Sunday, November 12, 2017

Cold, rainy and quiet. A new series of self sufficiency books. That's what I'm trying to say.

It's raining now, and will be on and off all day. We weren't planning on going anywhere, anyway. Sunday, of all days, M and I usually stay home.

I've got a fire going for her, so she and Rufus the Ancient Pomeranian can relax on the couch upstairs on the main floor.

I'm downstairs, in the "big computer room."  I fixed up a "little computer room" for M on the main level, so she doesn't have to come down the stairs to use a computer.

There are three flights of stairs in this house, all of them pretty steep. When I was 32 that seemed just fine, but now, at 65, I realize that probably wasn't a great design feature.

You don't really think you will ever get old when you are that age, though.

Enough leaves have come off the trees now to open up the views around the house. In summer, the foliage is so dense,  that if I want a view I have to walk up the mountain to a big outcropping of granite boulders. But in winter, the trees don't block the view and we have mountains all around us. It's a nice time of year. So quiet, with all the tourists and summer folks gone.

A cartoon I especially liked:

That's what I am trying to say:

I have, from time to time, mentioned that the old guns I collect have a feel to them.  They have something modern guns just don't. I have some modern guns, but I bought them for utilitarian purposes, and they don't evoke any particular sense of history.

I saw a link to this story on Gorge's blog, and I wanted to relink to it here because the writer pretty well captures and expresses how the old guns have an effect on some people who collect them.

A relink from Gorge's blog.

Two new catalogs came in the mail this week, The CH Kadels and the BudK.  They both had some really good things in them, at reasonable prices.

I ordered some antibiotics from the CH catalog, they had a good price on several different types.

They are also offering a number of new specialty books from the "Self Sufficiency Series." I checked their prices vrs Amazon, and they were about the same. So, if you have an Amazon Prime account and want any of the books, you can save shipping costs and maybe tax money by going that route.

I haven't ordered any of these yet.  They run about $10.00 each new. I found some of them used, in good shape, for about $4.00.    I was thinking I'll buy one a week or so, and add them to my Self Sufficiency library here on the mountain top.  Again, I look at this place as something to be passed on to my grown kids at some point in the future, so books like this are an investment for the future, even if I don't actually use the information myself.

Here are some blogs that are written by people that could help a novice, and would be glad to answer questions about these subjects.  If you know people who are "duty experts" about these topics, or you are yourself, please let me know so I can link to the blogs.  "duty expert" is a Marine Corps term with positive connotations. It means the person in a group who has the most experience and expertise in a certain endeavor.  If the "duty expert" is a Corporal, and you are a Captain, then the Corporal honcho's the project (though you remain responsible if it goes bust). Expertise is what counts, not rank.

So "duty expert" is far from being a derogatory term, just for the record.

Joel's Gulch.     Joel and his dog live in the Southwestern Desert. He is a past master at using what's to hand to make a sustainable habitat in that environment.  He's very good at innovation, and his blog is very interesting.

Joel's Gulch

Rain is very knowledgeable about making cheese. She has produced some beautiful cheeses right in her own kitchen. She lives in a nice place in the woods, in Canada.

Rain's Garden

Leigh is a homesteader, and an author of self sufficiency books.  She lives here in the South, on her farm with her husband. She's a source of information on just about everything there is to wonder about in the self sufficiency life style.

Five Acres and a Dream

Kymber and J. live on the eastern coast of Canada. They are remarkable people in a number of ways, not least in how they have built a wonderful home for themselves, by themselves.  They can find a use for everything that comes to hand, and they live in a spectacularly beautiful place.

Framboise Manor

Lisa lives in a rural setting in Virginia.  She's a long distance runner,  equestrian, mom, wife and teacher.  She sent me some hard tack she made once, that was better than anything I ever bought. She was also home on her farm, with her kids, when a crazy man tried to break in. That's a tale that raises the hair on the back of your neck.  She's got good survivalist skills, especially in the kitchen.

Two Bears Farm

There are a lot of other people out there with good blogs, who have information and advice to offer. I'll try to post a few more before long.

This months American Survival Guide showed up in the mail box.  Mostly winter topics, appropriately enough.  There was an article on good books about survival related topics. One of the books they recommended was on the Anasazi culture. I've always been interested in that, and made a trip out to Chaco canyon with my son and middle brother back in 2005. I ordered the book on Kindle, and it's been a good one.

Modern Pioneer has been coming out with some very good issues.  I haven't been buying it, but I am going to see if I can get the Kindle edition.  That would be inexpensive, and functional. With American Survival Guide and Off Grid I buy the Kindle version and the hard copy.  I think just the Kindle version of this would be enough. I can keep the Kindle going for a long, long time even in a power down situation. And, with my new Kindle that has 64 GB of memory, I can store a lot more articles on the device itself.


Thought for the Day:


  1. It's kind of the other way around here, as Fort Collins is a College town. The population drops during the summer, and jumps up during the school year.

    The Kipling quote was great. I truly feel at home here, far more than I ever did in SoCal.

    I'm back with my tribe.....

    1. That's what it comes down to, isn't it? Living with people, and around people, who share your value system. If you live where people think it's ok to steal the park benches and take them home, and you don't think it's ok, then it causes stress and anger. Life is hard enough without having to constantly be trying to "accomodate" other tribes that have nothing in common with yours, or you, and don't care about "accomodating" you.

      Kipling said a lot of things that are absolutely true, but are "out of style" these days with a lot of the country. Too bad for that half of the country...

      One thing about a college town, there will be lots of good places to go for a nice dinner, and lots of book stores....

    2. Yep, there's a lot of stuff to do here. My wife was worried she wouldn't be able to find a playhouse as we both enjoy going to "live" plays.

      HAH! The Lincoln Center in Fort Collins has touring companies, off-Broadway musicals, classical and popular concerts, and there are at least three community theater places here.

      The movie theater we went to see the new Blade Runner movie at was a Cinemark, with the deluxe individual reclining leather seats just like the high-priced ones have in SoCal.

      Only the place was spotless, and it's several years old. And the candy at the concession stand was out in the open! You paid the young person behind the counter, and then took what you paid for from the display, and went to see your movie.

      Try that in SoCal and you'll get robbed blind!

      It's another "Culture Shock" thing for my wife, but a pleasant reminder for me of how things used to be, and should be.

      Yeah, there's book stores all over the place, and we still have a functioning Border's Books. And some very good restaurants, depending on what type of food you want.

    3. Things are really working out for you. The more I hear about your new area, the better it sounds. You and I both know why it's so much better, but if we said the reasons out loud we'd be horrible racists and right wing hardliners. Mustn't chance that!

      I sure would like to wander through the bookstores. I love doing that. But the town where we used to to the mall , about 45 miles straight line distance, is now almost completely Hispanic and too dangerous to go into. I'm not going to Chattanooga anymore. So I guess my days of hanging out in the bookstores are over.

      I just like nice restaurants, and I like any kind of food. We don't have much choice here. Basically, it's fast food or country kitchen food. I'm not knocking our restaurants, but some variety would be nice.

      You did well for yourself and your wife. Takes a lot of initiative and courage to do that, pack up and move to a new place.

  2. Yup - things we could managed in our 30's certainly become an effort as we get old... When we built our house 5 years ago, we installed two upstairs bedrooms which have fantastic views. Downstairs there is a third bedroom - next to the bathroom. We decided that that bedroom would be the better option for us going forward... Now, I only have to go upstairs when I need to clean them or get them ready for visitors.

    Those books look like they are a wise investment for your kids - when their "time-out" arrives ;)

    1. Our laundry room is in the lowest level of the house, the one that is underground on two sides, because the house is built back into the side of the mountain. We did have sense enough to build in a laundry chute to all three levels, so you can throw dirty clothes in that, and they fall down into a big basket in the laundry room. But there's no getting around hauling the clean clothes back up one or two flights of stairs.

      When our kids grew up and moved away, we had a lot of free space, so my wife and I moved from the loft bedroom to two of the bedrooms on the ground floor. The left bedroom is bigger, has a nice view in winter, and has a separate bath, but I was afraid M would fall down the stairs and get killed one of these days.

