Thursday, August 2, 2018

Le Deluge. The beach. The Return of Art by Steph.

It has been raining here since Saturday.

Yesterday the rain came in sheets. At some points, I couldn't see across the meadow, it was so heavy.

Satellite television and radio are usually not functioning, the rain and cloud cover are disrupting the signals.

I was able to watch The Weather Channel this morning, for a brief moment, and they had a crew up here reporting from Hayesville, N.C. Apparently the dam up there is under stress from all the rain.

That's not the only thing under stress.  When people get confined to their homes for extended periods of time, some of the less stable relationships show the strain.  Last night there were a lot of family disputes the Sheriff's Department had to handle. Including one where a husband and wife emptied their revolvers at each other in their living room. Then they both called the dispatcher to complain. However, they didn't hit each other and they didn't file charges.  There's no law against shooting your pistol in your living room, I guess.

This rain has been just sitting over us and will continue to do so until Sunday. Today, it's just a soaking rain, as you can see from the radar image. But yesterday, it was all  reds and oranges, just flooding down in torrents.  My diversion ditches are holding, moving the water coming down the mountainside away from the buildings. Everything is certainly getting washed , all fresh and clean.

Steph's Art is back:

I've always enjoyed "Art by Steph", a website where the artist displays her animal paintings. She does a lot of really beautiful paintings of ferrets, as well as other creatures.  Some time back, the web site went "off the air" and I was afraid all those paintings were going to be "lost" to me, as I wouldn't be able to pull up the website and view them.  But she is back now, with a much improved webpage and even more good paintings.  

Art by Steph

She's always been nice about letting me post her paintings, and I appreciate that.

My wife and I have been looking at prices and locations along the beach, from North Carolina down  through Texas.  There's a television show called "Beach Living" on the Home and Garden Network, and they show you different potential places to live on the beach.  Some of them are surprisingly affordable, under $400,000 for a really nice three bedroom, two bath home right on the beach. 

The problem is hurricanes.  I was living on the beach in 1985, up on Emerald Isle, N.C. when a big hurricane came through. I had to take M and our daughter (who was a baby  then) to Raleigh, N.C. to get them to a safe area. We expected to lose the house we were renting, and everything in it. The hurricane tore up all the beaches but the place we lived in wasn't damaged. Now I watch the program and see these beautiful homes right on the water, and I remember that.

But a friend of mine  bought one of those motor coach RV's that look like a bus. It was seven years old, but in good condition and he only paid $50,000 for it.  What he does is lease a space in an RV park near the beach, and leave the motor coach there. When a storm comes, he just drives it to safety, and brings it back when things settle down. That seems like a pretty good compromise.

For just the two of us, I don't think we would need a gargantuan motor coach. Something more along these lines would do nicely.  As long as it's comfortable, has a kitchen and a decent bath with a shower, we'd be fine.

It's something to think about. M seems to like the idea, and that way we could live in the mountains and at the beach too.  There are still some problems to work out, but it's worth putting some effort into.

Don't know what I'll do the rest of the day.  Probably read, or watch some television if the signal gets strong enough to do that.


  1. I know you've always said that you'd rather hunker down that move along when the SHTF. But having the option of being mobile is not bad . You can explore potential relocation sites as well. And having a nice semi permanent vacation place on the coast is not bad. If you tire of the coast you can always pack up and move to the desert. I know there is something like the smaller one in our future when we decide to make the move out of here. One of the blogs I follow is this fellow .
    First followed him when he was part of the home-built airplane scene. Now he has built his own motorhome out of an old greyhound bus and just bought a piece of land out west where he has put in a runway for his plane and lives in his bus. He moves around as the mood strikes him . I figure some time in the future that may be me .

