Hm. While I’m replacing things on the Jeep…

I really need to figure out how to score a new rear door latch.

Not the first time this has happened on a steep grade. Kinda hard on the bottles.

The ladies had a good day, though…

16! Okay, they had more than 24 hours to do it, because I went to town this morning and didn’t come visit them first. But still, not bad for 13 hens.

And now it’s bread day.

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The four most beautiful words in a poor man’s vocabulary…

“The Money Is Handled.”

I’ve been promising the Jeep new tires for several years now. The ones he’s got are at least twelve years old that I know of. At least two years ago Claire sent me $300 to kick-start a Jeep Tire Fund but that contribution coincided eerily with some rat’s decision to eat major, important parts of the wiring harness, the repairs to which cost almost exactly $300. The tires were paper-thin then. I have nursed a slow leak for several months that I simply can’t fix, since it’s leaking around an old screw-hole plug. Y’know, if I were bashing around the boonies in an old Toyota 4X4 there almost wouldn’t be a problem but Jeep tires ain’t cheap.

Well, thanks to a couple of Generous Readers who shall remain nameless unless they want to chime in, the fix is in. I’m still waiting for money to move between accounts but I’ve made arrangements with the local shop, the tires are available, and this time tires will happen.

Thank you, thank you.

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QoD: Extremely Optimistic Understatement edition…

So it seems there’s yet another “company” promising a flying car just aaaany day now. Kids, I’ve been hearing that since my first E. E. Smith novel. And you wanna do it how?

One of the drawbacks of this technology at this point in development is how limited fly times are given the current state of battery capacity. However, as more traditional car companies go electric, the technology will catch up rapidly. According to Mayman, “…the beauty of distributed electric propulsion is that it’s very, very scalable. The way that electric motors work, it’s hey, you wanna make something for two people? OK, you just add power to the electric motors.”

They basically just want to build a really big hobby-shop drone with the remote control inside the cockpit. Why do I think there are no engineers on this company’s board? Or even ex-mechanics? Because while that is – sort of – ‘the way electric motors work,’ nothing is free. And the downside of ‘just adding power’ is just adding weight. Which requires more power. Which requires more weight. Repeat. All of which plays directly on the limitations of your batteries, the technology of which has proven stubbornly reluctant to ‘catch up.’ Ask anybody who lives off-grid.


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Aaand it’s time for the repubs to remember that thing about ‘keeping it classy”…

Hey, remember the Obama administration? Remember how loudly everyone used to laugh when Obama boasted about how ‘open’ his admin was, when in fact whistleblowers had to worry about disappearing into a CIA resort in Yemen?

Well, now the republicans are in charge, and guess what? Whistleblowers are bad guys again.

Let the firings begin then. Trump’s enemies within. If you can’t do your job professionally and you leak unauthorized information to whomever you please, you should be hammered. We’ve been far too soft on leakers and examples need to be made.

Both sides do the same stupid shit the same stupid way, just with the emphasis on some different syllable. And voters keep buying the bullshit. Over and over, world without end.


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The things I see when there’s no camera…

Landlady spent the weekend up in the Gulch working on her Meadow House. We got together for coffee this morning, and she said she had some veggies for the ladies. There were some unidentifiable greens too tart to eat, and the seeds and remainders of a squash. So first visit this morning I dumped it all into the Big Chickenhouse.

The ladies have forgiven me – at last – for the door incident. So the first thing they remember when I come in is that I usually bring food. That doesn’t mean they trust me at all, of course. So when I dumped this pile of unidentified vegetable matter onto their bedding, thirteen hens gathered around in a semicircular formation but stayed just out of reach in case it attacked.

Then they just stood there and clucked and crooned at each other:

“What is it?”

“No clue. Probably dangerous, though.”

“What do you think it wants?”

“I don’t know. Peck it.”

“Sheeit, I’m not gonna peck it. You peck it.”

I left, having other things to do. Came back an hour later, and somebody had indeed worked up the nerve to peck it.

Private to Landlady: They don’t like the greens any more than you did. The squash and seeds were a big hit, though.

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Remember Robert Reich?

No really good reason you should, I suppose. He hasn’t been an active annoyance since the Clinton administration. And since then, he’s been nursing a sinecure at UC Berkeley.

So naturally, he had a theory as to who was really behind the recent unpleasantness…

“I was there for part of last night, and I know what I saw and those people were not Berkeley students,” Reich said.

Yeah? How many bricks did you throw, Bob?

“Those people were outside agitators. I have never seen them before.”

“There’s rumors that they actually were right-wingers. They were a part of a kind of group that was organized and ready to create the kind of tumult and danger you saw that forced the police to cancel the event,” Reich insisted. “So Donald Trump, when he says Berkeley doesn’t respect free speech rights, that’s a complete distortion of the truth.”

The article does not mention where Mr. Reich heard these rumors. He certainly makes bold extrapolations based on them, so I’m sure they’re really strongly-based.

