Between losing horribly to SAIF ( Workman’s , lack of; Comp ) and not only all the smoke from all of our own fires but from fires to the North plus the added bonus of construction running way behind at work stress levels have been through the roof.
What choice do we have ?
Workman’s Comp ( that’s a laugh ) : SAIF decided that as I put work first over my own health and didn’t get to the ER immediately Ma and I get to take care of all the bills as well as dealing with the effects of the injury on our own…
Not only the eye that was injured , coming in at 20/1000 , yes it is a real number… and after the second injury to the other eye which was 20/20 and last check was at 20/40 with a significant drop in the last few weeks which because of cost , time ( which I really don’t have) , and shear panic at what the new numbers could say…I am putting off..
I know that the trauma set off the slow acting glaucoma raising it to the next level as well as some cataracts forming..same reason .. I will most likely have to reite because I am too blind to do my job rather than simply retiring … course have all the work injury bills to pay first so…….
I did everything correctly according to even their doctors but they decided on a loop hole and ran with it. They simply would always hire one more of their own doctors than we had to say whatever was needed..
The closest thing to a decent thing that has happened during the wait is that I had two more ” attacks” at work from my eye , which were nothing even close to fun…
” Did you go to the hospital ? “
“Ummmm…. You got the part where it is vision right ?”
There must be a joke in there somewhere…
” So this blind guy , driving ,on his way to the ER, runs into a semi…” or such..
Basically one of the same reasons I didn’t just jump in the truck and drive down in the first place.
Anyway ( revisited )….
Both ” attacks” besides the awesome good times themselves , also cut some of the light coming into that eye…. Now instead of staring into the Sun any time I don’t wear sunglasses it is more like staring into a naked 300 watt bulb , so I got THAT going for me.
I spend a little time every day at work with the glasses down , trying to see ( snort ) how much I can stand before I have to put them back on. Oh I get sick as a pig from the get go with the florescents but I am also wearing out my sunglasses and can not find another pair that is light enough for me to use them inside.
I have no goal for it, just trying to not step off the gym roof or something.
Sun light is bad enough , with the smoke , like everyone else, my headaches are through the roof … There is no choice other than work through it so as long as I can drive , I work.
The winds changed last Sunday , coming down from the North , bringing in Smoke from Washington state as well as our own.
The Air Quality , even up here , dropped horribly. We were sitting around 135; Unhealthy. Friday Morning we finally got a break.
Winds changing finally , and picking up coming from the West , clearing the air up some bringing us to 53 which still isn’t great but we can finally open windows and doors again. Going outside we can breath without chest pains. By Thursday afternoon my chest was so tight that it felt like I had a broken rib.
Construction at work means no air without all the doors open through the building which of course brings in all of the smoke. I am already working with chemicals that are rough on my breathing and pushing in the heat I am sweating bad enough I look like I walked through the shower.
At home, Ma is stuck with AC and the central fan recycling the air and filtering out the smoke. Coming home means that I can breath easier but neither Ma nor myself are big on ” processed ” air. Year round our bedroom has windows open unless it is single digits with a South Wind or in the Nineties while the Sun is on those windows on the South Side.. With the exceptions at rest , the windows pop back open.
First thing in the mornings find us out on the porch waiting for the Sun , and the Hummies, and the deer, bunnies and elk with a good chance at the coyote kids tramping through before we head in.
Friday we had a mama bobcat bring her twins through while we were standing less than thirty yards away. I made a movement , one of the kittens freaked , but within a few hops everyone was calm again as they passed us and off to the North woods.
And yet another fire
There are fires constantly around here this summer. There have been more fires in a week than in a year in Zen’s neighborhood from decades in the past… This is insane.
Another Structure fire in Hooterville started Last Night. Ma woke up to the smell of burning plastic some time in the middle of the night. My sense of smell sucks at the best of time from..yup , you guessed it; Work. I haven’t been able to smell a thing though I can taste the fires. Not Good Eats!
We recently had a deck added on . We didn’t do it between time and both our health..Stupid old age crap. I pulled down the steps from the old face of the porch and about killed myself…I’m just that good…
Ma and I added a Pergola This weekend , which , of course, fits the new small deck. The job would have been a breeze if not for two things:
A) The Sun was blazing , the parts are Antique Bronze so they burned your hands within moments on the deck..lots of parts, couldn’t wear gloves as I have to do it by feel..Not like I can ” Eyeball ” it….
B) A hornet’s’ Nest six inches from my face at one corner and a wasps’ nest above it. A second and third set not far away..I just sprayed those areas a few weeks ago.. I found the nest while I was working with them all over me. I finally looked up and the nest was little more than three niches away string into their eyes…That was a little uncomfortable. I had around ten minutes of work to do right there yet…. Then I found out I had to go back to the same spot to work again… Yes, I , in fact, DID piss them all off..Which pissed me off so I sprayed them in the middle of the day and YES that ALSO pissed them off..which of course lead to me swearing…Yes, I know……………SHOCKER!………..
