New Girlfriends Update

At Landlady’s place and at mine, we went two completely different ways in designing chicken accommodations. She has a large enclosure where the chickens prefer to spend most of their time, in which they eat and sleep and water and lay eggs. There’s a safe yard for them, and they use it, but mostly they stay indoors.

The Fortress of Attitude is a yard that contains a small coop for sleeping and egg laying.

And of course hens transplanted from Landlady’s place to the Fortress don’t at first get what that little building is about. So Saturday night at dusk Seymour – with increasing exasperation – tried to herd his hens up the ramp to their safe roosts, and they weren’t having any of it. They spent the night on the roof of the coop, since they like to roost high and the roof was the highest place they could reach.

Sunday night, right at dark, I went out and looked and there they were again. But now it had been raining all day, it was still raining, they were soaked and the temp was supposed to get down near freezing. So I picked them up one by one – and one of them demonstrated the ease with which a chicken can weaponize excrement – and put them inside.

The third night, last night, they slept inside without prompting. At first they laid their eggs in impromptu nests under the coop, but since yesterday they’ve figured out the nesting boxes…



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Oh dear. You know why you never hear of giant solar electric plants in the PNW?

Days like the last few, that’s why. I’ve had positive results on cloudy days with my newly-expanded solar panel array, but Sunday and yesterday it did no good at all. It was rain, rain, deep gloom interspersed with occasional drizzle. It’s mud to the ankles out there, and (oh, thank god the cattle have returned) it seems pretty darned disrespectful of those new and very expensive tires to drag them through all this mud and cow shit the very first thing…When I get big improvements like that, after years of nursing the old makeshifts along, I like to go out and admire them. Hell, I just got back from morning chores and I can’t even see them.

But relief is coming. A band of blue appeared on the northern horizon about an hour ago, no use to man or beast, and it appears to intend to march southward toward us. Already maybe a third of the sky is blue. Tomorrow and Thursday are supposed to be sunny. And that’s good, because I shut down the inverter yesterday afternoon and didn’t bother starting it up again except to write this post. I don’t ever remember the batteries being lower than they were first thing this morning.

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And that, friends, is why you need good neighbors.

It started raining yesterday in the early afternoon and didn’t stop all night long. This morning, still raining, the road was nearly impassible even for a capable 4X4. I considered this a good thing, because I have this superstition that cops won’t pull you over just to be pricks at the cost of getting wet, cold and muddy. It’s probably not a very reliable superstition, but I go with what I’ve got. Anyway there wasn’t any trouble so I guess I was right.

Got to the shop early, because I had arranged to meet D&L there and I wanted to have all the ducks in a row and swimming industriously before they arrived. They did arrive right on time, in a very muddy large Dodge pickup and exclaiming over how they’d barely made it. We did our shopping, they dropped me back off at the shop and headed back to the gulch.

Time passed. As the Jeep came down off the rack I felt my heartrate jump: Ten minutes on the road and I’d leave pavement, home free. But for those ten minutes I’d be vulnerable. I don’t do it often enough to relax about it, and every time I’m convinced there’ll be a flashing light in my rearview.

Time to settle the bill. Did you know that requesting 20 new lug nuts (the Jeep has always had an eclectic collection of lug nuts, requiring multiple wrenches) cost me an extra $50? I was a little shocked at that, but not half so shocked as when I tried to pay up and the guy said, “Oh, I don’t take plastic.”

Why did that surprise me? I really wonder. It shouldn’t have. The guy currently running this shop is, like, me in another ten years. He clearly thought I was dumb as a box of rocks for carrying a debit card around, and I have the feeling I barely escaped a lengthy lecture.

I said, “You know…you probably should have mentioned that when we talked over the job that first time.”

Well, now I was stuck. There I’d been waiting, all worked up, for something to go wrong and it happened before I could even pay my bill. S&L are out of state, J&H moved away, there was only one number I could call and I’d already imposed on them once today. I called D&L.

By wild coincidence they planned to come back into town anyway, having some banking business to do. I explained the problem, and L not only agreed to pick me up but also insisted on writing a check to the shop, letting me square it when we got to the bank. (This proved impossible due to my afore-hinted lack of Government-Approved Photo ID. But I got more than halfway there, and will finish the next time we go to town.)

The dirt hadn’t gotten anything but muddier in the four hours since I last visited, and the Jeep spent a lot of time sideways. I didn’t care: No sooner did I splash down into that goo than I felt my heartrate drop. Anyway I was convoying with D&L, who were slipping and sliding at least as much as I was, and between the two of us and a tow strap we were all going to get home sooner or later. Once out of town, we only had to worry about Ma Nature and she’s not half the bitch the State is.

What’s that? You want to see the new tires that one of you paid the lion’s share of? Sure thing!

There you go. Purdy, huh? 😉

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Oh, I hate this part…

I have to get an early start. The Jeep needs new tires, and the money’s in the account and the tires are (hopefully) waiting for me at the shop in town.

