Unrecognized Socialism


I received this Email from a fellow firefighter friend:

Rick Moran

A local neighborhood is furious after firefighters watched as an Obion County, Tennessee, home burned to the ground.

The homeowner, Gene Cranick, said he offered to pay whatever it would take for firefighters to put out the flames, but was told it was too late. They wouldn’t do anything to stop his house from burning.

Each year, Obion County residents must pay $75 if they want fire protection from the city of South Fulton. But the Cranicks did not pay.

The mayor said if homeowners don’t pay, they’re out of luck.

This fire went on for hours because garden hoses just wouldn’t put it out. It wasn’t until that fire spread to a neighbor’s property, that anyone would respond.

Turns out, the neighbor had paid the fee.

“I thought they’d come out and put it out, even if you hadn’t paid your $75, but I was wrong,” said Gene Cranick.

Bottom line: the firefighters were there and they should have put the fire out. Standing by and doing nothing was cruel.

Daniel Foster at National Review discusses some of the issues, including the moral dimension but this is really a simple matter; there are some things government should do and one of them is creating and maintaining a fire department. Voluntary participation in a fire district is stupid and self defeating. The man whose house burned down shouldn’t have been billed; he should have been taxed. And if the town didn’t have the ability to tax him, then the state, or the county, or the township should do so and pass on the money to the fire district.

Libertarianism is a fine thing – until you’re being raped or your house burns down. Then it becomes clear that there are limits to voluntary participation in government.

The following is my Rant… I mean reply.

Until just recently(last 100 years), this was the way all departments were setup. It was the precursor of fire insurance. Beats the shit out of the property tax screwing we now have. The current scheme is nothing more or less than socialism. Why should I have to pay for the equipment and staff necessary to fight the fire at a neighbor’s home because they haven’t taken the safety precautions I have.

Where I use to live some neighbors refused to cut the pretty trees near their homes, in some cases these idiots would build a wood deck AROUND a tree. On the other hand, I created hundreds of feet of defensible space. When the Missionary ridge fire came raging through, most of my neighbor’s homes were lost, but mine wasn’t. However the firefighters wasted thousands of man hours and dollars trying to save these homes that stupid choices selected to burn.

Where we currently live I have cut ACRES of defensible space around our home, I spent big bucks for top-of-the-line electrical equipment, installed my own private high volume pressurized fire hydrant, lightning rod, grounded chimneys, and other common sense fire precautions. I refuse to expect someone else to pay for my own laziness, cheapness or stupidity.

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Almost Ready


The Boy and I finished cutting our 10+ cords of firewood yesterday:

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I rebuilt our large plow’s hydraulic unit.

I harvested the potatoes a few days ago after a frost got them. The rest of the crops are all doing fine though.

This was a horrible year for potatoes (wet cold spring) and we barely doubled our seed.

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Published in: on September 13, 2010 at 1:59 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Fall Nears


Berry week didn’t work as well as I had hoped. We ended up getting about a half gallon more of raspberries and these five quarts of Elderberries for wine I’ll make this winter.

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The low temperatures have been in the thirties for almost a week now. Luckily we haven’t had any hard freezes yet, and have lost only the squash, corn, and peppers.

The Boy and I have been taking advantage of the cooler temps to put up firewood. We have about half what we need so far:

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I discovered our hot water system was thermosiphoning BTUs into our floor anytime a flow check valve I installed was open. I also discovered check valves (at least the brass ones I’ve been using) don’t really work reliably. Thermosiphoning is a truly amazing and much more efficient process than I previously believed. Three hundred more dollars to Granger, two solenoid valve bodies, two 110V 60Hz actuator coils and I fixed the problem :

Photobucket The tank temps shown are about 10 degrees below normal since I had taken a shower right before taking the pic.

Some of the girls are taking getting ready for winter more seriously than me:

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Published in: on September 1, 2010 at 11:43 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Still Busy


Here are some pics of a couple of the projects I’ve been trying to get wrapped up. Some of these were started four/five years ago.

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Published in: on July 23, 2010 at 12:41 am  Leave a Comment  
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Extreme Gardening


This time of year I’m usually busy getting the garden in. The following picture I took this morning will explain why I’m writing about gardening instead of actually doing it:
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Growing your own food above 6000 feet in the Northern Rockies is a challenge. I figured I’d be alright. Hell, I direct sowed tomatoes and hot peppers at almost 8000 feet where we use to live, even though everyone said it wouldn’t work.

Here is the history of gardening in Goat’s Gulch. Our first spring I ordered several hundred dollars worth of plants from Gurney’s, I broke sod on two 4X10 beds and planted two types of asparagus in them. I also planted over a dozen blueberry bushes, several currants, raspberries, and rhubarb plants and four apple trees. None of these plants are still alive. Even though I planted the domestic raspberries within feet of some of their wild cousins on our property they didn’t reappear the next spring. The Blueberries all died even though 70% of our 30 acres are covered with wild Huckleberries and Alpine Whortleberries both relatives of domesticated Blueberries.

The second year I dug a third bed and planted a bunch of Jerusalem Artichokes which a friend had traded me for some Whortleberries plants. Now these relatives of the Sunflower are always described as having a weed like ability to take over a garden. They all died the following year.

I dug another garden bed the second year to start running vegetables trials in. I planted all the types of root crop seeds I had. We had our first success with the Turnips, Rutabagas, Radishes and Beets. Our first (and only to date) root crop failure was with the Parsnips.

The next year I dug a fifth bed specifically for garlic that year I fall planted it; the following year I spring planted it. The Garlic hasn’t been a complete failure however it hasn’t been a complete success yet either. I will continue experimenting with it.

That third year I planted five different types of Radishes, Turnips, Rutabagas, and around six different types of Beets. Because the garden beds were so small I really pushed the limits of intensive gardening that year. My rows were spaced six inches apart and everything was planted one inch apart. I would pick “baby” beets, etc. every couple of days so there would be enough room for the others to grow. This spacing would end up screwing me with no mature roots the following year when I didn’t harvest nearly so often, but worked great this year. The third year we also had our first success with a non-root crop; lettuce. However, the cabbage we tried that year failed.

The following year (last year) we planted everything we had had success with so far; Turnips, Rutabagas, Beets, Radishes and lettuce. We also added spinach, mustard greens, several oriental greens, peas, carrots, onions and potatoes. All of these did well except the potatoes needed more time (we planted two weeks earlier this year) the peas failed to climb the lodge-pole saplings we provided for them (they are now planted along the interior fence,) and the Bok Choy bolted almost immediately. The onions did better than any other crop we have tried so far. We had a failed experimental run of green beans last year as well.

Last year I also built a separate hot bed (in a different location) for growing corn, sunflowers, and members the Cucurbitaceae Family (melons, squash, cukes.) I had huge hopes for all of these, everything had emerged in about a week and the corn was already 4 inches high when the local chipmunk population found the beds. The death toll of my baby plants in two days was only beaten by the death toll of the local chipmunk population the following week. For most of my life I’ve killed animals to eat, or to end their misery. However, never before this time had I really enjoyed the actual kill. It was like Lord of the Flies, with a lawn chair, a .22 rifle and beer.

This year we combined five of the six lower beds, and expanded them towards the south by about 12 feet. The goal is to eventually (this spring) run this area all the way to the south to the unused Jerusalem artichoke bed. I had hoped to try the upper hot bed again, but since the chickens have been scratching in there every day (the goat hay was stored in that area over the winter) I will need much more chicken wire than I current have to keep them out. We have already planted 7 rows of colored potatoes (seed we saved from last year,) five rows of onion sets (including a trial run of eight shallots,) and two rows of peas (snap, garden, and snow.)

In a few days (after this damn snow stops) we will be planting an experimental row of Fava beans (I have high hopes for this cool weather bean,) two rows of beets (mostly canners,) three rows of carrots, one row of turnips and rutabagas, and three rows of spinach.

In about a week we will be inter-planting (with the spuds and onions) experimental runs of Cabbage, Kale, Kohlrabi, and Brussels Sprouts.

On or around June 7th we will be planting our last experimental runs for the year. These include several rows of green beans inter-planted with the potatoes, two hills each of five different types of early C. pepo squash, several different types of cucumbers and four different types of corn.

A lot of people say a person can’t grow a garden up here. In a sense they are right; if a person thought they’d just throw some seeds in the ground after some sort of SHTF scenario, those people would starve. However, we have proven that if a person spends the time necessary to find out what works and what doesn’t, growing a garden here is possible.

