Note to lefties: Don’t threaten sheriffs on Facebook.

This morning I got a link from Landlady suggesting that the Washington state legislature might have problems getting useful effect from their recent ginormous anti-gun law I-1639…

At least 20 county sheriffs in Washington state – more than half of the state’s total – are now publicly refusing to police new gun laws. Several county governments have also passed local resolutions officially opposing enforcement of the laws.

The moves may pose a significant threat to Washington’s ambitious agenda on firearms reform, and some activists say it is beginning to resemble a full-scale “constitutionalist” revolt against gun control.

A growing number of sheriffs, almost all in rural counties, have publicly stated that they will not, or believe they cannot, enforce the provisions of I1639, a ballot measure passed by popular vote last November which aims to restrict access to and use of assault weapons.

Now, I happen to agree that I-1639 is a terrible law that shouldn’t have been passed and shouldn’t be enforced, but the only thing new about the article is that the number of public refuseniks is up over 20. I wasn’t going to mention it on the blog because I’m backing away from that sort of thing, but I was reminded of the link when just now I happened to see the following article…

WASHINGTON MAN ARRESTED FOR ALLEGEDLY VOWING SHERIFFS WHO OPPOSE GUN CONTROL LAW ‘WILL BE SHOT. BY ME.’


Yup, he did that. And guess who’s in jail now. Because – agree or disagree – they get to pick which laws they choose to enforce. And they’ll always choose to enforce the law against threatening them. They’ll drop a donut in a snowdrift in their hurry to enforce that law.

So for the benefit of any anti-gun lefties with their knickers in a bunch: never mind the irony of threatening to shoot LEOs who refuse to enforce a law disarming harmless other people. It’s not just ironic, which I’m told is a left-coast thing. It’s also idiotic – which also seems to be a left-coast thing.

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I got lost in the wash.

It’s been snowing a lot since daybreak…


…and around the time TB needed his morning walky I started worrying about the chickens’ top cover so I cleaned off the Jeep and headed out to Landlady’s early. Before I left the driveway I knew I was in trouble; there was no trace of tracks in the sand at all and also not a lot of information about important things like rocks and bushes. People in snow country know what I’m talking about: That flat light that filters through a mile of cloud and falling snow just whites everything out.

I wasn’t lost lost, I mean I was in the wash and I know where the wash is. But exactly where in the wash I was, was kind of a mystery. By the time I made it to the horseshoe turn in the wash I knew I was off my line but I didn’t know I was nearly 100 yards off the line until the left side of the Jeep went up on the bank of the new main channel last year’s floods cut – and for about five seconds I thought it was going to roll. I really did.

Turns out the top cover was perfectly fine, not collecting snow at all even though what we’re getting is pretty wet and dense. So I topped off their water and food and didn’t even stir them up collecting eggs; I just cleaned off the windshield and went home by the road, which I could at least see. Naturally the snow started falling heavy again just as I started out, so I had to stop several times to scrape the windshield. You know what would be great? If somebody would invent a way for a car to clean its own windshield. They could call it …

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The “storm” arrives…

And we have got some snow, though I wouldn’t call it a storm…


It seems almost unnatural to see snow falling straight down. Doesn’t snow normally fall sideways? But the wind has dropped to nothing at all. I don’t know when the snow started – the sky was clear when I went to bed but that was a long time ago. We have maybe as much as 3 inches, which in a normal winter would seem like a lot but right now seems hardly worth mentioning. I’m sure the mud will be more influential.

With the lack of wind it’s not even cold…


…and the cabin is toasty. Not that you can convince my mighty hound of that…


Yeah, Torso Boy went out to pee at 4 and balked at all the snow. We went back to bed for an hour and I haven’t seen him since. You’d think it was freezing in here, which it is not: It’s headed toward “too warm.” Why would a dog with such a thick winter coat hate cold so much? Little Bear wouldn’t have been able to stay under those blankets for a second.

