Down With Power Audiobook!

L. Neil Smith's

Number 859, February 14, 2016

Robert LeFevre used to put it, there
is really only one right, the
right to be unmolested, no
matter what you happen to be doing.

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Norseman's Diaries: Snowpocalypse II: The Second Coming
by Jeff Fullerton

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Attribute to L. Neil Smith's The Libertarian Enterprise


Monday Feb 8; 11:01 AM

It begins again.

Snowpocalypse II: The Second Coming?

So much for my assumptions that the major snow event that was the subject of my last article which is (save a few remnant piles)—was going to be the worst that this winter would dish out. I should know better by now since the first of several in 2010 and other winters since. Never the less it sure seemed next to impossible with temps in the 50s yesterday and Saturday. But in a continental climate like this one; winters are deceiving. Norseman's Hell is coming back yet again with some bitter cold after another potentially heavy snow blitz the likes of the last one—or one of last year's events!


Reflecting on the previous edition of this journal—I say it was a good issue with the article on Bernie the Red and El Neil's ongoing ordeal which just so happens to be among my deepest, darkest fears piggybacked onto the Snowpocalypse event that is also headed my way! His old furnace failed and he and his wife are toughing it out with electric heaters while the old system is being replaced. Which is kind of interesting as it is vert reminiscent of the first entry in this series in 2013 when my outside furnace froze up and I was traveling the back roads to the back of beyond to get a new pump to replace the one that failed from freeze damage.

Hopefully they will be ok. I have faith they will. Being that the Smiths in Colorado are probably used to dealing with winters a little worse than mine on the east end of Greater Appalachia.

For me there is still one last day in paradise; starting out in the low 40s. I will have to split some more big wedges and get them close to the furnace so they will be available for the frigid nights that will soon be upon the region. One of them down to 1 degrees when I looked last night.

Super Bowl Sunday was yesterday evening. I was working—luckily until only 7P and it was moderately busy all day as opposed to Saturday when it was slow and I got called off the first 4 hours which made for a good opportunity to catch up on the greenhouse and a little more writing. Have no idea who won and don't really care. Was glad to be out of there early last night because it probably died down like it usually does during the game and then resurged after halftime or the ending. A testament to either the way people use the ER as a doctor's office—or denial on tye part of patients with really serious conditions; putting it off until the end of the game! A heart attack at halftime being so inconvenient!

Monday Feb 8; 5:06 PM

Last decent day turning less decent before Norseman's Hell returns. Forecast iffy. Last heard this morning that several inches of that "white global warming stuff" are possible. This time I got snow props in place and the telescoping snow broom on hand. And some big cherry chunks cut and ready.




Had to work in the rains which set in late afternoon. Would have gotten on it sooner but there were animals to feed and had make a run to pay a bill. Then saw blade which was dull had to be changed. Got the remaining rounds of Black Cherry split by cutting thru most of the way with the saw and then using the axe splitter to finish them. Now four big wedges plus some additional smaller cherry logs cut to get me through the colder nights that are coming. Taking a break to dry off and cool down before I roll some of them over closer to the unit and then get ready to head out for dinner with Uncle.

Tuesday Feb 9: 3:06 AM

Patting myself on the back after a successful mission accomplished in the way of getting the fire rekindled from embers and three large chunks of Cadillac wood by the furnace and a few more under tarp at the spot where I cut them up. Would have been nice to get them all over to point of use but didn't care to wear myself out or risk a back injury. Better to just have a few big pieces close at hand for the first cold nights and work on getting the others over one by one as needed after digging out.

Yes I'm better prepared this time around but still need to work on a few more things. In Wisconsin Ray grumbles about yet another article claiming the previous year to be the hottest on record. These are getting to be a dime a dozen and probably not worth the time and trouble to find it again and paste into the article! Hottest winter in my personal record was 2012 which was the equivalent of moving one zone southward. But it was just a fluke. Possibly from solar activity or another stronger El NiƱo. The winter going into 13 was more on the mild side of normal. The next two were severe and the edict is still out on this one. Latest forecast has turned worrisome with some sub zero temps ahead this weekend. Actually sounds like a normal winter because winter generally sucks when you live in a continental climate. And especially when you are sitting right in front of the gates of Hell—the arctic kind that more often or not is unloading on Wisconsin and the rest of the upper Midwest regardless which way the jet stream dips.

We had it good in the east for a while. Now it's looking to turn nasty like last winter. If it does not hang in too long I can ride it out and still have smooth sailing into spring.

We were discussing the Marx—Sanders ticket that night.

