Dark Age?

I have a huge interest in economics.  Fascinating topic.  Not because I have much interest in money, however.  In fact, I have no interest in that medium of the devil since I am minimally comfortable.  Well, comfortable enough to get through the foreseeable future, anyway. After the basics and the necessities of life are handled, I lose interest in what is simply greed and hoarding by another name. On the other hand, I like economics.  Go figure.

Well, the figuring is easy, really.  Here it is: Economics is really just the study of group behaviour; it is psychology in an area that has lots of indicators and variables.  One could study, say, sports-watching fans and there are a lot of indicators to watch and measure in sports but for variation, surprises and drama, there is little to compare with the human story as told through economics.

I hate to admit it but economics is a much better story teller than even Cheap B shoot-em-ups.

So, what is economics telling us these days?

Lots.  And all of it interesting.  But before we go down that road, a little side-bar: money is not really economics and economists even say that.  They are mostly wrong but they say it.  And they are partly right too.  Money, to them, is like an indicator rather than the force or variable it really is.

I say that they are wrong because money is so fluid, so transitory and so much out of the control of people, economics or our business group psychology as we know it, it is not really a measurable a factor anymore but it is a huge influence, nevertheless.  An almost invisible one. Put another way: any government can simply print any amount of money they want and call it quantitative easing.  Money that is NOT there can be borrowed on a signature.  Money has become more than ephemeral, it is almost conjured-at-will.  Money is a con-job.

So now money is too easily produced, hidden, diluted and converted and so it is. So easily, in fact, it is done all the time and most money sources are way, way out of control.

We don’t know how much money there is out there.  Literally: we don’t know the numbers. Trillions, Gazillions, Bazillions?  M1?  M2?  M3?  M4?  (the ‘M’s are types of money that are not money but are used like money – like credit card debt). If you try to use the ‘measuring sticks’ they give you, you’d have to be way out in front of the ‘money counters’ and employ huge computers and you’d have to factor in debt and credit and gold and, well, it is an impossible task.  So, they mostly don’t do it.

And yet, you have come to rely on the common understanding that a pair of shoes costs $100.00 and so does a nice dinner for two or a tire.  We are still exchanging goods using a medium that has no credibility.

To the neo-classical economist, the study of the economy is based on the continual rationalization of group-think as it applies to product and services.  The idea being that the consumer or person-in-the-market does rational things with their money, the purchase of the odd line of coke or a diamond ring notwithstanding.  The simplest discrediting fact to that premise is that we do not, as individuals or as families or as groups or even first world society’s always act rationally.  We just don’t.  So the classic economic model is founded on a faulty premise.

Worse: money has no credibility to us consumers anymore.  That fact is slowly seeping into the collective psyche, too.

That we are all as, as Adam Smith might posit, rational, is patently ludicrous.  And that has been proven so often time and time again.  We do not always act rationally even when we have all the information to make a rational decision and we have never had all the information with which to work.  No one has – but especially the last and lowest man on the chain, Joe Six-pack.  Too many variables.  Too many filters.  Too much play money. Too many inside traders in too many industries.  In fact, any real study of the economy would conclude that, for the most part, the market is not all knowing and all-wise but vulnerable, blind, stupid, easily manipulated and fickle if not out-right mad.  And Joe watches too much TV and drinks too much beer to think right anyway.

The market attracts too many crooked people as well.

Studying markets is a waste of study time.

But studying people, on the other hand, is easier, more fun and the results are likely more accurate.  Economics is, after all, the study of people.

So, what are the people saying?  What is our collective group-think thinking? They are saying, “Fuggedabout numbers, stats, GDP and money supply. Fuggedabout what the government tells you and what the corporations tell you and what you read about as fact and data-based research. What are the other average people saying?  As a group?  What is everyone’s mood?”

I don’t know how much they listen to Trump, Netanyahu or the latest shill for hate but I listen too.  I hear them saying they don’t trust BIG anymore.  They don’t trust their governments, the corporations, their laws, their police, their schools.  They don’t trust foreigners.  They really do not trust banks.

I do not see revolution in all that so much as I see some rejection and some withdrawal. More than just a little fear and trepidation,too.  People are stepping back.  It seems to me they are saying that the trajectory society is on feels collectively wrong to them.

