|painting by Jeff Pittman|
We have to go into town today. Last week my wife went to see her doctor, and he was supposed to have called in the prescription she needed, but it didn't get done. We had stretched her supply out to the bare nub, because we wanted to combine her lab work and the prescription in one visit. We have a $35.00 copayment on office visits, so there's no sense in going up there just to "pick up" the prescription. But when we went to get the medicine at the pharmacy Friday evening, it wasn't there. That happens a lot with this office. However, very few doctor's offices in North Georgia want to take patients who are elderly, so we don't have a lot of choices. The doctors here are not very subtle. You call the office and the person who answers the phone is very nice when you ask about coming to see the doctor. But then they ask you how old you are, and when you say 66, they say they are very sorry, but they are not accepting new patients right now. I think it has something to do with medicare. I actually have United Health Care, through my wife's retirement plan, but the age is the killer.
Centerfire has some good sales on ammo, including free shipping. The two below are not particularly spectacular in terms of price, but they are both good for long term storage.
Had someone ask me about storing fuel. Most people know about fuel additives, there are plenty of them out there for diesel, kerosene, and gasoline. They add to the long term viability of the fuel you store. I got involved in long term fuel storage when I installed a solar power system here in 1999.
If you have a diesel truck and a diesel generator, like I do, here's the best way to go in my experience.
These are home heating oil fuel tanks. I use them to store diesel. Each tank holds 500 gallons. Since my solar power system installed in 1999 was a complete and utter bust in terms of solar power, I am dependent on my generator when the grid goes down (which it does here with stunning regularity.)
(Note: the following pictures are all from 1999, which is why my hair is still black in the photos.)
With my two tanks, I just gravity flow the diesel down into a diesel can (yellow = diesel), (blue=kerosene), (red = gasoline).
Then I just take it over and fill the tanks on the truck. Diesel costs a lot more now than it did then, but I still use it because it stores a good bit longer than gas will, and it doesn't explode. I don't want two 500 gallon above ground tanks of gasoline anywhere near my place.
The power system I had installed in 1999 had a bank of 8 purpose built deep cycle batteries, which were charged (supposedly) by the solar panels, and the inverter would kick on the generator automatically if the charge got low.
The inverter was a kind of super computer, that monitored the batteries, and it also switched the flow of power from the grid to the batteries if the grid went down. I could also use it to make that switch while the power grid was up if I needed to for maintenance purposes.
This is the solar panel rack. I used Siemens panels, German built and in 1999, the best quality you could buy. Unfortunately, the rack was fixed. Solar panels need sun to work. In winter, there is very little sun here because though I live on a mountain top, higher mountains surround me on all sides. Short winter days and that sunlight blocking meant in winter, the system pretty much ran off the generator.
Originally, I tried fixing the generator on a pallet, with rubber rockers to stabilize it, and pumping the exhaust outside of the outbuilding. That never worked, it just wasn't possible to keep the place from filling up with fumes. Then I tried rolling it out and firing it up when I needed it, but that was not practical, especially in bad weather. Eventually I wound up mounting it on the ground level, at the downslope side of the house. Noisy, but it does work.
I store flammables like paint, gasoline, and kerosene in a shack out away from the buildings. It's in the tree line, so shaded, and it's not air tight so fumes can't build up. These days, I just use the generator.
|This is a bit more primitive than my storage shack, but it gives you the idea.|
There are all kinds of stabilizers for fuel on the market. These are just representative of the choices.
Doesn't hurt to keep fuel stored. Kerosene is great for back up heaters, and lamps. Most power tools that don't use electricity run off gasoline, and as in my case, some trucks and generators do.
Some things about Appalachia haven't changed much:
I mentioned going to a gathering here recently. Part of it involved doing some competitive shooting with whatever you had at the house. It was just for fun. At first, I was surprised at how many surplus guns I saw, but talking to people, most of them came from that department store in the next county that used to sell guns, though they've not done so for probably 15 years now. I noticed it was the younger guys, in the teen to twenty something range, that were using most of these and they got them from their fathers. People here don't spend money on hunting weapons like they used to, so the older men have stepped up to the commercial hunting rifles and the younger guys, who aren't much into hunting, just use the old surplus guns. This is a huge generalization of course, but it seems to be valid. I wish I could have taken some photos for the blog, but that would not have been well received. Everyone is ancey, these days, and I didn't want to cause any problems.
I saw both MK. III and MK. IV Enfields. It's worth noting that the shooters I watched were all using commercial ammo, and to my great surprise they were not reloading it. I got a good many one time fired pieces of brass in .303, since no one wanted them. I didn't see any surplus .303 British being used.
I saw "American Enfield" rifles, the Model 1917. I'm sure those came from that department store, because that's where I got mine, and I remember they got several crates of them in and they went fast.
Of course, there was every kind of commercial hunting rifle you could imagine, by far the most common being bolt guns, followed by the lever guns. There was no range control to speak of, it was self regulated, and I didn't see any bad gun handling or acts of stupidity. But considering the fellows who were there, I would have been surprised if that kind of thing happened.
So the old guns are still up here, and these guys were not collectors. It's been a long time since I've been to a "shoot" and I enjoyed it.
Thought for the day: