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Thursday, December 24, 2020

Merry Christmas

 Hope everyone has a good Christmas this year and a better one next.


-Sixbears

Tuesday, December 15, 2020

Next Six Months



Well, we are coming to the end of 2020. What a ride. Still time for a few screw ups before the end. Of course, January 1 is just a number. No guarantee 2021 is not going to be interesting.


At least the election stuff is settled well beyond reasonable doubt. The bright side of that is being able to eliminate some uncertainty.


Personally I don’t think most of us should be making any major plans beyond about six months or so. Even that might be too long of a planning window. By summer this could look like a whole different world. For some it’ll be better, for other’s it will be worse. If you can hold it together for six months at a time you will be in a better position than most. Just don’t get wedded to some vision of the future. Too much is in flux right now.


My household has been hunkering down and sitting this one out. About the only trips I’ve been making is grocery shopping for fresh food. Recently I’ve switched to curbside pickup for my groceries. That’s been hit or miss, but the local grocery story seems to have finally gotten it together.


Looks like the predicted major storm is mostly going to be south of us. We’ve got some snow on the ground, but just a couple of inches. High winds and freezing rain have taken down our grid power and Internet a few times. We are very glad to have good solar battery backup and a woodstove.


When we lose Internet we also lose our phone connections. Our home phone is voice over Internet. There is a mountain between me and the closest cell tower, so that phone doesn’t work either. In a pinch I can take my inreach device and acquire satellite communications. I can send and receive text messages that way and there’s also an SOS button if we are in real trouble.


Be safe everyone. We are having a death count higher than a 911 event every day. It’s as real as it can be. By now most people have either gotten it, know someone who has, or even lost someone dear. Don’t be a statistic. I just bought another high quality mask and more filters. It’s going to take some time before vaccines have an impact.


-Sixbears




Friday, November 27, 2020

Not so bad



Our virtual on-line Thanksgiving wasn’t too bad. We spent the first part of the afternoon in a Zoom meeting with family. The second half was spent on-line with friends. It was nice to see friends and family from Maine to California. Thanksgiving morning started with freezing rain so it was good that nobody had to drive anywhere.


My lovely wife and I have an awful lot of leftovers, but that’s a bonus.


While I wouldn’t want to spend every Thanksgiving physically isolated, we weren’t socially isolated.


Hope your holiday went well.


-Sixbears


Thursday, November 26, 2020

Happy Thanksgiving



Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. Normally it’s getting together with friends, family and expressing gratitude for the blessings in our lives. The food’s amazing too.


This year we are observing CDC guidelines and staying away from people. It’s a video meeting sort of holiday. As it turns out it’s a good year to stay home in other ways. We are getting a mix of freezing rain and snow. The driving is horrible. Just as well we aren’t going anywhere an no one is trying to get to our place in the woods.


Be well everyone and never forget to be thankful for the good things.


-Sixbears


Tuesday, November 24, 2020

Where I’m coming from



There’s some confusion on where I stand. Hope this straightens things out a bit.


My strongest guiding principle is my belief in freedom. However, I also believe in responsibility. You can’t have one without the other. Too many want freedom but have no sense of responsibility to their fellow human beings.


Communism and Capitalism both limit an individual’s freedom. It’s easy to see how Communism uses an iron fist to enforce its rules. Capitalism is more subtle but also insidious, using everything from advertising to financial shackles. If you are lucky your handcuffs are golden. Few have the strength to reject chains of gold.


In the real world the most successful societies have a mixture of regulated Capitalism with a strong social safety net. By successful I mean the average citizen seems healthy and happy.


I am more of a spiritual person than a religious one. However, I believe in freedom of religion and also freedom from religion. Give me an ethical Atheist over a hypocritical Christian any day. When someone asks what would Jesus do, remember that flipping over tables and attacking people with a whip are a couple of things he did.


I try to love my enemies. I turn the other cheek. After that I believe it’s my right to shoot them.


Personally, I’m always suspicious of people who’ve never put themselves in harm’s way sending others into danger.


I’m not a fan of abortion, but recognize it’s sometimes a last resort. We can have legal safe abortion or illegal dangerous abortion. It’s proven that access to education and birth control greatly reduce the demand for abortion. Sorry if that triggers you.


Something can be both legal and immoral. While I might not always be legal, I try my best to be ethical.


When going through life I assume other people are experiencing struggles I’m totally unaware of and try to cut them some slack.


Most importantly I’m open to changing my beliefs as new facts come in. I believe that one of the reasons we are here on this earth is to learn and grow. If you aren’t changing, you aren’t learning.


-Sixbears






Monday, November 23, 2020

Foolishness almost over



Now that the transition team has been allowed to do its work, Trump election denial should be soon coming to an end. If you don’t believe that, stop typing. You’ll just get deleted anyway, and I don’t delete too much.


So where do we go from here? We hunker down and mind our own business. We have plenty of business to mind too. The pandemic is getting worse by the day. Without Federal leadership we’ve been left with a patchwork response. Recently I watched a nearby city go through a big mask debate. In the end they came to a split decision to require masks. The next day the state of NH made a state wide mandate so the local debate was pretty much a waste of time.


Personally, I’ve decided to be cautious. There are few downsides for being super careful. It’s a bit of a drag not spending the holidays with family, but we’ll adapt. We are missing them this season so we can enjoy many more holidays in future years.


By the way, if you have any freezer space left, stock up on frozen turkeys. The price is right. It’s a huge value right now. My lovely wife and I will be roasting a large turkey for two of us. It’s just as easy to cook a large one than a small one and turkey leftovers are amazing.


People are panic buying toilet paper again. I saw someone leaving a Staples with a shopping cart absolutely overloaded with TP. I’m still pleased with my bidet investment.


If you can, it’s not a bad idea to round out any preps you are low on. We’ve been adding a few extras in every grocery order. One of my big concerns is getting through the cold northern winter. My heating oil tank is full and a one ton pallet of fiber blocks has been stacked up for the woodstove. The battery bank and solar election system has been serviced. In addition to my large solar election system there are three small solar generators running -backups for the backups.


Security is good. No need to go into details.


My advice, take it or leave it, is to remain calm and carry on.


-Sixbears





Saturday, November 14, 2020

Two More Years



New Hampshire’s governor just had a press conference about the pandemic. A nursing home up the road from me has been hard hit. There’s a bad nurse shortage. Nobody wants to move to our rural area. Nurses who’ve tested positive are working the covid ward.


One of the key things that came out of that conference was about the vaccine. They estimate it will be about two years before it’s commonly available. I heard it confirmed by the governor so it’s not some crazy conspiracy crap.


Plan for the long term.


-Sixbears


Wednesday, November 11, 2020

Nobody’s running to Canada



Remember how in 2016 there was all this talk about running away to Canada? Guess what? That really happened, at least it did where I live. Many of us have friends and relatives across the border. That makes moving there a lot easier. My lovely wife lost her really good doctor when the doctor moved to the land of hockey and poutine.


One of my daughters normally would have gone to Canada after this election. However, she always vacations in Canada after an election. She says it’s a good way to clear her head and also let the country cool down a bit.


Maybe we should all vacation in Canada for a while and cool down. Too bad the border is closed. I can’t say I blame them.


-Sixbears


Friday, November 6, 2020

Now What?

 


Trump lost. Get over it. Don’t be a snowflake. He really wasn’t your friend anyway. He did talk a good game, addressing the concerns of a large group of people who’ve been ignored by the establishment. However, it’s the one tenth of one percent who really benefited. I bet you didn’t get your coal miner job back.


So who’s going to benefit under Biden? The one tenth of the one percent, that’s who. There’s going to be some cosmetic changes, but not as much real stuff will change. I hope more regular people’s lives will improve, but I’m not holding my breath. At the very least, maybe we can start getting the pandemic under control. It would nice to be able to hug my grandkids again without fear of dying.


Don’t worry about the right to bear arms. Because of Trump, I’ve never seen so many liberals acquire and train with firearms. They aren’t going to give them up.


Speaking of guns, don’t think you are going to change the election results with them. That’s a really good way to end up dead or in prison. Most people I know with guns mind their own business and don’t go looking for trouble. Just don’t break into their homes at 3 a. m. and expect to walk back out.


It’s going to be tense for a few months yet. Don’t let fear and emotion rule you. We’ve got a nation to rebuild and it’s going to take all of us.


-Sixbears

Saturday, October 31, 2020

From green zone to red zone



Our local virus condition quickly went from green to red. A lot of cases can be traced back to the Federal prison. Kid’s sports was another problem. Then there was also a local restaurant that had issues. Currently the schools are shut for at least two weeks.


We used to have free travel into Vermont, but now that’s been changed. Of course, Canada is still off limits. I’m starting to feel a little closed in right now. Might as well hunker down for the duration.


-Sixbears


Thursday, October 29, 2020

Weird year for me



I know. That doesn’t make me special this year. Normally I’d be getting ready to head south for the winter. Instead I’m setting up for the long cold winter.


It really hit me when getting the boat ready. Last year I was making sure it had a good coat of bottom paint. This year I’m making sure the it can handle huge amounts of snow on the cover. Normally my wife and I are stacking as much stuff in the boat as we can. That way we don’t have to load it up before leaving. This year we emptied it out. Even the sails will spend the winter in the house. Gas has been drained from the outboard instead of just making sure it has stabilizer.


The house is better winterized. Still not 100% on that, but mostly there. We’ve already had a couple snow storms with more on the way.


At least I get to vote in person. Voting absentee for the primary was a huge pain while on the road. Speaking of voting, don’t be a jerk. No matter how it turns out.


There’s a huge survival skill that nobody talks about. It’s being able to get along with people you don’t agree with.


-Sixbears


Thursday, October 22, 2020

A mile too far



We finally got a break in the weather and our schedule. The wind was calm and the temperature got close to 60. It was a good day to finally pull the sailboat out of the water. Next week mixed precipitation is expected.


I motored the sailboat over to the boat ramp while my lovely wife drove the boat trailer over. Loading went well. There was no one else at the ramp so no pressure. Taking the boom off and dropping the mast was a smooth operation. It looked like we were all set.


Part way around the lake one of the trailer tires blew. It was going to be replaced weeks ago, but I couldn’t get the old wheel off. The guy who put it on with a power wrench tightened it too much so I gave up. Only needed a couple more miles out of the old tire, but it was not to be.


Rather than try and mess around with it I drove the last mile with a flat tire, ten miles an hour the whole way. It’s safely in the driveway now. It’s much easier to change a tire in my driveway than on the side of the road.


-Sixbears


Saturday, October 17, 2020

Snow?

 Looks like it's that time of year again. Woke up to big heavy snowflakes falling from the sky. This probably won't last, but it won't be long until it does. 

-Sixbears


Thursday, October 15, 2020

My winter lake prep



Living on the lake there are a few things to do before the snow flies. My son-in-law gave me a hand a few days ago pulling the swim raft onto shore. That went fairly well, but it’s certainly not a one person job. I’m glad I had help.


Thursday’s plan was to pull the boat off the lake. That didn’t go quite as well. It was a warm day for mid October in New Hampshire’s North Country -around 70. Seemed like a perfect day for it. My lovely wife and I planned on one more afternoon of sailing.


I’d moved the trailer and tow vehicle to the boat ramp, so that was ready. Unfortunately the wind picked up a lot more than predicted. The 3 to 5 mph predicted winds turned into wind strong enough to lean the sailboat right down past its gunwales. That’s with much reduced sails. After a while it was no longer much fun to be sailing.


Unfortunately the wind was blowing across the whole lake to the boat ramp. There were whitecaps. That did not look like it would be much fun trying to load the sailboat. We decided to put that off until later in the week.


By then the wind was blowing so hard I was concerned about being able to drop the mainsail. In the end I pulled the boat right up next to shore where some trees blocked most of the wind. Then I dropped the sail in record time. After securing it we motored the whole way across the lake to our beach. It’s back on the mooring.


We have some rain in the forecast, but after that I’ll just motor directly to the boat ramp and pull it out. The long range forecast has some decent weather predicted. One year I actually had to pull the boat in snowstorm. That’s something I definitely do not want to repeat.


-Sixbears


Wednesday, October 14, 2020

The Long Haul



The Spanish Flu hit in three waves and went on for roughly three years. There are few reasons to believe that this pandemic will be over any quicker.


Hear me out. The big difference between now and 1918 is the state of our medical system. Our big hope is for a vaccine. Unfortunately, just about all the major players in the vaccine game are having issues. Many safety trials are on hold while side effects are being evaluated.


We don’t even know if a vaccine will work very well. It’s discouraging that people are getting infected for the second time. Not only that, the second infection is often much worse than the first one.


On the bright side, we now have much more effective treatments. While not a cure, they can keep more people alive. However, that requires a fully functional health care system. That’s a major problem in countries where health care is tied to one’s job. With unemployment high, many have lost insurance.


This is not to discourage anyone. I know there are many people who are having psychological issues with the duration of this crisis. Some are pretending it’s over, and that’s one of the things fueling the growing second wave of infection. Cold weather in the north is another problem with people crowding in together. The spread is often happening through small family gatherings right now. That does not bode well for the holidays.


I’m assuming most of my readers are mentally tough enough to deal with reality. We will take it one day at a time. If it is over sooner, great. If not, we endure.


-Sixbears


Friday, October 9, 2020

Land Rush



There are a lot of out of state license plates still hanging around. Usually, this time of year, we have the place to ourselves. Sure, there are folks that will come up on the weekend, but now they are here all week. A good part of that is that they are new residents.


Housing here in Northern New Hampshire is going fast. It’s common for buyers to offer 30% above the asking price to assure they are going to get it. My neighbor works in the school system and they are dealing with an influx of new students.


This, my friends, is what one version of bugging out looks like. Most of these new people are escaping big cities. They have the ability to work from home and are taking advantage of it. Preppers tend to think of bugging out as someone with a bug out bag. That’s the low end of the spectrum. The high end is a massive yacht with it’s own on board doctor and security. In the middle we have these urban folks moving into modest homes in the hinterland.


There’s a sense of panic in the air. That explains the premium they’ve been putting on quick sales. This is the 11th hour if you are looking to avoid trouble in the big cities. Heck, things look pretty iffy in a lot of the moderate sized cities. A friend of mine lives about a half hour outside of a city of about 70,000 people. He’s upped his security quite a bit with better doors, locks, walls, and security windows -plus other interesting things.


Another popular bug out option is the bug out vehicle. Frankly, when winter sets in most of those are impossible to keep warm. The far north is not a good place for mobile living. That’s why the smart money is establishing themselves in small towns. This influx has been happening at a good pace ever since about March.


While there’s been some growing pains, most of the towns and small cities are handling the increase fairly well. However, space is running out. Time is also running out.


-Sixbears


Monday, October 5, 2020

Food Shortages



Recently I received an unexpected check in the mail. Within twenty-four hours I’d turned all it into food. If you’ve got anything at all to spare I’d recommend you stock up. There are food shortages on the way. Of course, I might be wrong about that, but you’ll eventually eat that food anyway.


Forget about buying special survival foods like MREs. Prices have gone through the roof and delivery times are long. Get regular canned and dry goods for storage. Stock on up spices. That’s one of the things added to my pantry. When you’ve got a lot of beans and rice being able to spice them in different ways sure makes life better.


Don’t rely upon hunting. During the Great Depression the woods were pretty much cleaned out of anything edible. Game laws were ignored because that’s what hungry people do. I’m still doing some hunting, but I’m not relying on it. If you do plan on hunting I hope you already have your ammo as there’s nothing in the gun stores. Locally even 30-30 is sold out.


-Sixbears


Sunday, October 4, 2020

Protective Gear



I was going to make a big long post about this, but decided against it. Listen folks, wear your protective gear. Spend a little extra and get gear that’s high quality and comfortable. Not everyone has helicopter access to the best medical care in the world.


-Sixbears


Wednesday, September 30, 2020

Hard to Plan

 


In these interesting times it’s a bit difficult make any sort of long range plans. Between the pandemic, economic collapse, social upheaval, and natural disasters, it’s not a good time to travel.


I was talking to a paramedic friend of mine. He thought that the schools would eventually all have to go to remote learning. He expects the virus to spread easily in a school environment. His kid is staying home. Fortunately for him, his wife works from home so can be there.


My friend was also appalled with Florida’s decision to remove restrictions from bars and restaurants. With that in mind, I’m happy with my decision to stay home for the duration. Who knows what the world will look like a year or two down the road? While I can guess, that’s no way to plan. If 2020 has shown us anything it’s that we can expect the unexpected.


We are fortunate to have gotten some rain finally. That takes the edge off, but we’ll need a lot more. There are wells not far from me that have gone dry. Our foliage season was short up here in the north. The dryness hastened things along. The leaves on many trees looked burnt and crinkled, like they’d been too near a fire. Drought will do that. Now the rain is washing a lot of leaves onto the ground.


My lovely wife and I are doing well. The plan is to fort up as much as possible and avoid the flu and Covid season. Progress is being made on home projects. There will be plenty to keep me busy.


-Sixbears

Sunday, September 27, 2020

Dash to the coast



My lovely wife and I took one last trip to the coast while the weather was good. I think the Portland Maine lighthouse is becoming one of favorite places to visit. It certainly helps that they allow dogs in the park.

We have friends in southern Maine and they are well set up for overnight company. They pitched a large canvas pavilion in their spacious backyard. For the convenience of guests there’s an outdoor comfort station in a separate small tent with a portapotty, sanitizer and a hand washing station. It makes it easy to socially distance.

They put on a good feed for us and we enjoyed an evening around the campfire. That’s the only time we’ve spent the night away since we came back from Florida in the spring. The weather was unusually mild and were lucky to be able to take advantage of it.

Currently we are at the peak of foliage season here in Northern New Hampshire. It’s been unusually dry and fire danger has been high. However, we are expecting about a week of rain that’s definitely needed. The overflow from my well has stopped flowing. That’s only happened once before in my memory. I went down to the well to upgrade the plumbing connection at the pump so it wouldn’t fail at an inconvenient time. That’s when I noticed the overflow had stopped, but fortunately the well is still full of water. It’s just a couple inches lower than normal.

A lot of people around here a dreading winter. I’m not going to worry about it. Attitude is everything. There is no bad weather, only bad clothes. With all the turmoil going on in the world, I’m kinda looking forward to being snowed in. Nobody riots during a blizzard.

It will be a time for good books while sitting by the fire.

-Sixbears

Wednesday, September 16, 2020

Not a bad place



I’ve been very fortunate during these interesting times to have a place out in the country.


This view of New Hampshire’s White Mountains is from my lake.




There’s a bit of smoke haze from the western fires, but not too bad. Right now it’s still probably some of the best air in the country. Where my younger daughter lives on the west coast it’s super smoky. She’s had to put her lights on in the middle of day due to the smoke blocking out the sun. At least her place is not currently under direct threat. However, she’s been told by authorities to pack an emergency bag in case.


I also feel for all the folks dealing with a very active hurricane season. When you run out of names for storms you know it’s a bad one. They then will go with Greek letters. Hope they don’t run out of those. What would be next? Disney characters?


While we haven’t have the fires they’ve had out west, it’s been a dry summer. A friend of mine who works for the Forest Service as a firefighter did a 21 day stretch without a break. Fortunately the fires have been small, but there have been a lot of them. Most have been started by campers not putting out campfires properly.


There are a lot more people out in the woods taking advantage of free dispersed camping. I even ran into a good sized group of people doing official bird dog trials. Normally they’d meet in Maine, but due to Maine’s 14 day quarantine requirement they relocated the event to New Hampshire.


Summer’s nice weather allowed for us to socialize outside with people. Winter might get a bit grim. I’m going to avoid being inside anywhere but my house and maybe a few essential short term shopping trips. Whatever it takes to stay healthy. Might even skip the shopping trips.


Frankly, I don’t think I’m going to mind being snowed in at all. It’s hard for people to riot in a blizzard.


-Sixbears


Sunday, September 6, 2020

End of Summer



We’ve come to the unofficial end of summer. The lake is pretty busy this holiday weekend. Heck, the whole state of NH is packed with visitors. The state has taken to requiring day passes for the state parks. Many are full up.


Of course, I’d rather be dealing with a tourist invasion that daily riots in the streets. Portland just had 100 straight days of protest. Some places have definitely had a long hot summer. While I’m in no hurry for the cold weather to settle in, nobody riots during a blizzard.


2020 has been a strange year. I’m expecting some kind of black swan even between now and the end of November. That’s weird when you think of it as black swan events are supposed to unexpected. This year I’ve learned to expect the unexpected.


Hope everyone is being safe. Don’t take unnecessary risks. Don’t go around to super spreader events and avoid going to protests looking for a fight. Neither of those activities tend to end well.


-Sixbears


Sunday, August 30, 2020

Security



I picked up a new hobby during the quarantine -lock picking. I was giving an Amazon gift card so I picked up a book and few tools. Over time I was able able to fiddle with some old padlocks and got them open. It’s a very meditative hobby. Nothing can be forced.


Just for grins and giggles I thought I’d try the lock on my front door. It’s nothing special as far as locks go. It’s about average, probably like the one on your house. It took me, a rank amateur, five seconds to unlock it.


Here’s the thing. I always could bypass a lock in a matter of seconds. When I was a firefighter I took a lot of forcible entry courses. We had a fire in an office building one time. Every door was locked, but I popped them open so quickly that the officer coming behind me thought they must have been unlocked. Of course, I had a tool and was not afraid to make noise and do a bit of damage.


Locks are to keep honest people honest. The deadbolts on my house are there to slow a house invasion down just enough for me to get my gun.


Don’t even get me started on gated communities. The vast majority of them are just security theater. If there are kids in those communities they always have paths around gates and locks. Often there are back entrances to those communities left unlocked.


What’s more important than locks is the sort of place you live in. Bad neighborhoods are called bad for a reason.


-Sixbears

Friday, August 28, 2020

Life in the woods



We are in a pretty good place during these trying times. Having a bit of land, a well, and significant solar electric is a comfort. That takes care of a lot worries right there.


My lovely wife and I had a great afternoon sailing out on the lake. The loons and osprey were very active. It’s nice not to have to deal with crowded boat ramps with tense people. The sailboat is right there at our beach, ready to be sailed at a moment’s notice. Sure, it’s a small lake, but sailing is sailing.


