Friday, December 22, 2017

Merry Christmas!

I'm doing my Christmas post a bit early this year, as the kids are both coming home and we are getting ready for a big Christmas get together. I hope everybody out there has a nice Christmas, quiet and peaceful. See you all after the New Year.

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Feeling my age. Almost got a new ferret. Found some comments in the spam filter.

This has been a tough few months on "the old crowd."  The people I went to college with, the people in my reserve unit then especially, and the people I was in the service with.  A lot of them have passed on recently. In my own extended family, there have been some health issues, and now I find out my brother in law up in Baltimore, whom I have always liked, has a brain tumor and he's done for. He's a year older than I am.  I make it a practice not to wring my hands about things like health issues , or other "age related" things. It's a part of life you just have to accept.  But I tell you, it does drag a fellow down when your peers start crossing the rainbow bridge all around you.

When you get to the age that most of the people in the obituary column are your contemporaries , it does change your attitude about some things.  Should you stop getting new animals, in case you croak and they don't have anyone to care for them?  Should you stop buying things like books, because it just means more work for the kids when they have to get rid of your things.

Twenty years or more ago, there was a woman who wrote a column for the Atlanta Journal. She was an old lady, one of the old school Southern upper class ladies you don't see much anymore. Her little column was just about thoughtful things.  One of them was written about going to an estate sale after her best friend died.  All the things that meant so much to her friend, were just laid out on tables and people were rummaging  through them.  Even back then, when I was still relatively young, the thought of that horrified me.

Like the old viking, when you get past your mid sixties you probably should give some planning to wrapping things up. I'm not talking about estate planning, just how your lifestyle should be modified. I still have as much work to do up here as ever, but it takes me longer and leaves me worn down to the nub. I don't mind it, but it's certainly a constant reminder that I'm getting on.

I'm not about to go, as far as I know, and I'm going to keep doing the things I enjoy as long as I can. Life is pretty good for us up here, and we might as well live it the way we want to as long as we are able.

Wire Note: I found three comments in the spam filter, dating back to the first week of December. Posted them Tonight. I don't see any reason for them to have been routed to spam. Sorry it took me so long to find them.

I thought I might have a new ferret here soon.  My wife saw an add in the paper , where someone needed to sell their ferret.  I called them, because that's a recipe for disaster. People buy ferrets without a clue to the expense and effort it  takes to care for them.  When I called the lady, she was really nice, and said she was sorry, but she had already sold her ferret. But, she said the people were nice, middle aged people who already had a ferret, and wanted a companion for him.  So I was relieved that turned out well.

(the ferret paintings are by Stef. She's linked on the side board.)

I have just about gotten the place back up to speed. Since the hurricane remnants and then these storms coming through, there was a lot to do.  Today I finished up the most important items still on the list, and the others are not so onerous.  I'm glad to be getting back to normal.

I got an email from a salesperson at SOG today, saying she didn't know why the phones there didn't forward me on to a sales person, or why my emails were returned. I sent them one this morning, and she responded right away.  Glad to know they are not going under, there aren't many outfits like that left. I missed the sale on the Mosin Nagant pistol ammo, though.

Some cartoons:

Thought for the Day:

Monday, December 18, 2017

SOG disappears? Power problems. Meanwhile, down in Atlanta. The Library.

I mentioned in an earlier post that I couldn't get in touch with SOG on the phone, so I emailed them.  I got back a message from the server saying that the SOG email address was no longer accepting incoming emails.  That sounds bad.  I have bought a lot of things, from ammo to guns and everything in between, from SOG. Their monthly flyer was the best of all the big surplus houses, in color and usually 16 pages long, full of all your heart could desire.  They stopped doing a monthly a few years back, and went to quarterly. Then semi-annually, and last year they did a Christmas flyer (Dec 16) and that was it.

Sarco is gone, Springfield Sporters is gone, Century International has pretty well switched over to modern "black guns" and police trade ins.  I suppose that's the wave of the future. Given what surplus guns cost today, and the scarcity of supplies from overseas, I guess it had to happen. But if they do go belly up, I will certainly miss them.

