Saturday, July 5, 2014

Do This, Don't Do That. Can't You Read The Sign?

This was by driveway, after prying it off the plywood to which it was mounted I painted that plywood and reused it for the new sign.

It seems strange that the fact that there are houses on almost every five-acre area around here and that most of these places have a fence in some condition or other around them aren't indication enough that the property is private and therefore you can't hunt on them without permission.  Still everyone has clearly posted "No Hunting" and/or "No Trespassing" signs as well as blaze orange tape or spray painted fence posts and/or trees.

The new sign is vertically oriented.  While it would probably be more effective to have some blaze orange in there, I like how this is more subtle and tasteful than it used to be.

However, unless you spend kind of a lot of money on your sign, they're pretty ugly, which should be an oxymoron, but isn't.  We've never liked the looks of the signs that were on our property and we didn't like the tone of them much either.  Sure we want people to realize that our driveway isn't the road (a real thing that happens, by the way) and that our property isn't theirs to just wander onto at whim.  And since everyone seems to post signs, I wondered if not posting them would be an implied invitation.  So, I started hunting around the interwebz and found these.

I used the same material I make decorative painted sample boards to mount the other two.  I used galvanized picture wire to attach them to the gates.  Bonus: I got to use stuff we had around!

We like the color and the imagery.  The words are true enough, if even a bit snarky.  At $6 a piece*, they were a great value and suited our needs just fine.

See the pretty deer and the busy beavers?

We have three of them, one near or on each gate.  We'll still install some orange tape around the lower pasture on the fence lines were there aren't gates and replace the orange placards removed with the old fence along the National Forest border.

Yeah, yeah. I know I've got repetitive photos going on, but I just am so pleased with how these look so far.  So here's not lower pasture version.

* There is a quantity discount at several levels!  Nice!

Monday, June 30, 2014

Odds & Ends: June 2014 Edition

Delia has several "bush forts" around the property where she hangs out chewing sticks, getting shade, and doing dog stuff like taking a break during games of fetch.  If she's taking too long during fetch, I'll usually walk over and reach the Chuck-it launcher in there and fetch her ball myself.  One time I spotted this!

This is about 3' off the ground in one of Delia's lairs so I kind of hope that the parents realized this was probably not the best spot for wee babies and abandoned the nest for a new location.  

I've been working for a neighbor who has a big-boy version of a slot car track that he's building for a big international* race in November.  Starting in April, I've been painting lines, curbs, bit lanes and such on about 100' of track on a 10' x 20' table.  This is a craft project that staggers even me just a little bit.

Based on 4 or 5 tracks in Europe and the US, this track is supposed to otherwise be consistent with the 1960s for all the decorative details and the cars that will race on it.

This gig has a great commute!  Since they showed me the shortcut, I can walk there in about 5 minutes.  I usually do this in the mornings and noticed the sun hitting this old property border fence with it's lush moss coat.  Our forest doesn't have moss like the forest I grew up with so it was a nice little moment to start my day with a moss siting.

The orange tape is an indicator to passersby that the property is private and no hunting is allowed.  There are other methods, but this one is common and all of them are blaze orange at least until the sun fades them.

Speaking of cheery, unexpected plant life, I spotted these pansies sneaking throw an hole in the side of the silly truck bed flower bed that came with the house.

We're not entirely immune to the "rustic charm" of a pick up bed for a flower bed, but someday this one will find a new home on the property.  It seems just sort of plunked down and isn't really a color that suits our tastes.  Or my tastes anyway.

It's not just the plants getting all reproductive, either.

This little eggshell was laying on the edge of the driveway the last week of the month. What might be the other half of it was on the balcony underneath one of the birdhouses.

As June ends we're definitely going from our green season into our browning season.  There are still lots of wildflowers, but they're not carpeting the yard and forest like the Balsams did. 

 I don't know if this is native or not, but it's certainly an impressive size.

* Yup.  Racers mail their custom, hand-built slot cars from all over the world to race.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Parking Recreation

I hadn't noticed until a friend in Missoula pointed it out, but locals aren't what you'd call "good at parking."  I don't even think it's a blatant disregard for the lines in the lots and on the sides of the streets, but rather seems like the lines just don't register in the Montanan consciousness.  I mean, usually they get close - they're going vaguely diagonal in the same direction, but they aren't putting their car actually between the lines designated for a car.  This works just fine in the winter months when you can't really see the lines, but seems weird the rest of the year.

So when I drove into the local super market parking lot on Wednesday and noticed that they'd repainted the lines, I wondered out loud to myself if having fresh, bright, new lines would make a difference.  And then I parked facing right at this.

Maybe they let the dog park?

When I came out of the store that car was gone, but when I took my cart to the cart corral this guy pulled in a few spots up from me.  Nice and centered from left to right, but front to back not so much.

As I was driving out, I saw this one. Soooooo close and yet not.  It seems like it takes some extra attention to back into a spot, just not attention to where that spot stops and starts.

Yes, that is the view from the super market parking lot.  The Bitterroot Range in its springtime glory.

Let me say that none of these particular cars were parked up close to the building and that this parking lot is huge, so the drivers weren't really putting anyone out.  I'll also say that the majority of the cars are parked reasonably within a designated spot and that most of the time it doesn't look like that taking-two-or-more-spots-because-my-car-is-more-important-than-society's-rules-and-common-courtesy douchery.  It just seems like you see a lot more careless parking.  That's some kind of freedom there, boy howdy.

Note: I was not driving while taking any of these shots. The car was not in motion and I impeded the progress of no other drivers or pedestrians.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Spa Treatment

There she is on the delivery trailer about to get hoisted up onto the deck with a crane!

The other day Eric drained and refilled the hot tub in anticipation of Juan's visit* last weekend.  When we went to start heating it up it wasn't working.  It was a very basic model when it was new in 1999 and the mysterious codes on the display weren't helping us decipher the issue.  Even with the generic owners manual we didn't know what was going on.  So, I called the number in the manual which lead us to a spa business of a different name.  They came out on a service call and gave us the bad news: the shell (the fiberglass part that holds all the water and all the people) was failing and leaking and the plumbing was leaking and some other things were leaking.  We could spend a fair chunk of change to "put a band-aid on it" or about 2.2 times as much to fix it better, but the shell would still be failing.

This is the box the top came in.  I was assured that sporks were fine to use.

It was pretty exciting to watch the crane take away the old one and plunk the new one down on the deck.

So, instead of risking having that tub utterly fail in the middle of winter when we couldn't get a new one delivered and the old one hauled away and instead of throwing good money after bad we got a new spa!  It's still not the fanciest spa on the market, but it's quite an upgrade with about five times as many jets, a control display that makes some sense, new cover and cover lift, a low-maintenance cabinet (case? siding?) or whatever it's called, AND in a couple of weeks will have the saline filter-thingy.  And the spa guys (Chris & Ron) were the opposite of the tree guys as far as being here when they said they would be, returning calls and texts, etc.  YEY!  Let's hope that keeps up for our chemical needs and most importantly the installation of the saline thingy.  Did I mention the Aurora-Borealis-in-a-tub LED lights?

*Juan was the first to visit us twice and thrice!  As he's spending the summer not too far from here, I bet he'll beat everyone to fourth, too.  Not that it's a contest, but Juan's winning.

Juan Happened III: The Filthiest Corn Hole You've Seen
With Juan comes warmer weather, so we busted out the corn hole set.  It gets pretty dusty without a lawn or pavement to play on.

Friday, June 6, 2014

The Ramon.

For some reason it took me ages to get Mavis out of her clown costume, but I finally did.  Funny how the clown wasn't creepy, but this kitten is totally creepy.

Ramon is also keeping it simple with his Tin Woodman hat/funnel.  This disguise is especially silly, because if there is one thing that we all know it is that Ramon is alllll heart.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014


Through lots of voice mails, phone conversations, in-person conversations, and more voice mails We finally got out two beetle-kill trees cut down.  Way back when we first moved here we had a few interactions with people hired to do stuff here at the house that had me worried that it might be the case that Mountain Time was not just about time zones, but also a state of mind, like Island Time.  I still haven't decided, but that seems to be the case with anyone involved with tree cutting be they tree service/forester types or deliverers of firewood.

Eventually, we got 'er done.  The entirely dead tree was dead long enough to be beetle-free so we had that one cut into 16" round to be split for firewood later.  The not-entirely dead tree probably still has beetles, so we had it taken away.  They cut it into 16" rounds, so I imagine they're going to sell it as firewood.  I just hope they don't sell it to someone with pines on their property.

Cutting down big trees cost big bucks, so we're trying to rid ourselves of the stumps some other way.  Luckily they cut them really close to the ground and level, and the forest is a fine place to see a stump or two, so while we figure that out they're not such a horrible eyesore as they might be in town.  Hopefully, this technique I found online will work: Drill holes in the stump, add Epsom salts and water. I read it could take anywhere from one month to a year.  We shall see.

Next up: The driveway. How do I know?  It's already happened.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

The Never-ending Chore Begins: Yard Work

Our project list for spring and summer is mostly yard work.  And not fun, creative, bang-for-your-buck projects, either.  The goal is to get it to a good starting point for the future, in which we'll mostly just let the forest be the forest, but where we have existing planting beds we want to keep we'll work on adding native, xeroscapic, deer-resistant plants.

It has started with about eight Tara-hours of raking pine needles off the driveway and out some of the planting beds and a tiny bit of the rest of the yard; I guess that's what you get when you skip a year.  I'll keep you posted on how that goes.

Plus one of the wild strawberries that grow in the yard.

Piles and piles of pine needles.

Next, trying to reclaim the vegetable garden after one-and-a-half years of neglect.  Eric is in charge of that project and he has mowed and tilled the space and started picking up starts from one of the local farmers markets.

Yup. A couple of little mountain fruit trees.

Tomatoes, peppers, other stuffs.

I took charge of removing the last owners' lath "trellis" on the south-west side of the house and replaced it with my own trellis-in-quotes: "re-mesh" wire grids.  They should continue rusting and be hardly noticeable.

BEFORE: Of course, once I decided to put down the rake and go at the lath "trellis" I didn't think to stop and get a photo. AND of course, I assumed that there would be one in all the photos of the snow or dogs or what have you.  This is the only one I found; it's from our first few weeks here. You can see them in the back ground, but you can't quite see how slipshod they looked.

Small, subtle, and sturdy-enough.  Also attached with cup hooks, so easy to remove when it comes time to re-stain the house - something they didn't do with all of the lath.  Sigh.  

Next up:
1. More raking
2. Tree guy taking down a couple of dead trees
3. Giant drop box delivered to get rid of trash left by last owners (pft!)
4. More vegetable starts
5. Taking metal and cardboard for recycling in Missoula or Hamilton