Smoke Gets In Your Eyes

Yesterday afternoon forest-fire smoke from the Tamarack Fire blew over the hill and down the mountain, causing poor visibility and a pervasive wood-fire smell. Temps topped out in the high 90’s depending on location. I spent part of the day in the garage with the box fan blowing out, working on the Deluxe Auxiliary Lamp Kit I’m attempting to install on the Fat Boy.

Baby steps, I got the handlebar mounted turn signals removed and separated from the rear view mirrors… I already jumped ahead a couple steps and assembled the light-bar shell just to get a look at it, but there’s a bunch of wiring and a partial harness and the old headlight front panel to disentangle. It’s a bit more complicated than expected and I’m reluctant to just start cutting wires when the bike is an ’08 and the instructions say “2011 and later FLSTF.” My moto-wiring skills are being challenged when the instructions don’t include a why-for…

Lightning Clouds

A little cooler today, so just the mid-90’s – but it’s been very dry and warm throughout the night. The morning clouds are a bit unusual to see, but we are not surrounded by fire-smoke like last year. The doggie is enjoying her splash-pool and during the more extreme heat last week I added block-ice to keep her cool.

Mini Heatwave

Cool Pool

Yes it’s been a bit hot up here, but not as bad as the Pacific Northwest – and we haven’t had many fires…yet – or PG&E induced brownouts.

The last two weeks have been in the low 100’s or high 90’s, so I moved a second awning out onto the deck to deflect the direct sunlight, and shifted two umbrellas out beside the garage wall. There’s no real shade here otherwise and it’s usually mid-80’s before noon.

This morning when I got up at 5:30AM it was already 70-degrees, so we got an early start shopping at a local fruit-stand up in Camino, then breakfast at the Sportsman’s Hall at around 8:15AM.

This week is supposed to cool down a bit with temps just in the low 90’s…until the following week. We change the water in the doggie pool and sometimes add a bag of ice or block-ice, otherwise the cement slab in the garage acts a cooling pad – except when it doesn’t cool down overnight.

Cold Snap


It’s the beginning of Summer and last week’s little heatwave has fallen apart. It was in the 100’s and high 90’s but now is just a nearly chilly 64-degrees! The tree-guys are finally coming tomorrow to take out the two rubbishy plums and the miniature (fruit-size) pear, and I’ll get some sky and sunshine back. They’re also going to take off a limb of my neighbor’s oak that’s leaning over my power-drop…


Thanks to all who served, especially to those who were injured – and extra-specially to those who made the ultimate sacrifice.

In two days it’s supposed to reach into the 100’s, so one canopy is up and we’re ready for more grilling.

Summer is here

And on Friday as the cool-down hits, the tree service guys are coming.

Maybe Rainy

Some unstable atmospherics are blowing in down out of the Gulf of Alaska, so the new roof and gutters might be tested sooner than expected.

Up until now the weather has been splendid, and yesterday we went out into the field to weed out much of the remaining broadleaf dock, and some other “cabbage-y” stuff that has a pointy spike that does not appear very dog-friendly. Seven bags and two wagons-full later, we broke for lunch, with the dog supervising the whole time.

UPDATE: The cabbage-y stuff is “Storksbill” a species of geranium…

UPDATE: Threatening, threatening, and finally 0.1″ of rain yesterday and clearing today…


The roof is in a stage called “embrittlement” and needs replacing. It is original to the house and a good thirty years old, so the roofers are coming tomorrow and we’ve been preparing for it. New gutters too, and in July a new coat of paint. They’re coming early and we are enjoying good, clear, and mild weather, so the timing is perfect. Just lucky I guess. The biggest issue is, what to do with the doggie and where do we go to spend the day?

Update: Got some useful feedback about roofing materials, thanks!

