“There is no real ending. It’s just the place where you stop the story.”

― Frank Herbert

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Looks like a stormy day.


I'm lucky because there's a web cam on top of a mountain peak that essentially scans 360 degrees. I can look over the whole county and beyond using that.  In the morning when I get up,  the first thing on the list is the morning chores. Then I come in, clean up, and have my coffee while I read the news and weather on line. I usually look at this web cam during that process.  I'd say we are in for rain and that's fine, as long as it doesn't last for days.

My wife got back Tuesday night,  after a good visit with our kids up North.  Today we will probably ride into town for lunch, then go pick up some groceries.  Not an exciting day but I'm well past the stage in life where "exciting" is good.  I prefer sedate and quiet.

Looks like my security camera system is having problems again and I'm going to replace it.  I've gotten ten years of use out of it, in fairly rigorous conditions.  It's outdated and needs to be replaced anyway. However, I'm like the Russians in that I hardly ever throw anything away if it still works.

With the system I have,  I can see the only access route to my place. I can see all four sides of the main house,  and the front of the shop.  It works in conjunction with red security lights and it has audio, so anywhere there is a camera I can hear what's going on . That's far more useful than you might imagine at first blush.  When you have a system like this and it's used in conjunction with layered motion detectors, it's difficult for anyone to approach your house without your knowing it.  Add some good watch dogs into the mix, and it becomes virtually impossible.

One of the good things about a comprehensive security camera system is that you can tell what kind of issue you are having before you go outside.  If there's a great furor in the middle of the night,  it's nice to know if you have a bear getting into the trash can bin, or you have two legged intruders.  How you react depends on the threat.  Going out into the dark with a big flood light when you don't know who or what is out there is poor planning.

There's only two ways to reach to this house from the foot of the mountain.  A person could come up the trail from the creek, if they walked through dense woods for a quarter of a mile from the road and saw the trail heading up slope from the water.  Not likely to happen and if it did,  there's a "flash bang" trip wire on that trail. If activated it won't hurt anyone (unless they have a heart attack, I guess) but it will certainly draw the attention of the dogs.

The other way is the vehicle trail. When I say trail, that's what I mean. You turn off a poorly maintained forest service road, go through a steel gate with a deep ravine on one side and a steep cliff face on the other. Then you drive through a tunnel in the trees up to my house.  The gate is just there to prove that people came on my place illegally. I know an obstacle not covered by fire is not an obstacle,  so I don't count on the gate to stop anyone who seriously wants up here.  It does discourage the casual "I just wanted to see what was up this trail" type of people. The steel gate's primary function is to demonstrate "intent" on the part of an intruder if they breach the gate.

There are two motion sensors on the vehicle trail as you get near the house, and there' a trail camera on it as well.  I used to have an electric fence around the house, meadow, shop and barn but the bears just tore it all to hell, and then every winter trees fell on it after the snow, so I don't have that anymore. I may put up a smaller one just around the main house and shop at some point. Electric fences won't keep a person out but they sure will make him or them holler when they walk into it in the dark. Then they can meet my dogs while I come out to deal with my visitors.

There's a convention here that if you approach a home in the woods, you don't ever go up to the house. You stand out in clear view and yell "hello the house" or "anybody home?", something of that nature. This shows you aren't trying to sneak up.  Anyone who doesn't do that is either not from here, or they have evil intent.

The precautions I take are not the precautions someone in suburbia would put into place.  Nor would an urban dweller use this system.  Whatever system you do use, you at least need one.  Too many people use the Sardine Defense ( the odds are nothing will ever happen to me) and come out on the losing end of the gamble. 

16 comments:

  1. People complain about my road being too rough and city cars will scrape coming down the steep hill, they don't like to drive in here and if they do they drive real slow. I like my road.

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  2. I agree wholeheartedly. The object of being way out in the country is not to make it easier for getting to your place. I can usually get in and out ok, and that's all I need.

    Before I had a gate at the foot of the mountain, people from the city used to drive up to my place in their brand new four wheel drive vehicles. They were just looking for old roads in the forest to drive on, but most of them couldn't turn around at my place and I'd have to move my own vehicles to get them turned around.

