Truth.

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

Ariel Durant

Sunday, February 26, 2017

New Moon

    


There's a new moon tonight. It will be pitch black outside.  When there's no moon , there's not much light in these woods. You can stand out on the porch, and not be able to see your hand in front of your face.

On nights like this, I use all the outside lights.  They used to be all red, but now I have some blue and green flood lights out there. Blue doesn't work as well with night vision equipment, but the green and red are fine. I can turn on the infrared projector on the night vision device if I need to,  though I prefer the passive mode.

I did absolutely nothing constructive today. It's my habit not to work on projects on Sunday if I can help it. It's an outmoded convention, since now every day is a free day, but when I was working Sunday was my favorite day of the week. At least, until evening when I started dreading the start of a new week at the office.

There have been several helicopters overhead tonight. I'm on a low level navigation  route for the Air Force, and sometimes for the Army. They both have air bases Southwest of me, and I'm directly in line from both bases to an easily defined mountain top. They've been coming over me since I started living here. I often wonder if my colored lights help them.  I know when I was flying, it was dead reckoning. We had the VOR system and sometimes TACAN, but compared to GPS those were stone age. A lot of flying was looking at a map on your knee board and trying to see something on the ground you could use to place yourself. I know I would have been grateful for some lights to fix my position flying over anything dark, be it ocean or mountains. Today they probably don't do dead reckoning anymore.

I have done most of my cooking this week with bulk food items that have been stored here since the summer of 1999.  Everything is still good. Today I made vanilla pudding, and a vegetable soup, all of it using supplies from the food we laid in before the Y2K non-event.  Everything tastes fine, though I have no way of knowing about the nutrient content.  I've eaten canned food I had stored down there for more than ten years, and it was fine too.



I've been trying to find blogs written by people who live in the desert. There are a lot of them, but they all seem to have been terminated and just abandoned. I can't find any that are still being kept up. 

  



 I've often thought that if you could find a place way out at the end of one of those straight roads you see from the air out there, you'd be set. Somewhere with some water and maybe a butte behind it for a little shade part of the day.

I know of two bloggers who live in the desert. One was that old guy who was in an episode of "Where the Wild Men Live." He has a pretty good set up.

The other is to be found here:  The Ultimate Answer to Kings.   This fellow leads the real solitary life in the desert. I don't think I could handle roughing it like he does at this stage of my life, but I admire the way he does it.


I've also been trying to find blogs written in English by Germans. I would like to learn more about the conditions in Germany. But I haven't been having any luck. All the English language blogs so far have turned out to be advertisements.


When my wife and I lived in Italy, we spent a lot of time up in Germany. I mentioned that in a recent post. The NATO officers school was in Oberammergua , in Bavaria.  There was also a big Army recreational facility in Garmische, not far away. We always enjoyed Germany.  I'm the only Marine in the picture. At the time, there were only about 26 Marine officers stationed in all of Europe, not counting embassy people.

And now I live up here, and I don't go much of anywhere. It suits me now. Everything I need is right here on the mountain.



I've turned our apartment over the shop into a place to just hang out , drink coffee, and listen to the shortwave. Don't go out there much anymore unless the kids are down, then I stay in the apartment at night because I go to bed early and they go to bed very late. I was younger ( a lot) when that picture was taken.


This was me in 1977. That's the first house I ever bought. It was a nice little place, in a quiet  neighborhood in the "ville" just outside Marine Corps Air Station New River.  All my neighbors were Marines.  I could have stayed on base in the Bachelor Officer's Quarters, they were pretty comfortable. But even back then I was always on the look out for a tax deduction.  Never got to spend much time there, because I was always deployed.


This is us about 1987.  My daughter is 31 now.



And this is pretty much how I look today. Oh,well.....


This has been a rambling post, but I'm trying not to think about anything political tonight. Whatever is happening out there in "the world" that would infuriate me, tonight I'm taking a break from it.


Eventually, you have to settle down and be content.









34 comments:

  1. lol - Harry, you may be a little pudgy and grey around the edges, but just think about how wise you are! Incidentally, I don't know if an Aussie desert dweller would have any ideas you could use, but there's always Tania, who lives in the outback. If you don't know who I'm talking about, I can give you the link.

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    1. Well, I hate being overweight but it seems to come with age. And I do like my food. I know Outback Tania. I always enjoy the lizards she puts on her blog. She tends to write a super long post, then go dark for a long time. She's a really nice lady. Her husband was restoring an old Enfield not long ago. I had kind of forgotten her, glad you reminded me.

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  2. Sunday is a good day to let the rest of the world go on without me. Even though I live in town and there are all sorts of places to go and things to do, I find I am happiest when at home in my little apartment. Thanks for the family pictures. It is fun to stroll down someone else's Memory Lane now and then. Lord knows, I spend enough time strolling down my own. :)

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    1. I was looking through old pictures on the computer. I need to save them to disk for the kids. I'm usually pretty content up here but every once in awhile I get ancey.

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  3. Yes and Joel at TUAK does it all with one leg. Lost the other one in a motorcycle accident when he was a teenager.
    John Wells at The Field Lab is still out there.
    http://thefieldlab.blogspot.com/
    I have not found any other desert dwelling bloggers. There are a couple off gridders on youtube that I follow you might find interesting. From North Dakota one of my favorite:
    https://www.youtube.com/user/logcabinlooms/videos
    And this crazy Danish prepper, Lars who lives in the sticks in Russia.
    https://www.youtube.com/user/Moscowprepper/videos

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  4. I didn't know Joel had lost a leg. That increases my already considerable respect for him. He lives a very Spartan existence.

    I followed Well's blog for awhile but he is pretty much out there in his own little world. After he got busted up in that accident I lost track of him.

    I definitely want to read that blog you mentioned. Sounds like a very interesting life style.

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  5. Maybe a bit of discreet dye in the beard!! I sported a moustache for a lot of years and toyed with the idea of a beard but all I get now are grey whiskers so I just go clean shaven now.

    Is that a jungle carbine I spy, you get some serious recoil from those, I can see why they were never popular with the British army. A few were made here in Australia but they never replaced the No 1 MkIII.

    Sgt 73rd Regt

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    1. I'm getting pummeled here! First Gorges says I'm "pudgy" and now you think I should be a metrosexual and use hair dye!

      I get no slack from my friends! ;-)

      Beards are the style up here. I like them because I hate shaving. But when summer comes I have to trim my beard way back because of the heat.

      That's a strange story about that gun. I'm sure you know that at the end of WW2, Australia had a version of the Jungle Carbine under development. Since you folks never used the Mk IV. No.1, but (wisely) stuck with the MKIII, your production version was going to be made from cut down MKIII rifles. The Australian Jungle Carbines that match the British version were test guns, as I understand it, but I defer to you on that. The war ended and the Australian gun never went into production. Then in the late 1980's, Navy Arms got a bunch of Ishapore Enfields in .308. They cut some of them down to make the Australian version of the Jungle Carbine. I bought two.

      I actually have one of the British MK.V Jungle Carbines. It does kick like hell, it won't stay on zero, and the rubber butt plate has gone hard over the decades, so it doesn't help absorb the recoil any more. But it's still a sweet little rifle, throwing out a full sized bullet and very handy.

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    2. i have one of the brit number fives. 3 digit serial number. mine hold zero better than most, but i loosened up the forearm handguards a bit. paid 88 bucks for it back in the 80's. wish i'd bought the other one the dealer had too, but i was one poor fella back then.

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    3. $88.00 was a goodly sum in the eighties. They are nice rifles. I never worried much about the wandering zero since I figured if I ever used my MK V it would be at pistol range, or not much more. Living here in the Smokies, you don't get many long range views so you will never be taking any long range shots.

      Those little Jungle Carbines are much sought after these days. I don't see them even on the auction web pages very often.

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  6. You've aged very well. :) Glad to hear your stored food is doing so well. I personally thing people sometimes take the "expiration" dates a little too seriously. Have to agree Sunday is a good day to not let life's routines nor the world's shenanigans get to you. It's good to set it all aside once in awhile.

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    1. Thanks, Leigh. I could stand to lose some weight, and I do work out on the elliptical. My wife will be coming home next week and we will probably start walking at the lake again if it stays warm.

      I've always considered food expiration dates to be "lawyer proofing" and little else.

      Glad you goats are having their babies without any disasters. Sounds like you have been busy there on your homestead.

