A previous owner of our house nailed some sort of insulated panels to the interior walls of the log cabin portion of the house.  A half beamed ceiling means there’s an addition 2’x4′ section above.  Every section has to be painted without touching the log cabin frames that have never been painted.  It’s an exceptional grade of fir or redwood that has over the years developed a wonderful dark patina.  Maybe we should have been oiling it.  Nothing to that effect in the house paperwork.

prep wrapped roman shades 2017 july 28So I started prepping for painting by sanding, wiping with a wet cloth, and taping every surface that I don’t want paint on.  Margo reminded me of how expensive the Roman shades were so I took painter’s plastic and bundled each one.  Three foot wide painter’s plastic on the carpet.  It took a couple of times to train HappyDog to not step on the plastic.  Poor baby barks out the window from three feet away.

It would have been better if I realized the paint tray had a leak.  I dribbled paint on my shoes, across a rug, the carpet and filled the paint can support on the stepladder. When I figured it out, I carried the ladder out like it was nitroglycerin.  Cleaned up the mess as best I could and, in disgust, said the heck with it and ignored painting for the rest of the evening.

wall dividers painted 2017 july 22.jpgI persevered.  I look like some sort of an idiot because I smile every time I look at the — I must admit — fine job I did.

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There is a possibility we will become mobile dwellers or long-term travelers.  To that end I’ve been prepping the mountain house for sale.  painted front porch 2017 july 04Target date, August 1st.  Yes, for those of you who pay attention to a calendar — I missed it.  I really should calculate how long then multiply by three.  It would be closer to the truth.

This is one of the things I’ve been working on.  The porch looks plumb naked without the bench and all the other stuff I keep there.

I admit I had dragged my feet on this job.  I knew it the floor was going to take a lot of prepping because previous painters had painted without prepping.

Last year, on the screened in back porch I used a thick painter’s tool to lever the crap out between the slats.  The task was astonishingly hard on my wrists and knees.  I mean no insult to my painter’s tool.  It is a great tool.  When I start prepping for painting, it’s the first tool I painters tool husky 2017 july 19.jpgreach for.  Here’s what I have.  I just don’t want to work that hard if I don’t have to.

The porch is about 40 years old and the wood used was top notch.  I credit the carpenter with selecting well.  The boards are straight and without splinters.  My 5″ sanding disc chucked in my Dewalt portable 20v drill scuffed the top surface nicely.

porch gap gunk 2017 july 02The gaps between boards was another issue.  Combine a narrow gap with wooly pets, grit and lazy painters and what we’ve got are long fuzzy dips which hold water.  Can I just paint over that?  No, I can’t.  Wish I could.

How can I get the crap out between the boards?  Let me try my battery powered Dewalt Oscillating Multi-tool.  Yeehaw.  Within one minute I was shouting for joy and texting Margo.  multitool dewalt 2017 july 19.jpg It was the perfect tool.  In a short time I had removed all the offending grubby things between slats.  The job went from a wrist screaming week to two-three hours.  Followed with a wet/dry industrial vacuum set to blow and finished with a good wash and rinse. Yes indeedy, I know how to prep a porch.

multitool chisels old new 2017 july 19I will say right now if you do use the multi tool, be sure and get more chisels.  I used up one labeled wood and another labeled wood with nails.  Ground the tiny teeth right off of them.  Yet there were very few nails.  I guess it was mostly grit.

I’m trying to figure out how to carry this tool on our travels.  I can use it to chisel caulk and scare cats with the noise.  And how can I leave home the drill?   And the reciprocating saw?

Well, maybe not the reciprocating saw.

With the porch finished, I’ve started on the living room.  Need to pick up more paint, but it’s raining between us and maybe in Alamogordo.  No way I’m going down now.  Home Depot is on the road which floods like a big dog every time they or the nearby hills get more than a half an inch.

Thirty minutes later I’m patting myself on the back.  FB is loaded with comments about flooding in much of the Basin.  It doesn’t take much.

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My body and my mind are having a hard time wrapping themselves around the fact that tonight I am writing in bed under the covers and shivering from a humid 61 degrees.  61.  Nice number.  Haven’t seen it since early spring.  He-he-he.  I’m ready.  I love fall in the mountains.

Our monsoon, usually a late bloomer, has gotten the jump on us and started early.  I’ve been dumping the rain gauge once a week since mid June.  Five days ago we were sweltering while unloading the travel trailer.  Now I’m getting out the cool weather clothes and closing windows.

Here’s a typical monsoon day for you mobile visitors.  A cloudless, calm morning.  This is a Mother Nature fake out.    Thunderheads start building in the mountains around 10 am.  It’s amazing how much activity is in the clouds.  Rolling, twisting, rising, falling, and of course getting pushed by upper winds.  Maybe it’s because we are 9000 feet above sea level.  Around 1 it will start to rain.  Precipitation usually begins with pea sized hail and in a couple of minutes switch to a mind numbing cold rain.  The drops are like getting pelted with tomatoes.  Big, slamming drops.  The wind will ramp up, especially if the rain doesn’t make it all the way to the ground.  There might be a lot of lightning and thunder.  If we are lucky we get this four-five times a week.

Folks in other places say they often get rain in the morning and the afternoon.  Here is a wiki article.  3 dangers of monsoon season every Arizonan needs to know — it’s legit for New Mexico, too.

This is not the time of the year for clueless, unprepared hikers to set out on a long hike.  Take stuff to keep you warm and dry.

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Location: Percha Dam State Park, Arrey, New Mexico then home

A fifth night of temperatures requiring the air conditioner.  I’m looking forward to not hearing it.  But then again, the AC drowned much of the road noise a dozen feet away from my ears.

Time to pack up and get home.  Margo reserved one of the few, maybe the only, full service campsite so dumping the tanks did not require us to travel to Caballo State Park a couple of miles away.  It was during dumping the tanks when we found out we parked six inches too far away.  No problem.  Pull out the joint and the second length.  The joint is nowhere to be found.  We were having to hook up the truck anyhow so we hooked up and moved forward a couple of feet.

With the memory of last trip’s surprise turd release into our back yard, I hooked up the water hose to the previously ignored black tank cleaner inlet.  Near as I can figure out – because I can’t see it – it’s a horizontal piece of pipe with holes on the bottom and sides to spray water all about the tank.  Two minutes Margo says.  That we do.  We are thinking we need a clear 90 degree turn into the dump hole so we can see when it flows clear.  You can be darn sure Margo went inside and glugged in the gallon of extra water and also stepped on the flusher to make sure it didn’t create a vacuum.

We tootle past young plant fields and pecan orchards flooded with canal water we most likely saw upstream.  Onions are almost finished.  Peppers starting to bloom.  Corn height is all over the place — 6″ up to as high as an elephant’s eye.  We pass fields until we get outside Las Cruces.  For a couple of miles it is nothing but salt cedar.  The river is running much higher than usual because Colorado had a higher than usual snow pack last winter.  So New Mexico is getting more water and releasing more water.   The river is so high that a few more inches and it would overflow the banks.  Gotta hand it to the folks who determine water releases.  They fill to the brim.

Outside Las Cruces we see digital sign messages we’ve not seen before.  Message about the danger of blowing dust.  It’s a big deal.  Lots of accidents from it.  The signs actually tell you what to do.  Pull over as far as you can.  Turn off blinkers,  headlights.  Put on emergency brake and take foot off brakes.  Then wait.  Five to 20 minutes later it will probably be over.  Here’s an article by the Albuquerque Journal.  We are lucky.  No dust storms around yet.

I went through one three years ago on the way to Texas.  Between Seminole and Big Springs.  I had no idea what I was seeing and had no idea it could get that confusing.  It was like driving in fog.  I pulled over and waited, but didn’t know I should have turned off the lights and such.  Of course, there were the idiots who raced through it.

For the fourth time this year we chugged over the pass northeast of Las Cruces.  Three lanes are reduced to one for some sort of repair.  Margo was trying to keep up speed and some jerk in a small car slowed down to talk on the phone.  We never did get our speed back up after that.

It’s another hot day on our return.  By now we have our arrival pattern down to an art.  Margo lets the dogs out to potty and drink.  I open the gate and immediately turn the hose on the garden.  Whew!  The garden took a heat hit even with someone coming over mid-trip to water.

Margo backs the trailer into position.  I take the sewer hose and fresh water hose tubs out of the cargo hold.  Both tubs have liquid in the bottom.  One ain’t clean at all.  I stretch the fresh water hose on the chain link fence to dry.  The sewage hose and parts are re-rinsed and draped over a tree branch.  It too will dry before being put away. How the heck do we dry stuff when we travel with multiple stops.

It takes about an hour to get everything squared away.  It’s nice to travel, but just as nice to get home.  I head for the mountains with HappyDog.  I’ve got lots to do this next month because I am prepping the mountain home for sale.

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Location: Percha Dam State Park, Arrey, New Mexico.

percha dam sp above dam 2017 july 13.jpgMore walking.  We found this cool spot to hang out and fish above the dam.  DotDog absolutely despised the expanded metal floor of the walkway with fast water flowing underneath.  Lotta tall weeds to walk past.  Kept eyes open for the skunk we saw the other day.   The water is slower than below the dams, but still moves along.

A guy still in his nice work clothes is fishing in the best spot.  A few days before I watched him pull out a 20 inch walleye.  I guess he’s staying in the campground.  He’s not as lucky this evening.

percha dam sp mini trailer 2017 july 15.jpg

We liked this tiny trailer.  10′ maybe?  Didn’t want to be snoopy and look indoors, but would have liked to.  We never saw what was used to haul it.  I imagine a 6 cylinder would.  Could I travel long-term in such a tiny home.  No.  Not unless I had an extended truck with a good sized camper on back.

percha dam sp group grill 2017 july 15

On the opposite end of the spectrum is this large steel grill.  It took the both of us to raise the grill.  Shortly after this photo a reunion group took over the facility and the first thing the men did was pile up charcoal and get it blazing.  A couple hours later they cooked something that smelled mighty good.

We leave tomorrow and spend time packing as much stuff as we can.  That way we can get an early start, and we don’t make as much noise.

Went fishing below the dam as the sun started to go down.  Met an old timer who had a double hooked rig with a big weight.  He tossed it into the slack water that curls back around to the water spurting out.  Fish don’t like to waste energy fighting current so they swim in this slower water.  The old timer said he hooked a 30 pound carp and almost got pulled into the river.  A 30 pounder is huge and can definitely do so.

Would we come back here?  Yeah.  I’ll keep an eye on their water release so maybe we can return when the water isn’t as fast.

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Location: Percha Dam State Park, Arrey, New Mexico.

It rained last night.  Not enough to keep workers out of the field.

Watched the workers harvest the rest of the onion field.  I must admit I got tired of hearing a heavy forklift for hours and hours.

percha dam sp big onion 2017 july 15We talked to a guy who was inspecting the field.  It was the owner and he was very friendly and answered our questions.  Said he hates having his truck smell like onions all summer.  The smell when they were harvesting was very strong.  We asked if we could harvest some of the leftover onions and he said yes.  We collected enough to fill a large ice chest.  Laid them out on the grated benches so they could dry.

Look at this impressive specimen.  There were hundreds of this size laying about.  The owner said the companies only want medium sized onions, so they leave the rest in the field.

percha dam sp onion harvest 2017 july 15

The modified ice chest is holding ice longer but not as long as I’d like.  Got more modifying to do.  Hate the separate lid which has to be removed before travel because the ice chest has to go in back of the truck.  Absolutely despise the lid action.  It doesn’t stay open.  More designing to do.

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Location: Percha Dam State Park, Arrey, New Mexico.

We head out early to Caballo Lake to fish in calmer water.  Got some great places picked out thanks to our March trip.  Caballo Lake is maybe a couple of miles away.  We go to Percha Flats where most people don’t go because there are no trees.  We have a secret in our truck bed — a new canopy — which will let us hang out as long as we want.  Darn, there’s a guy in a travel trailer over there running a dang massively loud generator.  On the right is a family under their own canopy playing loud, loud music. Sigh.

