friday, january 22nd, 2010
tere are certain perennial bulbs & flowers which, regardless of weather conditions, emerge and prosper. Foremost amongst them are Daffodils (Narcissus); then the Species Tulips, 1000x nicer than anything Holland can manage to breed, IMO. There are also "SnowDrops" (Galanthus Nivalis) and, Leucojum and Acis species. And then there are the myriad Crocus Species, numbering in the thousands.
The crappy "Holland Tulips" aren't worth 10¢ of your time in a garden. They grow too tall, fall-over in a wet snow or ice storm, and are fodder for rabbits & squirrels. Pure junk. Buy the Species Tulips and Daffodils; you'll never be disappointed! I promise!
Around The Garden Center™
My first attempt at a "virtual vacation" lasted less than a day; I shouldn't have even taken the damned cellphone. I got a call about a Remy 11-87 Sportsman Autoloader 12ga for sale from a friend, and "came back" to see it, and to another burst water pipe in the Main GH. I own a Remy 870 Express Pump 12ga, and would like to add that other unit to my collection. I'll be "leaving for the "virtual cabin" again at 2pm today, Saturday, and stay at least 1-2 days and nights, sans cellphone, this time.
For a few days and nights, it almost felt like Spring: temps in the mid-to-upper 40s, rain instead of snow and ice, and a real reason to clean-up the Jeep. I walked into the Main GH at 10:30am on Friday, only to find another broken water pipe spewing a 15ft geyser into the center of the structure. I quickly ran to the pump house, and shut its valve down. Alan arrived at around 1pm, did the GH4 water pipe repairs, and them helped me to sweep the water out of the Main GH, and scrub the silt and iron stains down the drains from the concrete floor.
Saturday was uneventful, as I worked on copy for the Open House post card and 3 ads, for next Tuesday's meeting with NeFra Graphics, in East York. And since I have Sundays off, and Monday is a national holiday, I'm heading out to my *virtual cabin* for some R&R, sans cellphone and all electronics.
No more Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, Michael Savage, state-controlled MSM media, Newspapers (never read 'em, anyway), TV and the like. NO MORE!
My "Virtual Cabin" Getaway™: A Novella.
Since it was a 2½-day weekend, with the national holiday on Monday, I "left" at mid-afternoon on Saturday and arrived at my 1,500ft driveway, and with the Jeep, in AWD, made short work of the drifts. Dusk was beginning to fall quickly. I pulled the Jeep into the lean-to, right next to the kitchen's side door. I drew my Kimber .45, chambered a round, checked for broken or jimmied windows, entered the cabin and checked all rooms & closets with my drawn Kimber 1911 .45cal; all was quiet, to make sure it was "unoccupied" and safe for me. The snow depth was still at 12-16", despite near-20s temps. I have Accu-Trac on the 2002 Jeep; no sweat. I quickly unloaded supplies as temps began falling into the teens. The LPG-powered generator kicked-on with the flick of a switch, so I decided to get the oversized hearth fire underway.
In another box, I had 50+ 8-10" x 3" candles, just in case the electricity failed. The back-up generator never had a problem, as long as it was adequately-fueled. "Be Prepared" (Eagle Scout Class of 1962), I always say. I had 10-yrs of dehydrated foods, water extraction systems and a "Survival Seed Bank", just in case things got out-of-hand in America, for storage at the cabin. All were carefully-stored for future usage, if needed. And all were packed away in shelves, the larder and closets, for future "visits". I brought several cases of ammo, in 5 calibers, from the many calibers I've brought over the past 2-3 years: .45cal ACP, (AR-15) .223/.556 NATO, (AR-10 .308) 7.62 x 51mm NATO, 2¾" & 3" .00 buck and sabots/slugs, plus my "BOB" (bug-out-bag), which I always carry in my Jeep, to re-plenish and re-organize.
I went out to the firewood shed just off the back porch, and grabbed several large armloads of split-wood, and used my Eagle Scout (Class of 1962) skills, to get a roaring-fire underway. I brought-in a dufflebag full of firearms and ammo. Then came a soft suitcase of fresh clothes for my stay. Next, in came the coolers of food, canned goods and fresh vegetables. Within 15 minutes, all lights were on, and the fire was roaring. I stowed the perishable goods in the 17cuft 'fridge and freezer, stocked the shelves, and headed to the Master Bedroom to make-up my bedding. After an evening of drinking 50-year old brandy or 30-year old scotch, smoking hand-rolled Cuban cigars and reading some long-overdue books, I want to be able to climb right into bed and go to sleep; not have to deal with making-up beds at that later time.
The quiet was almost mesmerizing, compared to what I was used to on a daily basis: no electronic anythings! QUIET! It was snowing again outside, and I could hear the "Sounds of Silence" playing in my head, and fell in love with it, once more. Two squirrels were playing on the cabin's roof; hoo-rah for them!
