Chapter 1978, age 35-36

Themes and Events:
IBM introduces a 64K bit memory chip.
Space Invaders brings America into the age of the video game.
*  The world’s Human population is now 4.4 billion and growing at 200,000 a day.
*  The first “test tube” baby is born. The blessed event, following  in vitro fertilization, was seen as a breakthrough on the order of the first heart transplant, giving hope to millions of childless couples.
*  South Vietnamese and Mung “boat people”,  refugees are fleeing their homeland in all size boats and rafts after the takeover of South Vietnam by North Vietnam. Many thousands of these once faithful U.S. supporters were being brought to the United States from refugee camps and settled in various parts of the country. Catholic organizations in Minnesota sponsored hundreds, bringing several dozen to St. Cloud alone.

Buttons & bumper stickers:
*  Live dangerously: Take a breath.
*  I fight poverty, I work.
*  Runners make better lovers.
*  Don’t complain about farmers with your mouth full.

Making the first land payment
Over the winter, Donna and I saved every cent we could from our paychecks in order to make the first land payment ahead of schedule. It was our hope to get ahead on the payments in case anything happened to our income. We also wanted to have money available during the spring and fall to prepare for the utilities that would need to be installed before our mobile home could be moved.
On February 24, we made our first $3,368.56 payment of Principle and Interest to Bobby and Arlene, who we were buying our acreage from; we were  invited to stay for supper. Bobby and Arlene were happy to see the money and we were glad to be making the payment well ahead of the due date.
[Looking SW: Our 14 ft. x 70 ft. Marshfield mobile home, lot and garden at Rockwood Estates. Nice park with large lots. We’d recently had a severe thunderstorm destroy our metal storage shed (was on other sided of pine tree at left) so items are set behind mobile home until new wooden shed is built. A field and woods are behind us.]

The property access culvert
On March 19, as early as was reasonable after winter, we had Benton County deliver an eighteen inch diameter by twenty-foot long galvanized culvert and drop it off beside the road where we would gain access to our driveway ad property. When we found that the culvert had been delivered, we hired a local equipment operator named, Ralph Lentner, to bring in ‘fill’ to cover the culvert. It took sixty yards of Class 5 sand and gravel mix to do the job, at $100 cost.

The next weekend we drove out to inspect the job. We had a feeling of accomplishment being able to driving off the highway and onto our property; it was another step toward our goal.
While at the property, we carried a salt block back in about 1000 feet and set it on a rock pile for the deer and other animals.

Our first microwave oven
During mid March, we purchased a 1.4 cubic foot Litton microwave at J. C. Penny’s Department store for $444.00, which at the time was a significant cost.  We bought the microwave for several reasons: to speed up the thawing time for foods taken from the freezer, to reduce the cooking heat in the kitchen during the summer, for quickly warming up foods and beverages. Microwave ovens had been sold at the larger department stores for several years, while they slowly and quietly penetrated household kitchens. Not many people understood how they worked or how to use them, but everyone knew of someone who had one and those reports were positive. When we bought our first microwave we were the first of our friends and acquaintances to own one.

The microwave turned out to be indispensable. We came to depend on its ability to quickly thaw soups, steam vegetables, precook meat, reheat leftovers and heat coffee and tea. It saved a lot of time for a busy family, because as soon as we arrived home from work, we could toss in that evening’s supper meat entrée and have it thawed in a matter of minutes, while other courses were being prepared.
The microwave fell into a category like the freezer, and the automatic clothes washer and dryer, it was very convenient. Being somewhat more utilitarian than an end table, but less than a refrigerator, the microwave became a permanent fixture in our house.

The Litton microwave lasted thirteen and a half years, until the end of 1991 before breaking down. We bought a comparable, new General Electric model and found prices had declined sixty-six percent to $223.00, despite inflation during the previous decade and a half [2].

My job responsibilities expand at Landy’s
As the months passed, I became more involved with the testing of our waste water for discharged contaminants: BOD (Biological Oxygen Demand), TSS (Total Suspended Solids), oils and grease, salt, settleable solids. I filed monthly reports with both the City of St. Cloud and the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, also maintained Landy Packing Company’s ‘cracks’ by-product and water test logs.

