The Gullywasher

Friday eve a nice thundershower came through Zen as well as a big chunk of our state and the two around us . The lightning storm was spectacular …and I remembered just AFTER it came through to grab my camera we were so enjoying the rain…Crap…

Lighting was striking all around us including here on Zen. Many cameras around the area caught pics..except for the guy that takes pics of everything…Dammit….

Oh well… It reminded me of the ” Donnybrook storm”  but possibly closer .

And down it comes

We were sitting in the front room just settling in when the storm hit. I had heard thunder a few times but far enough out that I had thought it was something on the TV. Rain began to pummel the windows before it actually set in. I jumped up from the ” EST” ( evil sleepy time chair ) and ran… yes fine ; hobbled..whatever .. to the bedroom to close the western window , the sill already wet . I found a bit later that the south window in the master bath was letting in a lot of wet as well …. good thing it isn’t carpet..

Thunder began to boom around us as the rainfall increased . Ma; my better half , was out on the covered porch watching the storm while I hobbled in and out . Knee giving me enough grief that I spent most of the time in the “EST” rather than out in the storm its self .I could still watch a fair chunk of it from out the window as when you sit you only see sky. Lighting in large enough bursts that even though it is four large windows , the strikes filled the view……It was shortly after that when it clicked:

Ah ! Crap! I forgot to set up the camera! “..mumbling to myself ” Dumb-ass..”

Oh well , if I could go back in time to fix things , that would be pretty low on my ” To Do ” list.

A flood warning was sent out for the surrounding areas Ma saw. I grinned mentioning that if we had to worry about a flood I was pretty sure we had better get back on the “Ark” project , and fast  We are two thousand feet higher than the lands at our base.. including the Columbia Gorge so yeah , it’d be pretty Biblical if we flood here at the ranch….. Just one of those reasons it pisses me off when I was told I needed flood insurance…. REALLY?!?! and exactly Who is going to pay me off when I flood? Exactly?

Everything was good and wet by the time the storm slid through which it was still raining when we headed off to bed for the night though the light show was well over… Pretty much when I remembered the camera…. Something akin to when I grab it when the hummies are being crazy…. Pull the camera and everything stops…I am pretty sure Bigfoot could be doing a river dance in the yard  , I lift the camera and I’d get a pic of a squirrel…. So yessss that’s why I don’t have any Bigfoot pics….riiiighhhhttttt …

Before the storm , one of our ponds had gone dry for the summer.. It is full again along with the other. All of the gardens were well watered even to the point that we had a surge in growth on a lot of plants come next morning…..Surge is relative of course Zen surge not flatland surge… We got several zukes at a large pickling size that were pretty much wee leetle weenies the day before, several potatoes unearthed themselves but were a nice pick able size so they grabbed up as well.

All in all it was pretty nice for us. The lands up here had that too dry woods smell you get this time of year rolled back to the damp spring smell which of course doesn’t pull us from fire ready but at least gave the land here a nice break.

This was the kind of storms that moved me to Zen in the first place some 30 + years ago. Every time I came down , it was raining…… They slowed down over the years as patterns changed . The last year has started the turn around again , though the last couple heavy winter storms are more than I have had up here. The rains are however building again. Once again , that is relative to Zen.

Light but steady harvests

We are just getting into the picking stage of our gardens . Fruits , of course have been going for some time now but Tomatoes are still sitting green though this type tends to hold off until September so I am not too grumpy about it yet. Peppers , for the most part , are a little depressing . Once again however, our season is short having had a whole couple days where we needed AC over just having windows open so peppers and cants grow very slowly here.

We have gotten two harvests of potatoes so far ; Yukons and Russets . Nothing grand by any means ; a week’s worth of smashed taters and looks like about the same or several meals of fried..

