Sunday, October 4, 2015

I'm tired of airplanes

Unexpected trip to New Jersey for a meeting didn't put a smile on my face. I have a lot to get done at both properties and a last minute trip tossed everything into disarray.

Getting to the hotel at midnight was bad enough, but the HVAC system was loud no matter the setting so I might have managed 30 minutes of sleep before my alarm went off and it was time for a run. We were staying next to some river so the running should have been great but with all of the storms on the east coast I opted against being cold and miserable on top of being tired.

The meeting sucked, executives at any level seem to be happy to listen but you can always tell when they have their minds made up. We had 3 hours and half-way through it they were more interested in lunch that anything else. The flight out was delayed due to the weather (surprise!) and we spent 6 hours in the airport and I was finally back home by 1am Saturday morning.

The entire time in the airport I had to listen to gun control and mental health debates from the tv's, speakers and people. Airport food sucked bad, like always.

I'm glad that I don't have anything planned for a while, it will be nice to catch up on chores and projects. I spent a few hours setting up my new plate carrier yesterday after I went for a run. I'll get a picture of it when it's done but for now I still have some tweaks and adjustments to do. Now I need to find a bag for transporting it around. This is part of our step up in preparedness plan.

Firewood, tree cutting, wood splitting, yard cleaning, winter food storage inventory and stock-up. We have a lot to do and it's much colder than expected this weekend. We have a monsoon rain yesterday and hail, so now we have an insurance claim to send in on my 98 Discovery. Always something to keep us busy.

I hope you east coasters have hunkered down and didn't get very soggy. I'm doing inside projects right now while someone else is out in them mountains 4 wheeling with Rock. I just didn't have it in me and have a lot of long term concerns about life, fitness, the economy, work and preparedness... these are keeping me busy enough.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

France and how it's good to be home

To be fair, we've been home for a couple of weeks but between our latest two trips there was a lot of work to be done and many things had to take a backseat.

We stayed in Paris for a week with a few excursions and saw most of the tourist type places (from the outside). Neither of us are into art, the tower was a tower, etc. When I tell people we slept in, had good food and ran a lot, they usually have an eye roll or two. The only reason we went to France was to visit Normandy, specifically Omaha beach, where my Grandfather landed.

We visited the American cemetery, Point Du Hoc, Aramanche, Omaha and more. It was a whirlwind of a day, and very emotional. You can read about it, look at photo's, watch movies about it, etc. Nothing actually captured the area like being there in person. To stand on Omaha beach and look out at low tide and actually see how much beach had to be crossed under fire... well I'm just amazed anyone survived at all. Looking at what was once flat sections of land now crater holed for miles, crawling in and out of the German bunkers and murder holes, reading the names of the missing at the cemetery, etc. Overwhelming.
This is how much beach had to be crossed, plus another 200 feet behind me. Bloody Omaha.
South edge of Omaha as seen from Point Du Hoc

Edge of Omaha, looking down from the cemetery
Utah 'beach' is around the far point. This is from Point Du Hoc where the 2nd Rangers assaulted

It's good to be home, work is in upheaval and we have to finish getting ready for winter. We are at the cabin enjoying some anti-social time. At least the people in France were really friendly, not what we had expected but it was refreshing.

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Doghouse for cats? Suggestions needed.

Rabies the cat is still hanging out in the woodshed, along with 2 of her kittens. They are fairly big kittens (not quite 2 hands long) but I'm worried about the coming winter. We aren't cat people, but I don't mind them hanging out and crapping all over the yard... They aren't going to appreciate when we add more wood to the shed, but our survival and warmth comes first, always. They currently live under the woodshed floor.

I'm thinking that to help them survive the cold winter I might build a doghouse with thick foam insulation on the walls and roof. Perhaps run an extension cord out with a light bulb and a timer/temp sensor so when it's under 36 the light bulb comes on. The roof will have to be fairly tall for the lightbulb to hang. Bedding perhaps some hay or an old dog bed.

This setup is what we used in the pump house growing up most of the time, and only in the coldest of winters did we have a space heater running. Since we aren't here every night that kind of setup might work, along with some kitty food on the days we are in the area. Part of me thinks they won't use it and that its a waste of time, I just don't know about cat things. Growing up my cat and her kittens would live under the house in the floor insulation.

Should we build some kind of a door? Perhaps some rubber strips hanging down so they can go in and out and it helps hold heat.
Regular insulation or thick foam?
Wasting our time or worth the effort?


Monday, August 31, 2015

Italy part 2, photo heavy

One of them many palaces we wandered into had an amazing display of arms and armor. I could have spent hours on this floor alone, I hope you enjoy the photo's as much as we enjoyed the display. The lighting was horrible so I did the best I could but with so many windows it was hard to get clean pictures.

Saturday, August 29, 2015


When we head out of town we let a few friends know that the cabin is available if they want to get out of town and relax (plus it's occupied for safety). I suppose they aren't house guests, more like... oh heck, I don't know.
They always have a great time and the big family group leaves us notes about how much fun they had riding the ATV's and spending time in the mountains. Sometimes I leave notes like "if you use the washing machine, please turn off the water and unplug it when done".

New notes will read:
'if you ride the ATV's please don't ride around the property and kill all the grass and clover we have spent months getting to look perfect, there are hundreds of miles of roads and trails starting just 30 feet away'
'you shouldn't smoke, but if you do, please don't toss your filters in the driveway'
'when you spill something on one of my books please let me know so I can buy another one and not have a surprise when trying to read it'
Frustrating when people don't leave it better than they found it, makes us rethink letting people use it.

Funny how particular I am about the cabin and am no where near the same way about the city house.

Back in the swing of things for a couple of weeks until we head to Paris. Work was like walking into a wind tunnel with cows crapping on the fans but we both survived. We both had to fire people and we are trying to hire people but that's next to impossible. If they show up for the easy interview they rarely make it to the drug testing and when they do that don't pass. The ones that do make it and pass get fired for getting a speeding ticket going 91 in a 75 (with customers in the vehicle). It's not like they don't know they are being tracked/monitored.

I've taken care of the next few months of long term storage items to be auto shipped, made sure we have plenty of canning supplies so we can start on the next month, updated inventories, etc. Still need to hire someone to stain the cabin and we need to find someone who delivers firewood but both seem hard to find right now.
The garden is doing awesome and for the next few weeks we will just hand out free veggies until we are ready to get canning/pickling. We might get double the harvest vs. last year so it should be fun trying to store all of the jars when we are done.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

10 days in Italy, part 1.

A person can only take so much and I am no different. I'm a tourist, and I'm obviously spoiled since I believe in hygiene, deodorant, brushing my teeth, being polite, etc.

So spoiled...

Finally back home after out anniversary trip and as usual with all things in our lives, the trip was great with a lot of little disasters sprinkled in. From having to book 4 different hotel rooms until we found one that really was 5 star, to riding the commuter train that smelled so bad (from the people on it) that I almost threw up, to fulfilling a lifelong dream by standing on the arena floor of the Colosseum, etc.

Overall the trip was amazing and I have a lot of pictures to go through but I thought I would post a few. I don't want to bore anyone with history and there is always google but if anyone wants info just post a comment and I'll get back with you. Little things like Julius Caesar wasn't killed in the Senate building, etc... things a lot of people don't know.

Colosseum, one of my favorite photo's from the trip

First King of the united Italy, 1820-1878

Pantheon Roof. 

Pantheon columns outside the door

Floor of a basilica we wandered into

The forums of the emperors, started by Caeser in about 43bc.

Trajans column, 113ad, depicting the victories in the Dacian wars

Hallways in our 2nd hotel, previous vatican treasures storage and palace

Temple of Antoninus and Faustina, 141ad with church on top from 700ad

Arch of Titus, 82ad depicting siege and looting of Jerusalem 

2 underground levels from Domitians residence on Palatine Hill, 81-96ad

Picture this covered in marble and marble statues filling the niches 500bc-250+ad.