      Everything here will go to the kids if either of them will come back. I think my son might, and my daughter might come with him. By the time I croak, maybe they will have had enough of that particular city lifestyle. It has to wear on them, I don't care how many good things there are to do in a city that we don't have here.

      The place is a going concern right now, well supplied and equipped, and I want them to have it. The library will go with the house, of course. I have given away a lot of my history books, both to individuals and to the military college, but I still have probably 600 or so. M wants me to get rid of the history books so the kids don't have to fool with it, but the practical books will still have a place here.

  3. I haven't seen that Modern Pioneer magazine, but that looks like something I'd love! Thanks for the mention :-) Speaking of equestrian matters, I made a playlist of music for Francie. Much of it sounds like the type of music you'd hear in movies when horses are riding across fields into battle. Fun stuff. I just got a little clip on speaker that works with Bluetooth so I can play it while riding. Francie seems to really enjoy it!

    1. I like Modern Pioneer, but I have to be practical about magazines, as it is I spend all that's budgeted for those on Disaster's Edge, American Survival Guide, and Off Grid. But Modern Pioneer has evolved, it used to be primarily "primitive living skills" which I have little use for. I'm not bugging out of here to live in the woods in a wikiup.

      Now though, it's starting to have some articles that are useful to me. So I am going to get the digital version if I can.

      I think your blog is both interesting, and a good resource, especially for people who want to learn how to preserve food or make specialty foods like that wonderful hard tack.

      The music for Francie is a good idea. I will tell Elizabeth about that. I don't think they ride Seamus anymore, he is too old now, but he gets led around for exercise and he might enjoy it then.

      When Elizabeth moves on down to Florida, Seamus is coming to live here in North Georgia . We are boarding him at a stable that has a vast tract of land , with pastures, meadows, and nice streams of clear water. They have good stalls for the horses when bad winter weather comes. It is only about 15 minutes drive from the house. We kept the kids horses up here in the meadow when they were living at home, but that's a lot of work and it will be easier for us and more comfortable for Seamus if he lives at the stable.

  4. Harry - thank you for the kind words and mention. there are a pile of us who have links to each other's blogs because there is so much to learn from everyone. there are so many things that we wouldn't have any idea about but we learned from others. and for that we are very grateful! and i will be definitely checking out some of those books!

    sending love to you all! your friend,

    1. Kymber, it really is a sort of virtual community. I think only about 1 in every 30 people who are interested in self sufficiency actually blog, for a number of reasons. But those that do, generally don't mind sharing what they know and helping those with specific questions in areas where the blogger has expertise.

      We all do what we can, I think. I know you and J have covered a lot of ground up there in areas where your experiences could save newcomers from making some mistakes.

      I also think you write an interesting blog and the pictures are spectacular. I am envious of your set up.

  5. Harry,

    Relaxing in the house with a nice fire going while it's raining cool outside is my type of day. Why go out and get wet and cold, when you can stay inside, warm, and read, or work on a hobby/project.

    Great blogs to use are referral and reference!!!!
    When you come across good resource materials, I say snag it up and put it with the rest of your resources. The material will always come in handy for quick referral or for actually training a person how to do something (like our kids).
    Hugs to you and M!

    1. Sandy, it has been a pretty nice day here. It's just turning dark (a little after six p.m.) and all I have for tonight is a little light reading.

      I did get outside and clean all the leaves off the parking pads, it had reached the point where I was having to wade through them to get to the barn.

      I think that if there had been an internet when I started building this place on the mountain top, I could have avoided some pitfalls because I would have had recourse to the experiences of people who had already done it. As it was, things were hit or miss, and some of the decisions I made back then could have been bettered.

      I do try to maintain a good printed self sufficiency library up here. For one thing, I often go back and refer to the books on this , that or the other. They also represent a store of knowledge that will outlast me, and be available for my family.

      Hope all is going well with the rebuild. It sure looked like it was going to turn out nicely.

  6. I've lived is several States and a couple of other continents. You're right that tribe is everything. Here in very Rural Wisconsin we had a kind of neighbor impromptu meeting involving a tired old guy and his deer and a bunch of others. Nice to meet a bunch of the locals again.
    My only son still lives in Australia but perhaps one day........nah, who am I kidding?

