update & What has gotten into "Blackie"

As an update from last week we did get the irrigation system winterized. It was a rainy cool Friday so not the worst time I have ever done this and sure beats making snow when the mist hits the air. I trained both Chris and Murph on the procedure and it appeared to go off in a smooth 6 hours without too much fan fare. Another milestone to check off in what was a trying season. Next will be the final fungicide application and then I can truly relax. We have much work to do because it never ends but the stress level drops as the weather changes and chances for turf dying go down. That stress is fully lifted when the wonders and worries of an old irrigation system and all it entails is put to bed. Often referred to as a Greenkeepers favorite day of the year. My favorite scene yesterday was the small sprinklers on the path by the new forward tee on 7. It reminded me of the smoke they surround a stage at musical events see below:
Rock Concert
The system blow out was just in time as the weather prediction for this weekend is bitter cold on Sunday. Mowing greens today was a bit risky as the act of mowing tells the plants one thing and the bitter cold will tell them the opposite. They have not been mowed in weeks due to the aerification and I wanted to clean them up one last time before Winter. Who knows (except maybe Blackie) what the weather will be like going forward but it sure seems like we will not have the warmest of late Fall seasons this year. Chris and Murph made great strides in the face lift of the course bathrooms this week. Painting is a normal part we do at least every other year but this time I felt more was required. Not sure how long ago we built them but guessing at least 10-12 years. So they sanded the wood trim and stained it. The ladies room was painted and the floor lightly sanded and re-urethaned. The men's room floor needed to be completely sanded to bare wood and stained and then urethaned. It needs a few more coats then walls painted and lastly the metal work will be cleaned. I wanted to get this done now because it always feels like a race in the Spring to get the course in shape. They are looking great.
ladies room almost complete

men's room floor after sanding and staining

Chris sanding men's room floor

Murph staining trim in ladies room

Chris also painted a rust converter in pump house
So who is Blackie aka "the fairway killer"? He/She is the all black feral cat that has been roaming the property for the last two years. George Balco named him Blackie and he and I have enjoyed dropping each other notes as to his where abouts for the last two years. usually with a picture attached. The staff has been involved in the sightings and all have tried to get close enough to him/her to get a good look. It has always behaved as a true feral cat however and been a bit skittish and aloof, until recently. Over the last week or so it has been hanging on the porch meowing to get into the clubhouse. On one particularly cold night he even attempted to get into the apartment upstairs. I happened to be working at the dining room table and heard this racket as the cat rummaged through the recycling bin. Then cried to come in. I was shocked. Opened the door to investigate and of course Bert thought we might be going for a walk so came bounding to the door. Even after the dog sighting and subsequent retreat he returned an hour or so later crying to get in. I proceeded to put my shoes back on grabbed a jacket and flashlight along with a handful of Bert's kibbles and walked to the shop calling the cat. I left a garage door open a foot and then the door from my office to the garage open. I placed the kibbles and a can of cat food on the stairs turned on a light and went home. The kibbles were because I had tried a few cans of cat food (donated a month earlier by George to help get Blackie through his third and potentially toughest winter) only to have him snub them in favor of dumpster diving. I found the first three cans on my deck empty as Bert took on cat like behavior returning the trophies he found.
from an old blog post Blackie on the edge of P-lot last year
 So the next morning I arrived to find the kibbles gone as well as half the can. With no mouse/rat droppings to be seen I assume the cat spent the night. Bert proceeded to finish off the can and we have repeated the exercise every night since. Also after that first night the cat has spent the afternoons sunning himself on the porch and even allowing himself to be petted. So is it going to be a bad Winter and Blackie figured he better get social if he is going to find a warm bed? After a conversation with George I discovered another landowner on the third hole has been feeding him so maybe he is simply slowly getting more social? Either way he/she is a handsome son of a gun and welcome to be the official mouser of the club. We now just have to get the Dog to stop chasing it and realize it is the reason for the morning snack he so enjoys.
Blackie hanging on porch

Bert with his snack can

Cats & Dogs the age old rivalry. Will they ever get along in harmony?

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