Today’s sunnier and drier than yesterday, so that’s good. It’s also cold and windy as hell. I’m about to buckle down and get serious about making bread, but before that I rummaged around chasing a memory to cheer me up. So here’s a video clip from when FW videos were sometimes shot around here, and occasionally we’d do something fun with them.
Okay, I’ve been doing this in the Big Chickenhouse for a long time and I’m better at finding them than they are at hiding them. Plus whenever they choose a nest that’s hard on my back, the rocks come out. But I am impressed with their persistence.
The girls had a good day yesterday so I wasn’t expecting much during this morning’s chicken chores. I saw one in a bucket nest, and a small hen was laying in this spot between the sunflower seed barrel and a concrete block that used to hold a waterer. I figured I’d leave her alone and collect whatever was there this afternoon.
But then she got up and moved on her own, and…
Those definitely weren’t there yesterday, so even though they had already averaged more than an egg per hen they apparently stayed busy in this new spot. There are a couple pressed down under the ones you can see – I hauled a dozen newly-laid eggs out right there. A couple of the Leghorns were upset with me: I think they believed they were really pulling off a good trick.
Instinct is a funny thing: None of these hens would ever be able to hatch a nest of fertilized eggs. They’d forget all about them. Brooding and raising chicks has been bred out of them. But there’s still a vestigial part of their pea brains that says – at least momentarily, every now and then – they’re mine, they’re important, and that human is stealing them!
I knew it was going to be windy this afternoon, but normally we can get at least a few still morning hours even on a windy day. So we started putting up the plywood, but those few hours were filled with wind.
By being very careful and clamping or tying down everything that could be tied or clamped, we got the plywood up and VERY thoroughly screwed to the rafters. The incident also gave us much incentive for paying close attention to hurricane straps and such.
Anyway, the plywood is up but we did not push our luck by messing with the metal roofing even though we should have been able to wrap this up today. Tomorrow’s supposed to be less windy.
I have also scored two gallons of the same reddish-brown paint as graces the existing trim, so I have a lot of painting to do but the material needs are handled. The Secret Lair’s porch has a roof!
We broke for lunch fairly early today, though the work was going unexpectedly well, because I hit a wall and for once had the sense to stop. When I’m by myself and I’ve had too much work in the hot sun I don’t always recognize it, and I’ll just waste effort while my mind wanders into the weeds and plays with its toes. In this case we were discussing options for roof flashing, a subject never far from BB’s thoughts, and I was just having difficulty forming common words. It was time to stop, have some lunch and a lot of water, and take half an hour or 45 minutes to get ourselves back to firing on all cylinders.
Speaking of dumb decisions, what’s wrong with this picture?
If you said, “Joel, you appear to be walling up your porch table,” you win. We had to undo a little work to rescue it.
2 is 1, 1 is none. I violated the rule that bites you when it’s violated.
In October 2015, a Generous Reader sent me this…
Only 3 1/2 years ago? Seems longer. Lots has happened since then, and this little thing has been with me every step of the way because it’s still my EDC belt light. If I’m wearing pants, I’m wearing it*. I stand by the early snarky things I said about flashy modes, I have no use for them, but since I have learned to behave as if they don’t exist they don’t bother me and in every other way this is easily the best, most useful flashlight I’ve ever owned.
I’ve been waiting for the battery to fail. It’s a 18650 rechargeable, and sooner or later it was going to start letting me down. In fact it’s been on my mind and I even have one (2, actually, because Amazon seems offended at the thought of selling only one) in my Amazon cart but for various personal reasons haven’t pulled the trigger on the purchase.
This morning it finally happened. Oh, the flashlight still works! It’s not like that Surefire with the forever-cursed CR123 batteries that broke my heart that one time many years ago. It worked well enough to let me do my task in a dark room without electricity, but it wouldn’t go to full bright and it hadn’t been that long since I recharged it. And this afternoon I plugged in the battery for recharging and it showed done in less than an hour. So the battery is failing. Should have gotten a replacement earlier – nobody in the little town nearest where I live sells them.
Rest in Peace
Hopefully it’ll keep me till I get the replacement. I still love this flashlight, but I have a decent spare if I need one in the interim.
*Except for that stupid belt clip, which is useless and was soon lost. I put some gorilla tape around the light body till it fit an old holster.
