Tractor Bjork and Enduring Brightness

It was 102° on Friday with slightly lesser temps in the high 90’s on Saturday and today (Sunday) dawned bright and cool so I went out to mow.
Out in the middle of the tall grass the twin rotating blades ceased to rotate. Maybe it was the hidden stump I hit? But that was earlier, and I kept mowing – so I disengaged the deck and drove up to the wash-out point and hosed it down to get all the green crud off and have a look-see. Kinda dark in there and the bright sunlight hitting the other side – I can’t see much but one of the belts is not running on the pulley, and just seems a bit loose. Maybe I burnt a belt?
Without being able to take a closer view and understand the situation I’m stuck – and my big fat wheel-chocks are at the other house. Time to take a shower and have some breakfast.

Lights and Lamps: Down at Costco we picked up and installed seventeen on-sale 14-watt LED floods to replace the 65-watt incandescent ceiling heaters and PG&E cash-register ching-a-ching-ching lamps. And they’re fully dimmable and work in the existing can-lights with no extra mods. Bright but cool to touch, the lamp color is normal and not some ultra-white surface-of-the-moon effect. I have two, 2-way wall switches to replace the current flip-switches that are good for dimmable LED’s and that will help in the main open-concept space/room to bring down the brightness for when we don’t need surgical lighting.

My Cup Runneth Over

IMGP0626_x800On a gray rainy day it’s good to fiddle with organizing the re-loading bench while the rain-barrels spill water out the tops. The two left-side drawers of the Harbor Freight bench that did not fully open on the cheap Chinese drawer-slides finally had to go, at least now the lower shelf is more readily available. Also now there’s room for another press (the RS-3) and the upper cabinet can be used as tool storage as God intended.

Meanwhile as the rain pelted-down in a steady pour, I went out on a ladder up on the deck to check a corner downspout because it was overflowing at the roof-line, backed-up vertically almost twenty-five feet. Cleared some pine-needles at the top-end and then went down by the understory and I yanked the diverter hose to the big-barrel so the water flowed freely, but a closer inspection and clean-out will have to wait.

UPDATE: Well that didn’t last long. The rain is coming in waves, and you can see the wet clouds streamin water as they approach, coming across the ridge at us, blanketing and hiding the ridge behind – and the water was backed-up again to the roof. In a few minutes I was back down there with the DeWalt drill and removing the diverter. As I removed one screw, a stream of water poured out as if from a hose, then the next, and finally a huge spray of water surged up and hosed me down with blockage: dirt, pine-needles, and sand from the composition asphalt shingles… But now it’s REALLY flowing freely.

After the chill, sunshine

Morning dawned cold and bleak-gray, and there were chores to do and decisions to make, even (or especially) on a Sunday.
Got my haircut so I could think clearly, and then went on-line and joined the El Dorado Rod & Gun Club – the oldest active Rod & Gun Club in California, 103 Years! 1911 – 2014 – and also bought two dinner-tickets to the Club Banquet & Raffle in a few weeks.
I need to get out and meet some guy-people because the sign at the door isn’t going to be mistaken as an invitation to tea. It’s been a year and my most recognizable best “friends” work the check-out at the grocery store. And after a year my wife is tired of spending ALL her free time with me – she needs a break from this relentless twosome-ness. Also while we’re both struggling with a bit of nasal/respiratory congestion and making awful snot-goober noises, some distance might be preferable.
And so as a birthday present to me I signed up for Joe’s all-day Shotgun class.
Then we went back out to work on the yard together. Like my haircut, it needs some clipping around the edges every three weeks whether it needs it or not. At least we haven’t seen any snakes yet. If you grew-up in a Protestant-religious household this song might tickle a few funny-bones.

Bit by Bit

It’s terribly mundane but represents the whittling-away of the chore-list which may lead to some greater freedom of activity besides yard and house-work. With the new freezer in place the garage is pretty much all-done.IMGP1777_01aB
Yesterday we ripped-into and bonsai’d the last juniper shrublet, and today the lowquat tree is gonna get a shaving. Temps are expected to be mild in the low 90’s and the King Fire is 98% contained.

Defensible Space

In keeping with this week’s theme of Fire & Renewal, we attacked the upper side of the house along the cul-de-sac side, and met some neighbors. While most gunny-prepper types might associate Defensible Space with a secure perimeter and enfilading fire lanes. Here in The Fire Zone we need to prevent an eruption of destruction not from jackbooted Gov. Thugs fast-roping in, but from some dumbass flicking a cigarette butt into the underbrush and taking out a block or two of houses.
Coming down from Oregon we saw fire after fire, and passed through the small mountain town of Weed. Weed liked to live-up to its name, and I used to think Hippies liked Weed, but it burnt from one end to the other like a poorly rolled spliff. On arrival home we were greeted by the Sand Fire to the south, and more have been popping up all around.
We don’t need that kind of conflagration, and so raked up about twenty 34-gal. leaf-bags of dry tinder consisting mainly of pine-needles and pine-cones that have a remarkable torch-effect. Back-in-the-Day at Church Camp, we held a ceremony at the end of the week where we spoke solemn words and made a vow – and then tossed a pine-cone onto the bonfire. This was before the current lackadaisical approach to “Forest Health” and outright naturism by the current crop of FS managers, and the bonfires were huge. Nowadays with the densely thickened undergrowth and heaps of fuels that date back to about the beginning of the Church-Camp Era, such behavior after 30-plus years of natural neglect would be criminally dangerous.