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  7. Harry,

    We enjoy dark nights with no lights. This gives us the opportunity to pull the good old telescope out. Thank you for sharing both current and past pictures of you and family. It's always nice to see who you've been chatting to for over a year. I will admit, I don't really share many pictures of myself or family on the internet. I think that has to do a lot with my work background.

    I haven't really come across any blogs where people reside out in the desert, or even in Germany (speaking English). If I do, I will make sure to send you their link.

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    1. Sandy, it's wise not to put pictures of yourself on the net. I do it but I know I probably shouldn't. Especially not today with all the crazies running around.

      If you do find any blogs like that, I would appreciate it. I found some desert blogs but they all just abruptly ended years ago. I guess people got tired of blogging or they moved away. I couldn't find any German blogs in English that were by "people". They were all institutional or advertising.

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  8. Rambling or not, Harry, I always enjoy your posts!

    I might not comment often here, but I always stop by to see what you're up to.

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    1. Dr. J, as busy as you stay out there, I'm surprised you have time to visit as often as you do. Sometimes, I envy you, seems like you are always on some project or other.

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  9. What a small world. That picture of you in a group in front of the Kofel took me back. My father was an instructor there from 1/1960 to 12/1962. We lived in the large apartments just off the Kaserne. It was special place, and I still think of the stories I heard from there about the Intel school, Special Weapons, Detachment R.

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    1. It really was special. Strange, the things you remember about a place. They had the best breakfast ever there at that school. Fresh rolls, good coffee, and little containers of every kind of wurst you could imagine. In town there were all sorts of nice restaurants and cafes, and sweet shops. My wife loved it there. Right after we got married, we went up there on leave. I was trying my execrable German, and told a little old lady in a sweet shop that this was my Fraulein. The little old lady said , "nein, nein. Frau!" My wife was so pleased at that.

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  10. harry, i used to razz my buddies that just wanted to stay home on the weekend instead of going kayaking or some other action adventure but now i too enjoy just hanging by the fire and watching the stars. don't get much better.

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    1. It's peaceful at home. Nights are especially quiet and star watching helps put things in the right perspective. It helps wind down the intensity level.

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  11. Neat old pictures! I used to follow a couple of desert blogs but they also shut down. One of them in particular I still wonder about but she stopped posting about four years ago. She had a really neat place off the beaten path, and she was always taking in rescue dogs and horses.

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    1. It's funny about blogs. Sometimes, people die. If their spouses don't know they have a blog, or if they live alone, they just disappear and nobody knows why. Other times, I think the "mean" people out there get to them. It's significant that nice people who have completely uncontroversial blogs, have to use comment moderation.

      That blog sounds like one I would really have enjoyed. I like animals, and I like people who are kind to them.

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  12. When there is a new moon here, it is pitch black, also. Never turn on the lights cause that just points to where we are at night. In summer we love to look up at the stars. Whenever we get visitors (not often) they are always amazed at the numbers of stars. We don't have woods closing in (sometimes I wish we did) so can see for miles, even by starlight out over the meadows and sagebrush. Folks here have those big yard lights that blaze pinkish and the electric company puts them up if you want them. Not us, we like it dark. We do have motion activated lights on the house so we don't break our necks coming home at night.

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    1. I use security lights because , with the very thick woods coming right up to the house on two sides, it can be eerie sometimes. Before I had the lights, there were parts of the area surrounding the main building that had no light at all after dark. One night, I heard metal rattling outside the kitchen, where there was a deck that I kept our trash cans on. I got my son and took a flashlight, and I carried him out to see what I thought were raccoons. We walked around the corner of the glass house, and I turned the light on. It was three bears. I fled back into the house, and installed flood lights so that I can light up the entire perimeter of the house. I use red lights, sometimes blue or green as well, to keep from sending out a light signature. I know those lights you wrote about, they are called "farm lights" here. The EMC (electric membership cooperative) will install them free and they cost $25.00 a month after that. But , as you say, they light up your position.

      When the moon is out, I don't turn on the security lights. Or, if I want to sit outside on the porch sometimes and smoke my pipe, I leave them off.

