Fixed it!

100_4728I did need a pressure regulator. I also needed to replace a hose that had collapsed on the inside. Looked fine from outside.

I will now celebrate with oatmeal cookies.

In other news…
I have received a new or rebuilt well pump! Which is missing one essential fitting.

This is the story of my frickin’ life. Had I known about it this morning I probably could have bought what I needed at the hardware. From which I had just returned with plumbing parts for the propane.
Unhappy_orangutan_0Screw it. Oatmeal cookies now.

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The “Post Every Day” law…

…is going to be more of a guideline for the next few days. I’m here and just fine, but there’s heavy overcast which isn’t conducive to spending hours on the ‘pooter. Plus the technical problems that have been accumulating are costing me hours: I’ve got propane problems and water problems and when I’m not working around them, I’m trying to fix them and in addition to it just generally getting me down, it’s taking a surprising amount of time out of each day. The lack of modern conveniences, in short, is really quite inconvenient. And it’s cutting into my time and inclination for blogging. So bear with me.

The new or repaired water pump is due to arrive here tomorrow, and I’m pretty sure I can get some local help installing it. Which would mean I could have my running water back in just a few days. But the truth is I really need to take this opportunity to clean the sludge out of the cistern, and the aforementioned local help might not be quite so quick to volunteer for that. This is the perfect time to do it, but it’s not a job that can be done alone with safety. Bucket brigades require more than one pair of hands, and frankly being stuck in a cistern until I die is not anywhere on my bucket list. :) So I have a conundrum: I can probably fix the well within the next day or two and probably will. But do I really want to turn the pump on right now?

Also, I think I may have a new line on what’s gone wrong with my propane this time. Hoping to take another shot at replacing bad parts tomorrow.

So I’ve been busy, is what I’m saying. Also, lousy weather affects this blog more than some others. Things may be quiet for a while, but I Shall Return.

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Into each life some rain must fall. And snow. And gale wind.

Grrr. Spent all frickin’ day doing what is becoming my least favorite thing, on a trip to the big town about 50 miles away. Purchased a new pressure regulator. Came back hungry, harried, and with a couple of dogs doing their “dad’s home” meltdown. Had to make some on-the-fly modifications to the cabin itself, since I screwed up propane hoses. Finally got things back together and found that somehow I’d actually managed to make matters worse. If I keep this up diligently enough, maybe I can fix the stove so I can’t even fry eggs.

Uncle Joel is bummed. And just in time for the opening blasts of the promised storm which is also promised to last nearly a week off and on. Winter has returned.

Uncle Joel has tequila. But first I’m going to turn off the ‘pooter and tend chickens.

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Put them all together, they spell Monte Cristo…sort of.

There are a few things I miss from ze old days as Mr. Suburban Man. Not many. But high on the list is monte cristo sandwiches. It’s a ham and cheese sandwich fried in egg batter and served with raspberry jam.

Over the weekend somebody sent me a care package containing luxury goodies, including some ham spread and a jar of raspberry jam. I got to looking at them yesterday while thinking about supper. It happened that, unusually, I have a small block of actual cheese as opposed to the usual pre-sliced pasteurized cheese-like food product* I keep for doggie treats, and which I’ll rarely touch.

Of course I have fresh-baked bread, and plenty of eggs.


100_4709It sort of works! Almost.

*presence of actual cheese or food not guaranteed.

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Want to buy a Jeep with a Browning 1919 on it?

Ian’s selling his Willys.

The Jeep needs a little starter work, I’m told. The 1919 is converted to be a crank-operated semiautomatic, so there are no imperial entanglements. C’mon, you know you always wanted a belt-fed. I can testify it works great.ifimustdie

ETA: Good times. Ian’s Jeep (without 1919) appeared in one Forgotten Weapons video that I know of. Go to 8:00 for some tongue-in-cheek fun. I’d tell you whose idea this course of fire was, but modesty forbids.

