|painting "Dreary Woods"|
I haven't been off the mountain top since Sunday. Walked down to get the mail. The trail down gets longer every time I walk it these days. I had to stop and take a breather on the way back, just too hot and humid. You could cut the air with a knife.
The dogs abandoned me. They'll stick around if I keep moving, but if I stop they go off on their own affairs. They're still not home yet but they'll show up for supper.
An English friend sent me a wonderful book, The British National Formulary. It has great information on what antibiotic for what ailment, deconflicting medication, and much more. I know this can be found on the internet, but what a resource for a long term grid down situation. I have looked at similar books every time I go to the book store, but quailed at the $60 to $100 price range.
This is a good asset. I know the postage must have cost her a fortune, because it's a heavy book.
But I know something nice to send her back in return from this country. She's just started canning and there's a book she wants, which I am sure I can find. I think Walmart has it, but since I have sworn a mighty oath never to set foot in there again, I guess I will ask my wife to go in and get it for me!
There's actually quite a lively trading system, or exchange of gifts, within the survivalist/prepper community. One person has something another can use, and that other person has something the first party needs or wants, themselves. It works out well. I once exchanged a number ten can of boiled peanuts with an Israeli friend, who sent me some skin lotion made in part of mud from the Dead Sea, an Israeli flag I asked for, and some other nice things in exchange. She had a hell of time with Israeli customs over the "imported farm products" but she eventually was allowed to pick up the peanuts.
I am getting sick of hearing people say "The Crusades were bad." I heard it again on a talk show. It's a conservative talk show. A guest said "Oh, I know the Crusades were bad , but....."
Why, forsooth, were they bad? They were fought over the "Holy Land" which had been predominately Christian until the Moslems and their allies defeated the Byzantines (The Eastern Roman Empire) after a series of campaigns beginning in 630 A.D.
The Moslems massacred most Christians , converted others, and subjected the remainder to crushing taxes and discriminatory laws.
The Crusades were the Western European attempt to regain the lost territories. What's so evil about that? The wars were brutal, but life was brutal during the Dark Ages and the Middle Ages. It was short but it wasn't sweet. Neither the Christians nor the Moslems were known for being chivalrous, though it did happen from time to time.
The epic work on the Crusades is that of Sir James Cochran Stevenson Runciman. (bn: 7 July 1903, died: 1 Nov 2000) There's no equivalent to him in the field and even the Durant's bowed to him in this aspect of history.
Runciman was an English aristocrat and scholar who published his three volume series on the Crusades to great critical acclaim in the 1950's.
I first read the books in the 1960's , when my maternal Grandmother gave me the set for a birthday present. I never dreamed life would take me to that part of the world, but I am sure I had a better understanding of the Middle East for having read his books.
He was unbiased, and was solely interested in reconstructing history as best he could. He had no agenda. The books are still available and I think they illustrate pretty clearly that the Crusades were a product of the time, undertaken for valid reasons, and not what political correctness and Islamic bitterness make them out to be today.
Here's some kitchen equipment no housewife should be without.
It's an AK-47, originally built as a MAK-90 by Norinco, then reconfigured by me , replacing the Chinese thumb hole stock and wooden furniture with a Choate stock kit.
The sling is Chinese, the magazine is Bulgarian.
This hangs in the kitchen because that's the central room on the main floor of the house. I have another one in the apartment, same configuration. There's a magazine bag with six extra magazines, each holding 20 rounds, on the floor below it, behind the wood burning stove. ( We don't use the stove but once in a blue moon, and if we do I clear it off.)
The magazines are 30 round but I don't want to put too much strain on the springs for too long.
Momma cat and her brood. The babies have appropriated their fathers favorite resting place, straw in an old flower pot on the porch. He is greatly annoyed but didn't try to move the kittens. They are eating kitten chow now, and drinking milk, so they seem to be doing well. I plan on one moving in with the old barn cat, who lives in the controlled environment space. She needs some company. One will move in the house, one into the apartment, and two will join the "outdoor cats" who police the unsecured spaces in the barn and maintain snake security around the buildings.
This is Tuggy. She is old now, probably about ten. Still a good watch dog and a good friend to go on walks with.
Soon she'll have lived past the point where she can contribute, but she will have an honorable retirement. When my dogs get too old for active duty, they just sleep on the porch in the sun for the rest of their lives.
If nobody dumps off any dogs in the forest, I will go to the animal shelter and get one to take over her duties. People move away and go back to Florida, and sometimes they leave their big dogs because they can't keep them in an apartment. Or some old person dies and their family gives their dog to the animal shelter. I always take dogs that need homes and they have always rendered loyal service in return.
Right now I only have two dogs. I have had as many as five. But I live in the woods, and sometimes dogs go off into the woods and never come back.
I took this picture today from my porch. It's the way off the mountain. The little opening in the forest in the center of the picture is the mouth of the vehicle trail. It's dense in there. Dense, and dark.
There are hundreds of square miles of wooded mountains around my place. It's no surprise that sometimes, people go out there, and nobody ever sees them again. Especially out in the National Forest. People tend to stick to trails. Trails always go somewhere, like a water fall. If you just launch out into the depths of the forest, off the trails, it doesn't take very long before you are in places no human has visited in many, many years. The trick is getting back.
|Jet sleeping this morning. He is not feeling well.|