Wednesday, June 20, 2018

90 degrees. 87% humidity. Life in the Rain Forest



My daughter is back in her own home, in Nashville.  She was in two different hospitals for four days, but they finally released her.  She did not have any permanent damage that the doctors could find, and the big thing is that they did not find any torn blood vessels in her brain. That would have been the big disaster, so this latest event was traumatic for all concerned, but not as bad as it could have been.

I surely do appreciate all the kind comments and emails people sent.  Truly, every one of them made me feel better at a time when things looked grim. Thanks to all of you.


As we all try to get back to normal in our family, we're going through a bit of  a heat wave here. Georgia is having record high temperatures for this time of year, and the humidity is pretty bad. My wife and I think we have never seen the forest so lush and green.  We have a herd of six deer who are basically living in our meadow.  I haven't mowed it this year, and the deer like the grass. With Belle gone, only old Tuggy is left out there and she doesn't bother them.  The tree line is like a wall of green, and the deer can move into it and disappear when they like.

We can keep the interiors of the buildings dry and cool, but if you go outside, the combination of heat and humidity is pretty enervating.  Not much work is getting done, and we mostly go out very early in the morning, and at evening time.


I don't know why it is, but the fireflies are out in clouds this year.  If I go out just as dusk falls, the meadow is swarming with them.  The barn cats go out and try to catch them, the young cats leaping up in the air and swatting the flies while the old cats lounge in the grass and watch them. Sometimes I let the ferrets out for a little bit when it's cooler, but I always watch them like a hawk. If they ran off, they wouldn't make it though the night.



Something out there is killing the barn cats wholesale.  They are around the place at dusk, then the next morning they're gone.  Last night, my wife tried to lock them all up in the plant house, but they pushed a window pane out and got outside. No one disappeared during the night, but I told her the only way we can protect the place at night is with dogs. We need a couple of young dogs we can train not to kill chickens or cats. Belle used to patrol around the tree line a lot at night, but with her gone, all I have is the electric alarms and they are set for people, not for animals.


I've tried sitting out on the apartment porch, as it's on the second story of that building, with a shotgun and a flood light at night, but it's pretty hot out there even after dark and I don't last long. Haven't seen or heard a thing awry when I do that.


But something is certainly out there.



Things are not going so well in town.  "Culture clash" doesn't even begin to cover it.  I have to say, if this place was not a safe, secure area to settle in , then where is such a place? Maybe way out in the desert in West Texas, I guess.  People's attitudes are changing from "friendly" to the outlook below.





I'll post of the incidents that have occurred in the last week or so.  Like Hank Jr. said in his song "Mr. Lincoln"  .....  "Well, I wish I'd made this up but I'm afraid it's true."


Might have to  go the South African route ourselves here in North Georgia.





Not all of the people who have moved in here have been a waste of air. Lots of them are veterans, and as the skraelings from the P.J.'s get more aggressive and more obnoxious, some of these guys are tangling with them. Particularly at Walmart, where women coming out of the store or trying to go into it have been having problems with harassment by groups of  young men from the p.j.'s, it tends to be these older guys who intervene. I suppose because it happens when the younger men are at work. The "new citizens" don't work so they can roam anywhere they want during the day.


In Georgia, you can get a license plate that details your military service. It usually tells your branch of service, any campaigns you were in, and your decorations. Walking through any big parking lot here is an education, and a lot of those plates are on vehicles with Florida tags.

It costs $75.00 for one of those, and I'm Scotch Irish, so tight with money.  Right now, my vehicle looks like this.


The Confederate Flag and the Marine Corps Globe and Anchor are magnets, that I can take off when I go into hostile territory (any urban area here.)  I think I'd like one of those new plates, though.


Well, this was just a short post to get back up to speed.   I need to go read some blogs now, I'm way behind on that too.

Cartoons:









Thought for the Day:







Saturday, June 16, 2018

Sometimes even electronic journals get behind.



This blog really serves two purposes.  First, it lets me keep in touch with people that I like, even though in all probability I won't ever meet them in person.  Now that "blogfests" are no longer in vogue, there's just about no chance I'll ever actually run into someone whose blog I read, or who reads mine.

The other is to be a sort of journal.  I've often wondered what my great, great grandfather who fought in the Civil War was like. All we know of him is family oral history, and the only picture we have of him is the one they printed on his funeral notice, when he was in his late eighties.

