Monday, June 11, 2018

For Sale:

I have 3 old 55 gallon plastic barrels with one end cut out, want $5.00 each. Two 30 gallon trash cans with lids, $5.00 each. Two small trash cans, 15 or 20 gallon, one with lid $3.00 and one without $2.00. One 45 gallon trash can without lid (not in photo) for $3.00. Also one old animal cage, good for rabbits, etc. May need some wood replaced. Free. You take it away! email rhys12@fastmail.com.



Thursday, May 31, 2018

Memorial Day Weekend

     We had planned to take two of the grandsons camping over the weekend, but only one wanted to go when the time came. This was our usual short Spring trip to try the camper and equipment out before the summer camping season. Going up Woodford Mountain gives the tow vehicle a proper workout!

     Saturday we hooked up the camper and went up to Woodford State Park, in the mountains east of Bennington, Vermont. It was a nice day and pleasantly cooler there than at home. After we got set up, we had to run all the way back down the mountain to Bennington to get ice as the local store had closed and the campground hadn't gotten their new ice machine yet. I did get time to take the grandson down to the beach where he had fun for an hour or two before suppertime.

     On our return we had supper and later started a campfire and sat around it. The grandson helped cook marshmallows and make s'mores. (Most of the "help" was in eating them!)

     Overnight the rain moved in and it got much colder. In the morning I cooked breakfast outside in the cold drizzle while everyone else stayed inside! I did slip down to the lakeshore to take the following photograph:

     After eating, doing dishes, and getting ready, we left early for Clifton Park for a celebration of the birthdays of our grand-daughter and her husband, stopping at home for a time to leave off Lucy the dog and get cleaned up a bit, plus switch cars to save gas. The birthday celebration had been planned for outside, but had to be moved inside due to the rain. Everyone still had a good time.

     Returning home late in the afternoon, we switched vehicles back again, picked up Lucy, and made it back to the campsite before suppertime, though we had eaten so much earlier we didn't bother with it. We had given the grandson the option of going home or back to the campsite with us - he chose camping in spite of the cold and damp! It was so cold I had to start the heater (48 deg. F). Everything outside was soaked so we got warmed up, shut the heater down, and went to bed early.

     Overnight the rain slacked off to an occasional shower. I cooked breakfast outside again in the damp - pancakes, bacon, and eggs. I did the dishes and we packed up and left about 10:30 AM. We dropped off the grandson and went home and started unpacking and drying things out. It was much warmer at this elevation and later on the sun came out. It has been hot and dry since we returned!

     As you can probably tell, we love camping and the occasional period of bad weather is just a part of it you have to put up with.





Friday, May 18, 2018

The reasons I haven't posted in awhile:

I apologize for the recent lack of posts. Spring is overwhelming me, having to mow lawn continually, cut up trees blown over by storms, working on our camper to get it ready for the summer, fixing the falling apart vehicles (The Jeep will hit 200,000 miles in a week or so. The Focus needs tires, a ball joint, wheel bearing, tie rod end, and sway bar link to pass inspection before the end of May - I got the link and tie rod end done today but an waiting for the wheel bearing and have to find some affordable tires). I also have to get a sermon done by tomorrow night, and have done a bit of work as the Town Historian, but no research recently. Haven't had time.

Everyone plans everything in the Spring and wants us to attend everything!

I have gotten the camper ceiling repair nearly done - started it 3 years ago. Also put some new fronts on the drawers.Hopefully it will be entirely back together by next weekend.


Wednesday, May 02, 2018

Spring Blasts In!

Following day after day of cold and rain, the sun is out today and it is HOT! It is amazing how some sun can make the whole world look different.

Yesterday wasn't bad, but was cool. I worked on reviving my old Schwinn bike I purchased during the 70's gas shortage. Rode it about 20 miles a day for years back and forth to work, but I pushed too much and my knees gave out, so it has been sitting around collecting dust for years. The old tires were rotted, so I removed them and threw them out. I had to remove the wheels to do that, so cleaned and lubed the bearings on the front one, still have the back to do. Cleaned and lubed the chain. Still a lot to do. It needs tires, a new seat, and a good cleaning and waxing, plus cleaning and lubing all the other bearings.

Today I got the camper out of storage and have begun getting that ready for summer.
The lawn has sprung up overnight and will need mowing soon. My brand new mower I bought (that the crankcase cracked on) is still under claim for warranty, so I got the old one started (I started right up after sitting in a snowdrift all winter!). Hate using it as the deck is cracked and too flexible, so the blade hits when it twists.

A lot of the trees are budding out. Things are going to come quickly now warm weather has finally arrived.



Monday, April 23, 2018

Has Spring Really Arrived?

With the sun appearing and the temperature up, the wife and I decided to get out of the house and go for a Sunday afternoon drive.

We went west over Waite's Hill, with a nice view of the Owlkill Valley, then up to Cambridge and northeast on 313. Passing Murray Hollow Road, I made a snap decision to drive up into the Hollow, even though we had brought the Ford and not the Jeep. The road was quite passable though not too smooth.
Murray Hollow Road
Murray Hollow Road

Saturday, April 21, 2018

Earth Day


I am old enough to remember the first Earth Day in 1970. I was in my last year of college and about to graduate. A group of students had purchased an old junk car and decided to bury it on campus to protest the automobile and the bad environmental impact autos had.
A friend and I happened to drift by the site some hours before the actual event took place. We noticed the car had a brand new battery and suggested it was a waste of resources to leave that in the car, plus the acid and lead would pollute. The group took heed and started to remove the battery. So we continued on about the tires, fluids and other things. We did get a reaction out of that and they told us to stop making criticisms and either help or leave! Someone mentioned they needed more shovels, so one of them hopped in his car and went after some – in a huge cloud of blue smoke so thick you couldn’t see his car through it. We then suggested they would have done more for the environment by spending the money on a ring job for their car. Then, discerning we were no longer welcome, we left in a hurry!
While I really was concerned for the environment, then and now, the hypocrisy of much of the environmental movement has been one of their biggest hindrances. There is really no difference between a religious leader who lives in a mansion and patronizes prostitutes and a well known environmental leader who lives in a mansion that draws more power than an entire village and drives gas-guzzling SUVs. Both cause major damage their respective causes.
Perhaps a bigger hindrance than the wealthy and prominent leaders are the rank and file who have no interest or concern for the unintended consequences of the actions they propose and mandate on others, especially low income people. A little higher oil prices might not affect them in any real way, but they can be devastating to someone who depends on his or her car for work and is just barely making it financially. Urban residents might not really need a car and be able to use public transportation, but rural residents most definitely do need automobiles. Cutting pollution is good, but how it is done makes a big difference. We did clean up American air and water – by driving polluting industries to Asia and polluting the air and water there. This also eliminated many middle income jobs here in America and was a part of the cause of the wealth gap we are fighting now. Also, we all live on the same planet – just shuffling pollution around to the poorest countries does nothing for the overall problem.
On the other side of the coin, the plight of the oceans is a poster-board example of the “Tragedy of the Commons”. There are a few examples of progress, like the comeback of whales, but over-fishing is driving many species to extinction. Coral is dying off worldwide. Agricultural runoff is creating huge dead zones. Growing islands of discarded plastics cover the surface, and plastic powder from deteriorating plastics and wave-action grinding along shorelines is everywhere. Yet individual countries don’t own the oceans, feel little responsibility and do next to nothing.
Socialism is no panacea for environmental damage – look at how the Soviet Union devastated the Aral Sea region. Under socialism the State is everything and there are no checks and balances on what it can do, usually in the name of the “public good”. Unfortunately, most of today’s environmental advocates seem to be rabid advocates of socialism. This is something that also weakens their cause as it drives opponents to the other extreme, like totally denying climate change.
I am not sure what the solution is. Totally unregulated capitalism is as bad as socialism. Government is not a solution either, governments are extremely damaging to the environment, largely in the area of militarism and also through endemic corruption that allows certain entities to skirt environmental laws.
The US has recently taken a lead in fighting agricultural runoff and regulating industrial pollution. But one country trying to do it alone just pushes the pollution elsewhere – which is probably a big reason chicken processing has been moving to China.
We should also take a lead in requiring recycling of all plastics that can be recycled and eliminating the use of those that can’t. To do that will require a deposit big enough to insure most are returned – which would also help the poor who make money picking up and returning bottles and cans. All long-lasting products like tires, appliances, furniture, etc. should have a recycling or disposal fee added in when they leave the factory, which would insure they aren’t just dumped somewhere by the last owner, who usually has little to no money to pay a fee. But even then, if the effort isn’t made worldwide it will have little to no real effect in solving the problems, only a local effect.
Chemicals are becoming a huge problem, especially once they get into the water and air. Artificial hormones can’t be filtered out by sewage plants and are adversely affecting fish. Estrogen is changing male fish to female. Medications are also going through sewage plants and into our water supply. Weed and pest control chemicals may help prevent soil erosion and increase agricultural output, but evaporate into the air and/or filter down into the ground water. Locally, PFOA and PFOS contamination of drinking water has become a huge problem. Some chemicals are supposed to be bio-degradable, but many only do so under certain conditions and not under others. Neither is it commonly known what they degrade into, which may be worse than the original chemical!
Everything has environmental problems. Nuclear was promoted as clean – it has become obvious it is far from it after several major accidents. Even apart from the accidents, nuclear waste is piling up with no agreement or solution as to how to dispose of it safely. Wood is promoted as a “renewable energy resource”. It really isn’t. When this country was first settled, trees 2 to 4 feet in diameter were the rule, not the exception. The trees growing today are scrub-brush in comparison and many seem to start dying after 25 years or so. Solar and wind will prove to have bad side-effects also, it is just that no one is yet seriously considering them. After all, when the automobile was invented, few owned one and no one foresaw the pollution hundreds of millions of them would produce. Hundreds of millions of windmills drawing energy out of the atmosphere will also undoubtedly have an effect, especially on weather and climate. As will millions of acres of solar panels. What is the solution? I do not know. Blaming over-population is easy, but population is now peaking out and will decline – already is in many advanced nations. TFR is at the replacement level or under for most nations. Fertility is crashing worldwide. That brings its own problems with economic decline and growing inability to pay for environmental preservation and restoration. No one has yet been able to produce a growing economy with a declining and aging population.
What will happen? Almost certainly what has been happening since 1970. A few focused efforts on limited issues and local areas will be successful. Overall worldwide environmental quality will continue to decline. Lack of reliable facts due to fake news, slanted reporting, government and corporate propaganda, and resulting government control of news will make it harder to discern and deal with environmental issues. Ideologues will continue to drive people to opposite extremes rather than bring them together in solving problems. The decline in morals, ethics, and character associated with the abandonment of religion will make it more and more difficult to trust anyone to work for the common good. Nations will inflict enormous environmental damage using war as a tool to try to uphold their standards of living. War and climate change will send waves of immigrants from areas no longer able to support their populations into other areas, particularly those with aging and declining populations who foolishly hope the immigrants will pay to keep the social services economy running, and/or those which have already decayed to the state that they can’t or won’t defend their borders. Declining economies and indebted governments won’t even be able to enforce existing environmental regulations and, as Greece has done, will sell public lands and parks off to the wealthy to bring in cash.
Short of a massive worldwide return to God I see no solution in sight. Many reading this will respond that God isn’t going to do anything, if “we don’t do it no one will”. Well, “we” have been doing it for nearly 50 years now without God, and no one has accomplished much of anything. We “solve” a problem in one area by exporting it to another. We “solve” it by burdening the poor. We agree one thing like solar is good, then turn around and fight it if we can see solar panels from our house. Our “solutions” beget new environmental problems. We try to force others to live more environmentally friendly lives while refusing to do so ourselves, far from taking the leadership necessary. Overall environmental quality is still deteriorating.
Maybe we should try God and His way.