Wednesday, October 27, 2021

The Partial Week in Review

Greetings Earthlings.  How have you been?  We have been doing stuff in the house and yard. 

The TDS fiber folks have been extremely busy in the neighborhood down the hill from us manually digging holes in peoples' front yards and using equipment to pull conduit through the dirt.  Eventually there will be fiber for high speed internet running through the conduit.  Since we are in an HOA controlled neighborhood, we all had to vote on getting fiber.  We voted yes, but I haven't decided if I'm actually going to sign up.  Their introductory pricing is only good for one year, and then the prices go up.  They make it very difficult to run cost comparisons with Comcast.  Their sales rep for our area is a complete and total ass hat and I would prefer to never speak to him again.

This is the pre-staging of the conduit.

Look mid photo and you can see one of the workers standing in a hole he has dug for the conduit.  That is all manual labor. Allegedly they will be shoving our conduit under the streets.  One wonders how they will do in the yards that have the massive basalt boulders.  One also wonders if they will break the irrigation systems.

We have spent some time in the basement assembling a universal gym.  It has a lot of parts.  The video they provide is animated, with no words spoken.  There are no words in the assembly manual, either.  There was a pretty good video on You tube done by a speaking human, my only complaint was that he did the turning of tools in time lapse, and some of those things really deserved to be in real time - like pulling the cables, for example.

There it is, back in the corner of the basement.  That giant room is getting smaller.

Yesterday we finally got closure on the blackout curtains for the primary bedroom.  After buying, and returning, several fairly expensive panels, I tried Walmart.  Yes, Walmart.  Two panels for $39 and they do the job.  They're 83 5/8 inches long, both panels are the same length and we're declaring victory.  The neighbor's security lights have been vanquished.

Today we rode in the woods from the Wilber trail head.  It was good, we've found some more single track trails which are fun to ride because they are not terrifying like so many of the trails in Tucson.  On the way there one drives by a horse boarding operation.  It's fairly large. 

There is also an air strip behind a trail head up the road.  It's rudimentary, there is no segmented circle (which is a wind direction indicator) nor is there a wind sock. 

We arrived at the Wilber trailhead about 12:30.  The phone said it was 53 degrees.  At that time the sun was still out and the winds were not high.  About an hour into it, the clouds thickened up, the winds picked up and it felt colder.  We were not over dressed.

Me:  Jersey, undershirt, shorts, heavy tights, heavy arm warmers, jacket, heavy head sock under the helmet and a helmet cover.  I was wearing my full fingered warmer bike gloves, they were marginal.  My socks (grey Wright socks) were too short, there was an inch of exposed skin between the sock and the bottoms of the tights.  We wore the regular MTB shoes, and not the clown shoes, and my toes were chilly but not painful.

Jim.  Jersey, undershirt, shorts, heavy tights, heavy arm warmers, jacket, heavy head sock under the helmet and a helmet cover.  Jim has warmer gloves than I do, and his socks were tall enough.  His feet are generally warmer than mine, and his toes were good.

These are the clown shoes.  They're down hill shoes and they're full of padding and they look huge.  They're also warm, but they kind of look ridiculous on benign trails.

Those of you who were reading the blog when we were spending time in the Seattle area no doubt recall my frequent complaining about the traffic.  This morning was particularly bad.  This happened early in the morning on west bound I90 which is one of the two bridges over Lake Washington that people drive to get into down town Seattle.  Every single lane - blocked by an overturned semi.

Tomorrow Junk and Dump comes to remove this pile of vegetation.  There's a dead Pyramidalis on top of the pile of day lilies.  I will be happy to see it all go.

That's it!  That's all I've got.

Friday, October 22, 2021

And Then There Were None

Yesterday was not raining so we headed out early to dispatch the remaining five day lilies.  The root system on the last one we dug up was unbelievable.  It had satellite clumps of roots.  There were no shoots above ground, but the main root ball had sent out other masses of roots.  I'm pretty sure it was intent on world domination.  Thursday Junk and Dump will come and haul them away.  That will be good.

