Good Morning and Happy Birthday America!

We have been enjoying a brief interlude of mild and cool-morning weather, instead of the usual July inferno. The first wildfire of the season, up in Bridgeport where I used to go dual-sport riding, is 45% contained and not growing any further. Yay for that!

Yesterday was in fact cool and overcast most of the day, allowing us to complete weeding on the Embankment, and use-up all of the remaining “gorilla hair” (shredded bark) we had. I still need to get another yard-and-a-half to complete the area under the birch trees, but so far so good.

No festivities or travel is planned for today, just relaxation, so have a Happy 4th of July!

Happy Equinox

Clicken to Embiggen

Was gonna Weed’n’Feed the mow-able part yesterday, but when I went to the shed the little mower was dead, victim of an ignition malfunction – I left the key in the “On” position… I must have left it that way after the rock-event and it drained itself. So I pulled the battery, took it into the garage, and hooked-up the big Deltran Battery Tender and this morning it’s all green-lights and happy so I can celebrate the equinox today by tending to that chore. Yay the Mower!
I should put a fob on the key and hang it someplace so I don’t repeat this episode, but I got me to look-up the replacement part numbers for the battery as well as the blades.
In other news, the lower abdominal strain-pain was quietly going away until the other night when I attempted to do a set of push-up after my bar-bell routine, and was completely unable. This surprised me. I think pulling the heavy yard-waste bin chock-full of sticks and leaves across the grass might have been the set-back, but now I have to drag it up the hill and out to the road and that task seems a bit daunting. I’m thinking about attaching a couple tie-downs at the corners of the clam-shell lid, and to the points in the back of the truck, getting the lean-angle right, and then and driving it up. We’ll see… Pictures to illustrate will be necessary.

UPDATE: Avoiding the Hernia. I had to lower the tailgate and loosen the straps to get the right pull-angle for going up the steep driveway otherwise the can just stood-up when the truck moved. Then just rolling slowly making the turn at the top, and slowly out to the road – with another turn up to where the cans wait…

In other-other news I really should get one of these jobs that goes on the receiver hitch:

More Moawr: Blades

Five clips and a cable to drop the deck. The cable has a spring clip on the end that makes removal tedious and you have to compress a pulley in order to get some slack. Needle-nose Vise-Grips are your friend in all endeavors.

One 16mm socket to remove the blades and a flat-blade screwdriver and a wire-brush to remove all the caked-up vegetation-gunk that is glommed underneath the deck.

A (futile) trip to Home Depot to discover they didn’t have squat, and then a trip to Tru-Value to find the correct size, shape, and “Made in America” blades — you don’t see that too often anymore these days with steel tools and hardware! And at about only $12 each, cheaper then the non-fitting cheap blades at HD!

The old blades are hacked, but they have enough meat on them for a few more sharpening-cycles on the grinder, and from the new blades I have a pattern to grind-to.

Buck Rogers’ Ray-Sprayer

Apparently it’s too late to hit the weed-patch with a pre-emergent herbacid weed-preventative, that happens in the fall (who knew?).
This bad-boy holds up to 15-gallons which is more than I can carry around on my back, and I can mix-up a weedy or buggy cocktail and throw this into the trailer and go zapping for bugs or nail the big fluffy cabbage-weeds with more Round-Up.
Two electrical leads run from the pump and clip onto the mower battery to power-up the pump and energize the sprayer-gun. Zap-Pow-Biff-Bam! More yardwork tools.
In other news, I got my CCW renewed.

Haircut: loping and chopping

My embankment workers returned to give the second plum-tree-on-the-driveway a haircut to match the crew-cut on the other side — also to thin both trees so they wouldn’t be so overgrown inside and let some light in. After cutting, the guys piled-up the “hair” on the gravelly slope in a huge bunch and it was rained-on for three days straight – and today we attacked it.
0309161101-haircutIn the meantime Shasta Dam/Lake up north (the reservoir with the greatest capacity) has risen over 15-feet! and to 81% of full – with all the wet Global Warming that’s falling from the skies. That’s HUGE!
I dropped the F-150’s tailgate and attached the bed-extender gate, threw a tarp down into the bed, and we began the process of reducing the pile for transportation. Chop-chop-chop.
Whenever the fluffy stuff got too tall, I got into the back of the truck and chopped some more. A number of larger branches were deemed fit for the burn pile once dried so nipped and loped and chopped the smaller branches and hauled-out those big ones into another pile. Hair
We began in the early morning right after coffee and a banana, while dew covered the branches and the truck’s windows were glazed over with mist and moisture, and ended around 11:00 with a fully loaded back-bed, covered with a tarp as per the CHP transportation rules ($500 fine otherwise) and set off to the dump, er…”transfer station.”
Cost of trip was $12.0315161606-Springtime

After a nice lunch while the cows grazed in the far pasture, we returned to assay the cleaned-up embankment, and decide where to plant the bright orange flowering quince shrub-hedge — and I raked up enough extra hillside junk and blackberry bramble to fill the yard-wast bin for next week’s pickup. Good cardio.

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
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.
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.

Damn the Torpedos!

We have firewood. The log pile needs a little work, but there’s gravel underfoot so it’s not as bad as appears. I’m told the big stuff, “that have all the energy in them,” need to move topside and to put smaller pieces on the bottom instead. Okey-dokey mr. Physics Professor friend.
For my Birthday I went to Home Depot and bought myself a little 5-ton log-splitter (electric). That evening during a lull in the monsoon I went outside and around to the woodpile to grab a couple large rounds. No RTFM, I just plugged it in and split them inside the garage. Nice!
Also while I was there I bought myself a new Kohler flush-pot. The little old “round” one of dubious and ancient manufacture in the Master en-suite never made it through the previous owner’s renovations. I need a throne that is somewhat more age-appropriate (comfort height) and also “elongated”… HBTM it’s good to be King of my Domain.

That’s a stock-pic not the correct or current tile or wall-color but I have not yet begun the over-haul and in the end it will be much closer.

The Meadowlands

The sun came out and the temps climbed, but my gunshop is in the middle of a new-year inventory/audit so I couldn’t yet go pick up the ’74 S&W 19-3 four-inch.
Meanwhile I had to get some of my wet burn-pile cut down to size and into the yard-waste bin today, so I worked with the loping sheers and got a sizable portion into the garbage can – enough to make it quite heavy and hard to pull up the driveway slope. But got ‘er done!


UPDATE: Click to bigger:
1105_06Panorama2000After breakfast we went to Home Depot and got ten bags of tanbark and threw them in the truck. At the ranch we laid-out the last landscape fabric and finished-up around the raised beds. The railing around the planters makes no sense and I’ll get rid of it on another push.
UPDATE: As Old NFO recognizes, the railing is probably for doggies. It shows up on earlier pictures I came across, that is prior to the previous owners, and its age is appropriate. It’s showing wear and exposure.

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: