Wednesday, November 30, 2022


Being out in the woods it’s not uncommon for my Internet connection to go down. That’s the case right now as I write this blog. Normally I wouldn’t be able to post under these conditions. However, within the last year a cell phone company installed a new tower that allows for a connection. 

To get this blog posted I poked around on the cell phone and figured out how to use it as a hostspot. 

I’m not one of those people who lives on their phone, but I like being able to communicate in an emergency. When the Internet goes down I also lose my landline phone as it’s voice over Internet. Until the new cell tower went it my only way to message was with a Garmin InReach satellite device. It’s great when there’s no cell signal at all. The downside is that it’s only good for short text messages. Still, it works from just about anywhere.

A good communication solution is short wave radio, but I’ve never taken the time to get into it. We have a bunch of hand held family band radios and a couple of CB radios. I also have a small hand crank/solar short wave receiver. That way I can at least get the news. 

Communication isn’t something to be taken for granted -especially when you live out in the woods.


Tuesday, November 29, 2022

Feeling the lack

It’s only been a couple of weeks since I put the scooter up for the winter. I already feel the lack. It’s funny how I got used to going for a ride. Sometimes just a quick ride into town and back was all I needed to put a smile on my face. I’m even dreaming about riding motorcycles. That’s gotta be a sign. 

Winter might be a long one. On the flip side, I used to wait anxiously for a good snow pack. That’s back when I was doing a lot of snowmobile riding, cross country skiing, and snowshoeing. One thing I’m not going to do again is to buy another snowmobile. They are pretty hard on gasoline and the price of even used machines is pretty high. Then there’s the issue the constant repairs. At least I still have a good assortment of snowshoes. 

This time of year has never been my favorite. It’s dark. There’s usually not enough snow to play in. The lakes aren’t frozen so ice fishing is out. I could probably spend more time hunting, but all my old hunting buddies aren’t around anymore. It’s not as fun alone. 

Anyway, before you know it Christmas will be here. 

Of course, one solution for the seasonal blahs was to head down to the West Coast of Florida for a bit. Unfortunately it’s not a good year for that as the area needs to recover. We have reasons to spend this winter in the frozen north so I’d better snap out of it. 


Sunday, November 27, 2022

More Supply Chain Disruptions

We’ve had a lot of upset in the supply chains. Expect more. China is going through a massive covid outbreak right now. Their lock down policies have thrown a monkey wrench in production. We still have a major war going on with all the disruptions in fuel, food, and raw materials that entails. 

Take a minute and do a quick mental inventory of what you have at your home right now. I want you to think of two categories. The first one is consumables. That’s stuff like food, fuel, and water. How are you set? Can you get by for a few days? Weeks? Months? Years?

The second category I want you to think of is critical parts, materials, and items. Do you have the materials and skills to fix things? Here’s a simple example: the handle on our toilet broke. We had a replacement and it only took a few minutes to fix. We were having an ice storm and going out for a new part would have actually been dangerous. If we didn’t have the replacement part there were a couple of ways I could have temporarily fixed the old part. 

At a bare minimum you should have replacement parts for things that regularly fail: faucet washers, fuses, light bulbs and so on. Think about anything that had to be replaced in the last year. Stock up on those things. Every household is a bit different and has different needs.

Brush up on your repair knowledge. Make sure you have the tools and materials need to fix things. Be prepared to make do with what you have. The key here is flexibility.

While there may be supply chain disruptions, it doesn’t mean there won’t be anything available. However, what you might have difficulty getting exactly what you want. That could involve eating unfamiliar foods to fixing things with the “wrong” parts. One time I needed a connector for a plumbing job and it wasn’t available. In the end I cobbled three different parts together to do the same job. It was a pain but it worked. It’s still working a decade later. 

You don’t have to panic but you might have to think outside the box.


Saturday, November 26, 2022

So Far, So Good

To save energy we’ve shut down the upper floors of our house and are only heating the downstairs. There’s insulation between the floors so heat loss is slowed. To close it off I built a door at the top of the stairs and plugged air vents with insulation. That’s worked out really well to keep the heat on the first floor.

We’ve had some single degree nights and the downstairs is still comfortable. The kitchen woodstove easily keeps things toasty. Upstairs the temperature has dropped into the 40s. Another thing I’ve noticed is the snow hasn’t melted off the roof at all. That’s another sign we aren’t losing a lot of heat. 

