Archive for Arizona

Yard Cleanup - Feeding the Chipper

Feeding the Chipper

Over the past months (maybe over a year) we have trimmed mesquite tree branches away from the driveway and in the back and front yard areas. We also recently removed a few branches from the plum tree in the courtyard to encourage it to grow upward. When we don’t have time to break the limbs down and stuff them into the refuse bin, we sometimes drag them across the road to our lot over there to be dealt with at a future time.

Well, the future is here. Yesterday, Damsel and I took the chipper that we bought last spring over there to dispose of the branches and create some mulch for Damsel’s gardening. I took the 3KW Honda Generator in the back of the pickup so we could have power to run the chipper.

We got most of the work done in that single session and created a box full of wood chip mulch that Damsel can spread on her trees and other items she grows. There remains some thicker branches that we will chop into firewood for our neighbors that have fireplaces.

When operating the chipper, the manufacturer recommends protection for eyes and ears (pieces fly and it’s loud). I borrowed the goggles and earmuffs from the range bag for the job. Click on the image to enlarge.

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Spring Begins in the Northern Hemisphere

solstice-spring.jpg

Grand Octal Image via archaeoastronomy.com

Today marks the first day of spring North of the Equator. The graphical “Grand Octal” image above shows our planet as of today, passing through the Vernal Equinox portal in its orbit around the Sun. The other portals depicted have special meanings as well, dating back to primitive people whose cultures would depend on knowledge of the position of Earth during the year.

Here in our little patch of Arizona, we have been enjoying occasional spring-like days since February, as well as some not-so-warmish days and nights. Checking with our weather history on this day (courtesy NWS), we find that our forecast high of 65°F will be below the average 78°F temperature for this first spring day while we will be slightly above the record cool for this date (61°F) and well below the record high (92°F). I guess Global Warming has yet to catch up with us.

During these times of the overblown fake news media and democrat demagoguery (but I repeat myself), forecasting doom and gloom, we’re doing fine. We have things in stock, as we always do, that keep our household up and running with all our needs covered. Since we maintain two households on the premises (house and motorhome) there is plenty of everything available until all the bull$#!t blows over.

We hope everyone who reads this has planned accordingly and wish you comfort, safety and good health. We pray for these things.

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St. Patrick’s Day 2020

St. Patrick’s Day 2020

We don’t have much in the way of shamrocks or clover in these parts, so I posted a photo of something green that might be seen in Arizona.

I still have a lot of Ancestry/Genealogy work to do to establish our roots, but I now know with reasonable confidence that I had an ancestor born in County Mayo, Ireland in 1717. It is unknown if Irish ancestor “John” came to America, bit the line of descendants from him in my lineage all were born in Monongalia (now Marion) County, West Virginia.

After John (1717), came William (1751), then Francis (1776), then “Squire Billy” (1796), then Enos (1833), then James (1866) and finally My Dad’s Mom, Mary (1891). My Dad broke the West Virginia chain by being born in Los Angeles, CA in 1914.

I’m sure there are more Irish ancestors in other branches of the tree, but having the one confirmed Irish Great(6) Grandfather ancestor entitles me to the festivities and celebrations and traditional eating/drinking (but not TOO much) on this day as a descendant son of the Emerald Isles.

Damsel’s lineage is replete with Irish ancestors, so no need to go into whether she comes by her Irishness honestly. Besides, one of Damsel’s sisters is an expert at the genealogy stuff and has on numerous occasions rattled off a substantial listing of their Irish ancestors. They definitely qualify as celebrants of St. Patrick’s Day festivities and food.

Here in our little desert conclave, our festivities will be mild compared to what other celebrants are doing on this day. We will be having traditional Corned Beef and Cabbage with Boiled Fauxtatoes (turnips make a good low-carb potato substitute) served with horseradish sauce (for the meat) and vinegar (for the cabbage). Dessert will be a small Irish cocktail.

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PI Day

pi.pngNot exactly a holiday, but March 14 has become the penultimate math nerd’s recognition of the (approximate) ratio of the circumference of a perfect circle to it’s radius. I posted last year about approximating the value of PI in the old days using ratios resulting in not exactly PI, but close enough.

Going back even further than the hand-held electronic calculators, we did not need to figure out PI using ratios for programs, because the value of PI was engraved (along with other important math constants) right on most slide rules. You could crank out solutions to equations for radial velocity or any other esoteric calculations using PI by just using your handy-dandy “slip stick.” In those days, one could get answers calculated to three or four significant digits with just the slide rule. For more accuracy, some of us had the option of punching a deck of cards, submitting it to the Computer Lab and wait a couple of days to find out that we had an error in the program. Thank goodness there are now much better ways of dealing with numerical calculations.

In honor of PI day, the Damsel and I will be preparing today’s dinner from a low-carb recipe for “Spaghetti Pie.” The dish consists of a rich marinara sauce and some smoked chicken served in a casserole with noodles from spaghetti squash rather than pasta.