Anyway, the snow has arrived. I’m interested to see how much we get in the end – 6″ to 10″ has been bruited abroad but I’ll believe it when I see it.

Oh! And this is a special day, because Ian’s promised book Chassepot to FAMAS: French Military Rifles 1866 – 2016 has completed its technical peer reviews and is heading into copy editing/proofreading. I know this because I’m one of the copy editors, which gives me something to do for the next few/several days. I’m very excited for Ian, because this is a serious work of scholarship: I’m old enough to regard an actual book as somehow more substantial an accomplishment than all his thousands of not-at-all-frivolous videos and I’m delighted to be involved.

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I was told there would be storms.


I waited and waited, finally went to bed, and the morning dawned on the not-as-unpleasant-as-possible side…


But the forecaster assures me that snowmageddon is coming, I just need to be patient. It’s certainly windy and cold enough on the ridgetops.


So, morning chicken chores being behind me and the woodbox having been refilled, I guess I’ll resume my traditional activity of sitting in my goddam chair, staring out the goddam window and cursing the goddam weather. While waiting for the real weather to arrive.

Scratch that: I’ve suddenly decided it’s baking day, a day or two early. The chickens will get a gift of the leftover bread.

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St. Famine’s Day

Last winter, the ten pounds of frozen cut-up pork I stocked with Landlady’s help outlasted the winter. Mild winter, and I really only use it for a mood brightener and also to heat up the cabin on bad days without all the woodstove rigmarole.

This winter…


Last of the Mohicans.

Oh, I’ve got lots of canned meat and groaning shelves of other food. I’m WAY not going to starve, in fact I’ve probably put on a few pounds of pudge. But that’s the last of the frozen meat because SCREW THIS WINTER.

In answer to not-longtime readers who will logically ask “Can’t you just buy meat?” The answer is…


…sometimes. Hamburger and cuts of chicken, anyway. You can’t depend on it being there when you’re there, and long bitter experience has taught me to check it well before laying money down. So, having access to the freezer in Ian’s Cave, I tend to stock up for winter over a period of a few months as money and opportunity permit. Last winter and this, Landlady brought me ten pounds of pork cut to 1-pound chunks and already frozen.

Meanwhile…


After yesterday’s windy stormy yuck, today dawned bright and cold but still and very pleasant. I drove to chicken chores because it’s laundry day at S&L’s but I’ll be out in it after it warms up a bit. Need to enjoy it while it’s here because there’s a big storm warning for … well, predictions vary but basically tonight until and maybe through the weekend. No worries, I have plenty of stovewood and plenty of propane but that’s more days of sitting around watching it snow and blow. Yeah, I’ll be outdoors today as much as possible.

ETA: By the way, my connection to the Internet has been on again/off again and especially when the weather changes when it just stops entirely. It’s fine this morning but the weather is reportedly about to change big time, so if I don’t post that’s likely why. I may go off the air for a bit, but I’ll be back.

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C-c-cold day for a promised midday chore…

D&L have to spend the day in the big town about 50 miles away for a doctor’s appointment, so something like two weeks ago I promised to take care of their horses while they’re gone. The weather wouldn’t have made any difference in whether I promised to do it because I owe them many obs and anyway they’re neighbors. But wouldn’t you know today had to be high-caliber winter. By the time I got over there in the wind, then gave the horses their pellets and then their hay and then broke up the ice in the troughs and sieved it out of the water and then got the muckwagon and cleaned their stalls and runs, I was kicking myself for not digging out the snowmobile gloves because my fingers really hurt.

But it’s done, and that’s how mutual-aid communities grow strong – they do a lot for me and there’s not a lot I can do for them in return, but they can be confident that when they do need something all they need to do is say so.

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And this is why, if I catch you dumping a dog in the desert…

…I will at least consider doing something to help you remember why that’s bad and evil.