Progress has been made on sealing up the basement air leaks. We are looking in better shape for the coming winter. In recent years we’ve gotten snow on the ground in October that stays until spring. That brings things to a halt.


One more trip to the transfer station should take care of the rest of junk from when the old deck was torn down. Most of the debris was burned, but not everything could be. I’m not going to burn pressure treated as that’s pretty toxic.


I’m still taking the virus seriously. Rather than shop local I drive 50 miles to shop at a grocery store with good safety and a special shopping time for those over 60. Worth it for my piece of mind.


-Sixbears


Sunday, August 23, 2020

Dialed in



The Sixbears household is doing well. I’ve been getting the house ready for winter. That’s what you do up here in New Hampshire’s North Country. Storms are coming.


Speaking of storms, I finally got a chance dial in one of my rifles. There’s a fairly isolated sandpit I like to shoot in. Unfortunately the woods road out to it was washed out and closed for repairs. One of my cousins goes to run his dogs in that area and he let me know the road was open again.


I didn’t mess around. Some folks just shoot a few rounds and call it good. There are a lot of variables when shooting. However, if the weapon is sighted in and functions well those are two less things to worry about. I brought a shooting table, chairs, binoculars, targets, surveyor’s tape measure, hearing protection, tools, quality ammo -the whole nine yards.


I’m glad I did. The sights were off. There was also a problem with one of the magazines. After four or five rounds it would sometimes fall right out of the gun. That could be embarrassing. Fortunately the other magazines functioned well. Never assume that just because something is new it functions the way it’s supposed to. When there’s high demand for firearms sometimes quality control suffers.


Guns and ammo are in short supply just about everywhere. Glad I don’t really need anything new. A friend gave me a box of 100 shotgun shells recently which was a nice surprise. 9 mm is almost non-existent. A friend paid a lot for a box. Every round shot is like buying a fancy coffee. There’s some 380 available in my area for reasonable money. It’s good to have firearms of different calibers. Personally, I’m glad I stocked up on .22s when they were cheap.


With any luck all I’m going to need my firearms for is hunting season.


-Sixbears




Thursday, August 13, 2020

Mental Health in These Times

 


In a lot of ways I’m doing this pandemic on easy mode. When I say pandemic I’m not just talking about the virus, but all stuff that goes with it. There’s economic and social upheaval and even spiritual issues to deal with.


Of course, having a sailboat and a hammock on the beach of my little lake certainly helps.


In general my family and friends are handling it pretty well. That’s not to say there aren’t challenges. A deaf friend who lip reads is having a bad time with people wearing masks all the time.


Personally it helps that I’ve had bad times when other people were doing well. It gave me perspective. I’ve been blessed with the threat of the loss of all my material possessions. Once you let that fear of loss go life has a certain new freedom. It’s all just stuff. Money is an illusion.


That’s not that you don’t have to deal with it. For example, one bank just cut $8,000 from my credit line. Now I wasn’t using the credit and had never missed any payments. The main reason I carried that credit in the first place was for emergencies when traveling. No big deal. Next time I travel I’ll deal with emergencies in other ways. There are always solutions. By the way, I mention that because at least a third of Americans have had their credit reduced. If that happened to you, it’s not personal. You didn’t do anything wrong.


Having physical perps is helpful, but the real skill needed in these times is mental flexibility. Also, be kind to yourself when you aren’t handling things well. We are all allowed some bad moments. If they persist too long and cripple your life, don’t be afraid to get help.


-Sixbears

Tuesday, August 11, 2020

New Blogger and other Stuff

Looks like the formatting of my last post was a bit messed. I don't know why Blogger thinks it a good idea to make people have to learn a whole new system every now and then. Some bloggers have just given up. This post is being done a bit different so I hope it works.

 

I'm not a survivalist. I'm into thriving. Fear is a powerful control mechanism. It's a trap

. . . . and yet, I wear a mask. That's because I did a lot of research and came to the conclusion that it couldn't hurt and might help a lot. Also, I like messing up facial recognition. If I'm wrong there's no harm done. If I'm right, I might save my life. My mask is so good that using a public porta potty is not a bad experience. 

My lovely wife and I have been doing some local travel and really enjoying the outdoors. Temperatures have been pretty hot for northern NH, so being on the lake has been a good thing. Odds are we'll be staying clos to him this winter. Looking forward to a lot of winter activities. As long as temperatures don't linger below zero for weeks on end it should be doable. 

 There's a lot of debate about kids going back to school. It got me thinking about how I'd feel about it if this would have happened when I was kid. Personally, I would have jumped at the chance not to go to school. It sucked. My grades were good, but I always felt school took too much time and kept me from learning cool stuff. 

There's a lot of things changing right now. That can be a good thing. Frankly, there was a lot of stuff that didn't work for most people before this pandemic. Since we have restart everything, might as well do it in a new way. It could be in big ways, like work and school, or in smaller ways. For example, I think I'm done paying for haircuts. 

 -Sixbears

Saturday, August 8, 2020

Calm Before the Storm

I’m enjoying summer. The weather’s been amazing here in the Great North Woods. My lovely wife and I take the sailboat out on the lake. We’ve visited with friends and family outside and in a safe manner. The other day we even went to listen to a local musician play in the park. Home projects are getting done. Maybe not as quickly or as easily as during normal times, but they are getting done. In these interesting times we are doing better than most. New Hampshire is one of the states managing the crisis fairly well. However, there are signs of trouble ahead. Tourists have come into the state from all over. There are packed restaurants. Bike week, which had been rescheduled from June, will be taking place. That usually brings in crowds from all over. Some people have gotten very lax about precautions. I’m hoping that our luck will hold, but still taking all precautions. Too many places have gone from few cases to major outbreaks to relax. Now is the time to sort out any last minute preps. You don’t have to be Nostradamus to know the fall and winter are going to be challenging times. Don’t let this narrow window of prep time slip away. I’m expecting to be pretty much locked down when the cold weather sets in. I’ve plenty of coffee, books to read, and popcorn to watch the show. -Sixbears

Sunday, July 19, 2020

The Woods are Full



If you have plans on bugging out to the woods you might have missed your chance. They are full. I’ve been going out into the National Forest to do some walking to rehabilitate my knee. Even during the weekdays the dirt roads out in the forest have heavy traffic. Wild camping sites are occupied.

Probably a lot of this is just people from the city looking for something fairly safe to do. However, with people unable to pay rent some of them appear to be on the road full time. Having traveled for months that way myself I know how it looks.

My cousin, in an attempt to avoid people, hiked way out in the wilds on a long abandoned trail and still ran into someone.

I’m curious to see how busy the woods are going to be come hunting season. With the price of food going up and people out of work I expect lots of meat hunters this year. I’m going to be one of them. However, it doesn’t look to be a good year for game. Berries aren’t doing well this year so critters have to work much harder to eat. We might all have to work much harder to eat.

-Sixbears

Friday, July 17, 2020

The Curse of Interesting Times



Yep, still here. Still doing pretty well. My lovely wife and I are making progress around the house.

I did pop something in my knee, so that set things back a bit. That hurt like a son of a gun. Of course, having no medical insurance and looking to avoid hospitals in the time of the pandemic, I just slapped a brace on it. That seems to have helped a lot. It’s still got a ways to go, but it is getting better. One of the things that is helping is pedaling my bike. That works the knee without me having to put my full weight on it.

New Hampshire is doing better than most places as far as this disease goes. However, things are opening up and people are getting a bit too casual about it for my liking. Here’s the thing: if I’m over cautious there’s no harm done. If, however, things are worse than they seem I’m taking necessary precautions. While the risk of infection may be low the consequences for a fat over 60 guy with bad lungs could be dire.