Britain Brexited the EEU.  The reasoning was irrational, it was instinctive.  It was protest. Greece wanted out but were already too indebted so they were forced to stay. Faith in the EEU has waned.  Is it faith in the EEU or is it faith in institutions?

Syrians are adding to the ever increasing amounts of refugees.  People are fleeing their countries.  That’s raw fear, plain and simple.   Chinese money is fleeing Asia.  That’s a form of fear.  There is a lot of that out there, it seems.

Refugees and immigrants who made it to other countries are also now feared.  Trump wants a wall.  So does Israel.  Both want some people kept out, others sent packing. Trump doesn’t trust anything because he is so ignorant but how indicative is he?  Quite indicative given his following; they are insecure and feeling like victims.

And face it – some of them are victims or, at least ‘collateral damage’ from a system that didn’t deliver!

We may have lost the faith.

We aren’t borrowing and consuming like before.  We are afraid to do so.  We aren’t reproducing like we did.  We are pessimistic.  We aren’t investing in our country or even our children.

And how is our society reacting to court decisions?  How are we reacting to police actions?  What do we think of public education?  Who feels safe in a hospital?

Generally speaking, I think we are losing trust in our international, national, provincial and regional institutions and, to some extent, in our own future.  Our fear levels are increasing. And climate change doesn’t help that in the least.  In fact, climate change may have been the last straw.

When people lose hope, despair becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.

And THAT’S economics.

Mantra

So, just a little extra preaching to the converted: about solar panels.  I am repeating well known information here only because there has been a subtle but significant shift in the technology and the pricing (lower) meaning the argument to make the jump to solar is just getting stronger.  That shift is: panels used to be 17% efficient now they are 22/23% efficient and, even better, more efficiency is already on the market – just not competitively priced.  Not yet.  We will likely see 40% efficiency within the decade.

Portugal reported they recently went four days straight without consuming any fossil fuels for power generation. Germany claims to be approaching 80% non-fossil fuel power generation year ’round* (cars and trucks not included).   Many countries are announcing all sorts of electrical generation coming on line with less C02 generation than coal, oil and gas.  The world seems to be responding to the pleas for alternative energy. That’s gotta be a good thing.

I suppose a good portion is nuclear and I see more and more ugly industrial windfarms all over, but, really, solar is the way to go.  Especially for the single household. It works for me.  And no power outages!  Solar panels are a proven concept and are now pretty affordable.  Well, the ‘generation’ part is, anyway. Storage capacity is still prohibitively expensive and not consumer friendly.  They will eventually have to improve batteries by a factor of 500% and they have yet to get there. But they are working on it.

Typically, sadly and stupidly, Canada is not doing anything on any front.  Canada does nothing to assist the alternative energy shift.  According to one recent report, Canada does the least of all the developed countries in this regard.  Our government does not even give sales tax relief. California used to pay for half of an installation by way of a household grant.  And, of course, we lament publicly and practically daily the poor oil prices Alberta and the petro-industry are suffering. Poor babies.

Personally, I don’t care.

Oil is something like 3% of GDP (don’t quote me.  I know it is much lower than is portrayed but it may be 5% or something).  It is NOT the biggest portion of Canada’s GDP by any stretch.  And we domestic oil consumers pay world prices anyway.  Canadians don’t benefit from pumping their own oil. But Canada subsidizes the private companies that do. Canada sends the oil industry billions in subsidies and grants and tax breaks.  So that they can charge us higher prices than they do the countries they export to?  We are so tragically stupid that we are now contemplating doing the same thing with LNG on behalf of such private companies.

Canadian governments are managed by the most crooked of politicians or the stupidest of Troglodytes.  I am thinking a combination of the two.

Still, it matters little to me that we pay more for everything, are taxed more than many and receive even less for our money than say, the USA.  So long as the bastards leave us basically alone, I will pay the exorbitant premium to be a Canadian and be relatively quiet about it.  But, really, we can do something on a personal household basis about that giant rip-off if we want to.

A good start is investing in solar panels.  Even with the battery problem still being unresolved, it is a good way to get the corporate monkey off your back.  Get enthused and improve your house insulation, get more efficient appliances and swap out your lights for LEDs and you can almost shed the giant monkey that is BC Hydro.

