The Labors of Sisyphus

We got tired of driving out into the country on beautiful, hot, Spring days looking at property, and decided Monday should be a day of rest. But first we got some plants at the nursery. One to fill a “hole” along the property line so the silly neighbor-pooch would stop looking up and yapping-yapping-yapping. And some ground-cover with pretty orange flowers (anything but pink!). Stopped for the “small” (but really quite filling) Greek salad at Wally’s and a glass of local take-the-edge-off chardonnay. The hangover subsides.
And then on the way home with the load from the Front Yard Nursery, while driving past the street-side outcropping I noticed that with all the spring-cleaning yard-work, the hillside retaining logs had shifted adrift. Oops! We also have rocks for that particular Sisyphean task, but here’s a new dimension in holding back the ocean and tides: erosion demands its pound of flesh in splinters and steel.
Underneath the house gathering rust was a small collection of “construction nails” used to build the concrete forms – many with nails still in them. Nails which I removed so they would fit into the pipe-sections that were pounded into the through-holes in the retaining wall logs… And now I needed them since the logs had come adrift and slid partly down the hill.
And with a bit of lifting and pounding (some of the logs were nailed together with big-ass nails) and shifting we got them back into place. Now I have no more giant earth stakes to pound into the ground. I guess I can get more, but they are handy – and now I’m really glad I bought that handy little 8-lb. sledge. Phew!
We’ll do the planting and burlap and re-seeding tomorrow in the AM before it gets too hot.

On another note the big Klipsch speakers are being pushed around by the big soulless diode-driven Yamaha 7.1 surround amp with 90-watts per channel. It’s neat that with all that power you can turn them down to a whisper. Next I’ll hook-up the Sansui-snowflake to the NHT Model-2’s, and I’ll bet they perform well too. Need to get some exotic baddabinga-bongo-bongo rainforest depleting wood-veneer to re-cover the Klipsch mid 70’s toasted-oak – it would be a slick dress-up. And some short hairpin legs, the pedestal stand was hokey in construction and looks.


Going up to Chico tomorrow for a (2-HOUR) drive to see a man about a late 70’s Sansui MONSTER receiver. Lights and wavy-wand meters that go back and forth. I’m really not an Audiophile guy, my ears are tin – but/and like a ’78 Bianchi all-Campy Nuevo Record — blah-blah — it’s something I would have simply been totally unable to afford at the time as a lawnmower pusher-guy and campus food-service pot-washer. And I was a good pot-washer, and a better student than my dormitory-mates who were simply trust-fund babies awaiting their turn at the next elite enterprise job-slot. I had to work. But I was still just a chump.
My affluent College-Contemporaries bitched about the relative ~and~ competitive merits of their exotic turntables. And then here comes me: THE Doofus: scratch-scratch. I was not a very popular,, thumb-fingered guy. But all that techno-electron tail-sniffing left me in awe, because I didn’t even have a circular piece of vinyl for which to spin. I was between worlds and never had records to begin with (Records? Not even my own Immigration and Naturalization papers). People with enviable “collections” – serious the round black damn things weighed a tonne, too much, and took up too much space, but mainly they also cost too much. Stuff I did not have I also did not rally miss, because I knew at any time I could be gone and they would still be butt-sniffing. So I went to Vienna with nothing musical. Maybe I was lucky to be a fool – I was footloose and fancy free in more ways than I even knew.
But now I’m going up to look at a sound-machine of epic proportions, to drive a couple crazy speakers for the now-other house — up in the piney woods, because I have walls to paint and floors to fix, and a whole new project in which to live…….

Monday 7:00AM

Awoke early (for me) to a pink and gray streaked sky. I forget if things are supposed to warm up or to rain, but it looks to be “partly cloudy” today, with high clouds. Shoulders ache from helping the Neighbor move a huge, 7-foot tall and 4-foot wide pressboard cabinet into the garage. Dang that thing must have weighed 200lbs 400-lbs.
Today we hit the cliff-side to staple down some loose burlap, and sprinkle it with seeds, and then cover with dirt because Wildflowers!
Meanwhile the Mark Rippetoe book (for me to read) and DVD (for her to watch) are supposed to arrive tomorrow.

UPDATE: And finally my subscription of Shooting Illustrated began to arrive. And our HooverPlastic All-In-None Deskjet POS printer has taken a final crap – after years of drinking the HP cool-aid (my bad) I’m going to swill some other murky brown pond-water.

