Soil and Water Don’t Mix (Most of the Time)

Dirt matters. A lot.

In comments about my post about the Harris County problem, Luke pointed out that I’d not really looked at the soil profile under Houston and its neighbors and upstream watershed. That’s in part because I wanted to compress a lot of data into a small post, and because I’m just not familiar with all the details of the soils in that part of the state. Sand or clay, loam, caleche, all respond differently based on the physics and chemistry of the soil and its component parts. I’m not a soils expert, and I’m not a construction engineer. So this is a sort of Dirt and Water 101: The quick and dirty version. Continue reading

Overheard in the Halls: Autumn 2017 Edition

Irked Student: How did this happen? [waves piece of paper] I’m not in either of the study-halls I wanted.

Fr. Pax [headmaster, chief of the schedule software]: That’s because Sr. Perpetua and Mrs. Scales have both asked that you not be in a study-hall with [Overeager] or [Senior Prankster].

I.S.: But we don’t talk. Much.

Fr. Pax: [silent look over glasses]

Mr. Dvorak [passing behind Fr. Pax]: [snort of disagreement]

I.S.: Much.

****************** Continue reading

How Floods Work: Harris County Edition

Welcome, Instapundit readers! Thanks for stopping by, and please be sure to read the comments. There are some excellent updates and additional information and observations from readers.

A lot of hand-wringing and second-guessing now and for the foreseeable future focuses on how a city as big as Houston (and the surrounding areas) could “be allowed” to flood. Setting aside the little problem of humans’ inability to steer storms and rain to or from desired locations, what we’re seeing is a combination of hydrology, urban development, and “excess” precipitation. And it is rather predictable that when you have certain combinations of the above, you get “flooding.” Flooding in this case means water in places where it is not desired, in sufficient quantities to cause damage and to endanger human and animal life. You see, Texas drains into Houston and Brownsville. Continue reading

The Playa Strikes Back

The playa that I drive past to and from the school now has water in it. So does every low spot, ditch, gutter, and grass-stem, as best I can tell. We’re bordering on 20 days in a row with rain or very heavy fog/drizzle. The good news is that it feels more like mid-September than late August. The not so good news is it also feels like July in Houston when you poke your nose out the door or open the window. And with moisture comes . . . mosquitoes. Continue reading

Political Vampires

There’s a joke that the word politics comes from the Greek ‘Poly” meaning many and “ticks” meaning blood-sucking insect. I’m not inclined to argue etymology—or entomology—but after watching part of a documentary about the Voyager program, I realized that political activists have sucked the joy out of a whole lot of places, including science, and planetary exploration. Instead of rejoicing over new discoveries and amazing accomplishments, the only thing on the news is division, accusation, and the infamous Shirt-storm. What in the name of little green apples happened? Continue reading

Flower Power! (OK, and potting soil, and rain power too)

So, you may recall that I gave in and brought home two pots of scraggly, desiccated miniature roses. I potted them up in decent soil, added water, and have been ignoring them, except to move them under cover when hail threatened.

The lavender colored ones had all died, so I got a red and white stripe and a purple. The purple turned out to be pink.

They just followed me home, Mom. Really!

Continue reading

Signal Boost: The King’s Champion

Peter Grant’s fantasy novel, The King’s Champion, is live on Amazon.

I was allowed to read an advanced draft, and it is good!

An old, semi-retired soldier on his way back from visiting an older friend discovers that long-banished trouble has spilled over the border (and it kills his dog. Big, big mistake). The king is weak, unable to keep peace among the barons, even as hard danger marches closer.

But old men are dangerous men, and cunning. The King’s Champion girds himself for battle once more, and woe betide those who think that age is weakness.