The Google Gods Striketh Me Down

On September 19, 2011, I figured out that it was not the Google Gods Striking Me Down, but accidentally clicking the wrong box in the new interface as I explain in:

An Apology to Google and Blogger

Cross Posted at Simple is Working

I have moved back and forth between One Foot In Reality and Simple is Working over the past couple of weeks.  The biggest thing holding me back was that One Foot In Reality had been my most successful blog to date and generally had between 300 and 500 page views a day.  Not great, but not too bad for a small blog.

Well I recently uploaded all of my Blogger posts to Simple is Working and have cross-postd between the two blog to see which one was the better place to post, i.e. which one had more people reading my posts.  I had planned on doing this for a month or so before making a decision on which blog to keep as my primary blog.

All that effort on my part must have paid some dividends somewhere because this is what my stats look like now. It seems that my stats have been readjusted lately at One Foot In Reality – down – way down.
The built-in Stat Analysis in Blogger.
From Google Analytics
I am now getting more hits at Simple is Working that was created a few weeks ago than One Foot In Reality that was created a year ago. Boy I must have pissed-off the Google Gods in the sky, because I was running two blogs and got penalized severely in their search engine algorithms.
Oh well that was the only thing that was really holding me back from completing the switch to as my primary blog.
Thank you Google for making the choice so much easier for me and probably in a direction that I would not have gone.
So welcome to my primary blog – “Simple is Working”.  I know that it is a lot simpler just focusing on the one blog, instead of trying to run a couple of different ones.
So this will be my last cross-posted post for a while 😉

Time to Get Firewood and In Shape

Usually I start getting in my firewood in April, but due to my knee injury and surgery, I couldn’t this year.  I could probably have started sooner, but I just didn’t trust the knee enough yet and when working with wood, you need that trust.  I tried operating the chainsaw on some small projects earlier and the knee didn’t feel right while doing it.

When operating a chainsaw, I believe that you need to move quickly from side-to-side and be able to step on/over brush without loosing your balance or have the knee suddenly buckle, because of pain or lack of strength.  The side-to-side movements with being able to step up or over something and then have the strength to stand on one leg wasn’t good enough for a long time due to the knee surgery that I had in May.

Finally, my knee has finally progressed to the point where I can do all of those things and I feel comfortable running a chainsaw safely.  So now it is time for a very simple and old-fashioned workout program of being an amateur lumberjack for the next few months.

Have you ever ran a chain saw for an hour, moved brush and then split wood with a splitting axe for another hour or so, trust me it is anaerobic, aerobic and strength training all put into the same workout, at least that is how I am going to look at it.  I know that my T-shirt looked like I had been swimming from sweating so much.

I hate, hate, hate downing trees, especially if they are close to power lines or by the house/garage.  That is the time when most accidents happen and people get hurt or damage something.  I have had too many instances of trees – not doing what they are supposed to do.  Therefore, I have a very healthy respect when dropping a tree and try to do it very carefully (even if some of my friends don’t believe that statement).  Last year I dropped a tree on my truck, when it lodged in another tree and I had to pull it down.

If I have any question about my ability to safely drop a tree – I pay the professionals to do it. There are 7 trees that I am having dropped sometime in the next couple of weeks, simply because of where they are, is beyond my ability to drop them safely.  I am finally learning that I can’t always do everything safely by myself.  I will do everything else, all the pros are going to do is put them on the ground.

It may not be the most frugal way to cut down a tree, but I would rather be safe and have it done right.  Instead of having something bad happening that could have been prevented by spending a little money – no matter how tight the money might be.  Sure I might be able to barter some of the work or ask some friends to do it, but then there is the question of liability if something bad does happen.  In this case it is cheaper in the long run to pay the professionals.

My plan until the professionals take down those trees is to do a tree most days until they knock down those trees and then keep going until I have enough wood to get through the winter and hopefully have a couple of cords ahead for next year to season.

So here is what I got done today:

I doesn’t look like much, but it only took about 3 hours to get this far.  No it wasn’t the biggest tree, but it was easy to put on the ground (it had a good lean), got it limbed, cut to stove length and 95% split.  I started making mistakes with the splitting maul and decided to call it a day – the truth was I was freaking tired.

For my first day back to working wood, I feel it went really well, but tonight I am definitely paying for not being in cutting wood shape yet.  Tomorrow I plan to finish up the splitting, move the wood to the temporary drying area and then chip the remaining branches where the wild raspberry bushes will be growing back.

As you can tell I have a very healthy respect for chainsaws and trees, and the dangerous combination that they are.  But I also enjoy heating the house with a renewable energy source, so I have a lot of trees to do safely before winter comes, to add to what was left over from last year.

So here is to my whole body fitness routine and weight loss plan – Amateur Lumberjack. I just hope that those 20 pounds or more that I need to get rid of melt away.   Until I get back in the groove (in shape), I won’t have a lot of energy for my running routine – or need.

Like they say, cutting wood warms you twice, once when you cut it and again when you burn it.Are you doing the right thing for the right reasons?

My Go – Bag Thoughts

I have been a hunter, day hiker, fisherman, sometimes backpacker and emergency preparedness type (professionally and personally) over the course of the past 30 years or so. So I have always had a “go bag” backpack/fannypack stashed in my vehicle, if I suddenly have an opportunity for a quick hunt, hike, etc. or to be ready for an emergency.

Yeah I know cell phones are the cure-all and whoever carries one is going to be found quickly.  Sorry I just don’t trust that technology that much. You need a backup plan for when your cell phone isn’t working or is broken.
I have always believed that you need to be ready to spend 48-72 hours in the woods unexpectedly when you are doing outside activities, even in local areas.  If you get turned around or get hurt, it might take that long for someone to find you or for you to find your way out.

Over the past month I have read a lot of the hiking, survivalist, prepper and emergency preparedness blogs and thinking about the stuff they advocate having in their hiking bags or bug out bags.  Anyways it seems that to many in today’s world my “Go” bag’s name has changed to become a “Bug Out Bag”.

After going through several different lists on the Internet that recommend what you should have in your day hike or bug out bag. I thought that it might be a good time to go through my “Go” bag to see how it compared to the lists, since I haven’t really gone through my bag in a couple of years.  When you can’t walk all that much because of a bad knee you don’t worry so much about having a day hiking bag.

For the most part I feel pretty comfortable with what I have for up to 72 hours, but a couple of things that just slapped me upside the head and need to do are:

  • Add a more food to what am carrying 3 food bars and an instant meal are not enough for up to 72 hours.  That amount would be fine for a quick afternoon or unexpected overnight, but nothing longer.
  • Have water already added to the bladder and water bottles, now I only have one bottle already setup.  I also want to get a better water purification system than I have now.
  • I need to put a survival book in the bag, always used to have one, I don’t know where it went?
  • Of all the things that I forgot to put in the kit was fishing supplies – just one of those things if you don’t look at your bag once in a while you forget about.
  • Where it is almost fall (I can’t believe today is August 1st), think about putting my solo tent in the pack (it fits two if you don’t mind be close to each other), that way I have it already in place.

I had a choice of three carrying systems:

  • Most of my day hikes and time in the woods can be taken care of with my belt pack (Yes I carry it even when hunting or walking local trails).  I have enough stuff in there to make it through a night or two in the woods, if I had to (May-October), it just would not be as comfortable. I am familiar with what is in it and where things are.
  • I decided against the smaller pack (red/gray pack), it is an adventure racing pack and pretty light weight (I won’t be doing any adventure racing anytime soon) – I could change a lot of things around, to make it work no problem, but decided against it.  It is fine for a day hike bag or a supported multi-day trek bag. But not as a 72 hour bag.
  • I decided to go with a slightly larger capacity bag that has spent several hours on my back over the past 11 years – no it is not a brand name, but I keep coming back to using it – it just fits me.  My Black Diamond-Alpine bag has stood up to be overloaded, carried on airplanes, thrown in the back of my pickup/wagon, walked on, dropped, used as a seat/pillow, rained on, dunked in streams, been a cushion when I fall in the mud.  Surprisingly it still looks pretty good and I haven’t had any problems with the zippers (usually a weak point).
This is basically a weekender backpack, that I can comfortably carry around 30 pounds (more if I really had to).