More F-ing Snow


It’s been snowing for almost a week now. Not much is sticking, just a constant couple of inches on the ground. All the work in the garden has stopped, my hope to get the peas in the ground yesterday failed. We had planned a Mayday Party, I canceled that yesterday also. Frustration is my word of the week. There is a little bit of Sheetrock left I could do (the six inch strips on the crowns between the log rafters,) but I’m not motivated enough to do it. All I want to do is play Hobbit and get my hands in our good tilled earth and celebrate the work with an ale and some good pipe weed. Oh, well. I know spring will eventually come, it always has in the past.

On another completely different topic; I heard a great quote on a Sam Elliot movie called Gone to Texas:

A corrupt and distant government, holding power over a vast territory with a population that loves freedom and independence. That sounds to me like the very prescription for revolution.

This quote was spoken about the Mexican government when it ruled the territory of Texas. However, it reminds me of several of our States today also.

Published in: on May 2, 2010 at 9:13 pm  Comments (3)  
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Mycelium Rampaging


Those of you looking to read some more of my political agitation or short stories, will now need to wait like those who have been waiting for my self-sufficiency posts all winter. I will say happy Patriots day to all! This is the best freedom day; long before any statesmen of orators decided it was safe to declare independence collectively (July Fourth a year later), people just like you and me heard about the British coming to take their guns and plugged those bastards full of lead…but I digress.

Our family likes mushrooms and even though a lot of the gourmet types are sometimes to expensive for us too grow, I came up with a solution. I happen to own a huge wet root cellar and because of that I already have a perfect place to grown ‘shrooms.Here is the beginnings of our path to ‘shroom self-sufficiency:

One of six starters of Oysters:
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Enokitake getting ready to button:

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Blue Oysters flushing:

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Inoculating with “plug spawn:”

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About 30% of the plugs (half of my Phoenix and Chicken of the Woods) are done and here the lengths are on the way to their home:

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Here they are waiting to grow:

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Published in: on April 20, 2010 at 12:39 am  Leave a Comment  
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House Finish Work / Done Kidding


I all but got done with the sheet rock in the house prior to the Last Log Party so I’ve moved on to finish work. We found a huge set of used cabinets at Restore in Missoula a little while back for $200. These are a darkish finish on Maple and when purchased new were top of the line, judging by the hardware and joinery. The lil’ lady wants to paint the kitchen cabs, and in fact the first set in the peninsula we bought new with a white primer finish. Unfortunately she has come to like the finish on these so I guess I’ll need to learn to do faux wood finish now. We got all the cabs in the pic, 3 other uppers for the kitchen (not in the picture but installed), a whole set of uppers for the utility/laundry room, and even had an extra upper I installed in the bath.

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Before anyone asks the flag in the pics is the Bunker Hill Flag. I extended the ends of the Last Log in the railing an extra 4.5′ on either side to hang flags, garlands, hides, trophy heads, etc. The other side sports a Gadsden flag for now. The counter top (like the last one) is Gin-u-wine Colorado Pondarosa Pine (AKA Bull Pine here in MT) I and a friend milled these (and butt-loads more) from timber I bought from another friends dad. I did a hand-rubbed finish with Boiled Linseed oil (same as the other).

I finished all the shelving in the master closet this week and tomorrow we are going to finally get to the last boxes.

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I think we are done with the unplanned kidding for this winter. We had 9 kids and didn’t lose a single one, even with the sub-zero temps right after they were born.

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Published in: on January 14, 2010 at 1:34 am  Comments (4)  
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Busy time of the year comes early.


We got down to .3 degrees last night, yup one third of one degree. I blame my goats who have dropped 7 kids in the last week. Suppose to be below zero tonight. I filled all the goat houses with hay, made sure the right babies are with with the right mommas, partitioned two house to keep everything civil, and I will still worry, and be busy for days.

Published in: on January 8, 2010 at 12:44 am  Leave a Comment  
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Look What Santa Brought


One of these guys will lead a charmed life as our new billy, the other will be less fortunate and will go in the freezer. The short list of names is Feed and Seed or Heir and Spare.
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Also in current news we hosted a combined New Years and Last Log party.I invited everyone up the mountain that helped me build the house, everyone but three people made it. The Boy and I could have hung this log on the railing last week but figured everyone earned a chance to help.

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Published in: on January 2, 2010 at 8:22 pm  Comments (6)  
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