Monday, August 29, 2016

Monday and it's almost a normal day.

Things we got done while the kids were here that we wanted to do.

  1. Lots of walks at the lake, local parks, and to the waterfall.
  2. New tires on their Jeep Commander.
  3. Stem to Stern maintenance on the Commander by my mechanic.
  4. Went to see a movie together.
  5. Some shooting and refresher training.
  6. Family meeting on pending dental work and medical issues.
  7. Looked at local stables for my daughters horse.
  8. Went to see their Grandma. (I didn't want to go but I did.)
  9. Toured most of the Western mountains of North Carolina.
  10. Got a complete rebuild of the Cherokee braking system done.
Things we didn't get around to we wanted to.

  1. Didn't make it to the Tennessee Aquarium.
  2. Did not complete the hike up Brass Town Bald mountain. We tried, but the wife and I couldn't make it. The kids went on up and we went back down and took the shuttle bus.
  3. Did not get my daughters concealed carry permit renewed.
  4. Did not get the cracked window on the Commander replaced.
All in all, we did pretty well.  This is the first time they have come down when their mother and I were not working anymore.  I got the important things done but there just wasn't enough time to take care of everything and still do the things they really wanted to do.

The City Mouse and the Country Mouse.

My kids were raised right here in the mountains.  My daughter was born at Morehead City, N.C. as I was still in the Marines then. But my son was born here a year later.

They grew up here.  We did not live an extravagant lifestyle but they never lacked for anything. My daughter had horses growing up, and my son had his off road motorcycles.  We moved heaven and earth to give them "enriching experiences" as they were growing up, just as a lot of blogs by young women show that they are doing for their own kids.

My children have turned out well. No drugs, no police problems, they work hard. I'm very proud of them.

They left home to go to Vancouver, British Columbia for school after they finished their home school program. I think E was 18 and G was 17.

After some years up there, they went to Jacksonville, Florida and lived.  After that, they moved to a city in the North and have been up there since.  Now G is 29 and E is 30.

They work urban jobs, and have developed an urban lifestyle.  For instance, my son only drinks Starbucks Coffee. We went into town in the mornings, and I got a "Senior" coffee for sixty four cents at McDonald's, while he got a Starbucks coffee for $5.00.

I usually just microwave something or eat out of a can. My kids cook a big meal every evening, using only fresh vegetables certified to have been raised organically, and meats that are organic but also comply with some other parameters they have, which I did not understand. They have wine with their meals every night.  Out of curiosity, and because I am compulsive about numbers, I figured out they were spending about $40.00 a night on the meals they made.  If you multiply that by a 30 day month, that's $1200 a month on groceries, or about 3 times what their mom and I spend. But they say it's the highlight of their work day, and that it's good for their health. My daughter says it's the only way she can eat anyway, with her health issues.

My kids are busy, so they let things slide , like maintenance on their vehicle. Preventive maintenance is essential, in my experience. But they have different priorities and I'm not saying they are wrong. They have good insurance on their vehicle but they are riding around in it with a crack in one corner of the windshield. That would drive me mad, but doesn't seem to bother them.

I felt very much the country mouse, if you remember the old child's tale. But I think the moral is the same, what's right for me, and suits me, is not necessarily right for them.

One thing they made pretty clear, is that they aren't going to come back here any time soon to live permanently. E said her horse she rescued is getting too old to ride and she may have him  moved down here, where I can take care of him. I don't mind that, but we need to board him as I can't keep up with all the work required to have horses here on the mountain. Been down that road, and it's a hard one.

E brought her squirrel, which she can carry around and let ride on her shoulder. But Conkers flew across the room , jumped on my face , and bit my nose.  After  that ,  I didn't go within 20 feet of my daughter when she had "Conkers" out.  It's like gravity doesn't exist for that creature.  Conkers turns complete back somersaults in her cage when she wants out.

The German Shepherd puppy they brought was sweet natured, but a handful. It's one of those Czech dogs that doesn't have all the infirmities American dogs sometimes do.  "Willa" had to stay on her lease because she proved immediately upon arrival that she's a natural born chicken killer.

