Monday, August 29, 2022

Milfoil, Bees and a Trip

Well, I learned something on Sunday.  The big yellow splotch on the lake is milfoil.  From this website we learn the following.

Eurasian Water-milfoil is a seriously problematic aquatic invasive species. It tends to be few branched on the lower stem and much branched near the water's surface, forming a mat that blocks out the sun, inhibiting the growth of other aquatic plants and degrading or destroying food sources and habitat for native aquatic wildlife. It can also ruin recreational activities, but that really is the lesser evil. Once established, it can be difficult to control, as stem fragments can re-root and re-infest or start new infestations. In Minnesota, it was first discovered on Lake Minnetonka in Hennepin County in 1987 and has since spread to more than half the state, transported primarily on boats, trailers and related equipment.

I read somewhere that milfoil is on every continent except Australia and the Arctic.  It's a busy little plant.

So, this is the view of the yellow plants from up the hill.

These are from the same article I referenced above.  Those teeny tiny flowers are making all of that yellow.  Male flowers are on the top, female flowers are below.  However, the bulk of their path to world domination comes from plant fragments breaking off, rooting, and growing.

Seattle has a milfoil mitigation plan.  They drive paddle wheel boats around the lakes, scooping up milfoil to try to keep it under control.  The paddle wheel is so that the milfoil does not wrap itself around the harvester's propellers.  We saw one of the boats in 2011.

I am on day three of recovering from a bee sting.  It wasn't a honey bee, it was one of the smaller ones.  We were out in the side yard just standing there, and it flew up to me and stung me on my elbow.  It really hurt, it still hurts.  There is a lot of red and swelling and hot skin.  Recently I had wondered if I was still over reacting to bees, and it would appear that the answer is yes.  Benadryl cream and cortisone cream are not having much of an impact on the area.  So, that is unfortunate. 

It appears that we are going to Tucson for January and February.  We're driving down so we can bring the bikes, the bike rack, the riding clothes, the hiking boots and hiking clothes and the other clothes and the laptops, phones, chargers and etc.  This is why living in an RV made traveling so easy, it was all there and we just pulled up stakes and left.  Anyway, this will require a cargo trailer for it all, particularly given the fact that there will probably be terrible weather between here and there, and the bikes would not like being outside on the bike rack.  The AirBnb is up by the Catalina Mountains.  The biggest drawback that I see is that there is not enough living room furniture.  We'll probably rent a recliner for while we are there, maybe two. It will be nice to go somewhere that is not here.

That's it!  That's all I've got.

Friday, August 26, 2022

Food, the Lake, the Affadavit

Greetings Earthlings!  I hope you are well in your various climates.  It's still hot, it's predicted that Saturday and Sunday will be in the 70's, but by Wednesday it's back up to 99.  This is getting old.  Yesterday we ventured out into the afternoon sun to take the hedge trimmer to the big hibiscus.  That thing grew at least two feet taller from where we cut it back to last summer.  Anyway, we decided that if we took the hedge trimmer to it now, we'd remove a bunch of flowers and buds, so we would not have to pick them up later.  

This is my issue with this tree.  If it wasn't such good camouflage of the exhaust pipe for the gas fireplace in the living room, it would be gone by now.  However, it's serving a purpose so I have not taken a chain saw to it.  Yesterday's key learning was don't let it get that tall, even on an eight foot ladder with my arm fully extended holding the hedge trimmer, I could not reach all of it.  The pole pruner had to be used, which is very tedious.  Anyway, it was hot, brutally hot.  All clothing went into the wash immediately.

We're seeing these signs in the parking strips all over Spokane.  It's hard to read, but the hiring agencies are the Airforce and Space Force.  They're hiring!  Yes, sign me up for a job there, too bad I can't leave for four years.  I find this to be fascinating.

We were at Safeway yesterday, they have jack fruit in the produce department.   They're incredibly dense, at $2 a pound, they're not inexpensive.  The one on the right felt like about 4 or 5 pounds.  Once you buy the thing, you still have to cut it up.  I have linked to a tutorial on the subject for those who are interested in this.

I am an indifferent cook.  We grill a lot and bake or nuke vegetables.  That's about it.  However, even I have not sunk to the level of buying frozen cooked rice, for $5.29.  I have a rice cooker!  I can push the button!

Today was another ride to the lake.  September 6 the Nine Mile Lake recreation area closes for improvements to begin.  At this point we don't know where the trail to it will be closed.  

It's definitely fallish, the air is different as well as the light.  Soon it will be winter, and we will bring up all of our warm jackets from down stairs, and take the summer stuff away. The lake was flat, there was no wind.  Right after I took this a goose swam through and disturbed the water, so timing was good.

The HOA has been having conversations about fire safety with the Department of Natural Resources, mainly discussions about mitigating the possibility of crown fires in trees below the neighborhood.  The people across the street from us are at risk, because there are many dehydrated trees down there, and the kids from the group home enjoy setting fires in the woods. So the HOA president wants to apply for grants to pay for thinning and floor cleaning in the coming year.  Anyway, Jim asked the forester if they would be building piles of debris like the one shown below.  The answer was a resounding no.  He does not understand why they do this out in Riverside Park because the piles become beetle habitats.  Beetles are bad.  So that was interesting, that there are two completely divergent views on what to do with debris.

The heavily redacted affidavit detailing the reasons for serving a search warrant on Mar-A-Lardo has been released.  The talking heads on Fox are just spewing lies about what the Presidential Records Act says, and that the documents belong to the orange ectoplasm, and Mick Mulvaney is out being stupid in public saying "it looks like it was just about documents" and it's just unbelievable how stupid they are.  This could have been the moment that the Republicans decided to cut their losses and abandon the orange guy, but no, they're going down with the ship.  I don't know who made this ad, it's 2 minutes and 20 seconds and well worth viewing.  The play button won't work, you will have to click here to make it play.

Scott MacFarlane, a CBS reporter tweeted this today, which pretty much sums up what the DOJ has said in the affidavit.

I just hope that AG Garland has the intestinal fortitude to prosecute the dumpster fire for treason.

And finally, there is this.  This amuses me greatly.

That's it!  That's all I've got.

Update a little while later.  Jim just got this on his phone.  It's not our fire district, but I guess we need a fire plan for the future.  We're in fire district 9.

Sunday, August 21, 2022

House Anniversary, the Lake and Crazy Bird

It was one year ago today that we moved into the Spokane house.  Happy I am that last August was not as hot as this one has been.  It would be really nice if it would cool down (and rain) just a little bit, but the weather heads are saying it's going to be hot until the end of the month.  So there you go.  Overall I'm glad we moved, living in AZ at present is like watching the apocalypse moving towards civilization.  Kari Lake (R) who is running for governor has endorsed other candidates who are election deniers, holocaust deniers, and believe in replacement theory.  She's just a peach.  Katie Hobbs is the democratic candidate and she's an outstanding citizen.  She was Secretary of State last year and ran perfect elections during her term.  The bulk of the republican field are lunatics.

We're not doing too much these days, other than (wait for it) riding to the lake.  Depending on whose statistics you read, 500 to 750 people are dying of Covid everyday, which pretty much puts a damper on being around other people.  There is a new booster that should be out in the fall, it's protective against Omicron, and the dreaded BA.5 variant.  If we get that, we might consider going somewhere after the rug rats go back to school.

Here are some more photos taken at the lake.  The yellow strip is increasing in size.  We still do not know what it is.

I took this from a hill side that goes down to the lake, you can see how wide it is.

Parks and Rec were out the other day with a bunch of kids.  The guy with the man bun was able to get up and walk barefoot on the slack line.  The little girl who is currently on the line was pretty fearless.

The big hibiscus is blooming, and then dropping dead blossoms on the ground.  That is the messiest plant I have ever seen.

That's it!  That's all I've got today.

Saturday, August 13, 2022

The Lake, Airplanes, Treason, and Flowers

Greetings fellow humans.  How are things?  Things have been warm here, and the forecast is for more really hot weather.  Good thing there is no climate change.  There has been riding to the lake.  Why, you wonder do we keep riding to the lake?  The answer to that would be because it's largely in the shade.  Once it cools off, we will ride other places, but until then, it's the lake.  This is what we've seen lately.

See the yellow horizontal stripe close to the other shore?  We're not sure what that is.  It could be blooming lake weeds, or the way the sun is hitting lake vegetation.  It's weird how yellow it is.

Kayaking is very popular here.  This truck had many in the bed. 

The sandy area is a volley ball area.  Kids like to dig in the sand, some will pretty much bury themselves if left alone long enough.  This little girl has rolled in it and made sand angels.  She's making dinosaur noises as she moves on her little brother.

She got him to roll a little bit, but his heart was not in it.

Yesterday we had breakfast with Dave and Suzi from Beluga at Skyway Cafe, which is on Felts Field.  Felts is a general aviation airport.  They also have a nice airplane museum there, the Historic Flight Foundation.  We went to the museum after breakfast.  The planes there are just gorgeous, the restorations are beautiful.  There are too many to show you, I have picked two.

This DC-3 began life in the Douglas Aircraft Co. Long Beach plant as one of the 300 C-47s built specifically for the China-Burma-India theater of operations.  Unique features include long-rang fuel tanks and supercharged engines for performance at altitude.  Delivered to China National Aviation Corporation (CNAC) in Calcutta, it supplied U.S. armed forces and Nationalist Chinese. In 1942, the Burma road was lost. Up until August 1945, the CNAC pilots made more than 38,000 trips over the Hump (the Himalayas).  They transported 114,500 tons of supplies and people.  After leaving that service, the plane was shipped to Grand Central Aircraft Company in California for conversion to a Super DC-3, and began life as a VIP aircraft. She flew for 50 years in that configuration.  The museum acquired the airplane in 2006.  Restoration began shortly thereafter with the intention to recreate a Pan Am DC-3 airliner from 1949, while preserving the interior luxury enjoyed by corporate executives of the time. The museum flew the DC-3 to England for the 75th anniversary of the Normandy invasion.  (Text is largely cribbed from museum informational sandwich boards.)

These are the VIP luxury accommodations.

I'm guessing people slept here, but I could be wrong.

Look at all of the teeny tiny wires! The pilots had to know where every wire went and what it did.

This is the cockpit.  This is before the advent of using i-pads for much of the work load.

It's amazing to me that a plane this old and slow made it to England.

The other cool plane was the Hamilton Metalplane.  At the age of 16, Thomas Hamilton formed Hamilton Aero Manufacturing Company.  He built over two dozen designs, many of which flew.  After WWI he became interested in the aerodynamics of propellers.  Hamilton Standard was founded to make propellers.  The Hamilton Metalplane was designed by James McDonnell, who later went on to found McDonnell Aircraft Company.  At one point Mr. McDonnell worked for Ford, which may explain why the Hamilton Metalplane looks so much like a Ford Tri-Motor.  Both planes were manufactured in Milwaukee, 29 Metalplanes were built, this one was the 22nd off the line.  In 1929 the Hamilton company became a subsidiary of the Boeing company.  The Metalplane was the first provider of transcontinental service, flying at a whopping speed of 105 mph.  This is the second oldest Boeing aircraft still flying, and the only Hamilton Metalplane in existence.

Notice the ribbed look of the fuselage and the wing.  They're corrugated, which provides extra strength and reduces drag.

Who remembers what the horn like thing on the side of the plane is?  On our trip to Escalante we learned the following.

The horn shaped thing on the plane is a Venturi vacuum system for the instruments.  The shape of the horn creates a Venturi effect which produces enough suction to drive the gyros of the Attitude Indicator (AI) and the Directional Gyro (DG).  The system was sub-optimal because it didn't work on take off or landing, and was very susceptible to icing.   The system was phased out in the 1960s in favor of electrically driven instruments.

The Hamilton is a cool little plane.  Tri-motors are still flown, we saw one in Tucson.

So, the orange ectoplasm continues to have a bad week.   A judge has ruled that the criminal trial against the Trump Organization and CFO, Allen Weisselberg, can proceed.  His hours long deposition with NY AG Tish James resulted in him taking the 5th 400 or so times, and his getting a pretty good idea of what they have on him.  As it turns out, the search warrant served on his Florida property, which is NOT his home, was in service of an espionage investigation.  That carries huge punishment.  Thus far his explanation of how the documents came to be in a storage closet can be summed up like this.

