Après le Déluge

After Sunday’s torrent of sky-water, the embankment looked a little worse for wear in some places and there are some places where I need to shovel-out the washed-down dirt, but the shed had not washed away like Noah’s ark.
Dropping-in to Homie Despot to pick-up some fat painting rollers to do the siding (and a long narrow tarp), we went out to the Garden area where we spied a stack of Gorilla Hair bags, and loaded up two platform roller carts of twelve bags each. 24-additional bags will fill in the new voids and increase the general coverage.
In the paint section the question remained, prime and seal, and then what color? There is a lot of cutting-in to do with all the exposed 2×4’s and bare T-100 backing. That’s going to suck-up a lot of paint. White would show dirt to easy and I lean towards a light battleship blue-gray like the garage. Still that could be handled with a standard interior latex perhaps, but will take at least two gallons.
The issue of the floor is also a bit more than I anticipated since most seems to be directed towards concrete floors and some kind of magic epoxy finish, not wood. There’s one to look at called DeckOver by Behr that needs two coats and has some built-in traction effects – might be nice in gray. Hmmm… Ponderings at the Ponderosa.
So instead of doing anything I went to work with some Alex Plus+ white acrylic caulk, and attacked the joints on the tongue-and-groove floor, and the edges and corners where the framing sits. At least it will give the spiders some initial opposition.

Rain Delay

The Current Air Quality is: Good. The Chandler Fire Danger Index is in negative digits: -1.8. And the Current UV-Index of Solar Energy is: 0! (Your Sunburn is expected in NONE Minutes!) Yay for rain, free sky-water coming down as our Rain Season (July 1st to June 31st) has recorded 1.56 in to-date. Obviously here in October, it has just begun.

UPDATE: 3.61 inches of rain yesterday, a full-turbo gully-washer at times, with a stream of water sluicing off my neighbor’s driveway and down across the embankment – however much of the Gorilla Hair stayed put. Season Rainfall to date now: 5.17 inches.

So thoughts turn to “what-next” kind of planning. Lists of things to do populate themselves: paint the shed. Inside and out. Paint the floor too, because wet wood can be very slippery and it could use a coat of protection. I have half a 5-gal. bucket of exterior paint and about a half a 1-gal. bucket of trim color, so I think that’s good to go but I need some interior color, and with the floor paint…sand?
Does anybody still do that thing where you add an abrasive for traction? Are there other methods? Indoor-outdoor carpet> Can’t that get yucky if you don’t pull it up and clean, and if un-stapled it can move around a lot presenting a tripping hazard or traction-fail. Also since it’s fresh and without spiders, it could use a touch of bug-spray once painted.
In other Inside-Games news, I have the parts for the Apex trigger and a micro-torch to gently heat and un-stick the Loc-Tite that holds the rear-sight in a vise-like grip.
Also the Garage can always use a clean-up and tools that have strayed need to return to their proper place, but this is California and rain is only temporary and soon we will be hit by heat again (the 80;’s by next weekend) so I can get out and grill that flank-steak in the fridge. Carne Asada, baby!

The Temple of Mo’

I was greeted by a lovely pink sky at about 6:30AM.picture1013161146_1
Mark Murray and his assistant showed-up at 7:30AM and got to work laying out the floor-framing and getting things leveled on concrete bricks.
He builds the shed-walls in his shop and assembles on-site with a very organized system. The floors are tongue-and-groove sheets.
The walls go up fast.
And pretty soon the roof trusses too, and then the roof-sheathing.
2″x4″s frame the drip-edge and then shingling begins.
There’s not a lot of shingling and they make-up the ridge-shingles from scratch.
Done in less than four hours with time for coffee and conversation.
I found a couple of aluminum ramps at Tractor Supply and drilled a center hole in each tongue.
With the mower’s wheel-track measured out, I dropped a lag-bolt with the impact-driver into the 2×4 frame to hold them in place and not kick-out. Easy enough to remove and store in the shed.
Now I can get a mower with a bigger deck to reduce my cutting time. Maybe next year as I’m running out of money for these big-dollar expenses. Anybody need some user-interface design work?

’53 International Harvester

I had some money burning a hole in my pocket from the sale of my old ’68 Model-10 Smith and the Ninja-Noveske, and at my local neighborhood Candyland there was a piece of farm equipment on the rack that just today they dropped the price on. Magnetism. A ’53 International Harvester M1-Garand of the “gap letter” version, with a sweet wood stock and smooth parkerizing.
Two is one, and one is none, so I really DO need another Garand. Besides the reloading dies are ready for it. I know how to run this better than the AR’s, and even though it’s heavier, what the hell it’s like an older country-cousin in my age-group. Donny from Nebraska. Welcome (back) to the country Uncle Oscar, where farm equipment is lethal. Pics will have to come later.

The Old Shed

It’s been a busy time on the Ranch, with the improved weather I’ve been able to get a bunch more done on the embankment and we kept busy throughout the weekend. Wednesday I picked up a pile of “Gorilla Hair” bark to spread on the embankment (14 bags). I got up onto the steep part of the hillside and began to sift the mulch around, close to the top by the fence and working my way down around the small shrubs, flattening out the dead grasses until I ran out of covering and all the bags were gone. Starting to look like a plan coming-together.
The shed got un-packed on Thursday. I un-bolted everything I could immediately see and removed the weed-whacker, gas cans, and spreader – and such materials as a couple heavy half-sacks of concrete mortar-mix that I threw into the little mower-trailer. I drove that out around the field to park by the little pear tree, at which time I discovered the tires on the little trailer were getting threadbare as well as deflated – so I fixed that.
Friday we stopped-in an picked-up another 24-sacks of the Gorilla Hair stuff and dropped it off on the side of the house and then attacked and tore-down the plastic shed. I’m not sure the lifespan of a “Suncast” shed, but the sun and UV-rays had done a real number on it, and even my neighbor who wondered if it might be salvageable saw clearly that it was not. The general guess was it preceded the previous owner and probably the other guy before that, and was at least 15-yaers old. The roof-panels had been caulked at least once, and the “rafter” steel beams had collapsed at one end. We broke it down everything went into two piles: metal and plastic.
For dinner I grilled marinated chicken breast, and two small petite fillets of beef. With a bottle of Boeger Hangtown Red and a salad it was yummy!
Saturday morning we slid the plastic panels up into the truck fairly easily, running them in on the edges, but some bigger stuff had to stay behind: the metal and the “dormer” ends, so we had to make two dump runs before calling it a day and that included leaving behind some eight sheets of 3’x5′ 1/4″ HardieBacker cement board that the shed-builder had laid-down beneath the plastic flooring. We left that and the mildew and mold that had grown up on it to burn in the sun, until Sunday – it was kinda nasty. There’s an 11’X 14′-7″ base of pressure-treated lumber laid down into the gravel for a “foundation,” but it’s not exactly square and I may need to pound a stake into the ground and then try to knock it into square-shape before the new shed comes on Thursday…
Sunday morning we bagged all the broken-up pieces of HardiBacker for a final dump-run, and we were done…until this morning when we went out and totally depleted our local Home Depot of the last and final 26-sacks of furry Gorilla Hair mulch. It’s easy enough for me to cut a sack, and with a sifting motion spread it around – and the embankment is much improved by it in appearance and traction. There’s better definition between ground and plants (and stepping stones). On the steep hard-pack hillside where my feet tended to slip and slide on the leaves and debris, a layer of this fluffy stuff and my step is much more sure-footed. The next part of the embankment to cover is also less steep and the in-fill will be easier, except for some weeding, and I think it will finish-up pretty quickly and before the rain comes.

