Early August

The ground beneath the largest oak is pretty dried-up and crusty.I “vacuumed” up about forty five sacks of weed-duff using the bagger attachment on the John Deere mower, with the deck-height set at just 1-1/2″ high. Also got a lot of dirt, but chopping the burrs and scooping it up seemed worthwhile as far as an attempt to eliminate some future growth… Yeh, I know it’s futile, but we have made some progress every year, especially in killing off the broadleaf dock.

I’m ready for the fall, and will order-up more pre-emergent – and also sacks of soil amendment to soften the hard-pan. Meanwhile, with the bagger removed the 25-gallon sprayer attachment is ready for work – but I don’t think these are the right conditions, it being so dry…

What is NOT dry is the doggie in her new pool. After we walk the old rail line in the morning, she loves to get in and splash-paddle and cool her paws under the awnings. The deck remains cool with the two 10’x10′ canopies, and underneath the deck is her new happy place. Today the temps are only expected to reach the low 80’s, so we are enjoying a brief bit of cooling-off until the weekend when the mid-90’s return.UPDATE: The doggie pool is made of truck bedliner material, and is heavy duty. The dog is white, but after an evening luxuriating under the deck she comes out brown and dusty, so after splashing in the pool frequent cleanings are necessary. Fortunately it has a drain valve at one end that I hooked up to a small pump, and once plugged-in that pump coveys the dirty water down a 50-foot hose and out onto the dried-up old prairie via a sprinkler – so we will see what effect occasional watering has on the dry dirt and weeds…

102-degrees, 15% humidity

At least it’s a dry heat. The dog moves between laying in the sun, in the dirt next to the Astroturf, and laying in the shade under the deck – or laying in the garage on the cool cement slab.

The two 10’x10′ Ez-Up canopies on the deck are providing good shade, and kill the reflected heat. The dog likes splashing in the pool to cool her hot paws, but the pool up on the deck sprung a leak. They’re made in Mexico of pretty flimsy plastic and only cost $12 at Walmart – but the Walmart summer inventory is long gone. So I pulled up the lower pool and layered the non-leaky pool into the other and it’s holding water. As a skilled proponent of Redneck Engineering, I’m going to spray a can of ‘as seen on TV’ Flex Seal stuff (in blue) into the lower pool, and slap the good one on top of it, and sandwich the two together to strengthen them and stop the leaking.

Doggie Pool Area

The weather has been weird all year. It got to the 90’s in February, then rain and hail. After a week of hot weather in the upper 90’s to 100’s with evening/night temps never dropping into the 60’s, we awoke to low 50’s and a breezy beautiful morning.

We decided the pool-area was looking a little dilapidated. The staked-down astroturf panels (6’x8′ @ $20 each) from Home Depot had weeds growing up between them, and the umbrella stands were awkward and heavy to move – and I didn’t want have to mow the weeds… So we decided to expand the pool area and cover the weeds, and build-in the umbrella stands, and off I went to social-distance at Home Depot.Six more squares of astroturf, sixteen 10-inch 3/8″ carriage bolts to use as corner stakes, some grommets as bezels on the stakes, and an eight foot piece of fence-pipe.

After staking out the fake grass an re-using two pieces, and then filling the pool, I measured to the center of the pipe and cut it across at an angle so it had a pointy end, good for pounding into the ground.

My little sledge hammer was a bit on the small side so I used an old, 15-lb. dumbell to hammer the pipe into the ground, and voila: umbrella stands. It’s also a reminder of my Dad and growing up. In our front-yard as a kid, the flag-pole holder was a piece of pipe sunk flush into the ground so that the blades of push-mower I used to cut the lawn (and earn my $1.00 weekly allowance) would roll right over it. On days when we put the flag out, it fit right into the pipe sunk into the ground. Thanks Dad, I miss you guys.

