The Jade Garden

This is a new Chinese restaurant in Caňon City. The food was good; the service was terrible (and I told them); and the most interesting thing in the place (to me) was in the men’s room!

The sink looks like a salad bowl!

Lounging Buck

I awoke this morning and what to my wondering eyes did appear but a young buck, lying under our feeder tree!

He is not a stranger to us. He likes to raid our bird feeders and we have a heated water tub for wildlife. But this is the most comfortable I have ever seen him here, lying out of the snow in the early morning sunlight, chewing his cud.

He is even facing away from the house, knowing he will hear if any of our predators come out the pet door. But all of them are intimidated by him!! Even Lily won’t approach him but will sit and watch him, just in case! She politely doesn’t bark, either.

I have no idea how long he had been here when I got up but he lay there an hour and half I know of. He is safe from coyotes inside the fence. But I am suspecting he was watching for does to come by. We have never seen him with any; I guess his hanging with humans puts them off!

He seems to know these humans are not gonna fill the freezer with him.

Another October Snow

Our traditional Halloween blizzard came a few days early. And really dumped on us! Not that I am complaining! Here are some scenes around our place.

Yes, this is the same little tree which evoked so much of an outcry earlier this month (see below).

So I waded out into the 10″ of snow and knocked most of the snow off it. The rest was frozen to the tree!

Now y’all feel better? Lol. Pine trees are very flexible when they are young which allows them to survive heavy snowfall but lose a lot of that flexibility when they develop bark on trunks and branches. Both storms fell pretty much straight down aggravating any bend a tree already had.

One example of extreme bending is this tree branch.

Normally this branch is straight out from the tree but today it makes a perfect right angle. There may be some internal damage so it may not bounce back to its former position. And, no, I am NOT gonna wade out to “rescue” this branch!

The glowing spots are reflections from the big snowflakes in the flash!

Most of the snow fell during the day yesterday. Enough to nearly fill our raingauge! So I swept (actually pushed with a broom!) the front porch and the walkway to this gauge and brought it in to measure and empty before dark. This was 0.48″ of water! Our total for the storm was 1.25″. The last storm was about 2″ of snow but very wet making the tree bendings look similar.

This is our bird feeder tree. This branch hit the ground and quit bending. Normally it is higher but not enough to walk under the end easily. It already has a split from past abuse. I have condsidered options for it: a “crutch” to support it or just trimming it up higher. But this shows me just to leave it alone and walk around the end.

It is clear and very bright out! The snow is now (noon) dropping from the trees rapidly; fun to watch as it cascades to the ground! The odd looking pyramid in the right foreground of the lower picture is a plastic table! The “cake” on the lower left of the same picture is our bird bath!

This won’t last long; our forecast high was the high 30s and we are at 44° as I write this! Walking under the trees is hazardous right now!

The Duckett Fire — Finally Declared “Out”

After four months, the USFS has declared the Duckett Fire southwest of us near Hillside CO as extinguished. The active fire was out in early August but the Forest Service is conservative about saying it was over because

Though there has been no indication that the fire continued to smolder, roots can keep burning for extended periods, Hurley said. Local forestry technicians Jeff Outhier and Darrell Bressan have been keeping an eye on the area. Infrared aircraft checks have shown no indication of hot spots. It was noted that even the Sand Gulch fire near Wetmore popped back up again after a couple months but was quickly extinguished.

It burned 4690 acres. I have several LJ entries about the fire.

This map doesn’t include all the acreage but this was the best I found.

But the forest is already recovering in spite of the dry summer.

Those little trees are aspens coming up from the roots of burned adults. Oaks will also slowly come back and the forest will begin to rejuvenate itself.

An IBM Typewriter

I found this machine sitting in the corner of the library.

Wow! A classic from 1984. Only slightly damaged with the panel showing the position of the platen (For you younger people, the platen is the thing the paper rolls around. Oh, yeah. The paper in a typewriter is fed in individually and rolls around the platen while the user types their information.) being missing. I have no idea if it works.

This is an IBM Personal Wheelwriter. A Model 3, the earliest one. You can still buy these, either new or refurbished for $300-400. This followed the Selectric with its “flying ball” (which was more fun to watch but very noisy) and was the final IBM typewriter before they sold the line to Lexmark at around Model 2000.

It even has a ribbon! That is the big “U”-shaped thing. The wheel is just visible next to the ribbon. It rotates to the desired character (These come in most languages and some technical “dialects”) then a hammer whacks it, printing the character on the paper. There are also correction ribbons. 🙂

My first wife figured out how to “read” what was typed on one when her boss wrote a letter she thought was about her. So she retrieved the ribbon cartridge from the trash and laboriously wrote each character out in reverse order! And the letter WAS about her! Lol. Her coworkers were impressed she could do that!

