Landlady’s house gets a deck…


A big deck.


It covers half the side of the house twelve feet deep…


…and the whole front eight feet deep.

Plans for how we’ll build a ramp/stairs to get on the thing are still pending. Landlady and Neighbor S did the frame yesterday, and then this morning we three did the joist hangers and joists. The actual decking has to wait three weeks for its turn to come up: The intervening two weekends are already taken with neighborhood building projects.

And now I have to wash up and bake bread for this evening’s celebratory party.

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That is exceedingly annoying.

I just spent over an hour on a bummed ride to the big town about 50 miles away for an appointment that lasted less than 15 minutes, because the doctor isn’t here and hasn’t been in all week. So I got a visual field test, and then shown the door.

And now I’m sitting in a parking lot, where I’ll be for the next half hour or more while my friends finish shopping.

It’s a nice parking lot, I suppose. If you like parking lots. Do things like this happen to normal people on a regular basis? I don’t recall.

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Putting my wheels on my wheels…

I tried transporting the new ebike on the Jeep’s trailer one time and it was a disaster. The trailer is so light it spends half its time airborne, and the banging and bouncing scratched up my nice new bike. I was hurt at my heart.

So BB sent yet another gift…


A regular bicycle rack wouldn’t have worked, the ebike is that big. It’s a little small for a motorcycle rack, but it does work. I just need to get a couple of shorter straps for my tie-downs, of which fortunately I have an abundance. I took it for a bumpy ride up and down the road and the Lair’s driveway, and it seems to work great.

Private to Jay Bee:


Care package received! Thank you very much. And (synchronicity alert) thanks for the knit cap! I woke up this morning thinking I needed to resume my search for a cap that fit, since with one elderly exception mine come in the traditional two sizes of too big and too small. This one is perfect and is destined to become a favorite this winter. Appreciate it!

And now I have to go do something I really hate doing: I have an eye appointment in the big town about fifty miles away. Pray for us sinners.

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A Modest Proposal: Anyone with a Twitter account shall be banned from any legislative office.

Because even I know the Babylon Bee is a parody site, and I don’t even read it much.

Exhibit A:
Liberty University Criticized After Unveiling Stained Glass Window Depicting Donald Trump

The window is featured prominently in the chapel, allowing students and faculty to pray to their lord and savior Donald Trump as they escape the pressures and worries of campus life for a few minutes.

“We wanted the renovated prayer chapel to really help students think about what’s important: President Trump and His anointed agenda to make America great again,” said school president Jerry Falwell, Jr.

Okay, right, I don’t really like the Falwells either but a bit of fact-checking might be in order here before anybody else runs with the story.

But no. Exhibit B:

Sigh. Humor is dead in America. Politics killed it.

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I gotta visit Russia someday…

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“Beto” O’Rourke, AR-15s, and the Streisand Effect


I have often mused that when powerful elements in government make serious threats about banning certain firearms, and sales of those firearms immediately skyrocket, it probably isn’t because the new purchasers simply wish to have something they can righteously surrender to the government on demand. And yet sales of the threatened guns invariably do increase out of control whenever they’re newly threatened.

Yesterday I watched a video* in which Karl of Inrangetv suggested that AR and AK pattern rifles, though a thing at the time, didn’t really become a big thing until the “assault weapon” ban of 1994-2004. It’s an interesting idea that might have some validity, I’m really not sure. But it’s certain, judging from clear facts, that a helluva lot of people have no plan to get caught in another ban.

And here we go again…

The Streisand Effect. Palmetto State Armory Is Introducing The No-Beto AR-15 Kit Just In Time For Christmas

AZ Gun Store Owner Responds To Beto’s ‘Hell Yes’ By Offering ‘Beto Specials’ – And Sells Out Of AR-15s, AK-47s

In response to Beto’s declaration, one gun store owner in Arizona decided to offer a ‘Beto Special’ on AR-15s and AK-47s – and the response was overwhelming:

When O’Rourke made the claim during Thursday night’s Democrat presidential candidate debate, Alpha Dog Firearms Owner Matt Boggs was outraged, he says in an interview with The HolloNet:

“I saw the comments that he made, and I was kinda like, ‘You know what: the Hell with this guy.’”

I have a hard time believing that our Beloved Protectors at all levels of government are quite as dumb as they sometimes appear – that they really have no sense of history at all and simply persist in making the same stupid mistakes over and over and hoping for different results.

On the other hand I also can’t quite believe they really believe they’re going to reduce “gun violence” by disarming only the people least likely to commit that violence of only the weapons most seldom used in its commission, but they keep repeating that they really do.

So maybe they are that dumb.


*For the record the point is made early in the video, after which it becomes footage of some guy’s performance in a match and never gets back to the point.

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Huh. From all the build-up I expected something more dramatic…

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Here’s the sort of thing that makes an old hermit’s heart go pitty-pat…

I do feel bad about wasting resources on it, but I guess it’s my unnecessary new toy for the year.

