Spent the day away from the Gulch…

Landlady and I have been working at Ian’s, and today’s assignment was to dispose of the junk we recently cleaned out of the powershed and then acquire a new powershed door. The first required a trip to the county dump, the second a journey to the big town about 50 miles away.

We got to the big town in time for an early lunch. Laddie and Dharma came along, so we needed to find a rather more upscale than usual restaurant that was happy about people showing up with dogs…

mmm – I don’t remember the last time I ate fish and chips, and happily these were pretty darned good.

Then to Lowes, where we acquired the door. I recently rehabbed the Jeep trailer with new tires and lubed hubs, and it behaved perfectly well there and back.

I was going to wait and see what developed concerning a replacement for my beloved but mortally wounded cordless drill, but while at Lowes I passed a display with exactly the right sort of drill…

…and I took that as a sign. Hurts to spend money, but as fortune or coincidence or synchronicity would have it just this week a long-time Generous Reader sent me a package containing more than enough green stamps to settle the matter. So thank you very much, Generous Reader! I’m back in the saddle.

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I guess the necrophilia alone should have alerted us to a problem…

In hindsight, those Disney cartoons sure are creepy. No?

I mean, think about it – most of the male characters aren’t characters at all, just objectified plot devices furthering the creepy sexualized appetites of the female protagonists. Body shaming, classism (“some day my prince will come?” Seriously?) and sexism are everywhere in these damaging films aimed at innocent boys. When there is a male protagonist he’s cast as a thief, or in some weird relationship with a satyr. These films are anti-male and should be condemned as such.

Er…wait. What was I saying? No! No! Of course I meant the films are evil tools of the patriarchy, existing only to lower genderfluid children into thralldom to an empty search for toxic masculine protection, as if there could be such a thing.

problematic pocahontas
I mean, look at that image. The overly sexualized female protagonist may sing about painting with all the colors of the wind but she’ll be doing it in a wooden boat cut from a living tree, while eating all the cute animals gathered at the banks of the river – which her tribe probably pollutes – to do her some sort of perverted anthropocentric homage. There is nothing about this image that isn’t problematic.

Thank Gaia we have these enlightened Hollywood actresses to set us straight at last.

But as the white male – but allied – writer Matt Walsh points out, there is so much left to do in removing these corrupting films from the lives of our wonderful children, whichever of the many properly acknowledged genders they may eventually choose.

I applaud both women for protecting their children from this highly-objectionable material. I only fear that our conversation about problematic cartoons has not gone far enough. There are several other Disney films that should be thrown on the ash heap of history alongside the ones mentioned by Bell and Knightly. Indeed, I would argue that it is actual child abuse to let your son or daughter watch any of the following:

Signed, Joel (who today identifies as a genderless Sycamore not yet carved into a boat by aboriginal male oppressors of color)

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…and the people who use more electricity than I do also have bigger generators.

S&L are out of the state on some family business and I’m watching their place. Notionally watering the plants, not that that has taken any effort. Keeping the wild birds fed and interested in hanging around. And generally…

“I hope the refrigerator is still working,” said the text…

Um…okay, I honestly hadn’t given that a thought. I mean, my batteries topped off yesterday with just a little afternoon sun but I don’t run a big side-by-side fridge. So I went over there early in the evening and the fridge was indeed running.

Went over there this morning and it was dead. The battery voltage bottomed out overnight and the inverter switched off.

As it happens I don’t know anything about their inverter but you can’t go too far wrong just pushing buttons, and it only took a minute or two to reboot it – not that that would help if there was no sun, which there wasn’t. So I drove home, since I had forgotten my phone, and texted a request for instructions on how to get their generator to charge their batteries. Because you can go really far wrong doing the wrong thing to an inverter with a generator.

Turns out they had rigged it to be really simple so I drove back over there, turned on the generator and plugged it in…

…and sat down to watch Youtube on my smartphone for half an hour. Went out to shut down the generator, and found that the fog had lifted and there was even faint shadow. By the time I got home, Uncle Murphy had sprung his little joke…


Sky hasn’t looked like that since before Landlady’s last visit.

Stupid weather.

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Smarter than the average dust bunny…


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Fog now?

This is just so wrong.