I pulled-up one of the plush, comfy leather chairs in front of the hearth, and picked-though a large stack of books I'd brought along: "Rescuing Sprite", "Common Sense", ""Domestic Enemies", "Enemies Foreign and Domestic", "Foreign Enemies", "The Origin of Consciousness In The Breakdown Of The Bicameral Mind", "What Is My Cat Thinking?", "Psychological Nudity", "The Political Zoo", "Liberalism Is A Mental Disorder", "The Savage Nation", "The Enemy Within", "Unintended Consequences", "Shelley's Poetry & Prose". Actually, that's 1-3 years of reading, BTW; it's not 2-3 days! And I'll work my way through them all, now that I have new glasses/trifocals.
As I stand by the front window, watching it snow heavily, I've laid-out my dufflebag of weapons and ammo on the massive wooden dining room table, loaded mags and positioned the Remy 870 Tactical 12ga, Kimber 1911 .45cal ACP (on my hip), Beowulf .50cal, AR-15 (.553 NATO/.226 Remington) Class III (with short barrel & silencer) and 40-round mags, and AR-10 (7.92x51mm NATO) with 25 round mags. Ready at a grasp; ready-to-go-and-use. But I digress.
I broiled two Allen Bros 8oz filet mignons,topped with Bleu Cheese, grilled an onion, two peppers charred-black and peeled/ sliced them, made fresh garlic-smashed potatoes, heated a loaf of Italian Garlic bread, and unfrosted a Key Lime Pie. It was wondrous! I turned-in around 10:45pm. Much more to do tomorrow. I turned-off the porch light, at 10:15pm. Both BRs have a queen-sized bed, with fresh linens, soft woolen blankets and down comforters, as well as down pillows. It was a pleasure to go to sleep.
More snow, sleet & rain at 10am, when I woke-up. The fire needed stoking and I threw a few logs on it. I turned the cabin thermometer from 50°F, back up to 75°F, and soon all was warm and comfy. No news, no politics, no BS. Nice; exactly what I needed.
I shaved, showered, made gourmet coffee, French Toast, Canadian Bacon and Eggs Benedict, and dressed for the cold, fired-up the Jeep and drove into the small town to get a carton of Marlboros. Everyone in the place had a Blackberry, iPhone, laptop, and the TV was blaring the latest disaster headlines from Haiti. I got a few askance looks from the regulars, but nothing to worry about. They now know I carry a Kimber 1911 .45ACP, as I retrieved my wallet from under my winter parka, my Galco Paddle Holster w/.45 was well-exposed, so I got my cigs and a few other staples for my larder, and left.
On the 15-mile drive back to the cabin, I noticed a small mutt sitting at the side of the snow-covered road, shivering and staring-me-down. I stopped, and walked around the vehicle to examine him. He had tags, but was wet, the fur was stiff and frozen and scared. I got a blanket from the back of the Jeep, wrapped him in it, and put him in the passenger seat, determined not to let him die a hypothermic death. We arrived at the cabin, and I dried *her* off, fed her some fried Canadian Bacon and cooked corned beef hash. She was grateful. Without my cellphone, there was no way to contact her owners and let them know she was okay and being cared-for. I'd have to make another trip into town and ask the folks there to do it, before I leave for "reality".
Although I'm a "cat person", this mutt took to me like glue, licking my face and hands constantly, and then finally curling-up on the Kodiak bearskin in front of the yawning fireplace. Her belly was full, she was worn-out from her cold ordeal (I checked her nose, ears, paws and tail, and there was no cold damage; she was lucky) and just glad to be out of the storm, with someone who cared for her. I could feed her like a queen with filet mignons & veggies and eggs, for the next 1¼ days, until I had to leave. I had a large bowl of water for her. No sense in going back into town and buying crappy canned dogfood; she'd get the best at my table. Question: how often do dogs need to go outside and "do their business"? I just hoped she'd let me know. And she did, by sitting by the back door and barking. Hell, I have two condo cats with their own litter boxes, and they "go" when they need to. This was going to be a new experience. I refused to go back out and pick-up her poop; it can stay there until April for all I care. No fricking township or city ordinances here!
I went out to check the snow depth on the cabin's two roofs, and the howling wind had moved most of it off. No need to shovel. So, back inside to continue reading. I put the book down and started taking stock of my life and myself. I grabbed a yellow tablet and the Mont Blanc "Meisterstuck Legrand" Fountain Pen, which Dad had given me for my 50th Birthday. I drew a line down the center, and began making lists. I'd soon filled-up 3 pages of "things which I was thankful for" and "some other things which I needed to atone for and correct". Daunting, to say the least.
Mrs. Mutt was waking-up now, and went to the back door, turned her head to me, and gently barked. I opened the door, and she scampered outside to "do her business". Within 5 minutes, I head another bark, and she was back inside. Amazingly, she'd cleared a 10'x10' area down to the grass, on the leeward side of the woodshed, for her "business". I was impressed at her improvision. She was covered in show and ice; I toweled her off before letting her back inside. Time for dinner. I made two filet mignons, asparagus w/ Hollandaise (for me), braised a small onion, carrots, peas and tea (for me). I made two hardboiled eggs for her to go with her steak. She gratefully ate everything except the Hollandaise and tea, licking her chops and lapping her water bowl. As I did the dishes, I could feel her rub against my calf, as if to say "thanks".
Mrs. Mutt closely reminded me of a beloved mutt our Family had adopted back in the mid-50s, called "Rags". Mutts are the best dogs you can own; loyal to a "t", protective, loving and always forgiving. Our "Rags" ran away one July 4th night, as fireworks were going-off all over Huntington, WVa, and we never found her again. I spent days and days walking through yards and neighborhoods, calling her, to no avail. She'd had a newborn-pup call "Caesar" (born by caesarean section) that she took with her, and we never found a trace of either of them. I was heartbroken.
I stoked the fire, and chose another book to read, while Mrs. Mutt found her place on the bearskin, and went to sleep. I read for 4-5hrs, and continued to make entries on the yellow pad for my "thankful/atone" list. The winds howled, and the snow was horizontal — emblematic of a blizzard — and I knew I'd have to do some shoveling in the morning, since I had to leave late tomorrow afternoon-evening, for scheduled meetings on both Tuesday and Wednesday. I wasn't looking forward to relinquishing Mrs. Mutt to the folks at the small town store, since we'd bonded in such a short time. But "reality is reality", whether real or virtual. I turned-down the heat to 50°F, and let the hearth fire die back, slowly closing the damper to conserve heat in the cabin. I locked the doors, turned-off the front porch light, took my Kinber & Remy 870 into the BR, climbed into bed, and soon felt Mrs. Mutt ensconce herself at the foot of my bed.
Although Monday was the lying, plagiarist, womanizing, communist, lowlife dirtbag MLK's "Un-Holiday", I'd have to cut short my total days at the "virtual cabin", since I had scheduled meetings on both Tuesday and Wednesday, and had to pack-up the cabin, take Mrs. Mutt to the small town store, and find her owner(s), and get back to conduct my company's business. But I was going to enjoy what was left of Monday. I'd decided to leave early on Tuesday, after one more good night's "virtual sleep".
I fed Mrs. Mutt some steak & eggs, put her into the Jeep, and went out for a drive. I didn't even turn-on the radio to hear what was happening in "the world". I didn't want to know. The plows had been through once again and the drifted areas were back under control. Up ahead, I saw a rusted-out, bashed-up, rusted-out 1999 Nissan Pathfinder pulled over on the shoulder, slowed down and stopped to see if I could help. Now knowing what was truly ahead, I unholstered my Kimber, chambered a round, put the safety on, and kept the gun in my lap. It was a poor local family with 6 kids, whose battery had finally given-up the ghost. We tried jumping the two batteries, but their solenoid wouldn't even crank-over. It was toast. I told them to stay put, and I'd drive to town and alert the Shell gas station owner, so he could bring a new battery for them. Luckily, he was open, I gave him $75 for the battery and road-call, he threw a new battery and some tools into the tow-truck, and made haste back to their location.
Not much to this small town, named "Adam's Junction": a nice, clean family diner (where GW Bush was rumored to have stopped for a cheeseburger), Shell gas station, ACE hardware, doctor's office, lawyer's office, 5¢ & 10¢ Walgreen's store, Country Home real estate, NAPA auto store, medium-sized, family-run grocery, small family-run butcher's shop, and a pretty small neighborhood of well-kept homes, plus a Police Station and Jail. It wasn't as rural as I'd expected, but I knew there would be dozens of cabins like mine, in the wooded areas. Maybe many more than dozens.
After Mrs. Mutt and I arrived back home, and she ran back behind the cabin "to do her business", I noticed that black '99 Pathfinder coming up my driveway. Uh-oh, I muttered, not fully-thinking what might be coming. The father and oldest boy were in the front seats, and stopped a respectful distance from my from porch. He got out and indicated that he was unarmed, walked toward me, and handed my the $75 I'd paid the Shell station owner for the new battery and road service call.
