A bit about the Weather

It’s been the usual cold and gloomy winter, with outside morning get-up temperatures in the low 30 and high 20’s. Snow has come to the Sierra and the resorts are all bustling – this is an El Niño year so we’re getting our water-allotment in the high-Sierra snow-pack – and in the form of ice. The skiers and snow=-boarders love it and so do the resort owners who all shut-down early last year after minimal snow and only a few operating days. That’s what happens up here and always has been thus, this is not “Climate Change” this is Climate Normal.
The Christmas Eve Tornado that blew up from El Dorado Hills had been observed snorkeling across Folsom Lake and sucking up water before it advanced up the hills through our neighborhood, so that would explain the massive hail-storm that accompanied the weather-cell.
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Such weather events happen rarely in the extremely mild and boring climate from which we escaped, but the potential exists for earthquakes. I know how to ride-out an earthquake, it’s like surfing – but a slow-moving tornado was a new experience. Fortunately it un-formed as it went by overhead, or just went around me. The roof is well insulated and only ever makes the slightest noise from the downspouts when it rains, but this hail-hammering was very audible and in 20-minutes it just dumped all that Folsom lake water and ran out of steam – or ice.

Gone in 60-seconds

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As you can see in the top picture, the “deployed” grate-vents take up about an inch of depth.

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The contractor’s hole that was cut for the vents was fine for the inexpensive, beige-painted, short little Home Depot vents, but not for the fabulous bronze vents we purchased – so material had to be removed.

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With the MultiMaster and a wood-metal saw-blade attached, the super-easy ability to do a sideways plunge-cut and then a vertical cut removed enough material and allowed the grate to drop right-in.
The blade/tool also doesn’t have a jerky, instant-on start-up. It begins gradually and comes up to speed, and then once you make the plunge-cut, you can pretty easily move the blade laterally/sideways to keep cutting. Nifty tool, works in tight spaces.
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SIDE EFFECTS: During this process the whole vent sheet-metal and 4-inch ducting-hose fell off with an Oops! It dropped away into the basement and disappeared, so I had to go down there with a flashlight and get up on a ladder, and push it back-up into place. I secured the tin from below with a long sheet-rock screw. Back On the upstairs side I anchored one end of the ducting with another screw and then adjusting for height, did the other side.
The action of falling released two pieces of hitherto unknown yellow fiberglass insulation batting that were lodged in the duct-hose, clogging it. Now what was once a hot room in Summer and a cold one in Winter flows A/C and heat freely. YAY two-fer!

Swampy Meadows update: White Christmas!

The rain did it’s thing and now I’ve got an above-ground! At least the temps are up in the mid-50’s instead of yesterday’s mid-40’s. swampy
One of the interesting features of the Ranch is the paint-job the previous contractor/owner did on the interior. It’s a two-color, spray-texture job that antiques the whole place, and he shot the paint from top to bottom – meaning the ceiling is also done. I can’t imagine the amount of over-spray, or how he bagged the place up to keep paint out of where there aint supposed to be paint. At any rate it makes touch-up a challenge – but I do have remainders of both the colors, in buckets in the garage paint cabinet.
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It’s been a while since I shot paint, it was something we did in theater – mainly with stencils and stuff over very large areas. In fact I once had a sweet (expensive for me) Paasche 1-quart siphon spray-can for the artistic crap, but that was before high-volume low-pressure and just when airless spit-sprayers were coming out – which I have never operated..Iin fact if I remember right we were doing just the opposite! High pressure, low volume. Meh, and cleaning the damn thing all the time between colors was a pain. When I departed the Theater World, I left it for them in the shop to compliment the other guns.
So I’m thinking a Wagner Flexio-something from Home Depot might work. It would be nice to have two jars of color ready to swap back and forth…

hail-sizedriveway02drivewayUPDATE: Christmas Eve Tornado-Warning! The cell phone lit-up this afternoon around 3:00PM with a National Weather Service “Immanent Extreme Danger” text-warning, and suddenly the drizzly gray-day got exciting.
A tornado had been spotted down the hill and was being tracked on radar and the stormy-cell was headed straight at the Ranch. It started to rain and the rain turned to hail, and then it really came down. It’s a bit discombobulating to have an event like that here in ranch-land with no basement.
The tornado itself was forming and un-forming as it hit the hills, moving at about 20mph so there was ample time to track it on TV. I put on a rain-jacket and watched in the hallway as it approached, and the angry orange blob on doppler radar went straight overhead.
There were some pretty fierce cracks of lightning and immediate thunder, but apparently it had un-formed at the time as it bounced up the landscape, and perhaps the house sitting on the down-shoulder of a hill was protected by natural topography. I didn’t hear any freight-train sound and we didn’t have any damage, just an inch and a half of hail that dropped in about twenty minutes, covering the drive and filling the yard with a White Christmas! Since the tornado was observed and photographed, it’s on record.

Good Vibrations

I blame the persistent cold and gray weather, and some floor radiator-vents at the Low Granite Outcropping that are not fully operational. Namely the vent-flaps cam-down and stop against the wooden recesses in the sub-floor. We replaced all the cheap, beige-painted tin-vents from Home Depot with nicer bronze-finish steel ones, but the original holes cut into the floor don’t fully accommodate a complete range of motion.
Looking down in there, the base of the “box” that holds the vent-tin and ducting needs to be relieved, but my Sawzall is too big and long-stroke, even with a short blade while the Jigsaw is too short-stroke and physically un-accommodating. It simply can’t fit down in the hole there and make (any) of the cuts without a juddering mess. So I hit upon a tool-idea that should solve the problem and got my Amazon on…multimaster
I really liked the Fein drill I had a few years back, and had checked these tools out but was not convinced I had an actual need. Since that time a number of improvements have been made, patents ran-out and competition has emerged from everywhere to drive more innovation – like interchangeability, tool-less blade-swapping – and more power/less vibration. Since nobody else is going to get me this for Christmas, I figured I’d have to be my own Santa, because: Home Improvements.
I got the basic starter-kit and a couple additional pieces; a circular-saw blade with a depth-stop to control the amount of cutting. We’ll see how it goes, Reportedly the Bosch blades work nicely and in some application may be superior…
UPDATE: Cropped-down pic from MultiMaster Website – I’m thinking something like this will get into tight corners and spaces:
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The original plaster-cast saw came out in 1967. In 1969 after I broke my wrist ice-skating, they used one on me to remove the cast (after a month of itching and scratching). I thought sure as hell they were going to cut my arm off, but you could actually touch the blade and nothing happened, they showed me and it was pretty cool, and seeing a picture of it again was a real flash-back.
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Range time

Frosty and ice-crystals all over the deck in the morning, with low-30’s temps, but the Range is open from 9:00AM to Noon for shootin’ tomorrow (the Sheriffs haven’t taken all the available time), so maybe I’ll get me some of that.
UPDATE: Rain delay…
UPDATE-UPDATE: More rain, more cold and gray, time to light a fire in the fireplace, shop Amazon…

