Cougar trap works

Well, if you count ‘working’ as catching anything of the feline variety… like a barn kitty :-/ Yea, I went out this morning, saw the cage door down and thought – “hey, problems solved”… no, not so fast. Where’s the cougar? No, inside the trap is Freddy, our youngest (and most curious) barn kitty, sitting in the middle of the trap in a pile of hay, crying.

The cougar meanwhile, finds the trap closed, his sheep inside and some little cougar wannabe inside. So, he goes in search of another sheep to make a meal – scratch yet another sheep/lamb. At least he chose the most annoying/spooky little one we had and ate its head off.

Tonite the barn kitties get put in carrier crates in the barn to keep them from interfering.


We just had a sizable quake here in the bay area. 5.6 according to the initial USGS reports.

More details as it comes in. Here at home, it felt like a big wave rolling the house up and down. The dogs were totally unconcerned – picked their heads up, looked around and then went back to sleep.



We went to the Wente Vineyards over in Livermore last week to see George Carlin. The place was pretty neat – never really thought of Livermore as being wine country (just seems too dry, hot, etc), but I guess if you put water on the ground enough, grapes do grow. Anyway, we got one of those package deals that included dinner, so we had dinner before the show. Great food. The wine was pretty good to (although for the pork & steak that we had, the waiter actually suggested a wine from a different vineyard than we were at – go figure). I suppose I made a classic geek move and sniffed the cork. Lisa was chiding me the rest of the evening about that move 🙂

Carlin is getting pretty old – he just turned 70 this year. As he put it, he’s officially an ‘old fuck’. He was presenting pretty much all new material, so he worked from some notes which was a little distracting to have him keep picking up his papers and look thru them, but he was still funny. It was surprisingly chilly and even under the stage lights, George made note of it as only George can. What was kind of weird was that some folks left the show early, about 1/2way thru his set. I guess in spite of know that Carlin is pretty ‘adult’, they still couldn’t deal with it. Dunno why someone would pay for front row seats and then bail early. Downside of seeing a show at a winery – the percentage of just plain snobby people – bleah.

Life on the ranch

Our day started with the ‘raccoon recycling program’ – yea, trapped another one last nite, who got relocated 7+ miles away. Can’t tell if its one of the previous ones, but I’m guessing not – they tend not to go back in the trap after being caught once. It seems appropriate that I put the trap in the big recycling barrel to contain any mess they might make.

Its lambing season again – one of the ewes dropped two this morning, which Jack promptly stomped to death. Sigh… ‘hooves of death’. Time to move Jack out of the pasture with the ewes. The strange thing is one of them looked like an alien cattle mutilation – eyes, ears, mouth all neatly carved out. Hmmm… I did see a large flaming meteor streak down toward the next town over last nite. Maybe it was an alien landing.


Several wildfires broke out near us in the past week and the dry conditions with high winds are making things really bad.

The next two pics are from a large blaze out in the rangeland west of I-5 on the border of Santa Clara County. Its really whipping up now and we can see the huge plumes of smoke from my office:

Here’s some video footage of the fire.

This next fire started a few miles east of us and hopped over 6 lanes of I-580 as it continued to spread northward.

All the rain we had this spring created a lot more fuel in the rangelands for this summer’s fire season. I’m glad I spent more time this spring cutting back all the grasses around the house (unlike last year when we had 3ft tall dry grass right up to the edge of the lawn. Anyone who is having rain, please send it to us…

It ain’t easy being green…

With all the rain we had in March and April, you’d think the local wildlife would be satisfied with that… but no… this little guy must have figured he’s stumbled upon prime real estate when he discovered the hot tub and its nice toasty warm water and the relative protection of being 4 ft off the ground:

Thar she blows

So, I decided that it was time to refill the hot tub today – its been running on the same basic load of water since, oh, September, when it was first installed. Can you say “human soup”? Bleah…

Not being patient enough for a garden hose and gravity to do the trick (600gal), I run down to Harbor Freight to procure a nifty submersible pump. Not being satisfied with the 22gal/min unit (seems wimpy), I opt for the mega 44gal/min unit. Yea! That’s the ticket (not stopping to think just how much water that amounts to.

Time to hook it up and put it in the tub. I jam a garden hose and a section of PVC pipe onto the outlet of the pump and the result looks something like this:

Fortunately, Lisa was not around to witness this marvel of Rube Goldberg engineering. Nor was she there to take pictures of me, now soaking wet, as a good fraction of the first 10 secs of water ended up all over me, as the hose blew out of the pipe and the pipe geysered all over me. Way to go.

Pondering how to do this right, I finally spied a section of flex drain hose on our 4000 gal water storage tank that looks like the right diameter (1.5″) – yes! It fits. Hook it up run it across the yard turn the pump on and:

Whoosh… yep – 44gal /min pretty much keeps that 1.5″ hose full, like a blasted firehose. Unfortunately, the hose wouldn’t reach any of the gopher holes, otherwise it would have been a great ‘gopher flush’

Wile E. Coyote

So, the weather is clearing – at least for the next day or so it looks like. I managed to get some pix on the way home today. I saw Mr. Coyote hunting in this pasture, and decided to stop and take his picture. He seemed rather irrirated by my stopping and referred me to the sign that said “Trespassing, Loitering Forbidden by Law”:

Wile E. Coyote

Apparently, the turkeys didn’t appreciate my photography efforts either:


Though, maybe the coyote was going to like the fact that the turkeys were now moving his way. I didn’t hang out long enough to see if they partied down or not. I wish I had a camera with a telephoto lens…

Just as growing up in rural NJ, I like when I see police/traffic reports such as this one from a nearby town:


Its California – of COURSE its a >blonde< cow 😛

Of kittens and cherry trees

We got these two little trouble makers from the clinic where Lisa works. I always liked ’em, but apparently, they were reported to be pyscho-kitties in the making.
Their rap sheet indicates they’ve slashed, bit and cut a couple folks at the clinic, multiple times. I never witnessed the actual ‘crimes’, tho the physical eveidence seems overwhelming. I named ’em Freddy and Jason as a result. They’ve never cut me (yet).

In between rain showers, they like to climb into the cherry tree out front and see who can push who out of the tree.

Psycho kitties1