If you’d asked me at the beginning of this week, “If it were all going to fall apart tomorrow, what panicked preparations would you take,” I would only have been able to think of one: I’d do something about all those empty propane bottles.
And now I have!
ETA: Meant to add that, unlike the last time the price of gasoline skyrocketed, so far at least locally the price of propane hasn’t mirrored it. Mid-grade gasoline is selling for about $3.50 here at the moment but I only paid $2.57/gallon for the propane and that’s not significantly higher than it was before the new administration improved things. So I beat the inevitable inflation.
I mean he’s gone from panicked to resigned, which is pretty good progress in less than a month. He’ll get in on his own now – with sometimes quite a bit of prompting. He hasn’t tried to jump out lately. He’s making progress.
He seems to have overcome his digestive issues. He has been introduced to the sublime pleasures of peanut butter…
…and found them good. Torso Boy was a terrible disappointment to me in that one department. A dog that doesn’t like peanut butter? Sad.
We’re making progress. I think I kind of rushed getting him off the leash. Once he learned that there really wasn’t any way for me to control him once he was out of reach, he decided that meant I stopped getting a vote where he goes outdoors – and that’s not how this is going to work. So we’re going to need sessions with the trick collar, and unfortunately the receiver on the set a Generous Reader sent me doesn’t want to charge up. So I’ve got another coming with the next mail drop, but until then he’s stuck on the leash again.
Other than that, he’s settling in nicely! He’s got such a great disposition, and unlike TB’s first year here he really seems to like me. Which, since he’s definitely still a puppy, can get a bit irritating when he decides it’s playtime.
Sometimes the stars align to do something unseasonable. This is the Secret Lair’s current propane situation…
Bedroom heater: One empty, one full
Kitchen stove: One empty, one still surprisingly heavy so maybe half-full
Expended bottle dump: Three empties
Ready supply: One full
In mid-June on possibly the hottest week of the year – by far the hottest to date – two full reserve bottles hardly constitutes a propane emergency. In fact except for that empty kitchen bottle I would not normally be giving propane a single thought. But I just got paid for that editing job, so I’m flush with cash that’s worth a little less every day, and I have five empty bottles that should ideally be full of propane which seems to go up in price every day. Seasonally speaking I should ignore the situation but logistically it’s time to make like a citizen of Zimbabwe and turn money into commodities as quickly as humanly possible.
And tomorrow that’s exactly what I’m going to do. Neighbor D wants to go to town for some stuff, and has agreed to help me with a truly epic propane run.
So on our afternoon walkie, Tobie got his first clean shot at a rabbit. He blasted off after it, and having no choice I let him run without making a fuss. Young as he is and in this heat, I didn’t expect him to run far and he didn’t. I found a rock to sit on and called him, and after about five minutes he came back quite happy with himself. I’ve always said it’s okay to chase, it’s just real important that you come straight back when you’re done. And he did, so he got praised for that*.
Then we went out for our last quick walkie of the evening, and Tobie faded around a tree and disappeared like he’d learned to vanish. First time he ever got away with that. Several minutes later I found out why: He came back down the gully behind the cabin but didn’t want to approach me – or let me approach him – for fear I’d take his big juicy rat away from him.
I had the same problem with Little Bear, except his taste was exclusively for rabbit. So I let Tobie keep his distance until he finished his meal, and then he trotted back to me and the cabin quite happily as if nothing had ever happened.
I’m expecting big smelly puddles on the rug again by the morning. Sigh.
Morning ETA: Nope, prediction failed. Dog biscuits give him the squirts, but a nice fresh rat sits just fine. Oh, he’s going to fit right in around here.
*If I can just get him into the habit of coming straight back after a run, I’ll settle for that. Little Bear got the lifetime leash because he could never learn to reliably come back.
Tobie is a happy dog! He got a helluva lot of presents in this care package drop.
A new big bed!