I’ve been promised temps in the sixties every day this week and it has yet to happen. In terms of sunshine I’ve lost all faith in “free beer tomorrow,” though I do admit there was enough wan sunshine yesterday to top off the batteries. And it didn’t rain.

So today is not an improvement. And starting out with pea-soup fog? This is the frickin’ high desert, not Cape Disappointment*. We don’t fog.

I hate weather.

*an actual place I only learned about this morning. So wherever you live and however displeased you might be with it, just tell yourself it could be worse.

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Oughta run for senate, then.

warren - 1-1024th bald eagle

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What young elk do when they think you’re not watching


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I call it, Old Man Sitting by Furnace with Dog.

…and it’s how I spent basically all of yesterday after morning chicken chores. Because it was cold and wet – at one point it even snowed. With the exception of that one snowy interval it rained solidly from sometime in the middle of the night to one in the afternoon, and the sun never did come out in any meaningful way. So solar gain to the cabin interior was basically zero. I could stay in the main cabin and stoke the fire all day or do what I actually did, which was sit in a chair in my comfortably cool room and read a book.

Blog output reflects the fact that the Official TUAK ‘Pooter is in the main cabin, not the bedroom. Sorry about that.

As the sky lightens out my window, I see the weather hasn’t quite decided whether today will be a replay of yesterday. So today may also not be a banner day in TUAK history.

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Damn it!

Who stole my crochet patterns?


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Two months from now this’ll seem balmy.

Still getting a lot of weather. Overnight rain, morning wind. I have no idea what the wind will blow in. Smart money says I won’t like it very much.

By winter standards it isn’t even cold out. Would have gotten a lot colder without the rain and overcast. But between the damp, the wind and the lack of acclimatization, I’m breaking out the longjohns.


First fire of the season. Wish I’d spent more effort dusting off the upper stovepipe; I hate the smell of burning dust almost as much as I hate the smell of hot metal. Sweartagod I’m still paying for that chimney fire back almost seven years ago. None of the hardware or even the fuel is the same – there’s no smallest chance of a repeat. I’ve long since lost count of how many times I’ve told myself that…

To heat up the cabin most efficiently, I roasted my lunch and dinner at 6:30 this morning. :)

…then as soon as I turn the gas off I open the oven door to salvage the heat. Small cabins rule in winter.

None of this matters overnight because the bedroom, unlike the main cabin, resides snugly in the mid-20th century. Thermostats are among the unsung wonders of western civilization.

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The lying liars who want to rule us

I can’t wait to live in their perfect world. It’ll be so peaceful and nice.

Project Veritas Catches Democrat Senator McCaskill On Camera: She’ll Vote To Ban High-Capacity Mags

Project Veritas released another bombshell video on Monday night, this time showing Missouri Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill and her staff saying that she supports strict gun control measures, but that she couldn’t express that outwardly or she wouldn’t get reelected.

“But if we have the kind of year I think we might have I think we could actually be in a position to get votes on this stuff on the floor and we’d get 60. McConnell knows it. He just doesn’t want to put it on the floor because then it goes to the House and then sits awkward because all those House members are total NRA folks so…” McCaskill stated.

“So you would be on board with the bump stocks and… high capacity mags,” the undercover journalist followed up.

McCaskill confirmed that stating, “Of course! Of course!”

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They keep pushing back the forecast for the next sunny day.

Since a week ago yesterday, or for the past eight days, the next sunny day was always forecast to be three days away. Today I note we were supposed to have “rain and drizzle” this morning. In the forecaster’s defense, we did. Of course it is now 4 PM and still raining.

Went on the regular Monday morning water run this morning, in intermittent rain. On the way, D said they’ve been running their generator every day for almost a week. I asked if there was something wrong with their batteries, which are relatively new. She smiled and said, “No, Joel. We actually use electricity.”

And it’s true: Numerous close neighbors use a lot more electricity than I do. I often forget.

