Desert Cat's Paradise
"The prudent see danger and take refuge, but the simple keep going and suffer for it." - Proverbs 27:12.
Friday, April 30, 2010
How many people do you know who would replace their vehicle's water pump on their lunch break, in the parking lot, at work?Comments
Necessity is the mother of awesomeness. (And I am nothing if not awesome.)
posted by Desert Cat @ 8:02 PM | permalink
Thursday, April 29, 2010Comments
posted by Desert Cat @ 8:05 AM | permalink
Wednesday, April 28, 2010Comments
posted by Desert Cat @ 6:04 PM | permalink
Tuesday, April 27, 2010
A collection of cheery news for your Tuesday afternoon, courtesy of survivalblog.com:Comments
Hidden Employment Pain
Over half of all US households are impacted by job losses.
Forget 10% Unemployment, The Real Job Loss Pain Number Is 54%
Official government statistics mask the truth...
US Food Inflation Spiraling Out of Control
Expect this huge spike in producer prices to translate into retail food inflation soon:
Market Skeptics: US Food Inflation Spiraling Out of Control
Housing Crash, Part 2
Now that 1) the foreclosure moratorium has expired, 2) the $8000 first time homebuyer credit is about to expire, and 3) banks are flush with bailout cash and fresh derivatives trading cash, expect another sharp drop in house prices as a huge wave of foreclosed properties is processed into the market.
The Housing Crash Has Just Started
posted by Desert Cat @ 5:25 PM | permalink
I stopped by the house in Tucson this morning to shut the gas appliances off again. I had turned them on for the last inspection and the failed deal. To save gas, the pilots are off again until needed.Comments
It is...very difficult for me to contemplate losing the place. It is "my place" still, and it sings to me of the memories of my fourteen years there. And of my life with Daisycat during those years. Only the good remains, when walking through those rooms. The rest just isn't part of the consciousness of the place. Especially since we no longer live together, it is poignant.
And all of my plans and dreams and labors--I am so totally soaked into that place, that it is like losing a limb or two to have it wrested away. My recent labors to make it more salable only make it worse. The brick patio by the dining room doors--so long a part of my plans and alive in my imagination--is now real, and waiting for a new owner to appreciate it. And the fresh paint in the living room makes it so warm and inviting. But for one cause or another, potential buyers come and go and fade away.
posted by Desert Cat @ 9:18 AM | permalink
Sunday, April 25, 2010
Last week I ordered the turbine vents that go on the top of my solar thermal towers. They arrived this weekend.Comments
Somehow I will get those turbines up on the top of that tower.
I get dizzy thinking about it...
I purchased the remaining long 2x4's I need for the second half of the tower. Because I was fighting off what seems like a flu infection this weekend, I only got them glued together into the L-shaped members. This was the minimum I needed to do so that they would not warp as they dried, as did the previous batch.
Last week I also finally ordered the rechargeable NiMH battery charger that runs off 12 volt power, that I have had on my preparedness list for quite a while now. This will permit me to keep certain portable devices running without the need to convert my solar battery power to 120 volt first, and then back down to battery charging voltage. This is much more efficient. The unit, an Accupower Accumanager 20, also has circuitry that prevents the memory effect in batteries.
I finally got around to mowing the garden paths again, so now it looks like a garden and not a massive weed patch. In the beds I planted last fall, the vetch is still blooming, but coming near the end of it's cycle. The Austrian peas however, are looking more vigorous and are just now starting to bloom. Recall I was discounting them as a cover crop last time we visited the garden, because they were not as vigorous as the vetch. I may have to reconsider...
Here is one of the beds I planted this spring. The wheat and daikon are dominating right now. But down below, the other plants are still getting their footing.
Up close you can see in addition to the wheat and daikon, the vetch is getting established, and the fava beans are slowly getting going. I expect to be able to leave these beds alone through much of the summer.
Here is my Baart wheat under reemay. You may recall the remay-covered hoop was supposed to keep the cats out of the bed. We can see how well that worked...
Meanwhile over in the wheat field, the mystery burn-out patch continues to pose a mystery. Momcat did a quick test of the pH, and it is the same in both the flourishing and the burned out area. I notice that the sahara mustard is equally stunted where it is trying to grow in the burned out area.
I am leaning toward believing the burro-weed that grew here before put out a suppressive chemical into the soil (allelochemicals), much as creosote bush, oleander and eucalyptus do. If so, it will break down over time, and also with the addition of organic material it will dilute faster. If it is not burro weed (Isocoma tenuisecta), then it remains a complete mystery. Indeed, a search on burro weed does not show any pages that mention an allelopathic characteristic to the plant. Perhaps that will be an experiment for another season--deliberately mix in chopped burro weed to one small square of soil and plant wheat over that square and an adjacent unadulterated square and see what happens...
posted by Desert Cat @ 7:35 PM | permalink
Saturday, April 24, 2010
It is all in a bill introduced by John *spit* McCain and Joe Lieberman:Comments
A Detention Bill You Ought to Read More Carefully - Politics - The Atlantic
A close reading of the bill suggests it would allow the U.S. military to detain U.S. citizens without trial indefinitely in the U.S. based on suspected activity.
This bill would allow the government to round us up and herd us into detention camps, stripping us of all rights under the Constitution, without any right to trial, as if we were "enemy combatants" rounded up on the hills of Afghanistan.
You thought we were looney for being concerned about such things, hm?
Where is your "savior" Obama now, libs? What has he done about Guantanamo? What will he do about this?
Nothing, is the answer. He's worse than useless.
posted by Desert Cat @ 7:56 PM | permalink
Thursday, April 22, 2010
How an Icelandic volcano helped spark the French Revolution | World news | The Guardian
The British naturalist Gilbert White described that summer in his classic Natural History of Selborne as "an amazing and portentous one … the peculiar haze, or smokey fog, that prevailed for many weeks in this island, and in every part of Europe, and even beyond its limits, was a most extraordinary appearance, unlike anything known within the memory of man.
Add this to the list of possible TEOTWAWKI triggers.
posted by Desert Cat @ 6:05 PM | permalink
The Goldman-Sachs/Obama Administration Connection
posted by Desert Cat @ 5:07 PM | permalink
The buyer's lender came back with even more ridiculous conditions. We said 'fugghedaboudit'.
The foreclosure sale date is set. We'll see. Maybe a better offer will come in without FHA loan officers doing all they can to sabotage a realistic sale price. Otherwise the bank gets to try their hand at selling it in this lousy market.
Good luck guys...
posted by Desert Cat @ 4:03 PM | permalink
Next financial Crisis is about to emergeComments
This is the proverbial "other shoe" in the global financial meltdown. This is Katla to October 2008's Eyjafjallajokull. It's been a long time coming. Maybe now, maybe not? With Goldman Sachs trembling, this is now a logical trigger point.
posted by Desert Cat @ 11:15 AM | permalink
"That's the saddest sound I know..."
Daily earworm for your enjoyment. Yep, this came rattling out of the nether recesses of my cranium this morning in the shower. It's been clanging around back there for decades.
But something has been eating me like a liver fluke for those same decades: WHAT is that last thing the bunny says just before he slups the Quik?!! It sounds like "doh bee dee oh". I never understood it, and still can't, and I do NOT WANT TO GO TO MY GRAVE NOT UNDERSTANDING!!
Those nice young men in their clean white coats, they're coming to take me away...ha ha hee hee hey hey
posted by Desert Cat @ 8:07 AM | permalink
posted by Desert Cat @ 7:42 AM | permalink
Wednesday, April 21, 2010
...rain in the valley.Comments
Last weekend temperatures were pushing toward 90.
I'm glad I did not ride the scooter today!
posted by Desert Cat @ 9:44 PM | permalink
Tuesday, April 20, 2010
Eyjafjallajokull volcano produces lightning storms as well as lava and ash fountains:Comments
Update: And many more...
posted by Desert Cat @ 9:19 AM | permalink
Monday, April 19, 2010Comments
posted by Desert Cat @ 9:39 PM | permalink
Browsing Leslie's place is hazardous! The place is infested with earworms! Last week she posted the "literal version" of this video, and the song has been stuck in my head for days.Comments
They say the best way to clear an earworm is to pass it along.
Oogah Chakka Oogah Chakka Oogah Oogah Oogah Chakka
Oh, and if you go over there, check out the Street Legal Bumper Cars. Want!
posted by Desert Cat @ 8:44 PM | permalink
Laugh/cry line of the day, courtesy of MarkkuKoponen at Vox PopoliComments
posted by Desert Cat @ 8:20 PM | permalink
Sunday, April 18, 2010
Friday saw the first half of the tower raised successfully.Comments
This time I fastened the embedded anchors to the bottom of the tower before attempting to raise it. Li'l Kitty did a fine job of pulling it up. If I may say so, it looks a dang sight taller once raised, than it did on the ground! Call it Desert Cat's Folly, if you must. I am not looking forward to having to climb all the way up there somehow to mount the turbine.
Saturday was car repair day. I took my Mitzi in to have her brakes looked at about a year ago. I thought at the time that the master cylinder was suspect. They replaced the pads and shoes, fiddled with the brake adjusters and set the parking brake tension correctly, and declared it good to go.
At the time I was shocked to see that they had not flushed the muddy, obviously contaminated brake fluid that I'd purchased the car with. Isn't that standard procedure when it looks filthy and contaminated?
Well it seemed fine for a number of months, but lately the same pedal screwiness began again. When braking lightly, then releasing, the pedal would go soft and head toward the floor when I pressed it again more firmly. If I pressed it firmly to start with it was fine, and if I pumped it once, it came back up. There were no leaks anywhere. By my diagnosis, it was the master cylinder.
The new one arrived this week, so I drained the old one prior to pulling it out. This is the coffee colored sludge in the bottom of the reservoir:
By way of comparison, here is the new one with fresh brake fluid. If it doesn't look like this, there is a problem.
This work was actually a snap. The most arduous part was the bleeding--I had purchased a vacuum pump with a reservoir to try and do a one-man brake bleeding job, but I had to call Daisycat over to help with the traditional pump-and-hold method on the back brake cylinders. Coffee-colored fluid came out of all the bleeder holes. I can hardly believe they did jack to the hydraulic system when they replaced the brakes. Quite irresponsible if you ask me. "If you want it done right..." yeah yeah. The other benefit is that the part cost me only $60 or so. I would have probably paid $500 to have a shop do the replacement. A test drive to town showed everything feeling back to normal. update: I must say again how squee it is to have enclosed space to work on my vehicles! (Is it ok for a guy to squee about guy things? Or is that too metro?)
This was actually the first time Daisycat has been out here in over three months. Today she practiced archery, and I helped her adjust the sights and work on a more consistent shooting form.
Later this evening after she left, I did some cooking--breaded pork loin cutlets with rice and vegetables:
Put together into containers, and I have fifteen lunches for myself!
Labels: San Pedro homestead
posted by Desert Cat @ 8:57 PM | permalink
Friday, April 16, 2010
The Legendary Velociman appears to be single and searching. Based upon his latest post, I have taken the liberty of writing a personals ad for him:Comments
Shiftless asshole seeks tattoo-free, slightly addle-pated woman with the breasts of Jayne Mansfield, Tourette Syndrome, a penny lodged in the cognitive portion of her brain, and the vagina of a circus midget. Object: Church attendance and horsewhipping.
