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Forcast for tonight


Sent from some friends
Kids… don’t really do these things….
this is for fun only



To Maintain A Healthy Level Of Insanity

1. At Lunch Time, Sit In Your Parked Car With Sunglasses on and point a Hair Dryer At Passing Cars. See If They slow Down.

2. Page Yourself Over The Intercom. Don’t Disguise Your Voice!

3. Every Time Someone Asks You To Do Something, ask If They Want Fries with that.

4. Put Decaf In The Coffee Maker For 3 Weeks . Once Everyone has Gotten Over Their Caffeine Addictions, Switch to Espresso.

5. In the Memo Field Of All Your Checks, Write ‘For Marijuana’.

6. Skip down the hall Rather Than Walk and see how many looks you get.

7. Order a Diet Water whenever you go out to eat, with a serious face.

8. Specify That Your Drive-through Order Is ‘To Go’.

9. Sing Along At The Opera.

10. Five Days In Advance, Tell Your Friends You Can’t Attend Their Party Because You have a headache.

11. When The Money Comes Out The ATM, Scream ‘I Won! I Won!’

12. When Leaving the Zoo, Start Running towards the Parking lot, Yelling ‘Run For Your Lives! They’re Loose!’

13. Tell Your Children Over Dinner, ‘Due To The Economy, We Are Going To Have To Let One Of You Go.’

And The Final Way To Keep A Healthy Level Of Insanity


Send This E-mail To Someone To Make Them Smile. It’s Called…THERAPY



We went to check on the ladybugs by the creek.
They’ve spent the winter clinging to these bushes… sometimes they fall to the ground and stay in a thick mat all packed deeply.
They are like red jewels moving slowly and dripping from the leaves to the moist cool earth.
They have to move to regulate their temperatures, they move in and out of the sun which just this week started peeking into the canyon. They are starting to awaken from their dormancy.
I suppose they don’t want to leave too early though… they have a secluded safe spot here in which to rest through the winter…. once they become active they will need to eat.  In the great scheme of life, they probably time their dispersion with the hatching of aphids. This will give them some food while they start their own egg-laying. The youngsters will hatch amid a plethora of food.  Thousands of ladybugs will spread for ‘who-knows-how-far’ from this one tiny little spot in the  middle of nowhere.



Here’s a little video I took showing the ladybugs.
And below we have some photos.
See the next post before this to find some info and links on ladybugs.



Ladybugs Galore!

Ladybird, ladybird, fly away home
Your house is on fire and your children are gone
All except one, and that’s Little Anne
For she has crept under the warming pan.



  We went walking along a local stream and found a nest of ladybugs. They will sometimes winter in protected places… waiting through the winter for warm weather to arrive when they will spread their little wings and fly to lay the eggs that will hatch into ‘Aphid Lions’ and eat aphids by the score!

   Oddly, it is the babies that eat the most aphids… and these little guys don’t look anything like a ladybug! This is one of the reasons why it’s important to not use any poisons at all if you can avoid it… you might well be  killing bugs that would take care of much of your bug problems.



Here are some ladybugs wintering near us…
They are near the stream.. perhaps the extra humidity near the stream is good for them… also the temperature moderation helps them. This is deep in a steep narrow canyon… this spot gets no direct sun until February…. the ladybugs may like this as it keeps them asleep through the winter… sun rays would warm them too early. They need to maintain themselves in a wintering state until the season is advanced enough for them to be able to rely on the weather.
   I didn’t bring my glasses with me… so I got the focus off… rats!



   Our recent storms were pretty rough for this area… many of the ladybugs got knocked off the branches and lay in a deep mat on the ground.  But they are just fine… they like being all snuggled in together like this… surrounded by the grasses.. kept cool and moist as they try to semi-hibernate through the winter.

   Sometimes when people have a pest problem they might buy a container of ladybugs. The idea is the ladybugs will eat your bugs. The problem is they usually fly away after being introduced to the garden. Also, one has to remember that ‘The Balance of Nature’ is not really a balance.. it is a seesaw. Once food resources are thin in an area, the eaters must find a new spot to dine. So you’ll likely lose most whatever you do… but you should also have some come in from outside areas.   My concept of this issue is…. for the most part, proper conditions make for clean plants. Make sure your soil, moisture, nutrient and lighting conditions are correct for your crop, and you’ll likely get very good growth with few problems. This is why we grow cactus.. it is one of the best crops for our conditions. This is one of the limitations of the ‘locavore’ movement… sometimes it is best to bring food in from another area rather than have to expend great resources growing it locally.

