The Tank and Its Painters

The 10,000-gallon water tank has just been refreshed with a new coat of primer.

Two young men here for a month on summer break from school sanded and prepared the tank yesterday. Today they primed it. Jacinto and Nico are here to help us and we are teaching them all about ranch life and growing one’s own food.

We are pretty sure the hardest thing was waking up at 7:00 a.m. for chores, but they mastered that in less than a week.

One of these guys can actually leap up onto the top of the tank without a ladder!

Here it is, finished!

Operating a Ranch Without the Use of an Arm

… is not easy.

I have to rely on a lot of help right now. David is carrying a much bigger load (and rapidly losing weight). In addition to periodic help from Heather, and recent help from David’s mom and sister, we have two middle-school students on summer break for a month who have just arrived to learn and help as well.

Rotator cuff surgery was 4.5 weeks ago. Except for 10-minute periods of passive stretching physical therapy four times a day and an hour with a pro once per week, my right arm (yes, I’m right-handed) is not supposed to lift, move on its own above the elbow or be out of a rigid sling while sleeping or walking around for a total of 8 weeks. I am told moderate lifting may resume in six months after continuous physical therapy, and overhead reaching/moving after a year of continuous physical therapy. So we are looking at a year-long disability if all goes well. Bumping or falling are biggest risks right now, so I’m mostly confined to the house.

Here’s a look at what happened in the shoulder … on the left, the surgeon sewed my supraspinatus together again (it was completely torn apart and 1cm retracted already). On the right, he created a new attachment for my biceps tendon on my humerus and severed the tendon from its original attachment in my shoulder (because it was about to fray apart, anyway).

Now some things that used to happen are not happening around here, and some things that had stopped happening are happening.

Something that is not happening: we just did not have ability or way to harvest and deliver gladiolus to friends and associates this year as we have in the past. This is something that brought joy to us and others, but they were still beautiful in the garden.

Picture from a couple years ago, but there were still 100s of blooms like this

Something that is happening: I am reading through a two-foot stack of magazines that have backed up since we retired three years ago: “The Atlantic”, “Scientific American”, “Smithsonian” and “Wired”. These are meaty reads for sure. There is so much happening out there in the world! And there are a lot of very smart and talented people with keen observation, great contributions to our collective lives, and important solutions to some serious challenges.

A small sample of what I’m reading

Here are a few things that have stuck out so far:

  • Science is still amazing
  • Advertising, online retail, and social media are masterfully manipulating our emotions (using information about us that we’ve freely given) at lightspeed, 24/7
  • People need to get a grip and stop letting themselves be emotionally manipulated
  • Extreme wealth inequality is as serious a problem as climate change caused by global warming … either is fatal to the way of life we have grown accustomed to
  • Wealth inequality is still fixable, but we are rapidly losing the fight with our carbon addiction
  • Most of the politicians are hopelessly lost or hobbled by wealthy and powerful people, corporations, or extreme emotion on right and left
  • Unethical behavior is contagious and increasingly meets will little accountability or moral resistance
  • Quantum theory is wild stuff
  • Cryptocurrency is quite possibly extremely bad

I still think Americans Elect in 2012 was the last, best chance the United States had to begin reforming its broken political process. One opinion writer for the “Boston Globe” wrote that the approach failed because it lacked a guiding ideology. I think he was wrong. There was a guiding ideology … it was to peacefully put the presidential election out of the hands of Republicans and Democrats and back into our hands. Americans weren’t yet ready to embrace that ideology. If you didn’t participate in “Americans Elect” in 2012, you would not know that there was also an extensive survey for citizens willing to participate … the survey helped identify key issues and values upon which 80% of us all agree. If we still want to be a United States, we have to look for our common core and let some of the other things rest for a while.

I guess my disabled arm is a metaphor for politics … First admit that by our own actions we broke something essential to our chosen way of life. Then, bite the bullet and fix it. Count on others for help while healing but be willing to let some things go, too. It’s not easy or fun. Have hope.



The thornless blackberries are laying it on right now. They are so good! (a few golden raspberries in the container, too).

Friends Nelia and Warren have given us some nectarines and white peaches …. oh, there’s nothing like the mix of fresh nectarines, white peaches and blackberries for breakfast!! I guess we could add some rich, fresh cream from Lucy … 😊

How Does the Garden Grow?

Very well, so far!

Many thanks to Heather Senske for exceptional garden maintenance and help.

And don’t forget: Junior!

Junior! is growing like a weed and loves to trot along on a lead. He also likes neck rubs and Lucy’s milk. 😊

%d bloggers like this: