Fun with Electricity

Meeting with mIMG_1161x1000y pal Jason the Electrician tomorrow in the AM. There were a few things on the inspection report that need correcting, and then there’s the Wish List of minor improvements, like switched receptacles and a floor-plug. We’ll see how it all pans-out.

Meanwhile I need to prep for paint as the Garage is finally looking awesome, and even the area behind the washing machine and clothes dryer looks good.

That blue door is going to be another color – medium gray which will match the exterior color (and because I have leftover paint of that color), while the walls are going to be light gray-blue as usual. The backside of the chimney is going to be a darker gray maIMG_1162x1000tching the exterior trim (because I have leftover paint of that color).
Pretty soon we’ll be back in operation on our regular schedule – whatever that is.
At some point I’m going to have to deal with the roof/ceiling and insulation for the hoot-hot/too-cold months.  There’s a loft-like storage area up there that mainly attracts spiders and invites a load of hidden crap like odd-sized 2×4’s and other trim pieces to resided, out-of-sight and mind – and that’s not good or optimum. You can’t go up and walk around in it, can’t really make it useful storage. It just ends up being a crap-and-spider-hider, and I HATE spiders.
I’d rather have it gone and the cross-beams/trusses exposed, while drywall and insulation fill in betweeen the joists. So that’s another project and improvement.

Advances on the Low Out Croppping

Airport Overlook-Beach House has been undergoing some upgrades, and on the exterior She had decided the stupid pink plum blocking the view had to go – so yesterday it went. Today Bernard-Built-Like-an-Oak-Tree came out to grind the stump, which lead to some interesting developments. Sometimes you can’t see the forest for the trees or the land for the rocks.
As Bernard skillfully maneuvered the very-very heavy, tracked, self-powered, land-vehicle stump-grinder (did I say tracked?) work it’s way across the rocks — and the pathway, and the rocks, and the terrain, and the rocks and tanbark, and finally to the cliff-side stump-site, we watched from above.
We made some topographical observations. We could do this: we could unify some of the terraces if we moved some big rocks. This is gonna be fun. My fingers will pay but it will be fun.
In other news The Railing By Burt went in last week. It took about a year, but the design and execution was a bit fussy, especially with the raw and hard-as-rock acacia, and that takes time. Can’t rush it:

Labor-Day and Labors of Hercules

My old (almost 30-some years) street-riding, dual-sportin’, dirt-riding, Squid-Hunter buddy and his wife are is moving up here – two more refugees from the social and economic hellhole that is fast becoming the Land of BayAryans.
They found a place up the ridge along Pleasant Valley Road towards Pollock, on the edge of the National Forest. It’s in need of some work. The previous owner was a 70-something yr. old smoker who sold and moved in with his girlfriend.
(Cue stable-scene:) The 30-year old gold-tone wall-to-wall shag carpet in the house absolutely reeked of smoke, so like the Augean Stables and with a dumpster in the side yard, my buddy has been systematically hauling out the stinking crud, washing down the walls and windows, and scraping off the stinking late 70’s-period popcorn ceiling.
We went up to help since we had a minor load from the Ranch-work to also toss in the dumpster.
Standing on the pickup truck’s tailgate and with a foot up on the dumpster, the eye-watering old smoke-stench from the carpet and ceiling-crud almost made me fall over backwards. Luckily we are experiencing a cool-down, and the breezes up the mountain contain the fragrant balsam smell of sugar pines and fall colors and new beginnings. The smell of that revived me and I remained upright. Also some of the lumber I brought went into immediate use in a stair-repair. And we have a screen door that will fit in place of the old bent one with its stinking screen.
With ten gallons of primer/sealer on hand my friend is carving away a clean and habitable corner of the house in which to homestead while further repairs and cleaning takes place. Fortunately the garage of the house has survived without need for such treatment and provides a temporary secondary residence before winter closes in. They have a short escrow and will be up here in full by next weekend. Good luck and welcome to the neighborhood!


The ranch is a bit noisy at night – and during the day. Taking a nap in the afternoon one can be awoken by various cracks and groans – but the groan is usually a HVAC precursor. Then vroom-woosh as the cold air floats down. I’m thinking the previous owner, during his upgrades and contractor-work might have kept things wrapped a bit too tight. The charming wood floors, beautiful distressed hickory planks that go from one end of the house to the other, might be lacking a bit of float, and as evening arrives and the temperatures cool they release tension accompanied by various snaps and pops. Sometimes the noise sounds like it’s right next to you, sometimes its up in the ceiling. Maybe a bit of work on the attic furnace was a cross-brace that was pounded-in and lagged-down real tight that finally relaxes in the cool with a cracking sound.
Anyhow I have a list of to-do’s based on the Inspection Report and one involves going up into the attic-crawlspace and doing a bit of flooring so that the furnace has a 20-inch work/inspection-space to stand upon. But for now it’s not happening because when it’s 100-degrees outside the attic is close to 160-degreees – but only feels like 1,000.
Sometimes I awake with a start because it’s loud and nearby – but nobody is there. Anyhow, it also reminds me of the Japanese castle that we visited on our way going-overseas as a kid. Nijo Castle in Kyoto was erected in 1603 by Tokugawa Ieyasu, and it has “Nightingale floors.” The wood planks are purposely built to chirp when walked-upon. It did back then and they still do it today. A whole long hallway full of silent Ninjas would have sounded like a loud flock of birds. There was/is absolutely no way to pass along it silently, and intruders would meet their fate. For medieval gothic castles that’s pretty cool.
So I feel confident that there’s nobody else here, and I get up in the night and hear only my own footsteps as re creaking and chirping I walk out to the open-space living room-kitchen in the dark. If someone else were here you could hear them breathing anyhow, since the shiny wood floorboards reflect sound well. The big downside is you can also see each and every dust-bunny quite clearly too, so the Miele vac get’s a workout. I don’t even bother to put it in the closet.