I can not explain Schrodinger's cat, so for more on that go here.

Another tweet put it this way.

This is also from twitter, welcome to the new reality.

Finally, here are some big flowers in the neighbor's yard.

That's it!  That's all I've got.

Monday, August 8, 2022

Karma Has Arrived at Mar-a-Lardo


Apparently the raid was "unannounced" which I'm guessing means no-knock.  We've all been disappointed so many times that he's not in jail yet, but maybe this will do it.  The WAPO article is here.

Friday, August 5, 2022

Cooler Weather, Walking Downtown

It wasn't hot today, that was nice.  We were able to get up, eat and drive out to the trailhead without feeling like we would shortly be incinerated.  Very nice, very relaxed.  Last Wednesday was still hot, but we did linger at the park long enough to take this lovely picture of geese on the lake.  It was weird, there was an organized ride, complete with trail marking on the pavement, on part of the trail.  There was also a large group of people riding together that did go out to the lake.  Organized rides are generally on the weekend.

We're seeing more and more electric bikes.  I don't know how I feel about this.  We had an old guy pass us the other day on a hill on an electric, he felt like he just had to point out that we were working harder than he was.  Then he followed up with when we were old, we'd have electrics as well.  We commented that we are old, but no, he's 80, so he wins.  Guy was kind of a jerk, and I don't think he was 80.  Anyway, we're seeing people who are decades younger than we are riding them.  What's the point?  They are not working much, it's not exercise.  I get it if you're 80, but not if you're in your 50's.  A person needs to exercise, elevate the heart rate, and all of that.  I strongly suspect that they will end up de-conditioned from just sitting on that bike, slowly rotating their feet.  I also get it if you're commuting on an electric.  I rode to work a few times and the whole cleaning up issue was difficult due to sweating on the hills.  

After riding, and it had reached a balmy 95F, we decided that we wanted to finish a yard work project we'd started the day before.  So it was off to Home Depot for 200 pounds of pond rocks and landscape fabric.  We've got an area that grows moss and the red and green weeds that leap from the earth.  We're tired of pulling them out.  So, rocks it is.  They have worked well for weed suppression in the other planting area that we covered up, so we're hoping this will also become no maintenance.

Yesterday we went into downtown Spokane and walked around.  It was very windy but not hot, which was good.  This is the interior of the Riverfront Mall.  It's nice, they have a Nordstrom, Pottery Barn, Williams Sonoma and like that.  We did not stay inside long, because we were masked and it was annoying that no one else was.

Then it was on to the Riverfront Park.  There used to be a Great Northern train station and rail yard and a bunch of industry along the river.  When the railroad left the area, a miracle occurred and the city got the land.  No condos were built.  It's an enormous park, with a skate loop, carousel, and multiple playgrounds.  The railroad left the clock tower, it's a beautiful structure.

While we were walking around we saw a little girl on a balance bike (no pedals) wearing a full face helmet and pink body armor.  She's able to pick up her feet now and ride down a slope in the park.  She did fall, but did not cry or fuss.  I guess she's three, she speaks in full sentences, but childrens' ages are a mystery to me.  I wish I could have sneaked a picture of her.  Her Dad is full time parenting and home schooling. 

These are some of the falls.  The water level is down, since it's late summer.

A new highway is being built.  This is the bridge that's part of the project.

Now, I ask you.  Why do people throw rental bikes into bodies of water?  It's just rude.

This is from this morning, it was a gorgeous day.

I have two cool things from twitter.  Here is a cool photo.

This is an adorable dance routine done by little kids.  They're part of a group, Masaka Kids Africana.  If you scroll down in the comments there is a translation of the song that's being sung.  The link to the video is here, and it's totally and completely worth watching.  There's a lot of talent here.

So, other than Kansas voting to save abortion rights in their state, I have nothing much to impart.  OK, well there was the Hungarian dictator Orban receiving a standing ovation at CPAC, after he declared that inter-racial marriage would be the death of America.