Merry FreezingMyAss!

Not really. I’m sure anyone in MA or the Eastern Seaboard (isn’t that like a smorgasbord of seafood?) would beg to disagree. Or people in Nebraska hiding behind the one tree between them and the cold wind blowing down out of Canada, or anybody at 6,000ft – I’m sure they would just laugh. Had ice on the truck roof this morning. Just a little cold tonight, and more colder tomorrow, and colderesque the next, until chillville on New Year’s. Maybe someone in FL would agree.

Mobility Issues

While things and work around the place are progressing, I am somewhat constrained.  The right knee is having a extended duration flare-up of tendonitis at the inner-knee location where the tendon adjoins the fibula – or whatever.  Hurtz.  It makes it difficult to Operate Tactically and do my  usual Ninja-riffic Tacti-O-Rama Flying-Gunstrike Fu, with three holsters.

Instead I am back to a brace, ice, ibuprofen, and a tactical-wobble that works as a hobble.   I’m not running away from trouble if it rears its shaggy awful head because I just can’t.  I might shuffle.  Or duck.  Or crawl – no that hurts too.  And all of it puts me to mind of ALL the Gun-Fu theatrics that I can’t hope to begin to emulate.  So the Mind becomes the weapon, instead of an inanimate object imbued with juju, mojo, and a significance outside its own envelope.

Go forth and keep your magazines loaded.

When it rains…

…you get flash-floods. Feast or famine. Hope you guys way up in Sierraville and also down in the Southland are OK. Maybe one day this state will have a water policy that’s intelligent rather than political,, but ever since the FIRST days of Olde-Californy when the “ditch-tenders” sold water to the get-rich wealthy miners, farmers couldn’t afford it and agriculture had to wait – the supply and demand situation has always been about mo’ money.

The Low Granite Massif

With water restrictions we get Sundays and Wednesdays to run the drip-line and even do a bit of sprinkler irrigation, so Sunday morning we set-to it. We had torn-out an overgrown shrubbery of rosemary and started leveling out a(nother) terrace, but the height difference between it and the surrounding is substantial enough, that I started moving some big rocks from the micro-Stonehenge back by the LP tank to shore up the wall. The toothy array was wasted hiding under the big fir, so I deconstructed it and carried them to the new wall-site – except for the BIG hernia-inducer. For that I used the steel hand-truck and rolled it into the foot-plate, and then with the assistance of She, we yanked it up the flight of short steps. Phew.
A big irregular rock out by the Cotoneaster was rotated to a more pleasing rock-wall alignment, and some rotted-out old 2×4’s that were dug into the dirt were pried-up and tossed onto the trash pile. There’s a whole bunch of nasty plastic sheeting, clear and also black, buried in a couple different layers – I think someone was trying to prevent weed-growth but it just looks so hideous now I yank it out whenever I find it.
Another big flat rock was rolled-around to present a better face, and then a fissure in it widened and cracked-open. So I took those now two flat-rocks and used them to face the edge of the mini-parapet on the street-side, and chinked them in with more irregular field-stone. The big hernia-inducer laid-up well as a cornerstone, and the rest of the large ones make the south-facing mini-parapet.
Then it was 88.9° degrees Fahrenheit and 10:00 AM- we’ll be going to about 102° today.. The sun had clocked around so there was no shade in the front yard and the sweat began to roll. Time’s up for watering. It’s starting to look good out there.
UPDATE: The weather scare-mongers were wrong, we caught a breeze (albeit very dry, 11% humidity) and only went to 97°.
UPDATE-UPDATE: Monday 84° at 8:30 AM, 93° at 9:32 AM…we didn’t make it ’till 10:00 AM.


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.

English Lavender

We ripped out a whole bunch of leggy (close to 3-feet), past-sale-date, old Spanish Lavender and installed six little 1/2-gal potted plantlings of English – it’s lower-growing and more fragrant variety called “Thumbalina.” Cute, not? If you’ve been here before you might recognize the next sentence fragment: rocks! We had to move, re-stack, and re-align rocks. Big rocks, small rocks, sooth rocks and rough rocks. Which is actually more fun than it sounds, and the sudden dip in the weather/temperature meant we were ripping-out the denuded lavender while it was cold annd before the bees started swarming around asking, “WTF are you doing to my bzzzz lavender?” And now the hidden pathway that was revealed last month is more well defined by Big Rocks, and the location of drip-line points (Station #8!) can be properly addressed. Yay.


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’?