Consignment Sale

Tuesday opened with a 9:00AM Dental appointment: digital x-rays and water-cleaning. The guy is seriously high-tech up here, way more than the Dentist we had down among the BayAryans. The appointment went long as there were a few issues, and insurance will cover them but I need to get in before year-end to optimize my insurance and get one hind-quarter crown done-up right. Another appt. on the 30th. Sigh.
Around 11:00AM we hit the road for a visit with the Spousal BFF up in Newcastle on the Highway-080 corridor, and lunch at Noon at Christine’s Bistro further up in Meadow Vista. Quite nicely done there at the Bistro.
Also there’s a restored ’48 John Deere Model-M up there in Meadow Vista with accessories that I might have to go and search-out, but I’m putting the Tractor Plans on Temporary Hold while the ideas germinate and advice seeps-in.
The whole Placer County environs are woodsy-hilly pines mixed with some oaks, as the mountains climb-up past Auburn to the freezing heights of Emigrant Gap and the day was COLD. Hwy. 80 is the main traffic-route over the Sierras, so Big Trucks rule the asphalt and you better watch out or you ass will get run the hell over. Generally it’s not bad, but the 80-Corridor area-culture in general strikes me as a bit too Marin/Mendocino-ish along that side, with a great sampling of simplistic-stupid holistic-emphasis businesses catering to Hippies. “Reflexology” parlors and other health-quacks and patchouli-scented enterprises. Bleh.
We went shopping in Grass Valley, which like the little town of Weed that burnt-down last summer, I am convinced more than half the population is there simply because of the name alone. All the stores in the town are More Marin-Napa than the ranch and cattle-country of El Dorado County, or Amador County to the south.
A boutique wine-tasting room presented some rather forgettable vintages and only one palatable Sauv Blanc that tasted-out more like a Chardonnay. Meh. She who must be Obeyed found a nice plaid shirt with snaps in another store where the heavy-set proprietress seemed perpetually grumpy.
Seems like 3:00PM arrived sooner than we knew it and we headed back down the road and a “Cowgirl Shop” for country fashions. But in deference to me Teh Girrrlz stopped at Foothill Firearms, where the BFF bought a “Zombie” airsoft-type pistol-shooter for her adult daughter as a stocking stuffer. The daughter is a teacher in Sac and has a thing for Zombies – IMHO a proxy in this PC-centric culture (her’s anyhow, especially as a teacher) for that which cannot be named – and almost everything cannot be named! The kids these days are incredibly stifled and corked-up by PC Culture and their vocabulary is limited by Correctness, and filled with mine-field word.
I found another 19-3 .357 with a 4″ barrel and quickly swooped it up. SN# dates it to 1974. WOOT! All-in-all a good day.

Octane and Missionaries

One of the problems our overseas extended “family” had while in-Country, was dealing with a culture of people who were not well-versed in the production of high-octane comestibles. That inexperience with Western Culture’s vices meant that primitive production methods could veer-off horribly wrong, with the difference between methanol and ethanol meaning being drunk or dead.
In our particular back-woods locality in “Appalachia-India,” we also had among the highest population-percentage of Aboriginal peoples. The folks were mostly non-Caste and lived in the jungle, spoke a language all of their own other than Bengali or Hindi, and practiced very different life-ways than the local standard “Hindu-ized” Indians in the villages. Their appetite for jungle-juice combined with distillery-inexperience meant that entire wedding parties were sometimes found out in the woods dead, the lucky survivors only blinded. With no kind of social or Governmental safety-net whatsoever, blind people simply add to the beggar population.
What all this get’s around-to is another facet of Missionary work: Western Technology and Manufacturing. The original predecessor to our family’s job, was an earlier family that established the big house and was a few “generations” removed from us, who in-fact became the first Ford dealer in West Bengal under “the Raj” and prior to India’s Independence. After raising a family of seven (with five survivors) they ultimately left the Mission Compound, and in their unique capacity drove-off cross-country and back to The West via Tashkent in an early Ford touring car. Somewhere there is a book with some very exciting stories of their travels.
At any rate when we were there our Mission Vehicle was an old (1957?) Willy’s Wagon, into which we all piled whenever we had somewhere to go that the Train couldn’t take us – which was a lot of places. I remember Dad almost always had to lift the folding hood and smack the carburetor a few times with a heavy screwdriver before the engine would maintain a running pace.
Lousy low octane and horribly expensive fuel by Govt. ration, meant that we didn’t often just hop in the buggy and hit the road. Also the roads were 90% un-paved, so the 4×4 was useful in a pinch.
One of the Mission Stories often heard around the campfires was about, “Those old Fords” that would run on just about anything, and any mix of anything – enough to drive over to the beach 9-miles away. My recollection from somewhere deep and hidden in the recesses of my mind is of a conversation about how Henry Ford originally (pre-Prohibition and pre Gasoline-reliability) had designed the vehicles to run on whatever a farmer could rake-up and mix-up in a barn-still, from hay-field clippings and vegetable rubbish. Not something you would ever mistake for a beverage, but the ATF and Prohibition put an end to that practice…