A ‘Paxi Pirate

This was my last library day before Halloween so I did dress up! Our school is the Pirates.

Fearful, eh? Lol.

I enjoyed watching the reactions of everyone. One elementary boy went to the door and stood staring at me! He never said a word or make any gesture. When I went to lunch, many of the students, all older, giggled and one girl covered her mouth so, i presume, my feelings wouldn’t be hurt. But my outfit got a lot of compliments, especially the hat (mostly boys) and the tie Donna had bought for me. It didn’t show up well in the picture but it is all sequins with the spiders being beads. It is very nice and it drew more comments than anything!

The Colorado Oil Rush!

But not around here. Lol. Our rush is more likely to be in strip mining rare earth metals.

But the northern Front Range is in an oil lease fever. The lease gobbling is from Weld to El Paso counties where the Niobara formation lies.

This is similar to the Bakken Shale in the Dakotas and probably as productive. Another frakkin’ field that delivers lots of oil briefly. Few wells drilled 6000′ feet deep pay for themselves in these formations.

While the average onshore U.S. oil well yields about 300 barrels a month, Jake initially yielded 1,558 barrels a day, according to the company.

Houston-based Noble Energy Inc​.’s Gemini well in central Weld County initially yielded 1,100 barrels a day.

Those wells have been the exception and the Jake well’s production drifted down to 225 barrels a day this past March, according to an EOG investor presentation.

The winners here are likely to be the ranchers who hold out for big signing bonuses. Heavily urbanized areas need not apply!

Water House Wiring

This is really boring to most people so I suggest you skip over to Pogo or FaceBook. Or read a blog. Lol. (All links safe for work!)

I worked on the outlet wiring in the Water House Thursday afternoon. It went from this

to this.

And it only took two redesigns and one rewiring to complete! Lol. Yeah, it is in service but needs some covers to be “complete”.

The first problem was my discovery of the GFCI in the little dangly box below the large switch box. I had forgotten I installed it many years ago! I considered leaving it there but finally moved it to the existing box. But that meant five wires in the 1/2″ conduit between the junction box and that outlet box: 2 white, 2 black, and a green. One set of B/W “in” and a set “out” so all the outlets on the wall would be protected. I wanted to mount the GFCI on the junction box but I had bought a box that didn’t allow outlets to be mounted. Onward.

I only had one conduit curve so reused the piece of Romex which is functional but tacky. Some day it may get replaced with conduit and individual wires. Or not.

I had begun connecting the wires in the junction box when I realized I had to connect the right blacks and whites for the downstream outlets to be protected. Then it dawned on me all the terminals on the GFCI were not the same! I had just landed them randomly and had no idea which wire was which! So a major undo as I disconnected all the wires from the GFCI!

So I had to do both ends of each wire as I connected it to the GFCI so I would know which was in and which was out (“line” and “load” as they were called on the back of the GFCI)(If I had had two more colors of wire, I wouldn’t have been so constrained.). The biggest problem was the stiff 12 gauge wire but they were already bent making the redo easier. By the time I got all the wires landed, I was pretty much done! In several senses; I was worn out but had had to finish so there would be power in the WH and water for the night.

So I asked Donna to turn the power back on and I would watch for any excitement. Nothing, which was good. Then I plugged in a flood light to test. Still nothing, which was bad! I asked her to turn it back off assuming a wirenut connection was not right.

That was when she discovered she had turned on the wrong breaker! We have another 220 breaker that used to go to the A/C and attic fan neither of which we have now. When she turned the breaker to the Water House on, the light came on! I was so relieved! The GFCI manually test tripped and reset and all the outlets worked. Success.

I began plugging stuff back in. The yellow cord goes to the small freezer; the white cord goes to the patio lights; the tan cord is for the water line heat tape.

And some of the stuff got moved to the new outlets: the heat lamp timer and my work flood. I will be putting the electric heater in service shortly since the NWS is forecasting a HIGH of 35 Tuesday! Plus each of the treatment column controllers have transformers for their power.

So I went from 5 outlets to 12. And 8 of them are claimed already! Now “all” I need to do is plumbing.

Views of El Paso

This was taken with her cell from Scenic Drive on the flank of the Franklin Mountains. The above picture is toward the southeast. The distant lights are of Jaurez, Mexico. The Rio Grande River separates the two but at night, they merge.

Looking toward the south, she caught the sun setting. The distant mountains are in Mexico. The stadium lights are at the Sun Bowl.

Frankly, it looks much better at night. This is hard desert country so it seems more congenial in the dark.

