Furnishings & Fixtures

The stylistics of the fixtures at The Ranch are considerably different from the linear and mid-century look at The Low Granite Outcropping, much more cottage-esque.
At the Ranch there’s an overall continuity and emphasis on oil-rubbed bronze rather than brushed nickle, from door-knobs to hinges to ceiling fans to faucets — except in the Master bath that remained un-renovated because the prior owner(s) builder-contractor was too busy actually living in the home, and with two tiny-tots busy in every way.
So gradually I have been replacing Master-Bath items, moving from chrome to oil-rubbed bronze – and was delighted to find a replacement throne-handle to match the paper-holder. Little things.

Egg Hunters

The neighbors on the ranch host an annual Easter Party with an Easter egg-hunt for kids, and sack races and all sorts of stuff, topped-off by music and a band in the afternoon for adults who linger. It’s really a pretty big deal and hundreds of cars showed-up, parking along the road and at the old drive-in.
One fearless kid quickly got up for a ride on the zip-line. IMG_0481x1000
Colored eggs were in abundance.
And around Noon an airplane came by and made several LOW passes dropping Easter candy out an open window onto the hillside, and pulling up right over the treetops. You could hear the yells of delight as all the kids ran down the hill to collect that haul. Fun!
Meanwhile today, promised rain turned to snow up in Sly Park but nothing hit the ground down here…

Grill Season

IMG_0474x1000Spring is Sprung and the weather is great until the next storm. The pasture is still soggy in the bottom but the plants and weeds and dandelions are rushing up to meet the sun, and everything is lush and green. It’s a temporary but welcome condition before everything turns dull-brown and gold, and dries out.
We greet and enjoy the outdoors with cookin’ – but it is with a small, 1-lb bottle camper-grill that met the limitations and requirements of Condo living. The Weber “Q” functioned quite adequately for many years, and we even replaced the cast-iron grate once (because it was left unattended-to and became ugly-gross-dirty), but here we have a real full-sized deck with a seating area, and much to celebrate including visitors! The last time I did the marinated lamb-chops I hit the temp-numbers but failed the proper sear-test, so while tender and juicy they just missed the char-broil flavor – and they took-up the entire cooking surface-area which slowed-down my flipping them around. I’ll keep this one for camping, but I need a bigger grill with more cooking surface and more burners and MOAR stuff!
I like the shape of the little one, and the cast-aluminum construction makes it easy to clean so maybe just getting a bigger one would work – but there’s a whole world of char-broilin’ out there to investigate and I am perusing the variables.
1.) It might be nice to have one that did smoky-stuff too like wood-chips for flavor. I am no expert Grillmeister or RibsSmoker, so the new gadget-oriented devices with automatic pellet-dropping stuff is a bit weird and I’m afraid to buy something with unfamiliar features or a steep learning curve. Call me old-school, or just timid.
2.) Do I really need a side-burner for beans or whatever, or could the stove inside take care of that?
3.) We used-to have a little Magma-brand marine kettle grill that used “lava rocks” to distribute the heat and that made for very flavorful cooking as opposed to bare stainless steel…
4.) ?

How green is my Countryside

With a break in the wet storm-track weather, Spring has arrived in the sunny green uplands. We had to do a Costco run for more yard-stuffs and so made our way down to Folsom.
Leaving Folsom we went out on White Rock Road to catch a bit of Country and travel through the pastureland. The hills are swathed in an awesome emerald-green and dotted with boulders and horses and cows. After going under the freeway we passed two lineman trucks and a bunch of guys at work. Up the hill a row of telephones had ceased to march in order and instead lay in a drunken sprawl on the landscape. Out of eight visible poles only two were upright, with the rest leaning or bent-broken. The high winds we last week experienced must have played havoc out here, and finally repairs had come to the countryside.
People who live cossetted in square-block towns and cities with piped-in water, sewer, and electrical everywhere take so much for granted. The infrastructure that many Liberals detest so much that they protest its existence, is really a very thin crust laid down and easily wiped-away by Nature herself if it were not for the constant efforts of big guys out in big truck fixing all the broken parts. It its the height of affluent arrogance and naiveté to signal your ecological “virtue” and status by turning OFF your power for even an hour. Bah!
Instead of traveling back through the housing sprawl we hung a left on Latrobe Road and went out through the scattered tilt-up office-parks deeper into the country. The four lane road quickly disappeared and turned into a narrow lumpy windy hilly skein of asphalt that ran alongside a rushing sparkling creek, fat with water. The clear bright sunshine and greenery was broken by canopies of shade thrown down by tall oaks. Out in the pasture across the fence-line we saw a huge oak that had broken its roots out of the ground and lay wrecked in pieces. Wind? Lightning? Both probably – one way or another a giant tree had fallen.
As we went up and down the roller-coaster road out to Latrobe, all around we saw tall standing trees, but in the midst here and there, one after another, was a fallen one. Probably counted seven downed trees from what we could see, each one a huge pile of firewood for anyone enterprising enough to get out there and start sawing.
At the tiny town of Latrobe we turned left and went back up the hill on South Shingle Road. Past some guy’s equipment yard on the right-corner, then the one-room schoolhouse and firehouse on the left, and past the yellow-house and it was gone. What was once a thriving railroad hub in the 1860’s with four hotels and a population of around 800 is practically a ghost-town now, but a pleasant one.


Overcast all day and the cold rain spitting down again. At least the weed-and-feed got watered-in last night (in the rain).
Dropped-off my re-renewal application at the Sheriff’s Office. Fiddling around on the bench, loaded some empty magazines. Soup for lunch – quiet day.

BUT then the utterly grotesque: Obama posing in Cuba for a photo-op, purposely arranged in front of the 6- or 7-story tall Che Guava frieze, and standing at attention.
What a disgusting louse, with the Mussolini chin-up pose yet again, celebrating an evil they refuse to name, because Che was basically Castro’s own Heinrich Himmler, the architect and executioner for Latin American Communism and Warden of the first Latin American Gulag.
Somebody tell me again how National Socialism & Socialism are so different.
Finally we’re subjected to a “teachable moment” lecture on American “shortcomings,” while a notorious Communist racist-murderer-executioner & homophobic-killer (and Che was a homophobe not just in the “I don’t want to cater a gay wedding” sense, but in the “put a bullet in that queer’s brain” sense) — not only get’s off scot-free, but is Celebrated by an American President??
Appalling hardly begins to measure the revolting nausea I feel.

First Cut

It’s about one hundred feet from the deck to the edge of the cut out there, and 260-feet from fence-to-fence, left to right and using the Google maps measurement tool that’s about a total area of 15,127.87 square-feet. The brown patch where the burn-pile sat has been dug-out and I’m ready to seed it and the other brown patches. Also got a couple bags of “Weed and Feed” to tame the dandelion population and in hopes to give the grass a chance. Now that it’s been cut once I can use the tow-behind spreader to distribute a mix of seed and feed.
We hauled the good dirt out of the burn-pile and dumped it in the trench along the far-distant fence line, some 300-feet away, out by the black cow. Found a lot of nails and other junk that we keep raking-out.

Confirmation Bias & Empire Building in the Long March

From the Firearms Policy Coalition:

ALERT: Senate Education Committee Passes Anti Gun Research Bill
Earlier today, the Senate Education Committee passed SB 1006, with the only no votes coming from the two Republican members.
The bill, authored by Senator Lois Wolk (D-Davis) seeks to establish the California Firearm Violence Research Center within the University of California (UC) system.

A couple of things struck me about this CA bill moving forward: ONE being that politically/agenda driven “Research Centers” are COMPLETELY unable to think freely (which is precisely the point); and TWO that State-Funded Institutions have a way of NEVER going away or diminishing as Administrators and Bureaucrats are incentivized to spend their budgets on personnel and empire-building since the “research” is a foregone conclusion anyway; and THREE, that what do you want to bet there will be some Fascist-Feminist Glaciation Expert telling the new California Firearm Violence Research Center Diversity Committee that they must inevitably produce an “educational” paper with the proper “People Of Color and the Feminist Perspective,” or else they will CERTAINLY be attacked by Social Justice Warriors.
Opposition is Here.

Haircut: loping and chopping

My embankment workers returned to give the second plum-tree-on-the-driveway a haircut to match the crew-cut on the other side — also to thin both trees so they wouldn’t be so overgrown inside and let some light in. After cutting, the guys piled-up the “hair” on the gravelly slope in a huge bunch and it was rained-on for three days straight – and today we attacked it.
0309161101-haircutIn the meantime Shasta Dam/Lake up north (the reservoir with the greatest capacity) has risen over 15-feet! and to 81% of full – with all the wet Global Warming that’s falling from the skies. That’s HUGE!
I dropped the F-150’s tailgate and attached the bed-extender gate, threw a tarp down into the bed, and we began the process of reducing the pile for transportation. Chop-chop-chop.
Whenever the fluffy stuff got too tall, I got into the back of the truck and chopped some more. A number of larger branches were deemed fit for the burn pile once dried so nipped and loped and chopped the smaller branches and hauled-out those big ones into another pile. Hair
We began in the early morning right after coffee and a banana, while dew covered the branches and the truck’s windows were glazed over with mist and moisture, and ended around 11:00 with a fully loaded back-bed, covered with a tarp as per the CHP transportation rules ($500 fine otherwise) and set off to the dump, er…”transfer station.”
Cost of trip was $12.0315161606-Springtime

After a nice lunch while the cows grazed in the far pasture, we returned to assay the cleaned-up embankment, and decide where to plant the bright orange flowering quince shrub-hedge — and I raked up enough extra hillside junk and blackberry bramble to fill the yard-wast bin for next week’s pickup. Good cardio.


Supposed to be sunny today and it started out that way, but by noon it was overcast and cool – however I needed my cardio so I kept up the sweat raking about half the hillside. There was plenty of cutting debris scattered everywhere and I made it past the oleanders to the big shaggy-grassy thing, filling the yard-waste bin with two bags of cuttings.
Phew, that’s going to be heavy to roll-drag up the hill and out to the road. Dug out a number of blackberries in the soft, wet soil – perfect conditions for that, and discovered some issues with the upper drip-line – like many plants over-growing it in places because it’s so old, and a complete absence of connection and termination. One end is not capped – and the whole upper is not connected to the lower water-source/fountain.
All of it was obscured by the heavy overgrowth that is now removed, so I can get that working again which would be nice for the quince.
Also nice the ground is soft enough to dig and plant instead of being concrete-ized by the summer heat.
This fat and happy fellow was out in the rain yesterday pecking away, some kind of woodpecker.

The Embankment

The purple Crepe Myrtle tree had outgrown its welcome and needed a haircut. And the Plum that had the Ranch’s power-lines running through it. And all along the fence line were too may oleanders – I call them Cal-Trans plants because they are used so often in roadwork.
So they cut and sliced and diced the embankment until my neighbor’s truck, boat, propane-tank and tractor was visible. No problemo.
The butterfly bush got stumped, maybe we’ll need to grind it or I’ll need a chainsaw to really get at it.
At least now the major hurdles have been overcome and I can get in there on my time to do more.