I should say Marx ist ein Dumkopf. Sanders ist ein Sheisskopf! If Obummer were running again he'd probably trade Joe Fool for Joe Stalin. And if the Hildabeast is not Hitler in drag—then she's Woodrow Wilson.

Tuesday Feb 9; 11:49 PM

Was a pretty hairy trip home this evening.
Left early and glad I did because at 7 the roads were getting bad like the first snow of the season. I rode behind Mrs G and lost her or she lost me somewhere before Lycippus. Got onto a real struggle trying to get up the hill to the corner on the intersection right before her place with Meteor Road. At the top I turned around figuring Kecksburg Hill beyond the next dip would be impassable and was going to take the long way home—which would double suck on top of getting nearly 3/4 of the way home on a half drive!

I was really cursing the polar bears this evening. Wishing the ice caps melt and they all drown and Pennsylvania ends up with a climate like Honduras!

But I encountered a snow plough coming the other way and decided to turn around and give it another try. Made it over the crest where Mrs G lives and also got lucky and made it to the top of Kecksburg Hill which was kind of bad but had a good run for it and did not encounter anyone coming the other way or anything else to slow me down which would have been certain doom. A big problem around here are the hills with curves or curves approaching the bottom. Often with a strait shot you can get enough momentum to avoid spinning. It is always like that at the bottom of Greenlick Road. Luckily the snow accumulation was not quite as much near home and I was able to make that curve at the bottom without the usual spinning.

Still parked under the pine tree at the Cemetery and walked in. It's not very far. Furnace was still puffing so I went strait into the house and will take care of it later before bed. I put logs and a good bit of coal in when I left in the morning with the intent to have it last until well after midnight.

Currently I'm fairly well positioned in the way of those big peices and I'll hold off on them until it gets really cold—saving the biggest one that is going to be a tough one to lift—until the weekend when we get the highs in the teens and sub zero lows. Thankfully I'm off those days and can stay here and tend the fire. I am a little concerned that this frigid weather may eat into my dwindling propane supply. I may end up running the greenhouse off the outside furnace and get another delivery of oil and use it to run the house since it is cheaper this year.

Nice to be home.

Damned busybodies! They need to take their codes and shove it. Ray and I were talking about a potential problem with the line from his well. Won't get into nit picky detail about our conversation grumbles and gripes about the evils of Big Government—and local as well. His best bet looks like the Wisconsin version of the DIY Fayette County Way!

Suggested he could put a piece of Pex or regular poly pipe with a foot valve down the sleeve—if the pump is in the basement. I remember Uncle Budd's setup with the well in the front yard and the pump in a little shelter behind and below the trailer and what a pain it was to prime it. I suggested moving the pump hut to the spot over the well so then all we would have to do is prime pipe in the well and then the pump and let it push the water the rest of the way into the trailer.

But Aunt Mona didn't want the eyesore in her front yard so it was the hard way or the highway. Couldn't help think: it's an old dilapidated trailer for crying out loud that was falling apart around them! The things that people get anal about!

Wednesday Feb 10; 4:29 AM

Laying in bed drifting in and out of sleep. Heard voices and felt another presence on the room. Felt like ghosts. I started talking to them. Telling them to go away. "Go rattle your chains somewhere else"! Figuring it was a good way to tell spooks to buzz off on the fashion of Whoopie Goldberg to Patrick Swayze in the movie by that name.

Next thing I knew; one of them was hovering over me and getting really close!

Then I woke up!

It was after midnite.

Trudged downstairs. Thermometer reading in the living room still holding at 68. A few hours previously—about the time I'd normally get home I reloaded with wood and coal. Didn't touch Cadillac stuff.

Coming up on daybreak I wakened again. No change. Just cold outside. And more snow.

Wednesday Feb 10; 10:46 AM

Survived the night. House still holding at 68 but there is this chill here and there. Probably from cold drafts infiltrating. Outside its in the 20s and the snow was not so bad. We may have lucked out on that part—hopefully! Now it looks like the next concern is cold. The lows over the next few days have been revised slightly upward—13 overnight and a high of 21 and a low of 4 on Friday. Gets very cold on Saturday with a high of 14 and low of 1. Then Sunday it's back into the 20s with a low of 7 and them moderating again to the 30s and 40s over the week with maybe 50s by next weekend! Might be nicer to be off then but better to be home for this one so I can tend the fire. Going to have to do that again soon today before I leave. Nice to be 3 to 11.

Since the snow as abated I think I'll start on the driveways. If I can just get the parking area and turnaround cleaned off this afternoon it will be a big help when I go to do the whole thing in a day or so.

