Desert Rain

Desert Rain

We have been needing this for a while. Tonight, according to the NWS, there is an 80% chance of rain showers with the possibility of embedded thunderstorms. I was on the patio a few minutes ago and the rain was gently falling which brings out the aromatic creosote smells.

If we do get thunderstorms with a significant downpour in a short time, we are interested in seeing how the retention walls and the drainage work out. If we see something that might need improvement, we will enlist our contractor to address any problems.

Less than a week after the big work is complete, we may see the benefits (or shortcomings) of our efforts. Our location is vertically centered in the image and slightly left of center.

What’s for Lunch?


By the end of the week, we had run out of leftover food from the previous weekend. This often is the case and we will either prepare something from the pantry, go out to eat or, in this case, take something out of the freezer and throw it on the grill (after thawing).

The Better Half prepared a stove top from scratch rice/cheese/broccoli side dish while I grilled up a filet mignon and a salmon filet. We wound up splitting the steak and I ate all of the salmon since TBH isn’t big on seafood.

In preparing the meat, I rolled the grill from the garage up to the back of the patio which would have been a real chore before having the concrete out back. It worked out great, I got to grill in the shade of the patio, was closer to the kitchen for getting food on and off the grill and was protected by the house from a gusty south wind while I worked.

Smooth Ride


The Concrete guys made a final appearance this morning to clean up and smooth out the lower parts of both ends of the driveway. In the image, you can see the new apron that was added to the existing driveway to reduce the four-inch step up at the end.

The contractor raked the dirt to mesh with the end of the apron. When The Better Half and I finished grocery shopping today, we drove up the improved driveway for the first time since the addition. What a difference! Smooth as a baby’s ass!

When you click on the image you can see from left to right, tire tracks in the dirt road at the transition point: right rear tire, right front tire, left rear tire and left front tire. The transition from dirt road to the paved driveway was unnoticeable. We will see how well this fares when the big time monsoon rains come this summer. Meanwhile, we are very pleased.

More on the other end of the driveway when we tow the trailer up onto the pavement next week sometime.

Advances in Dental Technology

Crown ComputerWhen I visited the dental hygienist last week for my regular cleaning and checkup, the dentist discovered a fracture in number 18 (molar lower left side). I had been noticing a little cold and pressure sensitivity in that area, so we mutually decided that a crown for the tooth would be a good idea.

When The Better Half had a similar procedure nearly two years ago, we were amazed that the dentist was able to prepare the tooth and install the new crown the same day. Just before I retired in 2009, I got a crown and the dentist installed a temporary while the lab produced the permanent one which took about a week.

The electronic console seen in the (clickable) image is part of a system that computer-generates a 3D model of the new crown. The dentist uses a scanner to record the topography of the prepared tooth area and the computer generates a model which the dentist then customizes with slight corrections.

The image on the console is of the new crown while it was being manufactured in another room. The crown took about fifteen minutes to mill from a lithium disilicate substrate. The finished item is then baked for a while in a very high temperature oven to complete the process. When the crown cools, the dentist installs it and makes any minor adjustments.

The whole process took less than two hours to complete, including my wait in the dentist office before being seen. The tooth feels quite normal and eating/drinking is no problem.

Construction Update XI

RV Drive Panorama

I stood on the hill by the bird feeders just behind the RV drive and captured three images of the now completed driveway. I combined the images using a Canon utility that sometimes distorts the (clickable) final panoramic view. I would have moved further back, but then I wouldn’t be able to see the driveway. So we have to deal with the minor distortions to the curves and such.

I have to say that the concrete crew worked pretty hard today. They laid 21 yards of concrete along a linear distance of over 110 feet for the final two sections of the driveway on the west side (to the right in the panorama above).

The next activity should be painting of the walls followed by getting the landscape tuned up. We saved a lot of the red one-inch gravel to be used to cover the bare areas resulting from grading and construction.

The concrete will be cured enough in a couple of days to drive the trailer back across the road to its usual spot behind the garage. We think, however, that we won’t move the trailer until all the painting is complete. I don’t have any estimate on when that will be done.

Construction Update X

Semi-finished HookupsThe concrete crew completed the second of four slabs needed to complete the RV pull-thru driveway today. The RV hookups are in the middle of this slab and were to be as unobtrusive as possible.

With a little caulk and paint, the faucet and the electric outlet box should look OK. The sewer pad is as low as they could make it and still have access to unscrew the cap and insert the RV hose from the gray and black water tanks on board.

The concrete supervisor tells me that there will be two more ready-mix trucks tomorrow. The first will pour the third slab for the drive plus an apron to taper the four inch drop from the existing driveway and a pad for the new flagpole.

The fourth and final slab will complete the bottom of the driveway next to the road. The two trucks are scheduled to show up at 7AM and 10AM; the first delivery will occur at a time when we are usually in bed asleep. We’ll deal with it since we’re both anxious to have the job done.

Classic Mining Truck

Mining Truck

The Better Half posted about an old mining town on the other blog this evening. In that post she mentioned that we were not able to visit the town proper, but we were able to hike around to some of the peripheral areas.

One thing we found was this classic old truck that was used in the mining operations for the town that are now shut down. We were told that it is a Sterling chain-driven dump truck used in the operations here.

Regardless of the fact that this old iron workhorse has been left to suffer the ravages of the harsh desert environment, it is still classically beautiful in its own way. If you click on the name Sterling, you will be presented with an unretouched image of the truck’s logo on the chrome above the radiator.

TBH mentioned that we will soon head back out to the old camp on a day when access isn’t restricted. Clickable image.

What’s For Dinner

Bacon Cheeseburger

Every once in a while it’s good to just sit down to a meal that is decadent but also delicious. I ground up a pound of top round for four lean quarter pounder beef patties, but The Better Half took it to a whole other new level with the bacon, cheddar and condiments that made this wonderful treat.

The Arizona Pasta Salad on the side was also great, but not so much decadent as the ‘burger; the salad consisted of fresh cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, zucchini, black olives and the pasta. It was all good.

TBH ate about half of her burger, but (I can’t believe) I ate the whole thing. We will have the other two leftover quarter pounders for lunch during the coming week, albeit without the bacon.

Life is good on the retirement farm.

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