Chips Are In

Sunday the guy came to take down the messy silk-tree and one other unidentified tree along the top of the embankment. He had a F-550 with a dumper box and his own chipper – YAY! for entrepreneurship!
Both trees were about 12-inches across and some 20-odd feet tall. They blocked the afternoon sunlight and my neighbors’ view of the far hillside, and make a general cleanup mess while not providing useful shade or much else, and at the same time growing into each other. Time for them to go. Now I got an extra hour of daylight.

He was pretty quick and effective, first with the pole saw then the chainsaw, and left us with a bunch of logs and a giant pile of chips – like a yard-and-a-half or more.
This morning, in the cold morning air, we started raking and shoveling the chips into my yard-wagon. He had dumped the chips on the far side of the driveway that was covered in weeds, so this should kill those weeds – and there was enough to load wagon after wagon and create a thick layer of chip-stuff all the way down to and around the propane tank. Yay!

Meanwhile Saturday was Gunsmithing-day. I swapped-out the stock mainspring and trigger springs in both Vaqueros with Wolff replacement springs – which took a bit of learning. The first one took about an hour as I read the Kuhnenhausen manual and tried to figure out the things to be careful-of, like the pawl spring/plunger assembly and the trigger spring plunger assembly…and then getting that put back correctly. The gun doesn’t work right until the cylinder is back in, so you don’t really know if you got it right, and twice I had to flip-around the hammer-strut. Oh well.
Then it was the turn of the 10/22 for a Nordic Components extended mag latch(for my big fingers), and a Volquartsen extractor and the Volquartsen automatic bolt-release. The gun comes apart easily enough and the pins practically drifted themselves out, but I struggled a bit with the bolt-handle guide-rod/recoil-spring assembly and the way it fits onto the bolt in the receiver race. Eventually it went in correctly.


71 and Clear

The rainy weather that blew through reminded us that winter is coming, but it didn’t stay long – just long enough to also remind us about rain-coats and cold-weather stuff, and that I needed to check the function of my furnace. It does work. Now to get back out into the garden…

Change in the Weather

I went outside this morning to put a load of trash in the can and was surprised to notice water falling from the sky. What?!? Ok, so it was a bit of overcast, but actual rain?? On and off all day today, so far.

Meanwhile yesterday I got the KTM up the ramp and into the back of the Ford, and “went around the corner” to Performance Cycle for a brake flush and new fluids, plus the transmission oil (Type-F ATF), and some other moto love. This would have been a perfect riding day with the weather like this but it will come again, and without brakes much of the utility of an off-road motorcycle is lost. Besides that I need to find some other decrepit ageing senior riders with whom to spend some trail-time.

The Beast Lives

About 8:00 tonight I sparked her up. It took a few kicks. The smoke was tremendous but cleared out. The neighbors’ dogs barked with excitement and the brring-dingg-ding was fun. With a kick, in gear we rolled out into darkness – with NO brakes, not good, gotta fix that. The evidence is in, the silencer works – the old can was a megaphone. Not so much now. Gotta fix the brake fluids and stuff.

The Weather Broke

Wednesday the high-pressure ridge moved away to the north and a low swept in with temperatures a good 20-degrees cooler, and with clouds.

Yesterday dawned bright with a few clouds that cleared out during the day with a high of just 78. Positively balmy. We stretched out on the deck in the afternoon wearing bathing-suits with the misters on and a light coating of sunscreen. In the evening the high clouds returned and the A/C hasn’t kicked on once since then.

Shooting Cowboy practice this morning we could feel Fall in the air, and the air in the canyon was clear, blue, and un-smokey. Quite a relief, though fire=-season isn’t yet over by a long shot. Also the new front-sight on the Winchester ’73 is bright and shoots to point of aim – dead-on.

Meanwhile the Silverado got an oil change, and to establish a baseline we will be returning for a total fluid make-over, from coolant to transfer-case to transmission. And I got a Tuffy metal security box for underneath the backseat.


