Sunday, July 24, 2016

Operation 'not another splinter'

When we first got the cabin I picked up one of those fake grass carpets for the deck, the boards weren't exactly smooth and fun to walk on. The wind took that carpet and flew it off to the middle east, all those staples didn't stand a chance.
I wanted to try the carpet idea again, this time with wood strips on the mountain side of the deck to keep it secure. I was outvoted so we've lived with the deck for 2 years but last weekend I decided it was time to fix it instead of always wearing shoes. Sometimes it's just nice to walk outside in my pajamas and drink some tea while the sun rises on the mountains.




It was a hot weekend with a little bit of rain (most of it circled around and missed us) so we didn't start on the railing. I ended up being one flooring board short but a trip to the local hardware store will fix that next time we work on it. Railing boards are in the woodpile so this project will be done shortly. We ordered a new storm door to replace the battered one shown in the picture and also have some storage racks coming in for the garage. Time to organize everything into bins! Making things easier to find means they are also easier to put back where you got them.

We still have one woodshed cat, typhoid. Not friendly, doesn't like us... perfect. It really wont like us when we start on project 'get the damn wood put away'. I like project names, it makes them seem more exciting.

Steaks, buffalo steaks, burgers, biscuits and gravy, ice cream. A good weekend of food and hard work. The laundry needs to be swapped out and 13 Hours is sitting in the DVD player. Right now it's very quiet and the dozen+ hummingbirds are going to town on the sugar water feeder. I hope everyone had a great weekend.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Here come the tomatoes

We've counted the green tomatoes and are up around 150 with a ton of flowers and growing season left. It's very exciting, $3-$5 a pound at the store, this will save us a lot of money.

The cucumbers are growing tall and fast, they should start to bear in the next week.

The lettuce has begun to go to seed for the 3rd or 4th year (we forget) so we will have some more fresh lettuce in another month.

The only thing we did different this year was buy a timer for the garden hose. It waters the yard and garden for 20 minutes each night at 6pm. No more, oops, we forgot.

Life is 'fruitful'.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

13,000 acres

The fire is still having a great time, almost 13k acres destroyed.

I suppose it's not destroyed, it's a cycle that happens. There are a lot of people there doing all sorts of things but they aren't trying to control anything yet. Since it's mostly Nat. Forest land they are letting it burn and doing what they can (evacuations, removing propane tanks, etc.) as it gets closer to private property.

They are expecting it to burn until winter.

The cabin had clear conditions, it's very rare that the winds come from the North so we should be just fine. Father in-law might make an appearance this weekend so hopefully the winds don't change because we won't be able to get him to wear a bird flu mask.


Painting is almost done, just have the trim left. With all of the windows taped off it was too hot to stay last night so we drove to the city. It was manageable for me but Rock panted constantly so I cranked up the A/C in the vehicle and we had a nice drive.

The painters have done a good job but for some reason they like to hang out on the grass, walk on the grass, sit on the grass. perfectly good sidewalk to use but nope, grass must get trampled. I watered the crap out of it before we left and will put a lot of water on the property this weekend, it's hot and dry and grass doesn't recover as well with these conditions.

No protests, no blocked roads. Life in the valley and mountains is just normal.




Monday, July 11, 2016

Carry. Everywhere.

There are many times I'm at the gym and thinking to myself that it's ridiculous to have a gun in my gym bag. This isn't planet fitness, it's a ghetto-fabulous boxing, kickboxing, wrestling, jiu jitsu, MMA gym, nothing is going to happen. People work out frustrations on bags and on each other during sparring. Who would be stupid enough? My gym bag is already heavy, and I always have to be conscious of where I am in relation to it (and where others are).

One of the MMA fighters that I train with is really good, it was really intimidating to spar with him. I like to spar with people who are better than me, I think it helps me progress more. Sure, it's fun to knock the crap out of people who can't remember to keep their hands up for defense, but that doesn't help me learn. This guy has his first pro fight next weekend and is in his mid 20's. He was always very nice, giving pointers and always had his daughter at the gym. I thought it was really nice that the family was involved and that he didn't care how good somebody was, he adjusted his skill to their level.


Turns out it wasn't his daughter. In fact she is only 13 years old. Her father notices some messages on her phone and heads to the gym, gun in hand. He shows up, pulls the gun out and waves it around threatening to kill this guy and people in the gym grab their gear and leave. The situation is eventually diffused by the only person who stayed there instead of running.


Where was I, with my gym bag full of gear and a gun? I was running in the mountains because it was a really cool night. The group of people I train with told me all about it, and how I missed all the excitement. All I could think of was how I didn't have to kill someone. Not like I'm some badass but if you wave a gun around threatening me, no matter how righteous you think you are, your actions are inexcusable and I have to assume you intend to kill me or others.

I think of this each time I get ready for the gym and place my pistol in the bag. Is there a round in the chamber, is the safety on or off, what way is the pistol placed in the pocket, etc. There are situations that most people can justify killing another person due to that other persons actions. I'd be a liar to say I've never thought of situations that could make me dish out what I considered justice. I'd also be a fool to ever think I don't need my pistol when I'm at the gym.

More amazing?
Not one single person called the police after they got outside. They either felt the guy deserved to die or just didn't want to be involved. I'll pick the 'not involved'.

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Surprise, a forest fire!

It was going to be hot again in the mountains, hot as in 85-90 and dry. No worries, we both got up early for a Rock-dog hike and I hit half the yard with the sprinkler. I'm probably going to get a water pump so I can use the creek water, but that's a later project/purchase For now, the well water does just fine and we are trying to keep the yard from drying up. Yes, I'm the only person who waters their yard... that they mow...