Or rather I would be sure, except…

FIRST ON TRR: A UC Berkeley Rioter Has Been Exposed, & He’s a University Staff Member!

So…not from Breitbart after all?

Actually it’s said that Reich is right about one thing: The ones causing the most damage weren’t UCB students but a bunch of black bloc “anarchists” – and how I hate that they’ve appropriated that word, they’re nothing but nihilists – just looking for another Marin Starbucks to trash. But if you’d yanked off the masks you probably wouldn’t have found many alt-righters.


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Sheesh. It’s getting rough out there…

Police: Woman Upset Trump President Tried To Hit Officer

And it was all fun and games until the article got to the part about what she tried to hit the cop with

State police say 58-year-old Eileen Pierce tried to hit an officer directing traffic at a tree-trimming site on Route 69– allegedly driving her Subaru wagon directly at him, yelling out the window, and shaking her fist. The officer quickly got out of the way, and police say Pierce narrowly missed hitting a tree crew.

When Pierce was pulled over at the Burlington-Bristol line, troopers say she rambled for several minutes, saying she was upset with police and that officers are being murdered because they tend to abuse people’s rights — noting she was angry that Donald Trump is president.

Joel to Editors: “Woman tries to run down officer with car” might have been a less misleading headline…

Sheesh. I may need to set up a refugee camp for my city-living friends if this goes on…

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Progs to Ruth Bader Ginsburg: Eat more kale.

They’re terribly concerned for her now.

“I’m very interested in this.” says Jeanette Bavwidinski, a community organizer in Pennsylvania. “I’m interested in what her daily regimen is. Like, what are you all feeding RBG? Is she getting enough fresh air? Is she walking? Is she staying low-stress? What is she reading? Is she reading low-stress things?”

“Can she eat more kale?” asks Kim Landsbergen, a forest ecologist in Ohio. “Eat more kale, that’s all I can say. We love you. Eat more kale.

I don’t think this article is an intentional parody. Certainly reads like one, though.

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Battery Day EXTREME

I’ve mostly been sitting around this month, waiting the cold out. Last week there was some justification for that, but this week the afternoons are positively spring-like. And yesterday, which was supposed to be battery day, came and went with me just being lazy. There was one Jeep wheel-related chore, but it ended so badly I don’t really want to talk about it. I have to pay somebody to work on the Jeep again…thanks to the last person I paid to work on the Jeep. And I don’t know where the money’s coming from…but there I go talking about it.

Anyway, I got to looking at all the little chores I have piled up, and today was an overwhelmingly perfect day to do them all. First, battery day. I’m down to four visits including my own, but TC’s doesn’t ever need anything from me except that one time a rat built a nest inside his charge controller – really – and that time I had to sic somebody else on the problem. This time, though, I had to pull the battery – just coincidentally – out of his tractor for charging. Do you happen to know where the battery is on a Kubota BX25 tractor? Yeah, neither did I but I eventually found it. It’s covered up under the steering wheel, in case you cared. Definitely not the first place I looked.

Anyway, I got the batteries taken care of, had a bite of lunch, then loaded up a couple of wheelbarrows full of firewood for Landlady…

Fortunately, as previously complained, I have lots of firewood for the first week in February. I threw a little of it into the trailer, then drove through the wash toward Landlady’s place. There was something I’d been wanting to try. A dead and washed-out juniper has been sticking itself into the wash right where I drive for as long as I’ve been there, and I’ve been meaning to cut it up for firewood as long as I’ve been in the cabin. Now I don’t use as much juniper as I used to but Landlady still does, and I wanted to give that electric chainsaw a good workout. So…

Not counting branch-cutting, that’s how much got done on two 2.0ah batteries, which is considerably better battery life than the cordless reciprocating saw would have given me. I don’t think I’ll put the Husqvarna up for sale just yet, but for light-duty work this little B&D will be useful. Thanks, Big Brother!

I asked Landlady weekend before last if she thought she had enough firewood to finish out the winter, seeing as she seemed to be emptying her woodbox with great speed. She said yeah, but given how much is left since her last visit I have my doubts. But I can’t just dump this wood into the box, because…

The idea of using the corrugated tin was to keep rats from climbing the sides. Maybe it worked. They sure didn’t have any problem getting in from underneath, though. So before I can fill her box we need to empty all the nesting crap. Hoping we can do that this weekend, because the warm weather’s supposed to hold, and then I’ll get to work splitting a bunch of juniper “rounds” I’ve been saving for her. Meanwhile…

That oughta tide her over until we can clean out the box and fix the deficiencies in the floor.

Now I hear the chickens telling me there’s a problem with their feeder…

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Here’s a shock. It’s the republicans’ turn to screw you…

…on obamacare.

“Our goal is to repair the damage caused by Obamacare where we find damage,” Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Chairman Lamar Alexander, a Tennessee Republican, said at the start of a hearing he held Wednesday on the individual insurance market.

Senator Susan Collins, a Maine Republican, echoed Alexander during the hearing: “Regardless of who was elected president, we were going to have to do major repairs on the Affordable Care Act.”

