Tuesday, January 31, 2023

Off-grid and YouTube off-grid

There’s a lot of “off-grid” content on YouTube. It’s trending and a lot of people have jumped on the bandwagon. There’s money to be made -apparently. 

Some of these channels are pretty glitzy. What gets me is that money does not seem to be an issue. They have 20,000 watts of solar electric, and every battery powered tool imaginable. Some even fly in building materials by helicopter. I can’t even imagine. 

These off-grid places are impressive, but I can’t relate to them. While I’m not totally broke, I don’t have helicopter money. It’s pretty easy to solve homesteading problems when you can throw plenty of money around. They also can afford to hire professionals whenever they need help.

On the opposite end of the spectrum is the person who goes out into the woods with little more than an ax and builds using native materials. While I’m not at that extreme, I’m closer to that end of the spectrum. 

It’s surprising what you can accomplish with a little knowhow and persistence. You focus on basic needs, not every possible gadget on the market. Plenty of people do wonders with native materials and salvaged items. They do well with tiny solar electric systems, hand pumped water, composting toilets, and wood stoves. 

Of course, most of these people don’t have YouTube channels. Those that do tend to have few followers. They don’t have the glitz and frankly what they do looks like a lot of work. Nobody wants to see that. 


Monday, January 30, 2023


I’m trying something different for pest control: ultrasonics. I picked a half dozen devices from Amazon. They’ve been deployed around the house. 

So why am I’m going that route? It’s those darn flying squirrels again. There’s been some damage on one of the house’s overhangs. A section of wood has come loose allowing enough room for flying squirrels to make their way in. 

It should be fixed, but that’s not going to happen during the winter. The damage is about 20 feet up in the air. While I have a ladder long enough for job, it’s glare ice on that side of the house. That makes the job too risky in my book. 

In the mean time I’m trying out the ultrasonic devices. The instructions say it can take up to two weeks for the pests to leave. In a couple days I’ve noticed a lot less squirrel activity. It sounds like they come into the house, don’t get very far in, then leave. They certainly aren’t sticking around. 

Only time will tell how effective this solution will be. Has anyone else tried this type of pest control?


Sunday, January 29, 2023

Solar angles

So how did I adjust the angle of my solar panels? 

The angle is decided by your latitude. As for myself I’m close enough to the 45th parallel for it to be my baseline. What that means is that my solar panels are perfectly adjusted to the proper sun angle during the equinoxes. 

My solar panels can be adjusted to either 30, 45, or 60 degrees. It’s a simple system. The panels are mounted on a pivoting rack. The angle is adjusted by moving two support arms to one of three ½ threaded rods mounted on the pole. All I have to do is to remove a couple of nuts to move the supports to a different rod. It’s low tech and simple -and robust. 

The 30 degree setting pretty much gets me through the summer. The 45 setting is good for spring and fall. 

Right now, in the winter, they are set at 60 degrees to catch the low winter sun. That steep angle works out fairly well as the snow slides easily off the panels. One of the tricks is to mount the panels with the long dimension straight up and down. That makes it easier for the snow to slide off. 

If I had to pick one angle for the panels year round it would be the 60 degree winter angle. It’s the most efficient angle for the winter, the time when I need to capture every photon available. While not maximizing the panel efficiency the rest of the year, the longer days make up for it. 

So how about tracking the sun east to west? It’s not worth it in northern climates. It’s probably not worth it most places. Instead of spending money on an expensive tracking system, just add more panels. Right now that looks more cost efficient. Point your panels due south and call it good.

Actually, my panels aren’t quite due south. That’s due to my location. My house is on the side of the hill that blocks the early morning sun, but I get more sun later in the day. With that in mind my panels point just a tad more west than due south. 

I had a good year to save up money and plan my installation. One of the things I did with that year was to take regular observations on where the sunshine fell. By the time I was ready to install the solar array  I knew exactly where it had to go and which trees needed to be cut. 

Lately the solar panels have been producing a fair amount of power again. The days are a bit longer and  we’ve had more sunny days. Sun reflecting off the snow adds significantly to the amount of solar gain. You can get a similar effect next to a body of water. I’ve a little 50 watt panel powering a shed by the lake and it produces all I need. 


Saturday, January 28, 2023

Back at it

It’s been a tough patch. I blame cancer. I’m fine. The lovely wife is fine. The kids are fine. Recently my father-in-law has been going through a bad patch with his chemo. I’ve a couple of cousins dealing with breast cancer. My mother and her sister both died from breast cancer. My cousins are getting early treatment and I’m hopeful. 

A while back I blogged about a friend who was working from his hospital bed. He’s not working anymore. He had a bad episode and ended up back in the hospital. He couldn’t talk or do much of anything. For a while there it looked like the most we could hope for is to get him into hospice. Fortunately, he recovered enough that he’s back home -for now. Thank goodness for home health care. 

A lot of the guys I worked with at the fire department died of cancer. Cancer rates are high among firefighters. 

The high number of my friends and family dealing with cancer got to  me. It was overwhelming for a bit there. 

This is not the blog I intended to write, but it’s what came out. Thanks for bearing with me. 


Wednesday, January 25, 2023


Currently I’m dealing with some things. Nothing too dramatic but it’s a huge draw on my mental and emotional energy. 

I’m going to take a bit of time off from the blog. 

We are fine, but very occupied.


Monday, January 23, 2023

Coughing Hacking Sneezing

My lovely wife and I went to a small concert. I’m guessing there were over 200 people there. We went to the same venue back in the before time. You know, pre-2020. 

In years past you’d be treated to a lot of coughing, hacking and sneezing. The lack of that sort of thing really stood out. Apparently sick people now stay home rather than go to concerts. Of course, my sample is pretty small. I’m curious if that holds true in other places?

I’m guessing it’s not as socially acceptable to spread your germs everywhere. I hope that’s the case. 

Another practice that can go away forever is coming into work sick. People used to take pride in dragging themselves into work even if they were half dead. That never made much sense to me. How does it benefit the company if everyone gets sick and works well below par? 

Back in my firefighter days we had that tough guy pride. Guys would work the job no matter how bad they felt. Often they’d gamble on having a slow day. Being the young guy with things to prove I fell into that trap myself. As I got older I learned better. 

Instead of gambling on having a slow work day, I would ask myself if I could handle a bad day at work. One of the first times I called in sick the department was out all night in sub-zero temps at a sawmill fire. There was no way that I could have done the job properly and would have not pulled my weight. That really made it clear to me that sick people should stay home. 

It looks like that attitude has spread, and that’s a good thing. 


Sunday, January 22, 2023

Electric Cars

Electric cars make a lot of sense -some places. If you have cheap renewable electricity and a mild climate, it’s great. They are also a pretty good deal in places with high gas prices. I saw an awful lot of them out in California, but gas prices are silly there. 

I hear stories about electric cars having a hard time in cold climates. It makes sense that a lot of that power is needed to keep the interior of the car warm. Cold temperatures reduce battery power by quite a bit. There’s anecdotal tales of cold temperate charging where the car loses power faster than the charger puts it in. 

On the flip side of that, Norway is full of electric cars. Why don’t they have the same problems?

At any rate, newer battery designs promise to be less susceptible to cold temperatures. Of course, we have to deal with the technology we have available right now.

I wonder if we are concentrating on the wrong kind of vehicles? The focus has been on things like fast cars, powerful trucks, and huge SUVs. Perhaps it would make more sense to develop more cheaper smaller cars? More people would buy them and there would be more demand for charging stations. Just a thought. We need something between an electric Hummer and a golf cart. 

Right now the most practical electric vehicle for the average person is an electric bicycle. 


Saturday, January 21, 2023

Young Adults

One of my pet peeves is the extended adolescence much of society expects from young adults. Not much is expected of 20 somethings. It’s accepted to be a decade of partying and bad decisions. Nobody is expected to get serious about a career, marriage or starting a family. In fact, it’s often considered a mistake for a young adult to be serious about those things. 

Yet somehow it’s perfectly acceptable for 18 year old adults to serve in the military. At that age you aren’t considered wise enough to rent a car but are expected to kill or die for your country. Just as weird is the fact that it’s legal for 18 year olds to act in porn. 

Personally, I treat and expect 18 year olds and especially those in their 20s, to be and act like adults. It would be hypocritical for me not to.

At 18 I was a full time firefighter running into burning buildings. I was buying land at that age -to add to the land I earned at 16. My lovely wife and I both got married when we were only 20. That was 44 years ago so we much have been mature enough to know what we wanted. 

It does young adults no favors to treat them like little kids. 


Friday, January 20, 2023

Lazy Man Prep

There’s a few things I like to do before a storm. There’s a fair chance that any sort of bad weather can take down the grid out here in the country. I’ve some solar electric power, but storms come with a lot of clouds. They can also do things like bury solar panels under two feet of snow. 

The first thing I do is top off the house battery bank. That’s a given. 

After that I like to use any energy intensive appliances. One of my indulgences is a dish washer. I once moved apartments just to get one with a dishwasher. I don’t use it on solar power when sunshine is limited. 

Another thing I do is the laundry. Sure, clothes can be hand washed, but it’s a pain. I don’t mind doing it for a handful of items, but certainly not for a full laundry load. The washer is something else that I don’t normally run off-grid during limited sun days. 

Anything that runs on rechargeable batteries gets topped off: laptops, phones, flashlights, you name it. 

Modern appliances can save a lot of time and effort. A little preplanning allows me to concentrate on other things when the grid goes down. Heck, maybe I just want to sit by the fire and read a book instead of doing manual labor. That works too.


Thursday, January 19, 2023

Back Home

I know I’ve been MIA for a while. My lovely wife and I got together with family in Massachusets. It was the gathering we were supposed to have for Christmas, but people got sick. Everyone is now recovered and it was a wonderful visit. 

In fact, it was such a nice time we were in no hurry to get home. We stayed longer than originally planned. Then on the way home we visited with friends in southern New Hampshire and spent time with them. I’ve friends that I’ve kept in contact with since my Junior High days. 

We also were able to avoid traveling in bad weather conditions. I don’t mind a little snow, but freezing rain is something to avoid if at all possible.

While the trip was great, it’s good to be home.


Sunday, January 15, 2023

Winter Joys

We received a few inches of snow. Then it rained, making a heavy slushy mess. I headed out with my shovel to remove the snowbank before it turned into an 18 inch wall of ice. 

I was a bit dishearten to see my mailbox had been clipped by the snowplow. It was a crumpled mess sitting in my driveway. Lovely. A bit of hammering turned it back into something resembling a mailbox. Now it’s lashed to the pole until a new one can be purchased. 

It could have been worse. 

One year a plow, in a two mile stretch, destroyed over a dozen mailboxes and damaged over 300 trees. He also managed to destroy a boat on a trailer that was parked in a driveway. The plow caught the bow of the aluminum boat and peeled it open like a sardine can. 

Some years ago I stopped at local mom and pop store for some gas early in the morning. The plow truck pulled to the store. The driver almost fell getting out of the truck. About a half dozen empty beer cans fell out with him. There were plenty more still on the floor of the cab. Yeah, his contract wasn’t renewed. 

Plowing is a tough job at best of times. Being up all night plowing during a storm causes bad fatigue. I’m cutting the plow guy a little slack this time. The mailbox was getting old anyway. 

However, if he clips my new one . . . 


Saturday, January 14, 2023

Waiting for the camping crash

Camping have gotten really expensive the last few years. There are a lot of factors, everything from high fuel costs to increased demand. Another factor is the number of mom and pop campgrounds that have been bought out by big corporations. There are even fewer free overnight spots in places like Walmart and Cracker Barrel. RV camping in particular has gotten super expensive.

The last time I was camping we used our economy car and a tent. I’ve a 105 watt solar panel mounted to the roof racks to power our small fridge and other electrical needs. That reduces our costs quite a bit. Tent sites tend to be cheaper as are sites without electricity. 

Right now camping sites are still in high demand. Even places that get snow are packed solid. However, more and more people are giving up. I can’t say I blame them. The cost, the lack of open camping sites, and inflation are taking their toll. Eventually reduced demand will put a little downward pressure on camping costs.

I’ve in the process of planning a long scooter trip. My route will take advantage of a lot of cheap camping tricks. Friends and family let me stay overnight and that’s handy. There’s some dispersed camping on my route. However, some stealth camping will be involved. 

So how does one stealth camp with a bright red scooter full of reflectors? That’s why I have a large black cover and a dark green tent. I don’t have to be very far off the road to be difficult to see. The trick is to set up just before dark and to get out early. Practice good light discipline and don’t have a fire. It brings me back to the days when I was a kid and stealth camped while on a bicycle. 

Outside of stealth and dispersed camping, Federal campgrounds are probably the best deal out there. They are even better deals if you have one of their many discount cards. 

I must admit, I miss the days when you could pull into almost any campground at the end of the day and find a place.


Friday, January 13, 2023

More about wild foods

In my previous post I mentioned the difficulty of relying on wild foods for survival. I’ve experimented with it in the past with mixed results. 

It’s one thing to shoot a grouse or a rabbit and have that as part of your dinner. The sides, cooking fats, and spices are not sourced from the wild. Believe me, those additional ingredients make all the difference. Having a bit of wild game at hunting camp was pretty common, but it wasn’t the only thing on the menu. 

One of the more efficient ways of getting a lot of calories is fishing. A friend and I lived off fish, raspberries, and wild greens for a few days. The food was a bit bland but we didn’t go hungry. It didn’t take hours and hours to source our food either. It wasn’t that hard to do: where the fishing was good and the berries were ripe. 

Then there’s the three days I tried to live on wild foods in the winter, in the mountains of western Maine. I ate a lot of rock tripe. It kept me full. That’s about the best one can say about rock tripe. It’s a fungus that grows on rocks. You have to boil out the acid dissolving chemicals in a couple changes of water. 

There was almost no sign of game up in those mountains. Had it been a true survival situation I might have tried to get one of the beavers hanging around a small mountain pond. Their fat would had been essential nourishment. Of course, it’s illegal to just shoot beavers so it would have had to be a matter of desperation.

In a real survival situation you can’t be afraid of eating things you normally wouldn’t. I would not refuse insects and amphibians for that matter. 

All in all, even the worse MRE doesn’t look that bad in comparison.


Thursday, January 12, 2023

Backups: Longer and Harder

It’s great to have backups: energy, water, food, etc. When things fall apart it’s nice not to freeze and starve to death in the dark. 

What a lot of people don’t realize is that those backups take up lot of time and energy. 

Take something simple like losing your water supply. I’m fortunate to have a well on my property where I can fill water jugs from an overflow pipe. It’s about 75 feet down a steep hill from the house. You soon realize that water weighs 8.33 pounds per gallon. It take about a gallon and a half to flush the toilet.  People should have a gallon per person per day for drinking and basic hygiene. Filling a bathtub is a major chore. That’s for someone who has a water source close by. Now imagine the closest water source is miles away.

My house has an oil furnace. Due to the high cost of heating oil I’m mostly using the woodstove. The woodstove needs regular attention. Since I wasn’t able to spend the time and energy ahead of time to gather firewood I bought pallets of biobricks. They are basically compressed sawdust bricks. The bricks are easy to handle and burn hot and clean. 

I supplement that with wood from dead trees on my property -when I have the time and energy. It’s not too bad using a chainsaw. My backup for that is a 3.5 foot German crosscut saw. After that I’m down to an ax. Each drop in technology consumes more time and effort.

Anybody who’s had to use a generator for power knows that it’s a lot more work than flipping a switch. Just keeping up the fuel and oil levels takes time. If you run out of fuel getting more can range from inconvenient to impossible. Frankly, that’s one of the things I like about having significant solar backup -it just works with little maintenance. 

Then there are the people who think hunting and fishing can replace having food storage. The vast majority of people who think that way will go hungry. Unless you live in a cabin in the middle of prime hunting and fishing land it’s probably not going to work. Even then, there are days when you will come home empty handed. Even under the best circumstances gathering wild foods will take a lot of time and effort. 

Now imagine you are trying to do all those things at once. There are only so many hours in the day. It’s almost impossible for an individual to do everything. A larger community can split up the jobs, but they also have greater needs. 

Just because there are backups for life’s necessities and comforts doesn’t mean you have the time and energy to do them. I’d rather heat up some beans on the woodstove, drinking coffee make with water from my solar electric powered well pump. A little planning goes a long way. 


Wednesday, January 11, 2023

Sorry Rocky

Living out on the country eventually you have to deal with different critters. Normally my biggest hassles are dealing with bears and mice. Mice try to move in this time of year for food and warmth. Bears are a pain as they are always looking for an easy meal. One even ripped the molding off around my basement door looking for a way in. 

I’ve got about four or five different ways of killing mice. It seems they don’t always fall for the same kind of trap. Poisons aren’t used as other animals could eat poisoned mice and get sick. Mice aren’t a problem right now. 

Bears are in hibernation. That’s handy. It gives us a break. One of the things that discourages bears is careful disposal of trash. The trash is put out at the last minute on trash day. Normally I wouldn’t worry  about last minute disposal since the bears are hibernating. Unfortunately there’s a family of foxes living nearby and they’ll pick through trash too. 

Tuesday morning I had to deal with a critter in the house I’d never dealt with before: a flying squirrel. My lovely wife and I were woken up by a very disturbed flying rodent. It’s pretty weird chasing a squirrel around the house when it leaps and glides everywhere. Eventually I got it corned in the kitchen and was able to whack it. It might have been nice if I could have captured it, but that wasn’t going to happen. It was hard enough to hit it, never mind capture. 


Tuesday, January 10, 2023

No More BS

Okay folks. I’ve had it. No more post comments about election denial. No more support for the Jan. 6 coup attempt. No more BS from people who get all their information from propaganda sources like FOX New or NewsMax. Enough is enough. 

You will be deleted. Find another forum for your silliness.


Monday, January 9, 2023

Brazil’s Trump

Brazil’s Trump, Jair Bolsonaro, lost his election. His supporters did not accept the election results and stormed government buildings, Congress, the Supreme Court, and the Presidential Palace. Brazil is a powerful modern country. It’s a shame to see them acting like a Banana Republic. 

Currently Bolsonaro is in Florida, which continues to be a sunny place for shady people. 


It’s 2023 people. Just because you lose an election doesn’t mean your opponents stole it. 

Elections in the US have been stolen. Al Gore beat George Bush. Lucky for George his brother was in the swing state of, dare I say it, Florida, and helped make sure the recount went a certain way. However, to save the nation from turmoil, Al Gore conceded. Once can debate the wisdom of that decision, but that was the action of someone more concerned about the nation rather than personal power. 

So what does all this have to do with being prepared? Quite a bit really. It’s not a particularly good survival strategy to follow those who are more concerned with power than people. Bolsonaro’s followers have been arrested and will probably spend a long time in jail. That’s what’s what happened to Trump’s followers who stormed the US Capital. There will be more trials and more jail terms. 

Be careful following kings with feet of clay.


Sunday, January 8, 2023

Cyber Attacks

Just a heads up. There have been a series of cyber attacks in Europe. The systems under attack right now have been financial. Where people have noticed it is at the checkout counter. In short, cards either aren’t working at all or transactions have been incredibly slow. Cash is king. Keep some of that folding money handy. 

I’m not sure if there have been attacks on the US systems -yet. Europe might be a test case. You don’t have to be Nostradamus to figure out who’s probably behind the attacks. 

There may be a cyber war going on in the background that we are totally unaware of. The only times we see it is when the defenses fail. Let’s hope that it stays that way.

Financial systems aren’t the only things in danger. Any system relying on computers could be attacked. The grid and water supplies could be taken down. Even things like automated transportation scheduling could cause some serious hardships.

To sum up, keep some cash money handy and watch out for other attacks.


Saturday, January 7, 2023

About those eggs

If you’ve been to the grocery store lately you know what our egg situation is like. Avian flu has struck the major egg producers and a whole lot of chickens have been culled. That’s the problem with industrial scale farming -when thing go wrong they go wrong on a large scale. 

In my local stores the egg section is pretty empty. We also have the weird situation where organic and free range eggs can actually be cheaper than regular eggs. That’s because the specialty eggs are smaller operations and less prone to the disease. 

Of course you could always raise your own chickens. That’s great if you are into that sort of thing. As much as I love eating eggs raising chickens really doesn’t fit my lifestyle. My lovely wife and I like to travel too much. We don’t have anyone who’d be willing to take over when we are gone. 

What we’ve been doing is buying a lot of local eggs. They were never cheap, but now their prices aren’t any worse than the poorer quality eggs. Even with today’s high prices, eggs are a fairly cheap source of protein. I’m not going to drop them out of my diet if I don’t have to.

Eggs are not one of those things I want to stock up on. I’ve tried different powered and freeze dried eggs. They aren’t that good. I’ve found the powered eggs are suitable as a cooking ingredient but not very good for things like omelets. The freeze dried eggs taste bad and the mouth feel is like eating sponges. I don’t recommend it. 

Worse come to worse I’d rather do without eggs than eat bad ones.


Friday, January 6, 2023

Silent Speaker of the House

As of this writing Kevin McCarthy has lost 11 votes for Speaker of the house. I hope it’s been resolved by now. It a way it doesn’t matter. The office has been greatly diminished. Love them or hate them the Republicans had a record of keeping their membership in lockstep. That’s gone. It’s pretty clear that a significant segment of the party has their own agendas.

In the mean time we do not have a functional house of Representatives. If you believe they were sent to govern, they aren’t doing that at all. However, if the only thing of importance is power this could go for a while. 

Electing a Speaker of the House is the simplest thing they have to do. This does not bode well for a the nation. It certainly looks like serving the citizens of the nation are way down on the list of priorities. 

Don’t expect any Republican bills to make it into law. They weren’t going to pass the Senate or the executive branch anyway. That’s just math. One of the weird things this has done is to strengthen the Democrats in the House. Unlike the Republicans they’ve been able to vote in lockstep. Are we in reverse world?

The nation has a lot of challenges right now. Apparently any solutions won’t be coming out of the House. We may be looking at 2 years of rule by Presidential decree. 

Miss Polosi yet?


I had to say it. 


Thursday, January 5, 2023

Red Tide

No I’m not talking about a Communist invasion. This time I’m talking about Karenia brevis, the red time organism. In particular I’m talking about the waters off Southwest Florida. 

For the last few years I’ve been paying close attention the conditions in those waters. It’s one of my favorite places to sail. It’s good sailing of you have a shallow draft boat with a swing keel. My lovely wife and I sailed that area numerous times and really love it. It’s certainly a lot more laid back than the hectic Atlantic coast. 

However, those shallow warm waters are susceptible to the growth of red time. Between the fish kills and the toxic air I’ve no interest in dealing with that. I’ve sensitive lungs to begin with and don’t need to suffer for nothing. 

This past summer it was starting look like red tide was finally fading away. Then Hurricane Ian hit. All the run off from the land to the sea cause huge growth in the toxic organism. It hasn’t subsided yet. Maybe it will be better next winter. I really would love to sail there once again. 

By the way, I get my red tide updates from The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.


Wednesday, January 4, 2023

Trucking Boom Over

Remember not that long ago when truck companies were begging for drivers? Now they are laying them off in droves. Transportation companies are letting people go and not even paying them the money they owe. 

To me that looks like a sign the economy is tanking. Early indicators are that this past Christmas season was a huge disappointment to retailers. Amazon just let 10,000 people go. Considering the size of their workforce it’s a drop in the bucket, but could be the beginning of a trend. 

Apparently a lot of people are dealing with inflation by buying only what’s necessary. It’s also hard to keep buying stuff when you’ve lost your job. Duh. Captain Obvious here. However, some economists seem baffled by facts like that. 

If you want job where you never have to be right you could be an economist. Failure in that field doesn’t appear to have any downsides. 

But I digress. 

Back to trucking. It’s not the great job it used to be in the 70s, that’s for sure. The industry has been pushing out experienced drivers and replacing them with cheaper new hires. Now it looks like even those new people will be let go. 

There’s still a lot of stuff that has to move by truck. Food and fuel come mind. On the other hand, there’s a lot of things people don’t need, like cheap plastic junk from China. People are cutting back on nonessential purchases. 

Are there any upsides to this? It should reduce diesel demand and that should bring the price down. No idea if that’ll happen or how long it will take. Fuel supplies have supply side pressures that could negate the lower demand. 

2023 already looks challenging. 


Tuesday, January 3, 2023

Dangerous Weather

Right now in the Great North Woods we are having some dangerous weather. One would think that would be because of winter cold. That’s not the case at all. It’s actually been on the warm side. The warmth is the problem.

The temperature has been moving above and below the freezing mark. It’s hard to dress properly. You stand a fair chance of getting wet from from rain, then everything freezes. That makes everything from outdoor activities to driving a bit dicey. It’s also perfect weather for taking down the grid. That can happen from freezing rain on power lines and trees. Also car accidents take out power poles. 

If the weather stays above freezing ice isn’t an issue. If it remains cold at least things stay dry. You can always dress for the cold. Personally I’d rather travel on snow covered roads that icy roads. 

There’s been some people ice fishing on the lake. I’m not one of them. There are places with more than enough thickness to be safe, but there are hidden thin spots too. More of those develop during thawing and freezing cycles. As a rule of thumb I don’t get out on the ice until I see trucks driving on it. I’ve no interesting in taking surprise ice baths.

The only bright side to this mild weather is that it’s easier on the heating bill. That’s no small thing, so guess I’ll take the bad with the good.


Monday, January 2, 2023

Neighborhood Test

Here’s a test to see what kind of neighborhood you live in. Picture this. You walk into your neighbor’s yard and their dogs come out. Are they happy to see you or will they try to rip your throat out?

If it’s the former, you’re on pretty good terms with you neighbor. If it’s the latter, that could be a problem. Could you imagine getting on better terms with them? Are you already feuding? Why does it matter?

It matters a lot. In a bad situation are they part of the solution or part of the problem? 

Recently we got hit with a pretty significant storm. The grid went down. So what was one of my first thoughts? I was wondering if my neighbor was going to be okay. We are all on private wells here and without power the well pumps don’t work. That’s one of the major reasons I put in solar electricity so many years ago. Water is life. I also saw that they had enough wood in their woodpile to last a while. 

As it turned out the grid was only down for an hour and a half. The neighbor had their plow guy clear the snowbank from behind my cars. They ended up helping me out more than I helped them -this time. 

By the way, the neighbor’s dogs love me.


Sunday, January 1, 2023

Happy New Year! (no, really)

Happy New Year!

Wasn’t 2022 a rush? We slid into 2023 with steam blowing out of the radiator and the wheels on fire. On the bright side, here we are. 

Just because it’s a new year it doesn’t mean everything resets. Reality doesn’t much care for a date on the calendar. 

What can change with the new year is our mindset and attitudes. That’s why people make resolutions this time of year. Here’s a few hints about that. Don’t sign a gym membership. Wait a month and see how you feel about the gym then. What you can do is set specific and realistic goals. I know -that’s boring. It also works better than trying to change everything all at once using unstated and vague methods. 

You can’t keep on doing what you’ve always done and expect different results. Even small changes in routine can cause big results. Most people get into ruts and stay there. It doesn’t even have to be a comfortable rut, just familiar. 

There are indicators that 2023 will be full of changes. Odds are the economy will be going through some convulsions. That doesn’t mean that you personally have to suffer. Looking back at past years I personally did just fine during economic downturns. In fact, sometimes those were my better years. I was motivated to do things differently. It payed off. 

Be well everyone. Don’t like 2023 worry you too much. After all, you survived the burning wreck of 2022.