Friday, October 31, 2008

Strange Events

No, I am not going to be speaking about alien abductions. Yes, there were unexplained disappearances and mysterious lights in the sky but it was most certainly not an alien abduction. Indeed, the San Luis Valley does have a problem with missing persons, secret bases, unworldly creatures and strange flying craft but this is not about alien abductions. That being said...

I arrived at the cabin around 6 pm on Thursday October 2nd. I had planned to spend several days down there working on the sun room and fixing some foundation issues. This was also a bug out simulation...I was worried about the possible declaration of martial law if the bail out did not pass. So I scheduled off a few days to wait it out.

Within a few minutes of arriving my closest neighbor Mary dropped by to inform me that Hank, our neighbor down the road who is also building a cabin, was missing and had not been seen since around 9 that morning. I could see Hank's van sitting in front of his place. Hank is a gentleman in his upper 70's who had suffered a recent stroke and has heart problems. It was our opinion that he probably suffered another stroke, wandered off and passed out in the sage brush or nearby woods.

I got the power going at the house, put the dogs up and headed over to join a small group of neighbors and family friends searching the immediate area for Hank. It was about 6:30 pm at this time. We all wandered through the sage and around the house looking. It got dark and sometime between 7:30 and 8:00 pm two sheriff's deputies came out I think they had their lights on. They joined in the search, looked through the van and ask us when we had last seen him.

The deputies asked about our other neighbor who lived a little further up the road. It dawned on us that Bob was not around. The deputies ran up to Bob's place sometime between 8:30 and 9:00 pm to see if he knew anything. Bob was also missing so everyone assumed that the two had gone off to look at the Aspens turning or something. The deputies said that if Hank had not shown up by Friday morning they would bring in a search and rescue team.

So Friday comes and still no Hank. The deputies showed back up around noon followed by the search and rescue (SAR) team. The SAR team brought ATV's, horses and may people going through the brush on foot. The searched for several hours and finished up around 4:30 pm. I drove over to speak with the deputies about 5 pm assuming that they had found him. When I got over there they were bagging the contents of the van.

They told me that Hank would show up and that this kind of thing was common. It was strange that they were bagging stuff from the van. The deputies stayed by the van until dark when another car showed up to relieve them. I looked through the binoculars and noticed that they had taped off the van and house with yellow tape. Very odd if they were sure Hank was coming back.

Around 1:30 am on Saturday I heard an engine revving jumped up and looked out the window. The deputies were driving up along the ridge behind Hanks house through the sage with all the searchlights on, one deputy driving the other out walking next to their cruiser. They were searching for someone. After 30 minutes or so they left, 10 minutes later I heard someone yelling couldn't make out what they were saying. I guess the deputies were waiting just down the road because they came roaring back in with spot lights on looking again. Unnerving.

Saturday morning brought a different SAR team which did an arm linked search of the surrounding area...they found nothing. Saturday evening Mary and I met with a deputy to find out if we needed to worry about our safety. We wanted to know if there was a killer running lose...he would not answer. I slept with my pistol under the pillow and rifle next to the bed that night.

On Sunday they brought in a dog team and several "specialist" searchers, not sure what their specialty was but they were strange. No hits, nothing. Hanks extended family had started to arrive and were wandering the hills surrounding the area. Through the night there where many cars and people showing up over at Hanks. My guess is that as family members showed up in town the first thing they wanted to do was go searching. So the evening was filled with flashlights and people yelling.

Hank had left the house on that Thursday morning wearing a gray hooded sweat shirt and faded jeans. Unfortunately his wardrobe choice matches the sage brush that covers the ground out here. He could be lying five feet from you in the bushes and you wouldn't notice him.

No one was searching for Bob although there were several stories circulating about his whereabouts. He had posted a comment on his blog from home on Thursday night at 7:30 pm, about the time the deputies drove by, regarding a camera he purchased. The camera was to be delivered Monday and he was excited. By 9 pm when the deputies stopped by he had vanished. The final story given by his mother was that he had decided to leave everything and go live with his ex-wife in Texas. Bob self-built a wonderful off grid cabin, had a horse and other livestock but gave all that up on a whim to go live with an ex-wife.

Hank's family was allowed to take his van back to town on Monday. I visited with one of his nephews Monday afternoon. He told me they suspected foul play. He thought that "someone" forced Hank into a vehicle, took him somewhere and killed him. There was no blood or signs of a struggle at the site and strangers just don't happen down these rural roads.

It has been almost a month now. Hank and Bob are both still missing without a trace. In the week before they went missing a body was found burning in a barrel placed in the middle of the road one county over and another body was found laying across a country road on the south face of Mt Blanca in the northern part of this county. Violence is everywhere, moving out of a city will not remove you from it's presence.

Hank and Bob both went missing on the same day, it could be a coincidence or foul play the question hangs and we may never know.

...of course it is possible that they were both abducted by aliens!

The names of the neighbors have been changed to protect the families privacy.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008


Over the past few weekends I have been working on the large sunroom that runs along the south side of the cabin. The southern exposure is sheltered from the wind by hills and trees but still gets excellent direct sunlight. It can be forty degrees out and you will get hot working along that side of the house in shorts and a teeshirt. The plan is to utilize this natural heat gain to grow plants and provide daytime heating for the cabin.

The south wall is 36 feet long, the big sunroom only occupies 16 feet of that, it is 8 feet wide. The other 20 feet of wall space will be dedicated to a greenhouse made of polycarbonate panels it will be 20 by 8 feet.

