From drab to monochrome

The Family Meeting down among the BayAryans at the old ancestral abode was a success, with a lot of work accomplished and various family objects taken away by the remaining survivors. We finished boxing up all the old financial documents, donated clothing and canned goods (that were not expired!), and had partial success with the Bank because we had Documents(!) – just not all of them, yet.
The drive back was incident free and fast, missing the usual choke-points and sailing along at a good clip under warm fair skies with a few spotty-fluffy clouds – until this morning. Rain and cold. I assembled the family Christmas tree today, it’s something that Dad made back around 1950-ish, either while at City College getting his degree or overseas as a project while as Principal at the Technical School, because in that hot tropical country Christmas Trees were not to be found. Plus is disassembles and packs easily with just twelve screws.
It’s rather Alexander Calder modern and Mechano too, based on a series of triangles affixed to other triangles, suspended by a string spaced with knots, with a rather Sputnik star at the top.
The garden urns that had been handed down from Dad’s Mom went up on the front steps to help mark the entry-point better and make it more obvious.

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Fall color…is kinda drab


This is just an illustration of how far the sun moves back and forth across my little horizon. Not so much rain as was foretold, but more coming Thursday and snow in the Sierra – and the oak leaves are falling and covering over my tanbark circles so nobody should be offended.
And since the weather is tolerable, this is a couple grilled tenderloins marinated in a spicy brown-sugar whiskey glaze. Yummy!!

Prairie to Pasture to Parkland

Well not quite parkland, probably never, but I had a hankering to get some tanbark down around the trees and see how much floats-off during the winter. With an initial load of twelve bags for two trees (6-each) and results that appealed, I got up early this morning and went to Home Depot for another sixteen bags for the larger (and smallest) trees. I spread the bark with an eighteen inch gap around at the trunk (conveniently the width of my steel rake), and stomped-around in a circle to make a four-inch deep apron. Or thereabouts.
The big oak I’m leaving alone because it get’s the most wet under there.




Evening Showers

We were warned that it would rain finally, and a good one, so I got over to my local plant-nursery and picked up three bags of pre-emergent and in the afternoon got it spread down on a large section of the field. Around 1:30AM I awoke to a drumming on the roof and the sound of wind outside, and it was pouring down. The morning dawned clear and cold with some clouds, and the pre-emergent had gotten rained-in, so we hope the savage weeds will be somewhat suppressed.
Meanwhile the ball is only slowly rolling, I had hoped to hear more and sooner from the Mortuary already. We need to get a pile of mail and there are bills to pay, boxes to fill with again. a couple of file-cabinets to empty…
Back at the ranch before all this started, I had just managed to get an appropriate shellplate into Big Red (shellplate #9) and practice some .44-40 de-capping and sizing, shoulder set-back and case-mouth belling (as it pushes up into the powder-drop).

The 200-grain Oregon Trail “laser-cast” lead bullets squished a few case necks before I had the belling right, and I had to fiddle a bunch with the seating-die to get the correct bullet depth – and then had to back-up and get the crimp right….but I finally think I have it down.

Just need to load and adjust the powder measure to drop some Trail Boss, and the primer-feed to seat primers.
But tragedy struck and now I’m busy with other things, but this will provide a nice distraction once I start producing cartridges. Thank-you all for your consideration and kind words.

Harvest moon

The sun just came up over the treeline, and with all the smoke in the air it’s a bright orange globe that could be mistaken for a harvest moon. Pumpkin colored. Smells smokey in the garage and there’s a thick overcast of haze. Our prayers go out to the people who lost everything in a flash, whole neighborhoods. And it’s cold today.

Fieldwork: the drain

Since it’s vastly cooler now and still very dry, I decided to take a look at the shambles on the fence-line where my neighbor’s pond-overflow meets my field. Somebody at sometime – over ten years ago – had created some kind of catch-basin, and it had fallen into disrepair. A semi-circle of terrace block is stacked-up around a pile of river-rocks, with a pathetic layer of dirty old landscape fabric stretched across in an attempt to keep out debris. The corners and edges of a blue tarp peek-out from beneath the terrace block, evidence of some kind of “pool liner” to contain the water in the basin. I called it “the Hydraulic Impediment,” because it didn’t seem as useful as it portended, while jutting into the path of the mower.
During last year’s exceptional rain the overflow was pumping madly and water was going everywhere, so its utility was in question, and now that it was dry as a bone I was curious as to what the hell was going on under that pile of rocks and dirt and crap. Also I figured there woulds be no watery muck to contend with, or critters – and I need the exercise.
So I moved the terrace-blocks aside and laid out a tarp, and we set to tossing the big rocks into a pile on the tarp while loading a bucket with the small rocks and creating another pile. I want to put the small rocks back on top of the big ones to help act as a natural filter instead of using yard-cloth as a screen.
All the dirt and debris on the ground-cloth got rolled up and piled off to another side, and it wasn’t long before we uncovered the big old 8-inch drain-end that was blocked by the tarp and some large rocks. Hmmm…this must lead to the big steel pipe that runs beneath the whole field and drains out into the creek where the cattle water. The big tarp covering the face of the drain must not have worked so well and the little Y-cleanout would not be enough as a top-flow drain.
There is a fresh tarp to replace the torn and tatty one as a pool-liner – this time brown. Also I decided I wanted an extension into the catch-basin that would better collect water and yet (hopefully) prevent debris once the water percolates down through the large stones. Home Depot doesn’t have anything pipe-wise that is this big (but they did have a little 4-inch slotted cover for the cleanout), so I went looking with the big-boy suppliers.
Ferguson had nothing less than 20-feet and the Fruit-growers Association didn’t have anything this big in diameter, but at another place (where they only had 20-foot sections) I got lucky because an older gent was returning some grates and covers from a job, and I took a look at the square cover and it measured out OK. I figured I could re-purpose the square plastic lid ($40) using safety wire of something.
So back to to my local irrigation and landscape materials company for a 10-foot (minimum-length) section of 8-inch drain-pipe – corrugated on the outside but smooth on the inside ($27). I got out the Sawzall and made a 5-foot section, spray-painted gold on one side so I would know which side went up and besides, this IS “Gold Country” after all! To perforate the bottom I drilled five rows of 3/8″ holes down the length in each “rib” – 300 in all, and then in between the ribs four more rows of 1/4″ holes so another 240 holes…and only once had to change the drill battery.
I may need to anchor-down the extension so it won’t float! Might tie some wire around a couple of the big river-rocks to act as weights on either side of the tube. Still have a bunch of digging-out to make a channel for this extension thing… Exercise!

Rocks on the embankment, un-bedbugs downtown…

To mal-a-phrase a Rolling Stones song. I got crawling under the deck weeding, and spread a bunch of salt hoping to provide a desultory environment for mosquitoes that were hiding in the damp, and also prevent further weed growth. Meanwhile a new load of rock arrived yesterday, procured by yours truly from the Low Granite Outcropping – which has a surfeit of stones – and I got my exercise carrying them up and embedding two complimentary rows across the other side of The Embankment. They are substantial rocks of a good size to impress, and hopefully act as good soldiers in the war of erosion-control. And my back feels it, but so do my empowered muscles.
Meanwhile a couple thousand .22LR are on order before the end-of-December window closes in California, and I have received 500-each of Starline .44-40 brass, laser-cast Oregon Trail .427 bullets, and 5lbs of Trail Boss powder for reloading – and a shellplate for the big Hornady progressive press. If that doesn’t work I’ll go back to the single-stage.