Monday, October 5

It's tile time again

It’s been awhile, but I think I can still remember how to do it. We ran across a tiling pattern at Creative Tile in Fresno. I fell in love with it and took lots of pictures, then bought all the tiles used in the pattern. There are stone and ceramic tiles, and an unusual kind that the guy helping us said is “melted Coke bottles, I think.” Our entry porch will be very nice when I finish laying out a variation on the pattern to fit the space.

Meanwhile, we’ll have to figure out a way to keep the local bats from parking themselves in the corners of the porch and using the walls and deck as their toilet. I used our pressure washer and some powerful detergent and a very stiff brush to get rid of the stains they left over the past few months. I’m not sure how to keep them away though. Any ideas?

Saturday, October 3

It's tarantula romance time

On our evening hike, Karla spotted one of our big black friends trotting across the road. These guys spend a lot of time traipsing through the weeds in search of a willing girl to impregnate. I only got to see that ritual one time, and it was fascinating. First, the girl wasn't black; she was almost cocoa-colored. They check each other out, with her remaining for the most part in her tunnel. He stroked her with his forelegs, then his pedipalps, which look like short forelegs, delivered some sperm (I think that's how it works), then both of the spiders quivered. He was finished, so he backed away and trotted off for more girl-hunting as she backed into her tunnel and disappeared from sight.

A very short romance, indeed!

Thursday, October 1

More planting

Yesterday, Wednesday, was overcast all day long. Without the sun scorching our tender skin, we were able to put in long hours digging holes for some more agaves. We have already lost plants to hungry ground-dwellers, like gophers, so we are now making baskets out of hardware cloth (wire mesh) to protect them. Since it hasn’t rained significantly in a very long time, the ground is very dry and hard. A bit of soaking with a bit of water makes it possible to dig a fairly deep hole and after planting we keep the soil wet till the plants get established.
Karla gets a nice big hole ready for its new occupant

Today we got some rain! Only twenty hundredths of an inch (5 mm) fell this morning, but we’ll take whatever comes. There is supposed to be a big rainfall season coming. Yay. But I’ll keep my garden hose at the ready till it actually happens.

Saturday, September 26

Donating blood brings back...

Karla and I visited our doctor Friday for our occasional hour-long consultation. He suggested that we donate blood every couple or three months. It seems our blood is just a teensy bit thick, and draining a bit of it occasionally will remedy that.

I haven’t donated since I was a youngster attending Navy electronics school on Treasure Island in the San Francisco Bay. It seems there was a young lady who was desperately in need of a whole lot of blood, and my class got “volunteered” by the base commander. A photo of several dozen of us, standing a**hole to belly button, as the Navy used to call it, appeared on the front page of one of San Francisco’s daily newspapers.

Ah, yes. The Navy. That was the time when I never had to give a thought to what would befall me on any given day. All I had to do was make sure the Enterprise’s radar repeaters (the TV-set-like displays that showed what the radars were seeing) kept working. The Combat Information Center, roughly mid-ship, was my base. From there I enjoyed the hike to the bow of the ship where one of the repeaters was located. The space was called Secondary Conn, and it was used to run the ship if the normal command center, the bridge, got blown away in combat. It had five portholes, and it was very calming to stand there alone and stare out at the ocean. (The only other portholes were in the Captain’s cabin, so this was a rare treat for an ordinary sailor.)

 I read recently that the USS Enterprise was finally decommissioned. It was in active service for 50 years, making it the longest-serving ship in US Navy history. Heckuva boat, she was, and I got aboard it when it was a mere six-month-old returning from its initial deployment in the Mediterranean. My fondest memory is the trip we made circling the entire globe and absolutely nothing went wrong with any of my equipment! I really enjoyed that two-month vacation.