And, make no mistake: the corporate and government leeches are sucking more, not less. You owe it to yourself to give alternatives another look.  Jus’ sayin’…………

Persistent little virus, isn’t it?

Still having it’s way with me.  But all good things come to an end.  I’ll be fine.  I was considering setting up a FIGHT Shingles charity until I realized that there must already be half a dozen.  So, mine would instead be a charity titled “SURRENDER to Shingles”. Makes more sense, really. You can’t really beat this thing, you just have to make it comfortable until it is as bored as you are and it leaves.  Fortunately, I am relatively boring and I think I see signs of it packing up to go irritate the hell out of someone else.  Still, my new charity needs money for administration and educating the public, ya know? Especially administration.

Funny how stupid we all still are in so many ways despite all the educational efforts of NGO’s and governments, eh?

Here we are on the eve of the longest day of the year and it is absolutely beautiful out. Sun, sea, wind and wildlife.  Sal and I have been courageously blazing a gourmet menu and Netflix supplemented lifestyle in the wilderness now for almost thirteen years and it still feels better than the best of vacations.  It’s great.  Gorgeous. Wouldn’t change a thing. For a guy generally considered somewhat taciturn and even occasionally grouchy, I am actually more happy and content than I ever hoped to be.  This was a really good move.

The best part?  It is not catching on.  No great exodus from the madding cities detected yet.  In fact, the opposite is true – they are still leaving the countryside and going urban.

We get a new household or two every year and we lose a household or two just as frequently. This community is a rural loose-gathering of a few families spread over hundreds if not thousands of acres existing in a form of peaceful stasis. It’s not changing. Maybe someone gets a new outboard.  A kid leaves home.  People get older.  The odd new puppy.  It’s basically the same.

Same beauty, same quiet, same lack of stress, same ol’, same ol.  I love it.

Having said that, I need to DO something now and then.  NOT a lot.  Just a little something.  If all else fails, I’ll build something.  And I can drag that on forever.  The greenhouse is currently serving that purpose for me now but even I have some limits on the duration of a project.  And, with the help of Mr. Shingles, I have managed to do nothing on anything for a new record length of time.  We are same ol’, same ol’ with cobwebs. Time to get some muscles moving.

Don’t want Sal to get all soft on me………………

 

Ch ch ch changes…..

I think I have turned the Ch ch ch Chicken Pox corner.  Still ugly.  Still pox’ed.  But I am pretty sure the worst is over.  Doctor says, “You are half-way.” This malaise is NOT over, but the worst is, I think.  What a fascinating two weeks.

But enough about my pus and horror….time to write about other things pus-y and horrible….

When we left the city to go walkabout, go feral, walk on the wild side, we pretty much stopped our old habit of following the daily news.  Cold turkey.  It was not a conscious decision, really.  We simply had very diminished radio reception (none) and little to no time anyway. If we got ‘news’, it was by way of a comment-in-passing from a neighbour or maybe a newscast on the car radio when we went to town. We were simply ill-informed for the first few years.

Ignorance was bliss.

Of course, with time, we eventually upgraded our lifestyle conveniences.  It was automatic to get the radio working again and, with the satellite, we got Google News as well.  Oddly, the desire to be up-to-date was not a very strong one, but it eventually crept back into our lives. Sal would turn on the radio when cooking and she would often turn the volume up when the so-called news came on.  I, too, would ask for more volume on some matters. We started to follow the news again.

As I write this, I noticed that, when I start my day, I first check e-mails, then I check Google News.  It’s automatic.

It is also stupid.

The news is NOT truth.  We know that.  It is filtered through a number of editors and editor-like processes not the least of which is the need to entertain so as to generate an audience.  And there is, of course, the even more dominant need to then sell product. There’s also editorial policy. Owner’ biases.  Time constraints facing journalists, reporters, copy editors and hundreds of other forces also alter the facts and re-write the true news into the infotainment version. The news that is actually delivered  is a cursory sound-bite at best, a means for marketing product all the time and lies and propaganda much of the time.  If there is anything actually true about the news we get it is the fact that none of it is accurately true.  It is all a distorted lie in aid for some other agenda other than the dissemination of truth.  It is also overwhelmingly depressing.

