Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Goiters, Garters, Girdles, Here I Go Again.

There's something that suits me about putting three like sounding words together, especially when they begin with the same letter.  And rhyme.

Out of all three of 'em, only garter really has a couple meanings.  When combined with snake, we're talking about a fascinating, harmless, slithering creature usually found within a garden.  When combined with belt, we're talking about an altogether different sort of harmless fascination that is usually found surrounding a garden upon a sumptuous creature.

A goiter is an unusual enlargement of the thyroid gland.  The most common cause of a thyroid goiter worldwide is a lack of iodine. Treatment depends on the size of the goiter.  If it's small, you may just need to add some salt to your fries.  If it's big, like the size of a small elephant, it may need to be surgically removed.  Or gnawed off by a large rodent.  Which would be a lot cheaper.  But you'd probably need to wander the sewers of  Buenos Aries or tap one of the GOP presidential contenders to find a rat big enough to gnaw off something the size of an endangered species.

The first girdle I ever saw was a neighbor lady's.  I was probably seven years old.  I was at Chuck's Grandma's house, which was around the corner and up a house or two from the duplex we called home.

I was sitting there, playing with a toy truck in the dirt, not really trying to be a spy.  All of a sudden the house next door's front door opened and I noticed a brunette thirty something lady stick her head out and look around.  Then, seemingly assured there was no onlooker, she quickly darted out of the door a few paces to the mail box which was on the wall of the front porch.  One arm was draped over her naked breasts and a white girdle was draped around her nether region.

She stood there for a second or two with her back to me, retrieved her mail and then darted back in the door.  The entire episode lasted maybe seven seconds, but I was enthralled.  That was the first time I had seen a female other than my mother in her underwear.  I found it substantially more intriguing.  That incident, no doubt, began my life long appreciation of women's lingerie. 

So what have I really been doing around the old homestead here these last couple months while espousing past travel escapades and congenial witticisms?

Well, I did borrow my bro in laws ultra log splitter and split and stacked about four cords of firewood.  Probably more.  And that was after I drug up some pretty decent rounds from the Lower Forty.  I needed help on several of the larger ones, the were about the size of Tunisia.  Weighed about as much too.  Who needs a gym when I'm working every single muscle doing this basic country chore?

This year I ended up with a lot more wood than we usually burn each winter.  That's because we had to cut down a tree that would have potentially taken out a power pole.  Which then would have blocked the road.  Probably start a flaming inferno.  Possibly world war three.  So PG&E took out the dangerous half.  My tree guy took out the other half.  There was an easy two cords of wood in that monster.

Besides saving money by not needing a gym, we also save a lot of money that would otherwise be paying for propane.  We burn wood for heat and also hang our laundry when it's not raining.  Which, you know, would be rather counter productive.  This year I ditched the hillbilly clothesline

and added a real one.  That door right there on the left is where the washer and dryer are located.

By doing these two things we manage to keep our propane use and cost pretty low.  Last year we spent about $300.00 for propane.  That's not a typo, that was for the entire year!  This year we've spent $118.37 so far and the tank is still 40% full.  Besides a gas heater and clothes dryer, the only other gas appliance we have is the range.  And in case you were wondering, our electric bill averages about $80.00 per month.   For a 4/3 2100 square foot home.  Yeah, we're trying to keep our foot print low.

I also had a couple leaks on the chicken shack roof that needed a little Henry's Wet Patch, which is a tar based product you can use in the middle of a rain storm.  Good stuff.  I've been using it for years, both in dry weather as well as in the rain.

Then I had a couple week project caulking and painting two sides of the sun room.  Somewhere along the line this last summer I noticed a little dry rot around a couple of the window frames.  Those two sides face south west and receive the brunt of the rain storms when they come blowing through.  Plus there's very little eave protection  So it was caulk and paint time.  They're now good to go and should last substantially longer than they did before. 

All brush by the way, no tape.  The secret is to paint the trim first, then it's pretty easy to just cut in the wall, saving the time and expense on tape.  Which doesn't work half the time anyway.

Back in June of this year we had buttoned up our perimeter with the installation of the driveway gate and Front Fence Offensive.  Once that was installed we enjoyed about a month and a half without any breach by Bambi and her ravenous biker buddies.  But then one morning I noticed a few of the roses had been nibbled on.  And the tomato and potato plants were raped as well.  Son of a bitch we had a breach!