Should nobody be around to feed the woodstove there’s electric heat as backup. Electricity is an expensive way to heat, but it’s used sparingly. Our electric bill has actually gone down from the month before. We can also use heating oil if necessary. I’m not going to get a full tank as that stuff has gotten too expensive. Instead I’ll pick up a few jugs of off-road diesel. It’s actually cheaper than heating oil and that makes no sense to me. It’s essentially the same stuff.

It’s early in the heating season, but we’ve snow on the ground that hasn’t melted. It certainly looks and feels like winter. 


Friday, November 25, 2022

Black Friday

It’s a crazy shopping day -or so they say. I wouldn’t be able to testify to the fact as I won’t see it with my own eyes. I’m staying home. As far as I’m concerned the day after Thanksgiving is Leftover Day. Heck, I baked a loaf of fresh bread just for the turkey sandwiches. 

I suppose this is the start of the Christmas shopping season. It used to be a time of great stress for me. Fortunately I’ve lowered my expectations. Also, I’ve cut way back on what we buy for Christmas. Basically we’ll get a few things for the grand kids, something for the lovely wife, and that’s about it. 

I’m sick of people being called “consumers.” Locusts are consumers. Instead I’d rather be recognized as just another human being. There’s so much more to being human than consuming. People complain about the over commercialization of Christmas -then go shopping crazy. Let’s not do that. We can start by sitting out Black Friday.


Thursday, November 24, 2022

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving! Remember, it’s a day to give thanks. Gratitude is underused and overlooked. Hope everyone has a good day. 

I’m doing the traditional turkey in the wood fired oven with all the fixings. Since our gathering was scaled down there will be a lot of leftovers, but nothing wrong with leftovers. 

Be well.


Tuesday, November 22, 2022

Back to the moon

At the time this blog is being written NASA’s spacecraft Orion is orbiting the moon. Congratulations NASA. They’ve finally duplicated 1960’s exploits. Unlike the Apollo days the plan is to continue forward and actually establish a presence. They also hope to do it this decade. That would be different. 

I’m old enough to remember the moon landing. Kids in those days really thought we had a chance to someday work and live in space. You can imagine how disappointing the following decades turned out to be. 

The space shuttle was pretty cool, but it was never the “space truck” that was going to make space travel affordable. Too many compromises were made along the way. However, I am glad I was able to see one of the last shuttle flights before they shut down the program. It was an impressive thing to see and feel. 

This time around it actually looks like government/private business partnerships are paying off. That might actually be the special sauce that moves mankind off our big blue rock. The current NASA program is a throwback to the old ways of doing things. It will probably turn out to be a footnote in History. Even NASA will need lander from SpaceX to make things work. 

All in all, I’m glad we are going back -even if I’m too old to live the dream.


Monday, November 21, 2022

Hot Water

Over the years I’ve used a number of different methods for heating household water. Most people don’t give it much thought -until the water runs cold. Often hot water is heated by a furnace doing double duty. The furnace could be oil, propane or natural gas fired. Heating hot water is fairly efficient when also heating the house. During the warm months it’s less efficient as the furnace is only running to heat water. 

Another common method is the stand alone hot water tank. Usually they are in the 40 – 60 gallon range and are heated by electricity, gas, or oil. There are also tank less water heaters that heat water as you use it. As long as there’s fuel for the heater and water, it will make unlimited hot water. 

One of the things I did many years ago was to install one of the first tank less water heaters in my part of New Hampshire. It ran on propane. When it ran properly it was wonderful. Unfortunately it did not work well during bitterly cold sub zero temperatures. The local propane company had to install an electrically powered heater plate – cutting into its energy efficiency. The unit would also need diaphragms replaced due to freezing on a regular basis. When it finally gave up the ghost the local propane company refused to sell me another one. Instead they put in a regular tank type.

When that one died one summer we were really hard up for money. All I could afford was a cheap 2.5 gallon, 120 volt water heater. It’s the type of heater often installed in a stand alone bathroom where water is only needed for the sink. I was running my whole house on it. It’s just enough water for hand washing, doing dishes, and for very quick Navy style showers. 

It certainly wasn’t enough for a bath. To produce more hot water I built a batch solar hot water heater out of salvaged junk. The solar heater fed into the small electric. Between the solar heater and the small electric we got through the summer. It was cheap to run, but a thrown together batch heater would not survive the cold weather. 

