Never Forget - 18 Years Since 9-11

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This is one of ten Gary Varvel 9-11 remembrance cartoons posted at the Indy Star. We can’t let this date pass without remembering the immense sadness and anger we felt on that day. Our flag isn’t flying today because of high winds, but if it were, it would be at half-staff.

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Irrigation Problems - Solved

Back of the RV Drive

What a difference a couple of days make! We were bemoaning the problems we had with a busted irrigation system just a couple of days ago and today the problem is non-existent. Our landscape contractor found the time to come here and fix our woes this week instead of what we thought would be a delay of unknown length. They quickly diagnosed the problems, made the changes and this evening, all is working again.

Of course, the fixes weren’t all as simple as I make them sound in the first paragraph. They actually spent considerable time cleaning up the area behind the RV drive where our “Rosemary Farm” is growing - or maybe overgrowing. In the composite image above, you can see the after cleanup of the back area - I could look in the photo archives to find a before picture, but I’m too lazy this evening. ;)

I forget the exact number of one gallon rosemary shrubs they originally planted back there, but it was over fifty and under a hundred. Each one with a watering tube of its own from the irrigation feed line planted on the hill just above the shrubs. After the cleanup as shown, the crew installed an all new main line and “spaghetti” feeders for each shrub. This time, the feeders are short and they extended the larger diameter feed line for each group of two or three shrubs. We tested it this afternoon and it looks like everybody is getting the water they need in our arid climate.

The first thing they fixed (yesterday) was the leak shown in our previous post about the problem. They also replaced one of two electrically-controlled valves that activate the two main feeder lines according to the program set up in the controller. Both the leak and the valve malfunction contributed to the excessive water usage we have been experiencing.

We are still in the process of doing some other work with the landscapers; there is another area we want to have irrigated where we acquired a nice ocotillo after the fact. There is also some overdue rock and cactus garden maintenance they are willing to do while they are available. We should be in pretty good shape after they’re done with that and won’t need to do any of that for ourselves until after the weather cools down a bit.

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Irrigation Problems

Subterranean Leak

Since May or June, we have noticed an increase in water consumption on the monthly bill from the Town. At first, I thought it was because we had filled the spa for the summer, but then the increased consumption continued. In July, I found that the circuit breaker to the water system had tripped after having some of the shrubs appear to wither. I got that fixed and then the increased consumption resumed.

Yesterday, I finally contacted the landscapers that installed the irrigation system here. Together, the foreman and I discovered that a continuous water flow was occurring in an unknown location around the property. We also discovered a flow (pictured above) that ran during the active time for the irrigation to flow. Both problems, the one we can see and another somewhere stop when we cut off the main irrigation valve.

After discussing the problem with the landscaper and probable solutions, it would seem we’re in for a complete overhaul and replacement of much of the system. Chronically, in the desert, systems that use PVC tubing seem to need replacement at eight-to-ten year intervals, which is exactly how old the system is.

So, for the time being, we’re going to have to water the shrubs and trees manually since the irrigation valve is closed pending fixing things. Our landscaper has a number of other jobs ahead of us and it will be a week to a month before we can get back to normal.

For reference, the leak pictured above (the one we can see) is located between the ocotillo and the courtyard wall in front of the walkway to the courtyard gate. The irrigation lines and all are controlled from near the corner of the garage. Click on either image to enlarge.

Front Walkway

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Reunion - Ham Radio Style

Eating Meeting

Over the holiday weekend, we had house guests in the form of a couple that I have known since 1960 or so. I met Dick and Taffy on 2 meters AM in California when I was still in high school. We became good friends in those days. We also had a lot of mutual ham radio friends on the air and in person back then.

We got back in touch with them after a lot of years via email a couple of months ago when they found me and invited me to a reunion out in California of a bunch of other hams we knew. We weren’t able to go for a variety of reasons, but kept in touch hoping for a meet and greet opportunity. It so happened that Dick and Taffy were in Arizona to attend a grandson’s graduation from technical school in the Phoenix area on Saturday. We had previously offered to host them here at our place for an extended visit after the grandson’s grad event. They arrived here on Sunday afternoon.

