Well, now we found something Laddie definitely doesn’t like…

I’ve had two behind-the-cabin projects hanging fire for the past few days and it was definitely time to get back to them. I’m shortening the chicken yard and repurposing it into a dog kennel. Used up my last sack of cement on the gate post. Now I need to finish the front, and I’ll fill the blocks for the other two posts when I pour the concrete for the back stairs.

Not going as elaborate cementing down the latch post as with the gate post, but I do have to drive it in. So I started banging on the post driver, and…

Oh, somebody didn’t like that at all. He’d been hanging around close by, not really needing the tie-out at all, until all that noise started. Then he wanted to see how doings in Nebraska might work out. Continue reading

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Trying to relax. But dammit, dog!

We got an early rainstorm yesterday afternoon, after which Laddie and I went over the ridge to check on the new chicks in Ian’s Cave. Laddie finds his new environment fascinating: So many things to see, to smell, to herd. He really wants in among the chickens, and they don’t share his fascination. And so he’s constantly wandering off out of sight during walkies, something I completely relaxed about when Ghost did it but Laddie isn’t Ghost. He wasn’t born here, I don’t know if he’s snake-averse, don’t even know if he could find his way back to the cabin yet, and to any predator bigger than a doodlebug he’s going to look a lot like food. He kept wandering off, I kept calling him back. Mostly he obeyed willingly enough, but one time just as we arrived at the Cave I turned my back on him and he vanished like he’d apparated.

I looked around and called – he’s much quieter than any dog I’ve cared for in the past: I can’t hear him walk or pant, he doesn’t bark at all so far. No Laddie. Fortunately those tiny paws do leave clear marks in the wet sand, and he very clearly had launched up the ridge and past the driveway toward – something probably bigger than him. I tracked him till I lost him in some rocks, calling and calling. Of course he finally showed up behind me, by which time I wanted to punt him into a gully.

We’ll work it out. But I’m leaving for the Cave right now, and he’s coming with – on a leash.

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New additions all over the place!

Laddie had a kind of anxious first night, eager to be reassured when I started going vertical around five this morning. We went right outside and watered some trees together and that seemed to settle him down a bit. Then we started morning chores, helped J&B get loaded for their trip back north and were just coming back toward the Gulch from seeing them off at the cattlegate when we met Former Weekender Neighbor L on the road headed toward town. FWN L and I are going into partnership on chickens since Landlady wants out of the business, and she has been waiting for our new shipment of Leghorn chicks. So I had to run over to Ian’s, so the brooder would be warmed and ready for when she got back with the babies.

They didn’t have a good trip: Two dead and one that I think is going to die. The supplier promises to make up any losses in transit, so we should have sixteen to start.

Meanwhile Laddie is trying to find the best napping spots in the Secret Lair. Cool tile or warmer rug? Directly underfoot or only tangentially underfoot? Certainly we’ll avoid that delightfully comfortable-looking brand new bed over there…

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Sorry, very busy day.

We’ve been running around all day – and in fact I’m running out the door right now. Pix…

Laddie insists on checking out every pile of junk behind every outbuilding and I still don’t know if he’s at all snake-averse, so he’s making me a nervous wreck. But we’ll work it out.

Dig this crazy pedigree…


Yes, his geek name is S3.

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J, B, and Laddie have arrived safe…

But well into the evening, so I just set them up in Landlady’s house and bid them adieu. We’ll do the tour and dog hand-off tomorrow.

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Random gulchy moments

First, the Laddie thing is moved up to today. These guys really are driving through. So stay tuned.

Yesterday while going to collect the game camera from its apparently completely sterile location, I learned another way the wash had screwed me when it flooded a few days ago.

That chest-high washout wasn’t there before. The flat space above it is a nice gentle tributary that just naturally flowed into the wash. But now that part of the wash is several feet lower – and aimed directly at the target stand area BTW – and I had to detour around the washout through rough ground for maybe five extra minutes to collect the camera. Sheesh.

I went to see if I could dig out the big rock that was uncovered where my driveway apron used to be… Continue reading

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A coordinated banning of a conspiracy monger means, of course, that there’s a huge conspiracy out there!


Censorship PURGE points to imminent false flag violence before mid-term elections… bigger than 9/11?

(Natural News) For the last two months, I’ve been warning about the rising risk of a major false flag attack taking place before the mid-term elections. The aggressive, unprecedented PURGE of Alex Jones / InfoWars underscores the desperation of the totalitarian deep state that’s about to make a move to eliminate President Trump and / or steal the elections.