Chunky Global Warming

I picked-up the two small (6′-diameter) patio umbrellas up off the deck where I had laid them down because of the freezing wind and rain. Actually one had laid itself down, due to the wind, but was not broken. This morning at 6:03AM it was 21-degrees (and still dark as hell), so I bided my time and enjoyed coffee and waited until around 8:00AM when the sun had risen-up higher and the temps hit 41.
Pushing on the umbrella rib-arms, the frozen canvas barely moved. The big umbrella was tied-up tight and secure, but it too had lifted itself onto its side earlier – despite the huge weight, and fortunately nothing (obvious) was broken. The crank-handle worked better as leverage against the freezy-fabric.
Guests had departed and Sunday was just cold and wet, so a bright and sunny Monday was welcome. Looking out over the pasture-prairie I wondered what I was gonna do with this plot of land. Maybe nothing. But it would be cool to have a tractor. But then I need a bigger shed to house it – and that’s in the planning stages, or at least “thinking-about-planning.”
But I want an old tractor, not a new one. Cool would be a International-Harvester, but then I would have to buy an International-Harvester Corp. M1 Garand. Those are way-cool and everybody needs an M1, or two or three…
There are worse problems to contemplate…like a strife-ridden and nearly suicidal PC-driven “Society” twitching in convulsive chaos with itself. WTF happened to Western Civilization? And so with that, then a “battle belt” with enough modern-ammo capacity, rounds and magazines, to handle whatever the armor-rig didn’t, stuff to withstand the storm and fog of Political Correctness writ large. Tourniquets.
A friend likes Massey-Ferguson tractors for various reasons. I don’t know tractors from cars. I know trucks, or at least prefer them to cars. And bikes – somewhat, I mean that it’s been ages since I could spin-off weight, speed, and torque details about mechanical things.
But a red tractor would be cool.
UPDATE: 7:05AM Tuesday, 22-degrees.
UPDATE-UPDATE: 5:59PM Tuesday, 36-degrees.

Failed States

After WWII when the British Empire was in its sunset years the UK began to divest it’s overseas holdings. Chief among them was the “Jewel in the Crown,” the sub-continent of India which had been run by the British for over three-hundred years. At the time there was a fierce battle between the two chief religious divisions in greater India, and one that had political dimensions that still reverberate today.
At the fractured heart were Hindu and Muslim leaders who each wanted to rule. Since both groups were intransigent and could not come to any kind of agreement on how to do that equitably, the choice was to cut through the Gordian Knot of politics and divide the land into two separate countries, one ruled by Hindus and one ruled by Muslims, each with their own ways and laws – in 1947 this was Partition of British India into the Dominion of Pakistan, and the Union of India (later Republic of India). Not sure exactly what “Dominion” signifies, but it does not sound very Republican or Democratic – but rather very-much Islamic.
Thus India and Pakistan were born – amid violence and bloodshed. “Minority-families” who lived on the one side of the new border for many generations rushed to join their relatives on the other side as a matter of safety-in-numbers. More than a million people died in the bloody separation, and fifteen million lost their life’s savings and lands.
The violence actually started in 1946 as the Islamic leader Jinnah proclaimed 16 August 1946, Direct Action Day also known as the Great Calcutta Killings, a day of widespread riot and manslaughter between Hindus and Muslims in the city of Calcutta (now known as Kolkata). The Religion of Peace got busy.

The next day, Hindus struck back and the violence continued for three days in which approximately 4,000 people died (according to official accounts), Hindus and Muslims in equal numbers. Although India had had outbreaks of religious violence between Hindus and Muslims before, the Calcutta killings was the first to display elements of “ethnic cleansing,” in modern parlance.[39] Violence was not confined to the public sphere, but homes were entered, destroyed, and women and children attacked.[40] Although the Government of India and the Congress were both shaken by the course of events, in September, a Congress-led interim government was installed, with Jawaharlal Nehru as united India’s prime minister.

In the aftermath of Partition India was ruled as a Parliamentary Democracy, run by Fabian Socialists who dominated the chief political party, The Indian National Congress Party. Chief among the leadership were members who graduated from The London School of Economics (and Political Science), which was founded by the Fabian Society in 1895.
Hayek taught at the LSE in the 30’s and 40’s and its influence was greatly felt abroad, because to announce to the world that you were a Socialist (as opposed to a Communist) was a kind of virtue-signaling and intellectualism that opened many doors. As to its influence (from Wikipedia:)

In the Middle East, the theories of Fabian Society intellectual movement of early-20th-century Britain inspired the Ba’athist vision. The Middle East adaptation of Fabian socialism led the state to control big industry, transport, banks, internal and external trade. The state would direct the course of economic development, with the ultimate aim to provide a guaranteed minimum standard of living for all. Michel Aflaq, widely considered as the founder of the Ba’athist movement, was a Fabian socialist.

The chief export by the British – and to a lesser degree other European powers, insofar as to whether they were Democracies or Monarchies – to “the Colonies” was the presence of career-seeking Administrators that ran the Empire, or Raj as it was called in India. And one of the biggest and long-lasting institutions established in India by the British was the Civil Service.
The Administrative State was not just a concept but a practical reality that employed millions in bureaucratic jobs essential to the operation of the Colony, and many Administrators were educated at the LSE.
Throughout the Post-War world, the European colonial empires were collapsing and the Cold-War emerged as a focus of political positioning. Leaders sought to leverage their country’s value-proposition vis-a-vis the USA and Soviet Russian spheres of influence (money), and in India Nehru’s anti-capitalist and Brahaminical-religious virtue-signaling meant that the country sided with the Russians rather than the USA. Which left the USA with Pakistan as an ally during the Cold War… Bad luck.

Up-Country, In-Country, Down-Home Country

My first exposure to Country Music occurred some eight-thousand, three-hundred and sixty-odd miles from Country Music’s epicenter in Nashville, sometime around 1966.
I was eight years old and recovering from a nasty, life-fight-bought with dysentery, where I had shit my guts out – overseas in a hot South-Asian sub-continent country celebrating Christmas in a creepy-crawly, bug-filled place where only at night would the temps dropped below seventy.
We had missionary friends up-country in a “very rural” place where my parents hoped-to (and must have thought we could-have) move-to – until the Gov. intervened and said NO. Another story.
Anyhow it was about Christmas-time, and we all piled into the Willy hard-top Jeepster, and hit the bumpy roads to go to ~DINNER~ with a bunch of other folks. We always relished any get-together, since there were so few of us. I always sat in back on the jump-seat, an pretended to be a tail-gunner with twin 50’s, blasting away at the local’s shrines and temples… I was not well-adapted, I had issues.
My big sister was excited about Christmas and talked about looking forward to hot buttered rum – Sorry, WTF? What? RUM? She was boy-crazy, but there were few boy-pickings for her to attack at the party.
As as Missionary Dude-Kid on the make and with mistletoe in the air I also attempted to prowl the local Missionary girls. Same problem as my big sister- no opportunities in my age-group, Mainly not our Denomination either – so not much going on there.
As a “reader” I went into the house to peruse the living-room-bookcase and see what they had. Like Bathroom Vanities, bookcases reveal a lot, especially among The Missionaries. Seems like everybody had “The Ugly American,” as if it had been issued to them – but I really think it was a self-selecting group. Also very common was Ian Fleming. I don’t think ANY of them knew that their children read several grade-levels above the norm, and that WE were as intrigued as the Adults, by the action, and THE action…
As it got dark the evening’s entertainment involved somebody with a little foresight, perhaps a Country fan, or else it was just the random lottery of what was available on the traveling Missionary Movie-Reel circuit. The adults set up the projector, but as always, “Get the kid with some A/V experience.” — Try not to damage the celluloid and keep the “loop” intact.
The movie was thrown up on a stretched-out bed-sheet, and there might have been a cartoon, but the feature of the night was a couple-three reels from something produced in the early 60’s , “The Hank Williams Story” — or something… But it was compelling enough that I forever-remember, “Your Cheatin’ Heart” and a climactic car-crash scene.
As a life-lesson I was taught not to EVER get caught drinkin’ and drivin’ or mixing with floozies – and I yearned for floozies from then on, forever.
Merry Christmas.