My own batteries are doing very well through this extended gloomy spell…

For several years I ran two 240ish a/h 6v batteries, and thought that was the way to go for a person with my laughable income stream. It can be done, I’ve proven it can be done, but I really used to feel gloomy days. If you can contrive to double the size of that bank and have the panels to power them, my neurotically low level of electricity use will barely take the surface charge off them. Only a few months after I more than doubled my generation power by bartering work for some old large panels, somebody asked me to haul off 4 old discharged Trojan T-105 golf cart batteries. I did it to be nice, hoping to eventually find a recycler who could repay the effort. But of course I tested them: They not only took a charge but held it beautifully. Later I worked up the nerve to arrange for the Trojans to power the inverter while the Interstates ran the 12v lighting. That way if the Trojans failed me, as I more than half expected, nothing was really lost. That was almost two years ago and all six batteries are still working fine. The Interstates are going on five years old and the Trojans are probably older. They should be failing but they’re not, and I think that’s because I hardly ever really stress them.

Of course there are lifestyle trade-offs. No fridge. No TV. No AC. I can’t run a shop vac for any serious period of time even on a bright sunny day, and power tools need the generator. I’ve been doing it this way for so long I barely recall that there was a rather unpleasant adjustment period. But in case anybody takes it into his/her head to follow my example, there actually was a rather unpleasant adjustment period. Most people consider electricity important for more uses than I put it to, and those people are often more comfortable than I am.

But I like it.

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Lots of elk around the cabin

Along around six TB got all worked up about something outside the cabin. He seems to find all this natural stuff endlessly fascinating/threatening so he can go off about anything from a coyote in the yard to a bird in the eaves. But he was giving me a full-on All Hands to Battle Stations freakout so I leashed him up and we went out to see what the problem was.

And to my surprise there actually was something any self-respecting dog would want to bark at. A couple of weeks ago I mentioned that the elk seem to have returned, well, this morning it could have been elk steak for everybody if I were that sort of hermit. He immediately tried to give chase and I was happy I’d resorted to the leash. He truly hasn’t got the sense god gave a butterfly: what was he going to do, herd them*?

Anyway, a little later we went on a nice longish walk through the wash between rainstorms** and on one leg he alerted to a big shaggy fully-antlered bull in the wash that had seen us first and was sort of sidling toward the mudhills on the far side of the horseshoe turn. TB again attempted to give chase and the bull upped his pace just a bit as if to humor him. I’ve been carrying a rifle lately since starting to layer up against the morning cold and again there was a shot that could have been taken. But I’m really not a hunter so I just enjoyed the sight. They are beautiful animals.

* BTW, I finally succumbed to the temptation to type “corgies herding cattle” into a Youtube search window, to confirm that people actually do (attempt to) herd cattle with corgis. The videos I saw suggest they do this more for comedic effect than because that’s a logical breed for the chore, but the people appear to be trying to take job seriously even if not all the dogs are.

** Cold and lots of rain overnight: I got woke up by a positively scary rainstorm.

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Cozy time for Torso Boy…

I’ve been passing out early which means waking up early. This morning at 4 I was done sleeping but Butterfly Brain definitely was not. So I came back to the (nice warm) bedroom from the ivory throne to find him on the bed waiting rather impatiently for me to climb back in.

And there he wanted to stay, no wiggling please, for the next hour until he could no longer postpone his own need to water a tree.

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Fake but Accurate

Here’s a joke to get Sunday off to a good start…


A little girl was leaning into a lion’s cage. Suddenly, the lion grabs her by the collar of her jacket and tries to pull her inside to slaughter her, all under the eyes of her screaming parents.

A biker jumps off his Harley, runs to the cage and hits the lion square on the nose with a powerful punch.

Whimpering from the pain the lion jumps back letting go of the girl and the biker brings the girl to her terrified parents, who thank him endlessly. A reporter has watched the whole event.

The reporter addressing the Harley rider says, “Sir, this was the most gallant and bravest thing I’ve seen a man do in my whole life.”

The Harley rider replies, “Why, it was nothing, really. The lion was behind bars. I just saw this little kid in danger, and acted as I felt right.”

The reporter says, “Well, I’ll make sure this won’t go unnoticed. I’m a journalist, and tomorrow’s paper will have this story on the front page.

“So, what do you do for a living, and what political affiliation do you have?”

The biker replies “I’m a U.S. Marine, a Republican and I voted for Trump”. The journalist leaves.

