Friday, September 29, 2023

Smoke from Canada

Here in northern New Hampshire we got another blast of smoke from Canada’s forest fires. It was pretty hazy out there. Constant exposure to smoke isn’t good for anybody. For a former firefighter with damaged lungs it’s worse.

Fortunately I’ve added some air purification to the house. This summer I was able to buy a small air purifier at a yard sale for small money. It’s only really big enough for my office, but it helps. A friend gave me his large Honeywell InSight HEPA air purifier. It was way too big for the space he had it in. It’s perfect for my place. 

I like it. It has sensors that monitor the air quality and can make adjustments as needed. The difference in air quality is noticeable. Living way out in the country I never used to worry much about air quality. Times have changed. Now I do what I have to do.


Thursday, September 28, 2023

Long Way Home

It happened to me once again. I was less than a mile from home when I encountered a road block. Power lines were down in the road. My one mile trip turned into a 10 mile detour. I’d been riding the scooter as the weather was nice during the afternoon, but it was cooling off fast. I was ready to be home. 

It was a relief to see both my cars sitting in the driveway. That meant nobody from my household had crashed into a power pole. Much to my surprise the grid was up and running. Someone did a good job on the line repair. 

It wouldn’t had been a big issue had the grid been down. The new inverter is running well. Unlike the old modified sine wave inverter the new one is true sine wave and runs my induction stove top just fine. It’s still a bit warm to light the cook woodstove just to cook dinner. 

Living out in the country power outages are to be expected. Repairs can take a while as they deal with the more populated areas first. Fortunately this was a very local event so they got to it right away. Had it been something like a massive storm repairs could take a long long time. My biggest issue wasn’t with the power but with the detour and that really wasn’t too awful. 


Tuesday, September 26, 2023

Favorite time of year

Here in the Great North Woods we are entering one of my favorite times of year. As the leaves change color our beautiful scenery turns to absolutely stunning. People come from all over the world to experience the wonder of it all. 

I don’t take it for granted. Even when running my day to day errands I’m aware of the beauty. There are routes that excel during certain times of the day when the light is just right. So what if I have to drive a few miles out of my way to experience it? What’s life without a bit of color in it?

While it’s a beautiful time of the year it doesn’t last long enough. Soon enough we’ll be in what I call the gray times. That’s when all the leaves have fallen from the trees but the snow hasn’t covered the ground yet. On the bright side it’s the peak of hunting season so there is that. 

Always remember though: winter is coming.


Monday, September 25, 2023

Troops Home by Christmas

People are wondering how long the war in Ukraine will go on. The good news: the troops will be home before Christmas. The bad news: we don’t which Christmas. 

How long was the US in Afghanistan again? The lesson there is you don’t have to defeat a super power. All you have to do is endure and outlast it. The Ukrainians know this. We also know that Russia is not a super power. It’s not a near peer to the US. When you have to put 60 year old cobbled together equipment in the field something is wrong. 

Ukrainians are doing well with western equipment that’s two and three generations out of date. They are excited to be getting F-16 jets -which came out in 1978. Sure, they’ve been updated a lot, but this isn’t cutting edge technology. It doesn’t have to be to exceed Russian counterparts. 

Russia is breaking itself on Ukraine. The west appears to be spending a lot of money, but it’s still a bargain. If anything shortens the war it will be western support. Remember, all the Ukrainians have to do is endure. They’ve seen what happens to towns occupied by Russia. No Ukrainians want that. They are in it to win it. 

This war is a horrible waste of human potential. War almost always is. It’s all because of the misguided ambitions of a authoritarian strongman. Russia is broken and may never recover. Their best and brightest have fled. Their neighbors know they are weak. China even put out a map showing Russian territory as part of China. Russian, knowing how weak they are, were very quiet about it. 

Russia could end this war at any time. All they’d have to do is go home. They could even do it before Christmas. 


Sunday, September 24, 2023

Stupid Political Games

Looks like there’s another potential government shutdown in the works. 

With all the problems in the world the House thinks it’s a good idea to throw in some economic turmoil on top of everything else. There are plenty of real problems. One would think politicians would be busy enough solving problems, but that’s not what they do.

It’s also kinda twisted that so many people who support a government shutdown actually depend a lot on the government. Unless you refuse Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and other programs you shouldn’t bite the hand that feeds you. Too many people don’t even know they benefit from a lot of programs. However, they will scream when their mortgage or home improvement loan can’t be processed. 

I’m not a fan of government waste, but private business often does nothing at all or is even more wasteful. Trust me, nobody wants to go back to private fire departments. 

We can contact our representatives and tell them to get back to doing real work. At the same time prepare for a politically caused economic downturn. 


Saturday, September 23, 2023

What To Expect When You Hit The SOS Button On The Garmin InReach

Garmin InReach

I own a Garmin inReach satellite device. Normally I use it for three things: text communications where there's no cell service, weather reports, and navigation. 

The real reason I got one was for a feature I hope to never use: the SOS button. This video is a good real world example of what happens when you push that button. 

For me there are two big take aways. First of all it works. The second thing is to make sure you spring for the rescue insurance. Things like copter rides from the back country are expensive.


Friday, September 22, 2023

My local weather

If you live in an area long enough, and pay attention to the weather, you learn about your micro-climate. It really makes a difference. People have been paying attention to local differences for a very long time. For example, in my area there were a lot of hill farms. You’d think they’d establish farms in the fertile low lands. However, cold air sinks. Farms located above the valleys could squeeze out a few more frost free weeks of growing season. 

This past growing season micro-climates made a huge difference. An orchard on one side of the mountain would be devastated with massive crop loss. An orchard on the other side of the mountain would be almost totally fine. 

In a two mile trip, with only a 500 foot change in altitude, I’ve seen it go from snow, to ice to straight rain. 

Long range forecasts are pretty much a joke. Part of the issue is the White Mountains. Three major weather systems come together there. I’m located north of the Whites so it’s a crap shoot what will happen. 

One thing I know for sure: we will get us some weather. Best be prepared for anything.