Thursday, December 28, 2017

Happy Anniversary, Time For Cussing!

After nearly 5 years in the house...got to do some quality cussing at the previous homeowners again today, yay!

The dishwasher, built in 1983 and here when we moved in, has been doing a lackluster job lately, and running vinegar through it and attacking it with a toothbrush and cleaning supplies didn't help this time.

Like, at all.

Going spelunking into the depths of the thing armed with a mirror and flashlight, I discovered that the three spray arms were looking gunky...like seriously gunky.

Like, 34 years worth of gunky. Terrific, previous owners never cleaned them.  I warm up my favorite cuss words.

So, away to the Internet I fly, to find the tech manual for my ol' GE dishwasher, because what I don't want to do is break off some 34 year old, impossible to find, no-doubt-brittle-as-an-old-ladies-bones vital plastic piece that holds the thing together.  The owner's manual, as typical for major appliances and cars, is useless when it comes to this stuff--it's gotta be the tech manual.

Success, I find it!
Uh huh.  As I suspect, the two end caps on the drawer slide that stop the upper rack from being yanked out of the thing require a specific way of removal, and are fussy and easily broken when new--never mind their dubious condition after 34 years.

When I return to the kitchen to inspect mine, to my delight and complete lack of surprise the fussy tabs have been already broken and just crammed back into position by previous owners, whee! Just getting started and this project is already fun! I get that familiar sinking feeling when dealing with anything the previous owners of this place inflicted on this poor house.

I read through the tech manual and further find that the upper rack MUST come out in order for me to be able to clean the middle spray arm as thoroughly as it needs.  What the hell, the end caps are already broken, so after carefully attacking the things with a screwdriver and some choice swear words they come out, huzzah.

At this point I decide to be smart, quit while I'm ahead and not take the spray arm off the rack--every single inch of plastic inside this ancient dishwasher is brittle and begging to break if I look at it wrong, and won't take the amount of enthusiastic twisting and pulling that removing the spray arm demands. I take the upper rack out and one of the wheels falls off--intact thank God, but the post it mounts to is pretty sad looking and shedding bits of plastic. Into the kitchen sink the upper rack goes, spray arm and all.

Armed with a mirror and flashlight, I inspect the spray arm, which hasn't been spraying lately...

And Jesus take the wheel, the thing is horrifically disgusting--caked with 34 years worth of calcified, fossilized crap that seems to be mostly hardened detergent and calcium deposits.  What follows is a solid hour of scraping, chiseling gunk out of the holes in the spray arm, rinsing it out, having it vomit up more hardened crap, prying & picking it out, rinse...repeat...

This nonsense goes on for quite some time. Eventually I find an actual small chunk of broken glass, which I think started it all way back whenever by causing a blockage that the fossilized crap cheerfully built on, and manage to pry it out of the spray arm's innards.  This is where I really break out the $2 cuss words and verbally cast doubt on the previous owner's parentage. Finally--joy, the thing allows water to run through it again!

One down, two more to go.

Both of those two require serious acrobatics to clean, haha. The top arm can safely be removed, thank heavens, with the aid of the mirror and flashlight combo again and only minor contortions, and is degunked in the sink after many minutes of chiseling/prying deposits out.  The bottom spray arms decides to be the fly in the ointment and resists all attempts at removal.  I'm loath to break the thing and turn this project into even more of a circus, so I leave it where it sits and instead take a deep breath and dive it to clean it in place.

After all this comes the easy part--basic dishwasher scrubdown and cleaning, which I've been doing all along since we moved in, so at least that part goes quickly. To my relief the fussy tabs meekly go back into position and hold in place with only minimal growling on my part but maximum 'Screw-you-just-get-IN-there' determination.

Now to push the button and run the thing on a rinse cycle so see how it fares...

And to wait for the other shoe to drop tomorrow when I'm wondering why all my muscles are so weirdly sore.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Origami On The Sly...

Welp, off to the dentist...they have their Christmas tree up, every year they have their patients who are scheduled take an ornament off their tree as a gift.

Today I'm going to sneak these two guys on to their tree and see if they notice. Heh...

I did the same thing at our local library last year, gotta get over there and add something else this year!

I've got a slew of other little doves that I hide in plastic Easter eggs to protect them against the weather and leave at the park and at other odd little places we stop by...loads of fun!

And just 'cause I like him so much and ran across him sitting on a table today, here is a very fancy turkey fellow I folded about two years ago.

