Preparing For Winter By Cutting Up Trees

I have been threatening to trim back and cut down the trees in my yard (mostly cut down) for several years. It’s already starting to cool down and I decided to get on it before it’s too late. It’s only been a threat because I wanted to rent a chipper but chippers are expensive and I finally gave up on that idea and started cutting things down and putting the waste in the back part of my lot. Out of sight and out of mind.

Pile of cut up trees

The big project was cutting down a large branch on what I think is a Elm tree. This kind of tree can be seen throughout older neighborhoods of Rio Rancho and Albuquerque and they all seem to have the same problem, whole limbs off the main truck just die off.

On my tree, the main limb that hangs over the patio died off. The dead limb with all its sub branches make for great bird perches in which the birds then crap all over my patio. It also makes a mess with twigs all over the place as the whole thing slowly breaks up.

View of the dead limb off a elm tree

The plan was to cut off the main branch without it falling onto the house. I did the cutting with a reciprocating saw and a 9″ pruning blade and a friend pulled on the branch with a rope so it would fall away from the house.

It didn’t quite go as planned (and I should have had video). I wasn’t able to tie the limb high enough and pulling it with the rope wasn’t effective at moving it away from the house fast enough. The top of the limb partially hit the roof and the glass table. Luckily the limb and branches were dead and dried up and they broke apart when they hit the roof and patio furniture.

Dead elm tree limb that was cut down

I cut up the Elm branch into small pieces and they will be used as firewood this winter. The rest of the trees that I cut down will sit in the backyard and allowed to dry out. Most of it is from pine based trees, so they are not suitable for burning inside but may see use in the outdoor fire pit.

Pile of logs cut from the elm tree limb

Several years ago there was a huge fire in the bosque near the Rio Grande in Albuquerque. After the fire they cleared the trees and I have some of the wood from project. The wood was far away from the house, too much of a pain to access during the winter. I moved all of that wood near the house and cut up the larger pieces with the reciprocating saw, some if still needs splitting but it should be plenty for this winter.

Wood pile brought closer to the house

I exclusively used my Dewalt reciprocating saw
for all this cutting and it amazes me how well a refurbished tool that I bought over 12 years ago works like it’s brand new. I was able to fully test out the Dewalt DC9180 18 Volt Nano Tech lithium ion battery pack and it performed exactly as advertised. It provided full power thought multiple cuts until it just stopped. It wasn’t as fast as a chain saw would have been but it did cut through everything I asked with constant power including a few logs larger than the 9 inch blade. I would guess I could get about 6 to 8 cuts between charges and it would charge in about 30 minutes, which provided breaks for me.

There are still some larger logs that I may try to cut with a small chainsaw if I can find one to borrow.

Large logs that may require a chain saw to cut

Of course my cat Saturn was happy to supervise the project from the bedroom window making occasional recommendations.

Saturn supervising the tree trimming from the window.

Tempting Fate By Walking Around Barefoot

Small scorpion found in the kitchen

My floor is spotless thanks to my Roomba and I decided to tempt fate and walk around barefoot. Sure enough what did I find in the kitchen but a small scorpion. I found it before the cat so thus the scorpion lives.

Hard Water In The Southwest And Faucet Repair

Remodeling For Geeks points out the problems with faucets in the southwest. Although he is in Arizona, New Mexico has the same problem. The water is hard: It has a high level of dissolved minerals and everything that the water runs through eventually gets coated with the minerals (mostly calcium). The water has high levels of minerals because of the ground it comes from.

These minerals act like abrasives on seals and the moving parts of faucets, so they leak. They all leak. I don’t care what the ads or salesman tell you, sooner or later your faucets will leak. So when you are spending money on a faucet you should make sure that repair kits are available. Really. If the place you are buying it from does not have repair kits in the same section as the faucets, run away! Unlike a lot of products, faucet manufacturers have pretty explcit instructions for repair. Plus faucets are not like electric outlets where the only decisions are amperage and color. They are different and do not share parts.

The Cocoa Conspiracy: Albuquerque's iPhone Developers

KOB recently did an interesting article on a group of independent iPhone developers in Albuquerque who work at a coffee shop and call themselves the Cocoa Conspiracy. The group includes Andrew Stone of Stone Design who has a number of both Mac and iPhone applications.

Apparently Stone Design’s Twittelator Proicon is doing well. The article also talks about a very cool sounding hot air balloon and chase crew app.

“It can actually overlay the chase group’s position and the balloon’s location and speed over a map live. That way people can plan their routes to get to the balloon and where it’s going to land,”

That’s an awesome idea, I wish I would have thought of it. Albuquerque has “Largest balloon convention in the world” according to Wikipedia so it’s fitting that a app like this should be developed in Albuquerque.

I want to hook up with these guys perhaps they can give me some help in developing my own apps. The article fails to mention what coffee shop the “The Cocoa Conspiracy” hang out at.


Update: The group has a website at and apparently meet at the RB Winnings Coffee Thursdays at 9:30 am.

Scorpion With A McDonald's Egg McMuffin

A high school teacher in my hometown of Chandler, Arizona claims to have found a scorpion in his bag when he bought an egg McMuffin from McDonalds. The story on Channel 15’s website describes the scorpion as a baby and more venoumus than an adult.

It wasn’t just any scorpion — it was a baby scorpion, which is even more venomous than it’s adult counterpart.