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Before Enlightenment: Chop wood, carry water.

I’m not going anywhere with that title, it’s just something Landlady said last weekend and I had to look it up because I don’t remember ever having heard it. I do, in fact, chop wood and carry water these days. Actual enlightenment seems to be optional.

The Official TUAK Camera is a Kodak CX6200 which has the virtue of no mechanical zoom lens for my environment’s dust and dirt to kill. It has the disadvantage of me for an owner – I never really have figured out the zoom and doing so on the spot takes so long that…well, as you can see, I rarely bother.

But if I had thought to go to the trouble this morning, you’d now be looking at a nice sharp picture of the biggest hawk I’ve seen around here in quite a while. So, use your imagination.100_4715Really, I don’t know why I bothered to post that. The good news, to me, is that with my new eyes I could see it in the first place. :)

I was talking to J at shit-shoveling this morning. He’s having a dreadfully good amount of success selling off his house’s furniture for moving expenses. They’ll be gone in a month. He says the house is really starting to echo, which is making the thing all too real.

Which in turn made it all too real for me. One month to go. I’ll miss my buddies.

The beautiful - and occasionally dangerous - Avalon

The beautiful – and occasionally dangerous – Avalon

Friendly little Cruise Control, who's starting to drop his winter coat. He's already been sold.

Friendly little Cruise Control, who’s starting to drop his winter coat. He’s already been sold.

And Comet, ol' giraffe lip, whom I've known since he was born.

And Comet, ol’ giraffe lip, whom I’ve known since he was born.

Things change. That’s life.

Still carrying water, but there’s news.100_4718Landlady delivered the well pump to Ian as planned. Ian lost no time sending it back to the manufacturer, which lost no time diagnosing the problem.

Just got a call from [redacted]. The diaphragm was broken, which allowed water to get into the motor and short it out. A couple hundred bucks to fix; not bad considering ([redacted] was recommending a new pump of some other brand and wanted $3k for it and installation).

Anyway, it should be fixed an en route back in a couple days (along with a replacement electrical splice kit). When it arrives I’ll make a trip up so we can drop it back down the well. Going to see if I can find a ratcheting crank to make that process simpler, too.

So that’s good. I had settled in for at least another month of no running water, but it might be less than that.

Because life goes on.

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It might look interesting, if only I could look at it.

Alert Reader MR sent me a link to something called, which appears to be pushing a simple and small-scale hydroponic gardening system that looks like it would be very interesting if only one were willing to subscribe, give the proprietor enough personal information to hound one to the ends of the earth, and spend one’s limited bandwidth listening to lengthy Castroesque eco-activism sermons. This, alas, does not include me.

What’s puzzling here is that construction of these simple-seeming devices requires access to 3-D printers, which few Americans and (I would guess) no third-worlders possess. But what I can see of them looks like they could be built from stuff easily available in any dollar store. So maybe there are levels of complexity hidden to me but revealed in the no-doubt enlightening videos. Which I did not and will not watch.

But enjoy, if that’s your thing.

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As if suddenly remembering, with a guilty start, that it’s supposed to be winter…

Yesterday was windy – knock you on your ass and roll you across the yard windy – and that generally means the weather is gonna change. So it snowed overnight and most of this morning, but never got very cold. A little after noon and the solar panels are clearing, with some help from a broom. In fact most of the snow on the ground has already melted. But it’s so overcast the batteries will never fully charge, and I’m not sure it’s done snowing.
LB was loving it while it lasted, though. He may get more joy yet, since the forecast says the next week at least is supposed to be cold and nasty. Shouldn’t seem like such a bad thing, this still being February and all. But it’s been so nice so long that I’m really spoiled.

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More on sheepdogs

Regular readers know I’ve had some harsh things to say over the years about David Grossman and his “Sheep, Wolves and Sheepdogsmetaphor. People won’t listen to me – go figure – and the ‘sheepdog’ thing keeps popping up as if it’s a good thing. But I read another take on it today over at Gun Nuts Media. It’s pretty good reading.

