Monday, March 26, 2018


My better half officially willed winter away this last week. Over toast and morning coffee, she declared winter over. It was the first day of spring and she was seriously of the opinion she had the power. I tried to add an "Oh well..." but she would have nothing to do with any opposition thinking. 

The fourth New England winter storm this month will touch us tonight and tomorrow. Good news is that bulk of the storm is predicted to fall south of our location. 

And as can be seen, winter IS almost over.......



Another crazy week on planet earth. POTUS signs spending bill congress presented him at the last hour. Did so, if I understand correctly, solely to preserve and re-build our military defense

Is this a valid reason? 

Wife and I have finally resolved that even in our old age, we will live to see the next American Revolution. Another event may be just over the horizon to keep the protests alive.


It was rocks in the classroom this past weekend that pushed me off the cliff of common sense and normalcy. Today's school aged-children are being downsized in the thinking and questioning departments. It appears they fall easy prey to protesting and asserting their rights to free speech. They do not come to argue an issue, debate an issue, but rather in heated pursuit of immediate change and fame. We have raised them that way. Proving a point that youth can be easily manipulated with long term leftest teachings. Change through mandates by temper tantrums. Add their inability to be able to define an "assault weapon".

Superintendent David Helsel, staff and some community members may be a few fries short of a happy meal on protecting school children. How can anyone have a discussion on viable solutions with this kind of leadership?

I wonder if any of the parents, and more importantly the older students, see any issues having river rock as a last defense against an active shooter. Adults still failing to solve the issue of their safety. Seems to me! 



  1. a person or thing situated away or detached from the main body or system.
    "less accessible islands and outliers"
    • a person or thing differing from all other members of a particular group or set.
      "an outlier in Faulkner's body of work" · "then there are the corporate outliers, people who just don't fit into the culture of the company"
    From Bing Search

I first heard this word (term) Sunday over lunch. It is being used to further pigeon hole and define everyday common hard-working, law-abiding American folk, dirt people and the deplorables. Keep your eyes open for this term to float higher in the gun debate and isolation of American's from each other. We are being divided at an alarming rate now and being forced into taking sides. 

The gun grabber marchers this weekend were surrounded by armed personnel for safety and protection. Whaaaaaaaat? 


Top off your buckets of rocks while you are free to roam the river beds. Keep your heads up and paying attention. This is a good time in the course of human events to talk to your children. They are thirsty for good idea sharing and being pushed to think for themselves. 

Yep, thanks for the visit.

Monday, March 19, 2018


Late posting:

Mid-week daybreak and a foot of fresh snow covers the castle on the hill. Trees are laden down with snow and quiet is well-defined. Birds of all breeds have cleaned out the big feeder and will be on watch for it to be topped off. I force myself to pause, look and appreciate the surroundings. It is breathtakingly beautiful. The memory of it all melting away just two weeks ago is gone and March re-surfaces reminding us in New England that Mother Nature plays all through this month before she officially loosens the reins from winter into spring.

To talk of the work ahead this morning is of no news or consequence. Thousands upon thousands of folks have much more of a challenge moving snow and getting to and from work. Students with school delays, moms and dads having just one more daily obstacle to hurdle. I will not complain.

Bucket-truck 'Merica

The photo above was named by my lineman son “Bucket-truck 'Merica.” His crew was one of the last to finish up the previous storm work in New Hampshire, Massachusetts, and Connecticut. The photo was taken on their drive back to base station NH. He said that they stopped into a Rite Aid for snacks and American flags were on sale. The crew purchased a flag and flew it all the way home.

He told me one of the stories of the their last outage. They arrived to a dozen poles on the ground all snapped and needing replacement. Snow plows had hit and drug several a ways down the road before realizing the snow covered downed poles and lines. Broken transformers on the ground and visibly a general mess upon their arrival. He said that other crews had kept going when they came by this outage. Thirty-nine homes w/o power and his and other bucket truck crews went to work, completed the repairs and threw the switch on to these home around 3 PM that last day.

The locals brought hot coffee and delivered Burger King lunches to all crew members.

While on the quick lunch break, a dog that would not stop barking was near where son was eating. The owner, on her porch, said that the dog will not bite but never shuts up. Son walked over to the barking dog and offered it a french fry. The dog kept barking so son threw the FF near the dogs feet. It sniffed and then ate the french fry. The next FF was taken from son's hand and the barking stopped and the dog allowed son to pet him. The lady on the porch yelled out, “Are you kidding me, all it takes is a french fry?” 

Flying an American flag all the way home was a great way for the crew to end 12 days of storm work. I love these guys as do the folks who patiently watch them work to restore their power. These are great men and women in my book.



One of my first thoughts from looking at the early photos of the bridge in place is that the failure was instant and catastrophic.

Was it tested in a physical model form? Was it computer tested? These days, all of the stresses and loads can be tested in the computer. Were they? If so, how did the structure pass the tests? Testing via models can easily take design to failure and testing to failure is normal. Was there not at least one engineering student who asked what this bridge design looked like at failure?

New building methods and materials. The president of FIU touts the greatness of this bridge being a destination and being "fully wired". I am wondering how much influence the “touchy feely” things these days out weighed basic bridge design and construction. I am also curious what the protruding cement rectangles with apparent bolt ends exposed are. Was another part of the structure not yet installed? Googling “Florida Bridge Photos” will bring up several images (in images) showing those top pieces before and after failure.

As of publishing time this Sunday morning, we learn that an engineer called to report a crack in the bridge to the Florida Department of Transportation two days prior to the collapse. Apparently the FDOTdoes not check voice mail.

Engineering taken seriously: You will enjoy this short video.

Again I find myself approaching today's "happenings" with concern, reports taken at face value and trying to apply some common sense. I have spent a life time building things and have learned a lot. Time has taught me to overbuild, even when it seems not necessary.

The text of the voice mail from the engineer leaves a lot to be desired on many levels. Does not feel like a serious engineer with a serious engineering concern to me. A good story to keep our eyes on.

There seem distortions in the space-time continuum, cracks in common sense, a most-high importance placed on feelings, confusions on which bathroom to use, students being used and co-opted way beyond getting a good education, "groupthink"  seems mandated, and a shutdown of view-sharing or debating sides of any idea or design, is becoming a/the agenda.

Today, the adults in charge are pushing grade school, middle school, high school and university students out ahead of themselves for causes and securing media coverage. Do not be surprised if violence is used in the name of securing safety from violence. 

Students "want the same rights as a gun" while others display protest signs against the NRA while wearing a “Molon Labe” shirt. Dude, take me seriously!

Not much stretch of the imagination that serious learning inside of our universities might not be overly concerned about bridge design - loading etc. Dude, that your bridge? (I apologize)

Stay away from crowds and new “cost saving construction methods” construction.  

Thank You for the visit and good week wishes!

Monday, March 12, 2018


A very busy week for line crews in the north east. Another 8-14 inches of snow due midweek. Mother Nature wants to leave a final impression before officially moving on. 

Linemen looking at flooding in Massachusetts this past week.


 I had the opportunity to be out in the cold and stationary in one location for 6 hours this weekend. It was a good opportunity to tap into a bug-out container. 

I had filled a Cabela's ammo container with a Jet Boil along with assorted snacks for a three-day single person emergency. This carrier sets on the floor behind the passenger seat. I go through bug-out bags twice a year as mentioned before in this blog. This weekend was a good opportunity to open and practice with emergency stores before all is re-organized and items updated for spring/summer and fall. 

I used a full bottle of water and heated up some instant soup on the downed tail gate. A strongish cold breeze was blowing and all of this took about 15 minutes due to the cold blowing over the Jet Boil. I have several old metal spoons in the kit for stirring and eventually eating as wanted. 

Sitting in a warm truck, sipping hot chicken noodle soup was not a bad way to pass a cold winter morning stuck in one spot. I likened this to a recent weather event where a power line fell across I-95 a few days ago in a long-term heavy snow fall. Vehicles were stuck for hours in both north and south bound lanes on the weathered highway until the lines were lifted and made safe. These are winter conditions that can as easily strand any motorist for a long period of time. Having no provisions is not a situation I ever want to find myself in, regardless of the reason. 

My truck usually always has a half dozen bottles of water tucked in the door panels, back seat on the floor and a few under the lift up back seat.  

One thing I did learn that I would go through water for hot soups, coffees and hot chocolates. Extra water in a vehicle is important. 