To be honest I don’t know how this dog got lost out here; maybe he was dumped, maybe he strayed on his own. He had a collar but no tag, so there was no way of contacting owners. He came into the yard of some neighbors, who called other neighbors, who kindly took him to a vet to try to save him but could not: The damage was too extensive, too far gone, and he was already starved and dehydrated unto death.

I’ve never personally seen one, but we do have porcupines. Unpleasant photo below the fold. 🙁 Continue reading

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Cold, windy, expensive morning…


Monday morning water run on what should have been a mild day, the temp is in the middle thirties but the wind is absurdly unpleasant. And we basically had to do everything


520 pounds of wood pellets for D&L. 20 gallons of propane. 10 gallons of gasoline. 21 gallons of drinking water. Plus groceries and a little ammo. I blew out a finger of my unlined gloves loading pellets, so though I did not plan to replace gloves this trip I ended up doing that, and there’s $20 gone. BB always includes some greenstamps with his care packages and the plan was to invest most of that on a new water pump for the Jeep but I ended up leaving most of it in town and not for fun stuff – but the winter is going into extra innings and I must say a whole line of full propane bottles is a comforting sight.

D&L don’t usually buy pellets in town, preferring to order it by the pallet. But they’ve been going through so many there was nothing to do but hit the feed store for 13 unscheduled sacks. D didn’t want help unloading them from the truck but I happen to know he’s waiting out L’s recovery before going in for a second knee joint replacement, so I insisted (hopefully) without being obnoxious about it. If he hands them down from the truck and I ferry them to the rack we can do it in a few minutes without either of us having to suffer for it. So now everybody’s ready for the next cold week we’ve been promised.

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Dammit! Do food allergies become more of a thing as you age?

Because I don’t remember ever hearing that. But I do remember noticing, several months ago, that I seem to have become allergic to almonds. They upset my gut, causing weapon-grade gas and – well – explosive diarrhea. So I regretfully stopped eating almonds. They’re not my favorite nut but I used to eat them with enjoyment and of course they’re a common ingredient in cheap trail mix, which I love. For quite some time now I’ve been pouring trail mix in a bowl and picking out the almonds.

But all this weekend I felt like crap. No nausea at all, which would have suggested food poisoning, but painful gas and all the rest. It would normally have suggested to me that I’d been eating almonds, which I have not been. But it only just now occurred to me that I have been wolfing these things down all weekend…


…and sure enough these do list almonds among the ingredients.

Now, I truly love granola bars. Eat them all the time, whenever I can get them, and they’ve never had this effect on me. Also, trace amounts of almonds never bothered me before. I used to have to eat them by the handful before they became a problem. But growing evidence suggests I’m about to lose a food I really enjoy, because a formerly small problem is growing.

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Oh, grumble…

Yesterday afternoon I wasn’t feeling well, something’s upsetting my stomach for some reason. So I sat inside watching a movie and almost missed the fact that the weather had completely socked in and it was snowing about as hard as it can snow. In all we got maybe two inches over the course of the evening. That got me to thinking about the forecast, so because I wasn’t already depressed enough I looked it up and learned that this cold in the day/colder at night BS is scheduled to continue for at least the next nine days. February is traditionally rather mild as winter weather goes, but this is officially the most suck ever dropped on me in any one winter since I moved here.

Woke this morning to blue skies, but by morning chicken chores that was already changing…


Big scary cloud banks rolling in – by the time I got home the sun was gone from the sky and the last scraps of blue are going fast. So another crappy day in paradise, followed it seems by another crappy week* there. I am truly sick of winter now.


*At minimum

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How a gate valve fails…


Back around the time I replaced it, I took this apart to see specifically what went wrong with it and its twin at the bottom of the slope beside the cabin. Turns out to be pretty simple. The gate is that roundish little brass thing there…


…and when everything’s working it rides up and down on the threads on the shaft that the handle turns when you turn the handle. The treaded shaft is not present in the picture above, because…


…it got stuck to the gate and broke right in two when I tried to force the valve closed. And then once the shaft is broken, one of two things can happen: corrosion and friction can hold the gate open, or gravity can close it. In the case of the valve yet to be replaced, that second thing happened which is why there’s no water to the cabin. Oh, and now that Landlady is here and on the wrong end of the muddy road, winter has returned.
So I won’t be digging all that plumbing up just now.