George Zimmerman’s life is ruined because he thought he was a sheepdog

That does sound rad, and it’s easy to see how people would get attached to that, because it does important things for the average CCW holder’s mind. Primarily, it feeds the ego. It makes you feel special, different. It sets you apart because you’re different in a good way. That kind of thinking is absolutely addictive, it’s like crack. Once you get a taste you can’t get enough. And the best part of it? No effort is required. You don’t have to join the military, be a cop, take any sort of training, you can just show up with your CCW and say “I’m a sheepdog” and think that makes you special.

It doesn’t. And in fact, that sort of mindset gets people killed.

Normally when I try to puncture the sheepdog metaphor, I’m going after the ones in uniform. Caleb is mostly talking about self-deluded armed ‘civilians’ who think Batman had the right idea. It’s a common enough fantasy when you’re young, I had it, and I honestly don’t know how many people fail to grow out of it. But he makes some pretty good points.

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Meanwhile, in the real world…

Mature adults carry their weapons. Because why would you deliberately choose to be helpless?

No, this wasn't intended to be a picture of Neighbor D's ass. It was just a fence-building photo that went horribly wrong. But it does show D rockin' the cowboy look, which has always been his thing. Not sure why, but none of my business.

No, this wasn’t intended to be a picture of Neighbor D’s ass. It was just a fence-building photo that went horribly wrong. But it does show D rockin’ the cowboy look, which has always been his thing. Not sure why, but none of my business.

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All our chillun gonna die: Snow cones declared legal, in defiance of federal regulation and all good sense.

What next? You going to let school children point fingers and say “pew pew?” Chaos! Anarchy!

Foods sold at school fundraisers no longer have to comply with federal smart snack requirements, eliminating what Arizona schools chief Diane Douglas calls “overreach of government.”

The exemption is related to the efforts of Sen. Debbie Lesko who is sponsoring a bill stemming from an incident in which a fundraiser was told not to sell snow cones after school unless they were allowed on a list of snacks approved by the federal government.

It takes a giant federal program to raise a child. Everybody knows that. You know how many obesity-spawning calories there are in a snow cone? Well…none at all, actually, but that’s not the point. The point is, um…

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Sunday Misc.

Finished up the fenceposts for D&L’s riding arena this morning. All treated 4X6s, most of them planted 3 feet down. I assumed they were planning a fence to protect any horses who happened to be training in there from the admittedly remote danger of an elephant or rhino stampede until D told me the fencing material will consist of 2″ and 4″ nylon strapping. To which I may have responded something to the effect of “WTF, over?” Turns out they traded the fenceposts for a never-used Jeep soft top kit, and 10′ 4X6 posts is just what they were. So that’s what we planted. Thursday we’re going to the big town about 50 miles away and will return with a 10′ gate, among other things like glaucoma meds.

100_4699Ghost gets his very own bed. Regular readers will recall that Ghost, who isn’t as young as he used to be, has gradually decided he wants his very own napping space that he shares with nobody. The space he chose was my reading chair, a claim I disputed. I bought him a cheap Wal-mart bed and that was marginally acceptable except that Little Bear liked to lay across it just to be a jerk, so it caused more trouble than it solved. This weekend Landlady brought him the miniature couch above, which he has immediately taken to. It’s high enough and small enough not to attract LB.

Also delivered this weekend was an elaborate care package from a reader who shall remain nameless, mostly because I couldn’t read the name on the return address even though from the packaging I think he’s sent me a few before. Thanks very much for the goodies, and a funny story which resulted…
100_4701Among the goodies and useful stuff was a strangely-constructed double plastic bag, the point of which escaped me completely. Inside the inner bag was some sort of white granular material. “Weaponized anthrax?” I guessed. Landlady, similarly perplexed, scooped up a handful of the material just as I reached the bottom of the care package and found a piece of cardboard the contributor had helpfully included, which explained that the bag was a ‘double doodie’ for use in waterless toilets. The white stuff was a ‘biochemical something-something’ which does you can guess what. To which Landlady responded something to the effect of “Ew! I’ve got ‘doodie’ stuff on my hands!” and hand-washing ensued.

