After the Flood

On July 15th, this valley had a severe flash flood & a dozen members of one family perished here. The first image is a memorial to a 2 year old child, the second youngest victim.

Image two is a metal picnic table that has been moved a half mile from where it started, and it’s over a hundred pounds.

Image three is a stack of logs and tree trunks almost six feet tall.

Last is the calm river today

Pet Meds

There’s an interesting thing in the American health system.  Mergers and outsourcing products have conspired with “universal” health care.  In a truly American way, the only winners are the drug companies. I have found this by having an asthmatic cat.

My little girl is 15 years old.  She has regiment of drugs that keep her from wheezing.  They drugs are all human drugs.  This means I can go to any pharmacy and supposedly they will be available as they are common.  Well, interesting thing when insurance companies are involved.  They can change the compensation they get from insurance companies.  If you had thousands of drugs to sell it might be hard to pick a new price every month, but these are dedicated people!

It was just fine when her Flovent went from $125  to $190 by about ten dollars each refill.  That was every other month.  Now it took away my breath each time, I should have used some of it. But she has a prednisone prescription but that’s $15 every two months from the veterinarian.  Now here’s the best part.  At the human pharmacy, it’s double.  The reason Obamacare.  The increase in coverage had no provisions for price control.  Meaning if you failed to enroll you were penalized by fees and drug costs.  Because the powers that be, never think of the consequences of their laws.

But why am I here today?  The pharmacy game is mergers among generic drugs.  Large companies with brand names rake in billions in higher costs. They have based pricing on research money and time required to bring drugs to market.  But generic drugs, well now these are cheap knock outs that are crazy profitable .  There’s no fees to the developer as patient is expired.  But that’s not good enough for giant profits.  So they get bought out and the drugs are made overseas.  The standards that the US government puts on formularies for drug manufactures is tops in the world.  That means a common drug made for decades has been wait approval since November!  The drug very common is not available because of this.  One marker makes almost all of the drug.  It took twenty calls, to every thing from chains to small stores.  Finally, I found an online place.  But it’s not all easy because I have a veterinarian in a different state who doesn’t like online places because some sell outdated drugs!  

And the compounding online pharmacy is at least fresh stuff.  Now that federal hiring freeze, nothing is getting done as far as approving anything being imported.  It’s not looking good.  I hope no one else is stuck in this place.  But sooner or later, it’ll hit people hard.  We have outsourced a bit to far.

I Saw the Light РSix Sentence Stories 

The horizon stretches across a green valley neatly kept in place by rugged mountains.  The sun light streams into the bowl of evergreens leaving a haziness in the dustance.  Rough granite tears up the ground to show rough edges that sparkle.  

A solitary figure watches nature’s enlightenment.  A quick step and a log gives way careening to the valley.  

Star light dances within the head of the hiker as boulders break his fall.

My Happy Place

I awoke from a dream

Nightmare with demons 

Horrible people ran everything

Looks from the outside chilly

But awoke in place I know

The Sun is a bit brighter now

The voices are softer,friendly

I was gone awhile 

Maybe I was a ghost

My happy place was all round

I was no stranger here

I just thought I was

I Have a New Home!

There’s a place in Arizona.  Crazy people leave other parts of the country to come here. Hell, the valley of the Sun empties out here during summer.   Mild four seasons.  There’s a disparity in age and money isn’t as noticeable until of try to rent or buy a house.  So a couple hundred miles later.  Eight realty companies visited.  And I found two places.  One in a free paper, very affordable but one bedroom and nice lot.  One with a tiny lot, two bedrooms and a bath and a half.  We are leaving a deposit on the two bedroom place.

It’s not the city I’ll work in  but at five miles away…almost too close. The funny part is we had relinquished that though of options.  We went through another trailer park (6 total toured).  After going through about sixty of seventy properties, we see a sign in the window of a trailer.  I have taken pictures of lot and trailers along the way. So I call the number right away.  And in ten minutes, I’m inside with a neighbor touring it.  It’s very nice for the size and age.  It’s what we can live in not what we can deal with.

We go back in a couple days to leave deposit.  Relocation is not a usual celebration ceremony.  This could be one. ūüėÉ

Trees Part 2

Photo credit: NASA
Concentrations must be kept below 450ppm to keep global warming below 2 C. Photo credit: NASA

This is your atmosphere on Carbon Dioxide.   We need more trees.  So here are a few more from the yard.   Look at it as a carbon bank, taking Carbon Dioxide out and replacing it with Oxygen.   Come on!  How much difference can it really make?  Each new tree can remove 10 pounds of Carbon Dioxide in first year.  Ten years in that tree is grabbing 48 pounds!  Every new acre removes 2.5 tons of the greenhouse gas! Ten years later, doing the math 12 tons gone.  Now if we keep the trees we have too.  We save ourselves.  Ok maybe not.


Sides of your property can provide much need shelter for birds.¬† Where big¬† trees don’t fit, we enter a mix of shrubs and ornamental trees.¬† At the bottom, a Bush Honeysuckle branch curls from underneath.¬† On its own the Bush Honeysuckle woukd be ten feet with a ten feet spread.¬† The glossy leaves of the Common Dogwood actually lighten up a dark space.¬† The thin branches provide nest building platforms for songbirds.¬† At about ten feet tall, it’s blooms get lost sometimes.¬† Below is a better view.


