I had hoped to take better pictures and more of them, but with time constraints and being by myself, this was as good as I could do.
Today was different. It wasn’t my usual day from the standpoint of doing the things I normally do. I spent a good part of the day trying to help out, in the little way I could, those people who have been displaced by the flooding.
Last night at a church meeting Pastor Sammy announced that one of the shelters in Ullin needed shower shoes or flip-flops. I volunteered along with Greg Poole to go and get 150 pairs of shower shoes and deliver them to the shelter at the Shawnee Community College. So this morning it was up and off to buy 150 pairs of shower shoes and drive them the 70 or so miles south to Ullin.
Greg got called into work so I was off on my own. First stop, Wal Mart, to see how many pairs of flip-flops I could score before moving on to the next store. I grabbed a cart and headed to the shoe department, which has been moved since the last time I was there. I had to wander around a bit until I found the shoes and then the flip-flops. Once I was there, I began loading the merchandise.
I spied a rather large selection in the men’s part of the shoe department. So I positioned my cart against the rack and began to just pull them off the shelf and into the cart. Pretty easy until I got down even with the cart, then I just had to pull them off and stack them in the cart. Once the shelves were empty, I headed to the women’s section and repeated until the cart was overflowing with shoes.
Now came the hard part…getting them to the check out without losing them along the way.
I made it to the check out aisles with more than a few strange looks and even one comment about me having a shoe fetish from some guy. Once at the check out, I had to pile them all on the counter to get them scanned. At that point I told the nice lady at the checkout that I would go get another cart full and be back quickly. She assured me that she would be right there, still scanning the shoes. Back with a second cart full, the final tally showed that I was 8 pairs short of the 150 I needed. So back to shoes and to grab the last few pairs they had.
Ok, so now I had two full shopping carts of flip-flops checked out and headed to the parking lot hoping they would fit in the trunk of the Corolla. They did, barely, and it was off to Ullin.
Ullin is about 18 miles or so North of Cairo. Cairo is where the major flooding is, but as I got close I could see some of the farm land had good amounts of back water on it.
First obstacle after getting off the interstate was that the main road was closed due to back water being over it. A quick call the Red Cross, who is running the shelter, to get some directions netted me an “ask a local” after they couldn’t find a map that would get me from where I was to where I needed to be. So after asking a local who was very kind and gave me good directions, but acted like I should know how to get around, I was off.
I will let the next few pictures speak for themselves. I drove past mile after mile of flooded farm land, only saw one house that was in or under water on my detour route, but saw several that the water was close to. The back water was high and there were lots of acres of water everywhere.
I arrived at Shawnee Community College to find a healthy contingent of the Red Cross and Baptist Relief workers tending to a gym full of displaced people.
I felt kind of out of place when amid the volunteers, they were working the phones for propane, food, and other “big important” items compared to flip-flops. I announced that I had brought 150 pairs of shower shoes. A quick glance by a few of the volunteers, a smile and a “where are they” comment later and we were out in the parking lot getting them out of the trunk and into the hand of the relief workers to be sorted and then passed out. At that point, my duty was over and I followed my bread crumbs back through the country detour I had taken and then home.
Lesson learned: It’s not the size of the item needed that makes it important, it’s the size of the need that makes it important.
What does your humble farmer, agronomist and blogger do during these downpours and rainy days when the other work is caught up or he is just tired of watching it rain? Well he works on some of the Ham Radio projects he has laying around cluttering up the floor of his office, that’s what!
This last weekend I was running my CAP radios for a practice communications exercise as well as monitoring areal photo recon missions of the flooding at this end of the state. So between radio contacts I gathered up a couple of projects that had been laying here in the floor and got them finished up.
First was the construction of some J-pole antennas for 2 meters and 70 centimeters(440). I need to rebuild my communications array on the top of my tower and the new antennas are needed to replace a broken one and one that needs to be retired. So instead of buying a commercial one for hundreds of dollars, I got out the old pipe cutters and went to work.
Here are a few of the antennas. I ended up making two for 70 cementers and three for 2 meters. The ones that don’t go on the tower will go in my emergency go kit for ARES/RACES. I hope to be able to repair the one I take down that is a dual band 440/2mtr but I suspect it is pretty much done for on 440.
I also took the time to complete another cutting board portable setup for my 2mtr/440 Kenwood. You can read all bout my Cutting Board Portable setup for HF here.
As usual I start with a lexan/plastic cutting board and an aluminium tool box/brief case. The cutting board comes from “a large discount retailer” and the case I got at Menards.
I mounted the radio and two speakers for each side of the radio. Then I added a grounding strap to the radio. The last bit was to mount the display head to the desk mount and then place it with the cutting board.
The radio will now fit on my desk with my other radios and can be broken down in a matter of seconds and put in the briefcase for safe transport to any location where it might be needed. This is great for camping and portable operations as well as RACES/ARES activities.
Well anyway, there is a day in the life of a farmer/ham radio operator.
And its raining again……..