Monday, May 4, 2015


I got spanked a little bit yesterday, physically, financially and maybe my ego got beat up too for good measure.

The damage was largely self inflicted.

I started the day with a bunch of projects to do around the house, initially fixing busted irrigation main lines.

Unfortunately a line snapped during my initial repair, and I found another another one popped out of position by a wayward tree root. I had to shutdown the system for the day and let things dry out completely before I could turn anything back on. Lot of pressure in the valley and you don't get a good glue joint, things blow.

Some plumbers can glue pipe without getting stuff all over their hands, I've never been one of them. Got a little bit messy. Primer purple. This particular project only took one trip to the irrigation supply, a personal record.

While I was in San Francisco, we apparently had someone cut through the ranch in the middle of the night and crush an inch and a half line. Probably an illegal journeying north. Tom P. was nice enough to fix the pipe while I was gone, a lifesaver. Saved my ass countless times.

I tried to hire a bracero to help me cover up the trench ditches and work around the place yesterday but none were to be found at the iglesia so I had to do it myself.

My palms have the large beards now popular with terrorists and certain young hipsters, which I personally find rather beastly but who gives a shit?  I started trimming them in the morning. First the Washingtonia, thing grows like a weed. Then the big Canary Island palm which I got as a slender baby that now towers and sports a gigantic girth. Then the Jelly Palm and the Chamerops and finally the Mexican Blue. That was the one that bit me. Just took my eye off it for a second.

Deadwooding the tall Brahea Armata's thick and deceased fronds, now very hard and surly, was quite difficult. I actually sprained my left hand fighting with the dull loppers. Must get the chain saw serviced, yesterday was all manual work.

Somehow in the struggle, the pissy but gorgeous palm inserted an inch long thorn in my scalp, hence the photo at left prior to Leslie's triage. Arms were a bit punctured too, looked like Chuck Wepner after Cassius Clay was done with him. The pretty ones always get you.

Still have the rest of the mediterranean fan, the blues and the Canariensis/Reclinata mutant hybrid from Rancho Soledad that never should have been borne. Bigger than my house, a monster.

Reminds me of the time I was cutting yucca on Dad's ranch as a kid and he told me to be careful with the chain saw. I'm about 13 and got a nasty spanish dagger bite across the leg from the vicious plant.

Straight across the leg, a sheet of blood. Gimping back to the house with chain saw in hand and a bloody leg, he almost fainted, sure I had cut my leg with the saw. Scared him to death.

The $1205.50 sandwich

Needing a shower and hungry for something to eat, I convinced Leslie to drive with me to the casino for a Vietnamese Banh Minh sandwich. Bad move.

Pechanga has a little stand in the food court where they serve the popular asian fare, traditional, chicken and barbecued pork, I went traditional this time. Cost $5.50 plus a lemonade. Simply delicious, just a matter of time before Banh Minh is as popular as Big Mac in this country.

Saw a wheel of fortune machine and plunked down a hundred and within a matter of minutes I had won another $250.00. Hot damn! Kid can't miss.

I decided to play in the High Roller section last night, being a self professed Black Jack god I couldn't lose, right? Started off well, up about a grand when disaster struck. Ran into a string after string of dealer blackjacks, dealer's that found every conceivable methods of hitting twenty one, some probably not even conceived until last night. Players started moving away from my presence like I had leprosy.

If you are going to gamble and enjoy it and I do, you know you are going to have nights like I had, down about $1200.00 when I finally cried uncle. You feel ugly and ashamed, stupid for giving up the gelt. But if you accept the wins, you have to accept the fact that their are going to be those nights as well. Goshdarnit. Wish I was a better loser.

Tail firmly ensconced between my legs, I whimpered home, nursing all of my aches and pains. Les hiked back to the fence and turned the main back on in the dark and everything thankfully held. No more gambling for me for a while, nose to the grindstone to make some more dough and make up for my pitiful, sorry ass play last night. What's indian for asskick?

It has been fun watching these two hawk babies grow. This mother leaves them alone in the nest a lot, maybe more than prior years.

Stays just out of reach, getting a little space after a long roost.

I have spent a lot of time watching the hawk behavior. Of course if I had the Sigma 150-600mm for the nikon mount, I could get 17% closer. But it won't be out in this country for another month or so and I'm not sure if I can afford it. Crowd source, anyone?

I checked out the old and perennial Peterson's Field Guide to Western Birds and a good raptor book from the library and have learned a lot more about their specific behavior of late.

Went back to the other nest to rescue the bird on the ground and take it to Skyhunters for rehab and release and the bird was gone, hopefully transported to a safer spot by mother. Eagles can raise their birds on the ground, I would think hawks are equally resourceful.


Bradford sent me some pretty pics from Spavinaw, Oklahoma. Morels and a full moon at the lake.

Jeff from Alaska bought a vintage Beaver airplane. He sold one and always missed it. He has invited us up and we are thinking of taking him up on it. Kenai, Denali, Seward? Such a big state, not sure how to tackle it. Want to take pictures of wildlife. Want to get back to Yellowstone this year too.

Did some business on the Venice Canal the other day. Great neighborhood, had never visited.

Mike L. was golfing at Shoreline the other day when a couple outraged burrowing owls started griping at him.

Met 94 years young Arfie Burnett at Del Mar. She bought a painting from me. "What's Arfie short for?" I asked. "It's long for Arfie."

Arfie is a Leggo fanatic, has created huge Leggo worlds, some her own, needs to be recognized by Leggo, has to be the world's oldest Leggoer. Sharp as a tack and sweet to boot! Hollywood High grad, class of 38 I think.

Can you believe she has never been to Leggoland? They need to celebrate this woman, send a limousine. Arfiedays.

Vlad says that my shot of the seals up north was hard to decipher. Sorry man.

After 18 years and counting, the gallery finally got a new sign while I was in San Francisco. The old one was faded and cracked. I omitted  the bird this time, went simple and graphic. Looks good.


Jhciacb said...

If you want to give money to the Indians, just hand it off to Big Chief Bench Fixture in front of the coffee house on Main St. I'm sure he'll put it to good use...

Anonymous said...

Poor thing. I didn't know you had such a rough Sunday. I should have bought you a warm milk this morning :)
Love those shots of the babies. You are too funny. That's how I feel after working outside in the yard these days.... ugh. I'm over it.

Ken Seals said...

Great hawk shots and exceptionally interesting post!!

Anonymous said...



Blue Heron said...

Well, shucks...

Anonymous said...

Hello Robert A warning first I am on my second glass. I sat with my 90 yr old mother in law on the couch as we sipped some Bogle Chardonnay and we looked at your blog on my laptop. She loves nature and birds in particular. We looked through all your latest hawk photo's then the hummingbird on the orchard tree bloom. Also the great blue heron. And them the hawk and the snake. I just wanted to thank you for sharing all your beautiful photo's. B

Anonymous said...

My wife thinks you look ruggedly handsome (blood and all). Maybe you could reprise the James Garner/Mel Gibson role in The Gambler.

Anonymous said...

Tom's text: I don't know why your misfortune is so incredibly humurous the picture in particular had me going

Anonymous said...

I think wompum is Indian for asskick, but I could be wrong.