“Media Offers Thoughts And Prayers That Someone Would Start Some Violence At Gun Rights Rally”

Heh…

Reporters expressed their grief and condolences as the violence they hyped has so far failed to materialize.

“Nobody has so much as fired a shot. This is an unbelievable tragedy,” said one teary-eyed MSNBC reporter, clearly caught up in the anguish of the moment. “It’s tragic that we live in a country where reporters who are just minding their own business trying to push a narrative can have everything ripped away from them in an instant when protesters refuse to shoot at people.”

It really is remarkable – the newsies spent all last week hyping this annual-though-currently-topical rally as the second coming of the KKK. Some feds even busted a couple of race baiters on cue just to give the thing some gravitas. And then the ungrateful gun-hugging hayseeds just show up, wave signs, listen to speeches and go home without shooting anybody. Sheesh – this must be a dark day at MSNBC, CNN, NPR et al…

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Rain and pain and then D had another ministroke…

Thursday’s rain was predicted but it wasn’t predicted to go on all day and night. It wasn’t even cold but I lit the morning fire just to dry out the interior. I planned on just hanging around the Lair and nursing my back, which I kind of messed up (again) hauling rocks and sand the day before. Then around mid-morning L phoned to say D was apparently having another TIA and she was taking him to the hospital. (sidebar: whoever she spoke to at the hospital was insistent about sending an EMT and clearly didn’t understand the situation at all. People have tried to get ambulances out here before – not the best solution if the patient can get into a 4X4.)

Anyway, of course I assured them I’d take care of the animals which of course I did. It turned out (apparently, I mean who really knows) to be a transitory thing, maybe a shot across his bow in terms of blood pressure though I know he’s really been watching his pressure and it has slowly been coming down, plus in his experience as well as mine “blood pressure medicine” often comes with side-effects worse than the condition it’s supposed to treat. But this is really concerning; he’s been doing really well and apparently on the way to full recovery but now I’m worried we’re just going to have to get used to living on a knife edge.

Anyway, yesterday (and today) my back still hurts and there hasn’t been anything cheery to blog about. It’s just sort of midwinter.

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To anyone who’s tried to email me lately…

I’m having email trouble again, and have had for a couple of weeks now. I can’t get any incoming, apparently everyone who tries to send mail gets a bounce telling them that my inbox is full. You know me and computer stuff; so far I haven’t figured it out. Sorry but for now I’m in an email-free zone.

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I hate mud. Oh, how I hate mud…

Okay, so here’s the situation…


Torso Boy, like any old man*, is a creature of habit. He has designated one spot in the whole world in which a Corgi may take a dump, and he abides by that decision with grim consistency. He simply refuses to shit anywhere else. Normally that’s just fine; it’s a good logical spot, convenient but out of the way and near the ashpit which makes cleanup easy.

Problem is, this has been a wet winter so far. It has been a consistently muddy winter, and that one spot…


…is just the worst for mud. (more below the fold, because there are quite a few photos) Continue reading

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Topping off the water…

Or maybe making the best of a bad situation, I dunno.

A few years back the float switch in the water tank failed, and characteristically it was quite a while before I noticed. During that time the tank overflowed any time the sun shined and it made a bit of a mess – to say nothing of wasting masses of water, a practice to which I object.

I jumped to the – logical in context – conclusion that the fault probably lay with the part that’s exposed to all that very corrosive water, and replaced the float. This turned out to do nothing, which moved the culprit over to the charge controller in the wellhouse…


…and I’m not competent to diagnose that nor in a position to replace it. But one thing the controller does have which proved very useful in the circumstance is a simple on/off toggle that bypasses all the nonsense.

At first I went into first-world-problem mode, grousing about having to stop at the top of the ridge from time to time and turn the pump on manually, and dreaming up schemes to replace the controller – even though I can’t be certain it’s really at fault.

Then, grdually, reality set in: Every problem I’ve ever had with the water tank level has snuck up on me, because I always depended on the technology to keep the tank full and over the years the tech has found quite an impressive variety of ways to let me down. Seriously, it has become a longish list; the system never seems to fail in the same way twice.

But the symptom that makes me aware of the situation is always exactly the same…


I never used to notice until that thing went dry.

So I propped that section of ladder on a couple of half blocks and – over months – finally developed the habit of stopping by once a week or so, climbing the ladder and looking inside to see what was what.

And you know? …okay, no, it still let me down last winter and I never quite nailed down why though I’m guessing it was a freezing thing with the one-way valve. It happened quick. So not perfect.

But statistically I’m still in a much better position to catch a problem before it leaves me without running water if I just behave as if the pump isn’t supposed to run automatically.

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That’s a big dog, if it’s a dog…

Beautiful day. Truly glorious, could hardly be better. I took a nice long morning walky, starting out with a light overshirt that ended up knotted around my waist – first shirtsleeves day in maybe two months, very unusual for January.

Of course the snow is melting so I’m paying for my pleasure with mud, but I’ll take it. The forecast says more snow in a couple of days but for today I’m enjoying the sun.

We definitely are sharing the place with cattle again, alas – and on the road next to new cattle prints I saw some really big canine ones…


That’s way too big for any coyote I ever saw; they tend to have rather small paws, at least around here. I’m not familiar with wolf tracks, it’s probably dog but they usually show more prominent clawmarks…


More than 3 inches front to rear. That’s getting near Little Bear territory, a quite big dog. There are rumors of strays around lately. Ferals can be more troublesome than wolves or coyotes or cats, because they’re not naturally afraid of people and sometimes downright hostile…

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Is it possible to care less than nothing about something the newsies are all worked up about?

I…guess I can understand why this would be a big deal in the UK. But why the hell is every American news site covering it blow by blow? I’m pretty sure it’s not possible to care less about these two people than I always have – but now I’m developing an active antipathy that wasn’t formerly present…

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Yeah, we definitely got cattle now…

Excuse the shot; by the time you dig out the phone, light it up, punch in the PIN, select for camera, the cattle – which have already spotted you and are running away – are just about out of sight…


And these aren’t any strays; they were glossy and fat and knew exactly where they were going, and I later saw them at the waterer. There were also fresh truck tracks at the watering station from just before the new snow, so I have cattle in my life again. Oh joy. I think it’s time to put Torso Boy back on the leash until I see how he behaves…

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Observe the snow. It fornicates. Pt. I dunno how many.

It’s been a wet winter so far and this was forecast, so I was dismayed but not surprised to wake to…


Yesterday was overcast all day without a break so the batteries are already starting at a disadvantage…


I don’t know if the sun plans to shine at all today but it sure shows no sign of it, so no cheating. Today we need every foot of solar panel we’ve got.


In fact I’m trying to talk myself out of taking the squeegee with me on morning chores and visit some older neighbors, just to be a boy scout…

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This is why I like .44 Mag…

It’s Thursday morning and I just got a call from D&L confirming they’re going to the big(gish) town about 35 miles away for D’s regular doctor appointment. This means:

A) I need to go feed their horses a little before noon, and

B) There are a few hours when I can practice with my pistol with a fair degree of assurance that nobody will complain about the noise.

So I rummage around in my ammo drawer, empty the pistol and speedloaders and fill them with reloads, and just as I’m getting ready to grab my ears and head out to the target I get a load of what’s laying on my desk…

Yeah, it’s super overcast outside so I need a flashlight at mid-morning in my own cabin


That’s three entirely different – wildly different – sorts of ammunition, all for the same gun. Bottom to top: Very light .44 Special cowboy action loads, maybe 240 grain lead; mildly hot 225 grain Hornady Super ‘Splody FTX .44 Magnum; VERY hot 300 grain hardcast flatnose bear loads, painful on both ends of the gun, use only in damage-acceptable situations.

And that’s what I carry on normal days, for situations ranging from damn-that-stupid-jackrabbit to oh-my-god-a-bear. All for the same gun. 🙂 Can’t do that with a Glock.

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Hurt my back the other day…

Or should I say my back started hurting the other day, since it started as soon as I got out of bed day before yesterday and I didn’t do anything to deserve it. As usual I can stand or lie down comfortably enough but sitting (and walking) is painful and getting out of a chair can be a torment.

Today’s not nearly as bad, which is also normal so I expect it’ll go away as mysteriously as it came. I expect it comes from going on fifty years of walking funny, and I’ve had worse. Anyway, I haven’t spent any time at all sitting at the computer, which is of course why you haven’t heard from me not that there was anything upbuilding to say.