Update: No disrespect intended whatsoever--I love the guy. But when a man begins to wax maudlin over his romantic prospects, some light joshing and ribbing is the *minimum* required antidote. A better response is to drag his mopey ass to a hookup scene, fortify him with a stiff drink down the gullet, and point him in the direction of the nearest hotties. Lather, rinse, and repeat until he makes a connection.
posted by Desert Cat @ 8:59 AM | permalink
Thursday, April 15, 2010
Men: Change your life--embrace your inner asshole.Comments
more... and more
"...but...but...WHO WILL BE MY EMOTIONAL TAMPON THEN??!"
Sorry babe, someone besides me.
posted by Desert Cat @ 4:02 PM | permalink
After several days of contemplating this tragedy, and reading accounts of what led to it, I cannot help but think that this event does nothing to dispel the predominant stereotype associated with Poles.Comments
Polish president dies in plane crash after pilot ignored warning not to land - Times Online
I am inclined to tilt an ear in the direction of the conspiracy theorists, given Russia's recent history, but I have a feeling the black boxes will reveal nothing more than the sad results of stubborn hubris in the face of known peril--otherwise known as stupidity.
posted by Desert Cat @ 7:54 AM | permalink
Wednesday, April 14, 2010
Labels: felicity and jocularity
posted by Desert Cat @ 4:32 PM | permalink
IMF Bailout For Greece To Come At SDR Rate Plus 300 bps Plus 50 bps Service Charge, Greece Says "Thank You US Taxpayers" | zero hedgeComments
File this note away with the others, for when it comes time to tie nooses for the the hanging tree.
posted by Desert Cat @ 2:50 PM | permalink
Monday, April 12, 2010
After a lengthy discussion about the bond market and the potential implications of the numbers not adding up, the author of this piece adds the following at the end of his article:Comments
The Fed's Shell Game Continues... -- Seeking Alpha
That is exactly the territory where great fortunes are made and lost. At the very least, my wish is for you to preserve what you have and to be able to maintain an even keel and positive outlook, no matter what the future brings.
There you have it--yet another economist turned preparedness enthusiast.
posted by Desert Cat @ 1:43 PM | permalink
Sunday, April 11, 2010
I worked all weekend assembling one half of the tower (nails, screws, and Gorilla Glue), priming and painting it, then this afternoon I rolled it out to raise it up.
Desert Cat 0
Bugger, it's an unwieldy thing! I thought I had devised an excellent solution, running a rope from the top of the tower, across the roof and down to attach to my Li'l Kitty (mini dozer). It started well, but then the tower decided to take a detour into a tree off to one side. My problem is that I should have anchored it with a couple lag bolts at the bottom. As it was, the bottom was sitting in the brackets I cast into the slab, but that was not enough to constrain it from going sideways if it took a fancy to do so.
And it did.
The only damage besides scuffs and scratches was a crack in the lateral support at the top. A bit o' Gorilla Glue and a clamp will fix that. But I was out of energy, out of time, and astonishingly sore and tired by this time. So, next weekend we try again, this time with the base bolted down.
Labels: San Pedro homestead
posted by Desert Cat @ 7:36 PM | permalink
Wednesday, April 07, 2010
In a fiat money economy run by a private banking cartel such as we have in the United States, money is created as needed out of thin air (by writing debt instruments), ostensibly to serve the needs of an ever expanding economy. In short, money is an obligation to pay. It is not a store of anything of value, except as a short term medium of exchange.Comments
This system is inherently inflationary. That is to say, when a fixed amount of dollar debt is created, the obligation is to repay the original dollars PLUS a certain amount of interest. So where do the dollars come from that are required to pay the interest? From additional debt that is issued (dollars created)! This leads to two more facts: 1) The rate at which new debt is created to pay interest on old debt has an exponential curve. 2) In the aggregate, there exists no mechanism whatsoever to repay the debt.
This chart shows total public debt over time:
In a healthy, functioning economy, this state of affairs can persist for a long time. The value of innovations, productivity increases, etc. are funneled into the economy at one end, and siphoned out of the economy as profits to the bankers at the other end. As long as the mules are willing to try ever harder, pulling the cart that the bankers have hitched them to, the economy grows, even as the debt grows, and people can take home their paychecks, buy their trinkets, and call themselves "happy".
This chart shows the growth of gross domestic product over time:
Both charts seem to show exponential growth (in dollar-denominated amounts). However what is not so easy to see is that the RATE of growth over time between the charts is not the same.
In order to illustrate this relationship, the following chart shows the ratio of rate of increase of GDP to the rate of increase of debt. Another way to put this is, how much new economic output (in dollars) does each dollar of new debt generate?
Back in 1960's there was nearly an additional 90 cents worth of new GDP generated for every dollar injected into the economy. Keynesian monetary policy worked like a charm! That stimulative effect has decreased over time, so that in recent years there has been only a 20-30 cent increase in production for every new dollar injected into the system. Clearly this shows that the growth of the economy has not been keeping pace with the growth of the money supply. Or another way, it has become harder and harder for the Keynesian "push" to have an effect on the economy. Austrians would point out that this indicates deeper and deeper levels of malinvestment being built up that put a chokehold on real prosperity. Clearly the situation is untenable, as something is likely to happen as that 1:1 ratio is approached.
Well something did, indeed happen, starting in late 2008! The system collapsed, so that every new dollar injected into the economic system actually REDUCES OUTPUT BY ALMOST FIFTY CENTS!
Think about that for a minute. Even if you did not understand all of what I wrote so far, think about that! All these massive bailouts and TARPS and "quantitative easing" have injected HUGE quantities of new public debt into the system. Instead of stimulating the economy it is choking it!
This chart of the M1 multiplier effect shows the same trend:
Money injected into the system has a negative effect on the M1 measure of money (cash and cash-equivalents). This also suggests that the bankers who control the system are systematically siphoning off the last of the value out of this system before it blows up completely.
I am not an economist, but I cannot see any way out for the dollar. It is finished as a currency. It is only a matter of time as all the CPR and electric shocks and bellows inflating the corpse fail. In fact the "medics" administering this aid are actually hard at work drawing out the blood and dissecting the twitching corpse for harvestable organs!
I will leave you to fasten your tinfoil hats and fill in the rest...
Update: Ok if I were a preacher, I would be guilty of failing to give you a Practical Application. So here it is: Repudiate Your Debts, Get Out Of Dodge.
You know what has happened. You know we've reached debt saturation. You know our financial system is on artificial life support and destined for collapse. When it does, it will be ugly. What do you do about it?
You will be out ahead of the curve if you step off the dock and into the surf first. You get to swim away safely while the masses huddled on the dock cling for dear life to their credit cards and mortgages and car payments and precious, precious Sacred Credit Rating, until it is too late. The dock is going to collapse into the ocean anyway, and a whole lot of people will drown. The big institutions will repudiate their debt and or file for bankruptcy, and you want to get out ahead of the meltdown event.
1) Tally up your debt payments. What is your total monthly obligation? Include *all* payments, including your mortgage. Subtract that number from your monthly take-home pay. That is the amount you are currently living on now. That covers (hopefully) all of your monthly needs, but probably leaves you no room to do anything to prepare for the calamity that's just out ahead, let alone prepare for a comfortable retirement someday (if such a someday could still come).
2) Look at that monthly take home pay again. Ask yourself what could you do with that, if you had all of that to spend on preparations. Subtract the cost of renting if you want to get a decent place to live before you lose your credit rating. (Getting an apartment or house to rent after your credit rating is in the basement will be more difficult.) Figure out what you can do with what is left each month to get yourself in a better position ahead of the collapse. Go to survivalblog.com for details on how to convert your soon-to-be-worthless Federal Reserve Notes to hard assets that will help you survive.