We head to our favorite shady cove.  Argh!  We are stopped by a net barrier.  Beyond it, the water covers the camping area we played in months ago.  Looks like the lake has risen another foot or so even as massive amounts are being released down river.  The fire ring Margo built must be under a couple of feet of water.

We have a second shady cove.  We take a loop along a hill.  Darn it.  There is a family camping there.  We try a couple more spots and are becoming frustrated.  Finally we find a spot about 100 yards from the second cove.  Down an incline steep enough to make Margo wonder if she can get back up.  The beach is all smooth flat rock, the size of an egg or smaller.  It was fabulous to walk on.  A strong wind was blowing in our faces so we let the dogs swim or facsimile thereof.  HappyDog did her usual impression of a drowning dog.  She inhaled a half gallon of water in the first swim and gagged her lungs out for 5 minutes.  DotDog wouldn’t get in deeper than her belly.  Margo got in the water and DotDog ran behind the truck.  If momma gets wet that means DotDog is going to get dragged out deep enough for her to swim.

One last place — the old dirt boat ramp.  A small truck almost runs us down as it speeds around us.  A jack*** willing to risk our lives and property to secure the spot before us.  Not sure what the old lady was thinking since her grandson was already setting up a tent on the only dry place.

Tired and disgruntled, we go to Riverside Campground which is right below Caballo Dam.  The campground looks awful.  All the, what may be salt cedar trees, are dying.  Did they do a release of the salt cedar killing beetles there?  We did see insect traps in some of the trees.  The problem is they’ve done little to replace what is dying.  Soon the park will be without shade.  I cross it off my list of future visits unless I bring my own shade.

We get a nice shady spot under cottonwood trees near the water.  I fish for maybe 15 minutes.  The water is so fast that our bait floats back to shore.   Not far from us a guy is measuring the water amount with a setup much larger than the fella at Percha.  He sits on a little bench and uses a motor driven cable to stop at various locations across the way.  We hang out and head back to Percha a little after noon.  We agree that in the future we will have to do our good fishing Monday through Wednesday.

Our curiosity about crop harvesting has been rewarded.  Activity commenced.  A guy in a white truck has wandered through the onions near the road.  A large tractor has appeared in the field and appears to be plowing between the rows.  Margo went out to watch and came back to say that the plow actually had a rotating horizontal bar behind the blades.  This bar was dropped a few inches below the surface and pops the onions out of the ground.

We were in a great spot to watch the goings on.  We got out binoculars from the truck and the spotting scope we carry in the cargo hold.

A few hours later, tractors with three-point hitch decks brought over big bins and workers dumped them off every five rows.  Weren’t they smashing onions?  Small trailers with two port-a-potties were delivered on each end.  Chairs with water coolers were dropped off.

Workers started arriving.  All in all about 20-25.  The field nearby was empty, and they drove right out into the field.  Out came what looked like round laundry baskets.  The workers, some on their knees and some standing, grabbed a handful of onions, snipped the stalks off, and dropped the onions in the basket.  There wasn’t a wasted motion in the bunch.  When full they poured the onions in the big bins.

After an hour or so a large wheeled forklift began gathering the full bins in groups.  The groups made sense when a honking 18-wheeler with a flatbed arrived.  The forklift began filling the trailer.  Three bins high.  I think two across.  Not sure how many in the length.

All this was going on in 100+ degree heat.  Late afternoon it began to rain – big, cold drops – and everyone left.  I think they went to another field that wasn’t being rained on.

Toward evening we headed over to the park showers.  I forgot to buy bath shoes so had to shower in my good tennis shoes.  At least the water was warm.  Got good exercise pushing the button.  Sometimes the flow lasted only two seconds.

We got a couple of TV channels and had phone service.  For some reason I couldn’t send text messages with photos.

For supper Margo surprised me with squash lasagna.  It’s regular lasagna with the addition of layers of squash.  She didn’t have enough tomato sauce and, unlike the sorta sloppy lasagna I’m used to, this was firm and chewy.  I liked it.


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