Best Day Ever

I woke this morning to the knowledge that there was absolutely nowhere I had to be, absolutely nothing I had to do (beyond the standard quotidian chores that keep the wheels on) and absolutely nobody I had to talk to. Yesterday was busy. Tomorrow will be busy. For once, today is just a day. No geriatric dogs who need their diaper changed, no horses that need to be fed, no trips to town, no overdue correspondence. Can’t even work on the bedroom while the floor finish cures.

Later today when it warms up a bit I’ll bake bread, but by now I can do that on autopilot. It’s a chore but not a burden.

I dressed in my favorite BDU trous and hoodie. This morning LB and I will take a nice leisurely walk for the first time in what seems like weeks, since there’s noplace that needs to be rushed to. There’s still yard debris from the building and painting, maybe if the wind behaves itself I’ll do a clean-up pass. Maybe I’ll haul some lumber to where the firewood operation will commence once that new Honda generator arrives.

Or maybe I’ll just dig into this big box of old books my visitor left me, and let the world outside my window go to hell in its own way.


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Floor finish completed.

I’ve got materials for a third coat but I don’t think I’m going to do that.

There were bits that were still a tiny bit tacky this morning after 24 hours. If this coat dries as slowly as the first did, I won’t be able to do any more work in here until Saturday and then only in stocking feet. And I want to start setting up the closet, which is Stage One of MOVING IN!!!

Wood trim will have to work around the furniture. The main part of the cabin, I confess, mostly got trimmed in good intentions but I can’t get away with that here because of all the raw drywall edges everywhere. But if I wait till that’s done I won’t be in before spring, and I’m not waiting any longer. The move-in begins this coming weekend.

:) It smells awful at the moment, but it really looks nice.

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Ay, ’tis a sad day.

Mourn with me, brethren and sistren…

I’ve probably had these jeans 20 years. Didn’t actually wear them much in summer since moving here, which is why they lasted as long as they did. Started patching them last year but the fabric is just rotted. When I was a teenager that would have been stylish, but I’m really not a stylish kind a guy – at a minimum my pants have to keep my balls covered or they’re of no use as pants and it’s time for them to retire and spend more time with the cleaning rags.

But I mourn my loss, nonetheless.

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“Quick-dry,” my ass…

This is my bedroom floor…

…on which I laid the first coat of urethane 4 hours ago. And it’s still not dry enough to walk on, even without boots, for a second coat. Plus the smell is killing me. I waited till it was warm enough to open all the windows, and I’m really glad for that precaution because this stuff is awful.

Stuck without anything constructive to do while I waited for each molecule of my floor treatment to individually and sequentially dry, I loaded up LB in the Jeep and we went to Landlady’s barn.

There we (okay: I) got to work on the bedframe I scored from the local thrift store Monday. Fortunately the wind has settled down.

BE IT KNOWN that I basically took everybody’s advice here. I scraped it down with a wire brush and steel wool. Then I burned it with frickin’ fire (propane torch). Then I primed it and painted it. Any bedbug egg that could have survived on this contraption would have come from a bug that had already conquered the world, so I’m not worrying about bugs any more.

That took a couple of hours, and we came home only to learn that the floor still wasn’t walkable even in socks. Now I’m starting to wonder if I even want to hit it with a second coat today, lest the air be too foul for sleeping when I have to close the windows. Doesn’t take long at all to apply and it’s easy as pie. But the drying time is glacial. This is quick-dry? How long does slow-dry take?

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LB defends his home from the dreaded tourist…

Actually that’s Ian and his mom about a month ago, and LB was hoping they’d let him out and/or give him food. But whatever.

I have learned something everybody already knows: When you raise livestock – or are standing in for someone who raises livestock – you don’t get to call in sick. Truth is I’ve been borderline ill for the past few days but that doesn’t exempt me from driving back and forth across the frickin’ desert to feed dogs and horses and water gardens. (I am the only person I know whose standard Jeep survival kit includes a shovel and plastic bag w/roll of toilet paper, because “that’s” always a symptom when I’m not feeling well and it doesn’t care where I am when it strikes. Fortunately most of the time there’s nobody around to see me jump out and take care of business beside the “road.”)

I am getting a little done on finishing up with the bedroom, but I’ll admit I’m officially behind schedule. May still make it by the weekend but I haven’t even started cleaning painting and modifying the bedframe I acquired on Monday and that will take time – in a cold wind I really don’t feel like standing around in. With a paint sprayer. I may actually resort to the air mattress at first, because I really truly do want to GET MOVED IN.

Today I have an ambition for completing the floor finish, and then I’ll turn my attention to how I can dismember the big cheap dresser in the loft and transport it down in one piece. There’s a lot of work to do setting up the closet before it will even make sense to move the bedroom furniture in permanently.

So there’s lots of work left to do, and a little of it is getting done. But it kind of depends on how I feel, and lately I haven’t felt so great and most of my energy is going to keeping livestock and gardens fed and watered.

Also I owe a couple of people correspondence. For some reason my mail server has decided that my email address doesn’t exist and I am simply not qualified to deal with why that would be. I’m not ignoring you, I’m being embargoed by my own mail server.

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I didn’t know any of these still worked.

I’ve been going up the plateau twice a day since last Wednesday to take care of T&S’s gardens and animals. Noticed that this one property I pass has tracking solar panel racks that actually sort of work.




From the peculiar angle, these would be passive tracking racks which work with a cylinder of liquid that boils and expands through the day, then cools and contracts at night. They’ve been around a long time, and I’m impressed that they still work – especially on this windy plain. They don’t have a good reputation for durability; maybe this guy actually maintains his.

Tracking racks, like wind generators, were a lot more commonly seen around here ten years ago than they are now. They have the obvious advantage of tracking the sun across the sky, which must have seemed a much more important consideration before the Chinese got into the act and solar panel prices crashed. Now panels wholesale for $0.85/watt, and it doesn’t make a lot of sense to spend $3,000 plus just for your rack tower. Plus they’re terribly susceptible to wind damage – which is why I’m surprised these still work at all. I’ve heard they can’t withstand any snow load at all. Plus they require frequent maintenance, which isn’t real likely on your average redneck homestead.

Pretty much everybody around here builds fixed racks, which of course can’t track the sun, and then they just throw a lot of solar panels at the problem.

Neighbor S may have taken that to extremes. But then he’s the one buying them wholesale. Less efficient per panel, perhaps. But a lot more efficient per dollar, for a much more durable and dependable solution.

I should point out that the rack above is right next to the original broken passive tracking rack.

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It’s official: I’m too out of touch to be allowed out alone.

My Jerry cans for gasoline are still all working, but all in all they’ve been a disappointment. I found myself in an auto parts store this morning on an unrelated matter and decided to at least see what plastic jugs are going for these days ($20 a pop! I’m doomed.)

And I couldn’t quite see what was going on with the spout at a glance, so I took a moment to remove the spout from the can to see how it worked…

…and I literally can not figure it out. There is a sort of plastic mechanism present, but as far as I can tell there actually is no way to make liquid flow from the jug through that spout into a vehicle or anything else. For your protection.

Oh, I’m sure there is a way. Probably not a very good way, but there’s a way.

Once I was a master mechanic. I’m used to figuring gadgets out. If I can’t tell at a glance how a gas can spout works, there’s something wrong with me or the spout. I took this one apart and fiddled with it, and couldn’t figure it out.

I’ve officially been in the desert too long to be of any use to man or beast. Also, somebody’s selling a gas can with a pouring spout that doesn’t actually do anything.

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Where is Pol Pot?

History is dotted with bizarre revolutionary movements that found brief local success, generally through exploiting a power vacuum. They rule through wild promises and terror, first purging “others” they can demonize as looters and wreckers, then turning on their own membership for the crime of insufficient revolutionary zeal or whatever. Their cultural goals are often, well, bizarre – and they usually prove efficient only in the manufacture of body piles. Most reasonable people, whatever their other differences, consider these movements a development to be avoided.

Their Great Leaders often end badly, but not before generously spreading a lot of horror. One thing all these movements have in common, though – there’s always a Great Leader.

Never thought you’d encounter such things right here in the good ol’ USA, didja?