So dapper--!

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Etsy, I Am Here!

Finally got my origami shop opened on Etsy!  Now to see how it goes...

Here it is!

Gonna sell stuff like this...

and these...


Monday, October 23, 2017

No. 22 In The Series, 'Things You Do NOT Want To Touch'

Apparantly, 'Fall' to our chickens sounds a klaxon that screams, MOLT NOW! MOLT NOW! MOLT NOW!

The chicken yard is awash in feathers, and while most of the birds are --eh, kinda molting--while others refuse to...

Some take things way too far.

Tonight I went out to pass out some goodies and nearly screamed at Cluckadorkle--normally a fairly fluffy girl.

Yeah, right now she's a beige pincushion.

Then there's Pele, who molts heavily every single year.
She's working on her usual: molting out white feathers and growing in lavender ones.

When she realized I was taking pictures she ran and hid behind Milton.

Then there's nearly 10 year old Beauty, whom I swear has NEVER molted. Her feathers wouldn't dare fall out.

Although she looks pretty irritated to have everyone's molted feathers stuck to her feet like the rest of the chickens do...

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Attack Of The Giant Chicken

Just now there was a fat housecat half-heartedly stalking birds in my front yard...

The sparrows were barking, alerting everyone to his presence.  Then the quail decided this was bullshit and really started after him, chasing him down...

Then my kid, who is home sick today and never got out of her pajamas, stepped out onto the porch dressed in a chicken onesie.

Once the giant chicken got involved that was it, that damned cat ran for the hills.  Doubt he'll ever be back.

Friday, October 13, 2017

Odds & Ends...

The kid worked her magic on a claw machine the other day at the grocery store and ended up with this guy...
Whom I promptly dubbed, 'Gotta Pee Duck'.  Although going by his shocked, glum expression of regret, it may already be too late.

Driving down highway 395 recently, I decided that this perfectly displayed how I felt:

Me on the left driving through the Owens Valley...me on the right when I discover it's on fire AGAIN.
This was one of those 'management fires', but they still make me uneasy--it's so easy for these to get away and out of hand.

Lastly, just wanted to let everyone know that Pele is holding with her own personal tradition of molting during summer while it's hot...and then taking her sweet time growing *new* feathers, waiting until the cold weather sets in.  And meanwhile looking like a Chernobyl victim.

Lordy.  Forty miles of bad road, right there.  Silly chicken.

Fun With Groceries

OK, now they're just fucking with me...
I'll admit when I picked it up in the store it broke my brain for a second.

In other news, I picked the entirety of the crop off my McIntosh apple tree the other day...

And it was *tiny*.  Oh well, the thing wasn't supposed to be old enough to produce yet, so more power to it!

Friday, August 25, 2017

I Have Pears!

After only two years in the ground, our Bartlett pear tree is producing, yay!

Tonight the kid and I harvested 16 of them.  Growing pears is a first for me.  Other than soap spray for bugs/disease in the Spring, we didn't use any chemicals, so of course we get some wonky fruit in there...but for the most part they look OK.  To check and see if they are aready to pick, you cradle the fruit in your hand and tip it horizontally to the branch--if it comes off easily, it's ready.  There are still another 10 or so pears on the tree.  Now to wait for a few days while they finish off ripening--you don't want to allow pears to ripen on the tree or they get mushy and mealy.

So in a few days, we'll see!  Can't wait!

...and YES, we had an anxious chicken audience below, praying we'd drop just one....

Friday, July 7, 2017

Here Fishy, Fishy!

Took the kid down to visit her cousins in southern California, on the way we stopped at the historic Mt. Whitney Fish Hatchery in Independence, California.  That link is the official CA link, there is another maintained by the hatchery today, here.  I'd suggest reading both to get the full story, also to talk with the volunteers in person.  The tale of determined locals vs. state government, betrayals and victories they've told me could be a movie of the week!

The hatchery has been around a long time.  After severe flooding and mudflows destroyed the fish-rearing ponds, four buildings, filled the fingerling raceways and killed all the fish in 2008, there then followed California's budget woes that forced it's closure.  It would have disappeared if it wasn't for a stubborn group of volunteers that saved it.

Today it's no longer a hatchery but is instead an interpretive center/museum--but with fish!  It has odd days and hours of operation, so it can be difficult to catch it open.  But it's well worth it! They specialize in raising Golden Trout, the stunning California state fish.