By the time that happened I’d scraped up enough money to buy a 40 gallon electric tank. However I didn’t replace the little tank. It did most of the work on a day by day basis. I rigged up a switch that would turn on the big tank when I wanted a lot of hot water. Now the water heater used 240 volts and switch used 120. The 120 volt switch would trip a 240 volt relay salvaged from a pottery kiln. The odd thing was that the relay made a weird low humming sound the whole time it was engaged. It helped remind me not to leave the switch on all the time so that worked out. 

Right now I’ve got a 40 gallon electric tank that can be preheated from a coil on the back of the woodstove. 

Over the years it’s been a lot of fun and games experimenting with different water heating options. Heating water is a big energy draw so it’s worth looking into ways to do it for less.


Sunday, November 20, 2022

So Much for Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. It’s not overly commercialized. Unlike Christmas expectations are low. Be grateful. Eat good food. It’s a fine holiday. 

This year my lovely wife and I were looking forward to Thanksgiving at my daughter’s in Vermont. It’s been a few years since we’ve been able to gather for the holiday. Unlike some families we really enjoy getting together. 

Then I received a call from my daughter. Her husband and her daughter have both tested positive for covid. They are sick, but not go to the hospital sick. Still, it’s enough to shut down the gathering. Oh well. Looks like another intimate Thanksgiving in New Hampshire. 


Saturday, November 19, 2022

Crypto Currency Collapse

Well that didn’t take long. FTX, the crypto currency exchange went from a “worth” of billions of dollars to practically zero in a matter of days. Just to make things interesting other crypto exchanges were invested in FTX. In fact, it seems like the whole industry is invested in each other. More will go down.

So here’s what I’m going to do. I’m inventing Sixbears Coin. I’ll be issuing 16 coins. Each one will be “worth” a billion dollars. Now my company is worth 16 billion dollars. What can you do with a Sixbears Coin? You can try and sell it to some greater fool for 2 billion dollars. 

The big difference between Sixbears Coin and FTX is that FTX got real people to invest real money into the company. Those FTX coins couldn’t actually be used for anything like keeping the lights on or putting coffee in the break room. Investors’ money did those mundane chores. 

It kinda looks like Monopoly money. If it was just a board game there wouldn’t be a problem. The problem is that unlike a $10 board game. FTX cost investors some serious real money. That real money going down a rabbit hole has real world implications. There’s even some whispers that this is a black swan event could take down world markets in general. 

Won’t that be interesting?

What always amazes me is that real people with serious money buy into these things. Then again, it look like Elon Musk just spent billions of dollars on Twitter and is quickly killing it. Just because you are rich doesn’t mean you  can’t make some amazing mistakes. 


Friday, November 18, 2022

Why No YouTube?

People have wondered why I don’t have a YouTube channel, or even Instagram, Tic-Toc or any of the other platforms. Heck, I’m not even on Facebook. 

There is money to be made. Even if the channel doesn’t take off the creator usually isn’t out a lot of money. There’s a fairly low bar to entry. There are a lot of people who have no other source of income and do just fine. Some are even getting rich.

I have a few reasons not to. The first is the cost in time. While the monetary costs of entry are low, the time costs can be quite high. It can take days to shoot and edit a good 20 minute episode. When having adventures I can barely be bothered to snap a few photos -never mind shoot video. It’s all a matter of being in the moment. Life is better when not viewed through a lense.

A big reason is keeping most of my life to myself. Feeding the media beast can become an all encompassing thing. A person’s whole life becomes the business. It’s like living in “The Truman Show.” At some point nothing is really real. 

Then there comes a point where people don’t do things for the experience but for the footage. Your life isn’t your life but a polished produced life. 

So why do I blog at all? I think I have a few good things to share now and then. I’m certainly not doing it for the money. Call it a sense of civic duty combined with desire to build community. 

I’m not against anyone for going the public creator route, but one should be away of the hidden costs.


Thursday, November 17, 2022

The Silly Season

The silly season starts early this time around. Trump announced his candidacy for President. Anyone else remember when we actually got a break between elections? 

So  . .  . how’s 2028 looking for everyone?

Anyway . .  I’m not going to play the game until later. 

Too much politics too early in the season is bad for digestion. 

Okay, maybe I’m going to play a little. Anyone else find Trump’s announcement boring? Is that why even Fox News cut away before the end. 


Wednesday, November 16, 2022

Heating off-grid

We are about to be hit with a mix of snow, ice and freezing rain. Those are perfect conditions for the grid to go down. Currently the home battery bank is being topped off from the grid -while I still have it.   The yard has been picked up so nothing is lost under a big white blanket. You never know if this is the snow storm that will cover the ground until spring. 

A nice pile of fiber blocks has been stacked next to the woodstove. It’s much easier to haul them in on a dolly than a toboggan. We should be in pretty good shape. Our woodstove is a cookstove type so cooking on it is a dream. The oven is always hot and that’s handy for cooking and baking. 

Heating with a woodstove is a lot more work. However, burning fiber blocks takes a far bit of work out of the equation. Another bonus to the blocks is that the chimney doesn’t have to be cleaned as often. However, nothing beats the convenience of a oil or gas heat. 

While I have a oil furnace it’s currently too expensive to use. Last time I checked heating oil was over six dollars/gallon. It’s not just the cost of oil either. Most people don’t realize it, but most oil or gas furnaces use a fair amount of electricity. The gun that ignites the fuel uses electricity. Pumps or blowers also draw from the grid. It adds up.

Perhaps one of the more frustrating things is to have plenty of oil but still can’t heat your house due to having no electricity. There are some gas furnaces that can run without electricity, but they tend to be smaller. Even those often have an electric fan to help circulation. While not absolutely necessary the fan certainly helps. 

I was given a propane direct vent heater but it’s still sitting on my porch. I’m not sure if it’s worth installing. Currently the only thing running on propane in my house is the dryer. I don’t even have a delivery service of propane anymore. The old one I used to deal with went out of business. All I’m using is 20lb tanks like you’d use in a barbecue grill. Something bigger would be needed for heat. 

We’ll see how this storm treats us. If we are out of contact for a bit it’s probably just because the wires are down. No worries. We don’t have to go anywhere and can hunker down.


Tuesday, November 15, 2022

Summer to Winter

Well that was quick. Friday evening it was 68 degrees. Monday I woke up scattered snow in the ground. It never warmed up enough to melt. Would it be too much to ask for another hurricane to push more warm weather north to New Hampshire? Yeah, it probably would be, and pretty selfish too.

However, it doesn’t look like that’s in the cards. We are expecting snow Wednesday – Friday. 

With that in mind I finally pulled the plug on my scooter riding season. Monday afternoon I assembled a small shelter for the scooter. It took much longer than it should due to cold temperatures and high winds. It took a lot of trips inside for fresh coffee and to warm fingers. Eventually the job was done and the scooter was inside. Gasoline has been stabilized. The battery still needs to be pulled and put on a battery minder for the winter. Outside of that it should be good until spring. 

This is not the latest I’ve ridden on two wheels. One year I communed on a KZ-900 motorcycle until the middle of December. It was about a 60 mile drive. The motorcycle was my only vehicle so there wasn’t much choice. I’m lucky to be alive. Hitting a patch of ice at 60 mph in a corner is never fun. 

It could be worse. One year I pulled the boat out of the lake in the middle of snowstorm. That involved wading into the lake to sort out a problem with the trailer. Compared to that putting the scooter away was a piece of cake.


Monday, November 14, 2022

Basement reclamation

Ever so slowly I’ve been reclaiming my basement. One big thing was dealing with the last of my veggie oil storage. I ran diesels on waste veggie oil for years and kept a good supply in my basement. Most of the jugs were stored on a huge rack built of 2X6s and plywood. Over the years a few jugs leaked and the rack got really saturated with veggie oil. 

Once the jugs were gone I cut up the rack. We had one heck of a bonfire in our fire pit. Good thing I picked a day with low fire danger. The first piece burned hot enough that I kept backing up my chair until it was 25 feet away. After that I cut the rest of the pieces a lot smaller. I knew it was going to burn hot, but didn’t realize exactly how hot. Oh well, no harm, no foul. 

With the rack out of the way it’s now much easier to install more insulation in the basement. Insulation is cheaper than heating fuel right now. Last year spray foam did wonders for air leaks and I’m going to pick up a few more cans of the stuff. 

One of the things I discovered was a broken outlet. Something heavy must have smashed it. The live electrical contacts were hanging out there in the open. It’s a wonder nothing shorted out. Glad that’s fixed. 

Over the coming weeks there will be an extra contractor bag of junk on trash day. Once all the junk is gone I’ll finally be able to organize my tools and materials. It’s one of those mundane things that have to be done now and then. 


Sunday, November 13, 2022

Long Range Planning

Right now long range planning looks like about six months -at best. There are so many things in play that anything could happen. That’s my take on it anyway. 

Isn’t that exciting?

With that in mind about all we can do is to make sure we are flexible. That can look like very different to different people. 

We are told that you have to be debt free and have money in the bank to have options. That could not be further from the truth. Sure, those things are nice and can be useful. However, they can be a prison too. If the quest for those things keep you in a job that’s slowly killing you, what’s the point? You can be poor with a terrible credit rating and still be extremely happy. Your creditors may be sad, but that’s on them. Everyone is responsible for their own happiness. 

So my long range planning currently consists of fuel for the woodstove and a pile of potatoes and squash. Trust me, there are worse plans out there. How’s that crypto currency working out for everybody? Real estate investments? Beanie Babies?

From person experience I know everything can go from fantastic to horrible in a single moment. Once someone survives that they shouldn’t really worry about anything ever again. The Buddha is right. There is power in letting go of your attachments.

I’m not saying to only eat drink and be merry. Then again, there are worse things than being a fat happy drunk. Yeltsin was more fun that Putin. At least he didn’t start a major land war. 

Anyway, people have ideas for the things they need for life to be okay. What’s neglected is taking care of your head space. If your thoughts are giving your ulcers maybe it’s time to change your thinking. 


Saturday, November 12, 2022

Guess we still have a Democracy

Okay, okay, it’s actually a representative republic by design but whatever. In reality it’s more of a Corporate Kleptocracy but we cope. 

Putting aside semantic details for a bit let’s just take a big deep breath and let it out. All in all the election went off without too many shenanigans. There were incidents here and there but nothing too crazy. 

Well, there was that guy at the local polling place who was calling everyone Communists. He got pretty worked up but then starred recognizing people. Then he was all, “but you’re okay, and you’re okay and you too. You are all good people.” Then he sorta wandered off. 

Kinda weird, but pretty harmless in the big scheme of things. 

Best I can tell people didn’t so much vote for Democrats as against crazy. Republican Governor Sununu summed it up pretty well. He figured the voters thought: policy we can fix later. Crazy we can fix now. He did very well in his reelection. In fact, main stream Republicans did very well -there just weren’t enough of them. 

Frankly, I really hope for politics to become boring again. Those guys should quietly do their jobs and keep from flying off the rails. 

One can dream. 

New Hampshire remains a purple state, neither red nor blue. While Sununu did really well his success had very short coat tails indeed. The Democrats are going back to Washington. Surprisingly Democrats did very well lower down on the ballot in more local races. Pretty unusual for a mid-term election. 

Actually, keep an eye on Sununu. He could upset the political calculations in 2024. The press kept asking him about a presidential bid. The guy didn’t say no. He can draw in Independents. Sununu would do very in New Hampshire’s first in the nation primary. That would definitely give him some recognition. 

Anyway, enough politics for now. Glad it’s over without the cities catching fire. 


Tuesday, November 8, 2022

Storm Safe

It looks like an interesting week as far as weather is concerned here in the US. Florida will take a hit from either a Subtropical storm or maybe even a low end hurricane. Expect the usual mix of rain, flooding, storm surge and tornadoes. 

It’s not just Florida. That storm could affect a good portion of the east coast. Other parts of the country are looking at snow and other harsh weather. 

That’s in the short term: the next few days.

New England is looking at an interesting winter. Heating oil stocks are low and expensive. Natural gas shortages may cause heating and electricity issues. I’m personally in pretty good shape due to having a good woodstove and solar electric. Most of my neighbors have wood backup, but that’s because we live out in the woods. If you don’t have that option better get some warm quilts, clothes, and sleeping bags. 

Releasing oil from national stockpiles or “drill baby drill” won’t help. Refinery capacity is maxed out. There are no incentives for oil companies to increase output. They make more money when there are shortages. Right now oil companies are trying to extract as much profit as they can. Fossil fuels will eventually run out -or get to expensive and energy intensive to recover. They are milking profits from a dying industry. It won’t go overnight, but you don’t have to be Nostradamus to see where it’s heading. 

To sum up: in the short term we get some interesting weather. Mid term -this winter, much will depend on the harshness or mildness of the weather. Long term, it’s renewables or nothing. 


Monday, November 7, 2022

Night Owl

The return to standard time is always hard. My lovely wife and I are not morning people. Having more light early in the day is of little use to us. On the other hand we really miss that hour in the afternoon. November is a gray enough month as it is. It’s the time of year when I up my vitamin D intake as I’m not going to get it from the sun. 

Growing up it was always a struggle to get out of bed. Jobs with early start times weren’t that great either. Night shifts were my favorite. Problems arose when having to deal with the rest of the world. Most businesses and offices have day hours. How rude of them. I know it’s different in a lot of places, but we can’t get breakfast 24 hours a day around here. 

Left to our own devices our bed time tends to drift to somewhere between 2 or 4 a. m..  My guess is that our night schedule is partly due to modern technology. When we are camping or living on a sailboat our schedule slowly adjusts to a daylight routine. 

That’s not to say we become morning people. Maybe it’s just too hard to sleep in when there’s so much early morning activity. We might be up, but we aren’t at our best. If it wasn’t for coffee I don’t know what we’d do. 

As much as I’m not a fan of losing an hour of light, I wish they’d stop changing the clocks. Pick daylight savings time or standard time and stick with it. 


Sunday, November 6, 2022

Unplanned detour

Saturday’s weather was unusually warm. I can’t believe I haven’t put the scooter for the winter yet, but with these nice days it might be a while yet. 

I was having a pleasant ride through the mountains. The plan was to make a big loop and come back home well before dark. I was about 35 minutes from home only to find that the road was blocked for construction. I was forced to backtrack about 70 miles.

There’s wasn’t enough gas in the tank to get me back to civilization. It’s a good thing I carry an extra gallon in the top box. There was no cell connection. Like an idiot I left my Garmin inreach satelite device at home. 

By the time I pulled into my driveway it was dark and a storm was on my heels. Good fun.


Saturday, November 5, 2022

The Stuff We Worry About

More often than not we worry about the wrong stuff. We can be all caught up in our little world, worrying about one issue or another. 

Then some other stuff happens out of the blue and all those other problems are forgotten. Take some poor Ukrainian worrying about normal stuff. Maybe he can’t figure out why his washing machine isn’t draining right. Perhaps his car is making a funny noise. Then thousands of Russian troops come pouring across the border. He’s not going to be spending his time looking for the washing machine warranty papers.

Take all those people who got hit by Hurricane Ian. They had normal issues like everyone else. Maybe the boss at work was on their case. The noisy neighbor was bugging them about the long grass on their lawn. A massive hurricane and storm surge drives all that from one’s mind.

People could be all worked up about anything, but a massive earthquake will drive those worries away. Nothing like life threatening terror to refocus the mind.

So think about all that crap you are losing sleep over. Would any of it matter much if a major disaster suddenly hit where you live? It’s good to keep things in perspective.

A buddy of mine and myself have a saying. Things could be going wrong but we say, “At least no one is shooting at us.” 

Now don’t you feel silly for getting ulcers over day to day stuff? 


Friday, November 4, 2022

Old School Solar Electric

Almost 30 years ago I installed solar electric at my house. The original solar panels are still working just fine and putting out decent power. Another original component is the Trace 24 DC  to 120 AC inverter. The charger function stopped working a couple years ago. All I did was wire up a 24 volt stand alone charger on a switch. That allows me to top off the batteries from the grid. The inverter part still works just fine. Considering one of the items it runs is a ½ horse submersible well pump that’s saying something. There’s a significant power demand when the pump comes on. 

The charge controller was still working but I changed it out for a much more efficient Outback controller. About the same time more solar panels were added. 

I’m using 6 volt golf cart batteries and get about 10 years out of them. About the only maintenance I do on the whole system is to occasionally top off the batteries with distilled water. There’s something to be said for a technology that just works. 

Most of the new systems people are installing are grid tied. That eliminates the whole battery bank issue. Of course, if you are off-grid you definitely need batteries. The problem with the grid tied is that when the grid goes down those solar panels aren’t doing you any good. Some people spend a bit more money and also install some battery backup for those emergencies. 

Since local grid power just took an almost 50% price increase I’m seriously thinking about more solar upgrades. I’m not sure if I’m going to expand my old stuff or add another complete stand alone system. Currently there’s a small system powering my boat shed next to the lake. It was easier to put in a separate system rather than maintain the 350 feet of power lines strung through the trees.  

Solar was one of the best investments I’ve ever made. When times got tight for a while it was a comfort to know I had power that could not be cut off by some heartless corporation. 


Thursday, November 3, 2022

What the GOP expects

It’s come out that the GOP leadership expects Trump to be charged for his crimes sometime after the mid-term elections. Where the Republicans came up with that I’m not really sure. Garland is holding his cards close to the vest. It’s his actions that actually matter.

Only the fact that the Justice department is hesitant to charge a former president has kept him out of jail. You or I would be in prison right now. Those are the facts. You can like them or hate them -or totally disbelieve them. Still doesn’t change the facts. 

So what happens after that? I’d like to think that everything would work out in the court system. Apparently there are plenty of poor and middle class people willing to pay a billionaire’s legal bills so that’s not an issue. He will be well represented. Currently his legal defense looks nothing like his political statements. Don’t confuse the two. What he claims in public and his defense in court are totally different. 

If all you’ve been doing is listening to his statements you are going to be pretty shocked with the legal process. That’s on you. What you do with that information will make all the difference. Don’t be like that bozo that attacked the FBI and died in a field. 

Some politicians, political pundits, and propagandists predict violence when Trump is charged. That’s probably overblown. If it isn’t then you can refer to the January 6 trials to see how that sort of thing shakes out. Lots of jail time for the little guys. 

One big question is why the GOP is making these predictions? They must feel that Trump is no longer useful. There is no loyalty in either direction so that’s not a surprise. To people at that level the little guys are fodder units in their political wars. Don't’ make yourself a casualty. 


Wednesday, November 2, 2022

I was wrong about bug out boats

I used to think that a sailboat was a pretty good bug out vehicle. Sailboats have a lot going for them. The big one is that they don’t rely on fossil fuels to get around. Theoretically a decent sailboat can go around the world using just the wind. In reality most will use at least some gasoline or diesel. However,   electric propulsion has come a long way. 

Sailboats are pretty self contained. Almost all of them have solar and/or wind generators. Many can produce their own fresh water from sea water. In a way they are really excellent off grid houses. Sailors generally like to keep their boats well provisioned. Some can go weeks or even months without resupply. Line fishing and spear fishing often stretched those provisions even further. 

So what’s not to like? 

During the lock down phase of the pandemic live aboard sailors had a hard time. It was especially bad if they were in a foreign country. Some countries just forced boats to leave without even getting a chance to provision. There were people forced to make long dangerous journeys with few provisions and little fuel. 

Many countries shut their borders completely. The few countries that did allow foreign boats could make any rules and charge whatever the market would bear. In the United States it was even difficult for domestic boats. For a while all the marinas were shut down. It was a stressful time. 

Once in a while real world events reveal the holes in what looks like a good idea on paper.

There are still good reasons to bug out by boat, but that’s a case by case basis. It certainly helps if you have a capable, well provisioned craft and a place to go. 


Tuesday, November 1, 2022

55 miles and 20 feet

Day are getting shorter. There’s a pretty narrow window between warm enough and darkness. Sure, I could get up early and deal with the sub-freezing temps. On the other hand I could wait for it to warm up into the 60s. Guess what I’ve been doing? 

While it was still chilly I was dealing with some end of the month business on the computer. One of the things I did was order a couple more pallets of fiber blocks for the woodstove. The price hasn’t gone up and they are still in stock. No idea how long that happy situation will last. There’s a certain comfort in knowing where you winter heat is coming from. 

The nice thing about a woodstove is that it doesn’t need the grid to function. My woodstove is a modern interpenetration of a wood kitchen stove. The big difference from the older stoves is a bigger airtight firebox. Not only does it provide heat it’s great for cooking and baking. 

To make room for the pallets the scooter had to be moved about 20 feet. I did that -after taking a 55 mile side trip. Being able to tool around on two wheels this late in the season is a bonus. It was a perfect day to meander around on the 35 mph back roads. Some were paved. Others were dirt. Eventually the sun started to go down and the temperature was going down with it. It was time to park the scoot. 

There’s always tomorrow.