Monday, December 10, 2018

Shopping and Wildlife

I wanted an aluminum half sheet and a quarter sheet pan.  I did not want to pay a ton of money for same.  We’ve spent a ton of money recently, and that has got to stop.  Anyway, we went to Standard Restaurant Supply.  It’s open to the public and if they don’t have it, you do not need it.  When we walked in the front door I swear I could hear the angels singing a heavenly chorus.  I obtained said sheet pans, plus a few other items.  Their prices are really good.  If you’re in the area and need kitchen equipment, go there.  It’s also good for just looking at stuff.

In the front yard there is a berm.  Berms are very popular in desert landscaping, I guess because they add a little interest to what would otherwise be a flat area with gravel on it.  Our berm features a sad, ugly, squished in cactus.  We went out to Landscape Cactus and talked to the owner, Dr. Jon Weeks.  He’s from Syracuse, NY originally.  He was in a PhD program there, but decided he’d rather collect cactus than finish the program.  So he drove out here.  After getting a doctorate studying how salt tolerant plants tolerate salt, he spent ten years in Mexico living in his truck, studying plants and collecting cactus seeds.  He’s 70 now, and owns an amazing nursery of plants he’s propagated.  He’s still collecting plants, as well.  Ask him anything about cactus, he knows.  We got a double headed Golden Barrel in a four gallon container.  It weighs a ton, I’m not exactly sure why we felt we needed something that big, but it will be visible in the yard. If you’re in the area and want to go look, you should go.  Go when it’s not raining, as the road you’ll drive on is not paved.

The red ones in the back are Fish Hooks.  I love the way they glow when they’re back lit.  The structure is a shade house, it prevents sun burns on the baby cacti.

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Golden Barrel cacti.  These are singles.  Doubles and multiples are single plants but they look like they were planted too close together.

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I forget what this is.  Dr. Weeks uses a lot of Latin names, which I can not remember.  It’s from Mexico.  They’re a pretty plant, they’re very sculptural.

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This is the bloom from a Trichocereus.  We weren’t planning to plant any in the yard because they have a sprawling growth habit.  Weeding under the arms is hazardous to one’s skin.  He’s hybridized some that will stand upright.  Probability is high that one of those will make its way into the yard.

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Landscape Cactus can be found off of Bopp road, which is just off of Kinney which is just off of Ajo.  Turn on to S Silver Bridle Ln.

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Saturday evening, one of our neighbors motioned for us to come out into the front yard.  The neighbor who feeds the birds, apparently is also leaving food out for the javelinas.  It was getting dark so the pictures aren’t great.  There were probably a dozen or so in the brush.  There was some posturing among the herd with growling an head shaking.  We saw one baby.

The baby is just to the right of the right-most pot.  He’s really difficult to see.

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One of them came walking up the street right at us.  They don’t see very well, we wondered if we looked like people to them or if we were just shapes.

Today was windy, tomorrow will also be windy and cloudy.  Then it’s supposed to be better.  Given how terrible the weather is on the east coast, there will be no complaining about this.

Friday, December 7, 2018

The Weather!

What do we talk about when we have nothing to say?  Why, the weather, of course. 

This is what we had been seeing, very pretty skies at sunset.

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Yesterday afternoon the wind picked up and this came to visit.

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Today we have lightning and thunder and the clouds are moving between the mountains.  It’s only forecast to last today, so there shouldn’t be too much whining on my part.

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See the road labelled 86, we’re just north of it.  We’re in the yellow and red.

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It's good for the desert.  December rains give us a good wild flower season in the spring.

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

The Grill Arrives and DNA

The new Weber grill came yesterday.  We bought it from Amazon – everything comes from Amazon these days.  Anyway, they sell an assembly service.  Better yet, sometimes they don’t charge for the assembly.  If it hadn’t been free, we probably would have assembled it ourselves.  However, after seeing the process, I’m really glad we didn’t do it.  So now Jim has a grill that is bigger than the Weber Q1200 he’s been using for eleven years. 

Aye…………….. she’s a biggun.

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I will say, one thing I do really like about the house is having a cooktop with sufficient BTUs to get things done.  In the RV, things cook for a long time.  On the gas stove top in the house, things cook much faster.