Yesterday while reading Claire’s take on the latest Antifa nonsense, I got to wondering about something. Following a rabbit hole I found myself at the 90’s-style antisanal website of something calling itself the Revolutionary Abolitionist Movement. Understandably curious as to who or what they propose to abolish, I read on…

The same forces that put people in bondage also utilize gender roles as a source of domination. Overcoming imprisonment and liberating humanity from captivity must happen simultaneously with the abolition of gender constraints.

Um…okey doke.

This is probably two overage kids in mom’s basement, having imbibed rather more Gender Studies than was good for them. Kids today: In my day we had cigarettes and ditchweed, and we liked it that way. But the revolutionary vanguard this and “infrastructure of resistance” that did sound reminiscent of things I myself once thought were really neato, coming from the lips of John Sinclair when I was a kid worshipfully hanging around the Rainbow People’s Party house in Ann Arbor. Speaking of cigarettes and ditchweed…

…which familiar sound made me think, “This is all coming from the colleges, isn’t it?” Probably not an original thought, given how much colleges have put themselves in the news lately. Those “revolutionary” hippies lounging on couches and imbibing watered-down Marxist theory with their bong water grew up to be the grizzled and frustrated but ever-so Progressive professors filling kids’ heads with more toxic doses of the lovely, exciting propaganda I swallowed so eagerly at 16 – and vomited up at my first taste of how societies and economic systems actually work. Simple nostrums and bumper sticker slogans sound perfectly reasonable when you’re sixteen, which is why nobody lets a 16-year-old run anything more complex than a lawn mower.

…which in turn made me wonder, where are the real leaders of this latest bullshit? I’m seeing a lot of violent crowds, a lot of familiar rhetoric. But I’m not seeing a Great Leader.

So where’s Pol Pot while all this is going on? I begin to suspect he’s lurking around here somewhere.

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Picking paint always makes me nervous.

I can never tell from a paint chip in a hardware store what it’s going to look like on the wall.

Then when I start to smear it on the wall it always always looks terrible. I have to force myself to withhold judgment until it dries. Even then things only turn out all right in the end about half the time. The light is a lot different in a hardware store.

And I could have gone lighter here. But I think it’ll be okay.

And in any case it’s only paint. I hated the old exterior color, and still put up with it for two years and nobody died.

There’s still some trim to do around the windows, but the walls are basically done.

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You just want people to die.

Here’s something funny I stole from Claire’s Cabal.

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Okay, that worked.

This has not been a great week for Lair construction. In fact it’s just been a bad week. I spent a lot of money on the wrong ceiling paint and so lost five days’ work. By this time I hoped to be done with the project for the season, and instead I’m…not. I couldn’t paint the walls because I couldn’t paint the ceiling because…aw, screw it. Hell, nothing went right. I had to spend an afternoon baking bread when I’d gotten up thinking I had two days’ supply. But then mold. I was pissed off.

Then on top of that I had a day’s sickness, an apparent reaction to something I ate. Possibly bread mold, who knows. Yesterday it was best that nobody was around who had to put up with me. Except LB, who forgives me my outbursts.

But I got to town this morning and spent almost all the folding money I had left on another gallon of ceiling paint and ten gallons of gasoline. Just finished rolling the ceiling, and it looks great.

Gonna go do horses and dogs after lunch. Tomorrow’s the last I have to get up early to take care of Ghost. I’ll hit the walls with a couple of coats tomorrow and then Monday I can take up the plastic and finish with the floor. There seem to be no twin bed rails available at any local thrift stores, but I know where there’s a couple of bedframes. One of them will work with the head and foot boards with just a tiny bit of modification. I’ll get to moving closet poles and my big dresser into the closet, and barring any new bad thing I may be sleeping in the new bedroom before next weekend.

Just as well, too. LB’s getting tired of being thrown out of “his” room.

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Aha! The Dread Terrorist Jack Daniels rises again!


Neighbours ‘thought man was terrorist’ for flying Jack Daniels flag

The infamous terrorist

They saw something, they said something. What could possibly go wrong?

Y’know what would be funny? If you infiltrated one of those ISIS marches waving a JD flag. It’d be a real hoot, don’t you think? Until, you know, the horrible death scene right at the end…

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Today we will observe the Pursed-Lip Pecksniff in its natural habitat…

Feds ban listing ‘love’ as a food ingredient

The Food and Drug Administration sent a letter to Massachusetts company Nashoba Brook Bakery on Sept. 22, rebuking them for, amongst other things, including “love” on the ingredient list for the company’s granola.