If all is still according to plan, at this moment Big Brother is queuing up to board a plane in DFW, where he has been cooling his heels for almost eight hours. He booked this insane route, which (I guess?) is the only way to get here on one of those newfangled aeroplane things.
Of course the aeroplane won’t get him anywhere near here, so he won’t actually be in danger of getting lost in the desert until sometime mid-afternoon. I’m sure he’ll be raring to go by then…
I wanted to make a second bucket nest but I needed something better to line the cut plastic with. There was some cheap duct tape in the barn but it wasn’t enough to prevent a hen hurting herself. That link in the comments a post or two down suggested using a section of tire tube, and that was just the thing.
I replaced some tubes for a neighbor several years ago, when she wandered into some thorns. Took the cast-offs home and they’ve been so useful over the years that I almost regret charging her for the job.
ETA: Some of the Leghorns are using the round bucket, but I won’t be surprised if they refuse the square one. They seem to prefer lower ceilings. It’s kind of an experiment.
I have a few 6 gal buckets I can spare, and more press-on lids than I care to think about. Neighbor L suggested turning one into a nesting box to see if the Leghorns like it.
I also like the idea of subdividing the main nesting boxes. Big Brother is due tomorrow so things are getting very busy here at the Secret Lair – but once the porch kerfuffle settles down I’m going to give that a try. The Leghorns do seem to want smaller, more private spaces. I’m even thinking of half-covering the entrance of one of those boxes, just to see what they do with it.
A few weeks ago the base of my hummingbird feeder split its whole length and of course started to leak badly. I patched the split with some Seal-All, and that actually worked for a while. But the fix was temporary, the feeder started leaking again, and yesterday I went looking for what might be available locally as a replacement. The alternatives presented were a)this is so chintzy you will actually be able to observe ultraviolet radiation destroying plastic in real time, or b) wow, that’s expensive.
I truly hesitated. This thing costs more than filling a propane bottle from empty…
But I guess it’ll look nice hanging from the newly-completed porch. The hummers seem to like it, which I wondered about: They’re clearly attracted to bright red and aren’t exactly renowned for their reasoning ability. Would they even recognize its function? Yeah, they seemed to figure it out pretty quickly.
Will Blog for ISP Time, Glaucoma Meds, or Cheap Booze.
Free! (and worth every penny)
Scary Manifesto that keeps getting pushed down on the sidebar by filthy capitalism!
They say that Louis XIV had the inscription Ultima Ratio Regum cast into all the cannon of the French Army. It means "The Ultimate Argument of Kings," and that always struck me as one of the most honest and up-front things any ruler or would-be ruler ever said. "We can dress it up prettier than this, but when it comes down to the unvarnished truth this is what it's about: You'll do as I say or I'll send my goons to kill you."
I thought about that for a long time. If there's an ultimate argument, it seems only logical that there must be an ultimate answer. For years I thought the ultimate answer must be the bullets in my rifle, but it never seemed quite right. I've got bullets - he's got frigging Cannon Balls. I mean, if there were three hundred million rifles throwing bullets at him, then maybe. But we all know that's not going to happen. So if there's an ultimate answer to his ultimate argument, it sure as hell ain't bullets.
It finally came to me - and that's when I left the city, abandoned a goodly percentage of my goods, and gave all that was behind me a good, stiff Randian Shrug.
The ultimate answer to kings is not a bullet, but a belly laugh.
Do you suffer from a lonely, unfulfilled, angst-driven existence? Do you often wish you could do something meaningful with your life, like end death or war or taxes, or maybe just read a really good book?
Then you need to buy the following novels immediately!
The Scroll of Jeremiah
The Last Faithful Man
Songs of Bad Men and Good
"Freedom Outlaw. It’s not what you do; it’s how you do it. It’s an attitude — from which actions always follow. It’s a do-it-yourself occupation. And a lifetime vocation."
I owe my success to having listened respectfully to the very best advice, and then going away and doing the exact opposite.
- G. K. Chesterton
"If every Jewish and anti-Nazi family in Germany had owned a Mauser rifle and twenty rounds of ammunition and the will to use it, Adolf Hitler would be a little-known footnote to the history of the Weimar Republic."
- Aaron Zelman
"Authority should derive from the consent of the governed, not from the threat of force."
"Never underestimate the ability of shit to find a fan."