I have a perfectly good Plan B knife, but quickly decided I didn’t like it nearly as well as my everyday knife which I finally admitted I’d truly lost. Inconstant, unfaithful bastard that I am, I decided to see the calamity as an excuse to do something I wanted to do years ago but could never afford when I was living on shit-shoveling and occasional cleanup gigs…


And then, the evening of the very day I swallowed hard and spent $100 on a knife, I found my regular darlin’. Murphy pulled a trick on me that was either mean or just generous…


…and now I have an embarrassment of riches.

ESEE 3 is clearly a really nice knife, probably it’s objectively better than my regular one. It has the blade style I like, with enough blade, belly and point to be useful for just about everything you’d reasonably ask a knife to do, but…


…once the new wears off I think I’m going to find I still like my old one best. It holds a good edge and the handle was made to be more like a tool than a traditional knife. Everything else feels spindly in my hand now.

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Finally using up an old friend…

You can never have too much ammo or paracord. 🙂


I’m off for the Monday morning water run, and since I emptied a propane bottle yesterday baking bread I figured I may as well take it to town while I’m thinking of it, and also one of the 2 10-gallon bottles that have been empty since later winter.

To keep them upright and not clanging around in the back of D&L’s truck, I rigged all my 7-gallon bottles with nylon strapping saved from that old cargo parachute that used to shade the small chickenyard behind the Lair. But I’m out of that, and needed to rig something for the 10-gallon bottles. So I rooted around in my desk drawer for my spool of 550 cord.


About 4 times the length of the bottle is more than plenty to loop it around the top and bottom hooks at the rear of the pickup bed. Works fine. But…


When I came to the Gulch in 2006 I had about 450 feet of 550 cord, including this 300-foot spool. That was almost 13 years ago; it gets used up slowly because it’s so reuseable. It’s strung all over the place around here. It’s immune to UV and doesn’t really wear out; I have long clotheslines made of it that have been in three different locations. The same length of cord held up the chickens’ top cover since 2012. But it does get used, and today I officially reached the last part of this big spool.

(sigh) Wonder what it sells for these days?

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After one drippy day, the sun comes back…


It rained off and on all yesterday morning and never fully cleared all day though we got some intermittent afternoon sun. That’s the first rainy day in weeks, and maybe the last. This morning dawned clear and dewy and almost cold.

I’ve been thinking about my lack of initiative to get things done this summer – there are plenty of little projects I planned, but I finished hardly any of them and didn’t even start most. I’m not sick or ailing in any way, can’t say for sure I know what the problem is but I do remember going through the same thing for most of the summer three years ago. I wasn’t sleeping well because of various aches that had grown – oh, what’s the medical cliché for persistent? “Chronic,” that’s it. Lost my word for a moment. Anyway, I was waking up every day almost dreading it, when for years I have hopped up quite happily even if there was no special reason to be happy about it. When the pain was relieved, my ‘joy of life’ came right back.

Probably because of the unusual humidity, I got up this morning practically lunging for my back brace, which I’ve worn more or less constantly all this year. And maybe it’s that nagging low-grade pain that’s making me so reluctant to do any more than the minimum through much of this year’s building season, I don’t know.

If so I’d better get my mind right and get over it, because it’s not going to get any easier as I age – I’ve got more broken bones and twisted joints than Torso Boy has reasons I should give him a cookie, and (hopefully) a long time left to deal with them. If I’d known I was going to live this long I’d have taken better care of myself. 🙂

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And here’s what happens when you run out of propane halfway through a bake…

I use #40 propane bottles because they’re a lot easier for the old man to manipulate than more traditional #100 bottles. I just keep more bottles around, which has the added benefit of redundancy. But while you can tell a bottle is nearly empty by weight, there’s only one sure way to find out it’s completely empty…


…and that’s for the fire to go out. Normally, at the worst possible time.

We’re finally getting a rainy day. I woke at five to the sound of a hard rain on the bedroom’s metal roof; that didn’t last long but it has drizzled and dripped all day without pause. Depressing even when it’s welcome. Fortunately it’s cool, and also fortunately it was going to be baking day in any case and I was looking forward to the cheering smell of nearly-done bread. Should have been warned by the lack of that lovely scent.

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That’s a big waste…

The problem with raising chickens in the desert is the same for most lifestock; you can’t let them forage for themselves because there’s not much to forage for and anyway they’re pretty close to the bottom of the food chain. I’ve had chickens die for all sorts of senseless reasons including cannibalism, but so far I’ve never lost a chicken to any (non-chicken) predator.

The price for that is that I (and neighbor L) have to pay for all their feed. To keep the cost down somewhat I supplement the pellets with cracked corn, considerably cheaper. Being me, I tend to keep quite a lot on hand – and cheap out on the storage, which led me to throw it all away yesterday when I dug my scoop into the barrel and it came out green and stinking.