    1. I've been considering that. I posted some pictures once of this fellows survival retreat, a couple of mountains over. He's from ATL, lives down there most of the time but has built his retreat on a good sized piece of acreage, bordered on one side by a dirt road, and two sides by a flowing stream. He has a shop on the ground floor, and living quarters above. He has a spectacular garden,looks like something out of a magazine. This past year he built an aluminum car port out there, one of those prefabricated things, and put a big RV in it. Not a trailer, but one of those fully self contained rigs. So now he is mobile and his bug out vehicle is ideal.

      There's another fellow who lives about six miles from me. He and his wife have a nice farm, brick farm house, barn, and vehicle sheds. But they basically live in one of those motor coach RV's and spend all their time on the road. They have a grown son who keeps the pasture mowed and keeps an eye on the place for them. So they are doing it in reverse, the motorcoach is home and the farm is a fall back position.

      I'd like to spend a lot more time on the beach. With some additional equipment here, I could leave the place for a couple of weeks at a time and it would stay cool, or warm, and dry without me. The animals pose a more difficult problem, I don't see how I could take the cats with me even if I took the dog, but I could probably find someone with a reliable teenager I could trust to come up here in the evening and feed the animals. I'm thinking on that one.

      I'll certainly take a look at that blog. The guy sounds like someone who has led an interesting life and I admire his creating his own "niche" like that.

    2. Yea John Finley is an interesting cat. Was married and has grown kids. Now divorced. He makes a living as a computer techie so anywhere he can get link to satellite connection he can earn his keep. He has lived in several motorhomes and a sailboat. He was one of the pioneers in the Subaru engine conversion for home built airplanes. Wrote the book on how to do it . He built and flew a Quickie/ Q-2 , one of those all composite canard X fighter looking things designed by Burt Rutan. He has owned a couple different Van's RV-4 airplanes since. He recently bought this high desert place out near Fence Lake, New Mexico. Out in the middle of nowhere. Just the sort of place I'd love to find. Talk about elbow room. Three pages back on his blog you can see the details about it.

    3. Ever so often, you run across someone who escaped wage slavery and really lived the dream. He sounds like One.

  2. You are inside because of rain....we are inside because of heavy wildfire smoke. You are better off, Harry. Motor home sounds like a good idea...a vacation home on wheels. Would the ferrets like it?

  3. Sounds great... The mobile home idea... For you.

    But, what about the animals, when you go elsewhere?

    1. There are a lot of big gaps in my tentative plan and you've put your finger right on one of the most difficult. I'm muling over some possible solutions. I will always have to take the ferrets, but the house cats, barn cats, chickens, and the dog?😯

  4. I knew you were getting a lot of smoke out your way, and I wondered if it was a health issue. I think Percy would like it, and Spike is so old, he mostly just eats and sleeps, so he would be comfortable anywhere his snuggy bag was, as long as everything was climate controlled.

    We are really looking into the idea of a motorized RV. I'm even giving though to hiring a reliable teenager to come up in the evenings and feed the animals, check the environmental controls, empty the dehumidifiers, etc. That would remove a lot of the obstacles to not being here all the time.

    1. Reliable teenager? Oxymoron.

    2. All they need to do is feed the animals. There's a young fellow who lives in town and works at the car wash after school who I think would implement a list of daily items to take care of or check on. There aren't many twenty something aged locals here, and since my kids don't have any intention of moving back here, I need to find some suitable arrangement to have the place and the animals cared for. Otherwise, I can never leave here for more than a day or so, and with things being what they are that's no longer an appealing prospect.

  5. The RV Park sounds like a good way to get the best of both worlds. Hurricanes are nothing to fool with, I'm not sure why people who have gone through them don't take the loss and get away from that. There must be some compelling reason why that occurs.

    1. Even the remnants of hurricanes have done immense damage up here. It would be wonderful to live on the beach but doing so is playing Russian roulette with mother nature. There is an RV park over near the little lake and the people there just leave the Rv's on the pads year round. It's a very pleasant, well maintained little "village."

