Tag Archives: MountainLife

Moonie and the Weird Snake

So the Moon Pie was barking at something outside the fence of the play yard. I went to see what the fuss was about.  Figured it had to be some critter or other, and if it was something dangerous I’d better shoo it away from the dogs.

It was a snake.   A weird snake with a HUGE triangular head.

Rattle snake?  I’ve never seen a rattler with those markings.

It wasn’t moving, maybe it’s dead.   It wasn’t coiled, so it shouldn’t strike.

I looked closer.

Ohhhhh …

It’s a grass snake eating a toad.

A toad that doesn’t want to be eaten.

This could take a while.

We went inside and left it to its dinner, while I tended to ours.

Accomplishing A Minor Auto Repair

Our pick-up truck’s check engine light came on and it started running rough at idle a couple of days after we got it home from the purchase.  Also, I started hearing a hissing sound in the dash.  And the air conditioner stopped working.  All at the same time.  To me there was only one answer – and it was one I figured I could fix myself (for a change).

On the Chevy S10 and the GMC Sonoma the air direction control uses vacuum to pull bellows driven valves inside the dash to direct air to the feet, dash vents, or windshield.

I ordered a new Air Flow Control Unit from GMPartsDirect.com a week or so ago and it arrived a few days ago, but it has since been raining or Marie had the truck because her Subaru was in the shop.

Today I spent most of the morning replacing the Air Flow Control Unit.

Air Flow Control Unit

Continue reading Accomplishing A Minor Auto Repair

Blondie’s New Ride

truck
Towels and newspaper headed for an animal rescue.

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

Keeping Cool On July 4th

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

battle battlefield warfare plant monster

Battlefield

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!

Going Deep With a Driveway Dilemma

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

The Power of the Dark Roast

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.

Coffee is great stuff, isn’t it?

The Rolling Browns

Power outageDespite 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.

We (Marie and I, this time) are doing our part: Continue reading The Rolling Browns

Telephone Telefollies

telephoneHave 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

Trimmer Trippin’

I’ve been toying with the idea of replacing our string trimmer.  I have a 5 year Poulon Pro string trimmerold 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’