It doesn’t help that my lovely wife just discovered her aunt most likely died from the coronavirus. She had all the symptoms and was even on a ventilator for a few days. She lived in a southern state that’s been accused of hiding the numbers, so that might be an issue.

Speaking of hiding the numbers -there’s a lot more of that going on. The latest example is the fact that information is no longer going to the CDC. While the CDC has its problems the information was public. That info will be harder for the average person to get now.

Getting good information in general is hard these days, but that’s nothing new. During the Great Depression, the word “depression” was never used in the papers. The information was all there, but it was buried deep in the financial section in the back of the paper and you had to crunch the numbers yourself.

With that in mind I did some research looking at how long big business plans on having to deal with fall out from the pandemic. They seem to be expecting issues for at least another year and a half. Prepare for the possibility.

A vaccine is supposed to the magic bullet that makes it all go away. In spite of all the hype, the vaccines in the pipelines all have issues. The safer ones appear to only offer partial protection. Other vaccines appear to have nasty side effects in a significant percentage of the test groups.

I am not against vaccines in principle. Personally, I won’t be in the first wave of those getting it. Not having health insurance is part of the problem. Even if the vaccine was free, if I had complications from the shot I’d be stuck picking up the tab myself.

At any rate, my lovely wife, our kids and grandkids are well. They are all getting by.

Interesting times.

-Sixbears

Wednesday, July 8, 2020

Don’t Let a Pandemic Go to Waste



The Sixbears extended family continues to do well. The last thing that someone should do is to wait around for a vaccine before moving on with life. The second to the last thing someone should do is to ignore the virus and pretend it went away.

We are taking all necessary precautions. For example, Tuesday we got up super early to drive 50 miles to do groceries. Our local stores have sloppy disease protocols. The store we went to has a time slot for those over 60 first thing in the morning. We also have a good supply of locally raised meats from a nearby farmer. Fish we can get right out of the lake we live on -can get much more local than that.

This year we’ve improved our garden and are taking advantage of wild plants for food and medicine.

It’s been a time for improving our homestead. We will be putting off extended travel for at least another year. Our relief check has gone into preparing for the coming winter.

Plenty of people I’ve communicated with do not want things to go back to the way they were. Some want to continue to spend more time with their families. Some who work for home want to keep doing that.

While my immediate family is doing well, there are those around us not all that well at all. If you have an essential job, especially in health care, you are under a lot of extra stress. Some friends have lost people to this virus. Others are still suffering from the after effects of this disease. Even younger people have dealt with long term lingering ill health. Personally, I don’t feel the need to take risks to get my hair done. They’ll do that for you at the funeral home.

-Sixbears

Monday, June 22, 2020

So What Happened to Sixbears?


In short, I’m fine. My extended family is also well.

So why has this blog gone quiet?

This blog evolved into two main themes. The first was as a prepper blog. Frankly, you should have prepped by now. I’ve covered enough ground that I’d basically be repeating myself over and over again. Right now I’m taking advantage of a lull in the panic to top off my canned and dry goods.

The second thing this blog ended up doing was covering my travels. Right now I’m not going far at all. It’s time to stick close to the homestead.

Be well.

-Sixbears

Monday, April 20, 2020

Quarantine Update



Things are getting pretty crazy out there and it’s too early for crazy. Quarantines take time to work. When they are broken, they are broken. All those folks who are so anxious to get back to work and resume normal life are only going to make the pandemic worse.

Now I get that people are running out of money and have food insecurity. That just shows how badly the Federal government is handling this crisis. There are third world countries that are taking better care of their people. We should be doing better than places like El Salvador, but we aren’t. Then then are countries like South Africa that have a hard lockdown but not enough provisions made to feed people. They have riots in the streets now because people are running out of food.

Your financial overlords want you to go back to work. They may have to let their seventh vacation home go. Go back to your low wage job so they can continue the lifestyle they’ve become accustomed to.

Guess what? it’s not going to happen. Just accept the planet is going into a deep depression and plan accordingly. That’s already baked into the cake. Financially, a lot of us are going to be in trouble. However, you don’t have to also suffer from this illness too. The fatality rate is bad enough, but survivors also suffer lifelong damage.

Scientists say we won’t really have this beat until there is a vaccine. They also say that vaccines might not even work. The coronavirus might be mutating fast enough to prevent that from happening. It’s also possible that humans don’t develop a strong enough antibody response to keep from being reinfected. This is a new disease and it will take time to figure out.

My thinking is that the longer one can avoid infection the better their odds are. There’s a lot of effort going into the search for treatments and a cure. Those who get infected a year or two from now will have the benefit of all that research and experience. Even better will be those who go the distance and don’t get this at all. The least I can do for my overworked friends in the medical system is to not be part of the freaking problem.


I’m high risk so that’s my goal. Fortunately, my daughters are taking this seriously and doing what they can to help me avoid risky behavior. I am truly blessed.

-Sixbears

Friday, April 10, 2020

Break Time



Hello loyal blog readers. I’ve decided to take a break from blogging. I’m basically hanging around the house. Blogging about that could get boring pretty quickly. There are plenty of other people on many different platforms sharing their stay at home lives. Look at them if you’d like.

I could always do a running commentary on the pandemic, but the 24 hour news cycle has that covered fairly well.

With those things in mind I’ve decided to take a bit of a break.

Be well everyone.

-Sixbears

Thursday, April 9, 2020

Don’t waste it



The past three weeks have felt like three years. We’ve seen long established systems come to a halt, sometimes overnight. Everything from work to school to social life to religion to shopping -everything is different. Pretty amazing.

I always thought it would take something like an alien invasion for that to happen.

So where do we go from here? Maybe that’s too big a question? Perhaps it’s all a matter of billions of people wondering “Where do I go from here?” There’s a lot of individual decisions being made. One can’t but help wonder how many people will come to the same conclusions.

While I can’t speak for anyone else, I’m thinking of a few things.

First of all, I refuse to make decisions out of fear. Prudence and caution are fine. Fear shuts down a person’s logic. With that in mind, my energy is focused on doing positive things. Life is going to be different when this is all over. Every day that passes makes it less likely that we’ll go back to the old ways.

I’m also thinking that my energy is going to be focused much closer to home. Thanks to travel restrictions, the world is a much larger place. Who knows when, or even if, world wide travel becomes common again.

One more thing. Don’t plan on this being over soon. In a way, it will never be over. You can’t unscramble an egg. You can, however, make a pretty decent omelet.

-Six bears

Wednesday, April 8, 2020

Improvement


I’m still getting better. The fever hasn’t returned and my guts have settled down. It’s reached that point where I have to be careful not to overdo it.

Like everyone else I’m watching developments in the nation and the world. Perhaps that’s not the best use of my time and energy, but I don’t want to be in the dark either.

Living out in the woods is a good thing these days. Our plans have definitely done a 180 degree turn from what we’d expected to be doing. Instead of putting energy and work into being nomads, we are going to be homebodies.

The weather is still fairly cold and the lake frozen. Can’t wait to get the boats in the water after breakup happens. This is going to one summer when fishing is going to matter. While we don’t have a lot of garden space we are going to make the best use of what we’ve got. Foraging wild edibles is always an option. That activity will be less of a hobby and more of a job.

Be well everyone.

-Sixbears

Tuesday, April 7, 2020

Probably not



I ran a fever all night but it broke in the morning. After that my symptoms looked more like a gastro intestinal thing. The good news is that my breathing is fine.