Today I’m eating care-package bacon, most appreciatively.

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Special forces, or special needs?

I get those mixed up sometimes.

And I’m just voiding myself in terror at the sight of these earnestly elite jihadis whom I’ve been assured are coming to kill me, or forbid me to eat bacon, or whatever…

Seriously…I’ve seen American militia training that’s more badass than this. Let’s go back to being afraid of ebola.

Also, here’s some old training material they may wish to peruse, which they’ll need when the A-10s come to visit…

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Quote of the Day: Rudy Giuliani

He’s been in the news the past couple of days for saying something uncomplimentary about Obama, so everybody loves him. Which in turn reminds me of the day he left my Christmas card list forever

We look upon authority too often and focus over and over again, for 30 or 40 or 50 years, as if there is something wrong with authority. We see only the oppressive side of authority. Maybe it comes out of our history and our background. What we don’t see is that freedom is not a concept in which people can do anything they want, be anything they can be. Freedom is about authority. Freedom is about the willingness of every single human being to cede to lawful authority a great deal of discretion about what you do.

That is all. Carry on.

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I’m sure this time it’ll work great.


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My dog must be broken.

I watch that, glance over at Little Bear, and just sort of sigh.

LB and I have a game called “Go around” in which Little Bear, having wrapped his cable around a tree or the sawjack or a tiny clump of grass or some damn thing again, tries with all his mental might to suss out what I mean as I point in the direction he needs to go to untangle himself and command, “Go around!” And he’s really paying attention, and he really wants to get this right, and he gets it completely wrong at least 60% of the time, often not only making things worse but hopelessly worse, but we keep at it.

And when at last he frees himself he gets his reward. “Good boy!” I cry. (insincerely)”Smart boy!” And he reacts pretty much like the border collie in that video, like he’s just won some sort of Best Dog in the World contest against heavy competition. He loves the Go Around game so much that sometimes I think he’s having me on.

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Situational Awareness: I needs some.

So I’m getting the day running this morning by loading Little Bear into the Jeep, and Ghost is nowhere to be seen. He does this sometimes, nothing personal, he’s just off chasing something at a bad time. I call and call, and then happen to actually look around me…
100_4693Well he can be rather quiet.
This is the day when at long last the well’s insides became its outsides, its entrails became its extrails. And unfortunately, though I had hoped the problem could be traced to a corroded connection or something else easily fixed, it has been decided that the pump motor is FUBAR. It’ll be sent off to god-knows-where for god-knows-how-long, and I’m going to get more big water jugs.

I suppose I could make a very small bucket...

I suppose I could make a very small bucket…

Also I made bread, again, having to hike over to Ian’s to actually bake it.
100_4698For the record, Ian’s oven sucks. But it does at least work and I think I’ve decided why his does and mine doesn’t. Having tracked the problem down to a faulty pressure regulator rather than anything inside the oven as I originally thought, I was looking at his set-up. He’s got a proper house-type regulator which connects to a portable propane bottle just fine, and he doesn’t have the chronic problems I always have. So I need to get less half-assed. Next time I go to the big town about 50 miles away to renew my glaucoma meds, since as far as I know that’s the closest place where I can buy one without hassle from Al the Reluctant Propane Guy.

Also, from Alert Reader MR, this suggestion for a post-apocalypse weapon which, quote, “is about as useful as the Taurus kit.”

Carrying on!

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“There are a few bad apples in every bunch.”

You mean a few that are worse than the regular rotten bunch, right, deputy?

