RETIREMENT JUNE JOBS

As always a ton of things to do as we move into full summer. Plenty of beds that need attention, another motorcycle trailer to be found, the BMW to be repaired, boating to get on the list and the ongoing quest for those miles around the Equator!

For those that have forgotten (how could you) the distance around the 3rd Rock from the Sun is 24,902  miles at the Equator and so far the epic cyclist in his post stage 3 COPD has covered, 2031.22 in 2016, a more ambitious 3602.09 in 2017 and at close of play on the 9th of June 2018 a further 2226.10 for 2018. That gives me a total of 7859.41 miles with a new target of hitting 10,000 before weather shuts me down again this year.

Back to other mysteries, the bashed trailer saga continues and the quest for a replacement title has made minor progress in the last TWO WEEKS as Arizona MVD has actually cashed the $4.00 check but on further enquires we are told it takes 4 to 6 WEEKS to get another one!!!! Don’t ask!!!   The trailer was duly hauled away this week after we had removed some of the chocks and tie downs and we remain hopeful of getting the promised check.

After much thought, and the prospects of another dose of 30mph winds I’m going for a gardening day. Scuffy the boat was finally cleaned out of winter leaves and debris, two large flower displays are now in the stern and irrigation is flowing.

My task this morning is to cut the edges to the lawn, relocate the irrigation tube, and plant the 7 flower arrangements I bought on Friday.

Jen and Tom dropped off 4 baby toms and they are now all planted in the whisky barrels which are all irrigated and should be self sufficient but would be improved with some fresh miracle grow soil.

Tough work cutting the edge around Scuffy and removing the dead grass after the weed spraying but eventually the 7 new displays are in the ground. Still more edge work to do and then move on to the last 3 beds.

The paeonies get their supports and the lilies have joined in with a mass of buds and a few open blooms.

The local forest fire (the Burro) is about to join up with the other monster fire (the 416) over by Durango and the morning air is full of smoke until its turns westerly around 1030.

The Burro fire rages on

The 416 fire by Durango is too close to town

More edging on the Scuffy Bed takes me up to the maple so just the last bit out to the drive for this afternoon, then the move to the last 3 beds on the front lawn.

The edge gets finished, and I’m now officially on the Waterfall Beds which will take some time but with all the water I’ve been putting on the lawn the beds are delightfully moist so weeding is a breeze!

Serious weeding required!

Wednesday and an early trip to town for some oddball shopping at Walmart and a visit to the School’s Admin. Seems the School wants to pay me for all the sick days I never took …….. quite a surprise bonus!!!

Another bonus as the wheelbarrow blooms open

A nice plant for Brenda catches my eye and is in the cart along with the replacement dianthus plants for the Waterfall Beds.  With temps up to 85F this morning the ride is pleasant and another 26.85 takes me to 2306.90

Ready and waiting

Time to spend the “hot” afternoon with some more weeding before a beer or two and quick shower before pool.

More of the same for Thursday with 29.52 up the road the 2 hours on the knees in the Waterfall Bed removing the “dreaded arsebine” invasive ground cover creeper!

Weeding complete and ready for some new plants

Friday, mega threats of showers for the next 3 days, …… well the fires need to be contained. 28.35 in the book for the morning ride and good news when the long awaited AZ trailer title finally makes it to Colorado.

Brenda gets all the fresh grass seed on the lawn and now its full power on the hoses to get it to germinate. I might get those dianthus planted if I can work around the spraying water. Carry on and finish the weeding, and its looking good, now a final preparation on those areas where the new plants will go.

With the prospect of rain for the next 3 days (can’t remember the last rain we had) add a few more miles and finish the week at 2379.18 as we won’t be riding tomorrow!

A new arrival in the shade garden in the shape of a Dragonfly

and suddenly we have a plague of them!

Nothing gets done, as predicted on Saturday morning and its raining a steady drizzle ……. oh well at least its pool day so something to do while the rain keeps falling. A hard working 3rd place for me having to work through 4 games on the loser’s side.

Serious puddle

Sunday morning, raining hard, too wet to plant anything, so one more day of rest.

While we wait for everything to dry out the toms are loving all the fresh rain water.

 

TONY DOWN

HANGING BASKET DAY 2018

The official proclamation is made from the bedroom ……. and  today has been nominated as “Official Hanging Basket Day” and thus it shall be!

The car is made ready and we are off to Denny’s for breakfast before seeing if anything can be rescued from the Walmart  mortuary where plants are sent to die.

