(And a big gulchy welcome to our heroic protectors at the Department of Homeland Security…)
At Joel’s Gulch (poultry division) if you won’t lay eggs, you will eventually be guest of honor at a chicken dinner. But since our chicken operation is at something less than an industrial level, this isn’t something I do very often or very well. Got used to it the year before last, but that was a long time ago and now I’ve gotta psych myself up all over again.
And after the somewhat-botched Great Cornish Slaughter of 2014, I figured it was about time I made a proper killing cone. So I studied at the University of Internet for a while, and though most posted instructions involve big sheets of sheet metal flashing it turned out I had the proper raw material laying around already…
Old traffic cone! Cleaned some up in J&H’s horse pasture, former toys of my li’l buddy Comet. Then haven’t quite gotten a chance to haul them to the dump. Cut the top off to a diameter of about 3 1/2″…
Then cut off the pedestal. Turns out a skilsaw isn’t the best possible tool for this…
But a utility knife is perfect.
I debated quite a lot where I was going to hang the thing. The best location was in full view of the Fortress of Attitude, and that didn’t seem quite right. Finally decided on an obscure side of the powershed, out of the wind (and sun, unfortunately…)
If anybody with more experience at this sort of thing has any suggestions for alteration, this would be a good time. Plan to choose and isolate a Brahma at random this evening.
Went to town this morning for the first time in a couple of weeks. Maybe it’s just the season, but more and more I’ve been making the trip less and less.
Call me a hoarder, but I love full buckets, barrels and jugs. I am offended by empty buckets, barrels and jugs. One of my flour buckets went empty day before yesterday, so it was time to restock. I try to keep at least a month’s drinking water* on hand but that really isn’t practical in the winter: I’ve got the jugs, but no place to store them all where they won’t freeze so I do the best I can with what indoor space I have. And all my gasoline comes in five gallons at a time, so I keep that flow as constant as I can. The Jeep is not terribly economical on gas, but I don’t really use it all that much so this system works.
I’ve wanted a spading fork of my own for a couple of years and never got around to acquiring one until this morning, so yay. And yeah, Evan Williams dropped by for a visit. We’ll be chatting this evening.
While at the feed store with D&L I saw something funny…
I’m guessing three things: The backstory here involves irate neighbors. “Good back yard” means “Good back yard fence,” and “trainable” means “not trainable.” The only thing worse than a large impulsive dog is a large, impulsive and violent dog in a neighborhood with other people’s pets.
*Ever since a terribly painful health issue two and a half years ago, I no longer consider my well water drinkable except when unavoidable. It’s potable, but only just.
So somewhere in the New Mexico desert, unknown and unmourned, lies an American relic, a piece of history like no other: the fastest man-made object ever. And I harbor the hope that, whether it’s found or not, our nation and the world of science will someday realize our error all these years and recognize that the Pascal-A Manhole Cover, not Voyager 1, is the fastest man-made object ever.”
So you remember a few days ago, when I said a Generous Reader had sent me a free tablet – a tablet computer has been on my want list for years, I confess, though I could never bring myself to spend that kind of money on a shiny of that sort even if I had the money – and then complained that the sound didn’t work?
Well, I’ve used the thing for ebooks since then – it’s very useful for ebooks – and then last night I was idly fiddling with it and learned that for absolutely no apparent reason the sound works now. No, I didn’t do anything that could possibly have fixed it. It’s just fixed.
It’s hard to accept that once upon a time – like, back in the mid-eighties – I was the guy in our department who set up new computers. Because I was the ex-mechanic, and machines did not frighten me, and computers were a lot more like cars back then than they are now. They had parts. Plug in the new board, power it up, type in some DOS, and you’re good to go. But I’m like a baby in a leopard cage when it comes to swiping at pictures on a touch screen. So this is what it means to get old…
“In pop culture, you have probably seen the likes of Iggy Azalea and Selena Gomez wear them for music videos and performances,” Olivia writes. And that, she continues, is not okay.
Thanks for pointing that out, Olivia. I’ll take note of that while prying this diamond out of my nostril…
Speaking of that, I actually went to the painful extreme of looking up the source article, which should give you some idea of how boring cold weather is. It lists 11 Indian/”South Asian” modes of body decoration, some of them extremely bizarre practices I have never ever seen anyone do outside the pages of National Geographic, which are also now off limits to Westerners. Be warned.
It’s Thursday, the fourth in our string of really unpleasantly frigid mornings. Sunlight has been good all week but the temperature has rarely ventured even briefly above freezing which means all that ice we got at the end of the weekend is still with us.
Being a one-legged geezer, one of my least favorite things in life is a slippery stairway, and the Lair’s entrance is in shade constantly from sometime in September to sometime in April, so I didn’t know when the ice would ever melt off the stairs on its own. Ice, unlike snow, is difficult to remove from wooden steps by mechanical means.
Fortunately it’s extremely easy to remove by chemical means. The desert didn’t teach me this; I’m from Michigan.