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  3. Never ever go someplace you don't belong. I like to explore old roads but if my gut says don't go any farther I don't. If the road is wore down by tracks of cars/trucks and not a plowed dirt road....Pass, and move on.

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    1. It's not a good idea these days to go out exploring in the national forest way down those old roads. I forget who it was that pointed it out in a previous comment, but you can run up on some bad characters that way. Not just druggies, either. Two years ago we had some whacked out guy who was going up and down the trails randomly killing people. Some of the victims were killed in my own county.

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  4. We have been wanting a security system. However each time we are ready to buy one something else breaks and we end up putting the money there instead.

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    1. It's always a matter of priorities. I don't know too many people who opt for the rural life who are terribly flush with cash. Dogs are probably the best bet. The rest of the gear just backs them up.

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  5. You need some TRC3A or PSR1A seismic intrusion detectors. I've got both and they work pretty nicely, especially the wireless ones.

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    1. I thought about that type of gear, but I'd run into the same problems I do with the motion detectors. I think I'd have animals setting them off. Out of curiosity, what does that kind of equipment cost? Most of what I found available back when I was planning my system years ago was old Viet Nam era stuff that was sold "as is", no return. Didn't want to risk my money on that.

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    2. The PSR1A I picked up off eBay about ten years ago. I think I paid $100. The TRC3a were, I think, about $225. Interestingly, the geophones themselves turn up with some frequency and can be the basis for several interesting DIY projects.

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  6. Harry - you certainly do have an interesting and awesome set-up - but you need it for where you are. we don't get a lot of city folk out here, but sometimes some "tourists" show up and go for drives "in the country". we have a chain at the bottom of our 130 ft steep driveway. the driveway is the only way onto our land with a vehicle. we always know when a tourist drives by, they don't honk the horn, whereas everyone here who knows each other honks their horn when they drive by your place. so everytime we hear a car go by that doesn't honk, we go on the alert. everyone here knows that if they want to stop in, to park their car at the bottom of our driveway and honk a few times. that gives us time to put on clothes and then run down and open the chain. it works really well and the people here are very respectful of privacy, as are we.

    2 funny stories that you might enjoy. our friends a and k were hired to do our rural census. so they went around to everyone's house and verified details and such. they stopped at the bottom of our driveway but didn't honk. we didn't hear the car because we were in the hottub out back with the jets on. they came onto our porch and k knocked on the door and said "hey guys. it's a and k here for the census." jam yelled - "hang on, i'll be there in a second. don't come around. we're naked in the hottub". of course jam hadn't brought his robe so he put mine on - a flowery girly robe that he could barely tie. he went onto the porch and a and k didn't even blink. they did the census and left and learned to honk the horn the next time. needless to say, everyone in our 2 communities heard about it by the end of the day - it was pretty funny! and further alerted our communities that we really are naked all the time and that they need to honk.

    the other funny story was last year, after jam returned from his trip to ottawa. his father had given him a marlin .444 and he got all the proper paperwork and gun case to be able to put it on the plane to fly it home. he got home quite late and just left the weapon locked in the truck. when we got up the next day, we had our iced coffee out on the deck. then jam wanted to show me the weapon. so he went and got it and both of us were holding it, aiming at different things - it was empty of course. then the meter reading guy comes around the corner - doesn't blink as we are testing out this weapon, and says "just reading the meter. won't be but a second". thank goodness it was a cool morning and jam was in boxer shorts and i was in a little nightgown with my hair sticking out everywhere. we must have looked like real hillbilly rednecks - bahahahahahah!

    anyway, long comment but i like talking with you - especially about alarm systems, your set-up and whatnot. it's good learning from you. we are thinking of setting up an intercom system so that people could buzz but that will be years off. we have a million more important things that we need to save for.

    thanks for the informative post. let us know if and when you decide to set up a new system! your friend,
    kymber

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  7. Kymber, don't the bugs devour you if you are au natural up at the Manor? I knew you folks went swimming in the buff but I didn't realize you were sans culottes up at your house. ;-)

    I feel for J, having to wear a woman's robe in front of other men. I guess the alternative wouldn't have been too good either, though, huh?

    When people ask me if I'm not going a bit overkill on the security system, I tell them I'm not paranoid, I just don't like surprises.

    The meter guy was probably envious of your rifle. The way you looked you'd both have fit right in here in my part of the mountains.

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    1. Harry - yep - the bugs devour us! but we both hate clothes! and never wear them unless it's cold outside or we leave the manor. jam was fine in the robe, and our male friend k, he didn't even blink. it's amazing how unassuming and non-judgemental the people are around here - we are truly blessed in that we have found such kind and warm people. of course the men ribbed jam at the next dance but it is all in good fun. and he can take it. our one friend, this big, blonde, gorgeous cape bretoner j - he picked up for jam when the guys were ribbing him. he said he often wore his wife's robe to get the paper (and she's smaller than me and he is like 6'5!!!). so it's all good. the people here are very accepting.

      i don't think you are doing overkill with your set-up...i would have the exact same set-up if if was where you are. i really don't like surprises either! and i don't mind admitting that i am paranoid, much less so since getting here and realizing how respectful of privacy these people are - but i am still paranoid. every time a car goes by that doesn't honk - i am at the ready for the next 30 mins. but it is getting easier to hear a car go by, not honk and realize its' just someone driving in the country.

      that marlin is pretty gorgeous. and the meter guy came from a small town near us - about 30 miles away - and that town only has about 9,000 residents spread all over the place. that guy didn't even blink at us playing with the marlin, jam in his underwear and me looking like medussa - bahahahha!

      yep - we would certainly fit in. did you know that cape breton island is actually the beginning of the appalachian mountain range??? most people, either from canada or from the states don't know that. so we got the hillbilly redneck in us for sure - and i am quite proud of that!

      another long comment. i am waiting for the baked potatoes to be cooked. jam is finishing up his hunting course online. we'll be eating supper soon...but i really like talking with you. i, and we, have learned and keep learning so much from you. it's great to have someone who has been there and done that, ya know?

      your friend,
      kymber

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    2. Kymber,

      You and J found the right place to live. You've got your nice home that you are constantly improving and making "just right." You have your own little beach, and the terrain around you is spectacular. Do you ever think about how few people actually get to live where they want to, and do what they want to do? Somebody said "most men lead lives of quiet desperation" and I think that's true to a large extent. We are fortunate people in that we can lead a modest existence, in a place we like, and be content.

      I didn't know the Appalachians ran all the way up there. Mountain people tend to be good at getting by on very little, which is certainly a positive trait for those who follow the self sufficient life style.

      I've been doing this a long time, as you say. Today, I'm feeling it too! Like Bilbo Baggins said "like butter spread over too much bread." If it cools off some I'll be more spry.

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  8. We have been discussing this very subject lately. Hubby wants to get some security cameras set up around here especially as our old guard dog no longer can hear, see or bite anything...

    So glad to hear your wife is home again :)

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    1. Tania, especially in rural areas it doesn't hurt to be able to see what or whom is meandering around on your property. I don't know what kind of animals you have there that might be dangerous, but there are always hostile people to be concerned about. I think cavemen had it right, a dog certainly earns his keep by being the best alarm system you can get. That only works for you if you live out a good ways though, because otherwise you have to keep them pinned up, or chained up, and I don't like doing that. Also, if you have neighbors close by and some of them are jerks (and there always seems to be one in the crowd) they can cause you a lot of trouble over your dogs.

      A security camera system is pretty cheap, and if you have limited access routes to your property you can keep your finger on what's going on outside the house even at night.

      My wife has been sleeping on the couch while the tv runs, for the most part. She was exhausted by the trip back from up North and just needs to rest some. I'm glad she's back , it got lonely up here even with all my ferret pals to keep me company.

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    2. oh Harry - i forgot to mention that i am sooo glad that your wife is back. please give her a big hug from me.

      your friend,
      kymber

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