Kevin and Lisa

Quail: It's What's for Dinner (and Lunch)

Lisa cooked up some quail for us for Dinner (and Lunch).

No, not those quail.

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The quail who come by our yard eating the birdseed and stale bread I leave out for them haven't been here the past few days. Maybe they saw what we were bringing home in our groceries. They need not worry, though. I don't have a hunting license; I don't know when quail-hunting season is; and discharging firearms within the city limits of Fernley is illegal anyway. Unlike the so-called "Second Amendment absolutists," I don't consider any of these things infringement of my constitutional rights.

More Tree Trimming

Now that autumn has arrived, the shade afforded by the tree-of-heaven outside the front porch is no longer necessary, and we want to reduce leaf-fall on the porch because we plan to repaint again soon.

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Cutting these trees back this much reduces how much they produce pollen because they end up spending most of their energy on replacing the branches we cut, and that's fine with us. I expect to be cutting back more trees in the next few weeks during the autumn window of good weather for outdoor work.

De-Scaling the Swamp Cooler

Remember the swamp cooler and how hard we worked to scrape it off and get it ready for summer? Well, it's autumn now and time to clean it and put it away until we need it next summer.

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I reckon I'm going to have to go buy more CLR solution, pull the grills off, and scrape it down again. Cleaning the pads is also a problem as there is no tub large enough in which I can soak the things. I have a little bit of hope that it will be a little easier to get the calcium build-up off this time. Also, there is very little accumulation inside the cooler, as opposed to all of the crud we scraped out of it back in May.

SMOFCon Announces "Operation Leapfrog"

It's not a surprise that SMOFCon, the conrunners convention, could not be held this year. What may be a surprise is how it's going to be rescheduled.

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I was part of the joint working group of the Montreal and Lisboa (Lisbon; "Lisboa" is the city's name in Portuguese) committees, as Montreal Chair Jannie Shea asked me to help with part of the negotiation. I'm a CanSMOF director, and earlier this year, I contacted the bidders for 2022, who each individually agreed that if the other bids were willing to put of their bids, they would do so as well.

Note that what's happening here is that SMOFCon 38 (Montreal) is going to happen after SMOFCon 39 (Lisboa), after which we hope to be back to normal again. That's why Lisboa is scheduled to hold the 2023 site selection, as it will be SMOFCon 39 selecting SMOFCon 40's site.

If it all sounds a bit odd, that's pretty much SOP for SMOFCon. SMOFCon 2 was canceled (a few people with non-refundable airfares came out anyway), and there was a year in which there were two SMOFCons: one on the island of Jersey the week after an Eastercon in the same hotel (I was there) and another in Lexington, Kentucky the following December (I was there, too).

I just hope that it's safe to travel again by December 2021 so that I can go to the SMOFCon in Portugal.
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The Monster Mask

Lisa has been doing painting and also working under the house, where there is plenty of dust and potentially mold and other nasty things you don't want to inhale. In the past she has used disposable paper/cloth masks. (This is one reason we had quite a few in stock when COVID-19 hit.) However, as she's become more concerned about what she might be inhaling, we stepped it up a notch when shopping at Ace Hardware in Fallon a few months ago.

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The mask does make you look like a kind of bug-eyed monster when wearing it, but Lisa says it works really well. While spray-painting the swamp cooler, she said she couldn't smell anything, whereas I could smell it many meters away. And breathing in it, she says, is much easier than normal simple masks. OTOH, I think that's because of one-way filters in the mask, meaning that you wouldn't want to wear it for the blocking purposes of "normal" face coverings.

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While working under the house on the phone/cable wiring project a few days ago, Lisa accidentally knocked one retainer off and the particulate filter went with it. She didn't immediately find it, which set of a series of events and longish drives to try and get replacement parts.

