Sacred and Profane

I leave it up to you to decide which is which. Two hours up, and two hours back with a brief visit to Chico sandwiched between 220 miles of driving – but the folks up there are awful nice and the so-clean vintage Sansui receiver fits my needs well.
The speaker boxes are a bit rough and I removed the little foot/stands (one kinda removed itself). The look like somebody left them out on the lawn for a week after a summer party, so we knocked the price back a smidge and I have a little wood-shop project to attend-to. Maybe strip and re-veneer? I left them out in the garage but they sounded soooo good running out an even less powerful (and less well-kept) vintage Kenwood receiver. The speaker-guy was a genuine lust-for-life jolly fellow and nobody can fault that. Then speaker grille fabric had a generous sampling of dog fur, but that’s nothing – they are impossible to break and will last forever.
The receiver-dude was not a hipster, clean and neatly pressed he drove a Culligan truck – and had a collection of even more vintage amps and receivers, and also a variety-collection of the same Klipsch speakers. Who knew a quiet mid-level College burg could hide such talent? But the town is the world HQ of Sierra Nevada Brewing and its’ founder and owner/operator is a Chico-college dropout who went on to bigger and better things and has an endowed chair in the science of brew-making at the school. They have a lab where they use a mass-spectrometer to analyze the stages and content of the esters in the brewing process. Not too shabby.

‘Appy New Yarr

I really don’t do resolutions – really. But now we are up-country and out from under the pasty white thumb of the fluorescent-light BayAryans, so we are on a bit of a kick – kicking away from the fatted-calf of sloth and the zombie-life of Cubicleland.
One Christmas card from the wife of an old friend and mentor was starkly sad. His stroke ten years ago was bad, but the decline that set-in was permanent and irreversible in physical, mental, and also spiritual health.
We don’t want to go out like that and one of the conditions that works to prevent such is adding strength with weights – and actually it was my wife’s idea. Having dropped a few, WE are adamant at regaining strength so that we move towards greater agility and physicality in order to make the most of our Time remaining on this crazy cue-ball.
Despite the role-models that I do have (thanks Bill!) I was content to just move rocks – and that worked, but they’re dirty and lumpy-shaped and don’t belong indoors, and that work now is mostly done.
So now we have some weighty book-ends to remind us that sitting around can be productive. She is working with the Eights while I’ve got these Tenners to hoist in between glasses of local Cabernet and alternating with the Newcastle Brown. I’m going to have to up my game when she starts to reach for the Tens…

Sleep Sitting Up

As the title mentions – but it’s not that easy. You’re body wants to “submarine” and slide down the supporting arrangement of pillows. Ow. At some point that eludes the necessary lumbar support and you can awake as a pretzel. Double-ow. Also the head is a weighty watermelon that lolls back and forth and has a will of its own – and the neck seems like an insubstantial arrangement to hold it all up. Neck-ow can result.
I thought I had this licked by sleeping on a vertically aligned pillow, from butt to shoulders, so that my shoulders hung off the sides and let my chest-wall relax, open. Well it got too hot and there was the convulsive shivering again. At about 3:00AM when it was time for more Ibuprofen, I just got up and dicked around on the internet. The throughput was much better than during daytime with this stupid Dish-Net craptastic ISP we have. Afterwards (about forty minutes) I returned and put the sofa-cushion back to work in the dark and arrayed the rest of the pillows so I could recline (and fall asleep) without too much shuddering pain.
It all reminds me of the time of my wife’s broken collar bone. Back in the 80’s before we were married we took Friday-off in advance of a long-weekend, and headed up to the mountains for a camping trip. We didn’t get too far up the Peninsula before a 16-wheel tractor-trailer suddenly changed-lane into us, and we were spun-off the Freeway and her Chevette rolled. Definitely an E-Ticket ride, watching the windshield pop out upside-down and terar-awau, and then a sandstorm of roadside crud come billowing in on the vacuum.
The car was totaled but she “only” had a broken left collar bone where she was thrown against the door pillar – and severe lacerations. She couldn’t sleep laying-down lest the collar-bone shift – which caused a lot of pain, but if she sat-up in bed she could sleep and the bone didn’t attempt to escape through her skin. So I had to tie her up in bed with an arrangement of belts, in the shack where we lived that was once the abode of Jerry Garcia. There were a lot of distinctly weird objet d’art laying grown-over in the yard there. I think she destroyed the photographic evidence of that episode.

Ailments of Age

All the work has been enjoyable to a certain degree, and necessary and worthwhile.  With the abundance of overgrowth we almost always fill two large, green, wheeled, yard-waste bins with tree trimmings and shrubbery-bits.  In order to make (all) that stuff fit into the bins, I grab a pair of 1-3/4″ by-pass loping shears and attack the contents of the bins as a human chipper while my Beloved throws-in the airy branches.  The result is a home-done chipping job with a densely packed can – the real trick is later pushing the now-heavy can up the steep driveway for pickup.