Got to see the greenhouse today and make sure its ok. Last time I was there Monday evening I took some potted Guzmania bromeliads and a budding Tillandsia cyanea and some other plants to dress up the Andean Marsupial Frog tank in my bedroom. They are doing well tease feeding on Dubia roaches and I have both genders among the 5 remaining. Chances are good they will breed this summer. Will have to get a good setup for the tadpoles and the froglets. Maybe in the basement I can set up some misted flow through tanks for the latter. Need to figure out a simple utilitarian method to raise frogs en mass. If I can get them to the size of a grape that will be perfect for taking to the reptile show.



Wednesday Feb 10; 11:45 AM

Talk about a rotten development.

After feeding the frogs I went to feed some roaches to the baby Euro Ponds and discovered one was missing. It was the replacement for the one of the first batch that died in 2014. It being a hoggish eater—I isolated it in the deli container it came in last summer so the two Hellenic specimens that live with it could have a chance to eat. And I forgot and did not have the lid on tight. Should have been more careful since it almost escaped in similar fashion the day it arrived last spring.

That was on Monday—a feeding day. Did not notice yesterday because I was busy. I usually eyeball turtle enclosures on days when I am not feeding but do not always do individual head counts. Did a search of the bedroom and adjoining room to no avail. The turtle could have gone anywhere from there to downstairs and it will be a nightmare to find him now. And probably not worth the trouble because such a small one is likely to be dead from dehydration by now.

Another loss from another stupid husbandry mistake. Shame considering it probably would have turned out to be a pretty one like the one from the same source. Guess I'll have to try getting another one in the spring. Or reserve for a couple more hatchlings from a Hellenic bloodline being bred in New Jersey. The two I got last summer are doing pretty good. They will even do better now that their more aggressive companion is now gone.

No more deli containers. If I have to separate turts I will use the feeding buckets or a Rubbermaid box that they can't climb out of.

Wednesday Feb 10; 12:42 PM

Last ditch effort underway to find the missing turtle. Decided to try again anyway.

Not much hope at this point but worth the effort if I can find it before dehydration sets in. Close to if not beyond the point of no return. And the room needs redded up anyway.

At least the frogs are looking pretty swell in addition to being pretty and swell!




And so are the Chinese Box Turtles. Like it was with the other losses life must go on.

7:30 PM

[Link to Accuweather]

Not so much the snow now but the cold that is still coming!

Thursday 11 Feb 2:54 AM

Back home checking mail again after another long day.

I laughed as soon as I read the first comment spewing of an ecofascist wing nut in an article Ray sent me. Go figure. Do not have the link conveniently available so why bother? Such fare is getting to be a dime a dozen so why bother.

Another entry for part 2 of this year's Norseman's Diary. A shitful day finally comes to an end. On top of my latest turtle loss I got a scare trying to call Uncle Budd from work. Kept getting a message saying the number was disconnected. Called my bro thinking maybe he missed the phone bill—given his busy life it could happen. Turned out to be a problem with the phone which James was able to fix on the way there.

Then after a slow evening I was let go early. The charge nurse asked me first because I have a long drive over treacherous roads and the EMS people said the weather was getting bad.

Upon leaving; it got dicey again. Tried calling my uncle to check on him when I was getting ready to leave and he would not answer. Ended up swinging by his place to check on him. This time the phone was working but no one was answering. Turned out that he couldn't hear it because he has bad hearing and had the Outdoor Channel on in both the living room and when I dialed his number he could not hear the ring!

At least he was ok.

And the main roads were still better than the previous night.

Back home I park at the cemetery one more night and hike in again. Loaded up the fire box with a cherry wedge prepositioned on the way out earlier. House was slipping to 66 so I bumped up the boiler to 180 and ran the oil furnace a while to catch it up. Will see how well that holds come morning with a projected low of 11.

Had I not worn myself out and got on so late I might have made another search for the missing turt. But decided to give up. Just too daunting and probably too late by now. My guess it crawled into some dark hole of no return. And a quarter sized turtle is not going to last long without water to drink.

Feel bad about that one like the Chinese Boxie (Yin) who died last summer. Things were going too well with the turts lately. Not going to hold any in small containers like that anymore. What really rots is that this one was probably going to be a nice looking one like the survivor of the first duo from the same source and it was doing well. In a way because it was doing well at the expense of the two other turts was its undoing. Had I not separated it to let the others feed I would not have lost it. If I have to do that again it will be in one of the square buckets which they can't climb out of.

