The article below, by journalist Alyson Ward, was published in the Houston (TX) Chronicle on Thursday, Nov. 11, 2014, under the title, "Call of the Wild." It summarizes our transition, from city folks to remote rural life. The link includes about 13 pictures, but below I have just cut and pasted the text. See other articles on this blog, by me, expanding on elements summarized here.
Friday, November 28, 2014
Monday, November 24, 2014
Today, my cleaning supplies consist of:
(Prices at Walmart today):
Vinegar (1 gallon costs a bit over $2)
Baking soda (1 lb $0.56)
Generic vegetable oil (48 oz $2.50)
Castile soap (32 oz $8 – 22, depending on brand)
Salt (104 oz $5.20)
By contrast, I used to buy products like:
(prices at Walmart today)
Windex (26 oz $3.12)
Tide laundry detergent (138 oz $9)
Palmolive, (52 oz, $3)
Lysol multi-purpose cleaner (28 oz, $2.87)
Copper, brass cleaner (10 oz $2..60)
silver cleaner, Shine Bright (8 oz, $6)
rug and carpet cleaner, Arm and Hammer (30 oz $?)
shampoo: Suave, (28 oz $2.88)
soap: Dial, (4 oz $3)
Suave hair conditioner (28 oz $2.88)
Rutland brick and stone cleaner (16 oz $7.98)
Murphy's Wood Floor Cleaner (32 oz $3.48)
Lysol toilet bowl cleaner (24 oz $4.97)
Below is a partial list of household uses for these versatile products. For more details, including recipes and proportions, see the embedded links.
Many entrepreneurs are dismayed by the slow pace of due diligence checks by potential investors. How many interviews, how many financial documents and resumes and business plans must they submit before getting a thumbs up or down?
This process might be more understandable if entrepreneurs realize that THERE ARE SO MANY LIARS OUT THERE.
|Liars will be outed|
- Consider the process of home sales. Just as in real estate, investing in a company is proceeded by a period of judicious inquiry and inspection, recognized by both parties, ending in a legally binding closing, scheduled weeks in advance. (This is why I never believe an entrepreneur who blithely reports, “I'll be funded by then” without even having a letter of interest (LOI) in hand.
- The reason for protracted due diligence is because, sadly PEOPLE LIE. As Catholics understand, there are lies of omission and lies of commission. The former is when a home seller neglects to mention a material fact, like a rotted roof. A lie of commission is actually writing or verbalizing a falsehood, like checking the word “no” on a form that lists “do you know about this or that.” Just as a home seller may obfuscate termite or water damage, companies seeking investment may similarly “put lipstick on a pig.” Repeat investors know this, so they endeavor to separate the wheat from the chaff through careful scrutiny. As any on-line dater knows, anyone can sound good, but how do they appear up close?
A sincere and honest entrepreneur may be aided by the following short list of several entrepreneurs who have approached us recently, each with constructed stories which omitted or fabricated information. If you can appreciate how many such people approach investors (and service providers) you can understand the logic behind due diligence of your company.
Following the list are recommendations to help honest entrepreneurs make a strong, initial impression. For additional anecdotes about other bad guys (both entrepreneurs and service providers), see prior articles on this website.
Saturday, November 15, 2014
|Cub in birch tree|
photo from back porch
This black bear family was disconcerting for other reasons, too, namely the sow's seeming familiarity with cabins and her absolute fearlessness around us.
For example, we immediately started banging on the windows and shouting to discourage
their presence. Undeterred, she climbed up onto our
back porch, bumping our door in the process, stood up and looked in
the window, eye level to me ( I am 5' 9"), with a look that I interpreted as, “What
- you want a piece of me, punk?” Then, she deftly swiped a small
plastic container off a shelf (in which I had the day's coffee
grounds and egg shells intended for my garden) tossing it to the cubs
who rummaged through the debris.
|Sow at kitchen window|
"What - you want a piece of me?"
Bears are usually quiet, wary creatures. A whole family in our yard, in daylight, is not a good sign. We wanted to encourage them to go elsewhere. While they were distracted by the egg shells and coffee grounds next to the back porch, Bryan moved to the front door for a can of bear spray. We knew, from prior practice, that the spray reaches only about 20 feet – a closeness we did not intend to attempt, since bears can run 30 mph over short distances and moms can be especially prickly. Nonetheless, he sprayed, to saturate the air with the noxious fumes. The sound or scent caused the sow to turn and walk INTO the spray. When the pepper fumes irritated her eyes and nose, she
giving an alert to the cubs who nimbly climbed the adjacent spruce
trees for safety. In less than a minute, though, she turned around,
walked THROUGH the spray, past Bryan, and toward our ducks, who were
standing by the lake shore, squawking in alarm this whole time. They
were able to glide off into the water to evade her, but alas, one of
our hens had followed them, and was cowering behind some ferns. The
bear spied her, dashed into the foliage and made off into the woods
with her limp body clenched between sharp teeth. Two of the cubs
followed into the alder thicket, but the third had found a duck's
nest beneath a birch tree and was devouring the eggs. More willing
to get close to a young one, I sprayed it with bear spray, so it ran
|Two cubs climb spruce by outhouse|
Tuesday, November 11, 2014
Yesterday afternoon, I had an Alaskan experience that was 1/3 scary, 1/3 ridiculous, and 1/3 painful!
After the noisy, hot, sweaty work of weed whacking back by our power tower for more than an hour, I took a break with a big glass of ice tea and a book on the front porch, to cool down in the breeze wafting over the lake and enjoy the silence.
In the woods to my right, a loud “crack” in the trees attracted my attention, so I looked into the upper reaches, thinking that perhaps a porcupine, which we have seen there before, had crawled out onto a weak branch. Seeing no movement, I returned to my book.
A minute later, I glanced right, riveted by the sight of a big, adult brown bear (grizzly) sniffing in my garden, 20 feet from the porch! We have seen small black bears in the yard before (200 lbs), but the larger and more aggressive brown bears tend to “own” the nearby creeks, filled with salmon, grayling, and trout. They cede the more limited appeals of our property – until now. Whether the bear was a boar or a sow, I don't know, but at close proximity, I could see that each of “his” padded feet was the size of a dinner plate, and the round head was as wide as a basketball hoop. He looked hale, hearty and big, more than twice as large as any black bear I had seen up close before. What astonished me, given the size, was his stealthy silence. Had I not heard him break a branch in transit, and sensed movement in my peripheral vision, I would not have noticed his nearby presence at all.
Monday, November 3, 2014
Without labor saving devices, routine chores take longer to do, and engender a great respect for such elements as sun, water, and wind.
Water is particularly precious and requires careful husbandry and judicious usage.
In the winter, we keep a 6 gallon pot on the wood stove all day (and night), filling it with snow throughout the day to melt and warm up enough to wash dishes, and occasionally, clothes, the floor, and ourselves. Humidifying the dry winter air is just a welcome addition.
Since snow melts to water in about a 10:1 ratio, depending on how dense the snow is, we bring in a five gallon bucket of snow almost every time we come in from outside. When the five gallon “bullet” of snow melts down to ½ gallon and warms up some, we can add another bucketful, and another after that. It takes about six buckets and several hours to get enough warmed melt water to do more than two tasks. I have become attuned to how little I need if I am careful: the minimums seems to be: a ½ gallon for a spit bath, 1 gallon to do the breakfast dishes, 2 gallons to do a small load of laundry. These are probably statistics that our ancestors knew, too.