Random Gulchy Moments

One reason I can’t get along very well without a functioning 4X4 is chickens.

At present there isn’t any water source on what used to be Landlady’s ridge, which is where the chicken house is. Part of my duty toward the chickens is supplying water, and my strategy for that varies as situations change but it always involves moving multiple 5-gallon jugs relatively long distances. They’re heavy. I’m not going to carry them (a minimum of) half a mile over rough hilly country.

The war with that family of mice that’s determined to befoul my reloading bench into uselessness has gone into extra innings. I got what I took to be the main culprit fairly early on, and things got better. But the next one – its mate? – is starting to make me question my conviction that humans are the smartest mammals on the planet. Look at this…

This mouse proved very good at stealing bait without triggering the trap. So I stripped the stuffings out of some 550 cord for really tiny string and tied the bait down. Mind you I didn’t tie the string around the paddle, no: I went through the hole. And I thought, the only way the mouse could win now is not to play. Right? Uh huh. That picture was taken less than an hour after I set the trap. I’m going back to peanut butter: brought the trap home to bait it, and I’ll be resetting it later this morning.

On the erosion front: I’ve been trying to stop the sand from washing out from behind Ian’s cave by building a small porous dam across the channel the runoff water had dug. This picture was taken yesterday, after a couple of rainy afternoons…

And this one was taken this morning after yesterday’s gully-washer.

It’s having some effect, in that sand is starting to pile up behind the dam. In front of the dam, the water is undermining my work so I have to shore up what I thought was the irrelevant side of the obstruction. But it is kind of working. Meanwhile…

I want it on record that I hate volcanos. Never had much of an opinion about them before I moved here, but since then I’ve learned that half-million-year-old ash makes the worst mud there is. And it keeps flowing downhill through inconvenient parts of my yard every damn time it rains. Which, lately, is almost every single day. Places where I just have to walk, I keep covering it up with sand and clay dug out of the front drainage ditch, which keeps silting up pretty much daily. Which means I have to dig pretty much daily, at least enough to point the water away from the cabin.

For all that, this hasn’t been an unusually wet Monsoon. Not unusually dry, either: My rain gauge shows 5.88 inches year-to-date. And it’s safest to assume we’ve got another good month to go before it ends.

The good news is that, since it started early, this has been the coolest summer I remember. Temperature hasn’t gone over 100o even once so far. And that’s almost worth the mud.

About Joel

You shouldn't ask these questions of a paranoid recluse, you know.
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3 Responses to Random Gulchy Moments

  1. doubletrouble says:

    Any way to catch rain water near the chicken house to save all that lugging?

  2. Mike says:

    Joel, once your ebike is back on the road you might consider making a utility cart that you can tow behind the ebike. This could be your plan B for chores like this.


  3. Ed says:

    Seems like you’ve re-invented the grade stabilizer. Here’s one link to a design:


    They are a pain, and you have to use a lot more depth and width of material than you’d expect because water really hates to do what you want – it undermines the gs, cuts around the sides, does anything but behave nicely…

To the stake with the heretic!