Saturday, June 26, 2010

Short Post

It's late and I don't have any noteworthy observations, reflections or questions. I have been getting fishing hardware together in anticipation of 4 July guests. One of the old reels, a Shakespeare spin cast, dates from 1959 and sold then for 24.95. What's that in today's dollars? When Mary and I were in college days in the early seventies, you could buy a Taco Bell burrito for a quarter. When I was a kid in the late 60s, we'd buy a basket of fried shrimp and fries at a place called "59". Guess how much the basket cost. And the last blast from the past; Mary and I rented our first apartment in Austin, Texas for $100 a month.

More meaningful blogs to come!

Friday, June 25, 2010

Return of the Monsoons?

I don't know where the day went. It started at 1:00 a.m. followed by some tossing and turning before getting up to do some incidental reading (Seven Disciplines of Strengthening Instruction by Tony Wagner). I also perused the Lynda.com on-line software training site. I got a 30 day trial from (re)registering my Adobe CS3 software bundle. I started watching Filemaker Pro training video to learn about using he client software as a limited DB server. I got back to bed around 3:00 a.m.

When I awoke I went straight to work on a dragging assignment for my day job as federal grants application coordinator. My goal was to get the damn thing done Friday 11 June, but only today did the grant account send the spreadsheet I need to code the grant narrative with the right grants fiscal spreadsheet line items. Tedious stuff.

I started to clear out the potato cellar shelves of junk hardware, never getting to the work to nail down loose tin panels that flap in the wind and annoy the neighbor. It got cloudy and rained like it hasn't done in a while with clouds rolling in and gathering mid-day then roiling to a thunderstorm and some showers. It is raining again at 9:30 p.m.!

I started trimming the dead wood off a lilac bush in front of my study. The top is overgrown and full of dead branches which do not let the new growth underneath catch any sun. A bush should be trimmed more narrowly at the top to let sun hit the lower sections, This one looks like a cheap haircut. I need a truck!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

The lure of the river

I have managed to fish a time or two during the last few days. During that time I snagged two lures on the river bottom. Rather than lose the lures, I reeled in the line to some tension and tied the line to a nearby tree branch. I thought I could go back and wade in to retrieve them. When I heard that Eve and Ian were going to the river, I asked her to find the tied lines and retrieve the lures for me. She found the lines, but reported that she could only find slack line with no lures.

The river is dropping quickly. When Mary and I came to the Pipe Dream West over the Memorial Day weekend, the river ran very hard and very muddy. Now it is low and clear, but the current is still swift. This kinetic energy unraveled the simple knot tied into the thin, 6 pound line or perhaps it snapped the line -- I don't know since it I couldn't say how much line was on each lure to compare against how much line Eve returned to me.

I can attest to the force of the river since for the first time ever I waded past the banks to cast upstream in hopes of catching one more fish. Mary joined me on the mule after I came by the Pipe Dream Rancwith some lunch for her and I to share.h (That is what I call Nat's place, we are the Pipe Dream West.) While she took a call from Claire, I stepped out and very soon snagged a 14" brown trout. On a side note, I must mentioned that I dispatched the trout in what has been described as the most humane way by striking it behind the head with a short iron rod.

Unfortunately, I overcooked the fish due to leaving it on the grill much too long on a much too high heat. The propane tank has lit and flamed too low before. After two re-lights that resulted in less than 200 degree cooking temperature, I re-lit a 3rd time and decided to leave the fish on the grill for what I thought would remain low heat. Instead the flame returned and the bottom side was rendered mealy and tasteless. Fortunately, the top side was OK! Eve joined me in the repast which accompanied the pasta and cheese sauce I prepared for Mary.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Speaking of the water table...

A septic tank contractor came to Grandma Nat's house with a backhoe to determine how close to the surface is the water table. Hanging on the outcome was whether the septic tank replacement (not repair -- $5,000 something bucks) could proceed as the usual and customary tank and leach field system or an "engineered system" requiring an additional tank by which the filth would be pumped up to the above ground leach field. [Three rules of plumbing - water runs down hill, don't chew your fingernails and payday is Friday.]

What would normally be underground and only visible by the taller grass and blooming daisies now stands to stand some 4 feet or higher and of some substantial dimensions to raise the aerobic activity (a nice way to put it) well above the water table -- think, the mausoleum of shit standing tall and proud across the yard and through the years, probably suitable for king of the hill type push off games by the younger cousins, but always a silent reminder of shared bacterial activity between the house and one's bowels.

More about watering -- reminds me of the work Mary has put into picking up sticks, watering and mowing the grand yard of the grand one who may not make it to the ranch this summer. We expect some immediate family visitations, but the more distant tribes stay away in droves due to more attractive pastimes in their region and the sentinel mosquitos and whistle pigs who stand (3rd use this post) guard over the wide skies and fields of the Pipe Dream Ranch and Pipe Dream West. We are talking about 10% humidity, 40 degrees difference between day and night with persistent daytime winds that mummify sentient life.

Finally, about water, I spent time replacing a pressure tank (almost 400 honking dollars) on the PDWest to attempt to increase the flow to the shower. The results were disappointing, but the work was needed as the old tank held zero pounds of pressure compared to the 28 lbs. to match the 30 lbs. pressure switch cut-on threshold. After replacing galvanized pipe nipples (don't snicker or giggle), union joints, street elbows and the like. I got only the satisfaction of a necessary job finished. Last think to mention is the replacement of a cracked toilet tank in the PDR loft.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Mowing the Lawn

Today Mary mowed the south lawn, down the bluff by the now decrepit chicken coop and stable. The lawn mower was cranky, ran out of gas just before she finished the last spot by the old swing set. The oil was low when we pulled it out of the potato cellar, but after re-filling it ran fine and held level on the dipstick. I had to clean the air filter AND spray some starter fluid into the carburetor to get it going again, but it held out longer than Mary as she was too tired to finish the dusty area across the chicken coop.

Water makes a tremendous difference. We had left the sprinkler on leaving after Memorial Day back to Loveland. The neighbor lady next door called me to ask about the water Eve apparently left on after she left - we didn't ask her to shut it. When we returned, the circle of grass clearly stood out within the larger space of brown and lifeless ground. It has been windy and sunny following high temperatures several weeks ago that resulted in snow pack melt that rushed rivers and streams across the region. Water is life. We are lucky to be close to the water table.

Monday, June 21, 2010

It's the longest day of the year, so I figured I had time to start a blog. We're back on the Pipe Dream West in the San Luis Valley, USA from our new home in Loveland, CO. This year marks the 20th anniversary of our arrival to Colorado from hot, old Texas. We arrived in 1990 on Father's Day with three school age children and one toddler, Jessica, Hannah, Shane and Claire. Mary was pregnant with our only native, Eve, born on a cold night during a winter marked by many weeks of 20 below zero nights. Like that year in 1990, the summer days are still windy.

Today Mary and I drove the [Kawasaki] Mule down to the river. I told her I'd only go to wade into the river to retrieve two fishing lures I'd lost. Yesterday, I followed Mary and Eve (the native) on the Mule while they walked to Nat Sr.s home on the riverbank. I caught one fish which wound up to become fish tostadas. Catching a larger trout today led me to investigate how to humanely kill a caught fist The most humane way may be to whack them behind the neck!