Iggy got to get in a tree, didn't want to come down.  So he got angry and did "alligator rolls" when he had to get out of the tree. That got him out of his tether and he went up the tree, and was trying to get into the woods by going tree to tree. I had to push him off a limb with a dust mop so he could be recaptured. The rest of his visit he focused all his rage and frustration on me when he could see me. I made sure to steer clear of him, that Iguana was HUGE.

My daughter brought a sick monitor lizard. One of the cats made the mistake of going in the lizards big plastic container and got bitten, but not badly.  It spent most of it's time sleeping and eating eggs.
Both lizards had huge "heat lamps" which didn't do a lot to help keep the house cool in this hot weather.

All things said and done though, it was a great visit. We traveled a lot, day trips of course. We enjoyed each others company. Whenever I got irascible , everybody would just raise their eyebrows and look at each other as if to say "well, there goes dad again" and I would just calm down.

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Visit is over.

The kids headed back home yesterday.  We have been very busy. There's not much of North Georgia or North Carolina (Western) we didn't see. It was a good visit . I am tired though, and there is a lot to catch up on here. So for now, I'll just make this entry and try to get caught up this week.

Monday, August 15, 2016

Family arrives tonight.

Just talked to the wife on the telephone.  They are all leaving for home this morning. I told them that if they got too tired on the way, just to stop at one of the good Holiday Inns along the freeway and come in tomorrow. No sense making the trip miserable, and I wonder how much fun it is going to be to travel with a German Shepard puppy, and with Iggy the Iguana.

I have been having an interesting conversation with a friend on precious metals, how to transfer them, and banking in general. It reminded me of this book.  It's an old one, but this man actually did all the things that most of us discuss in theory. It's an interesting book, a useful book, and one you might like to read in these "troubled" times. A lot of us might be putting into practice some of the things he did.

New magazines out recently.

The article on pocket books is interesting, although the books reviewd mainly pertain to Les Stroud type emergencies in the wild.

There's a long article on raising chickens. Suddenly raising chickens is a big interest and just about every magazine even vaguely related to self sufficiency is carrying articles about chickens. Did I miss something? 

Lots of good reviews of equipment, and a pretty good discussion of Bugging In and Bugging Out.

This is a particularly good issue of Military Surplus. They've got some great information on modern military surplus weapons,  on the Civil War, and on commonly available surplus weapons out there today.

Well, time to finish up. I have some last minutes things to do before everybody gets here. The ferrets have already been relocated to the lower level of the house. That way the puppy won't hurt them. Also, I don't want them crossing paths with Iggy, for all that he is purported to be quite benign if you don't cross him.

Got the apartment all spiffed up and it will get some use for a change. I still need to make a run to the store. My son has a favorite beer and I'd like to have some of  that cold and on hand when he gets in, just a few other things to pick up.

Saturday, August 13, 2016

A day devoted to Ammunition.

 I recently bought a lot of brand new .50 cal ammo cans. I mean, "a lot" of cans.

So today I have been  transferring ammo from the old wooden ammo crates it was in, to these new cans.

One fact of life this process has reinforced for me is that I am not young anymore. A fully loaded .50 cal can weighs a lot.

If you are on the third floor, putting the ammo into cans, and then you have to haul them down to the first floor, down two flights of stairs, it gets old really fast.

But I am reorganizing the ammo. Before, my intention was largely to preserve it. Now, I am trying to get it organized in such a manner as to keep it in good shape long term, but organize it better by type, and in smaller packets.

 In 1986, I came up here with my household goods, a few guns and not much else. I had no idea what all I would need to live here, and I just learned as I went.

But even then, I knew the Democrats would do all they could to grow the  government, and to make citizens into serfs. I got involved with some people in Lousiana, who introduced me to some people in other states.

I learned  that things were a lot worse than I thought they were. I didn't pay much attention to the outside world when I was in the Marines. It's a closed society and you just don't much care what's happening in CivDiv. Especially if you are shipboard or deployed a lot.

One of the things I learned from my new found friends was that while the government could never find all the guns, they could cut off the ammunition.

Some of the people I met back then, especially in the South, were religious based.

One of the groups was called "Christian Identity." They were all over the Carolina's and probably other places as well in those days.

The Christian Identity people had a "guru' but they were spread out in small groups throughout the mountains.

I was always a little nervous when we met with them because they were fanatical. Think " American Taliban." But they knew the value of ammo and their supplies were impressive. It really takes a group to acquire adequate quantities of ammo. I learned a lot of practical things from them and others I met during this period, when I was still trying to work with other like minded people to accomplish something. Personalities and the constant turmoil these folks were involved in eventually led me to stop interacting with "groups." But I did learn from the experience.

Money was tight for some time after we got out of the service. It wasn't until I went to work for the oil and gas industry  that we really had enough disposable income to start stocking up.  As I've mentioned before, my boss was a truly evil man, but he did some nice things for me. One of them was letting me purchase ammo wholesale through his Firearms business. He had all the right permits, so I would tell him what I wanted, he would order it, and I would buy it from him. We did all the necessary paperwork to keep it above board.  I got large quantities of surplus military ammo that way, usually in the wooden crate, in the cans.

I am not messing with that. I don't know any better way to store it than as it was issued. I keep all my cases of ammo in climate controlled spaces (as I do with all ammunition regardless of type.)  What's going into these ammo cans is loose boxes that I've been storing in old wooden ammo cases. I just filled the cases up with whatever happened to be bought at the time, and then left them alone once a case was filled.

I didn't finish today, and I probably won't finish tomorrow. I'm labeling the cans with a number, then putting the contents into a spread sheet under that number.  I have been keeping an inventory for years, but it's light on detail. This will let me find what I want, right away.

It never hurts to do a little leg work, so that when things go sour you can concentrate on the important things, and not details.

Thought for the day:

Friday, August 12, 2016

Ancient Journey to the Oregon High Desert

Fourteen years back, my middle brother took my son and I on a camping trip to the Oregon High Desert.

First we flew into Sacramento,  then we went up to Chico, California where my youngest brother lived at the time. He was a policeman there, and had a nice little ranch at the foot of the mountains. Not big, about 15 acres, but nice.

My youngest brother used this go cart to ride along and check his fences. My son had a good time tootling around in it. You could get up some speed, and since most of my brothers property was just flat dirt, it was safe enough.

Then we went up into the Sierra Nevada mountains, where my middle brother , R, has a "dacha." It was largely modeled on my place, though it's far more luxurious.  This river runs through his property and has huge trout in it.

Compared to the trout in North Georgia, these were pretty big. It seemed a shame to me to keep them, but apparently they are stocked fish.

My son enjoyed fishing in a stream where you actually caught something worth catching. The trout in North Georgia streams are much smaller than this.

We set up a little picnic there on the shore of the river and just hung out there for a day. It gave me a chance to catch up to California time.

My brother went to Oregon State on the same reserve program I did. Then he did his four years and got out.  He worked for a PR company in Sacramento for a few years, opened his own,  did well and sold it to a British PR company. After that, he just did what he wanted.  He was in his early fifties then. He likes to hunt and has traveled as far as New Zealand to do it.

The next day, my youngest brother went back to Chico and the rest of us headed into the Oregon High Desert.  There were big fires burning everywhere , clouds of smoke coming up, but nobody seemed fussed about it. We didn't see many people. Along the way we stopped in this little town. Didn't see many people there, either.

You can see one of those fires burning behind this sign.  If that was happening here, everybody would be in panic mode. But I didn't even see any fire aircraft or vehicles. Maybe they just let the fires burn themselves out?

Behind us there is a huge lake. It was either salty, or poisonous because nobody lived around it and there were no animals around it. Here, every square foot of lake shore would be owned by rich people and would have their lake houses and docks on it, poisonous or not.

See how big that is?  We have lakes here smaller than that , and there is a town around them and boats all over.

We drove on out into the desert, and soon we were way in the middle of nowhere. My brother did the navigating. He had a topo map. I don't know if GPS was around then but I doubt it, as he'd have had one.

Although you really can't see it, my son is standing on the edge of a precipice. There was a huge canyon there. I wouldn't go any closer to the edge and I told him to come back right then. He didn't seem nervous but he should have been. It was really deep and wide.

