Friday, July 31, 2009

Enter August

Through a break in incessant rains.

A promise at sunset that has been rendered moot each morning.

By drizzle and downpour.

Enter August
In a brief clearing.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

The Lily

Late, white, regal.

Wrapped with the queen's lace.


Wednesday, July 29, 2009

There It Sits

Taunting Me.

Looking like the sweetest little house in the world, yet stubbornly refusing completion.

After the flunking, the rains came. The plumbing needed to be mulled over for a few days and more reading of the code book done. The new project we had begun working on in anticipation of a passing grade wouldn't work in the rain. The next platform for the stairs was in place to have its upper legs encased in concrete and it rained all day.

The stairs will have to wait for sunnier weather, like what briefly showed up around 7 pm this evening.

The little cabin did try to please me though with this beautiful silhouette on its half painted wall.

Rain of course was a good excuse to get another project started. We did ask and the inspector man consented to letting us insulate all the exterior walls. They are still nit picking on the electrical and have not signed off on the rough inspection for it, but the nit picking items are all visible even with insulation. There has been a different inspector each time and each one has found some different minute electrical nit to pick.

The insulation work began in the loft after a thorough sweeping and vacuuming. There was empty space up there to work in and it was the quickest way to start eliminating the bales of insulation sitting in the single main room of the cabin that doesn't want to be completed.

Fortunately I have the roadside vegetable garden that remains my refuge of pleasure.

A sense of ease, order, productivity and completion comes to me as I putter through this garden. Every meal these days is a reminder of a job well done. The grasshoppers did not deter me. I out planted them.

The second planting of sweet corn is tasseling out. Just maybe the raccoon will be overwhelmed this year too and I will get more than a few meals with sweet corn. I have expected his visit by now. The first planting of corn is near ready. The battle of wills continues.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

F Is For Flunked

You can use a sanitary T going from the horizontal to the vertical.
You may not use a sanitary T going from the vertical to the horizontal.
Some of the joyous pronouncements from the inspector man.
The plumbing drain lines just plain flunked and must be done over - about from scratch.

Oh and by the way you need a four inch line going into the turdbox even though three inch line is fine for the part that precedes it.

And I tell my self in the big picture of things this does not amount to much.

Monday, July 27, 2009

The Service Entrance

Is now open.

It is not finished obviously, but I can now walk into and out of the back kitchen door. It makes a world of difference.

The framing for the next platform is done. This will be three steps down in the position it is seen in. It will end up below the top of the block wall. From there will be the stairs down to the basement patio.

I can walk in and out of the back kitchen door now. It feels good.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

The Cozy Cabin's Colors

Because I don't have enough half finished projects going on at once it seemed logical to start another one. The siding needed to be painted before the new stair building commences. It will be easier to get to it now before a new platform and railings are added.

Then I wanted to see what the Artichoke gray would look like next to the Crafted White, ie light yellow trim and went around the corner a bit.

Then I wanted to see what the Artichoke gray would look like next to the Molera Vaquero Red. This little section of wall has put all the colors of the cozy cabin together, including the white of the vinyl window trim and the white of the underside of the metal roof. The blue is painters tape obviously.

But my plan is to paint the front and rear doors blue. Not this tape blue, but Waterloo which is just as bold of a blue, but a tone darker. The door frame will be the light yellow, Crafted White and the door itself will be the Waterloo blue. The tape will be removed.

That blue tape gives me a strong indication of what a blue door will look like though. My, it will be colorful.

Then imagine the rest of the cement columns painted the Molera Vaquero Red along with the two main girders that support the entire cabin. Bold. Thought has been given to having the front porch floor look like a Jackson Pollock painting using the Artichoke grey as a base and all the other colors Pollocked on top. Too much?

Saturday, July 25, 2009

The Inspection

Of Passing Time

The movement of the seasons is so much more pronounced here than my recent long frame of reference. Plants grow and bloom in an orderly sequence, internally programmed over millennia.

I observe this march of blossoms, cataloging species to their time, becoming acutely aware of the turning of each day.

The details that chronicle each click of the wheel are not always bold.

Subtle clues abound in the emergence and disappearance of another unheralded green layer of the living tapestry the rises from and descends into the earth. Each in their time.

The spotlets grow, almost a year old now. Each day they become more settled in the comfort of our routine.

Lessons are learned about the other inhabitants of the mountains.

A framed view of the setting sun shows its southern journey is already under way.

Anxious over time.

Friday, July 24, 2009

So Close

Even when it feels like a million different things are going on at once, slowly,

The reality is I can only do one thing at a time. And for the most part I am focused on one thing at a time as a mental health measure.

