Sunday, February 13, 2011

Another Weekend in Our World

The weekend is drawing to a close.

Thursday we took Opie, the stray male cat, to town to meet a woman who needed a barn cat. It's amazing how quickly we can get attached to an animal but he and our cats weren't making much progress in arriving at a live and let live truce. This weekend was heaven for Maggie and Macy. Once they felt safe after his departure they kept the cat door swinging going in and out enjoying the sunny warm weather.

Friday morning I put one load of water in the house cistern which filled it to within one inch of overflowing. My second load went into the garden cisterns. I need about 3,500 gallons to fill them. That's fourteen loads and I want them full by the time gardening season begins. On my return with the second load I heard a noise from the trailer. I've got a bad bearing. It's an old shop built trailer and I don't have a clue where to get a bearing. I have another cistern of 500 gallons designed for a large pickup bed. I've never used the cistern and have it only because a guy owed me money and I knew it was wise to take what I could in goods because he would never come up with the cash. I think I'll clean this cistern and put it on my tandem axle trailer. The problem is that full the cistern and trailer will far exceed the rated towing capacity of my vehicle. But, it's only two miles to the water station and only about one mile is on a highway so I think I'll give it a try and see how it does.

Friday afternoon I worked on a solar hot water system for a friend. She has been having problems and I think we've diagnosed it as dust in the heat exchanger that is restricting flow. About 230 degrees in the collector and only 80 degrees in the tank. Sometime soon I'll take a quarter inch hose and try to get the sediment from the bottom of the heat exchanger. The next step will be to put a filter on the vent to the glycol tank. It appears dust in the air has been getting into the system over the years. Such is life in a dry windy environment.

Saturday we went to the landfill. It's been 18 months since we last took off the trash. For a long time I've been planning on writing about this subject that breaks down into composting, reuse, donations, recycling, scavengers and trash cans. It's an interesting subject in my opinion.

Saturday evening we had supper with a family in town. The young lady lived about one mile from us but moved to town late last summer. Her husband died about two years ago and Julie and I helped occasionally when needed with simple maintenance issues. Her father lives in California and visited about twice each year. We worked together on a few maintenance tasks and got to know one another. He is visiting now which prompted the supper invitation. (Between supper and dessert we cleaned furnace filters. Just for old times sake!) Over Christmas her mother, who lives in Colorado, visited and we were invited for supper. It's good to meet her family.

Today we had planned a motorcycle ride to some location with an opportunity for a hike. About a month ago I checked the motorcycle and the system that keeps the battery full during the winter. All was well and it started immediately. A few days ago I tried to start it and the battery was dead. A test indicated a shorted cell. I tried to find a battery locally but it's not to be. I'll have to order one. Since the ride didn't happen we changed our plans and took a walk to a local cinder hill. I last climbed the hill in March of 2008 but Julie had never been to the top. Last week (or was it week before last) when we climbed to the top of Frances Crater we found the pile of stones marking the summit register but it was missing. Today we found the summit register on Junction Crater, read the entries (which is how I know I last climbed it in 2008), sign it and returned to it's location. Round trip we did a little over four miles.

That was our weekend. Well, part of it anyway.

Now, I'm going to work out on the exercise bicycle. Four weeks from tonight we'll either be camped near the Nankoweap trailhead (on the north side of the Grand Canyon) or be here trying to get to bed for an early start. I'm hoping the snow isn't so deep that this backpacking trip has to be abandoned. But, even if it falls apart, I'll be ready for some lung-challenging alternative.

Jar containing the summit register.
Jar containing the summit register on Junction Crater.

Gate with cattle guard.
Julie crossing the cattle guard into an enclosure around a trick tank on the edge of the national forest.

Trick tanks.
The tank held water with a thin layer of ice on top. This is an ideal bird watching opportunity. As we neared the tank we frightened doves, bluebirds, robins, juncos and other species.

As we meandered through the Junipers toward home I spotted a collection of stones that seemed a little unnatural. We changed our direction to investigate and found several pieces of pottery around the ruins.

1916 boundary marker.
We headed east until we came to the national forest fence then turned south to avoid private property. When we came to this 1916 boundary survey marker we crawled under the fence and chose a direct path toward home.

Coyote skull.
It's always interesting to watch for pottery, historic litter, strange lava pieces and other unusual items. Today we discovered what I assume is a coyote skill. A little hair remained so it's not been dead long. We found only the skull.


Blogger Anvilcloud said...

Are those walking poles very helpful?

2/14/2011 07:26:00 AM  
Blogger Paul said...

AC, the trekking poles are extremely helpful when climbing/descending loose, steep, uneven ground or crossing streams. I find them simply another item to carry on level or easy ground and don't use them.

2/14/2011 08:19:00 AM  

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