State Licenses
•  Minnesota Boiler Engineer’s License – Fourth Class: Dept. of Labor and Industry Division of Boiler Inspection, License # 0225474
•  Minnesota Pollution Control Agency Waste Water Treatment Facility Operator – Class D, Certificate No. #1750.

The black grease bonanza at Landy’s
Over a period of several months, during the spring and summer , I experimentally worked out a procedure to extract black grease from the wastewater sludge. This salable by-product grossed the company an extra $11,000 a year, or about two-thirds of my annual wages at the time. After demonstrating a small working model made from fifty gallon drums,  the  company bought two large,used steam-heated stainless steel  cooking tanks. The tanks stood about eight foot high, see picture below.

[Above: Left photograph: Employee  Entrance & Black grease storage tank at the waste water treatment plants  east end. I worked alone in this large building on day shift. As a byproduct of cleaning the water, grease laden sludge was skimmed off the clarifiers and cooked. The floating black grease was pumped out to this tanker, later  sold and loaded onto a tanker truck for shipment. When you walk in the employee door and look up there is a high concrete platform, from which the picture at right was taken.
Right photograph: Main floor. Seen  here are two large, light blue 80,000 gallon air flotation water clarifiers and my steam-heated, stainless steel grease rendering/separation tanks. Photo taken from a 16-20 foot high platform looking down and across the waste water plant.  My office and the eventual chemistry laboratory are across the plant in a room at the far distant right in this picture. The boiler seen below is out of the picture at right, against  the buildings far west wall.]I designed the entire black grease rendering system including: method of precooking the grease bearing sludge in ‘grease tank 1’, pumping the greasy material into the cooking tanks, piping steam to the tanks, acidifying, pumping off the black grease, pumping the remaining sludge to the truck tanker.
Two plumbers were sent to the water plant where they worked a couple of weeks  installing the piping. As time permitted, I cut and threaded pipe, installed valves in the various pipe lines and later made modifications.
Because grease and greasy sludge was being pumped through the piping, I had to valve the lines so that they could be blown out with air and steam after use, particularly during the winter. In the colder months the black grease piping had to be pre heated to prevent freezing when the material was pumped to the out door storage tanker.

[Photograph at right: My low pressure 15 psi, 30 horse power boiler.]

Back tracking a little: During the winter of 1976-77 Landy’s enrolled me in a Boiler
Engineers course, a four hour per night, once a week, 3 month class at the
St. Cloud Area Vocational Institute. The class was geared to teach basic
boiler operation and responsibility to employees, who like myself were first
encountering this line of work, and to assist those already in the industry to
upgrading their licenses.  I passed the course and the state exam to become a Fourth Class Boiler Engineer, licensed to operate a 15 pressure , 30 horse power boiler (low pressure – low power)[3].

Wastewater flow chart:

Discussion of the wastewater flow, see the preceding diagram. The description starts with the large blue arrow at the bottom left in the chart; follow the arrows up and around to the City Sewer discharge – the large blue arrow at top right.

1)  Waste water flowed by gravity through a large underground pipe from the main plant, about 300 feet to the waste water treatment plant, where it poured out into a 20 foot wide by 30 foot long and 8 foot deep, below grade concrete sump pit (with access ladder and cat walk).
2) Sensors in the sump were tied to a Variable Frequency Drive that operated a 15 horse power pump directly above the sump, on the WWT plants ground floor. As the water level increased in the sump, a pump was called for which pumped the sewage to up and over a Hydrosieve screen on a second story platform. The Hydrosieve screen removed most of the bone and coarse material. This material slid down the screen into a screw conveyor and collected in a holding tank until being emptied into a dump truck that backed in below.
3) Leaving the Hydrosieve screen, the sewage water flowed by gravity into the Primary Clarifier where it encountered a fine ‘fizz’ of bubbles, the fizz floated much of the grease. The fizz was generated by feeding an air-water mix into the carifier from a pressurization tank. Skimmer arms, skimmed the accumulating grease into a trough, and from there it drained into Grease tank #1 for storage.
4) The sludge in Grease tank #1 was heated and pumped into two steam-heated tanks where I acidified the contents and pumped off saleable black grease. The remaining sludge was pumped to a truck tanker and spread on a farmer’s field as fertilizer.
5) Water moved from the primary Clarifier, over a weir, into a 13,000 gallon mixing tank where Ferri Floc and a coagulant polymer mixed to form a ‘pin floc’ [4]. The chemical feed hoppers and coagulant mixing tank required refilling ever hour or two during day shift. An example of the Waste Water Treatment Plant Log was included in Chapter 1977.
6) When the pin floc entered the Secondary Clarifier, it was floated by an injection of fizz, similar to that in the Primary Clarifier. The pin floc floated to the surface where it was skimmed off by the clarifiers rotating arms, into ‘Grease’ tank #2.  The contents of this holding tank were pumped to the truck tanker and disposed of as fertilizer on farm fields.
7) The much cleaner water now passed over a weir and flowed down under ground to a small concrete room which housed the flow meter and water sample port.
8) The water continued on out to intersect with a City of St. Cloud water main.
9) A small amount of sewage water was collected by a flow proportioning device and pumped into a refrigerated sample bucket in the WWT plants electric – control room.

