Rain Again

Awoke at 3>04 AM to the sound of heavy rain outside, yay! This will fill the rain barrels again, which will provide another mid-week drenching to the water-stressed trees and plants.
Since removing the rocks from all around the base of both our redwood tree and the blue spruce, the additional water has been a boon. The blotchy brown spots on the Sequoia sempervirens “foliage” have reduced in size and quantity, while the green tips on the spruce have have flourished. It’s gotta help these major flora that have been drought-stressed for the past five years and on a water-deprivation cycle.big blue spruce

Happy Easter

Happy Easter all y’all and y’all’s friends too! The blood of the tree of tanbark must be spilt by man and today in the morning chill before the frosty storm, whilst spreading the precious nutty-brown mulch, I was pulling the Little Green Deathwagon backwards across the rocks when my left foot discontinued its movement. *I* however kept moving – and that stopped-foot (which didn’t move) became a lever that snapped-off the PVC hose-bib against which it had become trapped. It was also a lever around which I rotated and fell. And a geyser erupted. A small geyser that, when the water was finally turned-off, also discontinued its geyserly activity.
So we’ll be off to Ace Hardware to get some repair parts and get that taken care-of. Shalom!
UPDATE: 3:00PM – Finally, actual rain has begun to fall. Sheesh.
UPDATE: Fixed-it.
New bronze fitting and threaded 1/2″ schedule-40 gray PVC pipe with teflon-tape prepped to insert.
CAREFULLY pound-down the re-bar with the little sledge, past the red-handle and then collar it with a hose-clamp.
Re-do and replace the rock. Still have not found any gold in the quartz-rock.

The Labors of Sisyphus

We got tired of driving out into the country on beautiful, hot, Spring days looking at property, and decided Monday should be a day of rest. But first we got some plants at the nursery. One to fill a “hole” along the property line so the silly neighbor-pooch would stop looking up and yapping-yapping-yapping. And some ground-cover with pretty orange flowers (anything but pink!). Stopped for the “small” (but really quite filling) Greek salad at Wally’s and a glass of local take-the-edge-off chardonnay. The hangover subsides.
And then on the way home with the load from the Front Yard Nursery, while driving past the street-side outcropping I noticed that with all the spring-cleaning yard-work, the hillside retaining logs had shifted adrift. Oops! We also have rocks for that particular Sisyphean task, but here’s a new dimension in holding back the ocean and tides: erosion demands its pound of flesh in splinters and steel.
Underneath the house gathering rust was a small collection of “construction nails” used to build the concrete forms – many with nails still in them. Nails which I removed so they would fit into the pipe-sections that were pounded into the through-holes in the retaining wall logs… And now I needed them since the logs had come adrift and slid partly down the hill.
And with a bit of lifting and pounding (some of the logs were nailed together with big-ass nails) and shifting we got them back into place. Now I have no more giant earth stakes to pound into the ground. I guess I can get more, but they are handy – and now I’m really glad I bought that handy little 8-lb. sledge. Phew!
We’ll do the planting and burlap and re-seeding tomorrow in the AM before it gets too hot.

On another note the big Klipsch speakers are being pushed around by the big soulless diode-driven Yamaha 7.1 surround amp with 90-watts per channel. It’s neat that with all that power you can turn them down to a whisper. Next I’ll hook-up the Sansui-snowflake to the NHT Model-2’s, and I’ll bet they perform well too. Need to get some exotic baddabinga-bongo-bongo rainforest depleting wood-veneer to re-cover the Klipsch mid 70’s toasted-oak – it would be a slick dress-up. And some short hairpin legs, the pedestal stand was hokey in construction and looks.


Going up to Chico tomorrow for a (2-HOUR) drive to see a man about a late 70’s Sansui MONSTER receiver. Lights and wavy-wand meters that go back and forth. I’m really not an Audiophile guy, my ears are tin – but/and like a ’78 Bianchi all-Campy Nuevo Record — blah-blah — it’s something I would have simply been totally unable to afford at the time as a lawnmower pusher-guy and campus food-service pot-washer. And I was a good pot-washer, and a better student than my dormitory-mates who were simply trust-fund babies awaiting their turn at the next elite enterprise job-slot. I had to work. But I was still just a chump.
My affluent College-Contemporaries bitched about the relative ~and~ competitive merits of their exotic turntables. And then here comes me: THE Doofus: scratch-scratch. I was not a very popular,, thumb-fingered guy. But all that techno-electron tail-sniffing left me in awe, because I didn’t even have a circular piece of vinyl for which to spin. I was between worlds and never had records to begin with (Records? Not even my own Immigration and Naturalization papers). People with enviable “collections” – serious the round black damn things weighed a tonne, too much, and took up too much space, but mainly they also cost too much. Stuff I did not have I also did not rally miss, because I knew at any time I could be gone and they would still be butt-sniffing. So I went to Vienna with nothing musical. Maybe I was lucky to be a fool – I was footloose and fancy free in more ways than I even knew.
But now I’m going up to look at a sound-machine of epic proportions, to drive a couple crazy speakers for the now-other house — up in the piney woods, because I have walls to paint and floors to fix, and a whole new project in which to live…….

The Center Cannot Hold

IMGP2105W. B. Yeats in 1919, the atmosphere of post-war Europe.

Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned.
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.
And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?

The middle finger always goes. Between moving rocks and yardwork this must be the fifth pair of leather gloves, nearly as many “Mechanix” type synthetics have also fallen by the wayside.
Also to the gray-goatee’d fake-factory spandex $3000 bicyclists taking up the middle of the narrow country road, yes YOU bastard Yuppie Boomers, I wave with my whole hand because the display of a single finger does not express enough contempt.