End of Summer Rain

Sunday the morning dawned cool and clear with blue skies, but a big patch of moisture was being driven down from the north and by noon the skies had filled-in with clouds, and by 2)00PM they had darkened and rain began. I just managed to get the chicken off the grill when the thunder broke and the rain began steadily. Yay! Free water from the sky!
(click to embigulate)
Monday morning was overcast and cold again, but temperatures are expected to rise – however it was a perfect day to crock-pot some chilli and lay-in stores for the Winter. Summer is definitely over now, even if it gets hot again it won’t reach the peaks of July and August and the 100’s we saw then.

Subterranean Rivers

DAY ONE: The ground was awful soggy out behind the house and between the shed where the A/C compressor sat on its pad, and the creeping weed that I call “witches hair” (burr clover), had grown up heavily around the corner and up onto the mesh screen surrounding the A/C unit. I raked away at it the weeds to clear the patch of gravel alongside the house and wonder what was going on. It’s awful damp around here and it can’t be the A/C just extracting moisture. We need to test the irrigation system on lines #1 and #2 that go around the house, going out the planter beds and the perimeter emitters. So we did, but after I first replaced the broken plastic spray-top on a lawn-sprinkler pop-up with a brass one. img_0935x800

With the valve #1 and then to #2 turned on “Manual,” suddenly back around the corner there’s a gush of water coming out of one of the numerous “snake” holes in the side-yard – or gophers or voles or moles or whatever burrowing critters have made homes there.
I chase the water with a shovel, uncovering the path of least resistance it has followed, digging here and there until I get up by the corner and uncover the pipes in a layered cluster of three. img_0939x750
A second run-test clearly shows which pipe-run has the flaw. #2, and it also has a very “scorched” look to it, even purple in places, as though it had been exposed to the sun and even perhaps re-purposed after being used as conduit?… It’s hot and I’m done for the day anyhow.

DAY TWO: I dig up the long run all the way down to the joint, just to see where/how-far that was – and to see if if any other failure might be visible anywhere else. The big 1-inch line is fine and rather fresh looking as is #3. The #2 pipe after the joint has the same scorched look, and I wonder how long it will hold before failure. Time to get some pipe and some glue…
UPDATE: Finito, the glue-up held. Plus now I have a big pile of granite stones and rocks that I dug out and can use for border effects. Or something.

Rendezvous Eleven – Range-day and Steel-day

One, two, three, four-million – the days fall like pieces of sands in an hourglass.
A big, hot hourglass.
“I went to the desert in a Ford with no name, it felt good to be out on the Range.
In the desert if you can remember your range, you better write it down and hit at the same…”

Mainly 70-yards for me since I had a pistol and a rifle of the same old-school caliber. Forty-four, forty.

“After two hours in the desert wind, the gun began to run dry.”
(That was the AR-build on last year’s receiver that I won, which mis-fed once and needed some lube)
After three hours at the desert range, my target began to shred.
And the bullet holes and all the fliers it showed made me sad to think I was so misled.”

Sheesh, even with all the bottled-water and everything, same old crap-shoot.

“I went to the desert in a Ford with old Billl, it felt good to be out at the Range…
In the desert, if you remember your game, better try to hold it down and lie about the same…”

Did a Costco run for adult-type beverages and went back to the Hospitality Suite. Nobody gathered for the show-and-tell, everyone was kind bushed and even though the lever gun was a novelty I didn’t break it out of the case. Instead Aaron told us the story of his long-time range in Westchester County NY that was on a Con-Ed land-lease, and got closed by newbie-neighbors who rallied a cadre of self-righteous little-old-lady-in-tennis-shoes, a brigade to harass and attack them with lies and innuendo – and through internal divisions collapsed. It was a really good presentation and a warning to complacent gunners.

The next day was steel-day and I wrung-out my index finger on the Shield-9 in a desperate attempt to hit. Came in last. But it’s easy to carry, and carry all the time.

Rendezvous Eleven – Med Class

After checking-in and unloading and unpacking, I took the down-elevator and in the lobby ran-into Mike and Kiwi and Bill and Lucky Gunner’s rep Anthony Welsch, then Aaron showed-up and later Miles. They all piled into Anthony’s rental vehicle while I drove solo in the F-150, and we headed out to Reno Guns & Range for our Emergency Medical Range Training class.
The class was lead by a well-experienced former EMT and former Flight-EMT and former Reno motor officer and EMT Trainer and former multi-deployment overseas warrior-EMT – all just one guy named Derek.
He made an important distinction between the “Medical Kit” and its components of: a Compression bandage, wound Dressings, Hemostatic agents, and a Tourniquet – versus a “First-Aid Kit” with band-aids, tape, gauze and eye-wash, etc. for minor wound care.
From my recent RSO class I also appreciated his re-iteration of the need for assigning or designating different people to certain specific tasks when an emergency-event occurs — and the importance of a short Range Safety Briefing when training activities are taking place, where you identify the Medical Kit, put it in a convenient place, BY ITSELF, and show everyone the location of the Kit so they won’t be sprinting around the range like a chicken when something Unpleasantly Medical happens.
2.) To designate a medic person you grab someone and say, “You are the Medic!” From the Briefing you should have already identified this potential medic-person, and they are not the one having the accident.
3.) Designate a phone-caller you grab someone else and say, “You call 911!” AND have a ready-scripted dialog for the EMS dispatcher to respond-to, so they don’t send police first and cordon off the area before allowing the EMS van on-scene. Say: “We have had a training accident.” They ask, “What kind of training accident?” Say: “We have a person with a bullet injury…” Also that phone-person must have the coordinates or a good description of your location. ALSO FYI if a patient has a penetrating wound to the: Head, Neck, Chest, Abdomen – then they are UNSTABLE and it would be good to include that information.
4.) AND designate an escort-person, someone to go to the location-entrance, meet the EMS van, and guide them to the medical-site.
And there were some more designations I forget.
Following that he discussed (and we Q&A’d) about wound treatment itself, the order of priorities and application of care. FIRST you must protect yourself. You must have barrier safety-equipment: nitrile gloves and an air-way shield. Then the application of pressure to control bleeding. With gloves-on comes direct pressure, then a sterile DRESSING directly onto wound, then another dressing as necessary if bleeding continues, and then a pressure BANDAGE such as the “Israeli Bandage” that wraps the dressing IN PLACE and ALSO applies pressure – and if bleeding still continues, then the TOURNIQUET…
It was a really good class, and obviously I could take it again in order to remember everything better.
But enough for now.

Rendezvous Eleven – Getting there

The drive up to was surprisingly quick and relaxing, and I attribute that to taking back-country roads nearly the entire way or as much as I could. Fueled-up at 8:40 AM in Diamond Springs, and went up Pleasant Valley Road to the Sly Park cutoff where the Mormon Immigrant Trail leads out to Hwy 88 in the direction of Kirkwood.
Only saw about four vehicles headed in the other direction. Being out of the freeway insanity-mix was a breath of fresh air, and the High Country always has unparalleled vistas to appreciate that cleanse the mind and soul. Rolling over Carson pass at 8,000 feet down past Silver Lake, Caples Lake, and Woods lake into Hope Valley on a beautiful fall morning was magical.
The roll down into Nevada was easy and lead straight to Carson City, and then Reno. Somehow Nevada traffic was minimal and placid (Thursday after all), until I hit Reno and the metal-swarm began again. Oh well easy enough and I hit the Casino about 12:15 with plenty of time to unload and get ready to go to the class on Emergency Medical Range Training lead by multi-tour participant in the GWT, ex-Reno Motor-Office and Detective, experienced EMT and former Flight EMS Derek Cecil — who had many (darkly funny) stories to tell including his own…