I missed a couple of beautiful days, too, which is too bad because today it’s all overcast. They keep pushing the snow forecast back, though: It was supposed to snow today but now they say tomorrow. Might or might not. We’re almost halfway through the three months I think of as winter proper here in the high desert, and so far it’s been quite mild in temperature but rather wet. I don’t really mind the cold, having gotten used to it by now and having a warm cabin I can retreat to but the mud gets me down sometimes.

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Random gulchy moments

On this morning’s Monday water run I thought I was gonna get a chance to be the big white knight and only ended up perplexing myself. There was a bit of a line at the water dispenser; ahead of us was an old lady in a minivan that was almost as old, and when she tried to crank her engine the starter relay just clicked. Well, no problem – D&L have a fairly late-model truck and a nice high-class and well-cared-for set of jumpers, so we’ll be able to fix this in no time. D was still filling water bottles, so L brought the truck up and I connected the batteries with a superior flourish … and it did no good at all. I could not get a good connection no matter how I tried. Didn’t help that D&L’s truck has a battery box with exterior connections that clearly weren’t meant for jumper clamps, but even so I should have been able to do something right.

About the time I was genuinely ready to give up and leave the old lady to the mercies of whoever she could get on the phone, another cedar rat pulled up in a seventies Ford that looked like every further yard of progress might be its last. Seeing the predicament, he rummaged around in the ice and snow filling his truck bed and eventually pried a set of weathered and beat-up cables out of the ice. I shook my head as he opened his hood, but took one end of the cables and connected the old lady’s battery. Immediately I got nice sparks on her negative post, and almost immediately she could start her engine. Go figure.

Torso Boy got a scare a few evenings ago. He has a nighttime ritual that he just loves: He goes out to the juniper grove by the porch and I light it up while he has a last pee. Then he comes straight in, gets a treat, and runs into the bedroom so I can pull back the blankets, pat the sheet to invite him up, then rub his head and tell him how great he is. We do this every night, and that’s his bedtime. Well, a couple of evenings ago he went down the stairs just in time for a nearby coyote pack to start singing to the moon. That’s not an every-night occurrence and he found it startling. His ruff went up and he started barking at the interruption, then seemed to realize just how dumb that was because he forgot all about urination and decided it was time to go inside for treats and bedtime right f’ing now. The next evening we started the bedtime ritual but he got as far as the edge of the porch then turned around and came right back to me, staring up and wagging his stump a mile a minute. I kept telling him to “go pee,” but he wasn’t having any of it. Damned if he didn’t want me to go down to the trees with him. I wasn’t going to encourage a phobia about peeing in the evening – that’s why I stand right there with a bright light, to keep the predators away – so I let him back inside. A couple hours later he really had to go, listened to my encouragement and got the job done. Then last night he seemed to have forgotten all about the matter. But that coyote pack certainly must have made an impression if he remembered it from one evening to the next.

I can be a cheap old bastard sometimes – this morning as I got ready for the water run I agonized over what to do with this last 3/4 of a gallon of drinking water in this one bottle. I had filled my filter pitcher, the teapot, and I’d cleaned and refilled TB’s water bowl but there was still just too much water in this bottle to throw away. Considered filling my canteens but this time of year I don’t have much use for them and don’t like to keep them full lest they mildew. I really needed to refill the bottle, but I just couldn’t bring myself to pour that 20 cents worth of water down the drain. Finally…


…I filled the pan I normally use for heating wash water. I knew at the time it made exactly zero sense – I was not really saving anything by heating up drinking rather than well water. But it was the principle of the thing, dammit. 🙂

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This is not a problem I’ve ever had before…

Too hot!


I always argue with myself over whether I ought to stoke the woodstove that one last time before sunup, when the wall thermometer says low sixties and it’s going to go up from there at least a little no matter what I do. That display is up against an outside wall, so natch it’s always going to read lower than the actual air temp.

So this morning I went ahead and stoked it because why not, and then went off for my chicken chore walkie before the sun came up over the rim and became an issue. Came back half an hour or so later, and the temperature downwind of that cool heat-powered fan was stifling. I was already sweating in my coat, and by the time I got it and my hoodie peeled off I was swimming. I’ll be leaving for a dollar store run with D&L in about two hours, and maybe I need to change into something a bit less gamey.

Thing is – this is going to sound like the very model of a first-world problem – by this point in winter I’ve usually just acclimated myself to a lower temperature, maintaining body warmth with layers. But now the propane heater lets me sleep comfortably through the night with just a hoodie and a Corgi and a couple of blankets, and the Lair’s wall insulation holds heat so it’s normally at least 20 degrees above ambient inside anyway. So less morning fire goes a lot farther than it did a few years ago, and it’s kind of forcing my winter habits back into the twentieth century.

Guess I could just open a window if it bugs me so much…

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So I can post again?

Yesterday’s solo post was supposed to only be a placeholder while I dealt with some photographs, but that’s not the way things worked out. In fact I could barely even post that screenshot, and I couldn’t download my photos from the majik elff boxx at all – In fact all day was pretty much a bandwidth-free period.

I woke yesterday to grey sky and a couple of inches of new snow…



So it wasn’t very cold at all – in fact I never lit the fire, just baked bread and waited for the oven and the sun to warm the cabin, which it gradually did.

But first I had a fairly abbreviated walkie to take care of chicken chores. Turns out their water wasn’t even completely frozen. I’m not a fan of winter – at all – but on such a morning there’s something charming about fields of new snow on which you get to make the very first tracks…


I had to go to D&L’s to do the noon feeding; looks like Thursday is going to be D’s regular doctor appointment for a while. Already being out in the Jeep, TB and I did an early afternoon chicken visit to get that out of the way. Aaand then I made a serious tactical error – The sun had come out and the afternoon warmed up nicely, almost into the forties. Since the yard spigot was running and the chicken water bottles were almost all empty, I filled them and then optimistically put them into the Jeep for the morning…


Yeah. I have no idea what I was thinking. Clear sky means pleasant afternoon – actually yesterday the wind got a bit much but I take what I can get this time of year – and truly frigid nights. So now 2/3 of my chicken water is frozen absolutely solid and it may or may not thaw enough to be useful by this afternoon’s chicken chores. If I’d just driven them to the powershed yesterday everything would have been fine. That’s pretty much on me.

That oopsie aside, today has shaped up quite lovely. It’s not even eleven and already above freezing, so until the sun converts all this snow to mud and makes walking a huge trial I’m loving it and looking for things to work on outside.

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I can almost admire such steadfast adherence to doctrine…

…in the face of the facts and of all logic. Almost.

Ladies and gentlemen, introducing the wit, wisdom and social commentary of gun grabber extraordinaire – Shannon Watts!


Please explore this reasoning with me: According to Ms. Watts, who has presumably given this matter a lot of thought, the whole West Freeway Church of Christ affair was made possible, indeed was caused, by the relaxation of a law against carrying weapons in a church. Because, presumably, not only would the intended victims have been unarmed and helpless under the terms of such a law but the shooter would not have been able to bring a shotgun to a church service.

Because gun carrying in a church would have been illegal.

Like mass murder.

(Headslap)

H/T

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Huh. Says here we’re all dead…

I don’t feel dead. But hey, maybe everybody else is. Maybe the coastal cities were deluged too quickly to report their own destruction?

Report Hyped by Climate Alarmists Warned of Million of Deaths, Nuclear War, Sunken Major Cities by 2020

“A secret report, suppressed by US defence chiefs and obtained by The Observer, warns that major European cities will be sunk beneath rising seas as Britain is plunged into a ‘Siberian’ climate by 2020. Nuclear conflict, mega-droughts, famine and widespread rioting will erupt across the world,” the report added.

The alarmist document went on to claim that nations would resort to using nuclear weapons to protect dwindling food supplies, a situation that would “bring the planet to the edge of anarchy.”

The authors of the report, Peter Schwartz and Doug Randall, also asserted that “By 2020 ‘catastrophic’ shortages of water and energy supply will become increasingly harder to overcome, plunging the planet into war,” causing widespread “crop failure” and “famine.”

So apparently, the UK is just 5 days away from being plunged into a “Siberian climate” and millions of people are about to die in a giant nuclear carnage caused by global food shortages and monster droughts.

