Quiddler Poem: This Toy Guy

IF a GUN is a LIE / then a PITHY CLIP is ME. / and if a hermit crab is a DREDGY CLAW HUT, / is HE able TO be RUDE about those BODY JAGS / and offer IT a TANNIN RARER even than LIFES CODE / GROVE within his triggered SON / THIS TOY GUY / so WHEATY he must be TRUE.

last night’s Quiddler Poem: Your Covid Quota

It was as DEATH TO LET HER WED / that USER, that TOE ROT / that GAZE into the LOO and never AIR IT / THINE ACE lost to class FEES for CLAY / as one might sip LAWN DRINK by the PINT / using a HAIRY GRATER to strain out the FLIES / your MOOD-CUBE could not MOP up the RUN / the over-run on your COVID QUOTA.

We drove through wildfire smoke for 540 miles (I installed a near-Hepa rated carbon filter for the truck which kept our air in the cab much cleaner), and emerged to clear skies on the north slope of the Little Belts 20 miles from the ranch (we rolled down the windows!). The clear skies lasted a few days, then Canada’s firesmoke blew in. Just one more day of hot smoke, then clear skies and rain are in the forecast with daytime temps in the 40’s and overnight in the 30’s. On our last clear night the annual Nighthawk convergence moved up the valley to fly around the ranch house and surrounding forest from sunset to dusk. They pinwheel in groups of 15 or so, with around 50 birds in the flock, riding the thermals as the sunlight creeps up the east hillside pushing moths into the cooling twilight. The Cedar Waxwings that arrived as we left in July, have hatched chicks in their regular spot in the lilacs. The House Wren is tucked into her birdhouse, working on another brood. Goldfinches and Wilson’s Warblers flit through the hedges. The Snipe drops into the yard to stroll along the creek edge. The creek is still running through the yard with ducks in the little pond; a part of the magic green microclimate at the top of the valley.