UPDATE: Friends asked if we were safe. Yes. The Fire went up past Icehouse on the South Fork to Hell Hole reservoir and is kinda trapped up there since when it hits tree-line there’s no more burn-fuels, it’s all granite. If it goes back down towards Georgetown it has to cross the river twice (Middle and North fork) and then runs into the old fire-burn – and there’s less fuel to keep going again.
When was the last time you saw a forest-fire in Switzerland? They have held onto that land for some 2,000 years since the fall of the Roman Empire. They pick up the pine-cone grenades and don’t let the understory fuels build-up. Smart guys.

TGIF and I don’t have to drive anywhere

Went for a bicycle ride down along the American River at Folsom, just below the prison. Met-up with a BFF of The Wife and went exploring the trails. Huh.
There’s a lot of grotesquely snooty spandexified boomer-retirees, old dudes wearing goatees and on freshly minted Specialized pedal-pushers, acting all cycle-entitled down there make the location perilous and unpleasant.
After lunch at the Sudwerk brew-restaurant on the bluff overlooking the prison-pool (not really), we came home and awaited a visit from another friend.
He was heading-up to North Tahoe along the truly awful Hwy. 80 Corridor, but work demands had put him late on the freeway – on a Friday – which is godawful THE BayAryan-OMG definition of the Seventh Circle of Hell.
The relentless driving-maelstrom that ultimately would followed, from tail-gating lowered Mazda/Honda/Scion/Prius-driving Davis University nimrod-students, to massive 30-foot 5th-Wheel Weekend-Warriors, to chains of Long-Haul Trux-Trux-Trux all in a row headed over Donner Pass meant that it would be a wretched, slow-going, hyperventilating nightfall before he reached his destination. So bail-out.
Maybe he can stop by on the way back on Sunday.
Meanwhile we took a break from the understory reconstruction, and let the right-knee come back to order – things down there are progressing rather wonderfully for junk-storage.

Choreland Friday

A funny letter from the local Taxation Authorities meant that we would spend part of the morning in Hangtown, and in the waning sunlight it was recognized that the old ’94 530i would not spin-over. Not a peep was heard from it’s antique banks of soldered chips and blinky computeristics. Of course it had sat unattended and un-driven since December till now, and leafing through records indicated that the battery was almost ten years old and dead as a doornail. On the way home from The Abode of the Authorities we stopped-in at a retail car-crap and spinning-gizmo store, but they didn’t have the specialized “Type 93″ battery. It’s low and wide and has terminals recessed to hide under the back seat in an awkward but very cleanly-maintained location. So I made a call to another purveyor of fine automotive fluids and wheel-cleaners, and indeed they could get on by 2:30PM! ~Voila!~ Off to lunch at Mike’s Grill!
Following a delicious and monstrous 1/2lb burger with double-crispy seasoned fries and with some time to spare, we took a truck-amble up scenic Oak Hill Road to the end where it becomes Not County Maintained Road Private Drive Stay Off My Lawn I have Guns – and turned around. Back in Diamond Springs we stopped and popped into Scalise Meats for some cold-cuts and their delicious home-ground beef. Mmmm!
And then passing by Poor Red’s in El Dorado we noticed the shuttered doors again. Next door is a bakery/coffee shop where I had a delicious macaroon and asked, “What’s up with Red’s?” Well, the new owners (they purchased Poor Red’s in 2007) are in for it, deep. On May 14 the Court ordered six-years in the State Pen for him, and one-year for her – and $629,818 restitution…they had failed to report $1.32 million in taxes. Oops! Damn good thing we paid Teh Authorities that bill! They sure don’t mess around up here with tax scofflaws, I guess because this rural county is poor and doesn’t get the HUGE tax-basis of the BayAryans or the Angelenoses.
I was thinking it might be a case of that anti-tax Corvette drivin’ “Freeman” stuff and Gadsden-Lifestyle you hear about around the hills from here to Idaho, but this just sounds like a couple of straight up crooks – you never know…


Office fan Got the second fan up yesterday, a bit of a wrestling match but I finally pinned it to the ceiling – and then something vessel-like in my thumb let go and I said, “Owww!” It got all purple and was temperature sensitive for a while, but is almost unnoticeable today. The fan is shorter than the old one, and with no dingle-balls hanging off it to catch in my hair – and totally silent in operation.  Wiring it up I bypassed the internal switching and put the blue wire together with the red so the light is switched by the plate at the door rather than through the remote.  That way I don’t have a useless light-switch at the door where it’s needed, or “empty” wiring in place.

The walnut blades go with the rest of the walnut furniture nicely.


rockworxWe’re a bit exhausted and Ibuprofen is our friend.  78-feeet of frontage chip-rock, from the lower walkway to the mailbox are now in-filled with river rock.  We estimate that each Little Green Deathwagon loaded weighed about 210lbs (min.), and each wagon load was good for 1-foot (at about 4-feet deep) – the math is a but overwhelming.

The graphic has an illusion and is a bent in the middle, an artifact of the panorama-process I guess.   In reality the street does not flatten out but maintains a constant incline such as on the left side of the picture, so we rolled a lot of rocks uphill.  Owww!  My elbows and wrists ache.

Also all the BIG rocks are removed from underneath the Redwood and most off the smaller gravels too – replaced by fluffy cedar mulch.  Also the “stream” (drain)-edges are relined with those bigger rocks while the stream-bed now has a mix of  smooth river-rock and rough gravels, taken from elsewhere.  We only had to buy the cedar mulch, the rocks were already here… AND it’s been a year since we signed papers on the house!  (But only since the beginning of November taken full residence.)  PHEW!  Maybe now I can go ridin’?