Close Encounter of the Peccary Kind?

I've been accumulating some pictures for another post, but needed something to write about.

Was finishing my coffee when to what did my wondering eyes appear...something not quite right. Something different than the way I had left it at cocktails in the pergola last evening. It was 70 degrees (F) and sunny last evening, so I enjoyed an IPA in the pergola. Which I can officially pronounce pretty freaking nice!

Back to my story. I put on some shoes. And grabbed the camera. And investigated...

I don't know what it was, but it had some size to it! That seed block has some weight to it. At least 5 pounds and I suspect more like 10. Edges are pretty smoothed out and there is mud all around it. I suspect it had a tough night!

More investigation yielded more and worse damage.

Upon my initial investigation I knew an immediate muse was required so I could inform SWITBO and receive further instruction. Her better mind informs me these are Echeveria 'Afterglow'. "Frilly Echeverias: The Fairest Succulents of Them All" which is apropos of nothing, but I liked the quote! Further it seems propagation is a function of sticking any part of the stalk into the ground and waking away. Right up my alley.

On to forensics. Who or what defiled the Quail Manor Grounds? I went into CSI mode. By this point Sweetie has joined me on the phone, she will play the part of the hot researcher. I'll be the guy who used to be on Cheers who now has white hair.

First, will the apparent trajectory of the seed block tell us anything?

Other than the block is now more like a ball, and moved about 15 feet, no obvious collateral damage. Or clues...

There was a lot of activity over by the fence by DnT's.

If I had proper tools, I'd do a video simulation. But, I'm guessing something large got between the fences and took a couple of shots to get between the fence and the Mesquite trunks. In the ensuing struggle, leaves were released.

Back to the scene of the worst damage.

Now I'm no tracker, but those look like pig prints. I'm ready to profile. I know that's a different show reference. But I love how they always act like it's a big deal when they're ready to profile their villain. Even though the villain is always a middle aged white guy who hates something or other and is becoming more aggressive. No shit. Anyway, I'm ready to profile our villain. This is a Javelina aka collared peccary. With some size. Hungry. With an affinity for grains embedded in a molasses matrix. Willing to defile the fairest succulent of them all.

Since there is evidence of a struggle over by DnT's, SWITBO instructs me to get myself over there to see if any damage was done. Their defences held.

Speaking of defenses. Frequent readers may recall we've spent a not insignificant sum on a multilayered the Quail Manor Grounds Defense System. Heavy steel posts set in two feet of concrete. Heavy welded steel rails. Heavy wire mesh doubled. Less than 0.5 inch opening "critter fence" covering the lower 18 inches of wire mesh and embedded into the ground so no squeezing through or digging under. 

But, ah, no gates... Technically we have gate frames. DtW delivered those last week and is fabricating the hinged critter cover for the passive rainwater harvesting grate in the back fence. But, the gates are leaning against the wall and await the welding of the wire mesh after installation. Little like closing the barn door after the cow left, but I guess will have to push the gates to completion!

Meanwhile, progress marches on at the Quail Manor. Here are the pictures I was planning to put up before this morning's excitement.

  • The electric company was by to install the solar meter and change out the existing electric meter with a "netting meter" that will run backwards if we are making more electricity than we are using. Then  there are a bunch of switches to turn-on to connect the solar to the house.
  • Made what I HOPE will be the last trip to IKEA for a while. Went Thursday mid-day to find the most vacant IKEA I've ever experienced. Used the head on the way in and noticed the head near the front door is also the head near the check-out. My homework was done, so bypassed the store entirely, slipped through a check-out the wrong way. Got a cart, used a fair bit of engineering prowess to load it and went to check-out. The loaded cart was quite the darling of the patrons and check-out lady. My chest puffed out a bit. You will note a couple of clearing pictures to be sure everything I paid for got INTO the car this time...
  • Speaking of engineering prowess. Careful observers may note the arrival of a grill. Frequent readers may recall a fair bit of peer pressure to install a pool. We resisted. The grill selection was equally controversial. Seems a real man requires four burners and a lot of stainless. A few minutes on the Internet proved just how much being a real man costs. Could not bring myself to spend more on a outdoor grill than for the indoor cooktop. Settled for being less of a man... 
    • Engineering prowess. The grill came in 1,793 parts. And a set of instructions that appeared to be in Swedish. Being a veteran of the IKEA kitchen wars, I speak pretty good Swedish instructions. The Weber Swedish "read" like an English user manual translated from Chinese by a Chinese person with 2 years of high school English. If Weber is going the universal instructions route, they should hire some Swedes to do their instructions. 
    • Used every bit of my experience and training, but got 'er done. 
    • After two trips to The Depot for plumbing parts to hook-up the gas. And one to the Whole Foods to buy a rib eye. Christened this sucker. Pronounce it good to go.
  • There are several shots of my bike shop storage slash fitness center that is evolving in the garage. A not insignificant amount of engineering/architecting/research went into bicycle storage. The trick was to optimize limited floor space, lots of ceiling height, plenty of wall space, and not a lot of room width with the potential for a lot of bikes in residence. 
    • Think I nailed it.
    • The racks are from Steadyrack and are glorious. They are designed so you fold down the hanger, roll the front wheel into the hanger, as your roll the front wheel in, the hanger lifts the bike. Done. Then you can swing them left or right for access or so they lay closer to the wall. Highest recommendation.
    • Challenge was sorting how high on the wall to put the racks, and how to space them. And the instructions were in metric. Had to do some math. And I noted that even though that wall is covered in OSB so I could theoretically mount wherever I wanted, there is a bunch of plumbing and wiring going on BEHIND the OSB. Fortunately I had pictures. Good thing too. Right where the little mounts for the back wheel wanted to go - was the main water supply pipe. I adjusted the back wheel bumpers down a few inches and we still have water.