Since people say that what goes on the internet stays there "forever", seems to me a blog is a good way to leave some record of yourself and the times you lived in for your descendants.  You need to be fairly methodical about posting though, for either of these things to work.  Sometimes, events just move so fast you have to do a "catch up" post and that's what this is.

First, my daughter, who is 32, apparently had a stroke Friday morning .  She lost sight in her left eye. The first hospital she was taken to transferred to a medical center, and she's in the coronary care unit there right now.  We don't know what the situation is. As of this morning, she had a CAT scan, and an MRI yesterday, and they are taking her back in for another MRI this morning. The doctor's don't agree on what has happened, but the neurologist is calling it "a minor stroke." We don't know what that terminology means, or what the treatment is yet.  People with Ehlers Danlos often die from strokes because their blood vessels are weak, and that may be influencing his diagnosis.

She has asked us to stay here and not come roaring over to Nashville until we actually know what has happened and what needs to be done. So essentially, we are waiting by the phone for more news. E is being more pragmatic about it than we are.


Earlier in the week, we had a massive thunderstorm. Lighting hit the ground about 15 feet from where I was standing on the porch, and did a lot of damage.  Despite a fairly sophisticated set of procedures and equipment I have to deal with that, I lost the TV set, satellite receiver, two large battery backup systems with high clamp speeds, a deep freeze, two dehumidifiers, an air conditioner, and the DVD player. The pump was knocked off line for two days, until I could get a tech out here to bring it back on line. The lightning arrestor saved the pump.  Let me just say this about that. The arrestor is an old timey fuse they put in line between the breaker box and the pump mechanism. It's a last ditch defense against a power surge. In this case, the arrestor blew, caught on fire, and filled up the pump room with smoke. However, it did stop the surge from the strike, and saved my $1000 submersible pump. The reason I am mentioning this, is that the contractors putting in a well don't use them anymore. The theory is that the chances of lightning hitting your place are slim, and it's "just unnecessary hardware." The guy who came out to fix my pump didn't even have one on the truck , and had to go back to the shop to get one.  But the truth is, you should always have backups, to backups, to primary systems. Always.   If you don't have one on the line to your pump, it's worth considering.  The one I got came from American Granby, 7652 Morgan Road, Liverpool, New York 13090, 1-800-776-2266.  Given the dried out, withered up box mine came in when the tech brought it back, finding one at the Home Depot might or might not be practical.


So, this was a catch up entry.  I'll try and do better when the dust settles around here. If I am off line, or don't post comments from the moderation folder for a while, you will know I am in Nashville. I will try to take the Kindle so I don't go completely dark if that happens.

Cartoons:





















New American Survival Guide:



Just got this in the mail, but haven't read it yet.





Also , I finally got a Sportsmans' Guide catalog. They tell me they are not doing the "Shooting" catalog anymore. I hope that' s not true, because it sounds like political correctness creeping in if it is.




Monday, June 11, 2018

Summer is certainly here.


It's hot, humid, and we have thunderstorms every evening now.  Years ago, that was the norm. Then the thunderstorms stopped occurring on a daily basis for several years. Now, they are back.  That means the forest is wet and green, and very lush. I don't have to worry about forest fires this year if this keeps up.

On the other hand, I spend a lot of time shutting down electronic equipment, although a lot of it is on good battery back up gear with a high clamp speed. Still have to turn off the circuit breakers to the pantry, where there are a couple of deep freezes, and to the pump. I also scurry around turning off the air conditioners and dehumidifiers. Since this involves three buildings it gets a bit tiresome, but not as tiresome as buying new appliances.


This is the time of year when the air photo I sometimes post was taken. You can see nothing but the forest canopy, then there's my little bit of cleared land right in the middle of it.  No wonder my place attracts the "pot chopper"from time to time.  I'm also a navigation point for military aircraft flying out of Dobbins on night time low level training.  The reason is that there are no lights in the national forest around me, and then there are my green and red security flood lights. So coming up that way, and using Brass Town Bald observatory, also lit up at night as a navigation point, it's easy to make the "legs".  Of course, having a C-130 or a Black Hawk roar overhead at low level in the middle of the night is a bit disconcerting, but I don't mind. Especially in bad weather, I know how important good navigation points are. When I was flying, there was no GPS.  They still teach dead reckoning navigation though, because GPS is dependent on satellites, and you never know that they will still be there when you have to fly at night, or in really bad weather, or both.