Other than grill assembly, there is not much upon which to report.  I could go off on our 45th president’s behavior at the G20, or his continued assaults on democratic norms and the FBI, as well as people who cooperate with law enforcement,  but I think I’ll just give it a rest.

Here are some pretty pictures instead.

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The neighbor across the street puts out blocks of seeds for the quail.

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Happy bougainvillea.

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One interesting thing I saw was a NYT article about DNA testing.  I personally haven’t done it and probably won’t because ultimately it’s immaterial where my ancestors came from, and I’m not about to hand over my data to a company with unclear privacy policies.  Last July pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline invested $300 million in 23andMe and gained exclusive rights to its customers’ data.  The thing that’s interesting is how the companies generate their reference samples, and the fact that over time, their interpretation of where you came from may change.  It strikes me as lucrative voodoo science. 

Ideally, ancestry-testing companies would compare customers’ DNA to that of people from premigration days. But given that impossibility, the companies use an imperfect proxy: people alive today who have a deep family tree in a particular geographic area, and sometimes a paper trail to prove it. Those people’s DNA becomes the company’s reference data set for that geographic area. When a segment of your DNA closely matches the data for that location, the company assigns you that ancestry. The more segments on your genome that match that genetic pattern, the larger your estimated percentage will be for that ancestry.

It’s a long article but I found it to be very interesting.  The testing has been known to allow adoptees to find biological family members, so that’s a good thing.

So that’s all I have to report.

Sunday, December 2, 2018

HVAC and Home Decor

It’s December!  How on earth did the year get away like this?  Today started out dark, windy and cold.  Now it is sunny, windy and cold.  Yes, cold is a relative term, but really it’s all about my comfort level – right?  Tuesday, it’s supposed to get back into the 70’s which will be good.

We’ve been busy, well actually the contractors have been busy.  Friday we had the a/c and furnace replaced.  They were still working, but the fear was the a/c would die in the summer while we were gone.  The furniture hates it when indoor temperatures get that hot.  This is the old one.  The furnace blower was over amping and the flames in the furnace had yellow, indicating that it wasn’t burning hot enough with the possibility of producing carbon monoxide. 

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The flotilla of new stuff.  We went with a vendor that works for Costco.  You know how Costco has the policy of if you don’t like it, bring it back?  They actually do a lot of research on stuff so that they sell things that people won’t hate, or else they make the vendor take it back.  Lennox did well in their surveys of HVAC quality.  Then they called Lennox and asked them who they like locally.  So that’s how it went.  They were not the lowest bidder, but they did additional things like replacing the metal on the plenum, and they routed the condensate tube out of the hall bathroom drain and took it out through the side of the garage.  The new touch screen thermostat is cool,  no reading of the pesky manual was required.

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The new outdoor air conditioner on its new pad. 

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Here is the other half of the a/c on top of the new furnace.  It is so quiet, the old ones used to rattle and vibrate.  It was a fair amount of money, but I’m glad we did it.

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Today we sprinkled some art on the walls.  We hate putting nails in the walls worse than anything, but I’m glad these are up.  Kelly O’Neil Henson was a fixture in the Seattle sail boat racing community.  She would follow the boats in an inflatable taking photos which she sold to the racers.  These were taken at Big Boat Series in San Francisco when Jim was crewing on Cassiopeia. She is a Davidson 72. 

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Before there was blogging, there were photo albums.  The above is the Ikea piece we assembled with great difficulty.  There are 15 years of Jim and me, starting with when we got married.  If I didn’t annotate the photos, we didn’t remember what happened.  They’re a complete storage issue, but turning the pages confers a pleasure that a laptop can not duplicate.

Here is some more Christmas.  I was burning tea candles last night on the new furniture, and the wood got pretty warm.   A one inch wide fuzzy foot (used for the bottoms of chair legs) stops the transfer of heat across the crystal on to the wood.

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New tree skirt from Target.  The one I made (and hand quilted) for big trees just looked stupid under the tiny tree.  This is better.

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More ornaments.  I really like the indents, they’re shiny.

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Other than this, there is not too much happening in the Cold Pueblo.