Around the Homestead

Just in time for 4th of July I got the screen-doors hung at the Ranch, allowing some evening cooling to take place and cross ventilation.





The temperatures plummeted from running about 105°-108° the past week-end, down into the upper 80’s.










For Independence Day we grilled Tequila-Lime chicken thighs that had been marinating a day, then enjoyed the relatively mild weather out on the deck.









And today I fixed the fan that was going “screee-ting….screee-ting,” at the Low Granite Outcropping, forcing the use of a higher than desired fan-speed. 


And early in the morning trimmed back the shrubbery along the long driveway at the Ranch that was scraping up against the truck.

Heat’s coming back so I got that done in the morning.

Cowboy Up!

In a couple weeks there’s going to be a “Half-Fast” Cowboy Action Match – which I think is what they call a practice. I’ve got the .44-40 Vaquero, the .44-40 Rossi model ’92, and the Stoeger 12-guage coach-gun – might as well pull on my boots, grab my hat and go Cowboy! We’ll see. Apparently there’s a bunch of rules, one being no jacketed bullets, no steel-shot. Now do I gotta go get me a big old bowie knife and a leather jacket with fringe?

Good news on the California Liberation Front (State of Jefferson Edition): Federal judge blocks new California high-capacity magazine ban.

San Diego-based U.S. District Judge Roger Benitez ruled that the ban approved by the Legislature and voters last year takes away gun owners’ Second Amendment rights and amounts to the government taking people’s private property without compensation. “Hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of otherwise law-abiding citizens will have an untenable choice: become an outlaw or dispossess one’s self of lawfully acquired property,” Benitez wrote. “The State of California’s desire to criminalize simple possession of a firearm magazine able to hold more than 10 rounds is precisely the type of policy choice that the Constitution takes off the table,” the injunction read. Benitez said he was mindful of voters’ approval and government’s legitimate interest in protecting the public but added that the “Constitution is a shield from the tyranny of the majority.” Gun owner’s constitutional rights “are not eliminated simply because they possess `unpopular’ magazines holding more than 10 rounds,” he wrote in a 66-page decision.


Yesterday was 107+, today is set to be higher – and it’ll hit 110° by Thursday…and there are skiers still hitting the slopes up around Tahoe. Record breaking in all sorts of ways, including some enforced indolence!   And the new windows are in at The Low Granite Outcropping – should be cooler and quieter.

Project Critter-Getter

The Butler Creek sling is one that mimics a military sling but is only 1″ wide, has awful little round keepers and shiny gold hooks, had to be smashed flat to get it through the sling swivel, and appears to be made out of material from James Comey’s purse. The scope is a now obsolete and discontinued Nikon 4×32 .22 LR rimfire. The rings and base are a mismatched (shiny/matte) mongrel 10/22 set from Leupold off eBay. The jury is still out on the sling, maybe I can find a decent used-one made from real leather.

Scope for 10/22

Looking at tool-useage more consistent with close-in purposes and not 100-yard plus bragging distance, I’m kinda thinking a fixed 4x power, or a very low power variable in the 2×7 range – and one with enough light gathering power for good optical clarity with old and lousy eyesight – but not very heavy, or a big bell either… 

A lot of big “reach-out” scopes don’t seem to be able to focus very well in at close ranges, like 10 or 20 yards, where the problem critters are.

Tools and Civilization

The California 10-day clock is ticking on a standoff-tool in silver and black and .22 caliber – not my first Ruger but my first plastic fantastic 10/22 utility tool. All my other gun purchases have had some passion, some lust, and some soul to them – but this was like buying a weed-eater and a gas-can to fill it. Only because of the California One-Party Politburo Stupidslature and Ass-Clown Circus, I have to wait and “cool down” as if I were a hotheaded teenager – for a tool? I can’t throw a chainsaw far enough. Bah!
The thing about this and the skunk revelation, is that living out in the Country I should have had one all along, and I should have known that. And now I’m thinking Leupold VX-1 Rimfire Rifle Scope 2-7x28mm. Costs about as much as the gun but makes it precise-er and has very positive reviews.
Tick-tock. I get to wait it out, and probably by the time the little carbine comes out of sequester the skunk(s) will be long gone – but if they’re not then I have a tool that fits the shape of the problem, and country-style problems often come in multiples. Do I need a laser rangefinder yet? Hmmm.

Mowing Dilemma: Wildlife.

The memorial service went well and there were people in attendance I have not seen in ages because I have not been in the congregation for a long while. The sanctuary has been changed since I was a child playing under the pews and dipping a toe in the cold waters of the baptismal. It used to be that after a good floor polishing, we kids would take a running start and see how far we could belly-slide, counting each row. Now there is carpet and the pews are arranged in a semi-circle.