The puppy who became, Griz
By the time we decided to get a dog we’d purchased our 39 rural property and were clearing trees from the future driveway . We figured if we got a puppy he’d be about a year old by the time we moved out onto the property. At the time, we had every intention of moving onto the acreage that fall, which was seven months away. On March 31 we went to the St. Cloud Animal Hospital where we found several pups from a litter that had just been brought in for sale. One large and active pup caught our eye. The veterinarian told us that the litter was half German Shepherd, quarter St. Bernard and quarter Unknown.
The pup we liked was a mottled black and brown, resembling a small bear, at the same time he was so chubby and large that we thought the St. Bernard in him was coming out. We paid the $25 adoption fee for the six-week old pup and took him with us. It was the pup’s  fur coloration and large size that bought him the name, Grizzly (bear), which was subsequently shortened to Griz and Grizzy.

We made a short barricade across the kitchen-living room entrance to confine the pup to the linoleum floor. For the next couple months, Donna and I went to work on week day mornings and returned home late in the afternoon to clean up “messes” and shredded paper from the kitchen floor. In the evenings and on weekends we had a grand time playing with the little fellow.
As Griz grew his fur coat became a somewhat mottled three colors which matched the fall woodland coloration. A black mantle covered his muzzle and back; his sides and upper legs blend into a light rust brown; while his chest, abdomen and lower legs are white. At adult weight, our small German Shepherd – St. Bernard cross weighed forty-nine pounds.
[Photo above: Griz at about 1-year-old, pic taken while we were camping on the property in the Fall. Gris was never ‘trained’ to do anything, but he knew some 20-25 words. He knew to correctly identify from speech whether to “fetch” or ‘find’ (go and select) a stick, stone, Frisbee, ball, or toy. He knew who to look for when playing hide and go seek-as in “Go Find Mommy” or “Go find, Daddy” or “Go find Jane’, Where’s Jessie (dog)? Listen up! What’s that (while pointing). Sit. Stay. Shake hands. Supper.  Dog house, Come., Go home!, Get out-of-the-way!, Daddy no play! Give me Frisbee (stick or toy, in other words-let it go), “Tug-a-dog” (played with an old item of cloth)…]

Our first vineyard and orchard, choked out
During April and May we cut brush, and planted an orchard and vineyard at back east side of the property. By 31 July, the area was so over grown that our plants were choked out. Adding to the injury of seeing our labor swamped by weeds, the mosquitoes were so bad we were driven out of the orchard, and defeated by their bloodthirsty numbers. The following year only a few of our plants remained alive. We gave up on the area and it returned to the wild. As the years passed this approximately 3/4 acre area grew into dense woods.

Party time in our Starcraft, Galaxy 6, folding camper
In May, we bought a new Starcraft Galaxy 6 fold down camper trailer for about $2,400. The camper was ment to be a base of operations while we worked at our property, and for weekend and vacations around the state. 

[Images above: Photograph left: Our Starcraft, Galaxy 6 pop up camper, set up at Two Rivers private campground. Two Rivers is located at the confluence of the Platte & Mississippi Rivers, north of Rice, Minnesota. We bought a screened enclosure. Our Weber BBQ  and lawn chairs can be seen through the netting.
Photo right: The camper ‘s overall 21 foot long interior (including slide out end beds); had running water, propane tanks for cooking and interior heat; it had electric lights, refrigerator—literally all the amenities and comforts of a very small home. It brought a lot of enjoyment on weekends while we camped and worked on our property, and out at places like Two Rivers, when partying with friends.]

The camper had a crank which raised the roof and sides, we pulled out the ends which became enclosed beds. The interior consisted of a four person table at one  end (see picture above), the seats raised for storage beneath.. On the left was a stove and sink and shelves, with ice chest refrigerator below. We set our camping chest on a shelf top, above a cabinet of drawers. The camping chest is the one I made before we moved to Minnesota. On the right side of the camper were two built-in cabinets with drawers, and small take down clothes closet. The screened windows were made of a clear, heavy-duty plastic film with privacy drapes.
The camper used 30 gallon propane tanks for cooking and interior heating. There was a hand pump to pressurize the water tank so we had running water too. There were no bathroom facilities so we bought a Porta Potty to keep from having to make midnight runs across campgrounds or venture out  into the rain to visit the toilet. We had a portable radio, interior lights that operated off a battery…in a word most of the comforts of home. The camper was fun, it was a lot of fun!

Camping at Two Rivers Campground
From late spring through early fall, there were too many mosquitoes out in the woods for us to work on the property, so, we went camping in state and private parks, most of which were sprayed to reduce the mosquito populations.
Several times our neighbor’s, Bobby and Arlene, came out to join us for a night of partying. Typically they’d do their farm chores and milk the cows then drive to the campground where we were staying. Supper was ready when they arrived. After our meal we’d make pop corn, and have several drinks while sitting around the table, telling jokes, gossiping, and sharing good company. They’d sleep over in the second bed, have a late breakfast then return home around mid morning to do their morning chores. Several times Bob and Arlene hired a local farm teenager to do the milking; when that happened, they’d spent the better part of the weekend partying with us.

Even back in the late 70s Donna and I saw that something wasn’t quite right in Bobby and Arlene’s marriage. Several times when we had dinner prepared, they arrive an hour late—whether we were camping or at home in Rockwood Estates. Bobby shrugged their tardiness off saying he had ‘unforeseen farm chores’, later Arlene would tell Donna privately that ‘Bobby was just screwing around’ to ‘get even’ with her over something or other.

Music [midi: The Best That You Can Do]

Initial homesite development plans
For people like Donna and I, who had lived in the city, in apartment building and mobile home parks, we found ourselves practically  overwhelmed by the enormous increase in our living space. The thirty-nine acres represented a two to three order of magnitude expansion in the our concept of personal privacy, freedom and control of resources. The purchase of the acreage created a huge mental vacuum, from which the question arose, “Now that we have it, how do we use it?”
[Photograph above: The tools we used to clear our driveway and homesite: Chain saw, bottles of water, pruning shears, an axe, gasoline, chain saw bar oil, thermos, sack lunch, and machetes.]
It was our  wish to envelope ourselves into the existing natural order, creating as small a disturbance  and as little havoc as possible in the environment and lives of the wild life forms on the property. We did not want to rush right in and tear away at the forest to create a homesite. We wanted to feel where the best spot for our home would be and utilize that spot so it would fit quietly into the environment with as much harmony as possible.

While thinking over our requirements, the idea of a multidimensional matrix began forming. We needed to plan a multitude of intertwining ideas and resources usage ideas together. We had ecological concerns for the flora and fauna. Small areas of the property needed to be manipulated for more optimum human occupation, while most of the property would remain wild.

We decided to design our land use and future construction (buildings, fencing, etc.) plans with consideration to: The wildlife, proposed livestock, carrying capacities, possible future parasitic population growth, local and long-term environmental factors, potential extreme climate variations, limited social and economic upheaval, war, reduction of living costs to increase discretionary income, extended unemployment, retirement, privacy and aesthetics.

With these concepts rather nebulously in mind we began clearing a homesite. The first abortive clearing was only just begun, about three hundred feet east of the County Road in a patch of red raspberry canes. After spending part of a weekend in that location we decided to move farther from the road, deeper back in the woods.

We spent two weekends about five hundred feet in from the county road cutting fallen dead trees and saplings. As we worked we became painfully of the large number of trees that would have to be cut in order to open the area. Finally we quit work and  sat down realizing there had to be a better place for the trailer.

