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 Calliope 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. It also has a replication factor of 1000 over the original, hitting full speed 3 days after infection while still fully asymptomatic. 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.

The Greenest truck you know may be this Supercharged V-6 2003 Nissan Frontier with over 150,000 miles: with Danger-Mods.

Aeromods continue to deliver.

The manufacturer’s best highway mpg is 17mpg, which I could only rarely hit with tailwind in the past.

Return trip from Great Falls to Bozeman (271 miles / 11gal) saw 24.6mpg; this is 44.7% over the 17mpg best.

The trip out was a terrible headwind for 130 miles of 80mph; old mileage in similar headwind @ 80mph was 8.6mpg, this trip saw 13.8; a 60% increase.

The real number to consider is a comparison of the real actuals of mpg average improvement. Now 34 gallons for 685 miles @ 20.14mpg (Great Falls (plus 100 miles of xtra ranch trips) to SLC. Old was usually 45 gallons / 588 miles SLC to Great Falls @ 13 mpg.

The ratio of improvement from 13mpg to 20.14mpg is 55%. Two tanks of gas with an improvement of 55% proves out the third tank of gas no longer stopped for.

Dan’s Mantra: our daytime high today is 10 degrees lower than SLC’s overnight- please don’t make me go back there…

7am @ front porch java-birdwatch: Wilson’s Warbler pair, Goldfinches, Calliope Hummingbird pair, Bullock’s Oriole pair (nesting in Willows), Cedar Waxwing pair (building nest in liliacs), Tree Swallows (nesting in porch box), Wrens (nesting in shed box), Red-Naped Sap-Sucker pair and fledges, Orange Flickers (nesting in barn- sharing barn with 15 pigeons), Mountain Bluebirds (nesting in corn crib), Snipe, Catbird, Meadowlark, Bobolinks, Robins, Eastern Kingbirds, Redtail Hawk, Redwing Blackbirds, also deer in the yard at 6:45am;

dusk @ porch: Nighthawk, Mourning Dove, Great Horned Owl (hooting up in the forest), SawWhet Owl (radar beeping in the forest), Coyotes up and down the valley.