Of course, their polished and packaged lie is not all pure fiction.  It is simply and mostly just not accurately true. Fifty people were shot to death at the gay night club in Florida by a madman.  That is likely true.  But that simple fact of horror will be ‘milked’ and ‘packaged’ and ‘sold’ and ‘exploited’ for reasons economic and political.  The ‘news’ machine will feed off it like a vulture.  The information will not help mankind.  But it will help some whose agenda feeds off of pus and horror.

The worst part is that we have come to know the news as 90% pus and horror, ten percent ‘celebrity’ and one hundred percent inaccurate.  We have no idea what is really true anymore.  None.

And get this: Kim Kardashian was interviewed about the nightclub shooting.  And, of course, Trump was asked about it as well.  Is that news?  Or is that just pure, sensationalistic and opportunistic exploitation of the tragedy for some unknown but likely profit-making or political agenda?

Doesn’t matter.  Not to me.  Not anymore.  I am going to try cutting the link again.  The news is not good for me.  It is not informative.  It is not educational and it is not necessary to living my life. In fact, it is detrimental.  It is unhealthy.  It is the voluntary digestion of evil and lies in the form of packaged misinformation for purposes that serve the dark side more than my own illumination.  Yeah, you  can quote me on that.

I have other interests other than just living off the grid.  I am interested in China.  I like new inventions.  I am intrigued with economics.  I’d like to know more about those topics.  The problem is that every time I read anything in the media I actually know something about, the content is wrong.  And, where it is not obviously wrong, there is so little real content I learn little to nothing.  Worse, I suspect I am reading lies even if there aren’t any.  My cognitive filters are now so clogged with brainwashed media debris, I wouldn’t know an honest, accurate report if it bit me.

I am going to have to stick with books.  In books, I have somewhat more faith.

Who would have thought that deepening cynicism would be a side effect of Shingles, eh?

A temporary pox on Cox…

If you were a kid and caught Chicken Pox at some point, you are liable to re-encounter the disease when it re-invents itself as Shingles later on in your life.  Shingles is adult Chicken Pox redux.  You don’t catch Shingles, you already had it in the form of a dormant virus. It’s part of you.  And then it wakes up and kicks the crap out of you.

But, it doesn’t really matter how it all happens, it is simply mildly horrible.  I say mildly because many people suffer much worse diseases and it is only polite and respectful to acknowledge that.  But, between you and me, Shingles is Hell.

I should know.  I reacquainted myself with my virus about five days ago and, it seems, it intends to stay on for awhile.  A couple of weeks they say.  Feeling like I am gonna die has cut into my expressive side. The whinging has increased but that’s about it.  I don’t really have much to write about.  There’s the pain. Then there’s the nausea.  And, of course, there’s more pain with more nausea every day as a recurring bonus.  Shingles is not only Hell, it is boring hell.

At our age, we are more susceptible to this sort of nonsense.  Aging, eh?  What’s not to like?

I’ll write again.  I will.  I know I will.  But not right now.  Not for awhile.  No one wants 1000 words of mewling and whinging.  I am sure you understand.

It’s a new era….

……..of sloth.

Funicular Cart operated using the winch and electric motor at right and tons of wiring by James

Funicular Cart operated using the winch and electric motor at right (under deck) plus tons of intricate electrical wiring by James

The lower funicular works and today we put it to the test.  We didn’t have much.  A couple hundred pounds.  Six cases of wine and some building crap.  We have our priorities.

Cottonwood Blockade

Cottonwood Blockade

So, I went down and checked it out.  There was a heavy freelance Cottonwood making a peaceful protest across the tracks and, like a heartless corporation, I just chainsawed the blockade to bits.  I felt like Kinder Morgan.   “Release the Leviathan!”

Sal pressed the button and down went the heavy 700 pound cart, slowly descending the galvanized rails we had previously put in place.  Grrrrrnnnnkkk!

“It’s stopped!  Hung up!  So I took my finger off the button!”  

“Yeah, well, I was gonna grind off a smidge here and there but I am surprised any of that would have held it up.”

