What’s going on around here.

Morning comes late these days.

The days are quickly getting shorter. We’ve been having weird Summertime warmth after our two killing frosts, which helps with the wood harvesting. I’m almost done. (I’m always almost done, no matter what it is I’m doing.)

When things go wrong, it slows things down.

Now that is what happens to a chain when the tree decides to fall the wrong way and traps the saw. I have noticed that my diminished eyesight has made ‘reading’ trees rather difficult, which increases the fun of felling. And the danger. It’s bad enough that I’m having to go ‘into the forest’ to get trees, which requires cutting a path through to get at the trees and get them out. Then clearing the path again as each and every log (section of tree) decides to hang up on something, despite the last length having been dragged through. I’m struggling more with getting the bits out than with the actual slicing and loading.

His hand, ‘relaxed’.

And I have plenty of other problems as it is.

The truck is performing the same as before. The engine works well, the seats are nice, I can haul more wood per trip – and it’s a right pain otherwise. The trailer is holding up too. I’ve got about two more loads to go. I hope. I’m rushing back out Thursday to try and get one more (I’ve got some logs on the ground there already) before the holiday Monday, when it’s supposed to rain. Or snow. Yes, snow. We have been threatened with the first fall of flakes. It won’t amount to anything or stay, but … signs of things to come.

Foggy every morning. At the start of the day you can’t even see the lake from the shore.

Soon it will be time to shut down the whole place. I haven’t done much photography of late because there’s not much to take pictures of. The wildlife has wandered away save a few birds and squirrels and three (now dead) packrats. This is the last interesting animal I’ve seen:

Young mule deer buck.

This may change, but until then here’s another picture of the moon:

I like the moon. (Nikon P610 @ 1440mm handheld.)

And as the sun sets rapidly in the West …

Another day, and another post, ends.

Killing frost

Okay, it’s Winter here now: -4C this morning and hasn’t warmed up more than 1 degree in the past two hours. I’m not even going out in it to take a picture of it, whatever it looks like. Instead, here’s a turkey:

Okay, it’s a ruffed grouse.

Otherwise …

Wood hauling is going well, except for being a lot of work. Bigger load capacity = takes more time and effort to load and unload. Truck is managing it, except for not being as fast as the Nissan even when empty because it can’t take the turns. Also the “check engine” light came on after less than five hours driving. It has since gone off again, but not before I’d made an appointment to have it checked. Ford has a service bulletin on it in fact. Anyway, the thing is still horrible to maneuver: at home I take the trailer off and turn it around separately, then reconnect it; that’s easier than trying to do the whole thing together, even with the ‘rear marker sticks’ added to the trailer. Oh I have to fix the suspension again; that road is a terror.

Anyway, three loads has got me three rows full and start of a fourth. So far, so good.

Unfortunately the cold is going against me, and it’s supposed to start raining next week. Cold + wet = slippery. Slippery woods, slippery roads. Right now I’m in town with too many little chores to do up – and a wife making more all the time – some of which really needed warmer weather for. Funny, but for all the cool temperatures I can still sweat through my clothes in short order when working with the wood. Possibly because some of the rounds are 50 lbs. each and … well pretty much a ton of weight per load.

Rocky shore.

It won’t be long before there’s ice showing up. Of course the water line will freeze first. Pretty early in the year to be losing so much heat, and somewhat surprising after the Summer’s roasting. On the plus side I’ve only one more electrical outlet to install. Whether I get that done this year remains to be seen. No big deal if not. I did not get the stain put on outside, so that’s not happening until next season.

Nor have I got results back from the biopsy. Can’t say “no news is good news” because it’s just no news. Had another pain attack in the middle of the night. The inconsistency of the circumstances surrounding these attacks discounts the cause/effect scenario of most possible diagnosis. Oh well …

Fishes.

What next? We wait and see.

One final note: Dave McKeegan’s Facebook fiasco. I don’t really use that abomination of a social media platform anymore, and his experience is similar to mine with Ego-bay.

It’s that time of year again

We are sucking down smoke here, due to fires all over the Northwest. Particularly one at Gustafsen Lake – which is where the infamous fire of 2017 started and turned us out of our home and nearly burned it to the ground. A little PTSD anyone? BC is full of people with nervous tics right now.