(sigh) I’ve had this plastic barrel since we first started raising chickens, so call it on the order of seven years. Never had trouble like this before, but I wasn’t turning the supply over nearly enough and now it’s all ruined.


I really don’t know if it got wet from the outside somehow, or if the corn in the bottom half of the barrel just naturally absorbed enough moisture to mold and ferment. But I wasn’t feeding it to the ladies. I dragged the barrel out to the edge of the slope overlooking the wash and dumped it out for the wilder critters to do with it what they will. I expect the ravens to have a party.

Probably should find some way to learn from this mistake: Maybe invest in a better barrel before restocking, and maybe get out of the habit of keeping the barrel full most of the time.

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Yeah, I give up too. At least for today.

Autumn has come early to the high desert. I went for a lovely cool walk this morning, checked on the chickens and Landlady’s late water leak (fixed, to my great surprise) and generally screwed around for an hour and a half or so, visiting places I haven’t been since it got too hot too early in the day.

Otherwise I was stuck for a morning post. Reading the news I left some tabs open on “Beto” O’Rourke’s latest totalitarian kerfuffle but decided who cares. It’s nothing they haven’t been trying for most of my adult life, and I almost wish they’d get on with it so we can see how that goes.

Here’s a take on the old Futility Box I haven’t seen before…

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That time of year, alas…

Yesterday afternoon I was vegging out at the laptop, binge-watching old Star Trek episodes. It was somewhere around 3 in the PM and I happened to look up and notice the system voltage was almost a full volt lower than it was supposed to be. That was startling enough to get my ass vertical and go out to look things over. As far as I could tell, everything was just fine; the batteries were charging, albeit at a lower-than-expected voltage. The charge controllers reported everything copacetic. I even grabbed my good meter and checked the output of the four solar panels I could get to; they were each outputting cheerfully away, just at lower-than-max.

My system wasn’t defective, the sun was. I determined to keep an eye on the voltage the next day, which would be today, when the sun was near zenith…


…and of course everything is just peachy.

Sigh – it’s getting around firewood-cutting time. Kind of snuck up on me. We got almost no Monsoon this summer and it’s been so hot and still I’ve fallen into bad habits about sitting around indoors when I ought to have been active and productive. Now summer is gone. The good news is it’s finally cooling off. The bad news is pretty obvious…

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Jeep trailer tie-down storage, two years on


Helped D&L load garbage in their pickup for a dump run*, and while waiting around it occurred to me it’s been two years since I put this ammo can on the Jeep trailer for tie-down storage. I should probably do a follow-up post.


Short version, it works fine. You just need three bolts and enough washers to let you tilt the top of the can slightly away from the wall you’re bolting it to, so that the lip of the cover can pass between the wall and the side of the can. This has been drenched in slime and rain and mud but the tie-downs and gloves and whatever else you want to haul stay perfectly dry and secure. Checked the nuts a few times to make sure they weren’t vibrating loose but eventually stopped worrying about it. I don’t recall who originally suggested it, but this is a very useful hack.


*and full disclosure, I was completely wrong about needing to do all the work. D is really coming along.

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Somebody’s feeling left out…

Lovely cool morning – I got up and it was 55o outside; inside was mid-sixties. Woke up only one time in the night, and that was to fight Torso Boy for the blanket. So naturally it was walkie time for Uncle Joel. Nothing big and strenuous, just a pleasant half hour’s overland to and from the chicken house.

Got back and somebody was all butt hurt at being left home. Fortunately the first real chore of the day involved the Jeep…


It’s quite a change in his behavior, that he’s becoming a nuisance about being taken along.

He can’t come later this morning, though, because D&L want a dump run. Neighbor D has his physical therapy this morning, so we’ll need to have their truck loaded with months worth of unburnable trash before about 9:30. And by way of payment for [it’s usually assistance, this time I expect I’ll basically be doing it all] I bring along a can with what little garbage I’ve accumulated since the recent dump run I made with Landlady. But it’s all good; I’ll never live long enough to pay off all the obs they’ve laid on me but it’s fun to try.

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NYC Subway Banned Dogs Unless They Fit In a Bag…

🙂 …and New Yorkers are so very law abiding…

h/t

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You know when you’ll really need to think ahead…

… in terms of the tools and fasteners you’ll need to finish a job?


It’s when you’re rehanging the door of your powershed, which contains all your tools and fasteners. If you accomplish the task without needing to dismount the door even once to acquire some essential item*, dementia has not yet set it.

—–
*I did accomplish it, though just barely…

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Found my favorite knife!

I had given up. I’ve been walking around with my eyes on the ground for days hoping to find it. Yesterday I rode all the way up to the hump, six miles each way, just to be thorough.


Just now after my shower I opened a drawer where the knife had absolutely no business being – and there it was, safe and sound. No idea in the world how I happened to leave it there.

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“The most talented lampshade I ever heard”

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