In an otherwise rather mundane article about routine police corruption, witness this unintentionally ironic exchange.

Jeffery Schultz: You mentioned specifically “implicating a black person.” Does your agency target based on race?

Deputy Sheriff: I wouldn’t say target based on race but is is, you know, um, it is much easier to do this on a black person because they have no credibility anyways. The charges stick better to blacks than to a rich white guy that can afford a lawyer. That is one school of thought. Then you still have the deputies who like doing it to the rich white guys because they say it removes the smug look from their faces. They get their kicks from the power like its a game. Most cops though, they, um… do it to get bad guys off the streets. The last group of deputies do it for personal gain.

Jeffery Schultz: Personal gain? Like what?

Deputy Sheriff: Sometimes a deputy will use the threat of planting, you know, dope on a person to get some cash or something from the perp. Uh, like a few hundred bucks can make the problem go away. It’s pretty rare but it happens. Usually it’s the deputies that live large and need supplemental income. They tend to keep it really quiet because that’s like, you know, really bad stuff. We even had a guy put the suspect in the back of his green and white [patrol car]to drive him to an ATM machine. We were all like ‘what the hell is he doing?’ And another time a deputy arrested a guy for possession after he said he found the baggie on the guy’s floor board. Then he, um, he didn’t charge the guy in exchange for oral sex from the guy’s wife. I thought that was, you know, really wrong. Taking things just too far. Way to far. But I kept my mouth shut because, you know, you cross that line even a little and you don’t have the right to complain about those crossing it a bit more.

Jeffery Schultz: This is terrible stuff they are doing. Just terrible.

Deputy Sheriff: Yes, um it can get pretty bad. Most of our deputies wouldn’t ever think of doing that or going that far but a few, you know, there are a few bad apples in every bunch.

I love it. Also, I’m sure someone will be by to reassure me that most police officers are fine, upstanding, lantern-jawed heroes who are just as appalled by all this as I would be, if I didn’t consider it perfectly normal for the profession. Power corrupts, and sometimes petty power corrupts most absolutely.

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Here at the Lair, the wanton slaughter continues

Though things have slowed down a bit. Every evening I rebait the traps that need it, and set two under the Jeep’s hood…

One for rats...

One for rats…

And one for mice.

And one for mice.

Two traps, no waiting. I’ve only caught two rats under the hood during the whole Campaign of Rodent Terror, but I catch a mouse there almost every night.
Sometimes the mouse successfully cleans out the rat trap before expiring in the mouse trap, sometimes not. For a while I set two mouse traps in there, and I often caught two mice. To be honest, I’m not sure the practice isn’t actually attracting mice to the Jeep. Which really isn’t the point of the exercise.

By far the most successful trap location is the one between the Lair and the woodshed, which seems to be a natural highway. I’ve entirely stopped catching rats in traps set near known nests. The one I leave in the powershed has killed three over a long period of time.

I’m pretty much resolved that this campaign doesn’t have an endgame. I expected to catch three or four rats, and then run out of rats. Instead I’ve caught 19 so far. The pace has slowed, but I don’t think it’s going to stop.

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“Here’s to the few who forgive what you do…

“…And the fewer who don’t even care.”

Miscellany on an undeservedly beautiful day.
I moved the laundry operation back outdoors this morning. Didn’t even have to heat the water to get it…well, not warm precisely but not at all numbing. I was working with music playing through the Lair’s open window, having lit the woodstove briefly to take the chill off the cabin but now the temps were already near 60 and still rising. And it occurred to me that my musical tastes have changed a lot in the last few years. I used to be practically emo in the things I liked to listen to, y’know, music to slit your wrists by. Lots of darker stuff from Leonard Cohen and Emmylou Harris. Not so much anymore. Now I want it more upbeat and cheerful – which means I should probably buy some different tunes, since I’ve been listening to the same recordings for decades.

Been doing some recurring chores today… Continue reading

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