Ironically I’ve started harvesting firewood for the Winter heating season:

First logs on the ground.

The air is still fairly clear out at the lake, but the sky looks like permanent cloud. Once you get near town you can smell smoke, and nothing but. This places extra physical demand on the body doing the unloading, which is me. Never mind the extra physical demand on the body doing the cutting, hauling, slicing, and loading – which is also me. I did that whole load in one day, plus splitting up some for the cabin in case I need heat there. Why would I need heat there? Because we’ve already had a couple of frosty mornings:

That ain’t sugar coating.

The forecast says some showers, with rain amounts not enough to do any good against fires but enough to mess up the dirt roads and plans for travelling down them. Fortunately I have a new tool to help me in this job:

2015 F-150 4×4 extended cab.

Yes it cost a lot of money. More than I’ve ever spent on a vehicle before. No it probably wasn’t a good idea, unless you consider that the Xterra was having trouble hauling an empty trailer and ‘throwing codes’ while trying to overheat. The ol’ Nissan was just right for ‘only me’ trips, but didn’t have much cargo capacity beyond a couple of boxes of stuff. It also was 10 years older than this with 100,000+ more kilometres on it. At least this truck is red. Beyond that there isn’t much I like about it.

At the cabin. Probably the last time it will ever be clean.

Good things: the bed allows me to haul more wood per trip. Not a 100% increase as it’s only a 6′ bed, but about 80%. The first load filled one row of the shed whereas the trailer required about 1.5 loads, so fewer trips (albeit more work to get a load ready). It has a 2.7L V6 (smallest 6 cylinder I’ve ever encountered) with twin turbos which should provide a balance of power and economy. So far it’s doing no better than my ’69 Chevy C10 did with its 250 CID inline 6, and it doesn’t have the full size bed of the latter. It is 4×4 and has a differential lock which hopefully I’ll never have to use. Also, it’s red. Did I mention it’s red? Oh and the seats are comfortable.

Bad things: Just about everything else. Topping the list is the excessive amount of technoglitz ‘features’ meant to sell vehicles to the gullible. There are four switches for the dome light. All you need is ‘ON-DOOR-OFF’ on one switch. The dashboard is a nightmare of displays and buttons … you know, kind of like a modern camera that’s loaded with ‘features’ which impress gullible buyers who then set it on ‘PROGRAM’ and never touch the controls again. In fact the 6 speed automatic has a ‘manual’ setting which allows you to pick the gear. Uh, whatever happened to D-2-1? Is this an admission that the transmission isn’t good at its mission and won’t pick the right gear? I haven’t noticed that so far, and it’s been driven at highway speed, plus down the gravel road empty, and back again fully loaded. Seems fine and has plenty of power. But it took me 15 minutes to find the headlight switch. (The owners’ manual, by the way, is a Tolstoy novel mainly about safety warnings with side plots regarding things this vehicle isn’t actually equipped with.) The door locks and key are a nightmare all unto themselves, never mind the remote start – which doesn’t.

All-in-all it’s a case of “let’s see if we can make this marketing joke of a pick-up truck do some real work”. It does not ride or handle well either; you feel every bump, the steering is too heavy, and the tires do not grip the gravel like the KO’s on the Nissan did. The body is massive, which makes it difficult to maneuver either in town or in the woods or even around the yard (turning the whole rig around was extremely difficult). I mean it’s worse than my E250, and that’s actually bigger. Visibility is terrible with this thing (I may add some flags to the trailer as I can not see it at all behind the truck).

But if it can get the job done faster without using a significant amount more fuel (36 gallon tank that will be painful to fill in one go) then … probably still not worth it.

So far it hasn’t displayed enough ‘personality’ to garner a name. We shall see how it works out.

First load home. There was room for a little bit more, but that would require cutting another tree. Next time it will be full.

Things going on around here

How about this weather, eh? 32C (90F) on Friday, frosted lawn this morning. Summer left us like a thief in the night. (Lytton, the town that isn’t there anymore, set a new record September high for all of BC of 39.6C/103F.)

A small amount of rain Sunday helped damp the smoke out of the air. There are no serious fires burning near us, but enough small ones (including one 1 km behind our house) that the weather forecast one day said “smoke in the morning …” and we’re all having PTSD from the memories of past wildfires. The nightmares are real, and I think we need financial compensation from the government.

Speaking of which, certain provincial ones have decided to hand out cheques to their citizenry to help with the rampant price-gouging because nothing eases inflation like pumping more money into the economy, right? (You can just see their report cards: “Economics 101 [F]”). But don’t worry because after reporting record quarterly profits the grocery chains have assured us the increases they make are just covering their costs. Also, pigs fly.

I have not finished my pre-winter preparations around here and may not get to because suddenly it’s time to start harvesting wood. As in the overnight temperatures have dropped to where lighting the stove may be necessary at both locations while I get wood in for the season. The trick is to cut and stack it faster than you burn it.

Will we be going out to the cabin this week? Good question. I haven’t finished up even what I can do out there yet, and I just got back from WL hospital with five new holes in my arm.

Are things going well around here? No, not really. There’s huge room for improvement, and we all know it won’t happen.

Sneak preview.

This week in pictures

It’s been a strange week, and really a bit more than a week since my last post. So here’s what’s been going on.

First up, I had an expedited doctor visit owing to the last pain episode. He wasn’t happy with the symptoms or his exam results, so this was followed by some expedited testing and expedited scheduling of more testing. None of it has found anything yet, but the procedures are wreaking havoc with scheduling any other activities. But I have got  few things done during a couple brief cabin stays.

The second kitchen lamp. It’s a wonder it worked at all. It’s a wonder it didn’t go up in flames.

Yeah I feel like that socket looks. Those little grey-green strands are supposed to be shiny copper, and inside some insulation.

The bathroom is finished! (Probably)

I got the sink installed and working, and refinished the door. The bathroom is now done (as far as I’m concerned; I’ll probably hear otherwise). In fact, there are exactly three more “mechanical” things to do on the whole cabin. Three! After that everything is cosmetic. Of course there’s a lot of that cosmetic stuff.

Lonely kayak.

Our Jane came up with her crew. In a fine case of “hello and goodbye” they arrived the day I had to go back to town to deal with two days of medical stuff and they go home a day before I can return with grandma. Not exactly how we’d like to do it. Of course currently the main highway back to the south is closed because of a landslide so … there may be some delay.

Alongside the long road.

Spotted this on the route to Williams Lake when I went for the first testing. Picture taken with the Canon G11, which is a nice take-along camera. It’s not as small as my little Fuji, but the optical finder gives it an edge for practicality.

The air conditioner quit working in this heat we’ve been having. Buy a new one? Ah ha ha ha! Maybe by November. Despite knowing how they work, I can’t fix it even if parts were available because I lack the specialized tools for refrigeration servicing. Anyway it’s only about 20 years old. Want to bet how long a new one would last? Right.

With no definite schedule for the next test (one which requires a trip to the big city, overnight stay, and leaving the animals in someone’s care) we ponder whether to haul everyone out to the cabin or not. It’d be just my luck that we’d get out there and have to turn around and come back. On the other hand if we hang about here the test won’t be scheduled until December. You can bet on that.

I will make preparations anyway.

Taken with the Canon 1Ds.

The computer at least is working well, although I’m not happy with the changes that have been made to GIMP: the new “features” don’t add any functionality and the interface change is unwelcome as it is more difficult to see and to use. I also admit to being leery of updates as it seems they tend to bring change but not necessarily improvement.

Many things change. As Jean-Baptiste Karr said: “Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose”. We just don’t know what the actual results will be. C’est la vie.

Misc. update

We’ve been having seriously hot weather of late. We’re talking A/C on and not being able to do anything. Inside temp with A/C reaches 28C (83F). Outside in the sun … Well Lytton hit 40C easy. Or should I say where Lytton used to be because it burned to the ground last year, and nearby is on fire there this year.

It’s a long weekend, but so far not a lot of fires have lit up. No doubt that will change.

I’m going back out to the cabin today. Partly because I have a box full of pieces for projects, and mainly because Lorne is coming up today and needs my help to get his boat in the water. That’s the one I just repaired the roof on:

The design is stupid and not meant to hold up against snowfall anyway.

One reason he and his wife are coming up is to get away from the other major fire in BC right now, which is visible from their home. Nothing like wondering whether or not you’ll have a home to come back to. Been there, done that. One year X3.

Fancy shelf.

Lorne made me that shelf a couple of years ago and I finally got it installed (with a little adapting of the log wall). I like the hummingbird and bear paw cut-outs. No shortage of stuff to go on shelves!

Propane shelf.

I built this shelf for the propane tanks. Finally. We’d been running off one tank balanced on an old chair on the porch since 2018. It’s about time I got some of these fiddly bits sorted out.

Almost a vanity.

That’s nearly done too. Hopefully I’ve got enough pieces to finish plumbing it in. I sort of made that cabinet out of an old one that was falling apart and badly designed. The top is a refinished section I’d saved from the kitchen of the old house. It’s starting to look good out there. New ceiling too. New tub surround, rebuilt walls, finally lined the closet, painted the trim … just have to rebuild the door now.

Cedar-lined closet.

Anyway I had some kind of pain attack Friday night and the pain hasn’t exactly left, so this probably isn’t a good idea. But when has that ever stopped me? Right.

Weather is supposed to cool down this week, but today isn’t going to be much of an improvement over the 30+ temperatures we’ve been having. I’ll try to get out there before it gets too hot – and the thunderstorms start.

And more.

The work continues here. Sometimes it even yields results:

Much neater than everything crammed in any which way with stuff left outside.

Of course despite the re-purposed cabinetry and improvised shelving there’s still more stuff than space. More things need to be tossed, and since it’s all been badly stored it’s not heart-breaking to do so. No want wants to keep mouldy, rotting, and broken items. Consider also that it was used before it came here to be used again.

All has not been good, of course, as yesterday Connor had a Close Encounter of the Bear Kind while trail riding. For some reason the beast ignored Jesse who had just gone past and chose to make enquiries of his cousin instead. Probably because Maverick the dog was with the latter. It was the big bear that wouldn’t back down from the neighbour and seems to think he owns the place. Oh yeah, bear? You can pay the damn property taxes then! See how you like that. Actually sending him in to the CRD office you hand over some nuts and berries for fair change might be interesting. I know I would be amused.

I was not amused by how ill I felt after doing just a little work in yesterday’s heat. It would be nice if there was some sort of obvious cause and effect relationship that would lead to a definitive diagnosis of the underlying source of trouble, but no. I just find myself feeling really unwell at times. Not quite go-to-the-ER this time, but close. Happened on a Monday too, same as last time. Hmm. Maybe I’m allergic to Mondays. I bet that’s it. A pretty common ailment.

This morning we had some visitors early on:

Mama and her kids.

Better than bears! The fawns played around the yard for a while, investigating things with cat-like curiosity while Mama kept a watchful eye on them – and me:

Wary watcher.

I’d like to say there’s not much left to do here, but that would be a lie. Oh right; this is the Internet so … there’s not much left to do here. Actually not much left for the lads to do so they’ll probably head back to the land of air conditioning just as the temperatures here are going to get interesting. (There is currently a significant fire burning near Lytton, the town that was wiped out by fire last year. If you think you’ve got problems …)

Not sure what, if anything, we’ll tackle today. Not good to work hard every day. Not for me anyway.

Do you canoe?

Chaos? Yeah, we got that.

Work in progress.

Well my work crew showed up Thursday night and Friday we got right into it. This mostly involves moving messes from one place to another in hopes they will somehow magically become smaller messes. So far, no.

The good thing about having young and strong people to help is that they can do in two hours what it would take me two weeks to do. The bad thing about having young and strong people to help is that they can do in two hours what it would take me two weeks to do. In other words staying ahead of them is difficult. I’m about 3X the age of one of them and 4X the other, and it shows.

So while they wait for grandpa to shift things into slots they get to go trail riding and fishing and cutting up trees and getting a truck wedged in the woods … That last part was wrong, wasn’t it? If someone had asked I could have told him it wouldn’t fit; that trail wasn’t made wide enough for full-size vehicles, just ATVs.

Anyway, over-all the plan is working.

Extent of the damage, so far.

