Monday, September 13, 2021

Yellow Jackets...Everywhere

I've got a few acres of woods around me so things like bear (yes, there are bears at the lake), raccoons, deer, snakes, and insects are just a part of life. If you have property at the lake, in general you'll have to cohabitate with just about all of God's creatures of the Midwest, but this year is like nothing I've ever seen before when it comes to flying insect pests. This year's most wanted...the yellow jacket.

They are EVERYWHERE this year at the lake. I have a colony I've been chasing throughout the property for years now, so I thought this year's brood was mine alone to tackle, but I've been taking a consensus this summer and it seems everyone has them. We were at Frankie and Louie's this weekend and even with traps galore they were all over the bar area. It made getting a drink a little intimidating and those poor bartenders seemed resolved to take their lumps.

So if you're dealing with them too, know it's not just you.

Yellow Jacket, or a hornet? My wife and I are having this debate. The picture above is a Yellow Jacket, and looks like the ones I'm dealing with, but the nests I've seen are in ground which is more indicative of a hornet. I've read both types go to ground as well as building those famous paper mache (sic) style in trees. They're pretty much the same critter in terms of aggressiveness and painful sting though so it doesn't really matter. Plus they both eat the same thing, basically nectar, although Yellow Jackets have a taste for dead meat apparently. I'll leave it to the reader to determine which they are battling, but there are plenty of sites that will help  you identify the culprit.

And we're blaming climate change for this widespread phenomena in 3...2...1

Tuesday, March 16, 2021

Starlink at the Lake of the Ozarks

Satellite Internet in a Box (the dish is about 18" in diameter)

March 24 Update:

After two weeks of testing, I will be sending "Dishy McFlatface" here back to Elon Musk. While the service works, my property is not conducive to reception with the 100 degree open sky requirement. Once fully operational and that drops down to more like 35 degrees I'd be fine. I thought about putting it on the dock where full sky could be had, but the lady of the house refuses to have a dish on the roof of the dock, no matter how temporary. That, plus the fact that my Plex media server didn't work well due to Starlink's use of something called a "double-NAT" (which I won't try to explain) made the decision to send it back easier. The truth is my Spectrum service is really good, really reliable, and enough bandwidth for two homes, so it's difficult to justify $99 a month just for a backup connection. When I lose Spectrum, it's rarely for long, and happens even more rarely.

Having said all that? If you're in rural Missouri suffering from DSL or Radiowire only connectivity, and have a clear sky view, then Starlink is probably a great solution for you. It just gets better and better daily now.  My best clocked speed was 200+Mbs. The worst... 1.8Mbs (virtually unusable).


I just got my Starlink equipment yesterday and thought I'd give a brief review for those considering using the new satellite internet service from SpaceX in the lake area. Spoiler alert: It works!...kinda.

For those that don't know anything about it, Starlink is an internet provider service that uses a small dish antenna to send and receive internet traffic via a fleet of micro-satellites -that will ultimately be -distributed all over the globe. The service is in it's early stages and not quite ready for prime time, but it will improve. It's a bold idea (Amazon is apparently working on a similar service with it's own fleet of satellites) and if it comes to full fruition, it will likely change the way many of us get internet service permanently.

BUT... for now, I cannot recommend it as a full replacement for a hard-line from the likes of Spectrum. The service is intermittent and speeds, when satellites are in range, drifts from 16Mbs to 125Mbs depending on time of day. This is to be expected at this point of the project, but will improve as more and more satellites come online. I'll be watching those SpaceX launches with a little more interest from now on.

The setup is super easy. Open the box. Put the dish on the stand. Power it up. Wait a few minutes. Spend two minutes setting up the wi-fi. Done. That's it.

It's my intention to use the service as a back up to my cable hard-line. Spectrum service in my area is rock solid, but things do happen now again, and with a vacation rental, a dead internet service makes for unhappy guests.