    1. Loren, I tried to immigrate to Australia in the 1990's, but they said they had enough school teachers and that I would have to have a job before I could move there. They said I was welcome to visit, they were nice about it. Your son is lucky. What a great place to live and what nice people.

      I was really happy here when everybody was "rural southern", I'm not so happy with swarms of Hispanics, and now certain other ethnic groups I could do without. They disrupt the flow of life, they are demanding, intrusive, and pushy. They bring along with them their own negative baggage and inflict it on us. As you say, Tribe is everything. If I wanted to live with Habibi and Jose and Cleotus, I'd go live in Atlanta.

  7. Hi Harry :) Oh gosh, that's one thing Alex and I discussed...we want to move into a more stairs for us. Mainly because of the crazy amount of pets running around, but also the vacuuming kills us! I'm sure my knees will thank me as well! It's a nice time of year here too...the summer annoying people are gone. Now we just have to deal with weekenders who simply LOVE their snowmobiles and LOVE to rev them and run up and down the street, idiots. We live in a village where police presence doesn't really exist and people know they can get away with anything. A quieter life in the mountains and woods can't come quick enough! :)

    I tried Amazon Prime, but in Canada, the only benefit is the fact that I can order under the minimum $35 requirement for free shipping. It doesn't even come faster here after my free month, I gave it up. Those books look REALLY interesting! I'm going to look for them, maybe on as well. I don't mind used if I can save a buck! And thank you so much for saying such a nice thing about my CHEESE!!! :))) I often tell Alex I wish I could find a way to send some of my cheese to my friends, but I KNOW they'd all be eaten at the border lol...if they make it without turning all sorts of colours ha ha!

    I like when you post magazines, they interest me to look into them. We don't have much choice in this area if you go to the stores that is, they're mostly in french, ugh.

    Oh guess what? I got a $200 transfer from Mr. I'm Finding Myself In Morocco. Thank you so much for taking care of my dogs, I am doing so well, and I can't wait to see them again. Any bets on the next message being "I don't think I can take my dogs back now"'s kind of become a soap opera type of joke for me now. I've let go of the anger, I'm enjoying the dogs and I'm taking that money.

    Very nice of you to make M comfy by the fire and the computer. Very sweet of you Harry. :)

    1. Rain, I would have done a lot differently if I were building this compound again, now.

      I would have bulldozed out more flat space and built a one level house.

      I would have bulldozed out a meadow that went all the way around the buildings, not just 180 degrees. I wanted to keep the land as unaffected as I could, but that was a mistake.

      I would have built two more purpose built storage sheds while I had the equipment and the work force up here to do it.

      But I did a lot of things right, so I am pretty satisfied. We are considering having a plumber come out and turn the big pantry next to the kitchen into a laundry room, and converting the current laundry room in the lowest level to more storage space.

      I had to build a gate because people would come up here from the city, in their brand new four wheel drive vehicles, and they would find my Jeep Trail. Then they would think, look, an old abandoned forest service road! And up they would come. But there is no loop drive way, and it is very steep. So lots of times, they couldn't get out. And I'd have to back their vehicles down into the dogs leg cleared space for them, which is hard with big vehicles that you are not used to. It used to really make me angry. So I build the gate and nobody bothers me anymore.

      Amazon prime has worked out well for us. TewShooz out in the Oregon High Desert recommended it to me. At first, $100.00 a year seemed very high, but now my wife and my two adult kids use the account, you can have a total of four family members on the same account, and it has worked out well for us. For instance, I have placed 20 orders with Amazon in the last 6 weeks, mostly books and ferret supplies, and electronics. I got free shipping on all of them and it was pretty nice.

      But in your situation, I can see how it wouldn't really be cost effective. You have to use Amazon a lot to make your money back.

      I buy LOTS of used books. I don't care if they are used if they are in good condition. I don't even care if people have highlighted passages in them. I plan on buying that new series, they look like good value but if I can get them used I'll do that route first.

      I post the magazines so people will know what's out there, and if they think they would be helpful they can get them. I think it would cost a lot to subscribe from Canada though. And if most of the magazines there are in French, that let's that out. But you won't be there forever, some day you will have a nice place with other people who speak English in your town, not French.!

