“Wow, little dude. Excellent timing.”

One adjective almost never used around here in any sentence involving the words weather and timing is “excellent.” But Torso Boy and I got up at quarter to four this morning to go out and pee. It was overcast and not at all cold; we did our business, he got his biscuit and we both had no sooner gotten back under the blankets when rain started hitting the metal roof. In another minute a lot of rain was hitting the roof.

So no matter what else goes wrong today, at least that happened. Laddie’s legs are too short for the indoor plumbing to ever be of much use to him.

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Landlady’s visits, during which the weather always just sort of rolls the dice…

This time it jumped the gun a bit.

It’s been kind of a weird November anyway, colder than usual, but I’ve enjoyed a few really nice days right here at the end. Coolish, but sunny and not stormy at all. So when I texted Landlady this sunny morning to confirm her visit it was with the calm assurance that we’d be working on Boot Hill this weekend. And she’s like, “You ever look at the forecast, dumbass?”

So she’s staying where it’s warm, and I’ve completely revised my weekend (and all next week, looks like) to one where I cocoon through the first winter’s storm and serious cold snap, stoking the woodstove and praying the water keeps flowing.

Ah, well. At least the Jeep is back. My days of long morning walks may be over for a while.

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Thank you, Mr. Obama, for the boom in gun sales during your administration.

I see now that that was your actual policy, and was not due to your ineptitude in trying to get them banned instead.

Ditto oil production, I suppose…

(TL:dr version – Obama on increased American oil production: “That was me.” He seriously demands that we thank him for it.)

Sorry about the quality of the clip, it was the best one I could find edited to the relevant bit. There’s a better one embedded here if you do Twitter. Which I do not. Linked article concedes that oil production did rise during his administration. But certainly not thanks to his administration.

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Prepper pro-tip: freezing in the dark is not restful.

In fact it turns the minutes to hours. Picture this: It’s 3am and you’re awake because who could sleep? You’re shivering cold in a space you can’t effectively heat, in darkness you can’t comfortingly light. Prepare for a long, memorable wait for sunup, bunky.

It won’t kill you. er…It probably won’t kill you. But it will make you review your sins, and you’ll have lots of leisure time to do it. No phone, no lights, no motor car – more importantly no effective heater. Cold. Dark. Nothing to break the tedium or keep you company but the pain in your fingers and toes. Some coffee would be nice – but you can’t make coffee since you see from the bulging jugs that your drinking water has frozen. If there’s snow outside your tent or RV or whatever you’d better get to gathering some. You’ll need a surprisingly large amount, in case you didn’t know.

Freezing in the dark really sucks, is all I’m saying. Doing it over and over from late November to sometime in April sucks in a memorable – I’m tempted to insert “traumatic” here – manner. It will truly make you ponder the sanity of mountain men who allegedly used to do things like that voluntarily. Personally I commit the heresy of suspecting that the sane ones came down and got townie jobs through the winter, but that’s just me.

You know what else it’ll make you do? Years later, on an early Winter morning when you wake up at 3am just ’cause you gotta pee, to a snug cabin with functioning propane for the cookstove and water that flows from the tap and a bulging woodshed and walls that keep out the cold and a good power system that keeps out the dark, it makes you smile and wave a jaunty middle finger to the past, that’s what.

Have a nice morning, y’all.

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I really am a bad person. I shouldn’t find this funny but I do.

I really do. 😀

At this rate I’ll never get into SJW heaven.

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Things don’t stay the same in the wash…

This morning while looking for something else I came upon an old photograph…

That big square post just behind Ghost is the end of a fence, and just on the other side of that is the start of the path to Landlady’s place.

I took this picture this morning…

So much sand got washed downstream in the flash floods of this year and last that the level of the wash is substantially lower than it was two years ago. At the top of that ridge you can see the depression that is where the remnant of that path suddenly ends…

…and that post didn’t quite wash downstream but it sure didn’t stay stuck in the ground. It was held where it is by the wire and all those other fenceposts, and is now slowly being buried by silt and erosion.

Nothing stays the same in the wash.

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I often ask myself…

…just how hungry I’d need to be to take that shot.

I’m from a part of Michigan and of a class where even urban people commonly sally forth annually to try and slay the vicious Whitetail. Killing deer is not foreign to me, and I don’t condemn it. But even back then I quietly objected to people doing it for fun. After all these years…

I like having them alive and somewhat unafraid. I could do it, but I’d need to be getting hungry.

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Le Petit Pomme Conspiration

Okay, I’ve been using a second-hand iPhone for over a year, courtesy of Landlady. And recently I replaced the Official TUAK Laptop with a refurbished MacBook, courtesy of Big Brother, of course using the iPhone for connection. And I asked myself at the time, “Self, what are the chances these two things won’t start conspiring against me more or less immediately?”

Credit where it’s due, it wasn’t immediate. At first I could use the iPhone as a hotspot like I’d been doing, but for some reason that recently stopped working. Turns out the two gadgets were hatching a plot to get me to physically connect them, because when I did so two things happened right away: I had my connection back, and the ‘pooter asked if I wanted it to “synch” with the iPhone. Maybe shoulda said no? I don’t know. Continue reading

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Why did the salmon cross the road?