But I don’t normally drive the Jeep to town myself, for (to paraphrase Monty Python) a very real and legally binding reason. I know it’ll be all right. It’s not like ninjas are waiting for me at the border or anything for chrissake. But I don’t really believe it’ll be all right, and I won’t till I make it home unmolested by the Forces of Law and Order.

So. Here we go.

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A Terrifying Arsenal!

I did not make up the following headline – in a relatively major GB news site – and the accompanying photo doth truly accompany.

Ready? Go.

Terrifying arsenal of weapons among dozens seized in Met’s gun amnesty

Clearly, London has all its “gun violence” problems handled. 😉

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You may remember California senator Kevin de Leon

Surely if you’re a California shooter you know the name, for surely he is beloved of all California shooters

Turns out it’s only law-abiding Californians that de Leon can’t stand. He’s related to everybody else, and seems to regard them quite highly. In fact, he wants to remodel California laws to accommodate them.

Come on, #CalExit. When California is annexed by Mexico, thirty or forty picoseconds after secession, I will find myself suddenly getting enthusiastic about that wall idea. I’ve lived there, and I know right where America needs a wall.

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What the hell, why not? Sequels jumped the shark a long time ago anyway.

Introducing…Dog Wick!

They messed with the wrong dog.

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Well…except for that thing where I slaughtered all your girlfriends. That was kind of bad…

I’d like to say that Seymour has been a complete mensch through this whole sordid matter.

I’d like to say that, but why lie? Seymour has been a whiny baby through this whole sordid matter. He tried to stop me collecting his hens, and when that didn’t work he cowered in corners crying havoc. It’s not true that chickens have no memory. Chickens do have memory. It only relates to the things that terrify them, and it only lasts a few days, but memory is present.

So I’m not Seymour’s favorite sight just now, and particularly when I come into the chicken yard first thing in the morning bearing large, unfamiliar things.

Like a cage full of hens…


I expect he’ll get over it…

LATER: My experience with roosters has not been heart-warming. They range from violence-prone assholes to cannibalistic psychopaths you can’t kill quickly enough. We’ve only had two in the Gulch that were gentle and protective with the hens, and Seymour is definitely one of them. He had these four literally eating treats out of his beak within an hour.


Now once they figure out where the nesting boxes are, we’ll be golden. Until the next crisis.

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And I have to remind myself that this is where food comes from.

The process of transforming a chicken to “chicken” is one I don’t do often enough to get blasé about. Having raised and cared for each of these birds for years, it offends my inner SJW. I feel like a bad person. I put it off and rehearse excuses, which offends my inner mountain man. I feel like a wimp.

Finally I fall back on the ritual of meticulous preparation.


My immediate forebears and several contemporary relatives were Michigan rednecks, but I myself was a bookish little white boy from Detroit. So my experiences are spotty: I’ve buried hundreds of pounds of viscera from a highly illegal deer-slaughtering “factory” on my brother-in-law’s central Michigan farm, but I’ve never personally killed a deer. I recall a Thanksgiving when I was a little kid, when my father and his longtime friend Charlie Kittle decided to do the meal the traditional way – starting with a live turkey. I wanted to “help,” but my father wouldn’t even let me watch. This was something he and Uncle Charlie knew how to do, but he seemed to regard it as something to be hidden away. Of course he treated a lot of things like that. My father didn’t talk much, and never about his past or family.

Just do the deed, that’s all.

The bird fights me until she’s subdued, and then she becomes very passive – almost cooperative. They usually do that. Personally you’d have to kill me from a distance. But I’m not a chicken.

And that’s the violent part over with, followed by the icky part.

And that – I remind myself – is where food comes from. Having handled a thousand of these in supermarkets, once it’s a naked eviscerated carcass it magically stops being a gross violation of decency and just becomes “chicken.”

Does that seem right to you?

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The World’s Foremost Authority dies at 102

Professor Irwin Corey, RIP.

I confess this is one of those situations where I reacted “I didn’t know he was alive.” He was pretty much a one-trick pony, but the trick was kind of funny.

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Say a Prayer for the Cowgirl…

Though as I’d previously implied I have sort of a complicated relationship with country music, This Right Here is why I always made an exception for Emmylou Harris.

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Okay, no more putting it off…

I can do it. I’ve done it several times now. But not often enough to get used to it, and the wind-up to the act always makes me feel like a bad person.

But it’s past time to clean out the Fortress of Attitude…

…and by “clean out,” I mean kill all the hens. These are the only two I’m going to actually butcher.

Principal Seymour Skinner is extremely upset right now. He did, bless his heart, really try to defend his hens. I don’t hold that against him. And I’ll replace them, in the fullness of time, with three or four fresh new hens that look exactly like the best of the old ones.

But it’s really time to stop putting this task off. Sorry, ladies, but I told you at the beginning that this would be the last act of the play.

