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“IN A WORLD OF STRIFE ……………. “

This summer has certainly been full of problems and generally a lack of get up and go to fix them! Must be old age and the general loss of energy and willpower.

First there was my trailer that the lady ran into and destroyed, and the ongoing problems of  trying to get the new title.  Then along comes a 70 mph wind and takes down the sign that we had only just got the electrics  renewed on!

Trying to get a NEW sign is not easy, and just like plumbers who don’t dig trenches, sign makers don’t erect their product!!

Next we have this ridiculous lunacy of the  “water backwash valve” which is state or federal law and requires us to dig an enormous trench 6′ deep and connect to main water. So absurd that we have to have this valve in case WE can generate MORE PSI than the Mains system of 120 psi and therefore push OUR water back into the Town’s system???

Trench digging Round2

Six feet down!

During all this, Mercury is retrograde, and what is making life worse is that our local restaurant/pool hall is continually OVER pouring my Gin & Tonic and Brenda’s Vodka Soda ……. the results of this are AWFUL, with a lot of drunkenness and falling down and well as the brain and mouth getting into gear and saying things that should never be said!!!

The results of all this alcohol abuse is that I’ve switched to BEER and Brenda has changed her tipple to something equally less fierce and with a lot less sugar.

Yes, there is “Peace in Beer”

The change in refreshments have done nothing for the “pool” but the social life has returned to acceptable standards, the bashed trailer has been replaced, the Beemer returned to her former glory, and the backwash nonsense is in place, and the trench backfilled.

 

TONY DOWN

 

MORE FROM THE GARDEN

With the sign demolished time to get back in the garden for the  next phase of weeding and removal of that arsebine!

Finally the second round of weeding is finished and more water is added to beds and grass.

The hanging baskets of toms are nearly done but the other bucket rescued from Walmart is ripening and the radish and lettuce I planted are going well and we should be harvesting them soon.

Coming to an end

Nearly ready

Radish and lettuce coming along

A replacement trailer was located over in Durango and an easy decision to buy followed and now its home and a few extra tie downs are all fitted.

Not bad for the money

BMW duly loaded up and off to a Beemer techy to fix the dreaded ethanol gummed up injectors/fuel pump and anything else it has ruined in the last 3 years.

Trenches dug,  but still no pipe!

Still major problems with finding our main water pipe which we have to connect some sort of backwash assembly to …… don’t ask but if you don’t do it the nice town will turn off your water???

A day off the garden to take the Beemer to Montrose and discover a couple of the tie down brackets already fitted are not strong enough so another minor job to get on with.

Dean, the plumber turns up ….. (you have to remember plumbers don’t dig trenches) and the next phase of discovery begins. 4′ down in the trench another wire appears?   and below that some sand which is often used as the first part of the “backfill” over water lines and other plumbing mysteries! This seems to be the best clue yet to the buried treasure.

My birthday comes and goes, nice chocolate cake, and a cold water bottle that actually stays cold!

Next event, other than the Plateau Fire which is getting bigger by the day and only a few miles away over the ridge, is Escalante Days. The Parade runs as usual but the bike race venue has to move due to the fire. Arm wrestling and chain sawing take place as normal.

Let the sawing begin

Bill of chain saw and pool cue fame!

Grandson, Jake, puts in a very impressive time and thinks he has won!

Enter  “The Master” as Grandad Bill beats Jake by 5 seconds!!!

More diggers for the trench have a “go” and eventually the pipe is found en- route to Australia so now the work can continue!

Long way down but here it is

Don’t fall in!

A huge storm contains the fire and the recently sown second row of radish germinate in 3 days. The Walmart recued “toms” are all changing color and have a good taste ……. and the surprise of the year is the 5 year old trumpet vine has finally produced some blooms

Row 2 on the radish

Ripening toms

More of natures bounty

Blooms after 5 years

More to come

A disturbing tale on my birthday down at the Brewpub when a  local teacher who lives up the road at Stoner, 14 miles up river, tells me of an event “near and dear” to my heart. He says he often sees me cycling and always gives me the 3 feet clearance and one day in the recent past was looking back in his rear view mirror when he saw a bear loping across the road right behind me!!!!!

I thought this was photoshopped!!!!!

At close of play on 18 th August the cycling tally was 3412.12

TONY DOWN

HERE’S YOUR SIGN!

Many of you may remember Jeff Foxworthy’s comedy show with Larry the Cable Guy, Ron White and Bill Engvall. Bill’s no1 line was always that stupid people should have a sign………

Well, after Saturday’s Pool session where I once again finished 3rd we came home around 1800 and I immediately put on the TV and of course fell asleep.

Some time just after 2000 I wake up to an horrendous wind coming from the East ! With trees bending and debris blowing past, I would estimate the wind speed to be around 70 mph, and even that could be on the low side!!

15 minutes later there was an almighty  crashing noise as a major fir tree just up the road split in two and ripped down the power line plunging us into near darkness  ……… then the garden swing gets hurled across the driveway and the seat becomes detached in the crash.

At 2027 Brenda take a picture and another at 2030 as yet another almighty crash happens as the gale rages on. Getting dark, and far too dangerous to even venture out of the building I elect to go to bed!

So up early and survey the damage which is extensive with branches everywhere from that “gift that keeps on giving” the Cottonwood, plants toppled over and debris in all directions.

Branches everywhere

Blown over plants

Not good

Here’s Your Sign!!!

Better start the clean up!

Fortunately the sign is covered by our insurance, but as we have seen so far this summer nothing is quick or easy. Eventually an assessor comes out and of course he agrees its toast. Now we need estimates for demo and removal, and for the rebuild. 2 weeks on and still waiting.

Just down the road at Aerie apartments a giant fir came crashing down crushing cars and boats in their parking lot and just missing the building.

Just missed!

While we are waiting another monster branch gives way in the park and takes me a full afternoon to saw up and clear away.

This all takes  place on 12th July so yet another day of no riding as the clean up takes priority. I do finish up the week on 2880.55 and at pool Brenda buys another pool stick by Judd, a local well renowned cue maker, which was owned by “Bell Bottom Bob”, one of our old friends who died a few years ago. Brenda gets a 3rd place with her new toy while I finish in 2nd.

By Tuesday we get the approval for the sign demo and I have to start the work on Wednesday which takes 6 days to complete as the project is somewhat dangerous due to the precarious position and huge amount of lumber involved! Where to start???

First step, those 3 big legs

I saw off the three major support posts first as its one less thing to stop walking into!  Then bust up the concrete on the bottom of the legs and pick up the obvious other pieces that broke off in the fall.

Legs off

First load of debris

A lot of thinking and minor experimentation to see what will fall where without involving me as the object in the dead fall trap. Take out the lower of the two roof assemblies and the left side sign board.

With this lot out of the way saw through the cross braces and it should all fall flat …… we hope!

It drops nicely

That goes to plan, and now its time for the other roof piece and sign lights which, with its shingle covering reminds me of a bar of Toblerone!

More big pieces of lumber and the lower sign board get removed and then its on to the big  Chocolate Bar.

Enough for today

Chunk after chunk is sawn off and I’m nearly ready to expose the rocks and waterfalls.

A chunk of Toblerone anyone ?

Getting down to the last few pieces, should complete this today.

Almost there

My ever present friends throughout the operation ….. WASPS!

Finally its done and time to look at the last bits of damage including my ceramic frogs.

You will be missed

My frogs didn’t fare too well ….. and they don’t taste like chicken!

 

TONY DOWN

 

JUILLET DANS LE JARDIN AVEC TONY

Aujourd’hui  nous desherbons et plantons. Yes, its back to the Rose Bed for round 2 of the weeding and then some planting of the plants I bought yesterday. In case you were wondering its also July and that means “Tour de France” or as Bob Roll  always says “Tour Day France”

The day does not get off to a great start as Brenda tells me that one of the boat trailer tires is flat. Next problem, the Jack is becoming difficult, but I soldier on, and eventually the wheel is off and the spare is on. Looks like a valve problem to me.

Start the morning with the new “Tom” and arrange drippers etc while softening up the hanging basket toms that were getting the yellow leaf problem.

Good looking Tom !

Now for the seed planting of lettuce and radish which is one of those things I’ve been trying to get to but have been running out of puff before I’ve made it to the veggie bed.

Seeds planted at last

With seeds in and a quick check on all the veggie drippers time for another attack on the rose bed where all the thistles have migrated to after all the early season weed spraying. The poor old wisteria that had sat on the stump is now lying on its side as the stump has rotted through.

A bit sad for the Wisteria

With the rose bed complete the afternoon becomes another gardening session and the planned cycling gets ditched in order to complete the mission. Two hydrangeas that have become toast in the side Scuffy bed get hauled out and a happy Mr Wisteria is in place along with some companion dianthus.

Mr Wisteria happy again

Now its the 4th! time for a ride, then plant all the dianthus and salvias and cut those edges……. and we do have the new blue umbrella for the shade garden which matches the dragonfly cushions perfectly.

Planting goes well but Brenda is not enjoying the “4th” as nothing is happening anywhere, no parties, no music, and hardly anyone out and about.