We got to where we were going, a spot in a gorge on the Snake river. It was like going back in time to some primordial landscape. I swear it reminded me of the old 1966 cave man movie with Raquel Welch, "One Million B.C."

As we had no voluptuous women with us, we were not attacked by pterodactyls. If we had been, we'd have been SOL (surely out of luck) as we had one Beretta 92FS with two magazines,a Remington 870,  and that was it.

  As soon as we got the tent set up, there was a terrific thunderstorm that came out of nowhere. It set the grass on fire near us. We put it out with shovels.  An old guy and his wife were in their camper on the other side of the ridge and they came and helped us.

I don't cut a very splendid figure here, but I was just about to go in the river swimming when this storm came up and started the fire. One minute it was clear, the next lightning everywhere, and then it was clear again. Nothing at all like our thunderstorms here in the Smokies.

My son went on a lot of jaunts by himself. He climbed up on this rock formation. Later he told me it was infested with rattlesnakes. There were rattlesnakes all over that area. I kept the tent flap zipped so I wouldn't wake up with one in my sleeping bag.

This was our campsite. Right on the Snake River.  It had a nice pebbled beach, the water was clean and clear. It was warm too, almost like bath water. There were rushes along the bank and millions of mosquitoes came out of them at night. Not so bad during the day though.

You couldn't have asked for a better swimming spot. 

My son and I climbed up the mountain on the other side of the river and took this picture of our camping site.  It always amazes me how far you can see in the desert. Having lived in the mountains now for 30 years, I am used to always being closed in by the forest. You do get some good views here, but only from ridge tops and mountain tops.  There, you can see forever even on the road.

Their mountains are so much steeper and more rugged than ours.  Almost no vegetation, just rocks. It's a completely alien landscape. I liked it though. Very secluded, and at night you could see thousands of stars. It was a spectacular place, all around.

I know this was one of the best trips my son and I ever took together. I didn't get a lot of time off from work, so we didn't have a lot of opportunity to do long trips. I've always appreciated his uncle doing all this for us.

I'd love to live somewhere like this spot.  Completely isolated. No town twenty miles off, no people living down on the hard surface road. It's perfect.

Then we went on to Reno, going back to his place. Nevada is pretty burnt over and not very attractive, at least out in the flat lands.

We stopped at Lake Tahoe on the way back too. My brother and I gambled in the casinos and my son enjoyed the game rooms they have for kids.  I played nickle slots, my brother enjoyed more challenging games. He was a big hit with the cute little Ukrainian girls who bring you drinks at the tables. He is a big tipper and popular with the ladies anyway.  I drank cokes and stayed on the slots. I am not very adventurous in that regards.

It was a great trip.  Doesn't seem like it was actually so long ago.  But I guess it was, as my son is grown up and gone, and I am definitely older.  When things get stressful, it helps me to look back on all the fun things I've done already. If the world goes to hell in a hand basket, I've still had the good times in the past, come what may.

Thought for the Day:

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Just taking it all in.

The Media says 52% of the people in this country are just like the ones in this clip.

Warning: Bad Language Content

Just for my own edification, because so much happened yesterday it's hard to keep it straight.

First, Wiki Leaks basically confirmed that Seth Rich, the DNC staffer murdered on the street in D.C. was the source of the DNC emails they published. Rich was a disgruntled Bernie supporter who wanted people to know the nomination was being stolen by DNC  top level executives.  First, the D.C. police called it a robbery. Then the man's father pointed out his wallet, with cash and credit cards, was untouched. His expensive watch was not taken. Now the D.C. police are calling it "uncategorized."

But remember when those emails came out, Hillary and the MSM criticized Donald Trump, saying the Russians were responsible. They deflected the content of the emails to a large extent, and damaged Trumps standing. But it was just more lies.

You notice there have been no retractions on anyone's part, and there has been only minimal coverage of this story on MSM.

It was one of the last brief segments on CBS news last night.

ABC gave it a passing glance. They spent more time on the Trump Tower Climber than they did on this.