“Your Nashoba Granola label lists ingredient ‘Love,'” the FDA pointed out in its letter to the bakery. “Ingredients required to be declared on the label or labeling of food must be listed by their common or usual name [21 CFR 101.4(a)(1). ‘Love’ is not a common or usual name of an ingredient, and is considered to be intervening material because it is not part of the common or usual name of the ingredient.”


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QoD: Dangerously Futile edition

“Do you know what stupid is? Stupid is continually telling a large portion of the population that they’re the cause of all social problems, you hate them, they’re Literally Hitler and you wish them dead. And then telling them oh by the way, please give up your guns.”

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I must like you, Ghost, or I wouldn’t do this.

First thing in the morning. Before coffee. WAY before breakfast. Before I feed the chickens, even.

Ghost has never been my favorite dog – mostly because I’ve never been his favorite human. He was smart, quick, a very useful watchdog, we lived together for eight years, but I wasn’t his choice and he rarely let me forget it. Dealing with Ghost was a matter of negotiation, not barking orders.

Now he’s a fat, deaf, increasingly incontinent geriatric mess. But he’s family. So I hop out of bed, put on my leg and my pants, go down the ladder in the near-dark, pull on boots, strap on a gun, take LB out for a pee and then straight to the Jeep, to drive to S&L’s place for our first visit with Ghost…

…and also, since he’s certain to have left me a puddle…

…clean and filled and ready to go from the night before. I get there as soon as I can without resort to an alarm clock and I even tried that once. But then it finally dawned that it didn’t matter; what he really needed for the mop to be unnecessary was a visit at bedtime, long after dark. The morning puddle is always old. Frankly it’s less trouble to mop it in the morning than to prevent it at nine pee em. He can get outside to do his chores as long as somebody’s there to work the door when he goes to it. If nobody comes, he…goes. That’s just life. But like us all he’s a creature of habit – once he knows when to expect me to arrive, he starts being able to hold it till I get there – except for the one at bedtime, when I never show up.

It’s kind of a pain, all this backing and forthing. This week I’m doing it for two bunches of animals widely separated, so the backing and forthing is pretty much all I’m accomplishing and that actually makes it not so bad. Plus Ghost, for all his foibles, is family and you do for family.

Plus, let’s face it, my end-of-life plan is pretty much reduced to hoping somebody will spare a back bedroom for the crotchety old blind guy whose Depends purchases are a household secret. So I guess I can put up with old Ghost for a while.

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NRA to bumpstock users: While you’re under the bus, could you have a look at the ball joints?

NRA calls for ATF review of bump stocks, new regulations after Las Vegas shooting

Utterly unprincipled, utterly cynical, and a relatively cheap way to give cover to their expensive politicians.

Oh, but don’t worry. Trump’s on your side. Just behind you, with a dagger.

“We always welcome a thoughtful conversation on policy and issues. The Second Amendment is a bedrock in our Constitution along with the First Amendment. These rights must be protected,” [Kellyanne Conway] said. “But …”

ETA: Sadly for Diane Feinstein and her new buddies in the NRA, you don’t actually need a Bumpstock to turn money into noise.

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I despise Apple.

Never really had an opinion about it before. Do as you will as long as you don’t harm me, that’s always been my motto. Or would be if I started having a motto.

Then a good friend gave me an iPhone. That was, what, a month ago? Now I hate Apple with every clichéd fiber of my being. Tomorrow I’m going to sneak into the big town so I can have “Die Apple Die” tattooed on my chest. And I don’t even think tattoos are a good thing. It just needs to be expressed.

Why do I hate Apple with such berserk fury, you might reasonably ask. After all, somebody just up and gave you a frickin’ smartphone. They’re cool.

