready to enable it you do it the same way but you choose “Enable Listing” and it will be enabled once again. 










Then I go back and delete both entries from the logs. The cache page is back online and folks can now look for it again. I hope this has been helpful because the last thing I want to see is the colored cross on the search page when I am looking for caches, or find a cache that has been disabled and forgot about. And I’ve seen some caches that have been found even though there is still a needs maintenance attribute listed. Clean those pages up and let everyone know that your caches are well maintained. It really shows you care. 

Friday, May 16, 2014

#stopbullying

For those of us who live in the Wyoming Valley, in Northeastern Pennsylvania, the recent rash of suicides in the area and gripped at our hearts, and left us scratching our heads.  What was going on in the minds of these young men and women in the time leading up to their unfortunate death?  Could it have been prevented?  Was there a cry for help, be it said or unsaid?

The first of the suicides gripped our community particularly hard.  One of my stepdaughters lost a classmate. All the children in our house were left with questions.  The word, which spread like wildfire through school that day, was the young man was a victim of bullying.  The harassment he received at school and online, proved too much for him, and he took his own life.

As a parent, and stepparent, I asked myself: "How easily could this have been one of my own?"

A week or two ago, the community came together at our high school for a forum on bullying.  Representatives from the school district and the local authorities were present to discuss bullying in our schools, and what we, as parents, can do about it.  What are the warning signs?  How do I talk to my child about problems in school?



Speaking as a man in my mid-30's', things are certainly different from when I was in school.  Sure, bullying existed in my youth.  Who didn't get picked on, for whatever reason, at the playground?  Kids can be cruel, and I don't think that will ever change.  What has changed, however, is technology.  Here, in 2012, the bullying doesn't stop when the bell rings to signify the end of the school day.  Between social media, video chat, and text messaging, the problem is virtually there 24/7.

During his presentation during the forum, a representative from the Luzerne County Detectives Office asked the adults in attendance if anyone  knew what Oovoo was. (For those not in the know, it's a video conferencing application, similar to Skype.)  He pointed out an adult in the crowd who leaned towards his son and asked him what the detective was referring to.  What the detective didn't know was the adult is, in fact, a junior high teacher.  That being said, the detective raised a very good point.  What do we, as the adults, know about this technology?

Love and protect your kids, always!


As geocachers, we tend to have a leg up on certain technologies.  Many of us share the geocaching experience with our children, and as such, share the knowledge of the many applications and utilities available to us in the geocaching community.  Perhaps we can take some time out and educate ourselves, with the help of our kids, on other technologies they use.  We may not be on Kik (look it up), but many of our children are, and it is to our advantage to know who they're talking to, and how they're doing it.

For those on twitter, many are using the hash tag #stopbullying to voice their opinions and support on the subject.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

MOTHER'S DAY CACHING






Each year my wife and I participate in a Homeschool convention at the Farm Show in Harrisburg. We co-ordinate the Used Curriculum Sale, which is selling used books and school items. The convention runs for two days, but we always arrive the day before to get our stuff set up. This year was no different. The members of our organization are allowed to register and sell their used books and curriculum which benefits the buyers, the sellers, and the organization. So it's profitable for all involved and this year it was a huge success.

This year we decided to stay an extra night, which would be Saturday night. So instead of driving home late into the night we didn't have to leave until sometime Sunday morning. Hey there's no better way to spend Mother's Day then to allow Mom to sleep in, take her to a brunch, and then Geocache on the way home. Especially since that is what she wanted to do.

Sunday morning we slept in until 9:00 AM. Then we packed up and headed out to brunch. After brunch we hit the road and started looking for our first cache. This one was a nice small cache and a nice little place to stop and stretch our legs.

Our next cache was really worth it. It is called Peace of Mind.  This cache is located along a side road with plenty of parking. We arrived at a peaceful garden area and walked around first before looking for the cache. The owners live across the road and on many occasions will come out and talk with you. The first thing we noticed was a large circular concrete pad with lines all around it. It is called a Labyrinth. Their cache page says "The labyrinth is a very ancient tool. It's circuitous design is a reminder of the twists and turns in our journey of life. Walking the labyrinth is a personal experience."




So walked the labyrinth and then took some pictures. Then it was off to see if I could find the cache since my wife was busy looking at the flowers. Well I did find it. I then had her come and look for it too and yes she found it as well. This was a nice large cache container, but sadly there were not Trackables in it. My wife decided to leave a TB that we have had for quite some time. You know how things get lost and forgotten, but I'm sure none of you have ever done that before.




After signing the logbook we walked around the garden areas just taking in all of the beautiful sights and smells. There were Azaleas, Daffodils, Hyacinths, Dwarf Iris, Magnolia, Apple trees in bloom, and many, many more. This place is truly amazing and beautiful. If you ever get the chance, and are in the area, be sure to stop and find this wonderful place.




As we left we stopped at the little pond across the road and watched a mother goose sitting on her eggs waiting for them to hatch. What a pleasant sight for Mother's Day. We then got back in the car and headed on our way.



We did find three other caches on the way home, which brought our total to 5 for the day. We could have done more, but we missed our children and wanted to get home to see them. This turned out to be a Mother's Day to remember as I celebrated it with my Honey who is the best mother around. She takes such good care of our children and sees to it that they get a good quality education to boot. I just want to say Thank You Dear and may God give us many more days together.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Why Not Wednesday ~ SMILE AND BE HAPPY! oR elsE.....:(

SMILE AND BE HAPPY!

oR elsE.....:(

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Just Call Me Mother Goose


Chablis & I were kayak fishing for blue gill the other day.  We were doing pretty good too.  Fishing out of the kayak is a lot harder than fishing off the dock.   In the first place, the wind was blowing us one way and the current was shooting us the other.  But we were very determined to get over to where some brush piles were because we knew that was where the fish were.





We caught some bluegill.....


A couple of perch.....


Some redear.....


But the most adorable thing was this cute little baby duck    goose.  He spied me and came swimming over, full steam ahead.....



I mean, come on, how cute is he???  He kept swimming around our kayaks and would not leave....




Finally I decided to drift over to shore and see what the little guy wanted to do.







I was absolutely dying to hold him but I was afraid of putting my scent on him, so I put the paddle out, he climbed up and didn't seem the least bit scared of me.




He even tried to climb into the kayak with me, but I wouldn't let him.  He seemed perfectly content to go for a kayak ride too...




A couple of geese flew overhead and landed on shore close by.  They started honking and the baby started baby honking back, so we decided to take the little guy over towards them and see if he went by them.  Just as we did, Louie and Jr. pulled up in the bass boat and got to watch the show!


I scooped the baby up and placed him back in the water and I started to paddle towards the geese.  The closer I got, the more they honked.  The little baby swam right behind me.  It was so cute the way he was trying to keep up.  I was actually afraid of getting too close to the geese, because I didn't want them to attack me, so I swerved off to the right and the baby swerved to the left and swam right over to them.  Whew.   Big sigh of relief!

Watch this video - it's really cute!


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