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→
I am not fond of snakes. Snakes are, at best, creepy and, at worst, deadly. So I avoid them. This, however, has not always been my opinion.
As a youngster I found grass snakes and garter snakes fascinating and often made (temporary) pets of them. Much to my mother’s chagrin.
In one elementary school science class it was a special privilege afforded only to the top students to “wear” the class boa constrictor for a portion of each class period. I kept my grades up more for this badge of honor than for academics sake.
I killed a big Baldface hornet’s nest Wednesday evening. It was just inches outside our play yard fence in a forsythia bush and was hidden from view until I trimmed the branches out of the fencing. I deliberated on this killing. I don’t kill just to kill. They’d been there a while and have not been an issue … except once that I know of. Continue reading The Baldface Encounter→
Marie and I were sitting on the front steps this afternoon watching the birds at the bird feeder. Marie commented that she put some gourmet bird food (includes nuts) in the feeder, she was surprised a squirrel hadn’t camped out on the thing.
No sooner were those words out of her mouth than a squirrel came hopping along the ground through the trees. He hopped up and climbed the metal pole the bird feeder hangs from and began to chow down. I went out and chased him off.
Power outages are nothing new to rural residents. But new technologies have helped reduce the number of outages and reduce the length of those that can not be prevented.
Is There a Good Time for Power Outages?
You would think the least problematic time for a power outage would be in the middle of the night; no lights are on, no one is watching TV or listening to a radio or using a computer – everyone is sleeping. In fact you’d think that a power outage at night would go completely unnoticed. Not so. The small soft noises that a home makes get so ingrained in our subconscious that when they suddenly go away, it tends to wake us up.
Power outages in the evenings are inconvenient; this is when we are likely using computers, listening to the radio, lights are on and needed. Maybe we’re fixing the evening meal in our all-electric kitchen. This turned into a good thing once. Continue reading Power Outages Are Just Part of Rural Life→