21 June 2013

Visiting Wildlife

As I said in an earlier posting this month, "I never know what will stop by to visit me while I'm at our barn property". Today's visitors were a family of young raccoons that were exploring around the mobile home. There were at least 3 raccoons and I was able to get within 10 feet of them.

Also found playing at the barn was this pair of young bunnies.

16 June 2013

Big Bugs

While I was spreading  mulch (two year old wood chips) in my garden I noticed a very large brown beetle in the mulch. This beetle was over an inch long and I soon discovered over two dozen of these beetles.

This beetle is the grapevine beetle, Pelidnota punctata, also known as Spotted June Beetle. Beetle eggs are laid in rotten wood or tree stumps,  where they hatch into larvae. Larvae then dig their way into the soil, where they feed on rotted wood. Pupal chambers (photo on right) are built shallowly underground. The adults emerge in June or July.

13 June 2013


I never know what will stop by to visit me while I'm at our barn property. I was working in my vegetable garden when I noticed a young porcupine taking a leisurely stroll on the driveway. I quickly retrieved my camera from the truck and it soon became a foot race with the camera shy porcupine.

Porcupines are not known as long distance runners and this one selected climbing a nearby tree as better option than a foot race.

08 June 2013


A family of chipmunks has moved in at our barn and this little guy has been busy collecting walnuts that fell from the trees last fall.

01 June 2013

Trapping Pigs

With the natural gas activity in our area, the term "trapping a pig" takes on a different meaning. We have two natural gas gathering pipelines intersecting on our property  and part of the routine pipeline maintenance involves sending a "pig" through the pipeline to push out condensate (water, sludge and other liguids). The pig is inserted into the pipeline via a "pig launcher" at a valve assembly and the pressure of the gas flow moves the pig along a section of the pipeline until it reaches a "pig trap". The arrival of the pig is signaled by a red pop-up disk on the trap.

Natural gas continues to flow through the pipeline after the pig is caught in the trap. The pig is removed from the trap by opening/closing valves to force the natural gas to by-pass the trap. With the valve to the pig trap closed, a vent valve is opened to reduce the gas pressure (1,100 PSI) in the trap.

Once the gas pressure in the trap is released, a door on the trap can be opened and the pig(s) removed.