During the hours we spent working in these two early locations, we learned to use the lopping shears and brush scythe. We also developed an efficient division of labor. When we first began working in the morning we’d both do the same manual labor, but gradually as we tired we began rotating jobs. When I was snipping, chopping and piling brush, Donna would drag it across the clearing to a central  brush pile. Then ever so often we switched and Donna cut brush while I’d haul it away.

Choosing a better situated homesite
The following weekend we moved another one hundred twenty-five feet east (now about seven hundred feet from the county road) into a three-quarter acre or so size patch of wild red raspberries which containing a stand of several large dead Elm trees. The death of the Elms had allowed sunlight to penetrate to the forest floor, whereupon grasses and  raspberries had begun to thrive. It didn’t take much clearing before we came to realize the potential wind break afforded by the location and that the ground had a gradual southern slope. The new homesite provided an excellent privacy curtain all around, while providing a good view of our beautiful low meadow to the south.

Donna and I spent a year working in this clearing, mostly during the spring and fall weekends, when the mosquitoes weren’t out in such force. We cut down eighteen to twenty-four trees, several which were huge, dead Elms.
We cut the limbs off all the  felled trees and dragged them to one of several log piles. Smaller trunks and logs were set straddling the wheelbarrow and moved out of the clearing. The larger tree trunks were left for the future when we’d have them removed by heavy machinery.

Quartering Griz at our friend’s farm
Griz continued to grow and by July had become too large to keep permanently penned up in the trailer. Here in lied a problem. Rockwood Estates did not allow pet dogs in the trailer park. In the early morning and again after dark, Donna or I would take Griz outdoors behind the trailer to run about briefly and relieve himself.
While we were at work, Griz pottied on newspaper we laid in a specific location on the floor.

During the summer we found temporary boarding for Griz at Bobby and Arlene’s farm, where he was chained to an old unused chicken coop with access to its interior. We provided the bagged food, but our friends refused money for feeding and watering the dog. In way of payment, we bought them a large porcelain Weber Kettle barbecue and the associated cooking utensils.

Almost every weekend we picked Griz up where upon he spent the two days with us either camping, loafing, shopping in town or working at the property.

We misjudged how long it would take for us to move out to the property, so Griz spent the winter at Bobby’s tethered to the old chicken coop. By spring  it was apparent that the year old dog was having troubles at his ‘home away from home’. On day while visiting Bob and Arlene, we were standing in front of their mobile home talking when Bobby’s four-year old Border Collie, Nemo, came running down the road from the barn. Seeing Nemo approach, Griz tried to run under the car to escape, but Nemo caught him and tore into him with terrible ferocity. Griz didn’t fight back, his sole intent was to escape. In a few minutes we had the dogs apart. It was then we found  that Nemo often went to where Griz was chained at the chicken coop and “beat him up”. That weekend we withdrew Griz from Bobby’s.

Griz moves to the Wojtanowich’s
Grizzly’s next temporary home was at Andy Wojtanowich’s rural home, only about four miles from Rockwood Estates. We paid Andy’s son Doug, $5 a week to feed and water Griz. Conditions were a lot better for Griz at the Wojtanowich house, as he got a lot of attention from their three younger, near teen age children. Much of the time he was allowed to run free and it was here he learned to catch a
Frisbee. Since there wasn’t shelter available at his temporary home, we bought Griz a dog house; built by a retired man in Foley. We continued to pick Griz up Friday evenings, so we could all be together for the weekend. Since Rockwood Estates didn’t allow dogs, we developed a method of smuggling him in and Griz learned his part exceptionally well. As we approached the trailer park, Griz would climb down off the car seat and lay on the floor. When we parked in our parking space near the mobile home, I’d get out and open the  front door then step inside. Both Donna and I would look around to make sure the ‘coast was clear’.
Donna would crack open the car door and quietly say, “Go see Daddy, Griz.” In a mad dash, Gris would scramble out of the car and make a rush for the trailer door. At the last moment, I’d swing the screen door open and Griz would come bounding in.
Donna nonchalantly followed a few moments later.   d:-)

By the fall of 1978: It was apparent that we weren’t going to be living out on our property another winter so made arrangements for Griz to winter at the Wojtanowich’s

Love Canal, a toxic waste dump
On August 4, evacuation of residents of the Love Canal neighborhood in Niagara Falls, New York began. The area where the neighborhood stood was found to have been used as a toxic waste dump from 1947 to 1952 and was found unfit for human habitation.