The pond out front is home to some truly huge, pretty damned tame Rainbow trout...

...and several kinds of dragonflies!

This one just climbed right onto the kid's fingertip.

 The trout just kinda hang around certain spots near the shore...

The reason why they hung out in these particular areas?
Old coin-operated candy machines that give you a big ol' handful of trout chow for a quarter to cast upon the waters!
Which promptly causes a fish riot. The pond was calm, so the little kids standing near us as we tossed in the food were shrieking with excitement.  Pretty soon all the adults were shoving quarters or trout chow into any kid nearby's hands so they could feed them, too. Didn't matter if it wasn't your kid, here have a quarter and get some trout chow, it's awesome!

Fish riots are cool.
They swim over each other and bonk into each other as they go after the food; Hell, they don't care.

I like this pic for the beautiful tail sticking out of the water.

After this we went inside.  The volunteers have been working hard to improve the place, installing a video monitor with seating so you can watch a show on the hatchery's history, plus a bunch of exhibits with old-time fish stocking equipment from the days when it was all done using pack trains of horses. There is also a small gift shop and another room with a few odd 'yard sale' items people donated to help raise money for the site.

But also--Golden trout fingerlings!

Pretty sure this sign was from last year, but heck, it still works.

Golden trout babies!!!
They zoomed up and down the raceways clearly wanting us to feed them, but alas we had no fingerling chow.  As lovely as these little guys are, their colors are nothing compared to how bright the adult Golden Trout are.

After this it was time to wash the trout chow off our fingers and wave goodbye to the fish.

Friday, June 30, 2017

Bowie In The Bathtub!

...and I *don't* mean the singer. 

This Bowie is a naughty little bantam Cochin hen who insists on scratching around improperly in any mud she can find, until it coats the tips of her toes & claws and forms these weird little hard balls the size of peewee marbles.  Then she walks around with little rocks on the end of her toes angling to land at the vets' with some funky new dumb chicken thing I have to stand there and explain to my poor bewildered vet.

Ha ha, NO.  The kid hauled her into the house, where Bowie walked around the dining room floor, her toes clicking like castanets when I ran some warm water into the bathtub.

Time to soak a chicken.

We just put her in a few inches and closed the tub enclosure door and waited for the warm water to work it's magic to the tune of indignant cackling.  We stood outside the tub with arms crossed, yelling back at her that maybe now she'd learn not to make mud castanets on her toes.  Took about 20 minutes.  Mind you, this is the second time Bowie has done this.

After that, I got to scrub out the tub.  As you can see, Bowie was kind enough to jump up on the tub edge several times to really spread the filth.

Criminy, the dumbest things happen around here...

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

New Origami Models!

I was inspired by the Stewart Indian Pow Wow we attended lately to make some new models.  I also got out my white paint to add little pointillist accents, just for fun. First, feathers!

There were actually more of these using various kinds of paper, but I neglected to get picks of them.  This model needs more practice as the little fussy folds are tough for my crappy hands, but I'll work on it. I'm also going to try other feather models.

Next, some dreamcatcher-ish modular models I came up with. I fiddled with this one when creating it, the fun part of modular unit models like this is that if you change the individual unit a bit, you get a different look.  In addition to the white paint I also hauled out some of my little doily hole punches. 

So here is the double layer 'Flower' version...

...and the single layer 'Starfish' version, both front & back sides.

 These will all be finished with ornamentation to become hanging models.

Then there's this slightly bigger one, with the cut-outs on a different edge.
 Still having fun mixing & matching different models to come up with new things...I've got an idea flitting around in my head for a peacock using a few units of these models along with another model!

Monday, June 19, 2017

Here, Chick, Chick, Chick...

Seems that the leftover Spring chicks at our local Tractor Supply have all grown up...

It's probably more likely that the Giant Metal Terror Chickens are hot enough to fry eggs upon and have been penned to avoid blistered finger lawsuits, tho.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Stewart Indian School Pow Wow!

Every year our local Indian community holds an awesome pow wow at the historical site of the old Stewart Indian School.  The school operated from 1890 to 1980 and is now on the Historic Register.  The school is closed, but the site remains and it's a gorgeous complex with tons of huge trees, many beautiful stone buildings and a terrific self-guided walking tour you can take.

