Today And This Week In Review

It’s quiet on the farm at the moment, with winter in full ignore mode and the farmer never quite sure if it is going to dump back on us in full swing.  The weather forecast promises us the mid 40’s as an average for as far forward as it dares to predict.  It has been in the 50’s, so I guess this is winter’s return without a vengeance.  Well, it is what it is. 

I was just cleaning my glasses with my hand Walmart aspirator that came with the specs, and was a bit disturbed when I realized how it smells exactly like Windex.  There you go then.  They charge a few bucks a bottle for three ounces of Windex.  How nice.  That’s a racket I need to get into! 

Someone asked in a homesteading forum this morning if the old timers were smarter than we are now for living lives of self-reliance, and in a more sustainable way than we do now.  I never responded, but my thought was that while an Etch-A-Sketch does not require batteries, it also does not perform complex computations.  That leaves me only this conclusion; we live in complex times, and we know a lot more than we did back then.  We have also forgot a lot about how to live on this planet and who we are as a species.  So, while some of us are not enamored, there is a lot to be enjoyed in a post-Polio world where we can open Google and find solutions to our problems. 

The girls and I went to visit grandma today, and took her down to Logan where we did a little shopping and had lunch.  It was a pretty normal visit.  Grandma talked somewhat seriously about moving down to Salt Lake City, but wants me to bring the girls down once a week to visit her.  She said she would cover the gas, but I am honestly not sure I want to put us on those roads every week with a two hour drive down, a long visit, and a two hour drive back.  I am not the spry young buck I once was.  Every other week might be more realistic.  But even then, it is a long day.  The airport runs are okay because I go down, and I come right back up.  Staying for a few hours is a good opportunity to find myself asleep at the wheel on the way home.  I want to be ale to, but it is a lot, and it carries a lot more risk than a ten minute drive to the home here in Preston where she lives now.  Besides, she has a neighbor named Gail who is loud and obnoxious, and why would I want to see her give that up?  Gail is actually very helpful to grandma. 

This week Elon Musk launched his Tesla Roadster into space on a test of the Falcon 9 Heavy rocket.  I had Kirynie on my lap and Khallarnie stood next to us to watch it online.  It was the coolest thing I think I have seen since I was ten years old and watched the first Space Shuttle launch.  The Shuttle launch marked the beginning of one of the great era’s in space, and was thus hugely significant.  As for the Falcon 9 Heavy’s significance, I won’t be surprised if in ten years or so we are watching Musk do donuts on Mars in a Tesla.  It is also significant because here was a guy who decided to do space despite what the government was doing, and by putting his personal car up there, announced to the world that space travel was no longer the sole jurisdiction of world governments.  Space now belongs to people, even if it is just very rich people at the moment.  That’s how everything begins.  I paid $20 a bulb for my first LED lightbulbs.  Now I can get multi-packs for $10.  Time will bring the price down, and eventually maybe my grandchildren, or their children will have the chance to casually step off the earth and float into the vast dark expanse.  This week has, I think, marked the beginning of that moment.  What excitement to witness it! 

On a personal aside, I am getting my computer set up so it is more useable by clearing the monitors off my desk and mounting them on the wall, and I am shopping for a printer and a few other things to make the computer into a workstation and not just a place to look Facebook over.  The monitors are old and mismatched.  I plan on getting a matching pair.  I also am looking into a good scanner to put me back to work on scanning all of my photos and negatives and slides.  I really want to get the photos of my life digitized.  Why?  To put them on Facebook, of course! 

So much to do, so little money. 

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Legend of the Fall

Day after tomorrow and it will be a week since I slipped on the ice in the backyard and fell right smack onto the back of my head.  It was a hell of a hit, and hurt my upper shoulders too, but mostly my head.  Although I will say this; my upper back has not been this free of knots, nor has it felt this good in years!  It happened so suddenly that I never got an arm or an elbow or anything onto the ground before my head hit the ice under me.  I can still feel the pin in my head and shoulders, though it is almost gone.  When I lay there on the ice, I thought of all the people I know who have died or nearly died because of such head injuries.  To be honest, it was a bit frightening.  But now, five days on, I am inclined to think all will come out okay. 