It was good that we got it done when we did.  The atmospheric river of water arrived this morning, it's supposed to rain until next Thursday.  It's all good, we have stuff to do inside.  After finishing the digging yesterday we took the 82 inch long curtains back to Pennys.  We thought we'd try 96 inch curtains.  We unpackaged one of the panels this morning, and they are going back.  They look pretty monolithic on the small sliding glass door.  So, we're back to online shopping, local brick and mortar has bupkis in the way of 84 inch curtains with back tabs or pinch pleats.  Grommets are no bueno because they let in light, which is what we don't want.  It's always something.

I took these two pictures on the last ride.

Google sent me this photo.  It appears that it munged the above two photos into a panoramic version.  I did not ask it to do that.  Apparently Photos feels free to rummage around in my account and do stuff with my pictures.  I'm not sure I approve of this activity. 

Today the sprinkler guy came to blow out the irrigation system.  It's kind of weird, they hook a compressor to one of the sprinkler hose bibs and put air through the lines until no more water comes shooting out.  We can't use those two hose bibs until spring or the system will be full of water again, and if there is a major freeze we'll have broken pipes.  In AZ we used the irrigation most of the year so we never had to do this.  The guy did something with the valve box, all we know is that he took the cover off and did not replace it.  We wonder if he did something in the box that needed to be undone, but he forgot.  Houses should really come with an owner's manual.  We left our new owners in Tucson information on stuff that they needed to be aware of.  Most of what we know came from the nice neighbor across the street.

So there you go, all the lilies are deceased.

Tuesday, October 19, 2021

Another Ride to the Lake

Here we have pictures from the always lovely Centennial Trail heading towards Long Lake.   We rode to the lake from the McClellan trailhead.  When we got to the trail head the phone said it was 60 degrees.  We had a frost the previous night so the air was fairly cold.  It's a road ride, and there are no cars allowed.  Love that.

At the trail head there is a helicopter landing site, always good for the grievously maimed rescued from the woods.

The lake.  That's a boat launch down there.   

This is taken from the Deep Creek bridge.  There was zero wind.  Any current was not visible to us.

After some internal debate we went with the following clothing choices.

Me:  Undershirt, jersey, light weight knee warmers, heavy arm warmers, vest, light weight polar fleece head sock under the helmet.  Full finger MTB gloves.  White Wrightsocks.

Jim:  Undershirt, jersey, heavy weight knee warmers, heavy arm warmers, vest, black Head Sweats under the helmet.  Full finger MTB gloves.  Heavy-ish socks.  Jim thought maybe he could have gone with lighter socks.

It was chilly starting out because you start with a down hill.  As we hit the climbs we warmed up.  Overall I would say we had clothing perfection.

Here is the agave under his new grow light.  The C clamp could be a little better quality, but the goose necks are very adjustable, and so I think I'm keeping it.

If the rain holds off tomorrow, we'll be back out murdering the day lilies.

Monday, October 18, 2021

Four Down, Five To Go

The plan today was to generate a small amount of yard waste that would fit in a plastic yard waste bag that would fit in the trash container which goes out to the street tomorrow night.  HAH!  Double Hah Hah Hah!  We started off cutting the peonies almost to the ground, and raking up maple tree and rhododendron debris.  Then we decided to determine if we could dig up the day lilies or if we'd have to pay someone to do it.  My nice neighbor loaned me her pitch fork and we started in on it.  Yes, the elderly can dig up giant day lilies with the proper tools. 

This is the first to die.  After getting it out of the ground we decided maybe we should not cut the tops off.  They ended up going everywhere.

These are the four we got out today.  Next Thursday, Junk and Dump will come and take them and any other bags of leaves away.  If we had gotten the yard waste container when we arrived, we could have put them in there, but we didn't.  For some reason we thought we wouldn't need one since the man who cuts the grass hauls it away.  Hah!  Double Hah!

These five will be biting the dust soon.  They just had to go, I hate these things.  Probability is high that we will spend the next ten years killing off the tubers we left in the ground today, but I can live with that. 

The black material is shade cloth, which we have stretched across two window wells.  I'm hoping they'll keep the leaves from falling in to the wells so that I don't have to go in there and pick them up.  See the concrete curbing that defines the edge of the grass?  That's a thing in Spokane, we saw that in many of the houses we looked at online.

This is a tree down the street.  It's an impressive autumn display of color.  However, soon the leaves will be in the yards.

Tomorrow appears to be the last good day for awhile, rain is coming.  Since Spokane is in drought I can't whine about it too much.  I think we will go ride out at Riverside again.

Sunday, October 17, 2021

A Ride in the Woods

This is cool.  I took a picture of the agave October 9.  Look in the center of his petals, and notice the one in the middle is closed up.

This photo was taken this morning, and there has been change to the petal that was closed.  Now it's open.  So growth and progress are being made.  Cactus grow so slowly, it's miraculous to actually notice and see a change in them.

Here is the Japanese lantern as seen from the dining room window.

Today's ride was good.  We arrived at the Wilber trailhead around 1:00.  The sun was out, standing by the car we were feeling warm, and decided to ditch the jackets for vests.  It was 58 or 59 degrees.

Me:  Jersey, undershirt, heavy arm warmers, light weight tights, vest, full finger MTB gloves, gray Wrightsocks.  The lightweight polar fleece head sock under the helmet.

Jim:  Jersey, undershirt, heavy arm warmers, light weight tights, vest, full finger winter gloves, gray socks. The black Head Sweats under the helmet.

It had been cloudy all morning, making it feel cold, then the sun came out.  While riding we had periods of cloud cover and sun, but we were in the woods so there was also shade.  Over all it was a successful dressing.  The heavy arm warmers made up for no jacket sleeves.

There are old structures in the woods.  Part of it used to be owned by the military, so we guess that some of them date from when it was a base.  It's still military, the National Guard was out in the woods doing something today.  Fortunately it did not involve live fire.  We saw this on a concrete wall that used to be part of something. I have no idea of what message they're trying to convey.

It was a good ride, we rode more single track than before which was fun.  It's mainly nice single track, few big rocks or roots, mainly dirt and pine needles.

That's it!  That's all I've got.

Saturday, October 16, 2021

Curtains and Weights

Greetings and Salutations.  We have been busy.  With what have we been busy, you wonder.  Buying and returning curtains is what.  Nothing should be this difficult.  The first thing we bought was 100 inches wide, we figured one panel would do well blocking out the neighbor's security lights.  It probably would have except for the fact that we were told we must use the middle curtain rod support because of its weight.  Well you can't do that and pull a curtain across it at the same time.  That curtain went back.  The second attempt was also an abject failure.  See photo below.

See the gap between the carpet and the bottom of the curtain?  The panels are supposed to measure 84 inches.  A tape measure revealed that it's actually 82 inches and now they will be going back, as well.  It just should not be this tedious. 

I took the next photo at 8:30 this morning through an open door.  There is a reflection of some part of me mid photo.  I am not sure how that happened.  Anyway, it was a lovely morning.  The terrible day lillies are reaching the stage where they need to be cut to the ground.  I am really looking forward to that.

Here is the always lovely Parryi in the morning light.

I have a grow light on order from Amazon.  Hopefully it will get him through the winter months healthy and happy.  Days are short up here.  We're at 47.65 degrees north.  However, London is at 51.50 degrees north, so their days are even shorter in the winter.  I did not know the following until I looked up Spokane's lattitude,  "Even the southernmost point of Britain is further north than the northernmost part of the contiguous United States (the 48 adjoining states, so this does not include Alaska or Hawaii), while London lies further north than almost all major Canadian cities, including Vancouver, Montreal, Quebec City, and Toronto."

Amazon came today.  I took this through the screen door.  This is my first lift gate truck delivery from them.

The home gym came.  Yay!  There are about a thousand pieces to it, all of which had to be unboxed and carried downstairs individually because neither of us could lift the three boxes it was packed in.

Since it was a perfect day, we went out and worked in the yard some after receiving the heavy packages.  It was in the upper 60's with full sun.  Tomorrow should be less sunny, but still good to ride.  The maple is sneaking up on dropping its leaves.  We moved the Japanese lantern over there, it looks nice under the maple.

Sooner or later we're going to need a new tea kettle.  Most of the new ones do not have a removable lid, which is something I really like.  We saw this one at Crate and Barrel while in Tucson and liked it.  I'm putting it here so I can find the name of it in the future.  Unposted pictures become lost over time.  It's a Haden Dorchester Kettle.  Please make a note of this, for when the current kettle become in-op.

Is it not lovely?  They also make toasters and coffee makers in this color.

This is from the department of you can't fix stupid.  Anti-vaxxers held a rally in front of the NYT building, waving flags and chanting "Defund the media."  Do they think taxes fund journalism?  Video is here if you want to hear stupid as well.

Other than this, I have zippity doo-dah all to report from the soon to be frozen north.

Tuesday, October 12, 2021

Riding and Doing Stuff in the House

Greetings People of Earth.  What have you been doing?  We sprinkled more art in the house.  We're done now.  We need something really big for the room that has no purpose.  It really doesn't, it's acting as furniture over flow storage.  Pieces that had functional homes in Tucson now are in there.  I think it was supposed to be a dining room or sitting room, but really, who does either thing anymore?  There is a big wall in there that needs something.

These two prints are small, all of the walls are fairly large.  They ended up leaning on a ledge underneath a large window on the staircase landing.  I like them there.

We got the Parryi repotted.  It's very heavy now.  This may be the last pot.  At present he's living in the office in a south facing window.  It's not ideal from an amount of sunlight perspective, but it's what there is.

Sunday we got the road bikes out of their packing boxes and assembled them.  This took place in the garage.  If the brake arches had not been removed, it would have been much faster than it was, but they were.  Anyway, we prevailed and they are now in their winter home in the basement.

Yesterday we got flu shots.  Since we're old, we got the high dose versions.  Afterwards I did not feel bad as I have in the past.  The flu season this year will be interesting since almost no one had it last year. 

We rode in the woods today.  It was cold, really cold.  OK not cold for many of you, but cold for heat acclimated people. 

We started from the McClellan trail head about 1:00 pm.  It was 53 and sunny.  However, the sun is low here in the north, so sunny here is not like sunny in AZ.  Also, one must be aware of how cold it was the night before.  We wore the following.

Me:  Undershirt, jersey, lightweight arm warmers, lightweight tights and the red jacket.  Heavy polar fleece head sock under the helmet and full finger mountain bike glove.  Gray Wrightsocks, mountain bike shoes.

Jim:  Undershirt, jersey, lightweight arm warmers, lightweight tights and a jacket.  Heavy polar fleece head sock under the helmet and winter full finger gloves.  Heavier socks and mountain bike shoes.

We were freezing cold, it was a complete fail on clothing choices.  We should have worn the heavy arm warmers under the jackets, and the heavy tights.  I should have worn my winter riding gloves, the mtb gloves were not warm enough.  If we ride much colder, or on the road, helmet covers will be required to keep the flow of air off our heads.  The only thing that was not cold was Jim's hands.  I remind us here that when we used to ride when it was cold in Seattle, that we would put a vest on underneath the jackets.

Other than this, I have zippity doo dah all to say.

Thursday, October 7, 2021

Dressing for the Climate We Have

Since I can't remember much of anything (like what did we do last Tuesday?) it has to be written down.  So the blog will record what we wore in what temperatures on what terrain so we can start learning how to dress for colder weather.  Today we rode in the woods, it was fun.  It's apparent we've forgotten how to climb steep rocky trails, practice will be required.  One must lower the chest to the handle bars and pull back, rather than up, to avoid pulling the front wheel up.  That is very disconcerting.

Today's clothing choices -  It was 58 degrees and fairly sunny, we started riding about 12:45 from the Wilber trailhead.

Me:  Warmer jersey, undershirt, shorts, heavy arm warmers and heavy knee warmers, vest.  Black head sock under helmet and full finger mountain bike gloves.  Thicker socks than usual.

Jim:  Warmer jersey, undershirt, shorts, heavy arm warmers and heavy knee warmers, vest.  Black Head Sweat under helmet, glove liners and road bike gloves.  Regular socks.

We rode in the woods which was slower than being on the road.  If we'd been on the road, we would have needed jackets.  Our brief foray onto the road convinced us to get back into the trees.

Riverside State Park and the adjacent military reserve are full of trails. With the exception of the steep bits with rocks, they're not technical trails.  I, for one, am happy about this.  Given the state of the ERs which are full of unvaccinated people, I do not want to be maimed at this time.

Unlike the trails in Bend, OR, there was nobody out there.  We saw two other riders, and one runner.  Nice, really nice.