For the sunroom I picked up four 6 x 5 foot insulated windows at Lowes for $21 bucks apiece (listed for $489 each). They had been returned and were in a holding bin at the end of one of the isles on clearance. I grabbed them up right there. The glass is slightly tinted so they will be traded out for the four 6 x 5 foot picture windows in the front room, they have no tinting. I also found a 5 foot wide sliding glass door for the sunroom at the Habitat for Humanities ReStore (great place).

The outcome is a wonderful hot house wrapped in glass, warm and bright. I will also be taking out about 8 foot of wall between the sunroom and the cabin. That will allow the daylight warmth to flood the house. A large sliding "barn door" is rolled into place at night. Black 55 gallon drums filled with water and placed in the sun will act as heatsinks radiating heat back into the room at night.

The greenhouse should be great for growing lettuce, cabbage, radishes and other cool weather plants. Plus it gives the dogs a nice place to play that isn't freezing. The hot sunroom should be great for growing tomatoes, peppers and beans.

I will get some pictures up as soon as I finish up.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Farmers Almanac 2009

Everyone needs to pick up an The Old Farmer's Almanac 2009. Their forecasting is fairly accurate and it make a great replacement for the 10 pm weather report. Here is the Bear Ridge weather overview for the next year.

Winter will be much colder and drier than normal, on average, with snowfall above normal in the north and below normal in the south. The coldest temperatures will occur in late December; early, mid-, and late January; and early February. The snowiest periods will be in mid-November, early and mid-December, mid- and late January, and late February.

April and May will be cooler than normal, with slightly above-normal precipitation.

Summer will be cooler than normal, with slightly above-normal rainfall. The hottest periods will be in mid- and late June and early and mid- to late July.

September and October will be warmer and drier than normal.

The first couple of years I started going down to the cabin the winter was very cold but had little snow, relatively pleasant. The past few years has seen massive snowfall and cold temperatures. The cold does not bother me but three feet of snow on the ground makes life miserable.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

New Wood Stove

For the past couple of months I have been looking for the perfect wood stove to replace my small existing one. The new stove needed to have a large firebox, good damper control and burn through the night on one load. I picked up this gently used vintage 1977 wood stove over the weekend for $100 off of CraigsList.

The firebricks are all intact and the stove only has superficial rust which comes right off with a wire brush. The door seal needs replaced but that shouldn't be a problem.

The stunning iron work aside this beauty has a big firebox (24" wide, 22" tall 20" deep), a finely controlled damper which opens automatically if the temperature gets to low, a large front loading door and a thermo siphon water heater built into the back. The water heater is a great plus.

I plan on putting the new stoves back against the bathroom wall. I already keep a 30 gallon metal tank in the bathroom for water and heat that 30 gallons when I want to shower. With the thermo siphon the water in the tank will heat through the night and be ready for a morning shower. A great plus.

The stove vents from the back. I will be installing black stove pipe with a damper from the wood stove to the ceiling. Then attach the stove pipe it to a ceiling support box and continue on up with triple walled chimney pipe. Currently I run chimney pipe all the way down to the stove. This is very safe but I am losing a great deal of heat that would be provided by the thin walled black stove pipe.

Down the road if I decided that this wood stove is not efficient enough and uses to much wood I am only out a $100.

Monday, October 6, 2008

It's Trickle Down Bitches

Average person what, the market is really down I am not worried my 401k is need to invest over the long term. My broker said the markets may fluctuate but always increases in value in the end.

Please remember these are the same people who said your salary would always increase over time...these are the same people who said home values only go up...these are the same people who lobbied congress for bankruptcy reform and massive bailouts so they would not lose their wealth when these promised dreams did not materialize.

Ronald Regan...may god condemn his demon soul...gave us four things. This ridiculous caricature of a swaggering hyper masculine presidential candidate who needs only guns, not brains to run the ranch. The moral majority, nuf said. The end of the cold war. And fourthly, trickle down economics.

I will just jump in real quick and say that the cold war ended and the USSR broke apart cause the Soviet Union went broke...sound familiar?

Trickle down economics basically means that you give the elite the money and it will eventually trickle down to the workers through house cleaning, limo driving and drug money. This has been our economic model from it's onset with the great Regan Revolution to our latest emanation of the $700 billions dollar bailout.

Trickle down economics does not work and unfortunately the downslope is also trickle down. The people at the top of the trickle will be effected first by economic problems and take appropriate action...$700 billion bailout...the bottom 90% are left to fend for themselves once the down flow hits their pocketbook. It takes a while for the raging flood to reach your house...but once it is there it takes everything. So don't sit there waiting for the water...move to higher ground now.

Remember happiness is holding hands with your loved one while waiting for the food bank to open. Yea gee ok, remember this and you'll do fine in Fascist America.

Stop the apocalypse, I'm out of whiskey!!!

When the historians write of this period, the Great Decline, they will credit insatiable greed and unchecked corruption as the destroyer of the most technologically advanced and bountifully blessed society in world history.

I bugged out on Thursday assuming the passage of the fake bailout bill, the elite have once again secured their future at the expense of the workers. Paulson knew the markets were set to implode so the bill had to pass Friday at the latest, he also knew it would do nothing to stop the Great Decline.

I am happily sitting in my offgrid solar powered cabin working on my sun room and thinking of all the little niceties that will no longer be Dingo Bones and Charmin Care WITH Lotion.

There will be no recovery, the golden age is over. The pundits spin the Great Decline as a cycle downturn...everything will return to normal after the credit market stabilizes and people start borrowing and buying again. This will not happen...That created the problem. The future holds a massive population die off and the establishment of regional economic systems. Globalism is dead.

Buy some chickens and plant a winter garden.

Take Care Everyone