In July I covered these windows and scraped the old paint, meaning to get on to painting. The painting didn’t happen so I pulled the covering off to keep the wind from pulling it while were gone. Now it goes back up, as this time I’ll get the painting knocked out first thing.
The border of the window frames are taped off, then the plastic is taped in place.
Upon setting the ladder high up the wall, I got about this far up and came back down in disbelief that in July I had climbed extended even higher and run a paint grinder up there. I made my usual declaration to finally buy a new ladder, stomped around the yard a bit, then got back on the ladder. My new bracing at the top makes working with windows much easier, and makes things 100x more stable, which is the reason this peak can finally get got.
A spray bottle with warm soapy water takes out the wasps.
A pokin-stick takes down the nests.
The bigger nest was tucked under the eve. The aluminum ladder is strapped to the deck posts, and this in turn braces the ladder on the pitch of the roof. I am directly over the friendly in-house beehive, they were active in July, but seem to have moved out (or colony collapse hit them…).
The small nest. Wasps that were out in the field when this calamity occurred buzzed and landed on the remaining tiny paper stalactite that had secured the nest to the house. These nests were just little hamlets of Castle Paper-Wasp that reigns from under the pitched roof centered above the porch.
All stripped down and ready for paint.
Painted with a new air-gun brought up from the SLC big-box store (my bday present from the Idiocracy); a great improvement to the old unit (deceased with honors) that had painted the barn, the garage, the grain bin, and the house.
Part of the fun of the AL ladder is the failing latches. I have to climb the yellow ladder and manually shift the latches to let the ladder telescope, then push them securely into place. Just another little facet to the endless fiddling. Oh, and the board crammed between the ladder feet keeps the somewhat crumpled L foot from collapsing inward. The bracing system anchored into the yard was invented when I used this ladder to paint the barn, it keeps the ladder from sliding down the building, and has additions to match a severe slope.
This silly angle was necessary, as there is a height gap between the Al ladder and the Yellow ladder. Tall ladder work takes a lot of time, as the ladder takes constant moving; and safety with this ladder makes every move a fussy endeavor. The wall is finally fully painted, and now will take a few days of drying for the linseed-based oil paint.
This is low-average for our smoke here. You can smell it, and sometimes taste it- 2.5ppm @ 160 to 200-ish. Morning and evening sunlight is pink and the moon is an orange wedge and Venus is Mars.
This is my $100 electrostatic air purification unit for the ranch house. 4 high-end air filters, a fan on top blowing upward, the fan’s box as a base, and our old friend duct tape (white). It works wonders.
Clue #1: It will be installed 530 hwy miles due north, then a short steep hike, then placed underground, and attached to a pipe. Clue #2: it is made mostly of salvaged pond pump shell.
Clue #3: It will be placed like this, in a pile of rocks, underwater.
Pond pump footing and cap joined with three screws. 2″ internal thread coupler and reducer to 1.5″, seated to 1.5″ steel reinforced clear tube with stainless steel clamp. Stainless clamp for opposite end of tubing. Curved clear plastic from peanut butter jar attached with 3 screws. Bicycle tube section as gasket to pvc tube with zip-tie (this bit sticks out the bottom- could be replaced with more peanut butter jar, but I overthought it and there it is.
Twelve years on and still holding hands. (“Dogs and cats living together: mass hysteria!” – Bill Murray, Ghostbusters)
We usually don’t go in for photo shoots to make ourselves feel “cute-coupley”, but after ongoing Coviding at home it just made sense as an anniversary present to ourselves.
Water Hyacinths have filled in the upper pond nicely, better than ever- I think it is because of water-blueing. This year I started using a water-bluing agent to cut sunlight penetration, and the water has stayed cooler and the fish are happier, and algae has cleared out.
In past years I have used a pricey UV light in the pond filtration unit, and this year (our hottest / driest year ever) has been fine without it.
The hyacinths are a living whole pond filter; I haven’t had to clear the pump or the filter in weeks!
A spot for morning coffee. From here we watched a male Broadtail hummingbird court a female; lots of ringing and diving as they both flew, then she settled into the big flowering Trumpet Vine and he began a series of side-to-side waggles / perch-breathers / waggles. She was impressed and they flew off together.
Sultry and hot, shaded in the ever-embiggening Purple Sage. She did some math in her head re: Delta transmission at R9, vs the original at R2 (R9-R2)/R2 x %100 = 350) The Delta variant is 350 times more transmissible than the original variant. (now a week later, updated to the same transmission rate as Chickenpox= R12. So 500% more transmissible than the original variant) It also has a replication factor of 1000 over the original, hitting full speed 3 days after infection while still fully asymptomatic (now, showing the same factor whether vaccinated or not). This is the kind of thing she ponders, because she’s aluminum and doesn’t have to worry.
A hummingbird favorite.
Drip irrigation keeps the landscape from powdering out.
The goldfish all rush to make the shot; Influencers, each and every one. Even Koi follow their feed.
WeeOne has left the Ms.Kims unmolested since the fixes, and it looks like they will survive.
I cut all the roses back before our last trip out to MT, and this one has come back nicely.
Out front this summer bloomer fills with bees every day. It dies back to the ground each winter, and this summer has seen its rowdiest growth and blooming. All the plants to the L of it were nuked last summer, even the ground cover reduced to powder this summer.
The little patch of front lawn is heat-stressed and yellowing out- it has been more than a month since it needed mowing and will likely stay dormant till late fall.

alotalotalot: aloft

A Lot, A Lot, A Lot, Aloft, / A Hex Storm of Piney firebrands, / Hiked over ridgelines branding into Quit Fur, / The river Bank, like a Queen In promotion, / A move from Pawn Jail to Nova, a trail of Dither-Goo transformed / to Boxing Day. / Sending the dry West Ute King into a Pouter, / his Twatty Lather the route to a Rebel Axis: burning.