      I could do that, or I could keep the RV in a storage yard in a covered space here, and drive it to the beach. We could be comfortable, and the mobility would enable us to avoid hurricane damage. There are still some holes in the concept I have to work on, but it's the first plan I've formulated that the wife seems to be on board with. Houseboat is out, living full time year round in a motorcoach didn't fly.��

  6. Hi Harry That R/V thing is one of the retirement lifestyles I have been considering I have a piece of land in N.Florida that could be turned into a sort-of personal R/V you say there are details that have to be worked to here more on this from you. Also really enjoy your blog Thanx Patrick

    1. Patrick,

      It's a work in progress. What I really wanted to do was get a small houseboat and live on that part time while keeping the place I have now. But my wife (who was in the Navy) doesn't think it's safe. This is a compromise that we both think would suit our lifestyle. Building your own retreat on your land would give you privacy, if a septic system and power availability is not cost prohibitive. Sounds like a good plan. The devil is always in the details, of course.

      Glad you like the blog. I've learned a lot from the people who visit here.

      We'll see where this goes with the RV plan as I work on it.😉

  7. I think this makes a lot of sense. It is feasible and could meet a lot of your goals without much sacrifice. Thoughts in some order:

    - Rent one for a week or two before making any major decisions.

    - You might want one that’s a bit bigger. Baby Momma and I lived in one for a few months. If I recall it was 34’ and smaller would have been tight. A week or a month is very different than a couple of days.

    - Unless there is one spot you are totally in love with maybe just stay a couple weeks here and a couple weeks there.

    - Animals are the only real rough spot but you could find a solution.

    I think this idea has a lot of merit and you all should run with it.

    1. I need to do something before I'm too old to do anything. This would let me keep my place but not be stuck here all the time. Probably would be a good idea to have a rehearsal and try out the type of vehicle before buying one.

      The idea of buying a lot came up because my wife REALLY likes the little RV community over near the lake. It's on a dirt road we use to go over to the lake to walk. She has me drive her all through it sometimes so she can see how everyone has their setup all landscaped and such. In reality,it would make more sense to preserve my flexibility and just use state parks near the beach,like Six Bears does. But if she is adamant about buying a lot in an RV community it will probably end up being what we do.

      The whole issue of a caretaker for the place is very difficult, mainly because I would have to trust someone with everything here, fairly frequently, and that's extraordinarily difficult for me. I'm working on it.😕

    2. If the wife falls in love with a little RV place on the coast then I think it’s settled.

      They say happy wife happy life. I am not sure about that but I do know the opposite is true.

    3. When I got out of the Marines, my wife and I had been married about 2 years, and we had a baby daughter. I couldn't stand living around people anymore, and I wanted to go to some really isolated place and just be left alone. My wife went along with that. It wasn't what she would have wanted to do, but she knew I had to work some things out.

      It's been good for me, but maybe not so great for her, though I have tried to compensate for the lack of things she enjoys, like big stores, nice restaurants, lots of shops, things like that.

      But she's never gone along with the program so easily again. My brother offered to set me up with a charter boat in Florida back in 1998. She said no.

      I wanted (and still want) to buy a modest houseboat we could live on part time, and put it on a lake up here. She said not only no, but hell no. (She saw some documentary about a treasure salver who's boat flooded and sank at night, while the guy and his wife were asleep, and drowned them both.)
      She wants to sell out here. She's been ready to sell out and move to "a town" (read condominium or townhouse ) for years, but I can't live that way. I'd do murder, even these days when I am older and less hair trigger, if I was cooped up around a bunch of people and had to put up with their s*it.

      So this is the first plan that both of us were willing to try to make work. If we do, I will have to make some major changes to my attitude about relying on other people, and I honestly don't know if I can. I always planned on my kids living in this part of the mountains, but it's pretty clear they never will at this point.

      Even when you get old and retired, life is pretty much turmoil and a pain in the ass. :-(

  8. Hi Harry,

    Still no rain here in NSW, farmers are saying this is the worst drought they have seen in 40 years.

    I hate to say this but the picture of the RV you showed would certainly be considered a gargantuan motor coach down here!

    Have you considered the salt air you will get living right on the coast? Years ago when I used to shoot military rifle, a mate lived a few streets back from the beach and he had a hell of a time keeping things rust free, he used to literally drench his rifles in oil. His aluminium garage doors even rusted all the way through!!

    Keep looking for your Whippet, you won't be dissapointed when you find one.

    1. It's been raining like Hades here since last Saturday, it rained all night, it's still raining, and I've about had it to the gills with the weather this year and last year. Nothing is normal!

      That picture is of a small rig, Sgt. The one my crony bought is a full sized diesel bus, configured with every luxury and conceivable need, and behind it he pulls a four door Jeep Wrangler. You have a good rig for your trips to the black powder meets and all, but I remember the pictures you sent of one of the trips, where everybody was sitting around a camp fire and there were tents. Americans still do that too, but my camping days are over! Of course, I think Australians are still fairly stout people, and a lot of our population has become effete. In my case, I prefer to think of it as "old" rather than degenerate! ;-)

      The salt air does wreck havoc on vehicles and such, but my plan is to only take things down to the beach place that I will need, and only what will fit in the RV. We lived on the beach for a year on Emerald Isle, and I kept the vehicles washed down good with fresh water and under tarps, and they were ok. Over time, you can't really completely beat the salt problem, but you can minimize it. I doubt I will take any weapons to the beach except a shotgun and a pistol. I have a 12 gauge "Mariner" designed for shipboard use, and "Marine Coated." I'll take one of my Sig P226 with me and just keep it in the bag and lubricated well.

      If I ever get all this put together, anyway. Right now it's just something we are working on....

      I've got plenty of room up here, the first whippet that we see and can get before somebody else does, I'll get him/her!

  9. okay, what is that thing sitting on the porch in the first picture?
    there is a magazine for people who live by caretaking.
    they are vetted and reliable, but you do a check, too, in order to be safe.
    you can advertize in there and whoever you hire can live in your apartment and keep an eye on everything.
    a lot of retired couples hire on as caretakers.
    sometimes the assignments are short term and some are long.
    give you the freedom to stay away as long as a month.

    1. That's me, as I am after three days of being stuck in the house. ;-)

      I would be very leery of advertising for something like this, though I'm sure it's a common procedure. For me to be comfortable with someone coming in the house while I'm gone, I'd have to know the person and the family and they would have to be someone who has lived here in the county for a long time. Over the years, I've done business with a number of families and though I'm not a socializer I do know them well enough to trust them. The particular individual I have in mind, I bought fire wood from his extended family long before he was born, I know his grandpa, and his father, and I know the young man pretty well. They are good people.

      I appreciate your thoughts on it. I tend to be pretty insular and it would never have occurred to me to look for "house sitters" on line. I'm not very much up to speed on all that kind of thing.

    2. I’ve seen situations where people swap some chores and looking after the place for rent on a lot to park their trailer. Of course they would be there all the time, not just on the weeks you need them. On the other hand $10-20 a day is another option. Depends on which is easier to absorb, someone around or the added expense.

    3. That would be Caretakers Gazette. Don't know if they are still around, though. Also, Short term or anything inbetween and they come for free. We have advertised with them twice and had wonderful experiences with the ladies that came. You get to screen and vet before giving out your email addy,,,it all goes thru the website.

    4. I'm glad to know that. I may have to try to overcome some of my deeply held aversions to certain things, including depending on other people, especially people I don't know. But inflexibility is the cornerstone of disaster.

    5. Ryan, if we find the right place, I wouldn't mind putting some money into leasing or buying a lot. That little RV park over by the little lake is kind of what we are looking for. Nice people, mostly older, decent folks. My concern about state park campgrounds is that I worked six months at one of those up here, on a senior program, and I was appalled at the riff raff that showed up in the camp grounds. Money is no guarantee of class, as you well know. In the event that we had to displace from here due to some unanticipated calamity (or one we saw coming , but couldn't do anything about) I want to be with my own kind of people, not a polyglot grab bag of refugees.

