Saturday, July 22, 2023

New Toy on the Way

My life since I moved to the country and got livestock has been pretty boring. Enriching for me, but boring for others. This blog for example; the more of my current state of being and activities I share, the fewer readers. My readers liked reading about how I got caught in a hailstorm at 12,000 feet while on a hopelessly ambitious mountain bike adventure. Firewood, not so much.

By the way, my firewood is a completed project. Yesterday I split the last bit and tarped the enormous pile. Which is neat, but don't go away! That's not what this is about.

I have been mumbling about doing this for a while and now I've done it. I just ordered a Talaria Sting R MX4. I already have a motorcycle. It's a Yamaha WR250R which looks like a dirt bike, but is really more of an ADV or adventure bike. It's awesome for exploring the vast network of dirt roads in Colorado. But it's heavy and underpowered. And it doesn't have sophisticated suspension like a YZ250 does. I like it, and I'm keeping it, but it's not a singletrack bike. This new sled is going to be a game changer. 

Battery driven electric. It only weighs 145 lbs. My Yamaha is 300. It's lighter than a Yamaha YZ125 2 stroke which weighs 210, and that's about as light as it gets for a gas powered dirt bike. But what's really compelling to me as a rider is that there are no gear selections, no clutch, no constantly monitoring your RPM for power band and appropriate gear selections. Just apply throttle for go, apply brakes for slow.

Stoke is high. I can get on the Rainbow Trail 3 miles up a county road from my house. Can't wait.

Maybe having and riding it will make my blog readable again.

Monday, July 17, 2023

A Day in the Woods

 I got another load of wood! It was awesome. In ways.

This place I'm gathering is not Forest Service, it's in a subdivision called Trail West above Buena Vista (which I pronounce "Bee Vee"). The woodcutters have been cutting it to stove length and stacking it. Many of the stumps have been cut down to be able to drive over. But not all of them.

I got a solid load on the trailer and was ready to exit the premises. I made a bit of a mistake in route planning. A stump, not huge and not really high, presented itself as a problem. I failed to give the stump his due. First he destroyed my trailer jack. I mean, fixable. But not optimal. Then he caused my trailer's axle to stop. Hard stop. I did a little 4-wheel low struggle for control, but it was a fail. The stump was winning.

So then I decided to wage war on the stump. I produced the only saw I brought (!?), my cordless Milwaukee 16". I had to work on it with the trailer in the way. The stump proved to be an incredibly dense piece of wood. Like a chunk of granite. Sweating and swearing I worked that fucker, then thanks to awkward angles the chain jumped off. I went to get the integrated tool that's used to disassemble the saw and saw that at some point in the past I failed to put it back where it goes. OK. Game over on making the stump pay for its insolence. 

Out came my truck's emergency jack. I jacked up the trailer as far as the jack would go and put a vertical chunk of firewood in place to hold it up. I put a rail of tree wood under the tire on that side. Then I put the jack on the floor of the truck and yanked that fucker out of there.

Trailer seems fine other than the jack. Like I said, fixable.

Drove the hour home and parked the rig. As I walked past the truck on the drivers side I saw a stick in the front tire. I pulled it out. Air started to leak out.  

Sad panda.

But what I nice load of wood!

As a wise man once said, "Sometimes you eat the bar, and sometimes, the bar eats you."

Saturday, July 15, 2023



After a wet May and a mild June, July brought the heat. Not news to any of us really, because it's been on the news. 

So far it's stayed at or below the low 90's here at Casa Cabras Pequeñas, but that's hot as fuck at this elevation if the sun is shining and you are not in shade. The Weather Service is forecasting 99 for Monday. 95 for Tuesday.

The sun seems so damn powerful right now. It has been increasingly hot from my own perspective, and of course I could be wrong and it's just like it's always been. 

I saw Sheree, my dermatologist recently and she asked me if I wear sunscreen, and I immediately blurted out the truth, "I hate sunscreen." She didn't scold me, but told me to get and wear sun-protective clothing. She said J2, our local tech clothing company was selling some nice ones. I got a hoody and started wearing it when in the sun. I have been working, splitting firewood, fixing fences, etc and I try to start early. But I sweat buckets, especially wearing the sunproof hoodie. I just went the other day and bought another one. As little as I enjoy wearing it I do wear it and having only one means it's always going to be sweaty and nasty.

The dogs sleep through the middle of these hot days. The moo cows refuse to come out from under a bush that overhangs the ditch. They stand or lay in the ditch in the shade all damn day. My goats amaze me. In the middle of the day they lay in the open sun even though shade is available. Nutty. 

So far this post has been me bitching about the heat. But no, it's going to continue with me bitching about how completely in denial the human race is about climate change. I mean people, New York and Vermont major unprecedented flooding. Mississippi flooding. Canadian wildfires flaring. Fatal heat across the southern part of 'Merica, certainly Mexico though that doesn't make news, and now I hear Europe. Massive losses of Antarctic ice. 

People. It all has to fucking change. Until we can figure out how to make travel carbon neutral, we ALL need to do A LOT less of it. Next winter we need to take Jimmy Carter's advice and put on a fucking sweater. I think we're reaching a tipping point, which is an event or series of events that cause a trend that was moving gradually to begin moving rapidly. 

This is on my mind. Sorry if it's tedious. If you got all the way here, thanks for reading.

Saturday, July 1, 2023

Problems for young people to solve. A geezer's perspective.

There are some big doozy problems in the world nowadays. Global Warming is the likely winner among existential disasters coming down the pike to kill and destroy.

I know, some readers will with every justification put up an immediate thumbs down about me delving into politics and bummer shit. K. Sorry.

I wanted to point out some things that the younger generations are going to need to deal with, particularly here in 'Merica. I'm not going to do the obvious and bellyache about climate change and how much nicer it was back when I was a whippersnapper. I choose to bring up some things that should be obvious but obviously are not.

The United States Senate

A great deal of power resides in the Senate. The Supreme Court nightmare we have right now is a direct result of Senate power being used by ideologues who are not representative of the United States' population.

The Senate is un-democratic. Every state gets two representatives. California gets 2 and Wyoming gets 2. I lived in Wyoming for four years and married a native (oops). I promise you, it is a FAR simpler place than California with far simpler problems and culture.

The framers of the Constitution could have never imagined that we'd have a Wyoming and a California. Or a New York and a North Dakota. In their world, it made sense for each sovereign state to have a strong voice in that body. But damn. So many low-population, low-tech, less educated states have an equal say. Which is, for example, why we can't do anything about guns.

One of two things needs to happen: the structure of that body needs to change to be more representative or the big states need to break themselves up.

Driving and flying

First-world people and Americans in particular feel very entitled to travel around as much as they can afford to, as if there were no side effect. We drive stupidly big vehicles, we're willing to drive them really far even for just a weekend, and when we go to work we go by ourselves in those big honkin' F350s. 

Air travel is out of control. It's a HUGE consumer of fossil fuels. If you fly in an airplane especially for pleasure more than once every couple years you are having a big impact on the planet, even though nobody really talks about that.

The freedom to own your own vehicle has been part of first world culture for over 100 years. Generations of us have loved our freedom buggies. I have owned 11 of them, Eleven! I have lots of good memories from tooling around the American West in my various rigs.

The material, water, and carbon cost of manufacturing internal combustion or electric vehicles is a significant portion of their total lifespan cost. If you buy one new off the lot, depending on how efficient it is the carbon cost for it's full lifetime will already be 30-60% incurred. If it's gas or diesel and you put gas and oil in it and burn that up, and tires, etc. for 10 or 20 years and 80-200 thousand miles, the consumptive output of greenhouse gases will be on the same order of magnitude as what it took to build the damn thing.

Now we've glommed on to the idea that the electric vehicle is our savior. We'll be able drive anywhere, for any trivial reason whenever we want. Like always. So we all need to sell our dinosaur-juice rigs and get shiny new EVs. We'll scorch earth to provide a new EV for every first world driveway on the whole planet. And all the internal combustion ones will still be on the road until utterly worn out, blowing blue smoke.

Time to change this paradigm homo sapiens.

As I say, this is for the new generations to solve. All of it. Fixing the Senate could help us do things like clean up the Supreme Court, who went on their own scorched earth tirade this week. Solving the travel-on-a-whim problem would change the way the whole world works in a way that I think would slow us down and make us more thoughtful. And cleaner. We would focus on being here rather than on going there.

If we don't do anything radical to turn around our carbon problem, blue death may come from the sky to find us all and end the problem. Floods have already shocked much of the world. And fires. I've seen it change in my 50+ years observing. It's changed. But especially in the last 10 years. It's changing faster now.

Happy Independence Day!