Being an unmutual hoarder, I’ve got a bucket full of 25 pounds of table salt. I’ve never used it, and to be honest I don’t recall why I bought it. For seasoning, I always use the little one-pound cylinders available very cheap at the dollar store, and I always keep three or four on hand.
Salt is also useful for melting ice. It works even in the shade, even when the temperature is in the teens. The melted ice mixes with the salt to form brine, which has a much higher freezing point. Just saying.
I see a picture, and I just can’t figure out…
I’m sure there’s some really logical reason for these people to be doing this. I’m convinced of it. For the life of me, though, I can’t guess what it might be.
And I might be wrong, but those look like two of the unhappiest dogs I’ve ever seen.
Chicago (AFP) – A white police officer plans to sue the estate of a black teenager he shot dead because he was traumatized by the fact that he accidentally killed the teen’s neighbor in the incident, his lawyer said.
“The damage is my client feels horrible that Bettie Jones is dead because of the actions he was forced to take,” attorney Joe Brodsky told AFP.
No, that’s not satire. Satire is dead or dying in another room somewhere, kicked in the kidneys by reality one too many times. Seriously, though, who wouldn’t want to be Rahm Emanuel right about now?
You probably don’t remember an article I linked year before last, where a bunch of South Korean activists sent balloons bearing 10,000 Choco Pies over the Nork border. I thought that was cooler than shit.
Um…Perhaps that was an unfortunate choice of phrase. It seems the balloon barrage has been ongoing, hasn’t been one-way (I have no idea how this works in terms of prevailing wind, so please don’t ask) and has recently turned very nasty indeed.
North Korea has escalated its propaganda war with a new wave of balloon launches aimed at South Korea, and is now loading balloons with used toilet paper, tissues and cigarette butts.
A government spokesman described the North’s psychological warfare methods as “immature”.
Private to Kim Jong Un: When you need a wall to keep your own people in, you’re doing something wrong.
Forgive me, I know I’m going on at unnecessary length but there’s something about this situation that tickles my inner Oliver Wendell Douglas. I went to bed unusually late last night and slept unusually heavily, and woke to find I had completely missed what must have been an extremely unpleasant snowstorm. The temperature crashed into the low teens and the wind drove the snow into drifts in the lee of every object it couldn’t just knock over. By eight ayem when I went out to feed and water them, not even the chickens had wanted out of their coop: Seymour contented himself with crowing the morning in with his head stuck out the little door and the rest of him inside the coop where it was relatively warm.
Enough snow stuck, of course, that I still had to climb the ladder and squeegee an inch of loose powder off the solar panels (It was overcast when I got out of bed, but the sky had completely cleared by eight) and I’m still warming my toes from the unavoidable flurry of morning outdoor chores. Now I’ve got the panels clear, the porch swept, the chickens fed and watered and the woodbox filled, and meanwhile the cabin heated up nice and toasty.
Point being, I slept through a storm I would normally have expected to suffer through. And now in its frigid aftermath I’m no more uncomfortable than you probably are, wherever you are. And after all this time, that feels like a serious accomplishment.
Look at the new shinie I got over the weekend from a Generous Reader!
It’s a Trio 7″ tablet. Given the apps that come with it, it appears to be designed more-or-less exclusively for reading Facebook on wi-fi but I can sneakernet ebooks and movies to it and they’ll play. Unfortunately the movies are of no use to me so far because I haven’t figured out what’s wrong with the sound: I can get it to beep and boop if I want it to, but it won’t play sound with or without headphones and I don’t know what’s wrong. Downloaded a manual but it’s useless*.
So I don’t know if I can ever get it to play those newfangled talkie shows – I suppose I could send away for MP4s of Metropolis or Birth of a Nation and it would be okay – but it does open up that enormous file of ebooks I’ve had for ten years to actual use. And the battery life is excellent. I can charge it during the day, use it in the evening, and hardly use any house power at all.
I can also – and actually might – set up that wi-fi router I have stored in the powershed and use the tablet to surf in the evening with no more power use than needed by the modem and router. Pretty damned hollywood for a cedar rat.
Thank you! Also, if you know what I’m doing wrong with the sound, I’d appreciate a hint. But even without that, it’s useful. I’ve got a bunch of old ebooks I’ve wanted to re-read for years, but not at the cost of spending hours tied to the laptop.
*Having written a good many operating manuals in my professional life, I am naturally critical of most manuals I encounter but this one is a masterpiece of uselessness. I’ve seen Jinglish translations that covered more ground, and were entertaining to boot. This one is basically advertisement for apps, it’s almost designed to be useless.
Snowed like a sonuvagun for an hour, then cleared completely. Maybe an inch accumulation on top of a 1/4″ of ice, so it was another hour before I could clear my solar panels but we’re actually in pretty good shape right now. You want to see something sinfully luxurious? May be NSFW if your boss is ascetic, just saying…
On a typical day of this sort, on any of my previous nine winters in the Gulch, I’d be huddling in two or three sweatshirts and praying for April. The wind is blowing, the snow is horizontal, the temperature may not creep above freezing by sundown – and my only complaint is I really wish I hadn’t put that last log on the fire. A little tarpaper and plywood goes a long way.
Right on schedule, too. The weatherman promised rain or snow overnight, and we got both. First torrential rain, followed by freezing temps and snow. So the whole world is covered with ice this morning, which I have to wait for the sun to clear off the solar panels. And just when I began to have hope of that happening fairly quickly, the clouds rolled in again. So there it is.
In fact, here comes another snowstorm. So no ‘pooter for me. Later.
So Friday I knew that Landlady was coming up for the weekend. Just to be nice, and since when I get a surplus of eggs there’s really almost nothing I can do with them except make the mother of all omelets, I put a dozen eggs from the Fortress of Attitude on her kitchen counter.
By so doing, I unknowingly sentenced half a dozen lazy hippie chickens to death. One of the first things she asked, when I saw her yesterday morning, was “Did any of those eggs come from my hens?” And I had to be honest: “Not one.”
So this morning she told me it was time to send the last surviving Brahmas to Chicken Heaven, where angels will feed them forever even though they’re completely useless.
Don’t know when I’ll get around to it, there’s no special rush and since it’s actually been almost eighteen months since I slaughtered a chicken I’ll have to work myself up to it. But they’re toast. And so is Selma, that Rhode Island Red in the center of the first picture, just because she’s a bitch and doesn’t play well with others. I may or may not move Agnes back to the Fortress, but to be truthful they’re both four years old and probably all laid out. Certainly neither of the two old RIRs have laid an egg since they finished moulting, and this ain’t a rest home for chickens.
It’s the last day of the month, the day before official Battery Day, but today it’s sunny and warm except for the extreme wind and tomorrow is supposed to be cold and snowy with extreme wind. So I decided to do my running around today. That way I can cocoon in front of the fire with a book and not feel the least bit guilty about it. Continue reading →
So LB hurt a front paw in late December, hurt it worse in the first week of January, and for most of the month has been on soft duty in which I tried to keep him from jumping out of the Jeep or running down the Lair’s stairs too enthusiastically while it healed. But for the last week I haven’t caught him favoring it at all, so in yesterday’s beautiful afternoon I thought what this pack needed was a nice long walkie.
LB certainly didn’t disagree. We went up the ridge and along the road to the end of Ian’s property, then into the boonies till we got to the edge of the cliff along the south wash. Turning back, we had fun going overland along the cliff faces. Except after maybe a mile of this – me having forgotten all about LB’s injury – he suddenly and with no warning at all went tripodal again. And by the time we got back to the Lair, having to do it in some fairly rough terrain, he was favoring that paw pretty badly. So that was a mistake. But he seemed to like it anyway. By late afternoon and time for a Jeep ride to tend Landlady’s chickens, he seemed right as rain but I need to remember to go a bit slower with him. He’s a pretty heavy dog, and can’t shrug off injury to the parts that hold him up.
In exchange, Republicans softened their stances on issues that have long been non-starters in the GOP-controlled General Assembly. Under the deal, the state would take guns away from anyone who was under a two-year protective order for domestic-violence offenses. And State Police would have to attend all gun shows to provide background checks for private sellers if they requested the service.
So everything’s cool, Virginia, except that you better never get your wife mad at you and there’ll be armed goons looking over your shoulder any time you think it might be fun to pop into a gun show. But other than that, yay! Say hey for the beauties of compromise, I guess…
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 left the city, abandoned a goodly percentage of my goods, 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.
Do you suffer from a lonely, unfulfilled, angst-driven existence? Do you often wish you could do something meaningful with your life, like end death or war or taxes, or maybe just read a really good book?
Then you need to buy the following novels immediately!
The Scroll of Jeremiah
The Last Faithful Man
Songs of Bad Men and Good
"Freedom Outlaw. It’s not what you do; it’s how you do it. It’s an attitude — from which actions always follow. It’s a do-it-yourself occupation. And a lifetime vocation."
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.
"The kind of man who demands that government enforce his ideas is always the kind whose ideas are idiotic."
- H. L. Mencken
"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.
A basic split between shits and Johnsons has emerged.
- William Burroughs, 1988
"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
Courage is almost a contradiction in terms. It means a strong desire to live taking the form of a readiness to die. 'He that will lose his life, the same shall save it,' is not a piece of mysticism for saints and heroes. It is a piece of everyday advice for sailors or mountaineers...A man cut off by the sea may save his life if he will risk it on the precipice.
He can only get away from death by continually stepping within an inch of it. A soldier surrounded by enemies, if he is to cut his way out, needs to combine a strong desire for living with a strange carelessness about dying. He must not merely cling to life, for then he will be a coward, and will not escape. He must not merely wait for death, for then he will be a suicide, and will not escape. He must seek his life in a spirit of furious indifference to it; he must desire life like water and yet drink death like wine.
- G. K. Chesterton, Orthodoxy
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
"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