Anyone who believes that the sudden de-platforming of Alex Jones across over a dozen online services and platforms isn’t coordinated collusion is delusional. The coordinated de-platforming effort is clearly directed by the deep state to eliminate a prominent, dissenting voice in preparation for unleashing a history-shaping false flag attack that’s likely going to be bigger than 9/11.

Right, yeah. I hear the desperate bastards are sending regular embassies to the hollow earth, too, trying to drum up Reptilian assets for the military phase of their plan.

Or maybe, instead of a vast left-wing conspiracy to bring on Raul Castro as our new commissar, there’s just a shit-ton of deplorable Trump-supporting banjo-strumming mouthbreathers they’d love to drive off YouTwitFace, and they thought Alex Jones would be good low-hanging fruit for a first effort.

Note, please, that all the Streisand Effect isn’t exactly hurting Jones at the moment. So I’m not very worried about the competence with which our new progressive overlords will carry out the next phase of their Great Revolution.

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Laddie is coming.

They’re on their way this morning. ETA Tuesday evening, I think more likely Wednesday morning.

The neighborhood is putting out the welcome mat: There have been three offers of lodging including Landlady’s house which is what we’re going to do. That house has a big tub but no shower and no hot water at present so in case J & B want a hot shower after their long journey sleeping in the truck, that has also been arranged.

They call me Mr. Booger Brain.

They call me Mr. Booger Brain.

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Care Packages!

While I was in the big town 50 miles away the other day to visit the (shudder) DMV, I also bought a real new dog bed.

Yeah, with a tear in my eye, too. What that thing cost, if Laddie refuses to use it I’m gonna barbecue the ungrateful mutt.

Landlady came a day early just to haul my ass to the aforementioned DMV, and she brought care packages!

Somebody hit the Amazon wish list again. I’ve got a new heavy hoodie, which with the other new kit from the past couple of years basically sets me up for an ice age. In your face, Al Gore. Also a couple of socket organizers, which will help with the tool chest’s top drawer. Thanks!

Three brand new stump socks! I’m not the only amputee out there, I see.

Food and snacks! One of those sealed cans of saltines is going next to the sick box.

And Big Brother sent some munchies and…

Yay! Always welcome.

Also another Generous Reader sent a sack of kibble and a new brush for Laddie, and I’m told it arrived at the maildrop in plenty of time for the usual care package dump. But as previously mentioned Landlady was already stuck in a storm by then, so…it’ll get here in 2-3 weeks.

Thanks, guys. You rock.

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Storm damage repair

I just put this thing up! And I’ve already had to repair it twice. You think there may be something wrong with my construction plan?

One thing’s for sure – the flash flood overwhelmed that whole area. Probably due to changes in the riverbed caused by last year’s floods, the target area wasn’t nearly as immune to water as it usually is. The talus slope that used to be behind the paper target stand, which has probably been accumulating for centuries, was almost completely washed away. Continue reading

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Monsoon is a jackass to Joel

So yesterday morning I told Landlady’s sad tale of trying to visit her desert place at the height of Monsoon. It’s an old tired joke that she always brings bad weather with her, but I must admit this was a masterpiece.

I didn’t mention the other thing that happened that night…

Holy shit the wash just f*cking exploded

As the rain diminished I suited up and went out to see if the wash was running. This was mostly in the interest of determining if Landlady was ever going to be able to drive to her place that night. I came back and texted that the wash was indeed running a little bit but only a little and probably wouldn’t last long. I should have trusted experience a little more than that. Continue reading

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DMV Anticlimax

Okay, look: You could almost say the Department of Motor Vehicles is what drove me to become a hermit in the desert. It’s not literally true, but the DMV symbolizes everything I find intolerable about life in “civilization.” Sweartagod I have never, left to my own devices, walked into a DMV office and out again with my business successfully done on the first try. I hadn’t brought a title, or my insurance was expired, or the chicken I brought for sacrifice was blemished or of the wrong color, or…something. These days I sometimes preen around like I’m this great freedom outlaw, but here’s Joel’s dark guilty secret: I’m really just a gimp who can’t keep his papers in order.

When I got married, one of the advantages was sudden access to somebody who loved all that shit. Say what you will about my ex-wife, when I lived with her I didn’t have problems like that. My papers and tax payments and all the excreta of modern life were kept so orderly I could order a renewed driver’s license through the mail and get away with it.

When I wasn’t married any more, dear god, then were all my sins remembered. I was no longer welcome in the great state of California within five years.

