“There is no real ending. It’s just the place where you stop the story.”

― Frank Herbert

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Last day of 2014


So ends another year on the mountain.  This is an air photo of my place. The dark spot in the middle of the picture is my meadow, originally cut out of the woods for horses and goats, but now confined to attracting the attention of the "pot chopper" about once a year. The little silver dot is solar panels from my defunct 1999 massive solar power project. The only thing left of that still working is the generator.  Under the trees are my house, my parking pads, my shop, barn, and apartment. Those trees keep the place shady. Between the shade and the air conditioning, the buildings are habitable in summer.


2014 wasn't all that great, in retrospect. I am hoping things will be more sedate in 2015.


Went to Walmart yesterday and haunted the aisles of post holiday season discounts. I got 32 of those big candles they sell, usually for $6.97.  I got them for $1.48 each.  Now, it's true I have a generator, and I have LED lanterns, and I've got many kerosene lamps with 25 gallons of kerosene tucked away in the tool shed. But still, I think it's wise to have lots of candles stored away.  Every time my daughter comes down she and my son haul off a lot of things from the store rooms and last time they pretty well cleaned out my stash of big candles. Now I have replenished it.


The kids didn't get to come home for the holidays. They work for a company that lets you accrue vacation time, but you have the option of just taking it in cash instead of time off from work.  With my blessings, that's what they did this year. I would really have liked to see them, but these are tough times for a lot of people and very uncertain. It would have been unwise to pass on the extra money. I hope they salted it away.  I keep telling them you have to build an iron reserve of money, which you never touch except in the direst of emergencies. Six months of income is the conventional wisdom, but even three would be a start.

They both lead pretty frugal lives and are not infected with the common malady of their generation, to wit the desire for fancy clothes, fancy cars, etc.  My kids are very down to earth and I'm lucky to have them. I'm proud that they work hard, and have never been involved with the police or any of the other things their generation gets mired in. I guess they have seen too many of their friends go down the drain on drugs and the like.




My daughter the animal rescue activist called me and she is shipping down some "Silkie" chickens that she rescued. They are to have a hutch in my tool shed, and that means it will have to be heated in winter and air conditioned in summer. I already have way more chickens than I need, but at least those lay eggs. These are purely ornamental birds.  I told my wife I was not in need of more animals to take care of (the ferrets don't count, there is always room for more of them), and my wife said I should be grateful it was just three little chickens and not a hippopotamus. That's no joke, my daughter rescued a horse, and I am sure Seamus the horse will eventually wind up here in my meadow if she moves to Florida as she is talking about doing.  My wife and daughter both mock me when I say we can't afford any more animals, because they know what we spent on ferret medical expenses last year and it was a small fortune. I would have given the gold out of my teeth if it would have saved Ragnar/Jiggles.

 This knowledge negatively impacts my arguments that more weird animals are going to exceed our capacity to pay for their medical care, but our family books are on the computer and open to any family member. This is not always convenient but that's how it goes.



It's cold all the time here now.  Some days the sun comes out, but it's been awhile since we have seen it .  Tonight and tomorrow we are expecting freezing rain and snow.  Snow I can handle, but I hate freezing rain. It brings down the power lines and litters the roads with downed trees and broken limbs. Everybody sets out for wherever they are going with a chain saw in the back of their truck, because they know they will have to clear the secondary roads (which is about all we have here) on their own.

We are staying in tonight. Nothing will be open in town, but there still may be some drunks out driving around and I'd as soon just not be out there.

32 comments:

  1. Harry - We'll be in tonight too - our grandson is with us, and he will ensure that we stay awake until midnight (for a change lol)

    Your kids look, and sound like, very well-grounded young'uns - credit where credit is due, you and your Mrs have obviously done an outstandig job raising them.

    Happy New Year to you too, Harry. Here's to a better 2015 than 2014 :)

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    1. Dani, we are really proud of them. Our family is still very strong even though they have moved away. I miss them though.

      How are you going to make it to midnight, even with the grandson there? I can hardly stay awake til 9:00 p.m. unless I take a nap during the afternoon beforehand.

      I hope 2015 is a better year for us all. 2014 had some rough spots to get through, that's certain.

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  2. Error congrats on your new chickens ? ;-) sorry you did not get a visit but hopefully they will get down soon.

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    1. Silkies! What good are they, bah humbug! ;-) Have you ever seen any of them, Lisa? They are just tiny balls of feathers. God knows where my daughter got them, but obviously, living in a city, she can't keep them indefinitely. So dad gets them. Oh,well. Past a certain point, what's three more chickens?

      It's hard for me to go up there, because this place needs a lot of taking care of and there are many animals here who have to be fed and watered daily. They can hardly afford to miss a weeks work, and if there's a chance to get extra money they need to take advantage of it.

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  3. Happy New Year Harry and Family.

    p.s I have finished watching the 2 series of the Vikings. FAB!

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    1. Sol, I sure hope 2015 is good to us all, on both sides of the ocean!

      The new season of Vikings comes out this summer I think. It really is a great show, isn't it? I renamed one of my ferrets for Ragnar.

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  4. Hey, wasn't your daughter going to bring you some rescue ferrets over the holidays? What happened to those little guys?

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    1. She never made it home, Vato. The problem is that she really can't afford to take a week off from work, and she lives so far away that it takes a day to get here and a day to get back. I planned on going up there myself, but that didn't quite work out the way I planned it. I do need about seven more ferrets for a good colony though. I only have two now, as my other ferrets all passed away from illness or old age.

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  5. It's been e enjoyable reading about your adventures in 2014. Enjoy your new chickens, I guess :)
    Enjoy your evening together!

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    1. I suppose I can handle the Silkies, what's a few more amongst the multitude.

      Let's hope 2015 is a good year for all of us. I have a feeling 2014 will not be much regretted by a lot of us.

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  6. Sounds to me like your kids are pretty well grounded and make good decisions. It is hard to be away from family at Christmas, but with times so uncertain, decisions have to be made. The practical decisions aren't always the ones we would prefer, but are usually the best decisions in the long run.

    I hope the coming year is a good one for you and yours, Harry.

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    1. Seems like it gets harder for the younger people to scratch out a living each year. Not so easy for the older set, either.

      Maybe 2015 will be good to all of us, Vicki. I hope so.

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  7. Happy New Years Harry!

    My Mom used to raise show quality Silkies, they layed plenty of eggs unless they had gone broody. They just have smaller eggs.
    Kimberly

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    1. Kimberly, I don't know anything about these except that they were badly neglected and my daughter wound up with them somehow. I guess a few more eggs won't hurt, though I am unenthusiastic about having to climate control the toolshed. Still, they need a place to live and I have room here so no harm done.

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  8. Happy New Year Mr. Flashman - here's hoping that 2015 is better than this past one.

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    1. I always hope the new year will be a better one, but I think as long as you are living, you have to deal with this and that, so maybe it is an unrealistic hope. No harm in being positive though.

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  9. I'm sitting here just wondering what kind of crazy things 2015 has in store for us!
    Good kids, Harry, are a real reflection of their parents. Sounds like they took the lessons to heart. I'm sure the folks here on the ridge will go nuts with the fireworks tonight. I'll just roll over and go back to sleep! Happy New Year to you and the Mrs.

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    1. Hey, Scooney. Things were pretty tranquil here last night. Sometimes I used to hear celebratory gun fire, but most of the cabins on the other side of the ridgeline are abandoned now and I don't think anyone came up for the New Years this time. I don't know what's going to happen in 2015 but I am pretty sure that no one is going to be bored.

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  10. Happy New Year Harry to you and your family. Its 9.55am in the first day of 2015 here in Oz, taking it fairly quiet today as it is going to be a hot one, 90 deg and humid. Just going to have the parents and next door neighbour over for a picnic in our back yard.

    I hope that this new year of 2015 will be a much better one for us all.
    Cheers

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    1. Hey, Sgt. We can but hope. I appreciated your email about Boxing Day. I don't think we have any equivilent here. It's hot and humid there, but here the rain has just started, and it's supposed to turn to freezing rain and then snow later on tonight. All things considered, I believe I would rather be in Australia.

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  11. Unless the silkies are too old, they should lay as well as many other breeds. Besides, there's always the stewpot. Just tell your daughter that "something" got them! lol

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    1. I think she would see through that. Besides, I'd have to be really hungry to kill off one of my chickens. I originally got them for just that purpose, but so far it hasn't come to that. If it ever does, I could eat a chicken a day for two months and still have some left over. Too many chickens!

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  12. Hey Harry,

    (captaincrunch)


    2014 was not to bad for me. On the national scale and in regards to the Constitution, it was not good at all.

    I think that your daughter is an animal rescue activist is great. If you recall I rescued three dogs myself.
    Harry, you gotta find a way to get them ferrets down to your place. I want to hear more stories of your colony.

    Its cold and rainy down here. Lots of idiots shooting off fireworks and its making a bit jumpy (reminds me of gunshots)
    If I lived in a very rural area and if I could get away with it and do it safely. I would light off a stripper clip from a Mosin and freak out the firework shooters at midnight.

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    1. Hey Harry,

      (captaincrunch)

      I read an article on drudge about some hotel in Asheville, NC that has keeps a dog in the lobby that needs adoption and promotes a no kill shelter.
      The dog mentioned in the article was a wired haired terrier if I recall. Harry' your up in that part of the world and that would be a nice hotel for you'all to stay at and you can add another varmint to your 'petting zoo'

      Hey I got an idea. Move to Texas and start a road side 'Petting Zoo" like one of them 'Snake Farms' We got a really good 'Snake Farm' outside of New Brounfels.
      Maybe if I can get Kymber and her husband to move down here and they can open a 'Snake Farm' in South Texas. We are in need of a Snake Farm down here and hell we got plenty of 'Rattlers ripe for the pickin'

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    2. CC, I think I already probably need a zoo permit if the slugs at the court house but knew it.

      Hey, I found that book I wanted to send you. Email me your address again.

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  13. Happy New year Harry. I've really enjoyed your blog since I found it and even if we don't agree all the time it's good to have discussions! Ive also learnt from you so thats good as well.
    Weused to have some silkies as pets until the fox got them but they do have one use, they make great broody hens for hatching chicks out.

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    1. Hey, Kev. Everybody has to make their own decisions on how they are going to live and take care of their families. Until the day that TSHTF none of us will know which decisions we made were right, and which were wrong.

      These three Silkies just need a protected place to live , with appropriate environmental control, so they shouldn't be too much trouble. I am not really a big chicken fan, but I guess a few more won't hurt.

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  14. Happy New Year. We actually went to the neighbor's house this year, something we rarely do on New Year's Eve. There were a few of us there and the kids played with their Wii while the rest of us munched on snacks. We still didn't make it to midnight although I heard the fireworks and explosions down in the valley. Something was big enough to actually rumble the house. They have amazingly large weapons down there and the shooting goes on for hours. I think it's where all the ammo has gone! LOL.

    You are right about 2014, I was going over everything the other day and it was one of the worst years ever for us. My Father in Law died, my husband had an operation, mom was hospitalized for months and I used all my vacation traveling back and forth, Tom nearly took off the top part of his finger (again losing time for the limited work he has) and my job has a high probability of being outsourced or moved out of state very, very soon which will be disastrous for us. My husband isn't making that much in construction and we can't sell the house for what it's worth anymore. Hopefully 2015 will be better for us all !

    I like the photo of your property. Love the trees.

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    1. Kathy, I keep hearing on the news that the economy is going like a house afire, and everything is wonderful now. Maybe for people like my brother it is, but for the average mortal, it's still really tough out there and everybody is uneasy about the future. I sure hope your job is not outsourced. I wish it wasn't so that both husband and wife have to work, but it seems like that's how it is these days. 2014 wasn't particularly good for my wife and I either, mostly on the health front, but there was just a lot to put up with.

      I'm glad you had a good New Years. It was quiet here, most of the cabin people who used to come up here to the mountains lost their 2nd homes in 2008, and the cabins have just fallen to rack and ruin. In times past, I used to hear some shooting from the mountain across from mine, but this year it was dead silent. Nobody out there.

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  15. Harry,

    Happy New Year To You and Your Family! Like you, we stayed in last night. There's just to many drunks on the roads, and we didn't want any part of it.
    Great looking children, and very responsible! You were able to talk with them even though you didn't see them for the holidays.

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    1. Sandy, I bought my kids smart phones, and they are all on my calling plan because we can get cheaper service as a family than as individuals. My son has a land line up there which I pay for because he rightly felt he didn't need one and I rightly felt should be maintained as an emergency communications method. Land lines, as you know, are more viable in a disaster than the cell network. They are good kids and really add a lot to our lives.

      I'm afraid of drunks on the road here too so we just stayed home . There wasn't anywhere to go anyway. Even the gas stations, grocery store, McDonalds and the Walmart were closed in town.

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