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It's probably no surprise that there's been a run on these masks and their parts. On Saturday, misled by an inaccurate inventory system, we drove all the way to Truckee where Ace Hardware's system (and the store's own inventory) claimed that there was one of the respirators for sale. They didn't have it. They did have one pair of respirator cartridges, but none of the outer pre-filters. We also checked with Sherwin-Williams in South Reno, where we were also able to get some more cartridges, but no pre-filters.

Yesterday, we went back into Reno to a different Sherwin-Williams store, the Commercial Paint outlet. They were also out of pre-filters and cartridges, but they did have two new respirators and a sign limiting purchases to 1 per person. We only bought one. When we got home, I was able to find boxes of pre-filters available online and bought a couple of boxes of them, along with a spare pair of retainers.

Lisa also discovered that she'd accidentally installed two pre-filters initially (the respirator comes with two sets of two pre-filters), so until the replacements arrive in a few days, she can use the extra one stuffed under the bracket that didn't pop off to get her working again using the replacement cartridges.

Lisa is much happier doing this work in areas with noxious air wearing this respirator (and goggles), and I am, too.
Sheriff Kevin

Old Hat (and New!)

The hat that I wear most of the time is a style of Jacaru hat that I picked up on my trip to Aussiecon Four and found that I really liked. I have run through three of them so far, as I'm apparently hard on my hats, but I'd rather the hats wear out than my head, particularly now that my hair is so thin on top.

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Yesterday I got some suede leather protector spray and sprayed the new hat with several successive coats, in the hope that it will help protect the hat. Today was its first day as my main hat.

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I guess sometime in the next year or so I should consider ordering two more hats. Hat #3 joins its predecessors on a hat tree in the house. Sometimes when doing yard work around the house, I use the older hats, which are pretty beat-up by now but mostly keep the sun off my head.

Oh, and the black shirt? It's a sign of the end of summer, as I switch between khaki and black as the weather cools. The hat stays on in all seasons, though, protecting me from sun and rain alike. "Cowboy" hats are easy to find in Fernley, but this Australian style suits me more than the ones available in stores around here.
To Trains (T&P)

Green Machine in Fernley

Most of the locomotives used on the "little BN" (BNSF local switch job) with older paint jobs have been former Santa Fe, but every now and then we get one of the locomotives from the other merger partner, and today was one of those days.

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I expect the local will leave one of their current units (both painted in versions of the BNSF paint scheme) behind when they next come out to Fernley, and a "Big BN" job will collect it to take it for its required 90-day inspection. Because we're a long way from the nearest BNSF facilities (Stockton and Richmond CA, I think), they just shuttle switching locomotives here every three months, or sometimes sooner when they break down.

Meanwhile, work continues on the cable/telephone replacement project. Today we went to Big R and got a masonry drill bit and screws and a metal U bracket to attach the new conduit to the outside wall. Lisa got out the impact drill we bought for the carport project and made short work of drilling a hole in the rock. Actually she first tried a hole in the mortar, but it turned out to be too soft to hold a screw, so she had to put it in the rock, which worked just fine. That drill wasn't cheap, and probably has less than 30 minutes aggregate run time on it, but the many hours it has saved compared to trying to use a smaller, less-fit-for-purpose tool to drive anchors into concrete and masonry have made it well worth the purchase.

While owning a home means lot of extra work in some ways, it's so nice to not have to ask anyone's permission if you want to drill a hole in your own wall.

Breathing Easier

A change in the weather has led to most of the wildfire smoke dispersing. Yesterday was vastly better than the days prior.

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There was a little bit more smoke in the air today, but nothing much, and the AQI in Reno dropped back below 50 (clear), which was a great relief. Maybe I can start walking again without worrying about coughing fits.

Making the Birds Happy

This morning, when refilling the bird feeder, I also put a scoop of birdseed on the ground. This pleased the quail.

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It only takes one of them to get startled for the rest of them to start running for it, and you'll see in the video that something spooked them.

The smoke may be clearing, and that means I might be able to sit outside in the evening watching the birds, bunnies, chipmunks, and lizards without getting into a smoke-induced coughing fit.