Both of these statements are false. The scorpion appears to be a Vaejovis spinigerus, that looks like the same kind of scorpion I find in New Mexico. This is probably an adult as they don’t get much bigger than this. Had Channel 15 bothered to just use google, they would have found the ASU’s “Ask A Biologist” website where Christopher Putnam states

Other people say the sting of a baby scorpion is more dangerous than the sting of an adult, but again, this is false. The venom in a scorpion’s stinger is the same all through a scorpion’s life.

I suppose it is possible for the scorpion to find it’s way into the bag. I would hope it didn’t get into the bag at the restaurant but maybe in at the manufacturer or during transport. I wasn’t able to find where the bags are made. Scorpions are found in Chandler, but since the city has become more developed they are not nearly as common as they used to be. I find the whole story suspicious.


15,000 Square Foot Caste For Sale In Ibera Missouri For $350,000

A $650,000 Castle with 24″ stone walls is for sale in Ibera Missouri for only $350,000. Bring your own staff.


HISTORIC HAND CARVED STONE CASTLE. Three story 15,000 sq. ft. twenty four inch thick hand carved stone walls. all stones were quarried on the premises. Two huge hand carved stone fire places, over 20 rooms. Large carpeted chapel with stage. A new rubber roof was installed on Dec 15, 2008 it is guaranteed for 10 years but is expected to last at least 30 years. Over a dozen large bookcases are built in and should hold close to a thousand books. There are hundreds of books in the bookcases from the 1850 to 1915. Ceilings are 12 ft. high. Stone Castle is located in the ozark mountains in central Missouri and is only 12 miles from The Lake Of The Ozarks which has over a million visitors each year. Half of the visitors drive past the Stone Castle and stop at the corner of the property at a stop sign. A private airport and a helipad are located 1/2 mile away. A jet airport is 14 miles away. Two other jet airports are located 25 miles away, one South and one East. This would make an excellent Bed and Breakfast and antique shop. There are hundreds of antique items of furniure and kitchen collectables still in the building. There are two large wood stoves and two gas furnaces plus two fireplaces for heat. This is an area of Missouri that has a lot of wild game, rabbits, squirrels, wild turkey and deer are everywhere. There is over 20,000 acres of state park only 12 miles away. This is the perfect Stone Castle for a large family home. this has been my home for the past 28 years. This fine Stone castle has been on the National Register of Historic Places since 1980. There are three other buildlngs next door for sale. One was built in 1830 for slave quarters for the town of IBERIA, another was a ladies dormitory three story 13000 sq. ft. 30 rooms plus full basement. Another Hand Carved Stone Building of three story 21,000 sq. ft sets on the adjoining block and is also for sale. I have owned this fine property for over 25 years. I have over $650,000 invested in this excellent large home and have just turned 83 years old and it is time to sell everything.

Phoenix Craigslist: 1978 Cadillac Hearse, 1961 International Scout 80 & 1977 Oldsmobile Regency 99

Since I’ve been in Phoenix Arizona a lot recently, I though I would check out the Autos posted for sale in Craigslist there. I was expecting more cars and more of a variety of cars. But I was disappointed since it seemed there were less older cars in Phoenix compared to Albuquerque.

One thing I can tell is there are a lot of desperate, broke and unemployed people in the Phoenix Metro area. Take this 1978 Cadillac Hearse for $1700 with 125,000 miles.


I have a 1978 cadillac hearse, white with black top. Its has the 425 engine with about 125000 original miles. Yes it runs, and good. A/C needs some work. All the windows are in good shape with a limo tint all around. I also have a custom dual exhaust on it. Everything else is fairly stock as far as I know. It has the Cadillac side mirrors, hood orniment, front and rear light lenses, and hub caps. The interiors in decent shape. Still has the roller set up in back. I have the privacy glass taken out, but I do still have it. It has electric windows in the front, however I think the motor on the passenger side just went out. The window rolled down, but now wont come back up? Other than that, there is some rust spots on the car. Not too bad, but near the 2 rear doors and the back door. This can be seen in the pictures. I was trying to sell this originally for $2500, but times are hard for everybody including me. Im now in the process of selling my entire life and my hearse will not fit in the shopping cart I will be living out of soon. Please help! The first $1700 takes right now. Since I am now poor, my phones has been shut off. Please email me.

Something not seen driving around town is a 1961 International Scout 80 for $1500. It’s not listed how many miles but looks like it’s been used as storage.

EEA37DA7-D50F-4D79-B756-47B765FB0627.jpg1961 International Scout 80. Great little 4×4 or hunting rig. Have all glass, runs well, and i put a new muffler on it. The body is in decent shape for a 1961 4×4 (minor dents and scratches). The interior is pretty bare, original seat needs recovered and the guages are all there but dont work too well. It’s a 3 speed with a twin stick transfer case. Email with questions. $1,500 or best offer.

Here’s a 1977 Oldsmobile Regency 99 Series with 109,000 for $750. It’s not up to todays safety standards but it’s a pretty good price for the miles.

75D32D66-AA04-47DC-A9A1-3908DFF46E92.jpg1977 Oldsmobile Regency 99 Series. $750 or best offer. RUNS GREAT! Good tires. New brakes approximately 16 months ago. 109,000 original miles. 8 cylinder. Needs new heater core. Air conditioning works but needs freon added first. Upholstery needs repair. Mother no longer drives so need to sell.