   If you do order ladybugs… water your garden in the late afternoon on the day you get them…. then while the garden is moist…. when the sun has gone down.. at dusk… gently shake the ladybugs from their mesh bag or container… place the rim near the ground under the canopy of leaves. Let them feel the cool moist earth and feel the enfolding leaves above as they gently roll out onto the soft fluffy ground… give them a feeling of security so they will not be greatly frightened… you want them to start off life at your place with a feeling it is a good place for them with shelter and moisture. Hopefully when the morning comes they will be in a good mood, and climbing among your plants finding good food resources, and being compelled to lay the eggs which will hatch into the voracious insects known as ‘Aphid Lions’.

   BTW, while we sell our cactus…. we don’t sell the insects and animals… LOL, I’ll not be scooping these critters up to sell them off… sorry.


the people chaffe

From e-mails I’ve gotten….

 The Center for Disease Control has issued a warning about a new Virulent strain of Transmitted Disease. The disease is contracted Through ignorant, promiscuous, and irresponsible behavior. The Disease is called Gonorrhea Lectem and pronounced “gonna re-elect them.” Many victims contracted it in 2008, after having being “brainwashed” Promised change and then screwed.  Naturalists and epidemiologists are Amazed at how widespread this disease has become since it is so easily Cured….by voting out all incumbents!




 Congress  has the lowest approval of any entity in Government, the entity that represents us. We need to get a Senator to introduce this bill in the US Senate and a Representative to introduce a similar bill in the US House.   
These  people will become American heroes..  Please send any ideas on how to get this done. Thanks,

 A Fellow American


 Congressional Reform Act of 2010

 1. Term Limits: 12  years only, one of the possible options below.

 A. Two Six year Senate terms
 B.  Six Two year House terms
 C. One Six year Senate term and three Two Year House terms


Serving in Congress is an honor, not a career.
 The Founding Fathers envisioned citizen legislators,
serve your term(s), then go home and back to work.


 2.   No Tenure / No Pension:

      A congressman collects a salary while in office and receives no pay when they are out of office.


 Serving in Congress is an honor, not a career.
 The Founding Fathers envisioned citizen legislators,
serve your term(s), then go home and back to work.


 3.   Congress (past, present &  future) participates in Social Security:

    All funds in the Congressional retirement fund moves to the Social Security system immediately.   All future funds flow into the Social Security system, Congress participates with the American people.

Serving in Congress is an honor, not a career.
 The Founding Fathers envisioned citizen legislators,
serve your term(s), then go home and back to work.

 4.  Congress can purchase their own retirement plan just as all Americans.


 Serving in Congress is an honor, not a career.
 The Founding Fathers envisioned citizen legislators,
serve your term(s), then go home and back to work.


5.  Congress will no longer vote themselves a pay raise. Congressional pay will rise by the lower of CPI or 3%.


 Serving in Congress is an honor, not a career.
 The Founding Fathers envisioned citizen legislators,
serve your term(s), then go home and back to work.

6.   Congress looses their current health care system and participates in the same health care system as the American people.

Serving in Congress is an honor, not a career.
 The Founding Fathers envisioned citizen legislators,
serve your term(s), then go home and back to work.

 7.  Congress must equally abide in all laws they impose on the American people.


Serving in Congress is an honor, not a career.
 The Founding Fathers envisioned citizen legislators,
serve your term(s), then go home and back to work.

8.  All contracts with past and present congressmen are void  effective 1/1/11.

      The American people did not make this contract with  
congressmen, congressmen made all these contracts for themselves.


Serving in Congress is an honor, not a career.
 The Founding Fathers envisioned citizen legislators,
serve your term(s), then go home and back to work.

 If you agree with the above, pass it on to all in your address list. 
If not,  just delete.

Visit at Grandma’s

John is out with his friends and stops by his
Grandmother’s house for a visit
To wish her a happy new year.

There’s a bowl of peanuts on the coffee table,

And John and his friends start snacking on them.

When they’re ready to leave, his friends say,
“Nice to meet you, ma’am, and thank you for the peanuts.”

Grandma says, “You’re welcome. Ever since I lost my dentures,
Now all I can do is suck the chocolate off of them..”


