|The Nemesis Pile of Shale|
|Written by Administrator|
|Friday, 23 October 2009 01:46|
The Nemesis Pile of Shale
This The Nemesis. Approximately 3 to 6 tons of weatherbeaten shale, jutting out in a most precarious and menacing manner.
It has been looming over us for 10 years. However, this year I was working over on the other side of the dock when his smaller cousin spontaneously came down. It was quite a scary sight, and it was clear if anybody had been there, they would not have survived.
The Nemesis is pretty much right above where we like to cook hot dogs and make smores if nobody has already eaten all the chocolate bars.
So this fall I have been obsessed with taking it down. This page is about the epic battle between an old man and a very much older rock.
Here is the whole scene. The Nemeis is about 15 feet from the ground, so I can't do anything to it directly unless I'm on a ladder. Now the last place I want to be when it comes down is directly underneath it on a 15 foot ladder. So I need to make a plan.
My first plan was to knock everything down starting with junk over my deck roof, and working sideways until I could poke at the Nemesis itself. However, when I looked more closely at the right side of the Nemesis, it was clear it could fall sideways, directly towards the cottage. I do not want to be there on a ladder. So I gave that up as too dangerous. Then I decided it could not fall to the right, so I tried coming at it from that direction. That was a failure for a number of reasons. More on that later.
So the next plan was to come down from the top on a rope. That way I could knock the top off with a pick axe and bring down in a controlled manner. However, this plan had quite a few problems. First and foremost, my spouse did not like the idea one bit. The problem with hanging over the 100 foot cliff on a rope is that the rope tends to knock alot of shale rocks loose, which generally fall in the downward direction, where your head is likely to be.
The biggest problem with the top-down idea is the Crumbly Bits. I really don't know how much of that will come down if the Nemesis is no longer there, and I don't want to find out while dangling on a rope under the trouble-causing tree.
Here is the Nemesis Mini-Me. I managed to get a 2x4 behind him and used it like a lever to pull him down. However, it was really difficult because the shale is so heavy that even this little guy put up a terrific fight. My 2x4 bent until it nearly broken before it finally budged.
This the view from the south. You can really see better how the crumbly bits kind of rest on the Nemesis.
Here I am trying to get at the Nemesis from the south side.
I will spare you the pictures of the following two weeks.
After 1 and 1/2 weeks, my poison ivy rash got so bad that whole leg swelled up so I couldn't easily even straighten it out. My doc put me on Prednisone which made my face puff up and my lips feel numb. I was really psyched that the doc gave me STEROIDS because I thought at least I could PUMP MYSELF UP and be like Arnold Schwarzenegger, but then I read about it on Wikipedia and it turns out that Predisone does NOT make you build muscle. Instead it makes your face swell, increases body fat, and turns down your immune system. Then I got a cold and then a sinus infection and then a cough that I still have even though I stopped taking it.
Ok. So the Nemesis definitely won this round. But I'm not so easily detered.
Revenge will be mine!
Missile of Ensured Safety is in the cargo hold. It was fun to note that the weapon can actually be fired from the boat.
I thought I was the only boat on the lake, and when I rounded the point I saw the last vessel I ever wanted to see that day, the police boat. So I started trying to think how I could explain this, because I certainly don't have a permit for attacking my own property with a roman siege weapon, and I know somebody who got a ticket just for poking his beach with a shovel.
But as they got a little closer I realized it was a fishing boat that looked exactly like the Sheriff except that this boat didn't have a blue light on top. Whew!
This little bit of very sturdy stuff is holding the Nemesis up. You can see that up and to the left of the target, the shale is all broken as the Nemesis has been slipping down over the years. I had a plan to put a hammer drill on a long pole and destroy it from a safe distance. But it just didn't work. I have to be so far away I can't control it at all. And so I changed my focus to ranged weapons.
My first thought was to buy a 12 gauge shotgun for $163, and a whole lot of slug ammo. I would just sit on the deck roof and take potshots at it all day. It would be a blast. But then I started thinking about how uptight people are around there. Then I started reading about rules, and there is no doubt it would attract all kinds of attention and just couldn't end well for me.
So then I thought about a crossbow, but realistically, the Nemesis would never succumb to such a lame weapon as that. But what if the crossbow were, well, .. bigger? A LOT bigger?
Here is Bungee Ballista, mounted on the deckroof, aimed at the target area. Getting that up there by myself would have been fun if I enjoyed pain and fear.
You can see what an awesome job I did supporting the legs. How that ever made it through the 20 to 30 shots without falling off is a mystery.
Take that, you big meanie! The Missile of Ensured Safety lands a direct hit.
When this happened, I picked up boards, rocks or whatever and threw at it until the missile was freed. At this point, I'm not about to go up on a ladder and pull it out.
Amazingly enough, my Bungee Ballista was accurate to within about 1/2 inch. Granted the range to the target was only about 14 feet, but it would have been a disaster if I hadn't been able to pound on the same point over and over.
As the sun set, Nemesis was still standing, but the MOES had done its job, and taken out the target ( the inset shows what it looked like before the battle). At this point, I don't know what is holding the Nemesis upright. It must be sheer stubbornness.
And so the day of battle ends in peace.
But it isn't over yet.
See the followup article Nemesis - the Final Chapter
|Last Updated on Friday, 30 October 2009 03:41|