Chips Are In

Sunday the guy came to take down the messy silk-tree and one other unidentified tree along the top of the embankment. He had a F-550 with a dumper box and his own chipper – YAY! for entrepreneurship!
Both trees were about 12-inches across and some 20-odd feet tall. They blocked the afternoon sunlight and my neighbors’ view of the far hillside, and make a general cleanup mess while not providing useful shade or much else, and at the same time growing into each other. Time for them to go. Now I got an extra hour of daylight.

He was pretty quick and effective, first with the pole saw then the chainsaw, and left us with a bunch of logs and a giant pile of chips – like a yard-and-a-half or more.
This morning, in the cold morning air, we started raking and shoveling the chips into my yard-wagon. He had dumped the chips on the far side of the driveway that was covered in weeds, so this should kill those weeds – and there was enough to load wagon after wagon and create a thick layer of chip-stuff all the way down to and around the propane tank. Yay!

Meanwhile Saturday was Gunsmithing-day. I swapped-out the stock mainspring and trigger springs in both Vaqueros with Wolff replacement springs – which took a bit of learning. The first one took about an hour as I read the Kuhnenhausen manual and tried to figure out the things to be careful-of, like the pawl spring/plunger assembly and the trigger spring plunger assembly…and then getting that put back correctly. The gun doesn’t work right until the cylinder is back in, so you don’t really know if you got it right, and twice I had to flip-around the hammer-strut. Oh well.
Then it was the turn of the 10/22 for a Nordic Components extended mag latch(for my big fingers), and a Volquartsen extractor and the Volquartsen automatic bolt-release. The gun comes apart easily enough and the pins practically drifted themselves out, but I struggled a bit with the bolt-handle guide-rod/recoil-spring assembly and the way it fits onto the bolt in the receiver race. Eventually it went in correctly.

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Weeds

Today we’re down the scale on temperature, and yesterday topped-out just at 86.8°F – a blast of cool air out of Caanada with the potential for rain in some higher elevations has moved in – not that I can see any given it’s still smokey and hazy with only “moderate” air quality that looks worse than that.
This little ground vine is a co-conspirator in the ground assault on my pasture, and also another burr-producer. It’s double-root can run pretty deep on occasion, so the pick-axe is a good choice for counter-attacking.
The main and mass culprit being this other stuff that sends out a plethora of ground tendrils and a few verticals, with spiny baubles that tear off when the tendrils are pulled, so a soft touch with the pick begins at the root, and then the layers are rolled-up into a ball as each co-entqangled root system is revealed.
Playing wind-it-up-and-find-the-root. Then we stab it with our steely knives to kill the beastly ball.
But the horde is everywhere, and rampant.
Like a sea of nastiness. My Sisyphean task; just a few more green-waste cans, and then some more, and some more…etc. It’s exercise and muscle-building without going to a stinky gym. Swinging the pickaxe builds the core, and the lats, and delts, and stuff like that I don’t even know what to call it since I’m not a gym-guy. Plus you’re outdoors in the sun gettin’ your Vitamin D. Stay hydrated, my Friends!

Back to EDC

A ridge from the Pacific moved in and pushed down over NorCal, and helped blow the smoke out while dropping temperatures a whole bunch. We went from a month of hundreds to a balmy high of 90 today, with a low of 60 at night! At least the Air Quality has moved from “Moderate” to “Good” in the mornings, although a layer of brown on the far horizon is still noticeable, and often the Valley (where we never more roam) is dark and occluded.
I’ve been weeding the mostly-dead pasture with a pick-axe, since trying to use a 12-inch screwdriver in the hard-pack at 90-degrees by 9:00AM was painful on my hands and I blew-up a few blisters.
There’s weird and nasty stuff that only grows at this time of year, and it all drops thorns or prickers, or nasty “cherries” that are like spiked Japanese underwater mines – except they break apart into smaller spiney units. The weeds have surprisingly deep roots despite the rock-hard ground, and interlock with each other to drop off seeds of more pain and destruction, so it’s easier to swing a pick that try to weed nicely – plus I can chuck the rocks I find along the fence-line. It’s good exercise and my weight is hovering at the 177lb mark.
House projects include cleaning out excess good-junk and donating it to Snowline Hospice, while the rest – junk like old paint goes to the dump. I’m gonna unload the old lawnmower and weedeater at a low price on someone who needs yard equipment.
And finally the woefully understaffed Sheriff’s Office texted to say my renewal was complete and to come by for pickup. Nice to be back in tow. The renewal began in April, and some staff left to take jobs with better hours. The needs of this flyover redneck County are mostly overlooked by the tourists who pass through on the way to vacation destinations, but for the Sheriff it’s good to have a self-reliant contingent, since windy roads and distant locations mean that response times are slow. You gotta be prepared to help yourself, before help comes for you.

Sprinkler stands/risers

From the bottom to the top: 3′-6″, 4′-6″, 6′ tall – the tallest one is made by joining two short sections of pipe that I had bought, having misjudged the height I wanted/needed. This is all experimental and we’ll see how the shake-down cruise turns out…
UPDATE: Base is made by Orbit: 1/2″ Metal Ring Base
It’s a bit wobbly and helps to have a few cinder-blocks or large stones laying around to anchor the base or the initial impulse of water through the hose and up the pipe will make it tip over.

UPDATE: After a shake-down cruise and running through the sprinklers on a hot day, the short sprinkler just didn’t make the cut, not only because it simply splashed off the side of the house, but because running three sprinklers was one sprinkler too many. The pressure I have available can only run two in all their chaka-chaka-chaka glory.
I added a 30″ segment of pipe to the short one to bring it up to 6′ tall which seem optimal, and we can use it at the other house. Or donate it to my neighbor for the common defense.
Another ruddy sunrise and looking forward to a smoky day with at-best “moderate” air quality.

The Bridge at Remagen

The Dry Creek Project has produced a crossing that verily is stout and capable of withstanding a Panzer attack, but it’s not beautiful by much means.

Maybe a couple of strategically placed boulders will offset the pedestrian aspect and create a counterpoint — but still there are no handrails or things of that nature so a drunker lawnmower-driver might plunge awkwardly to an ignominious plight.

However the main point of the project was to manage and improve drainage, and that has yet to be tested…

Dry Creek

Dry now because it’s 88-degrees outside. It was 100 yesterday, but we caught a cool breeze or two today – and besides, it’s a dry kinda heat up here…

Anyhow it’s taking shape nicely without much help from me, and the little Kubota tractor is useful to haul the 2-inch rock and also the bigger cobble down from the big pile in the driveway to line it, and the tanbark to edge it.
The twin piles of dirt will become earthen ramps for the bridge so I can drive the mower across from sorta dry land to sorta dry land.

Maybe I’ll stick an umbrella and a beach chair on the tufted-grass island…

Earthworks

Got some guys to help out with the shallow entrenching. The cute little Kubota tractor is no match for the soft ground and mud however and we are using shovels. Then rocks and a bridge…

Turns out the 8-inch pipe that runs underneath the field, from the overflow catch-basin on one side to the fence where my neighbor’s cattle water, has perforations. That would explain the standing water when it’s really wet in the fall-winter-spring, but conceivably should also help the drainage.

Summer Haircut


The weedkiller did its job, and then I set about doing mine. It took about two and a half hours to plough through the mess, but at least this time it was not so high and thick.
Putting a mess of tanbark around the big oak and the other, distant one (hidden on the right) allowed for mower standoff room – that was twenty bags, including three down on the little volunteer pear in order to refresh it.
The big wet spot in the distance was still wet but I was able to get around “the duck pond” without incident or needing a tow strap.
The near middle stripe where I did some drainage trenching is a bit of a undone problem, but will define the area to be dug out and rocked.

Spray Rig

I got the Spotlyte 15-gal sprayer the year before last but didn’t find a use for it until now. With Spring bursting out and much of the broadleaf dock wrangled-up, a noxious new Devil’s Spawn emerged in the gap: Erodium cicutariumhas AKA Storksbill AKA Redstem Filaree… Having spread so widely and rapidly throughout the field it required a put down, and we went to the specialty Agricultural Supply outfit for a dose of herbal euthanasia. Also I needed a bigger (longer) wand for application with a fan-shaped nozzle instead of just a simple blaster-gun.

The little Black Wagon of Mud, Branches, and Death was put into service as a vehicle — but first I needed to secure the tank somehow. I measured-out and screwed down the straps that came with the big plastic jug, according to the molded-in pattern on the thing…


We would soon find out how well that worked, but first a test of the system was in order using water. Hook up the electrical ledes to the mower, flip the switch to “On” and turn the flow-valve to “go”…and Spray!



After mixing the proper dosage and including a surfactant for adhesion, we discovered that bouncing around the field easily overcame the minor obstacle the the straps presented, and the jug jiggled loose banging around the wagon and the secondary ledes disconnected, halting the sprayer. So without totally re-doing the straps, we re-positioned them and it stayed-put nicely.

It was nice to work on a beautiful day with mild temperatures and almost no wind, because I wouldn’t want that weed-juice blowing back into my face.

UPDATE: With rain banished by circling high-pressure and temps climbing to 86° today, the first week of consistent over 70-degree weather has arrived, and the end of Spring. May ends on a hot note and it appears we are in for another week of nicey-nice before the heat and the awesomeness of Summer…

Chill

Today the nearly month long dalliance with Summer-in-Winter that we’ve been enjoying got frosty. The Pacific high pressure zone parked overhead got nudged aside a bit, as an arctic blast swung down from Alaska to dust the Sierras with snow and the Western Slope with cold air.
At the Army-Navy surplus store I got a Carhartt furry-lined vest to stay warm while working outside — not that I am very inclined to work outside much when it is bitter cold, but sometimes these things can’t be avoided so it’s best to accommodate them in some degree of comfort.

Yesterday the weather was fine and digging went well, and as a means of avoiding the black mud sticking to the dumper-wagon I put down a layer of pine-needles in the bottom.



It worked! The loads slid out of the wagon easily, and I made four runs until I got the John Deere’s tires all loaded-up with muck and stuck under the pine tree. After a bit of digging out I got free and decided to call it a day and go hose the machine off. My back was also not too stressed and only required one ibuprofen.