More Moawr: Blades

Five clips and a cable to drop the deck. The cable has a spring clip on the end that makes removal tedious and you have to compress a pulley in order to get some slack. Needle-nose Vise-Grips are your friend in all endeavors.
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One 16mm socket to remove the blades and a flat-blade screwdriver and a wire-brush to remove all the caked-up vegetation-gunk that is glommed underneath the deck.
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A (futile) trip to Home Depot to discover they didn’t have squat, and then a trip to Tru-Value to find the correct size, shape, and “Made in America” blades — you don’t see that too often anymore these days with steel tools and hardware! And at about only $12 each, cheaper then the non-fitting cheap blades at HD!
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The old blades are hacked, but they have enough meat on them for a few more sharpening-cycles on the grinder, and from the new blades I have a pattern to grind-to.
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Little Steps

Bit by bit the Master bathroom is getting a make-over. We made a dump-run on Saturday after loading the truck with junk and leftover construction materials on Friday. It was raining.
That included the pile of fence-posts, and plastic bin full of chimney facing-stone, kitchen ledge-stone, and a couple old pieces of sheetrock, a pile of shingles, and the big bathroom wall-mirror. The light over the mirror went to the Habitat re-sale shop as a donation.
Witht he mirror gone the wall needed some color returned to it and fortunately there was a half can of this color, “Head for the Beach” green. Coincidentally it’s the same color that we painted my “Office” in our previous life down in Googleopolis among the Googloids and Yahooians.
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As you can see, there’s a slight color-difference that tweaked my OCD and so I was a bit worried. With the age of the paint I was worried it might dry differently and not match, since pigments can shift through age and exposure to heat or other environmental factors, but the can was stored tight and the color match was perfect in the end.
Actually I got that backwards. The juice in the can will remain relatively stable as long as it’s tightly sealed and given a good shake before application – and has not been thinned ridiculously or stuffed in an oven. Environmental factors will usually take a toll on the the wall-paint sooner; from sun-exposure (fading) to moisture, to out-gassing and what-not. But I was worried anyhow at the difference in color/tone as applied.
A new light is on order with a bit of industrial look and in oil-rubbed bronze finish, and we’re looking for a more suitable mirror with a framed-edge to hang on the wall. I’m going to tear-out and replace the vanity and sink/faucet soon too.
The ceiling fan is also due for a replacement with a more quiet one, and one with a light for additional illumination. Then there’s the shower-stall and floors – but the Travertine will have to wait for now.
UPDATE: Had to cut a hole in the wall-mount sheet-metal plate because the location where I wanted to mount it positioned the bracket over the junction box and I needed to be able get at the wires and hook it up! So I got a hole-saw and went at it. Then I drilled two holes in the bracket on stud-centers so they would go securely into wood instead of flimsy drywall non-anchors. The wire cages add a bit of a industrial feel and the lights are 40-watt LED’s that throw a lot of light and only actually draw 6.3 watts each so the hell with PG&E.
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Buck Rogers’ Ray-Sprayer

Apparently it’s too late to hit the weed-patch with a pre-emergent herbacid weed-preventative, that happens in the fall (who knew?).
This bad-boy holds up to 15-gallons which is more than I can carry around on my back, and I can mix-up a weedy or buggy cocktail and throw this into the trailer and go zapping for bugs or nail the big fluffy cabbage-weeds with more Round-Up.
Two electrical leads run from the pump and clip onto the mower battery to power-up the pump and energize the sprayer-gun. Zap-Pow-Biff-Bam! More yardwork tools.
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In other news, I got my CCW renewed.

Second Cut and Paint

Made the second cut of the Prairie on Sunday, and had to pull the air-cleaner just to get the mower started. Time for a new one – and for an oil-change I bet. The 21-hp Briggs & Castration (spiel-chucker) runs pretty strong except if I run the seat back too far (all the way) and the riderless cut-out takes effect, or if I leave it with the mower-lever froward. I’m still adjusting to running the mower but I can’t get out into the real swampy stuff until it dries so the weeds there grow taller unabated except for applications of Round-Up.
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Later my Neighbor came by to show-off his 52-inch Husqvarna mower, and ripped up and down the left side in a display of raw power – now I haz Jealous. John Deere? But the door to my shed is not big enough. Bigger Shed?
In the afternoon I stacked the acacia wood next to the house and wedged it up with a box of cedar wedges from Home Depot to provide airflow through the lumber. Then I took-down ALL the “fencing around the planter beds with a 8-lb sledge, and removed about 200 nail-brads using a magnet on the claw hammer to keep track of the rusty little bastards so they didn’t fly-off and disappear into the tan-bark and make it a tetanus-soup.
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IMG_0524x1000Paint where there’s supposed to be paint is the small closet at the Low Granite Airport Outcropping, the small coat closet in the center of the house. It’s only about ten-inches wider on either side of the small door, and has a shelf at (my) neck-height. It stank. I think they kept the kitty-litter box in there, and then spilled perfume to cover the cat-stank. The new carpet didn’t assuage the odors, so I set to priming it on Monday with Killz, and then a color-coat to finish it off today. Small and confined spaces are hard to paint and I got stripes on my elbows and neck.

Godspeed Merle. 79 is young these days but he had a lot of hard miles on him. I always thought of him as the Charles Bukowski of Country, but mainly for the way he looked.

Furnishings & Fixtures

The stylistics of the fixtures at The Ranch are considerably different from the linear and mid-century look at The Low Granite Outcropping, much more cottage-esque.
At the Ranch there’s an overall continuity and emphasis on oil-rubbed bronze rather than brushed nickle, from door-knobs to hinges to ceiling fans to faucets — except in the Master bath that remained un-renovated because the prior owner(s) builder-contractor was too busy actually living in the home, and with two tiny-tots busy in every way.
So gradually I have been replacing Master-Bath items, moving from chrome to oil-rubbed bronze – and was delighted to find a replacement throne-handle to match the paper-holder. Little things.
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Egg Hunters

The neighbors on the ranch host an annual Easter Party with an Easter egg-hunt for kids, and sack races and all sorts of stuff, topped-off by music and a band in the afternoon for adults who linger. It’s really a pretty big deal and hundreds of cars showed-up, parking along the road and at the old drive-in.
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One fearless kid quickly got up for a ride on the zip-line. IMG_0481x1000
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Colored eggs were in abundance.
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And around Noon an airplane came by and made several LOW passes dropping Easter candy out an open window onto the hillside, and pulling up right over the treetops. You could hear the yells of delight as all the kids ran down the hill to collect that haul. Fun!
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Meanwhile today, promised rain turned to snow up in Sly Park but nothing hit the ground down here…
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Grill Season

IMG_0474x1000Spring is Sprung and the weather is great until the next storm. The pasture is still soggy in the bottom but the plants and weeds and dandelions are rushing up to meet the sun, and everything is lush and green. It’s a temporary but welcome condition before everything turns dull-brown and gold, and dries out.
We greet and enjoy the outdoors with cookin’ – but it is with a small, 1-lb bottle camper-grill that met the limitations and requirements of Condo living. The Weber “Q” functioned quite adequately for many years, and we even replaced the cast-iron grate once (because it was left unattended-to and became ugly-gross-dirty), but here we have a real full-sized deck with a seating area, and much to celebrate including visitors! The last time I did the marinated lamb-chops I hit the temp-numbers but failed the proper sear-test, so while tender and juicy they just missed the char-broil flavor – and they took-up the entire cooking surface-area which slowed-down my flipping them around. I’ll keep this one for camping, but I need a bigger grill with more cooking surface and more burners and MOAR stuff!
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I like the shape of the little one, and the cast-aluminum construction makes it easy to clean so maybe just getting a bigger one would work – but there’s a whole world of char-broilin’ out there to investigate and I am perusing the variables.
1.) It might be nice to have one that did smoky-stuff too like wood-chips for flavor. I am no expert Grillmeister or RibsSmoker, so the new gadget-oriented devices with automatic pellet-dropping stuff is a bit weird and I’m afraid to buy something with unfamiliar features or a steep learning curve. Call me old-school, or just timid.
2.) Do I really need a side-burner for beans or whatever, or could the stove inside take care of that?
3.) We used-to have a little Magma-brand marine kettle grill that used “lava rocks” to distribute the heat and that made for very flavorful cooking as opposed to bare stainless steel…
4.) ?

How green is my Countryside

With a break in the wet storm-track weather, Spring has arrived in the sunny green uplands. We had to do a Costco run for more yard-stuffs and so made our way down to Folsom.
Leaving Folsom we went out on White Rock Road to catch a bit of Country and travel through the pastureland. The hills are swathed in an awesome emerald-green and dotted with boulders and horses and cows. After going under the freeway we passed two lineman trucks and a bunch of guys at work. Up the hill a row of telephones had ceased to march in order and instead lay in a drunken sprawl on the landscape. Out of eight visible poles only two were upright, with the rest leaning or bent-broken. The high winds we last week experienced must have played havoc out here, and finally repairs had come to the countryside.
People who live cossetted in square-block towns and cities with piped-in water, sewer, and electrical everywhere take so much for granted. The infrastructure that many Liberals detest so much that they protest its existence, is really a very thin crust laid down and easily wiped-away by Nature herself if it were not for the constant efforts of big guys out in big truck fixing all the broken parts. It its the height of affluent arrogance and naiveté to signal your ecological “virtue” and status by turning OFF your power for even an hour. Bah!
Instead of traveling back through the housing sprawl we hung a left on Latrobe Road and went out through the scattered tilt-up office-parks deeper into the country. The four lane road quickly disappeared and turned into a narrow lumpy windy hilly skein of asphalt that ran alongside a rushing sparkling creek, fat with water. The clear bright sunshine and greenery was broken by canopies of shade thrown down by tall oaks. Out in the pasture across the fence-line we saw a huge oak that had broken its roots out of the ground and lay wrecked in pieces. Wind? Lightning? Both probably – one way or another a giant tree had fallen.
As we went up and down the roller-coaster road out to Latrobe, all around we saw tall standing trees, but in the midst here and there, one after another, was a fallen one. Probably counted seven downed trees from what we could see, each one a huge pile of firewood for anyone enterprising enough to get out there and start sawing.
At the tiny town of Latrobe we turned left and went back up the hill on South Shingle Road. Past some guy’s equipment yard on the right-corner, then the one-room schoolhouse and firehouse on the left, and past the yellow-house and it was gone. What was once a thriving railroad hub in the 1860’s with four hotels and a population of around 800 is practically a ghost-town now, but a pleasant one.

Gray

Overcast all day and the cold rain spitting down again. At least the weed-and-feed got watered-in last night (in the rain).
Dropped-off my re-renewal application at the Sheriff’s Office. Fiddling around on the bench, loaded some empty magazines. Soup for lunch – quiet day.

BUT then the utterly grotesque: Obama posing in Cuba for a photo-op, purposely arranged in front of the 6- or 7-story tall Che Guava frieze, and standing at attention.
What a disgusting louse, with the Mussolini chin-up pose yet again, celebrating an evil they refuse to name, because Che was basically Castro’s own Heinrich Himmler, the architect and executioner for Latin American Communism and Warden of the first Latin American Gulag.
Somebody tell me again how National Socialism & Socialism are so different.
Finally we’re subjected to a “teachable moment” lecture on American “shortcomings,” while a notorious Communist racist-murderer-executioner & homophobic-killer (and Che was a homophobe not just in the “I don’t want to cater a gay wedding” sense, but in the “put a bullet in that queer’s brain” sense) — not only get’s off scot-free, but is Celebrated by an American President??
Appalling hardly begins to measure the revolting nausea I feel.

First Cut

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It’s about one hundred feet from the deck to the edge of the cut out there, and 260-feet from fence-to-fence, left to right and using the Google maps measurement tool that’s about a total area of 15,127.87 square-feet. The brown patch where the burn-pile sat has been dug-out and I’m ready to seed it and the other brown patches. Also got a couple bags of “Weed and Feed” to tame the dandelion population and in hopes to give the grass a chance. Now that it’s been cut once I can use the tow-behind spreader to distribute a mix of seed and feed.
We hauled the good dirt out of the burn-pile and dumped it in the trench along the far-distant fence line, some 300-feet away, out by the black cow. Found a lot of nails and other junk that we keep raking-out.