As you can see from that photo the road out here is still rough. But only one reinforcing plate broke off, and I should be able to grind & weld it back in place. Trailer certainly tows better now. Although my visitors report that the road is getting worse because yes indeed it looks like logging is starting on the hill up behind here, and that means heavy trucks pounding the gravel into potholes.

After getting this batch sorted there’s a couple of piles of debris from the reno waiting to be shifted into different piles in another location. It sounds ridiculous but it’s how it has to be done: pile up, sort through, shift to different places, and slowly whittle down the heaps into useful material and trash for the dump.

We’ll get there. Eventually.

Bucky says: “Oh my goodness! What next?”

How things are going

Head towards the light.

A little update.

First of all, this is the first post done with the new computer. I’ve got it up and running Linux Mint Cinnamon Una. I tried MATE but couldn’t see any functional advantage to it, and had been using Cinnamon before so it’s familiar. There is a noticeable improvement over the old machine, and not just that the hardware doesn’t throw random faults. For one thing, all web sites can be accessed via Chromium instead of having to use two different browsers depending on what I’m trying to look at. For another, the video editing program doesn’t crash as much. “As much”: it still freezes occasionally, and I’ve only tried one video experiment so far – just to test it. Another positive is that the screen is visually superior and so a little tweaking and I have a better chance at seeing what I’m looking at.

The biggest downside is that this laptop does not have an SD card reader built in, so I have to use the accessory reader. This is a pain when you consider my #1 usage is image editing and posting. C’est la vie.

It was quite a process to get it switched over from Win10 – the second worst OS ever. I have wiped that entirely because it is so bloody awful. It’s inferior Android-ish spyware for those who don’t know any better. There just aren’t enough bad things that can be said about it. Take, for example, the fact this machine has only 128 GB of SSD. That’s pretty small, because these days they want you to store all your data on “the cloud”. As the saying goes, there is no cloud; it’s some else’s computer. Not being a fan of handing over my personal data and copyrighted material to companies so they can make money off me, I don’t do that. There was a time when my wife used a secure on-line back-up for her accounting business, but rest assured that was secure: no chance they were taking private info and handing it out to whoever had the price. Encrypted before it left the office, and we paid a fee for the service. Beware anything offered for “free” as there’s no such thing. Learn physics and understand this.

Anyway, Win10 reported my 128 GB was 115 GB and it was using 79 GB for its bloated intrusion into my life. Linux Mint is using 14 GB and reports I have 122 GB total. It does everything Windows does, except spy on you. It’s also not ugly, messy, badly organized, and dysfunctional – unlike Win10. Microsoft should be forced to pay every Win10/11 victim $1,000 for abusing them.

Rant over.

Male rufus hummingbird

I put this pic on as my wallpaper. Windows doesn’t even let you do that. Oh, rant over.

Time for a different rant.

Mosquitoes! They are out en force here now in just the past couple of days. Despite the fact the cabin is better sealed than it has been in 70 years they still manage to get in and interfere with everything from working to eating to sleeping. One tried to bite my nose this morning while I was still in bed – under the mosquito net. Yeah I’ve got some ideas about redesigning that as it’s flawed in function.

Well I’m told there’s people arriving at the end of this week. They’re supposed to be my work crew, but others have already assigned them different tasks which are not in line with my getting things done. (Thought I was the Project Manager. Guess not.) I don’t know how well they’ll like the mozzies. Oh and the big question: is the cabin ready? Well, sort of. It’s a lot better than it ever has been, but I haven’t quite got things done. Mostly due to shortages.

One of the things I’m really short on is energy. The last big project I did, renovating the entire rental house which needed quite a lot of work, took 6 months. That was what? Eight years ago? Now I’ve just spent six weeks doing one room. Yeah I’m not as fast as I used to be. Can’t see well anymore so a lot of it is more “artistic feel” than “artificer perfection”. Anyone who doesn’t like the result can redo it themselves in their own time at their own expense. I shouldn’t be doing any of this stuff anymore.

Anyway I’ve got to get back to work. Zapping mosquitoes.

Fluff – and nonsense.

A butterfly

One of many that come out on the rare days the sun shines.

Old computer having even more function fits: it’s time to finish setting up the new one.

Meanwhile much work is being done on the cabin, and I actually managed to complete one part of the big project. I think.

There is still much to do.