CH Kadels has two good scanner units on sale right now, both for about $100.00.   If you live in a rural area, these things are very useful.  Just about everyone has at least one, and they help you keep up on what's going on in the county.  Here, there's one frequency for the Sheriff's Department, one for the Fire and Rescue, which includes ambulances. One frequency for the Forest Service, one for the county emergency management office.  You can listen to the adjacent counties if you want to, but I don't often bother.

Our different agencies transmit "in the clear" as opposed to "covered".  In cities, with so many frequencies in use they use more sophisticated equipment and trunking systems, so you really can't keep up with everything using a simple scanner.  But out here, you know what's going on as fast as the dispatchers can put it out on the air.  When we had that terrible fire season a few years back, it was really good to be able to keep track of where all the smoke was coming from. 

We do have a new system here now where the county emergency system will automatically generate a warning if something happens like a fire or bad weather. That's one reason I keep my land line. Cell service at the house is marginal.  We got the new system after the fires up in Eastern Tennessee burned up a lot of people who didn't know the fire was coming, because nobody warned them.



We had hogs come up by the house this week and do some damage.  I didn't take the picture above but that is what the males look like.  They come up here to try to get the chickens, or if dead chickens are out in the woods. Hogs will go through a five line electric fence like it wasn't there. When we used to try to have a big garden, it was the hogs, more than the deer, that destroyed it.  Back when I used to take long, exploring walks back into the forest, I always took several dogs with me. If you walk up on a herd of hogs while they are resting in the brush, they can seriously mess you up. They are big, strong, and well equipped to tear up other animals with their tusks.




I ordered 100 capsules of amoxicillin this week. Cost me $23.00.  Tuggy picked up some kind of infection, and this will take care of it.  If I could have gotten a prescription, the medicine would probably have cost $3.00.   But, to walk in the door at a vets office now costs $65.00 here. So this was cheaper in the long run.  We open the capsules, put the medicine inside a hot dog, and feed it to her.  We do all our own "taking care of" the animals up here, unless it is something serious. If need be, I take my ferrets to an exotic pet specialist 65 miles from here, but they are a lot more "needy" medically than dogs are cats. Ferrets are not very hardy little animals.


Today the humidity is 92 percent, and the high will be about 86 if the weather boffins are right. Inside, I can keep the buildings at around 53%, and 73 degrees.  We still have to go out today, as I have a doctors appointment in the next county this afternoon.  Still, that's why they put air conditioning in vehicles.  Not much else going on here.

Cartoons:









  






Thought for the Day:  "The Old Salt."


"Citizens of Rome. I am Spurius Ligustinus, of the Tribe Crustumina, and I come of Sabine stock. My father left me half an acre of land and the little hut in which I was born and brought up. I am still living there today. As soon as I came of age, my father gave me his brother's daughter to wife, who brought nothing with her save her free birth and her chastity, together with a fertility which would be enough even for a wealthy home. We have six sons, and two daughters (both already married). Four of my sons have taken the toga of manhood; two are still under age.

 I joined the army in the consulship of Publius Sulpicius and Gaius Aurelius (Cotta) [200 B.C.], and I served two years in the ranks in the army which was taken across to Macedonia, in the campaign against King Philip [V, of Macedonia who died in 179]. In the third year Titus Quinctius Flamininus promoted me, for my bravery, to be centurion of the 10th maniple of hastati. After the defeat of King Philip and the Macedonians, when we had been brought back to Italy and demobilized, I immediately left for Spain as a volunteer with the consul Marcus Porcius [CATO, consul in 195 B.C.].

 Of all the living generals, none has been a keener observer and judge of bravery than he, as is well known to those who through long military service have had experience of him and other commanders. This general judged me worthy to be appointed centurion of the 1st century of hastati.

 I enlisted for the third time, again as a volunteer, in the army sent against the Aetolians and King Antiochus. Manius Acilius [Glabrio, consul of 191] appointed me centurion of the first century of the principes. When King Antiochus had been driven out [Battle of Thermopylae] and the Aetolians had been crushed, we were brought back to Italy. And twice after that I took part in campaigns in which the legions served for a year. 

Thereafter I saw two campaigns in Spain, one with Quintus Fulvius Flaccus as Praetor [182, continued in office in 181 and 180], the other with Tiberius Sempronius Gracchus [father of the Gracchus brothers] in command [180]. I was brought back home by Flaccus with the others whom he brought back with him from the province for his Triumph, on account of their bravery.