      The only way I can see to be sure of that is to buy or lease a lot in an established community, some place way away from any population center. That's why some areas of the Georgia coast look good, and Texas looks even better. But the further afield I go, the less chance of me making it to my alternate site.

  10. Hey Harry,


    What is your email address again?

    1. I'm using for my email right now. I change them pretty frequently but that's good at the moment.

  11. We could sure use some of that rain in Texas. The wife floated the idea of selling out and living the RV lifestyle. I don't think that's for me. I need something I call home to go to when I tire of all the travel I think. I have always been a home body sort.

    1. Randy, today is the first day in 8 days that I didn't wake up to rain, and it's supposed to rain again this afternoon. It's good to see the sun again and I hope things will start drying out.

      Part of the problem with making any big lifestyle change for a married couple is that both people have to be ok with the new plan. That's a lot more difficult to do than it might seem at first glance. I like my place, and I like being home. On the other hand, I really need to get out and see some different terrain from time to time, so that I don't get to feeling stale . When I come back from a trip, I always appreciate the mountains more. Then too, this RV idea would not only let us enjoy some time at the beach, but it fills the biggest chink in my armor. I have just about everything covered, except having to leave this place due to some calamity. My attitude for thirty something years up here has always been that nothing could blast me out of my stronghold on the mountain. Even forest fires might force me to leave the mountain, but if a forest fire burned my compound down, I have insurance that would let me rebuild it, and I could live in hotel while they were doing it.

      Now though, with things getting so unsettled in town, and the sense of security I always had up here being negatively impacted by events, I think maybe just holding my breath til I turn blue if I have to leave here in a hurry is not such a good plan. So I'm looking for a way to kill several birds with one stone, and this RV scenario might be it if I can work out all the myriad "kinks" in it.

  12. We could do with some of your water our end, it's been a record dry spell.
    The RV sounds like an excellent idea, James and I have talked often about hiring an RV when we retire and driving round the states.
    Glad to hear you guys are ok and the rain didn't drive you to shooting a gun at each other in the living room, you can hardly believe some people!

    1. Kirsty, it's surely good to hear from you. I know between your job, family, home renovations and all you don't have much time free.

      It's Sunday night now, about nine in the evening, and it's pouring rain outside and thundering. We had a nice day but tonight is going to be more stormy. A man I know in another county near here has a home weather station. He had 15 inches of rain at his place between Monday the 30th of July and Friday the 3rd of August.

      We are really looking into the RV. It isn't that expensive, would give us a lot of flexibility, and offers some advantages over just staying in a motel.

      That kind of thing happens here, usually booze or drugs are involved. Since nobody got shot and they wouldn't press charges, the Sheriff's Deputy just told them to try to act like adults and let it go at that.

  13. I'm sorry Harry. Idaho has the same issue down in the southern part of the state. It is only a matter of time before it spreads. Greedy cities and corrupt officials who don't care because they think they are immune and enjoy the profit... only until they, themselves, fall out of favor.

    My parents have friends who sold their house and downsized to an RV. Tow their jeep around with them. They really like it. I know I couldn't do that, but some people really enjoy that lifestyle.

    Look Up, my friend! Amen!

    1. Hobo, I used to think about living in an RV all the time, but I'm not sure I would want to cut loose from my refuge up here, not to mention my base of supply. ;-)

      I'd like to have one though, to go to the beach with and to have handy in case I ever had to bug out of here, perish the thought.

      Politicians are all corrupt in one way or another. Even Randy Cunningham, the U.S. Navy's number one Ace in the Viet Nam War, came back, became a U.S. Representative, and wound up going to prison for taking "favors" from people. It corrupts utterly.

  14. one to think on not to far away.