This winter’s weather has been way off to the usual.  Winters in this valley are normally fairly cold.  The first full winter we spent up here we had a six week stretch where the temps were between 0 and 20 BELOW.  Last winter was the snowiest yet, leaving many trees broken in the mountains and flooding half our yard.  And then there is this winter, where the daily temperatures get above freezing every day, and the snow and ice melt just a bit, then freeze over nice and slick at night.  It has even then rained on top of it all in some of the mornings, leaving it extra slippery.  But it has not melted everything into outright puddles, so the footprints and such leave uneven surfaces, like the one I stepped onto when my right heal blasted out from under me when I fell. 

This past week has been a bit restful since my accident, but I hope that the morning will see me off well, and that I can get to work on some of the things that need doing here.  I have to call the electrician back to do some finish work on a wire that I need to install tomorrow morning, connecting to the circuit that has gone out.  We know where the last plug finds the wire to the breaker, so once that is unhooked, we can route in from another location that is much easier to put in.  I am suspicious that there might be an electric line that goes into an old oil heater in the old root cellar, and maybe that is what finally corroded away enough to be the cause of our troubles.  Failing that, no idea!

I once watched an interview with Mark Ruffalo and Scarlett Johansson, and during it, he asked her how old she was.  She said, and he said, “Oh, you’re still young.  You’ll get to an age where it hurts just lying in bed.”  Never a truer thing have I ever heard a man say.  Waking up in the mornings and the first thing it is is pain.  Some mornings it wins too.  Other mornings it motivates me to get up and go for the win.  I bring that up because it is the other news here at this point in my life.  I mean, I could bag on Trump or something like that, but it is far less interesting, and far more obvious. 

I got a book recently that I am determined to read through before too long.  It has a collection of the founders writings in it, from the Mayflower Compact to the Constitution and all of the other primary ones, and documents all the way up to President Obama announcing the death of Osama Bin Laden.  I have just finished The Silence Dogood Letters by Ben Franklin.  One of the more favorable bits to those was the importance placed in one on freedom of speech, and how a tyrant will first cut off the tongue of the oppressed.  It has certainly bore relevance to today. 

I am going to take my further ponderings to bed with me and wake up to call the electrician and the propane dealer, and get some appointments arranged to spend money!  I hope there is only a few things to do before barreling through this house to finish up the long needed decorating and floors.  Sure tired of it all. 

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Mediocre New Year!

It is early January, and the long period of winter is just over two weeks upon us.  I have realized that something in my childhood screwed up my idea of when winter is.  I think it may have been the school year, or the times I spent in California and Colorado conflicting.  When I think of winter I automatically include most of autumn as well.  Winter, in my mind, starts around the beginning of November, and impatiently I count the minutes till March, and the first day of Spring.  In truth, winter barely takes up any time at the end of the calendar year, and is really the first season of the year.  We go winter, spring, summer, then autumn.  Winter ends the year too, if there is any joy in that.  I don’t think so.  Every year in the northern hemisphere is born and dies in winter.  It’s just not right, in my mind, anyway.  And all I can figure is that I got messed up when I would finish my summers as a kid, and soon push through the winter mostly indoors, buried in books.  I was never a skier, so that was helpful in getting me out in the winters.  My summers were often spent in southern California, so not only were they the warmer part of the year, but they also were wonderful to me.  Funny thing about that though is that California was always green in the winters, and brown in the summers.  Colorado was green in the summers and brown and white in the winters.  So I grew up in a basically brown landscape. 