- F. Paul Wilson
The...average man's love of liberty is nine-tenths imaginary, exactly like his love of sense, justice and truth. Liberty is not a thing for the great masses of men. It is the exclusive possession of a small and disreputable minority, like knowledge, courage and honor. It takes a special sort of man to understand and enjoy liberty – and he is usually an outlaw in democratic societies.
– H.L. Mencken, Baltimore Evening Sun, Feb. 12, 1923
"You can't make an omelet without breaking eggs." The sophistry of villains - Bah!
- Robert A. Heinlein, Double Star
“Truth is, I’m not specifically interested in an armed society. What I want is a free society.”
- George Potter
“Gold is the money of kings, silver is the money of gentlemen, barter is the money of peasants – but debt is the money of slaves.”
- Norm Franz
"You can have peace. Or you can have freedom. Don't ever count on having both at once."
- Robert A. Heinlein
"Security is mostly a superstition. It does not exist in nature, nor do the children of men as a whole experience it. Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing."
- Helen Keller
"It has long been my conviction that a masked man with a gun is a target. I see no reason to change that view."
I never saw a wild thing sorry for itself
A small bird will drop frozen dead from a bough without ever having felt sorry for itself.
- D. H. Lawrence
All men should try to learn before they die /
What they are running from, and to, and why.
Aristippus passed Diogenes as he was washing lentils.
He said, “If you could but learn to flatter the king, you would not have to live on lentils.”
Diogenes said, “And if you could learn to live on lentils, you would not have to flatter the king.”
Sandy Hook was a Gun Free Zone. So was the Westroads Mall. And the Aurora Theater. And Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. Should I go on? They were all Gun Free Zones. Why do the gungrabbers never mention this?
“Political tags — such as royalist, communist, democrat, populist, fascist, liberal, conservative, and so forth — are never basic criteria. The human race divides politically into those who want people to be controlled and those who have no such desire. The former are idealists acting from highest motives for the greatest good of the greatest number. The latter are surly curmudgeons, suspicious and lacking in altruism. But they are more comfortable neighbors than the other sort.”
- Robert A. Heinlein
"Civilization is the process of setting man free from men."
- Ayn Rand
If ever a man should ask you
For your business or your name
Tell him to go and fuck himself
Tell his friends to do the same.
For a man who'd trade his liberty
For a safe and dreamless sleep
Doesn't deserve the both of them
And neither shall he keep.
- Frank Turner
Don't be afraid to try something big, just because you're an amateur. The Ark was built by amateurs. The Titanic was built by professionals.
"Nothing scares a police officer more than the threat of being treated the way that they treat people every day."
"Be polite, be professional, but have a plan to kill everybody you meet."
- Gen. James Mattis
"Lust for power is the most flagrant of all the passions."
"The man who knows what freedom means will find a way to be free."
- F.A. "Baldy" Harper
"The greatest discovery of any generation is that a human being can alter his life by altering his attitude."
- William James
We who lived in concentration camps can remember the men who walked through the huts comforting others, giving away their last piece of bread. They may have been few in number, but they offer sufficient proof that everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms -- to choose one's attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one's own way.
- Viktor Frankl
The free man will ask neither what his country can do for him nor what he can do for his country.
- Milton Friedman
“We must be free not because we claim freedom, but because we practice it.”
- William Faulkner
There is nothing noble in being superior to your fellow man; true nobility is being superior to your former self.
- Ernest Hemingway
When asked the secret of how he accumulated 505 confirmed sniper kills on Soviet invaders, Simo Häyhä would smile and reply, "Practice."
"Everything the State says is a lie, and everything it has it has stolen."
- Friedrich Nietzsche
"The nine most terrifying words in the English language are 'I'm from the government, and I'm here to help.'"
- Ronald Reagan
The most dangerous creation of any society is the man who has nothing to lose.
- James A. Baldwin
"It is better to be a warrior in a garden than to be a gardener in a war."
“I tried to live in such a way that, when dying, I would rather feel happy than scared.”
– Witold Pilecki
Few men desire liberty; most men wish only for a just master.
"Place your clothes and weapons where you can find them in the dark."
- Lazarus Long
Read, every day, something no one else is reading.
Think, every day, something no one else is thinking.
Do, every day, something no one else would be silly enough to do.
It is bad for the mind to continually be part of unanimity.
– Christopher Morley
Why the hell did you scroll all the way down here?