Far too big for the original 200 sq. ft. cabin, but we’ll work that out. I was afraid this was going to be an expensive bust, not because there’s anything wrong with the bed – it’s obviously an improvement. It’s just that the perversity of the universe tends to a maximum, so I naturally expected Tobie to be an asshole about accepting it. Instead he stepped right in and said, ‘yeah, away with the old. This is my bed now.’ Continue reading →
So I was at a neighbor’s house this morning, and he asked if I wouldn’t have a look at this old SKS he picked up cheap for his grandson, you know, make sure it works safely before passing it on. I was happy to do that.
And oh, this was one bubba’d-up gun. I mean, I get it: 20 years ago SKSs were ubiquitous and cheap. Had one myself and wish I hadn’t sold it on when I got my AK because a light 10-round semiauto is a lot more handy as a homestead gun than an AK, to be honest. But it’s not … tacticool. And it doesn’t have that great big banana mag. And whoever got his hands on this one just had to have that.
Anyway, I took it back to the Lair, figured out how to get that awful ‘tactical’ stock off the receiver, and…
…well, let’s just say that the mark of the true mall ninja is swapping out stock parts for cool-looking parts without even bothering to clean all the cosmoline out of the working parts. Then shooting it anyway, until the grease in the gas tube gums up the piston good and awful. I imagine its original owner sold it on when it ceased to function, and I hope he (it had to be a he) lost his shirt on the deal. I went through a lot of rags and patches and Ballistol. But I got the piston moving free, and the bore’s in really good shape. Had my doubts about those magazines.
I told my neighbor that it would be better if he could score the original stock and magazine, but to my surprise…
…once I got it cleaned up it ran like a top, even with those removable 30-round mags. I have no personal experience with them but they had a terrible rep 20 years ago. These appear to be more recent manufacture and apparently somebody worked out the bugs. Now I just have to see what I can do with that cheap red dot, which is nowhere near zeroed. Paper targets tomorrow.
Corrosion might, in the fullness of time. But heat won’t.
D&L have a regular Wednesday doctor visit in the big town about 50 miles away for the next two months or so. Which means I have a regular appointment to feed and deal with the hygiene needs of their horses and dogs.
Since they’re on the road toward town I decided to take the bike, combine chores and go to the hardware store to get some proper galvanized plumbing for the water heater. And if this doesn’t finalize the job I can’t imagine what will. 🙂
Tobie has been doing really good with walkies. Today’s setback was due to poor route choice on my part.
We took what I think of as the long circuit: overland directly to Landlady’s ridge to visit the chickens, then down the far side of the ridge to connect with the dirt roads and take them for the long way home. And for all of the first part of this, Tobie was perfect.
What I’m trying to impart is that he can veer off the path and have a sniff any time he wants, but he has to come back when called and he may not hare off after things that run from him. So far that last thing hasn’t been an issue but this morning I led him into too much temptation.
At one point on the road there’s a house visible. In the house there’s an old lady whom I’ve mentioned before: She’s my physically closest full-time neighbor and I’ve literally never met her. She takes ‘hermit’ to heights of perfection I would find unpleasant. But (so says the jungle telegraph) she’s lately been in poor health and so has been getting lengthy visits from family whether she wants them or not. I know those people have unleashed dogs, because I’ve met them before on the road. So when I saw extra vehicles in front of that house I probably should have reeled Tobie in. Instead I let it play out, and that was a big mistake.
I knew I’d lost him the moment I saw him take the scent.
Sigh. So I followed him through the trees onto private property, and unsurprisingly found him cavorting with two larger, surprised but not unwelcoming dogs. One of the family members was out there with them, and we had a pleasant conversation about dogs before I leashed Tobie up and dragged his protesting torso away from the scene of the crime.
“But I want to go play with the doggies!”
We’ll stick to the wash circuit until the visitors are gone. Really need to get one of those trick collars.
…in hope of correcting last summer’s near-total failure.