The Silky Dogwood shares the leaf pattern buy¬† it much else with its more popular cousin.¬† It’s flowers hold a cluster of eight to twelve tiny flowers with a flat top.¬† It’s has many trunks, so spread underground called stolons to make addition plants.¬† It to provides plenty of shelter for birds.



The most common tree in North America, and it still needs an introduction!¬† Above is the Quaking Aspen, at five years old it’s growth rate is crazy.¬† It also has a problem keeping it’s branches at times.¬† They are great shade trees, but you are looking at fifty feet of tree in five years.¬† Don’t go near the house with one of these things!¬† (Somewhere a person reading this has a Blue Spruce up against their house that did the same thing at a slower rate ).¬† While after a good storm you maybe picking up leaves, during the breezes you’ll hear the leaves quaking.¬† Truly an awesome sound.¬† If you land is wooded, sometimes they get help being planted like this one was. I guessing a squirrel was involved, they have planted many oak trees too!


Speaking of oaks, the mighty Pin Oak, swampland’s friend!¬† If you have wet soil where nothing grows….I have a tree for you.¬†¬† It needs only to be ignored, maybe lower branches cut if you mow around it.¬† Other than that, killing one is very difficult. This baby is at least 13 years old.¬† It’s about 35 feet tall.¬† There are lots of places for critters to hide.¬† Birds and squirrel in the branches.¬† Stray cat, racoons, and moles underneath.¬† It will turn brown in fall and those leaves will stay on the tree most of the winter.


Above is a close up of th e leaves.¬† The form is shape and deep cut between points on the leaf.¬† Opposed to the other one below, the Swamp White Oak.  Similar build and needs as the Pin Oak.  This is the only easily visible one in my yard and it’s mixed in a row of trees and doesn’t show its ture shape.  It would like the Pin Oak above, little narrower.


Trees Part One

The world is being warmer.¬† The easiest fix more trees to reduce Carbon Dioxide.¬† It won’t solve everything but it’ll look good helping out.¬†¬† So here is the start of biodiversity suburban style.¬†¬†


The Blue Spruce is a very common tree in North America.¬†¬† It requires light and some drainage to keep roots from sitting in water.¬† They grow fast about a foot per year once they are four feet tall.¬†¬† They may start slow if they are a hybrid.¬† The one above is of the variety “So Cool” Blue Spruce.¬†¬† Every plant or tree may have varieties that offer better color, slower growth, faster growth, different shaping.¬†¬† Check the tag on the tree.¬† It will tell you everything it needs and the size and shape.


Tree number two, the River Birch.¬† They come in the three to five foot size normally.¬†¬† Little green leaves will shake in the wind creating a great relaxing sound.¬†¬† This guy is three years in the ground and about twelve feet tall.¬† It’ll get to about twenty feet tall when full grown.¬†¬† Unlike the Blue Spruce, it likes wet soil.¬†¬† It can take standing water for a month or so.¬† The bark will peel and expose a cinnamon color underneath a tan paper bark.¬† Best part you can find these guys under $20!


Another water lover, the Bald Cyprus.¬† It’s unique in another way.¬†¬† It is related to evergreens but it turns burnt orange in the fall, then looses is needles under early spring.¬†¬† Below is the color changing, as the other trees change it holds a nice color longer.



The above is a favorite of mine.¬†¬† It’s called a Franklin Tree.¬† Named for Benjamin Franklin as he found it growing in a woods in Pennsylvania.¬†¬† It has these filament petals for its blooms.¬† It’s graceful and birds love it.¬†¬† It’s doesn’t produce any fruit.¬†¬† The Franklin Tree is a slow grower, planted at three feet tall street ten years is about fifteen feet tall


The Variegated Wegielia is a nice shrub growing to about six feet tall and six feet wide.   Difference between trees and shrubs, shrubs have multiple trunks that tend to spread.  This guy will bloom all summer.   It requires maintenance only if you want to keep  it round or a certain height.   Birds like the Cardinal, will use this for nesting because of its tight cluster of branches.  Best part is if you want another one all that’s required is bury a lower branch in dirt.  Six weeks or so later it will develop roots and can be cut from the parent.

Free Dirt


If you ever had the desire to create a garden or maybe fix low spots in the yard.¬† The price of dirt can kill you.¬†¬† Actually the delivery is often the price of an extra cubic yard (or cubic meter).¬† So someone says free Dirt.¬† I get excited knowing it’ll be dumped for nothing too.

For those people who are unfamiliar with dirt purchasing, it comes several ways.  Really good stuff that crumbles by hand, loaded with sand and organic materials.   Good stuff that kinda crumbles with less organic material and no sand.  Fill dirt or clay which is slightly softer than concrete.  The later is what I have here.

You may notice in the cart clumps of clay.  Free means busting them up with shovel into golf ball sized pieces.  Below is great dirt at $28/cubic yard.  No working will bring this clay to that level.


I have had the pleasure of moving around four to five cubic yards of dirt each year.¬† We have almost 4 acres (3 hectares).¬† The dirt isn’t getting any lighter.


That’s the first eight cart full.¬† That’s a yard and a half of clay.¬†¬† It’ll be coveted in peat moss and someday will have green grass on it.¬†¬† More important the mower will not keep hitting the ground bending blades.¬†¬† I have another 5 yards waiting for me.¬† So back to work