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Sunday, September 24, 2017

Lake Party



We had some people over for a party the other day. We got to introduce people to each other who live in the area but had not spent any time together. There were some great conversations and some new friendships made.

There was a new guy who just moved into the area. He's spent six months working on sailboats in the Virgin Islands. He was trying to learn everything he could about boats. He did every kind of work imaginable, even those nasty jobs deep in the bilge.

He reached a point where he had to decide on if he'd stay on boats or do something else. He decided to move to New Hampshire. A fried if his was moving into the area so he had a place to stay. The guy started a knife sharpening business and got into the local music scene. He connected with a fellow musician at the party. They made plans to work together.

The new guy was telling me that of the nine boats he worked on in the islands, every one of them sank. All were total losses. I think he made a good decision to come to New Hampshire.

We had a good gathering. The weather was perfect. The sunset over the lake was amazing. Later we gathered around the campfire. It was nice to learn things about people I've known for years, but never really knew. The addition of new good people to our area is always a plus.

-Sixbears

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Back to the well



My lovely wife is finished with her painting project. I'm back to trying to puzzle out my water well issues.

I figured a way to back flush the supply line. It took some time to get everything set up. Eventually I found enough connectors and clamps to cobble something together.

After back flushing the line for a long time, I hooked up the pump to the old line. There was no significant improvement. Right now I'm leaning towards the line being partially crushed. It's come down to pick and shovel work. The first section I'm going to check is where the line comes into the basement. My lovely wife is going to help me move stuff out of the way so I can dig.

One spring I had to dig up the line there because it froze solid. Digging through frozen gravel was like digging through concrete. It took days to get that dug up and thawed out. Since that area gave me trouble once before, that's where I'm going to start. Fun, you bet!

It was frustrating to work most of the day and accomplish very little. At least I know what doesn't work. Also, I fabricated more robust connectors on my temporary supply line. That temporary solution might have to last for longer than I'd hoped.

I'm not angry or upset. Stuff happens. All I can do is to keep plugging away at it until a solution is found. It's a puzzle that has to be solved, that's all.

-Sixbears

Friday, September 22, 2017

Prepper with a gun and MREs



A friend of mine was telling me about a guy who called himself a prepper. My buddy got to talk to the young man. The guy had a car, a gun and a bunch of MREs. That's about it -no sleeping bag even. Not only was he short on gear, his skills were pretty limited. He could not start a campfire without lighter fluid.

My friend took him under his wing. The young man had a lot to learn, but he is willing and pays attention. One of the big lessons was that prepping isn't just for the end of the world with no rules or laws. You are much more likely going to need gear and skills for things like storms that take the grid down. He even got across the idea that being prepared can help you with common things like a bout of unemployment.

My buddy is helping the young man, but is also helping the community. A man with supplies and skills are an asset during an emergency. Someone who has little more than a gun can become one more problem to solve. If your only tool is a gun, everything needs shooting. I wonder how many people think being a prepper is nothing more than firearms and MREs?

Personally, I'm pretty concerned about people relying on MREs as survival food. Maybe they are fine as part of a varied food mix. Relying on them exclusively will get you into trouble. MREs were designed for people going into a combat situation. They are very low in fiber. The idea is that troops literally will not be caught with their pants down. Unfortunately, you won't poop for a month if those are all you eat. That can't be good for you.

There may be times when the lighter weight and ease of preparation make dehydrated meals a good choice. If you have to stock up on dehydrated meals go with food designed for backpackers. Most people think the taste is better and you can get meals with enough fiber for healthy living. Neither MREs or backpacker meals are cheap. Most of my stored foods are things like wheat, rice, beans and normal grocery store foods.

I have 30 day buckets of dehydrated backpacker means in my van and in my boat. They don't take up a lot of room and are very stable. Sometimes it makes sense to spend a bit more money to save weight and space. Even so, even on my vehicles, most of my day to day food is pretty normal stuff.

One thing you can about the guy with a gun and MREs -at least he didn't have just a gun.

-Sixbears

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Hurricanes and Sailing



Our friends in St. Thomas just survived another direct hurricane hit. Puerto Rico just lost its complete grid. We'll need some time before we learn how bad things are there.

The hurricane season is barely half over, and it's been a tough one. I follow a lot of sailing blogs and YouTube channels. Some boaters have retreated to the mangroves and their boats survived the storms. Other sailed south to get below the likely path of hurricanes. Many pulled their floating homes out of the water and secured them on land. A number, in spite of their precautions, lost their boats completely.

So, with all the destruction, how do I feel about sailing now? It's been a time for reflection, that's for sure. In the short term, we moved our departure date from the end of November to sometime in January. By then we should have a clearer idea what's going on.

We did not buy a bigger boat this year and I'm happy with that that decision. Next year, if we can swing it financially, we shall upgrade. We might get a bigger trailer sailor so we can get load the boat on a trailer and drive out of harm's way. Another option is to get a bigger boat but keep it out of the hurricane zones.

Originally, we thought we'd like to keep a boat in Florida during the summer. That no longer seems like a great idea. We can either sail up to New England in the spring or keep heading south below the normal hurricane zone.

It might seem crazy to even consider spending half our time on a boat. The thing is, we are water people and have not given up on the life.

-Sixbears

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Painting and hiding



My lovely wife is painting. I'm hiding from it. My damaged lungs are sensitive to paint fumes. Painting projects are planned for when I'm out of town for a few days. Unfortunately, the kitchen is taking longer to paint than she hoped.

There are a couple of fans going full blast. By the time we go to bed, I can tolerate being upstairs in the bedroom. The downstairs is pretty much off limits for a good part of the day. Yesterday I spent part of the evening out in the van.

I feel bad that I can't help her. Low VOC paints help, but are not perfect. At least I've been able to sand cupboard doors by removing them and taking them outside. We've had a good run of nice weather and are taking full advantage of it.

It's funny, my lovely wife is all concerned about the colors she picked out, worried that I might not like them. Anyone who does the painting can choose the color as far as I'm concerned.

-Sixbears


Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Storm Deals



Most of you have seen pictures and video of the recent hurricane destruction. One really dramatic visual is of all the boats damaged by the storms. Ever wonder what that does to the second hand market?

While I don't want to sound like a vulture, it's a fact of life that wide scale disasters affect markets. The used boat market happens to be one of the more visible ones.

There's two things that most people think of. One is that there should be a lot of handyman specials out there. The second common thought is that with all those boats out of action, demand for boats should be high.

While there are some amazing deals for damaged boats, you have to be really careful. Make sure you have the skills, time, and place to work on a boat. Storm damaged boats are not like other older boats in need of repair. Boats that age through normal use have common and well documented issues. A buyer can research the problems areas and keep an eye out for them. A boat that's been picked off a house with a crane will have issues that are out of the ordinary. Close and in-depth inspections are in order. Many “free” boats will be too expensive to fix.

What about prices going up because so many boats were destroyed? It's not that straight forward. Many boat owners, who's boats were nowhere near the storms, suddenly decided to put their boats on the market. The once vague notion that hurricanes might be an issue becomes a pressing worry. Many are scared of being caught on their boat in a storm. Others don't want to worry about finding a safe place to store their boat during storm season. Insurance increases can also be a factor.

Then there are market forces that have nothing to do with hurricanes. This time of year, here in New England, the boat market has a lot of good deals. The boating season is quickly coming to an end. Boats will need to be pulled out of the water and put in storage. Owners are often willing to make a deal so that weatherization is someone else's problem.

While I'm at it, beware of used cars that were in the flood zone. They may look like a good deal. Then the electrical systems start to fail soon after you buy them. They can also rust in odd places because water gets trapped where it normally doesn't get into.

-Sixbears

Monday, September 18, 2017

Three Days on the Road

I got in late last Sunday night after three days downstate. I was too tired to post my normal blog.

While I was gone my lovely wife started a painting project. Paint fumes cause problems for my damaged lungs so she tries to do these things while I'm away. The project appears to have gotten out of hand. House projects have a tendency to grow.

She had fans going full blast so I was able to sleep in my own bed last night. However, after today's painting I'm probably going to have to sleep out in the van. No biggie. The bed there is comfortable and she'll join me out there.

She's working on the kitchen right now, but I was able to move enough stuff around to start the coffee perking. Life is good.

-Sixbears