About a half-hour before my brother and family arrived to visit, the sprinkles started. After they left it really started to come down. We hunkered down to watch an old Rita Hayworth movie set in the South Pacific, loosely adapted from a story that I remember reading by W. Somerset Maugham.
Thanks to this year’s weird weather pattern, “monsoon” influences have blown-up in retrograde from New Mexico and Arizona, and we’ve been having a tumultuous Sierra Summer. There’s been with hail the size of quarters in Tahoe, and severe lightning filled rain-cells along the spine of the mountains from Quincy on down southerly to Arnold and Sonora. A few days ago we heard what sounded like artillery practice as dry-lightning boomed in the mountains above Kirkwood Ski Resort. Severe weather warnings have flashed-up on the TV screen in the midst of shows, warning of flash-flooding from the sudden onslaught of actual “weather.” In any event, the small bit of rain we did receive with grateful thanks to a beneficent Deity easily filled the rain barrels, yay!
Dump-Run Tuesday: got rid of a whole truck-load of nasty old crap and re-organized the garage (somewhat), ready to shoot some deck-screw into the (properly measured, into studs) wall-track, and hang the bike racks. Beautiful day for Fair Weather Friends – only 94.2°F now, with some high overcast coming the wrong way that has blown up from Arizona and New Mexico – Thanks Arizona and New Mexico! Under the misters it’s like an afternoon at the Ritz, Kapalua…
Well this is a new experience, but not unexpected or uncommon. In the morning we hauled a mass of junk out of the “basement” and piled it up under the Redwood tree for a dump run. Old bits of plastic-wood decking, a junky old metal shelving unit, some weird fibrous peg-board pieces that looked suspiciously like a bunch of ceiling tiles from a cubicle farm, pieces of pipe and threaded metal rod, pieces of plastic, a half box of bathroom tile, weird lattice/rack things of unknown purpose with aluminum tubes and plastic end-fittings: junk – and it was 90° at 10:AM.
After a lunch at Mike’s Grill up Pleasant Valley Road, we headed up to Camino to see when the apples would be coming in – we’re a month and a half early. Came home to turn on the misters and hit the deck – 42° Centigrade. Haven’t been in temps like this much sine the last time I was down in Madras, now called Chennai – and today it’s only 31° there.
Actually do-able on the deck with a cold beverage and the mister running. Sweet!
UPDATE: 92.3°F at 8:22PM. 33.3°C – that’s still more than Madras today.
Down the cart path behind the house, beneath the cedar and the Monterey pine there lay a bed of desultory rosemary, a twisted mound of leggy and stringy stuff a good six-feet long with only a bit of green at the tips – perhaps original. Next to it was a white picket fence of a compost mound. Square, fake plastic lattice, four feet on each side, a dry and leathery hump – little more than a rodent hotel. We hid in the cool shadows and attacked with loping shears.
It’s amazing how much you can actually fit in a rolling yard-waste bin if you mulch away at the contents, I believe it’s how I get my revenge on vegetation and vegetarians – I hate plants and chop them into tiny pieces. I like the rocks that hide beneath plants.
All the many years of fine plant fluff and duff remained locked in rock crevices, so out came the Shop-Vac and I set to work vacuuming the fine, big rocks below. I collected three bags of dirt and tiny rocks and wasted vegetation to go in the yard-waste cans. Pour it in and it’s like adding sand to a jar of sticks – there’s plenty of room between the interstices of vacant space.
Note to self: get a new Shop-Vac pleated filter, this one is clotted toast.
In other news, another Ramone has sadly bit the dust. RIP Tommy, he was only 62. Of the few concerts I attended they will never be forgotten. I saw them at the Santa Cruz Civic when they opened for Bob Marley – and were clearly superior. The crowd was insane and three times I had to search on the floor for my Levis’ jacket that I was wearing on my body – somehow it just kept coming off. I left the show after a few reggae songs. Bob was OK but his wife was over-emphasized and I was not impressed – it simply got boring and failed to captivate me…
Gorgeous mild summer day-morning. Airplanes taking off left and right. In the mid 80′s instead of mid 100′s today. Did a bunch of chore-like watering stuff, and then picked up some more tanbark at the Home Despot. Got the leaky Bissell “steam”-cleaner machine out and went to work on the truck seats and console – the water removed was pretty dark. It dried fast in the heat and now it smells nice. Hit the deck for some Vitamin-D…
I turned in the shower this morning, adjustment the bucket beneath my feet that collects body run-off gray water for the yard and plants, and something went *SprOOing!* HUH? Aw shit. It’s not my usual lower-back dork-up, it’s in a whole new spot on the right upper hip axis. I am reminded (again, dammit) that I am closer to 60 than 40, and that my bug-out bag’s role, conditions, and environment is changing. I’ve been doing a lot of squat and lift stuff with heavy rocks and feel great, my arms have never been stronger and more sinewy – but there’s always a tingle in the right knee when I turn direction or just get into bed. The Glucosamine-Chondroitin has a great placebo effect…
As a Brahmin-born BayAryan I was concerned in the past about The Earthquake being THE bug-out trigger event. Now that we live in Tinderland in the midst of a bone-dry drought, it’s Fire (and water) I’m worried about. But the bug-out bags are only getting heavier, and any much more and my wife won’t be able to carry hers.