Country Livin’

Water, Waste, Trash, and Warmth. When we first moved out of the Perfect Suburban University Paradise we were uncomfortable with some of country livin’s inevitable mechanical features, such as a well and a septic tank/system. Not so much anymore.
For water there’s the “Irrigation District” piped-in water, a kind of hold-over from the old days of “Ditch Tenders,” water-rights, and mining operations – and what some still consider to be a rapine Utility just like in the old days. A lot of people up here have wells and that’s drinking water – but they need to be tested for various levels of stuff besides bacterial nasties, like iron so your pants don’t come out of the wash brown. In the current drought-conditions, some of the lower elevation wells were going-off dry or showing up muddy. In order to restore volume and flow, some people had to get another few hundred feet deep. That can get pretty expensive and I imagine that a bunch of other well-stuff gets upgraded or replaced at the same time.
Waste-systems, as a friend in MA where it’s actually pretty suburban but lacking in waste-infrastructure says, “Think of a septic system as a biological engine, and don’t throw food-scraps down the in-sink-erator disposal.” The leach-field or tank needs to be properly maintained and at a proper distance from the well. And then there’s “casual/causal waste.” Being that we produce X-amount of archaeological-worthy litter on a daily basis, where does the garbage go? Some folks also have burn-piles and on burn-days sometimes it’s smells like they’re burning old milk cartons and plastic wrap – it’s not all fragrant pines and balsam up in the woods. As discussed in comments:

Out in the sticks many driveways are practically tiny roads, too long, twisty and tight for the big waste-haulers to even navigate. If you have to push your waste-bins down a mile to the road every Thursday it gets a bit old. Lot of people have a small garden-tractor and trailer for just that. Lot of people leave the waste-bins lined-up in rows by the roadside next to the mail-boxes. Some mail-theft here too.
But still people are free to live like pigs in squalor, and you can see them from the road. Homes where garbage is piled all around, blue-tarps cover mounds of decaying old vehicles and mattresses, ancient rusting appliances dotting the landscape. I dunno, it’s either because they’re old, or just cheap, or poor, or they are hoarders who never throw anything away. We have passed-up several opportunities where the neighbors lived like pigs and too close-proximity made all the difference. I guess for some people it’s a way to prevent anybody (at least people of a certain sensibility) from even moving-in next door. Or they might just be crack-heads on Gov. assistance.

Heating. Given the sheer natural abundance of timber, wood is still a viable heating alternative to rapine utility companies like PG&E, but in an appliance-rich environment they still they mostly get the “E” out of you for lights and computers – unless you go Solar. But the cost of electricity is not so great (compared to the Expensively-Perfect Suburban Paradise), and many kitchens are all-electric. My preference is for gas wherever possible, and it can be re-plumbed to connect-up to the propane tank, because most furnaces are running on propane…

Property is Theft

“Property is Theft!” So-say the Socialists who expect other people to work hard toward the so-called “Greater Good” that they want for themselves and will kill to achieve.
And this this being the Old Gold Country, where life was cheap and the towns called “Hangtown” were so-too numerous to mention that the US Postal Office demanded it (this one anyhow) be called “Dry-Diggin’s,” instead or as opposed to Mud Diggin’s — and so finally “Placerville” instead, because of the method of placer mining. Whatever. Go enroll in the Colorado School of Mines and figure it out.
Here there were at one time VERY many independent “social equalizers” and “economic levelers” and “share-the-wealth’ers” – among whom we can count the educated and fastidious Black Bart himself (UPDATE: We know Charles E. Bowles could read and write poetry anyhow) – and many-many more other lesser non-famous types who plied the same trade of self-indulgent, semi-equalization, freelance-socialism and general spread-the-wealthism – (UPDATE: robbery) so much that the main local watering-hole was called (and still is) The Hangman’s Tree. Because the tree was there, and: Location, Location, Location. Keep your powder dry.
So lets go snag some land! Steal it as best we can. Yank it from the softly sleeping drunks and shepherds. Find a few acres. Maybe there’s still some gold up in there… It’s another kind of prospecting, and I’m bring my Sig. (UPDATE: or my .44-40 six-gun)

The Precipice and the Chasm

Descent to the PrecipiceAt the bottom of the stairs is a 5′ wide by 4′ deep flat spot going out to the edge of the precipice-property line. We begun removing the rocks and the dead stump and assorted decomposing vegetal matter and crap, careful not to damage the drip-line and PVC. There were an assortment of dead stumps I think, layers of decomposition – and roots and other matter. On the top was a tuft of lavender, thin roots twined between rocks gathering moisture. In order to provide screening for the neighbors it seems we are destined to repeat this attempt at planting with a red oleander – the hole chasm is about knee ankle-deep at the moment and I’m still unearthing fragments of root and previous plant-life. Tomorrow we will plant the oleander and water, and run fresh drip-line hoses and emitters.Chasm

UPDATE: The PVC dripper came off in my hands as I dug away at the dirt beneath. Time for glue. Three other pipes besides #5 run up the hillside, for Stations #6, #7, and #8 – and I left them alone. The hole got bigger as I dug away the semi-decomposed root structure, and when I ran the water to clear out the lline the hole filled rapidly – and held… So… we dumped two buckets of earth back in and placed the oleander off to one side for better screening. The ground around is mushy and spongy to walk-on – like quicksand as the water doesn’t absorb into the clay soil very quickly.
Anyhow done for now.Oleander No.1