Log Rack Fail

What’s wrong with this picture? The log-rack is in position and I spent Friday afternoon moving the fresh-cut logs from the two trees onto the rack, plus some kindling sized sticks from the birches and wrist-sized pine branches. Also the rack bolted up easily and without requiring any instructions. The bolt were all there and the same size, and it was clear what to do.

So the next day (yesterday), I pushed the wagon around and began loading more logs from behind the shed to out-front where they are more easily accessible. I noticed one end of the old planter bed was damp from the irrigation that I thought was turned-off at that site, and as I loaded the rack with heavy dried oak it began to list to starboard until it was about ready to go under. Whooops!! Torpedoeed by the soggy U-boat!

I had a few terrace blocks out where the water tank used to be, and I plagiarized another two from the spillway-dam that I intend to re-rebuild with larger block (and in a more harmonious crescent-shape instead of the lumpy “D” shape it currently configures). When I laid the level on it, the length and with, the bubble landed near perfectly! Damn! How did I do that? Anyhow it’s not tipping over anymore.

Chips Are In

Sunday the guy came to take down the messy silk-tree and one other unidentified tree along the top of the embankment. He had a F-550 with a dumper box and his own chipper – YAY! for entrepreneurship!
Both trees were about 12-inches across and some 20-odd feet tall. They blocked the afternoon sunlight and my neighbors’ view of the far hillside, and make a general cleanup mess while not providing useful shade or much else, and at the same time growing into each other. Time for them to go. Now I got an extra hour of daylight.

He was pretty quick and effective, first with the pole saw then the chainsaw, and left us with a bunch of logs and a giant pile of chips – like a yard-and-a-half or more.
This morning, in the cold morning air, we started raking and shoveling the chips into my yard-wagon. He had dumped the chips on the far side of the driveway that was covered in weeds, so this should kill those weeds – and there was enough to load wagon after wagon and create a thick layer of chip-stuff all the way down to and around the propane tank. Yay!

Meanwhile Saturday was Gunsmithing-day. I swapped-out the stock mainspring and trigger springs in both Vaqueros with Wolff replacement springs – which took a bit of learning. The first one took about an hour as I read the Kuhnenhausen manual and tried to figure out the things to be careful-of, like the pawl spring/plunger assembly and the trigger spring plunger assembly…and then getting that put back correctly. The gun doesn’t work right until the cylinder is back in, so you don’t really know if you got it right, and twice I had to flip-around the hammer-strut. Oh well.
Then it was the turn of the 10/22 for a Nordic Components extended mag latch(for my big fingers), and a Volquartsen extractor and the Volquartsen automatic bolt-release. The gun comes apart easily enough and the pins practically drifted themselves out, but I struggled a bit with the bolt-handle guide-rod/recoil-spring assembly and the way it fits onto the bolt in the receiver race. Eventually it went in correctly.

71 and Clear

The rainy weather that blew through reminded us that winter is coming, but it didn’t stay long – just long enough to also remind us about rain-coats and cold-weather stuff, and that I needed to check the function of my furnace. It does work. Now to get back out into the garden…

The Weather Broke

Wednesday the high-pressure ridge moved away to the north and a low swept in with temperatures a good 20-degrees cooler, and with clouds.

Yesterday dawned bright with a few clouds that cleared out during the day with a high of just 78. Positively balmy. We stretched out on the deck in the afternoon wearing bathing-suits with the misters on and a light coating of sunscreen. In the evening the high clouds returned and the A/C hasn’t kicked on once since then.

Shooting Cowboy practice this morning we could feel Fall in the air, and the air in the canyon was clear, blue, and un-smokey. Quite a relief, though fire=-season isn’t yet over by a long shot. Also the new front-sight on the Winchester ’73 is bright and shoots to point of aim – dead-on.

Meanwhile the Silverado got an oil change, and to establish a baseline we will be returning for a total fluid make-over, from coolant to transfer-case to transmission. And I got a Tuffy metal security box for underneath the backseat.


Today we’re down the scale on temperature, and yesterday topped-out just at 86.8°F – a blast of cool air out of Caanada with the potential for rain in some higher elevations has moved in – not that I can see any given it’s still smokey and hazy with only “moderate” air quality that looks worse than that.
This little ground vine is a co-conspirator in the ground assault on my pasture, and also another burr-producer. It’s double-root can run pretty deep on occasion, so the pick-axe is a good choice for counter-attacking.
The main and mass culprit being this other stuff that sends out a plethora of ground tendrils and a few verticals, with spiny baubles that tear off when the tendrils are pulled, so a soft touch with the pick begins at the root, and then the layers are rolled-up into a ball as each co-entqangled root system is revealed.
Playing wind-it-up-and-find-the-root. Then we stab it with our steely knives to kill the beastly ball.
But the horde is everywhere, and rampant.
Like a sea of nastiness. My Sisyphean task; just a few more green-waste cans, and then some more, and some more…etc. It’s exercise and muscle-building without going to a stinky gym. Swinging the pickaxe builds the core, and the lats, and delts, and stuff like that I don’t even know what to call it since I’m not a gym-guy. Plus you’re outdoors in the sun gettin’ your Vitamin D. Stay hydrated, my Friends!