Plumbing has been the focus for a while now. The long distraction of the two walls was plumbing related after all.

That is it, the entire system as it exists under the cozy cabin put back together to remove the leaks. Of course the other half is inside. I somehow did not glue one piece and it still leaks. I almost made it. Fortunately it is easy to disassemble because the coupling used in the repair above it screws on and off. I would have a picture of it, not that anyone would really find it that interesting, but the flash on my camera after a series of explosions has finally died and the picture was too dark.

One more bit of glue inside on a fitting and the drain lines and vent stacks will be leak free.

It is almost time for the big tomatoes to start ripening. I have picked the first of the Juliet tomatoes, a grape tomato. One site called them a saladette tomato. It is small like a cherry tomato, but elongated like a paste tomato.

The sweet corn is coming. I was told and then read recently that squash was a good thing to plant around the corn to deter the raccoons because they don't like the prickly hairs on the squash. It just so happens by chance some zucchini ended up planted on both ends of the corn. It is not surrounded by squash though. I know the raccoon is here. I have seen the evidence deposited in several places. This point in the corns life is so nerve wracking.

After a springtime of seedling predation, the third time with styrofoam cups around the seeds managed to get the cucumbers large enough to become unpalatable to the grasshoppers. Finally, this late in the season the cucumbers are beginning to cuke. Now if the wilt just leaves them alone.

No matter what there will always be plenty of the flowers. We may lose some of them and never know it.

The Echinacea are making their appearance. I of course will need them grouped in single locations instead of scattered about. That way I can focus on them as their own species.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Layers of Bloom

Mid summer has all kinds of flowers blooming. Some that are over my head and I can look up into the flower. Lilium superbum, Turk's Cap Lily

Many are at knee to waist level. These can easily be seen just by looking around.

All the different kinds of Rudbeckia are having a very good display this year.

I'm not sure this would be my favorite, but it is bold.

Underneath it all, hugging the ground is another whole world of blooms like this Prunella vulgaris, Heal All.

Thyme that has long since escaped cultivation to join the inhabitants of the meadow end of the vegetable garden is also in full bloom.

A couple of the sunflowers for fun in the roadside vegetable garden are well above my head.

The new Echinops bannaticus is showing its true, tiny blue flowers on a prickly head. I hope it seeds as readily as the Bull Thistle, Cirsium vulgare. The Echinops is significantly less vicious.

This blue will go very well with the Chicory's blue.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009


Drip. Sigh.

I climbed up to the roof, stuck a hose in the vent pipe to fill the drain lines with water and there were leaks. Like the pollen dripping from the anthers on this wonderful smelling lily, there were drips of water leaking from the pipes. At least there were only four leaks and not the six dripping anthers this lily has.

The inspection was cancelled.

So I cut out all the bad parts. That happens to the wild flowers often enough just because there are so many that take up space for other desired things. In this case the desired thing would be for pipes that don't leak.

I looked inside these cut pipes and they were all very well connected. There was no reason they should be leaking. None that I could see. It is torment.

And tomorrow we will start putting it all back together again.

There is good news. The water lines that will deliver water to the leaky drains were all perfectly fine and held pressure to 70 psi with nary a drip.

Monday, July 20, 2009


I think I have OD'd on rocks.

I did not want to look at the cleanout pipe that sticks up out of the ground and it is important to prevent any vehicles from driving onto the plastic septic tank. I started hauling large boulders to create something. And I am uninspired.

I am not the only crazy obsessed person in these hills who is stacking and arranging rocks. There is a local blogger, The Avant Garden , who blogs mostly about stacking rocks. His rock stacking seems to be more about pleasure and is often ephemeral. I'm not there yet. I am more into permanence.

Turdhenge begins.

But I am uninspired. Sadly the reason I think is because these rocks are too small. The largest rocks I had the energy to move and they look to small. I want monumental. I want wreck your car before you end up on top of the turdbox rocks.

The driveway and turning area will be gravel and I can't plant on top of this thing so it makes sense to cover it with gravel for ease of any potential future access and as a visual continuation of a large area of gravel. Separated of course for practical reasons.

This will have to do for now. It should keep the vehicular traffic away from this area.

It just so happens there is a pile of substantial boulders stacked along my drive from the original grading done for the cozy cabin. It will take a machine to move them. I will need a little bit of final grading done at some point and a lot more gravel spread around. Huge satisfying boulders could be set into place at that time as well.

Or maybe I will come up with another idea entirely.

The Shasta Daisies are so effortlessly perfect just the way they are. If only rocks were that easy. I will be happy to move on to insulation, stair building or maybe even finish the siding. I need a break from moving rocks.