Last summer I rebuilt these bedroom storm windows and added swing hooks that they hang from. Prior to this they had been held in place by 4 bolts I’d outrigged, and had to be removed and stored during the summer (and prior to that they had been screwed in place and sealed with caulk, and the inner windows painted shut). Last summer I ordered antique/vintage stainless steel arms that open and close the windows from the inside, bracing them open as seen here: I just got around to installing them today.
The bedroom is breezy and fresh, with birdsong and the sound of the creek. I had to work the windows a bit more to get them to slide up far enough to fit the screens, prior to this the screens were a bit haphazardly placed with blue-tape holding them against the outside of the windows.
Here the window is help open by the stainless steel mechanism, one on each side of the window.
The long arm has a little groove that latches onto the beak at the sill, and out at the window the arm is swing-hinged.
The arms pull in and swing down, squeezing the window to shut tight.
The long arm provides easy leverage to squeeze the window closed, and is held in place with the little pin-head nail near the bottom.
Just push up the sliding window a bit to pop out the screen, swing the storm-window open / closed, then replace the screen and pull the sliding window down onto the screen frame.
If a storm blows up, the windows can be closed from inside in a jiffy.
Our last trip out in May saw a gusty day that blew the roof edging loose on the old garage. I’ve removed the panel and pounded it back into shape, and am now affixing it again. In the yard the air compressor is next to the spigot, as I need to blow out the line to bring down the water. The lawn was so dry it needed water before I mowed. The water project is on hold while I make the roofing fix.
The ladder is on a sidehill with a rock propping up one side; safe enough…
It is the week of the deadly heat dome, and is 121 up north in Canada and nearly 90 here (about 15 degrees hotter than normal for us). I wait til the sun is off the wall before heading up to grind, and will paint it eventually.
Our tree swallows are busy with their brood at the front porch. I moved the bird house from an area that got no action last year, they like this spot much better.
We sit on the porch and they fly in and out, not minding us at all.
We head up top to check the line of Bluebird houses. About 70 Bluebirds hatched out (some are still eggs), and a good number of Tree Swallows as well.
This is the second time houses in this section have been caddy whompus; bear? I’ve moved a few already, and will move this one as well if gets messed with again. For now, I set it back and we’ll see if it can house a late summer brood.
Alpine wildflowers are thick up on the highlands. It is a hard grass year, with a late freeze/snow in May and the first week of June in the 90’s (SLC had an all-time record high temp of 107 that week).
E and I have walked up the hill to the water twice now. Once to set the water from the cattle trough (broken out at the bottom <Dave plans to insert a smaller trough>) to the in-ground wooden gathering box for the yard. We’ve had the sprinklers working for the first time in years; the water can be a bit mysterious about how/why it does/doesn’t flow. The occasional bit of wood or plug of grass will clog the sprinkler head. In this case it was the yard valve that was plugged up: with a mouse. That is his tail. You can pull on it if you like, but it won’t help.
The old valve couldn’t handle the de-mousing and needs replaced. It is seized on the nipple that inserts into the yard pipe. Heat is the great convincer.
Of course the brass replacement valve with the red handle has a male set, while the defunct one was female. This means the insert won’t attach to the yard pipe, so I rememory the pvc blue handle valve and find it, and am amazed that they all fit together. One of the circle clamps failed and I found another that just fit, mostly by not allowing it not to fit.
Back to double water birds.
Up to now, the cows had been in the pastures around the house, bringing the flies and the randy bulls. Late this afternoon Dave moved some of his cattle across the road, but left a big group on the road on purpose for three days now and counting (road cows must be a fancy new strategem of a certain kind of modern shepherding) and stragglers from the round-up have also shown up; all converging around the house in the fields and up and down the road. He also trailered in a new group of bulls- which are on the road, crossing to pastures on both sides of road, and looking to rumble with no respect for fences. Here’s two bulls making aquaintance at the corner guarding the house water. I’m sure they will have a civil discussion and come to an amicable consensus.
It comes to fisticuffs! They have a big tussel and knock the fence apart.
The victor bugles his bonhomie, calling in the ladies.
The ladies all dropped their parasols, running in a dead heat to watch the duel. Now they feign indifference to the bull’s randy yodelling.
Sunset from the yard.
The house tints to periwinkle.
Odd job leftover from last summer: I rebuilt the screen at R. Now we can open both kitchen windows! The glass storm windows hang safely in the shed- switched out for the summer.
Last fall I noticed we had another porch beam with a rotten foot. This trip up E helped me remember the bottle jack.
I replaced the decking in 2008 with my dad, and the new wood has powdered away beneath the beam..
I cut to clear wood and insert this little plug of treated plank over the span-beam.
Three cuts up the foot of the support to find clear wood.
I have one little length of 4×4 in storage and find two bolts/nuts long enough to work. Feller Jerb continues.
New foot is bolted to the post and she is ready to stand and bear weight again.
Nora kept me on-task, and now is overseeing clean-up.
Road cows and pasture cows mix with ongoing feuding bulls, all brushing up at the spring to the house. I’ve chased them over the hill enough that they just run away at the sight of me. Time to fix fence. A few steel posts, a lot of stretching broken wire and making it whole again, and quite a bit of staple pounding.
This Z shape (lower leg turns at the bush line) has both 90 degree sections and all the connective runs standing tight again. Earlier in the summer, the gang all pushed into one of the hayfields and mowed it down to nubs. I wouldn’t be surprised if they were doing the same to the hayfield up on top on their new side, as I haven’t seen much of them for a spell- and I have zero confidence in the cattleman strategies deployed to date.