Zukes: Eight Balls , we are grinding and freezing yet. We need to get our year’s worth of zuke for muffins before we can worry about fresh eating. They make the best Boats. Our regular zukes first go to pickles . We have a couple quarts of fridge pickles ( which are easily the best ) and are starting on canned for another couple quarts… We are ahead of last year but way behind the norm .

When it comes to our peppers; the only ones I have picked are Banana and a couple bells . The hot pepper plants are still tiny . The hot cherries are on but , of course, still green . It wont be too much longer and I’ll be picking them.

Parsley and chives , well ALL of our herbs are doing well . Most are ahead of what we are getting dried which is fine . We cut a major load again yesterday of Parsley and a nice bunch of chives. Our Parsley being bi-annual means we need to get a ton to keep up. I am not sure if we will have any volunteers that will produce next year, last year we didn’t get much .

Squashes are doing fairly well this year though nothing to brag about. We have a couple cants , so once again.. better than last year’s burn overnight and losing all , but not to get giddy over.

You can easily tell the health of the lower garden’s soil health by the corn. It is a lot taller than the last few year’s but still they are shorter than Ma for the most part… I need to get the Crapsman tiller running again so I can get deeper than Ma’s Baby Tiller to work in better goodies .

With my stupid knee , which I just heard that an MRI is next on the list ,giving me a ton of trouble , it is tough to keep pushing on my non work days…Well , obviously it is rough on work days as well but those days I HAVE to push no matter. On my recoup days , pushing , I know , will make it worse for the I Gotta days…Which of course makes me feel guilty as I watch things fall behind … I know if I could push hard enough ( like I normally have when I wasn’t fighting walking ) I could keep the feed on the plants which makes an enormous difference up here.. Almost like the forgotten gardens in the flatlands…Damn flatlands… grrr.. Why can’t I have river bottom soil up here..Oh.. yeah.. Right….

Final Thoughts

Another quickie week . The weeks are flying by with any days I have off as well as my sight is playing hell with me again right now. No , cheaters do not help . I can feel pressure in my head, hopefully just from my fall pressing on something in my neck or from hitting my head in the fall….Sadly that would be best case.. damn old body anyway…

While I was writing today , I heard my drawers next to me shift. I looked over to see the top drawer had given way.. Brilliant ,as in;

” Seriously? Something else? “

I pulled the drawer out to find the glide rack had broken ..Crap Crap Crap!

and, of course, as this is my studio , more on that in a sec , I have equipment all around it.. I swear every time I have to open it as it hits the  lap top stand…small studio , lots of recording crap..

So.. I unhook everything , which I need to get back here in a moment, and .. I get to all of the cords that hook everything together which I spent a full day last week carefully tying and taping everything out of the way , being tired of having rat nests all over the room…Well now THAT worked out didn’t it?… So I had to untie everything that was attached to the stand.. there is lots as there is all the monitoring cables as well…. pulling things out of the way and best I could do was BARELY get the drawer out..

SO… me being me & all but Mr Magoo , I dropped the screw as I attempted to fix the rail…Now I had to pull out the rest of the drawers.. the stand gets increasingly more in the way as you go down..

Yes yes.. There was Indeed swearing.. in the room out the door , through the front room , morning room , utility room, Entry , along the way to the shop , in the shop.. which was renewed as I searched for tools and screws…. Back out to the house and full reverse of trip to once again be renewed when I found out that the screws I found were Not self tappers but some kind of Third world spit in the American’s face completely Non tapping in any sort screw.. WTH!?! The tips were actually round… WHF!?!?!

Swearing increasing in depravity as well as forming anatomically impossible layers , I made my way out to the shop , only to run into mice! I hate mice , they tear everything up mostly our trucks. I was not pleasant with said mice .. I will never write a short story about wee little cute mice… only maybe about something eating them….

