The Weather Broke

Wednesday the high-pressure ridge moved away to the north and a low swept in with temperatures a good 20-degrees cooler, and with clouds.

Yesterday dawned bright with a few clouds that cleared out during the day with a high of just 78. Positively balmy. We stretched out on the deck in the afternoon wearing bathing-suits with the misters on and a light coating of sunscreen. In the evening the high clouds returned and the A/C hasn’t kicked on once since then.

Shooting Cowboy practice this morning we could feel Fall in the air, and the air in the canyon was clear, blue, and un-smokey. Quite a relief, though fire=-season isn’t yet over by a long shot. Also the new front-sight on the Winchester ’73 is bright and shoots to point of aim – dead-on.

Meanwhile the Silverado got an oil change, and to establish a baseline we will be returning for a total fluid make-over, from coolant to transfer-case to transmission. And I got a Tuffy metal security box for underneath the backseat.



Today we’re down the scale on temperature, and yesterday topped-out just at 86.8°F – a blast of cool air out of Caanada with the potential for rain in some higher elevations has moved in – not that I can see any given it’s still smokey and hazy with only “moderate” air quality that looks worse than that.
This little ground vine is a co-conspirator in the ground assault on my pasture, and also another burr-producer. It’s double-root can run pretty deep on occasion, so the pick-axe is a good choice for counter-attacking.
The main and mass culprit being this other stuff that sends out a plethora of ground tendrils and a few verticals, with spiny baubles that tear off when the tendrils are pulled, so a soft touch with the pick begins at the root, and then the layers are rolled-up into a ball as each co-entqangled root system is revealed.
Playing wind-it-up-and-find-the-root. Then we stab it with our steely knives to kill the beastly ball.
But the horde is everywhere, and rampant.
Like a sea of nastiness. My Sisyphean task; just a few more green-waste cans, and then some more, and some more…etc. It’s exercise and muscle-building without going to a stinky gym. Swinging the pickaxe builds the core, and the lats, and delts, and stuff like that I don’t even know what to call it since I’m not a gym-guy. Plus you’re outdoors in the sun gettin’ your Vitamin D. Stay hydrated, my Friends!

Back to EDC

A ridge from the Pacific moved in and pushed down over NorCal, and helped blow the smoke out while dropping temperatures a whole bunch. We went from a month of hundreds to a balmy high of 90 today, with a low of 60 at night! At least the Air Quality has moved from “Moderate” to “Good” in the mornings, although a layer of brown on the far horizon is still noticeable, and often the Valley (where we never more roam) is dark and occluded.
I’ve been weeding the mostly-dead pasture with a pick-axe, since trying to use a 12-inch screwdriver in the hard-pack at 90-degrees by 9:00AM was painful on my hands and I blew-up a few blisters.
There’s weird and nasty stuff that only grows at this time of year, and it all drops thorns or prickers, or nasty “cherries” that are like spiked Japanese underwater mines – except they break apart into smaller spiney units. The weeds have surprisingly deep roots despite the rock-hard ground, and interlock with each other to drop off seeds of more pain and destruction, so it’s easier to swing a pick that try to weed nicely – plus I can chuck the rocks I find along the fence-line. It’s good exercise and my weight is hovering at the 177lb mark.
House projects include cleaning out excess good-junk and donating it to Snowline Hospice, while the rest – junk like old paint goes to the dump. I’m gonna unload the old lawnmower and weedeater at a low price on someone who needs yard equipment.
And finally the woefully understaffed Sheriff’s Office texted to say my renewal was complete and to come by for pickup. Nice to be back in tow. The renewal began in April, and some staff left to take jobs with better hours. The needs of this flyover redneck County are mostly overlooked by the tourists who pass through on the way to vacation destinations, but for the Sheriff it’s good to have a self-reliant contingent, since windy roads and distant locations mean that response times are slow. You gotta be prepared to help yourself, before help comes for you.

To Every Season

In about a month it will be a year. Day before yesterday I awoke early from a dream where I was having lunch with my Dad here at the ranch: sandwiches. I was talking, he was nodding, about all the work we had gotten done here – and he liked it.
I wish he and Mom had been able to come up here to the Foothills, but with her on oxygen it couldn’t happened. Yesterday was their anniversary. I miss them a whole bunch.
Now my friend Kevin is having a rough go of things, and against his will his daughter has set-up a page. The last couple years of the Rendezvous as things wound-down, his attendance was my magnet to go.
At least the air has gotten better here (for now), sorry we sent the smoke over across to all y’all…

Smokey Burnouts

Another week of ruddy, red sunrises and temperatures “doing the ton,” with the additional benefit of haze and smoke intensifying. Last night the temps never got below 70-degrees and the air quality from the fires is pretty poor. We had thought of escaping to a resort (Kirkwood) in the higher elevations, but by reports their air quality isn’t much better. Years (decades) of poor forest management policies and a Forest Service beset and infested with hippies and eco-warriors have lead us to this sad state. But it is recoverable.

Seems Longer

My first blog post occurred at a time when the toxic political smug in which I had grown-up and that surrounded me was becoming more and more Democrat-Orwellian, and more overwhelming – I badly needed some liquid relief. I was mentally preparing for a cataclysm like an earthquake, or the local BayAryan Leftist political equivalent…which is still to come – better safe than sorry. Now that we have moved away the impact of such a political event is diminished and of less concern, “Antifa” be hanged. My dirtriding days had not yet slowed to a trickle, but the yearly Spodefests were continuing without me. My High-Power heyday was still somewhat ascendant, and the farthest thing from my mind was clunky-old Cowboy Action shooting. Indeed I had not yet even heard of the Gunblogger Rendezvous or the friendships I would make there. We were still just exploring our new hobby: a M1 Carbine, K-31 Swiss, and some Sigs were yet to come and go.

August 7, 2004 – Da Kine rippin’ onolicious Mai-Tai recipe – Maybe it was the Exotica music that triggered it, or tasting the fine examples at Tao-Tao’s in Sunnyvale: I went on a hunt for the best Mai-tai recipe. Where the hell is that Demarara?

Sprinkler stands/risers

From the bottom to the top: 3′-6″, 4′-6″, 6′ tall – the tallest one is made by joining two short sections of pipe that I had bought, having misjudged the height I wanted/needed. This is all experimental and we’ll see how the shake-down cruise turns out…
UPDATE: Base is made by Orbit: 1/2″ Metal Ring Base
It’s a bit wobbly and helps to have a few cinder-blocks or large stones laying around to anchor the base or the initial impulse of water through the hose and up the pipe will make it tip over.

UPDATE: After a shake-down cruise and running through the sprinklers on a hot day, the short sprinkler just didn’t make the cut, not only because it simply splashed off the side of the house, but because running three sprinklers was one sprinkler too many. The pressure I have available can only run two in all their chaka-chaka-chaka glory.
I added a 30″ segment of pipe to the short one to bring it up to 6′ tall which seem optimal, and we can use it at the other house. Or donate it to my neighbor for the common defense.
Another ruddy sunrise and looking forward to a smoky day with at-best “moderate” air quality.

How Now Brown Cow

On Wednesday a couple of wild fires sprang up only about five miles away, and little flakes of white ash were floating in the sky all around. I was returning home from the grocery store and saw a huge column of smoke, directly in the direction I was heading, and thought, “Oh holy S#*$” – but then in a moment I saw a big Cal-Fire McDonnell Douglas DC-10 heading into the smoke and realized that based on its size, the fire was probably a bit further away than my home. Still, the wind was blowing in “this” direction, and things can move fast, so I hurried on my way. I set the ladder at the ready and the 100-foot hose, in case I needed to get up on the roof and start hosing it down – and just missed getting a picture of the DC-10 as it pulled out of its dive and went over the tree-tops – it was close enough.
In retrospect getting on the roof may not be such a great idea, so on Thursday I went to True Value and gathered parts to assemble a couple of “sprinklers on a post” in order to (hopefully) stave-off future floating bits of fire. There’s a curly sort of hollow base that connects to a hose and that will support a 1/2″ pipe about 48-inches long, and onto which I can put a Rain Bird rotating head and limit the sweep to about 30-degrees. Three of those might help, we’ll see…
In other news the dry-creek “rock garden” has grown some rocks.

UPDATE: What a difference a day makes. The onshore breeze from way down in The Bay kept working through the night and we awoke to cooler weather (temporarily) and clear air in the “good” range.
UPDATE 2: The local newspaper (The Mountain Democrat, the oldest continuously operating newspaper in California) ran a picture of the air-tanker making a drop at the nearby blaze which was interesting (see below). The fire is now 100% contained at 67 acres but another fire started up south towards Angles Camp, and there’s another that popped-up in Mendocino, and the biggest up by Shasta Dam where I rode the Buckhorn Enduro is only 41% contained and still tearing through the countryside…

Stinkwheel Werks

New-ish Zoom-Zoom truck!

I was gassing-up the new-to-me ’11 Silverado Z-71 and a guy ahead of me at the forward pump (who was pulling a boat and taking up two spaces) was wearing this t-shirt that I really-really totally HAD to have.
Between the Stihl yard equipment and other two-stroke junk around the ranch, I realized my beloved KTM was feeling neglected and needed attention.
Like I need another hobby, but I shouldn’t abandon the ones I still have.
I have never re-packed the (non Forest-Service approved) silencer in over twenty years, and on the last ride around the pasture it was ring-a-ding-dinging so LOUD I needed ear-plugs. You could hear the expansion chamber banging with every pulse, expanding and rattling on the cylinder head, with the bent-in FMF pipe clanking against the exhaust port. The coolant is suspect, and the trans-oil (Type-F) definitely needs changing. It is just time to do something, even if it was 103 outside and probably more in the garage.
(Remind me to get the garage insulated.)
But I just need to spend some quality time with my old stinkwheel buddy, wrenching on simple things. There’s a performance shop nearby who can do the forks and fluids therein.
So today I ordered a new “Gnarly” pipe, and a Q-Stealth Forest-Service approved spark-arrestor silencer – and after looking at my kit, a new pair of riding pants and a fresh Camelbak for hydration because my old ones were all groty. Also I need a new dirt-lid because the 20-year old Arai MX just rotted-out.
But the knobbies are good and the chain is fine, and maybe I can find some Senior trail-riders in the fall when things cool down a bit and the moisture comes up.