Bit by Bit

It’s terribly mundane but represents the whittling-away of the chore-list which may lead to some greater freedom of activity besides yard and house-work. With the new freezer in place the garage is pretty much all-done.IMGP1777_01aB
Yesterday we ripped-into and bonsai’d the last juniper shrublet, and today the lowquat tree is gonna get a shaving. Temps are expected to be mild in the low 90’s and the King Fire is 98% contained.

Defensible Space

In keeping with this week’s theme of Fire & Renewal, we attacked the upper side of the house along the cul-de-sac side, and met some neighbors. While most gunny-prepper types might associate Defensible Space with a secure perimeter and enfilading fire lanes. Here in The Fire Zone we need to prevent an eruption of destruction not from jackbooted Gov. Thugs fast-roping in, but from some dumbass flicking a cigarette butt into the underbrush and taking out a block or two of houses.
Coming down from Oregon we saw fire after fire, and passed through the small mountain town of Weed. Weed liked to live-up to its name, and I used to think Hippies liked Weed, but it burnt from one end to the other like a poorly rolled spliff. On arrival home we were greeted by the Sand Fire to the south, and more have been popping up all around.
We don’t need that kind of conflagration, and so raked up about twenty 34-gal. leaf-bags of dry tinder consisting mainly of pine-needles and pine-cones that have a remarkable torch-effect. Back-in-the-Day at Church Camp, we held a ceremony at the end of the week where we spoke solemn words and made a vow – and then tossed a pine-cone onto the bonfire. This was before the current lackadaisical approach to “Forest Health” and outright naturism by the current crop of FS managers, and the bonfires were huge. Nowadays with the densely thickened undergrowth and heaps of fuels that date back to about the beginning of the Church-Camp Era, such behavior after 30-plus years of natural neglect would be criminally dangerous.

UPDATE: Friends asked if we were safe. Yes. The Fire went up past Icehouse on the South Fork to Hell Hole reservoir and is kinda trapped up there since when it hits tree-line there’s no more burn-fuels, it’s all granite. If it goes back down towards Georgetown it has to cross the river twice (Middle and North fork) and then runs into the old fire-burn – and there’s less fuel to keep going again.
When was the last time you saw a forest-fire in Switzerland? They have held onto that land for some 2,000 years since the fall of the Roman Empire. They pick up the pine-cone grenades and don’t let the understory fuels build-up. Smart guys.

TGIF and I don’t have to drive anywhere

Went for a bicycle ride down along the American River at Folsom, just below the prison. Met-up with a BFF of The Wife and went exploring the trails. Huh.
There’s a lot of grotesquely snooty spandexified boomer-retirees, old dudes wearing goatees and on freshly minted Specialized pedal-pushers, acting all cycle-entitled down there make the location perilous and unpleasant.
After lunch at the Sudwerk brew-restaurant on the bluff overlooking the prison-pool (not really), we came home and awaited a visit from another friend.
He was heading-up to North Tahoe along the truly awful Hwy. 80 Corridor, but work demands had put him late on the freeway – on a Friday – which is godawful THE BayAryan-OMG definition of the Seventh Circle of Hell.
The relentless driving-maelstrom that ultimately would followed, from tail-gating lowered Mazda/Honda/Scion/Prius-driving Davis University nimrod-students, to massive 30-foot 5th-Wheel Weekend-Warriors, to chains of Long-Haul Trux-Trux-Trux all in a row headed over Donner Pass meant that it would be a wretched, slow-going, hyperventilating nightfall before he reached his destination. So bail-out.
Maybe he can stop by on the way back on Sunday.
Meanwhile we took a break from the understory reconstruction, and let the right-knee come back to order – things down there are progressing rather wonderfully for junk-storage.

Choreland Friday

A funny letter from the local Taxation Authorities meant that we would spend part of the morning in Hangtown, and in the waning sunlight it was recognized that the old ’94 530i would not spin-over. Not a peep was heard from it’s antique banks of soldered chips and blinky computeristics. Of course it had sat unattended and un-driven since December till now, and leafing through records indicated that the battery was almost ten years old and dead as a doornail. On the way home from The Abode of the Authorities we stopped-in at a retail car-crap and spinning-gizmo store, but they didn’t have the specialized “Type 93″ battery. It’s low and wide and has terminals recessed to hide under the back seat in an awkward but very cleanly-maintained location. So I made a call to another purveyor of fine automotive fluids and wheel-cleaners, and indeed they could get on by 2:30PM! ~Voila!~ Off to lunch at Mike’s Grill!
Following a delicious and monstrous 1/2lb burger with double-crispy seasoned fries and with some time to spare, we took a truck-amble up scenic Oak Hill Road to the end where it becomes Not County Maintained Road Private Drive Stay Off My Lawn I have Guns – and turned around. Back in Diamond Springs we stopped and popped into Scalise Meats for some cold-cuts and their delicious home-ground beef. Mmmm!
And then passing by Poor Red’s in El Dorado we noticed the shuttered doors again. Next door is a bakery/coffee shop where I had a delicious macaroon and asked, “What’s up with Red’s?” Well, the new owners (they purchased Poor Red’s in 2007) are in for it, deep. On May 14 the Court ordered six-years in the State Pen for him, and one-year for her – and $629,818 restitution…they had failed to report $1.32 million in taxes. Oops! Damn good thing we paid Teh Authorities that bill! They sure don’t mess around up here with tax scofflaws, I guess because this rural county is poor and doesn’t get the HUGE tax-basis of the BayAryans or the Angelenoses.
I was thinking it might be a case of that anti-tax Corvette drivin’ “Freeman” stuff and Gadsden-Lifestyle you hear about around the hills from here to Idaho, but this just sounds like a couple of straight up crooks – you never know…