The wind was beautiful, we had the windows open so it was nice and cool inside. I went for a run down the mountain and I had a tailwind most of the way, something that has never happened. While I was enjoying the extra push, there was a fire that decided the wind was the perfect vehicle for it to use to conquer more territory.
They don't have an exact starting point for the fire but at this time they think it started at a campground. A campground... it's close to 100 degree's in that area this time of year and some asshole thinks they need Smores. Yes, I'm judgmental because we've come across dozens of fires that people left burning while we were off-roading and exploring. I hope whomever had this fire going enjoyed their sticky burnt marshmallows on stale graham crackers with not real chocolate.
When we looked at property some nice places came up right in the burn area but it was so hot and dry we worried about a fire. Hot as in 85 at night and 100-110 during the day in the summer.
Bam.

I'm just out of the tree's at our place and that's a nasty looking fire. It's about 20-25 miles in a place called Hayden Pass. That's a good distance away, with a lot of tall mountains, creeks and natural barriers to contend with... we aren't worried. It's certainly something to keep on the radar however.

This shot is on the plateau heading back to the city (traveling East). I didn't want to get stuck due to road closures because it's going to be a busy week at work. In case anyone begs to differ on visibility issues with smoke:
That small red/orange dot in the upper right is the sun. I don't have window tint, that's just a real un-enhanced/filtered pic.

The air quality at the cabin was fine, the winds are strong westerly. That's how they normally blow so with any luck it's only going to bother us in the city.

The winds, however, are causing it to jump huge green sections that would normally slow it down. This next picture you can see that it's green (and that's why there is so much smoke) where it's currently burning. Unfortunately with it jumping fast, it might get out of the green and into the 'might as well just toss down pine needles' dry area where this picture was taken from. Under all that green is a lot of fuel, not like Georgia undergrowth, but still nasty.


It's always exciting. Time for a sandwich.

Saturday, July 9, 2016

Making time to blog, finally.

We all have 24 hours each day but sometimes there doesn't seem to be much time for anything, or rather the time doesn't get allocated properly for certain items.
Like this blog.
I'm usually at work by 06:30 and when that's done it's time for the gym 30 minutes later at 16:30, I get home at 20:30. Running, gym weight work, jiu jitsu, kickboxing, MMA, sparring, boxing, stretching, etc. ar all combined into what I call gym time. 4 days a week on this schedule and Friday after work we head out of town (just Rock and I this weekend). While here at the cabin it seems like constant work including a lot of running but I catch up on sleep because it cools off so nice in the evening. Usually when I get home during the week, after the gym, I go to sleep. My body is getting a real thrashing since I'm going into the octagon cage and getting rounds done there. In the last 3 weeks I've broken 3 toes and 1 finger and have some nerve damage on my left shin. Everything is finally almost healed up and I've learned a lot from those mistakes. I received my first promotion in Jiu Jitsu, I guess I'm better than I tell myself.

The yard work at the cabin continues in earnest, it's really starting to shape up into a great looking property that we had always hoped it would be.

It's thick underbrush out in the tree's. We keep clearing and cleaning up, a pickup truck load of stuff goes to yard waste recycle each weekend. The good stuff is in a pile for firewood but most of the wood is rotted from laying on the ground so that gets tossed. We took an entire load of concrete blocks out last weekend, all these actual rocks around and they made raised beds out of concrete so that had to get removed. We started working on trimming a lot of the Ponderosa tree's, that should get us close to a cord of wood just from the dead limbs we will cut down. We will start on all of the wood and woodshed projects in September when it's cooler.

I've got a lot of work to do this weekend, the sanding and painting starts on Monday so I need to get all the grass cut and trimmed, especially around the backside in the dog fenced area. It's going to be in the mid 80's but there is a nice breeze to keep me a little cooler. I'm going to run before I get down and dirty outside, it never works out if I switch that order. We wanted to do the painting ourselves but 5 days in a row for that project was something we couldn't swing during the busy season at work. I'm trying hard to stay so busy and exhausted, my Dad's birthday would be later this month and I'm having a really hard time with it this year. I really am missing my best friend.

Last weekend we drove down to a fellow bloggers property and met 1/2 of the couple and later went back and watched fireworks together (they have less mosquitoes). It was nice to finally shake a hand and say hello in person. Their house and property is really nice, lots of thought went into everything and it was nice to hear how fate guided them to that spot. That's how we ended up here.

I was honestly a little nervous to meet in person, this blog only presents us in general terms because I don't want us to be categorized by certain things. Some people are defined by terms and/or labels instead of those things just being part of who they are. Many times when people meet one of the first questions asked is 'where do you work?'. Normally that immediately starts to define a person instead of trying to find out what makes them tick, what's inside, what do they believe, etc.

My Facebook profile says I work at McDonalds and people I meet who know me only from there have never asked me about work, not once. It's a sort of social experiment I suppose; 'don't ask that guys opinion he works at McDonalds, what would he know'. When people eventually learn where I work/what I do, there seems to be an immediate change in how they look at me. Be defined by the type of person you are, and your actions, your intentions. Don't be defined by the standard labels is something I try really hard at.

Enough from that soapbox.

A few pictures from he last couple of weeks. I have more but the internet isn't behaving this morning and I have zero cell service. It doesn't bother me and Rock could obviously care less (he is passed out on the couch). I'll work on another blog post in the next few days, I have a good one about a guy waving a gun around at the gym.




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.