Truth.

"A great civilization is not conquered from without until it has destroyed itself from within."

Ariel Durant

Saturday, July 2, 2016

Staying on the mountain during the holiday weekend.


A few years ago, I worked at a State Park on a summer program for Seniors.  Most of the time, I liked it. But the Fourth of July weekend was pretty awful.  When the park was full in the campground, you might have nearly 500 people up there, plus all the day trippers.  Most of them were nice, but a lot of them were jerks.  These days I don't go off the mountain at all on big  traveling holidays like the Fourth.


Once I had a colony of seven ferrets. But as the years passed, one by one they went to the "Rainbow Bridge", and now there is only Spike.


I feel sorry for the guy.  He has been looking all over the house since Jet passed away,  trying to find him.  E and G are coming home for a week in mid August. I have asked them to try to find me some more ferrets that need a home. Surely, in a city that large, there must be some.


There are some kittens living in the house just now, and Spike gets along with them. He is sleeping in their basket, as a matter of fact. I suppose it's cooler than the Snuggy Bag.



This room used to be my radio room. But when the kids left, I moved the radios into a different room where it was easier to get the antenna coaxial cable out of the house. So now, this is my computer room. I used to use this map to take a look at the locations of stations I pulled in at night. With HF radio you can get a signal from just about anywhere at night if you listen year round.


Here's the tree I was worrying about. It's a good sixty feet high, and provides shade for my apartment and shop. Without it, the sun would blast right down on those buildings in summer. But as you can see, it's growing into the retaining wall by that parking pad. The bark is broken all the way around the tree  trunk, but the top of the tree seems to be healthy. I need to take that wall down a bit.



I try to keep the nasty chickens off the porch, but to no avail.  You don't want to walk down this section of porch bare footed.


Some of the kittens born this Spring. We have ten more cats as a result , but that's ok. I can get them spayed for $20.00 at the pet rescue just across the state line.  We always need cats up here, and the past year the attrition rate was high. Two of my favorite barn cats just disappeared.


This hydrangea was planted in 1993.  Doesn't look like much, but it's about the only one of my wife's flowers that survived after we got chickens in 1999.  The chickens laid waste all the other shrubs and flowers.


This is Ton Ton MaCoot, cramming himself inside a box that's way too small after pushing the kitten who was sleeping in it out of the box. Ton Ton has his own basket, don't know why he fancies this box. The black kitten is Bastet, named after the Egyptian goddess.


Ton Ton is not the father of any of these kittens, but they must think he is. Here Penrod has decided to cuddle up next to dad on the coffee table.  Penrod is named after the Booth Tarkinton character, from the World War One era books.



Recently I topped off the diesel fuel tanks. That's what my generator runs off of, and this gives me 1000 gallons plus a few gallons stored in 5 gallon cans.  In a real emergency, I could run the truck off this fuel, but because no road tax was paid on the diesel in the tanks that would technically be illegal. In a collapse, I expect the government, if it still existed , would have other worries.


This is one of our growing boxes. Our land is very steep, and the soil is just rocky clay filled with flint. So we built a few of these boxes, bought bags of "vegetable soil" from Home Depot, and got our garden growing. We didn't use seeds, we bought the plants already growing in little plastic pots. You just pull the plants out, the root ball comes out, and you plant the whole thing. We have tomatoes, squash, peppers, and watermelon.  This morning, when we went out to water, there were little squash on one plant. I thought we were not going to get any.


We have lots of tomatoes, and I am actually quite proud of how our little beds are turning out. Given our late start and lack of expertise, we haven't done too badly. With M home now, and as much as she loves having a garden, I expect we will do much more next Spring.

So that's how things are up here on the mountain this fourth of July weekend. Notice I didn't say anything about the hideous events around the world? Thought everybody needed a break from those.

Thought for the Day:






24 comments:

  1. Harry, your garden looks great. It will be so rewarding to get fresh veggies from it. My gaarden is almost done. Canned up the last of the green beans yesterday.
    Poor little Spike; he must be very lonely. I hope you are able to get some more ferrets soon.
    We stay at home on major holidays too. Too many drunks on the road and just too much evil going on in the world. I'll grill some burgers and hot dogs and call it good. Hope you and your wife enjoy your 4th. Jana

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    1. Jana, SC sent me a lead on an old ferret who needs a final home. I am running that down. Spike needs another ferret and I have lots of room.

      M is already eating blue berries from the bush we planted. I don't much care for blue berries, but I love tomatoes, with mozzarella and garlic and we have many tomatoes on the vine not yet ripe.

      Staying home on summer holiday weekends is the best thing for me to do. I avoid so much aggravation that way.

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  2. Sounds like a great way to spend the 4th. Ours will be similar, maybe into town on the 4th for a nice steak since it will be our 41st anniversary.

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    1. Randy, you definitely need to go out to celebrate that. A run into town in the evening shouldn't be to bad.

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  3. I found this ad on Craigslist. The address is close to Charlotte. I up there close to once a week and could get him and bring him back with me, if you're interested. Then we could meet 1/2 way between us. No mention if they want money.
    http://charlotte.craigslist.org/for/5651338304.html
    No need to post this on your blog you can email me if you're interested. If I don't hear from you, I'll know.
    lamardoo10 at gmail

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    1. SC, I looked up that link and would be glad to give the old guy a permanent home. I emailed the people who are fostering him to see if they still have him. I will email you at the address you sent once I hear from them. I appreciate it very much.

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  4. Well done on the garden. If your soil is poor I've just been looking at trying some strawbale gardening with doesn't require soil at all. The book makes it sound amazing but I have some doubts, I'll still try it though.

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    1. Kev, people grow good crops here but they put lots of fertilizer and mulched soil into the process. Since we have only small beds we bought soil for growing vegetables from the depot. Your hay bail gardening project sounds really interesting, I follow your blog and wait to hear how that goes with interest.

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  5. Whether it is a mountain top in Georgia or an apartment in Minnesota, somewhere away from the maddening crowd is the best place to be this holiday weekend. Or most times, for that matter. :)

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    1. Vicki, it's too hot to go outside even though it's six thirty in the evening. M just went out on the porch and said it is 86 in the shade. We are glad to just be home and inside.

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  6. hey Harry - it's our Canada Day celebration weekend up here! we went down to the river yesterday (our real canada day) but couldn't stand the noise coming from miles away (it was a very calm day so we could hear people from miles around!) - and like true canadians a group a few miles down the road had a bunch of children screaming and crying (scaring the crap out of our cats!)...and they did fireworks at about 8pm.....8...maybe 9....little stupid firework thingies they set off - so sad! anyway, we are looking very much forward to monday when they all go away again. not a lot of people "up to the country" for the long weekend - but noisy enough for us to notice.

    today jambaloney went to the Poop Guy and got a truck full of horse poop mixed with hay and cooked all winter/spring. we spent the whole afternoon hilling potatoes and only got half of them done and the truck is empty. jam will have to go back on monday to get more. after that - our hard gardening work is done for the year - woohoo!

    i am glad that your garden is doing well! i don't care if someone only grows a tomatoe plant off of their balcony - it can teach them! and we need people who try to grow their own food so that they can be a little self-sufficient if it all goes to hell. we try our best and appreciate when others do the same.

    all of that aside - it's been a long, hard weekend here...but we'd have it no other way. The Man is working on The System and trying to deliver a report for monday that seems near impossible to me....but we've talked it through and i think he can nail it. he is worth so much more than his weight in gold. sorry, now i'm bragging. but if anyone other than me could see how much work he does for this company as well as take care of the garden, building all of the stuff he builds from junk, by himself, and keeping us soooo well-stocked in preps - well, they'd be bragging about him, too!

    sending much love Harry, to you and yours, always! your friend,
    kymber

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    1. J is a good fellow, a hard working man and a good provider. Don't worry about bragging on him, I like a woman who appreciates her man.

      I dread the fourth because many people are careless with fireworks, and the woods this time of year are dry. That can be a disastrous combination for people who live deep in the forest. But I have been watching the weather forecasts, and the fourth we are expecting thunderstorms so the woods may be wet down.

      I have enjoyed the gardening, mainly because M is so enthusiastic. But now that we are actually seeing some food in the offing I like it better. I have always known that my lack of gardening ability was a weak link in my survival planning. Maybe even at this late time of our lives it's not to late to get up to speed.

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  7. Harry - thank you for acknowledging J! he works very hard and i am very proud of him. we have only one more day before "the cottagers" go back home...and we are counting the minutes. because we have had such a nice, calm and clear few days...on the one hand i am glad that the cottagers had a nice weekend. on the other hand, i wish they would just pack it in and go home. much less cottagers here than any other year we have been here and that is a good sign - but also a sign of the times. not many people have the money to come out to their cottages anymore.

    i am very happy that you and M are enjoying your garden - it's hard work isn't it? but when you are eating produce that you planted and took care of and then harvested - it tastes soooo much better! and Harry, it's never too late to learn a new skill and become exceptionally proficient at it! i am super happy that you and M are growing your own food!

    sending love, as always! your friend,
    kymber

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    1. Kymber,

      We are overwhelmed here with vacationers. I have been listening to far off fireworks explosions for the last two night. Georgia lifted the limitations on certain kinds of fireworks last year and so now people can go into stores and buy things that only the county could get last year. I keep the scanner on near the bed all night, waiting to hear the woods are on fire.