If my condition takes a turn for the worse I will definitely seek medical attention. My kids kinda freaked out. My middle daughter, using personal connections, found out how I could get a test if I needed one. Right now, since this is looking more like something else, it’s best that the test go to people who really need it.

Here’s the thing, a few days ago my lovely wife had similar symptoms. We didn’t think too much of it because she gets the exact same sensations when her fibromyalgia flares up. In retrospect she probably had what I’m dealing with now. She felt pretty close to normal in three days.

Don’t want to freak anybody out, but I don’t want to hide anything either. Thank you all for your concern.

-Sixbears

Monday, April 6, 2020

Could it be?

I'm running a fever right now. Not really happy about it. Also have a small cough. Really could be anything. I've been careful, but you never know.

-Sixbears

Sunday, April 5, 2020

Trip to Town


My lovely wife needed her meds from the pharmacy in town. Unfortunately, her prescription is heavily regulated and she can only have a 30 day supply. That forces us to go to the pharmacy at least once a month.

I grabbed my face mask, a bottle of hand sanitizer, and headed off to run errands. First stop was at a property my daughter owns. It’s currently empty. My friends who have a sugar house dropped off a gallon of maple syrup in the morning. I picked it up in the afternoon. They take payment on-line with PayPal. They’ve worked out ways to sell their product without physically dealing with people.

Then I went into the Pharmacy. Not a single person there, employees or customers, had any sort of protective gear on. It felt a little weird to be the only one taking it seriously.

The grocery store was a little different. About 40% of the customers had masks on. The employees were a mixed bag. Some were fully protected. Others had nothing.

Dairy was pretty sparse. I got some Swiss cheese, fancy butter, and a quart of whole milk. There were no eggs, paper products or sanitizer. Way in the back of the meat cooler was one large package of ground beef, some chicken thighs and a few pork cuts. There was also chicken sausage. Apparently that’s not a popular item as there was a good selection. The only bacon left was no name low salt -which I happen to like anyway.

This is going to go on at least well into summer, no matter what the US government is saying. Don’t be surprised by that. They’ve been changing their story from day to day since this started. Canada is telling its citizens to expect this to go at least until the end of July. Prepare for the long haul. A good part of this is going to be mental. Don’t think of yourself as stuck at home. Think of yourself as being safe at home.

-Sixbears

Friday, April 3, 2020

He’s not hating it



A buddy of mine says he’s not hating this quarantine business.

He’s retired but his wife is still working. Now she works from home. That’s 14 hours a week of commuting she’s no longer doing. Now they have breakfast together and start the day with a quick soak in the hot tub.

She takes a coffee break around 10. If the weather is good they have coffee at the “Borderline Cafe.” They have a table and chairs set near their property line. Their neighbors also have a table and chairs set up on their side. Tables are about 20 feet apart. They each bring their own coffee and snacks and enjoy a visit.

Now that she’s not commuting they have time to practice their martial arts every afternoon. Later in the evening they connect with friends and family using various video platforms.

Before his state was locked down he picked up a lot of gardening supplies. As the weather improves he has major garden projects planned.

He admits, kinda sheepishly, he’s not really suffering during this emergency.

-Sixbears

Thursday, April 2, 2020

Location Matters



In these trying pandemic times it really matters where you live. States that put stay at home orders in place early are doing better than those who resisted doing so. Some state governments are handling the emergency much better than others.

The prepper community has had a long ongoing debate between bugging in or bugging out. Well, in this case, bugging in is the solution. One of the things I always said is that you should live at your bug out location. Since it’s difficult to know what’s going to happen, it’s better to always live in your safe place.

That’s why I felt the need to head back home when I did. Fortunately, the nature of the crisis was such that I had enough lead time to get back to my house in the woods.

People who’ve bugged out are being looked upon with suspicion in the rural communities they’ve fled to. Police go door to door because they see out of state plates on cars parked in front. It’s going to get worse before it gets better. Being an outsider is never easy, but now it might even be considered criminal.

The United States medical system varies hugely by area. Worse, there’s no central system that has control over everything. Normally the system is pretty efficient. However, it’s become pretty obvious that countries with national health care are doing a better job now. That’s just a fact, like it or not.

Maybe we should think of medical care the same way we think of police and fire departments. There used to be private fire departments in this country. It didn’t work very well and put the public in danger. Now it’s inconceivable that fire departments once let houses burn down because the didn’t have the right insurance. Today we have sick people spreading disease because they don’t have health insurance and can’t afford not to work.

Don’t feel superior if you don’t happen to live in a hotspot like New York. At least they have economic and political power. When NY politicians make a fuss the feds have to listen. If you live in a rural area take extra care to stay well. The politicians of Dead Dog County of Backwoods State don’t have much clout in Washington.

Stay well everyone.

-Sixbears

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Sharing Spaces



Many of us are in some sort of quarantine. The exceptions are those who have to work in critical jobs. Even those people end up home after work. Might as well. Everything is closed anyway.

For a lot of people this is the first time they’ve spent so much time with their significant other. I’m reminded of a guy who once worked with me. He decided he was going to retire. His wife of many years realized he was now going to be home a lot more. After that epiphany she filed for divorce.

For those folks who really don’t get along, it’s got to be hell. The dog may even start to wonder why he’s being walked fourteen times a day.

My lovely wife and I just spend many months sharing small spaces together. It started back in October when we took a train from Boston to San Francisco. Those roomettes are pretty darn small. Then we spent two and a half weeks sharing a small apartment in California.

It wasn’t long after getting back that we headed south for the winter. Most of that time was spent sharing a tent. If that wasn’t small enough, we also slept on a 19 foot sailboat. We really could have dealt with having a bit of time away from each other when we got home. Nope, we are in quarantine.

After the kids moved out I used to think the house was too big. I was wrong. The house is big enough that we can actually be on separate floors, doing our own things. It’s more space apart than we’ve had in months.

Good thing she loves me.

-Sixbears

Tuesday, March 31, 2020

How Long?





One of the big questions about this quarantine is how long is it going to last? The President just extended the shutdown for another month. What makes you think that will be the end of it? Hope you hadn’t made any big Easter plans.

Personally, I’m supposed to go to a convention in Maine in June. That looks doubtful. Even if restrictions are lifted and the convention takes place, I probably won’t go. Being in a high risk group, it’s just not worth taking any chances. Our family also has reservations for camping on the coast of Maine in July. Not holding my breath on that one either.

Remember, every estimate from the government has been changed for the worse. That’s something to ponder when official estimates now say between 100,000 and 200,000 dead. That’s a best case outcome. There are computer models that predict ten times that. Scary thoughts.

When I see things like field hospitals being set up in Central Park it sends chills down my spine. Tales of civil unrest in European countries give me pause. Their situation is just a few weeks ahead of us. Will we have problems with violence here too? Bullets are still flying off the shelves. 







Not quite there yet.

-Sixbears

Monday, March 30, 2020

So Much for Travel



I love watching travel channels on YouTube. It was rarely things like people going on cruise ships or flying to exotic places. My channel choices were of people traveling by personal boat, van, RV, motorcycle or even by hiking. Last winter while I was recovering my health they sure helped pass the time.

Some of these channels were popular enough that the people making them earned enough income to live on. That’s a pretty sweet gig in a lot of ways. Sure beats working in an office somewhere. Now with the whole planet shutting down, nobody is traveling. The channels are putting out a lot of “this is what we do during lockdown” videos. Personally, I’ve pretty much had my fill of those episodes.

It’s going to be tough for those places that rely on tourists. My own area had a fairly strong recreational industry. Those folks aren’t going to be working for some time. Even when the restrictions are lifted it’s going to take a lot for tourists to come back. People will be hesitant to travel. Most people’s finances are taking a hit and vacations will be one of the first things to be cut from budgets.

I’m pretty much planning to stay close to home for some time. Instead of budgeting for travel, funds will be spent preparing to spend winter at home. That’s going to take a lot of planning and work. At least I’m not going to spend as much time watching travel channels.

-Sixbears

Sunday, March 29, 2020

Quarantine Days



There’s really not much going on around here and that’s a good thing. I guess the self distancing is working -so far.

My lovely wife and I are knocking out house projects. I was able able to get a little plumbing done, all using materials at hand. When you live our in the woods it only makes sense to have basic materials and parts. That’s really paying off these days. While the local hardware store is open, sticking close to home appears to be the better option.

I was able to start her car which has been unused since the beginning of December. It’s still behind a frozen wall of snow and ice, but I’m chipping away at that too.

It’s going to be interesting to see how society changes after this is all over. (Assuming it will be all over) The whole world has pretty much dropped everything to deal with the crisis. Things will not go back exactly the way they were before. You can’t unscramble an egg.

-Sixbears

Saturday, March 28, 2020

Stimulus Money



Okay . . . so the government’s handing out money. All you anti-socialists stay pure and refuse the cash. What’s that you say? This time it’s different? It’s not really Socialism. Whatever lets you sleep at night.

Personally, I’m not really into ideology.

On the other hand, I’m not sure I’m really going to get anything. It’s that just my natural pessimism coming forward? No . . . well . . . not completely. The Sixbears household is in one of those categories where we don’t have to legally file taxes. There was some sort of happy talk that people like us would eventually get some money, somehow.

Whatever.

Fortunately, my firefighter pension is still coming in. In fact, the state sent me an e-mail stating my pension fund was fine. Maybe I’d feel better about that e-mail if it wasn’t sent every three days or so. If they’d sent the e-mail out once, I’d get the impression they were trying to reassure me. When they sent it out all the time, it looks more like they are trying to reassure themselves.

A certain financial institution sent me an e-mail stating how concerned they were for my health during this crisis. How nice. A careful reading, however, revealed they were concerned that I stay healthy so I can keep making payments. News flash: if I get sick paying off their loan is the least of my concerns. My credit is already in the crapper from the last time I was in hospital so that’s not something that can be held over my head.

Now it might be be an issue if wanted a loan to buy a car. Is anybody buying cars these days? If so, why? It’s not like we can drive anywhere.

Seriously though, I hope the money gets out to those who really need it -like most of the population. We are looking at unemployment higher than during the Great Depression. Something has to be done to keep food on the table.

My lovely wife and I are still financially holding our heads above water. We are fine. Our budget is being helped by the fact we aren’t going anywhere or doing anything.

-Sixbears

Friday, March 27, 2020

My Old Fire Department



A cousin of mine retired from my old fire department a few years ago. He got a call from the department. They’ve been contacting those who’ve retired in the last five or six years. The department’s been asking if the retired guys would be willing to come back to work if too many current members get sick. Of course, they’ve stepped up and are willing to go back into harm’s way.

I’ve been out too long and went out on a disability, so they are not asking me. However, it would be hard for me to say no if asked -even knowing it would most likely kill me.

-Sixbears

Thursday, March 26, 2020

Stupidity can kill me



There are numerous examples of people behaving badly during this pandemic, be it young spring breakers, or people even throwing coronavirus parties. Heck, we can’t even get people to wash their darn hands -something they should have been doing all along anyway.

Sigh.

Being over 60 with bad lungs and no insurance, I can’t take chances.

Currently I’m quarantined in case we picked up something on the way home. It looks like our precautions, and some luck, paid off and we are fine. However, now I have to be in quarantine so some some idiot doesn’t infect me.

It’s going to be a long people of isolation and precautions. The best I can hope for is to wait this out until there’s effective treatment, a cure, or natural herd immunity develops.

For those who think this is blown way out of proportion, get back to me in a few weeks . . . if you can.

-Sixbears

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Head for the hills



Vacation homes here in the North Country have filled with folks fleeing the cities. That’s all well and good, but I wonder how many of them have brought the corona virus with them? Then there’s the fact that our local hospital can’t even take care of the locals. I just hope they will self quarantine for two weeks like we are doing.

By the way, we got almost a foot of snow overnight. Kinda bummed out to see the boat buried in snow. That’s the reason why we weren’t expecting to come north until a month or so from now.


I’ve been thinking about how the government wants a big slush fund of money to support businesses. Current proposals don’t even have many safeguards. They can pick who survives and who doesn’t. There’s a name for that sort of thing and it’s not Capitalism.

Frankly, I wouldn’t mind if a number of industries were quietly left to die. Take cruise ships for example. They are all flagged at ports of convenience to avoid US taxes and laws. Now that times are tight they want support from the US government? Those polluting disease incubators can all be scuttled as far as I’m concerned.

-Sixbears

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Normal for March



I know it’s normal for spring the North Country, but we just got snow. As I write this, there’s a good six inches on the ground and it’s still coming down. That’s why we didn’t plan on coming home for at least another month. Stuff happens. I’m going to have to shovel a path out to the road to put the trash out.

At least they are still picking up the trash. Nice that some things are working. I’ve always appreciated those workers. They don’t get the respect they deserve, especially during these troubling times.

Have you heard about the Freshman 15? New college students are likely to gain weight their first year of college, about 15 pounds. Have you heard about the Covid -19? It’s the 19 pounds you gain from stress eating and lack of exercise while quarantined. Personally, I’m still losing weight. We have plenty of food storage, but not much for snack food.

Another random bit: people are being issued travel papers. That tells me movement will be very restricted shortly. The guy who was issued papers works in a vital industry. He was instructed to keep the papers with him when traveling to work.

Now I understand the importance of limiting movement during a pandemic. However, it’s starting to feel a bit like East Germany. We are going to have to vigilant about protecting our freedoms

-Sixbears

Monday, March 23, 2020

Avoiding Injury



Now more than ever it’s time to be careful. Try to avoid doing something stupid and getting hurt.

I thought of that while making my way down to my basement’s outside door. There’s still snow and ice on the ground and slipping and falling a real possibility. If I have to go back down there before the ice melts I plan on using ice grips on my boots. Can’t be too careful right now.

People on lock down are getting pretty bored. Bored people can do some dumb things and get hurt. Try not to be that joker.

It’s bad enough that the medical community is getting maxed out treating Covid -19. No need to make the situation worse by getting hurt being an idiot. Not only will you use up sparse resources, you’ll be in a hospital full of infected individuals.

My local docotors’ offices are trying to restrict in person visits. They are trying to do as much as possible remotely. I’m going to do my part by canceling my scheduled visit. I’m feeling fine. Self care is going really well. No need to take the risk. No need to take up their time and resources.

-Sixbears

Sunday, March 22, 2020

After two weeks, then what?



I’m thinking ahead to what I’m going to do come Friday. That’ll be the end of our two week self-isolation. So far it looks like we haven’t brought anything north with us. By self-isolating we were taking precautions for other people’s safety.

By Friday, I thought it might be okay to make a run to the grocery store. Now I’m not so sure. It appears that people are being really casual about social distancing. There are those who are taking this seriously, but too many aren’t.

My lungs already suffered damage from my firefighter days. It took years of work to build my health back to the point where I had some sort of quality of life. This virus could undo years of work and could possibly kill me. That’s the reality of being in a high risk group.

There are some other factors to consider. I don’t have any health insurance. I’m told the local hospital has only four ventilators. What do think the odds are that I’d get one before someone younger and insured?