In the end Ma says it took around four hours to put it together…..I managed to put one piece backwards , of course , but no biggie. I have to take down part of it for winter so at that time I will flip it as I work.
I have had a shade ” wing” sitting waiting for the structure to go up. Setting it up was easy enough . A couple minutes in and the southern Sun is at bay as well. This piece I’ll have to put up and take down daily. IN an emergency ( wind related ) Ma can drop it with a flip of a finger. I set it up , however, so that it will spill air unless it gets pretty strong so things will be just fine .
What a Drip
We have been slowly working in drip systems to the gardens.
In The Beginning
The Zen homestead is on a summit..As in everything goes downhill from there. The old house , the floor at the South end was above my head and the floor at the north end was Actually at my feet , normal ground level…..
A drop of that sort meant that drip irrigation was impossible .. I know this as I spent one spring putting it all in only to have a foot of it work and the rest was nothing but dry lines.
After the rebuild
The new place is still in the same foot print but between contractors and myself things are leveled and tiered .
A lot of ground was moved around up here with a lot of gravel hauled in to top things off. Afterwards more rock was put around the base of the house with some piles of rock and a few added slopes. We also had piles of mixed rock and dirt out on the West 40 . We bought a new dual wheel heavy wheelbarrow and got me a heavier shovel . Those along with a pick and almost a decade younger body , I leveled out Hummie Garden tiered and leveled Eden as well as the slope to the South and put in the Garden to the East of the house and finally The Test Garden to the North East.
Some two hundred and twenty yards of wheelbarrow goodness ..Yes we knew how much there was to begin with, I didn’t count the barrow loads .. It took me most of that winter and all of the Spring into the Summer to do it .
We then hauled in dozens of yards of Manure and more wheelbarrow good times followed to get it to the gardens from the North 40 where we had it dropped off.
We also hauled many truck loads of prepared soils to add to gardens..which we still do annually ….Just not anywhere near as much.
We removed loads and loads and loads of stones from fist size to as big as the trunk of my body …. Before my body crashed of course…
And that is why drip works now. We have a pair of lines in the Test Garden. Another Pair in the North Eden garden , another pair in the center Eden Garden and a Single in the South Eden garden as of today.
Will it do everything then ?
Well , No. What? Are you High?
We still have trees, a few more gardens that I have to hit every so often at the least plus Hummie Garden and the Lower East side. We will be able to do a few more runs eventually but there will always be hand watering to do.
This however, will save water and a ton of my time so pretty excited about it.
We already have our plums in and now they are prunes. All packaged and yummy.
We have had a good herb harvest ; Sage , Thyme , Oregano , Chives , Parsley , Feverfew , and more.
We have gotten a few of the sweet pepper types come in but no hot yet.
The temps staying up , even with all of the smoke , the gardens are starting to kick in .
The Test Garden:
The Test garden , as always , is doing great. It is in the lee of the house plus I put up the plastic wind fences and a tight fence around everything keeping most of the pests out as well.
The Sweet peppers are in there . They are JUST now starting to grow and put on fruit. There are a few hot peppers in there and they are beginning to bush out and flower.
The asparagus is going crazy in there this year. It’s a friggin forest in their section.
This is the tomatoes’ first year in this garden and they are loving it. Good soil , less wind , less sun too but they seem ok with it and a little more water due to not having the wind dry them out. The plants are as tall as I am now and growing up . I had to unload twice today before I could finish picking Roma tomatoes this morning.
The North Garden has the Brussel Sprouts , Eggplants , some hot peppers and Zukes. I pulled some of our biggest ever eggplants . They are always sweet and little to no seeds from up here . Ma just put up a ton of Eggplant Parm and now has a couple more pans to put up again. There will be plenty until next year’s harvest and we are just getting started.
We have Zukes , not a ton due to water/wind but they are coming along and Ma is making Zuke Muffins to last the year as well. We will break down soon to make more relish and pickles once our horde is up to snuff.
We have a second group of Zukes plus our winter squash in the center garden. It took the worst hit wiping out every last cantaloupe plant. They were our big producer last year and we were excited when they took off this year…. the same whatever the hell happened in 48 hrs that we were gone for the Reunion …
A new set of Sweet Pumpkins are growing in the south after we lost what we had during the reunion weekend. Our corn is still gonna be baby corn again this year , same reason , but they are bigger than last year and next year will be even better as the new garden ” ripens”.
We have tons of the habanero peppers on the plants , they are all just green yet . The red habaneroes are right up there with Ghost Peppers in the heat range so we went with them this year…as we still have POUNDS of ghost pepper powder…
Coffee ? Tea? Stinky Fish Fertilizer ?
So… I took a break from writing the Post to feed the plants.
Organic dry fertilizer first as it is past due and I had time today. After I finished up with that I hit the All of Eden side including Hummie Garden with liquid fertilizer .
I came back in to make our soup…It is going to be hot again and smokey..SO I made a thick creamy Bean Soup.. Yes Yes.. Like there was any chance of staying cool outside in the smoke or inside my work with temps higher inside than out and all the doors propped bringing in the smoke.. So yes, yes I indeed made a thick soup..with Ghost Peppers because .. What the heck can’t get any warmer.
After I finished that up , back outside running the fish fertilizer into the Test Garden, which as one would expect, excited all of the Yellow Jackets. I got the garden fertilized along with several other plants. Next I started hand watering the farther out plants that don’t get a lot of TLC. Working my way back, actually at the very last plant, I felt something at my knee and swatted it…..
CRAP! A yellow Jacket must have crawled up my shoe then up my leg. I got stung on the thigh , knee and just below the knee before I could strip down.
Into the house I came. Once I was sure I didn’t have a hitchhiker I went to the Master Bath where we keep a jar of Meat Tenderizer / Seasoning Salt . We use the salt to cut the swelling , pain, itching and so on….
Did I mention I am allergic to stings? Yup. Sitting here a little harder to breath and heart a little wonky but I got to them in time I think. The stings are red but only swollen a little.
My worst sting I had gotten here in our hills managed to be on my foot as I was pulling my dang sock out of my boot from a hike. Yellow Jacket stung my foot. Nothing with me . I had to toss the boot on , make it out of the woods , drive home and deal with it some couple hours later. I had to cut the laces and stretch the boot enough to finally get my foot out, which was black…..See, now this is another example of what an idiot I am.. Once again ..well actually before this last time… I put Me second and work first and went to work which , as one would imagine , my foot continued to swell and even had a hard time getting my foot out of the converse at the end of the day…There was more but meh….
Point being ; The salts work.
The Turning tides
Yeh, ok Fine..not tides..winds…
The winds have changed just since I started the Post today. They started from the West , They are now coming from the East. The smoke that we dealt with last week is folding back in once again.
From what I saw looking at the wind patterns coming. It looks like We might get another break Wednesday I believe some time. The winds will be coming back around though very slow picking up to the teens ( higher here I’ll wager .. Once the West Winds start to kick in we should have some nice weather…. I even see signs of moisture though I wont hold my breath on that one but with it looking like possibly three plus days in a row , we may actually see something.
We look at going into another few days of ” Lock Down ” here on Zen . I am not at all happy , but what choices are there?
Before some dork says;
“You picked where you live. “
I have heard that too many times as some douchebag uses that if I say something about smoke or snow or whatever… Of course , throwing that back in their face when they complain about the same where they live is ” Harsh ” ….Riggghhhttttt
The fact that not just the NorthWest is on Fire means little to them nor does the fact that it isn’t like We started the fires or they were lightning fires or like we hired the arson to start the bulk of these fires.
We picked an area where :
there are more animals than people
Driving to the store does not include traffic jams , freeway runs , or a smart phone.
We picked an area where High Humidity is something we assume is in the flat lands so we avoid going to the store if we can. Even that is nothing compared to most places.
Where a hot day generally means closing the windows on the Sunny Side or worse ; turning on the AC for a few hours.
Generally there is no smog of any kind and we can see the dome of it over Gotham though even that is really just town stench .
Where life is slower if every bit as and harder on a lot of days than townies deal with… It cracks me up when they complain about shoveling their walk way as I stare at a mile of three and more feet of snow before I can get to a real road…Where the Plow also pushed snow across our road…But that is a mile away and doesn’t exist for a couple hours yet….
We have a different lifestyle than most , not all , but most people I know. Not that it is harder or whatever.. Just different. We see things * snort* well on a good day … That a lot of folk never notice. I think that’s why our hummingbirds act so different than any I see anywhere else. Ours act like they are ..mmm.. Neighbors? Friends? Not pets … But they chat at us just as we do to them. They all gather when we are on the porch though there are feeders everywhere up here. They are fun to watch and hang with.
The deer , generally are very comfortable around us and vice versa though I get twitchy if we run into each other in the dark or from around a corner …Stuff happens..
The coyote kids are mellow around us though I ain’t gonna go pet one…Duh…The bobcats seem pretty use to us now even.. Screw the cougars! I will never be comfortable around an animal that has hunted me … more than once….Thank you very much… Squirrels also not on the friends list though the roll is indeed reversed . They mice , moles ,voles and the like cause far too much damage to house home and vehicles ….Snakes… Bleh! * Shudder *
The thing is … We have bad days up here but if we do , I can go off and no one cares. No one hears but Ma and the animals … All of them leave me room until whatever the problem is …well..Isn’t…
We don’t normally hear people of any kind or sirens or Boom Boom music and I play mine quiet enough Ma can watch TV in the next room if she wants too… Just because I can be loud doesn’t mean I need to… See that’s sorta like shooting , starting fires..Being an idiot….etc…. We have the choice ,all of us ..It just seems that too many people are being so offended they have forgotten that they are bringing it on themselves …. No one told them to get on social media and read, watch , whatever is offending them. TV channels can be changed..
Trust me; ALL NEWS offends me ! It has for a very long time. There is still the good Ole’ Small town News . That is just that . They are not trying to get ratings that mean they have to make a story into a blood bath …. Emma Jene’s House of Butter is having a sale ! Sweet! …Old Joe’s Pumpkin patch is thriving this year ! Excellent ! Martha’s Yarn Barn is bringing in new colors ! Ma is drooling…. That is news…
Citiot casters have totally swallowed the weather even…
OMG! The winds are horrible! I have to yell to be heard !
Ok.. First: you have a mic .. get closer..Moron….Second; the winds are clocking at 15 mph …We call that a Calm…Get Over It!
” The schools will close early as Winter storms set in and the snow falls !
Ok.. Hate to point this out.. Bob.. but A) It isn’t still snowing , the sun is out and even the sidewalks are clear. The weather stations..ALL of them show clearings in the ” storm ” and we only have 10″ in the mountains soooo…. and B ) that is water you are standing in ,not snow.
Then there is the sensationalism that is tearing things up… Guns.. Talk about the shootings enough and other demented morons will do it because the guy before them is now famous … Same goes with the fires…. Oh Make it illegal !…Umm.. Really? So exactly when IS the legal season for Humans and what is the lawful limit? When is burning ANYTHING that isn’t your own ok ?
No help , little to look forward to with my sight. What concerns me is if it doesn’t slow down , let alone calming down to a dull roar , how long before I can no longer take pics? I would miss my Sunrises … The Post? Granted..Even I don’t read them..
Can Write No can Read ! Nope ! Nope!
Ma said she would write for me if I record it.. Might as well just do a, is it Pod Cast ? Whatever..It’s a thought too.
I am not going to worry about that. My sight has gotten worse over the summer but I am still getting around… AT least until my next driving test … so long as no citiot gets me into trouble while they are busy tweeting or whatever I’ll be fine.
My eyes pop open though I am not sure why. It is still dark. I listen as I lay in bed trying to figure out what woke me.
A chirp outside and to the East followed by another.
I struggle out of bed , get dressed brush my teeth as I stand in front of the window trying to see into the gloom lights off in the bath.
I hear the chirping again. Answering chirps follow. A bugle vibrates the walls.
Looking out the living room window I see the herd slowly making their way towards the North Woods some hundred yards from the house. Ma stands next to me as we look out the window . The last of the group passing into the edge of the woods.
We grab our cups to go sit on he deck as the dark begins to fade , replaced by the red oranges and browns of the smokey sunrise.
For the most part, we can see some seven to ten miles out as the density changes from moment to moment.
Bunnie comes hopping into the yard looking at us as he munches on a tomato I had tossed over the fence the evening before.
” What? You weren’t going to eat it. I call five day rule. It still tastes just fine. “
I call out to the cottontail as he eats away when I notice another coming in that is a little bigger , small as they all are. It sits at the walkway munching on grasses.
” Are you going to eat all of that mater? Cause it looks like way too much for you. “
“ Finders Keepers Dude. Go eat that branch he tossed over. “
“Maybe I’ll come up with something else to do with that branch if you don’t share. “
” …………..As I was saying ….There is way too much tomato for me here…Think I’ll be on my way now… “
A buzz and a small fuzzy body bring me back to the now followed by another as two hummies come in to visit . Fly on either side of my head to hover in front of Ma before another burst of weenie leetle wings send them off in a hummingbird version of Attack on the Death Star .
The air fills with hummingbirds as the word gets out that we are about. One then another stops in front of me as I talk to them with a bzzzzz off they go.
Walking down the path to add water to the little pond the deer , and others , use during the eves I , once again , pay attention to what’s in front of me . Ten feet away stands a doe at the pond watching me…
” Hey! Wake up.. Drinking here ! Totally freaked me out ! I look up and POOF! You are standing there! You almost made me snort ! “
“Umm sorry? I was just going to fill your water. “
” Well? Are you going to get to it then? Jeeze..Humiots …..”
I turn off the water making my way back to the deck where Ma is smiling.
” She gave you ‘the look”
” Yes Yes… Wont be the last time I get ‘The Look’ today either I’ll bet. “
Another burst of hummers tear across the deck around us and under the Pergola , weaving between posts, Ma and myself….. It looks like it’s going to be
Just another day on Zen Mountain