This might be a tool for fun shopping and considering if you play outdoors or plan for being prepared for a few challenging days. Having warm comfort food for folks in a few days emergency will prove you to be the hero of the day. The Jet Boil may be a little "spendy", but pay for itself in just one emergency use. 

The Jet Boil is a great tool (for me) for heating bug-out bag foods. It stores well, simple and safe. Never to be used in a concealed environment, ie., cooking inside a closed vehicle. But you know these things!

Related Story

I would like to think that all folks know these things and follow rules for running equipment. But running two generators in your basement is a classic mistake and with all the warnings given on media, I want to believe folks do not do this, but not the case. The man and his cat succumbed to carbon monoxide poisoning and his wife and dog were revived. 

Don't be one of these people. 


Two is one, one is none. A half-gas tank is an empty gas tank. Think the seasons ahead, plan and act.  Heads up and thanks for stopping in.

Sunday, March 4, 2018


Feeder topped off and ready for a snowy week

Squirrels hate the two new red bird feeders, but damn if they cannot "jerry-rig" the spring systems to cause bird feeder failure. I am working on it! 

The little fellow above owned the suet feeder the other morning. Several cakes of suet last barely a week with snow-covered grounds. 


I have not had energy to keep track of passing days. 

The bride has been recovering from nasal surgery. No sooner did we get her settled in for a coupla weeks recovery period, I came down with bronchitis. Then that turned into pneumonia. The dog is just fine.

Homemade chicken noodle soup for both of us, and lots of good local honey and Irish tea. Son and fiancee have been meals on wheels a few times. Offers from friends to help but no way anyone needs to come inside this home till we are well. Several doctor visits with appropriate drugs in the mix. Many naps on the couch and recliner for both of us. 

Mother Nature has been going through her throes of moving from winter to spring. Cold to hot temperatures in just a day or two, then freezing again. Snow with rain as final slaps in our face. Temperatures moderating as this month begins and as of this posting, the bride and I are improving.

We are having more and more conversations of wintering down south starting this coming winter. I did get the daily winter work done this season, but realize there is not much of this left in me. Maybe three different down south locations to spend January, February and March, 2019. Sure would add some new perspectives to blog about. 


PHOTOGRAPHY  ... interesting artist and a pleasant distraction in today's crazy world. 


An unarmed populous has little chance for long-term survival against tyranny. I have long thought that I will not live long enough to see the last rung of liberty disappear above me, but now I think that is not the case. I feel the sands of humanity eroding beneath my feet. 


When does an ongoing problem reach a point of no return and become impossible to solve? When do folks realize that nothing is going to change, all solutions will hurt one group of people or another and the only option is to up-root and start over somewhere else?


The events over the past several weeks, originating out of Broward County in Florida, have again opened the flood gates for gun control. 

POTUS is conducting televised public listening sessions for ideas. So he is "Doing Something." Instead of kicking the can or brushing off the protests and calls for carnage over all things gun in America, he has set the whole gun animal on the table for public dissection and comment.

He promises to follow through and asks why has nothing been done before and can congressmen and congresswomen meld some of their gun bills together for action. Congresswoman Diane Feinstein utters, "we tried." The optics are great and shines bright lights on politicians' gun stances. 

In the meantime, some businesses are enacting age limits for selling guns and self-banning the sales of the "God All Mighty" worst gun in the world, the AR-15. 

Keep in mind through all of this, the failure of several arms of law enforcement, mental health programs or lack thereof and a very good dose of cowardice and self-preservation in Broward County. The children have paid a very high price. Those who have survived are successfully being co-opted into the agenda with media front and center faster than any first responder could ever achieve. 

Any application of "common sense" on gun issues ought to show that enacting more gun laws to prevent gun violence has as much hope for success as enacting laws against getting Cancer, Alzheimer's, the Flu or Pneumonia. 

Be prepared to pay more in school taxes.  For the children and the teachers and the facilities and the new staff and all the new training programs. "Experts" will come out of the woodwork quickly with billings in hand. 

After all the optics and grandstanding, final bills passed by congress and signed by the President ought to shed more light on the future strength and rights of law abiding citizens to own guns.


YES, YES YOU...  TROUBLE UP THE ROAD...good reads posted by Cold Fury


Changing seasons means it is time to update bug-out bags for spring/summer/fall. Seek out some solace and happy this week. Always, heads up and thank you for the visit.