Monday, February 28, 2022

Friends and Foe!

I took the entire day off yesterday.  That's unusual for me, but I received an invitation to a get together at Jan and Bill Mains wonderful place in Casa Grande.  It's not often I get to say hello, so as long as I was here, I wasn't going to miss it.

It was a bit of a drive, 90 minutes or so, but so worth it for the friends and food.  Jan said bring olives for haystacks.  What the heck are haystacks?  I had to look it up on the internet.  Apparently when they were in Amish country, they ate where everyone took food from the table and stacked it all in a big pile on their plate, looking like the haystacks in their fields.  

Sure enough, hamburger, rice, veggies, cheese, queso and everything else you could think of was piled high, followed by brownies and pineapple upside down cake.  Haystacks of dessert sounded good to me, but I already ate too much of everything else.

After lunch we sat on the patio and watched the quail try to be brave enough to hit the feeder on the ground just a tad too close to those humans.

 I'm sure no one would have minded pictures, but I kept my phone in my pocket until I went inside and asked Bill for a tour of his kachina dolls.  Jan's dad and he made every one of probably 30 (maybe more) kachinas sitting on the top walls in the house.  

The details are amazing!!!  Of course I was just as fascinated with all the handcuffs, spurs, gun belts and mostly, the furniture!!  Jan has a knack for cowboy/western decorating, that's for sure.  

The kachinas were hand carved from blocks of wood.  Bill says there's something in that block that wants to come and visit me.  I should give it a try.  I quote Patty .... "I was thinking you needed another hobby!"

All the way home I contemplated my foe for today.  It's been almost a year since I bought this RV and the warranty will be up.  That's why I took it in last week to get everything fixed ... not that any of the fixes will last.

When I took a good look before I dropped it off, I found EIGHT of these outlets that were broken and falling out of the wall, or ceiling in this case.  There is just some kind of screw-looking device that twists with the use of a screwdriver, that turns a plastic knob sideways to hold it in place.  Good grief, why not just use something as backing to screw a REAL screw into.

When I called the manufacturer, they sent eight boxes like this ... exactly the same thing that broke on every one I currently have.  I'm pretty sure I will have the same problem over and over again.  Every time I unplug something, I have to push against this as I pull the plug out to keep it from coming out of the wall.  Plus, they are apparently so tight they break the plastic box just driving down the road.

The only other thing in the entire rig is the porch light didn't work and I'm having them raise that back jack so it's at least 8 inches above the ground instead of it's current location of 5, that I'm sure is going to catch on something.  That turned out to be a short list.  By the way, I did actually drain the hot water heater too.  That's one I wasn't sure about.  Hopefully I can figure out how to fill it up again before I need it!!

This morning's task is to call Lazy Days and see if it's ready.  Hopefully it didn't take them more than three days to change out 8 plugs and it will be ready to go.  

In the meantime, I can't believe I ran out of batteries for my game camera.  They lasted well over a year, then died a quick death overnight, probably due to the cold temperatures.  I did get a quick glimpse of a young coyote yesterday about 5:00.  Just as I let Cooper out the door, I spotted him right by the block wall.  He stopped and we had a moment before he walked on off.  I told him what a beauty he was in daylight!!  A friend for sure!

Sunday, February 27, 2022

Now You See It ... Now You Don't!!

Some times you just have to cut things out of your life.  Such was the case after the sewer line failure, which was entirely the fault of the oleanders against the fence.  I'll leave out the name of the owner (not me) who planted them.  There were three big plants twice the height of the fence.  Now you see them .......

Now you don't.  I used my handy dandy chain saw on a stick to cut them down.  Boy what a lifesaver that little gadget is!!  In no time at all, I had them out of the yard, waiting for Dan to arrive and do the hard work.  He used his little battery operated chain saw from Harbor Freight to cut the stumps down to the ground.  I think I need one of those.

Next he used it to dispatch the palm tree.  I don't know what it is about having palm trees in the desert, but they have a lot of roots heading straight for the fertilizer, so it too had to disappear.  I was rather sorry to see it go, but the alternative is bad bad bad.  It's so weird to see them gone, but it sure opened up the view!!

I moved a few things around here and there because I have no idea what to do with that wall.  The sunflower thermometer (that is always at least ten degrees off) and the kitty cat, mark the cleanout along with what else, a terra cotta pot turned upside down.  At least I put this one at ground level.

Here's a closer view of my whirligig that I moved, which included much beating with a big rock to get it back in the ground.  I have another one under the bed in the rig.  If it's still there when I get the rig back, I'll put it here too.  Maybe I'll make it a rootless whirligig garden!!  I hear Mexico calling my name.

After all that hard work, I sat back with my version of a beer.  Time for a little rest and relaxation!  

I still have to drill holes in the root stumps and apply roundup for the next ten days or so.  I've no idea if that will work, since practically nothing will kill an oleander.  The good news is I will no longer have expensive septic system root problems.  Yahoo and HALLELUJAH!!!

Saturday, February 26, 2022

Defining Stinky!

Before we get to the stinky stuff, this is for Rex.  I did a screen shot of the Blogger header, assuming of course that you use Blogger.  I wish I could make it bigger, but click on it and it should be readable.  If you run your mouse over the little icons on your computer, they will tell you what they do.  The square in the middle with the mountains is the one to click on to add pictures to your blog.  Let me know if it works!!

So ... here we are in my back yard covered with snow.  Not much this year, thank goodness, but cold nonetheless.  On this day I was waiting for the septic tank pumping crew.  I actually have lots of experience with these critters from my time in the construction industry.  We installed and repaired hundreds of septic systems.    

If you live in a city and have city sewer lines you are in like Flynn.  If not, you have this to look forward to.  All the waste from your house goes down the lines into a 1000-1500 gallon concrete tank.  From there it flows out into a big leach field where the water filters into the substrate.   Depending on the number of people in the house and how conservative you are with things like detergent and toilet paper, you may get by for years, although you should have it pumped at least every 4-5 years.  Everything you ever wanted to know about septic tanks, yeah?

I didn't think the tank needed pumping, but it's the only way to get them to check the baffle at the entry to the tank.  Apparently slow and steady is the name of the game for these guys.  In spite of my telling them where the tank was, they wasted about two hours with a water hose connected to a pipe (and to my water line ... we pay for water by usage) trying to locate the end of the tank.  

I tried to be very diplomatic because I knew they didn't know my past experience.  I mean really, there's nothing worse than a woman telling a man how to do his job, right?  Finally, one hole got dug.

It's actually about 2-1/2 feet deep on this end because they added a riser with this huge lid on top.  Otherwise it would be 3 feet deep like the other end.  That took another couple of hours to dig out.

Lovely, yes?  This is where you define just how stinky STINKY really is.  Actually it didn't smell that bad ... but I admit, it's rather disgusting.  Believe me, there are things on a cattle ranch that smell much worse!!!  That blue thing is a filter no one told me about.  They pumped the tank, both sides.

Then came the part I was afraid of.  See those lovely oleanders?  Never EVER plant ANYTHING near your septic tank or leach lines.  The roots from those bushes, sucking up all that lovely fertilizer, had completely plugged up the baffle going into the tank, which was what I really wanted to check.  Sure enough, hardly any water at all was making it past the mess.

Big ups to Dakota and Roger, because they spent the next hour trying to dislodge them so water could actually enter the tank.  It was very VERY bad!  Once that was finally cleared out, the system ran like it's supposed to.  The lids were put back on.

I knew by this time that my $600 estimate was down the toilet ... literally.  I was guessing $1,000 since it was now over 5 hours.  I grabbed a shovel and filled in the holes myself while they cleaned up their tools.  I mean really, it would have cost me a couple hundred more if I had waited on them to fill the holes!!

So there you have it ........ a $1330.40 septic tank drain and clean.  So much for that insurance bonanza!!

Here's my tip of the day.  If you have a septic tank, keep all the bushes and trees far far away.  Never put food down the garbage disposal.  It does not disintegrate and will cause you big $$$$.  Be sparing with toilet paper like you are in your RV.  No one likes a $1330.40 bill just for .... well you know, it begins with the letter S.

Now comes the BIG project ... getting rid of the CAUSE!!  The BEST news is I can finally do laundry!!!

Friday, February 25, 2022

Bulls, Burgers and OH BOY!!

It's a balmy 29 degrees this morning.  Go to Arizona in the winter they said.  It's WARM they said!!  Just not yesterday and today, nor the next three days.  It's a good thing Arizona electricity is so inexpensive because my heater is getting a good workout!

So back to the last few rides of the rodeo.  This bull was probably the best bucker in the herd.  He came out looking for a fight!!

Unfortunately for the cowboy, this guy was a twisting fool and a spinner to boot.  It's very hard to ride something this big, moving that fast and turning in circles constantly.  The cowboy didn't make 8 seconds. I don't think he even made four.

All the bulls are rated for their toughness and bucking capabilities.  Cowboys keep close eye on how many times a bull has been ridden and exactly how they buck.  How do they choose which guy rides which bull?  The names of bulls are put in a hat and each man draws his ride.  Some consider themselves lucky to pick the #1 or #2 rated bull because if ridden, they will score much higher points, possibly winning the money.