Meanwhile out in the pastureland a family has taken up play-time among the tall grasses. The female turkeys were chased away with a flurry of tall tails, but later a big tom came to protect the hens – or something. He was putting on a display anyhow.

And previously a large buzzard was watching from a fencepost, and later enjoying a snack in the tall grass…

So I am reluctant to venture out into the pasture and continue cutting and bagging the grass because of odoriferous guests. It might be time to wait and let Nature take its course, since the buzzard did seem to be enjoying some king of dinner and there are hawks a plenty in the tall trees. Now full-circle, I understand the point of having a .22 rifle is maintaining a standoff distance from pests.

Tuckered Out

Funny weather this morning: clear-sky temperatures that had been in the mid 80’s to upper 90’s suddenly plummeted and I awoke to an overcast sky and low 50’s – because anything can happen in the Sierras in the summer (even the foothills), and winter has left for sure. Cold and gray left me staring out the window.
My enthusiasm for mowing and abusing the poor little riding grass-cutter (besides abusing myself sacking the grass), has been satisfied lately, and since it has never received anything but the stick I figured it was time for special oils and emoluments.
I had to find a half-inch ID tube to connect the oil-drain thingamajig that was loose and weeping, and some 30-weight happy-juice for the motor, an unmolested Briggs-and-Stratton ((HAhahahahahah! WordPress spell-check wants to correct Briggs-and-Stratton to “Briggs-and-Castration”! Talk about un-molested or something)) oil-filter, dig out my drip-pan and a big funnel, and get a fresh spark-plug. My rounds lead me to Home Depot and Camino Power for the tube and the oil and oil-filter, and after running up the engine to warm so the oil would flow and drain on the cold morning, I finally wound up at O’Reilly’s for the $2-something Champion RC12YC sparky.
In all that fiddling around with the joyful mechanicking tools, I re-discovered the factory-kit issued spark-plug “tube-wrench” for the KTM, and because that was cheap and lightweight (and packed in my enduro pack where it belongs) I picked-up a $4-something 5/8ths-inch plug-socket at O’Reilly’s for the smaller plug-size that small engines share. On a side note the NGK plug that the KTM uses is a special low-crown high-discharge unit that barely fits between the cylinder top and the tank-bottom and requires a special super-thin plug-wrench just to get it out – and the plug costs something like $30 a unit. You REALLY don’t want to go fouling that without a backup to get you home, so at any time you’re out riding you have a spare $30 plug in you fanny-pack and it’s as good as cash-money to other riders, or a promissory 12-pack.
So now the mower can mow again….hmmm, dammit it could probably use a fresh air-cleaner too…
UPDATE: $20 for a tubular pleated-paper air-filter made in Bangladesh? But it really needed it. No sense getting the mower lubed up if you just choke it.

Breakout on the Western Front

The Western Wall of the Siegfried Line could not withstand the powerful Ariens-Attack, and we made breakthrough around 9:40AM yesterday, crushing the enemy in a widening swath. Further efforts will be deployed shortly, LTO – Local Theater Time. Socks-on!
Meanwhile up on the Embankment silver ground foliage and connecting drip-lines went into place over the weekend.
Looks like I need some more!


















UPDATE (and Local Color):








Seen up in Pollock at the old Pony Express restaurant.

Wayne’s Silver

Back around the other side of the house the actual “lawn” got a two-inch cut, and we advanced on the embankment pulling weeds and wild grasses and cleaning up in between the daffodils and other bulb-plants. There was a lot of nasty little stuff that crept in during the early spring days, growing around the cut-in steps and wherever purchase was available – and some small shrubs that needed pruning back, including the quince “hedge” which is doing quite well. I just need to prune the low branches and encourage upward growth.
And last week the dogwood got a haircut and it’s ears lifted, to get more light into the interior.

The stuff that I have in a bed along the front walkway looks like a good candidate for embankment ground-cover, and I snapped-off bit of branch and took it around the corner and down Mother Lode Drive to the nursery, to see exactly what it was. On the way a service-station sign reminded me that the truck’s A/C could use a re-charge, but the weather today was cool and mild, with a breeze coming up from the Delta.

What it is: a typical California Fuchsia called “Wayne’s Silver” that grows abundantly and needs little watering or much attention, so it’s about perfect for my neglectful gardening technique. Too much water will make it rot so to err on the dry side is perfect.
I bought ten plants to spread across the embankment that I intend to fully ignore and just let it take-over. Where I already have it growing it does a good job of keeping weeds down and spreading – and Mom liked it a lot, as do the hummingbirds which she also would have loved.
The Memorial service for Mom is in a couple weeks and I don’t look forward much to that, but maybe it won’t be as horribly weird and awkwardly uncomfortable as other events (and people) at the old Church of my distant memory and misspent youth. I wonder if they will make lime-sherbert and 7-Up punch like in the old days…?