      Well, I think better of that guy for doing right by you and sending money to pay for his dogs food and care. He isn't such a worthless b*****d afterall. He still did wrong by taking advantage of you and just leaving the dogs when he knew damn well he wasn't coming back. But at least he has done right by you on the money.

      I think you know a lot about making cheese, and I know a lot of people in the self sufficiency mind set want to make their own. There are a few women whose blogs I read who have successfully made cheese, and yours is one of the best.

      I think cheese is pretty hard to ship. If my wife and I ever come up to Canada to visit Kymber and J, we will have to come see you and Alex, and have some of your cheese. ;-)

      I'm glad to get your comment. I always enjoy them but I also noticed you hadn't posted in a bit and I was worried something bad had happened up there.

  8. Thanks for thinking of me Harry...everything is just great here, but everytime I think I've found my routines again, something happens and I'm running around like a chicken with my head cut off or something! It's weird to me how just having two extra dogs in the house throws everything off...I do love those two, I'm especially sweet on Pavlov, the young male border collie...he's the most adorable dog in the world...but Alex and I decided it's too much. Yeah, he sent money but he still is a b*****d in my books lol...I can forgive a person, for me, not for them, so that it helps me let go of the negativity, but I don't forget easily and he struck out in my book.

    The cheese is actually really going well now! I'm about to try a new cream cheese recipe today so fingers crossed.

    That would have annoyed me so much if those city-four-wheelie-types ended up on my trail too. A gate isn't going to be an option, it's a necessity for us! :) Our last rental, we had a huge driveway on the corner of two roads. The landlords used to own a snow-removal service, so they kept all their vehicles there at one time. When we moved it was just a huge graveled lot. People used to think it was free parking and we'd always have to inform them. One time a weekend-motorcycle-idiot from the city actually parked in our parking lot, and started having his lunch. Alex was furious and went out. The guy actually was defiant with Alex and didn't want to leave until I came out with my phone and started the video taping and saying we're calling the cops...after that we put a big rope with "private property" on it...people can be so ignorant!

    Oh that would be so much fun, sitting down to a nice cheese plate! :) I'm really hoping to meet Kymber and J in the future. Alex and I have our sights on Nova Scotia, more specifically Cape Breton, as our permanent home, so it's likely we'll bump into them over the years. I've been there many times for visits, and I love it. Oh life without hearing that low-class Quebec French will be a grand day for us lol!

    It's interesting to read what you would have done now that you've lived on your land for a while. I'm learning from others because we all have to get older right? I want life to be as easy as possible. Alex is much younger so he will still be able to do lots more than I will as the years go by, but if we can try to put comfort and ease into place at the beginning, that would be very nice.

    1. Rain, what will you do with Pavlov and the other little dog? Do you think you can find someone to take them in? I know it's a hard situation. If we lived up there I would take them, but I know that's no help at the moment...

      You just have to get way out away from people, and then make a few adjustments so they don't get right up on you, inadvertently or otherwise. That's why I bought property with forest service land on three sides, and I bought the land down to the foot of the mountain on the fourth side.

      Who knows, we may all get together one of these days. Back in the 1990's , people had "blog fests", they would all agree to meet at a certain place, usually a resort town, and then everybody would get to know everybody else. M and I went to some of those and it was a lot of fun. Often, the people didn't look anything like you thought they would from their blogs. As far as I know, the practice has died out now though. Maybe social media replaced it?

      Looking back, it's always easy to see mistakes in just about anything you do. I really should have planned better for old age, but when you are young, you just don't think about that.

      I'm glad you are ok. I kind of worry when someone who posts regularly , suddenly misses a few days. All too often, there's a reason for it that's bad, like an accident, or sickness. I've lost some blog friends over the years, it just happens. But I'm glad you and Alex are ok.

    2. Hi Harry...well, for now we're committed to taking care of them until June or July latest. If he doesn't come back or if he needs to "keep finding himself", we will find them new homes. But they need to be together, we can't separate them. Mom and her would be horrible if they got separated again, they've already been for months at a time. It's going to be hard because we have to be ultra picky with new owners...but we're still hoping it doesn't come down to that situation. That jerk was ready to put them in a shelter, so we couldn't even trust him with finding new homes for his own dogs. Selfish.

      Way away from people is the idea. Alex and I don't have much money but we are trying our best to come up with some kind of down payment. We agreed, we are willing to live in a small cabin or cottage as long as we have lots of land in between us and the next person around. Oh, that would be glorious to have forest service land, or crown land all around us! That's something else we're looking for.

      I kind of remember those blog fests, one of my friends participated in one and met her boyfriend that way! You don't see it as much anymore, I guess it gets too expensive to travel! Social media...I can't stand...blogging is as far as I can handle!

      Thanks again for thinking of us, with the dogs and Christmas coming up...and that darn has been really surprisingly busy lately! But we're still taking time to have dinner together each night and a movie after, I think that's really important.

    3. Oh, and your offer to take Pavlov and his mom Stella...that is super, but you know, not realistic probably! Still though, I told Alex and he smiled at that. There aren't too many people who are willing to take in fosters and adopt them. I know you'd be a great fur-dad to them :) Let's hope that the owner grows up some.

    4. Rain, I hope you can find a home for the two dogs. If that Moroccan gets them back, he'll just dump them in a shelter the first time they become "inconvenient." I know it would be hard to get them down here, especially crossing the border where some of the guards are such jerks (on both sides of the border) but as a last resort I could research it.

      We didn't have a lot of money when we came here. We had some savings, I borrowed most of the money from the local bank and then paid it off over decades. As long as you don't have kids, a small place will work out fine. In fact, lots of people these days are intentionally building or buying "tiny houses" because they cost less and you can move them when you have to move to a new location. My daughter is interested in those.

      Blog fests are pretty much gone now. No one whose blog I read has mentioned one in years. It's a shame though, they were fun.

      I hope all is going well up there. I haven't been on the internet much, need to come by and see what you have been doing.

  9. Replies
    1. Matt, I got that letter and wrote you back. Is the first letter you sent the one you mean, has there been another one? If so ,I didn't get it.

  10. The Drudge Report has a link to today 11/16/17
    about airliners and F15s scrambling to find an unknown type air craft over Oregon. The happened Oct. 25th. I remember that day. I live about 15 miles S of Portland and when those F15s went overhead, I started praying. Serious praying. I was scared. They were so low, fast and screaming LOUD, all I could do was start praying. After what I read in the article, maybe it was a good thing at least somebody was praying. That type of flying was unusual. I wonder what it was that was seen and reported by all those pilots. Man, was I afraid. Could you look into this a bit and see what you can turn up?
    It says it was seen over southern Oregon. That's where mom and dad live.

    1. The mountain shown in that article, was Mt. Shasta. In UFO and other paranormal circles, this mountain is "well known" as the source for all manner of unexplained events. That was why the mountain wad mentioned without directly saying what I just did.

    2. I hadn't heard anything about it. Can you send me the link, Matt? I checked to make sure somebody hadn't sent it to me and I just missed it, but it doesn't look like I have it. I'm interested in that sort of thing and would like to read the article.

  11. keep meaning to ask what 'weird biofuel arrayed' means at the top of the page.
    thanks. deb

    1. Deb, it means "destiny is all." Dates back to the Dark Ages. Still true.

  12. Wow, Harry, thanks for the plug! Much appreciated. :)

    "You don't really think you will ever get old when you are that age... " I still don't think I'll ever get old - and then I look in the mirror! LOL

    1. Leigh, you're very knowledgeable about things like farming and food preservation. I'm not, I am weak in those areas. So it's good to be able to refer people to someone who can give them good information.

      I feel old. Especially when I have a day like today, where I have a lot to do outside and can't get it all done in one fell swoop because I'm too tired.

  13. I like all the DIY magazines. Travis grows a lot of veggies, fruit, and herbs. I make laundry soap. I've tried making my own liquid hand soap, but it all kept separating out. The kids do best with liquid soap over bar soap. I make my own cleaners as well.

    1. Those magazines do come in handy. I've learned a lot from mine, over the years. And I enjoy reading them again after some time has passed.

      I have seen on your blog where you have experimented with different things and I admire that. With all you have to do, I don't know how you find the time.

  14. Once again, Harry.... check your email.