Carry On Calm, Swampy Meadows

The AZ permit came through. Woot! So Utah, AZ (which gives NV, so now I don’t have to go over to Minden and take a two-day class), and CA. Grails are reachable.

Working with the guy who was right-hand to the previous owner/contractor, we will do the walls and maybe even a ceiling (with insulation), anyhow it’s going to go forwards.

But not a Olympic sized pool. “Problem” being that the water table here is really quite high, in winter a pool could become a boat and lift off it’s base. That low spot noticed out in the meadow might mean free water, so perhaps a row or two of grapes is in order and also not requiring an ditch-tender irrigation system.

First other things first though, carpet up at the Low Granite Outcropping Thursday.


Carpetization is coming Thursday to the Low Granite Outcropping, and it’s a serious lot of the shaggy-stuff. Which means moving a LOT of once stationary and heavy furniture to a location where it’s not in-the-way of the new underlayment. Also means time to paint that nasty closet with the yellow-orange “Dried Plantain” interior. Yecch-yellow. Seriously?? A huge walk-in closet painted something other than white?? That is just El Stupido – to paraphrase The Don. So we work and we move stuff.
Meanwhile plans to go forward with Mud&Tape at Los Garage De Los Ranchero advance when new BFF comes by on Tuesday night after his current day-job doing tile at a house-flip. Pay-Money Work up here is scarce, and the thin pale ones doing hated retail under fluorescent lights in air-conditioned splendor don’t know how lucky they really are.
Back-When I applied at so many places for such work and was always turned-down. Also many front-room food-service jobs were simply wiped-away by my lack of bi-linguality. No Habla. But now in my “retirement” we may have to revisit that trend/opportunity – just as soon as I spend all my money on retrofitting this/these place(s).
I appreciate the fact the guy has no life and will work more, after first-work. I was up Friday night ironing shirts.
“Sorry I can’t, I have to wash my hair.” Remember that one? With me it was common enough back in The Day. Today it’s entirely possible to hear it again, but from me – that is if you go by “my hair” as a singular noun. There’s one thin one sticking up in the middle of the glowing dome. But enough.
New gun shop has a Model-19 on consignment that I’m considering…
Spend it while you got it. Blow it up. Pour radioactive crud on what’s left and blow it up again, then light it on fire and throw it into the ocean, onto a whale. See if anybody remembers you. They won’t.

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.

Hot and Muggy

Yesterday a thin layer of moisture-laden haze hung everywhere and amplified the suns rays like a lens, making moving the gun-room a bigger chore – plus the AT&T guy had to search high and low for two undamaged wires that could connect to the handset and provide a dial-tone. Great guy with a lot of local knowledge since he’s from HERE and not Bangalore – or Massachusetts, or Florida – same as the Cable Guy who happens to be married to the cousin of our realtor’s husband. And the Fort Knox guy is just down the street.
IMGP2227x1000Apparently we live next to the old drive-in movie – which is where my neighbors pasture themselves. We also have wild turkeys who peck through the tall grass.
Do I really need a sweeper attachment for the mower, or should the cut grass (and weeds and other unidentifiable plant-a-zoidal fluffy crap) lay organically fallow? Is fallow the right word?

Boom and Bust

The history of the Gold Country is replete with tales of boom and bust, of peak-moments of crazy-fabulous riches followed by troughs of fire, depression, failed-crops, and broken dreams. In other words, the prospective house needs a whole new roof, entirely new attic ducting, and an electrical make-over. There’s some witches-brew of mis-wiring; the light/fan in the master-bedroom trips the GFI in the master bath, but then the fan continues to operate. One GFI circuit in a front bedroom trips a circuit on the other-side of the house out on the deck. Another GFI circuit in the kitchen is un-tripped by itself but is tripped by the non-GFI outlet on the other side of the sink. The carpet smells of smoke, and walls need patching – that’s trivial and cosmetic, but/and there’s no vent-stack for the stove/range. Venting into the attic is not a recommended procedure as I understand it. The vent-stack could be fixed at the time of the re-roofing, but the full inspection report and termite-report and will come tomorrow. And no dirtbike riding, too noisy! Pbbth! Other than that the HOA is pretty un-intrusive! I’m gonna go have a beer.

Getting Better

High gray skies with a low-lying layer white cumulus in between the top-cover and the ground. Interesting muddle today. So we went down to the Evil City of Sleazeballs and Gov. Slimsuckers: Sack-O-Tomatos. It’s been a week since our last visit, and about three-weeks since our neighbor went into the Hospital, but she of the double brain aneurysm is visibly better than last time, and less at a loss for words. Therapy is keeping her busy, and last-time she complained saying, “I’m sorry I can’t be more articulate.” – but that right there was a good word-choice and a good sign. Today she was wearing her jogging shoes and it was other stuff to complain about, and we can tell she’s anxious to be out of the smelly facility and back home. I pointed to her shoes and told her she should make a break for it! She laughed.
Wednesday is septic-pumping at the new “other place,” and Thursday is the Inspection (and with that, Termite). I need to have a couple checks ready for the guys. State Farm declined to cover us because the zip-code is “high fire-danger” – but there are plenty of other homes out there, and this-here zip-code is also “high fire danger.” So…we got pointed to a broker who found a couple of mainstream biggies who will cover: both Travelers and Hartford. We’ll probably move our vehicles and all the rest to one of those…so bye-bye Snake Farm after thirty years. Things are looking up! Soon we’ll be measuring walls and painting at The Remote High-Chaparral Chalet, elevation about 3,100 ft.