Planting gets finished, the afternoon monsoons are here, but morning riding continues and the week finishes on 2739.43 as I don’t get a ride on Saturday as its Day 1 of the Tour and I’m not looking too good having had a Bee hit me on the head at about 20 mph and as a last resort it must have stung me on impact! I think I’m becoming allergic to these little devils. Being on top of the skull the sting had nowhere to go and started moving down my face swelling up any flesh it could find on the way.

It was dark glasses to hide the disfigurement for Saturday pool where I added yet another 3rd place before the GT took over!

TONY DOWN

 

SOLSTICE TIME

As Henges go Stone Henge is one of the best!

21st June and the Summer Solstice is here? Will there be nude maidens dancing in the Shade Garden tonight ? I rather think not and some of us can’t stay up that late anyway!

Brenda is ordering the much needed replacement bed, thanks to Farm Bureau for the generous settlement.

Next on the day’s menu is to move the Safari as we have a regular couple coming for a week and we are full. Brenda has been doing a lot of work on the bus and its looking really good. Jacks are retracted, TV cable disconnected, water lines turned off and stowed and the motor fires up immediately and warms up. Rather than leave the bus in the road Megan has said we can park it on her parking lot. We move off and as we come out of the park loud RV horns are sounding!!! Yes, I’ve done the “Robin Williams” and driven off with the power cord still connected!!!

……. and then it gets worse! I drag the power cable back to its bay and come back to the bus and before I can get back in the engine stops. No, of course its not going to start again is it ? Turn the key and the engine is racing round …….. back in the dim past I remember this happening and after much research and hours of b…sh.t the final result was that one battery was dragging the other down and not giving any power to the fuel pump thereby the engine had nothing to compress and was spinning like crazy.

Get 4 gallons of diesel just in case, but no, still spinning at warp speed so call Jack the School bus tech. Jack concentrates on the fuel system and is convinced that that’s the problem. Eventually I recall the story of what happened last time and we duly check the batteries and of course 3 are up there in the 12.6 and the other engine battery is at 1.74   ……. back from Walmart with a fresh battery so wish me well and fingers crossed. Battery fitted no real sign of improvement so back to town and buy one filter and order the other. Jack is sick so maybe the whole thing will be on hold until Sunday.

The other filter made it to Cortez on Saturday morning and Jack had them fitted in 30 minutes flat. Safari now running well and topped up with fluids for it’s next trip.

Sunday is very windy and becomes a rest day and gardening day and the start of weeding the main bed. Its hard work and that dreaded arsebine is everywhere and choking other plants.

Arsebine removed!

On the cycling front I crack on and by Tuesday I’ve cracked 2600.6 miles. A little weeding over the last two days but now the decision is to finish this big bed which takes another 3 days with NO RIDING! A quick ride on Saturday (30th June ) finishes the first half of the year on 2617.83 compared to last year’s effort of 1876.79

Well the weeding is complete save for recuts on the edge and some replanting with salvias and dianthus.

Ready for some color on that front bed

June was also a great month on the pool tables with 2 first places at 8 Ball along with 2 third finishes. 9 Ball went equally well with a first and 2 second places.

 

TONY DOWN

 

 

OTHER JUNE JOBS

 

An enforced rest weekend due to pouring rain has shut me down on gardening and cycling. Drying up slowly but still  dark and ominous and still 50% chance or more rain and a thunderstorm or two.

Looking ahead, once the Waterfall Bed is replanted with a bit more color I can move onto the Fir Tree Bed and uncover what is still alive and ready to burst out. Need another clean up on the Rose Bed where the old tree stump has rotted through. I think the weed spray was not to the taste of the roses who are very sulky at the moment and not a bud to be seen.

Monday, and the storms have passed. The rain made a good impact on the fires and our grass is loving every minute. I managed 25.24 to take me over the 2400 mark and can maybe see 2600 by the end of June?

Some dianthus ready to be planted

The plant for Brenda I couldn’t resist

More for planting

Some lobelia for variety

……. last ones

The afternoon goes to plan and all Sunday’s plants that we bought from Walmart and 4 seasons are in the ground with just the edging to do.

How it was

Weeding done

Let the planting begin

Planting complete

Tuesday and the game rolls on and another 26.40 is done before getting back on the edges on the Waterfall Beds. All the precision cuts are made, soil turned over and excess material removed.

The Razor’s edge

Summer is here

Grass gets cut, and the edges are completed which is always the most satisfying part of the job ……. Center Bed next!

Wednesday and an early arrival of the Insurance Assessor who has finally been in touch with Brenda and was due to arrive on Thursday at 1100 ! No matter he has the check and WE have the AZ title!

This becomes $5932.21

…….. and I get another 1st place at 9 Ball.

A good 30.53 on the Roubaix after breaking the valve while trying to pump up the front tire. Total at 2461.35and 10 days left in the June.

 

TONY DOWN

 

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