7-something PM

Happy Vernal Equinox

The sun came up bright and shiny, over the tops of the trees and right between the balustrade posts, the steps going down to the field.We are getting a bit of everything on this first day of Spring: clouds, bright skies, wind, a touch of rain…and the doggie is loving it as she begins her fur-depletion cycle. Little white tufts of fur are ejecting from her winter under-coat, and furry little dust-bunnies are collecting in places she doesn’t even go. Pretty soon the black truck will have a white interior, and I’ll be vacuuming every day. Pretty soon when I go driving down the road with the windows down, a fur-tornado will cascade out behind me in tufts and waves – and so she is banished from the new, red truck for the time being.

Storm Coming In

The flags are whipping and there’s a damp chill in the air – it’s snowing up there.Yesterday the skies were clear and blue and criss-crossed by contrails from high and distant aircraft traveling north and south and east and west like a giant game of tick-tack-toe… We enjoyed an afternoon of digging-up and separating iris rhizomes, and planting them in new locations. The embankment is erupting in daffodils and stinky narcissus. But winter is not quite over, and we are short on rainfall this season.

So of course, nothing happened. No rain, no snow (down here at least) – just dagnabbit cold in the morning, followed by puffy clouds and blue skies…

Main Break

Tuesday morning Wife got up around 5:00AM -because she gets leg cramps- and went to start coffee…and at about 6:00 she heard a weird noise in the garage and went to check on the doggie. The water heater was making groaning noises and the re-circulation pump was making a high-pitched whine – and the doggie made eyes saying, “Make it stop!” I heard the ruckus and got up, and we all gathered in the garage where I turned off the circulation pump, which quieted things down a bit, but the water heater still strained, while inside the kitchen water pressure was just a dribble – so boots on in a light drizzle, I went outside.

Around by the front steps water was gushing up and flooding the lawn, and running down the new channel I had dug for the down-spout hose – so I went and shut off the valve to the sprinklers – which did no good, then the valve to the house, which also did no good either. I made a fast walk up the 100-foot drive, out to the Main on the road, and there’s six of those concrete squares to choose from, and none were marked with street numbers – but one that had a bolt with a lifter and that one was squealing, so I raised the concrete plug-thing and started twisting on the valve till the squealing stopped – I had lucked out and found my own meter-valve, and the deluge stopped.A few hours later after going to the store for jugs of fresh water, my plumber friend stopped by on the way to a job up-country, and did a quick assessment: start digging here and I’ll see you tomorrow. So I laid-out a half-folded tarp and got a shovel, and after about an hour had uncovered the main, and a T-junction that went to the house, and what appeared to be an un-glued elbow where separation had occurred.At any rate the flood had subsided so it was just good to let things dry-out in the hole, besides I was muddy and sweaty and there was just one big jug of water with which to clean-up. Civilization is practically defined by running water, even if just cold water, and plumbing apparatus to deliver the water. My Civilization had failed, temporarily, but I still had a dog that needed her walk and she doesn’t think quite as highly of Civilization as I do since she is rather independent of it.After the dog-walk, I heard my neighbor (the free-range chicken rancher) motoring about on his Craftsman tractor. Ah-ha! He’s a retired Plumber! So I called him over and we talked and he went off to get some of that two-part PVC glue, and then came around the fence to see what I had gotten myself into. He inspected the pipes and said that it looked ti him as though a bunch of the joints were only stuck together with the purple-primer, and that whoever had done previous work had missed a few spots. The Main t-junction showed evidence (blue) of glue, but other joints were just smeared with purple.

I got down in the hole with the two-part PVC cement, cleaned out water and mud from the elbow joint, then lathered it up with purple-primer, let it set a bit, then applied the blue-glue and got the fittings back together and held the joint fast for a minute. Ok! Instructions are to let it cure for 24-hours but most guys don’t wait that long…except for me, I let it set-up overnight. In the morning my other plumber friend returned, and inspected my handiwork. His conclusion was that the joints that were holding, had been glued with the clear glue, not the blue stuff. I don’t know – but he called it good, and we went through the process of flushing the line and restoring water service. With a pressure-meter on the hose-bib reading 70lbs, I was ready to back-fill the hole and take a shower! My back is feeling a bit torqued today, but the work is done.