Here's a good example of the clowns saving a life.  They actually run right in front of the bull to distract it from the guy on the ground.  Now THESE guy have ..... well you know.  There's just as good a chance they will get stomped into the ground.  All three clowns here are heading right for the bulls head to distract him.

Here the clown actually puts his hand on the bulls forehead to get his attention off the rider and on to him.  Anything to save the rider.

And once again, jumping in front of the bull to draw it away from the cowboy.  The adrenaline rush for them must be beyond imagination.

Last one ... that's the cowboy in a pile on the ground while the clown jumps in front of the bucking bull with horns of steel that can gore you to death, which is why they all wear kevlar vests.  Great to watch, but can be SO scary!  Thankfully at this rodeo there really were not any bad accidents and everyone walked away on two feet.  I could tell you all my bull encounter stories, but nothing holds a candle to bull riding at a rodeo!!

Back to everyday life ... friend Pat (best friend of the Chance Patty) is moving and downsizing.  She asked if I needed a cutting table.  Sure enough, I have a big space in my sewing room.  So with Dan's help and his much bigger truck, off we went to deep in the heart of Tucson to pick it up.

Weren't we surprised to see this guy tromping through a back yard.

He has obviously tried to escape ... look at the big concrete blocks propped up against every steel pole.  You never know what you'll see in Arizona!

We located Pat's house and the table was ready to go.  It was rather awkward to move since some parts had wheels and some did not, as well as the two big sides fold down.  Dan and I got it loaded with little problem.

BUT ... to UNLOAD the thing, Dan needed sustenance.  There's not much better sustenance than the BBQ bacon charburger with sweet potatoes fries!!

They just make the best burger EVER!!  Back at my house, we got the table unloaded, but getting it through the door was a chore.  It's all set up now and I have a place to trim those huge quilts.  OH BOY!!

In the meantime, lots of other great expensive things have been happening around here, but I'll hold off until tomorrow.  Think stinky!!

Thursday, February 24, 2022

Risking Your Life!!

Here we are, back at the Tucson Rodeo again.  To keep from photo overload, I'm breaking this into two days.  THIS is the bull riding, THE most dangerous sport where you risk your life every time you come out of the gate.  

But first ..... the crew must move these long panels around to make the fence that will hold the bulls in a small area.  

Don't be fooled into thinking that fence is strong enough to hold a bull.  It's not even close.  Something akin to holding a grizzly bear with a piece of thread.  

Same rules here ..... you must mark him out, meaning keep your feet over the point of the shoulder until the bull's front feet hit the ground, assuming of course you don't hit the ground first.

You might also recognize the riders are wearing helmets.  The Professional Bull Riders Association now requires helmets for anyone born after 1994.  They are also required to wear a padded protective vest and leather chaps.  All this is to keep them alive, or mostly alive, when they get stepped on or a bull tries to hook them with his horns.

Obviously, this is not a sport for the faint hearted.  These guys have guts like no other.  Maybe it's the adrenaline rush.  I can tell you I know of not one single bull rider who hasn't had MANY broken bones.

What makes the bull buck?  Number one, these guys are bred for this sport.  Number two, there is a flank strap wrapped tightly around their body at the back legs.  As soon as that flank strap comes off, they quit bucking.  As you can imagine, it takes quite a bit of energy to throw this 1700 - 2000 pound body around the arena.

You kind of have to stare at these images a bit to see where the rider actually is.  If you look bottom right, you'll see the entertainment guy sticking his head out of the barrel.  In fact, I think he's in most every picture.  He's not a rodeo clown, he's the comic relief.

Along with bull riding comes the REAL rodeo clowns.  Their job is simple .... save the riders life.  These guys ... I know they think it's fun, but they put their lives in danger every second to save the riders from the bulls.  No one every said brahma bulls were nice.  They are mean as snot, even if you're on top of a horse trying to usher them out of the arena.

Yup he's actually pushing on the bulls head to get his attention off the rider and on to him until the rider can get up and over the fence.  You'll see the clowns turning really tight corners as they run since bulls cannot make the same tight turn.  It gives the clown a chance to get out of the way and over the fence himself.

I'll finish this up tomorrow and post picture of the snow.  Yessirree ... it snowed in Tucson last night.  Not a lot, but snow is snow!!!

Wednesday, February 23, 2022

Barrels and Bucking!!

The next competition up at the rodeo was barrel racing.  This sport supposedly began back in the early 1900's in Texas and by 1928 was the only event for women only.  Women actually participated in various rodeos riding broncs, but in 1948 they founded the Women's Professional Rodeo Association with barrel racing their event.

There are three barrels placed in the arena and the contestant must ride a cloverleaf pattern around all three.  Deviate from the pattern and you are disqualified.  This horse stumbled just behind the barrel and almost went down.

Knock a barrel over and you get a 5 second penalty added to your time.  If you want to win, your time should be in the 16 second range.  On this day there were a few 17+ times, along with a bunch of 18's.

Winning the most money will make you a champion, so following the circuit around the country is the name of the game.  It can range from $300,000 to $500,000 a year if you're good.   

It's important to note that usually comes along with lots of broken bones and injuries that affect you for many years to come.  Here's an example of marking out ... he was disqualified in this saddle bronc ride.

Your saddle helps keep you aboard.  You can see the swells, the part right in front with the horn on top, are high in this old image of a cowgirl riding at a rodeo.  The cantle, the part behind your butt is also high to help keep your seat.  As time went on, many were hurt by the horn sticking up when the horse fell, so they removed it as bucking saddles evolved.

In this competition, the cowboys are riding with saddles and free swinging stirrups, holding on to a rope attached to the horses halter.  This is saddle bronc riding.

Although I'm sure my horses never bucked this high or hard, I can tell you this is exactly what it FELT like when they got spooked by something, even if they only jumped two feet in the air.

Judges keep a sharp eye out as the ride progresses.  You are not allowed to touch the horse at any time with your free hand.  If you do, you are disqualified, so there are occasionally various gyrations by the guys so that doesn't happen.  This guy was from the bareback competition, a picture I missed last time. Now this horse can BUCK!!

That's it for today.  I'm taking my rig in early this morning to repair all those electrical outlets that broke and/or fell out of the wall.  I don't have much hope they will be able to come up with a permanent fix, but I'm having them fix the problem anyway.

We're expecting lots of rain this afternoon into the night.  It's probably going to be a stay inside kind of day.

Tuesday, February 22, 2022

Ride 'Em Cowboy!!!

 Another fabulous Arizona day before the cold weather starts in again, along with rain tomorrow and quite possibly some snow.  I'm glad we saw the rodeo when we did!!

This is bareback bronc riding.  It's hard enough to stay in the saddle when your horse decides to take a jump or two, but with no saddle and no stirrups to keep you in place, it's darn near impossible.  Not for these guys though!!

Since a lot of the country experiences bad weather during the winter, this is the perfect place to come so you can add to your points and money winnings.  It's how you become the best in the world for that year.  

You can also bomb out and win nothing.  Look at the cowboy's legs in the above picture and in this one.   When they come out of the chute, the cowboy must "mark him out", meaning his heels must be in contact with the horse above the point of the shoulder until the horse's front feet hit the ground, or he gets a no-score, meaning no money and he rode just for the practice.

They hold on to what basically looks like a suitcase handle, called a rigging, that was invented in the early 1900's.  Prior to that, they just held on to the horses mane.  The first rigging was invented by Earl Bascom and used at the Raymond Stampede in Alberta Canada in 1924.  From there on it's hold on Nelly until the bell sounds at 8 seconds.  More than you ever wanted to know, right??

Each rider is scored by two judges, the guys in the pink shirts and referee vests.  Each judges the horse from 0 - 25 and the rider from 0 - 25.  Add those four scores together and you have a winner.  On this day I think the winning score was something like 85.

Next up, bull dogging, also known as steer wrestling.  This is Morgan Evans taking down a rather large steer.  This was not part of everyday cowboy life back in the old west.  It came about in 1890 when Bill Pickett, a Wild West show performer, was said to have caught a runaway steer by wrestling it to the ground.

Nowadays, you have a "wrestler" on the left with a hazer on the right, keeping the steer heading straight.  At about 25-30 mph, you slide off your horse, grab the steers horns and throw your legs out in front to slow him down.

This guy was a little bit late in getting off his horse and almost passed the steer by, but nevertheless, he got the steer to the ground.

Cattle and horses go where their nose goes, so if you can turn their head, they will turn around ... not exactly willingly of course.

Once they are stopped with their head turned, the bulldogger must keep ahold until the steer lays down with all four feet heading the same direction.  One leg underneath doesn't count.  

This is a perfect example of how it's done.  It's a timed event with winning numbers usually in the 5 second range.  Pretty crazy, right??  This guys time was 5.6 and he was pretty happy about it, showing a big smile.

That ends this day's rodeo lesson, sponsored by Butler Rodeo Stock and Ram Dodge Trucks.  Text Ram Tough to 999222 and register to win $100,000 towards the truck of your choice.  If you don't win, they will inundate you with text messages and emails for the rest of your life!!  I declined.