More Field Archaeology

There was a rusty, muddy spot by the fence-line where another broken-down pipe sticks through. The rusty wet spot kept showing up, so while digging up the invasive weed called broadleaf dock, I happened to be out there with a shovel one morning…so I dug up a broken off pipe-end. Lotta weird junk out here, this old cow pasture hides secrets, but also just old rubbish and trash. But it’s interesting.So I got a pick-axe and did a bit of trenching to find that three wires were buried below the pipe. Good thing the shovel handle was wood, and the pick too because I suppose that’s insulation… And with the pick I levered-up and bent the pipe a bunch to get a good look at it – it’s only about 8″ deep in the dirt, but keeps going. And the direction it goes is pointing at the terrace block circle, where a couple years ago I dug down to waist-deep (36″) and came across the junction point of three, very old four-inch clay pipes that teed-joined an eight-inch clay pipe… nThe old pipes that I dug down-to were loaded up with gravel and sand, and whatever connection had broken – which is why, after rains, the way water kept coming up in that location we thought there might be a spring or other water source.

Rain and anything wet like that has pretty much quit for this year, but about a week later, while looking around way over by the stone circle (that I had filled-in with a yard of rock) there was a weird fissure, a hole in the ground.So…my neighbor the plumbing contractor, has a buddy who’s an electrician and owns a business and the junk to do some subterranean detection. Initial “probes” with a long screwdriver indicate some metal clanking, and an electrical thing showed some voltage in the wires that are upstream – but whether it’s millivolts or bigger is the question. A guy is coming over with equipment to detect and terminate anything as needed.

It’s funny. Despite the societal ravages of the Chinese Party Virus, all the guys working up here in this blue-collar, mountain and forest county, are still busy driving around in Ford F-350’s and Chevy 2500’s fixing flatlander problems with their unique skills in concrete, asphalt, electric, plumbing and other issues – and still our virus-count is low.


Summer is here and we’re looking at a week of Heat Advisory. The 10’x10′ awning has been a big benefit to reducing the impact of the sun, and the doggie now frequents the deck-pool, standing in it to cool her paws and lapping up the cool water. The Wuhan Virus has a low profile in this county, and business are open with folks wearing masks.The ongoing protests by radicals – the lawlessness and looting, the public displays of violence by anarchists that are disturbing the rest of the country, are thankfully not evident up here.

6:22AM going back up to 90 today

Final mower action on the Field of Weeds (probably) for this season. Weather that was increasingly hot, then suddenly cool, is getting hot again. Businesses are re-opening and Big-5 had a sale on canopies – and a 10’x10′ EZ-Up fit nicely on the deck, and with it a child-size bathing-pool makes the dog happy.

Snow in the Sierra…

Rain in the Foothills. We got an inch just since last night when it started around 10:00PM. The dog splashed in the mud this morning, and I dug a few fresh rivulets to help standing water flow into the main drainage.

UPDATE: Snow on the Dogwood!!

We’re expanding the footprint of the “dry creek” area, and have been moving large, smooth river-rock out to expand and build up the walls of the drainage…

And Now There Are Six

The little copse of Birches suffered an overgrowth failure. The now-missing front tree (that was dorked up by someone previously topping it), grew a “waterspout” that was so burdened with pollen-pods that the top snapped off last week.So with a few nice days ahead before another wet-weather system rolls in off the Pacific ocean, I decided to remove it with my Stihl chainsaw-on-a-stick… Now the pathway up the embankment is more open and fewer dangly birch-pods festoon the remaining trees.So with that done it’s grillin’ time, with some zucchini and asparagus, and re-heating a piece of petite fillet.


Really not too surprisingly, it rained. But not enough to get the drainage really flowing – just light showers overnight, not a deluge. This is a reminder to us that it’s not yet Summer and bigger things are afoot beyond our mastery. So plans change, like I won’t be washing the truck today. Instead we’ll go shopping for fresh fruits and vegetables up in Camino at Boa Vista where I can run the dog in the big field…


Really not too surprisingly, it rained. But not enough to get the drainage really flowing – just light showers overnight, not a deluge. This is a reminder to us that it’s not yet Summer and bigger things are afoot beyond our mastery. So plans change, like I won’t be washing the truck today. Instead we’ll go shopping for fresh fruits and vegetables up in Camino at Boa Vista where I can run the dog in the big field…