Spring is Sprung!

And oh what a beautiful morning. I lay around until almost 6:30, then took my first cup out to the workbench. The woodstove is put to bed for the season – I even turned off the propane to the bedroom heater – but before I forget all about it for seven months I wanted to put the finish on a little ongoing project…

I’ve been gradually reducing the blade angle on my kindling hatchet since last autumn, gingerly and a little at a time because I’m not exactly Paul Bunyan and only theoretically know what I’m doing.

I like this little hatchet – it’s nothing fancy, nothing you’d brag to your friends about…


…probably untouched by human hands from forging to packaging. But it works well and you could buy six or eight of them for one Gränsfors Bruk, and each would work just as well without raising your blood pressure or consigning your soul to hell every time the edge gets nicked. The head is a great splitting wedge, but the original edge angle takes things altogether too far – like almost 45o. I’ve gradually been knocking that back, as I said. It’s the first time I ever dared seriously take a file to an axehead so I did it a little at a time. I think I’m done now and it came out really nice. Put an edge on it, and put it away for the season.

You might recall three months ago I wrote a piece titled “And that’s why I carry a gun.” When I opened the powershed door to get my tools, I met one of the reasons I don’t just use the gun on everything that moves…


Yup, the bull snakes are out. And quite welcome.


Click on that and look under the tool chest and you’ll see him again. And as you can see from all the rat droppings he’s slithering through, he’s there on serious business. Unlike the packrats, he’s welcome to anything he wants to take.

I was out on the porch yesterday afternoon and it quickly became clear that we’re close enough to the summer solstice that the evening sun will soon become a factor in the porch-sitting process. So…


…while I was thinking about it I brought out the sun shade I made last summer and a ladder, and hung it over the west side of the porch. I had to do one modification I’d promised myself last year…


Last year I hung it on some hook eyes I screwed into the porch and bedroom wall, which seemed natural enough. But no matter how I adjusted things, the wind kept knocking the shade off this one hook. Annoying. So yesterday evening I drilled right through the rafter, bent an eyebolt permanently onto that grommet, and hung the shade that way. That corner, at least, won’t ever unhang itself again.

After I negotiated with the snake for passage to put my tools away, I went for a nice walky that ended up at the chickenhouse…


…and on the way home I noticed my favorite cactus flowers are about to bloom!


These are tiny little barrel cactus variants, can’t remember what they’re called. They have the most evil hooked thorns you ever saw – but they also have the prettiest lavender flowers in the desert. The sight caused me to divert to another one on the other side of the wash and up a rather steep hill, that I’ve marked with a white rock so I can find it since it kind of hides…


Yeah! This one might even open today. I’ll keep an eye on it. I love those things.

On the way home I stopped and admired the Secret Lair, as I often do. And as I have at least ten times this week, I reminded myself to go up to the loft and open the summer vent windows.

And when I get home from this weekend’s trip to the city, I’ll start work on some minor modifications to the water heater and give it another try.


That thing got so hot last summer it kept melting the pipe cement and leaking all over the powershed roof. This time I’m going to go even a little more primitive and see if that works. More on that next week, probably.

Once back home I finished another of my little seasonal projects…


The desert is a dusty place at the best of times. A good windstorm and everything inside gets some of the outside on it. But for seasonal clothes that’s nothing a cheap leaf bag can’t cure. Summer clothes out, winter clothes covered.

And then…


…I dug my air mattress out of the tin shed and inflated it to ensure that it still works. I’ll be staying with friends in the city Saturday night and they don’t have enough beds, so I’m bringing my own. Looking forward to seeing my friends, but not really looking forward to being away from the Gulch. In coping with all stressful chores, I find the answer to be in a sort of ritual of meticulous preparation. I’ll be doing that off and on all day. We leave in the morning.

About Joel

You shouldn't ask these questions of a paranoid recluse, you know.
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5 Responses to Spring is Sprung!

  1. Man, you are living the life, and I say that with no hint of sarcasm or anything else other than admiration.

  2. Wayne Dygert says:

    A good day is to be treasured

  3. Mark Matis says:

    So when you stay with your city-slicker friends you’ll get to see how a water heater is SUPPOSED to work!!!

  4. Ben says:

    It bears re-saying, I LOVE this sort of meandering, picture-filled, slice-of-Gulchlife post!

  5. Chris Taylor says:

    Ben, agreed! Well, more of a strong like than love, but, yeah. These are all fascinating to read.

To the stake with the heretic!