Fanimation

Office fan Got the second fan up yesterday, a bit of a wrestling match but I finally pinned it to the ceiling – and then something vessel-like in my thumb let go and I said, “Owww!” It got all purple and was temperature sensitive for a while, but is almost unnoticeable today. The fan is shorter than the old one, and with no dingle-balls hanging off it to catch in my hair – and totally silent in operation.  Wiring it up I bypassed the internal switching and put the blue wire together with the red so the light is switched by the plate at the door rather than through the remote.  That way I don’t have a useless light-switch at the door where it’s needed, or “empty” wiring in place.

The walnut blades go with the rest of the walnut furniture nicely.

Excelsior!

rockworxWe’re a bit exhausted and Ibuprofen is our friend.  78-feeet of frontage chip-rock, from the lower walkway to the mailbox are now in-filled with river rock.  We estimate that each Little Green Deathwagon loaded weighed about 210lbs (min.), and each wagon load was good for 1-foot (at about 4-feet deep) – the math is a but overwhelming.

The graphic has an illusion and is a bent in the middle, an artifact of the panorama-process I guess.   In reality the street does not flatten out but maintains a constant incline such as on the left side of the picture, so we rolled a lot of rocks uphill.  Owww!  My elbows and wrists ache.

Also all the BIG rocks are removed from underneath the Redwood and most off the smaller gravels too – replaced by fluffy cedar mulch.  Also the “stream” (drain)-edges are relined with those bigger rocks while the stream-bed now has a mix of  smooth river-rock and rough gravels, taken from elsewhere.  We only had to buy the cedar mulch, the rocks were already here… AND it’s been a year since we signed papers on the house!  (But only since the beginning of November taken full residence.)  PHEW!  Maybe now I can go ridin’?

OCD Alert!

What's wrong with this picture?Of all the little things that trigger a meltdown, this comes close to a pinnacle event. It’s not just the cheap Home Depot hardware with plastic internals and lousy zinc pot-metal with a 5-year warranty that breaks at year 5.2, it’s also the poor fitment, the sheer carelessness, and the obvious disregard for visual symmetry. Just to get the door to work right I had to tighten knob-screws that were so loose the handle almost fell off inside, but once tightened the whole mechanism seized up and had to be operated with Gorilla Strength™.

So we went to Wayne’s Lock to find something more in keeping with our style – but not so contemporary that it reminded us of a Hospital, Industrial Park, or School. Bucking the latest on-trend directive we got in the Wayback Machine and returned to Antique Brass instead of Brushed Nickle everywhere – like the Bay Area insists upon. Baldwin got the nod on the style-front, and when the order arrived Jeff came out Wednesday with all the bits and parts including a new set of deadbolts for three other doors, all keyed alike.

With the double-doors it was a bit of a struggle, and I had to get out the aircraft shears to cut some sheet-metal shims for the bottom hinge. In the basement I found a piece of leftover duct-hanger tin from the re-arrangement of the AC/heater ducting, and made some marks for the hinge-jamb screw-holes to line-up. The shims closed the gap between the doors so the deadbolt throw was correct. But the hinge was painted-in and had to be whacked a few times with the 20.oz. Eastwing framing hammer to free it up. In the end it’s smoother, more secure, and looks a lot better. Three shims later and *Phew!*  Now I can rest easy without the nightmares…
Yay they match!

Getting organized

Monday was a BIG day, with the sofa-sleeper arriving in the AM that was too big to fit down the hall and had to go through the Office window on its back. Finally the room is mostly complete, with the vintage Macouillard Matson-Line menus on the wall and the Guatemala masks above the closet, there is now a guest-room that actual guests can stay-in.
After all that we made a Costco (beer-run!) supply-trip where I discovered the answer to my gun-room prayers; a large but not too-large metal locking cabinet that can house my books and reloading manuals and amateur gunsmithing nick-nacks and the stacks of empty brass and lead and junk that was stored in mu7ltiple boxes and strewn around the room. All neatly out of sight under lock and key- and I wonder if I should get a second one…. Phew! More bathroom hardware went on to replace the outdated finishes of the previous hardware and there are still a couple of lights to take-down and replace with new ones. And I ordered a fresh and new bar-sink and faucet to replace the old and worn units – so, ready for some upcoming plumbing work…

Reloading WorkbenchUPDATE: I’m still not really that sure-about or sold-on the Harbor Freight reloading bench. Once built it’s plenty sturdy, perhaps a bit long – but the holes in the top for the wood-working bench-dogs are a bit too frequent, and in order to mount the press where I want it (on the end) I neglected to mount the wood-vise, so they’re really not all that useful – unless I can find or rig a Y-fork rifle-holder and use some pair of holes as a cleaning station… If I mounted the press on the face of the bench then half the drawers will be compromised and unable to open, and while the multiple drawers are swell they don’t open fully, even though they are on full-extension “type” slides/glides, so some of the space is not very accessible – maybe it’s fine for a woodworker but it’s starting to piss me off just a leetle beet…