I’m a hermit, not a scientist, and for all I know the global climate might be changing slightly here and there. Seems no more dramatic than usual around here, but I don’t know how indicative of change elsewhere that might be.

What I do know is that when somebody tells you the sky is falling and that your only hope for salvation is to turn your life and all your life decisions over to them – well, put one hand on your wallet and the other on your holster, son, because you’re not talking to a friend.

Have a safe and prosperous new year!

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Well that figures…

Look what I got yesterday!


From a weekender neighbor I don’t even officially do work for! I just swing by his place from time to time to leave tracks (I have a theory that marks of recent activity keep curious scroungers away, and so far it hasn’t been disproven) and make sure it’s still all there. And he never asked me to do it, so it isn’t as if he owes me anything – I only do it to help keep a little bit of order in my immediate neighborhood.

Anyway, you know how I’m always going on about synchronicity – well, it’s been really cold so I’ve been burning a lot of propane, and I had that week-long gig on the other side of the plateau so I’ve been burning a lot of gasoline, which basically meant that on yesterday’s regular water run I needed to buy all the things.


And it was the end of the month, so Big Brother’s monthly care package wasn’t in my hands. I had Patreon money on the debit card so I could do the gasoline but I planned to dip into my cash reserve for propane. No emergency, obviously propane costs are going to go up quite a lot in winter and that’s what the reserve is for, but still irritating. And then I opened this unexpected card and found a very unexpected gift, literally minutes before I went on the water run. Nice!


…and then as if to keep me balanced, I came home from the water run and found that the #40 bottle running the bedroom heater* had sucked dry. So my propane supply wasn’t topped off even for a comforting minute. Figures.

Anyway, yesterday I got BB’s care package and in an hour I’m going up to get paid for last week’s gig, so I’m flush for cash for January. So it’s all good.


* Yes, I’m aware that I need longer hoses. Thank you for not pointing out my lack of foresight.

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Storm passed…


Two days of off-and-on snow with lots of wind. We actually got some drifting, which hardly ever happens and which let TB demonstrate his technique for getting through snow higher than his legs are tall. A smaller dog would hop from place to place but Torso Boy, who spent the bulk of his life in Wyoming and really isn’t as small a dog as I think of him as being, just snowplows through it. Can’t be comfortable on his nethers, but he doesn’t seem to notice. He’s not much interested in spending a lot of time outdoors, though.

Landlady’s panels never got cleared because she didn’t come up this weekend. Their placement is an object lesson in why you should check for shadows in choosing where to build your rack. If she lived here full-time I’d probably agitate for the removal of that tree, but it’s really only an issue around the solstice. Not much can be done about the chickenhouse/powershed, though.

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Yeah, you’re right. This is ridiculous.

Ever since I built the Secret Lair the kitchen stove has operated on one small propane bottle. And it never fails…


It simply never fails. The pressure never fails on a mild, dry winter morning. No.

It invariably gets me out in this.


Yesterday it snowed and snowed – and the snow couldn’t decide if it wanted to melt or freeze solid. Overnight it made up its mind, so it wasn’t so much replace the propane bottle as chip out the propane bottle and then replace it. Ditto the wrench, which was buried under all the ice on the shelf above the bottle (which was one of my better ideas, BTW.) And get it done before your fingers freeze. Then you can go in and make your coffee. After you remember to re-light the oven pilot.

Yeah – come Spring I need to rearrange a few things and get another of those bypass regulators for the kitchen propane.

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Good day to stay indoors…

Yesterday’s promised snowstorm delayed and delayed, and then never really amounted to much. It put down some wet snow in the late afternoon which later froze, and then maybe half a inch of powder on top of that. So…


…take your time and let the taught-to-drive-in-Michigan instincts flow through you.

I had this really busy, cluttered morning planned, and nearly all of it got cancelled on account of weather. But I still had to cross the plateau one last time to feed T&S’s horse, and I still had to do chicken chores. Walking to Landlady’s might have worked out just fine, and it might have ended halfway in either direction with a broken kneecap so I gave up walkie plans and just drove – very carefully. And now I guess I’ll go back to my tea and book, because I’m sure not going anywhere else.

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