El Niño on the Western Slope

Below average cool temps, “unseasonal” rain-showers, and snow up in the Sierras marks this year’s bit of El Niño — the wet baby. Last-year rain had ended mid-April and was not seen again until late September, while temps shot up into the low 90’s by May and into the 100’s in June.
This year after an early rise-and-spike we are experiencing a major drop and cooler temps, with rain events well into May. Old Sierra hands and barometer-watchers know that absolutely anything can happen anywhere in the High Country on a clear day.
Out of the blue there can be sudden localized temperature changes with clouds rushing-in to gather directly overhead, and in an half-hour an inch of snow will blanket you and you alone on your patch of mountain – while two-miles away people may frolic in mid-90’s temperatures, splashing in snow-melt streams to cool-off. It’s wicked-weird.

Out of the Bubble

Like the man said, “It aint drinkin’-all-day if you don’t start in the morning.” And up-country here the infrastructure in the sun-dappled and rain-trammeled pastureland means Outside-the-Bubble — which means outside La Zone de couverture.
Apparently the Bubble is supported not only by artificially inflated employment-rates and sky-high housing, but also by the pernicious web of local antennae that broadcast to the hive-mind Bubble-Dwellers (thus also the inflated sales of Reynolds Wrap to the savvy para-bubble-noid).
Meanwhile up here on the Low Granite Outcropping the free-TV reception is excellent if distant, and the channel choices abound abundantly.
Not so in the up-country gullylands and meadowlands and Landscaft where the bovines and equines frolic far from the frequency distributors – so does the happy-herdsman. Thus my cellphone has zero-bars and it turns out that I’d need better than a 60-foot mast to pick-up just a few to the Fernsehen-rays off a single southern source. Ben-bolt is no help there.
So at some point the Cable Guy will have to stop-by, thus finally ending a life-long freedom from recurring costs incurred by such a corporatist device. And also perhaps to a phone that functions by wires. Sheesh, a central strategy for Retirement was to avoid those devilish costs that compound into a snowball effect of financial ruin.
In contrast to the 3rdly developing world where wires get rolled-up and stolen overnight, the infrastructure here was assumed to be “normal.” Growing up on the Sub-Continent, the land-line service was fraught with bureaucratic regulation and delays, and to assist the human-henchmen, there was often and frequently a simple lack of electricity to power the conversation. Rolling blackouts became a system of distribution in itself. Power on in Muruganbadi at 10:30Am and off again an hour later where it magically appeared at the District Magistrates office for a two-hour span, the vanished to the Railways station… To make a call required the “help” of an Operator who spoke your language, to be awakened and brought into the Telephone Exchange Office at an hour convenient to them, and then to call you when the reception was made at the other end so you could come and make your conversation. With de-regulation and the soaring cost of copper (wires stolen in the night) meant that wireless cell-phone coverage and texting became available to the lowest and poorest person, buying minutes the way one might buy a single bidi or betel-nut leaf at the godown shop on the corner.
Suddenly the fisherman could find-out what the best price for his catch was at Madurai or if it was better at Dindigul, and then push his bicycle full of fish to one place or the other. That’s Infrastructure for ya!

Still Chill

A month ago it seemed we were in the middle of Summer already, but after a few last-minute Winter storms that our proximity to the high Sierras engenders – where anything can happen weather-wise – we’re in a bit of a cool and calm spot between cloudbursts and lightning.
Spent yesterday messing with the phone. It’s an older 3G Sony-Ericsson with a dollop of extra RAM that held a bunch of old-old numbers on the SIM card. I attempted (and finally found) a way to look and catalog them through the ‘puter – and deleted a bunch from Die Alte Bayaryanlandeschaft. Not really interested in the new phone stuff -don’t need or have use for a handheld pocket-pal companion everywhere.
I’m not really much of a phone-caller anyhow, anymore. Prolific communication by that means has not been significant since High School when a 30-foot cord engendered long and private conversations on the basement steps of my parent’s hear-everything home.
Moving forward we’re signing on Monday morning and close of escrow for “The Ranch” is on Tuesday – which needs some telephony and interwebbery to marginally sustain life, not just the monster Sansui receiver and Klipsch porkys. We’re up another couple hundred feet at 1600′ but not on a hilltop, and the view is of pastureland instead of airplanes and rooftops. Still the skyscapes should be worthwhile and it should be generally quieter instead of hearing the roar of traffic below. Sound travels UP, and at the top you get a lot more than what you’d maybe expect.
It needs a new shed for the 42″ mower, to replace the ugly plastic thing that eroding and collapsing under the harsh Western Slope UV’s as we speak and watch. And there’s a list of physical chores as noted on the inspection report: lag-bolts for the ledgerboard that the sparkling new decking is attached-to, not just screws/. So I’ll be crawling and tunneling like in Stalag 17, underneath the Trex with my DeWalt drill and impact driver. Arrgh! Hot-dipped zinc-coated galvanized, stainless steel lags! Arrgh! Maybe some of these LedgerLOKs? Need an appropriately sized black impact socket. And there’s an outlet that needs its polarity reversed, and…
But it’s a sunny and cool and clear Sunday, and the rains have left things sparkling. Hangtown was yesterday down the hill, but I just couldn’t brave the crowds to be a part of that mix-up. More of an Enduro kinda guy anyhow, if any of that remains. Would like to meet some new ridin’ buddies, the old gang are far away and all fixated on that narrow ribbon asphalt with oncoming vehicles and a stripe down the middle. Hey, there’s a lot more potential for fun: whoops and jumps and soft meadows to crash-in – so many-more places where there’s NOT road – the woods and trees await!

You can see it coming

All senses alert on the left side, and it’s even darker further left. Hear the rumbling thunder and watch the flashes of lightning in the dark cloud – and smell the rich aroma of a low-pressure zone with rain…
IMGP2217_thunder
We’re getting a good drencher with solid big-splat rain and lots of sky-rumbling and flashes. Cold too.

Cluck-Cluck Foghorn Leghorn

henhouse
henhouse.v02
Saw one of these 4-bedroom units at Tractor Supply and got to thinking about “Free Eggs,” such as they might be after various associated costs (feed, bugs, poop) – but also known as, “Free Coyote Dinner”…

However it’s a massively pedestrian home-design considering the gargantuan stylish advances that the British have made as illustrated in Thud’s blog – zounds!

So I Googled “chicken ranch” for further 4-H type data and got a very different result than I first expected, quite interesting and might require further study, *cough* – large-firm animal husbandry and all that… Anyhow  with a bit of room-to-roam the cluckers might be a bit useful. Now I’d better get that front sight fitted to the Mossberg because coyotes and all.

Rain Again

About 5:00Am I was awakened by the rolling thunderclap and the sound of huge raindrops slapping down on the roof – and our roof is well insulated and nearly soundproof. She was up already, watching the approaching sound-and-light show, up and awake since much earlier having gone to bed at 6:00PM. The large raindrops hit with the force of snow, with a cold splat – and then disappeared. I should check the rain-barrels.