Mechanical work on the driveway[5] : Part #1
Our first attempt to have tree stumps removed from the driveway found us dealing with an optimistic back hoe operator late in the summer. When we showed him the job he advised us saying, “Oh sure.
I can dig out those stumps.”
We came out to check on his progress the first afternoon that he worked> He’d spend four hours removing two stumps and left gnarly holes in their place. We fired him.

Music [midi: 2001]

During September 1978, about a year after personal computer’s were first introduced in the retail stores, Donna and I  purchased a Processor Technology, SOL computer with 48K RAM. We also bought a Northstar 5-¼ inch external floppy disk drive and a box floppy disks with 96K storage capacity per disk.
The monitor consisted of a nine-inch, black and white (diagonal) Panasonic closed circuit monitor.
The unit cost about $1,850. We named the computer P.A.M.E.L.A which was an acronym for Programmable Auxiliary Machine for Education, Learning and Acquisition. At the time of the purchase we only knew one other family who had a computer and that was my friend, Mike D, who lived in California.

We promptly started a home business called “The Cybernetic Counselor” and used depreciation in
the tax laws to reduce our Federal and State income taxes. Over the next few years the equipment depreciation helped reduce the initial cost of the equipment by reducing the tax bite from our family income. During this time, I was one of the very few people in central Minnesota knowing anything about personal computers’ so figured we could help others set up their equipment for a fee (smile at that happy thought) Business was terrible. Sure we got the tax credit, but couldn’t make a profit in the business. Within a few years, the IRS pretty much closed the tax benefit provided by the ‘home office’ and other miniscule computer centric loopholes.

In retrospect, computer ownership figures came to show that until 1980, there were only one million computers in the world. Since we bought the Processor Technology SOL in 1978, we were indeed  amongst the world’s first one million computer owners.

[1978 Photograph, our ‘Processor Technology, SOL’ computer; named, PAMELA, an acronym for, Programmable Auxiliary Machine for Entertainment, Learning and Acquisition. This article is being edited for posting on PAMELA -6]

One BASIC program that I wrote analyzed our food consumption for an entire year. Donna had saved our grocery receipts, which I separated into nine categories, including: Bakery, Dairy, Canned goods, Dry goods, Produce, Beverage, Liquor,  Meat and Miscellaneous. Every week, I entered each item on the shopping receipt by category, cost and month of purchase. A data run gave either the cash value or percentage of the total for each category by month. With this we were able to see where our food dollar was being spent.

Over the period of twelve months, we found the individual categories accounted for:
Bakery ($171, 7.9%), Dairy ($263,12.1%), Canned goods ($253, 11.6%),
Dry goods ($128, 5.9%), Produce ($238, 10.9%), Beverage ($116, 5.4%),
Liquor ($290, 13.3%),  Meat ($516, 23.8%) Misc. ($195, 8.9%).
We planned future gardens with an eye to reduce the Produce, Canned goods and Meat portions of the expense.
Without realizing it at the time, I’d just begun a lifelong personal interest and hobby with computers.

[Our living room furnishings, during the time we lived in  Rockwood Estates Mobile Home Park…the old driftwood stereo shelves, a tropical fish aquarium, Pamela computer, 19″ color TV, the re-upholstered antique rocking chair, many ancestor photographs in large picture frame..]

Vacationing on the property
On September 9, we pulled our Starcraft Camper onto the property, about 250 feet in from the County road. We spent our days installing a fence along the property next to the county road and continued clearing the future homesite. Also, during this time we pretty much finished creating a map of the property: a photocopy of the original can be seen at the end of this chapter.

Every night, Donna and I celebrated our vacation, our property, and the days progress. We talked a lot, discussing everything and having a good time together.

