Heat

We have been enjoying temperatures in excess of 100°+ Fahrenheit for the last few days/weeks (107° yesterday), and I have come to learn that has something to do with tomato production:

When days hit 85°F to 90°F and nights hover above 75°F, tomato flowers often fail to pollinate, then drop — which in turn puts new fruit production on hold. The longer the heat lasts, the longer those tomato flowers will continue to hit the pause button. In short, hot weather can delay your tomato crop.

…and I have also learned something about “Determinate” and “Indeterminate” tomatoes. Indeterminate tomatoes grow out of control unless you prune them, and I have Indeterminate ones, so the giant tomato cage I made from a 4×8 section of screen fencing, cut and bent into a square, is a good thing except that I didn’t prune anything. And now the San Marinzano’s have grown up and out of it, and being that are kind of a one-shot tomato – they fruit-up and the plant dies – and with the heat the plant is now brown and crispy. Buh-bye! Anyhow we got a couple colanders of fruit off them and made some sauce, and that is what they are for.
Meanwhile the indeterminate cherry tomato plant has spread out to cover most of the planter-bed, and the small cage that “housed” it is invisible underneath the tangled and twisted vines – and it’s still producing so it’s a hot-climate pant. Maybe next year I’ll try a Determinate plant and get a second-season of growth and fruit (after a second planting), instead of having this wild and wooly, raggedy tangle of vine hanging about all summer long.
Meanwhile this morning dawned with a pink cast to the sky as the sun rose, still a warm 80° at 6:00AM with night time temps barely breaking into the upper 70’s, but the promise of cooler days ahead. Happy Labor Day and God Bless and keep-safe the people of the Hurricane, in Texas and the Gulf Coast.

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Observations from a distance

Could be that in Texas, when it rains it’s good to have 30-inch wheels and a lift-kit on your truck, whether you live in town or outside in the country – and a bass-boat for getting around. Big trucks aren’t just for pretend manly-men.
I think I would prefer to live in the Texas “Hill Country” just because I don’t like flatlands anymore, but I’ve really never been to Texas and don’t know if I could afford it anyhow.

With the continuing high temperatures up/out here and big high-pressure ridge parked over the Great Basin and Sierras, we are acclimatizing to the new normal of 100-degrees. But we had a few cool mornings last week, and the sound of geese on-the-wing reminds us that the seasons are changing.

UPDATE: Meanwhile the skies over the Valley are a dusky and stinky brown from wildfire smoke, and it’s drifting off over the hill to “Burning Man” so the festivities as such should get a real taste of The Burn.
Apparently there are something like 58 60 active wildfires currently in the state.
And…the burgeoning cherry-tomato plant (“Cousin It”) offers up another whole colander of little red fruits.

Drillin’ not Grillin’

I need to make up some loading blocks for the Cowboy Action shootin’ and I honestly don’t know why it took so long to get to this, every home shop needs one – and this is about as cheap inexpensive a piece of offshore tooling as they come while still being useful.
Also it was heavier than the others (Sears, Home Depot, WalMart),and so more stable (one hopes), and had a useful low-speed setting for metal or sanding (belts and pullys in the tray above).
Plus I had a few $10-off TrueValue coupons from being a “rewards” member, so it came in under a hundred bucks. Now I need a clamp for the worktable…

Eclipse Grillin’

The four bunnies out in the field are romping in the cool and dim light.  After the brief and noticeable global cooling, there’s the BBQ to heat up.  We have two tenderloins in a smoked marinade, and a chicken in Mesquite, with corn and some Hatch peppers to grill – nice and hot!  Go eclipse! We’re only at 80% totality but it’s still interesting.

Adiós Catalonia

It’s been thirty-eight years since I rambled around Ramblas, twice on vacation from Vienna. It’s pretty much the main street of downtown Barcelona, a wide thoroughfare mainly for walking and eating and being seen. A central promenade flanked by two narrow, one-way streets on either side for vehicles like delivery trucks and such, the left one going down the street towards the Christopher Columbus statue, and the right one going up to Plaza Catalunia. All along are cafes and shops of every kind, and on the promenade part are occasional carts selling books, flowers, birds and tourist miscellanea.
This is where I attended a small and short riot one night about 9:00PM – police in vans against marchers armed with Molotov cocktails and Socialist Workers Brigade banners. The marchers came chanting down one of the narrow side-streets and flooded onto the promenade, spreading their banners and making the usual Socialist noise – you could tell by the cadence who they were, but the banners helped. Local Spaniards seeing this scattered and ran down the streets like a flock of birds, ladies pushing baby carriages, men in suits running. The Police showed up to contain the demonstration, driving their trucks straight up onto the walking area. One group furled its banner and went up into a building, to emerge on the roof-deck waving the banner and throwing Molotov cocktails down at the police vans. Four or five flaming missiles in all. I ducked into a shop doorway to observe, and was joined by an excited Swiss guy who exclaimed he had been shot (at) by the Police. He wanted me to check his eye where a fragment of a rubber bullet had ricocheted. He had a minor red mark on his cheek and was basically OK, but insisted, “They can’t do this to me, I’m Swiss!” After the excitement had died down and the people had re-emerged, we went into a bar for a shot of cognac and espresso – an early Spanish precursor to Red Bull and Vodka. It was an exciting night.
And I’ll probably never return.

Dos Vaqueros

I missed my Blogversary last Monday. Got the new 5-1/2 inch Stainless Vaquero out of the State’s 10-day wait clutches. So now I have a Light and a (short) Dark one. The matching Altamont grips look swell too. Now I don’t have to worry about multiple and various calibers at the loading table, it’s all one thing: .44-40 WCF.
Too bad about the Gunblogger Rendezvous, it seems to have gone away and I’m missing that get-together with fellow Gunnies. Except now I have new people to meet at my new Club.

Crazy Tomatoes

The Gun-Club Summer Picnic was fun and a bit hot – but not as hot as last year. Ticket-stubs were pulled from buckets and prizes were raffled off.
I “won” a gift-certificate (worth slightly more than I paid for tickets, but not the 9mm Shield) to The Sportsman’s Hall, the old Pony Express stop along the route where riders could spend the night and weary emigrant travelers could rest. It’s a nice restaurant and run by a hard-working couple. from Korea. The old barn of a building has needed a bunch of work just to keep it standing, and inside the knotty-pine walls are covered in Reno Rodeo pictures and numerous animals mounts, the largest being a moose.
Morning today dawned clear but with high clouds along the tops of the mountains that quickly spread down into a low overcast and cool winds, quite a welcome change from twenty-five days of 100+degree temps. Summer may be over, but the tomatoes don’t know it and are producing wildly.

Everything in Moderation

Friday was overcast with high cloud-cover, but still an overnight low of 70.9°F it never cooled much, until this morning rang in at a low and chilly 61.8°F. That’s ten degrees cooler than the last two weeks.
With rising hammerhead-clouds all along the spine of the Sierra and moisture from the south, the heat broke yesterday only clocking in at 89.3°F – cool enough to take the cover off the Weber and grill a mess of chicken thighs.
It’s like summer came back, after the heat inferno.
And the Vaquero showed up yesterday, so I went and handled it, ran the paperwork, and get to wait ten days. It’s a nice stick.
Today the skies over the spine of the mountains are thick with more tall clouds. There is some serious weather up on top today.
I bought a fancy silver hatband for my straw ranch-hat at the local feed-store. The folks there are very nice, and looking at the racks of horse-shoes and equipment reminded me of working that gold sluice-box in Colorado and up in the Trinity Alps of NorCal — and packing all that gear up and down the mountain-side on horseback. Fun times, makes me almost want to get a pony.

Hot and Steady

Yesterday’s 105.5°F was preceded by a 107.5°F and today we’re only at 104.4°F so a cooling trend is in the works! Thing is, it only get’s down to about 72°F at night, so there’s not a lot of cooling-off that takes place. Meanwhile there is a steady 3-5mph breeze gusting from the south that is not cool air either, it’s a hot wind a-blowin’ up the mountains and fire danger is extreme with only 10% humidity.

Found a second ’96 .44-40 Vaquero that is coming this way, a 5-1/2″ stainless one so I will have a mismatched set in both color and lengths. Thinking the short one could be in a cross-draw holster, while the slightly longer one could ride on the right. Not sure how this-all works, besides having a new shopping objective.

Git ‘er Done

So…a yard of 1-1/2″ “natural” is just $42.90 with tax and everything.

Cool, and across the street the guys are getting a palette of “tan cinder natural” terrace-block, of which 40 will be mine at a buck-eight a piece, two courses to make a 5-foot diameter circle.

Still, the first half-yard load of rock sunk the shocks on the truck, and the second half-yard bucket dropped it onto the rails practically and the tires were bulging.

And an incredible amount of dust accompanies the rock.

So I drove real slowly, and good thing it was only about a mile. Rock AND ROLL!

Nice day, only about 100 today, nice bit of workout. Who needs a goddamn gym when you have rocks and nature?

Hole is full. Now to make a “wishing well” with a tin roof, just to keep the leaves and dirt out.