3) Take all of your dollar-denominated assets that you can get to, (including retirement accounts that you can access without quitting your job), and start doing the same. Don't just consider the three-B's of survival (beans, bullets and bandaids), but consider purchasing capital equipment that will enable you to survive and prosper in a post-collapse world. Make sure you can feed yourself after your short-term stores are used up first. Then think about what skills you have and what tools and equipment you would need to covert those skills to a marketable trade. Consider crafts, trade skills in the context of basic survival needs. Consider the possibility of limited or no power (think hand tools necessary to accomplish your work).
4) Before you repudiate a single penny, go get Richard Geller's course on credit card debt relief. You do not want to do it wrong, and there are several things you *must* do if you want to swim away from the dock safely and not drown in the breakers. (I have no business relationship with Mr. Geller. I am just a happy customer of his.) You do *not* want to file for bankruptcy. For most people it is still a raw deal that leaves you stuck in the jaws of the Beast. There is a better way.
5) Get busy getting the heck out of dodge and fashioning the framework for a post-collapse life!
You may have ethical and/or moral questions about walking away from Babylon. I do too, given how deeply we all are indoctrinated into obedience to our overlords. But remember that we are facing the end of things as they have always been. You are in a burning building. Do you rush for the exits, or do you stay in your seat because you've been told it's the "right thing to do"?
"Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues." Revelation 18:4
posted by Desert Cat @ 12:05 PM | permalink
Normally I wouldn't bookmark or blog a specific post at SurvivalBlog.com for something I want to refer back to later. I just make a mental note, since the search feature at that site works just fine.Comments
But when/if I can get around to having money for another gun, it will be a Saiga 12.
Meet the Saiga Family, by Brett G. - SurvivalBlog.com
There is a link to Dinzag Arms in that post, and looking over some of the custom configurations possible, I felt my pulse quicken, my breathing deepen, and a familiar tingle in my midsection.
Yea, the effectiveness of a Saiga 12 for close quarters combat is the stuff of wet dreams.
If I do eventually get one, I will need to attend a few 3-gun matches at PPC, register as "open class" and have my thrills with the steel. I probably won't place well, since the rest of my guns are not up to "open class" speed, but that wouldn't be the point... :-)
posted by Desert Cat @ 10:15 AM | permalink
Tuesday, April 06, 2010
"We are truly living in a post-republican age of American corpocracy. Not only is there no equality before the law, but it is clear that artificial persons and individuals of political influence are now regularly granted rights, privileges, and immunities that are denied to the citizenry."Comments
Eighty years ago this was lauded as the new way of the future, hailed by Progressives worldwide and called Fascism (before the name became tainted by Hitler's madness).
True free-market conservatives have always stood against this wedding of state and corporate power, and the reason it is hard to tell if Obama is pushing corporatism or socialism is that the two are *both* progressive ideologies and are far more akin to feuding cousins than diametrically opposed mortal enemies.
The true opposite of both corporatism (fascism) and socialism (Marxism) is free-market libertarian populism.
"Leave us the hell alone to live our lives and form our business and personal relationships in the manner that We The People so choose to ourselves! No special favors for *anyone*! No accumulation of power to be used contrary to the Will of the People!"
The state has a vital role in providing for the common defense. The judiciary can play an important role in adjudicating between parties regarding contractual agreements, and in prosecuting actual, real crimes (such as murder, theft, etc, versus statutory "crimes"). Very little else (nothing beyond the enumerated powers laid out in the Constitution) is a necessary role of the state. Any more substantial role will inexorably lead, in time, to the Corporate State Monster we are watching brazenly flashed before us today.
Conservatives and liberals can *both* unite against this monster under the banner of libertarian populism. Our respective parties are *both* responsible for its creation, and only a united front has the slightest prayer of defeating it.
