Recently in Administrivia Category

Quiet day around the farm

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Went out for coffee - the snow has finally receded enough that the truck could come in and empty out the dumpster. Been going through a lot of stuff and cleaning house a bit.

Lulu is binge-watching Blue Blood - a good police procedural about a New York City cop family. Did a big pot roast last night so left-overs for tonight.

Work for a bit more and then surf. Organizing wires now - I keep meaning to get the PA system cabling in order but when an event is over, the impetus is to dismantle everything and get it in the truck as fast as possible. Hanging the wires over the balcony to untangle and straighten out. Bought a bunch of Velcro cable ties so will wrap them properly. Also, building a first-aid kit for the store. What we have is a haphazard collection of band-aids - need to get something a little better.

Coffee and working at home

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Nothing much else - had a couple of very busy days and now have a couple of easy ones. Back in an hour or so.

Had a very light dusting of snow last night but it is gone now.

Back home again - great meeting

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It was a great meeting - all three groups (General, Digital and Repeater) meet on a given Tuesday evening in the Ferndale public library and they have a large screen and video projector so someone can come in and show to everyone what they are doing. Makes learning a software package a lot easier. Tonight, we worked on Xastir - from the website:

Xastir APRS Program
Xastir provides mapping, tracking, messaging, weather, weather alerts, and Search & Rescue features over radio or internet and runs on a variety of platforms. Xastir is an open source software project maintained by Developers and Contributors from all over the globe, provided free under the GNU General Public License. From its early beginnings, Xastir has evolved into a very robust client with a rich feature set that rivals other APRS clients.

Automatic Packet Reporting System (APRS) (also known as "Automatic Position Reporting System") is an amateur radio based digital communication system for real-time exchange of digital information to users on the network. APRS was originally developed by Bob Bruninga, WB4APR more than 20 years ago. It has since evolved into a robust system of interconnected networks. Xastir is a computer application that provides client access to this network using the APRS protocol

This program is really deep - lots of configuration options so it was good to have someone familiar with it walk us through on the big screen. I purchased three of the interfaces to work on my base station, my walkie-talkie and a third for any future projects (it was a group buy so we got a killer price for the hardware interface).

Lulu is coming out tomorrow afternoon for a few days so tomorrow will be spent clearing off the dining room table and picking up socks - my new Shepard Bear loves to pick my socks off the floor and walk around with them. I have yet to find one that he has chewed up, he just likes the smell of my feet. Go figure?

Nothing much to report - busy day

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Working at home this morning - out for coffee, paying bills, a meeting at the store and then heading in to town to do some banking and a meeting there (Amateur Radio digital group).

Minimal spew today - some when I get home again around 10PM or so.

Weather is gorgeous - high 40's and sunny.

Back home - long day

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Bunch of stuff today and a bit more tomorrow - just got back from Bellingham and had dinner at Graham's in Glacier.

Surf for a bit...

Whoops - change in dinner plans

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The left-over spaghetti sauce had some dots of mold on the surface - diced up an onion and a bunch of garlic and making a quick marinara.

Dogs are fed and happily gnawing on some big beef shank bones I gave them two days ago.

A long day but a lot of fun

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The class was excellent - it started with the generic Red Cross CPR training with practice dummies but then went on to cover general first aid with subjects like wounds, trauma to brain and spine, stabilizing sprains and broken bones, burns, frostbite etc.. Everything needed in Search and Rescue operations to stabilize the patient until they can be evacuated. I want to work with them doing radio at their base camps in this area. This class was a prerequisite. Husband and wife teaching team and they had a lot of fun running the class. A lot of information to process.

There are some very fun amateur radio technologies being developed here - a bunch of the actual search people have ham radio licenses and they are exploring the technology for digital error-free communication and automatic position reporting - a $30 BaoFeng UV-5R Two Way Radio, another $120 of electronics and you have a very small package that fits in your backpack and reports your position to within 30 feet or so.

Did not sleep well last night so calling it an early bedtime - want to stay up until at least 8:00PM so as to reset my sleep schedule to something a bit more normal. Surf for a few hours and have the last of the spaghetti sauce for dinner.

Fun fun fun

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Finishing off breakfast, made a sandwich for lunch and got a couple cans of Mountain Dew (Throwback - cane sugar and original formula) in a lunch cooler. Check in on the critters (Rocky the horse and the three llamas) on my way out.

Coffee place opens in 20 minutes, class starts at 9:00AM - I am on a roll

Early night tonight - class tomorrow

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Set the alarm for 6:00AM - a bit masochistic for me but I want to get to the class on time and have time to take care of the critters and get coffee and make a sandwich for lunch - all day affair.

Should be fun - looking forward to it. A good skill to gain.

Dinnertime - Costco Chicken

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Finished with the chores, laundry is in the dryer. Picked up a Costco Chicken yesterday so doing a pot of rice and a salad and that will be dinner. Got to feed the dogs first - they are giving me the stink-eye

Still sliding all over the place and four-wheel drive is essential but today was the second day I was able to pull the truck all the way up to the house without having to 'commute' on the tractor.

Taking care of a bunch of stuff today - dividing the pulled pork into portions and vacuum seal it for freezing, doing some wiring on a project (radio room). The radio installation at the local firehall was damaged in the storm - snow and ice falling off the roof knocked the antenna over so will have to redo it when everything melts out. - prepping the coaxial cable for this. Laundry too.

Surf for a bit and then to work.

Nothing much today - working at home

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Got a couple of projects to work on.

Heading out for coffee, post office and store - back in an hour or so.

So much for melting snow

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Gorgeous clear night - temp is down to 28.8°F and will probably get another ten degrees cooler. Rain is supposed to move in either tonight or tomorrow but no sign of it now.

Heading upstiars in a while - about halfway through reading the internet. Want to get up early for Sunday's class - starts at 0900. Feeling fairly tired despite sleeping in the last three days.

Good meetup

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Had fun this afternoon. Good food, good people.

Unpack the truck and surf for a while.

Minimal posting today

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Got the critters taken care of - heading out for coffee and checking in at the store.

Got the pulled pork in the slow cooker heating up for tonight's pot-luck. At home for a few more hours but heading in to town this afternoon.

Out for dinner

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Heading out to the beautiful hamlet of Glacier for some dinner. Do not feel like cooking and it's only ten miles away.

The pork butt just came out of the smoker and put it in the oven to finish - chill it down and shred tomorrow. Make some BBQ sauce tonight.

Got nothing this morning

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Take care of the critters and then out for coffee. Working on some stuff here today.

Got the pork butt in the smoker for tomorrow's potluck.

The next front is moving through

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Winds up to 30 and 40 miles per hour. The air temp has risen ten degrees in the last two hours - 39°F when I got home and 49.2°F now. National Weather Service is calling for flooding and heavy rain but I think that the rain in Seattle is what they were looking at. We will see.

Got stuck on a project and went into town for some parts. Grabbed a bite to eat and hit Costco. Just got back - getting the dogs fed, trash out to the curb and stuff in from the truck. Driveway is still a sheet of ice - parts have melted down to the dirt but the rest is slick wet ice - the tractor skids all over the place and there is no way I would be able to get the truck out. I am parking it by the highway and commuting with Buttercup.

Our local CERT group is having a pot-luck Friday so will be doing some smoked pork brisket tomorrow - about eight hours on the smoker gives a really nice flavor. Do a whole butt and portion out and freeze the rest. Salting it down after I get the other stuff taken care of. Saturday I will be at Search and Rescue all day for a First Aid class. Getting a bit more involved with SAR - not going out on searches but helping out at the base camp doing communications and data logging. With all the ski and hiking activity out here, SAR gets called up on a regular basis and they need the warm bodies.

Back in an hour or so

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Heading out for coffee and check in at the store.

Back in an hour or two...

Happy St. Valentine's Day to everyone!

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Especially to my Lulu - it has been a wonderful six years and looking forward to another 30 or so - at least!

Back from the radio meeting

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Went well - some good people in this group. Driveway is still slicker than snot - it has been raining for a few hours - the little buddy from a few posts ago is scheduled to arrive later tonight. The forecast calls for anywhere from two to seven inches of rain and the Northwest Avalanche Center is calling for high warnings basically everywhere:


Another day, another frozen wasteland

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Heading out shortly - got critters taken care of and truck and tractor are warming up. Doing a much-needed dump run into town for a ham radio meeting tonight. Need to get suet cakes for the birds - they are hungry!

Fixing breakfast (Bob's Red Mill steel cut oatmeal with fresh blueberries) and then heading out for coffee and the day. Surf for a bit while eating.

Long day tomorrow so checking a couple of YouTube sites and heading off to bed.

Back home again - dinner on the road.

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Small in errands but large in driving - over 160 miles today. Stoped for Mexican food on the way home - I had a couple of bad meals at this restaurant in the recent past but I drove by tonight and saw a lot of vehicles in the parking lot - especially for a monday. Dinner tonight was really good.

Another drive into town tomorrow - finish a couple of errands, do a much overdue dump run and then Mt. Baker Amateur Radio club meeting at 1900.

The store needs milk - the last 24 hour power outage caused the dairy cooler to get above critical temp so we are out of moo-juice. Doing some banking too and have an amateur radio meeting tomorrow evening so two trips into town this week.

Driveway is still impassable for the truck so using the tractor to "commute" between the top and the bottom.

Surf for a little bit and then heading out.

Home again - long day

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Slept in - it was wonderful. Tended to the critters, got coffee and did a quick run into town. Water board meeting (our Annual General Meeting is March 4th so we need to prepare the budget for 2017 - we do this with two extra meetings in February). It got up to a balmy 43.5°F this afternoon but the driveway is still solid ice and slush. Park the truck at the top by the gate and use the tractor to ferry myself and any cargo back to the house. Very clear night so due to get very cold. Ham radio net was a good one - there were no big athletic or media events on television so most of the members checked in.

