Monday, June 13, 2016

Project yard reclamation continues

It's been almost 2 years since I signed on the cabin property. Time flies and the project list still has some things on it from 2 years ago. Some of those will be handled this year, some are more of wish list items (bathroom remodel) that cost more than we are willing to part with unless things settle down in the world. Yard reclamation is a this year cross off.

This weekend gave me one day at the cabin and one in the city (someone can't say  no to house/dog sitting apparently). I had to work smart and fast but I also decided it was too nice not to go for a run. I had a couple from work staying at the cabin so we ran together and when we all made it back it was time to get dirty. It was dry this weekend so I was able to make headway with reclaiming the yard.

To the right of that pile of dirt and ash it used to be waist high weeds and sticker bushes. We need to get rid of the dirt/ash pile eventually but that's some back breaking work for a cooler time. This newly reclaimed section is almost matching green to the rest of the yard. The left of the pile needs the same treatment but there are a lot of large rocks that we need to remove first.
This is to the right of the first picture towards the road. We don't want the yard going to the road but we are glad to have more of an actual yard. We both t think it's going to look pretty amazing once it's cleaned up. The brush piles are mainly sticker bushes so once those are loaded up it's going to transition nicely and green up more. The tall weeds in either picture are what the entire property was like when we purchased it. We talked about making the yard go all the way to the road but that will kill some of the privacy and noise/dust barrier.
Our mower is an old craftsman, probably 15 years old, and just destroys everything in it's path. This section is left of the woodshed and we plan to push the yard way out into this area. The mower just cuts everything down and leaves it about 6 inches high. The left edge of the picture is where the spring bubbles up and becomes our little pool:
Water is flowing at a very high volume with all of the rain and snowmelt pouring down into the valley. This damn we added to a few weeks ago is working well but needs some more work once the water levels go back down.
This is the property edge creek. Eventually our reclamation will reach here, in the middle to the right. It's not that we just want grass everywhere, but this sort of project really increases the eyeball value of the property if we ever decide to sell. Being able to walk from the cabin to the creek without getting scratched up and stepping through weeds is a great thing. If you have ever seen a beautiful meadow with aspen groves (or birch type tree's), that's what we are going for. We have several tree's to cut down that I marked last year and they haven't leafed out so it's time to make firewood out of them.
The type of view we want, from the cabin looking out into the tree's. We are more and more amazed each week with how the clover and grass is spreading out. The deer love it and that brings some of it's own challenges but for now it's an acceptable tradeoff. It will also help keep down the mosquitoes a little more, and it's certainly the season for those bastards. When I'm out walking around it's fine but as soon as I stop they run into my backside like a truck.

Painting will begin next week and with any luck so will some electrical work. I need to see what the paycheck looks like before I dip into the mason jar (don't spend it unless you can replace it). We want to get two electrical panels in the bathroom combined into one new panel, hang a new dining area light, move and install a new bathroom light, and install an outlet in the bathroom. It's so hard to blow dry my flowing locks when you can't plug anything in...

That was a lot of work for one day so I got some sleep and headed back to the city for another shooting session. We worked on proper scanning procedures once your immediate threat has been neutralized, how to sweep from target to target, how to shoot weak side without switching hands, suppression to elimination drills, etc.  I was pleased to drop my time down to .75 for a draw and shoot and unless I'm hip shooting I'm not sure that time will get any better.
I was able to load up with all of my gear for a few hours to see what needed to be adjusted. My back plate needs to ride higher (something I didn't feel but noticed in a picture) but otherwise everything seemed pretty awesome. Nothing seemed to annoy, bounce much, rub, poke, etc. My new sling was spot on and my new rifle worked great. It needs a better trigger and charging handle but for sure the charging handle. I'm not sure why they use such junk sometimes when the rest of the tool is top notch.

We read some news last night and were glad that we keep our skills up, our preps up, and our readiness level up. It doesn't matter what you believe in, what your opinions are, what your differences are... when someone want's to kill people they don't care if you just got back from a 'we love islam, hate is not a family value' rally or not. I always carry when I'm out, even in a bar and while we haven't been to a club in a long time, we both would be armed there. No hero complex, we could both die in the first volley but leaving our safety in the hands of others is something we only do when flying.

Sunday, June 5, 2016

What doesn't kill us

Isn't it supposed to make us stronger? Why didn't anyone ever say it won't really suck while it happens.

I weathered the storm at work, things have suddenly settled down. We hired someone so I will lose my 'acting' title for one thing but I'm sure I'll have more titles in no time at all. This alleviates about 50% of the additional duties I've been doing for 3+ months and brings my workload to a more manageable 150%...

I would have never guessed that's whats been wrong with my body for a number of years. One of my kick boxing coaches suggested I go see a buddy of his for some dry needling to try and release muscle tension. Turns out I have adaptive muscle shortening, causing arthritis, and that's leading me to need a hip replacement down the road. At first he said within 5 years but after 3 weeks of my work ethic, stretching and working out with him, we've pushed it to probably 20 as long as I keep at it. The more stretching and strengthening I do, the more flexible I become and the more fluid gets around the femoral head and the better everything becomes. Magic.
Nobody at kick boxing ever expects me to kick them higher than their knee, they know me. I almost kicked my buddy in the face on Friday and we were both most pleased. I'm in more pain than ever but I know it's temporary as my body gets used to being able to move like it was designed.

I couldn't make it to the cabin this weekend, work got in the way. I did get some lovely pictures sent and was told the mountains are still covered in deep snow. It's going to be a great year for moisture and for making sure Rock doesn't get sucked downstream.
The little creek, not so little.
Rock's eventual swimming hole once we damnit up more
The yard is growing at an amazing rate and the new blade attachment for the weed eater did a great job on some more reclamation of the woods.

Green and those damn yellow things I cant stand

If we keep this up, it will be green in just a few weeks hopefully
I also got a fantastic text that I honestly would have never expected:
I have been afraid to ask how they turned out, I'm not the picky eater between the two of us. I've always heard: well if I have to I will, but until then...
Progress? Perhaps.

Since I was stuck in the area for work I decided to go shooting. It's been a while so I dragged one of my friends along. He recently became a civilian after 6 years active duty, and several deployments. I'm trying to help him adjust to the real world and we are doing a lot of stuff together.

Shot timer, how fun! From relaxed hands hanging down and start timer on random:
.83 seconds, draw and round on target center mass. My first one was 1.17 without being warmed up.
1.89 seconds, draw and 2 rounds on three different targets. My first one was around 2.10
The holster I was using is brand new so it took some getting used to, thankfully I've been playing with snap caps at home. My friends time was about double but he did an admirable job for his first outing.

We set up different drills and ran them a lot. Start here, run there and pick up rifle. Load rifle, rounds on target, run to next spot and mag change, rounds on target. Drop rifle, run to next spot and engage target with pistol.
We had a great time and didn't shoot very much ammo but felt we got some great training done. It's easy to shoot a paper target, even at distance, it's not so easy when you are loaded with gear and breathing heavy after sprinting to cover.

I got to try out some of my new gear and was impressed as always with the quality and design of everything Crye Precision has ever shipped me. I had to get a larger size plater carrier but it's identical to my previous model. While I've managed to lean way down and wear a medium shirt, I'm still very thick in the shoulders and couldn't get the large size carrier buckled. The XL works perfect.

I also headed to a gun show where I met a few people from the local 3 percenters group. Interesting. It's more of a social club from what I can tell with only a few really active people who are interested in doing anything. For those active people, it's all about guns, electing trump, and god. It's not about preparedness, it's not about having well rounded skills in many areas,  and t's certainly not about fitness (and I'm not comparing anyone to my fitness insanity). They invited me to do some stuff with them and I'll see how that goes. I'm already a little hesitant since they do the pledge of allegiance at each event so we will see how they react when I don't partake.

The garden is growing, cucumbers have popped up and the tomatoes needed to be caged. Can't wait to sink my teeth into some fresh produce without needing to visit the supermarket.

Monday, May 30, 2016

The garden is finally in!

Between work and the weather it seems that a lot of our plans were put on hold. It's not always a bad thing, there has been a lot of hail that did a number on other peoples gardens and yards. I suppose procrastination/detours saved us.
For now.
This year we opted for a smaller garden and just have lettuce, tomatoes and cucumbers. We still have a freezer full of zucchini and squash so we don't need more of that just to give it away at work.

Rock loves the garden, it absorbs the heat and he loves to lay down in the mulch. We don't have a sprinkler system so that flower pot with dirt holds the sprinkler head from hose A. Hose B runs the sprinkler for the yard. We are trying a battery powered 'automatic' faucet control to see if we can avoid having to water (just the garden) in the morning. If it works we will try it twice a day and if all goes well, the garden water will be on auto pilot.

We managed a couple of days at the cabin this weekend. I told work that I didn't have the energy, ability or desire to do some work things this weekend. Those who needed to step up, did, but it's odd  that I couldn't get anyone to help until everyone realized I wouldn't do it. Interesting but not a surprise.