Yesterday, I loaded a couple of chicken breasts in the smoker and cooked them to their desired 165°F internal temperature. When they cooled, i shredded the meat and put it in reserve for today’s meal preparation. I may put up more about Spaghetti Pie later on by updating this post.

UPDATE: PIE ARE SQUARE! Damsel served a square of this with a green salad for dinner this afternoon. Click on the image to enlarge.

PIE ARE SQUARE

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Family Milestones and Other Events

Beethoven at 10 Years OldFirst of all, Happy Birthday to our beloved Beethoven (a.k.a “Bay Bay”) who is ten years old today. He is the youngest of the two Miniature Pinchers that run our household. We adopted him about eight and a half years ago and, needless to say, is a beloved family member.

Image - Bay Bay at Ten - Click to enlarge

Spring months bring a flurry of birthdays and such to our household and the family in general. Between now and the end of April, birthdays for all three of our granddaughters and one great granddaughter will occur. Moreover, we will probably have another April birthday this year as our middle granddaughter is expecting another little sister to her three year old on her 27th birthday. That will make a total of four great grandchildren. And tomorrow is the 24th birthday of our youngest granddaughter, who is engaged to be married at a date not yet known to us. Perhaps in June.

In other events, we are expecting a call from the Vision Center where both Damsel and I had our eyes examined and ordered new glasses. They typically are ready after a week or so and we will be making a second trip down to the valley (about 35 miles distant) to retrieve the new eyewear.

The outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic is being reported ad nauseum by the FakeNewsMedia© who blow it out of proportion mainly to discredit President Trump. The Media and Democrats (repeating myself) couldn’t give a red rodent rectum about the victims of a pandemic and merely use it to try and make the administration look bad - Trump Derangement Syndrome.

In the business news, the misreporting of the virus story has spooked investors to the point where our holdings in mutual funds have declined considerably, but not to the point of despair. We’re looking at it as an opportunity to eventually get back to where it was before because the distributions will now buy more shares at a discounted price. We remain solvent.

Our desert home is showing signs of spring already. There are flower buds appearing on many of the native and imported cacti around the yard. We were supposed to get some rain today, but currently it is sunny with no echoes visible on the radar in our vicinity. Although it will remain cool today thanks to a frontal passage, we will be expecting highs in the 70s later this week. We wish everyone (including ourselves) a nice, early spring.

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Gold Rush Days Classic Car Show

Olds Convertible

The Town of Wickenburg celebrated the annual “Gold Rush Days” event this weekend; included in the festivities is a lot of Rodeo, a big parade and a Classic Car Show. Damsel and I attended the Car Show on Friday and the Parade on Saturday.

The image above is of a classic 1960’s Oldsmobile Convertible with a very nostalgic accessory (see inset) showing how some of us used to hear the sound track of movies at a Drive-in Theater. This set of Drive-in Theater Speakers was typical of those mounted on posts throughout the drive-ins in those days (I believe there are some active drive-in theaters still in existence today; we saw one in Barstow, CA last year).

The rest of the car show was as per the usual guys that show up with a few items that stood out. Upper left below is a 1930’s Auburn which was sometimes marketed as a Cord. Upper right is a very nice Chevrolet Touring Car. Below lower left is a very clean ans shiny 1940 Chevrolet. Finally, the lower right is of some sort a rust bucket with rip saws for a grill. There were only a few shiny parts including the hood ornament - we felt like we needed tetanus vaccinations after standing close to it.

Auburn Chevy Touring Car
1940 Chevrolet Rustbucket

We both enjoy the Gold Rush weekend; it gets us out of the house, gives us a lot of walking exercise and is always a great #photo-op. Click on any image above to enlarge.

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Drain the Swamp

Winter Spa

I wish draining the DC Swamp were this easy. This is our patio Spa now winterized. Click on the image to enlarge.

Late last fall, Damsel and I siphoned most of the water from the Spa since the weather was no longer conducive to dipping in it. That exercise got rid of 95 percent of the water, but left some in the bottom of the tub and in the internal plumbing.

We left the spa in that condition for a couple of months, but tonight the weather forecast calls for our first freeze warning of the winter season. There is a cold air mass descending on Lower Arizona which will take us below 0° C. Most of the rest of the country have already been there, but this will be our first freeze of the year.

Back to the Spa; residual water in the internal plumbing can freeze and damage the plastic used for directing water internally. There is also a water filter that can be damaged if frozen. So, today, we got out the wet/dry shop vac and sucked out most of the water from the internal plumbing, as well as removing the puddled water from the seats and the bottom of the tub. I removed about ten gallons of water which is two loads of the vac.

Now, the Spa is drying out and when dry, I will replace the cover.

We can hardly wait for the warm part of spring to show up so we can refill and reheat the Spa and resume enjoying our hot turbo massages and when summer comes, use it as a cool bath when it’s 110° outside.

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