Some still living half priced items and 8 bags of Miracle Grow soil are duly loaded and we are off to City Market and collect some plants for the back of the raised bed and a nice half priced Hibiscus along with a wind burnt Gardenia. This completes Load 1 so time to go back to the house for unloading before our main purchases at Four Seasons.

First load arrives at Cozy

Vic, the owner, is on hand to give favorite customers the official tour of the greenhouses and one by one the 5 chosen baskets are ferried to the main building to join the 2 selected tomato baskets that will hang from the Maple.

See anything you like?

What about that one?

Home with load 2 and irrigation lines are checked, baskets hung and padlocks secured (its happened before!)

We love the “Painter’s Splatter”

A matching pair of these

Full House!

By 1300 we are unloaded and everything is finding its place for the summer. Time to see how we are doing in the garden as the plants keep growing both in size and number!

Hibiscus in its new spot

…… another basket

The wheelbarrow looks good

Window box redone

1/2 price Walmart pot with the back row of Figgy things

Good selection

Haven’t found a spot for this one!

The birds are back

The Shade Garden is nearly fully stocked and replanted but I know there will be more we can’t resist after our run to Durango and the Red Lobster trip to Farmington for Lowes and Hobby Lobby.

 

TONY DOWN

 

THE BIG END OF MAY RUSH

Last Day of School is 5/23 this year and its finally here! No more getting up at 0430, hello summer, and now tasks can be completed on my schedule, without having to rush back into Cortez for the afternoon drive.

Buses are parked, but still a lot to do before the end of the month. The 2000 mile marker is another realistic hurdle that I believe I can make and I have some 2020 Census testing to complete on 5/31.

Another windy day for 5/31 but I made the target on 5/30 with a 30.91 taking me to 2021.08 for the year.

The Census jobs are NOT the ones I was expecting, more of a solo continuous survey, which I could do alongside Sub driving. We wait to see where this one is heading. I thought this might be the initial selection for Crew Leaders and above for the start of the mapping phase which precedes the number crunching part of the main Census.

The weed spraying did its job and kills nearly everything but now I need to scratch up the leftover dead vegetation. This gets done on the driveway side of Scuffy and around the Rose bed. Now need to finish the internal on the Rose bed and the lawn side of Scuffy and the unproductive bed under the sign. As soon as I can get those done then it will be time for the waterfall bed and the center section….. both somewhat overgrown.

Another 1st place at 8 Ball on Saturday (2 in a row) and a mid week 1st Out at 9 Ball …… my first ever!!!

TONY DOWN

 

MAY ROLLS ON

 

Not much progress in the last few days due to other commitments! First job of the week was to get “Plan B” into the boat shop to be dewinterized. Recharge the battery, but see its been disconnected so how did Brenda lower the motor ? Did she disconnect them ? I know I didn’t. Well no matter they are charged and the motor is now back up in the travel position.

Cadi backed up to the hitch and I lower same onto the ball ……. but it just won’t sit properly …… several more attempts and it clearly needs a little lubrication as I’m lifting the car up! Brenda moves forward and the trailer comes off the ball and rushes forward and hits the bumper!!! not only is it now stuck but the ball is jammed in the hitch behind its receiver. Lordy, Lordy!! Only way out of this one is to undo the hitch, chock the trailer, and drive forward and allow the ball to come away from the car.

Well that worked as planned and now everything can be greased and we can try again. Second attempt and all is well. Lights plugged in and amazingly, after the saga so far, they all work and the new tires from last year are still holding 35 psi.

Into town and drop off the boat and home again …… but the lights in the Cozy Comfort sign are all out ?  Check fuses and all appear good but the pumps for the waterfalls are not working either. A few more on and offs for the circuit breaker and still nothing. Home from the afternoon bus run and mysteriously the lights are now on and so are the pumps.

The mileage continues to climb, albeit not at the rate I was hoping for as I’m constantly trying to get other things done but progress is progress no matter how slow! Currently at 1845.39 on 5/22 and hoping to make the magic 2000 before 1st June.

Tomorrow is the Last Day of School, and I for one am more than pleased as this does seem to have been a hard year due to far too many Kinder and 1st Graders on the bus who WILL NOT stay in their seats. I’m not alone as many of the teachers are at their wits end as they bring this unruly mob out to the bus.

The boat was collected this morning without any problems and some other successes trying to get a replacement title for the destroyed trailer that we can’t find and also getting the address for the census testing which refused to open and tell me where! Of course the BLOODY winds have been non stop over 30 mph for the last few days and are draining my patience to an all time low.