Will eventually get a replacement. The show must go on.

Friday 12 Feb 2:43 PM

Survived another cold night and the worst is yet to come.

Last night I drove on rather than parking off property. We did not get much though more is forecast for this evening before the big chill descends. Was down to coals last night when I reloaded. It was 67 in the living room when I got in. Had a snack of smoked oysters and did a little reading and web browsing before going to sleep.

Currently mulling the decision to get an adult Euro Pond pair instead of replacing my recent loss. That would put me ahead in the game of building a breeding colony—which right now consists of a strategy of acquiring and raising batches of unsexed juveniles in hope of getting both genders. This on the other hand would give me a breeding pair—most likely a male Hellenic and female Macedonian to work with—which should produce offspring to pair with my current young ones in the future.

I do miss the lost one. Would have been nice to see what it turned out to be—as the one that was part of the original duo from Backwater—looks awesome. I'm thinking it might be of that Macedonian rice field population as it looks sort of like that one.


This is the one from the first duo acquired in 2014 which is still alive and well and growing!

Saturday 13 Feb—sometime after midnight.

I'm geared up for it now.

Just loaded up one of my big cherry chunks that were on standby on the pad and stuffed some oak logs and slabs around it and topped it with another half dozen shovels of coal. Had put in three big logs and some coal late afternoon before going out and it had burned down to just a charred remnant of one log and lots of coals by midnight.

Flashback to a little before that I started off the day writing and researching and made a decision on the new turtle acquisition. Sent a message from the dealer inquiring about the possibility of a Hellenic male / 2 Macedonian female Euro Pond trio and got a message back that it is doable and could ship Monday for a Tuesday delivery. Decided to sleep on it and try to recontact tomorrow to make sure we are on the same page about genders and locality matched phenotypes and see if they can ship later in the week when the temperatures will be more conducive for moving live goods. Right now conditions are going to be getting downright lethal or even endothermic creatures such as human beings—let alone cold blooded ones like turtles. European Pond Turtles—even the ones in northern Greece deal with some cold weather and probably have hibernation capability equivalent to North American turtles and the Japanese Pond Turtles that are currently sleeping in the garage. But why they are probably not used to cold weather currently—coming from Florida and I could use a little more time to get a setup together. I was initially looking for a replacement for the missing one that has crawled onto some dark hole of no return and probably perished by now. Was not expecting to stumble upon the kind of deal that I wish I had come across when I first got into that species. Like it had been with the Nihon Ishigame. But instead it's in the reverse order. I have really digressed. Will have to continue that thread in a more specific article as my adventures in herpetology and the politics thereof continue to get more interesting and worrisome in tandem with other things.

My afternoon consisted of feeding and replenishing the water for the Buckeye chicken flock. The latter item is really a pain this time of year since I have to take apart and refill the waterer with a heated base that hangs inside the coop in winter. And after having gone to store bought eggs again in the account of null production in cold weather—I discovered two eggs today that were ruptured by freeze expansion. One was on the foot rest of the garden tractor on the back porch and the other was in the coop. Decided to confine them again and start checking the nest boxes more frequently. Come spring I need to try to get a broody hen to raise a clutch of peeps in order to perpetuate my flock. This rare breed is hard to come by to begin with and the restrictions of interstate movement is making it more difficult to obtain new pullets from a different bloodline that I'd like to have.

Damn! It`s getting to be everything. Even chickens!

From there I took a trip to the site of the ponds and turtle enclosures to fetch 8 potted Fargasia bamboo that have been sitting out in pots all winter because they were forgotten. With sub zero coming they might not continue to fare well fully exposed in containers. Need to get them in the ground this season.

Brought those down to store in the garage for the time being. After that I tended the furnace before heading out to do some grocery shopping for Uncle and have dinner at his place. Almost didn't go on the account of weather. It was snowing light but steady and I was worried I might not get back in if I went out. But I had promised and he was getting low on items like milk and soda and other things. So I had to go.

The roads were not too bad—nowhere as much as they were that time I had to go down the day he'd fallen. And there was no mad rush at Walmart and contrary to fears—no run on milk and other stuff. We made oyster stew and I stayed a while before heading back home. And that was less troublesome too—though there were some slippery spots here and there. But nothing like previously. And I made it home and all the way back on agin.

Took a little time out before reloading. Now I'm set for the night. Will see if a combination of keeping the firebox well fed and religiously shaking and removing the coal ash will do the trick. It crept back up to 68 during the day. Will see what the morrow will bring.

Currently it's 16 degrees outside with a projected high of 14 for Saturday and minus 2 overnight going into Sunday.

