First Cut

IMG_0470x1000
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.

Raking

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.
IMG_0466-0467x1000
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.
IMG_0460Woody

The Embankment

IMG_0423_24x1000
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.
IMG_0449_50x1000
So they cut and sliced and diced the embankment until my neighbor’s truck, boat, propane-tank and tractor was visible. No problemo.
IMG_0453x1000IMG_0439x1000
The butterfly bush got stumped, maybe we’ll need to grind it or I’ll need a chainsaw to really get at it.
IMG_0452x1000
At least now the major hurdles have been overcome and I can get in there on my time to do more.
IMG_0454x1000

Yard Cleanup

The 20-yard box arrived yesterday at 4:00pm and I thrrw the scary bird-witch houses into it. In the hours before the skip arrived I was raking leaves from beneath the row of young redwoods and making discoveries. IMG_0419x800
The row of trees still had their wooden upright “stand-posts” next to them, those upright poles that are put beside a young tree to help ensure it grows up straight and not leaning or at angle – and one was still attached.
Also behind the propane tank was a green mystery-wire and the remnants of an earl/old drip-line system to the trees
IMG_0418x800
A local entrepreneurial kid has been hired to clean up the brambles and overgrowth on the West hillside, about 150-feet long, including a couple of trees that need trimming-back and a tree-sized growth of blackberry-bramble that needs cutting-out.
But we have rain expected Thursday, about an inch. Should get interesting.
UPDATE:
I bought a 16-inch flat screwdriver at Home Depot to help in removing blackberry brambles. They seem to repeat after touchdown, and are skin-nasty, so I put on some elbow-length goatskin gloves used for pruning rosebushes and was able to attack and uproot (as much as possible) six of the bastards.
Along the way I found a broken drip-line. It looks like the possible source of my water-puddling/flooding in the fall. The automatic drip-line valves have been turned-off since Fall due to the inundation of El Niño rainfall, saving me Irrigation District water-cost a plenty.
Also a root about the size of my forearm I believe emanating from the huge old “butterfly bush” up on the embankment that appears to go down deep into the “water-trough” runoff area. With a root that enormous I think it’s safe to prune the living crap out of that gnarly beast and still not threaten kill it.

Barcelona 1979

Scenes from the Spanish Civil War, a gruesome reminder still today.
BarcelonaChurch
The church has a really big and spectacular vaulted ceiling, one huge arch from end to end. But you are facing away from the front of the church with your back to it, looking at the smaller chapel in the gated church courtyard.
In Winter-time when I was there the sun did not rise very high over the 24-foot tall, sturdy stone walls, and the general temperature was like a cold Summer day in San Francisco.
On the left are big, rectangular double-doors guarding the entrance leading into the circular courtyard. They are made of wrought-iron and heavy-timber. The stone walls are over six-feet thick.
The long row of pock-markings along the wall are from machine-gun bullets. The fountain is also still partially demolished, marked by bullet-fire. Here is where many-many people died, rounded-up in numbers and executed by one group or another.
To the right of the fountain and behind the tree there is a much smaller, single-door or secondary exit – a “Priest’s door.” That small but heavy wrought-iron door has a curved top and a small face-sized grate-opening in it. It also is covered in pock-marks.
The floor of the courtyard must have been awash in blood. It happened over a period off several days or maybe even weeks, all the killing.
And various factions still hate each other.

Well Regulated

IMG_0417x800
Got out to the range in between storms and had a chance to check-out Grandpa’s old ’03 Remington iron-sighted .30-06 sporter that has taken countless deer – and a black bear up in Alaska (by my Uncle). We were at 50-yards and the very fine front blade was a bit difficult to see. I stopped after this shot. Then I diddled around with the new-build AR. Not quite the same sensation. “Ain’t many things a man can’t fix…”
UPDATE: The original .30-06 as a sporter:
IMG_1130x1000IMG_1132x1000x1000IMG_1119x800

Batten down the hatches

at 6:30AM it was 61-degrees outside as a hot wind blew and dark clouds hung overhead. I was awakened to thunder, then a bang. Outside the big sun-umbrella had blown over, and was torn out out of it’s heavy concrete base. The umbrella was intact and unbroken but the base was destroyed.
I noticed last week when I set it up for shade that the base had a crack in the plastic surround, and I believe water had gotten-in and frozen, cracking it – and now the whole base was torn-open and broken into pieces.
Another small umbrella was lying on its side but un-broken. I furled everything up and laid-down the two small ones onto the deck, and took the miraculous survivor inside.
Out in the field my spring-loaded leaf-bag holder was rolling around on gusts of wind, so I went and retrieved it too.
No sun today, storm coming.
UPDATE:
Lotta BIG wind came back in the evening, blowing hard with thunder overhead, and then at 7:30PM the lights went out. Exciting! I went to the garage for the fluorescent DeWalt work-light, threw a battery in it, and lit up the living room. Poured a cup of Tin Cup whiskey on rocks, and went back to reading Shooting Illustrated. Lights stayed off until 1:10AM when the lights came back and woke me up. Just raining constantly now, with snow coming down at 4,000feet (Pollock Pines). The cell-phone is “Searching” but unable to find a signal, so my local tower must have been damaged.
In text messages my Buddy uphill in Sly Park said that at his house there were trees smacking each other and debris flying through the air, before we lost the signal…Mmmm, morning coffee!

Needles

IMG_0399x1000Out back on the side-yard corner, “behind” the plastic shed there’s a pine tree. Nice shade with a thick carpet of needles. I mean THICK.
IMG_0407x1000
We went around and raised the “skirt,” so now I can get under it and mow what vestigial grasses appeared to grow.
More of an illusion of grass given the thickness of the underlying carpet, the green-grass came-up with the needles after an easy swipe of the metal rake.
IMG_0405x1000
Up on the other side of the tree, behind it and toward the fence is a shallow grave or something. A bunch of refuse was piled and covered-up – including the coral from the fish-tank. There’s a thickly matted growth of something underfoot that crunches when you walk on it and is not entirely pine needles either. Previous septic?
IMG_0403x1000
From the looks of the slope this is water run-off channel, maybe a “French Drain” given all the rocks and gravel underfoot. And pine needled. LOTS of needles.
IMG_0409x1000
So with a few limbs removed from the previous effort, I drove the trailer around to deal. At least ten bags filled and barely a dent.
IMG_0404x1000
At least the weather is permissible and pleasant, Happy Valentines – until it rains again!.