      I wish I had a long, panoramic view from my porch like you do. The porch has a decent view in winter, but in summer the foliage is too thick. I can go up behind my barn, to a granite boulder outcrop, and get a good view from there year round, but it's a cold place in winter and a snakey place in summer.

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    2. I am glad we don't have bears here, but we do have an occasional cougar. And coyotes. I know what you mean about deep woods being eerie at night, though. Don't do much sitting out on the deck at night, even in summer as when the sun goes down the temp drops 40 degrees. I miss balmy evenings when we could eat outside. Guess every place has its pros and cons.

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    3. I have fired over the heads of some bears that were getting into my trash, but it was futile. They just sat down and ripped open the bags and ignored me. The forest service came and caught them in a big trap on a trailer, then took the mom and the babies to Tennesee. They let them go in a big national forest area far from people.

      Wow! I wish we had that temperature phenomenon. It can get over 100 degrees here during the day in summer, with humidity near 100%. Then at night, the temp might drop ten degrees but the humidity doesn't. Summer is a tough time up here, and I use a lot of air conditioning.

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  13. That last picture says it all...family, pet, and a good fire. That's the way to really enjoy life. --Troy

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    1. Troy, I have about everything a man could want. I have a good wife, good kids, land of my own, privacy, and enough money to live a secure if not extravagant life. It's not human nature to be content though, and I feel guilty sometimes for feeling vaguely dissatisfied. I'm pretty sure most men feel that way, though.

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  14. Hey Harry,

    (captaincrunch)


    I think 'Dead Reckoning' for navigation is still the best way to go for back up. I hope military planners have training programs for pilots that involve what to do if some bad country has the capability to knock out the GPS satellites. Most high tech weapons systems and precision guided ordinance is using GPS tech.
    'By the time its all said and done. The next world war may
    de-evolve into a World War 2 styled bombing campaign.

    As per blogs. The Field Lab and the TUAK are some of the few left. Everyone has gone to video on youtube and other platforms. I think a great many are still out there, buts its all video now.
    On the food stored subject.
    I dare say that America has more food stored (of canned, freeze dried, etc) than we did back during the 1950's and early 60's.
    The doomsday prepper/survivalist movement has pretty gone mainstream even though no one really talks about it out in the open.
    Its a good thing in at least if disasters hit, floods, hurricanes, etc. People are more likely to take care of themselves and allow relief organizations to focus more on the 'unprepared'

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    1. Dead reckoning, compared to GPS, is pretty inaccurate. I'm sure they rely on electronics for navigation now, but I hope pilots are still learning dead reckoning. Equipment can always crap out , usually at the worst possible time, then you have to have something to fall back on.

      I wouldn't do very well with a video channel because I'm not all that great at verbal expression. If blogs fade out I guess I'll just keep on doing this. I'm sure younger people find the written word tedious, they're used to instant gratification in just about everything.

      Katrina hopefully taught people the absolute folly of relying on anyone but themselves in some sort of disaster. Before that, I think that a lot of people thought the government would be there to take care of them. Anyone who thinks that now is either uninformed, unintelligent, or some combination there of.

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  15. It's good you're going through all your back stock of canned foods! I started doing that. Then I was worried that possibly some things I was eating - I was allergic to. I tapered off - just until I could get to the doctor's office.

    Turns out the allergy/asthma doc. said I have the biggest polyps in my nose that he's ever seen. There's way more. I have to see an ENT doctor for surgery.

    Foods I'm ok on. Back to using up those canned foods, so we can restock them.

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    1. I've had that surgery. It's painful. Get an agreement before hand on appropriate pain meds and the quantity there of. If he/she sounds like they're going to be stingy then find a new ENT.

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    2. Alissa, I'm really sorry you have that to deal with on top of everything else. Matt says it is not a fun experience. Maybe when you have it your husband can stay home and take care of you, you might need to just stay in bed or on the couch for awhile.

      I hope you saw Matt's comment. If you missed it I will leave a note on your blog because it sounds like good advice to me.

      I am not as good about rotating foods as I used to be, I think largely because often I am the only one here for awhile and I don't eat a lot.

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    3. Thanks for the comment. I have a feeling if/when I have surgery it won't be fun, but knowing that I can't breathe right now, haven't been able to smell in for forever it will be nice to have it done. I'll deal with the pain when it comes down to it.

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