North Pole, Anyone?

When Andy came home the other afternoon I said,”If we weren’t spending so much on the roadwork, new batteries, and the solar heating project, we could take a nuclear-powered icebreaker and take a dip in the Arctic Ocean at the North Pole.”

He said “How much more do I have to spend to avoid doing that?” I told him, “You’re doing just fine. Don’t worry about it.”

Apparently trips to the North Pole (next summer, of course) aren’t unique to Stanford. A number of businesses offer them. If you were offered one free of charge, would you go on it? I’m with Andy, I love my life just the way it is. I have no desire to go sit on a boat, no matter how exotic it sounds. What about you?

If you’d like more information, here’s a video by the Quark Expeditions. The old explorers must be turning over in their graves.


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This is what the fly traps in the shed looked like last Tuesday:

September 24, 2014

September 24, 2014

Andy replaced them with fresh ones, and this is what they looked like 24 hours later:

September 25, 2014

September 25, 2014


The traps in the attic of the house look about the same, but they do seem to work. He doesn’t get many flies down on the ground floor.

So it’s not just mammals that are trying to get out of the cold.

Do you ever have trouble with flies and/or bugs?


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Roadwork, 9-27-14

Andy got home shortly after 5 yesterday afternoon. Much better than the 7:45 Friday evening, since when they do roadwork he has to get up at 5 am to leave here by 6 to get there by 7. That’s too long a day!

Anyway, they actually finished smoothing the road, so he can sleep in tomorrow.

Woodcutters Road, August 1, 2014

Woodcutters Road, August 1, 2014

woodcutters Road, Spetember 27, 2014

Woodcutters Road, September 27, 2014

They still have to use a backhoe to dig out the culverts next Friday — and maybe Saturday if they need the extra time. But the road is now drivable for trucks, in particular the one that will refill our propane tank and (hopefully) the one that will bring up bigger batteries for the photovoltaic system.

Andy has been looking forward to those new batteries, and it wasn’t clear that we would be able to afford them this year. We wouldn’t have if we had had to do as much roadwork as we did last year.

It was a great summer — no problems with forest fires, plenty of moisture for the vegetation, and we only had to do roadwork once before now. Yay, Rainy Season 2014!

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Andy and Orlando were going to fix up the roads last weekend, but the weather report said there would be heavy rains and flash flooding in the burn scar areas — which includes our roads — so they postponed it until this weekend. (The weather turned out sunny and dry, of course.)

Unfortunately the backhoe Orlando ordered from Albuquerque was in such bad shape they couldn’t use it, so he ordered a bobcat from Espanola. It arrived shortly before noon, so they didn’t get started until after lunch, and Andy didn’t get home until about a quarter to eight last night.






The bobcat can smooth out the road, but they’ll still need to rent a backhoe to dig out the culverts. Hopefully that will happen next weekend.


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Q & A on Isis

This is Seth Meyers’ view (9/24/14) of our actions against Isis:

Do you agree with him?


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New Management

One thing Andy and I used to wonder about was, what would happen if our landlord sold the apartments? He’s even older than Andy and I are. He spent as little money as possible on maintenance, but we do love living here.

As it turns out, he did sell the apartments to another landlord in town, one that has no plans to try to convert the apartments to condos or tear them down to build something else. The new landlord plans to invest big bucks into improving the place. Instead of doing things as cheaply as possible and having large turnovers in renters, he wants happy, stable occupants. He had a meeting last night to introduce his staff to us, to tell us his plans, and to hear our concerns. It was a warm, friendly meeting, so it bodes well.

The biggest imminent change is they will be changing all the windows in our apartments to make them thermally more efficient. It will take them about four months to do them all, but even if ours don’t get changed before the coolest temperatures this winter, in the long run our apartment should be a lot more comfortable in winter and summer. That sounds like a great start.

I’ll tell you more about the other changes as they get implemented. It should be interesting — a nice kind of interesting.

Any interesting news where you are?

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I feel much better now that I have given up hope.
—Ashleigh Brilliant

That’s where I am right now. I’m doing major reorganizing, recycling, tossing things out, and it looks hopelessly messy in the process. It reminds me of when Andy and I got back from a trip once — the suitcases, mail and newspapers looked overwhelming. He said,

It’s impossible. All we can do is walk out, close the door behind us, and start all over somewhere else.

At the moment I’m just putting on psychological blinders, doing a bit at a time, and giving up hope that it will ever look better. I’m guessing it will surprise me one day, but in the meantime I’m happy ignoring the mess.

Have you ever felt this way?


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Trying Again

Unfortunately the Rid-a-Rat failed again. The new count is

rats in truck 18
rats in well house 9
mouse (in truck) 1
ground squirrel (in truck) 1

Andy moved the light to a different location, but it’s still pointed towards the place where the critters were trying to build nests.


We’ll see if that helps. But even if it doesn’t, the zapper is probably quicker/less painful than being eaten by a predator.


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rats in truck 17
rats in well house 9
mouse (in truck) 1
ground squirrel (in truck) 1

Notice the zapper got another rat in the truck, even though the Rid-a-Rat was blinking as it should. We’ll have to see if it does any good at all.

Presumably there will be a lot more coyotes next year so the number of rats and rabbits will drop?


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Here’s a picture of the motion-activated spotlight in our apartment:


And here it is in the well house. Andy pointed it towards the area where the rats had tried to build their nests.


So far no new rats in the zappers.

It’s not just our equipment that needs protecting. Here’s the new layer of fencing Andy put around our redwood tree to keep it from being destroyed by bigger critters.


Do you ever have problems with animals eating your stuff?


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