I’ve lived in the desert sans Government-Issued Photo ID for twelve years. So you can imagine how gladly I regarded a trip to the DMV. But it had to be done. Landlady has concocted an elaborate plan to get me back into legal existence – kicking and whining, mostly – because I’m starting to need an increasing amount of medical care, turn 65 soon, and really need (So help me god if I get one comment about this I’ll track you down wherever you hide and yodel Lovesick Blues outside your window for the rest of your life) to get on the government tit.

Yeah. She had to contend with whining, but I didn’t argue very hard. The alternative involves living with pain and blindness till I stick a rifle in my mouth and blow the back of my head off. Sit up at night with that a while, and we’ll see how inflexible your principles remain.

And that was why I found myself parked outside an DMV office about 50 miles from my home this morning, fighting down hyperventilation. The only thing that even got me here was Landlady’s assistance in acquiring (concocting, really) the last required piece of paperwork attesting to my existence on the earth. And the story of that acquisition is a hair-raising tale which will remain untold, since it didn’t altogether end well. Let’s just say I was brushed by the leathery wings of the Last Revenge of the Ex-Wife.

She basically babysat me through it. We even got our story straight on the way to the town – preparing an explanation, should one be needed, why this younger woman was helping this old gray man do something so simple as acquire a state ID card. And also why the address on that card was nowhere near that town. I was prepared to dodder, should the muse demand it of me.

But in fact there were no substantial roadblocks at all. We were in and successfully out in a record 45 minutes! And soon I will own an expensive little laminated card. My life will be so very enhanced thereby, I’m sure.

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Monsoon is a complete jackass to Landlady

Yesterday was a perfectly pleasant day, aside from being hot, right up to virtually the moment Landlady arrived. It hasn’t rained at all in almost a week but yesterday I sat out on the porch in the late afternoon and watched storm cells charge toward the Gulch from virtually every direction – it was like somebody had decided to throw a storm cell rave right frickin’ here. I knew she was planning to come here but not when, so I texted her. She said she was just approaching the little town nearest where we live, and that she had borrowed a 4WD for the trip, so I relaxed. Nothing could possibly go wrong enough to stop her in so short a time.

“HAHAHAHAHAHAHA….,” said the weather. “Hold my beer.”

Okay – to get to the Gulch from the little town, you do the following: Drive a few miles up a well-maintained dirt road, down and up a cemented dip through a wash crossing, wind around a bit, up a hill, hang a right through a cattle gate, wind around some more, go down a hill that turns to absolute terrifying snot on glass when it’s wet (with gullies somehow on BOTH SIDES for extra clenchy points, through a small wash crossing, and then…

No, stop there. There was no “and then.” Because she got down Snot Hill only to confront a raging river where Small Wash Crossing used to be. Aaand now she’s stuck between them. In the middle of a raging lightning display that seems to have nothing to do but be a dick to her personally. Without actually driving into the raging river to your death, that’s about as bad as it gets.

Her adventures had only begun! There’s a sort of semi-abandoned homestead halfway up Snot Hill, and I suggested (we were texting through this whole thing) that she could maybe take shelter in the carport that’s there. She couldn’t negotiate the now-impassible driveway, but having gotten halfway up the hill decided she may as well drive the other half. That let her get back to the county road, and now she had to decide: Back to town, or further into the desert where she could take refuge with other, more distant neighbors? She went further into the desert…

…only to be stopped by more water over the road, of course. By now it’s getting dark. She turns back toward town…

…and you know I only mentioned that cemented-over dip with the dry wash crossing for future foreshadowing, right? Yeah, dry no more. Raging river.

That wash flows like crazy but never for long, and it’s cemented. So she was able to cross and get back to town around nine. Holed up in the town’s one crummy motel. Now we’re off to see how bad the road is torn up and if she can make it here.

And I almost hope she can’t because if she can, the day’s adventure begins. I have to go with her to the big town about 50 miles away, to do something I really* don’t want to do. Stay tuned for our next exciting episode…

“Joel Goes to a DMV Office!!!”



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“Oh, for god’s sake!”

This morning’s main task was shortening what used to be the Fortress of Attitude into Li’l Gitmo.

…you may recall that was the morning’s main task day before yesterday, too. And it will be Sunday’s morning main task. Tomorrow and Saturday are booked. Because, of course, complications. Continue reading

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Hey, this was pretty good!

Last fall a neighbor asked me to haul off a perfectly good propane barbecue. Beginning this Spring I started learning how to use the thing to grill meat, something I was never quite enough of a suburbanite to gain any experience with. Turns out it’s pretty simple, of course.

The meat available at the local food market is sometimes dodgy – it pays to note carefully the meat’s actual condition rather than just go by the “use-by” date – but since there are so many low-income people around they do tend to stock a lot of low-priced chicken cuts. In particular I can get several meals worth of thighs – my favorite bit of the chicken – for like three bucks. This summer I’ve been eating a lot of it grilled outside.

Normally I marinade it in orange sauce or crack sauce or barbecue sauce. But I was rearranging some stuff in the kitchen the other day and came upon a gift from a Generous Reader, from last year I think…

Substantially different from what I’m used to, and I think it ended up at the back of the cabinet because I just didn’t know what to do with it. But the label suggests using it with chicken so I did yesterday. And it’s damned tasty! That’s all I was trying to say.

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Second day on the job…

Didn’t mean to leave it a week before returning. It’s the busy season, brush trimming isn’t part of the routine yet and I’m fitting it in among other jobs.

This time I upped the power level a bit…

With the addition of the Honda and the heavy sawzall I can cut branches right up to jobs where it would make more sense to take the chainsaw out of mothballs. And the proposal specifically specifies that The Chainsaw Pays Extra. I really don’t want to take the chainsaw out of mothballs.

Only planned to be out about an hour, but the objective was to finish trimming the road shoulders all the way out to one of the busiest cattlegates at the county road and it turned out there was more trimming to be done than I thought. So I filled the trailer twice, then I had to backtrack to the boonies well away from where anybody lives to dump it.

When you’re a trained professional you get to call it “building habitat.” :)

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The divine right of governors?

If you were a state governor and found yourself with the power to arbitrarily outlaw any little thing you wanted, what would you choose?

Apparently this is the situation New York Governor Andrew Cuomo finds himself in. I don’t know how – possibly New York has some peculiar amendments squirreled away in its constitution. I’m not judging. Anyway, Cuomo apparently awakened to the knowledge that in the state of New York, a thing becomes illegal the moment he wants it to be illegal. And so he donned his crown, took up his orb and scepter, and spake thus:

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo says he’s discovered a way to kneecap the NRA by outlawing its gun-liability insurance program and is urging other states to follow his lead, saying they have a chance to exploit the gun-rights group’s admitted dire financial situation.

Mr. Cuomo said the National Rifle Association let on in court papers last month how much it relies on the liability insurance program to bolster its bottom line, and could succumb to pressure.

“I believe this insurance product is going to be illegal from a public policy point of view in most states,” Mr. Cuomo said on MSNBC. “Now that the NRA has said this is a major source of revenue, I’m going to pursue it nationwide.”

“Illegal from a public policy point of view?” What does that even mean?

Except “It is in the way of my gun grabbing policy, so it’s illegal now.”

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Okay, that didn’t go well…

Today’s project was supposed to be converting the Lair’s chicken yard into a more practical dog kennel.

Seemed simple enough. Finish cleaning out the deep litter. Take the top off the coop, take the coop off those tall pedestals, turn it around, remove the end door, put it on shorter blocks, clean it up, put the top back on and generally turn it into a dog house.

Then shorten the whole yard by four feet, which will still be plenty for temporary Corgi shelter but will stop interfering with the new back stairs. That was supposed to be the hard part.

Shortening the yard means re-thinking the whole top cover, but that really ought to be the easy part. A shortened yard means the new section of camo netting, which currently only covers half the yard, will go further. I thought I’d entirely discard the old camo netting, since the small part of the kennel it will still cover doesn’t get much direct sunlight and anyway the shade fabric is completely done. But actually I think I’ll retain the actual net, which is still in usable condition and I’m not completely certain a Corgi-size dog doesn’t need to worry about raptors.

But I never got that far anyway before totally running out of steam…

…because I forgot how stupid heavy that chicken coop is. I got it turned around and up on blocks – finally – but other than some easy preliminary work that’s all I got done this morning. I quit almost half an hour ago and I’m still panting and in a muck sweat, and in no mood at all to wrestle with third-hand chain link fencing. And the coop needs some minor repair before I put the top back on. Maybe I’ll do that later today, but the fencing will need to wait.

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Sorry, there’s just…

…not a lot going on right now.

I do have a new project planned, that will take a few hours and substantially change the yard’s profile. If I can get off my ass, finish breakfast and put some pants on. So far it’s not looking good.

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The problem with building your firing range on a dry riverbed…

…and your main path to and from your cabin as well, I suppose…

is that, in the very nature of it being a riverbed, it isn’t always dry.

Just kind of marking the event. Last night the wash ran for the very first time this year other than one trickle. It wasn’t a big terrifying flash flood or anything, but it did rain for about five hours in the afternoon – for the first time in almost two weeks, this has been a pretty dry Monsoon so far – and the wash did run.

And now I have to go to town. Monday water run.

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