What a lovely Saturday. The morning greeted us with blue skies and a strong sun; its energies caressed the PV panels, converted its photonic touch into battery charging electricity that then transferred to the powered equipment and appliances in the house. I took sbisson and marypcb along for a walk along the "north loop" dirt road. This is our emergency exit should the primary driveway become impassable; indeed we once had need for an alternate exit when a massive tree dropped across the driveway one stormy winter.
Dirt roads need yearly maintenance, so I went with gloves and shovel in hand to touch up the myriad water bars (shallow cross ditches) that protect the road from becoming a washed out gully. Most of them were in excellent shape. A few needed some loving care to remove matted leaf piles or silt deposits. A couple water bars were carrying rapidly flowing water from winter springs across and down the edge. As we headed downward and rounded to the north slope, I heard something I hadn't experienced since we bought this land in 1989: rushing water: one of the main mountain course ways was carrying a major flow of cascading water. This is the very spot I had hopes to install a micro hydro turbine to supply power during the dark months. Maybe it is possible after all! We didn't go down into the gulley as it is rather steep and I didn't want to lose Simon and Mary. Further along, we spotted feline tracks. At first I thought it could be a young mountain lion, but looking back at the photos Simon took, it looks more like a bob cat paw.
These walks are for me a way to assess the needs of the land. The bountiful rains have caused the invasive French Broom to grow rampant. We all took time to pull some of the broom off of the road and sides but it is clear I need to hire a good sized crew soon to pull all of it else the land will be at great fire risk this summer. I cleaned out the silt from a settling pond, cleaned out the drainage ditch leading to a culvert, and we wended up hill back to the house.
There we met rowanf and rubibee, who came by to visit us for a bit of mini-realspace. They were taking it easy after a bit of geocaching. A spot of tea and more conversation later, and we were treated to three more friends visiting. Robert, Lydia, and Francina dropped by for a 'hello'. Lydia is resting from a number of book signing events, having authored a humorous but most important book titled Honey, does this Make My Butt Look Big. We all watched her struggles to get it written, and it is nice to see it is being received well.
Meanwhile the used-to-be trusty van has been acting up. The wood rats set up camp atop the engine and they chewed into the wires. We had that fixed the last time we visited, at an unbelievable high cost, but leaving the car sitting for almost two months proved to not be a good thing. The battery needed replacement (it was six years old), and I only just got it started today, so it looks like we have to have our housemate start the thing up one every two weeks to keep it lubricated.
Edit: Sorry about the whacky HTML. I was running into problems with internet access, and I saved the draft into a word document. Word mangled the styling in only the esoteric way that Word can.