We tried for hanging baskets last weekend but common sense finally won as those poor plants would have looked awful in these non stop gales ….. its gotta change soon!!!

More watering of the grass and mowing of course, the damaged trailer gets moved and apart from body work dents it appears road worthy.

More watering of the front raised bed and eventually its soft enough for me to prepare it for Brenda to sow some seeds.

Windy and calm days swop around but I’ve pushed on and as we hit 5/27 I’m up to1933.83 before today’s ride.  I beat the forecast gale yesterday with its 35 mph winds and also got a good 1st place in 8 ball where I’ve been close but had a run of non scoring 4th places so I’m well pleased to get back in the winner’s circle.

Sunday and an early morning call from the bedroom announces……..  “Its Hanging Basket Day!” so without more ado its time to saddle up, get into Cortez for breakfast at Denny’s.

TONY DOWN

 

 

ROLLING INTO MAY

The clock turns, we roll into May but the weather which had been nice up until Sunday, also decides to change with temps dropping 20F and more stuff dropping in the form of snow and rain!

I remember these and getting all tangled up

Sunday was designated a “rest day” and a Shade Garden Day with many Bloody Mary’s as the first 1500 was in the books. Monday and Tuesday I managed to drag the total up  to 1541.26 but the bad weather was already upon us and the last ride was verging on insanity! Wednesday and Thursday saw a series of very nasty storms rolling through with every form of precipitation you can think of. Add the standard bitter wind and temps down at freezing and you have the big picture.

Friday an improvement and 22.52 joins the total and another 23.44 on Saturday is as much as I can manage pre-pool. Sunday and with a very pleasant morning shorts and short sleeve cycling garb is on for the first time in 2018 as the total crests 1611.50 for the year.

The NEW Infinity saddle arrives on Monday, but as yet has not been fitted. Two more good rides in the warm 70f conditions and I must watch the “U-Tube” fitting sequence before giving it a try.

Wednesday, garden work to start, clean up the under balcony wood pile, restack, sweep and clean and then bring out the two lawn swings and rebuild.

The seat goes on, a few adjustments, and a couple of mini test rides. Now I’m out of time as its early release so try again tomorrow.

40+ miles go in the book for Thursday and Friday, and despite some very high winds and red flag warnings I’m through 1700 and hoping to crack 2000 before the end of May. Still trying minor adjustments on the seat with fore and aft changes and so far coming up half an inch at the seat post. Current thoughts are back a little more and up a little more.

Saturday and although warm in the 70’s that awful wind is gusting 45-50 mph and doesn’t sound like my kind of cycling weather so I might be lawn mowing instead!

Lawn done, some branches removed from slot 4 in the park and time for a few more adjustments ……… seems I need to go back to the base point and try again. I have now come up an inch but I think I’m too far back …… start again, and maybe drop the nose a little ?

TONY DOWN

A SHADE GARDEN QUIZ

The weather changed as we rolled into May and a very pleasant last weekend of April saw a warm day with virtually no wind!  However, plenty got done and a lot of Bloody Mary tastings were the order of the day.

Last Sunday, Shade Garden all cleaned up and here we are at the BM tastings

……and enjoying some crispy fried electrics

It then got colder and a series of wet and miserable storms rolled through ….. but its changed again with temps almost up to 80F next week so “perhaps” we are actually coming into Spring/Summer ?

Time then for the “Shade Garden Quiz”. Here are a series of photos taken as the seasons move through

A little snow

A lot of snow!

Summer dining

Full Summer

More dining

More summer

Bath time

The evening monsoon

Fall again

……. and back to snow

Well those pictures are your “Starter for 10” and we will see if you can spot the difference?    This picture was taken last Thursday morning after my morning drive …………

???????

 

Study the pictures carefully and if you can spot it then read on…….

 

Seems my motorcycle transporter which had previously been parked off road, but on our property, has appeared just above the fence line?

Apparently a lady from the town houses on 16th Ave was taking two of her “nice” children to school and they were fighting and being a complete pain …….. she turned round without braking to deal with the problem and this is what happened

Lucky it didn’t come through the fence!

She pushed it off it’s block and 15′ down the road!

Yikes!

We await the assessor from her insurance company

 

TONY DOWN

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

MORE APRIL TARGETS & GOALS

April memories from my youth in England

The serenity of bluebells in the woods

My mother had primroses everywhere

Starting the month on 986.22 my “wishful thinking plan” was to see if I could hit 1400 by the end despite some miserable conditions and the infernal wind which can rob the soul.

It never stops at this time of the year!

My watch pops up the battery symbol in the city name window, it always stops at this time of the year!!

With Mercury retrograde a few things start going wrong! First my watch says it needs a new battery and Walmart take the back off but then tell me they don’t want to do it as its an expensive watch!!!! Suitably pissed off I go to the local jeweler but he says I will have to leave it and he’ll call me when its ready …….. with form filling and telephone numbers this takes longer than if he had changed the battery then and there!! When I do collect it he tells me he can’t reset it!…… never mind I CAN!

Meanwhile out on the open road my speedo/odometer quits so  change the sender unit and order another one. The new unit arrives and one day later the other sender unit quits!!

Well no real surprise as they were both purchased at the same time. Battery changes all round as its a simple 2032 battery that many devices use and of course I NOW have plenty. Mercury now spins the right way up and as a bonus the weather picks up with warmer days in the 60-70 range but still windy. Time to remove ONE thermal layer!

During Brenda’s trip to LA to see Phil I managed a 3rd at both 9 ball and 8 ball and she was back on it on her return with another 3rd at    Saturday 8 ball. This week we have the finals of both competitions and on Wednesday I had a good win of $109 for the 9 ball where perhaps I have a very slight advantage with my billiard experience and can see some shots that others don’t take ……. although they are watching! Tomorrow its the 8 ball final.

The 9 Ball “Shark of Dolores” is back!!

Back to cycling, there is a saddle out there that people are generally impressed with called the Infinity. A bit pricey but all the reviews say its worth it.

Good looking seat but doesn’t seem to be available

Might have to be this one in black

Out there on the pedals, as I said earlier, I was hoping to hit 1400 by the end of the month and having made 1318.06 before pool last Saturday the 1400 looked very feasible. 34.50 on Sunday and then 24.26 and 25.52 took me over the target to 1402.34 by Tuesday  night.

Early release on Wednesday and the total is 1420.45 with 5 days to go. Hmmm? is 1500 on the cards?? The post 9 Ball hangover did not sit well on Thursday and there was much thought of a “snooze”, rather than ride, but Wimp got it together and limped in another 15.22 pushing ever closer.

Now Friday and my day off so a ride to the lakes starts the day before leaping on the electrical work that has to be done on Slot 5 in the RV park. The 30 amp socket had been destroyed by the last tenant bigtime!  Off to the General Store but sod’s law they don’t have it so after a small “thinks bubble” I take all the 30 amp circuit out of the Boat house electrical box as that used to be Slot 12.

Brenda has given me an early birthday present in the form of a professional weed sprayer and lawn improver. This will save me over a month on my hands and knees weeding all the gravel areas around the park. Now I must mow the lawn and water it before they come early next week.

Temps must be in the 70’s but now that the electrics are finished I can get to the lawn which I complete with the aid of a couple of much needed beers. Waterfall ponds refilled as the deer are sucking them dry and now get both hoses on the lawn and let them run for 3 full hours.

During the course of all this work the cycling demon has knocked 45.56 more miles off the Equator ride and I’m up to1481.23 for the year and pretty determined to crack the barrier before we set off for the 8 Ball Championship.

Out on the road in pleasant warm conditions and sail through the 1500 hurdle with 23.42 for 1504.65 miles for the year. Pool not so good but can’t complain with my earlier win this week.

Sunday morning, Edward’s birthday, very windy and not looking like a riding day! First call to the UK goes to answer phone …… lets try again. Second call same result. Another birthday thing is that Edward’s birthday is the same as my father’s. I carry on ringing but never get an answer!

TONY DOWN

 

 

 

APRIL …. FOOLS ? SHOWERS? AND MORE FREAKY WX

The month turns, April begins, and the first 1000 miles of the year is in the books.

My cousin in Canada sends me a BBC video of the new colony of penguins discovered actually taking to the air. Quite impressive stuff …….. but Mother Nature can adapt as required!

“Penguin Squadron  Clear to Land”

Weather wise, April always meant showers to me with fresh primroses, bluebells, daffs and tulips as another English Spring arrived. Well up here in Colorado the showers can be snow or hail and the winds get stronger with violent gusts!

Yep!

In my efforts not to be a wimp and “get out there” I have had to endure conditions that question my sanity. The freaky weather has been just that with some mornings temps way up at 55F at only 0530 as I set off to work and then the next day 22F only making a high of 35F. Several bursts in the mid 50’s a few 60’s and just one up there at 71 ………. but every bloody day the WIND is there sometimes gusting over 50mph and on two occasions I’ve been blown sideways and I’ve had severe problems trying to get my cleats out of the pedals to prevent nasty falls!