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Care packages! Canned meat edition…

Big Brother outdid himself…


Look at all this canned meat! BB forewarned me that he was updating his own stash and sending me the stuff that was creeping up on its best-by dates, so this stuff has to go to the front of my own rotation but none of it is near going bad or anything. Riches! Plus snackies, and Laddie is well-set for his favorite evening treat.


Not completely sure if CH is having a joke here – 🙂 I don’t actually eat all that many MREs but here is some new stock from a survival supply store rather grimly named The Epicenter Supply. Actually since they’re here and include some easy-to-eat sandwiches, I’ve gone ahead and put those in the Jeep kit. I don’t really need emergency food there – but I don’t really need a blanket either but a blanket is in there. You don’t need anything until you do.


Some kind soul hit my wishlist! This may seem prosaic, but I live in a weird place. I have to order coffee filters online because the local store doesn’t stock cone filters. Sometimes that store has dry milk but it’s only in small overpriced envelopes. So this is a big help – I don’t use a lot of it, but sometimes for baking and such.


Landlady brought me a can of coffee. I’m still working on finalizing a new favorite since those dirty capitalist bastards at Trader Joe’s cancelled House Blend – but the Columbian Supremo is pretty good. I don’t usually like CS very much because it’s usually kind of acidy, but this is a good dark blend that’s not quite that harsh.

Thanks very much, guys!

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Hey guys, check this out…

Ian’s been promising/threatening something called Project Lightening, a series of videos in cooperation with C&Rsenal involving basically all the LMGs/automatic rifles of WWI. And by “involving” I mean “shooting them a lot while putting them through various trials.” The logistics of getting their hands on these century-old and absurdly valuable guns (combine the scarcity of fin de siècle battlefield relics with the market distortion involved with all Class III firearms and then ask yourself why any owner would ever let a bunch of strangers shoot them a lot), then getting them into working shape, must have been quite a story in itself.

Anyway, the first two videos are up and they’re a blast. Laddie was quite late for his walky this morning and I heard about it. If you’re into that sort of thing, the intro is on Ian’s channel here, and then the first substantive trial is on those other guys’ channel here.

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Parts passing in the night…

I’m hoping to see Landlady tomorrow or even this evening, depending on weather, bad weather being more likely to push the meeting forward since I’ll have to ferry her in from the county road. That means Care Package Day, which I’ve been looking forward to because she’s (hopefully!) carrying various small parts and tools some of which I ordered on-line in December. They just missed the last package dump which was a month ago. Hey, it’s winter.

This sort of thing happens all the time and isn’t at all remarkable, it’s just the price you pay for choosing not to have a mailing address. Save your suggestions about PO boxes, I know where they are. It’s not about freedom, it’s about neurosis: Officially-looking envelopes full of bad news and impossible demands are what drove me into my current profession.

If it’s not remarkable, why am I remarking on it? Good question. The subject came to mind this morning, serendipitously while I was scratching for any topic to post about that didn’t force me to mock the green new deal. A very Generous Reader sent me a package, the shipment got futzed up by a day or two and he has been posting increasingly annoyed updates on its progress. It won’t make the tonight/tomorrow care package dump, which is just Murphy doing his job. I try not to let Murphy get me down.

Anyway, if there’s a lesson to be drawn from this it’s of the “2 is 1, 1 is none” variety. With a dash of “don’t sweat the small stuff.” Stock up on the important things, don’t get upset about doing without the unimportant things when they fall scarce. Scrounging and substitution are learned art forms and can be fun.