As age and mobility issues arise, I realize that the two of us I can’t get very far with the whole “Gunny-Alternative REI ground-pounder” kind of backpacker shit. Maybe I need a bug-out vehicle rather than a hiking stick and a soon-to-be 90-lb Kelty pack – and that’s before I even pick up a rifle and ammo. One that can run the Rubicon Trail just over the hill? Some kind of spidery, rock-hopper rig that clings to granite and can make its own trail. Nothing with a rear-view camera to help drunk hipsters in city parking. Decisions, decisions…
We escaped to the hills from the clotted crowds of ugly city-suburban people, but maybe we didn’t get far enough. Anybody coming up here to escape the Upcoming Apoclypse/Maelstrom/Collapse will be in vehicles confined to a narrow asphalt ribbon, and maybe I should learn something about explosive so we locals can drop a couple of the freeway overpasses in order to impede the Hipster escape traffic. I understand from vague reports that there’s already a crew of guys like that in Arizona who are ready for the crowds streaming out of California on the southern freeway in the event of worse: .300 Win-Mag/.338 Lapua kinda stoppit-now sniper guys.
Also, while I was previously working on the Med-kit with a concentration on wound-issue stuff, but I now wonder if there’s a fire-bandage equivalent of QuikClot…? If not there should be.
UPDATE: Thanks for everybody’s feedback and comments, especially about the burn-gel impregnated bandages! Awesome!
(Based on my comment at my Gunbologger compadre Say Uncle’s post regarding 4th of July fireworks and the nannys among us): We now live in a very dry, very high-fire danger area so our house insurance is up a tad. Ka-ching$ !
One fire is already (still) burning next to a reservoir, and then another started across the lake. Last week late at night some dumbass drunk lady down in the flatlands flicked a butt out a window and five trailers went up in smoke in a matter of minutes, burnt to the ground and five families who were poor to begin with – so poor they didn’t even have big-screen TVs and A/C – now have even less zip-nada-squat. Just about every morning we awake to news that somedude started a dumpster-fire (sometimes two!) in the lousy part of Sacramento (or Stockton, or…) so there’s a fire-bug out there getting his jollies.
On the 4th itself a 40-acre fire (probably started by a homeless camper) nearly burnt-down the State Fair Grounds. Twelve other wildfires fires are still going around the state with most of them contained except two. If this were an ordinary-sized (East-Coast) state you would have news-anchors going on breathlessly about how there are fires from Florida to Vermont – The Whole Est Coast Is On Fire!! – except it’s not. You guys back-East and in the Midwest get all kinds of Summertime damp and moisture and even hurricanes, and that’s its own problem. Flooding. We don’t get any of that – not until December.
Today’s a lot better but all last week from our vantage point in the hills we could see a line of thick yellow air down in the valley and smell the smoke up here in the hills. Seems like everybody owns guns up here – this IS The West after all, the Mother Lode where cowboys still herd cattle – but nobody acts like the 4th of July is an Arab Wedding party with guns ablaze and shootin’ into the air. We have our own township fireworks over a lake on the Saturday-night before whatever the 4th is, because most serious capitalists here work even on the 4th – especially if it’s a weekday and can’t or won’t afford to take a day off.
You guys living in the Damp-Humid Zone where woodsy stuff doesn’t immediately go up in flames like you threw gasoline on it should be grateful I guess with all the Police laxity over fireworks – but it’s no fireworks out here in Dry-Diggin’s where the under-story ladder fuels are bone-dry and abundant on the ground. You often see signs posted on an old oak tree saying “Defensible Space” – but this is not an indication of crazy Gadsden flag waving Anti Gubb’mint NRA gun-nuts – we have plenty of those actually, every Tuesday at the American Legion post is a Tea Party Meeting night – but the “Defensible Space” signs are some guy with a wood-chipper looking for work clearing the too-abundant fire-hazards. We have done a lot of yardwork already clearing out those fuels immediately around us, and we’re lucky to be bounded by another street that acts as a fire-break. Last year while moving I guess we missed the fun; a fire broke out in the Nature Preserve above us and the street was soon full of fire trucks and prison-labor cutting back brush. Three plane-loads of fire-retardant were dropped. This year a couple of our neighbors are moving prized family heirlooms to safe-storage elsewhere, furniture that belonged to great-great grandma and the like needs to be in a safer environment… I guess I didn’t know that, but I really like it here.