From drab to monochrome

The Family Meeting down among the BayAryans at the old ancestral abode was a success, with a lot of work accomplished and various family objects taken away by the remaining survivors. We finished boxing up all the old financial documents, donated clothing and canned goods (that were not expired!), and had partial success with the Bank because we had Documents(!) – just not all of them, yet.
The drive back was incident free and fast, missing the usual choke-points and sailing along at a good clip under warm fair skies with a few spotty-fluffy clouds – until this morning. Rain and cold. I assembled the family Christmas tree today, it’s something that Dad made back around 1950-ish, either while at City College getting his degree or overseas as a project while as Principal at the Technical School, because in that hot tropical country Christmas Trees were not to be found. Plus is disassembles and packs easily with just twelve screws.
It’s rather Alexander Calder modern and Mechano too, based on a series of triangles affixed to other triangles, suspended by a string spaced with knots, with a rather Sputnik star at the top.
The garden urns that had been handed down from Dad’s Mom went up on the front steps to help mark the entry-point better and make it more obvious.

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Prairie to Pasture to Parkland

Well not quite parkland, probably never, but I had a hankering to get some tanbark down around the trees and see how much floats-off during the winter. With an initial load of twelve bags for two trees (6-each) and results that appealed, I got up early this morning and went to Home Depot for another sixteen bags for the larger (and smallest) trees. I spread the bark with an eighteen inch gap around at the trunk (conveniently the width of my steel rake), and stomped-around in a circle to make a four-inch deep apron. Or thereabouts.
The big oak I’m leaving alone because it get’s the most wet under there.




Evening Showers

We were warned that it would rain finally, and a good one, so I got over to my local plant-nursery and picked up three bags of pre-emergent and in the afternoon got it spread down on a large section of the field. Around 1:30AM I awoke to a drumming on the roof and the sound of wind outside, and it was pouring down. The morning dawned clear and cold with some clouds, and the pre-emergent had gotten rained-in, so we hope the savage weeds will be somewhat suppressed.
Meanwhile the ball is only slowly rolling, I had hoped to hear more and sooner from the Mortuary already. We need to get a pile of mail and there are bills to pay, boxes to fill with again. a couple of file-cabinets to empty…
Back at the ranch before all this started, I had just managed to get an appropriate shellplate into Big Red (shellplate #9) and practice some .44-40 de-capping and sizing, shoulder set-back and case-mouth belling (as it pushes up into the powder-drop).

The 200-grain Oregon Trail “laser-cast” lead bullets squished a few case necks before I had the belling right, and I had to fiddle a bunch with the seating-die to get the correct bullet depth – and then had to back-up and get the crimp right….but I finally think I have it down.

Just need to load and adjust the powder measure to drop some Trail Boss, and the primer-feed to seat primers.
But tragedy struck and now I’m busy with other things, but this will provide a nice distraction once I start producing cartridges. Thank-you all for your consideration and kind words.

Rockin’ the Embankment

The heat has broken and cooler weather has arrived – this week anyhow. The morning dawned cloudy and in the 50’s, low and chilly compared to last month’s overnight average of mid 70’s or more. And in advance of the next Monsoon we have been laying-up stones on the embankment. Some of the bigger ones weigh a good 80-lbs or more.
Perhaps this can ease the runoff and sluicing mud that ran down the embankment last year off my neighbor’s driveway in the Great Seasonal Deluge of Global Warming. Since we have one home with a surfeit of rocks, that is from-where we have been able to contribute. Meanwhile the “Wayne’s Silver” California fuchsia has thrived over the summer and the hummingbirds love it. Towards the middle is the remaining stump from the 14-foot high now dead butterfly bush, and about where the cascade emerges.

Click for Pan-O-Rama-Vision

Hobby Cart Update

Went down to the local feed-store and got some leather spur-straps to secure the rifle and scatter-gun. “Youth” size, $4.99 – and I flipped the hinge around because it interfered. Also paint.



Meanwhile over at Cemex the Basilite terrace block came-in and we put the five-foot diameter circle down out in the pasture. 20-blocks to a course. Looks like a fire pit but it’s not. We’ll see what happens when it rains and all the water comes up through there. There will probably be some settling and maybe I’ll add another course.

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.

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.

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.

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.