Toby’s Firework Anxiety

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Our Scotty, Toby Two, has had a rough few weeks. From June 24 until July 6, fireworks were launched almost every night. During the first few times, he would run to an enclosed space such as the laundry room, his crate, our dog’s toy box, or under a chair in my office. Now he looks for me and lies down in a dog bed next to me in my office or in the living room. Toby Two doesn’t like thunder either, and he exhibits the same behavior when a storm passes through.

Last October, The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania rewrote the 80-year-old fireworks law, making them easier to purchase. That is what made it worse this year as far as Toby Two is concerned.

Scotia Rifle Range

Today I exercised my Second Amendment rights by going to the local rifle range. The Scotia Range is just a few miles away from my home. Scotia is a public range that is maintained by The Common­wealth of Pennsylvania Game Commission.

The range provides targets and push-pins but I brought my own. I, of course, brought my .22 semi-automatic rifle, range permit, ear plugs, safety glasses, and ammunition. A range permit costs $30 annually.

The range rules allow no more than three rounds in the magazine at a time. Therefore, I fired 18 rounds in groups of three: nine at 100 yards and nine at 50 yards.

It was my first time out since I was a teenager and, as you can see, I’m no marksman; especially at 100 yards.

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At least I put two rounds in the black area and two rounds near the edges of the target. I did significantly better at 50 yards. Eight out of nine is not bad.

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I need to work on my grouping.

After I was finished shooting I policed my brass. However, I noticed that not everyone did that courtesy. The ground just in front of the firing stations was littered with spent shells.

Measurement of the pH of Rain

Today, with precipitation in the forecast, I set up my mini-laboratory to measure the pH of the local rainfall in Stormstown, PA. First, I installed a standard rain gauge to collect rainwater.

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I calibrated my pH meter, prior to taking any actual measurements, using standard reagents of pH of 4.0 and 6.86. I used a pH 7.0 reagent to verify.

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After calibration, I waited for some rainfall and then collected my sample.

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It had rained 0.20 inches over the past two days.

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This was about 400 ml of liquid.

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I measured the pH to be about 5.15, which is in the normal range for rainfall but still acidic. It is not considered to be acid rain.

pH Scale

Antenna Wear and Tear

Stormstown is nestled in Halfmoon Valley. The valley is often windy, with the flow mainly from the southwest. The winds have been taking a toll on my outdoor equipment, mainly the flags and flagpole, and my G5RV HF amateur radio antenna.

Most of the damage has been minor. In the past six months, I have had to replace the dipole wires, resolder the ladder line connectors at the feed point, replace a section of coax due to a broken connection at the feed point, and replace two clamps and three sections for the collapsible mast.

During my latest repair, to replace the coax, I secured the ladder line with cable ties. That may reduce some of the wear and tear on the cables and connections.

I am a frequent check-in on the 3rd Region Net at 2100 UTC (3.918 MHz, LSB), and The Western PA Phone Traffic Net at 2200 UTC (3.983 MHz, LSB). My callsign is WX2DX.

nts_clInformation on the National Traffic System

If you’d like to send a radiogram, send me a comment.

Way Fruit Farm

Located near Stormstown, PA, The Way Fruit Farm has been operated and owned by members of The Way family since 1826. The market was built in 1958 and was expanded in 2009. 

 
Besides local produce, they also have milk, cider, soups, ice-cream, preserves, spices, baking supplies and more. There is also a bakery that makes fresh bread, cookies, cakes and pies. In addition, there is also a cafe and deli. Last, but not least, there is a small gift shop.

Spring Arrives in Halfmoon Valley

Happy Easter!

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At last, Spring has arrived in Halfmoon Valley. After a long Winter, temperatures have become more moderate with highs in the 60s and 70s. Forsythia are blooming and local apple orchards, Bradford pear, and other deciduous trees are leafing out. Farmers in the valley are plowing and planting their fields.
My outdoor activities are becoming more frequent, too. I assembled my wife’s gardening cart, and I installed a vertical HF antenna. My radio shack is now complete.
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Stormstown Water Board

This week, my wife and I attended the annual meeting of our local water commission. We both found it to be interesting and instructive. 

We learned that our community is supplied by two wells, each with a storage tank. One well has recently been put into production. The board plans to link the two wells and operate them on an alternating schedule.

Some of the older water lines are leaking, and is estimated that the leakage rate is 20%. There is a program to systematically replace the older lines. It is also necessary to plug the boreholes for three abandoned wells.
There hasn’t been a rate increase in nearly 25 years. The system has been operating at a loss over the last few years. In order to improve service, pay for the new well, increase monetary reserves, and cover other operating costs, there will be a rate increase effective this July. The rates are two-tiered.

Stormstown: A Brief History

The village that is now called Stormstown was located on one of the area’s earliest roads. Laid out in 1791-92, the road served as a main route for the shipment of Centre County iron west to Pittsburgh. First settler Abraham Elder’s tavern, on the east end of the village, was a stopping place for iron haulers. In 1812 David Storm recorded a plat of 30 lots, plus a school lot, that he named Walkerville, on the west side of present-day Municipal Lane in the middle of Stormstown. The origin of the Walker connection has not yet been tracked down. Some twenty years after Walkerville was established, Caleb Way slowly started selling off lots between Walkerville and the former site of Elder’ tavern, in an area that was briefly called Wayville. Eventually, by the time of the Civil War, the whole area was called Stormstown. The enterprises of the village included a gristmill, sawmill, distillery, tannery, wagon maker, and several craftsmen’s shops – blacksmith, weaver, potter, and chairmaker. An Easter fire in 1867 destroyed twenty-six buildings, many of which were never rebuilt. – See more at: http://www.centrehistory.org/abcs-of-centre-county/#sthash.RLS2TFw7.dpuf