The third party in the reunion was Jim, one of those mutual friends back then, who has recently relocated to the Prescott, AZ, area. Since we planned a Labor Day grilled steaks dinner, we invited Jim and his wife, Shirley, to attend which they graciously accepted. We all had a great visit, dinner and more visit before the confab broke up just before dark. Jim and Shirley headed back north, Dick and Taffy stayed one more night here and the latter departed this morning, returning to California.

We really enjoyed all the story swapping, getting caught up on other friend’s activities and learning about ancestry and genealogy tactics (we may soon use some of those). By the way, everyone present on Labor Day would be considered right-wing lunatics by the anti-constitutional left. Of course, normal people would consider us Patriotic Americans. It was a good and enjoyable reunion and encounter and we hope to be able to have a redux soon.

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We’re Home Again!

Approaching Flagstaff Saguaro Sighting

Our trip today took us from the high Arizona Desert (5700 feet MSL) through the mountains (7000+ feet MSL) and down to the lower high desert (2100 feet MSL) where we reside. The two photos above are (L to R) approaching the San Francisco Mountains east of Flagstaff along I-40 and the first Saguaro cacti along I-17 as we descended through 3000 feet North of Black Canyon, AZ.

Most of the driving over the past two weeks has been fairly easy in the big RV, but for some reason, today seemed a little more tedious, with rough roads, heavier traffic, gusty winds and some winding roadways, not to mention the ubiquitous road repairs underway. We got through it OK, however, and upon arrival home we ate lunch and relaxed with an adult beverage or two. The major unpacking and post-travel chores to resume tomorrow.

We still have no access to the RV drive at the west end, so I had to once again back up the east driveway to park in our customary spot. It’s a tight fit with an uphill in reverse and a nearly ninety degree turn in reverse to get in the spot.

Believe it or not, the recalcitrant leveling jacks deployed in their normal fashion and the RV is level again after having not worked for the past two weeks. We’re still going to have the RV in for service and to check out the levelers and the door step which has also been a problem. That service will be scheduled soon, but meanwhile, we’re going to get back into our usual routine and become accustomed to home again.

Home Parking Spot

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We’re Back in Arizona Tonight

Red Cliffs Along I-40

Our route was along I-40 all day with stops in Grants (Walmart - provisions) and Gallup (Diesel), NM with our evening destination here in Holbrook, AZ. Even along a major interstate, the scenery can be breathtaking as evidenced by the red cliffs near the AZ/NM border in the photo above (courtesy Damsel). There were many other worthy sightseeing photos Damsel took today, but we have neither the data space nor the bandwidth for the seven hundred plus images I downloaded from her camera today.

This is our last overnight stop and we will be home in Wickenburg tomorrow afternoon. Damsel and I both enjoyed this “vacation from retirement” excursion and will be anxious to travel again real soon as soon as practical. Meantime, we have some important things to do at home. Below is the campsite for tonight with dinner already being prepared in part within the grill on the picnic table (Chicken Jalapeño Casserole).

Holbrook Campsite

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A Loss for the Climate Hoax

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Remember Michael Mann’s phony hockey stick curve of the early 2000’s which all the greenies jumped on as the end of the world due to Global Warming? That’s it in the top of the graph above. The second graph in the image is of actual European average temperatures over the last millennium.

The author of the second graph, Tim Ball, publicly made statements to the effect of Mann should be in state pen rather than in a professorship at Penn State. Mann sued years ago for defamation. Recently, a court ruled in favor of Ball who is to be awarded court costs paid for by Mann.

The reason Mann lost his case was due to the fact that he never during the years long trial provided any data to substantiate his hockey stick curve. Bell, on the other hand, easily showed the validity of his version of climate trends.

Hat tip to Joe Huffman who asks if this ruling could be “The end of the climate change hoax?” I would be happy if that were true, but knowing the Fake News Media and the Democrats (repeating myself) won’t advertise Mann’s loss in court, but will double down on the consistent, loud and obnoxious climate change rhetoric.

Go on over to The View from North Central Idaho and read the whole thing. Joe has some good references there.

Yes, we’re still in Albuquerque relaxing and will be on the road again tomorrow.

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