But of course it is in the interests of the oligarchs to keep us divided and at each other's throats, so that they are free to continue building their dystopia unimpeded by the squeaks from the rabble.
posted by Desert Cat @ 8:17 AM | permalink
Monday, April 05, 2010
...has been tendered and accepted on the Tucson house.Comments
There are a lot of delicate and complicated steps to negotiate between here and closing--far more than with an ordinary sale. Your prayers are appreciated.
Labels: house for sale
posted by Desert Cat @ 5:12 PM | permalink
Demand for gasoline and other petroleum products is down and supplies are up. This should be leading to lower prices. But as happened in 2008, Big Banking is artificially driving up prices by speculating in oil and gasoline futures. AS with everything they have been doing lately, this is creating a tremendous distortion of free market realities, and it comes at a steepening cost to the American people and could very well choke off any nascent economic recovery.Comments
Wall Street is driving up oil prices - Oil & energy- msnbc.com
Of course, my take on this is that it will again come back and bite them in the ass when the much fantasized economic recovery fails to materialize. The only "recovery" is seen in data that reflects government stimulus efforts (which will run out) and temporary hiring for the census (which will end). There is no nascent recovery, and as soon as that reality hits home, prices will likely crash again as they did at the end of 2008.
Last time they tried to deny it was speculation that drove the oil price bubble. This time we have a history to point back to.
In other news: pigs are observed flying over DC.
Obama To Open Large Swaths to Offshore Oil Drilling
I see Karl Rove is still wielding his Evil Mind Control Ray Machine (TM).
posted by Desert Cat @ 5:06 PM | permalink
Saturday, April 03, 2010
Friday was "finish filing the taxes" day in the morning. Then in the afternoon a big pile of packages arrived--stuff I'd ordered last week. There were motorcycle parts, and I was going to get on finishing the tune-up that I started last weekend. But then I noticed my clover seed had arrived.Comments
I ordered Strawberry Palestine clover and Birdsfoot Trefoil. It is high time to get this seeded so I grabbed a rake and the seed and headed to my wheat field. I alternated seeding these two varieties into every other bed of the wheat. To cover the seed, I tapped the soil with the tooth edge of a garden rake and pulled the rake in tapping steps across the bed. The wheat was not at all disturbed at the roots by this, and it is still short enough that the tops just passed through the tines like hair through a comb. The clover seed on the other hand, got some scuffled soil to mix into. After I was done I set the sprinkler on the patch to soak it all down and settle it in. I expect to begin seeing sprouts by the end of next weekend.
There is something wrong with the soil in a portion of my wheat patch. Maybe 20% of the patch is growing poorly and looking drought (or?) stressed, while the rest is growing lushly. It is primarily where a shallow wash used to run through. It is possible the soil there is sandier (and thus prone to drying out faster), and it is definitely rockier. I also suspect there may be something more--perhaps some residual portland cement got washed in there when the well was drilled some ten years ago, or some other chemicals used in the well drilling. That wash would have carried any runoff from the well drilling operation. It is also possible that some of the desert weeds that were growing there before left a growth inhibiting compound behind (there are several that will do that). We'll see how it does as the season progresses.
Saturday morning was Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance. I put in the new air filter, cleaned a breather filter, put in the new battery and spark plug, then took a ride into town after lunch. The wildflowers were phenomenal around the roadsides, so after I returned I played hooky from other projects and took a walk to see the show.
Sunday Momcat and I enjoyed the first of the chickens we prepared and froze last fall for our Resurrection Sunday dinner. Mom was afraid it might be tough since they were not cooped as tightly as factory-grown chicken. But it was not. In fact it was as tender as could be expected of any chicken, and substantially more flavorful than factory chicken to boot! If all you've ever eaten is hormone-laden six-weeks from hatch to slaughter turbo-inflated chicken, you have no idea what real, good chicken tastes like. The remainder will become some marvelous chicken soup. In addition to cranberry and stuffing, we had squash from last year's harvest that had been preserved by dehydrating. Reconstituted and baked with butter and maple syrup, it was quite good. Different than fresh squash, but really as good in its own way.
