Snow on the Summit

…but not down here, not even rain. Not yet anyhow.

UPDATE: Happy Equinox everybody! I guess I could go get s’more rocks…

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Rockin’ the Embankment

The heat has broken and cooler weather has arrived – this week anyhow. The morning dawned cloudy and in the 50’s, low and chilly compared to last month’s overnight average of mid 70’s or more. And in advance of the next Monsoon we have been laying-up stones on the embankment. Some of the bigger ones weigh a good 80-lbs or more.
Perhaps this can ease the runoff and sluicing mud that ran down the embankment last year off my neighbor’s driveway in the Great Seasonal Deluge of Global Warming. Since we have one home with a surfeit of rocks, that is from-where we have been able to contribute. Meanwhile the “Wayne’s Silver” California fuchsia has thrived over the summer and the hummingbirds love it. Towards the middle is the remaining stump from the 14-foot high now dead butterfly bush, and about where the cascade emerges.

Click for Pan-O-Rama-Vision

Hobby Cart Update

Went down to the local feed-store and got some leather spur-straps to secure the rifle and scatter-gun. “Youth” size, $4.99 – and I flipped the hinge around because it interfered. Also paint.



Meanwhile over at Cemex the Basilite terrace block came-in and we put the five-foot diameter circle down out in the pasture. 20-blocks to a course. Looks like a fire pit but it’s not. We’ll see what happens when it rains and all the water comes up through there. There will probably be some settling and maybe I’ll add another course.

In Memory and Thanksgiving


The morning sky sixteen years later was remarkable and the day dawned cool. God protect the families who lost so much, and our Nation.

Meanwhile back at the ranch, yesterday we started with an old Danish .30-06 ammo box, a $29.97 hand-cart from Home Depot, and a couple of 16″ wheels and a piece of 1/2″ rod from Tractor Supply (wheels, the most expensive parts)…

Sawzall got the axle off and drill press got the holes drilled for clevis-pins.

Grinder smoothed out the ends.

Bolts hooked-up the old ammo box, and a caster kept-up the front end high, necessitated by the bigger wheels as the axle moved up 4-3/4″ inches.

A bit of scrap bolted up to a cross-member and notched for the rifle and shotgun.

Wheel detail:

Got me a Cowboy Action Shootin’ Cart. There are still some refinements to be completed.

Cool

Since June 14 the temperatures have never dropped below 90-degrees, with 34 days over 100 or more – until today. Forecast high today is 68. Current temp is 61 – I think I need a jacket and warm socks.
Time to go pick some more tomatoes.
UPDATE: And six bunny rabbits out in the field this morning at 6:30AM – jackrabbits really.

Heat

We have been enjoying temperatures in excess of 100°+ Fahrenheit for the last few days/weeks (107° yesterday), and I have come to learn that has something to do with tomato production:

When days hit 85°F to 90°F and nights hover above 75°F, tomato flowers often fail to pollinate, then drop — which in turn puts new fruit production on hold. The longer the heat lasts, the longer those tomato flowers will continue to hit the pause button. In short, hot weather can delay your tomato crop.

…and I have also learned something about “Determinate” and “Indeterminate” tomatoes. Indeterminate tomatoes grow out of control unless you prune them, and I have Indeterminate ones, so the giant tomato cage I made from a 4×8 section of screen fencing, cut and bent into a square, is a good thing except that I didn’t prune anything. And now the San Marinzano’s have grown up and out of it, and being that are kind of a one-shot tomato – they fruit-up and the plant dies – and with the heat the plant is now brown and crispy. Buh-bye! Anyhow we got a couple colanders of fruit off them and made some sauce, and that is what they are for.
Meanwhile the indeterminate cherry tomato plant has spread out to cover most of the planter-bed, and the small cage that “housed” it is invisible underneath the tangled and twisted vines – and it’s still producing so it’s a hot-climate pant. Maybe next year I’ll try a Determinate plant and get a second-season of growth and fruit (after a second planting), instead of having this wild and wooly, raggedy tangle of vine hanging about all summer long.
Meanwhile this morning dawned with a pink cast to the sky as the sun rose, still a warm 80° at 6:00AM with night time temps barely breaking into the upper 70’s, but the promise of cooler days ahead. Happy Labor Day and God Bless and keep-safe the people of the Hurricane, in Texas and the Gulf Coast.

Observations from a distance

Could be that in Texas, when it rains it’s good to have 30-inch wheels and a lift-kit on your truck, whether you live in town or outside in the country – and a bass-boat for getting around. Big trucks aren’t just for pretend manly-men.
I think I would prefer to live in the Texas “Hill Country” just because I don’t like flatlands anymore, but I’ve really never been to Texas and don’t know if I could afford it anyhow.

With the continuing high temperatures up/out here and big high-pressure ridge parked over the Great Basin and Sierras, we are acclimatizing to the new normal of 100-degrees. But we had a few cool mornings last week, and the sound of geese on-the-wing reminds us that the seasons are changing.

UPDATE: Meanwhile the skies over the Valley are a dusky and stinky brown from wildfire smoke, and it’s drifting off over the hill to “Burning Man” so the festivities as such should get a real taste of The Burn.
Apparently there are something like 58 60 active wildfires currently in the state.
And…the burgeoning cherry-tomato plant (“Cousin It”) offers up another whole colander of little red fruits.

Drillin’ not Grillin’

I need to make up some loading blocks for the Cowboy Action shootin’ and I honestly don’t know why it took so long to get to this, every home shop needs one – and this is about as cheap inexpensive a piece of offshore tooling as they come while still being useful.
Also it was heavier than the others (Sears, Home Depot, WalMart),and so more stable (one hopes), and had a useful low-speed setting for metal or sanding (belts and pullys in the tray above).
Plus I had a few $10-off TrueValue coupons from being a “rewards” member, so it came in under a hundred bucks. Now I need a clamp for the worktable…

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.