Well, it’s time. Time to replace my truck. The 1999 Chevy S10 pick-up I’ve been driving has almost 200,000 miles on it and it’s just time to get something younger.
We were thinking about getting another Subaru: a car, and abandoning the pick-up idea all together. At first thought, I couldn’t remember much of anything I’ve hauled in the truck since I stopped building furniture for a living. Now, I mostly haul dogs. Having an SUV or cross-over with room for a couple of crates inside would solve the problems of hauling a dog (who is too wild to ride inside the cab with me) on real hot days, or bitter cold days, or in the rain. But then I started to remember:
Those times I hauled firewood home for winter heating
Those times I hauled trash for Humane Society of Jefferson County
Those times I hauled 20-some bags of kibble for Newport Animal Shelter
Hauling supplies for Steele Away Home when they moved
Hauling away a large live animal trap for Helen
… and a few other times of doing favors for friends
No, having a pick-up has proven quite useful on many occasions, and is likely to do so in the future, given new things I’ve gotten into. Besides, it is rumored that if a mountain man gives up his truck, he ends up eating kale pancakes and playing ice hockey. Continue reading Blondie’s New Ride→
We cool our house with a small window air conditioner. It’s actually rated to cool a single, 10 foot by 10 foot room, but it’s in our 12’ x 15’ bedroom (not counting the Master Bath and Marie’s walk-in closet) and we pull cool air out into the rest of the house with a fan that blows down the hallway toward the kitchen and living room. One would think that this would not work at all. But it does!
That one dinky window AC does keep our home comfortable (comfortable for US, maybe not for those accustomed to living in a meat locker) because when we built our house we prioritized strength and insulation over square footage. Continue reading Keeping Cool On July 4th→
Yesterday I spent a good portion of the day doing battle with a contingent of honeysuckle and bramble vines that had invaded a stretch of fencing I was trying to remove from a now little-used patch of our property.
Many of the vines were inexperienced, but what they lacked in tenacity they made up for in numbers. And their base was protected by a thick layer of dead leaves blown against the fencing. I cautiously probed with pruners (for there was a threat of Copperheads lurking there), slicing and snipping the myriad vinelings to free the bottom of the fencing.
Some vines were more experienced and tenacious, but with a proper concentration of force my pruners handled them. A few were battle-hardened veterans. These sent me trekking across the property to bring in my heavy loppers. Even these stalwart defenders fell when such powerful weaponry was brought to bear.
In the end, though scratched bloody and soaked with sweat (which stings in those injuries) I victoriously dragged that length of fencing out of the battlefield where I could clean as much of the plant life from it as possible and roll it up for use elsewhere. As I put away my implements of war I was weary but satisfied in a battle well fought – and won.
This morning I find that insidious agents dispatched by the enemy Bureau of Pollination have infiltrated my sinuses and are engaged in combat with my mucous linings. In addition my upper legs, hips, and lower back are staging a revolt for the abuses they suffered yesterday. But, such are the wages of warfare. I shall placate my rebels with drugs until they forget the abuses they suffered and resume their normal functions.
The battle was won. The way is open to bringing my riding mower in to quell the attempted overthrow of that area by the indigenous species, which are attempting to re-take that sector of property for their own. That must not happen, shall not happen. That sector will remain under my control. I must see to that for the good of the empire!
It has been a busy 9 days here on Piney Mountain – little of which included normal life activities.
It started the evening of Saturday, Jan 27th when Marie went to take a shower and found we had no water. No water at all. Our water comes from a well over by my workshop. It was not cold enough for a line to have frozen, so I checked the breaker switch — that was fine. So it was not something easy. Little did I know how “not easy” this was going to get.
I called Newport Ace Hardware, which is owned by a good well service guy: Keith Williams. But it was late and he was gone. I would not be able to get hold of him until Monday.
We keep gallon jugs of drinking water on hand in case of power failure (which means no well pump, which means no water) and several 3 gallon jugs of water to be used for washing dishes and flushing toilets. We filled up some extra jugs when we went to church on Sunday, in case this turned out to be not a simple fix. Since they almost never are. Continue reading Going Deep With a Driveway Dilemma→
I got up this cold, cold morning and found that while we still had water flowing, the internet was not. So I went over to my workshop intending to take a hair dryer to the router, melt the blockage, and get the electron flow moving again. But it turned out that there was nothing wrong with modem or router: our LAN is working perfectly, it’s just that my laptop does not feel like being conversational this morning.
So I settled into my chair, set my mug of hot, black coffee in its place next to the laptop and began working on a local writing task. The scent of this invigorating elixir was, apparently, enough to change the laptop’s mind, for after a few moments of typing, it went “bing!” alerting me that new e-mail had arrived.
Despite being right next to TVA, the nation’s largest government owned supplier of electricity, our region has been experiencing rolling brown-outs and even power losses because of the cold in areas where too many people are using too much power all at once. Primarily this effects that “everyone is getting ready for work” time slot. The power utilities have asked us (us as in everyone, not just Marie and I) to be mindful of our power consumption between 6:00 am and 9:00 am until we get through this extra-cold spell.
Have I mentioned lately how much I dislike the telephone? This is not a phobia or even anxiety over the use of a phone, and not aimed at any version of the telecommunications device in particular. It’s a dislike of the device in general.
Most people openly wonder about my sanity because they LOVE their telephones and spend 73.6% of their lives talking on their cell phone, or playing games on their smart phone, or checking Facebook or e-mail on their phone. I don’t do any of the latter and avoid doing the former. I just don’t like telephones. Cell phones in particular. My friends berate me for my refusal to join The Collective. Continue reading Telephone Telefollies→
I’ve been toying with the idea of replacing our string trimmer. I have a 5 year old Poulon Pro that hasn’t needed anything more that the usual maintenance and upkeep until this year. I have replaced several major parts on it lately and it continues to find new and inventive ways to avoid doing its job. I’ve considered taking it to a repair shop to have it “rebuilt” but with their labor rates and parts prices, replacing it will (most likely) be cheaper. This is not an expensive trimmer.
I’ve been looking at string trimmers, comparing features, prices, and reviews. The reviews are the really amazing part. In most cases users either love or hate all of them, regardless of brand, and the reviews are posted with the vast majority being either 4 and 5 stars or 1 star: very little in between. I wonder if it’s really that black and white (you either get a good one or a bad one) or if people are getting too emotional in their reactions. Continue reading Trimmer Trippin’→
4:30 AM: we are awakened by the shrill, asynchronous, electronic screams of our smoke alarms calling for us to “Get out! Get out! Get out!”
I hop out of bed, wind my way through the herd of large dogs dashing about in confusion over the painful assault on their ears. I check the house. It’s a small house: it does not take long to find that there is no fire, no smoldering appliance, indeed, no visible smoke. I grab a magazine off the kitchen island and wave it at the alarm nearest the kitchen. It’s all I can think of to do at the moment: fanning the hallway alarm silences them when I’ve been making toast. I’m not good at toast.
Amazingly (or perhaps coincidentally) that works: the alarms fall silent.
The sunlight slanting in through the window is casting the red beams of a gorgeous sunset on the floor — except it’s 1:00 in the afternoon.
The sun is a deep orange ball high in the sky that appears only slightly brighter than a full moon. The online weather station says our skies are clear and sunny, no cloud cover. What we see up there is all smoke. Continue reading Smoke on the Mountain→