L. Neil Smith’s THE LIBERTARIAN ENTERPRISE
Number 907, January 22, 2017
The Norseman’s Diaries: Sometimes Even Heaven Can Be Hell
by Jeff Fullerton
Attribute to L. Neil Smith’s The Libertarian Enterprise
After a long cold night about a week ago; the brunt of the Vortex finally abated Already up to the low thirties according to the back porch thermometer and the house finally caught up to the setting of 68 degrees around noon (actually it was 67 when I checked but close enough) and I switched back to the outside unit.
The weather this week turned out more the Norseman’s definition of Heaven. 45 Tuesday, 50 on Wed and near 60 on Thursday before falling back into the seasonal norms maybe next week. And that is plenty good. Easier on my fuel reserves and it will help run out the clock on the low sun months and the vortexes. I was very thankful this one that just passed had been so short lived.
Unfortunately the moment you think you’re out of the woods—you’re not. Sometimes even Heaven can be Hell.
This week’s gravel delivery turned out to be another near disaster. Even worse than the delivery of the first load of firewood that that was reason for the endeavor to put a big load of #3 limestone down to fix my lane so the sawmill would be willing to deliver another.
The truck got hung up because the passenger side wheels slipped off the edge of the berm and the truck was precariously close to tipping over. For a while it was looking like even all the King’s Horses & all the King’s Men might not succeed in getting it unstuck again.
It took three tries with different trucks to pull him out. Potoka’s brought their big wrecker and rigged a block and tackle at the base of a white pine so one winch could pull the rear end of the truck back up on the driveway. Then they pulled with both winches on the front—one cable broke and finally got it completely out with the remaining.
It was an amazing display of power. When the winch rigged to the white pine you could see the ground around the entire root zone lift up at least a foot and a half. For a moment there was concern it might pull the tree out of the ground but those ones have lots of shallow roots going out like a web to anchor the tree in soft soil against winds.
I was really bummed out when I learned that it costs something like $700 for a big wrecker. The company picks up the tab for that but I feel bad. Hope they can claim it as a tax loss! I gave the driver a $100 tip along with the check for his trouble being tied up nearly all afternoon. I even had to call off my 4 hour shift because I couldn’t get out of here until I repaired all the damage and spread the remaining ton or so that was dumped it the end of the lane. Big #3 that is hard to shovel.
That took me a couple more hours. I did my best to fill the ruts and collapsed portion of the berm enough to get the way passable at least for my vehicles.
Now things were looking worrisome. Would have to bring in more material—smaller loads with my pickup or get the guy who has a smaller truck—piecemeal as resources and time permits. And see about getting Keslar’s to dump my firewood over the embankment by the mailbox and bring it in with the pickup or hand carry. It sucked, but still better than having none or carrying logs from even farther away. Such as my other idea for having a stockpile at the top corner of the acreage and trucking it down the hill.
The stockpile was dwindling and might have gotten me another week but I’d rather get it sooner just in case the weather changes or something else happens. The current long range has the mild conditions going until next weekend. Then February looks maybe a bit on the rough side of seasonally cold. That I can handle if I have plenty of fuel.
This episode led to some interesting insights and conversational threads with Ray and Crawdaddy Bruce—my friend from Idaho. First of all—that $50 Underground House from the Mike Ohler book is starting to look good again. Which led to discussions on primitive low tech vs economies of scale. The dump truck and the wrecker that rescued it were definitely examples of economies of scale. It is good that such things are available to accomplish what would otherwise be a job for Superman or Gravity Girl! In addition the whole situation is a prime example of a broken window fallacy that makes for a stand alone topic for maybe a future article.
As the week came to a close things were looking up and had taken a turn for the better. I called Keslars Thursday morning and they sent one of their guys down to evaluate my situation. They were willing to deliver a load via the smaller truck and bring it in all the way and dump it on the ramp. That happened late in the day Friday. So I’m at least as well off as in previous winters using this strategy. 3 or 4 such deliveries will probably get me through.
Saved for now—barring other problems.
Speaking of: it was really good that I was able to get wood delivered because I’d be really screwed if I had to depend on the pickup to haul it in. It’s got issues again. Drivers side front wheel is locking up and smoking again like it did last summer when I had to get the $600 brake job!
More broken windows.
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