The current issue of American Survival Guide has some timely information on power packs, including one I think I will buy.  The cost is reasonable and they seem to be simple to operate. When we were discussing methods of charging cell phones when the grid was out, there were lots of good ideas on how to do it. Some people built their own systems out of simple parts, such as just a battery and an inverter. Some made more sophisticated pieces of gear, and others bought off the shelf products that served them well.  I learned a lot from the exchange of ideas on that. I know most people don't read all the comments, but it's amazing how much knowledge there is out there, on just about any survival subject you care to mention.

I was in town today, and I had lunch at a local cafe where you mostly find people who live here year round. The topic of conversation was the storm.  There's a lot of anger directed towards the EMC, because the outage was so long, several days for most, and because once the power came back on, it didn't stay on for everybody. We lost power ourselves yesterday (Sunday) but only for four hours. There's a feeling in the community that not enough has been done to storm proof our grid, and too much has been done to buy expensive buildings and equipment, and pay big salaries. I've alluded to all this before, so I wasn't surprised.  I think people are disappointed because the EMC rat's nest was cleaned out last year, virtually the whole board had to resign when it was disclosed in the paper that they were doing "sweet heart" deals for each other's businesses but cutting off the power to individual homeowners who were a day late on their bills. So all the "good old boys" got turfed out, and great things were expected from the newly elected people, who were not from the "big money" class. 

This storm was a shock to all of us. I expect that some of the new board will get an earful and quit. The man who led the revolution against the old guard has already resigned , citing "personal reasons."

I guess we'll have to wait and see where it goes.

As for the mayoral election in Atlanta,  BOHICA!

What's good for Ohio is apparently  good for Atlanta.  When the first votes were "counted" the black candidate won by less than 800 votes.  In the recount, she won by 92 votes.  The certification board, primarily composed of "people of color" immediately certified the results and now Ms. Bottom is the new mayor. She may get into office before the current mayor, Kassim Reed, goes to federal prison but who knows?

It's an open secret that the votes were "pencil whipped" and the jokes about dead people, dogs, and illegal aliens voting are making the rounds.  As long as the department of justice (there's a misnomer), keeps Georgia from doing anything about voter fraud, this will just keep happening.

As for things here, we've basically just been keeping warm.  I made that trip into town today but for the most part, we are staying home.  We hit the library while we were out, and got 25 books to tide us over until the library reopens December 26th. Most of them were my wife's. She can go through mystery books pretty fast.  I got five books that are a series on the Arab Israeli wars, and one post apocalyptic fiction book I'm pretty sure I already read.

I don't hang out in the library too long. I get my books, and get out.  People my age go in there and talk really loud, probably because they are deaf.  Also, the old widowers are lonely, so they use the ladies at the check out desk as a captive audience to tell their life's story.  If my wife goes first, I'm going to remember that and do it too!  People bring their computers to the library, sit at the tables, and the whole place is filled with the noise of clicking keys.  Then, there are the cell phones. No matter there's a big sign on the entrance that says "NO CELL PHONES!"

Life goes on.  I guess.

Cartoons for Today:

Thought for the Day:

A little humor:

Friday, December 15, 2017

Are they all dead at Southern Ohio Guns? Guy Sajer was right.

Southern Ohio Guns: Where are they?

I have been trying to call Southern Ohio Guns most of the afternoon. I wanted to place an order for a case of the 7.62 ammo for the Model 1895 Nagant pistol. I have two of the pistols but only about 100 rounds of ammo for them, and I'm never going to try to reload this round.  It's the very weird one with the bullet way up inside the case.

But when I call them, I have to listen to their recording go on and on, then it says it will transfer me to the next sales rep, then it puts me on hold and that's it. Nobody ever picks up.  Southern Ohio Guns is really about the last of the great surplus houses from the old days, maybe they are going under too and the janitor is supposed to answer the phone....

Guy Sajer was right:

I've been on exercises in two countries that were frozen hells.  One was "Bold Guard, Northern Wedding " in Norway, back in the mid seventies. The other was "Team Spirit", in Korea, in the late seventies.

Both of them were miserable, no bones about it.

But Sajer fought on the Eastern Front, in WW2.  His is the best book I've read about it, and I've read a lot of them that were very good.

One of the things you get from the book, even if you have never been out of the states, is how hard it is to do the simplest things in the cold.  Everything takes longer, is more difficult, there are more problems associated with any action.

That's what it's been like here since this snow storm.  We haven't had weather anything like "deadly cold", at worst it's been in the mid teens. But it hardly warms up above freezing, and when it does it's only a few hours just before sunset , which is now about 5:30.

Getting in and out of here has been tough. You get out, and one stretch is just mushy, but when you come back it's frozen solid. Or you start down, and where you had no trouble yesterday, you start sliding today. It's all well and good if you live where the sun shines, the stuff has melted. But most of us here live where the mountains block the sun part of the day.  The sun NEVER shines on my jeep trail, because it follows a ravine on the mountainside.

Everything that normally has to be done, still has to be done. It just takes longer and you are much more worn out when you finish.

I still like winter better than summer, but I could do without the snow.

Got a new book:

"There's always the ten percent who don't get the word."  That's a Marine Corps saying for those who just aren't in the picture. The civilian equivalent is "he's a day late and a dollar short."  I am that way in one respect.  People tell me things that are happening, and I just don't believe because what they are telling me is too bizarre. Then it turns out they were right.

Some examples:

"The government is monitoring all your email, blogs, texts, and telephone calls." I laughed at this idea right up until Snowden proved it was true and the government said "well, yeah, so what?"

"George Soros is financing a One World Order agenda."  I explained to my friends why this was unlikely and it turned out to be God's Truth.

I could go on, unfortunately, but you get the drift.  If you have been reading the news lately, you know things have gotten outright frightening. One of the big wheels associated with the so called "special investigation" of President Trump turns out to be a Trump hater who sent hundreds of emails demeaning the President and saying he had to be "gotten rid of." Another of them was married to a woman who worked for the company which paid the X-British MI6 guy to dummy up the notorious "dossier" on the President.  Another was a rabid Clinton supporter who helped Commey white wash Clinton.  And on, and on, AND ON.

A friend sent me this book.  I read it, and I liked it very much.  For the first time I know of, someone came up with an idea as to how Americans could fight back, individually, and published the game plan. Granted, this was some time back, but the book is so relevant to our times it's eerie.

A lot of friends had previously recommended the book to me, but for one reason or the other I just never got a copy.  Now I regret that.   

It's not that the story or the characters are that great , it's the conceptualization of our current environment, of how things are, that is so compelling.  For me, that's what made the book terribly interesting.

You can probably get it from your library, through inter-library temp loan, unless it's gone the way of "The Turner Diaries" and is now banned.....


Thought for the Day:

Monday, December 11, 2017

Snowed in. But at least the power is on.

Monday morning here. It's coming up on eleven a.m. and the outside temperature is up to 29.

The power is on, so other than the fact that we are snowed in solid, life is pretty normal at this point.
Lots of people haven't been so fortunate. I listened to the scanners last night, and I'd say parts of the county are still in bad shape.  The Sheriff's Deputies are having to walk in to places like mine, they drive up the secondary roads as far as they can, then they have to hike in the rest of the way.  They are doing lots of welfare checks. Some elderly person lives out in the woods, up a "possum trail", and the phones are out, so their grown kids call the Sheriff and ask for a Deputy to go out and check on them.

Last night, one of the Deputies walked in over a mile to a place. When he got there, nobody answered the door. He busted in, and there was a man (65 years old) laying on the floor in the kitchen. He had been laying there for 16 hours, no heat, and in severe pain from cramps.  The Deputy called on his hand held radio, and the Fire Department sent two of it's people out in one of those Gator things , the off road vehicle with a little cab, huge tires, and a bed. They had to haul him out to the road.

That's the  type of event older people dread out here. If the phones go, how can you call for help? And if you do, can they get in to you?  Most of the calls wound up with the older people being home, but no heat, and the Fire Department evaced them and their little dogs to town, where relatives picked them up, or they went to a motel, or to one of the churches. The churches here fill in a lot of the social needs, including opening up and providing cots , heat, food, and sanitary facilities to people who need them when this kind of thing happens.

This is very heavy, wet snow. There are trees down everywhere, and I had some big limbs crashing down right around the house. One I had to pull of the roof of the apartment with a rope.  It looks pretty but it's the kiss of death for a county where the power and phone lines are virtually all overheaded.  Maybe our EMC could have buried more of the main lines, if they hadn't spent millions on their plush new headquarters, with fine carpets and mahogany furniture.

You can't walk in this stuff.  It's deeper in the forest, and after the first night, the bottom was ice and the top was heavy, clinging snow. We had temperatures in the teens at night, and up into the twenties by day.

My generator went down almost immediately.  I am pretty sure it was bad fuel.  I store a lot of diesel, and I put stabilizers in it, but if you don't use it up, it can still go bad. I think this time around, I tried to squeezer just a little extra time out of it and failed.  The moral of the story is to store less fuel, so this doesn't happen again.  Typically, 7 or 8 days is about as long as even the worst power failure lasts here, so I really only need to keep that much fuel on hand, plus an expendable reserve.

Losing the generator has more of a psychological effect than anything else. No generator, no satellite television, no internet.  That leaves satellite radio, which isn't much good for local events, and the weather radios. Those were all so overwhelmed with static that they were almost useless. The weather radio is broadcast from the top of a mountain up here. When it snows, the repeater fails when the battery goes dead. So then they send it from some place in North Carolina and the signal is so weak it's useless.

We had plenty of water. I keep about 300 gallons stored all the time. So water for cooking ,washing dishes, the bathrooms, and the animals was not a problem. We had plenty of food for everybody. We heat with a propane system that doesn't need electricity, so heating in the main house and the apartment was not an issue. I had to heat the barn and shop with kerosene heaters, but I had 30 gallons of that, enough for more than a week.

Our county has that new system we bought for sending out messages in an emergency, so from time to time we would get one of those, until our cell phones ran out of power.  Without the generator, we couldn't recharge them, so no text messages. I need to buy something that stores power and lets you charge your cell phone. Ours are old, they won't recharge off a USB port, they have to have a regular ac plug in. Must be something out there like that.

The radio stations (there are two local ones I can get now) were useless. No information, just their regular program. Not one word of useful information over the whole three days.

Today we are just waiting to see if the back roads, and especially the Jeep trail down the mountain, will melt off enough for us to get out at some point in the near future.  


Thought for the Day:

Being snowed in is not all bad:

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Well, that didn't work out like it was supposed to.

The snow storm turned out to be a little bit more than we figured on. About six inches here on the mountain, and temperatures in the mid teens at night. So it's all frozen solid, no way down the mountain. The power went out at 1:00 in the afternoon on Friday, and came back on at 10:00 this morning (Sunday).

I have a few things to do to get back up and running normally. I took some pictures I'll post here in a little bit when I am caught up, and I'll go back and answer the comments. Sorry they stacked up, I had no phones, no internet, pretty much nothing.  The diesel generator quit, which has not happened before, but all in all things went ok considering.

Friday, December 8, 2017

Snow. It wasn't supposed to happen this early.

The weather outfits on the Atlanta stations told everyone yesterday that there were  three models, and nobody knew which one was going to happen. The scenario where we actually got snow for two days was judged to be the least probable. So, nobody went to the store.  But it snowed hard last night in North Georgia. The scanners are full of people who tried to make it to town this morning,  went over the embankment, went across the median, hit trees down across the road.  The Sheriff's Department is out rescueing the elderly who are stuck along the road in their cars. There are many of them. A lot of the people who moved up here from Florida still aren't quite with the program when the word comes down it may snow here.

The number of inches of snow forecast is always for our airfield. That's in a valley. If you live another 400 or 500 feet up, you are going to get more snow. There are still plenty of people who don't realize this and then wind up appalled when they get a lot more snow than they planned on.  Not to mention the fact that the weather forecasts here are almost always way off the mark.

 So far Atlanta has snow but it's not sticking. We have maybe three inches or so outside.  Our problem in this county is that we have two 1960's era dump trucks and not much else to cope with snow.  The wreckers are making a fortune today.

We aren't planning on going anywhere til this melts off, which is supposed to be on Monday.  The power has already been going in and out, from the scanners it seems the main problem is that this is wet, heavy snow and it's pulling trees down on the power lines. That's par for the course.

By dark this evening, Atlanta is going to be in bad shape.  The "Snowmeggedon" event of 2014 caused some changes down there, and they have more salt and more snow plows, but people here just don't do well in snow.  I'm glad I'm not going to be involved in that.

It's tough when it snows in Atlanta:

Should be a fairly calm weekend, since we can't get out.  Unless, of course, the power goes down and stays down, then we'll have to go on the generator.  That is not fun.  The racket it makes drives me crazy, and the stink seems to get in the house , no matter what.