Eclipse Grillin’

The four bunnies out in the field are romping in the cool and dim light.  After the brief and noticeable global cooling, there’s the BBQ to heat up.  We have two tenderloins in a smoked marinade, and a chicken in Mesquite, with corn and some Hatch peppers to grill – nice and hot!  Go eclipse! We’re only at 80% totality but it’s still interesting.

Adiós Catalonia

It’s been thirty-eight years since I rambled around Ramblas, twice on vacation from Vienna. It’s pretty much the main street of downtown Barcelona, a wide thoroughfare mainly for walking and eating and being seen. A central promenade flanked by two narrow, one-way streets on either side for vehicles like delivery trucks and such, the left one going down the street towards the Christopher Columbus statue, and the right one going up to Plaza Catalunia. All along are cafes and shops of every kind, and on the promenade part are occasional carts selling books, flowers, birds and tourist miscellanea.
This is where I attended a small and short riot one night about 9:00PM – police in vans against marchers armed with Molotov cocktails and Socialist Workers Brigade banners. The marchers came chanting down one of the narrow side-streets and flooded onto the promenade, spreading their banners and making the usual Socialist noise – you could tell by the cadence who they were, but the banners helped. Local Spaniards seeing this scattered and ran down the streets like a flock of birds, ladies pushing baby carriages, men in suits running. The Police showed up to contain the demonstration, driving their trucks straight up onto the walking area. One group furled its banner and went up into a building, to emerge on the roof-deck waving the banner and throwing Molotov cocktails down at the police vans. Four or five flaming missiles in all. I ducked into a shop doorway to observe, and was joined by an excited Swiss guy who exclaimed he had been shot (at) by the Police. He wanted me to check his eye where a fragment of a rubber bullet had ricocheted. He had a minor red mark on his cheek and was basically OK, but insisted, “They can’t do this to me, I’m Swiss!” After the excitement had died down and the people had re-emerged, we went into a bar for a shot of cognac and espresso – an early Spanish precursor to Red Bull and Vodka. It was an exciting night.
And I’ll probably never return.

Dos Vaqueros

I missed my Blogversary last Monday. Got the new 5-1/2 inch Stainless Vaquero out of the State’s 10-day wait clutches. So now I have a Light and a (short) Dark one. The matching Altamont grips look swell too. Now I don’t have to worry about multiple and various calibers at the loading table, it’s all one thing: .44-40 WCF.
Too bad about the Gunblogger Rendezvous, it seems to have gone away and I’m missing that get-together with fellow Gunnies. Except now I have new people to meet at my new Club.

Crazy Tomatoes

The Gun-Club Summer Picnic was fun and a bit hot – but not as hot as last year. Ticket-stubs were pulled from buckets and prizes were raffled off.
I “won” a gift-certificate (worth slightly more than I paid for tickets, but not the 9mm Shield) to The Sportsman’s Hall, the old Pony Express stop along the route where riders could spend the night and weary emigrant travelers could rest. It’s a nice restaurant and run by a hard-working couple. from Korea. The old barn of a building has needed a bunch of work just to keep it standing, and inside the knotty-pine walls are covered in Reno Rodeo pictures and numerous animals mounts, the largest being a moose.
Morning today dawned clear but with high clouds along the tops of the mountains that quickly spread down into a low overcast and cool winds, quite a welcome change from twenty-five days of 100+degree temps. Summer may be over, but the tomatoes don’t know it and are producing wildly.

Everything in Moderation

Friday was overcast with high cloud-cover, but still an overnight low of 70.9°F it never cooled much, until this morning rang in at a low and chilly 61.8°F. That’s ten degrees cooler than the last two weeks.
With rising hammerhead-clouds all along the spine of the Sierra and moisture from the south, the heat broke yesterday only clocking in at 89.3°F – cool enough to take the cover off the Weber and grill a mess of chicken thighs.
It’s like summer came back, after the heat inferno.
And the Vaquero showed up yesterday, so I went and handled it, ran the paperwork, and get to wait ten days. It’s a nice stick.
Today the skies over the spine of the mountains are thick with more tall clouds. There is some serious weather up on top today.
I bought a fancy silver hatband for my straw ranch-hat at the local feed-store. The folks there are very nice, and looking at the racks of horse-shoes and equipment reminded me of working that gold sluice-box in Colorado and up in the Trinity Alps of NorCal — and packing all that gear up and down the mountain-side on horseback. Fun times, makes me almost want to get a pony.

Hot and Steady

Yesterday’s 105.5°F was preceded by a 107.5°F and today we’re only at 104.4°F so a cooling trend is in the works! Thing is, it only get’s down to about 72°F at night, so there’s not a lot of cooling-off that takes place. Meanwhile there is a steady 3-5mph breeze gusting from the south that is not cool air either, it’s a hot wind a-blowin’ up the mountains and fire danger is extreme with only 10% humidity.

Found a second ’96 .44-40 Vaquero that is coming this way, a 5-1/2″ stainless one so I will have a mismatched set in both color and lengths. Thinking the short one could be in a cross-draw holster, while the slightly longer one could ride on the right. Not sure how this-all works, besides having a new shopping objective.

Git ‘er Done

So…a yard of 1-1/2″ “natural” is just $42.90 with tax and everything.

Cool, and across the street the guys are getting a palette of “tan cinder natural” terrace-block, of which 40 will be mine at a buck-eight a piece, two courses to make a 5-foot diameter circle.

Still, the first half-yard load of rock sunk the shocks on the truck, and the second half-yard bucket dropped it onto the rails practically and the tires were bulging.