Finally found my screws , came back in..dropped them.. swearing achieving new levels of well.. everything.. Pretty sure I had sparkles emitting from my mouth at this point…

Finally got the top drawer fixed , I saw that while I was working , the next two drawers had broken as well… Now there are quality parts… I hardly ever even open them …Swearing increases here and forming a lovely song of death and mayhem…Very pretty.. Maybe I’ll record it later…

I stomped… yes yes fine…hobble stomp back out to the shop where I had to find yet more screws as well as an angle bracket to mickey mouse the third drawer rail back together as I had already repaired it a couple times and there really isn’t anything left to fix…

MANY minutes of cursing later , I found the bracket, made my way back in ….. and dropped the screw into the black hole that seems to be at the base of my drawers…

Ah, yes , fine fine.. Another trip to the shop..keeping in mind that any time I step on my right leg it feels like someone is shoving a chisel under the knee cap and into whatever all is in there…Yes.. swearing continued… I am ashamed to say ; I had to start already been used phases over ….soooo ashamed…..

After some more digging…and swearing… I made my way back into the house. Ma was on a quick break so I was able to grab the drill from her office.. This would cut down on time and thus , swearing…In theory….

FINALLY , I got all the drawers repaired.. taking far longer than it would have to put them in  in the first place… stupid broken crap… Now , I can go back to where I was…Um.. that would be here, writing… Hey at least we got a bitto story out of it eh ?

Back in the studio

As I mentioned, I set things back up for recording once again , it is that time of year.

Last week , I ran cords and set up my music lap top to run everything.. I found that I had a hellacious echo when I monitor it.. Oh I can fix it but I found out mid week… Mid week , while I was eating my mush before I head off to work , I had a song come into my head. I only get around 15 minutes to get crazy so I jumped on the lap top , setting my bowl to the side to put down what I heard…My oatmeal song it would seem…. The echo was bad enough I was getting lost right off the bat but I got enough to get the idea.. The next morning I tried to run through the Desktop..Keeping in mind same 15 minutes.. ran into multi bugs there.. CRAP!

I ignored the quality , I figured I could hear enough to figure it out and fix…

The next morning I took the 15 minutes to run and fix the program..

Friday morning , I sat down as I had the day off , and put down what I remembered. as I did , the next two parts came in. The song as it sits is absolutely nothing close to where I started ,but like ” Donnybrook “ Just because it starts one way doesn’t mean change is bad…

I quickly tossed in some drums , bass , 12 string then sat with the slide guitar. I found some accents I think I like.. I have to put them down , maybe today.. Sat with the Strat . found a couple parts there as well.. Knowing that just because I am a guitar player doesn’t mean that my songs will be all about the guitar.. They are about Zen Mountain ..So we will see what happens.. All the tracks will have to be completely redone but at least I know where it is going at present.. which , once again , means little.. The song begs for lyrics at the moment , something I really don’t do a lot of work with as my voice has been destroyed over the years working in harsh chemicals , but we will see….and the key may be a little high..

Anyway…. So maybe Yule ?

A second song started as well. I was working on a box guitar that was in very bad shape when I got it so I spent a couple hours working on it and found I really enjoyed it. Going through breaking in the new strings , the song just slipped out. So.. we shall see about that one as well…assuming I can put it together before I forget what I did…if I haven’t already.

and the hits keep rollin’

Seems that as I was working on one POS that is part of the “new” house here on Zen , I had the freeze thingie for the outside faucet go as well. They , of course, are a brand that we finally found online , hopefully we can continue to get them from the seller.. We had back ups..or so we thought , until I just went out to replace it… the tiniest piece of crap nylon junk keeps the water actually going where it is suppose to instead of out the crap cap… That is the part missing from both our ” spares” .. Ma just made a quick order so looks like next weekend I’ll replace it. Fortunately , it is not on the Eden side though it does go to the tomatoes and apple trees… Glad we got the heavy rain..