Bull Riding School

   Some of our neighbors have  a bullriding school… You can read about much of their doings at ‘RodeoUp.com’

   Gary Leffew is a World Champion Bullrider and his bull riding school is on his ranch.  He’s a pretty interesting fellow…. you’d expect ‘hard-bitten’ Western Cynicism from a full time Cowboy…. but Gary reaches out for any help in his sport… and some of that even includes mediation to get ‘in-right’ with the bull and yourself.  He also is an advisor for films, he knows Cowboy history and customs…. if you need a bunch of professional Cowboys who really know how to ride for a Western, he can provide you with professionals who will show up on time when and where with the equipment they need and who know how a film-set works. He also has livestock for rodeos and films. He was a Big-Guy on the HBO series ‘Deadwood‘ as an advisor, some segments of ‘Jackass’ were filmed at his ranch, along with ‘Cowboy Up’  and a couple others. His son Judd is in plenty of commercials… if you see cowboys in a commercial… chances are they know of the Leffew’s if they are not the Leffews’.

   Growing up mostly in this area I am used to rodeo as a professional sport and recreation. It is mostly modelled off of real skills that pro Cowboys need to know and do.  I’ve seen Spanish bullfights before, and I’ve seen traditional Mexican Rodeo… US rodeo seems fairly tame on the animals by comparison.  Bull riding for instance seems to cause no harm to the animals… these bulls are treated like royalty by Cowboys… they know the names of the famous bulls… they like them and respect them, and cheer when a bull gives a hard ride that a Cowboy still rode well…. again, the rural flavor of this area shows when I was quite surprised to have someone holler at me that “Rodeo is animal abuse”….. I guess anyone who feels that this is terrible will never understand why I would support it. Yet if they are from the city, and don’t really know about animals much…. I can see how they’d feel that way. They don’t know…. yet I don’t expect they’d give me the ‘benefit of the doubt’ like I do them.

  We were going by Gary’s place the other day, and they were taking a fellow out for  a ride on a bull…. they said we could take some photos… here’s two that I like.




  These animals are athletes… it is in the best interests of the ranch to keep them happy and healthy, and not scared…. but if you don’t believe that…. there’s nothing that can make you believe it…  but I feel you can relax your worry for these animals, I pass by them from time to time, and they seem happy.

A California Coastal Canyon Environment In Winter


A California Coastal Canyon Environment In Winter


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After a week of rain, we took a little road trip to a secret spot…

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The rain has brought mushrooms out… which causes problems when people roam the hills looking for mushrooms.  Many chantarelles are ‘wild-harvested’ which may be done in an irresponsible and unsustainable way… don’t go on private property for mushrooms… it gets people upset when they get trespassers.

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A canyon…. cowbones… pathway, and an oatmeal cookie with craisens.

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Appalachia??? No, a California canyon. Water in a creek, forbes in a field, and a cow skull


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Black Oak, fog in the window, not been run for a week in the rain. Sycamores… and cows


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Horses… Cottonwood, S-Creek, and a cutbank road.

A Week and Windy Week.. No Fun

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We’ve had nearly a week of rainy weather… accompanied by high winds.

   Some local areas got twelve or more inches of rain in a week…. this is about one third of a usual year’s rainfall… all in one week. For many places, this would be merely a regular stormy week…but it is the first such weather we’ve had in three or four years.

Here is a flooded area just off the 101 in the Avila area.

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Here are two shots I took near our place… one is a downed oak in the canyon.
   We had several trees go down in the canyon. The soil is so wet that the winds allow the roots to semi-liquefy the soil by moving the tree back and forth, hour after hour, day after day… for five or more days while the rain comes down, hour after hour, day after day…. this can help the tree topple. 
   The other photo is a nearby field, used to graze beef cows…. it is years since I have seen this amount of runoff water on this spot. The water has natural drainage swales… these people treat this ground prety good… they never allow livestock in while the ground is marshy… it is bad for the feet of the animals… and it turns the wet spots into mud wallows that don’t provide any food for the animals, and keep them muddy. Their animals are rotated around different fields so they always have fresh clean grasses, and never destroy the structure of the soil.

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  On the left is a tree that went down on the canyon road … there was no way to get around it. This has happened before.. once I traded vehicles with a neighbor on the other side of a downed tree…. it got me home, and him to work. Some local folks carry chainsaws with them when coming in and out… you never know when a tree will come down…
  In a case like this it is local custom that anyone coming along with a chainsaw may take what they can cut… but the first goal is to open the road. In this case, the county came by and cut it. Usually when a tree goes down like this, local canyon dwellers usually cut it up and haul it away before an hour has gone by…. he who waits will not get wood. In this case.. the wind was blowing fiercely, and no one else was about… I went home and waited out the storm rather than risk a tree falling on me. I was going out taking a cat to the vet to be teutored… this is the third time he has escaped his lessons… the first time he got locked in a neighbor’s garage, the second time he clawed his way out of the doggie door while being held indoors overnight… and this was the ‘third-time’s-the-charm’ thing.. and it seemed like God caused the tee to fall to keep this cat’s bloodlines going…. what’dya think? 


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   This is a neighbor’s barn. We had a few hours of decent weather between the thunderstorms…. just after I took this photo the radio sounded off with the ‘Public EmergencyAlert’ (first time I recall hearing an actual messag on it instead of jsut a test), warning of a severe thunderstorm crossing Pismo Beach, and heading inland at thirty MPH. A few minutes down the dirt road hail started falling onto the truck. We seldom get hail… I’ve only seen it here perhaps five times in the last twenty years. The severe thunderstorm was overhead. In a matter of minutes the wind started roaring and blew like crazy again.


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   Here is a photo of some clouds coming onto the shore at the Dinosaur Cove area near Pismo Beach. On the way back into the canyon I saw a young deer on the road… My first photo used the flash… but the deer was too far away… but I like the deer-eyes glow. You can see what condition our road is in…. four miles each way daily will take a toll on car batteries, and suspension systems.


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  A storm like this can topple some of our cactus plants also.  The large Opuntia ficus-indica to the far left fell over…. it was perhaps seven feet tall, and probably weighs about one hundred pounds.
   The middle photo is some of the grasses growing on one of our hillsides.. notice how they are bent over by the rain and wind. I really want the grasses to grow… they absorb water reducing runoff, they also open the soil permitting more water entry, helping the water to infiltrate into the soil. Depending on the situation, we often let the grasses grow, mature and set seeds. We will then mow them to reduce the cover for snakes, and keep the weed stickers down. The cut grasses form a mulch on the soil.
   The third photo is one of our outdoor cats, Elizabeth Little-Grey. She sleeps in a little cat-condo… here she sticks her head out. We often lay a blanket over the condo at night, to help keep her warmer. On occasion we’ve brought her indoors during storms, but she doesn’t like being indoors at all… she quickly runs to the door begging to get out. She’s really cute and friendly outdoors though.   All-in-all, it’s been a fairly un-fun experience the last week. Plenty of ag and mining operations have lost much production. The tourism industry likely lost some revenue during these storms… but on-the-other-hand… we’re pretty darn lucky… things could have been worse (but we’re not out of the weather yet), most of the country has had much worse weather for the last two months than this one single week has been for us. So we’re really lucky, but still hope we don’t have to go through anything near this again for some years.

Music for a rainy week

   I’d love to be able to control the weather, but I know I’d crack under the strain of knowing that while it blessed one person, another would be hurt by whatever weather I put down.

   And while I hate this gloom, the interminable rain keeping us from harvesting cactus… and the damage that wind does to structures and trees, and tall cactus plants…. I know that as soon as June comes along, we’ll likely already have been a couple of months without rain… and I’ll be wishing we had gotten more….

   Wish in one hand…. hold another under a cow.. see which one fills first.

   So while I can pretty-much do nothing but sit back and worry about runoff, landslide, shingles, windows, trees and other elements of destruction…. I can at least watch some good movies, and listen to some good tunes….




But what is sitting and longing for sun,
but a wishing for old days that shine in the mind.
Luckily it is the sunny times… that we remember most. 
From the sea to the hills one can travel in a day on foot here.
In the mind, such a trip is faster than light.
All you need is to see it once,
and it’s there for you anytime you need it.

always keep the sun at your face… 
and you cannot see the shadows…
~Hopi proverb~

Those were the Days is a song popularized in English by Mary Hopkins in the late sixties. But it was originally a Russian song called ‘Dorogoi Dlinnoyu’ and first recorded in 1920.  Maybe Russian music appeals in this weather…. it tries so very hard to be sunny and optimistic…. but we all know the deprivation that has stalked the Russians for centuries…. I found a Russian language version of this song on YouTube… it is beautifully rendered.


  What I get a kick out of is the Asian audience…. probably on a tour-vacation. I like their participation… they made it a more delightful experience for the musicians I am sure.


‘What is good for the Russian will kill the German’
~Russian proverb~


   Please say a prayer for the folks in Haiti,
and for the people in the California wildfire areas…
they are likely to get a lot of rain and mudslides. 



Rockwell Retro-Encabulator


Rockwell Retro-Encabulator

   I love tech-speak… so this is a very informative video…..
   From a mechanical standpoint, I especially appreciate  the maleable logarythymic casing.  But electrical folks would probably enjoy the modial interaction of magneto-reluctance and capacitive-interactants. All-in-all it seems a pretty sweet way to power a panametric fan.  Available soon wherever Rockwell Automation Products are sold.