 And I returned to Spain because I was asked to do so by Tiberius Gracchus. Four times in the course of a few years I held the rank of Chief Centurion. Thirty four times I was rewarded for bravery by the generals. I have been given six civic crowns. I have completed 22 years of service in the army, and I am now over 50 years old. "  As recorded by Livy.






Thursday, June 7, 2018

That brings back memories.


I actually forgot that June 6th was D-day.  I hardly ever watch TV anymore, or I would have caught it because a lot of the stations show "The Longest Day " every year.  I didn't really think about it until I read Dr. Jim's blog, and he was telling how a C-47 that was in the D-Day drop is being restored.  That reminded me.

Every since I saw "Band of Brothers" years ago,  on the anniversary of D Day I always think of the scene from the movie where they are jumping over Normandy .  It takes a lot of courage to just jump out of an aircraft. To do it under those circumstances, I think only peer pressure could motivate people. They were made of better tempered metal than I am.






As I've mentioned in other posts, I went through the Army's jump school at Benning in 1973. Strangely, for an aviator,  I had (and still have) a deathly fear of heights. I didn't want to go. They were "permissive" orders, which meant that you spent a month at Benning, rather than at home taking it easy, before you went on your summer active duty training for a couple of months.


There were two kinds of  Marine/Navy reservists going to the University of New Mexico on the Navy's dime.  Most of us were right out of High School, with no prior service. The others were Viet Nam veterans, enlisted men who were getting degrees and commissions.  We looked up to them, for obvious reasons.

I told my roommate, who was all Gung Ho for jump school, that I wasn't going to volunteer. Shortly thereafter, the First Sgt. of our unit called me into his office. His name was First Sgt. Herringer.  He was a grunt, with "good" medals (not the fire watch ribbon, or stuff some buddy wrote him up for on the staff. His were the real thing.)  He talked to me and explained that it was good for the unit to have everybody who could get permissive orders to go, and it was a wasted opportunity if we didn't fill our quota. He also explained to me that it might make the others less than enthusiastic about my membership in the unit if I gave the impression I lacked "moral fiber."  I don't think they use that term anymore, but in those days it meant you didn't have any guts.

He wasn't intimidating or threatening, he just wanted me to understand that I had been selected to go, and if I didn't volunteer there would be ramifications.  On the day everybody who was on the list fell out for formation, I still figured I wouldn't go, because I was afraid I might choke and not jump. I didn't realize at the time that if you choked in the door, the jump master would save you from disgrace by putting a boot in your back and pushing you out.  But when the Staff Sgt. holding the formation called for anybody on the Benning List who did not want to go to step one pace forward, nobody moved, including me. That's how I know what peer pressure will do. Especially to Southerners, who have a reputation to uphold.

So I went, and it wasn't so bad. When we jumped,  as I got close to the door I just closed my eyes. You went out like machine gun cartridges going into a chamber, so one second you were in, and the next you were out the door. I only opened my eyes when it got quiet and I stopped just spinning through the air.  Both my brothers went through Benning from their reserve unit at Oregon State, so all three of us qualified. I never jumped out of an airplane again though. So I'm not sure the Marine Corps got their money's worth out of my training, but that's how it goes.

I still have my certificate of qualification framed on my "I love me" wall.  I have the picture they took in the last week, in a fake doorway of an aircraft, which you could buy prints of when you finished. I also have my Jump School book, which is kind of like a high school yearbook, but a lot thinner. It had the pictures of everybody who completed the course in that cycle, and some stock pictures of activities throughout the course.  I don't really remember a whole lot about it, except that I was in really good shape, but it was still physically demanding because of the heat and humidity. Afterwards, I was glad I went because I was "Jo Toe" with my friends instead of the goat, and because I could wear the jump wings. Of course, just getting through Benning did not make me a paratrooper, in any way, shape or form, but it was something we were all proud of.








Monday, June 4, 2018

A day off. New magazines. A good Harry Turtledove series. Pulvex. Kymber is alive, and well, and living in Canada!


 update: I wanted to stick a wire note on here to pass the word that Kymber still lives!  She and J have a great blog, but they haven't been posting for awhile. People were concerned , so it's good to know they are ok.  She left a brief comment on another post to let me know they are well , and will be posting again. That's very good news.



Today is Monday, and after this past weekend  we are taking a break up here.  I had planned on Sunday, at least, being a quiet one but we ended up doing a lot of traveling to different towns. We had a fairly extensive list of things we needed to buy, and we couldn't fill it in our town.  We ended up going to two other states as well as Georgia and it took the whole weekend.  Impromptu things like that do happen up here.

