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April 19, 1999
a year ago

Tree Watering

Dreamed all last night about cutting quills for barter. A sunny summer in the country. No indication that it was something in the past, might even have been post-apocolyptic. Warm days, though, comfortable, and there were most people who needed the ability to write, and were willing to trade for the pens that no one really knew how to cut. They wore out quickly enough that I had a fairly steady business. Poultry folks traded feathers and eggs for booklets or bread. Tradesman traded flour and honey, oil and sharpening for my Benchmade knife (which Trip gave me) for the pens that I supplied to their bookkeepers.

It was a low-stress life, though I still wasn't that sure of my quill cuttings and had to test most of the nibs to be sure that they'd write before sending them to whomever bought them. Lots of extra practice, though I guess that some of that was the residue of muscle learning that I did during the day in figuring out how to cut the things. That was very interesting, to know that I was probably learning more about the blade control in my sleep than I had when awake. I really do practice things in my dreams. Repeatedly. And I get better at it so that when I wake up, it's easier than the day before.

Put the seedlings outside while John cut a grapefruit for breakfast, and I really soaked the boxes until water was running out from underneath. The garlic chives were doing even better than before, and the regular chives were nearly a quarter inch tall, most of them. It's supposed to be 75 today. Oof.

Wandered off to work soon after eating. Warm, sunny, bright day.

John had a really busy day planned, so he got lunch from the Burrito Guy, who just comes around just before lunch with some burritos and sells what he has. No pre-ordering and no worry about what folks want, he just brings stuff and if people want it they can buy it. He was friendly, and only had a chorizo and egg burrito by the time John could make it down. It was a most excellent chorizo and egg burrito. He let me have a bite of it. Yum.

Enough for lunch, and fuel for the rest of the day. I ate the leftover mac and cheese from Saturday and was pretty happy as I coded and documented and figured some stuff out.

We went home fairly late and I really didn't want to deal with cooking dinner, so we stopped by KT's hickory pit BBQ and both bought rib dinners. The place is tiny, filled with people, and there are signs up saying that they hire customers. The help was kinda slow, but thorough and we got our order pretty quick once we were at the head of the line. That was good. The food smelled wonderful in there, and while we drove home, I was drooling, mildly.

Fezzik was happy to see us and chased me the wrong way around the truck to see what that smell was. We watched Home Improvement as we ate, and it's interesting to watch them gradually tie off the various loose ends. The ribs were tender, a little dry, but the sauce made up for some of that as it was spicy and hot. Fezzik drooled gently watching us eat, and John eventually tossed a few bones into the lawn to see if Fezzik could find them, by the time we went out they were all gone.

John's big task of the evening was to get the Stoat topless and running again. The fuel we'd gotten in Seattle was just normal diesel. Out here, the diesel service includes some stuff that makes it less likely for the fuel to congeal in cold weather and a few sistane additives. Gasoline has octane, diesel has sistane. Pretty weird. But anyway, the Stoat only had the old fuel and no boosters at all, so John added part of a bottle of diesel booster and five gallons of Colorado diesel and then drove the Stoat around a bit to see if it would work itself through.

He also completely unbolted the hard top and then the two of us had to lift it off the Stoat and put it in the horse barn.

While he was unbolting thing, I figured out the watering system for the hundred or so trees that are on the property. A lot of it is through a drip style irrigation system, that's basically a hose with a lot of little hoses off it, that all bring water to the various trees. I walked a line of forty trees, putting hoses back into the wells they were planted in. Fezzik trailed along happily, sniffing everywhere, and running back and forth. Then, I walked a line of about fifteen trees in the front, made sure all their drips were in place. I then fed water to the fifteen while John and I wrestled the top into the barn.

Fezzik went galloping across the horse lot at that time, tail flying, ears up, mouth wide open. He just zoomed for that side of the fence, and once there, instead of coming back when we called for him, he started racing from side to side, nose down. The ex-owner said that there were coyotes around, a lot, and that they used to watch his wife when she rode her horse in the back. That one of the dogs used to play with them and that the coyotes liked luring dogs away from yards in order for the whole pack to pounce on them. I'm fairly sure that Fezzek wouldn't have a problem with the last problem, but he sure was searching. Eventually he found a place where he could just duck under the fence and went romping off to the farmland just on the other side of the fence. Luckily, he stayed between the fence and the railroad track's burne, so we could see him the entire time we were putting the Stoat roof in the barn.

John took off after him after that; and when John got close enough to yell "Wait" where Fezzik could hear it, Fezzik looked up, looked a little puzzled and then came towards John, rather than running further away. John laughed, gave him a biscuit, and then the two of them headed back towards the house. Fezzik was panting like crazy, though I think he used it to his advantage, snuffling all the while, as he raced back and forth in the grasses.

I switched the water line over to the long set of pipes, and watched, half in horror, as the water just cascaded from the joins in the line. John turned the pressure up to be sure that water got all the way out to the far trees, but that put so much pressure on the join at the faucet that water was just pouring onto the concrete. My old San Diego drought responses were just clanging, just way too much water waste in that procedure. Way too much. I turned it down a little, put a watering can where it could catch what overflow there was, then walked the line again, to the end to make sure for myself that at the lower pressure the far tree was getting enough water. It was getting some.

Problem was that, in my head, I knew that tomorrow or the next day there was supposed to be a big thunderstorm headed our way. Natural water. Water that was going to just fall from the sky. I still have no idea what our water bills are going to be like, and maybe I shouldn't care too much; but it's been trained in me to care some. Especially in an environment this arid. So, eventually, I just turned the water off, used the watering can on a few of the trees that didn't have an irrigation system, and by then it was dark. I think that once I actually see a water bill and can gauge gallons for dollars, I may or may not feel better about actually watering all the trees on a frequent basis. I've a feeling that I'll have to water them for the summer.

Most of the time it was light. The light here is so much more, at this season, than in Seattle it's just mind boggling.

By the time we went back into the house, I was exhausted, and went to take a bath while John watched T.V. It was only nine. But I pulled as hot a bath as I thought I could stand and then found that it was even hotter than that. I added some more cold water, and then added one of the rose bath bombs and it filled the air with the scent of roses. The hot water heater is doing much better, now, in terms of heating up enough water for the huge bathtub. So I submersed myself and sighed and finally relaxed into the heat. John found me there nearly half an hour later, still breathing the water laden fumes and half asleep.

I stumbled to bed after using the bathroom cleaning spray on the tub, as the oils do leave a bit of a ring, and then fell deeply asleep

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