Desert Cat's Paradise
"The prudent see danger and take refuge, but the simple keep going and suffer for it." - Proverbs 27:12.
Wednesday, August 31, 2011
Fear Sets In, Panic Begins, Ruin Perceived, Prepare for Gold $2100 :: The Market OracleComments
A confluence of major perceptual factors is flowing in the national mindset. Fear is setting in. The early stage of panic is evident. A growing perception of ruin can be spotted. People are responding to numerous high profile stories, each of which is important in painting a mosaic of extremes, none of which would have occurred in the 1990 decade.
Yeah well, welcome to the party. You're a little late.
Frustrating to me is that I only managed to wake up a couple people long enough ago for them to have made modest efforts to improve their position for what is now finally becoming manifest.
The rest either did not believe it was true, or did not feel sufficient sense of urgency to lift a finger to do anything.
I need to be reminded from time to time also, as I occasionally get my head full of wild home improvement dreams while the basic alternative energy, heating, and cooling systems under construction have yet to become fully functional.
posted by Desert Cat @ 5:46 PM | permalink
I want to give this guy a plug. He is a musician, creating what he calls "lush melodic instrumental electronica."Comments
I just know it's fantastic music by which to do my engineering work:
He has five albums that he gives away for free download. That kind of generous sharing of talent deserves recognition and success, measured in ears listening at the very least.
I downloaded these albums maybe a couple years ago, and came across them again in my music folder yesterday, and wondering why I haven't played them as much as they deserve.
Labels: art appreciation
posted by Desert Cat @ 9:44 AM | permalink
Tuesday, August 30, 2011Comments
posted by Desert Cat @ 5:15 PM | permalink
Funny 'cause it's TROO!
Labels: felicity and jocularity
posted by Desert Cat @ 2:07 PM | permalink
Monday, August 29, 2011
As squirrely as ever:Comments
FOAR SVETLANA FRUM BOXXY - YouTube
And now legal in all 50 states!
posted by Desert Cat @ 6:09 PM | permalink
Sunday, August 28, 2011
Daisycat bought tickets for a concert a couple months ago, but forgot to tell me when the concert was. Turns out it was this last Friday evening, so I had to stay in town Friday and didn't get out here until late Saturday morning.Comments
Because I'm such a freakin' genius, I sketched out the layout of 2x4's for the tub/shower surround on this laminate surface, missing the fact that I had to remove this laminate before I assembled the wall.
I took a picture in case it busted up in the process of removing it. Fortunately I got it off in one piece.
This is as far as I got. The bottom portion of the front wall is on. I have the pieces cut but not assembled for the top portion. Also yesterday I added a couple more pieces to the right-hand wall that I was working on last weekend.
Meanwhile on the other side of the farm, Momcat is building a greenhouse on the side of her house. This grew out of a more modest proposed project to build a solar heat box to tame her winter heating bills. We discussed it a bit, and it grew into a 7' x 16' combination solar hot air generator and greenhouse. It will also triple as a herb drying area in the hot months. And yes, she will probably do at least 90% of the construction herself. She is like me in this regard. We both got it from my grandfather.
Here is an illustration of why sweet potatoes have made it onto our long-term survival food list.
Them's some *robust* vines!
Another "southern" vegetable that is doing well for us here in the southwest is okra:
The squash trellis is full of ripening squashes:
Even the peanuts in Momcat's garden are looking pretty decent this year:
Labels: San Pedro homestead
posted by Desert Cat @ 8:54 PM | permalink
Extended post here
posted by Desert Cat @ 8:54 PM | permalink
Wednesday, August 24, 2011
Labels: morning mood
posted by Desert Cat @ 7:57 AM | permalink
Monday, August 22, 2011
Ok, I have to rave just a bit. I recently broke down and bought one of these that I had read about a while ago:Comments
It is a coffee press of sorts, but nothing like anything that has preceded it. And because of the amount of research that went into developing it and the technique to go with it, it produces, hands down, the smoothest and best tasting coffee I have ever had.
Now some of you know that I have been of the habit of brewing up a quadruple strength mug of coffee to start my days. The usual drip coffeemaker requires that I add copious amounts of sweetener and creamer to bring it up to drinkability. However producing the same concentrated brew with this device requires far less creamer or sweetener, because the method employed with this device extracts far fewer of the bitter, sour oils from the coffee bean.
They have a combination offer at the link that includes a dial thermometer. This is an essential piece of equipment, as part of the technique includes starting with water at 175 degrees, for maximum flavor extraction with minimum bitter extraction. The idea is to thoroughly combine the grounds with water of just the right temperature for just the right amount of time, and then press the resulting brew out of the grounds through a fine filter. Basically the device is a large syringe with a filter on the end. Much less complicated and expensive than an espresso machine and only vaguely resembling a french press. You could say it's like an inverted french press, but it differs in that it uses air to push the brew out of the grounds quickly, rather than leaving the grounds in contact with the brew to get bitter like a french press does. Also there are zero grounds in your finished brew with this device, unlike a french press which often lets grounds seep into the brew.
I've been dragging my butt this afternoon, so I just brewed up another cup that I'm enjoying as I write this. Just thought I'd share. If you're a serious coffee drinker, check it out.
Updated, to note that this is called an AeroPress and is made by Aerobie. I was looking for this in my archives and could. not. find! Finally I realized I had never added the name AeroPress or Aero Press to the post anywhere...
posted by Desert Cat @ 4:30 PM | permalink
Sunday, August 21, 2011
It's Sunday night already?Comments
Friday saw me in town doing shopping (Home Depot for 2x4's) and some errands, such that I did not get out to the farm until mid-afternoon. As usual that makes the weekend seem short by a day.
Saturday I measured and cut the existing tub pedestal to fit the rest of the surround I am constructing.
Sunday I constructed the right wall of the surround to match what I did on the left side previously.
Laid out for assembly:
Raised in place and fastened to the wall and base:
And that's all folks. Go figure.
Labels: San Pedro homestead
posted by Desert Cat @ 8:02 PM | permalink
Saturday, August 20, 2011
Wow, does this take me back...
posted by Desert Cat @ 7:03 PM | permalink
Monday, August 15, 2011
Paul Krugman Recommends Military Build-up to Fight Space Alien Invasion as Remedy for EconomyComments
In other news, Vox may have identified where the threat is coming from.
posted by Desert Cat @ 6:28 PM | permalink
Sunday, August 14, 2011
I finished removing roots and shaping the floodway that I started last week, and also moved three more barrow loads of dirt to finish leveling the pathway.Comments
The corn is looking good now, one week after I added some nitrogen fertilizer.
Back to the indoor project, I had to do a special cut to fit this 2x4 to the existing 2x4's where I left off this project last year. This is a short piece I cut to test the fit of the longer piece that will go here.
The framing on the left side of the shower surround is essentially complete.
On the right side, my last task this weekend was removing the original faucet in preparation for building the right side shower surround framing.
posted by Desert Cat @ 10:05 PM | permalink
Tuesday, August 09, 2011
"Steward, is this ship sinking?"Comments
"No, of course not! We're merely adjusting the waterline upward by a few feet."
posted by Desert Cat @ 3:20 PM | permalink
Monday, August 08, 2011Comments
posted by Desert Cat @ 8:50 PM | permalink
Gold soars. Stocks crash. Interestingly, Treasuries are up at this hour, indicating that the rating was already priced in. The ECB stepped in to save Italy and Spain after all. So much for the rhetoric.Comments
I could just point you at Zerohedge and say "start reading". It's a slaughter in multiple ways. But there's a couple stories worth pulling forward:
Here Comes TARP 2: Bank Of America Implodes, At $6.87, BAC CDS Up 20% To 260 bps As Bankruptcy Contemplated | ZeroHedge
Zounds! TBTF may fail anyway. So much for Dodd Frank being worth a shit. Also, Cramer is utterly, irredemably stupid. Or a well-paid shill.
KABOOOM: BERKSHIRE HATHAWAY INC OUTLOOK TO NEGATIVE FROM STABLE BY S&P
S&P is on a roll, buzzsaw in hand, slashing the ratings of companies left and right. Seems they've tired of lying for the sake of making friends in high places.
Remember, it's all fun and games until someone gets their eye poked out. Be careful out there.
posted by Desert Cat @ 11:09 AM | permalink
Sunday, August 07, 2011
This was a truncated weekend. Normally I have Friday out here as well as Saturday and Sunday. Friday was occupied with appointments and shopping. I did not get here until late Friday.Comments
From last weekend's work, the tower exterior is nearly complete, but I'm setting it aside until cooler weather. Up on the ladder in the heat and humidity is a bit more than is really necessary right now. Once the humidity abates it will be functional now as it is, albeit not automated.
The louver vent installed last weekend:
This weekend was taken up by a mushrooming project that started out innocently enough.
The grass in the pathway through the garden was tall when I got here, and it was wet from a recent storm, which made walking through it a hazardous proposition for the "city shoes" I was wearing. So I mowed the grass Saturday, but could not mow around the septic clean outs that were in the middle of the walkway.
I had purchased a pair of irrigation boxes nearly two years ago that I planned to set in the ground over each clean out, and then bring the level of the dirt up around them so that walking, mowing, running equipment across them, etc. would be easy. I finally decided to take care of doing this "quick job".
The source for the fill material was an embankment of dirt up near the workshop. This mound of dirt was creating a problem by presenting a choke point for rainwater flowing from the west side of the workshop. The water was backing up and going *through* the shop instead of around, so I saw this as an opportunity to address this problem at the same time.
After moving a few barrow-loads of dirt out of the mound and onto the walkway, another long-pending project came up before me. When I created the raised platform with railroad ties for the workshop floor, and the "bridge" over the wash between the house and the walkway, I left the installation of a couple more railroad ties along the walkway for "later". Well, "later" is now, because it became obvious that to do a proper job of leveling the walkway with dirt, I needed the ties to retain the dirt.
Fortunately I still had a handful of ties on hand from that project. So in addition to digging, hauling and leveling dirt I now added the backbreaking work of setting landscape timbers.
Mind you, this is all on a day with obscenely high humidity, albeit temperatures only in the high 90's. Crazy I know. But such is the nature of the project that mushrooms out of control.
The new floodway on the west side is starting to look better.
I ran out of time, so this is far as I got on the walkway. There are still a couple barrow loads of dirt required at the east end.
The floodway still has a few roots to remove, and there is still plenty of dirt in the embankment to finish the job another weekend.
To those of you inclined to whine "when are you going to do MY projects?", I will add: This is all part of an effort to de-redneckify the premises. Besides, your projects require your presence.
Labels: San Pedro homestead
posted by Desert Cat @ 8:46 PM | permalink
Apmex Is On Hiatus Until Asia Open, Or Why You Better Already Have All Your Physical By Now...Comments
Citi Battens Down The Hatches, Prepares For Global Risk Offness In A Few Short Hours
Meanwhile, S&P to the Fed and Treasury: "Ah fahrt in your general direc-sion!"
S&P Explains Why The "$2 Trillion Error" Is Irrelevant
"Tell them we already have one."
ATTENTION PASSENGERS: THE CAPTAIN HAS TURNED ON THE 'FASTEN SEATBELTS' SIGN. PLEASE RETURN TO YOUR SEATS AND FASTEN YOUR SEATBELTS.
posted by Desert Cat @ 9:08 AM | permalink
Saturday, August 06, 2011
Meanwhile across the pond, Germany says "to hell with Italy!":Comments
It Just Went From Bad To Far, Far Worse As Germany Says Italy Is Too Big For EFSF To Save, Refuses To Carry Euro Bailout Burden | ZeroHedge
Ok, Monday will indeed be an interesting day.
posted by Desert Cat @ 10:06 AM | permalink
There's lots of Armageddon talk on the alternative financial press websites, but I don't expect a sudden collapse or any sudden severe moves any worse than this week's sharp downspike in the equities. Bond markets are going to be nuts on Monday, but I see this as another step in the progressive deterioration that has been going on for 3+ years now.Comments
I could be surprised. Some people see this as the last weekend before TEOTWAWKI.
Enjoy it while you can.
Got preps to buy? Go. Do.
90% silver lots are still readily available via eBay for those looking to where to stash their cash for safekeeping. And not just in onesie twosie sales either.
For example: here, here and here are just three examples of how one could quickly convert a small nest egg into precious metals at a reasonable premium over spot. And if you believe fiat is going to tank, the premium over spot today is not your biggest concern.
There are more like those listed from time to time, or you could spend a weekend snagging all the lot sales listed. Generally the larger the lot the lower the premium, which means people with less money to spend are competing harder for the smaller lots.
I've created a spreadsheet that allows me to quickly assess the market value of any lot of coins based upon the current spot silver price. Interested, drop me an e-mail and I'll send it over together with some basic instructions how to use it.
posted by Desert Cat @ 8:29 AM | permalink
Thursday, August 04, 2011
Went to see Cowboys & Aliens last night. Warning: spoilers ahead.Comments
I think the critics are being too hard on it. It is what it is--a cheesy mashup of two genre stereotypes: western and sci-fi alien attack. Sure, most of the critics are technically correct, but they're missing the forest for the trees. The movie works as intended.
I enjoyed seeing Harrison Ford (old school Alpha) juxtaposed against Daniel Craig (new Alpha on the block). Their dynamic was done pretty well.
