Happy New Year Snow

It was raining all night and the sound of that put me to sleep, so when it was still this morning I looked out the window and the rain had turned to snow and was falling quietly. It got to about five inches thick on the chaise lounges, and enough built-up on the satellite dish that my router lost touch, and the TV-dish also lost signal. On the advice of a buddy I went outside, and since it’s not THAT cold here I sprayed them off with the hose and reception returned.
It was all gone by 10:AM but maybe we’ll get some more tonight with the second “storm.” It was never really stormy, it’s just a weather pattern.
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click to enlarge

My cough and cold are getting better each day, but I had to venture out for more Kleenex and whiskey. And chicken-soup.

Brrr!

I know it aint much compared to you MidWesterners and EastCoasters, but 26-degrees at 6AM and a layer of frost on the pasture is a reminder that it’s nearly the Winter Solstice next Wednesday the 21st – when I take the garbage cans up to the road. Days will start getting longer if not warmer.
And since I quit Twitter and went to Gab, things are interesting.

How green is my Countryside

With a break in the wet storm-track weather, Spring has arrived in the sunny green uplands. We had to do a Costco run for more yard-stuffs and so made our way down to Folsom.
Leaving Folsom we went out on White Rock Road to catch a bit of Country and travel through the pastureland. The hills are swathed in an awesome emerald-green and dotted with boulders and horses and cows. After going under the freeway we passed two lineman trucks and a bunch of guys at work. Up the hill a row of telephones had ceased to march in order and instead lay in a drunken sprawl on the landscape. Out of eight visible poles only two were upright, with the rest leaning or bent-broken. The high winds we last week experienced must have played havoc out here, and finally repairs had come to the countryside.
People who live cossetted in square-block towns and cities with piped-in water, sewer, and electrical everywhere take so much for granted. The infrastructure that many Liberals detest so much that they protest its existence, is really a very thin crust laid down and easily wiped-away by Nature herself if it were not for the constant efforts of big guys out in big truck fixing all the broken parts. It its the height of affluent arrogance and naiveté to signal your ecological “virtue” and status by turning OFF your power for even an hour. Bah!
Instead of traveling back through the housing sprawl we hung a left on Latrobe Road and went out through the scattered tilt-up office-parks deeper into the country. The four lane road quickly disappeared and turned into a narrow lumpy windy hilly skein of asphalt that ran alongside a rushing sparkling creek, fat with water. The clear bright sunshine and greenery was broken by canopies of shade thrown down by tall oaks. Out in the pasture across the fence-line we saw a huge oak that had broken its roots out of the ground and lay wrecked in pieces. Wind? Lightning? Both probably – one way or another a giant tree had fallen.
As we went up and down the roller-coaster road out to Latrobe, all around we saw tall standing trees, but in the midst here and there, one after another, was a fallen one. Probably counted seven downed trees from what we could see, each one a huge pile of firewood for anyone enterprising enough to get out there and start sawing.
At the tiny town of Latrobe we turned left and went back up the hill on South Shingle Road. Past some guy’s equipment yard on the right-corner, then the one-room schoolhouse and firehouse on the left, and past the yellow-house and it was gone. What was once a thriving railroad hub in the 1860’s with four hotels and a population of around 800 is practically a ghost-town now, but a pleasant one.

Yard Cleanup

The 20-yard box arrived yesterday at 4:00pm and I thrrw the scary bird-witch houses into it. In the hours before the skip arrived I was raking leaves from beneath the row of young redwoods and making discoveries. IMG_0419x800
The row of trees still had their wooden upright “stand-posts” next to them, those upright poles that are put beside a young tree to help ensure it grows up straight and not leaning or at angle – and one was still attached.
Also behind the propane tank was a green mystery-wire and the remnants of an earl/old drip-line system to the trees
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A local entrepreneurial kid has been hired to clean up the brambles and overgrowth on the West hillside, about 150-feet long, including a couple of trees that need trimming-back and a tree-sized growth of blackberry-bramble that needs cutting-out.
But we have rain expected Thursday, about an inch. Should get interesting.
UPDATE:
I bought a 16-inch flat screwdriver at Home Depot to help in removing blackberry brambles. They seem to repeat after touchdown, and are skin-nasty, so I put on some elbow-length goatskin gloves used for pruning rosebushes and was able to attack and uproot (as much as possible) six of the bastards.
Along the way I found a broken drip-line. It looks like the possible source of my water-puddling/flooding in the fall. The automatic drip-line valves have been turned-off since Fall due to the inundation of El Niño rainfall, saving me Irrigation District water-cost a plenty.
Also a root about the size of my forearm I believe emanating from the huge old “butterfly bush” up on the embankment that appears to go down deep into the “water-trough” runoff area. With a root that enormous I think it’s safe to prune the living crap out of that gnarly beast and still not threaten kill it.

