Playing in the mud

After the morning frost dissipated and the sun rose up high enough to make a good temperature difference – which was around 10:00AM – I put on my muck-boots and advanced into the wet pasture to begin channel-making.
At first I was just going to spray weed-killer on the Broadleaf Dock, the nasty-soupy carrot-rooted plant that infests and traps brackish water, then sends up a stalk of ten-thousand seeds to propagate itself – the stuff of which I had pulled-up over fifty bags last year. Meh.
The small channel that I had gouged with my boot-heel before the last rain was moving water off the field rather well, so I decided to go back and get the shovel and do some drainage improvements. Also the pre-emergent that I spread in the Fall combined with Scott’s turf-builder “Weed and Feed” meant that I had a lot of actual grass growing instead of just prairie-crap like the Dock (and Thistles and Sedge). Now I had/have an opportunity to cut out whole rooted grass chunks and build-up low-lying areas, so I began that too over by the fence line, carrying shovels-full of grass that dripped shovels-full of water at the same time.
Large patches are still pretty squishy where still-water is standing, and there is much more to do – but on a fine and mild day like this I had to make mud while the sun shined! Rain is forecast for tonight and part of tomorrow, then Tuesday is supposed to be clear before another storm blows in Wednesday.

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Back to the Swamp

Three inches of rain and still counting (UPDATE: 4.13 inches for January), but clearing tonight and less tomorrow and the rest of the week.
The run-off from my neighbor’s pond (off to the right) is now flowing into the catchment and through the 8-inch underground pipe, and out into the stream-culvert on the left with good momentum. The rest of what is visible is simply run-off coming downhill into the pasture.
Life in the Country out in the sticks. Maybe I should get a row-boat.

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.

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.