The weather on Friday was snowy and stormy with hail. Saturday was amazing, Sunday was ever better. We got some great runs, the 4 wheel drive road to an upper trailhead was finally open so I had two days of bombing down the road. I enjoy running downhill, I'm not a great runner and will take every advantage I can get. Running down a rocky road with shadows, dust, loose rock, etc. That's my game right there.

Saturday afternoon storm heading down the mountains.

Rock didn't like the thunder but we were very brave.
 We spent a lot of time in the yard, reclaiming some of it from the tree's. This year looks about twice as green so we are trimming and cutting another 25-30 feet into the tree's. We are excited to not have sticker bushes and tall weeds and make it look more like a park. The roadside area will be left alone, it helps keep the dust and noise down from the little traffic there is.
We need to get the wood put away, the brown tarp will eventually fly away like a magic carpet if we don't. The project list is getting shorter but painting is coming up in a couple of weeks followed by some electrical work and tree trimming. Chores never end!


Saturday, May 21, 2016

Friday, May 13, 2016

now who owns the water

They finally are allowing rain barrels for property owners that don't have a well. The dispute has always been that the landowners don't own the water so they aren't able to store it in barrels.

Finally the side of logic and reason has prevailed by the government (amazing, yes). They realized that rain barrels aren't the devil so now people don't have to hide them as they collect. We've never hid our barrels because we really don't care.
This is probably a real thing

There are people who are worried about rain barrels being a breeding ground for mosquitoes, I suppose they never heard of screens.

The government still owns the water, but us citizens are now allowed to temporarily store it without fear of being killed. Now the raindrops can use whatever barrel they identify with, what a grand design.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

The harder you work

the less you sleep? Not something new to me luckily but it's still not very exciting to lay around for hours on end.

The weather seemed to change every hour this weekend, creating some bizarre clothing patterns. This is the time of year that the heat is turned way down but there is a blanket on the couch. We had rain, snow, sleet, hail, wind, sun, fog and probably some other descriptive words I can't think of.

The way the storms roll in still amazes me. Looking out the window you suddenly can't see the mountains but you can look up and see the cloud bank edge as if it were having a battle with the sun. When you are out of the trees and into the plains you can watch it creep down the ridges as if it's going to be a white out. It was a battle like that all weekend and I had to deice the car windows on Monday morning but it was beautiful.
Looking back towards the house.
Looking Northwest.
Apparently I was sick last week. Somewhere between Monday and Thursday I picked up a nasty cold but I didn't even realize I was sick. I had put in about 10 hours at the gym in the first 4 days of the week so I assumed I had overdone it like usual. When Friday rolled around I could tell something else was wrong so I had a lot of NyQuil and finally managed some sleep that night.

I'm about 95% (that's probably not saying much in my life) and I only spent 2 hours at the gym last night. Jiu Jitsu is going well even if I don't have any idea of what I'm doing. Kickboxing is improving, I'm working hard on my flexibility but it's a slow process. MMA sparring didn't go so well last week but I'm hoping that was because of me being sick. I'm having a good time and working on defense with an occasional flurry of beating the tar out of my opponent.

The garden is ready to be planted this weekend but I've got some work stuff going on so it might wait until mid next week. Tomato, cucumber, hot peppers and zucchini. A very simple garden this year with a few dozen heads of lettuce already growing tall. At the cabin we will plant a lot more variety because it's still in experimental mode, trying to determine what grows well without much attention (and without getting eaten by the wildlife).

We need to get some jelly canned in the next few weeks so that means a trip to Costco for flats of berries and other goodies. Time to dig up a jar of money.

Saturday, May 7, 2016


Beautiful day in the mountains, a little windy but there are storm clouds over all the peaks.

Rock is always excited when it's time to head out of the city. Sure, there are less bicycles to bark at but he gets to go swimming!

We dug all of the holes for the berry bushes, 10 in all. Ok, I did all the work but it's hard being cute and goofy all at once. A combination of blueberry, blackberry and raspberry bushes are all going in the ground tomorrow. We have to devise a protective fencing for all of them that doesn't look like junk. If we don't, I'm afraid the deer will destroy them in a matter of days.

The water is flowing really well, the mountains are still packed with snow and as I type this it's snowing out on the east side and sunny on the west. Spring!

Work is still in turmoil, my boss decided not to replace the person who took over most of my old duties and decided that I would just do them. Now I have to cover all of those duties and that means my entire out of work life is screwed at least for the next 3 weeks. If I'm out of the office on weekend with work, I can't take extra days off during the week or else I'll fall behind with what I am supposed to be doing. Lately it's just getting ridiculous and my boss is out of town for the next 2 weeks so I can't even have a discussion about anything.

But, the best news of all... the brownies are done and out of the oven!