The poor-man’s solar water heater is made of a free fiberglass box and a whole bunch of black garden hose. That part seems to work fine. But – mostly for artistic purposes, I suppose – I supplemented all that with PVC running across the roof and down to the spigot. And that part never worked for very long, because the water temperature kept melting the adhesive. And in fact it damn near melted the pipe. And despite further efforts it just went on like that.
Then I suffered a very painful shoulder dislocation which made any further carrying of hot water buckets around moot for a while – and then Laddie got cancer and very unpleasantly died – and I gave up on the project for the season.
But I always intended to take it up again this year, because of course.
Little Bear had Magnus to teach him and keep him safe when he was a little puppy; Tobie, alas, only has me. And lacking a fenced safe yard to run and play in, and hampered by an overprotective Uncle Joel, Tobie was in danger of spending his life on a leash.
But he has been so remarkably good about not running off after every little movement and scent that he’s mostly off the leash already. Which means he can indulge in every puppy’s favorite game…
Running and playing!
I’ve said it before; the desert is a wonderful place to be a dog, until something kills you.
And I’m determined that, so far as it’s in my power, nothing like that will happen to Tobie.
But the wash is open and relatively safe for a game of “can’t catch me.”
And nobody knows better than me that you can’t bubblewrap the world.
So run and play, little man. Enjoy. But don’t go out of sight.
Oh, I missed the perfect photograph yesterday evening.
I’ve mentioned that lately I’m up to my armpits in bull snakes, which is not so unusual in spring/early summer.
Unlike rattlesnakes, bull snakes are entirely harmless and beneficial and I do nothing to discourage them from hanging around – as long as they don’t try to come inside, because snakes are creepy.
But yesterday evening Tobie and I were coming home from his evening walkie when I saw something hanging from the inside of the Jeep’s right front wheel. I looked more closely, and there was a snake working its way up the axle joint and spring and slithering into the engine compartment. Unfortunately I didn’t have my phone, and by the time I got back and opened the hood the snake was inside the fan shroud and headed for under the engine – and there’s no good way to take a photograph of that so you’re almost going to have to take my word for it…
…and strange as it seems I wasn’t all that unhappy about the situation. I’ve had at least one mouse living more or less permanently in the Jeep for quite some time now, apparently immune to traps. Maybe Ms. Slither and Hiss can do something about it.
I just stumbled on this: May have read it a long time ago, it seems vaguely familiar, don’t know who wrote it but he/she wasn’t wrong…
I take it you already know
Of tough and bough and cough and dough?
Others may stumble, but not you,
On hiccough, thorough, lough and through?
Well done! And now you wish, perhaps,
To learn of less familiar traps?
Beware of heard, a dreadful word
That looks like beard and sounds like bird,
And dead: it’s said like bed, not bead –
For goodness sake don’t call it deed!
Watch out for meat and great and threat
(They rhyme with suite and straight and debt).
A moth is not a moth in mother,
Nor both in bother, broth in brother,
And here is not a match for there
Nor dear and fear for bear and pear,
And then there’s dose and rose and lose –
Just look them up – and goose and choose,
And cork and work and card and ward,
And font and front and word and sword,
And do and go and thwart and cart –
Come, come, I’ve hardly made a start!
A dreadful language? Man alive!
I’d mastered it when I was five!
Sorry about the no-posting thing: I’m dealing with an unusually protracted early-summer allergy situation here and the antihistamines have me doing nothing with my days but regular chores and wanting to nap. But I do want to take this opportunity to say…
…Somebody’s loss was my gain. This puppy/young dog is like a movie sterotype of a dog. He’s quiet, calm, smart, wants to stay close outdoors – we’re already doing leash-free pee runs, though I’m still waiting for the inevitable rabbit encounter. Has gotten with the routine in two weeks. Doesn’t mind being left alone, which is good since he still resists Jeep rides though he’s getting less freaked out over them. Acts like his whole day is made when I get home. Sleeps through the night now that his little digestive problem has cleared up.
He really needs to chew – my sandals will never be the same but so far he has resisted the temptation of my boots after only being told twice. You guys were right about the rawhide bone: Made in China. I had to take that away from him but he really needed to chew so I sectioned some smooth juniper branches, and…
…now I have to sweep splinters rather often. At least he doesn’t eat them.
He likes carrots. Was very skeptical at first but he’ll try anything he sees me eating – if I have any complaint it’s that he’s a terrible beggar – and the next day he decided he really liked them. I’ve met dogs that liked carrots but none of my previous dogs ever did.
What triggered his loose stool was apparently Milk-bone biscuits: After he dried up I gave him a couple and he promptly started shitting puddles again. So they’re off the diet. I still have some bags of pupperoni in the pantry but I’m a little afraid to give them a try.
I’m also afraid of overfeeding him the way I did Little Bear, so I’ve got him on three small meals a day. Which means he has learned to tell time – and also my days of lying around after waking up are over. Which I was really starting to need.
Will Blog for ISP Time, Glaucoma Meds, or Cheap Booze.
Free! (and worth every penny)
Scary Manifesto that keeps getting pushed down on the sidebar by filthy capitalism!
They say that Louis XIV had the inscription Ultima Ratio Regum cast into all the cannon of the French Army. It means “The Ultimate Argument of Kings,” and that always struck me as one of the most honest and up-front things any ruler or would-be ruler ever said. “We can dress it up prettier than this, but when it comes down to the unvarnished truth this is what it’s about: You’ll do as I say or I’ll send my goons to kill you.”
I thought about that for a long time. If there’s an ultimate argument, it seems only logical that there must be an ultimate answer. For years I thought the ultimate answer must be the bullets in my rifle, but it never seemed quite right. I’ve got bullets – he’s got frigging Cannon Balls. I mean, if there were three hundred million rifles throwing bullets at him, then maybe. But we all know that’s not going to happen. So if there’s an ultimate answer to his ultimate argument, it sure as hell ain’t bullets.
It finally came to me – and that’s when I abandoned the city and most of my stuff, and gave all that was behind me a good stiff Randian Shrug.
The ultimate answer to kings is not a bullet, but a belly laugh.
I owe my success to having listened respectfully to the very best advice, and then going away and doing the exact opposite.
- G. K. Chesterton
"If every Jewish and anti-Nazi family in Germany had owned a Mauser rifle and twenty rounds of ammunition and the will to use it, Adolf Hitler would be a little-known footnote to the history of the Weimar Republic."
- Aaron Zelman
"Authority should derive from the consent of the governed, not from the threat of force."
"Never underestimate the ability of shit to find a fan."
- F. Paul Wilson
The...average man's love of liberty is nine-tenths imaginary, exactly like his love of sense, justice and truth. Liberty is not a thing for the great masses of men. It is the exclusive possession of a small and disreputable minority, like knowledge, courage and honor. It takes a special sort of man to understand and enjoy liberty – and he is usually an outlaw in democratic societies.
– H.L. Mencken, Baltimore Evening Sun, Feb. 12, 1923
"You can't make an omelet without breaking eggs." The sophistry of villains - Bah!
- Robert A. Heinlein, Double Star
“Truth is, I’m not specifically interested in an armed society. What I want is a free society.”
- George Potter
“Gold is the money of kings, silver is the money of gentlemen, barter is the money of peasants – but debt is the money of slaves.”
- Norm Franz
"You can have peace. Or you can have freedom. Don't ever count on having both at once."
- Robert A. Heinlein
"Security is mostly a superstition. It does not exist in nature, nor do the children of men as a whole experience it. Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing."
- Helen Keller
"It has long been my conviction that a masked man with a gun is a target. I see no reason to change that view."
I never saw a wild thing sorry for itself
A small bird will drop frozen dead from a bough without ever having felt sorry for itself.
