Briefly, then

It’s actually easier to move the trailers in the yard using the van than the pick-up. Better visibility all-around. Ford has some explaining to do.

Okay so Saturday needed the A/C on while new fires broke out (including near the lake) and mosquitoes tried to eat everyone alive.

Monday needs the fire burning and everything is soggy but perhaps not soggy enough because still many fires burning.

Coming up, doctor consult followed by eye exam followed by endoscopy – all in one week.

How much work am I getting done? Almost none.

I got a little further than this before everything got on top of me again.

Is it fair to say things aren’t going as planned when you’re not actually making any plans?

Just get through each day and hope there’s no more surprises.

Good morning, sunshine?

Yes that’s the sun.

The smoke from the norther fires has made it down here. Came rolling in yesterday afternoon, after Brenda went out to the cabin. In retrospect that wasn’t such a good idea. One thing we discovered: Jojo the Highlander is way better on the bumpy road than Clifford the big red truck. Can’t carry as much cargo of course and probably won’t stand up to all those bumps for long (there’s already some noises in the suspension I don’t like the sound of), but a smoother ride until it fails. Gets far better fuel mileage too.

Nevertheless, she’s out there on her own aside from neighbours. Again, probably not a good idea. In fact probably not a good idea for either of us either way as it’s all too much work to manage the trip. Speaking of which, now I have to try to do work in oppressive heat and smoke. No, that’s not a good idea either. Why do we try to do anything? Should just stay home, inside, with the doors and windows shut staring at the wall. It’d be safer.

Coming up, thunderstorms for Thursday and Sunday because the people haven’t been causing enough wildfires on their own. Oh but it’s a holiday weekend, so maybe they’ll have a contest to see which source causes the most new fires: nature or idiots.

Famous black helicopter looking for wildfires.

Any more ‘fun’ like this and …

Addendum: the weather forecast for today actually says “smoke in the morning …”

It’s not going well

Hi there.

We’re having a heat wave. One source says it isn’t a “heat dome”, another says it is. No one cares what it’s called. We’re just suffering from the affects of highs in the 30s (86-ish for Fahrenheit fans). Lows are under 10 at night, so there’s some relief.


Unless you’re one of the tens of thousands of people on evacuation alert due to wildfires. Or flooding. We’ve got flooding in many places too, due to rapid snow melt caused by the high temperatures. Meanwhile this morning’s headline tells me “BC organizations scramble to make plans to protect seniors from extreme heat”. Notice they are scrambling to make plans, not do the actual protection. This story appeared on what is supposed to be the peak day of the heatwave. It’s not like they didn’t have any prior warning about it either. The same thing happened last year, for example, and is likely to happen again next year. Governments seem to plan along the lines of “cheer up, it may never happen!” even though it always does.


Now then, how is it getting to me personally? Well you remember a tree fell on the house, right? Right. So I can only work on that for a few hours in the morning before I have to give up for the day. I nap in the afternoon, and it doesn’t help. The A/C is on, and it doesn’t help. It gets hot. I could make changes that would improve all this, but …

About that cabin trip. It hasn’t happened yet, and other things have which are screwing it up royally. For example I have an eye exam in Kamloops on the 25th. No problem. Just 2+ hours driving each way. 3+ if I were out at the cabin. At least it’s supposed to be cooler by then. After that it gets tricky.


You see the doctor finally called about some further testing, to be done in Kamloops. On the 29th. Under anaesthesia. Which requires a driver. Which requires someone to look after the animals. And also an over-night stay due to the timing of the procedure. Hey guess what hotels cost these days! Never mind the gasoline for two trips back and forth. Bye-bye budget. The worst of it is we obviously can’t haul the animals out to the cabin for a few days and then haul them back again. The dogs won’t mind, but the cats get really upset about travel. Actually the dogs have trouble getting in and out of the car, never mind the truck. How bad is it? I built a ramp over the steps to the side door of the house where they usually go in and out, and we’ve borrowed a ramp for the car. Brenda would like to go out there, but at this point it looks like she’ll be on her own or with the dogs while I stay here with the cats until all my medical stuff is seen to. Never mind hers; she’s still not consistently well. This is a problem of being over 70. Mind you, if she had been okay this past week we might already be out there entourage and all – which would have been worse as it turns out.

Nor are we alone in problems. Everyone we know, especially in our age group, is having trouble, from broken refrigerators to brothers dying and it’s messing up everyone’s plans for … well, everything. We are all stretched thin and stressed out and having difficulty coping. This is not a fun Summer, and it has much potential to get even worse.

It’s all too much for a dog

For example I expect I know the outcome of the medical tests already; “you’ve got problems and we can’t fix them.”

And the lawn needs mowing again.


A few words

Robin on the podium.

Looks like we won’t be getting to the cabin soon. Things keep going wrong. Right now the Mrs. is ill, and this has been recurrent. When it’s not her it’s me. I tell you the seventh decade of life is nothing fun.

Plus we have bad weather which is about to go from teaming rain causing flooding to excessive heat causing wildfires.

Never mind all the projects around here which I find I don’t have the energy for. I’ve sort of got most of that tree cleared, but not all of it. Not started on repairing the house yet. And there’s the thing; nothing at the cabin really needs to be done whereas the projects here do need seeing to before Winter, which comes sooner than you think.

Don’t ask me how I’m going to deal with it. No, we are absolutely not going to hire anyone to do anything. The last time that was suggested the person in question turned out to be on drugs. Just the best choice for handling a chainsaw, right? Right. I’ll stick to my own liabilities, thank you. Even when you get someone sober they’re incompetent and I end up having to do the job over (witness all the corrections I had to make on the contractor’s cabin work).

Also it’d be nice not to be getting poorer by the minute, but Justinflation is rampaging our economy and doing no good for retirees on fixed income.

Yes I know what we should do, and it’s not move to England.

Needless to say there’s not any photography going on here right now, but I have some leftover pictures to post just so Chuck’s┬áSaturday Round-up isn’t polluted with this whine.

What I’m doing today

Waiting, that’s what. Waiting on all kinds of things, but mainly test results.

Some background: The Pain returned last Friday and sent me to hospital. Then again Wednesday. That one got me a doctor who demanded a CAT scan which happened this past Friday. Unfortunately no one works weekends. I got through Saturday, but not Sunday. Understand that I am having to take significant doses of serious pain medication to get through any given day. No, I tell a lie; I managed Saturday without and it’s “get through any given night” because that’s when the attacks mainly happen. Except yesterday when 2:00 PM seemed like the perfect time.

All I’ve got for diagnosis so far is a lot of what it isn’t and a few potentials of what it is, at least two of which are often fatal. So we know it’s not either of those because I’m not that lucky.

I had plans before this cranked up from one attack every few months to landing in the hospital twice a week. Those plans were about getting out to the cabin as soon as it’s clear and seeing what’s gone on out there over the Winter. Thanks to my recent trip North I know that Williams Lake is thawed, but Axe Lake isn’t. The last clear sat image I had showed Murphy was still solid ice, but the weather has been getting warmer and it’s rained a bit this weekend with further warming forecast including overnight lows above freezing. In other words I should be able to make it out there early in May, but should I try? No, not with everything hanging as it were.

Anyway the medication makes it impossible for me to do most things like getting through an ordinary day’s chores or eat, which means I’m not doing anything. I don’t mind not doing anything, I just prefer to not do anything by choice.

So I wait for test results and some sort of indication of what next, which will probably be additional tests. Like many that have been done before I’m sure they’ll see no obvious cause here because the universe thinks it’s funny to make me suffer.

And no I haven’t got that tree cleared or even close. I need to at least get the branches away from the back so the gas meter can be read at the end of the month. That’s not likely to happen, though. Too bad.

Duncan looking like the old dog that he is.

My life is not fun.

So after spending Friday night to Saturday morning in the Emergency Room for the usual attack of unbearable and unexplained pain, I decided to take a little nap and try and catch up on my sleep. Then the alarm clock went off. This ‘alarm clock’:

They said there’d be high winds this weekend – but on Sunday, not Saturday!
This was not the direction I expected it to fall, but thankfully it did; any other way would have been much worse.
Clipped the corner of the shop, broke the extension cord that was powering the battery charger, and closed the hood on the truck.
Not the direction I expected it would fall. The van had been parked right where the bottom of this landed: it would have been destroyed.
At least I don’t have to hire someone to take the rest down; it’s now short enough that I can drop it myself.
Not a valuable building, but the contents are. Luckily it wasn’t a direct hit.
Damage to the house was minimal, considering what it could have been.
Artistic it may be, but I’m not leaving it.
The miracle is that some branches only closed the hood and added a minor scratch to the paint; it could have destroyed the whole thing. It’s not yet insured for the year, and anyway road insurance doesn’t cover a tree falling on it.
Rotted out in the middle at the split. I counted the rings; it’s almost as old as me. I know just how the tree felt before it fell.

So now we get to see how well that homeowners’ insurance we pay for really is. My guess is they’ll say it’s not covered and/or below the deductible – then they’ll illegally raise our rates anyway.

What could possibly happen next? I shudder to think.

(Pictures taken with the G11. Text neatly edited to remove all the swearing.)


Or; How to kill yourself in two painful hours.

The chainsaw started easily and cut well.
The truck would not start and may need a new battery – the parasitic electric loads are wicked and unnecessary. These branches are from clearing the neighbour’s driveway.
Branches everywhere, and quite a few bits of trunk as well. Some on the ‘wrong’ side of the fence. I’ll have to chuck them over. Some day.
Some of what landed on the neighbour’s side. His driveway was blocked so of course I cleared it. My tree, my problem.

I should probably move the van and trailers (and now the pick-up as well) just in case we get more wind and the remaining half of that tree decides to join its twin. Maybe later.

Now I’d like to go see a cardiologist again because that wasn’t much work except where I was gasping for breath as my heart vibrated instead of beating and my throat got dry while my stomach tried to heave. I fell down twice too, simply because the muscles got too tired to hold me up. I used to do this kind of work all day, day after day, with no trouble.


Day off and rest today? Nope; have to go in to town. No rest for the wicked, it is said, so I must be the wickedest!

Bad things happen

We had a bit of a wind storm here over the weekend. I sat about, worrying over how many trees might get blown down at the cabin and along the way to it. Ha, ha; silly me! Went out to dump the fire ash this morning and …

One of the booms in the night.

Which tree is it? One far away from everything? Of course not! It’s the big fir right beside the driveway. It was ‘twinned’ at the top, but not anymore.

Where the twinned trunk was attached.

So how much damage did it do? The fence took the worst of it:

Fence almost down.

Fortunately there were plenty of large branches to lessen the impact and keep it up off the ground quite a bit. It could have been worse; if it had fallen perpendicular to this in either way it would have taken out either the trailers or the van.

Just a few branch bits landed on the vehicles.

I’ve taken many pictures of bird (mostly ravens) in the top of that tree:

Taken during the Olympus E410 testing.

It looks a little different now:

Half the tree top gone, you can really see the bend.

So now I have a lot of work ahead of me. Work I really did not need added on to my plate. I will trim it off the fence today, providing the chainsaw is still working after the Winter. As for cutting up the rest … green wood, and most of it is on the neighbour’s property now. What is worse, since the tree is damaged now the whole thing will have to come down and that means hiring a danger tree feller as I don’t have the equipment (or stamina) to do it myself.

This still does not negate the possibility of trees down on the cabin road.

Anybody got $500,000 I can have so I can really retire? I promise I won’t pay it back, ever.

(Except for the bird, pictures were taken with the Canon G11 which is nice for just getting some documentary shots like this.)

Crazy daze


Did you ever get the feeling the whole world is trying to ‘gaslight’ you? Me too.

For one thing I found myself agreeing with Elon Musk about the need to halt AI development and take a good look at where it’s going. It’s not surprising I think like that, but Musk? Well in a truly infinite universe anything is possible (this isn’t so, by the way).

Now the good news is Pretty Boy Floyd, Prime Moron of Canada, has announced his fatuous budget and it includes a one-time grocery payment ’cause we’re all having trouble affording food here. It’s that 300% inflation that the companies swear before Parliament they aren’t making any profit off of (even though their annual reports say otherwise). Hey, nothing like pouring ‘free money’ into an economy to curb inflation, right? Oh wait, no; that’s exactly the wrong thing to do in fact. Well we can always trust him to do the wrong thing. And how much do we get? Oh about $200, which is a couple bags of groceries if you’re very careful and watch the sales. After that it’s back to being screwed on every trip to the store.

So I suppose it’s a good thing my dentist appointment got cancelled; that’ll save a few hundred dollars. At the possible expense of my teeth, but what the hell, right?

Tax time again. We made $X last year. Looks like we spent $X too. Hmm. That explains a lot. According to someone it’s “all that photography equipment you keep buying”. So not the $1,500 in new tyres or the $600 to the lawyer or the $800 for the tax program or the $300/month in pet food or the $1.75/L gasoline or …

But at least we don’t live in the USA. Or Ukraine.

Yeah I’m in a bad mood. I get that way every time I look at what’s going on in the world. It leads me to ask “can’t anyone think anymore?” History gets re-written, reality gets re-written, people believe Trump when he claims he’s “the most innocent man in America” …

Maybe Earth is really an insane asylum for some other planet, ’cause everyone here seems to be crazy.

Oh! Telephone line!

(I’ve spent a lifetime analyzing broken things and fixing them; it make the world especially frustrating for me.)


It’s Saturday as I write this, but it’s about yesterday and will be posted Monday. Call it time travel if you like.

So … typical trip to town with a list which the stores obliged me in not having much of. As in I only wanted six things out of Freshco, one of which I’ve been waiting for restocking for weeks. Nope. You get two. Two out of six ain’t bad? It’s 33%, well below a passing grade.

Post Office. Package sent from England weeks ago showed up yet? Nope. Probably sitting in a warehouse in Montreal or has been stolen. You never know with packages. I’m waiting on another that has “no tracking information available”. Funny they were able to tell me when it shipped. I guess they lost track the moment it left the shop.

Store Number Two. Well the sale started Thursday so naturally they were all out by Friday. Doesn’t matter what. We seem to have that supply chain problem where sometimes stuff shows up and sometimes it doesn’t. In spades. Greed and incompetence will do that.

But wait! There’s more!

Psyched myself up to split wood in the afternoon. The supply of split had got dangerously low due to the recent spate of very cold weather. Now it’s time to replenish the stock. Got halfway through the first barrow when … the splitter stopped running. Hmm. Can’t be out of gas ’cause I just filled it. Well I’d better try and restart it. Check the throttle settings and … what’s all that oil all over the back? Oil is not supposed to be there. Look closer. Somehow the rear crankcase plug is no longer there. This is a screw-in plastic plug that is the companion to the front one which has the dipstick on it. They are arranged thus so they can be changed around if the engine is used in a different application where access would be better the other way.

The plug, what was left of it, was on the ground. How can this even happen? It is under no stress (you don’t even open that side ever) and yet … it’s broken. The top right off the threads, and no sign of the threaded portion. Just the gasket clinging to the crankcase.

This can’t happen.

So … check all the engines around here and … nothing that would fit the hole. Go back to town. The good people at the small engine place checked every type they had in stock, but none were a match for it. Chinese clone-of-a-Honda! Nearly copied everything right. Honestly there’s no reason these things can’t be universal like a bolt or plumbing fitting.

Which brings us to Plan B: get a 3/8″ (it should be metric but there’s no such thing) plastic plug from the hardware store and ‘cross-thread’ it in to seal off the crankcase so the oil doesn’t splash out (good thing it has low-oil shutdown). Only out of three hardware stores in town there were no 3/8″ plastic plugs anywhere! The last store did have one 3/8″ brass plug, in the wrong bin.

I brought that home expecting it not to fit or work at all. What else could I do? Can’t glue the hole shut with epoxy because the temperatures around here are below freezing most of the day and there’s no practical way to warm the engine up.

Okay, it sort of starts to screw in. Great. Soft brass plug, soft aluminium housing … and a wrap of gas-fitter’s tape (it’s like plumber’s Teflon but much thicker). Gently force it in until the torque becomes unreasonable. Add oil. Start engine. Proceed to split more wood than I should have just in case it suddenly fails again.


This machine is going to need some work come Spring (if Spring ever comes). Possibly a new engine. I’m certainly not going to buy a new splitter. Well it’s lasted 14 years and I calculate over 6,000 hours based on how long it takes me to split wood and how much wood I’ve split in that time. I’ve had to re-work the hydraulic return on it, repair the throttle handle, and replace the pull rope twice so over-all it’s stood up fairly well.

But I have to split more wood now, and even more in the future as Spring isn’t here yet.