So my shoulder and arm muscles are getting a workout worthy of a gym, without having to share space with sweaty people and their messy secretions and  contagions.  Bending around the tree-branches and finding awkward positions to do work is another kind of stretching exercise, too.  And so the other night after all the work was done, while shifting in my chair to watch TV, I suddenly felt like I had just pulled all the muscles in my right side from back to hip.  My first thought was whether I had somehow dislocated a few ribs,and how?  It felt exactly like the busted-ribs episode on the Motocross track fifteen years ago… Alternatively it was like a right-rear-rib total impingement syndrome.  Yow!  It hurt like hell and ibuprofen and ice was summoned.  Sleep was a fidgety affair aided by a glass or two of wine.

Then this morning I awoke at 4:54 (Casull?) with a repeat occurrence.  Also I had to go to the bathroom.  Now I was a bit more worried since I had read somewhere that the liver is in that region and could be acting up.  The glucosamine-chondroitin I’ve been taking has really had no discernible effects, so I had quit taking it – could this be a withdrawl symptom? Anyhow we will attempt a detoxifying regimen with green smoothies and assorted liver-placating fluids and diet, just to see how that works.  Should also slough off a few unnecessary pounds in the process.

Also the winds have shifted and temperatures have dropped out of the 90’s – the atmospherics are indicating Summer is really now over, so it’s a chance to rest and recuperate after all the work.  My shoulders are sore but my knee is much better – time to go riding in this mild Mid-80’s weather.

UPDATE: What mule kicked me in the ribs?  Ow, this is not very fun.  Pain is only the feeling of WORK leaving the body…

UPDATE-UPDATE: If this doesn’t start getting better I may have to do down to see the Doc, meanwhile more ice and ibuprofen and my kidney-belt for compression.  Reminds me of the late 1990’s motocross incident. Ow.

The second day is always worse

Got up in the AM more sore than yesterday, the day that we took-off from demolition. I was sore from shoulders, chest, lower-back, right-hip, right-elbow, bum knee – you name it: Ibuprofen!
After breakfast coffee we went down to look at what we had wrought. Damn, the angles of the purlins throw-off all the framing. We’re looking to make boxes for solid flooring, and the craptastic added-in 2×4 blocking that came later shifts everything off-square at the base into trapezoids. Some sense of confusion reigned so we called our best-buddy the Licensed Contractor and he came around to straighten our heads. Most helpful – so then we tore back into it.
crossing members
I might still take out those last two crossing X-beams in the back tomorrow – “Don’t cross the streams!” echos in my head. Since the bottom of the 4×4 compression posts are framed-in there’s no need for all the purlin cross-bracing. New stringers above the wiring could tie-in the tops above head-height if I feel extra AR about all this, and I probably do.


So it turns out that while I was taking pictures of exotic boats balancing atop the crystal-clear waters of the Emerald Jewel of the Sierras, I had a blogversary. I’m often a short-term enthusiast, and who knew that what began in 2004 would still be taking place today? Some things have changed, mainly my location, but I haven’t been reloading as much either (see excuse #1), and I haven’t found a regular CMP Club to shoot-with either (yet #1), and my handle changed from DirtCrashr a while back as my off-road riding buddies all turned into asphalt demons or fled to finer pursuits entirely. But this here is ridin’ country and now we have two bikes as God intended – one for tarmac and one for the rest of the world, and I have my registration and reservations to Gunblogger Rendezvous IX and we’re ready to go! Don’t delay, get yours today~!

Southside Excavations

Deep in the forestWe tore out about six-feet by ten feet of tangled rosemary undergrowth to reveal more terracing and rock-work, and irrigation devices – one appeared old dry while the other contained recent water – but we have not discovered the source.
along the south walkway
With great exertion, a huge old-and-dead root-ball of the other plant (genus unknown) was removed from the walkway alongside the redwood tree, while much of the subsidiary plant remained active via a second-growth trunk. The black branches criss-cross and intertwine like a madhouse, growing in all directions throughout.
rocks and dirt
secret habitat
In fact the two grow together to create this lumpy, huge, secret barrow, tumbling off the cliff.

Wheels of Wonder

Took the F-150 into Folsom Costco for tires and while I was there had an interesting chat with an old emigre-escapee from the Ukraine. He was an orphan who had been held in various children’s camps including a rather famous one in Munich after the Germans and previously the Russkies, took various turns trying to destroy the Ukraine. Somehow he made it to the USA and hooked up with an aunt and Uncle who raised him in the coal-country of Pennsylvania, now is retired to Hangtown. He was not too happy about the current situation there on the edge of Europe, or that in Iraq either, things we agreed upon.
Since The Move I have not re-tuned my AM radio dial or even switched to it – just running the iPod music through the converter and mostly listening to Hawaiian stuff I can practically sing along with the lyrics. But today I did listen to the radio and was filled with an immense sadness at what’s been taking place, so I switched back to straight music. I am rather determined to be happy now rather than perpetually wound-up and angry – that just doesn’t work well for me. We have an Administration that celebrates losing, which is utterly unfathomable but it’s how Progressives do things. The problem with Progressives is they simply don’t care as long as they get the result they want – and they would rather lose just to prove a “point,” or use that as an opinion-basis/data-point just to confirm their worldview.
They don’t care how many died, or how many more will die. The waste and cost in human life is irrelevant to them. *spit* They are happy braking eggs to make a big shit-omelette that they want to serve-up to everyone because it makes themselves feel better. This reminds me of the fall of Vietnam which they celebrated gleefully. I hate them with a deep and abiding FOAD passion.