Snow Levels

Yesterday started-out foggy and overcast but began to break-up around 11:00am when we drove up the hill some fifteen minutes to the historic Sportsman’s Hall in Pollock, to see the snow and have lunch.
Amy the owner greeted us, and we went through to the big dining room and found a table by the window. Next to us was the 94-yr. old Marine Artilleryman who survived Iwo Jima (and more), with two younger women (but older than us) presumably his daughters.
We watched the snow fall onto the parking lot and trees, and had a burger/salad. It was nice be so close, yet in a few minutes far-enough away from the snow.
In the afternoon we prepped the outside grill for lamb medallions. The sun was out and the sky was a striking bright-dark gray with a end-to-end rainbow, and suddenly the temperature dropped chillingly and sheets of hail swept in and began to cover the deck.
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I put on my rubber boots and a hat and attended to the lamb. It had been marinated in yogurt with turmeric, coriander, and cumin – delicious.
This morning the sun came up like a ball of crystal fire in clear pale blue sky, and then a flock of 21-geese flew in to land and nibble at the edges of my swamp.
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More rain is coming but a brief respite for now, Happy February!

Up-Country, In-Country, Down-Home Country

My first exposure to Country Music occurred some eight-thousand, three-hundred and sixty-odd miles from Country Music’s epicenter in Nashville, sometime around 1966.
I was eight years old and recovering from a nasty, life-fight-bought with dysentery, where I had shit my guts out – overseas in a hot South-Asian sub-continent country celebrating Christmas in a creepy-crawly, bug-filled place where only at night would the temps dropped below seventy.
We had missionary friends up-country in a “very rural” place where my parents hoped-to (and must have thought we could-have) move-to – until the Gov. intervened and said NO. Another story.
Anyhow it was about Christmas-time, and we all piled into the Willy hard-top Jeepster, and hit the bumpy roads to go to ~DINNER~ with a bunch of other folks. We always relished any get-together, since there were so few of us. I always sat in back on the jump-seat, an pretended to be a tail-gunner with twin 50’s, blasting away at the local’s shrines and temples… I was not well-adapted, I had issues.
My big sister was excited about Christmas and talked about looking forward to hot buttered rum – Sorry, WTF? What? RUM? She was boy-crazy, but there were few boy-pickings for her to attack at the party.
As as Missionary Dude-Kid on the make and with mistletoe in the air I also attempted to prowl the local Missionary girls. Same problem as my big sister- no opportunities in my age-group, Mainly not our Denomination either – so not much going on there.
As a “reader” I went into the house to peruse the living-room-bookcase and see what they had. Like Bathroom Vanities, bookcases reveal a lot, especially among The Missionaries. Seems like everybody had “The Ugly American,” as if it had been issued to them – but I really think it was a self-selecting group. Also very common was Ian Fleming. I don’t think ANY of them knew that their children read several grade-levels above the norm, and that WE were as intrigued as the Adults, by the action, and THE action…
As it got dark the evening’s entertainment involved somebody with a little foresight, perhaps a Country fan, or else it was just the random lottery of what was available on the traveling Missionary Movie-Reel circuit. The adults set up the projector, but as always, “Get the kid with some A/V experience.” — Try not to damage the celluloid and keep the “loop” intact.
The movie was thrown up on a stretched-out bed-sheet, and there might have been a cartoon, but the feature of the night was a couple-three reels from something produced in the early 60’s , “The Hank Williams Story” — or something… But it was compelling enough that I forever-remember, “Your Cheatin’ Heart” and a climactic car-crash scene.
As a life-lesson I was taught not to EVER get caught drinkin’ and drivin’ or mixing with floozies – and I yearned for floozies from then on, forever.
Merry Christmas.