Feels like this

Nearly ended up like this!!!

Thursday 5th and we set off after the morning drive to get Brenda to Durango for her flight to see Phil, his band, another Disney-do and a quick trip to an “Ellen” show. No riding today but I make 1100 by Saturday Pool time where I get another 3rd to add to Wednesday night’s 3rd at 9 ball.

Good ride on Sunday but Monday becomes a rest day as its wild and windy and very cold again. Recover Brenda, including luggage on time from Durango on Wednesday.

Despite another rest day on Friday as the high is only 37F and winds gusting 45 mph I still make 1200 on Saturday before pool. Brenda gets another 3rd but my play is not so good……… and I break one of my front teeth off and now look mountain manish or full on redneck whichever way you look at it. The week starts on 1202.60 and I make 1318.06 before this weekend’s pool session.

 

TONY DOWN

 

MORE BUSTED SPRINGS

 

That time of the year again when teachers and bus drivers get some extra sleep at last. The body clock still kicks the system into gear but after a quick coffee its back to bed for me!

Yes it’s Spring Break but not bimbos and bikinis up here as they are still forecasting this for tomorrow!!!

Great!

So far only wind but a lot of it and temps in the 40F’s. The nice thing about this break is I’m not up trees decorating or weeding, mowing the lawn, or trying to plant anything as its all TOO early. I can get on and put some miles in the book in my journey around the Equator without feeling guilty that I should be using my time on other things.

Last week, up until the start of the break was certainly one for the Lions with 5 days of misery, hypothermia, snow, blizzards, rain and of course high winds.

First day of the break on Saturday, gave me a chance to turn in a decent ride of 20.15 and still have the ability to talk. Sunday, more of the same with a two part ride of 27.76 and then Monday another two part ride of 35.50 which takes the yearly total to 824.13

My plan for the break was to see if I could make the “900” as the 1000 was clearly a bridge too far with the current weather and those strong cold winds.

Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday produced some good numbers fighting those winds but 33.33, 33.25 and 30.50 took the total to 921.21 and I still have 2 days left until the end of the month.

Hoping for a “30” today and another “20” for Saturday morning before pool which is also getting better with a good run at 9 ball on Wednesday finishing in 2nd place.

Friday and my last big day for a ride so I take the ride to the Lakes which is 10 miles at the turn round point. Warmer but the ever present wind is less than pleasant ……. no matter I force on and with determination for a beer at the brewery hit 41.58 for the day.

Saturday, and with not enough time to hit the “1000” I grab another 23.43 to take me up to 986.22 which is 400 more than this time last year.

Sunday, its got to be DONE!!! Supposedly much warmer at 60+ and not much wind as yet. Some Shade Garden clean up to do first then off to the lakes again and bang in 24.39 after sailing through the 1000 mile banner.

Here I am through the 1000 mile banner and off to the Champagne function to celebrate……

Champagne is GOOD …… VERY Good

The banner is now in the dust!

……. and remember I’m doing this for me!

 

TONY DOWN

 

 

 

MARCHING ON

One more week of bus driving and then Spring Break to wrap up the month. I had hoped we were nearly done with the bad weather but today its been non stop blowing snow and about 4″ still on the rail as evening approaches.

An enforced no cycling day today and probably nothing much in the next couple until it melts. So that was Sunday 18th, and Monday was no better with temps at 30F and not even making freezing!! Tuesday it looks a bit better but at only 37F, and with a biting wind, I return cold and hypothermic after just 14.74 miles but ……. as they say

Wednesday and with early release the temps only make 39F  before I can achieve anything  its time to get back to work. Maybe tomorrow which is supposed to make 63F !!!!!

Thursday and indeed much nicer and despite a late start I get out there in demi pleasant conditions at 55F and hardly any wind. Time beats me today but the 18.33 I did takes me over  the 740 mark.

Beware the Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing !!

Friday, a very strange day as the temp is 51F at 0530 as I drive to work. It rains nearly all day and then becomes warm, sunny and very windy yet again!

Saturday and having dropped considerably behind my planned miles I need to get out there and get some in! Windy, but I push on and make 20.15 before its time to get ready for pool. Brenda’s day today and she runs out a GOOD 3rd.

Sunday 25th and 7 days left in the month and I would like to crack 900 before we move into April. Need 140 this week so my aim is to crack 20+ every day to give a little “insurance” in case of some nasty weather. Today goes well with a 27.76  so on track at the moment!

 

TONY DOWN