I decided that what could possibly go wrong? This time I caught it before the stem completely vanished and ran super glue into it as well as the surrounding gasket… Best case, maybe once it hardens I can use it until we get the new part..Worse case? oh wait.. we are already there…Stupid crap.. Good thing we spent the extra ton of cash to upgrade everything…Oh apparently except stuff like wiring ,and water system and oh drawer rails , toilets , sinks…etc…. Always a great piece of mind to start repairs on a new house before you even move in and it continues until everything is gutted…Ahh crapsmanship … Welcome to the new order…

Zen the sun also rises

Even when we sleep in , we are up before the dawn. Most nights we are able to tuck in maybe five hours of restless sleep before the day smacks us in the forehead so come our days off we are up shortly after the alarm would have gone off anyway.

First things we do are look out the windows…yes , even I look out even if I have to stare forever to see if I “see ” anything… You never know when deer with fawns are out laying around the house , or a herd of elk , or the coyote kids are sneaking in for a quick bite , or as likely to howl in a wake up call . You always look for rain snow or fire depending on the season.

Once we have done the quick scan from the bedroom and Bath , we make our way through the house , checking out those windows as we do a 360. There are very few days when I don’t whisper

Ma!..Look !” Or Ma does the same to me .

Moments later , once whatever we see has passed or settled in , we head to the covered porch to watch the start of the day.

Normally as we sit and begin to talk , the hummies hear us and slip out from beneath their covers. I imagine we are the human version of the coyote kids to the Hummies.

One hits the fence or feeders next to us before we are even settled , in some cases long before they should normally be getting up. Soon after , the others start to file in. ON the East side of the house , we have eight that are always there first thing. They are not the same ones that hang on the East side of the house in Hummie Garden and Eden.

They have their feeders, many more flowers and a lack of ” Hummie going apeshit on interlopers ” So they have breakfast and wait for us to make our way around to visit.

The East side is primarily Hummie’s kids . A few come around to visit, especially here at my office window. The window is normally open and at desk level as it the fence  and a feeder close by. This however is Hummie’s feeder and perch so anyone that comes in , other than Mrs Hum gets a major tongue lashing . Generally they come in pairs or better , one will take the hit and as Hummie chases them , the other slides in to visit until Hummie comes back.

Ma and I sat on the covered porch, though I tend to walk back and forth across the deck to look for whatever may come through before dawn. We see a lot of elk and deer , bobcats and more that way.

While we sat , the hummers started coming in. Normally it is a free for all , everyone chasing everyone but today , they all came in settling on the fence and around the feeder , side by side , behaving themselves.

I started to worry as I hadn’t seen Hummie or Liam yet . Just as I started to stand , Hummie came whizzing past to his perch and Liam to his…. All Hell broke out with both boys stirring the pot.


With the boys complaining about spit in their respective feeders , all the younger hums and girls started chasing one another.. the calm broken.

While Ma and I watched the wee little Hum circus Ma saw a doe coming in from the north. She stay in the taller grasses making me think that it is possible that it was one of the mamas , keeping their kid(s) in the shadows.. but you never know .

I stood to watch when I heard a ” mew” ..Well…. It is too early yet for Turkey’s Dino kids to be out and about so it must be the elk herd . With the stiff breezes it was hard to tell unless I was out at the end of the deck.

Sure enough , I heard elk chatting , even what sounded like a young bull .His voice fumbling at the end… Yup , young bull…

After missing the lightning storm , I decided to go through my camera settings and set up the tripod , just in case……Of course, being ready is a sure way to make sure you see nuttin Honey…So after a bit , Ma and I headed back inside… I stood for the last few , willing the elk to show , I know they are just over the berm ..waiting… I am fairly sure that one of them had on a meadow grass camo cap, watching from the rise to let them know when the camera was put away… I could just feel their beady little eyes watching me… Dangdable wily woodland creatures and their wily camo toting ways…. I finally just grinned to the Ninja elk’s direction , nodded once , thinking to myself

It’s starting out to be just another day on Zen Mountain…





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