Friday, September 22, 2023

My local weather

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

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

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

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

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


Thursday, September 21, 2023

Inverter Installed

Inverter brand name: WZRELB

Specs: 3000 watt pure sine wave power inverter 24VDC to 120 VAC 6000@ peak built-in soft starter. Dual AC outlets. 2 -2.4Z USP ports. Hardwire Terminal. 

Bought on Amazon about $300.

Replaced a Trace modified sine wave inverter. 2500 watts with a 7000 surge. 

So . . . how’s it work?

So far, so good. It handles my ½ horse well pump while supporting other normal loads. That’s the big issue. It wouldn’t be of much use of I couldn’t rely on the well pump. 

LED lights work perfectly with the new inverter, unlike with the old one. 

The old modified sine wave did not power an induction stove top. The lights and fans would come on, but it wouldn’t heat anything. The new inverter powers it just fine. 

The new inverter does everything I wanted it to do. It’s not powerful enough to weld with, but I don’t need it for that. My house is only partially off grid. The grid connection handles things like welding and I can top off the battery bank from the grid. For me, grid connection basically does those things a generator would do in a truly off grid system.


Wednesday, September 20, 2023

Ice Fishing

I think I’m going to get back into ice fishing this year. It’s been a while but I still have all the stuff. What that means is that I’m not going south for the winter again. Ice fishing went by the wayside when I was sailing off the coast of Florida instead. Ice fishing is not the reason I’m staying north, but since I’m going to be around I might as well go fishing. 

One thing that makes ice fishing a whole different experience is what we locals call a “Bob House.” That’s an ice fishing shack right on the ice. Instead of sitting out in the icy wind one can sip coffee and play cards while watching the traps. Believe me that makes all the difference. 

Back in the day my dad had a nice little comfortable shack with a propane stove and heater. It could be -10 F with the wind howling and we’d be in shirt sleeves. The only problem is sometimes the flag would go up on the fishing trap and someone would have leave the comfy shack to actually catch a fish. 

I’ll throw together a nifty little fishing shack sometime this fall. It will even have a small solar electric system for the sound system, electronics, and lights. This is the 21st century after all. 


Tuesday, September 19, 2023

Time for solar electric upgrades

Time marches on. So does technology. Old and new technologies don’t always work well together. 

My solar electric system was pretty cutting edge -over 20 years ago. There have been a few upgrades since. The first upgrade was more solar panels. Then I replaced the old electro-mechanical charge controller with an electronic one. It was expensive but made for a big jump in efficiency. 

One of the original parts still in service is a Trace 2425 modified sine wave inverter. That’s what turns the DC battery storage power into regular house AC. Modified sine wave has some downsides. One noticeable problem is a buzzing on audio equipment. There are a few electronics that don’t work at all. Electronic chips that use sine wave patterns as part of the timing really have a hard time. Some things just burn out. 

However, most things work just fine on modified sine wave power. Even compact florescent lights worked well. Those were bleeding edge technology when my system was first installed. 

The problem is those florescent lights have been replaced with LED lights. LEDs do not work well with modified sine wave. They are dim and tend to burn out -which isn’t great. 

Fortunately, true sine wave inverters have come a long way. Unlike in the old days, they are readily available and pretty cheap. 

I’ve got one on order and it should be here in a few days. I’ll let everyone know how that works out in the real world.


Monday, September 18, 2023

Coffee shortages

A few of my friends, and myself, roast our own coffee. We buy in bulk from a variety of distributors. 

Unroasted coffee is known as green beans. They actually have a light greenish color. Green beans can be stored for years without losing any flavor. Coffee only starts getting stale after it is roasted. By the way most of you are drinking stale coffee. Drinking freshly roasted coffee is a different experience entirely. 

That’s why home roasting is addicting. 

Us coffee roasters have noticed a few things lately. Prices have crept up which is hardly a surprise. A lot of things have gone up in price. What’s concerning is the appearance of spot shortages. Certain types of coffee from different countries are hard to get. Peruvian and Ethiopian come to mind right now. 

So far we’ve been able to shop different suppliers or substitute with similar coffees. These shortages might turn out to be nothing or they could be a leading indicator of bigger issues. 

Just a heads up. 


Sunday, September 17, 2023

Top off the food storage

It looks bad for grains this year. It’s no surprise that wheat will have a lot of pressure on it. It doesn’t help that two major producers are at war with each other. Rice didn’t do too bad this year, over all, but prices will be pushed up anyway. All grains will feel pressure as people look for substitutes for wheat. 

Grains are generally a fairly cheap way to bulk up food storage. If you absolutely feel the need for wheat get some now. It most likely won’t get cheaper for a while. Personally, I’m adding more rice to my storage. It’s still a pretty good bargain as most Americans don’t eat a lot of rice. There’s a lot more pressure on rice in other parts of the world. 

Last year I bought potatoes in bulk. That worked out so well I’m doubling my purchase this year. Potatoes are local and keep well. My only mistake last year was not buying enough. I don’t figure on my niece moving back in with us. 

Don’t mess around buying spuds in the five pond bags. A friend of mind was shopping at his local store in Kentucky. He thought the five pound bag of potatoes seemed a bit light. He weighed it on the scale and it was only three and a half ponds. He tried a number of bags before finding an actual five pounder.  Buyer beware.


Friday, September 15, 2023


I had a nightmare where there was an incident and the whole country was about to become a Fascist hellhole. In my dream I turned to my lovely wife and told her we’d better rent an apartment in Canada before they are all gone. The idea being that Canada is right next door and we can figure out where to go after that. 

It was too late. Nothing was available. I woke up in a cold sweat. 

Then I went on-line and actually checked out the cost of apartments in Canada. Crap. It’s as bad or worse than here in the US. There are even charging high prices in little towns in the middle of nowhere. 

Now some might say the country is already a hellhole, but they really don’t know what they are talking about. I come from a long line of people who got the hell out of Dodge while the getting was good. We aren’t there yet. However, my instincts are telling me something.


Thursday, September 14, 2023

Short Visit

I was pretty excited to connect with a friend of mine who I hadn’t seen in a few months. So I drive 150 miles to his place -in the pouring rain. As I get there he opens the door well before I get close to the house. He’s wearing a mask. The poor guy just tested positive for covid. Being a paramedic in the Boston area he most likely got it from work. 

So put my mask on and we have a very short visit. I dropped off his birthday present then drove another 150 miles back home. Yeah, he got covid for his birthday. What a sucky day. 

We had planned on going to a new place in his area what has indoor archery and ax throwing. Sounds like my kind of place. Oh well. 

He’s currently not doing too badly. I hope we can get together again soon -and actually spend more than a few minutes together. 

Such is life.


Wednesday, September 13, 2023

New England Hurricane?

Looks like hurricane Lee will impact New England. Will it be a near miss or a direct hit? Too soon to tell. We will get something from it. How much and exactly where is unknown. 

I asked a friend of mine who lives near the coast of Maine if he’s prepped. Heck yes he is! He’s got a battery bank with inverter for backup plus a generator. Everything has been serviced and tested. Trees have been pruned and cut down around the house. The roof of his gazebo was removed and stored in a safe place. The larder is restocked. He’s even taken to parking his cars in different places on his property. A guy from work lost both cars when a large tree hit both of them at once. Lesson learned. 

As for myself it seemed like a good time to finally service the house battery bank. My house still uses old school flooded lead acid batteries. Once in a while they need to get topped off with distilled water. Afterwards they get a good long deep charge from the grid. I might use my friend’s trick of parking my cars in different places. 

There’s a chance the storm could take a hard turn and go the hurricane Sandy route. That would be bad. New Jersey and New York got clobbered and Vermont experienced serious flooding. The last thing Vermont needs now is more flooding. 

New England has had a wet summer. The ground is already saturated. Hurricane rain will definitely cause flooding and that’s the most dangerous part of hurricanes. I’m at 1200 foot elevation so that won’t be much of problem for me. Should that ever become a problem the world will be in an apocalypse. Until I see people being raptured up into the sky I’m not going to worry about it.


Tuesday, September 12, 2023

Small business idiots

It wasn’t all that long ago that it was extremely rare for a small business owner to promote their politics at their business. It’s not a mystery. Why upset potential customers for nothing? 

These days, however, I see a lot of local small business promoting their political alliances. For some strange reason a lot of those businesses are struggling. A number of them have out of business. Perhaps they don’t realize that at least half the country might disagree with them? It’s easy to go on social media and get into an echo chamber where everyone appears to think like you. 

Not only are these companies losing business some of them can’t even get employees. One of my friends was so disgusted by the open politics at his job that he quite and went to work for a competitor. He just wants to clock in and do his job, not get into political debates. 

It’s one thing if your business is on-line and draws from a very large pool of people. Maybe blatant partisan politics can even be a bonus there. (if you are selling something like red hats) If your business relies on local customers it makes sense to not limit your customer base. 

I see where one local sandwich shop business quietly took down all their political signs and slogans. Too bad for them I’ve since found a different shop I enjoy more. 


Monday, September 11, 2023

Waiting for the shoe to drop?

Do you look around at the world and wonder if everything is about to go belly up? Does collapse feel imminent? Are you afraid to get too invested in things the way they are?

Guess what? I’ve been expecting things to fall apart since the 70s. Back then nuclear war seemed like a pretty sure bet. There’s been a lot of other serious threats since then. Of course, nuclear war is still a possibility. 

So what should a person do? If I’d have bunkered up in the 70s I would have missed out on my whole life. What I did was develop survival skills and acquire tools and supplies. It never reached the point where the kids had to do without so I could buy a new shotgun. I married, had kids, and made a life for myself. 

The preps came in handy during times of massive power outages and periods of unemployment. It never hurts to be prepared for a big disaster. That’s how you are prepared for the lesser trials and tribulations of life. 

History tells us that civilizations collapse. What we don’t know is exactly when. Be prepared, but don’t forget to live a life.


Sunday, September 10, 2023

Dark Days

Actually, the days have been pretty sunny -but not for me. I’ve been on medication that makes my skin very sensitive to the sun. When it’s hot and sunny the last thing I want to do is outside work while bundled up like it’s going to snow. I even have to wear gloves. 

There are only so many inside projects I can do. Today I was in the basement changing water filters. While down there I planned out a couple more jobs. That should keep me busy for the next couple of weeks when I’ll be about to work outside again. 

On the bright side it looks like the meds worked this time and I’m feeling pretty good. It’s about freaking time. 


Saturday, September 9, 2023

The Keeper of the Keys

In early 2020 a wealthy group of investors were very concerned. Being prudent planners they developed a backup plan should society collapse. Having means they established a well equipped mountain hide away somewhere in the hills of New Hampshire. Most of the investors were located in the Boston and New York area. Rural New Hampshire seemed like a good place to escape to. It was far enough from the big cities but well within driving distance. 

To this day they have no idea their plan would not have worked. They hired a local to watch over the place. He had full access to the facility and took care of any problems. He’s a pretty smart guy. Had there been a collapse the investors would have never made it to the retreat. 

The care taker was much more concerned about his family and friends than his employers. Had there been a full collapse the retreat would have been occupied by well armed locals in short order. They had a full plan in place ready to go. (for all I know they still do)

That’s the thing about wealth: it can’t guarantee loyalty.


Friday, September 8, 2023

The Old Hunting Camp

Some of my best memories were made at the old hunting camp. It wasn’t much to look at: a 16’ X 16’ square box. It was framed with spruce poles. Boards and siding came from lumber salvaged from an old barn. For heat there was a pot bellied woodstove. Lights were two propane lanterns fed from a 100 pound tank in the back. The propane also fired up a cook top. Water was hauled from a nearby brook. There was a sink that drained into a dry well. 

Sleeping arrangements consisted of a bunk bed and a single on the other side of the room. Hung on the wall were two folding beds that could be taken down and used in a pinch. There was a table with four chairs, also a wooden rocking chair -and that’s about it. 

Outside there was a woodshed, outhouse, and a shooting range. 

My dad built it with two partners. By the time I was 16 I probably used the camp more than anyone else. It was originally just used for hunting. For me it was a base for that and much more. There was brook fishing, hiking trails, cross country skiing in the winter, plus there was good snowmobiling. 

Most winters the only way to get there was either by snowmobile or cross country skis. Sometimes logging operations went on during the winter and it was possible to drive up. Driving up in the winter was pretty hit or miss. Once it took me three days to get my car back to town. 

The camp was a 9 mile journey up a dirt road through the woods. It sat about a ¼ mile off a side road that was rarely maintained. Once in a while the lumber company would run a bulldozer down it to keep it open as a fire road. While the main dirt road was sometimes open in the winter, the fire road never was. 

It used to be pretty isolated. When my dad retired he sold his share and I lost access to the camp. It eventually ended up with one of the partner’s two sons. For years I mourned the loss of the camp. Then the logging company decided to clear cut most of the woods around the camp. Barely passible dirt tracks became veritable highways. There’s very little game left in the area. 

Now I don’t mourn the loss of the camp. I mourn the loss of the woods. 


Thursday, September 7, 2023

Near Miss

The weather’s been up in the high 80s, which is pretty warm for this time of year in the Great North Woods. Do I get to enjoy the sun? Nope. I’m on antibiotics that cause sensitivity to the sun. Kinda hard to enjoy the outside when all bundled up. However, a little wind therapy on the scooter is something I can do. Nothing like a 55 mph wind to keep cool. 

So I went for a nice ride along the river and up into the mountains. It was a great ride. I’d traveled about 50 miles and was working my way home. About 15 minutes from home the road was blocked by a fire truck. My 15 minute trip got a lot longer.

The firefighter told me the road was blocked and there was a detour. There was a horrible car accident: multiple cars, one on fire, and at least one fatality. No details have been released as it just happened. I’m worried that it might be people I know. Had I been a bit earlier that could have been me. 

The detour wandered off into the back country. Miles of dirt road and a single lane bridge kind of back country. It was slow going as the scooter isn’t exactly a dirt bike. It was a relief to get home safe and sound. 

Prayers for the victims. 



Wednesday, September 6, 2023

All-domain Anomaly Resolution Office (AARO)

There's a new web site that's sort of a clearing house for UAPs. (UFOs for the rest of us)

Beau gives a pretty good description of the web site. Its mission statement makes it appear this is for technology that's not readily understood. Basically it could be for things like Chinese spy balloons. Kinda boring when you realize that's the focus. 

This is a long ways from actual government disclosure about UFOs. 

I'm underwhelmed. 

Living in a rural area without a lot of man made light I have pretty decent views of the skies. It's pretty common to see things in the sky that can't be easily explained away. Sometimes the sightings are dramatic. 

There really is something big going on out there. 

. .  . and it ain't Chinese balloons.


Tuesday, September 5, 2023

Complicated cars

One of the things I hate about new cars is the giant touch screen in so many of them. The touch screens do just about everything in some cars. Personally, just about anything beyond a backup camera is a mistake. Give me physical knobs and switches any day. 

So I’ve got to ask myself, am I just being old fashioned? Maybe, but that doesn’t mean I don’t have a point. If that screen fails the car becomes just about undriveable. 

Cars are full of electronics these days. Preppers used to seek out older pre-computer cars that could run even after an EMP. The problem is that these cars are really old now and hard to keep on road. It was nice while it lasted. I had a great 1980s diesel Mercedes Benz that I ran on waste veggie oil. The engine was bullet proof. Unfortunately, after a half million miles the rest of the car was falling apart. 

I’m still a fan of standard transmissions. They are more reliable than most automatics. My lovely wife’s car is a cheap 2015 Versa with the 5 speed manual transmission. Most of the automatic transmission models were crap. Performance was terrible and they failed early. These days the manual transmission is a pretty good theft deterrent as most people don’t know how to drive them. 

During the chip shortage we got some idea how dependent cars are on electronics. Without the chips the vehicles could not roll off the assembly line. 

I guess these days if you want a reliable bug out vehicle you’d better have an regular non-electric bicycle or a canoe.


Monday, September 4, 2023

So much for the hazel nuts

All our hazel nut trees produced just a handful of nuts for us and a zillion fat squirrels. The little buggers have once again beaten us to the nuts. We’ve been watching the trees and were getting ready to harvest as soon as the nuts got ripe. The squirrels don’t wait until the nuts are ripe. The do wait until we’ve stepped out of the day. Then they strip those trees bare. 

We’ve got a fox who’s sorta moved in and even it can’t keep all those squirrels in check. Squirrels are just rats with fluffy tails. 

I had high hopes when I planted those trees years ago. They do their main job well, which was to prevent erosion from the steep side of my yard. They are also dense enough to make a natural fence so you don’t accidentally walk off of the edge. However, I was hoping to harvest more nuts for the pantry. 

Those squirrels have learned to work fast to beat the bears from getting the nuts. Bears tend to walk off with half the tree, so it could be worse.


Sunday, September 3, 2023

The Tiny House Problem

There are big problems with tiny houses. 

-besides the fact they are often too small. 

Are they too small? That depends. There are tiny houses and there are tiny houses. Are we talking 70 square feet or 400 square feet? How well do they use space? Are we talking housing for a single person, a couple or, god forbid, a large family? 

Let’s assume that the size is sufficient for the number of people living there. The big hurtle for tiny homes is zoning. Frankly, living in a tiny home is often just plain illegal. 

The technical issues can be dealt with. Alternative energy can provide electric power. Water can be from any number of sources including rain catchment. Septic can be dealt with using composting toilets and clever gray water systems. Heating is climate specific and include everything from woodstoves to diesel heaters designed for RVs. 

To get around zoning issues tiny homes are often built on trailers and treated like camper trailers. That can work, but many locations ban people from living in camper trailers. My own rural out in the middle of nowhere town has such a restriction. People cannot do what they want with their own land. 

Personally, I’m tempted to build an “ice fishing shack.” It would be a bit more comfortable than most. When I have to pull it shore in the spring it would make a neat little stealth guest house on the lake. Rules are meant to be bent.


Friday, September 1, 2023

I step out for a few hours . . .

. . . and my lovely wife “cleaned” my office. 