I also got started on the construction of the solar chimney towers. You may recall I purchased some of the lumber I needed last week. I mentioned how straight and perfect the 16-foot 2x4's were.
I glanced at them this weekend and noticed crooks and twists in the boards. They were wet-green in the store and had begun drying out where I left them, warping as they went. Dang. I wasn't planning on doing anything with them until I had all the boards I need. What was at the store this week was not worth sifting through for usable boards, so I was going to wait another week. Not possible. I needed to get these assembled ASAP to retard further warping. I did so, completing the assembly of two 32-foot long L-beams, and then clamping them together to help straighten them.
I also put pipe clamps on either end and weighted the pipes with concrete blocks, to twist the beams back in the opposite direction than they wanted to twist. I am hoping as they finish drying they will tend to retain the shape they are clamped in. If not, I will need to work to straighten the warps as I complete the tower assembly.
Elsewhere, the winter cover crop beds containing Lana Vetch and Austrian Winter Peas are overflowing with lush growth. A note to myself for the future--the vetch is by far the more vigorous of the two. It may pay to plant it by itself or with something like rye or wheat to give it something to climb on. The peas would probably do better in better soil, but what I have is what I am starting with.
Labels: San Pedro homestead
posted by Desert Cat @ 7:05 PM | permalink
As promised last week, I took a walk to go see the wildflowers in bloom on the hillsides. As it turns out however, I did not have to walk across the river to get to some. I noticed the hillside across the street had some patches of yellow from a distance, so I grabbed a bottle of water and my camera and headed over to take a look. (As a reminder, all pics can be clicked to embiggen--in fact most of them cannot be properly appreciated unless you do.)Comments
I encountered this massive cholla, laden with green fruit, and holding out armfuls of it like a street vendor.
Up ahead is my destination. It looks promising.
The saguaros in this valley are every bit as thick and healthy as those in the Saguaro National Monument near Tucson
Sure enough, the golden hue to the hillside from a distance turns out to be poppies!
Hordes of them!
Plus owl clover, little daisy-shaped flowers, blue-purple flowers to make a natural bouquet.
Farther up I climb, and come upon a field of lupine and poppies together, plus some owl clover.
Baja fairy duster
Another reason I have wanted to climb this hill for a while is to determine its value as a watch post. Here's looking south toward the Smallhouse ranch. Notice the golden and purplish hues on some of the far hillsides? More wildflower gardens!
Heaven help the MZB's who would ever consider overruning my place. If I survive first contact and make it out of there armed, I could pick them off from the hillsides and they'd never know what hit them.
Ocotillo blossoms are budding out, preparing to bloom in a week or two.
On the way down I wandered into another field of poppies, sat down for a while amidst the golden waves, and listened to the buzz of bees softly whispering from every direction.
I should have been in bliss, but I wasn't. I got to thinking and became profoundly sad. I am sitting alone in the midst of this little sliver of paradise, rather than with one I love. Daisycat? No, she never comes to the farm anymore. She'd rather spend her weekends shooting arrows with her new Harley Davidson buddies. Or anything really, but to be the "suitable helper" (Genesis 2:18) she was meant to be.
Supposedly I should spend my weekends in the city, tagging along behind her like a puppy on a string. Supposedly I "work too much" and should make a 110 mile, 3 hour round trip in the middle of the weekend to tickle her fancy.
It's like she does not read this weblog, and does not know how deeply felt is the renewal I receive spending time out here in the country where I live. *Anything* I spend time doing out here is more refreshing than *any* recreation I might do in the city. Not to mention she is still my wife (at least on paper) and rather than me tagging behind her, she is *supposed* to be following me. She failed to follow me out here when I moved, citing various pissy excuses and supposedly insurmountable logistical challenges. Now she moans to her friends, coworkers and church acquaintances about how I'm not part of her life.
Come on out, babe. The country is fine.
posted by Desert Cat @ 4:27 PM | permalink
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