It’s starting to look like the smart move would be to stay very isolated. Conditions are changing almost by the hour. By Friday, it could be a whole different world so I’ll have to make my decisions with the best and most recent information.

Stay safe out there.

-Sixbears

Saturday, March 21, 2020

Dwindling Nomad Options



It didn’t take too long for my passport to become useless. Most countries have shut their borders, in one form or another.

National and State parks, forests, and campgrounds are starting to close. That’s making it hard for folks in RVs to find a place to park their rigs. Private campgrounds are also closing.

Marinas are shutting down, making it just that much harder to be a live aboard.

Bugging out is looking less and less like a valid option. Heck, they are even discouraging people from hiking the Appalachian Trail.

There are people who’ve set out to cross the world in sailboats and now are stuck. That’s often not too great as there are places that are fine for short visits, but you wouldn’t want to live there. On the bright side, boaters are used to being self-sufficient and usually are well stocked. I know of a number of boaters who’ve selected remote anchorages and plan to stay there for months on end.

Looks like we are in the middle of the ultimate bug-in situation.

-Sixbears

Friday, March 20, 2020

For the good of the realm



A buddy of mine reframed the whole quarantine situation for me. He said don’t think of it as being in quarantine. Think of it as self imposed exile for the good of the realm. Poetic, but I kinda like it.

We are about half way though our two week quarantine. Seems to me if something truly nasty would have gotten us, it would have shown up by now. Maybe. What we really know about this virus is fairly limited and much of it wrong. For example, it was thought that young adults would generally get mild symptoms. Turns out there’s a pretty high percentage who get hammered by this.

Now I’m not sure if that bit of information would have changed spring break behavior, but you never know.

I’ve had a number of people willing to help. People keep asking if there’s anything we need. We’ve had offers of everything from food to cash money. It’s humbling and I’m glad to say we are fine. While we didn’t have everything we needed, an Amazon delivery filled in a few gaps. For some reason I’d let my supply of whole house water filters get low. That wouldn’t be a problem for many weeks, but I feel better having them in stock. If you’ve got good water, half your problems are solved -everything from drinking to sanitation.

Speaking of sanitation I installed a bidet yesterday. That should stretch the TP supply quite a bit.

There’s been plenty of projects to keep us busy. Since the house had been closed down since October, it needed a good cleaning. There’s still work to do, but we’ve been in no hurry. There are also other projects to keep us occupied. The next week should fly right by.

-Sixbears

Thursday, March 19, 2020

Don't be a Dick

Well folks, that's about it. Don't be that person who only thinks of themselves during this health emergency. At some point we all need other people.

-Sixbears

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Never to been seen again



This pandemic is a big reset button. A lot of stuff will never be the same again. I’m not even talking about the people we’ll lose or those who’ll get sick. Today I’m focusing on society and the economy.

First of all, much of the economy is BS. We need people to shake coconuts out of the trees. We don’t need jobs that essentially amount to shuffling paper around. My guess is that a lot of those BS jobs will disappear. Some of them are required by regulations. In times of crisis those artificial constraints can no longer be tolerated. They just aren’t affordable anymore.

We are being encouraged, in many cases required, to self-isolate for a couple weeks. Most people go through life without much thought. Habit and routine rule their days. Now those routines are broken. Many people will wake up to the fact that they were living on automatic and not living the life they really wanted. Having a brush with mortality will likely jump start the process too.

A friend of mine was looking to retire at the end of the year. Now his 401K is in pretty tough shape. On one hand, financial advisers would recommend postponing retirement. He could earn more money and also wait for the market to recover. On the other hand, this is not a normal downturn.

Maybe he’d be better off retiring right now, no matter how hard the financial hit. That way he could stay home instead of going to work and possibly catching the virus. Like me, he’s in a higher risk category. Better to be poor and alive than rich and dead. Of course, I can’t tell people what to do and don’t want them to blindly take my advice. Maybe financial advisers are right and I’m wrong. It’s a time of uncertainty.

One thing that’s changing -preppers aren’t seen as alarmist weirdos quite so much.

-Sixbears

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

Sitting this one out



It’s a darn good thing I like isolation. If I’m going to be in a self-imposed quarantine for two weeks, best to be at home. After all, this is where my beans and other essentials are kept. We didn’t even stop at the grocery store to top off our supplies. However, there are couple of deliveries on their way, so that’s good. However, if they never show up that won’t be the end of the world either.

This is a perfect emergency for introverts. They are skilled at staying home and not interacting with people.

Things are moving really really fast, but that’s what I expected when I made the decision to head home. One of my fears was that there would be restrictions on domestic travel. Two weeks ago that sounded like a nutty idea. Today, not so much.

-Sixbears

Monday, March 16, 2020

Up and running


Good news on Sunday. The water supply line from the well to the house had not frozen. All I had to do was to thaw out the short section in the basement. That was the biggest hurdle.

When the water is turned back on, it’s done in stages. First I get the cold water flowing to the downstairs kitchen and bath. Once it’s confirmed there are no leaks I then connect the washing machine and made sure the drain isn’t frozen.

After that checked out the next thing was filling the downstairs hot water system. Since none of that leaked, I opened up the valves that supplied the upstairs bath. No leaks there either. Once the hot water tank was full I tripped the breaker and we had hot water. For my good work I get rewarded with a hot shower.

The startup went well, in large part, due to October me doing a good job shutting and draining the system. Sunday it was like getting a present from past me. It is always nice when reopening the house goes well. During these crazy times it’s even nicer.

-Sixbears

Sunday, March 15, 2020

From Georgia to New Hampshire



We packed up our tent and camping gear and were ready to hit the road by 10 a. m.. That’s pretty normal for us. I was looking forward to putting some miles in. Unfortunately, my taillight check on the boat trailer revealed they weren’t working.

After fiddling around for some time, testing and redoing connections, only the running lights worked, no brake or directionals. That was not acceptable for a journey of over 1300 miles. There was no help for it but to unhook the Blazer and go into town for new lights. Turns out my old “totally sealed” LED lights had failed internally.

The installation of the new lights was pretty quick and dirty. Instead of carefully running all wires through the frame they were just held in place with electrical tape. I’d already lost four hours and didn’t want to lose more time. The lights can be properly installed at my leisure while at home and with full access to all my tools. The lights worked perfectly for the rest of my trip.

Due to the delay and being worn out from trouble shooting the lights, we only got as far as northern North Carolina. We decided to take a hotel room and get some sleep. Our mistake was availing ourselves to the free breakfast buffet. We both came down with intestinal upset that hit so quick we had to run into the woods rather than find a rest room.

To make our day more interesting, a trailer tire blew about twenty miles into Virgina on route 95. I put a spare on, only to have it stop holding air once the trailer was lowered off the jack and the trailer weight came on it. It took some searching, but new tires were found about 30 miles away. With the new tire on we headed up the road once more.

By around 11 p. m. we were thinking of maybe getting another room. However, the prices were high due to everyone in that area charging a lot for us having a dog. I figured I’d just take a nap in the car. In the end we drove home after taking only an hour and a half nap. One thing about driving all night, there are a lot fewer cars and trucks on the road.

Traveling from the south to the north I saw a wide variety of responses to the coronavirus. Some places were business as usual. Other places were ghost towns. To reduce contact with people we paid for gas at the pump and had sandwiches in the car for a number of meals. When we did eat in a restaurant, it was at odd times with much smaller crowds. Currently we plan on isolating ourselves for two weeks to make sure we didn’t bring anything home with us. It would be nice to get together with family and friends, but not so nice if we make them sick.

-Sixbears