Sunday, December 15, 2013

A Perfect Day

If you’ve been following my writings you will know that we’ve had a cold, cold snap in the last week. Pipes were freezing and breaking right and left. We have a couple houses on the property and one is not fully heated because if we do we may as well buy PG&E so high will be our heating bill. We hoped to prevent busted pipes in areas we knew were especially vulnerable by using a small space heater there to heat the floors. But wouldn’t you know it the first night of well below freezing we had a power outage that was area wide and the electricity didn’t come on until 2 am. So the pipes went their merry way and there was nothing we could do about it except pray.
The next day and the next revealed even more broken pipes. The cold snap continued unabated. We couldn’t get relief and so we did what we had to do. That was buckle down, bundle up and go out there and fix 'em! I shouldn't say "we" because it was mostly Marty doing the work. We were getting way more familiar with highway 162 into Willows to go get yet another group of parts we didn't have in supply. That I can say I participated in. The drive into town. Gotta keep the moral of the plumber up by lending support and companionship! I can do that!
I kept thinking about folks living points east of us but figured they’ve been dealing with this sort of thing for so long that they are well prepared and don’t indulge in wishful thinking like Californians do. They’ve already got their pipes well underground, well insulated and well protected. They’ve got the stock water heated and don’t need a sledge hammer or a pot of boiling water to make “chicken tea” every morning.
So when the weather started warming up we were very, very grateful. It was that warm today so we decided to take a walk out to the creek which is getting more water in it daily. This is Grindstone Creek from which the ranch gets its name. It originates way back up near the divide in the Mendocino National Forest. It’s full of gravel, rocks and clear cold water. We walked a long way using the animal freeways. I was glad I took my walking stick with me. This way I can negotiate narrow trails on an eroding slope and hop over the narrows in the creek without getting soaked.

Later on in the season where I stand in this picture there will be a torrent of water as wide as the picture and waist deep. But for now it's good enough for walking and picking up blue green rocks like serpentinite from the Franciscan complex that makes up the Mendo range that you see in the background. 
It was great to get out in the sun. We saw a badger den but no badger. We saw thousands of animal sign. I thought a pile of scat might be bear scat but realized later it was more than likely wild pig scat. Marty made video of tracks and sign for his Search and Rescue videos. I picked up rocks and drift wood. Who needs to go to the ocean when you have Grindstone Creek and a perfect day?

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