The following morning the biker buys the paper to see if it indeed brings news of his actions, and reads, on the front page:


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Ancient Aboriginal Tupperware

Wide stretches of the landscape around here is just little rocks and pebbles…

…and sometimes it pays to keep your eyes on the ground if you’re in a safe spot because interesting stuff can appear. People have been here a long time. And they’ve always been litterbugs.

I got my axehead that way…

Yeah! Walking along with the dogs through a patch where I’d never been before, minding my own business, and there it was lying on the ground. I don’t know where it came from or who left it there, but it’s mine now. Nice axe, too. Way better at taking and holding an edge than some hardware store axes I’ve used. All I needed was a handle.

But some litter you’ll find is a little older than that…

This place was picked clean of all the good stuff decades ago but now and then you can still be walking along and see something lying on the ground that looks like a potshard. Chances are it’s a potshard, like these I happened upon yesterday evening.

They say that up till around 750 years ago when Donald Trump denied global warming and angered the gods, quite a lot of people lived around here. As far as I’ve ever been able to tell, their principal activity was breaking clay pots.

These days you could get in big trouble for leaving all that shit lying around the way they did. But whoever they were, they didn’t object to litterbugs. In fact from the evidence you could make a fairly credible case that it was some sort of requirement.

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Not quite ready for that, young ladies…

To avoid the risk of mansplaining I never tell new pullets that they shouldn’t hang out in the nesting boxes because then they just fill them with shit which I have to clean out. I accept my guilt as a white male and just clean out the damned boxes when they’re done playing in them.

Though technically I developed this approach during a period when the pullets were always red. Now that they’re white do they share part of the blame, since after all I’m not the one actually taking multiple dumps in the nesting boxes? Does whiteness count for more or less than maleness when assigning guilt? This brave new world is confusing and occasionally infuriating.

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A few gulchy pix…

…from last week.

Cleaning up after the building season – here’s the Secret Lair in its current form, from the hillside behind the cabin.


And that buzzard or another just like it made another stop at the watering station…


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Suddenly had to go to town this morning…

…because the weather is going crappy again and there’s a good chance that D&L’s semi-regular Saturday trip to the feed and dollar stores would be canceled on account of mud. I don’t normally go on Saturday unless I have a big dollar store shopping list saved up and enough pocket money to fulfill it…

…but if I could get the tires back on the trailer before the rain starts up again, that would be great.

So I did. :)

And while I was at it and the Jeep was backed up in front of the trailer, I tested the taillights and (rather to my surprise) they still work fine. So, with new tires and freshly-lubed hubs, the trailer is officially ready for any road trip Landlady wants to take it on. And it can go ahead and rain all week for all I care.

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In my absence I have gotten a few things done…

The wood stove is ready to go…

I cleaned four dead birds out of that thing, in addition to the one Laddie killed and two I released and shooed out the open door. The stovepipe really needs a better weathercap.

But the stovepipe itself didn’t even need cleaning at all. Better wood, hotter fires, and it doesn’t pack up with soot and creosote. Just like a hundred people have said. Today’s a lot warmer than it has been since Sunday, but it’s supposed to go right back to being rainy and cold starting tomorrow so it’s only a matter of time before I break down and start lighting morning fires.

It might be a little while before I start wanting this…

…but it’s ready to go when I do.

I finally! Finally! Got the bypass regulator plumbed to the pipe and bottles. Pressurized it, climbed under the cabin and tested all the fittings for leaks…

…then laboriously bled the air out of the plumbing and got the pilot lit. We are officially ready for winter.

And this morning I started on a sad chore that has waited a long time…

Last weekend Landlady brought Little Bear’s grave marker up. The weather’s been lousy but today it warmed up enough that I felt like opening a tube of construction cement and gluing it to the pedestal I poured a month or more ago.

Tomorrow I’ll paint the pedestal white, then I have some smoothing to do on his grave and I’ll get it set. Just in time, too, because late this month or early next Boot Hill is going to get its iron fence and become an official family plot. Hopefully for a long time yet to be filled mostly with pets, only one human-type person.

Also this morning I packed the trailer’s hub bearings…

And so it’ll be ready to go when I pick up the wheels with the new tires on Monday. Already paid for!

Anyway – I’m still having email problems but the blog is officially back in business. Sorry about the lapse in posting.

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