Through the night when I visited the bathroom at 3AM the living room was holding at 68. It slipped a degree when I got up again around 6AM and the outside temp had fallen to 11degrees. In a few hours I'd know whether or not that was the fluctuation of the thermostat range or indication that the system is loosing ground.

Saturday Afternoon—13 Feb ; 2PM

Other than loosing a few degrees through the night my system held up with flying colors. It was still 68 in the living room when I got up to go to the bathroom at 3AM. The official outside temp was 16 at the time. The inside temp had slipped a degree when I got up again at 6. And it had dropped to 9 degrees outside. A few hours later when I got up to have the first part of my breakfast , the living room was down to 66 degrees and it was still 9 outside. That was the official report from Accu Weather on the phone. Reluctantly I stepped out on the back porch to check the actual for my place and it was more like 15.

Rhododendrons are rolled up tight indicative of frigid cold. No smoke from the outside furnace but the air above the stack is shimmering indicating a burn is still going. I know my system well enough by now to expect that it will be a struggle to keep up in colder weather. Thankfully the worst of this will be short in duration. It will probably get a little higher today and plummet to zero or a little below overnight. The projected high in the 20s tomorrow and overnight lows in the teens will probably feel like Heaven! And it returns to normal and then above normal—highs in the 50s again by next weekend.

If I delay the delivery of turts until Wed or Thur when I am off again they should make it ok. I am reluctant to spend the money but also reluctant to pass up such a golden opportunity to leap to my goal of a breeding colony. Which would be more glacial and uncertain trying to grow out a bunch of young turtles in hope of getting a mix of males and females that will be breeding age in about 7 to 10 years. Now I can get a trio that should be producing by next season—if not this one and I can start thinking about cherry picking offspring from those like I hope to do with the JPTs. Then I can kick back maybe and enjoy life while tightening my belt and even have another product to sell at reptile shows along with the JPTs, Marsupial Frogs and terrarium plants.

Just checked the temperature again. Living room still holding at 66 degrees which seems to be the baseline thermal balance of the house under frigid conditions. It is still comfortably warm upstairs where I usually stay apart from cooking and eating. The thermometer on the back porch is pushing 20 degrees—a bit higher than the 11 degree reading for Mount Pleasant on Accu Weather. You would think it would be the reverse—town vs countryside. But weather prediction, let alone long term predictions of climate are an uncertain enterprise dealing with lots of chaotic variables—many of which are unknown. The prediction for tonite's low have been bumped up from minus 4 to zero. Still cold enough to justify that big Cadillac log I put aside at the beginning of this ordeal.

Which I am happy to report is turning out less formidable than the original predictions. Hopefully El Neil and his family have gotten through on their end as well. Here I have fared far better than a few weekends ago when it took me all day just to dig out. There is less snow to remove too and it might not even be worth the bother. Being home and not having to go anywhere helps a lot too!

Meanwhile Ray continues to struggle in front of the gates of hell in Wisconsin. And he will pull through also.

The sun keeps coming in and out. Will try to catch it in the greenhouse after I venture out to check and load up the furnace again. Also need to swing by the garage and make sure the turts and plants I'm storing there are ok. If there is ice forming in the containers I will have to move them. Plan on doing that anyway before this evening. Then it should be smooth sailing for a while anyway.

50s by next weekend. Will not be long until even warmer temperatures will be the norm and I can put such worries aside for a while. As we all continue to upgrade and improve and adapt ; come what may.

Bernie Socialist?—Bah Humbug!

Snowpocalpse Postscript:

The greenhouse turned out nice when I finally made it there after putting a few logs in and some coal to keep the fire alive until time to load it up to the hilt for the worst night of the current ordeal. The sight of the Blushing Bride Air Plant and the Oncidium maculatum orchid made my day!


Stayed until dusk and then headed back to the house for dinner and to deal with the assets in the garage. Water in the Japanese Pond Turtle containers was starting to freeze so those and the fig trees and other plants in cool storage were moved to the cellar. Also brought the young male JPT that was wintering in the greenhouse down to the reptile room. It's time to wake him up. Indeed he was already waking up. I moved him in a small container of water for protection from the cold—set inside his small tub and he just would not keep his head down! But he'll be ok. Too bad I didn't have a camera handy for that. But it was a busy day.

And ditto for the huge Cadillac log that I just heaved into the firebox around midnight.

Now that is done. It's just a matter of getting through the night which is already down to 7 degrees and headed lower. To minus 2—they just can't make up their minds!

But it will soon be over; thankfully!


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