I am trying to fix the way my mind perceives the way seasons fit into the year, and I am also wrapping my head around the Lunar Month.  Spending more time connected to the outdoors has allowed me to really pay attention to how the full moon occurs as the moon rises at sunset, and sets at sunrise.  When I consider how the ancient ones actually learned to track the movement of the stars and planets and moon and sun, it makes me to feel very disconnected from them, and from the universe we live in.  And we modern people reckon ourselves smarter?

I suppose the long winter is a good time for reading though.  I have picked up a few books lately that I look forward to getting into.  It is not my strongest habit though.  That is something I aim to correct. 

The farm is not in major building mode anymore, and the focus there can go to the house this year.  The farm is in fine tuning mode, and we have more than enough of some animals, which I will be sorting out soon.  We also don’t have quite enough of others, which will also get sorted out when the right opportunity arises.  Our chicken flock is more than adequate for us, and unless eggs get sold, there is no point in that.  Our pigs outnumber our needs in the pot bellied variety.  That has to be sorted out.  We really do have two too many horses for our needs.  And finally, we need more llamas.  Everything else can carry on as it is.  As for fences to build and trees to plant, there is more to do.  The orchard is so far, an utter failure.  I think cheap trees at Sam’s Club was a poor value.  They have never thrived here.  There is a local nursery that I think may be of much better use in this endeavor. 

As for the house, it truthfully needs one room painting and the floors finishing, and a whole lot of shelving put in.  There are places where the flooring will be a nightmare, but I have some ideas about that.  Oh, the bathrooms are pretty bad, and could use a total remodel.  I don’t love either of them.  There are more rooms to work on, but they are currently livable, and therefor, not high priority. 

This week has been pretty horrible with frozen pipes in the kitchen and a short in the electric that has sent out a quarter of the house, but did not trip the breaker.  I am afraid I am going to have to call an electrician.  I have checked and changed and traced to the point that there is little left for me to do.  It is coming to time to send it to the professionals.  There are a few more things I could do, but they are not very practical in hunting down the short, and I am sure an electrician could have that done in very little time.  As for changing what I think it might be, an electrician is by far more qualified than I am.  So, we will see.  I try todo everything I can here, but I have my limits.  I am near them now. 

Kelsey J Bacon

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Unnatural Disasters

Hurricane Harvey has been pounding Houston, and from the looks of it, the water cannot drain fast enough in the face of unprecedented rainfall, 49 inches as of today, in some four days. This is usually just about the time someone gets in the TV and says that God is punishing America for its sin, or something like that. Yet, Houston is about as far down into the Bible Belt as you can get. If that place is Sodom and Gomorrah, then Washington DC is the Vatican. It just don’t make sense.

I would like to propose that it is time for our species to grow up, and accept that natural disasters just happen, and the fella on TV telling you that it is because of sin is just selling you a line with a hook at the end of it, and he wants you to send him some money. We don’t have to bring up any names here, as I am sure history will do as much damage to a certain pasture as Social Media will allow. And while Lakewood Church was pressured into opening for refugees, nobody got into the upper floors of the Mormon Temple there, and nobody complained. Yet, there was a building that could have offered shelter till the water finally crept up its steps and a few inches into the first floor. People give so willingly to these organizations to enrich them, but in a time of desperate need, do they open up? Is this natural? It sure isn’t Godly.

The one thing that has helped, and has stood out, is the response of ordinary people, bringing trucks, food, supplies, boats, muscle, and talent to the scene, and helping everyone they could for as long as they could. If there was a God in all of this, it was manifest in the work of human hands. But it is just that, our humanity that has made a difference. It is our humanity that has shone through, just as it always has, and has saved lives. It will be human hands that rebuild Houston. I hope every cent given can go to that effort, and not into the pockets of greedy men who preach salvation, but do not open their doors when the floods have literally come.

There is another aspect to address here. Humans have discovered that our activities on the planet have affected our climate. Some do not believe this, and dismiss it as propaganda designed to enrich the poor by redirecting money from the wealthy. When I was a kid who had just learned to drive, I used to sit atop a mountain over Boulder, Colorado, and watch the summer lighting storms over the plains. Always, the lighting was most intense over Denver, where the concrete city was warmer, and heated the air above it. That heat seemed to milk the rain and the lighting from the skies. It was evident that humanity had already affected the weather, before considering the warming effects of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.

Another theme the religious preach is Armageddon. The religious believe in a literal end of the world, which is horrible because it makes them complacent about, and complicit in the end if it does come. If Armageddon does come, it will likely be because of failed climate policies, failed foreign policies, or even failed educational policies. We will destroy our environment, ourselves with nuclear weapons, or ignorance before any God ever needs to intervene in our decline or demise as a species. Our lonliness on this planet is easy to see. Or God is pissing on Houston for something. No doubt someone will be on the TV telling us why in the coming days, and none of it will make sense to anyone with the sober eyes of an unbeliever. But it will no doubt bring in the donations to the greedy bastards who prey.

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Reliving The Cold War

There are tensions between the US and DPRK right now, and we are basically reliving the Cuban Missile Crisis. The DPRK has said that by mid month they will have a plan submitted to place four missiles in the water 15 or more miles off of Guam, which is unusually specific language for them. But it says a lot about the situation and the desired outcome. It says that these are negotiations. Trump has taken a tough guy tact and said off the cuff that the DPRK had better stop threatening the US, or America would rain down fire and fury, the likes of which this world has never seen, on North Korea. Still in negotiations.

The specificity of the intended target suggests that Kim wants to demonstrate the fourth piece to the Nuclear Puzzle. They have nuclear weapons, the first piece. They have a way to launch an ICBM, the second piece. They have a re-entry capability, the third piece. This last step, the fourth piece, is to show they can accurately target a location and hit it, and it is as far away as a US territory. North Korea believes they can then use this capability to strong arm the US to the negotiations table to put an end to the war dating back to the early 1950’s which has never ended in a peace agreement. Is that a bad thing? That depends on what else they want, which we won’t know till both seats are occupied at that table.

News outlets like CNN are in a flurry trying to present to the public information on what to expect. That flurry can easily overwhelm readers, sending them into panic about an impending nuclear war. Is there one? General Mattis has stated that any war would be catastrophic. Yet he has also gone a step beyond Trump, advising that the North Korean regime not do anything to bring about the destruction of their people and leadership.

Trump and his leadership is making it clear that war is a strong possibility. They are strong arming North Korea with the same rhetoric the North Koreans use against the US all the time. They are changing the status quo, which is a negotiating technique. They certainly have the ability to back it up. One way this is different to the Cold War is that rather than just negotiating with a mad man like Kruschev, we have our own leadership we don’t trust. We only hope they have the sense to understand that heros don’t win wars, they prevent them.

In the next week or so we can expect to see North Korea aim for their intended target and risk the embarrassment of missing. The US will also risk embarrassing themselves by trying to shoot the missiles down. It is fast becoming the only option if Kim Jong Un carries out his launch. The systems the US have at their disposal are THAAD, and a ship mounted laser, both of which may need to be deployed against the four missiles announced. After that, it is time for more rhetoric, or it is The Guns of August.

Clearly History is on repeat. What does that say?

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Changes have been happening the last few months, and I habe not kept up with my journal to chronicle them very well.  So, here is a quick run through some of the highlights.  

Katrina and I became grandparents a little over two months ago when Dylan’s Wynn was born.  They were unsure if Whitney was in false labor or the real thing, so we went over and quickly decided that they needed to be at the hospital to be sure.  After driving them down to Logan, the contractions were inside three minutes, but her water had not broke.  They broke it and she delivered Wynn by 4:30 The following morning.  He was three weeks early, but has overcome his troubles and is growing fast, and well.  