"You're a "virtual visitor" up here, aren't you? Well, we know your background and who you really are, appreciate your help, and I can see you're a good man, but I can pay for my own new battery and install, especially since my brother owns the Shell station. Brian, the Sheriff, checked you out very carefully just after your arrival. So here's your money back, and our family would like to invite you to Christmas Dinner, next year, as "thanks" for your kindness to us and to the dog. I was stunned. "I was just trying to help you all", I said. "I'm Matt Smith, the Mayor, here, and my family and I will never forget what you've done for us. Please be our family's guest at Christmas Dinner, next year?", he almost pleaded. I said that it would be my distinct honor and they could count on it.
He noticed Mrs. Mutt sitting by my front porch. "She wandered-out in Friday morning's blizzard, and we'd given her up for lost. But we knew when we saw you drive through town, that she was in good hands and was being well taken cared of." I told him that I planned to "leave" early Tuesday morning, bring her into the general store first thing, for her owners to reclaim, and be on my way back to "reality". I'd like just more night of her curling-up at the hearth, and sleeping at the foot of my bed. He understood, and said he'd tell his wife, whose mutt it was.
Darkness was quickly falling, as were the temps, so I grabbed some split logs from the shed, moved the Jeep under the lean-to, called the dog inside, turned-on the front porch light, stoked the fireplace and began making dinner for us. I had one book to finish reading tonight, and then I could call it a successful "virtual weekend". I also wanted to turn-in early, as I needed to get an early start back to "reality", as Tuesday held a full schedule. Mrs. Mutt curled-up on the bearskin and I settled into the comfy leather chair with a "neat glass" of 50-yr old Brandy and a hand-rolled, Cuban cigar.
The snow fell, winds howled, and I finally figured out, "What Is My Cat Thinking?", after reading that book. I have dozens of unread for my next, upcoming trips to my "virtual cabin getaways". I'm planning 1-2 trips per month, after this wonderful experience.
I was up early on Tuesday, shut-down the cabin, re-loaded the Jeep and drove Mrs. Mutt into town, to get her re-acquainted with her real owners. The store owners knew her and to whom she belonged. I bought a coffee for the "trip", and left. They were happy to get her back, and I was happy to get moving back to "reality". I had a whole pile on my "real desk", and needed to get to it.
Back to "reality!"...
Sure enough, computer, cellphone, TV etc were all there waiting for me, as was the world news, all to my dismay. Life was much simpler and more enjoyable for those few days I had been "virtually alone".
I had the 2010 Open House Postcard, 2-3 print ads, a new, expanded mailing list and a few dozen other things to get ready, by Tuesday afternoon, for my meeting at NeFra. My "virtual cabin vacation" had usurped a good 2-3 days of activity on my part, so I was scrambling to get caught-up.
I bought the Remy 11-87 Sportsman Autoloader 12ga for $400; a steal, IMO. Since it's classed as a "long gun", a simple Bill of Sale drawn-up by me, will suffice, and I did just that for Lee & I. Done deal; it's mine now.
"Apocalypse Man" on The History Channel was excellent, Tuesday evening. I stayed-up way too late to watch it, and my butt was dragging all day Wednesday.
Mark was in to save Dad's old HP laptop data to thumb drives, and add-in 2Gb RAM to the new HP laptop we're now using for the company's QuickBooks payroll and bill paying. Dad's 5-yr old HP unit needs more RAM and a new HD, which Mark will take care of by next Thursday, when he returns to set-up my new HP desktop office unit, with Win-7 Pro. I'm still backing-up data and locating apps, and should be ready for him on Thursday.
Another Nor'Easter is forming down in Florida, and is set to come up the coast tonight and smack us early Friday morning. It looks like we'll again be on "the cusp" of whether it's 1-2" or 3-5"; hopefully, we'll get little of none of the frozen stuff.
Uh-oh, here comes the "double dip" in the unending recession, with the DJIA down 221 pts at 1pm, on Thursday.
RIP, Richard "Dick" Bull
A long-time, good friend and customer passed away last week, at his home. He will be missed by all who knew him. His son, Scott, notified me by email. RIP, Dick.
Jackson Pollock by Miltos Manetas
Created by the artist Miltos Manetas, this site doesn't really have anything to do with the famous painter. But if you jerk and jiggle and click your mouse at random intervals, you can approximate a two-dimensional mélange of color and shape reminiscent of the abstract expressionist's style. And that's all you can do—try to draw anything besides the algorithmically-prescribed multicolored blotches and lines, and you'll wind up with the kind of pre-K Crayola masterpiece even a mother might not hang on her refrigerator. Aside from the obvious fun of engaging in what less-cultured commentators might call "scribbling," the site provides, to get all Zen for a moment, an excellent opportunity to revel in process over product. Because, after spending, oh, 45 minutes creating a perfect harmony of form and hue, we could not figure out how to save or print it. But the chances of our investing 45 minutes in the site again today? Very high.