Let’s review the aeromods the truck gained over the winter:

Remember this shnizzle winter project? My aero-upgrades: enclosing the wheel wells and center plate.
Adding vortex generators making entangled-air-current providing “clean air” under the truck, and filling all air gaps with black tight-cell foam held in place with rare-earth magnets.
Vortex generators to stabilize airflow at the front wheels.
Magnetic/removeable vortex generators that I created at the line of the windshield (I also placed them forward of the rear-view mirrors), and Air-Tab vortex generators along the rear line of the shell, and a stubby radio antenna.

The drive to Montana has “varying terrain and conditions”. 5 mountain passes of varying thousands of feet elevation gain and drop, portions of 80mph interstate, and 65 & 70mph blue highway. Conditions include wind/gale lasting hundreds of miles from singular or varied direction- so a tailwind has given the unmodified supercharged truck it’s maximum expected mileage of 17mpg on the 65-70mph sections, while it usually runs at around 15mpg in still air. A supercharged engine gives maximum performance at all times, running at a matching RPM to Speed; the only variance is how much gas it takes to maintain that speed. At 80mph mileage plummets; with a tailwind getting around 13mpg, and with a headwind 11 mpg. I was expecting an at-best improvement of around 5%, which is what adding a super-sloped aero-shell can do; essentially the shape of the Tesla Truck.

The best mileage by manufacturer is 17mpg, boosted to a best now of 20mpg: 17% gain. This means 1/3 less stops for gas, or down to two 15 gallon stops for a 19 gallon tank instead of 3 stops (vs an improbable best mileage two- fill-up trip with 16/18 gallon fill-ups with the fuel light on, sometimes for tooooo long). One less stop for gas shaves about 1/2 hour off the trip, our best time ever in the past for this route was 9 hours. This past trip, with a bit of holiday weekend traffic 100 miles in and out of Yellowstone’s west gate, was 9.5 hours, and would have been 10 hours. Along with shorter time and less fuel, is the amazing stability at speed. There is no sense of sidewind/headwind push, no semi-trailer blow-by, with exceptional in-line tracking and much lower cab noise. This is due in part to stabilizing the nose of the truck by reducing lift from the high/open Shrockworks bumber, but also due to Fluid Entrainment provided by the vortex generator AirTabs along the rear line of the shell. The amount of horsepower available is greatly increased: sailing easily over all the mountain passes, and the ability to jump to passing speed is a bit giddying. A big debate is out there on supercharged engines vs turbocharged engines, and I now I know the advantage of no turbo-lag when punching it at speed: which is also a safety issue, just at the higher end of performance. (special thanks to Julian Edgar for aerodynamic modification discussions on you-tube)

Salt Lake City to Idaho Falls with 20mph+ headwind: 210 miles at 80 mph / 15 gallons : 14mpg. Old/11 to now/14 = 27% improvement. . 400# load in bed, plus two adults, one dog, three cats. (capacity is 900#)

Idaho Falls to White Sulphur Springs: 278 miles at 65-70mph / 15.3 gallons : 18mpg. Usual Old/15 to now/18 = 20% Lighter headwind and 400# load

Return trip with 250# load, same passengers, and still air through the first half of trip, with tailwind later. Lets see: Monarch to Bozeman: 140 miles at 65-70mph / can’t give straight number as filled up in Great Falls and drove around the ranch, but it looked like 20 mpg?. nutz. can’t be right.

Bozeman, MT to McCammon, ID: 270 miles / 15gal = 18mpg. (65mph/144miles, 70mph/53miles, 80mph/74miles). Usual Old/ 15mpg to Now/18mpg = 20%. Best Old/17 to Now/18 = 5% At the end of the 65mph zone we guestimated 20mpg, and best to best mileage of 17 v 20 is 17% gain, normal to now is 15 v 20 @ 33% gain. McCammon is the farthest ever travelled on a tank of gas from Bozeman. Usually we stop in Idaho Falls <74 miles prior>, and ONCE with a strong tailwind the entire way we made it to Pocatello <51 miles past ID Falls>.