Now this morning a new report from government investigators shows that the top civilian intelligence officer in CENTCOM rewrote intelligence reports about ISIS to make it look like Obama's War was working, when in fact it was failing abysmally. Fox covered it on the morning news. I did not see it on CNN or any of the other news programs.

But they can blame this on the Russians too, I suppose, instead of Obama's inner coterie which wanted Americans to believe we were winning against ISIS when we are not.

I notice the Secretary of the Air Force came out yesterday and said that the greatest threat facing the American public is the Russians.

That's such palpable BS, the only reason I can think of for saying it is that he saw how well it worked when the DNC got caught rigging the primary, so he figured he'd give it a shot. Maybe he can distract people from worrying about the abysmal state of readiness in the Air Force right now.

Maybe it was the Russians who shot that DNC whistle blower in the back twice at close range. But I doubt it. They'd have had sense enough to take the wallet, watch, etc. to make the robbery explanation easier for the police.

 Then there was "The Situation Room" yesterday at Five, with the Lavrentiy Beria wanna be, Wolf Blitzer.

The first 15 minutes was supposed to be Blitzer discussing Trumps Second Amendment Statement with a former Navy Seal supporter of Trump.

It didn't go well for Wolf. The Seal cut him off at the knees at every turn.  Here are some of the descriptions of gun owners Blitzer used.

"These Second Amendments Types."   "The lunatic fringe of the Republican Party".  "Mentally ill".

The gest being that Trumps statement would incite gun owners to wholesale slaughter. There are a lot of sick, crazy people out there warned Wolf in stentorian tones. But the Seal just pointed out that all this was blown up by the media , to score points for Hillary, that it was nonsense and would be old news tomorrow.

Suddenly, Wolf announced that they were going to breaking news!  It turned out to be some twit climbing the Trump Tower.  The guy had been on the the tower for a couple of hours already, so it was pretty apparent this was a CNN escape from a situation where they were being made to look foolish. So much for the Seal.

The female reporter on the scene gushed about how this climber was undoubtedly so upset and alienated by Trumps comments on the Second Amendment that he was making this daring climb to highlight how outraged he was. She said that even though it was illegal, she had to find a spot in her heart to admire him for his moral courage and his desire to be counted in standing up against those who advocate violence!  Too bad for her it turned out the guy was a Trump Supporter.

 One other thing that was said on NBC nightly news last night worth mentioning.

The talking head said that Trump was trying to motivate gun owners to support him by saying that Hillary wanted to take away people's guns. He said "there is no evidence at all to support this." That's a direct quote.

On the same day, three small news "spots" on three different channels mentioned that the Democratic Party has adopted "Australian style gun control" as a "plank in their platform."

If that is true, it's an ominous development for us.  I would guess it's more in the line of a red herring, to placate the gun grabbers in the party, a bone for the dog. But it shows how these news people have tunnel vision when they "parley their spiels" on the television.

I spent most of the day reading or watching the news because it rained almost all day, and then into the night. I'm going over some old books.

Once upon a time, post apocalyptic books were written both to entertain and to educate. Two authors who did a good job of that were Rawles and Sherry.

Rawles is a prolific author, a guru of Survivalism, and pretty well known in the community. Sherry is different. He used to haunt the survival blogs, never said much and didn't attract much attention. Then he wrote his first book, Deep Winter, and it was spectacular. The second in the series, Shatter, was just as good. The third in the Trilogy, Remnant, dealt more with political reconstitution of a government after a collapse, but was still a good read.

They are all available as ebooks on Kindle for a modest price.  The paperback versions are expensive, but you'd have them available if the power went out.  I like the Kindle versions because I can highlight passages that have value in relation to my personal planning up here. I do a lot of highlighting.

Two other books that would be good to have on the shelf at home in times like these. Both by Rawles.

I gave out many, many copies of this book to my extended family. Primarily to nephews and nieces, and my brothers and sister.  Some of them took it to heart, others less so. It's a valuable book, relatively cheap, and not a difficult read.

This is the companion volume.  There is probably something in this book you need, and just haven't thought of. I've read it several times, and each time I come up with some additional action I need to take. Better now, when I have the ability to address shortfalls, then later when things have gone to hell and there isn't much I can do about it.

Thought for the Day: