Saturday, September 9, 2017

BOHICA


Sorry I haven't been on the net to update the blog. Yesterday and today we've been scrambling here. The Windstream folks got the land line working again yesterday evening, and the internet is still up. I don't expect either of those to be available once the winds start. The current forecast says we might get winds as high as 60 mph here. If so, we are well and truly SOL.  The beetle pines will come crashing down across the roads, they'll take out the power and phone lines. And that will be that. I'm hoping this thing goes West, not that I wish anyone ill in Alabama, but I was here for that big hurricane in the late 1980's and I don't want to endure that again.

Went to the bank today to get some money out of our emergency contingency account. I was talking with the customer service lady there that I like, as I waited my turn. The bank was overwhelmed with people getting cash and you just had to be patient.  She said she wasn't doing anything special about the storm. She's only been up here about a year, so she doesn't really know the drill. I believe she has the feeling that the mountains will somehow protect her.  She did say "The Lord" would take care of her.  Now, I'm ok with that, but I'm a fan of "the Lord helps those who help themselves."

I told her the joke about the guy who heard a flood was coming.  He was sitting on his porch, and a truck drove by. The driver said he would give him a ride to higher ground, but the man said no thanks, God would protect him.  Then the flood came, and he had to climb up on the roof. Some fellows in a boat came by, and they said they would take him to dry land, but he said, no thanks, the Lord would save him.  Then the water kept rising, and a helicopter came and lowered a hoist, but he waved the helicopter off, sure that the All Mighty would take care of him. Then the building collapsed and he drowned.

When he got to  heaven, and was standing in front of the throne, he asked God why he had abandoned him in his time of need. And God said "who do you think sent the truck, the boat, and the helicopter."

My friend at the bank did not find this humorous, but I didn't really mean for it be humorous.

My in-laws were missionaries in Africa. They were as religious as you could be, but my father in law always kept gas, money, passports, a pistol , ammo, and trade goods like cigars buried in the back of the mission compound in case they needed to haul a** when the natives got restless. He learned how to take care of himself in the Marines, in WW2.

The Lord Helps Those Who Help Themselves.

Both the grocery store and Walmart were overrun today. Most of the people I saw, judging from the license plates out in the parking lot, and the people I talked to, were Floridians. There was one group at the grocery store I felt sorry for, though they were handling things and being positive. It was six young women, and probably 12 or so little kids. I talked to one of them, and they were Navy wives from some base down in Florida. One of them owned a cabin up here (she and her husband) and they had all displaced from Florida to  the mountains. Their husbands had to stay down on the base. I gave her my number and told her to call if she needed anything. My phone will probably go out, and I may not be able to get out to help anybody if the roads are blocked, but I felt like maybe as a last resort I could  raise one of these old codgers on the CB, and they might be able to communicate, and get them some help.  If you live in a "development" your phone lines are under ground, and some of the CB guys are also hams. And who knows, I might could get out and help them one way or the other. That's one thing about the service, when the fewmets hit the windmill, you can't just tell the boss to take a hike and go with your family. It's a hard row to hoe, being a military wife.

Walmart had their act together. I have to say, as much as I dislike them for their anti-Confederate stand, they had everything people needed, laid out on pallets. They had every single register open, and they had workers helping the elderly, disabled people, mom's with kids. Their bakery was turning out bread by the bushel, and as soon as it was ready it was bought, but there was bread for all. Whoever is running that one particular Walmart is a professional.

The grocery store was pandemonium. Every register was open and all of them had ten or more carts stacked up in their line . People were buying beer like it was going out of style, even the expensive imported beer I usually only buy for my son when he visits. I saw a lot of people buying frozen food and I wondered about that, but maybe they have one of  those big Genracs, that can run your whole house. I only have 5 kw and I have to get by on that, so the freezer is not on the circuit.

Gas is a no go. We have a full tank, so I didn't worry about that a lot but so many people are arriving here from Florida that all the local stations were drained dry. I have plenty of  gas for the chain saw and that's all I care about right now.

We are pretty well stocked here but we hauled a good bit of repair material up the mountain today. Ready mix cement, rubber sealant, some extra drain pipe because I extended the up slope drainage ditches. Lots more food and supplies, more out of anxiety than need. None of it will be wasted, if we don't use it now, we will use it later.

This I know for sure. The power will go out, the phone and internet will go out. How long is the question. I am parking the Jeep down at the Church on the hard surface road. I will have to walk a mile and a half back to the house, but if the secondary roads are kept clear, I will be able to get into town even if the back roads are not cleared. I expect I will have to clear any blow downs on the Jeep trail and the old forest service road before there's a prayer of getting to any county roads which might eventually get cleared. 30 years ago, lots of people lived out here who would come out and work on the roads until everybody could get into town. But now, most of them are dead, and the people that live out here now are largely retirees from cities. They will sit there like a bump on a log and wait for the county to do the work. It would never occur to them that maybe they should turn to , themselves. They're in a for a bad time though, because this part of the county gets "hind tit" as nobody important or wealthy or with connections lives out here.

The generator checks out, and I have plenty of diesel. We cook with a propane range, don't need electricity to run it. We have some turkeys in the deep freeze we were saving, but my wife plans to cook them if the deep freeze starts to thaw, and then we will eat them and the dogs can eat turkey and the cats can eat turkey till their eyeballs pop.  We started eating all the frozen meat in the refrigerator freezer three days ago, and we are trying to eat all the frozen food we can before Monday night, when we can confidently expect the power to go out.  Checked out my two chain saws, they are up and ready, and I have plenty of gas, two cycle oil, and bar oil for them. Wish my son was home. I would use the two handed blade saw if he was. I hate chain saws with a passion.

If the storm doesn't turn north, but keeps going northwest, we could get off virtually unscathed. But if those winds get in here, and inches of rain come down in hours, we are all up sh*t creek without a paddle. All those people who build those nice second homes right down on the river are going to get an ugly surprise. People like me, up on the steep slopes, have to worry about water flooding down the mountain and getting up against the building foundations. That's why I was out putting in deeper and longer diversion ditches.

In our normal course of events, we have plenty of everything up here. If I couldn't buy a red cents worth of anything, I'd be ok for this. I think the four loads of supplies we hauled up here was more in the way of anxiety relief than anything . We need to be doing something, not just sitting on our behinds watching the Weather Channel.  I'll tell you this, when you are 33 you can look at just about anything with sang froid , but when you get into your mid sixties, it's less an adventure and more of an "oh, hell. What next?"  thing.

Tomorrow is supposed to be decent, then Monday, "Le Deluge."

We'll just see how it goes.

The Hurricane Irma Song; (warning: frequent use of the "F" word.")







Cartoon:




Thought for the day:







Well, Yes.





30 comments:

  1. I'm always amused when during the hurricane someone has a close call and someone says "God was looking out for them!" and my reply is, "That's the same god that sent the hurricane, right?"

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    1. I was raised that way. My parents were dyed in the wool Southern Baptists. My life experience has forced me to ameliorate my views on that particular aspect of belief.

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  2. I'm not surprised to see you are all squared away. Hope it's not too bad for you. Interesting times, that's for sure.

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    1. It's that alright. I could sure do without it. But the die is cast, and now we just have to take whatever comes and deal with it.

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  3. I'm glad you and your wife stocked up even if it was from anxiety. And I agree, the Lord gave us a brain for a reason. Lol. Take care. Margie from Arkansas.

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    1. Margie, we both have really bad memories of the last time the remnants of a hurricane this strong came through here. So we are both a bit apprehensive. Neither of us are much for just sitting around and wringing our hands. But we keep enough of everything on hand to last out a couple of weeks with ease, or longer. Getting into town and buying a few odds and ends made us feel better.

      We're all responsible for ourselves, though Devine intervention is always welcome when you are between a rock and a hard place.

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  4. Just a reminder... As you eat the frozen food, freeze water bottles. Helps keep the remainder in there cold, and you have cold water on hand. Good luck though, I hope it misses you.

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    1. Every little bit helps. The track tonight is looking grim for my county, but I could wake up tomorrow and find the worst will miss us. "We live in hope."

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  5. Glad your are doing OK and keeping busy getting your ducks in order. I am sure you'll be OK. Looks like Key West is going to get it dead center about 10 am Sunday. They are calling for a 12 to 15 foot storm surge. Don't expect there will be much left of the place.

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  6. Another thought.. about your freezer... I kept my chest freezer and fridge going for eight days once by running them for an hour or two every day on a 3K watt generator. Swapping cords around on appliances as needed. Helped to keep a few extra gallons of frozen water in them too. Just enough to keep things from going too soft. Takes a bit for work but it can be done. Even ran a cord across my side street and did the same for my neighbor.

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    1. Yes, that does work. I could do that, but I'm a little worried about powering up the freezer, then taking it off line, then powering it up. It's an expensive piece of gear, and I'd hate to damage it. I know freezers and refrigerators don't "like" to be turned on and off, it's hard on the compressors. So basically,I'm hoping it doesn't come to that. Tonight it looks like we might get flooding here 3 to 5 inches of rain and more in "some locations", and if the wind blows hard we'll be without power, but maybe the damage won't be as extensive. The track changed overnight, more to the West. Of course, I could get up in the morning and it could be right back on us.

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  7. Why don't you get a one-man cross-cut saw if you hate chainsaws so. You can find either new or used, depending on what you want and what you want to pay.

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    1. Gorges, there's a world of difference between using a two man saw, and a one man saw. Cutting through two feet of oak would be about impossible with a one man saw, but you can do it with a good two man saw , if not easily at least without having a heart attack. With my son gone, I pretty much have to use a chain saw for heavy stuff.

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  8. 5kw should be plenty to run the freezer by itself, with maybe a few lights as well.- and remember it only needs to run once in a while to keep it cold.
    Just use a dedicated cord right from the genset to the freezer, so you are not powering the whole house.
    An hour a day and you are set.

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    1. Raven, the problem is the draw down when the freezer kicks on. It's such a big load that it will draw down the current and it can damage things like televisions and air conditioners, both of which I might have on in a power down situation. When it's hot and humid here, I run at least one air conditioner and one dehumidifier constantly, the house wouldn't be livable without them. I can get along without the freezer. There's also the fact that compressors on refrigerators and freezers are notorious for power related damage. I could just run the freezer on the generator, but I need the other stuff more.

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  9. I am up early this morning and checked Irma's status and reading your blog. Thankfully, for your sake, it looks as though Irma will move west into Alabama. I know that you still will feel some of her impact though. You must feel some relief. How sweet of you to offer to help those military wives. It looks as though you are quite prepared. Stay safe.. Jana

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    1. Jana, it's Sunday evening here now. They are saying the cone of the storm will pass into Alabama with Atlanta inside the cone on the eastern side. But at the same time, all of North Georgia is under a wind and rain advisory. I don't know what's going to happen, but we finished all of our "bracing up" work today, there's nothing more I can do but sit it out. I'm hoping we won't have any damage, but we are in a tight spot with all the pine beetle trees, so I do expect to lose power and I expect the secondary roads and the Jeep trail to be blocked by blow downs.

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    2. Jana, when my wife had a miscarriage, I was in Lebanon. The wife of a British Navy Chief took her to the hospital, as I was not there.

      Then when our first child was born, my wife had to drive herself to the hospital because I was deployed.

      I have a lot of sympathy for military wives. Nobody knows how hard it is for them, or how much they do that regular wives never have to deal with. Quite aside from the fact that when the husband leaves, even on a peacetime deployment, she can never be sure he will come back. Since 9-11, it's been continuous war and that makes it so much worse for them. They deserve every iota of help others can give them.

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  10. Hey Harry,

    (captaincrunch)

    Wow 60 MPH wind speeds! That's nothing down here on the coast. I can understand the forest tree's, etc. blowing down but where I am at we don't start getting worried until the wind is about 100 MPH.

    Our Walmart and other stores did the same for the hurricane but the smart one's where already prepared and did not need to stand in line.
    What amazes me is how everyone runs around like chickens with heads 'cut off' I was as calm as can be. No worries. I had stuff to do and a last minute trip to the store, more fuel and a few other things. I watched people scramble boarding up their houses, some get injured doing so. Minor injuries done out of speediness and panic. I installed hurricane shutters on my house back in '05 so that was not a problem. I just had to pick up some stuff around the house so the high winds would turn those items into missiles.
    I guess you could call it, Secure for Sea.

    One other word of wisdom Harry is to charge your cell phone, get a backup battery for a cell phone and if you have to communicate via cell phone. Use texting. Texting gets through easier when cell circuits are jammed up with calls or if the towers are down.

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    1. Brother, if you had pine beetle trees down there, you'd worry about 35 mile an hour winds, I sh*t you not. Pine beetles kill the pines, so you have a twenty foot tree, a foot across, just waiting to fall. Multiply that by thousands of trees, and you see why we sweat bullets over high winds. I'll take some pictures of pine beetle trees on my land and post them when all this is over, one picture is worth a thousand words.

      Part of our issue here with runs on the stores was the hundreds of Florida evacuees arriving here with virtually nothing. We were in town today again, and my wife said there were many, many frazzled families from Florida, buying basic things like clothing, toiletry articles, etc because they left home with nothing. I saw some of those people in the Burgher King too. Frazzled, worn out, and worried about what was happening at home.

      Prior planning does indeed prevent poor performance. Remember, though, you don't have a big family to drag around and be responsible for. Life is always a damn sight easier when you only have to take care of yourself, I can promise you that.

      I've got a device that I can charge cell phones off of. Should be good for a week or so even if I don't have to recharge the device itself off the generator.

      Remember, guy , all I CAN do from here with a cell phone is text. Coverage is so bad that the only way I can do voice is to go up the mountain, to a big granite outcrop, and climb up on a boulder. Sometimes, but not often, I can get a signal there but I have to talk fast as it soon craps out.

      I keep a land line because cell service is so hit and miss here, but the land line will go out if the telephone poles go down. :-(

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  11. Harry - this is going to post as "jambaloney" but it's me...kymber. my computer died yesterday so jam is gone into town to get me a new one...from our emergency savings (thank goodness for emergency savings!). i know that you and your wife are well stocked - but i also know that we get apprehensive no matter how well we are stocked when a storm blows through. last week we had 2 straight days and nights of rain and wind just slamming our crappy little cottage...and even though we knew we had enough food to last a dog's age, and enough fuel for the generator and a couple of other tricks that we have learned along the way...we were still anxious and apprehensive for 48hrs. nothing compared to the people who went through harvey and irma, and nothing compared to the people that are going to experience the remnants. all of this to say that i know how anxious you must be feeling but we have you in our thoughts and prayers as always! i know that you know what you are doing - i just want you to know that we are thinking of you and hope it helps just a little. stay safe, buddy!

    sending love and prayers. your friends, as always!
    kymber and jambaloney

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    1. Kymber, I'm so tired tonight I don't have any energy to be too anxious. We worked like dogs today getting as ready as we can for heavy rain and wind. I haven't been this completely worn out in years.

      Yesterday we really did sweat bullets though. Both M and I were keyed up, because we know that high winds could really hurt us up here. There are gigantic oaks and poplars all around my house. Let one of those come down on us during the night and it's all over but the crying. Also we worry about the massive amount of water that can come down off the mountain, right across the meadow, and right into the back of our buildings. Never thought of that, or knew anything about it, when we were building here. Who ever heard of worrying about flooding on the top of a mountain. But it's a real deal problem.

      Tonight the weather people are saying the storm has moved West , but at the same time we have flood warnings for tomorrow, heavy rain warnings, and high wind warnings. Makes me wonder why they even bother with that "cone" thing if you are no better off out of it than in it.

      I'm not looking forward to tomorrow night. That's when the worst is supposed to hit here. It's ALWAYS at night, when you are already tired, you can't see, and if you have to go out to do repairs it's ten times harder than during the day. >:-(

      Thanks for the kind thoughts. I expect we'll get by, it's just a question of how much damage we take in the process.

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  12. I live off grid here in Wisconsin so I'm focused on power usage. I'm wondering why your 5kw generator can't also handle the frig/freezer. What other uses do you have for it other than lights and the well pump - which doesn't use power unless you use water? My solar system only has 4kw inverter and handles all my requirements full time.
    If you're interested in keeping the internet up and have at least 1 bar on a cell phone you can use a cell hotspot and Wilson amplifier and get cell and internet. It's what I use here as not utilities enter the property.
    Good luck with the storm.

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    1. Loren,

      It's load management, among other things. 5 KW is not a whole lot of power to run two deep freezers, a refrigerator, five dehumidifiers, three air conditioners, computers, satellite receivers, lights, pumps, fans, radios, ad nauseam.

      So, you have to be constantly figuring out what's running and what's not, what needs to be powered and what you can do without. It doesn't help that the really big loads, like the freezers and refrigerator, will kick on intermittently. If you haven't figured right, you lug down the generator, get low ams, and there goes your sensitive electronic gear unless it's on battery backups, let alone the compressors and electric motors that might be running.

      I'm afraid we don't get cell phone service here at the best of times. We usually get a text if someone sends one, but it can be hours after it was sent. Terrain masking from the surrounding mountains, and the paucity of towers here, makes cell service iffy outside of town.

      I have three buildings that are wired and have some fairly big energy hogs in them, so running the generator is a little harder in terms of load management. Then too, I hate the racket the thing makes, and the stink. I could build another shed further from the house to help with that, and I could sandbag the shed and run an exhaust hose into an african engineered muffler, but I tried some of that before and it didn't reduce the noise level enough to be worth the effort.

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  13. I have friends in Blue ridge, worried about them. They arent as well prepared as you.
    I have one of those lawnmower engines in a cage generators here in Ohio. I would love to have a diesel, but I havent found one I can afford. I'm glad you got one.

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    1. I think Blue Ridge is going to have the same problems as Hiawassee, Cleveland, Helen, Blairsville, Young Harris, et al. The wind will knock out the power systems, and the rain will cause water damage in houses. There's really not a lot any of us can do about it except hope the worst misses us.

      I bought a diesel generator back in 99 because I had two 500 gallon storage tanks for diesel, and my big truck was a diesel. It just made sense. I've been really pleased with my generator over the years, although you have to electrically start it in winter because there's no way on earth it will start with a pull rope. Gas is better in that respect. I knew I would need to store a lot of fuel, and I didn't want a thousand gallons of gasoline upslope of my house! ;-)

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  14. Flatlanders think that just because you live in the mountians, things will be easier for you during hurricane conditions. It's not. We stay prepared also, all the time. When the remnents of Hurricane Harvey blew through a couple of weeks ago, we had high winds, flash flooding from the rain, roads blocked from fallen trees, and intermittent power outages. Now Irmas commin'.

    Don from West by GOD Virginia.

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    1. Don, of all the things we deal with up here, ice storms, snow storms, tornadoes, forest fires I think the thing that has done me personally the most damage over the years has got to be hurricane remnants. The power goes out, and it stays out. Two weeks once. The trees come down like pick up sticks, these damned pine beetle trees are a curse, they fall at the blink of an eye and burn like hell in fire season.

      My rear is dragging, I've been working like a dog for two days, beefing up the measures I had already taken to deal with heavy rain. I didn't built directly on the topographic crest of this mountain because the winds in winter would have blown me off it. But building down slope left me wide open to the torrents of rain water that come straight down the mountain after heavy rains.

      Guess we'll see how it goes. Tomorrow night is supposed to be one of those really bad ones....

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  15. I agree...we have to help ourselves. I wasn't prepared in 1998 and I remember going to the downtown area where there was limited power, trying to withdraw cash and my card kept getting rejected. It was quite scary and I learned a lot of lessons. And honestly...faith is good, but there is not magic out there.

    You sound very prepared Harry, I hope you're all safe and sound.

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    1. Rain, we've done what we can, but if the trees fall or the water overruns the diversion ditches, there isn't much I can do. I just have to wait and see what happens. The worst thing about tomorrow is that the heavy weather that represents the worst threat won't get here til after dark, and then it's supposed to rain and blow all night. It's going to be a long night. :-(

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