Damned if I know… 😀

I’d be so tempted to be out there with a basket, playing Mama Bear…

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If I don’t give a damn about the new Mars robot, does it make me a bad person?

So for the past week or more I’ve been instructed over and over to feign deep concern over the new Mars robot and NASA’s supposed “seven minutes of terror,” or whatever. Don’t hate me if I got that wrong.

I was all over this shit in the sixties – I was a geeky white boy, so of course I was. It was sometime around Skylab when I began to get the first inkling that there was a problem with the narrative. At what point would all these stunts stop being about sending highly trained military test pilots on extremely brief excursions into earth orbit? As I wrote much much later, on the occasion of NASA officially having no manned space program at all that didn’t involve Soyuz capsules…

When I think about what they squandered – what WE squandered by leaving it to “them” – I want to weep. Back in the sixties we were all gonna grow up living in the asteroid rings and wearing silver suits. Even then we should have known better. If NASA had been in charge of westward expansion they’d still be expensively experimenting with ways to get highly-trained professionals across the Mississippi. Briefly. And they’d now be reluctantly admitting that they no longer have the capability to build a Conestoga wagon. In my wilder flights (hah!) of antigov paranoia I wonder if it wasn’t planned that way – if NASA wasn’t the National Spaceflight Prevention Agency all along. After all, why should “they” want “us” in space? It might get a little difficult to keep track of the taxpayers.

And now it’s a very exciting (you are commanded to be excited) robot gonna colonoscope Marz. As if my children or their children will ever have the option of leaving the plantation to visit the place on their way to the Belter Habitats. Okay. I’m excited. About how fricking angry I get every time there’s a news cycle about this bullshit.

Rant concluded.

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Laddie in the shortcut channel

This is the shortcut channel the water has cut in the horseshoe turn of the wash. The main part of the wash is at least 150 yards wide at this point, just beyond that bank behind the dog. But here the water comes barreling through – that driftwood that got stopped by the juniper is stacked over my head. That got stacked up during the flood in August.

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The Jeep is back home…

I didn’t expect it to take half the damned day, but I did get it back at last…

In hopes that things would go well I poured my last five gallons of fuel into D&L’s red Jeep, then brought two jugs to town because that didn’t do the trick. Took about four more gallons to top it off, but it is customary to return a borrowed vehicle with a full tank. A proper redneck is not a deadbeat – at least not if he’s hoping for future kindness.

Can’t say I’m all that impressed with the engine work done, in fact I have reason to fear that the complaint that most plagued me lately is not fixed. You don’t charge a guy for a “major engine overhaul*” and then leave the Check Engine light still burning – plus it started pretty raggedly after a brief hot soak at D&L’s place. But on the other hand that serpentine belt has been going to break at any moment for months, and now there’s a new belt and idler. And the Jeep certainly steers better than it has for years, so I’ve got that going for me.

All in all, not gobsmacked but also not angry. This place is what it is.

*Tune-up, I mean

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You know the mulies are getting too bold for their own good…

…when you actually run into a bunch of them while out walking. Sure, it happens in the Jeep but they’re not especially afraid of cars and cars cover a lot of ground more quickly than they seem able to process anyway. On foot, I don’t remember ever just blundering into mule deer within easy half-blind-old-man rifle range. I only saw a doe with a fawn this morning, but the doe started pronking (or stotting, whatever) right away instead of bulletting away so I’m guessing she was behind a herd I didn’t see.

Possibly this herd, which is also acting too big for its britches. The middle of the afternoon? Seriously? I should lay out and shoot a few just to teach them respect.

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Battery Corrosion at Landlady’s Powershed

It’s a little early in the month for Battery Day, but yesterday afternoon was beautiful and not very cold so I decided to stop putting off fixing what looked like a looming problem with Landlady’s batteries.

Even with ALL NEW BATTERIES AND CABLES AND CONNECTING HARDWARE, somehow Landlady’s batteries still have more trouble with corrosion on the positive posts than anybody else I’m responsible for. Not as bad as before, but it’s still there.

Mostly just this green powdery stuff that washes away with a water bath. But I needed to know how much corrosion scum was building between the posts and cable connectors. It can insidiously cause a lot of resistance.

One thing I like about Landlady’s new setup is that I can completely isolate the batteries from the solar panels as well as the load, reducing arky-sparky to nothing. Uncle Joel is a macho man who fears nothing…

…I’m just being considerate to Torso Boy, who’s a scardie-dog.


Turns out that at least at this early stage the corrosion was only affecting exposed surfaces and didn’t seem to be building up between the connections at all. But I gave them a good scrape sandpaper anyway, and then went ahead and topped off all the electrolyte levels. So I’m done with the biggest Battery Day job a week early.

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Heat-powered woodstove fan: Review

Fans are like bacon: Almost anything can be improved by adding a fan to it. But my early days off grid were in an environment where any appliance whose power draw was measured in amps was immediately suspect unless proven essential. I saw an Ecofan on a neighbor’s woodstove several years ago and thought it was the coolest thing I’d ever seen, but they are expensive and, well, not essential in a small cabin. Then last January a Generous Reader sent me a heat-powered fan, and I got to check one out for myself.

This is a Chinese copy, which some Internet voices condemned as inferior immediately, instinctively, and as far as I know without justification. The original Canadian gadget is no doubt sans peur et sans reproche but so far I have seen no reason to suggest that anybody steer away from the later copies, which often sell for less than half the price.

Operating one is as easy as lighting the stove; the fan itself has no controls or adjustable doodads. It operates with a tiny current generated by convection rising up the extruded aluminum body through a “thermoelectric module” which, like solar panels and automatic transmissions, is basically magic. The fan is silent in operation and doesn’t run with any real authority: Stick your finger or (for demonstration purposes only) your dog’s paw in the exposed fan blade and it will stop without severing the offered appendage. But you (or the dog) won’t like it very much and will be more careful next time. There’s only one caveat…

Any idiot is going to look at those wires visible through the little stamped plate and figure out for himself that you don’t want to base this thing right up against the stovepipe. The written warning shouldn’t be necessary, but is there anyway.

So the fan is silent, requires no outside power, and actually does move hot air downstream in a noticeably useful way. And it doesn’t need a huge amount of heat, it starts spinning as soon as the iron heats up while the kindling is still involved.

A model such as this one costs just north of $50 online, and works great. I kept the box so I could store the fan safely during the warm months, and one thing I wanted to know before writing a review was how it survives a long period of inactivity following a full season of use. I’ve had problems before in storing used electronics and then hoping they’d work when needed. But when I unboxed it and plopped it on the stove this month it worked flawlessly and seems likely to continue doing so.

It’s not essential to operating a woodstove, but it’s not hugely expensive or any sort of bother in operation, nor does it require any resources and it really does make a woodstove heat a cabin more efficiently.

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Constitutional rights are bad when granted to bad people.

Says the State of New York…

Democratic lawmakers in New York state are pushing a bill that would require gun purchasers to turn over to the state their social-media profiles and search histories.

According to a report by WKBW, the ABC affiliate in Buffalo, the bill drafted by two Brooklyn lawmakers, state Sen. Kevin Parker and Borough President Eric Adams, is in committee in Albany.

“There should be more restrictions on how guns are purchased. We should have more background checks,” said Paul McQuillen, director of the Buffalo chapter of New Yorkers Against Gun Violence.

Do I even want to know how I’d go about “turning over my search history?” What if there’s a Facebook account I opened two years ago and just forgot about? Is omitting it from my “profile” a felony, or only a misdemeanor? What if I don’t use “social media?” Does that label me as a whacko right away?

Wow, maybe I should just avoid getting one of those scary “gun” things right from the start. I don’t want to be on a list or anything…

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Full moon…

The setting moon was magnificent this very clear morning but apparently you need actual camera equipment to do it justice. Can’t see any surface features with the otherwise excellent phone camera.

Easier to sleep now that I can close off the bedroom from the excessive light: In the Interim Lair, which was basically a fishbowl, the very bright moon was a real problem I was always happy to see leave. Now I can enjoy it.

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Keeping political arguments out of the Thanksgiving get-together…

…(sigh) may be more difficult this year.

But at least the federal government isn’t actively promoting arguments about socialized medicine, so there’s that.

I’m in the happy situation in which only those family members I really like (yes, there are two, not counting offspring) have ever chosen to visit, and that not this week. Which means I’m getting together with friends for turkey pot pies, which I believe may be meant ironically. One of them gets really quiet when I mention Hillary, so I won’t.

If – may the gods forbid – your hosts insist on playing this embarrassing game where everybody has to name something for which they’re happy, just play along. It’s over quickly.

Actually the thought of meeting the neighbors for pot pies this year makes me a little sad, because it reminds me that when I got ready to go last year I had a helper. But I’ll get over it.

I hope contentious arguments at Thanksgiving feasts are only a figment of the internet, or at least that they don’t occur at your house. Enjoy!

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Good Jeep news at last

Looks like I’ll get it back on Monday with the steering and suspension repaired at least. I’m less confident about the engine – I believe there’s something wrong with the fuel system along the lines of an injector leaking down and he doesn’t – but at least the serpentine belt and its broken idler will be replaced.

He wanted to replace all four shocks and I demurred since I already replaced them myself less than a year ago; he says all their bushings are shot but I want to see for myself. Maybe I just bought some shit shocks, I don’t know.

Anyway, good news at last. The projected cost will be pretty much everything Generous Readers donated and everything I earned on the paying gig that broke the Jeep, but there’s enough to get the Jeep out of hock barring surprises.

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That moment you realize…

…just before the world goes red and then black…

…that maybe this “antifa’ shit was a bad idea and you’re not cut out to be a street fightin’ man after all.

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