Monday, June 30, 2014

I'm a Shar-Pei... I'm a Pit Bull...

Pam and I just spent the past five days horse camping in Lake Luzerne.  I have a few good photos a few yarns to spin, but its late.  And Tuesday and Wednesday will be spent running around Troy and Albany for medical appointments, and Thursday is my neck surgery, with an overnight in the hospital.  But I'll do the best I can to keep you updated.

In the meanwhile, we had our dogs at camp.   Chevy, our mixed pit bull rescue, was a lot of entertainment for those easily amused.

This is Chevy.

This is Chevy as a Shar-Pei...

Pit bull...


Pit bull...

Seriously, you can do anything to this dog.  He loves the attention.  Pam dressed him up in a tu-tu and he was strutting his stuff.

More to come later.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Generator Problems

While living aboard our trawler in Brunswick, Georgia I bought a generator from a cruising friend.  He had it shipped here from Great Britain.  Its a cheap Chinese made generator with no identifying markings.  No manufacturer's name, no model number, no serial number.  Nothing.  But I got a good deal on it.  $1,000 for a large generator with less than one hour on it's Yanmar diesel engine.

I brought it north and stuck it at the end of our storage trailer.  I used it last year and it ran flawlessly.  I fired it up this year to power a drill to predrill holes for nailing a deck together.  After an hour, it stopped generating electricity.  The Yanmar kept running fine, but no power.  After some experimentation, I figure that its heat related.  It will generate power for a few minutes when started cold, and then it stops.

Yesterday, I decided to look inside.  This is the control panel.

This is the inside of the control panel.

Yep.  Look at all them wires...

I have a hunch that the circuit breaker may be the problem.  Why?  Because I googled it, and on the third page it was referenced as a "thermal trip" circuit breaker.

I had a hard time finding a place to buy a replacement.  I finally went to my old standby, eBay.  Are you ready for this?  $8.96 and free shipping from Hong Kong.  Free shipping?  Yep.

The U.S. Postal Service has initiated a new service with Hong Kong Post that is structured to foster growth in e-commerce. The new ePacket service expands the array of options offered to e-commerce merchants in Hong Kong seeking to reach consumer markets in the United States.

Can you believe this?  Is it any wonder that the US is flooding with cheap Chinese crap, like lousy tools at Harbor Freight, crummy merchandise at Walmart, and defective non-labeled generators?

Monday, June 23, 2014

Back In The Neck Brace

If you recall, I lost the use of 90% of my right arm about a month ago.  I went to see my doc, who sent me to an orthopedic surgeon, who looked at things, shook his head, and referred me to a neurosurgeon.

I went to the neurologist today.  He reviewed my MRIs, looked at my xrays, and declared that I needed surgery on my neck.  Something in there is pinching a nerve.  Probably two somethings, he said.   No, he didn't call them somethings.   He was spouting all kinds of medical jargon.  All I heard was blah blah blah disks blah blah blah fracture blah blah blah surgery blah blah blah I need a new sports car blah blah blah.

This is more damage from getting whacked with the tree last August.  It will be done on July 3rd.  The doc is going to remove the disks in my neck and replace them with bone grafts and screws.  I'm going to ask him to replace them with springs so I can be a bobble head.

It looks like another eight weeks in a neck brace for me.   ~sigh~.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Dog Gone Fun

We spent Sunday on our property with the dogs.  They really enjoy being able to run free.  Well, as good as one can run while wearing a tu-tu.

Our friend Trish came up with her pitbull Valiant.  Val doesn't get a chance to run too often, and when he does, he does it to the max.  It wasn't too long before he found mud.  Mud?  Where do we have mud?

Oh.  We siphon water out of the well and let it run to water the grass and apple trees.  I didn't realize that we had any  dirt there.  I though it was all rocks and stones.  I was wrong.

Trish and Pam toweled Val off as best they could.  Trish put a blanket on her car seats, loaded up Val, and that was enough fun for one day.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Where Have All the Hippies Gone?

I was around during the 1960s and the anti-Vietnam peace movement.  It was also a time of  "if it feels good, do it", "don't trust anyone over 35", and "make love, not war".  Where did all those people go?

Well, thanks to social media and Facebook, Pam and I were invited to a summer solstice party.  I found the hippies, and I mean that in the best sort of way.  We're all still here, we're just old.

Jim worked construction, and he knows what he's doing.  For his own house, he and Laurie chose straw bale, covered in cob (which is something like stucco).  Dig the moon.

The attached greenhouse, which faces south, helps solar gain, as does the stone fireplace and chimney.  Laurie built the fireplace and chimney.

The event started with everyone holding hands, and one by one giving their name and a short statement of who they were, or what they were grateful for.


Jim and Laurie's house.  Totally off the grid.

No.  Hippies haven't gone away.

On a side note, back in the 1960s there was a radical left group called "Students for a Democratic Society", or SDS.  On Facebook, I found "Seniors for a Democratic Society".  See?  We've just all gotten older.  But we still care.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Stacking Photos

Bleecker has no light pollution.  It would be a perfect place to put an observatory.  Of course, Hubble made those obsolete, but still.

Below are three photos.  The top two are 30 second exposures.  The last one is many 30 second exposures "stacked".  The reason for the difference in exposure (brightness) is that the first one stacked was taken right after dusk.  The next was the last one I took.  The third is a composite of all of them.

I'm night blind, so night photography, for me, is both challenging and wonderful.  Just look at all I'm missing!

Off to the doctor tomorrow (Friday) for nerve evaluation.  It looks like I might be headed off to a neurosurgeon in Albany on Monday.  My right arm is only running at 5%.  I can't even lift a can of beer with it.  They might kick me out of Bleecker.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Drinking Wine In The Adirondacks. Drink Fast.

This afternoon, Pam and I visited our friend James who has a lovely place on Canada Lake.  We sat on his porch drinking chardonnay and discussed everything from the Adirondack Park to, well, just about everything.

I guess we spent too much time talking and not enough time drinking because this happened....

Yes.  That would be ice in the wine.

OK OK.  It wasn't really that cold.  I brought that bottle of wine and it was warm, and so I asked James to put it in his freezer.  It must be set for -50F because within a couple of hours it was frozen solid.  James had to microwave it to thaw it out.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Don't Sit Under the Apple Tree With Anyone Else But Me...

Today Pam and I hied ourselves over to the property to plant the apple trees and blueberry bushes we bought the other day from Harnish Brothers Nursery in Gloversville.  We would have done it sooner, but we had rain, and I had a day of a 24 hour bug.

Pam laid out the trees where she wanted them.

I backed the tractor up, lowered the auger, and engaged the PTO.

Even though we were drilling through rock and gravel, I had a hole in only a few minutes.   It would have taken considerably longer with a shovel.

On hole number three, I broke a shear bolt.  The shear bolt is designed to break before something expensive does.  I broke two on hole number three.  Too many rocks.

We then dug holes for the three blueberry bushes.  This was in dirt, no rocks.  Each hole took about ten seconds.

It feels good to be getting things planted.  Next up, finish the deck, and then the barn.  I need to regain the use of my right arm before the barn, though.  Doctor's appointment on Friday.

Monday, June 16, 2014


Tonight (Monday night) was clear and the stars were brilliant.  Bleecker has zero light pollution, and since I'm night blind, I like to go out and take a few photos to see what I'm missing.  I set my exposure to eight seconds.  Anything longer than that and the stars get elongated.   During that time, I've gotten meteors and airplanes.

I downloaded my photos and was reviewing them when I came across this one.  What?

No, I wouldn't get too excited.  I doubt its a UFO.  The fireflies were out in abundance, and I think one got between my camera lens and the stars.  Of course, the color is a bit off, and maybe...

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Post Hole Digger

Pam and I hied ourselves to Tractor Supply in Gloversville today to buy a post hole digger for Bessie the tractor.  We bought four apple trees and a few blueberry bushes that need planting.  Since I wanted a post hole digger anyway, this was as good a time as any to buy one to help with digging the holes.

The pic above was snatched from Tractor Supply's website since I (again) left my camera home.

We got it and the apple trees home in Jeremiah's horse trailer.  Since I can't lift much of anything, Pam and I assembled it together, she providing the needed muscle.  As it turns out, my PTO (power takeoff on the tractor) is 1 1/8" and the drive for the auger is 1 3/8".  The gearbox also has no gear oil in it.  So, we couldn't plant the trees.  Tomorrow Pam or I will hie ourselves back to Tractor Supply to get the PTO adapter and gear oil.  It would be nice if the sales clerks knew something about what they were selling and could have sold us everything that we needed.

This should save us a lot of work digging, not only for the trees but for concrete pilings for the barn and such.  And I suppose I should buy a few spare shear pins seeing as how Bleecker is nothing but rocks.

Saturday, June 14, 2014


A Rosy Maple (Dryocampa Rubicunda).  Pretty.

We usually only see drab brown ones like this.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Lilly The Fawn Update

I saw this on Facebook this morning...

Willy, the fawn from Bleeker , who was walking on his hocks from vita min deficiencies is doing excellent!

It seems that Sarah decided that Lilly needed to be Willy.  I suppose I'll let that slide since she's doing a wonderful job caring for him.

Sarah now has 14 fawns, in addition to all the other critters she's caring for, including bottle feeding a baby fisher.  You can find Sarah on Facebook here, and on the web here.   And yes, she appreciates monetary donations if you are able and so inclined;

For those wanting to make monetary donations they can be mailed to:

Avian Experience/ Sarahs birds of prey
61 Elmwood Ave, Suite 130
Gloversville, NY 12078 

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Solar Battery Charger

The batteries in the RV are dead.  Flat.  All three, including the starting battery.  There is a switch to isolate the starting battery from the house batteries, but its defective.  The only thing using power in the RV was the refrigerator.  Even though it was running on gas, there must be a 12 volt cooling fan in there or something.

I intended to start my diesel generator to run the battery charger, but there is an issue with that.  After a few minutes, it stops generating power.

A few days ago, I ordered a solar battery charger off  It arrived this afternoon.  It was cloudy and lightly raining, but I decided to hook it up anyway.  It immediately started generating power and charging the batteries, even though there was no sign of the sun anywhere.  I couldn't even see a bright spot in the sky where it was supposed to be.

Especially since our cabin will be small and three season,  I'm going to power it with solar, for sure.  We'll use propane for the stove, hot water, refrigerator, and dryer.  We'll use generator electricity for heavy loads, like a washing machine.  Anyone know the power draw of a deep well pump?   Anything I'm forgetting?

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Setting Poles For The Pole Barn

No, we're not quite there yet, but I am watching videos on YouTube about doing it.  I found this one to be especially entertaining.  Enjoy.

In other news, we're shopping for a farm truck.  It must already be beat to crap, be dented all over, and preferably rusty.  We'll use it a few months a year to fetch hay, pick up lumber and such, and to ferry the dogs from the Unabomber Cabin to our property.

By the way, the dogs have learned the words "do you want to go to the property?".  As soon as we say it, all three get very excited, jump up and down, and then run to the car.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Country Living

I love living in the country.

Spooky, Sassy's last kitten, is really coming into his own.  He's playful and getting into everything.  

I guess we've decided to keep this last kitten.  At least that's what I've been told by Pamela.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Sunday, In Photos

On Drift Away's blog, one of the most popular posts were the photo days.  If I didn't have anything in particular to report on, I'd just go stand on the flybridge for an hour with my camera, and enough interesting things would pass by to make a blog.  That is no longer the case.

I decided that our 10 x 10 screen house needed to be on a deck, so I went to Kingsboro Lumber in Gloversville and ordered what I needed.  I can't swing a hammer, so Pamela performed that function

We nailed the frame together, along with the joist hangers, and then carried it over to where the screen house was, after first removing the screen house.  We leveled it, nailed in the floor joists, and decked it.

We put the screen tent on it and put in the furniture.  I'm going to build a 5 x 10 addition on the left side for the BBQ grill and table.  I also started filling around the bottom with stones and rocks.  Not only for support, but also to keep critters like skunks out.

I drilled pilot holes in the decking so when Pam pounded in the nails that the decking wouldn't split.  After a couple of hours, the generator stopped generating power.  Long story short, there is some kind of problem with the generator and heat.  When cold, it produces power fine, but after ten minutes or so, it cuts out.  I'm baffled.

In the pic below, you can see the generator on the left side, aft end of the trailer.  The light is on to show me that it's producing power.  When the light goes off, I turn the generator off.

I wanted to run the generator to top off the RV batteries, so that we could use the RV refrigerator.  Because of the generator problem, I ordered a small 8 watt solar panel to keep the RV batteries topped up.

Since I don't have a flybridge to photograph cool stuff, I sat in our screen house with my camera to see what I could find.  Sorry, this is the best I could do.

It's not a friggin' pelican, but it is a flying animal.

I think the only excitement was when Pam lit the grill and started a grease fire.

I also noticed an ant with either a bee or horsefly.

Yeah, I know.  Pretty lame.  But we play the cards we're dealt.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Mike Davidson

I mentioned about recently reconnecting with long lost cousins thanks to Al Gore's internets and Facebook.   One of my cousins married name is Sharon Davidson.  She recently posted that her husband's name is Mike.  That's hysterical!   Why, you ask?   This was my Facebook post to her...

Your husband's name is Michael?? LOL!! Let me tell you why.

When I had my own business, I was inundated with telemarketing calls. They asked for the person responsible for everything from toner supplies to our telephone service. I didn't want to be rude and didn't hang up on them, but they were encroaching seriously into my day. Finally, I made up a phony employee. Mike Davidson was responsible for, well, all of that stuff.

So eventually, all those phone calls started asking for Mike Davidson. He was always out. You just missed him. He's out to lunch. He's getting a hair cut.

Finally, we started having a lot of fun with it. "We don't know where Mike is, but if you can track down that bastard, you let me know. He ran off to Puerto Rico with the boss's daughter and the payroll."

Or "He just got back from lunch, but as usual, he's too drunk and incoherent to talk to."

If your husband has been getting any odd telephone calls, I apologize.

I present this as a public service to you followers of Bleecker Mountain Life.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Mama Turkey

Pam and I were driving up the mountain the other day when we came across a mother turkey and her flock of poults (baby turkeys).  I pulled over and, for once, I  had my camera with me.  It even had the 300mm telephoto lens on.  Mama saw me coming and herded her flock into the tall grass.   I managed to get this pic just as the last of the pouts hit the grass.

I heard the poults peeping, but when I got close, mama somehow told them to shut up, which they did.  With her babies safely hidden, mama made sure I saw her.

She then ran out into the road, distracting me from the poults.

When I started to retreat back to the car, mama slowly made her way back to her flock.

I thought this was a very brave thing for mama turkey to do, and showed me that a mother's protective instinct is demonstrated by all animals.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Meet Lilly the Fawn

Pam's mom Judi found a fawn while driving a friend home here in Bleecker. They watched it for ten minutes or so, walking down Lilly Lake Road and blatting for it's mother. They decided it must have been orphaned, grabbed it, and brought it to our Unabomber Cabin for vet tech Pam to check out.

 I know of a wildlife rescuer and rehabilitation place called Avian Experience / Sarah's Birds of Prey in Gloversville and called. We dropped it off tonight. On the ride there, we named her Lilly since she was found on Lilly Lake Road. Sarah checked him over and said he's about a week old, slightly dehydrated and vitamin deficient. She thinks that because he was found early, he has a good chance at making it. Sarah will bottle feed him until he's weaned and then give it to one of three does she has on site to finish raising it, and then he will be released back to the wild.
Yes, that's right. Lilly is a he. Just like the song A Boy Named Sue.  He'll grow up tough.

But what a beautiful boy, isn't he?

Fawns have absolutely no scent, and when their mothers leave to forage, they're to remain hidden under cover and to stay absolutely motionless.  This was born out when we let the dogs back into the cabin.  Pam was holding Lilly, and the dogs didn't sense him at all.   They didn't sniff around the cabin, nor did they sniff Pam.  No scent.

If you come across a fawn in the wild, leave it be.  It is what deer do.  The fawn stays put while mama grazes.  Do NOT "rescue" it, because it doesn't needing rescuing.  Lilly did, unfortunately.  We've been hearing coyotes again, and I have to wonder if that's what got Lilly's mom.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Star Trails

We're back in Bleecker, so yep.  Its time for star trails.

This was 85 30 second exposures.  I can't get shots like this in Florida, where the north star is too low and  there's too much light pollution.  Bleecker is perfect.