Sally pointed to a thick bar acting as a ‘stop’ and we both wondered how we could have missed something that obvious but, then again, we ask ourselves that all the time.  So, I got the grinder and trimmed it off and a few other edges.  “Round two!”

Pulling boat up alongside the lowered funicular cart

Pulling boat up alongside the lowered funicular cart

And down she went.  Got to the water….and….then she started to submerge.  Then the deck was at the right height….one foot or so off the water’s surface. “STOP!”

Sal took her finger off the button and the cart sat half submerged.  It was a beautiful thing. I jumped in the boat, swung it up against the cart and began whipping boxes on to it.  And a few other things.  I pulled back, “Press the up button.  Make sure it’s the up and NOT the down or else we will have sodden wine boxes.”

Slowly it began to climb the ramp.  One minute later, Sal stopped it at the lower deck. Hard to believe but it was even prettier sitting up there.  I smiled and pushed the boat towards home dock around the corner.  With that small event, we had made a milestone.  No more with the heavy, heavy, slippery and sharp beach climb.  Schlepping made easy.  From now on, a piece of cake.

A piece of cake!

A piece of cake!

We have entered the Slothecine era.

Pray for us

Industrial electrician nephew visiting for a day.  Being an attending nephew is pretty special status in itself but being an electrician who understands motor controllers, wiring, transformers and is willing to work on the lower funicular system is a gift from the Gods. Well, a gift by way of my brother and his wife at the time, but still a heavenly gift for me at this time.  The lower funicular is very much needed.

We did a town day yesterday and it has been awhile.  OVER a month for me.  Maybe over two months.  NOT long enough but what that means is that, when we finally do get to the shopping, we have a lot to buy.  This was no exception.  The old Pathfinder was filled to capacity.  We jammed some stuff in, wedged and compacted, tucked and squeezed.  It was packed.  To get that much stuff, we blew through $3500.  Maybe more.

But it is NOT the money.  Who cares about that?  Spend it a little every day or all in one fell swoop and it all amounts to the same in the end.  Money’s gone. You’re broke.  So what?  Nothing left to lose but more pasta than God!

AND, we had our nephew in to help with the pasta.

So, today, we will (he and I and maybe Sally if I can drag her away from the quilting section of the house) start to ‘merge’ the new 240 volt lower funicular system into the upper system complete with buttons, controllers, breakers, fuses, switches and even, perhaps, my remote control devices.  If we get the lower funicular working, I just made life so much easier.

I know that because yesterday’s town day was so bloody hard.  Well, hard.  NOT bloody hard.  No injuries this time.  Just kinda more schlepping than I care for.

The summer tides are OUT in the afternoon when the shopping day is over and one arrives home.  And you can’t leave stuff in the boat and wait six hours for the tide to rise because it is food and the ravens will attack and pillage it all if you leave anything untended for more than five minutes.  So, the chore is simple: unload 500 pounds of crap to the lowest step (yesterday was so low that we couldn’t even reach the lowest step from the boat.  Sal was on the rocky granite slope clinging to that lower step and to barnacle encrusted granite.

I attempt to hold the boat in place with an oar and use one arm to swing heavy coolers in eight foot arcs which Sal has to catch in mid flight over a deep body of water while keeping one hand for herself to stop from falling in.  We repeat until the boat is unloaded.

Then we switch places.  I get out, Sal takes the boat around to the far dock and I schlep the crap up the seaweed covered sea-stairs and up the ramp to the lower deck.  I then swing it up on to the upper funicular and the machinery takes over.  The lower funicular will remove the hard part of that above described effort.

Hopefully.

This kind of project is not off-the-shelf.  It is not plug-and-play.  You don’t just buy it and turn it on.  This is an exercise in assembling, designing, cobbling and making-do with what you collected without really knowing what you needed.  It has elements of:  “I wonder if this will work?”  and, “We don’t use these normally but there is not much current so it should work.” There will be several, “I have no idea what this is.  It looks important.  But, we’ll ignore it and see what happens.”

The most common refrain (from Sally every few minutes) will be, “Why do we NOT have any instructions?!”  And, of course, the answer will be, “because no one cobbles funiculars by bits and pieces over several years enhanced by a failing memory.  We are like Gyro Gearloose, here.  Three Rube Goldbergs in the dark”.

And, after a few false starts and maybe a few shocks to grab our attention, the whole contraption will work!

Or not.

We’ll see.

 

Mystery leak(s) solved

Wasabi on the Grid

Wasabi on the Grid

Three holes in the boat!  NOT really big ones but a hole is a hole.  Hauled it.  Ground out the holes. ‘Glassed it.  Probably not fixed quite right.  Not really.  When you have a four hour window (tides in and out), it limits your working time, your f’iber-glassing set-up time, etc.

I used rapid set epoxy but adhesion is a problem.

And the whole damn schmozzle is a long way from your tools and supplies so all that has to be schlepped to the site first…down a cliff….along mud…over rocks.  Gensets weigh a helluva lot and they get heavier with elevation change. NOT fun. Necessary, but not optional and NOT fun.

No holes to be seen

No holes to be seen

But, it is done.

For awhile, anyway.  Wasabi is an old $500 boat (came with trailer, too) and it has seen it’s better days.  We are now seeing it’s worst.  It will have to go soon.  Too bad, really, the design is right. Seventeen feet, walk-thru windshield, powered nicely by my Honda 50.  It is ideal and would be even more ideal if it were in ‘restored’ condition but it is hard to restore something you are still using all the time.

So, I bought Aubergine, Wasabi’s twin sister almost a year ago.  She is still not here yet but stored nearby in the forest on the other island.  No one will steal it.  Aubergine was only $300 (included trailer) and it is in worse shape but, if Wasabi can keep on keeping on for say, another year (at my pace), I can haul Aubergine, do a little marine surgery and then retire Wasabi to that great boat graveyard that, actually, does not exist.

That’s why there are so many old boats sitting in yards.  No real dump for them.

In the US, they just abandon them somewhere.  In increasing numbers, too.  And some of the abandoned vessels are huge.  Seventy five footers laying in the swamps of Louisiana after Katrina, other boats just littering areas, sinking in shallow waters.  Florida is awash with them. There is a lot of marina junk out there.

We have a similar problem in the Gulf of Georgia but not as bad.  Still, there are committees all over the coast clucking and fretting over it.  Meetings being held.  Money being spent doing nothing.  We’ll eventually get enough of a problem that a grant will be issued and some guys with chainsaws will do the work.  But not before huge wastes of time in meetings first.

What a system!

I may….may…perhaps…..unlikely but there is a remote possibility…..actually ‘spring’ for a good boat…..maybe…….I doubt it….but, maybe.  Someday.  Ideally, I will find a 17 or 18 foot boat, mostly ‘open’ that has some driver protection like a console that has a great hull…..

……maybe.

I doubt it.

“I want it by next weekend”

And so it was that my nearest neighbour set the schedule for the

Remains of old grid

Remains of old grid

building of the new boat grid we would share.

I laughed it off, of course.  I was still resting from the day’s wood gathering.  “Ha ha….yeah…sure…ha, ha…..OK…….you serious?”

“So serious, I want to start tomorrow.”

“Oh, right!  Yeah!  Me, too.  No time like the present, eh?  Ooh…this will be good.  Lots of fun.  This is great.  Tomorrow, you say?  Early?”  (He may have missed my sarcasm.)  

(Maybe not).  “Got a problem with that…?  Wanna start NOW?”

So the next day we started to build the grid.  He and I are a bit weird, at times.  Timing, I mean.  I walked down the hill to the lagoon building site at exactly the same time as he did. We’ve done that a few times.  It’s like some kind of weird in-sync mutual inner clock.

J and David's work prior to final assembly

J and David’s work prior to final assembly

We looked at the salvaged material sprinkled about all over the surrounding acre and discussed various options as to method, design, what-goes-where and who-does-what, that kind of thing, but it’s essentially for nought.

Hardware from David's stock of junque

Hardware from David’s stock of junque

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We do one thing and it basically leads to the next and, after a few minutes, we are, for the most part working in sync with logic’s plan.  Mind you, my tempo is half what his is, so I am bass, he is treble.  I do one thing while he does two but that rhythm keeps going until we are done.

And, after a few hours, we were almost done when I wanted to quit.

“Yeah, OK.  Me, too.  I am tired, too.  We can quit.  But, just before we do, why not…let’s just…lever, push and pull and carry it to the water’s edge and then it will launch easier.”

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Sally having fun working in the mud

To say ‘No.  I want to go home now!’ is much too wimpy, even for me, so I agreed and we spent the next half hour doing just that.  It launched like an upside down table.  It was a beauty.  While I trudged home, neighbour guy used his skiff to pull it all out into the lagoon and tied the assembly to an anchor.

 

 


“I’ll get Sal to put the cross beams on tomorrow,”
I shouted back at him as I crawled towards home.  The beams weigh hundreds of pounds.

David positioning final beam

David positioning final beam

 

And, the next morning, Sal and I went about doing just that.  We now have a beeeooooooootttyfulllllllll old creosoted, salvaged-from-junk, flotsam and jetsam tidal grid that Sal opines will hold a small ferry.  ‘Course, she exaggerates but it will definitely hold the boats we have around here.

 

 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Done!

A day in the life……..

Update: Sal and I have been gettin’ in the wood these past few days.  Firewood.  We have not had to do much in the way of stocking the woodpile these past few years.  We’ve had it easy.  We’ve gotten soft.  Especially Sal (but I like that in a woman, personally).

We were away for the winter for a couple of the past few years, the house is well insulated and, of course, we get the heating benefits of global warming. The three or four cords we had in the wood shed served us for the better part of four years.  But this year, staying put, we pounded through the back half of it and so it was time to get back into the swing of things.

As the days go by, we generally keep an eye out for a good ‘floater’, a log that sits high in the water and looks generally knot free.  Potential heat.  We like the little ones – between 8 and 12 inches in diameter.  Easier to manage for us.  Don’t forget, we have to drag ’em up the hill on the highline, then drag ’em across the top of our property to pile up in the pile-up place.  Then they sit there until we have enough – 30 or 40 twelve-foot lengths – or, in some years we had to get on with it whether we had enough or not.  Usually we have enough to warrant the effort. Over the past few years, we had acquired the thirty or so logs and now we were gettin’ on with it.

Funny how age compensates for less energy……..now we double-thought and stewed about the process a bit more and did a few minor changes to our ‘system’ and then started up a’workin’ a few days ago.  A little different system.  A few efficiency moves…….

“God!  At this rate, we will still take ten or twelve days to get it all in.”

“Well, we are doin’ good.  The first day is always slow.  We can pick it up to a full row a day, I am sure.”

That’s my point.  We need twelve rows!”

“Right!  Quit yer lollygaggin’, then.  Let’s get on this!”

Today we put in the 11th row.  We only have one more to do.  We’ll finish it tomorrow.  We did good.  And so we are good.  The wood shed is full.

“Dave, one row doesn’t seem like a lot?”

It’s not.  One piece of split-wood, the row is 12 feet long and eight feet high.  That is the sad part.  One row is half a cord maybe a quarter…something like that.   If we worked hard, we could do one cord a day.  Maybe two.  But we don’t work hard.  We work hard for two hours.  Maybe three.  Then we have tea. That’s the day.  That’s the hard part of the day, anyway.  There is a great deal more to our day but the hard part is now quite limited.

It used to be four hours of hard work but, if we have a choice, it is now two.  We don’t always have a choice so four and even 6 hour days are not uncommon but they are usually not the ‘lifting logs’ and wheel-barrowing wood kind of days.  As a rule.  Typically, we can do a four or six hour day and be tired out but, to be honest, nothing all that heavy or difficult is undertaken. It is usually just the time spent.  Like making dinner, writing the blog/book, fielding calls, sharpening stuff, working on the motorbike….nothing that breaks a sweat.

Side note: motorbike improvement.  Clutch NOW works.   

But, when we lift logs, haul rocks, carry heavy steel crap back and forth or do carpentry or something, our work output is somewhat diminished.  The good part?  Well, we are better at doing that sort of thing nowadays.  So, despite NOT doing too much of it, we actually still get stuff done.

As soon as this is done, we have to build a large BOAT crib out of old creosoted logs we salvaged.  My boat is leaking.  But the old crib collapsed.  Time for a new one.  Quickly.

I’m gonna hafta get Sal on it.