None loved camping life more than the Griz. That dynamic, gentleman dog, loved the woods, he loved catching popcorn tossed his way, he loved his Frisbee and ball, he was always close at hand, paying attention – to everything, alert to sounds and the creatures of the woods, if you went for a walk, Griz was there. Griz was always filled with happiness and enthusiasm.[6]

[Donna standing in the driveway by our newly installed fencing. The Snow fencing didn’t work as hoped so was removed after the first winter. The Fen Bog seen in the background is all on our property. In the spring migrating cranes and ducks stopped here for a few days to weeks. Blackbirds were plentiful, a flock of pheasants continually nested in the bushes seen behind Donna]

Mechanical work on the driveway: Part #2
In early November, on our second attempt to put in a driveway, we called a fellow who owned a small bulldozer. The operator felt we should remove the top three to six inches of topsoil to expose the hard clay subsoil. He suggested we should have Class 5 added to create the road bed.
We hired him and over the next few days an eight foot wide path  about six inches deep was trenched in through the forest. The top soil was dumped in a large pile beside the driveway. The stumps we wanted out were removed and several ten cubic yard loads of Class 5 were brought in to create the road bed.
Then problems developed.
After the first hard rain, we found that the resulting runoff all gathered in the six-inch trench that was cut through the topsoil. Our road became much more muddy than the undisturbed soil had been. Even when most of the driveway dried, there was an eight foot wide impassable area about 300 feet up the driveway, where there was always a small amount of water seeping through from one side to the others. We surmised there was a tiny spring coming out of the side of the hill, there was just enough water oozing out to keep that area wet.
We were sick over the bad advice, poor workmanship, and amount of expenses that were being funneled into the driveway.
We decided to let the driveway sit until the next year, in the meanwhile I would find out what really needed to be done and get the right people to do the job.
What’s on TV tonight?
My favorite programs in 1978. (Most are situation comedy’s with a new episode on once a week. We didn’t watch more than about 1 to 2 hours of TV per night.)
•  Local Evening News
•  National Evening News
•  WKRP in Cincinnati
•  Happy Days
•  Laverne and Shirley
•  Three’s company
•  Eight is Enough
•  Mork and Mindy
•  Project U.F.O.
•  The Rockford Files
•  Battlestar Galactica
•  Occasional ABC, CBS or NBC evening movies.
•  The Muppet Show
•  The Incredible Hulk
•  The Love Boat

Centennial, a mini series
The Bastard, a mini series

Capricorn One with Elliot Gould, James Brolin, Brenda Vaccaro, Sam Waterston
Coming Home with Jon Voight, Jane Fonda, Bruce Dern
Every Which Way But Loose with Clint Eastwood, Sondra Locke, Geoffrey Lewis
Heaven Can Wait with Warren Beatty, Julie Christie, James Mason, Jack Warden
Invasion of the Body Snatchers with Donald Sutherland, Leonard Nemoy, Brooke Adams
Jaws 2 with Roy Scheider, Lorraine Gary
National Lampoon’s Animal House with John Belushi, Tim Matheson, Verna Bloom
Revenge of the Pink Panther with Peter Sellers, Herbert Lom, Dyan Cannon
Superman-The Movie with Christopher Reeve, Gene Hackman, Margot Kidder
The Wild Geese with Richard Burton, Roger Moore, Richard Harris, Hardy Kruger

[Photocopy, Vegetation and topography map of our thirty-nine acre property in rural Foley, MN.]

[1]  BASIC is an acronym for Beginners All Purpose Instruction Code,  an elementary computer
programming language.
[2] During June 2003, as part of a project I was working on for G&K Services, I bought the most expensive microwave in Sears Department store. The quality machine with many desireable functions, cost $139.99!
[3] The boiler was first used to keep the sludge lines and valves operational during the winter, then additionally to cook the salvageable black grease (picture above right) and finally heat the black
grease storage tanker (above left) before pumping to a truck tanker for shipping.
[4] Particles of  grease and soil in the water electrically attached to charged sites along the polymer s molecular chain forming tiny ‘brown ‘snow flake shaped particles referred to as pin floc. Air saturated water was pumped in to the clarifier with the fin floc. Tiny bubbles of fizz attached to the pin floc carrying it to the surface, where the accumulation was skimmed off by the clarifiers by the rotating skimmer arms.
[5]  See also Journal 1, The Gordian Knot, page 17.
[6] And it is with stunned silence that as I reread these entries in the year 2008, that my mind goes down a tunnel that opens to the images and senses of those days, while we camped and worked on the property…and it all happened thirty years earlier, it was a different life time. And in sad resignation to all that has gone before, I miss and lament the passing of such a wonderous time in my life. The strength of body, the surges of vitality and power, the ambition of my middle years, the times of passion, where the future yawned endlessly open. Alas, it was a different life time.

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Filed under Autobiography, __3. Searching: 1964-1979

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