Sunday, March 22, 2009

Christmas Trees for the Fishies

Saturday, we helped to give used Christmas trees a second life by dropping them into
Mark Twain Lake. In all, about 400 trees were dropped from 2 different locations. This was the fifth year that the Army Corp of Engineers (Corp) has run such a program at this lake. Prior to that they had recycled some trees without the help of boats -- walking them into the water at various places.

The water level can vary quite a bit on a Corp lake, depending on rain and water/flow control needed on the other side of the dam. However, the Corp says that the ideal depth for the trees is 5 to 20 feet. They want to be sure that boats won't hit the trees if the water level drops. And if the water level drops low enough that the trees become exposed to the air, then the trees will deteriorate too quickly.

To make sure the trees sink and stay in the targeted areas, we drilled a hole through the trunk of each tree, then laced a coated wire through the hole and through a cinder block.

Then we loaded the trees onto boats and they were taken to predetermined spots on the lake.

Among the 30 or so volunteers were various fishermen. As a bonus for their giving back to the lake that supplies them with food, fun and comaradarie, they also get a little inside knowledge about where the trees are located, giving them a bit of an edge in knowing where the bigger fish are likely to hang out in hopes of finding smaller fish that stray away from the protective branches of the sunken yule trees.

From the perspective of the volunteers of the Christmas Spirit Foundation, we salute the Army Corp of Engineers for their hard work in putting together an amazingly well organized effort that helps the environment! Kudos.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

A Monster and a Must See!!
Read the editorial under the last picture... it says it all!

SHIP FROM CHINA - The Emma MaerskWhat a wonder 'Made in China' is displacing North American goods big time with this floating continent transporting goods across the Pacific in 4 days no less!!! This is how Wal-Mart gets all it's stuff from China . Get a load of this ship! 15,000 containers and a 207' beam! And look at the crew-size: 13 people for a ship longer than a US aircraft carrier which has a crew of 5,000 men and officers. Think it's big enough? Notice that 207' beam means it cannot fit through the Panama or Suez Canals .. It is strictly transpacific. Check out the cruise speed: 31 knots means the goods arrive 4 days before the typical container ship (18-20 knots) on a China-to-California run. So this behemoth is hugely competitive when carrying perishable goods. This ship was built in five sections. The sections floated together and then welded. The command bridge is higher than a 10-story building and has 11 cargo crane rigs that can operate simultaneously.Additional info:Country of origin - Denmark Length - 1,302 ftWidth - 207 ftNet cargo - 123,200 tons Engine - 14 in-line cylinders diesel engine (110,000 BHP) Cruise Speed - 31 knots Cargo capacity - 15,000 TEU (1 TEU = 20 ft 3)Crew - 13 people First Trip - Sept. 08, 2006 Construction cost - US $145,000,000+Silicone painting applied to the ship bottom reduces water resistance and saves 317,000 gallons of diesel per year. Most all of these containers are shipped back to China , EMPTY! We send nothing back on most of these ships.