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Lovely sausage, wonderful sausage*…

I eat a lot of Spam*, courtesy of Big Brother. Courtesy of Big Brother, I’ve got enough Spam squirreled away to get me through quite a long stretch before I’m reduced to eating tourists. But I do confess sometimes a guy likes something a bit spicier.

Remember that three pounds of sausage?

Dice some up real small and it goes great in Spammo Classico. You just need to reverse the process a bit… Continue reading

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I’ve no idea if it’s true, I just liked the headline…

Study: 9 In 10 Antifa Protesters Still Living In Mom’s Basement


Nice sign, though. Mama whip that up for you?

Stuck as I am here in Gaia’s Attic, I’m having an increasingly difficult time sorting the fake news from the real stuff. So from now on I’ve resolved to just take entertainment from the headlines and not even read the articles below. Should save scads of limited bandwidth.

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This very mild winter is almost annoying…

So Monday morning I met D&L for our regular water-and-grocery run, and D said, “I’ve got a couple of shirts you can have if you want.”

D is a tall, lanky guy, wears a shirt substantially bigger than my usual size but when brand-new ones shrink in the laundry it sometimes proves a boon to me. These two no-doubt-not-cheap shirts fit me perfectly now. And they’re beautiful. That brown one is my new favorite shirt, except I’m not going to get much use from them because they’re really thick cotton flannel.

Between that and my new coat, it’s a pretty sad sort of first-world problem when you catch yourself cursing the February warm.

Speaking of things people gave me, does anybody know what this is?

It’s the size of a grapefruit, but has a taste that’s – well – “inedible” is close. I don’t know what it is, but I know I don’t like it and can’t imagine anybody else reacting differently. What is this, and what’s it for?

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I was looking for something else when I came upon this conversation from my last trip to the Big City…

…in December 2010…

It was halfway through the car ride when Landlady said, in that tone one uses to broach a possibly sensitive subject; “So…I notice you brought a rifle case?”

“Okay,” I said, “I know I’m being silly. It’s just I don’t feel armed anymore if I don’t know where my rifle is.”


“I promise not to carry it on the street.”

“That’d scare the hippies.”

“Which would have its own entertainment value, I’m sure. But they’d just call the cops, and when does that get fun?”

“A valid, and possibly important, consideration.”

Yeah, my suitcase kinda clanks. No paranoia here. Uh uh.

On my recent trip to the city, six years after the last one, I only brought a single gun. I can’t decide if it’s a sign of personal growth or deterioration.

Also I figured if I needed a long gun I could probably borrow something classy from Ian.

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Why are “environmentalists” such slobs?

So I guess the environmentalist protest against that big pipeline in North Dakota broke up, and – this will completely shock you – it sort of created an environmental crisis.

PHOTOS: Mountains of trash left by ‘environmentalists’ after pipeline protest

I didn’t follow that protest, but now I’m confused. Were they run out of the area with teargas and bayonets, like the Bonus Army? Because I’m seeing wall tents apparently complete with stoves, several teepees (and while I’m quite sure they’d quickly lose their charm in an ND winter, I’ve priced them and they’re not at all cheap) and at least one yurt. In addition to shelves of frozen food and of course the aforementioned mountains of trash.

What I’m saying, if I’m looking at these photos right there’s some serious money just abandoned on that plain. I understand leaving the garbage, progs are pigs. But abandoning all that gear makes no sense.

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There’s a camera lens on my tablet computer, and it’s facing the wrong way.

Which is why I taped over the sumbitch. It was creeping me out.


And I felt a little embarrassed when I did that, a little primitive. But Claire reminds us that when your “smart” gadgets can report on you, they will. And they’re pretty much guaranteed to not be on your side.

Yes, that means you, 6079smithw. You’re not trying.

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I’m not a team sports fan, don’t have a TV, didn’t watch the game, but…

Gosh. Now I feel kind of bad about it.

I’ll have to work on figuring out how black people would be better off if the Falcons had won. Isn’t Arthur Blank still a Jewish guy? I thought it was supposed to be bad when good things happened to them? That’s me, though. Always missing memos…

h/t to Wendy McElroy

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The question gun-grabbers never seem to seriously ask…

“What could go wrong?”

You may have heard that the Great State of California has passed a bunch of new laws – I think they were bunched together in an omnibus bill called the Petulant and Capricious Acts, but I could be wrong – making it difficult/impossible for shooters to buy ammo. There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that this will totally make California the least “gun violence”-prone state in the union just as soon as the laws kick in. Which they haven’t yet. And I’m sure nobody could possibly have anticipated that in the meantime…

California Ammunition Sales UP FIFTY PERCENT

The actual figures concerning percentile increase are even more alarming-

Percent Increase in Sales by Municipality:

Los Angeles Metro Area – 395%

San Francisco Metro Area – 417%

San Diego Metro Area – 161%

Sacramento Metro Area – 449%

Anaheim Metro Area – 264%

San Jose Metro Area – 233%


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