Archive for the 'outdoor stuff' Category

Neighboring Project Progress

Neighboring Project

The graders, bulldozers, backhoes and water trucks have all finished preparing the pads for new houses to be built on the property adjacent to ours. In the (clickable) image above, you can see the two nearest pads along with the original house on the six acre property. It is on the third lot over from us (out of ten lots total).

We still have not contacted the contractor regarding our concerns over monsoons having a possible devastating effect on what now is bare, unstabilized dirt. Since we are about fifty feet lower than the closest lot pad and the roadway fill in front of that, the runoff has nowhere to go but down to us.

I looked on the internet for solutions that will stabilize slopes like those created up there and found only a couple that might work:

  1. Plant the hillside with various native vegetation
  2. Apply shotcrete to the hillsides

The first alternative would take years to grow enough to stabilize the hillsides. The second would apply concrete through a pressure hose to coat the hillsides enough that the dirt would not run down. While both methods are expensive, the second would cost them a lot more. We will probably contact the contractor after the holiday weekend with our concerns.

Neighborhood Project Concerns

Project Dirt

Late last year, the outfit who built our house bought the six acre parcel that lies to our west and northwest. We knew that they intended to subdivide into parcels and build houses, but we had no idea that they were going to do some major grading and landfill at the top of the wash that runs along the west side of our lot.

I looked on the County Assessors website and saw a map of the project where they had divided the parcel into ten lots surrounding a to-be-built cul de sac. The big problem with building an access road is that there is a deep gully at the top of the wash that would need to be filled in. If you click on the map link above, you will see our lot’s proximity (outlined in turquoise) to the project.

All week, the big machines have been clearing, filling, watering, compacting and repeat at the top of the wash. We’re OK with getting new neighbors, but the main concern that The Better Half and I have is what will happen when we get our first monsoon microburst, which is a regular summertime occurrence. We hope that the new fill doesn’t run down our west creek when the storms will, inevitably, hit our town.

We will probably contact our former contractor with the concerns and see what reassurance they have. More on this as time and the project move along.

Tree Trimming Days

Tree TrimmingFor the past two days (working part-time), I removed a limb from the little Palo Verde tree in front of the house by the driveway. The idea is to give the tree a vertical appearance and the lower limb that I removed was growing at a low angle. The limb was branching out of the main trunk too close to the ground.

Yesterday, I started halfway up the branch and removed several smaller limbs which I could cut with the large set of pruning shears. Today, I got out the electric chain saw and removed the rest of the limb, sawing it into waste receptacle compatible chunks.

The chore that follows cutting off the branches is trimming them into, as i said above, waste receptacle compatible pieces. The twisted and gnarly nature of this variety of palo verde, along with the spikes growing everywhere makes it a labor-intensive activity.

I am pictured in the clickable image above (courtesy of The Better Half) using the hand held pruning shears to cut the branches into smaller chunks after removal of the lower limb. Ultimately, the scraps all fit into the bin with little room to spare for our normal refuse.

We wanted to get this chore done this week since I am going to be in questionable shape following a surgical procedure on Friday (03/09). I’ll have more about that afterward.

Uprighting a Drooped Ocotillo

Before and After

About two years ago, we acquired a couple of new ocotillos for the rock and cactus garden. One of them, sadly, did not completely assimilate itself on the rocky slope where we planted it. The shrub eventually sagged, leaning downhill until finally last week we noticed it was completely drooped on its side and in contact with the ground.

This morning, I decided to move the drooping shrub to a nearby, flatter location and to set it more upright. I dug out the base of the ocotillo from the sloped location, dug a hole in which to insert the big guy and plopped it down into its new location. I used a rope and some of my old Navy knots to hold it upright while I shoveled the dirt back down on its roots.

Now, hopefully, the ocotillo will recover, spread out its canes and become an attractive xeriscape asset to The Better Half’s rock and cactus garden. By the way, the other transplant is doing just fine.

Clickable image: Before and After.

Kids’ Rodeo Event at Wickenburg

Wyatt on Blister

The Arizona High School & Junior High School Rodeo Association’s fall series came to town this weekend. The Better Half and I went to the rodeo grounds this morning to watch some of the youngsters. We were there in time to watch the Junior and Senior Bull Riding events.

In the (clickable) image above, Wyatt, a high schooler, rides “Blister” who was one of the better performing bulls of the day. One of several bullfighter clowns looks on during the eight second ride and then rushes in to distract the bull and help the rider get dismounted. Wyatt had the second best ride of the day among the seniors.

TBH and I have been following the Professional Bull Riders on TV this year and are familiar with the event scoring and particulars. There is a PBR event currently in San Jose with the season finale coming up next week and early November.

We enjoyed getting out and watching the kids and bulls today. Rodeo season, particularly team roping, is in full scale at Wickenburg.

Moon Shadow

Moon Shadow

I found this image on of the moon’s shadow falling on where the Better Half and I watched the total solar eclipse. The text indicated that this was taken from a balloon at 130,000 feet above the Earth.

We still can’t get over how spectacular the eclipse was to see it at near the centerline. Totality lasted almost two and a half minutes and the eerie darkness falling on Casper, WY where we watched was equally astonishing.

The next total eclipse seen in the US won’t be until 2024 and, if we’re in good health, we may try to find totality again. If the Good Lord keeps us feeling this good into our octogenarian years, then it just might happen.

July Fourth Festivities

What’s for Dinner?

Despite the 109° patio temperature this afternoon, we ventured outdoors to grill up some beef tenderloin steaks and roasted/grilled corn on the cob. The Better Half prepared “crashed” potatoes (microwave baked Yukon taters smashed with butter, sour cream and shredded cheese) to go with the meal.

We are about five miles away from the park where fireworks are scheduled to be launched at around 9PM, but we can see some of the higher rockets from the courtyard out front. This will be under a waxing Gibbous moon and the summer triangle with the Milky Way beyond. The night sky is usually spectacular to see out here, fireworks or not.



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