While Trump ran on the promise he would repeal Obamacare, he appears to have softened his view a bit after the election. Lately, he has pivoted to pledging insurance for everyone.

I am shocked. Shocked.

New prediction, worth what you paid for it: The dems will be big winners in 2018 and/or 2020 on the strength of their highly successful “damn the republicans and their Trumpcare” campaign theme. The voters, bless their tiny pointy heads, will forget they ever disliked Obamacare of blessed memory.

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Things that seem really incongruous now…

Saw this during my water run on Monday. The closest thing to a food market in this little town shares half its space with a hardware…

People in this little Mormon town have been practicing apparently effective soil amendment for generations, and there actually are some fine-looking lawns here and there as well as some very prosperous gardens. In town, that is.

Of course I don’t live in town, nor anywhere near town, and it took me a few seconds to figure why anyone would ever want to buy one of these…

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How do you measure winter?

Those of you who live in winter states, that is?

In the high desert we can have extreme cold – we’ve hit -20o since I’ve been here – but the weather tends to be episodic. Cold as hell at night, but you can usually sleep through the worst of it. Last week the temperature was rarely above freezing but for the past two days our afternoons have gotten into the sixties and it’s supposed to do it again today. Shirtsleeve weather.

So I think of winter as two months of wind-up, three months of cold, and two months of warm-up. Actual winter occurs between December and February. Which means we’re officially (me being the official) 2/3 through the cold weeks. This winter has hardly been worth noticing, but normally I start anticipating the warm-up in February and get aggravated and impatient for it through March.

How do you measure winter? What percentage of it is done for you, here on the first of Feb?


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Anybody ever see a white Mule Deer?

I saw three muleys this afternoon, this time of year can’t tell male from female at a distance. The first one was close, I could have taken it with a pistol easily, and it immediately started pronking but otherwise didn’t seem upset by the Jeep or work very hard to make distance.

The other two came out of cover within seconds, farther away but still easily within 50 yards. This was on the ridge over the Lair; I’ve been seeing tracks all over and it’s nice to see them coming so close again. But what startled me a bit was that one of the two I saw together was white. I’ve never seen a white muley before.

I left the ridge and drove to Landlady’s with some water jugs for the chickens, and on her driveway I could see that white deer clearly on the ridge across the wash. With binoculars I probably could have spotted the others, but now that I knew what I was looking at the white one stood out plainly. Doesn’t seem like much of a survival trait. It must suck to be a white deer.

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LB the Headless

I calculated this morning that of the six cats we’ve had here at the Gulch – all now dead – only three died in such a way as to leave a body, only two died non-violently, and only one died of old age. And that one spent her last several years inside a townie house. Conclusion: The desert isn’t a good place to be a cat person. Or a cat, for that matter.

However the Secret Lair is still equipped with a cat door, and LB does get use from it. I just set it so that it can open outward but not inward, and it’s just big enough that LB can’t get his head stuck.

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I guess this is why music is important…

My musical elevator never really went to the top, for the most part I’m not entitled to an opinion about anything that happened musically after – well, – ever, really.

But sometimes a particular song so perfectly encapsulates something you’re going through at a particular moment, describing if rarely solving a problem you’re struggling with, to the point where that song just sort of becomes a part of your life’s soundtrack from then on. This one popped up on my playlist this afternoon while I was kneading bread. It originally appeared in my life fifteen years ago during a bad time, when my daughter was in her late teens and – god help her – I was the only somewhat constructive adult in her life. But at the time I had problems of my own and could only do the best I could. Which, arguably, wasn’t very good.

Mixed and tortured metaphors aside, I love this song. For the way it pins my sins to a board, I hate this song.

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Speaking of insensitive dog pics…


And we all know which lab is being a racist…

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Worst dog portrait ever

Get. That thing. Out. Of my face.


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Good boy.

Ghost is staying with us today, he’ll go back home in the morning. And today, for some reason, he seemed happier with his lot in life. He got along with LB, he was positively playful, briefly, and LB reciprocated by not driving him away from his new favorite treasure.

This past week my houseguest brought Little Bear a knuckle bone so big even he found it a lasting challenge. Ghost saw it this morning and showed interest but wasn’t so stupid as to try and share.

But this evening after the last walkie I heard a dog’s jaws working on that bone…and it wasn’t LB’s jaws. LB was facing the other way, pretending he didn’t notice. That’s – seriously – more hospitable than LB normally gets. I was impressed.

So I gave him one of the leather bones Uncle Big Brother sent him. Gooood boy.

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Uh…yeah. I’m pretty sure we’re not supposed to notice that.

H/T to JDZ

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Ah, politicians. They waste time and money in the most entertaining ways…

Get a load of this…

Democrats hold lessons on how to talk to real people

Manchin and nine other Senate Democrats are up for reelection next year in states that Trump won. Much of the event appears geared at figuring out how to turn people who supported Trump into Democratic voters in 2018.

Good luck with that. Really.


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