Saturday night Donald and I drove up to Ukiah. In the morning we checked the fence line in part of the Iris Barn Pastures. Carrie thought she had a problem out there. We found several minor things, but nothing that should have killed a battery. I suspect that the battery had been abused just enough to be at the end of its life anyway.
Moving on we checked the drip and spray lines at the Howell Creek restoration project. We started with the ones that were chewed up, apparently by a coyote, during August. I had just fixed them. They had all survived intact for the 5 days since I’d seen them last. We left one set of sprinklers going for a couple of hours just to give the little willows a boost.
The winter shelter for the horses was next. Our project was to finish cutting the 1 inch plywood to length and get some primer on it.
Apparently nothing ever gets done on the Ranch without painful preliminary steps. First thing in the morning I had loaded the generator into the car, hurting my back in the process. Yes, I know, I should have waited for help… Once loaded several of us tried to figure out how to siphon off the stale gas in its tank. All the ethanol that is put in gas these days may make it burn cleaner, but it also makes it go bad within about 3 months. The gas in that tank was at least a year old. Unfortunately for us, the tank on the generator was designed to be hard to steal gas from. Eventually I got a siphon going and Donald held the generator at an angle until it had drained. We refilled it with “tool gas” which is wildly expensive but has a shelf life of 2+ years. Once at the shelter, getting the generator going was a comedy of errors since there was very poor labeling on the machine (I kept trying to start it in the “off” position using the choke lever that had no info at all), even worse; the valve on the fuel hose works the opposite of the valves I’m familiar with. This lead me to attempt to start the machine in the off position with no fuel!!
Thinking about doing this project before I left San Francisco, I realized that I no longer owned any saw-horses, the last ones had disintegrated into compost some time before. At the hardware store I found some very nice metal ones that fold up and have a carry handle. Ideal. We set the two bright yellow saw-horses up, marked the first sheet of plywood and I began running my old skill-saw through it. It immediately became obvious that the old skill-saw was un-usable. Way back when Matt was working for us he had mentioned that the saw didn’t work properly and that he thought the shaft was bent. I went to town. An hour later my brand new De Walt skill saw was making short work of the plywood.
Dave, the deer hunter, happened to be on the place taking down their hunt camp for the season. I called him and he very obligingly came down and helped shuffle plywood around, giving my sore back a rest. We got everything cut, and Donald got quite a lot of paint on the plywood given that he kept being interrupted to help move things.
Once the plywood was cut I tightened the bolts that hold the rafter to the walls with a tiny ratchet wrench that was terribly annoying. I like my tools to work, not half work! Here is the worksite. Note the black plastic on the right hand side. There a lovely little frogs sheltering in its damp folds!
At the end of the day we walked past the new tents that are sheltering the various bits of equipment that no longer fit in the barn. The tents are getting quite badly blown around. Next trip I need to fix that problem. I know what I want to do, put big 4x6 runners under each side of the tent and fasten everything securely down to those.
Got back to SF about 10pm.