Grandma is deteriorating.  She is getting more forgetful than she was, and having trouble making sound decisions.  I always said that with David, as his dementia progressed, he was really the same, only intensified, or in concentrated form.  She is doing the same thing now.  We mostly go to the same places every time I take her out.  That is the same as before, but she takes longer at them.  We habe spent three of the last four Fridays at Verizon.  She has bought a phone, tried it, forgot parts to it when she went to return it, then given it to someone who works at the rest home, even though she is still paying for its cost, not the line, just the phone.  Same stuff as before, only more intensified.  

Kirynie turned 9.  That kid is such a treasure to me!  She is so smart, and despite some of her proclivities to be a bit obnoxious to her sister, and to feel sorry for herself, shenis a wonderful child!  She is very helpful with feeding the animals, and she reads a lot.  

Colvin turned 19 on the same day.  I have not seen him in so long, since that day…  My world fell apart.  I hope that he has grown to be a good man.  I wt would like it if he came to me, and on his terms.  I never met my dad, and never was able to set terms for that.  I know how it feels, and need him to make his move, if, and when he is ready.  I understand.  

The farm is coming along pretty well.  There are things I am happy with, and some things I am not, but we habe made such progress on getting things in place for the animals we raise.  Yes, there is still more to do, a lot more, but the place is coming along and may one day actually be our own.  That would be very weird! I built the last animal pen, and need to build shelters and the like now to improve the situation for our little ones. 

We have totally paused the indoor work so we could focus outside. So nothing has happened inside, but I suspect we will get moving just as soon as the weather cools a bit.  It has been in the mid to upper 90’s out, and we have no cooling.  Most of the house is usually hot, especially upstairs.

Those are some of the basics of what has been going on around here.  We always have more planned, but need to start looking at what needs to be finished for winter.  One is the firewood! I have not been up into the mountains yet, and need to get up there and order to chop down some of that Maple I’ve been planning on collecting.  I also need to split a lot of Cottonwood that I had cut down earlier in the year but has been too wet to split so far. I did build a place to hold the firewood over winter where I can place a tarp over it and keep it dry unless I’m able to get a roof built over it, which I hope to do next year if not this. It was a simple build, just using pallets and placing them in a grid on the ground, then using some more to build sides to hold the wood in. That will give me plenty of places to tie a tarp down if I need to, and it will hold several cords of wood. If I stack all the wood only to the top of the pallets, I should be able to fit four and a half chords just in this future Woodshed of mine.

Missus has come up with a great idea for The Granary. I had suggested she use it as a store and sell her arts and crafts and such from there, but she looked into the idea of using it as an Air BnB. If we do that, then we should be able to use the money we make to improve it until it has all the functionality we would like as both a bunkhouse for our visitors, and a few utilities for ourselves, such as maybe a deck and a fire pit and a little kitchenette that we can use during canning season. It’s certainly a good idea, and something to think about. I think we just might do it. 

Kelsey I Bacon

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Yesterday I received confirmation that I have been removed from the records of the Mormon Church.  I was baptized in when I was eight years old, on my birthday, as I remember it.  I am told that it was my choice.  I habe a daughter who turns nine today, and despite the fact that I think she is way smarter at nine than I was at eight, choosing a life long commitment to a belief system that will hold her accountable for sins against a God she is supposed to also decide is real, and will excise a tax on her income for the rest of her life at the peril of her Eternal Soul, all seems a bit much to put upon her.  I know I was not ready to make such a commitment at that naive age.  And now, 38 years gone on, and a lot learned, both in the Church, and out, I am more than confident that joining the Mormon Church, or any religion, for that matter, is a serious mistake.  Although I have not attended a meeting at a ward house in about 18 years, just being labelled as ‘inactive’ was not enough.  I was tracked down and asked for by name when I lived in a foreign country!  Since when does a belief system require hunting me?  A belief system is something that I must subscribe to.  Well, I do not.  

On the evening of the Fourth of July of this year, the last thing I did for the day was to submit a letter of resignation through an attorney to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  That letter was revived and my name removed by the 7th.  Ten days after sending it in, I received my confirmation that it was done.  

How do I feel?  I am as ambivalent about it as I was about any reason or reservation I could dream up when I sent in the request to remove my name from the Church.  At the end of the day, a fraudulent organization could hold no ecclesiastical power over me.  I cannot be forced to drink the Kool-aid.  

This is the most important document I have ever had regarding religion, and especially the Mormon Church.  It is the one that declares that I am free.  It is the one that sticks a finger in the eye of those who profess it is divine truth because of its growth and membership.  Maybe I am just a rat jumping off a sinking ship, but be sure of this; the ship is sinking.  

Some day I may go ahead and write the reasons why I can be so sure that the Church, and religion in general are categorically false.  But for now, I have some things to do first.  For now, I plan to live free.  

Goodbye Religion.  You will never see me again in your halls and choirs.  Your cloisters can encase the small minded, and your curtains can fleece the fools.  But I will never bow my head to you again.

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Hello To The New Blog Editor, Same As The Old Blog Editor

This is just me testing Open Live Writer, which is what Microsoft replaced Windows Live Writer With, but didn’t mention it anywhere, but luckily some random dude did on his blog, which I happened upon after an hour and a half trying to work out why Windows Live Writer didn’t work on any of our new Windows 10 machines.  Lucky me! 


Books to read…

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Moving Forward In Spite of Doom

That last post was so full of hope and optimism!  How funny!  Now, we are a couple of weeks into the Presidency of Donald J Trump, and what is clear is that while he thinks he knows how to run a business, he hasn’t a clue how to run a government.  America has followed Europe down the right wing path, and our lovely President has issued Executive Order after Executive Order, trying to recreate US Policy single handedly, and doing nothing with the Congress, where he might face a little opposition.  Instead, he only wishes to play the role of king.  And this megalomaniac has got his finger on the button?  What the Hell happened?  Did so many people forget that during the elections?  14 days after the inauguration General Mattis threatened nuclear war with North Korea.  Trouble with that is Kim Jung Il is as bad as Trump, both believing they are indestructible, and that bad things do not happen to them.  Meanwhile, are we foolish enough to believe that China or Russia will not seize the opportunity?  Would it not be in their best interests too, seeing how there is only one country that has used nukes thus far? 

Burning Down The House is playing downstairs right now.  Yes.  Soon. 

I could go on for hours about the politics, but I need to have a space away from that because not everything is politics, and frankly, life goes on till it doesn’t anymore.  So, in the spirit of keep on keeping on. 

I am saving up some money to replace this slow old computer I have from 2009.  It is time.  I plan on going used.  I also plan on using it for relatively little.  Yes, blogging in one thing, and Photo management.  E-mail, obviously.  I need to keep the machine pretty clean for the sake of keeping it running up to spec.  I’d like an Office suite as well.  That’s about it.  If I ever do get a weather station, I would like to hook it up to the computer too.  This biggest thing is properly running my farm sites and putting up more informative things for others to read and learn.  What else is life about?  My kids, of course.  Missus too.  The farm itself, too.  Look, blogging about a farm is a popular thing to do these days.  There was hardly anyone doing it when I started in September 2010.  But even with so many people doing it, our voice and style is unique!  So, onward! 


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T’was the Night Before Election Day

Tomorrow brings an historic day, and an important day.  Tomorrow America votes, and finally puts to rest this seemingly endless charade we have called the 2016 Presidential Campaign!  And should Hillary Clinton win, then the loud, clear message will finally be heard, that the Presidency is no longer limited to only half of the inhabitants of this country.  After tomorrow, little girls will be able to dream of one day becoming the elected leader of this country, and those girls with their dreams will have to be taken very seriously.  To that end, all I want is equality and humanity! 

On the other hand, America may not vote to pass the mantle, but to toss the club to someone who will likely bash the whole nation over the collective head, and run away with all the money.

Too tired to keep going now.  Sleep required! 

Kelsey J Bacon 

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