Wildflowers @ 11,000 Feet


With it 100º F (37.8º C) at our house, we hopped in the Mazda Miata MX-5, put the top down and headed for the hills — well Sandia Crest at 11,000 feet (3352.8 meters) above sea level. The drive to the top was a blast as the MX-5 hugged the corners well above the posted speed limit. We could see the clouds swirling above us, and hear the birds singing with the top down, as rounded one hairpin turn after another on our way to the top. Once at the top of the Crest, the temperature was 55º F (12.8º C) with drizzling rain and cold wind. Quite a contrast from the sunny, hot valley below. We walked around on the mountain top and noticed there were lots of wild flowers blooming.










The Grim Weeder

The Grim Weeder with his new weed whacker.

I’ve been whacking weeds by hand for many years. You can see when I made a super weed whacker at https://photos.tandlphotos.com/blog/2016/8/whacky. But now I’ve developed “golf elbow”, which is quite painful, from all the years of manual weed whacking. About a month ago or so I bought a STIHL FSA 90R commercial grade battery powered weed whacker. We have very tough weeds and I knew I needed a commercial weed whacker to do the job. The FSA 90R came with 0.95 inch diameter orange string (shown below), and the first “tough” weed I tried to whack with it broke the string. The tough weed simply laughed at me. “Hahahahaha! You with your wimpy, weakling whacker can’t touch me!” I took the head apart, got more string out and tried whacking some weeny weeds, which it worked pretty well on. Over the past month, I’ve been whacking weeny weeds, which we have lots of, while the tough weeds laughed at me. I finally ran out of the orange string.

I did a bit of research and found the Oregon 22-895 Magnum Gatorline .095 inch trimmer line was highly rated as really touch line for really tough weeds. 22-895 Magnum Gatorline is square, which somehow makes more resistant to breaking.  I found the best deal was a large spool with 600 feet of of line. I loaded my spool with the 22-895 Magnum Gatorline, and went out and whacked that sassy tough weed that’s been laughing at me for the past month. I’m happy to report, the weed is not laughing any longer, because the weed and all its buddies are no more. The 22-895 Magnum Gatorline ripped through them like they were butter.

Today I set out whacking all the weeds out of the irrigation ditches. The FSA 90R with the 22-895 Magnum Gatorline and I had to work really hard, but after six hours and 4 recharges on the battery, I got the ditches whacked and weed free.

Orange and square gatorline.
600 feet of square gatorline


Trimmer head
Great clouds built up in the afternoon.
Portion of irrigation ditch before weed whacking.
Same portion of irrigation ditch after weed whacking.

Snowy Egret


Under dark, cloudy skies threatening a storm, a snowy egret was foraging in the clearwater ditch. It didn’t pay attention to me until I got close enough to get a clearer shot, then it flew. Even in the murky light from from the dark cloud cover, the egret is so white, that the camera could not get detail in the whiteness of the egret from above. After the egret flew, we walked back to the house. No sooner than we walked in the house the storm commenced with a downpour. There was a pinkish/orange glow from the sun trying to peek through the clouds on the horizon. I walked out onto the deck and could see a rainbow through the rain, but it was raining too hard to walk out and see the full extent of the rainbow.