And an incredible amount of dust accompanies the rock.

So I drove real slowly, and good thing it was only about a mile. Rock AND ROLL!

Nice day, only about 100 today, nice bit of workout. Who needs a goddamn gym when you have rocks and nature?

Hole is full. Now to make a “wishing well” with a tin roof, just to keep the leaves and dirt out.

Prairie Archaeology

Saturday I continued to dig with the idea that I would level the bottom of the pit at the height of the “alluvial gravels” from whence I believed the spring to sprung.

As I made another wagon-load of dirt, I came upon a large and heavy rock. Interesting, let’s keep going. A few more large nails and then the remains of a ceramic a light socket.

All kinds of weird things fall into the well, I thought to myself…

Down in the middle of the gravels was a fist-size rock that was wet on the bottom when I pulled it out.

Then I hit a larger object that was not of natural origin, and more gravel, and then more and more as I chased my way to the bottom of it and revealed an old terra-cotta pipe.

What?

Was this an early attempt to harvest the spring water? And so I kept digging, leaving myself a ledge about eighteen inches down so I could step-up.

It’s easy to dig yourself into a hole that’s had to exit, and I was already throwing shovel-dirt at shoulder height.

Deciding to err on the side of caution and Science, I got out of the hole and went back up to the garage to get my Marshalltown archaeology trowel and continue what had now become an excavation.

What was revealed was a short length of four-inch clay pipe, and another larger one coming into it that was about eight inches, and a third four-inch pipe at right angles.

I managed to get the short length of 4″ pipe out intact, and it was about half-full with gravel.

Above the short section where the rest of it continued, you can see a layer of fine gravel packed on top, then dirt and sod at the surface level.

The larger eight-inch section one broke apart lifting it out, and it was heavy with sediment.

It appears my “spring” is really an old drain of some sort, going from a large diameter down to a smaller – and with a side-pipe going off into the distance.

It’s coming from who-knows-where and going to who-knows-what – but with the break in the old joints and the pipes silted-up, water arises forth still.

What is (still) feeding it, or rather how is it still getting moisture to it? When did they stop using clay pipe for this sport of thing, back in the 40’s?

Still have to finish this off somehow, so the circle of block might become a little taller, and maybe I’ll just fill-in the hole with medium-sized rock then a foot or so of gravel on top, so it can still bubble up water and keep the birds and wildlife happy.

Hot Cowboy Action

We’ve been having rather warm weather, and on Sunday my first match went fine as it was only about 90° out in the morning.

I had to leave early to meet my Aunt and Uncle who were coming-up this way, and who we had invited to stop-by anytime for lunch — so I missed the last stage (“The Last Stage to Tombstone!”), which was two Drifters and a vulture in a Nevada sweep. Or something.

As you might imagine, I’m one of the younger contestants, but it’s a hoot to clang steel and change arms, from the pistol to the rifle to the shotgun.

I need another .44-40 single action because trying to run the ammo-combination of .45 Long Colt AND .44-40 is a handful at the loading table.


 
The emblem on my campaign hat is for 4th Infantry Regiment, F Company – but also known otherwise in the modern army as 4-F which brings a slightly different connotation.

 
 

Meanwhile back at the ranch. . .’hunnerd degrees plus.

I wanted to get to the bottom of the spring-situation, so digging commenced on a day that was just about 103° with no shade – but there was a bit of a breeze and I had several water bottles.

I have decided to surround the spring with a low manufactured stone curb, so as not to drop a wheel into it when things get wet.

The circle will be about five feet across so with circumference = π x diameter, I’m at 15 feet of rock needed or something like that.

I hitched-up the wagon to the John Deere and headed out into the pasture. Three loads later – about two yards (?) of soft dirt were removed and the hole-bottom leveled.
I dumped the dirt in the low spot by the fence where the water runs-through in the rainy season.  I can plant grass on it.
I basically stopped when I started to hit alluvial gravels in the center, and the circle was about a foot and a half deep.
The dirt was moist and stuck together, whereas elsewhere in the field the ground is nearly rock-hard, so there something down there.  Also found a horseshoe.

UPDATE: More hot Cowboy Action!

Combustibles

Watching the recent, several local conflagrations, I’m glad that my field of pastureland and its combustibles has been cut, and fire danger substantially reduced. However as some survivors have noted, “We only had minutes to grab some clothes,” and so I’m taking a second look at our bug-out bags with an eye towards clothing over gear… The 9mm Shield will have to do as a sidearm, and maybe the 10/22 also because its light weight and versatility are easier to manage than a heavy M1 Garand and its weighty feeding requirements.  

Musings: Fire is different than Civil Unrest, it’s a force of Nature, not a force of Man – and since we moved up to Flyover Country more likely.  Whereas in our former life where any upset to the Main Order that might result in the rapid breakdown of Civility, fire is quickly bottled-up and compartmentalized as a packet.  Buildings are surrounded by fire-hoses and heavy equipment pumps water to prevent the spread. Insurance companies spring into action and lawsuits are filed – but where are they when rioters set fire to dumpsters at the so-called University?

Up here where the infrastructure is less dense and fire less easily contained, somehow the likelihood of social collapse seems also more remote than in the congested asphalt lands of Suburban Elite Utopia. People work together despite the greater distances between homesteads, and rather than being insulated and cocooned from our neighbors, we wave hello and speak the same language. In case of wildfire animals and livestock are herded together and transported to safe venues, like the County Fairgrounds. Trucks are as common as cars, ranchers often have heavy equipment like backhoes and tractors, and the vehicles of Flyover still mainly have combustion chambers instead of toxic batteries…