Re-Thinking the Bug-Out Bags

Last week my old insurance company that refuses to insure us because of “high fire danger,” sent me a flyer on the The California Earthquake Authority and my potential need for Earthquake Insurance. Hahahahaha! No-thanks. The dynamics of what had once been an exercise in survivalist thinking regarding The Saint Andreas Big One has altered.
Conditions have changed radically now that we are out of the ‘burbs and no longer surrounded by Liberal Maniacs. Up here in Redneck Gun Totin’ Conservative Flyover Country the actual big danger is fire. All these old Gold Country 49er towns have burnt to the ground at least twice in their storied history, most more often than that – and there are ones that burnt down and never came back.
So I went sorting through the bug-out bags to see what needed changing. For one thing they’re too damn heavy, and the contents are all obscured by various packing bags, and half of the overnight-lost-in-the-woods-camping-stuff wound-up in my deer hunting day-pack. What’s with all the glow-sticks anyhow? And multiple fire-starter kits, and water purification systems? Yeh it’s looking a little ramshackle in here.
Meanwhile the little Motorola walkie-talkies (fortunately wrapped in plastic zip-loc bags) had both exploded their batteries and gone to the Big Signal in the Sky, and while the medical-Kits had some good dressings (but of mis-matched sizes), and there were plentiful band-aid stuff including some Quick-Clot for punctures – but one lacked a tourniquet for jugular issues.
Everything is now under review.

Blazing Saddles

A bunch of armed-up old farts in cowboy gear milled around and organized their kit during sign-in.

The range looked like this for the first three stages until we moved to the next shooting bay for Part Two of the Match:

And that’s when I got the surprise hand-off, as Assistant Deputy Probationary Cowboy RSO, I was going to run the time and the match!
Well OK then, let’s go…and so I picked up the timer and shouted “Listen UP!” And read out the first stage description and instructions, the theme of the match being “Blazing Saddles.”
Stage 1 = 10 revolver, 10 rifle, 4+shotgun “Stop the Singin’ and Dancin’”
Stage open and empty shotgun at FP1 and rifle at FP2 with 10 rounds. Start at FP1 with hands out-stretched at shoulder height, palms up. When ready shout, “What in the Wide, Wide World of Sports is A-goin on Here!” At the beep, load shotgun and engage the outer left, outer right, inner left, inner right knockdowns. Knockdowns must go down. Leave open and empty shotgun at FP1. Move to FP2. Pick up rifle & Hangtown Sweep (1-2-3-2-3-4-3-4-5-3) the targets from the left then engage the center diamond. With revolvers engage the cowboys then the circles twice.
First up is Doc… “Cowboy Ready?…Stand by…” BEEP!

The event was not entirely without mis-cues, as I got advice and instruction from several attendees, but gradually I learned to handle the action better, and then it was my turn to shoot and I hurried to load my weapons…
Stage 2 = 10 revolver, 10 rifle 4+ shotgun. “Dinner around the Campfire“
Stage open and empty shotgun and rifle FP1 with 10 rounds. Start at FP2 leaning over with plate of beans.. When ready, RO says “How Bout More Beans.” Shooter replies, “Think I’ve Had Enough!” At the beep, drop the plate, draw revolvers as appropriate, and sweep the targets twice from the same end. Move to FP1. Pick up rifle, sweep targets twice from same end. Pick up shotgun, and sweep the
knockdowns from the left. All knockdowns must go down.
Stage 3 = 10 revolver, 3+ shotgun. “Mongo Arrives in Town”
Stage open and empty shotgun at FP1. Start at FP2 with hands on revolvers. When ready say, “It’s tough being a Vigilante in times like these!” At the beep, draw revolvers as appropriate and Nevada Sweep (1-2-3-2-1) the left three targets. Then Nevada Sweep the right three targets. Move to FP1 and with shotgun engage ANY three knockdowns. All knockdowns must go down.
After Stage-3 I looked at my ammo and noticed I had made a grave miscalculation. At home during prep I had just counted out rifle rounds and not both rifle and pistol (since they are the same, .44-40) and I wouldn’t be able to finish. So instead, as we moved to the second firing setup in the neighboring bay for Part-2 of the Match, I decided all the running back and forth to load and fire and unload and wait and run the timer – I would just concentrate on running the timer and the rest of the Match, which worked out well since I was not distracted, and resulted in fewer criticism of my Match technique…

The Bridge at Remagen

The Dry Creek Project has produced a crossing that verily is stout and capable of withstanding a Panzer attack, but it’s not beautiful by much means.

Maybe a couple of strategically placed boulders will offset the pedestrian aspect and create a counterpoint — but still there are no handrails or things of that nature so a drunker lawnmower-driver might plunge awkwardly to an ignominious plight.

However the main point of the project was to manage and improve drainage, and that has yet to be tested…


Got some guys to help out with the shallow entrenching. The cute little Kubota tractor is no match for the soft ground and mud however and we are using shovels. Then rocks and a bridge…

Turns out the 8-inch pipe that runs underneath the field, from the overflow catch-basin on one side to the fence where my neighbor’s cattle water, has perforations. That would explain the standing water when it’s really wet in the fall-winter-spring, but conceivably should also help the drainage.