I found another Turtledove series I liked.  It's a three volume story of a "hot war" between the Soviet Union and the United States in 1950.  Starts out in Korea, but this time Truman gives MacArthur the OK to use atomic bombs against the Red Chinese.

That's an interesting scenario, because in 1950, there were no nuclear missile armed subs. There weren't even any ICBM's.  The only way to deliver an atomic bomb was by strategic bomber, and both the USSR and the USA used the same bomber.



In 1945,  several of our B-29's were damaged over Japan, and landed in Soviet territory.  The Russians kept the bombers, back engineered the type, and in 1950 that was their sole strategic bomber.  In 1950 , both types were obsolete but neither had yet been replaced in US or Soviet service.


Turtledove's three books in the Hot War series are as follows. I've read the first two and really enjoyed them. The third is still on order through the library.







I also started his "Atlantis" series but gave up on it.  I got through the first of five books, and half of the second, but it just didn't interest me.  The premise of this series is that a big land mass exists between North America and Europe. It's discovered by Basque fishermen during the War of the Roses in England, and the books describe it's settlement and development over about 500 years. Just not a period of history I'm interested in. It wasn't that they weren't good,  just not my cup of tea.



Some new magazines came out:



This is the Fall, 2018 issue of "Gear Guide" published by the same folks who do American Survival Guide.  Seems a bit early, but it's a good issue.  This time around, there are more categories and they are better organized. The editors have also made an effort to include items that mere mortals can afford, as opposed to the past policy of only discussing high priced gear beyond the means of most.

That didn't keep them from putting in a plug for a bug out vehicle that costs 1.5 million dollars. I sure wanted one but when I got to the price I figured it might be out of my reach.  Still, there's lots of good gear in here, especially if you ever go to the woods, or anywhere in the boondocks.



The new Off Grid is out in the digital version, which probably means it's on the news stands now and I just haven't seen it.  Survival and gun magazines have very suddenly fallen from favor here in our county, and have been largely replaced on the racks in town by things like "Southern Living" and "June Bride" magazine.  I am not sure why that is, but I suspect a number of our Half Way Backs took umbrage at nasty gun magazines being on sale and bitched about it. Of course, we all know that anyone who reads a survivalist magazine is a Ted Kaczynski wanabe, so we can't have those on display either. I talked to managers at both stores with magazine racks. Neither of them are from here, and neither of them would answer my questions.

Incidentally, if you like Cody Lundin, who has been largely off the sky line since he left "Dual Survival", you will want to get this latest edition. There's an article in there on him. I like the guy, and I have both his books. I enjoyed his writing style and felt like there was some good information in there.




In the " Good Show, Pal" category:
Fox News 3 June 2018




MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Two would-be robbers died after a Tennessee homeowner pulled out his AK-47 and shot them while inside his home.

The unidentified homeowner told WMC that he came to his Memphis home Friday evening and found the men inside.

“I see my house being ransacked and the dog was still going hysterical in the cage,” he said. “When he saw me he notified the other individual that was with him, ‘hey, they are here.'”

When the duo pulled out their guns, he was able to grab his AK-47 out of the hall closet and fatally shoot the intruders.

“I don’t know what’s going on but I know I’m going to defend my life to the best of my ability,” he said.

The robbers have been identified as 17-year-old Demond Robinson and 28-year-old Azell Witherspoon.

The man has since released surveillance video of the incident to police to confirm his story that the shootings were in self-defense.




Not a lot else to tell. The weather has been a lot better, up into the high eighties and humid, but survivable. Everything is going well with us up on the mountain.  I have two doctor appointments this week, but they are just the standard  thing where you go in and get your blood work on the first one, then you go back on the second one and the doctor harasses you about your blood pressure, blood sugar, et al.  Routine.

I've been using Pulvex Veterinary Ointment  on Tuggy's tail. She got some kind of infection, and had a big spot on her tail that was all swollen. She'd been rubbing it on trees to "scratch" the itch, and it was pretty nasty.  I used Pulvex on her, and it's healing right up.  That's good stuff.  It doesn't cost much, keeps forever, and you can get it on line or from your farmer's depot if you have one. It's great for cuts and scraps on people, as I can attest from my own experience.  Handy to have in your medical supplies.



No joy on getting my CB base unit back up.  I haven't had a lot of time to work on it, and even when I do get it on the air again, I'll just wind up listening to SSB transmissions from guys using illegal power inverters because nobody local is still using CB.




Cartoon: