“Wyrd biõ ful ãræd.”

Monday, January 4, 2016

Normalcy


I think things may be settling down here in the Southern Appalachians.

The last two weeks of December were hard on a number of fronts. Instead of being in the 30's to 50' range temperature wise, the days were up near 60' to 70's. The humidity was in the 100% range much of the time, and the rains were virtually continuous. It has never rained so much here, for so long. Not even when hurricane remnants come through.

This has caused lots of problems. The grid failed so often and for such long periods that I ran off the generator more this year than in any five years combined prior to this.  Roads washed out, trees came down everywhere.  The rain overflowed my upslope diversion ditches, and got up against the back of the shop. Some got inside but everything was up off the floor on dunnage so there was no damage to speak of.

The cedar shakes were really soaked. They don't do well when they stay wet for 2 weeks. You start getting moss all over them, and that rots them. All in all, it was miserable. I could have broken out all the summer gear that I use for cooling and dehumidifying, but I kept telling myself how much work that was, and how disruptive. I felt like it just couldn't go on, but it did.



The last few days have been more normal.  Temperatures in the low 40's by day, low 20's at night. Humidity is very low, which is drying things out.  I'm back to using grid power, and heating all the closed in space in the house and outbuildings. I still have a huge amount of work to do repair wise, and clearing up outside is not going to be fun or easy.

The kids came just before Christmas.  They didn't bring me any ferrets. My daughter said they were a day late leaving and she didn't have time to go across the city to the rescue. I felt badly about that but I understood.  You don't get everything you want, when you want it I suppose.

We had a good visit. I got needed repair work done on their Jeep Commander. I spent about $500 getting a fender repaired. Naturally I have 500 deductible on that vehicle.  Nobody wanted to spend the money on it but me. I can't stand letting a valuable asset just go to pot.  As I told my family, just owning something isn't enough, it has to be maintained.  I don't want that vehicle reduced to looking like the "Joadmobile" from the Grapes of Wrath.

During the visit we went to parks, to movies, to doctors, to dentists, to the optometrist. My kids like to cook, so we did a lot of that. At least, they did a lot of cooking and I did a lot of dishes.  I am used to taking Navy showers. A habit from my Marine Corps days.  To conserve water, you get in the shower, get wet, then turn off the water. When you are ready to rinse off, you turn it back on. 5 minutes, max.  My kids take long, long showers.  My hot water heater usually comes on perhaps twice a week. During their stay, it came on two or three times a day.  I don't mind, I want them to be comfortable. However, they will have to change a number of items in their lifestyle if things deteriorate to the point they need to come down here. It will be quite a transition for them.

I got behind on all my normal chores like book keeping, so I have spent all morning working on that. Now I am tired of it and I'm going to take a break.








34 comments:

  1. My old place was in dry country [12" of rain a year] I am learning about humidity and moss and mold. I bet you are glad about the cooler weather. Happy New Year to you and the Ferret's!

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    1. Fiona, Southern Appalachia is a tough place to live in some respects. In the summer, humidity usually runs about 88 percent and the temperatures can be over 100. In the winter, ordinarily the humidity goes down below 20 percent (that's as low as my equipment can track it) and the temperatures are colder. This morning it is 18 degrees outside at about ten o'clock.

      In the summer I run air conditioning and dehumidifiers constantly in the main house and the outbuildings. In the winter, I have to heat the same buildings and run humidifiers.

      So far things are going smoothly, but then again the year is only five days old!

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  2. Have them heat water over a wood fire and take sponge baths if things get tight for them. They'll learn to save water VERY quickly!

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    1. At their apartment up North, heat and hot water are included in the monthly rent, so they don't have much reason to conserve either.

      But down here, all the fuel for heating and hot water has to be trucked in. It's very expensive, since propane here now costs over $2.00 a gallon. By my very nature, I try to conserve anything I can. I suppose in the back of my mind I'm always worried that at some point I may run out of something. Not likely, but the thought is always there.

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  3. Sorry you didn't get your ferrets. Hopefully next time! The rain was crazy. I am glad it let off, even if it means colder weather. Things need a chance to dry out some.

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    1. I was disappointed, I have to admit. I was really looking forward to at least two more. I hate it that I have room for two who need a home, and it's not being utilized. But I understand that my daughter is not retired, she has a lot to juggle with daily life, and dad's mundane requirements are not at the top of her list.

      We have had two days of decent weather now (it's Jan 5). Very cold, very dry. Things are starting to dry out, though the spring on my property is gushing up out of the ground as I have never seen it before. It's almost like a fountain at the moment.

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  4. Will you be making any changes to your landscaping in regards to the water diversion that got overrun and seeped into the shop?

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    1. I've lived here since 1986 and that has not happened before. One of the things on my pre-storm checklist is to clean out all the gutters and all the drainage ditches. But this was rainfall of a whole new order. It just went on, 24 hours a day, for days on end. Then there would be a small, day long break and another storm would come in.

      I suppose , out of an abundance of caution, I will try to deepen and widen the upslope diversion ditches. But I will have to wait til the ground thaws. It's very hard to dig in this red clay full of roots and flint as it is. Impossible when it's all a solid frozen mass.

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  5. I belive there is a spray applied material that is put on wood shakes to minimize the effects of constant moisture. This spring was wet for our area, and I have neglected to treat the wood siding on our chicken tractor in the back. I did not notice how quickly this moisture had damaged the siding - very punky, enough to where the chickens 'pecked' their way out (jail break !). The next time I replace the siding, I will put some wood treatment, just in case. Would have saved me some work.

    I'm glad to see you posting again - hope the New Year has better news all around.

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    1. I had my kids here, and we have a lot of things to get taken care of during their visit. My daughter had some medical problems that we wanted to address down here where we know the doctors and can get appointments. My son had a list of local parks he wanted to go hiking in. I took their Jeep Commander to the next county and had some body work done, we all needed glasses and that involved one whole day to go down to the optometrist and then another whole day to go back and pick up the glasses. So I wasn't able to keep the blog up to speed. Things are settling down now.

      I do have a chemical you spray on shake roofs to kill the moss, but you have to apply it when the outside temperature is over 60 degrees and when the wood is dry.

      There's a spray you can put on the shakes to make them more waterproof, but I have to do it on a high extension ladder and again, there are temperature and moisture constraints in application. The real problem is that all this rain coming in winter has put me in a position where I need a warm, dry day and I am not apt to get one of those here for awhile, not until spring.

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  6. Here's how my girls determine that the shower is over.

    All the hot water is gone!

    Glad to see ya still have it turning to the right.

    later,
    -Moe

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    1. Hey, Moe. The last couple of weeks have about beat me down to Parade Rest. I am trying to get things back on track now.

      That's how my kids are. It takes about twenty minutes for the hot water heater to cycle through a new batch of ice cold water, since my water is pumped up from 178 feet below surface level and it's COLD when it gets to the water heater tank. So, if someone uses up the whole hot water heater in one shower (which my kids can do) poor old dad, all dirty from working outside, just has to wait.

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  7. Not sure about Navy showers but I always have to turn it down by half after my wife has been in the shower, she likes it so hot I can't even stand under it! Just off cold is hot enough for me in the summer but I do like it warm in the winter. It's wet here as well, I might post a video of what I'm walking through to get to the chickens to show the mud!

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    1. Kev, on Navy ships, especially troop ships like an LST, you might have as many as 500 men on board. All the fresh water is made by a boiler on the ship. But sometimes not all the boilers work, and even if they do the ships requirements for the engines, etc, are huge.

      If everybody just got in the shower and enjoyed a long soak, there'd not be enough water for all. So you get in, get wet, soap up, clean up, then turn the water back on for a brief minute to get the soap off you. People who don't do this are not popular since personal hygiene takes a back seat to the needs of the turbines for steam. Wasters can cause the ship to turn off the water to the showers. With 500 guys crammed into a relatively small ship, that is not good news.

      Maybe today water is not a big deal on the modern ships. But back in the 70's and 80's it was really important.

      I have a big propane fired hot water heater, but a person just standing under the shower for a long period can run out all the hot water. It's not cheap to heat more with propane costing almost $2.00 a gallon.

      I'd like to see a video of your place. It always looks neat and orderly.

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  8. Sounds like a hectic time. My kids love their long showers too. For a while there I was swimming in the bay to stay clean. Salt water. High heat just ended here in Florida. I was drinking a gallon and a half of water each day to stay hydrated. No AC on my boat.

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    1. It's been good to have the kids home, but my normal routine was completely disrupted and that tires me out. Getting back into my ordinary daily activities now.

      Trying to stay clean using salt water is tough. The only person I ever heard of who liked it was Horatio Hornblower!

      Without air conditioning, I suppose you just have to acclimatize yourself to high humidity. But maybe the proverbial sea breeze makes that easier on you.

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  9. We are still seeing an average of 17 degrees here and more snowfall is expected for tomorrow. I think we have enough water in the mountains now. If anything drought shouldn't be a problem this summer.

    Can't stand to see something good not be maintained? Yep, that's me as well. Just a tad obsessive compulsive. I hope you can get that water under control Harry. I feel for those folks along the MS delta right now. --Troy

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    1. Troy, we actually had flooding here. We have a river that runs through the county. Some people insist on building right on the river bank. They found out the hard way that this was unwise over this last cycle of storms.

      Very cold here today, but clear. No chance of snow.

      My policy is to buy good equipment, not skimp on the price . Then I take care of what I have. I routinely drive a vehicle for sixteen years before it reaches a point where it is more cost effective to replace it than repair it.

      I don't know what to do about the rain this year. I can either put in a lot of hard work deepening and widening the diversion ditches up slope, or I can just say that this has only happened once in 32 years , and I won't be around when it happens again. Probably I'll go ahead and do the work but I can't til spring. The ground will be too hard to dig in manually until then.

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  10. Ha ha, good ole navy showers in the rain locker. I don't miss hitting the button on the shower head while taking 20-30 degree rolls.

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    1. No, the antics involved in keeping clean on a ship could be tough sometimes. I remember trying to take showers on the U.S.S. Manitowoc (LST 1180)in the North Sea. The rolls were so bad that the sailors went around telling the boots aboard that once the ship rolled to the point it was going to capsize, all the antenna array topside would automatically blow off and the release of the weight would save us. I never was sure if they were trying to reassure the troops, or if it was another "sea bat" deal.

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    2. Yes,the radars and electronics had built in measures that would cause the antennas to break off at a certain degree roll, usually ove 45 degrees

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    3. And all these years I thought those guys were blowing smoke, just trying to scare us.

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  11. I've been taking Navy showers ever since my Dad showed me during our camping days when I was a kid. Here in Seattle, they consider themselves to be oh-so-holy-and-green, but tell them about saving water with a Navy shower and you just get a blank stare back.
    I made it easy on myself by installing a shutoff valve (Ace hardware 3 bucks) just before the shower head.

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    1. Charlie, I've always subscribed to the "a penny saved is a penny earned" philosophy. Not using excessive hot water is one way a person can cut back on energy use. One of my biggest expenses here is energy, both gas and electric, so I am always looking for ways to reduce my usage of both.

      Your idea of a shutoff valve is a good one. I may do that myself not that you mention it. Turning the water on and off with the handle in the shower does create additional wear.

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  12. We're getting ready to get dumped on all week here.

    NWS is predicting several days of 1"~2" of rain per day.

    At least we didn't have any bad fires earlier, so mudslides won't be quite the problem they usually are.

    You disk with all the MT magazines went out today.

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    1. Dr. Jim,

      I got your email and am eagerly anticipating the disk. I spend a lot of time at night during the winter listening to SW.

      I know the rain is welcome out there but it has it's own set of issues. It's the same here. On the one hand, I live in mortal fear of forest fires. Rain keeps the forest from being susceptible to fire. On the other hand, there's this long list of problems that rain creates if we get too much of it and for too long a period.

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    2. So far, in the last five hours or so, we've received almost an inch of rain, and it's still coming down.

      It will rain for an hours or so, then taper off to a drizzle, and then start raining again.

      If this keeps up all week like the NWS suggests, it's going to be pretty bad for some areas that are prone to flooding.

      We have plenty of food and water, and I have 15 gallons of gas for my Honda generator(s), so we're covered if the power goes down or the roads get blocked.

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    3. You should be in good shape. I am hoping things here stay "normal" for awhile. We are supposed to get light rain Thursday night and Friday morning, but nothing like the hellish storms of the last two weeks.

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  13. Hey Harry,

    (captaincrunch)

    Glad your back.

    Things are drying out down here in South Texas. I am looking forward to more sunny days.

    Lots of interesting things happing on the News.

    Iran and Saudi Arabia (that would be a fun war)

    The standoff in Oregon, flooding in the mid west, Gun control, etc, etc.

    too many problems.

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    1. CC, I have been following those events. I see the Bundy's are being sent off to prison for a trumped up charge on a fire that allegedly happened more than 14 years ago. Once the feds get after you, they get you no matter what they have to do. I watched CNN yesterday. They have a "legal show" where this ditsy blond is the host. She had a couple of effeminates on her show and they were all exulting about how the stand off would end with all the militia guys in prison. She said excitedly that how many charges would be brought against these guys was only limited by "the prosecutors imagination" and how the counts of each charge could be redoubled each day. She was literally clapping her hands. I was sickened by it. Shows how cheap "justice" in this country has become, and how little regard for the concept the blue folks have.

      Obama rules like a King. His edicts are unconstitutional. This new B.S. is just a way to get rid of gun shows, since many of the sellers are not licensed and the BATF will no longer issue a license without a picture of your storefront , your inventory, and a notarized statement of your "office hours." In effect, Obama is trying to wipe out the people who make gun shows possible.

      It will also help him keep track of who has what, as it's an open secret that the FEDS keep the NICS information indefinitely, though congress specifically enacted legislation at the time NICS was instituted (1994) to preclude a federal data base of gun owners ever existing.

      Kind of like the laws that forbid federal ease-dropping on e-mails and telephone calls. We all know how well that worked out.

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  14. Talk about water! Amazing amount of rain and the floods that came from it here. I'm sorry you didn't get your ferrets, maybe next time.

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    1. Kathy, I see your state has been particularly hard hit. I hope your house is ok.

      I was really sadden when the ferrets didn't arrive ,but I don't blame my daughter. I am trying to work up the nerve to drive down to South Georgia to a ferret rescue and get some more. But it's a long way from home, and it's freeway driving almost all the way.

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  15. Sorry about your ferrets, they are so trainable.

    http://i.imgur.com/NZunyMQ.gifv

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    1. I was sorry too. I like ferrets very much, and I know they are colony animals and need a number of ferrets together to be happy. I have two now, Jet and Spike, but I used to have seven. The older ferrets passed away, each in their time, and now only Jet and Spike are left.

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