Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Progress in Paradise...

Progress in Paradise...  Lots of happenings today!

Debbie is progressing incrementally, looking and feeling a bit better every day.  She's still essentially bedridden, though, and she's going a little stir crazy because of it.  It's been almost three weeks since her fall, and since she's been imprisoned in her (nice, comfortable, full-service included) bed.

Last night, one of her friends from southern California (Marsha Y.) stopped by for a great visit.  She stayed for several hours of conversations and reminiscences.  We stayed up way past our bedtime!

I took a walk with the dogs in the cool morning, up the farm road on the hill to the east of our house.  In the past few days these fields have dramatically changed in appearance – the three foot tall alfalfa has all been mowed, raked, dried, baled, and removed.  Now there's 4" stubble remaining, and the irrigation is going full blast (see at right).  When we got to the top of the hill, we could see 19 strings of wheel lines (like those in the photograph) going – and some of those strings were close to a mile long.

As we were walking back into our driveway, a gigantic loader drove by us, very slowly.  It was one that our neighbor Tim D. had arranged for us, to do some terraforming down on the southeast part of our property.  This is the same general area where the Mormon horde helped us clean up a few weeks ago.  There was a part there, roughly an acre in extent, that was so weirdly sloped that there was no way I could mow it.  The loader was there to sculpt that weirdness into something more attractive, and more maintainable.

The loader operator, a genial fellow named Alan L., talked with me for about a half hour about exactly what I wanted to accomplish.  Then he (very politely) told me to get the hell out of his way and let him get the job done.  Three hours later, he'd finished – and had created something considerably better than I'd hoped for.  I wish I'd been smart enough to take a “before” photo, but alas, I wasn't.  However, you can see clearly here that we how have an eminently usable piece of ground here!  I'm going to plant some grass here for now, but later in the bottom, flat part we're going to plant something that will make an attractive roadside display.  That's going to take some research on our part, to find something that will do well here without any irrigation (this is one of the few awkward spots on our place to irrigate).  I did have one bizarre thought later, though – it just might be feasible to put a solar powered drip system in that sourced its water in the canal just 20' away.  Another thing to research :)

That was plenty of excitement for one day, but it got even better.  Around 1 pm, I got a call from a trucker – he had a load for me.  I was expecting my air compressor (which I've been trying to buy since January!), so I got my tractor going and met him by the road, expecting to be unloading 650 pounds of air compressor.  Instead, he had a much smaller pallet.  I had to get the bill of lading out to see what it was – and it was the PTO powered pressure washer that I ordered back in March.  It finally came in!  Woo hoo!  I took it into the shed and started to unpack it, and my phone rang again – another trucker with a load – and this time it was the air compressor.  Double woo hoo!

So I spent the next two hours unpacking and inspecting the two shipments.  The pressure washer is a particularly impressive piece of machinery.  It's a pile of parts and a bag of bolts right now, though the pump is fully assembled.  The pump is Italian, and I'd have guessed that even if I didn't already know – there's a certain style to Italian machinery that one rarely sees in machinery made anywhere else.  This is a purely functional, industrial piece of kit – but some engineers spent time making it beautiful anyway.

The air compressor was remarkable for a completely different reason: it was not a kit!  I was shocked – for once, a piece of equipment I ordered came fully assembled.  Wow!  However, the air compressor more than makes up for that by the complexity of its installation.  I have to connect it to both 240 V and 120 V, plus an air intake (to clean outside air), the compressed air output, and two separate water drains (one for the tank, the other for the air dryer).  Another project :)

The word is starting to get out around town that Debbie is injured again.  This evening, one of the members of the Relief Society for the ward we live in stopped by to check on us.  As with all their visits, she just wanted to make sure we got any help we needed.  She looked disappointed that we really didn't need any :)  She chatted with Debbie for a while, very friendly and neighborly.  She's good friends with Michelle H., the woman who cleans our house.  Small towns are nice that way.  When she left, she left Debbie wearing a smile and feeling very good indeed about the area we retired to.

We love living here!

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