Right now I have a Plex media server on Starlink. This is a good test since streaming video is data intensive and involves sending a steady stream of data, not receiving it (so much). It works, but as I said at certain times of the day, it simply loses connectivity. As a back-up to your existing hard-line it may be an option for you if internet connectivity is critical, but you'll need real "techie" knowledge to get it to work auto-magically as a failover connection. Otherwise it just becomes a separate wi-fi to connect too. Good enough as a backup I think.

An open sky (100 degrees), with a bent toward the north, is a must for now. The Starlink app has a tool to help determine your chances of connecting but pay attention to the northern direction which at this point is the most important. If you get the system and find out it cannot connect, you can return it for a full refund in the 30 day window (keep that box!). I recommend you use the app before ordering if you live near trees. Again, as more satellites come on-line that field of view will get smaller, ultimately only needing about 30 degrees, which is a relatively small window into the sky (about two-hand widths held up above you).

I'll follow-up as time goes on. But if you're interested, the service is available for the area now. There are enough satellites in place to cover this latitude (about 38 degrees). Just go to, put in your physical address and cross your fingers. If you are lucky enough to get on the list and order, it takes about 4-6 weeks to arrive and you will be charged the $699 up front. This is a one time purchase and can be returned for a full refund within 30 days. Any return after that is pro-rated up to two years. The cost of the service is $0 FOR NOW, but looks like it will be $99 once fully operational, which is comparable in price to a Spectrum cable hard-line at 400Mbs. Elon Musk has promised Starlink will be capable of 1Gbs (1000Mbs) once completed. For now, you must keep the dish at your home location, but *should* become portable for things like RVs when, again, the system becomes fully operational.

Thursday, July 16, 2020

Found this on Reddit, and I'm just going to leave it here. A "SemiPontoon". It'll be all the rage on the lake next year I'm sure.

Wednesday, April 08, 2020

March 2020 Lake Levels and Flow Rates

Yes, yes, very late. There's been things happening in the world these days. Power generation remains at nearly full turbine flow. I'm assuming somebody needs electricity somewhere despite the economic slow down.

Without further adieu here's the charts.

And the daily detail:

Thursday, March 05, 2020

Lake Draw Down Watch 2020

March 13th. I'm calling the low of the year on March 11th, 2020 at 10AM with a lake level 654.40 feet above sea level. Sounds so official, doesn't it? Nailing the 10 year average almost down to the hour, and less than 4 inches from the average level!

I'm such a nerd.

April 8th update:

Almost called it too early! Levels reached the low on March 11th with a rapid rise from there  followed by another drop that almost reached the lows for the year.

And just to make it a little easier to see. Here's the candlestick graph for March.

Monday, March 02, 2020

February 2020 Lake Levels and Flow Rates

I'm just going to throw this one out there. I made the silly mistake of snowboarding last weekend in Wisconsin and took a gnarly fall. "Oh, the pain" as Dr. Zachary Smith used to say. :P

So, about the only interesting thing to say is that things are pretty normal for levels, but flow is still relatively high. Having just come from "up north" I can tell you there is a lot of water heading our way this spring. Plenty of snow still on the ground there that will eventually make it's way to us in one way or another.

Notice how closely lake levels match the new 10 year average (orange dots) in the hourly chart below!

Lake levels are slowly rising and it looks as if we may have already reached maximum draw down on February 24th. But we've still got a week or more before the average low point, and I've been fooled before so I'll wait to make the call. A clip of the candlestick graph below for the year so far makes this easier to see.

Monday, February 03, 2020

January 2020 Lake Levels and Flow Rates

I haven't even posted some of the summary data and graphs for the last decade and here it is February already and time for the first month of 2020 information! The annual draw down has started in earnest as we can easily see from the hourly detail graph below

Or I suppose more easily seen in the candlestick summary.

New background color for 2020!

I think what is more striking is the volume of water passing through Bagnell Dam for January. While certainly nothing extraordinary, daily discharge was at a brisk pace and steady for the entire month. Something that is a bit unusual for January.