So anyhow, now I have some sweet Michelin 265-70-17’s at every corner and a reminder to rotate in 10k. The garden is fresh and the County Fair is here this weekend! Didja know young (19 yrs. old) John M. Studebaker made his pile here during the Gold Rush? He didn’t make it in the gold fields digging in the dirt, he made it building wheelbarrows and selling them to miners who DID dig in the dirt. In 1858 he returned to Indiana with $8,000 saved, and joined his brothers who were blacksmiths in the carriage-making trade and a start-up called H.C. Studebaker.

In 1868, the Studebaker Brothers Manufacturing Company was organized, and by 1875, it was the largest wagon builder in the world, with over $1,000,000 in sales.

Read the thing, it’s the classic story of how opportunity that looks like work is often passed-over by the get-rich-quickers, who quickly turn into handout losers – not Wheelbarrow Johnny.
So the County Fair (sadists) run these wheelbarrow races, which are a real test of strength and stamina. It’s like riding an Enduro race only there’s no motor and you’re pushing a malicious device-from-hell over timbers and logs, and up and down, and through chest-deep freezing water – filled with a hundred pounds of sand… Kinda cool. My Electrician Jason’s eldest boy won his division last year. He’s a big strong kid.
Here’s the long version:

And speaking of whiskey, here’s another Johnny:

UPDATE: Just got back from the races. The grade-school kids (mainly 11-yr old boys) only have to carry 10-lbs. of sand – but they still have to scoop it up with the gold-pan into a bag, and many carried 15 or even 20lbs. because its hard to judge weight – but also some always gets lost in the water crossing so it’s better to carry more. One boy in the Junior-high group carried 35-lbs!
The Old-Guy Senior race (55 and up) only has to carry 40lbs, while the studly young men have to carry 50lbs. – and if your bag is light on weigh-in at the end of the race you get DQ’d and your trophy goes to the next guy who carried at least the minimum. Four of them Young Studs were light on weigh in….four DQ’s in a row.
In the tag-team Young-Guy/Gal race only one wheelbarrow qualified to win it – the rest were under 50lbs at the end!
ALL the Seniors including a 70-yr old guy managed to carry the 40lb. minimum to the end. Maybe next year I’ll enter…but Oh-God, the water crossing and 18-inch corduroy log-crossing set on angles, and the 20-foot long 5-foot HIGH log you have to lift-up and run along, and then whoops and two 10-foot hills…it’s a seriously brutal Enduro.

Back to the Green Blow-Torch

We have a few days of cool weather and a breeze – mid 70’s instead of mid 90’s just like that. With the wildfires down in San Diego in mind a lot of people are clearing defensible space – and the local Disposal Company invited everyone with a free yard-waste day. We did that and jumped-in on another go at the Juniper – time for a haircut and a bonsai!
I just hope no weird juniper-fumes get up in my sinuses and cause another brown-phlegm attack…
UPDATE: Took a truck-load to the goats.
Update-Update: MONDAY – More cleanup – raking up the duff and needles and scattering them as erosion control on the decomposed granite hillside.

Ranch Hands

Texture & ColorColor & TextureWe made quite a bit more progress with the rocks, including some stream-bed realignment on the “back-forty” where there’s an erosion issue, and I’ve been handling some of the bigger stones.
In England, a stone is an archaic/Medieval term of measurement.  Thanks to Wilkipedia we know that, By the late Middle Ages, international trade, such as England’s exports of raw wool to Florence, required a fixed standard and, in 1389, a royal statute of Edward III fixed the stone of wool at 14 pounds.[11] So what I’ve been playing with are stones that weigh a few stone each – like seven or eight.  Not quite boulder-size but big enough to blow a disk or cause a hernia if I’m not careful, so the really big ones get rolled into the stinky little green wagon (from Tractor Supply, some total assembly required, still smells like bunker-fuel or creosote – whatever the Chinese use to make 600lb. industrial plastic is really gnarly) and hauled-up to a likely new location and tipped out.
As seen after three days, the brand-new Wells Lamont leather gloves (Costco three-pack!) have developed a well-worn patina of sweat and some texture. Rock is basically pretty unforgiving, and I have already worn-out two fingers (long/middle), with a third on the way and stitching has come un-done in the palm. In other news the recent internal application of Glucosamine-Chondroitin seems to help the early morning joint-pain – but not as much as Ibuprofen.