Today we’re down the scale on temperature, and yesterday topped-out just at 86.8°F – a blast of cool air out of Caanada with the potential for rain in some higher elevations has moved in – not that I can see any given it’s still smokey and hazy with only “moderate” air quality that looks worse than that.
This little ground vine is a co-conspirator in the ground assault on my pasture, and also another burr-producer. It’s double-root can run pretty deep on occasion, so the pick-axe is a good choice for counter-attacking.
The main and mass culprit being this other stuff that sends out a plethora of ground tendrils and a few verticals, with spiny baubles that tear off when the tendrils are pulled, so a soft touch with the pick begins at the root, and then the layers are rolled-up into a ball as each co-entqangled root system is revealed.
Playing wind-it-up-and-find-the-root. Then we stab it with our steely knives to kill the beastly ball.
But the horde is everywhere, and rampant.
Like a sea of nastiness. My Sisyphean task; just a few more green-waste cans, and then some more, and some more…etc. It’s exercise and muscle-building without going to a stinky gym. Swinging the pickaxe builds the core, and the lats, and delts, and stuff like that I don’t even know what to call it since I’m not a gym-guy. Plus you’re outdoors in the sun gettin’ your Vitamin D. Stay hydrated, my Friends!

Back to EDC

A ridge from the Pacific moved in and pushed down over NorCal, and helped blow the smoke out while dropping temperatures a whole bunch. We went from a month of hundreds to a balmy high of 90 today, with a low of 60 at night! At least the Air Quality has moved from “Moderate” to “Good” in the mornings, although a layer of brown on the far horizon is still noticeable, and often the Valley (where we never more roam) is dark and occluded.
I’ve been weeding the mostly-dead pasture with a pick-axe, since trying to use a 12-inch screwdriver in the hard-pack at 90-degrees by 9:00AM was painful on my hands and I blew-up a few blisters.
There’s weird and nasty stuff that only grows at this time of year, and it all drops thorns or prickers, or nasty “cherries” that are like spiked Japanese underwater mines – except they break apart into smaller spiney units. The weeds have surprisingly deep roots despite the rock-hard ground, and interlock with each other to drop off seeds of more pain and destruction, so it’s easier to swing a pick that try to weed nicely – plus I can chuck the rocks I find along the fence-line. It’s good exercise and my weight is hovering at the 177lb mark.
House projects include cleaning out excess good-junk and donating it to Snowline Hospice, while the rest – junk like old paint goes to the dump. I’m gonna unload the old lawnmower and weedeater at a low price on someone who needs yard equipment.
And finally the woefully understaffed Sheriff’s Office texted to say my renewal was complete and to come by for pickup. Nice to be back in tow. The renewal began in April, and some staff left to take jobs with better hours. The needs of this flyover redneck County are mostly overlooked by the tourists who pass through on the way to vacation destinations, but for the Sheriff it’s good to have a self-reliant contingent, since windy roads and distant locations mean that response times are slow. You gotta be prepared to help yourself, before help comes for you.

To Every Season

In about a month it will be a year. Day before yesterday I awoke early from a dream where I was having lunch with my Dad here at the ranch: sandwiches. I was talking, he was nodding, about all the work we had gotten done here – and he liked it.
I wish he and Mom had been able to come up here to the Foothills, but with her on oxygen it couldn’t happened. Yesterday was their anniversary. I miss them a whole bunch.
Now my friend Kevin is having a rough go of things, and against his will his daughter has set-up a page. The last couple years of the Rendezvous as things wound-down, his attendance was my magnet to go.
At least the air has gotten better here (for now), sorry we sent the smoke over across to all y’all…

Smokey Burnouts

Another week of ruddy, red sunrises and temperatures “doing the ton,” with the additional benefit of haze and smoke intensifying. Last night the temps never got below 70-degrees and the air quality from the fires is pretty poor. We had thought of escaping to a resort (Kirkwood) in the higher elevations, but by reports their air quality isn’t much better. Years (decades) of poor forest management policies and a Forest Service beset and infested with hippies and eco-warriors have lead us to this sad state. But it is recoverable.