Yesterday we went to Penny's in the mall to get a curtain rod.  The mall was deserted, it was sad. This may presage the end of brick and mortar shopping. Of course, this mall is anchored by Penny's and Kohl's so perhaps people are still going downtown for Nordstrom and REI.  After we got back we sprinkled some art through out the house.  There is more sprinkling yet to be done, but what we did was sufficiently tiring.  I hate putting holes in the walls.

Here is one sprinkle of art, I used the portrait setting on the phone, I think it warms the scene up.  I also think that picture is not level.  It's a water color of a bridge over water, which you can't actually see from here.

Other than that I have nothing interesting to say other than what we wore. 

Tuesday, October 5, 2021

New to Us Trail and Off the Rails

Greetings Earthlings?  How are you all in this time of disaster, disarray and hurtling towards our own doom?  We're good.  Fall has continued to be a gift, we have not wasted it.

There has been gardening.  Actually gardening is too strong of a word for what I have been doing, which is killing weeds.  We have a small flat weed  here that is impervious to Round Up.  I guess we're going to have to increase the kill level to Noxall, which can only be used when there is no wind.  For the time being, I've been sitting in the grass, applying the weed sticker to them.  

Here is Jim, deploying grass fertilizer for the first time in 15 years.  15!  Owning a stick frame house provides hours of entertainment.

We brought the agave with us from Tucson.  We need to re-pot him.  The sun destroyed parts of the current pot, making it very difficult to pick up.  After the re-potting he will move inside for the winter.

When we arrived at this house, there was a derelict circulating water feature, full of algae and mosquito larvae.  Upon closer examination, we noticed that the pump motor was gone, there was much algae, and we gave up on it.  The junk guys took it away, thing weighed a ton.  Now we have this, a little Japanese lantern.  He's concrete so freezing weather will not hurt him.

Yesterday was an amazing day.  It started out overcast, which made it feel cold, especially on the shaded parts of the trail.  We went to a trailhead farther north than where we have been starting.  It's hilly, but not quite as steep as the other trail segment we've been riding.  It was funny, we climbed up the first steep hill, got to the top, realized we had not put the parking pass on the dash, and went back down to the car for the pass.  We decided to drive to the top of the hill we had just climbed since there was a trailhead there, and I did not want to climb that section again.  It was good, when we got to the turn off for the Deep Creek Overlook, I was able to make it up that hill.

There are large rocks there.  I think there is frequently water running through it, hence the name Deep Creek, but yesterday it was dry.

It was very still.  Look at the reflection in the water of the grain silo. 

We kept on riding - the trail is amazing.  They've done significant work on it.  There is a new section formed by re-grading a large section of hill so they could put switch backs in to lessen the effort required to get up it.  Spokane is hilly, I guess there were glaciers in the distant past.

Eventually we reached the end northern terminus of the Centennial Trail at Lake Spokane, which is formed by a dam.  There is a lovely campground there with full hookups and boat ramps.

It was pleasant to sit in the sun, prior to returning to the car.  One thing that has been so much better than riding in Tucson in the summer (or fall) is that you don't have to start really early, and you can take your time because you're not trying to get back to the house before the heat kills you. 

When we got back to the car, the sun was out and the reflections in the water looked good.

Who is interested in the supply chain?  It's more than just the docks at the ports shutting down due to Covid.  It's also disruptions in the rail lines needed to move stuff away from the docks.  In 2015 Union Pacific laid off thirty percent of their people.  This removed any resilience they had to respond to difficult times, like the time of Covid.  There are not enough truck drivers, both to pick up at the docks and pick up in rail yards.  Adding to these issues of chaos is the fact that in the US, shipping, rail and trucking information systems do not talk to each other.  In the EU, everyone puts their data into a common data base that is available to everyone for scheduling.  We are far behind the curve on this, it's embarrassing.  WAPO did a really good in depth article on the subject, which is long, but worth reading. 

Also interesting is the coming difficulties in the EU.  Norway has not received enough rain to effectively generate electricity from their hydro dams.  Russia is not likely to send enough natural gas to fill the gap.  There is fear that there will not be enough energy to keep the residents warm this winter.  Add to that the transportation problems stemming from Brexit in the UK, and it could just be a delightful season of being cold.  The Independent covered this situation in a good article.

It just seems like the wheels have come off the entire planet.