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Indoors day, mostly, but busy…

Sorry, I know I haven’t been posting a lot but the weather has been so changeable that connectivity has been a real problem. I have a lot of photos but they’re taking forever, so even as I type this I don’t know how many i can actually post. Yesterday was gorgeous but today’s cloudy and windy again. Tomorrow it’s supposed to rain. It’s warm, though, high fifties, so I can strip down and do an indoor chore a little birdy told me I can’t put off any longer. Continue reading

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Finally, worked up a pleasant sweat outdoors.

Beautiful day! Mid-fifties, nice sun, no wind to speak of. And that was exactly what the forecast predicted, so I was happy when Neighbor D called and said it was hay day. I had just been trying to plan some way to spend the day outdoors without walking my stump to a bloody sore.


D&L keep about 50 bales for their two horses. When one side of the room is empty, they restock. That way we only have to mess with about 25 bales at a time, which isn’t hard for old folks.


By the time he got there, I had the gates open to pass the trailer. Normally all three of us work on this but L is still healing from her broken knee, plus she had more surgery yesterday and is definitely not feeling well. So D and I took it in turns who was going to handtruck the bales but he did the stacking and I unloaded the trailer. Took about 45 minutes and I got a nice sweat going. Now all is done and I’m home sipping on my last hoarded beer in celebration of what turned into a very fine day. 🙂

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Still nothing at the cattle waterer…

Not even birds. The only wildlife is that which we make for ourselves, I guess…

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Today’s supposed to be prettier…

Getting off to a cold start, but only because it was clear all night…


Less than an hour later it’s already 50o in here and climbing fast. I slept like a rock from eight to six-thirty and am feeling pretty good about life for once. Having finally got a place I can heat when I want to, I don’t mind the cold so much. The wind and the gloom can still get me down, though. Wind is just a feature around here, get used to it or leave. But the gloom is depressing. I love a sunny day, and today’s supposed to be that and into the fifties to boot. And maybe the wind will back off to where a guy can stand confidently upright.

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Get a load of this…

The clouds blew away around 9 but the wind persists and it’s still in the 20’s.


The wind has been blowing the sand around for days, to where tire tracks only last a few hours. The new snow is cold dry powder and once the wind has pushed that out of the way it sees no reason not to cover the brand-new snow with dirt. So all over the place there’s big patches like this…


Brown snow, not 3 hours old but already covered with dirt. This’ll be gone by mid-afternoon everywhere the sun shines, if the sun continues to shine.

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“Oh, for God’s sake…”

Woke at 5:30 not exactly ready to face the world. Went out with Torso Boy and the air was warmish and moist-smelling; there were no stars and the thermometer said 31o. I just took my leg off and went back to bed; another day in overcast winter, maybe I could just sleep through it. It’s been a wet dark cold winter by our standards since before the turn of the year and I think it’s starting to depress me.

Anyway, the wind came up outside, really howling, and that did nothing to improve my mood. I actually slept till almost eight, which shattered the old record because I’m normally early to bed/early to rise. But what was the point? The chicken water didn’t freeze overnight so they can wait. At some point Laddie got out of bed and was apparently becoming alarmed because as soon as I finally stirred he rushed over to give me a piece of his mind, not that he has any to spare.

I put my leg on, let him out of the bedroom, twitched open a curtain, and spoke the words of the title…


Temperature dropped eight degrees during my nap, the wind is gusting so I can’t say how much snow we got this morning but it was no dusting. The past two days have been kind of pretty except for the wind but this’ll feed the mud again. Bother.

I feel like a snowflake myself, cursing the weather when this is easily my most comfortable winter to date even though I do believe it’s the harshest we’ve had in ten years. I’m just stiff and bored, like a barn-sour horse. Sick of being stuck inside all day. I got a little work done yesterday, mostly cleaning up wind debris, and the day before I got water back to the yard spigot and running clear. And that’s about all I’ve done. Mostly sitting around. Just like I’ll be doing today.

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