I eventually found the culprit resting on the North Forty.  Resting!  After raping my plants.  I shooed her around the property to uncover her route of ingress, which was ultimately discovered on the southern portion of the hillbilly line.

The hillbilly line consists of homeboys original four foot high ranch fencing, which I have heightened to roughly eight feet by utilizing manzanita posts and barbed wire.  Frigging Bambi found an isosceles triangle a little larger than a show box between barbed wire(s) and jumped through.  Like a hula hoop, only much smaller.  And triangular.

Over the course of the next couple weeks I continued to find leaks in various portions of the hillbilly line, which I dutifully buttoned up with more fencing and wire.  I was sure I had the perimeter deer secure when one morning I discovered a doe and fawn inside.  I was livid.  How the hell they get in?

Once again a deer chase ensued, and during said chase the doe and fawn were separated.  I managed to get the doe out by opening the driveway gate and shooing her out.  Then I went to look for the fawn but couldn't find the dang mini predator anywhere. 

Over the course of five years I have learned a lot about my plant raping adversary.  I learned a lot more during the final phase of buttoning this property up.  The height of my fence was fine.  But as I poured over the northern section inch by inch I discovered they were getting in UNDER a portion of the manzanita line, not over.  A quick simple fix, and once that opening was closed there have been no further breaches.  It's been over three months now, and that time frame includes summer months where they have no green food in the wild and will voraciously pursue any watered garden.  Especially one that contains roses, their crack cocaine.  Or their Cap'n Crunch with Crunch Berries, depending on your cereal view of the world.

The other major deal this old man had been contending with is getting a pad cut for the soon to come 2825 gallon water tank.  It's location was chosen because the front down spout dumps into an underground irrigation line that runs underneath the lawn and then dumps out right below the picket fence. 

So I got my trusty pick and shovel and got to work.

 Start a little
Outside in, the top cut is about four and a half feet deep. 

That's about nine hours spaced out over four days.  I tossed the dirt to the left of the pad to build an embankment for the future trail down.   Legs, back, shoulders, arms, neck, spleen.  I used 'em all.  Who needs a gym?

And today, just prior to going to press, guess what got delivered? 

Why, our 2,825 gallon water tank.  "Bertha" fit perfectly within the leveled area.  And the three fellas at Byers that delivered the tank were aces.  Roofs, gutters, water tanks, and now solar.  They're a bunch of great guys with a nifty line of great time and energy saving products for your home.  Give 'em a call today.  800-977-5323

Here's the view from the front porch.  You can barely make out the top of the tank behind the picket fence.  Which is, coincidentally just about exactly how I pictured it would be.  I love it when a plan comes together.  From that location I will be able to gravity irrigate most of the front forty. 

Remember:  Every 1" of rain on 1,000 square foot of roof area will yield around 600 gallons of water.  Since I've got about 500 square feet of roof area that will be dumping into the tank, that means we're only going to need around 9.5 inches of rain this year to fill it up.  And since we've received around 32 inches each of these last two drought years I think it'll be a lock to fill 'er up.

Once we get a little more rain to soften up the upper hillside, I will be making a slice about ten inches deep to allow water to run towards the side instead of right over the middle and saturating the Red Riffs of Rover.

I lied.  I apparently had a little excess energy to burn this morning so I just done trenched it.  With a shovel. 

I have no idea how it happened.  I just went up to see how grueling it was going to be and ended up trenching about 150 feet.  By hand.  It took about 2 hours. 

Well, I've been saying the Immunocal I recently started consuming has increased my energy... 

I have one other immediate outdoor chore (besides regular brush pile burning) to do over the winter: make heads and tails out of this mess, the stair way to no where.

I have a plan, I think.  You'll see, one way or the other.  I'll keep ya posted. 

In the meantime, enjoy this wonderful, cooler autumn weather, especially all you Californians out there.  We'll be heading up to Lake Tahoe for an extended weekend, it's one of our favorite places on the planet.   Especially this time of year.  We were going to go there last year at this time and see the Psychedelic Furs, but my appendix got in the way.  I'll be covering my life long love affair with that lake in my next post. 

Until then, stay weird.