Irish Pubs in Pueblo

I was told there were Irish pubs in Pueblo. I was surprised and went to see for myself. This is an old, Hispanic city so having two Irish pubs seemed out of character.

The first I visited was the Cock and Bull Tavern. I wasn’t impressed; it just seemed like just another dark bar to me. But they had food so I ordered a “slopper”. I didn’t know it at the time but this is a classic Pueblo invention, consisting of an open face hamburger smothered in green chili. They were even featured on the Travel Channels “Food Wars”. The slopper was delicious!

My next visit (the next evening) was to the Irish Pub and Grille. Also known as the Shamrock Brewing Company, this is a classic Irish brewpub. The available beers each day are written on a blackboard; there were eight different beers the day I was there. This place celebrates their Irish! And drinking.

This is one of the bartenders.

I tried some of the beers (They will let you have free samples. The brewed root beer is good, too!). In the men’s room are posters advertizing their products. It was covered with glass and my phone didn’t take a very good picture.

What got my attention on this was a blurb about their “chili beer”! It isn’t brewed with chilis but is allowed some contact time to add flavor. They don’t mention it on their (PDF) website so I assume this is a chili festival brew.

They brag about their corned beef on their menu being cooked for ten hours. The sandwich was good but the corned beef was not as tender as I expected for all that cooking!

The place expanded into the next store front in 2005 for an expansion of the dining area and the brewing section.

Overall, the Irish Pub and Grille comes highly recommended by me. As do sloppers in general!

Back to the Water Project

I worked on the wiring yesterday. Right now everything in the Water House comes from just a few outlets.

There was obviously no planning as the electrical demand increased (lights, patio lighting, heater, temporary freezer connection, water line heat tape, etc.). And more outlets are needed now (treatment column controllers, etc.). The new outlets are now in place.

They are ready to go except they are only connected to each other!

I had some excitement when my work flood exploded! I was working on the east outlets when, with no warning, the flood exploded! I was standing almost under it while working on the west (left) outlet!

I was concentrating on pushing the three wires into the conduit when it went off!

None of the glass hit me but bounced off the pressure tank and you can see it on the salt tank which I was using as a table. The phone was my intercom to Donna. This caused a brief delay while I picked up the shards of glass and found a new light. I am still not sure what set it off.

After some struggle, I got all three wires around the bend and into the lower box. The next step is adding conduit at the bottom and connecting it all together.

More Snow

It just keeps coming down! Now we are worried about our trees breaking under the load. Especially the little tree on the right of the three Ponderosas.

This is at 8:30.

And this is at 10:30.

Poor Baby.

Winter in October

This was the scene from our front porch this morning.

This is over 1″ of wet, heavy snow and still snowing heavily. I had to sweep the stuff off our satellite dish to get Iway access back! The temp is not as cold as forecast, being right at freezing. And the NWS said we can get 3″ more.

I have a meeting this afternoon which may be poorly attended. Lol.

A Stop at a Rest Area

On our way to Canon City from Salida, we stopped at the Canyon Trading Post Recreation Area near Cotopaxi to relax and enjoy the Arkansas River for a while; this is the same place where we watched the river go by white and the trees had fences. The humans used the vault toilet while Lily, in spite of the copious amount of water she had drank, did not stop sniffing.

So we went for a walk hoping Lily would HAVE to pee. We went down by the river and Lily walked into the water, drank some water, then jumped right into the river! We had no idea she liked to swim! I urged her out with the leash before the current carried her away. So we then had a completely wet dog! Who walked over and shook herself in front of us!

She has quit leaving streams of water but you can see wet footprints she is leaving.

She is very happy for being a wet dog! We all went over and sat down at a shady table to read, well, Donna and I did. She continued to sniff. Until an animal across the river began complaining about the presence of humans and dogs in the rest area! And got more emphatic when a group of float fishermen stopped there for lunch!

This video is designed to be listened to. The “chirping” noise is the [assumed] marmot barking at us. Both these and groundhogs make this noise to warn others of intruders.

We hung on to Lily’s leash for fear she would jump in the river again to get to it!

Finally we all settled down to read or watch for intruders while Lily dried off some. It was relaxing, listening to the murmur of the river, noises of the wildlife, even the traffic on the highway above us. But eventually we had to move on.

Donna’s Belly

This is what her belly looked like the day before the doctor took her stitches out. I winced when I see the hematoma around her navel. She said it is not tender.

She is doing very good after all her ordeal. She just has to not eat fat for two weeks and not lift anything over 20#. Soon her sexy belly will be back to normal.

Almost Rain

This line of clouds immediately to the west of us only got us a trace of moisture.

But the thunder was neat!

Score One for Bicyclists!