Best scene in the movie: Jake (Craig) is put in a cell next to the mouthy "kid", Percy Dolarhyde, Dolarhyde the younger is carrying on about what his father (Ford) will do to Jake as soon as he comes to get him. Jake puts up with about 15 seconds of this, then reaches through the bars between their adjacent cells, grabs him by the shirt and slams his face into the bars. I could see this coming a mile away and it was all the more mirthful when it happened.
Second best was when Jake popped his sycophant ex-gang member in the mouth while he was doing ass-kissy and said "shut up! I'm thinking."
I seem to enjoy watching Craig put the smackdown on idiots who richly deserve it.
Jake doesn't get the girl in the end; she blows herself up in order to destroy the alien ship and save humanity from certain destruction. In fact it turned out she was an alien from another alien race sent to save humanity from the same fate that her people suffered.
And of course in classic Western style, he rides off toward the horizon at the end.
If you don't go expecting too much, it is a perfectly entertaining film. Daisycat and I both enjoyed it.
posted by Desert Cat @ 9:08 PM | permalink
Wednesday, August 03, 2011
There is a weather pattern over Tucson that bears every resemblance to the remnants of a tropical storm, yet I can find no reference to such in the current weather pages.Comments
This is a still shot from the radar loop, but when the current series is animated there is a very obvious counterclockwise rotation.
The IR satellite shows this as a single spot of storm activity right over the Tucson region.
The most I can find is a reference to Tropical Storm Don from six days ago that noted it would pass across Mexico and into Arizona early this week.
Well apparently it did, but no one is mentioning where this peculiar pattern originated.
It blew in late yesterday evening, starting out with a sudden surge of thunderstorms after 11 PM. The day prior had been drier and windy from the west. There was scattered rain all night and still rain and thunder this morning when I stuck my head outside. Later today it is supposed to clear off.
Update: Cool video here of the "wall of water" that we see coming out of monsoon season storm clouds around here. What looks like a dark gray curtain is in fact a torrential downpour maybe half a mile away. Also, nifty surprise ending ;P
posted by Desert Cat @ 8:32 AM | permalink
Monday, August 01, 2011
posted by Desert Cat @ 10:38 AM | permalink
Time gets away from me near the end of the weekend lately. I have two weekends worth of stuff done with nothing documenting it yet.Comments
Last week on the part of my extended weekend I spent on the farm, I installed the last pieces of the trim on the tower. Yes I know I said I installed the last of it before, but I had overlooked a couple pieces that required some custom cutting and repainting when I said that.
I also got the door hung and installed the door jambs and a slide bolt latch and cut the hole in the wall between the house and the tower.
This last weekend I spent much of my time on the ladder, injecting foam fill into the gap between the trim and the glazing panels on the tower, then painstakingly cutting, scraping and removing the excess that oozed out of the gap and hardened. I am not done with this task, having run out of foam fill before I had everything gooped shut.
I also temporarily installed the large louver in the hole in the wall between house and tower.
The tower is nearly sealed up and ready for operation, save for some weatherstripping on the door and the remainder of the foam fill. I gave it a test run this weekend and the results were somewhat disappointing, but that is in large part because evaporative cooling as a concept is disappointing this time of year. The difference between electric fan on and electric fan off was only about 5 degrees, so even a grid power driven system fails to make the house comfortable when the outdoor humidity is so very high. The real test will be late September when the humidity drops off again and especially next May-June. On a positive note, the temperature drop from indoor to outdoor was about ten degrees despite the high outdoor humidity.
My original plans called for a second exhaust tower at the other end of the house. I will not be starting on this immediately, as there is a lot of stuff that is sitting on hold pending the completion of this first tower. Also when I do get back to this project I will be building an intake tower first. The principles are the same as the exhaust tower except that the evap cooling cell will be mounted on the top to give me a reverse chimney effect, pushing cold air into the house by cold air convection.
In the interim, I will be installing a solar powered vent fan to boost the tower ventilation.
Next up after final sealing of the tower will be getting back to the bathroom remodel I started last summer and also continuing to wire up the house for solar electric.
The corn in the garden is going gangbusters--chest high and not yet tasseling. I need to get a photo of that. The beans (blackeyed peas) are doing well in most areas too.
Labels: San Pedro homestead
posted by Desert Cat @ 9:08 AM | permalink
Seems I've finally shaken my MinnesOOta accent...Comments
posted by Desert Cat @ 9:04 AM | permalink
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