It also has places for straps for sleeping bag, pad and other items that can be lashed to the outside of the pack (I have tried a sleeping back strapped to the bottom and while it works, it bounces against my ass too much for my liking, so while I can use hang sleeping bags from the bottom of this pack, I prefer not if possible (I have a light mummy bag and a small compression bag, I think I will see how small I can make the sleeping bag and maybe go in that direction).  Plus if I need to carry snowshoes or skis and poles with this bag, it does it no problem.

This was actually a really good thing to have done.  Going through and inventorying my “go bag” showed me what I need to fix, got rid of a bunch of crap, my current readiness for an emergency or for possibly (eventuality) of having to stay in the woods for a couple of days as a result of an accident or getting lost.

My “go bag” to me is more an opportunity day hike bag.  I have it ready for those times when you have the chance to go on a hike or walk, someplace unexpectedly and don’t want to make the mistake of going into the woods without your gear.  I hate it when I am 3-4 miles back in the woods and see people out there in sneakers, shorts and tshirts because they decided at the last minute to go for a hike.  What happens if something goes bad and you need to spend a day or two in the woods – it is very uncomfortable and could be downright dangerous.

I prefer to have my “go bag” ready for hiking and use it as often as possible.  That way if SHTF, I know what is actually in there and how to use what I have with me, instead of it sitting someplace (in the back of the car/truck, garage, shed or basement) waiting for something to happen and then not know what I actually have or how to use what is in there, if things do get bad.

I wonder how many of those “bug out” bags will actually get used – personally I hope not too many.  It is great to be ready for an emergency, but unless you are actually using your equipment to know what works, how it works and what is just added weight, that will slow you down or get in your way.

It seems to me that many of those who are preparing bug out bags, if they are not actually practicing with the equipment they have, won’t really be all that ready if SHTF. So I guess my advice to many “bug out bag” owners is:  Use what you think you need, when you really don’t need it and then when you need it you will know how to use it.
Until then my “go bag” is now a lot more ready for its next adventure off the beaten track, hopefully within the week, over in New Hampshire. 😉

By the way when was the last time you used your “go bag” or bug out bag or whatever you call it?
When was the last time you looked inside of it?

if it has been more than 3 months you need to look inside it to make sure that everything is still there, works and is what you need now.

Colby College Upper Trail Walk 7-31-11

Today was guys day out, my wife was working the yard sale, so Bennie and I had time to go and have a long walk someplace.  I haven’t done the upper trails at Colby for a couple of years and figured that they would be a nice change of pace.

The trails at Colby are very easy to walk and most are wide enough that Bennie is able to wander around a bit. For every mile that I walked, I bet that he walked at least two.
I also found a new trail that was created in the last couple of weeks, judging from the freshness of the sawdust and cut marks on the wood.
That trail was a little more difficult to walk on, due to the newness, but still very easy.
Back on a more established trail.
The sitting tree, I have seen this tree before and always thought it would be a great place to take a book and just sit and read.
Looking down across the field.  They seem to be letting the fields go back to woods and are only cutting swaths through for trails.  So probably in 20 years, this view will look very different.
Overall, it took us just over an hour to do the walk, so I figure it was somewhere around a 3.0 mile walk, mostly in the woods (I can’t really consider this a hike).  During the walk we met another person with a big dog, a runner and an older lady, who was walking with a cane and a noticeable limp, but was truckin right along.
It was a good walk and I have a feeling that I might start running this course once a week or so, just to have a different place to run. I do like the Colby trail system and how well they maintain it.  The best part is that it is fairly close by and I have a feeling connects into the new trails that are being developed over by Seton and crossing JFK over to the Inland/Airport trail system.
I would love to see a current map of the Waterville trail system to see how extensive it actually is, because it seems as though they are putting in a lot of trails around town lately.
Which is a great thing.
The link to the Colby Trail System map