When I attended high school maaaany years ago nearby, we would play Stewart.  And let me tell you, while we could take them at volleyball, at softball they would whoop our asses hard.  Those girls could throw straight and true like nobody's business, and every.single.hit. they connected with was a home run.  EVERY ONE.  Our school baseball field was bordered by a steep incline lined in about 20 feet of rough-hewn granite rocks the size of your head, so every damned time you had to chase that ball into the stupid rocks, climb in and hunt for the damned thing while keeping an eye out for rattlesnakes.  Meanwhile the Stewart players would leisurely round the bases...another home run.  We learned to just take it for granted we'd be on the losing end of every softball game.

But back to the pow-wow!
It's fun to look at the pow wow website and see the family names of good friends I went to school with--the Toms, Rambeaus and Sams.  Good times...Unfortunately today it was about 112 degrees, so even with the shade from the big trees we were gasping for air and couldn't stay as long as we'd have liked to.  I plan on going back to take proper pictures of Stewart because it really is lovely. 

Luckily there was a wonderful snowcone booth there where you could get a snowcone that could feed a family of four.  Not to mention the fabulous, famous Navajo tacos with fresh fry bread made right there on the spot...we sat under a tree and gobbled it all up and grinned at each other in utter joy.

After that we walked around the various booths that had handmade items for sale and did some shopping.  I really liked the way this lady had her bracelets arranged.

And let me say at the outset that I don't care if the items for sale are *actually* made by a tribe member, or were made elsewhere and the tribal member is just selling them. As long as I'm supporting a tribe member it doesn't matter.  Just so they get the money.

The dancing took place in the center.  They had a mixture of recorded music, live singers and a drum circle that kicked ass.  We arrived in the middle of this dance so I don't know which one it was, other than it was mixed men, women and children.

The regalia was gorgeous.  When the kid was little and we took her to a powwow in southern California, she was entranced by the jingle dresses (the dresses with the dangling rolled tin cones that dance and jingle as you move) and the dancing, and was hot to learn.  Unfortunately we never did find someone to learn from, but that is something that may still happen as here the Indian community is much closer and more accessible.

I absolutely love this picture, for several reasons.  The dad dancing with his baby in the center, the little girl on the left with the 'Strong is the new pretty' shirt and the girl shawl dancing in from the right with such energy.

Just jaw-dropping regalia everywhere, from very ceremonial to fancy.

We had a great time, but after this we were just too wilted from the heat to stay longer and had to cut it short.  Next time!

Friday, June 16, 2017

The Chicks Are Two Months Old!

It's time to kick them out into the yard, so here are the final pictures of the chicks!

 In order of hatch, Popcorn is first!
She decided to pose looking like she was modeling 'Action Slacks' from the 1972 Montgomery Wards catalog for some reason.

Then just zoned out.

But hey, she's got cute face fluffies!

Next is TaterTot, who, if you remember, hatched out as a black chick.

She's the most dramatic color-change chick we've ever hatched.

More cute face fluffies...

A close-up of Tater's tail, she's got gorgeous colors.

Next is Banjo, the only rooster hatched this year!  As far as we know that is...

Majestic rooboy. He's started *very* quietly crowing along with the roos in the early morning.

Here he is being the Leaning Tower of Chicken.

Strychnine, who is growing into a very sweet Giant Cochin mix girl, she LOVES to be held & petted.

She has lovely breast & cape feathering.

...and of course a cute lil' chicken face.

Last of our hatched chicks is Groot!

...and her GIANT yellow legs and feet.

Groot's Dark India Cornish feathers are coming in, lovely coppery-brown/bronze colors with an iridescent sheen.

Next are the chicks we purchased at our local feed store! The first two are about a week older than our hatched chicks.
Olivia the Australorp, who thought it'd be funny to cock her head to the side in *every* picture I took...

Dottie, the Silver Laced Wyandotte.  She is growing into a beautiful girl.

The last two are the same age as our hatched babies.
Star, the Red Star.  Her little stars are just starting to come in.  For some reason she was entranced with the ceiling.  Possibly she hoped it contained a cheeseburger.

Sadly, no cheeseburger from the ceiling.  This time.

However, if you've got a minute she'd love to sell you some wonderful aluminum siding.

Last is Bodie the Golden Sex Link!

Bodie is another chick with enormous feet.

And she is *not* amused at being teased about them, thank you.

So there is the Terrible 9, who after several days of spending their days in the small run to get everyone used to each other, have integrated smoothly into the flock!  Unfortunately for them just in time for 100+ degree weather, but hey...ya can't have everything.