- D. H. Lawrence
All men should try to learn before they die /
What they are running from, and to, and why.
Aristippus passed Diogenes as he was washing lentils.
He said, “If you could but learn to flatter the king, you would not have to live on lentils.”
Diogenes said, “And if you could learn to live on lentils, you would not have to flatter the king.”
Sandy Hook was a Gun Free Zone. So was the Westroads Mall. And the Aurora Theater. And Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. Should I go on? They were all Gun Free Zones. Why do the gungrabbers never mention this?
“Political tags — such as royalist, communist, democrat, populist, fascist, liberal, conservative, and so forth — are never basic criteria. The human race divides politically into those who want people to be controlled and those who have no such desire. The former are idealists acting from highest motives for the greatest good of the greatest number. The latter are surly curmudgeons, suspicious and lacking in altruism. But they are more comfortable neighbors than the other sort.”
- Robert A. Heinlein
"Civilization is the process of setting man free from men."
- Ayn Rand
If ever a man should ask you
For your business or your name
Tell him to go and fuck himself
Tell his friends to do the same.
For a man who'd trade his liberty
For a safe and dreamless sleep
Doesn't deserve the both of them
And neither shall he keep.
- Frank Turner
Don't be afraid to try something big, just because you're an amateur. The Ark was built by amateurs. The Titanic was built by professionals.
"Nothing scares a police officer more than the threat of being treated the way that they treat people every day."
"Be polite, be professional, but have a plan to kill everybody you meet."
- Gen. James Mattis
"Lust for power is the most flagrant of all the passions."
"The man who knows what freedom means will find a way to be free."
- F.A. "Baldy" Harper
"The greatest discovery of any generation is that a human being can alter his life by altering his attitude."
- William James
We who lived in concentration camps can remember the men who walked through the huts comforting others, giving away their last piece of bread. They may have been few in number, but they offer sufficient proof that everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms -- to choose one's attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one's own way.
- Viktor Frankl
The free man will ask neither what his country can do for him nor what he can do for his country.
- Milton Friedman
“We must be free not because we claim freedom, but because we practice it.”
- William Faulkner
There is nothing noble in being superior to your fellow man; true nobility is being superior to your former self.
- Ernest Hemingway
When asked the secret of how he accumulated 505 confirmed sniper kills on Soviet invaders, Simo Häyhä would smile and reply, "Practice."
"Everything the State says is a lie, and everything it has it has stolen."
- Friedrich Nietzsche
John Moses Browning - The most badass Mormon who ever lived.
"The nine most terrifying words in the English language are 'I'm from the government, and I'm here to help.'"
- Ronald Reagan
The most dangerous creation of any society is the man who has nothing to lose.
- James A. Baldwin
"It is better to be a warrior in a garden than to be a gardener in a war."
“I tried to live in such a way that, when dying, I would rather feel happy than scared.”
– Witold Pilecki
Few men desire liberty; most men wish only for a just master.
"Place your clothes and weapons where you can find them in the dark."
- Lazarus Long
Read, every day, something no one else is reading.
Think, every day, something no one else is thinking.
Do, every day, something no one else would be silly enough to do.
It is bad for the mind to continually be part of unanimity.
– Christopher Morley
“I have found that, to make a contented slave, it is necessary to make a thoughtless one. It is necessary to darken his moral and mental vision, and, as far as possible, to annihilate the power of reason. He must be able to detect no inconsistencies in slavery; he must be made to feel that slavery is right; and he can be brought to that only when he ceases to be a man.”
ESSE QUAM VIDERI –
To be, rather than to seem
– Marcus Tullius Cicero
“A Winchester rifle should have a place of honor in every black home, and it should be used for that protection which the law refuses to give.”
– Ida B. Wells
Do what thy manhood bid thee do; from none but self expect applause.
He noblest lives and noblest dies, who makes and keeps his self made laws
– Sir Richard Burton
Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.
– Winston Churchill
Why the hell did you scroll all the way down here?