Oh, the phone is completely neato. Don’t get me wrong. You’d have to pry it from my cold dead fingers. But 1) I’m not a technophobe but not a technophile, either. And now there’s a bunch of things to learn. Like how to load music. This should be the simplest thing in the world. It is not. Short of buying all new tunes from Apple, I’m not completely convinced it’s even possible. (As for iTunes: I do not know a single person who ever purchased, or even listened to, a Miley Cyrus song. Miley Cyrus could be beheaded by Muslim radicals while on fire and not upset me in any way. And that’s the only name on the iTunes front screen I even recognize.) 2)Every now and then I’m tempted to attempt actually dealing with Apple. Scenes like this are why thoughts of mass shootings occur to white guys. I just attempted to establish an “Apple ID.” Why do they make this difficult? I attempted 3 times to pick a password acceptable to Apple. Finally stopped because I like this phone and hurling it across the room would be childish and self-destructive. So I stopped.

I’m only writing this as therapy. I have to go feed horses and dogs now. I really, truly hate Apple. That is all.

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Check your water

We pump our own water out of the ground here, using a well Ian paid Big Bux to have drilled, with a solar powered DC immersion pump…

…through a whole bunch of flexible pipe into a big water tank…

…and from the tank to a network of buried pipes. We have lost water from several causes in the past eight years: Manifold freezing. Pump failure. Flexible pipe kinking. Pipes freezing and breaking at a low point. All but the first emptied the tank. The first unavoidable symptom is no water in the pipes.

That’s not a good first symptom. If it’s a simple problem I can fix it myself. If it’s a not-simple problem, like a pump failure, resolution may take weeks while I pull out the pump, wait for someone to show up here and take it to the city, wait for repair, wait for someone in the city to come back up here, re-install the pump. Did I say weeks? Months is not out of the question. So far it’s never taken longer than weeks.

The system’s flow rate is very low, so even if I can fix a pipe break easily it will still take a day or two before there’s sufficient water in the tank to give me good pressure – or maybe any water at all. So paying attention to the water system is a good habit. But it will try to fool you.

I can stand by the wellhouse and hear the pump, if it’s running, humming up through the pipe. That tells me the motor is running, it doesn’t guarantee water is being pumped. That happened once: The pump was fine but the vertical hose had kinked under gravity. Empty tank.

If the pump isn’t running it might be a problem with the pump or with the electrical circuit. That happened twice: The floating switch in the tank got wedged in a dumb crevice of the tank and wouldn’t signal the pump to run. Empty tank.

Or the pump could just crap out. Empty tank.

Or, as happened day before yesterday, a cow could tap dance on the hose I run to my pear-tree-which-will-never-bear-fruit. Broken hose runs for hours, makes much mud, tries to empty tank. Pisses Joel off.

Have I mentioned lately how much I enjoy the privilege of hosting the frickin’ cattleman’s frickin’ cattle? But I digress.

My point is, it’s a good habit to check the water level in the tank. The tap-dancing cow made a good system test: The tank level was definitely low, and probably not because of any fault in the water infrastructure more complex than a torn garden hose. So I made a mental note to check the tank level at the end of the day, after the last dog was walked and the last horse fed…

Perfect. Joel all reassured now. :)

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The guy in the Rich Uncle Pennybags costume wins the whole Internets forever.


Someone dressed like the Monopoly guy is photobombing the Senate’s Equifax hearing


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I like coming up here…

It’s getting back down that’s a pain in the ass.

Yah, keep your “big sky country,” Montana. My sky’s plenty big.

There are two ways to get here: The short, rocky, nearly vertical way and the long round-about way. I tend to take the long way up and the short way down.

I always feel kind of bad for horses around here. There’s no grazing to speak of in the poorly-named “pasture” within 20 minutes of the introduction of a horse, and there’s nothing to do but stand around and develop emotional pathologies. Don’t even know if T&S ride these anymore: They both got thrown and injured in quick succession a few years ago and since then I haven’t heard any riding stories. Horses still need to be fed and watered, though.

I took the short way down off the plateau both because it’s the short way and because that way dumps me out right near Landlady’s and S&L’s places. Tend chickens, tend Ghost.

After feeding him and cleaning up one little mess he left me, I pretty much herded him out the door to finish his business. But he insisted on taking the dog food can with him, and then all he wanted to do was lay down in the shade and work on the can.

He always was willful, and age hasn’t made him any less obstinate. So finally I gave up and led him back in out of the sun. He went along with that willingly enough – as long as he could bring the can.

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