      I'm ready for the out of towners to be be headed home, but it will not be til Labor Day that the vacation season in the Blue Ridge Mountains ends.

      M had to go up to the kids place unexpectedly this weekend, and I am not sure how long she will be up there. E is having another of her spells of not feeling well, which are associated with EDS. M is going to help out with meals and cleaning the apt, and such. So I am taking care of the garden by myself for a bit and that is not so much fun as going out there and working together with her.

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  8. Hey Harry,

    I just dropped a big load of money on a zero turn riding lawn mower.
    I kinda had it with pushing a regular mower. It has become a painful task that sucked the energy right outta me.

    The new one has a Kohler engine and will do seven miles an hour. I can mow the yard at warp speed and when not in use buzz around the neighborhood and irritate the hell out of neighbors. Maybe I will get a 'Sombero hat' and rename myself 'Speedy Gonzalez' Arriba, Arriba, Undelay.....My Mexican neighbors will crack jokes, give me a ration of crap and probably call the border patrol on me:)

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    1. Hey, now you don't have to walk to the beer store anymore!

      I didn't know you had a lawn at your place. I kind of envisioned it like my place when I lived on Emerald Isle, just sand.

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  9. Thank you...a wonderful tour. I do hope you find another ferret. I imagine Spike is not the only one who misses Jet. It is interesting to see how the cats get along.
    Our house cat has decided the house chick is okay and it is pretty funny to watch them.

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    1. I thought I had found one this weekend through the good offices of a friend, but it turned out the person who had it was not quite as interested in finding a good home for the ferret as she was in making money, and the deal foundered because my friend needed to pick up the ferret in that town yesterday, and the owner wanted cash on the barrel head. I offered to send a check but she sent me an email that pretty well made it clear she thought I was a crook and a flim flam artist. I ask myself, why would someone go to such elaborate lengths to get a ten year old ferret who is going to have expensive vet bils, and could pass away any day? From a money standpoint, such a little furrie is a liability, not an asset, so I wouldn't think anyone would go to a lot of trouble to t rick her out of him. But so be it, after my friend and I jumped through hoops trying to work it out given the constraints, it was all for naught. At least I know the ferret is actually being taken care of though, and that was my main concern. I really like all ferrets, but the one's that need a forever home are the ones who need help the most.

      The kittens are driving me crazy. They push things off the piano. They get up on the counter and tear open the bread bags and eat the bread, or just claw it up. But kittens will be kittens. They are beautiful animals.

      We had a house chicken one time, until it got well enough to go back outside. I shudder to remember that experience. ;-)

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  10. If I hear of any ferrets I will look into it for you. Could always meet up halfway or something.
    Glad your garden is going well. I grow most things from seed but I buy the tomato starts too. I just don't seem to have much luck starting tomatoes from seed myself. I do have a few tomato plants that return every year in the garden though, so that's nice. And one of them is those tiny yellow cherry tomatoes which the boys really love.

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    1. Lisa, ironically I just tried to do that very thing this weekend. South Carolina Extremist was up in North Carolina, and found a ferret listed in Craigs List. He was going to bring it home with him, and I was going to meet him half way between his house and mine and pick up the ferret. But I had been under the impression, from reading the add, that the woman who owned the ferret was looking for a home for him. She said she was "fostering" him. But when my friend tried to arrange a pickup, the woman wanted cash. I offered to mail her a check but she was not very pleasant and inferred I was trying to steal the ferret. So it all fell apart. At least , as I said to Fiona, I know the ferret is being taken care of.

      The garden is going well but now I have to take care of it by myself for awhile, as my wife had to unexpectedly fly up to my daughters. E is having some health problems related to Ehlers Danlos syndrome. It's been that way since she was a little girl. She just needs mom to help out a bit til she feels better. But now I am taking care of the garden without my wife. Hopefully not for long.

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  11. We make raised beds too, much too rocky up here to dig, at least on our side of the hill. Then we make a pile for compost using the leaves, kitchen waste, manure that we let age, etc. Now the soil is so good that you don't have to dig. I just read that you should plant a fall cover crop of daikon radishes which will force themselves into the ground and help break up the soil. You let them rot, or at least most of them, and by Spring they will help the soil plus keep out weeds. I might try some.

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    1. The raised beds are a little more expensive, but they save a lot of back breaking work trying to bust up the soil. I might buy one of those little garden rotor tillers next Spring. That radish thing might work but I think a tiller would be faster!

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  12. Glad you had a relaxing weekend.

    I don't like the crowds anymore.

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    1. It turned out to be a little more complicated than I had planned, but ok in the end. I have never liked crowds, and these days I strive to avoid them.

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