McCammon, ID to SLC, UT: 140 miles @ 80mph (mostly)/ 9 gallons : 15.5mpg with tailwind. Best Old/13mpg to Now/15.5mpg = 19% (half tank remaining, we usually get home with the fuel light just coming on, a 1/4 tank at best, or having had to fill up outside Ogden).

How does all this mpg play out at Blue Highway speeds? Best Old (17) to Avg Now (18) @ 5%. Avg Old (15) to Avg Now (18) @ 20%. Avg. Old (15) to Best Now (20) @ 33%

How does all this mpg play out on 80mph Interstate? Headwind Old (11) to Headwind Now (14.5) @ 31%. Tailwind Old (13) to Tailwind Now (15.5) @ 19%.

The secret sitting space.
Garden path.
Panther in the Iris jungle.
3 dozen floating water hyacinths introduced to clean the water, among the yellow pond-iris.
Lucky’s stable is a Hummingbird haven with Coral Bells and a feeder under the eve at top R.
Same bunch-grass divots as in MT, same girl lounging between them.
So much more brushing in her future…lots of ranch burrs came out yesterday.
The yarding ladies like to check in with each other.
This rose spills over the fence from the front yard.
The view we give the neighbors. They do not return the favor.
The roses from the front yard.
Xeriscape mini-garden continues the front lawn footprint reduction.
The Queen of Hearts white roses.
The front bed of Ohio Black Iris, same variety as in the first few images, but backlit for nutzo-level irradiance.
Bubblicious Black Grape is their bubblegum flavor note; it permeates the front and back yard. Delicious.

Breezy with chilly sunlight, Nora is in her element.
Time for the big charismatic pines to take their meds against pine beetles and disease.
3/8 to 1/2 inch deep holes every 6 inches or so, then tap in the tube, then snap on the med kits and pump them. The meds are taken up by the tree over the course of a few hours.
5 left over treatments for the leafy yard tree. The vaccine works across species.
Cows are scheduled to arrive tomorrow, but we’ll see. Time to secure the barb wire fence around the house (the only fence work done on the entire property so far this year…). I drove in two new posts here, and another around the L side along the creek. Then I split some 140 year old cedar posts, retired from their fence line duty long ago- and kept for this new application as “stays” between the driven posts.
The cedar alternate between the driven posts. They are light and strong, maintaining tension on the wire.
New Stays all the way up to the corner. I also headed up the road to fix a barbwire gate that was Dave-Fixed last fall; the lead post and a mid post had snapped in two (driven over when left on the ground most likely), with a “fix” of webbing pulling each section of broken lead post to the anchor post. This negates the gate’s function, but does stand it back up again, mostly. No picts of all that.
While at it, I braced the corner with a stout and long old run of cedar. I dug a footing for the end in the ground, cut a notch in the portion against the corner post so it seats nicely, pounded it down putting tension on the corner, and anchored it with two big timber screws.
We headed over the hill for a quick Bluebird house installation, and deer, deer, deer- Antelope!
Zoomed in from the last image.
I found this little soldier off its post and on the other side of the road up against the barb wire fence. It needed fixes from some rough treatment, but can redeploy. The new bird house we brought up replaced a haggard old soldier made of delaminating plywood- my field triages had held it together for 10 years, but it had finally succumbed to the elements.
The old aluminum extension ladder we brought up from SLC years ago was outrigged with a big stabilizing brace, and now it is no problem to get up to the high spots. That vent up top needed caulking around the edges to seal out wasps and flies.
This much higher vent needed the same. I turned off the electricity to the house before heading up.
E has been plugging away at aerating the front patch of yard.
A very slow and stuttered stroll around this piece of yard. Better than looking at a computer screen.
The holes are from digging up all the bunch grass (the yard looks like an angry golfer smashed out divots everywhere), seeded by invading cows over the course of decades. Nora did not partake in any of the digging. She probably would dig a hole to express herself, but has never needed to articulate anything of that nature.
Steve Austin, astronaut. A man barely alive. Gentlemen, we can rebuild him. We have the technology.
We have the capability to build the world’s first bionic man. Steve Austin will be that man. Better than he was before. Better, stronger, faster.
The handrail is set, it took 20 pilot holes to find two studs- the wall needs replacing anyway as it is under the leaky spot from last post.
This spot, in case you forgot seeing this mess.
It is mitigated; drywall over the blow-in section to L, and the adjacent gable roof with new drywall panel. The water catchment saw a few more drips as things dried out, but we have had days and days of rain and it has remained dry. Still drying out.
This area had damage from a leak starting at the chimney, coupled with two planes of roof meeting and ice dams forcing down through the joint and bursting out under the soffit- all prior to the metal roof. I fixed the collapsed soffit a few summers ago, but in removing this damaged bit inside I could see a gap in my fix out there- about a thumb’s worth of hole, and behind the panel were massive paper-wasp nests from prior seasons. So I foamed the hole closed from the inside and set the new drywall panel.
The wind is gusting at 50mph, and the old pink bedroom breathes heavily as those gapped planks are the skin of the house, covered outside by clapboard and the roof. Enormous wasps walk in and out of the gaps with the wind. Sprayfoam. I’ll tidy it up at some point.
The pink board is a manufactured plaster/lathe board, quite a few generations from drywall. The white paint may be “fixes” from holes in the board (water damage) when the room was still occupied. Just going for envelope right now.
In the big upstairs bedroom above the cold parlor / guest bedroom. Long standing water damage to the plaster and lathe, with areas of bare lathe board and loose plaster. On the ladder is my oscillating tool with a cutting diamond horseshoe fitting. It cuts through the aggregate plaster endlessly. I cut away the bad sections to fit drywall.
Peeling off the dead plaster and chucking it in a steel bucket, but mostly it crashes to the floor (onto a thin padded sheet).
One big hole filled with drywall, and little holes to the L and center still needing fill.
This keystone section above the door has five planes. It had been a disaster.
Disaster training.
Already so much better.
Next I ground down to the plaster along all the cracks in the wall, then cleaned the crack itself by grinding along it with the wafer edge of the diamond tool. Next I wiped it clear with a big sponge and discovered that these rooms aren’t painted, they are colored with a tinted plaster/lime topcoat. It dissolves when wet. This also means that if I ever want to paint these rooms, I’ll need to find a plaster/lime solution. Or make one.
Prepped and ready for plaster.
First coat of plaster. Everything is sealed up tight and secure. Uneven and wonky, but no gaps = no bugs and less upstairs funk.
I left this picture from the tear-down, cut-away, and drywall step to show the ceiling lathe board section.
Here is the ceiling and wall with drywall and ready for plaster. The “pie pan” on the wall is a special fitted cover to the old chimney shunt, as this room had a stove at one time. I took a look inside the chimney, and it is full of old honey bee honeycomb (empty of honey). The chimney was unused since at least the 50’s, is enclosed at the ceiling down below, and capped at the roof when the metal roof was installed decades ago.
Mid afternoon rainy darkness, chilly up here, but done. For now.
The other side of the room with all the cracks prepped; and last summers refurbished window.
Cracks plastered. Still the worst bedroom of plaster/lathe trouble- the one with the access panel shown a few days back. I’m low on plaster board screws, as I tightened up the lathe panel boards in the large bedroom with the fixed/drying leak, and that ate quite a few. I’ll clean up in here, bring up the rest of the drywall, and have it ready for next time. There’s always other projects…

Quiddler Poem Generator: Bean Hoax

The FAX default was Aqua / A Meer step from Rain, We Ran / Closer than a Rat scrambling to Get / the COVID Puke Jab / we would Taxi around the Shoddy square / we would Cling like Tiny Bees / Ooh! Dueling / We fell for every Bean Hoax / every Junker Alien craft.