Minister's Study

Ministering, writing, and wrestling in a land flowing with sweet tea and deep-fried food

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Blowing things up

I've said before that I generally love my job with the newspaper. And part of that is because of the terrific variety of things I get to do. Last Wednesday, I was talking to the state senator (who managed to stir up a political firestorm in these parts). And last Friday, I got to detonate four pounds of ammonium nitrate and nitromethane (which makes a pretty impressive "boom").

On Friday, I spent the first half of the day riding with the county beaver trapper. I learned that beavers, even though us regular people don't see them very often, are becoming a real problem here. According to this guy, a pair of beaver, assuming no mortality, can produce 618 offspring in 10 years. And no mortality isn't far off -- there are very few natural predators for them and very little disease.

So to alleviate flooding around the county, this guy goes out and traps the beaver (killing them -- it's illegal to relocate them.) And then he brings in a certified explosives guy to blow up the dam. So I went along on Friday to watch, listen, interivew, and take pictures.

At the third or fourth stop, they even let me detonate one -- first time I've ever blown anything up (no, really, it is!)
No, this isn't the one I detonated (silly, it took two hands to operate the detonator.) This was just the only one that was in a good place to photograph the explosion. Most of them were rather buried back in swampy places with too much brush for good photography.


...and after. I was impressed by how focused the explosion was with properly placed explosives. It could throw nearly Volkswagon-sized chunks of debris treetop-high -- but brush just a few feet from the blast was unscathed.


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