Sunday, October 20, 2013

Patio Slabs in the Desert

The work continues on our desert cabin project. This weekend was a bit of a nail-biter because my worker (Charles) has been sick and was hospitalized for a few days. He hasn't been answering phone calls or e-mails, but he did text me that he thought he would be OK by Saturday. I scheduled the cement truck for 10 AM Saturday morning (4 1/2 yards of cement) and crossed my fingers that Charles was feeling better and would show up. Thankfully, he IS feeling better (at least a little... he still looked like a strong wind would blow him over and was visibly stiff and in pain) and he did show up. I had a shovel or trowel in my hand most of the day, so thanks to my wife for taking most of these pics!!
The cement truck dwarfs our little homestead cabin, which you can hardly see! The hills in the background are part of Joshua Tree National Park.

The cement comes down the chute from the truck. Charles is using a bull float rented from Home Depot to smooth out the cement. This slab in the front is 16' by 8'. There are two smaller slabs in the back to be poured.
Trying to get the truck in close enough for the slabs behind the house was a real challenge!  Had to take out part of the creosote bush and get within inches of the cabin, but all worked out.
You can see from the photo above that the chute barely reached the second slab, so a lot of heavy lifting was needed to shovel and rake the cement to fill in the slab.
But the hard work paid off and the slabs in the back came out great!
For the final step, Charles is mixing iron sulfate with water to color the cement a nice coffee/rust color. Very rustic looking, and fits well with a desert cabin. If you look behind Charles, you can see the view from the front porch.
Charles is using a broom to apply the iron sulfate stain to the concrete.
Later in the day, my wife noticed a tarantula walking across the road. He's a beauty, wouldn't you agree? A great end to a fun, productive day!

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Skull on the Dry Lake

We were heading over to the dry lake north of Highway 62 in Joshua Tree around sunset. I really like these lonely desert roads (so does my Jeep!).
The Coyote Dry Lake Bed is surrounded by desert scrub and cactus. It's got the big open vistas that people like so much in the desert. Makes for some good photography, too!
I'd like to say that we discovered this old steer skull while bouncing across the lake bed in the Jeep...
But the truth is we had it in the Jeep and were taking it to the dry lake for a "photo shoot".
Pretty cool, don't you think? I like the sky colors at sunset over the dry lake, so linking with Skywatch Friday. Click on the link to check out great skies from all over the world!!

Saturday, October 12, 2013

8-Track Flashback

Those of us of a certain age have fond memories of 8-tracks. For those too young to recall, 8-tracks were clunky plastic things, about 4" wide, 5 1/2" long, and about 1" thick that contained a full length album. They used magnetic tape and you just plugged them in to an 8-track tape player. If memory servers, they were popular in the late '60s and throughout the '70s.  They were replaced by cassette players, which were replaced by CD players, which have been replaced by MP3 players. It's almost hard to believe with all the current technology, but prior to 8-tracks, your only listening option was the radio. If you didn't like the song (or commercial), try a different station! Sounds primitive, doesn't it??
So 8-tracks were a huge breakthrough. For the first time, you could play all the songs off your favorite album while cruisin' down the road. Every kid in high school with a car had to have one! So as my wife and I were checking out a rummage sale the other day, I noticed this cool 8-track tape holder, complete with a collection of tapes. For $2, I couldn't pass it up!
The tapes in the holder include Thee Dog Night ("Golden Bisquits"), Boston, Jim Croce, Bread ("The Best of Bread") and the classic "What's Going On" by Marvin Gaye. A pretty good collection from the '70s!! I tried photographing what was left of the artwork on the 8-tracks... faded and cracked, but with a vintage feel!

I don't own an 8-track player, but it's been well worth the two bucks for the stroll down memory lane and the photo opp! Hope you enjoyed it, and leave a comment if you had a favorite 8-track tape!!

Thursday, October 10, 2013

A Sad Situation

This is the entrance to Indian Cove, a beautiful area within Joshua Tree National Park. It's prime tourist season out here, and I feel sorry for those visitors that have traveled long distances and can't get into the park because our government can't get its act together. A sad situation indeed.
Here's a photo taken inside Indian Cove about a year ago... great rock climbing, camping and hiking. Let's hope they open for business soon!
Linking with Skywatch Friday.
Thanks for stopping by!!

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Wonder Valley Abstracts

Wonder Valley is an area east of 29 Palms in the CA desert that is about as close as you can get to the middle of nowhere! It's dotted with little homestead cabins, many of which started out as getaway dreams of families living in S. CA and wanting to own a little piece of the desert to call their own. Back in the day, they could get the land for free if they build a modest cabin on their 5 acres. Many (most?) probably didn't realize the time, energy, money, and gritty determination needed to build and maintain a small cabin in a remote piece of desert. Thus the reason so many of these cabins were long ago abandoned. I've posted on other cabins, and I still find the area to be really beautiful in a desolate and stark sort of way.
Here's another one... been photographed a lot and very recognizable because of "Lazy One" on the water tank (no city water in this part of the desert... haul in your own, or try your luck with a well).
Linking with 
Pixel Dust Photo Art  and Skywatch Friday. Thanks for stopping by!

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

End of an Era?

Hard to believe I started this blog three years ago this month. Time really does fly! My first post was Oct. 19, 2010, and it was titled Spare Parts ProjectI thought it would be fun to document how to build an electric guitar, step by step, using various spare parts I had accumulated over the years. That guitar was finished long ago, and the blog has since morphed into a photo blog. And music, in general, will be taking less of my time going forward. Which brings me to the title of my post...
The band I'm a founding member of and have been playing in for 19 years (hard for me to believe it's been that long) has decided to call it quits. We're all starting to feel a little too old to haul around huge amounts of gear and play rock 'n roll in a 7-piece band.  I know Mick and the boys are doing it in their 70's, but hey, they're making the big bucks and they have roadies!
Left to right:  Bruce on keyboard, me on guitar, Randy on vocals, Tod on drums, Jon on bass, Dan on guitar.  Missing from the photo is Brad on percussion.
None of us ever joined this band for the money, that's for sure, but last Saturday illustrates a typical "gig". We played at the VFW Hall in Lomita, CA. We were asked to play 4 sets of music (each set is 10 - 12 songs, one hour long). Set up of the gear takes about 2 hours, and the same for the tear-down. We need a couple trucks to haul the gear (our percussion player has a large heavy-duty trailer he pulls behind an SUV). Adding up the time, it was easily an 8 hour day. Not to mention all the pre-gig practices to get the songs polished up and presentable. Our pay for the night? $65 each. Truly a labor of love. But I wouldn't have missed the experience for anything! Playing in a band to a lively audience out on the dance floor is an experience not too many of us get to experience, and one not to be missed! And getting together with my band-mates every Tuesday night will definitely be missed.
Well, I guess I'll just stay close to the phone and wait for the call announcing our Scoop Deville Band reunion and world tour! In the mean time, I'll have more time for my photography!!