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.