Watching the recent, several local conflagrations, I’m glad that my field of pastureland and its combustibles has been cut, and fire danger substantially reduced. However as some survivors have noted, “We only had minutes to grab some clothes,” and so I’m taking a second look at our bug-out bags with an eye towards clothing over gear… The 9mm Shield will have to do as a sidearm, and maybe the 10/22 also because its light weight and versatility are easier to manage than a heavy M1 Garand and its weighty feeding requirements.  

Musings: Fire is different than Civil Unrest, it’s a force of Nature, not a force of Man – and since we moved up to Flyover Country more likely.  Whereas in our former life where any upset to the Main Order that might result in the rapid breakdown of Civility, fire is quickly bottled-up and compartmentalized as a packet.  Buildings are surrounded by fire-hoses and heavy equipment pumps water to prevent the spread. Insurance companies spring into action and lawsuits are filed – but where are they when rioters set fire to dumpsters at the so-called University?

Up here where the infrastructure is less dense and fire less easily contained, somehow the likelihood of social collapse seems also more remote than in the congested asphalt lands of Suburban Elite Utopia. People work together despite the greater distances between homesteads, and rather than being insulated and cocooned from our neighbors, we wave hello and speak the same language. In case of wildfire animals and livestock are herded together and transported to safe venues, like the County Fairgrounds. Trucks are as common as cars, ranchers often have heavy equipment like backhoes and tractors, and the vehicles of Flyover still mainly have combustion chambers instead of toxic batteries…

Around the Homestead

Just in time for 4th of July I got the screen-doors hung at the Ranch, allowing some evening cooling to take place and cross ventilation.





The temperatures plummeted from running about 105°-108° the past week-end, down into the upper 80’s.










For Independence Day we grilled Tequila-Lime chicken thighs that had been marinating a day, then enjoyed the relatively mild weather out on the deck.









And today I fixed the fan that was going “screee-ting….screee-ting,” at the Low Granite Outcropping, forcing the use of a higher than desired fan-speed. 


And early in the morning trimmed back the shrubbery along the long driveway at the Ranch that was scraping up against the truck.

Heat’s coming back so I got that done in the morning.


Yesterday was 107+, today is set to be higher – and it’ll hit 110° by Thursday…and there are skiers still hitting the slopes up around Tahoe. Record breaking in all sorts of ways, including some enforced indolence!   And the new windows are in at The Low Granite Outcropping – should be cooler and quieter.

Project Critter-Getter

The Butler Creek sling is one that mimics a military sling but is only 1″ wide, has awful little round keepers and shiny gold hooks, had to be smashed flat to get it through the sling swivel, and appears to be made out of material from James Comey’s purse. The scope is a now obsolete and discontinued Nikon 4×32 .22 LR rimfire. The rings and base are a mismatched (shiny/matte) mongrel 10/22 set from Leupold off eBay. The jury is still out on the sling, maybe I can find a decent used-one made from real leather.

Dry Day

The sun came out to flirt, and we scooted down to Costco for provisions. Steaks for the freezer, nuts for the larder, whiskey for the bar: Bulleit Rye since they were out of Knob Creek Rye and they don’t carry Tin Cup.
Went up to the other end of town, and at Tractor Supply picked up two 4’x8′ pieces of utility fencing panels in order to make a giant tomato cage for the upcoming crop. A snip with the bolt-cutters here, a bend there, and I should be able to make a 6-foot tall square stairway to heaven.
A couple snips off the bottom cross-rungs and it will be free to poke into the loamy raised-bed.
Meanwhile it’s gonna rain again Sunday so enjoy it while it lasts:

UPDATE: Well that was weird. It clouded-up and snowed big fluff, blobby, bits of snow — then it turned to sleet and covered the pasture.
I awoke to a deck still covered in slush, but everything else melted – and it’s cold. Brrr!

The Emu – at least I think that’s what it is.

A(nother) case for EDC-everywhere. This sum’bitch came quietly wandering up the drive after I had rolled-up the garbage cans to their pick-up location. I turned around and flat stopped in my tracks.
big-bird peckerhead
He (?) was in no hurry, despite the neighbor’s dogs (a white-wolf type and a German Shepard) across the fence barking like crazy.
I thought the dogs were just noisy because they wanted pets from me, but nooo.
He was about as tall as me, and with a similar size shoe-print, and that scared me. His slow and deliberate gait indicated s(he) wasn’t afraid of nobody. Somebody’s escaped pet I suppose, but I hesitate to call an Emu a “pet” because they are just nasty big and ornery birds.
The dogs were barking like crazy and he didn’t care, I picked-up a stick laying on the ground and raised up my arms over my head and repeated, “Keep moving!” And he slowly walked down the road away towards another house.
I didn’t check to see if (s)he had a collar.

Awash in Green

img_1015x800The dead-summer prairie has sprung back to life after a few Fall storms have tracked-through, and I’ve been out there killin’ as much of the nasty weeds as I can, and spreading pre-emergent. The junk I spread is expensive and safe to use around cattle, made with corn-gluten meal that is supposed to “suffocates and suppresses weeds before they begin to grow.”
The field looks nice from a distance but it’s gonna turn nasty and thick, and there’s nothing really to mow just yet except the lawn on the other side of the house and I’ve been avoiding that because I’m lazy.

Pre-emergent spreader-stuff.

Pre-emergent spreader-stuff.

There’s a blanket of snow up on the Sierras and I hope this high-pressure zone stays over us keeping things warm until Wednesday when the shipment of floor-paint for the shed is scheduled to arrive. I want to get it painted and cured before the real cold sets-in.

Shed Solar

The shed doors face …UPDATE MY DIRECTIONAL DYSLEXIA: due-west DUE-EAST…and I needed a way to mount the solar panel on an angle to catch the sun, so I put a 4″x4″ post in the vise to start the mock-up of my corner mount. At Ace hardware I found the 12-foot extension for the Deltran solar panel lede, and a couple t-hinges with about a four-inch leg. t-hinge On the 4×4 post I attached the two hinges on opposing faces, on a 45-angle. At Tru-Value I found some 2-1/2″ eye bolts the proper small-ish diameter thread to fit through the corner holes of the 14″x16″ panel, and got a couple feet of light chain. Then I took a four-link section of chain and ran it through the eye-bolts and the ends of the hinges. Voila!
Next up it needed a brace for the back so the panel laid-out out at the right angle to get the solar waves and rays, so I put a piece of 2″x4″ in the vise, set the saw at a 45-degree angle, and made two cuts so the brace would fit on the corner.
A third cut was made for the angle of attack, which was too shallow at first and had to be re-cut for a steeper angle.
I pre-drilled a couple holes in the 2×4 brace for deck-screws, to make the corner attachment tight to the siding, then ran them in short to mark the hole-locations. It was kinda fiddly to make the final tight-fit without first pre-drilling, because the brace wanted to move around a bit and being on a corner it pushed one way then the other.
I ran the lede up around the brace to the door side, and from the inside-out drilled a 1/2″ hole through a shed 2″x4″ cross-member, to the the hole up-high under the eave. Running the lede through the hole and along the upper interior sill-plate, I screwed-down wire anchors every few feet and dropped it onto the mower location and hooked-up the charger. To finish it off I gooberd a bunch of siliconized plumber’s caulk into the hole to keep the weather and bugs out of the hole.
Now listening to the pitter-pat of rain on the gutters, I’m glad I got ‘er done.

Après le Déluge

UPDATE: Harambe is finito, the Gorilla Hair is done, clicquez voue les embigulament:
After Sunday’s torrent of sky-water, the embankment looked a little worse for wear in some places and there are some places where I need to shovel-out the washed-down dirt, but the shed had not washed away like Noah’s ark.
Dropping-in to Homie Despot to pick-up some fat painting rollers to do the siding (and a long narrow tarp), we went out to the Garden area where we spied a stack of Gorilla Hair bags, and loaded up two platform roller carts of twelve bags each. 24-additional bags will fill in the new voids and increase the general coverage.
In the paint section the question remained, prime and seal, and then what color? There is a lot of cutting-in to do with all the exposed 2×4’s and bare T-100 backing. That’s going to suck-up a lot of paint. White would show dirt to easy and I lean towards a light battleship blue-gray like the garage. Still that could be handled with a standard interior latex perhaps, but will take at least two gallons.
The issue of the floor is also a bit more than I anticipated since most seems to be directed towards concrete floors and some kind of magic epoxy finish, not wood. There’s one to look at called DeckOver by Behr that needs two coats and has some built-in traction effects – might be nice in gray. Hmmm… Ponderings at the Ponderosa.
So instead of doing anything I went to work with some Alex Plus+ white acrylic caulk, and attacked the joints on the tongue-and-groove floor, and the edges and corners where the framing sits. At least it will give the spiders some initial opposition.