Longer town run tomorrow - banking, Hardware Sales for a couple of projects, return something to Harbor Freight (out-of-the-box broken). Ham radio club meeting on Tuesday.

Back to some semblance of normalcy

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Heading out to feed the critters, get some coffee and then in to town for a couple of brief errands - dry dog food, some groceries (things that my store doesn't carry - bok choy, etc...) and Costco.

I will be riding Buttercup the tractor up to the head of the driveway where I parked my truck as there is still a huge amount of snow and ice on the ground but still, getting back to a somewhat normal schedule (whatever passes for normal here).

Water board meeting tonight and ham radio net so back home early.

And that is it for the night

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Looking forward to sleeping in tomorrow and going out for coffee.

The Prime Rib was delicious

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Feeling sleepy so surf for a bit, glass or two of wine and sleep - had to wake up early today to pack and to process contingency plans if Thunderbunny was not able to get onto the main road.

There were some scraps of prime rib left over and my two dogs are hoovering them up with delight.

Back from the memorial

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Very well attended with about 80 people - lots of great stories. Got a coffee first - makes a world of difference - no headache!

Learned my lesson and parked the truck up by the gate - use the tractor to ferry the PA equipment back to the house. Heading out for dinner after that - been cooped up too long, craving a steak.

More in a few hours - sleep in tomorrow.

Cool - more power

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Tried again and was able to claw my way up through the ice and onto the area where I had plowed. Sitting at the store waiting for the Chamber of Commerce to open (10:00AM) so I can borrow their projection screen.

Stopping off for coffee on my way to the memorial - first decent coffee in ten days. There is a place in my town that does an OK coffee but nothing compared to Wake 'n Bakery

That did not go as planned


Was able to unstick Thunderbunny and drive down to the house but after loading her up, she augured into another patch of ice and is stuck solid.

One of Cecil's daughters is coming to pick me up - they flew in for the service and rented a Jeep so there should be no problem with the top part of the driveway.

This winter stuff is getting very old very quick - I love playing in snow but I want to drive up the mountain to get to it, not have to deal with it on a daily basis down here. Crimping my style...

Heading out to check on Thunderbunny

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See if my truck is still stuck - my friends memorial service is today.

Feel like I am living in a Corb Lund song:

Dinner and that is it for the day

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Talked to the daughter of the man whose memorial service is tomorrow. She rented a 4X4 so if I can't move the truck, I will load everything up in the tractor and meet her at the top of the driveway. It is only the middle of the drive that is so icy - that area gets a lot more shade than the top or bottom.

Doing some leftover tuna noodle "sludge" for dinner and a salad. Yum!

Still stuck in the ice. Shoveled a bunch, spread some more deicer but to no avail. See what happens tomorrow morning.

Better living through chemistry

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Suiting up now to see if the deicer has freed Thunderbunny from the clutches of winter. It has been raining quite a bit and the temp is still above freezing at 37.9°F so there should have been a decent level of thawing. Got up to 47.1°F - a real scorcher!

Now that was fun - truck still stuck

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Spent the morning clearing out a path to the highway but Thunderbunny is still firmly stuck in an ice cave. I put a couple of pounds of de-icer in each tire well and will go out in a couple hours to see if any progress is made. There is a memorial service tomorrow for an old friend and really want to attend.

Temp got up to 47.1°F today - currently 43.0°F - both forecasts were for rain which would go a long way to melt the snow but nothing yet.

Took my tractor out to get coffee, milk, dry dog food and to pick up a couple packages from Amazon - I have stuff shipped to the store as it is more secure.

Fix lunch and surf for a bit...

From ice to fire

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Just when I thought it was safe to go out again - from Cliff Mass:

Hold on to your hats! Western Washington winds are about to blow!
A tight, but strong, low center is about to pass north of the Puget Sound region, bringing strong wind gusts that could get as high as 50 mph in exposed locations.

The UW WRF forecast model shows the predicted low at 8 AM (see below), with a large pressure difference on its periphery (solid lines are isobars, lines of constant pressure)

By 1 PM, the low is north of Puget Sound, with the area of large pressure gradient right over western WA.  That means wind.  

Already gusting to 20MPH here. Any tree limbs that have not been brought down by the snow or ice will be brought down by this wind. More power outages... I still have most of the wood bin loaded up so heat is not an issue. Lots of spare batteries for the LED lanterns and a bunch of candles left.

Long cold winter

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Sure could use some of that global warming here. Just got the power back on. Lost it around 6:00AM yesterday. Spent the day with Buttercup the tractor clearing out the driveway as a warm front was moving in and wanted to get the snow moved so things could melt. Did a bunch of work but proceeded to get Buttercup thoroughly stuck in a drift. My truck is also stuck so will spend today trying to get them unstuck. It has been one calendar week since I have been totally snowbound. 

I want coffee so bad...

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