The first thing I saw when I came home was a broken file cabinet in the hallway. That wasn’t good. The kitchen table was covered in paperwork. I’m going to have to sort through all that paper in the next couple of days. At first glance it looks like the current in progress files have been mixed with the archived files. I just can’t deal with it right now, but some of that of that stuff has to be dealt with soonish. 

On the plus side, the office really is a lot cleaner. I’ve also got a lot more pens and unused notebooks than I thought I did. 

Another downside is that she “simplified” the wires in the office. That meant that desk lamp didn’t work anymore and the Internet router and phone modem were down. Since I was able to post this it’s obvious the Internet issues were fixed. 

The last time my office was deep cleaned was when I spent a week in the hospital. Apparently I’m much more comfortable with a certain level of clutter and chaos than my lovely wife is. 

You know those minimalist people? I’m not one of them. I supposed it’s good that someone tackles the mess now and then, but it always freaks me out. I was only grouchy for a little while. 


Thursday, August 31, 2023

Canadian travel advisory

The Canadian government has issued a travel advisory. They’ve informed their citizens that LGBTQ people are not safe in certain states. Be sure to check the laws. 

It’s a shame that certain states are so unwelcoming that there are now official warnings from a foreign government. Of course, it’s no secret that plenty of US citizens now avoid certain states. That is causing plenty of real world effects on things like tourism dollars. 

Families are being separated by those laws. If one of your kids is LGBTQ you aren’t going to go visit grandma and put your kid in danger. If you’ve voted for those laws and don’t know why no one visits now you know. 

Kids growing up in those states have it rough. There’s a meanness that has crept into our political life. Sometimes it takes outsiders, like very polite Canadians, to point it out. 

As for myself, if I have to do a few linguistic tricks to make people happy I can do it. I don’t have to completely understand people to love them. 


Wednesday, August 30, 2023

Getting out of Dodge

I’m pretty familiar with the area hurricane Idalia is directly impacting. Nobody should be anywhere near the impact zone. Tough guys who don’t evacuate are putting themselves at unnecessary risk. You’ve got to be smart. 

Leaving town is often the smarting and toughest thing you can do. People don’t want to leave their homes. They tend to feel comfortable and safe there -even if they really aren’t. 

Know your area. Know the likely hazards. They don’t have to be natural disasters either. Back in my firefighter days there was a mill in town that used massive amounts of chlorine gas. When the control room for those chemicals exploded our family had a plan in place. As I was leaving to go to the fire station my lovely wife had packed up the kids. They headed to a location upwind from town. It was touch and go but the plant was successfully shut down. I had a lot of lot of concerns that day, but at least worrying about my family wasn’t one of them.

In early 2020 we cut short our Florida travels headed home. We got back just before the major pandemic travel restrictions when in place. Three days later Interstate 95 was one long parking lot. 

Most of them people are safer bugging in than bugging out. However, when it’s time to but out it’s time to bug out. 


Monday, August 28, 2023

Stormy Weather

There’s a tropical storm that just formed in the Gulf of Mexico. It’s looking like it’ll develop into a hurricane before it hits Florida. Landfall, at the time I write this, is predicted to be somewhere between Tampa and up in the panhandle. Most weather models predict a hurricane in the 1 to 2 strength. 

However, I suspect there’s the chance of a much stronger hurricane. Current models might not be taking the unusually warm water temperatures into full account. Keep in mind that I went to a college that specialized in weather forecast. Okay, I went there as a journalism major and never took a single weather course. That makes me at least as qualified as goodly number of TV weather people. 

But seriously . . . even tropical storms should be taken seriously. Flooding, as always, is the most common killer. High winds are more dramatic, but it’s drowning that will most likely get you. 

The storm should be making landfall in the middle of the week. Now is the time to put your hurricane preps into motion. Actually, if you live in a hurricane prone area being storm prepared should be something that you do all the time.


Saturday, August 26, 2023

I was gone, back now

My lovely wife and I spent a few days on the coast of Maine. We got to spend some time at an AirB&B with my daughter and her family. Great to be with the grandkids. They grow so fast. Our favorite campground has gotten so expensive that it just a bit more to split the AirB&B. That’s nuts. We basically had a whole house to ourselves. 

It was a bit of struggle for me as I was dealing with some health issues.  My off again, on again leg infection had gotten worse. Thursday I started a new round of treatments. I’m already seeing some progress. 

On the bright side I have a doctor who’s pretty good and gets back to me in a timely manner. That’s saying something as I don’t have a very good track record with doctors. 

So in the near future I’m taking it easy and following doctor’s orders. 

So it goes.


Tuesday, August 22, 2023

Debris on the moon

Looks like the Russians put a probe on the moon. Actually, they put a probe on the moon at a high rate of speed creating a debris field. Russia has never successfully landed anything on the moon. The Soviet Union did, but Russia is not the USSR. Actually, the USSR did some amazing space endeavors. I’m still impressed with the Venus probes that haven’t been equaled since. 

I guess that point: Russia is not the great power the USSR was. It’s still coasting along on the achievements of its earlier empire. The system that created great scientists and engineers appears to have broken down. The current brain drain hasn’t helped either. Russia needed this moon landing to go well. They haven’t had many wins lately. Another high technology failure doesn’t help their brand. 

Of course, one of the legacies of the old USSR was a rather extensive nuclear stockpile. It’s one of the last things keeping Russia in the big leagues. Then again, if their nukes aren’t any better than their space probes they might have an issue. 

Just to make things interesting India has a moon probe on the way. It’s actually a more ambitious probe the Russian one was. Now all they have to do is to stick the landing. Space is hard, so if they can make this happen it’s a testament to their scientific progress. 

The thing about India is that a failure on the moon is not the end of the world for them. The are up and coming so can learn from any mistakes and try again. They are developing a solid scientific and industrial base. Russian, on the other hand, is riding on the coattails of a previous empire. 

Did you ever notice how freaking old those Russian scientists and engineers are?


Sunday, August 20, 2023

Hurricane Hillary

Well that was unexpected. I never thought I’d see a sizable hurricane heading for California. I also never thought it would happened before the Atlantic hurricane season really kicked off. 

Flooding and landslides will most likely be the biggest danger. There is going to be an awful lot of rain in a wide area. 

Unlike in places like Florida, California doesn’t know what to do with these high risk storm conditions. People should be hunkered down and stay put. Roads are already closed in some places. It’s going to be dangerous. Flash flood emergencies are a clear threat to life. 

Unfortunately, this is going to be a big learning experience for a lot of people. If you move to a place like Florida you accept hurricane prep is part of the deal. In California, not so much. 

When you live in an area you learn the things that are the most likely threats to life. In my area of the frozen north it’s often blizzards and cold weather. In the spring we deal with floods from the snow melt and rain. This year it’s a little different as the wet summer repeatedly produced spring flood like conditions. 

I’ve even received tornadoes warnings on my cell phone. It’s an eye opener to get warnings for weather events that were once considered impossible in your area. I guess that’s the big take away: nothing is impossible anymore.


Friday, August 18, 2023

The price of beef

 I was talking to a guy who runs some cattle. We met at the farmers' market and he was wondering what local hamburg was going for. That would be $9/pound or $32 for four pounds. It's pricey, but the quality is absolutely top notch. The taste difference is like day and night. 

The cattle guy said he wished it was $20/pound as he's in the business of selling it. He said last year beef on the hoof was going for $2/pound. At that price all the cattle guys felt they were getting rich. Now it's going for $3/pound. 

Good thing I have a lot of beans and rice. If the price goes too high I'll be treating beef the way Asians do, as a flavoring. 


Thursday, August 17, 2023

Rain to Snow?

 Currently here in northern New Hampshire we've had the wettest summer on record. That came with its own problems. At least temperatures have been pretty livable. 

Here's where it could get interesting. If all this rain had been snow we'd be buried. Deep. Our winters have been pretty mild in recent years. Sure, we've had some big storms and subzero weather, but nothing out of line. 

Early predictions indicate we may have a cold and snowy winter. I'll happily take the snow, but could do without the bone chilling cold. Of course, the weather predictions struggle to get today right, never mind months in the future. 

Then again, better to be safe than sorry. Winter prep is going into high gear.


Tuesday, August 15, 2023

Real Estate

Real estate prices have gone nuts in my area. (The Great North Woods of New Hampshire) It’s pretty weird that an area that steadily lost population for decades is now high priced. 

Like many areas experiencing huge price increases, it’s the out of state buyers pushing up prices. It started during the pandemic. People wanted a place out in the country to get away from it all. That didn’t work as well as some thought it would. Our area had the same lock down most of the rest of the country had. 

People looking to park money in real estate saw prices in my area were relatively low and pounced. I guess compared to many areas they are still a bargain. By local standards, not so much. Wages aren’t that high so people have been priced out of the market. 

A lot of new buyers are picking up local houses as vacation homes. You would not think that a house in the middle of an old mill town would be purchased for vacations. They aren’t cabins in the woods or cottages on a lake. What they do have is ATV access from city roads. That appears to be enough. 

Rental prices have gone up like crazy too. I’m lucky I bought my place when I did. I would be hard pressed to find a livable apartment on my retirement income. I don’t see an end in sight. 


Monday, August 14, 2023

Good Water

A good friend of mine is house shopping. His life situation changed and he has to move out of the place he’s been living in. There is one thing the new place absolutely must have: its own source of water. 

He doesn’t want to be reliant on municipal water. In a SHTF situation most city water water systems will work for a while. The problem is that in a few days or weeks they will fail. You can go weeks without much food, but lack of water will kill you in days. 

One of the big surprises in his house search is the number of properties without any sort of decent water supply at all. I’ve no idea how those houses were permitted without having water. Something sketchy is going on there. 

Not only does he want want well water, he wants to be able to access it without needing a deep well pump. In a pinch being able to use a hand pump or even a bucket is a big deal. We are lucky that there are a lot of properties that have good reliable shallow wells. Some have been there so long they predate electricity. A different friend lives on an old farm and all his water is gravity fed, no pumps or electricity needed. 

Today my house hunting friend will be checking out another property and this one has a decent well. Hope it works out for him.


Friday, August 11, 2023

The Never Ending Story

Well, you hope you’ve heard the last of our little virus of 2019 but it’s the plague that keeps on giving. 

My local numbers are up. Check your area to see what your local conditions are. My lovely wife got a call from a friend who’s quite sick. She suspects she got it from a big church event. My spouse had planned on going to that event but went with me to visit friends downstate instead. Appears to have been the better choice. 

I was feeling pretty crappy all day. My first thought was that my allergies were kicking my backside. However, times being what they are, I took a home test as did my lovely wife. We both tested negative so that’s a relief. It’s the allergies after all. 

Just a heads up.


Thursday, August 10, 2023

Carbon Monoxide Detector

At about 2:30 a.m. the carbon monoxide detector went off. That got my attention. Everyone got up and moving. I opened up the windows and doors and we went outside. After a fan ran a while I went back to check up on things. 

The thing about carbon monoxide is that you can’t smell it or see it. Your body absorbs it better than oxygen. It makes you stupid, sleepy and then kills you. 

So how do you check to see if the problem is the detector itself? The smart thing is to call the fire department and have them check with their equipment. However, I’m not even sure if my tiny volunteer department even has the equipment. What I did was to bring in my second detector in from the mud room and see how that reacted. That one didn’t register any problems. 

I went through the whole house and even checked outside to see if there was something amiss. There were no issues. 

When I pulled the back off the detector that went off there was a whole bunch of fine print behind the mounting plate. It turns out the detector could fail in a high humidity condition. We’d had high humidity in the house for days. The detector was then shut down and thrown away.

The next time I’m in town I’m going to have to pick up another backup detector, or two. 


Wednesday, August 9, 2023

Never Ending Rain

Thanks to the wet weather I’m way behind on my outside projects. I was a bit bummed about it until I realized everybody is behind. A friend of mine is going nuts due to the weather. He has some outside work that requires decent weather. When the weather’s nice he earns $75/hour. The weather is taking a big chunk out of his income. 

Right now I’ve actually got a paying gig that’s waiting on good weather. 

Even more frustrating is the projects I’m not doing. My Blazer bodywork project was so far behind I sold the vehicle “as is” and moved on. Now I’ve got a nice new hitch for my Ford Escape. Unfortunately the driveway is a lake again. 

When the weather is nice I’m torn. Do I tackle those delayed projects or do I play in the sun? To be honest, playing in the sun wins more often than not. It might seem self indulgent but what’s the price of mental health?


Monday, August 7, 2023

Back and Forth

It was a good weekend. Not only did my lovey wife and I escape the ATV Road Warrior madness, we got together with good friends.

You reach a point in life where it takes a lot of effort to get together with friends. There are always demands. Some of my friends are dealing with ancient parents and their own children at the same time. Then there’s always work, getting in the way of life. 

However, it spite of it all, a half dozen of us met at a campground and had a fine time. In the back of our minds was the fact that the clock is always running. If we don’t get together for good times we’ll only see each other at funerals. 

We don’t want to be those people.


Friday, August 4, 2023

They came from out of the wasteland

The whole North Country of New Hampshire looks like a Mad Max movie right now. There’s a big ATV festival in Berlin, NH and the machines are everywhere. 

One of the things that often surprises visitors is the fact that it’s legal to run ATVs on most city and town roads. There are locals who actually own ATVs and never take them in the woods. They use them as their city car. 

Reviews from the locals are mixed. If you own a restaurant, bar, ATV rental, campground or an Air B&B you are happy. If want to have some peace and quiet -not so happy. Between the ATVs, trailers and tow vehicles parking is limited areas. Lines at gas stations are long. 

I don’t own an ATV. Sure, they can be fun, but I probably ride one about once a year. That’s enough for me. For some people they are tools not toys. It’s pretty common around here to mount snow plows on the front and use them all winter to clear driveways. Put a small trailer on one and they are decent farm vehicles. 

However, I know a farmer who replaced his ATVs with electric golf carts. The carts could do all the jobs the ATVs could do. They were also slower and kinda dorky so the hired hands got into less trouble with them.

So what am I going to do during the big festival? I’m visiting friends downstate. They have an nice quiet place in the country. 


Wednesday, August 2, 2023

Neighbor’s Visitor

My nearest neighbor has cameras around her property. For a single woman living alone it’s a sensible thing to do. Having a criminal ex-husband is another reason. 

Recently she shared some video footage from the camera mounted under her deck. Large spiders have been tripping the motion sensor so at first that’s what she thought she had. Not this time. This time her visitor was huge bruiser -a very large black bear. It climbed up on her wood pile and pawed around her basement door. In the end it wandered off without doing any harm.

Personally, I’d rather deal with bears than criminal humans. At least we know how to deal with bears. We aren’t going to be putting anything in the compost pile for bit. On trash pickup day I put the bag out out less than 20 minutes before the truck comes by. As long as bears don’t find any food around they’ll eventually stop coming around. 

It’s been a spotty year for berries and nuts. However, it looks like we might get a good blackberry crop. That would help the bears fatten up before winter. It also would keep them away from houses. When people and bears come in conflict it’s the bears that suffer. 


Tuesday, August 1, 2023


Here it is, early Tuesday morning, August first. The temperature is in the forties. Sure, it’s the high forties, but this is summer. As the day goes on it’s supposed to reach the upper sixties. During the night temperatures are predicted to be in the low forties. 

After that it’s supposed to warm up a bit, but it’s not scheduled to be really hot. That’s why I don’t bother with air conditioners. 

It’s a bit chill in the house right now, but I’m not going to turn the heat on. That’s what sweaters are for. 


Monday, July 31, 2023

Weird Schedule

Looks like I’m back on the night shift. You know those “early to bed and early to rise” people? I’m not one of them. Growing up school days were always a challenge. It’s not that I had anything against sunrise. Sunrise is often a good time to end my day. Starting at sunrise? No thank you.

Night shifts have always been my thing. That fact that it’s usually calm and quiet is a nice bonus. Too bad most of the world runs on daylight time. It’s not like I can do my business at town hall at 2 a. m.. I suppose there are more options in the big cities, but big cities aren’t my thing either. 

I even used to do a fair amount of night hiking. Some of my best hiking memories are of crossing the Mahoosuc Range under the light of the moon. Good times. 

Night driving is pretty nice too. I’m fortunate that even in my 60s I still have decent night vision. The only big down side of night driving is the number of moose and deer on the move. The best thing to do is to slow down and keep alert.

It’s my guess that there’s always been a few people who are night owls. Someone had to stay awake to feed the fire that kept the wolves at bay.


Sunday, July 30, 2023

Veggies, Fruits and Nuts

This wet weather has been harsh on gardens. After your tomato plants rot out three times in a row it’s time to give up. Not everything in the garden is doing poorly, but it looks pretty bad. 

Commercial orchards are not doing well. In general most have had significant loses. Due to micro climates some have done well. On the flip side others are almost totally devastated. 

The wild fruits are a mixed bag. Locally blueberries seem to be doing fine. Raspberries are not doing well. My pin cherries don’t ripen. They either fall off the trees while still green or go right from green to brown. I haven’t eaten any of them. There’s hope yet for the blackberries. 

The hazelnuts are actually looking pretty good. Time will tell how they turn out in the end. I’m told that beechnuts are doing poorly. They are an important food for wild animals. 

My sunchokes look good. They are my emergency backup survival food. Sunchokes seems to thrive in harsh conditions and nothing seems to kill them. They are more invasive weed than cultivated plant. The plan is to dehydrate as many of them as possible this year. They are good in soups and stews. 

My plan is to stock up on things that keep at the end of the growing season -no matter the price. My guess is that prices will only get higher as the months go on. 


Friday, July 28, 2023


For years we knew them as Unidentified Flying Objects. Then they went by the term Unidentified Aerial Phenomena Last I heard it was Unidentified  Anomalous Phenomena. It’s all the same to me. 

In Congressional hearings we are told about visitors from “out there.” There are tales of recovered bodies and advanced technologies. 

By now does anyone really think there is nothing to all that stuff? It would be a very poor universe indeed if we were the only ones in it. 

So why don’t we have definitive information? Knowledge is power. Secrets are one of the main currencies of the rich and powerful. That’s how they stay rich and powerful. There are other reasons, like the crimes committee to cover up the truth. 

People can debate this stuff all they want. On a clear night out here in the sticks there is about 50/50 chance that I’ll see a UFO. I know what satellites, planes, planets and other mundane things look like. When I see an object changing colors and shapes then making 90 degree turns I know it’s nothing ordinary. Then again, since I see them all the time, I guess they are “normal.” 


Thursday, July 27, 2023

Unsung Heroes

Rudy Giuliani admits he lied about election workers:

That’s a pretty despicable thing to do. I hope those workers are awarded serious monetary compensation. There are thousands of pole workers. They aren’t famous and the rewards are meager. Also, democracy can’t work without them. All those little people are essential for the proper functioning of our country. 

Personally, I have full confident that my local poll workers will do their job without bias. No matter their political leanings they respect the democratic process. It bothers me not at all that a poll worker may be on the complete opposite side of my politics. They will do their job. If my person wins they will count the votes. On the other hand, if my person loses I have faith that the votes were counted properly. I’m not about to riot in the streets. 

During the last election my niece made me especially proud. She has crippling social anxiety to the point where it’s a disability. In spite of that she volunteered to work the polls. She was young and physically healthy so wanted to take the place of someone older who’s health could have been at risk during the pandemic. 

The thought that a National figure like Rudy could lie to the world about poll workers boils my blood. They were faithfully doing their job and were falsely accused. I’m glad his lies have come to light. The last thing we need is for all those nameless poll workers to decide it’s too dangerous. That’s one more arrow in the heart of the Republic. 


Wednesday, July 26, 2023

History is Made by Stupid People

They got that right. 

Our country has reached a point in time where a lot of people are making History. 

Serves them right.


Tuesday, July 25, 2023


My woods across the road are pretty rough walking in the best of times. After all the rain we’ve gotten it’s gotten much much worse. New Hampshire has a well deserved reputation for being rocky. My property is no exception. The rain has softened the soil between those rocks. It’s easy to twist an ankle or even break a leg in the sudden sinkholes. 

Just to make things interesting the soft ground and thunderstorm winds have knocked down numerous trees. It’s like a giant game of pickup sticks out there. It’s especially bad for the shallow root species like fir and spruce. 

Once the ground dries out there will plenty of work for my chainsaw. However, at the rate things are going we’ll probably have frozen ground before we have dry ground. 

My neighbor’s dog pulled the leash out of her hand when it saw a fox. When the dog didn’t come back she got some friends together to look for it. It wasn’t that far off in the brush, but it took a couple hours to get to it. The dog’s leash had tangled up in the downed trees. Fortunately, nobody got hurt. 

It’s been a wet summer and we haven’t had as bad as some other places not too far away. 


Monday, July 24, 2023

Planning during the summer

So what am I doing during the summer heat? Planning for winter, of course. What else are you going to do in the summer?

One of my projects has been moved near the top of the list. The basement needs better insulation. It’s one of those things I’ve put off for some time. Back when I was spending the bulk of the winter doing the snowbird thing it didn’t matter. 

Most of last winter it wasn’t a big deal. Then we got some windy sub -20 F days. That froze my water line. I have a procedure to thaw it out, but I’d like to avoid that if possible. 

Another thing I’ve been doing is pricing out battery powered snow blowers. A good friend of mine has the large two stage Toro. He’s been very pleased with it. Considering he has a very long driveway in Maine his opinion matters. After researching a lot of battery powered blowers the Toro two stage seems the way to go. Anything cheaper is waste of money. The Toro is also attractive to me as it takes the same size battery as my chainsaw.

Sure, gas machines are cheaper, but I hate the noise and stink. In general I avoid gas powered tools as they send my sensitive lungs into coughing spasms. Not good. 

I’m also tempted to build a fishing shack to haul out on the ice. I kinda miss ice fishing and good shelter makes all the difference. 


Sunday, July 23, 2023

Efficient but fragile

A tornado hit a Pfizer drug manufacturing plant in North Carolina a couple days ago. The plant was heavily damaged. Now there are numerous drug shortages. 

When Covid hit there was a serious shortage of protective equipment. Most of it was being made in China. When China locked down that was pretty much it for much of the world’s production. 

Most of the world’s computer chips are made by one company: Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co.. 

So how does critical manufacturing get so centralized? That’s just the way Capitalism works. Efficiencies of scale combined with the most efficient processes dominate markets. Before long any competition left are bit players -if that. 

That’s great for driving prices down. It’s not so great when it comes to resiliency. If only one source for a product goes down it’s a scramble and there are shortages. If there were 100 sources for critical items the loss of one wouldn’t be a big deal. The rest could easily pick up the slack. 

Right now there’s a big push to bring manufacturing back to North America. That’s not a Capitalist decision. It’s a political and strategic decision. Shaving a few pennies off the price is less important than supply security. 

Russia right now is in terrible shape when it comes to key high tech supplies. They never learned to make the really high end stuff. Embargoes are taking their toll. Even basic stuff like roller bearings for trains were imported. 

On an individual level all you can really do is to make sure you are well stocked up for your critical needs. When shortages do happen you cross your fingers and hope to be able to outlast the problem. If nothing else, having a cushion gives you time to figure out alternatives. 


Saturday, July 22, 2023

End of the Trail

The summer storms have taken their toll on adventurers. A lot of Appalachian Trail hikers have put their thru hike dreams on hold. Some have given up completely for the year. Others have postponed their hike with the hope of resuming in September. September/October in the northern mountains have issues of their own. That’s when cold and even snow can set in -especially in the higher elevations. 

Currently good long sections of the trail have turned to mud. Babbling brooks are raging rivers. Those hiking solo are especially at risk. Getting off the trail is not a sign of failure but a sign of intelligence. 

I also heard from someone inquiring about the Northeast Backwoods Adventure Route. It’s a route for adventure motorcycle riders. Highways are avoided. It’s mostly country back roads with a goodly amount of dirt roads and even trails. 

The northern section through New Hampshire and Maine are probably mostly passable. I’ve even ridden parts of it on my scooter a few days ago.  However, the sections In Vermont and Pennsylvania are worse. Last I heard some sections are actually closed to the public. 

On the bright side, small rivers that are usually only canoeable during spring floods can be canoed right now. Just make sure not to paddle rivers of flooded sewage and industrial waste chemicals. That would be nasty. Navigating high water is tough enough without the added health hazards. 

It’s been an interesting summer. On the bright side we certainly don’t have a drought. Temperatures have been much more livable than other areas. Some nights are down right cool. It’s actually refreshing. 


Friday, July 21, 2023

Thinning the Herd

Many years ago when I was 17 I was about to purchase my first car. Dad took me aside and gave me a warning that cars would keep me broke. 

I bought the car and didn’t regret it. It needed a lot of work and most of my money to keep it on the road. What it gave me was the opportunity to go where I couldn’t go before. There are places you just don’t take mom or dad’s car. Let’s just say it greatly expanded my dating pool. That’s important to 17 year old males. 

While owning a car was great, dad was right. Cars have been doing a good job of keeping me broke ever since. Of course, it’s not just cars. Just about anything you have to register and insure will do that for you.

Then there’s the time and/or money issue. It takes either a fair bit of money or a fair bit of time to keep vehicles going. With that in mind I’ve decided to thin the motor pool a bit. Instead of fixing up one of my vehicles I’ve put it for sale so someone else can fix it. I just hope it’s not some 17 year old kid with stars in his eyes who buys it. 


Wednesday, July 19, 2023

Summer of the Strike

I'm a union guy. 

No apologies.


Tuesday, July 18, 2023

Local Conditions

Monday evening I went for a 100 mile drive around my area checking out conditions. The rivers are still high, but not dangerously so. While there’s some soft shoulder erosion but the roads are generally good. Northern New Hampshire is doing fairly well. Local climates make a big difference sometimes. Of course, geography plays into it too. 

For a couple years I did a long commute from northern New Hampshire to northern Vermont. There’s a noticeable difference in climate roughly along the Connecticut River. If the roads were bad in Vermont I knew they would be probably be better once I crossed the river. Of course, sometimes it worked the other way around. Once I turned around after just two miles down the road. In Vermont they were wondering where I was as there wasn’t even a storm in that area. 

Then there’s the fact that New Hampshire tends to do a better job of snow removal. That ain’t nothing.

We’ve had heat and humidity, but nothing like the south and west. Our nights have been cool and comfortable so that makes a huge difference. Compared to much of the country, our local conditions have been pretty livable -if wetter than normal. 


Monday, July 17, 2023

In Hot Water

The waters off the coast of Florida is in the 90s right now. That’s hot -too hot. Coral is dying. The coral reefs are key to the marine food chain. That’s just one issue, if a big one. 

You what else hot water is good for? It’s an excellent energy source for massive hurricanes. There are factors interfering with hurricane formation right now. Wind sheer is the big one. Saharian dust is another issue. However, it’s expected that conditions for hurricanes could improve drastically. If that happens the warm ocean waters will super charge hurricanes.

So here I am, looking at hurricanes again. New England is a long way from Florida but that doesn’t mean we are immune from the effects. About a dozen years ago the effects of tropical storm Irene clobbered Vermont. That could easily happen again. Of course, now it would be happening on top of record flood damage that’s still in progress. 

What a lot of people don’t realize is how dependent on Gulf Coast fuels New England is. There’s a single major pipeline that supplies a lot of fuel. It’s been damaged in the past but was repaired just in time to prevent major shortages. Should it get a bit more damage the consequences would be dire. 

Then there’s all the Gulf Coast production, shipping, and refining that shuts down when the storms move in. 

Of course, my main concern is for people. While governments respond to disasters, it’s not instant. At least for the first few days you are most likely on your own. Be aware. Be safe.


Sunday, July 16, 2023


It looks like UPS will go on strike. If you need anything delivered in a timely manner get it right now. This a good time to check your stored items and fill in any gaps. We’ve gotten used to having everything delivered right to our door. Living out in the country the UPS truck is often a welcome sight. 

Some of the slack will be picked by other carriers. Expect delivers to take longer and cost more. There is only so much slack in the system. 

While it’s inconvenient, I’m supporting the strikers. UPS drivers have a high pressure job and put in long hard hours. Their days are micromanaged and that’s always annoying. 

Of course, living out in the sticks it’s not like we get next day shipping. What takes about a day in the city takes about a week to get to me. Actually, my last order was delayed an additional four days on top of that. That was caused by, “Natural Disasters.” Apparently one of their shipping hubs got hit pretty hard by the storm system that caused all those issues in Vermont. 

Much depends on how long the strike lasts. Keep in mind that uncertainty is already causing delays. It’s not just the stuff that comes to your house either. Your mechanic might not be able to fix your car because the parts aren’t being shipped. Lots of things happen with shipping behind the scenes. 

Anyway, just a heads up.


Saturday, July 15, 2023

Solar Powered Cooling

It’s been a hot and humid summer. I still don’t regret not having an air conditioner. However, I am a big fan of fans. Right now my office ceiling fan is set to “hovering Blackhawk helicopter.” It’s very nice. 

One of the great things about my house fans is that the solar electric system has no difficulty keeping them powered. Even if the grid goes down I’m going to be comfortable. 

I also really appreciate the solar electric powered water pump. The well water is ice cold year round. Being able to stay cool and hydrated in a grid down situation is essential.

Fans aren’t that energy intensive, especially compared to air conditioners. It’s pretty expensive to have enough solar power to keep a house AC unit going. Even a small room sized unit really sucks the power down. However, the newer units are much better on energy than the older units. It could be worth having one solar electric AC cooled room in your house. For some people it could be the difference between life and death. Even if you generally do fine in the heat, being able to cool down for an hour or two is a big relief. 

Swamp coolers are fairly low energy usage. The problem is they only really work in dry climates. You also need a reliable source of water. 

There are a lot of people relying on the grid to stay comfortable right now. They’d better hope it all holds together. If the grid goes down people are going to die. That’s the grim reality of it. 


Thursday, July 13, 2023

Night Life

Thanks to having been on antibiotics I’m still avoiding the sun. It makes for a weird schedule. 

I get to bed sometime after three or four in the morning. After about three hours I’m awake and doing things. Yesterday morning I had to make a quick run to the garage to get an oil change. I’m not going to do it myself while my driveway looks like a frog pond. 

After lunch it’s siesta time. That why I avoid the most direct sun and the heat of the day. After dinner I went back into town to get some items from Tractor Supply. Good thing they stay open until 9 p. m.. Later that evening I decided to do some work on the scooter using a headlamp. 

Heck, I’m even tempted to mow the lawn late at night. No -I’m not a horrible neighbor. I’ve an electric lawn mower and it’s not very loud. Also, I really don’t have many neighbors and none are right next door. 

By the 20th or so it should be safe for me to get sun exposure again. Adjusting to a day schedule might take some effort. 


Wednesday, July 12, 2023

Venice on the Winooski

I’ve a daughter who lives in Montpelier Vermont. Yesterday the state capital of Vermont looked more like Venice. The roads looked like canals. That’s some serious flooding. 

Normally the Winooski looks like a trickling trout stream. It’s a pretty low volume river -more of a big brook. Now it’s a city sized lake. 

Not only is the downtown flooded, all roads in and out were impassable. Fortunately, my daughter and her family live on high ground. Unfortunately, my son-in-law works downtown. His office is on the third floor so it was fine. However, all the business records were stored in the basement. It was a mad scramble trying to move them in time. 

There’s a fair amount of footage of the flooding. It’s worth checking out.


Tuesday, July 11, 2023

New England Rain Forest

As I write this we are having a long soaking steady rain. It’s been a wet summer. I’m afraid crops will rot in the fields. 

It seems that there are very few days when we aren’t at least at risk for thunderstorms. Sunday it really mattered where you were. At my location we didn’t get thunderstorms at all. I could watch them marching up the mountain ranges to the east and west of me. Heck, I even went for a scooter ride and drove about 30 miles south. Never felt a drop.

My lovely wife, on the other hand, had business up north. She experienced rain so heavy visibility disappeared. Hail came down and roads washed out. 

We are currently under another flood alert. There are times when I’m really thankful of my house’s elevation. The worse that has happened during floods is that all the roads out of my area are cut off. However, being in the hills, the water levels go down fairly quickly. That’s when we find out of there’s any pavement left behind. Sometimes there isn’t. 

The State of New Hampshire has been quietly preparing for a wetter environment. Drainage ditches have been dug deeper. Every time a culvert is replaced they install much larger ones. Those efforts have been put to the test of late.


Monday, July 10, 2023

So Much for Fruit

Here in northern New England we had some seriously below zero weather back in February. Then we had a hard frost in May. That took its toll on fruit trees. Some orchards show a 99% lose. That’s unsustainable. 

It varies quite a bit due to micro climates. In fact, the damage can vary from severe to minor in the same orchard. It’s difficult to get hard numbers but I think we are somewhere in the 50% loss area. That’s pretty harsh on business but also impacts our food security. 

What we’ll have to watch is whether or not it’s a rate event or the new normal. Farmers are resilient but there are limits. Absorbing one bad year is doable. Doing that year after year isn’t. 

Of course it’s not just the fruit trees that affected. Looking out at the forest it’s apparent that some areas have a lot of dead leaves. That’s not normal for the summer. I’ve no memory ever seeing it like that before. While humans are concerned about orchards, wild animals need the rest of the forest. There are plenty of wild fruit trees that wildlife depends on. 

I’m curious to see what the wild nut harvest will look like in the fall. 

Of course, we are big nation and get our fruit from all over. If the rest of the country does well it might not be too big a deal at the checkout counter. It is certainly affecting my local apple orchards and I’m going to miss the local products. 

One more thing to keep an eye on.


Sunday, July 9, 2023

That Hippy Look

My lovely wife and I were having burgers in town. A couple of the Rainbow Gathering people were also picking up something to eat. They took a good look at my long hair, beard, floppy hat, and asked if I was with the gathering. 

“No, I said,” I’m local, I just look like this.” 

To be fair, it’s not the first time I was mistaken for a Rainbow person. That’s fine. We had a nice chat and I was able to point to a good place to get coffee. 

The event is wrapping up and most people are heading out. I could see them in restaurants and stores in the area. No doubt they gave the local economy a bit of a boost. 

There were a number of arrests during the event. At least half of them were thrown out in court. The Forest Service was going out of their way to cause trouble. Frankly, I was concerned about the overbearing law enforcement presence that the influx of Rainbow people. The vast majority of other charges were things like not using directionals and minor weed violations. 


Friday, July 7, 2023

State of the Schools

I keep hearing from teachers looking to leave the profession. They’ve had it. Some are hoping to squeak out another year or two before they can retire. Others, retirement being too far off, are walking away from the profession. 

Low pay has always been an issue, but that’s not the main complaint I’m hearing now. The big complaint is that they can’t do their jobs. Politicians determine what can and can’t be taught. Children can’t be disciplined and their parents support that. Kids feel they don’t need to learn anything as everything is available on their phones. 

In the mean time elite private schools have banned the use of phones and computers in class. That, boys and girls, is how the elite will continue to be on top. 

Personally, one of the big things that concerns me is the lack of respect for hard facts. Right answers in Math isn’t important. Superstitious beliefs and Science are on the same level in people’s minds. That is,  when superstition doesn’t rule totally supreme. 

Then there’s the simple fact that young people aren’t learning social skills needed for a functioning society. 

Darn, I sound like a cranky old man. Perhaps that what I am. 

Doesn’t mean I’m wrong.


Thursday, July 6, 2023

Life in the Shadows

Summer is a special time in the Great North Woods. Normally I’d be doing a lot of outside activities. Not so much right now. 

One main reason: Doxycycline. It’s a powerful antibiotic. 

On the bright side it knocked the heck out of the infection in my leg. I’m finally on the mend. There are some downsides to the medication. A big one is that it’s pretty hard on the digestion. Diet and staying hydrated is managing the worse of it. An annoying issue is sun sensitivity. It turns you into a vampire that burns up in the sun. 

Here it is, warm and humid, and I’m going around with long pants and long sleeved shirts. I’m even wearing gloves and a big floppy hat. Even after I stop the medication the sensitivity lingers for 10 to 14 days. That knocks a big chunk out of July. 

I guess I’m going to be on the night shift for a bit. The good news is that I have my own freaking beach on the lake. There’s no reason not to go swimming in the dark. There’s nothing lurking in the dark water that will eat me. 

Life goes on. 


Wednesday, July 5, 2023

Stopped by a State Trooper

Monday I was stopped by a state trooper. I knew it was going to happen as soon as he saw me. He flipped his lights on and did a quick 180. When you see that it’s time to find a place to pull over. 

Good eyes on that young man. He noticed my outdated registration sticker. The car is also overdue for a state inspection. 

It’s been a while since I was pulled over by a LEO. He did the standard license and registration thing but also informed me he was wearing a body camera. That’s different. 

I had the new registration under the visor. As luck would have it I was on my way into town to get the car inspected. He ran my license and registration. Then he asked if I wanted him to put the new stickers on. Sure, and thank you, I said. Then he let me go. Nice guy. 

When I got to town the garage was closed -in spite of what their web page said. Oh well, I’m going to try again today. Hope I don’t get stopped on the way in -again.


Tuesday, July 4, 2023

Happy Independence Day

Hope everyone is being amazingly independent. It’s the day for it after all.


Monday, July 3, 2023

10 States with the MOST Freedom.

I like Brigg's lists. This one caught my attention. It really matters where you live. 

Notice that Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont made the top ten list. That's one of the big reasons I like it up here. 

Notice that Texas and Florida did not make the list. 

'nuff said.


Sunday, July 2, 2023

Florida’s New Laws

New laws just came into effect in Florida. They have laws that affect both documented and undocumented immigrants. People no longer feel welcome or safe in Florida. They are leaving in droves. There’s already regret from members of the business community that they will not have enough workers. 

I hope at least some of them move to New Hampshire. Currently our unemployment is at 1.8%. In anyone’s book that’s a labor shortage. 

Would I want “those people” as neighbors?

Heck yes!

When I was in in Florida the vast majority of my interactions with “that community” were highly positive.  My car broke down in a “rough” neighborhood outside of Miami. A bunch of locals helped me fix the car and only one of them spoke much English at all. They were a really nice bunch of guys. 

Then there was the time the motor on our sailboat died and the boat was being sucked out of the marina and out to sea. We were towed back by Hispanic fishermen. They wouldn’t even take any money for their efforts. 

Those are just two examples. There were many more. I don’t look at people as documented or undocumented. They are just people. Some politicians have forgotten their humanity. 


Saturday, July 1, 2023

Student Loans

The Supreme Court rejected Biden’s student debt relief plan. 

So what happens next? 

I know one thing that’s not going to happen. The loans will not be repaid. Payments have been suspended long enough that people don’t budget for them anymore. They’ve gotten used to not paying those bills. Good thing they got some relief as the virus really messed up the economy for a while there. 

Right now most people are living paycheck to paycheck. Frankly, I’m betting most people can’t start payments again -even if they wanted to. 

There will be a lot of people in default. That’s going to seriously affect their credit rating. They won’t be able to finance things like cars and houses. The economy and especially the financial sector, will really take a hit. 

The economy was chugging along, in spite of all the recent challenges. This might just be the thing that  tips it over the edge. Good job Supreme Court. 

Now is the time to prepare for some serious economic disruptions. How you deal with that in your personal lives depends on your own situation. However, I wouldn’t be in a hurry to take on any massive debt right now. Might not be a good time to get that $80,000 pickup truck.


Friday, June 30, 2023

Smoke on the water and fire in the sky

I got just a short whiff of Canadian forest fire. Then it cleared up. Our constant rainy weather pattern might have something to do with that. Sure, we’ve had some flash flood warnings, but the air has been pretty good. 

My buddy in western Kentucky sent me a photo of very smokey air down there. Kentucky is a long way from Canada, but not far enough it seems. Now I see the smoke is back in Washington D. C.. No doubt that inspire the politicians to do something for the environment. 

Ah, who am I kidding? The politicians will continue with their Tom Foolery and shenanigans. 

Well, at least most of us still have our face masks. That helps. People have also dragged out their house air filters from the back closet. Those help a lot too. 

It’s a pretty good idea to have some sort of house filtration. Ideally you’d want a system that keeps a house or a room at a slightly higher pressure than outside. That would involve an external air intake and maybe a one way pressure relief valve. Look at old filter designs to keep radioactive fallout out of your living spaces. 

Actually, it’s not a bad idea at all to have a system that can keep radioactive fallout and smoke out your lungs. The smoke we have now. The fallout is a possibility.


Thursday, June 29, 2023

The Doctor

I hate going to the doctor. My experiences with the medical system has been generally negative. Fortunately, I’ve a decent relationship with a doctor I actually like and respect now. He listens to me and that’s rare. 

You know when you are younger and get injured? Then you recover. Along comes some old dude. With a knowing glint in his eye he says, “You’re going to feel that when you get older.” 

That old SOB knew what he was talking about. Leg injuries sustained when I was younger caused circulation issues in recent years. Leg wounds take their own sweet time to heal. The healing process mimics that of a diabetic but my blood sugar is normal. I’ve learned what works to help the healing along. 

The only glitch in the system is that sometimes the wound gets infected. That happened and I can’t buy antibiotics over the counter. Hence the trip to the doctor. (Yeah yeah, I know about fish antibiotics) 

So I’ve started on a course of powerful antibiotics and should start healing up in a few days. 

The thing is I knew that I should have been taking better care of myself. I decided to deal with other commitments instead of taking it easy. Now I’m paying for it. Fortunately the medical system, for all its faults, has developed some decent medicines.

In a world without antibiotics preventing infections is critical. I screwed up this time but thank goodness there’s modern treatments. We should not take them for granted. 


Wednesday, June 28, 2023

When you make your plans

There’s a certain fantasy of how one would perform during a SHTF situation. If you’ve done any prepping at all you imagine different scenarios. Bad stuff could happen. Those of us who’ve been at this for a while would like to think we are pretty competent. When push comes to shove we’ll be shoving and pushing right back. 

That’s the ideal anyway. It might even be true -on our best day. 

Unfortunately, disasters don’t work on our schedule. No, that’s not when the bad thing happens. When the brown stuff hits the rotary stuff we might not be at our best. It’s going to hit when we are short of funds, the pantry is unusually depleted and we have a leg in a cast. 

Two things are important during that sort of situation. The first is having community that will pull you through. It might be as simple as someone dropping off a case of canned food to get you past a bad patch. It could someone picking up all the slack, doing your job because you can’t. Nothing beats having a tribe you can rely on. Most of us would like to be the one helping, but there’s no shame in accepting help when you need it. 

The second thing is to actually set up your situation so you can survive with minimum effort. Instead of thinking what a big macho man could do, think what a 12 year old kid could do. If a smaller weaker person can keep the household going you stand a much better chance of surviving. 

Some examples:

If it takes a big strong person to keep the woodstove going you might want some backup heat that only requires flipping a switch. 

Maybe you have massive whole wheat storage, a manual grain grinder, and a good wood fired bread oven. However, now you are laid up and the 12 year old has to take over. Some canned crackers and a big jar of peanut butter might be just the thing. 

Imagine you have a remote bug out location. In the best of times you could don a 40 pound pack and hike all the way there. With that leg cast on it might be better to live full time in a decent bug in location. 

Instead of actively hunting and fishing, maybe you only have the strength and energy to set out a few critter traps. They work while you are napping on the couch. 

Few of us have never been injured or sick. We have to prepare for those time when we are not at our best. Actually, it’s a good idea to run that way more often than not. Just because you can do the hard things doesn’t mean you should.


Tuesday, June 27, 2023

Heatwave in the South

The heat is on. 

It’s looking bad from Texas to Florida. Hope everyone is prepared in case the grid goes down. The south is summer without AC is not a happy place.

Been there. Done that. 

It’s one thing if you can get acclimated to the heat. The shock is not so bad if you spend time outside. Also helps to not keep your AC set to 63. 

Of course, I live in the rather comfortable mountains of New Hampshire. For me the grid going down is more about not freezing to death in the winter. Everyone has gotten used to having electricity at their beck and call. 

Now more than ever it’s important to have backup plans. Even a solar electric powered fan is better than nothing at all. 


Monday, June 26, 2023

How old is too old?

The Scooter Cannonball just finished up. There were a lot more gray haired -or no haired people at the finish line than not. The oldest participant I’m told was 84. Plenty of grandparents did the event. That’s pretty impressive when you consider it’s a coast to coast endurance event on small displacement scooters. 

Frankly, it gives me hope. 

So what does it take to finish an event like this? Endurance is a big one. There’s pain involved here. However if your body hurts everyday anyway might as do something interesting. A good part of these sort of events is mental toughness. It’s the ability to get up every morning and put the miles in. 

You don’t really need a whole lot of physical strength as you are on a motorized vehicle. However, when you dump your heavily loaded scooter on a dirt road it has to be picked up again. Those dirt sections took their toll, sending a number of riders to the hospital. Most scooters aren’t exactly dirt bikes. 

When I was a kid I did a lot of canoe and kayak racing. There were slalom and white water down river events. One old guy in his 80s always competed. He never won, but always finished -usually somewhere in the middle of the pack. The man was a legend. 

So what do you want to do with your golden years? Sit around watching TV while waiting to die? For me, I hope to be well enough to keep having adventures. 

Sure, you could get seriously injured or even die. There are worse ways to go. We are all going to die sooner or later anyway. No need to give up before the Grim Reaper comes to your door. 


Sunday, June 25, 2023

Russian Family Spat

Like a lot of people I’ve been following the news out of Russia. My popcorn was ready in case it was going to be a Swan Lake moment. 

Looks like Putin cut a deal to save his skin in the short term. Notice I say “short term.” 

Putin’s whole image was that of the tough guy. Turns out that when push comes to shove he’s not so tough. A tough guy would have crushed his enemies. That didn’t happen. Wagner basically got away with an armed insurrection. Putin’s rivals on the side lines have taken notice.

Nobody outside of a tight circle really knows what happened in the background. We probably never will learn exactly what went down. 

If anyone won this engagement it’s Ukraine. The Russian side is in serious disarray. That can’t but help the Ukrainians. 

Interesting times boys and girls. 


Saturday, June 24, 2023

Destructive Testing

I’ve been following the Scooter Cannonball.

One of the things I’ve really enjoyed is watching the behind the scenes videos. Much of that is field repairs, which I’ve paid close attention to. The YouTube guy Quazi Motard has put out some good stuff. He’s currently running a Honda PCX 150 much like my own. 

I’ve learned is that it’s probably a mistake to stray too far from Honda original parts. Seeing Quazi’s scooter transmission grenade on the highway was eye opening. The after market parts gave better performance, but didn’t go the distance. 

Endurance events are a good way to figure out how good different vehicles are when the going gets tough. I’m checking out scooters with this event, but I’ve followed boat events and 4X4 rallies. Often you find the most popular and/or most expensive do worse than less expensive options. 

For example Vespa scooters are stupid expensive. However, they’ve been falling apart during the Scooter Cannonball. Many are plagued by electrical issues. Even things that really shouldn’t go wrong are going wrong. Freaking tail lights are rattling out of their mountings and falling apart. While they are fast they don’t really handle that well in the corners. 

We love our vehicles. When the going gets tough we don’t want them to fail. If they do fail we need to know how to make repairs. Endurance events put things to the test. Years of normal wear and tear can happen in a matter of days. It’s a great learning experience. When I spend my limited dollars I don’t want a garage queen that can’t handle the real world. 


Friday, June 23, 2023

Different Gatherings

Recently I made a post about the Rainbow Gathering here in New Hampshire’s Great North Woods. I actually plan on checking them out next month. Might even share a few photos if they don’t mind being photographed. 

Currently, not that many miles away, is Porcfest  It’s the Porcupine Freedom Festival. That’s put on by the Free State Project. It’s their 20th year anniversary. 

I think it’s interesting that New Hampshire’s North Country hosts interesting groups. 

Now all we need is a nice big Pride Parade. No, seriously. Hear me out. You don’t have to like or agree with any of these groups. The point is that they feel it’s safe to be different. 

Conformity makes me nervous. Religious conformity that sets community standards are the worse. That’s how you get the Taliban -or ultra conservative Christians that celebrate the Prince of Peace but practice hate. They are all the same to me. It’s not safe to be different. 

I am a huge believer in personal freedom. As long as nobody tries to force their beliefs on me it’s all good. Have fun, don’t get hurt.


Wednesday, June 21, 2023

Trail Support

My daughter, her husband, daughter and dog are on a hike in western Maine. I’m their shuttle service. They were dropped off eight miles up a rough dirt road. It’s a good thing they have a 4X4 pickup. 

In my younger days I often hiked those mountains. I wish I was going with them, but I’m in no condition to do so right now. At any rate, I’m happy to assist with the shuttle service. 

Cell phones have changed hiking. My daughter called to inform me of a change of plans. They decided to take a different trail out of the mountains and cut their hike a day short. Back in my day I had to hitchhike. It wasn’t easy to get a ride after too many days in the mountains without a shower. The other option was to park a vehicle at your take out point and hope nothing happened to it. One year a porcupine ate the rubber off my bumper. 

There are places along the route where cell phone service service is spotty. With that in mind I lent them my Garmin Inreach. It’s a device that communicates directly with satellites -no cell service needed. It has a emergency button to call in the rescue teams if needed. That’s a great feature but you don’t  push that button lightly. It also allows for text communication with any cell phone and that’s a really useful option.

I’m looking forward to seeing them again and I’m glad I could help in a small way.


Tuesday, June 20, 2023

That Time Already

Looks like hurricane season is already heating up -as if the tornadoes recently haven’t been bad enough. 

At least there’s usually a little more warning with hurricanes. This might be a good time to check your preps and make sure you have what you need. Better to fill in any gaps now and beat the the rush to the store. 

So what if you don’t live on the coast? That doesn’t mean you won’t be affected. Hurricane Sandy did extensive damage to Vermont of all places. Heavy storm rains washed out many roads. Whole communities were isolated. 

There’s also a major Gulf Coast pipeline that supplies fuel all the way to the Northeast. That’s something to keep in mind. Personally it’s time for me to replace my backup fuel. 

If a major hurricane or three impacts Florida it could totally wipe out what’s left of its insurance industry. If you think living in Florida has gotten expensive lately, you ain’t seen nothing yet. 

Even if you live in North Dakota you might want to be concerned. When it comes right down to it we are all Americans and all in this together. 


Monday, June 19, 2023

100 Years in Laconia

This is the 100 year anniversary of Bike Week in Laconia New Hampshire. I’ve been but it’s been a few years -maybe more than a few. I’m certainly not going to go down there on a 150 cc scooter. Heck, back in the day they used to torch a Japanese bike every year. I guess it was a sacrifice to the Harley gods. 

In those days I was on an old KZ-900. It got the job done and got it done very quickly. It even made the  trip up Mt. Washington a couple of times. 

Unfortunately, the last time I went was with an idiot. He was giving a lot of lip to a young skinny part time cop. Here’s the thing about skinny part time cops: they have radios. The cop made a short call on the radio. Soon a plain green panel van pulled up. Three huge raw meat eating New Hampshire State police jumped out. They had my idiot friend trussed up like a Christmas turkey before you could say “drunk and disorderly.” He made a big thud as his 6 foot 250 pound frame hit the floor of the van. 

Let’s just say that’s the last time I hung out with that guy. 

I haven’t been back to the event since, but that’s mainly because I don’t have any other bike riding friends who wanted to go. Guess I’m beyond that now. Still, I’ve some good memories of most of my times at those events.


Sunday, June 18, 2023

Scooter Cannonball

The Scooter Cannonball starts today: 

It’s one of those insane things to do. Nothing like a coast to coast event that takes place on small displacement scooters. I’m sad that I was unable to participate. 

The logistics are particularly bad for me this year. It begins in San Clemente, CA and ends at Hilton Head, SC. Since I’m located in northern New Hampshire it’s a long long way to the start and a significant distance to return home. 

The previous one would have been better. It started in Bangor Maine and ended up in Oregon I believe.   At least I’d only have to figure out how to get back home from the Northwest. That was the year my daughter and grandson came over to visit from California. It’s rare for them to make it home so I wasn’t going to miss out. 

Of course, there’s always the next one. Now all I have to do is save up the money for the adventure and get in reasonable condition. Maybe I’m getting too old for this, but you are never too old to do something foolish.


Saturday, June 17, 2023

Rainbow Invasion

There’s a Rainbow Family gathering happening in the Kilkenny National Forest here in northern New Hampshire. That should be interesting. 

They are a counter culture gathering that’s been around since about 1970. There’s a pretty decent Wikipedia article about the movement:

Right now I’m told there’s all kinds of Federal law enforcement in the area driving white pickup trucks and vans. It’s early yet but they’ve already got boots on the ground. 

So what’s a Rainbow gathering like? Personally my direct information is limited. My lovely wife and I did camp near them when they were in the Florida Ocala National Forest. The local gas station starting making people pay up front for gas instead of pumping and paying inside later. They had too many drive offs. In fact, at first we were mistaken for Rainbow people. When they found out we were staying at a nearby campground they apologized for making us pay upfront. I suppose after a few months of camping we look like dirty hippies. 

Anyway, they are all about peace, love, music, good drugs, and life without money. It’s the part about not having money that caused issues with the gas station. 

So am I worried? A bit, but not so much about the Rainbow folks. My concern is the big influx of law enforcement. Hopefully they’ll be chill and not overreact. 

Once they get settled in I’d like to check them out. Just don’t eat the food or drink the water. Disease outbreaks have been know to follow them around. Sometimes sanitation is a bit subpar. At any rate, this should be fun.