“The road lesser traveled” or “Rut roh”

The road lesser traveled

Thanks for stopping by the new home. We may be the road lesser traveled  but more folks popped in than I expected. I haven’t had a chance to look at what we could do to make this nicer yet.. I’ll get there..eventually. The only thing that really annoys me is the “WHITE” It makes my eye want to roll up into the back of my head , curl up in the fetal position and cry. I , personally, can live with the rest for now. The new spot is easier to look at the “pad” and “phone” versions as I don’t use either , I didn’t know how well it scaled out…Ok enough of that , I was bored with my own writing at the ” so far so good.”

The constant road work

So… I spent a couple hours working on the road Thanksgiving day. Re-cutting my drainage lines and packing an area that I had repaired earlier.. Then the neighbors tore it up instead of letting it ( obviously) heal. Our city weekend warrior family stopped to talk to me as I worked. He offered to give me a hand. The thought itself made me smile. I suggested that his family might appreciate it more if he spent the day with him there. He also offered to help any time any way, just contact him. I really thought that was cool..

The neighbors that I have to repair the road..constantly.. because of , however, just drive past me generally without looking. I imagine they don’t want to get stuck with the possibility of helping somehow …. They haven’t done much but tear up what I am working on now for over 25 years so I don’t see it changing any time soon. The new fix is trashed.  Instead of straddling it, they drive through it. The fix would have healed this week if they would have just left it alone, but they wont. They bust it up four times a day… Keeping in mind that you pretty much  have to do that on purpose …. Very nice . All week long my job boils down to repairing damages to what I have done on the previous day some due to simple use the rest simply because so many people feel the need to pull out butterfly wings to make them feel good about themselves. It makes me feel so complete that it carries on up here on Zen right up to the edge of the homestead.

Sadly , three of our  folk work on the road with and the other three “families” trash the road right behind us.

et toi ?

What are your thoughts on primitive roads?

When you drive on a rock or dirt road, or heck, for that matter any road , how do you drive?

I was chuckling to Ma Friday night as I was remembering when I was a teen with my Nova. two seats and an engine. It was nothing for me to be hitting the back roads, quiet arterial highways and such at 135 mph.

I had ” Band Posters to put out Man”….Well , and it was cool to be all but airborne on the old back roads as one hump may lift you into the air in some ” Dukes of Hazard”  type flight of fancy.. Not that that was what I was up to but closer than some San Francisco  car chase scene .

I remember one time clearing a berm made by railroad tracks , in the air and seeing that I wouldn’t hit ground until I was at a stop sign . The cross road was an arterial highway with a dang semi coming. There was noticable puckering. Needless to say , I made it. There may have been some whooping involved as well.

Now days, I drive like my father. JEEZE! I do still , however, generally get up to the speed limit. Not on Zen roads for the most part due to deer, elk, my eye being so slow to catch up to movements on a good day… It is funny however ,the difference between now and then.

On  our own primitive roads , however, I drive slowly and with thought. When you have to fix the damages , you tend to avoid making yourself more work.

entitled much?

I am reasonably sure the neighbors are VERY aware I am not overly pleased with them at this particular time.  I spent a couple hours hauling stone with the tractor while swearing up a blue streak at the damage they had done in only five days. A small patch that started as one foot wide by three feet long, an area that is naturally between your tires not under turned into an area five feet wide by close to ten feet long simply because of them hitting what had been an obvious fix and raw area constantly. Running over the area that was the only wet spot in the road made a soup of the patch also changing the depth from a few inches to well over a foot deep. So, yeah, I was a little pissed off . I ended up with the wife behind my tractor while I was putting down the road with stone.

Gosh..In a hurry? Must suck to have your day messed up by one of the neighbors .  She only had to wait a few minutes for me to get to the area and drop stone , then drive to the bottom and move off the side..Oh and , of course, clear the pile of stone…So Sorry. The husband then a few trips later was actually parked in the middle of the road..What the hell? It’s not bad enough I am cleaning up their mess, hand loading all of this stone and placing by hand each stone after I dump it BTW, how about let’s just park in the way as well. Who knows. I was angry enough, as I know they are just going to do more damage in the area somehow, that I shewed him off like a kid without talking to him there is no mistaking my glare , or the

” Get the hell out of the way. ” Meh.

I get tired of them busting up my quiet life up here. I have plenty to do without fixing their screw ups from the road to picking up ungodly amounts of trash every spring all across our fields from them just throwing it outside and the wind blowing it to us all winter long. There is also the morning ritual of them screaming at their daughter before school. So, I voiced my opinion ….for a fair chunk of the time I worked. It was still on Zen, pretty sure my voice carried a long way.

What the hell?

Ok , riddle me this Batman …

How is it that people go out of their way, and they do, to hit potholes in the rock and dirt roads and then swear about it, glare at the hole then go on to hit the next?

Even a squirrel knows enough to go around a hole full of mud. If there is a pothole , it is  generally made from someone spinning their wheels in the first place. They now see the low spot and continue to hit it, swear about it and go on. The wet weather hits and now the hole has water in it. These roads are dirt at their base. Water and dirt make mud. The hole they have been kicking dirt out of is now a soft spot. Instead of straddling that spot so that it will heal , they run over it, spreading the mud , deepening the hole and making a deeper patch of dirt into mud, rinse and repeat. They then complain about said hole. We patch said hole. They drive through the patch while it is basically mud and rock , which would heal in a week or so if it wasn’t worried over..daily..

The patch that would have made the road smooth is now mud with some rock in it. They always hit the patch hard enough to kick the rock out of the mud due to too fast , too slow , too stupid to let it heal. We spend an hour on an area and by the time we pack up to head back to the house , some moron has already undone the work….

” We need to get money together to fix the road..”

Ummm or just quit being stupid.

Areas that were fixed with days of work, layers of rock and plenty of money sit with potholes galore while areas we patch that survive are still smooth.

A little common sense goes a long way

Those of us with at least the capacity of a squirrel drive around the wet spots. We don’t spin our tires going up the grades. We don’t lock our brakes going down the grades. You go around patches until they blend..which means they have healed.

You drive in the high spots which then pushes rock, dirt, snow etc down into the low spots instead of driving into ruts filling them with mud trenching them ever deeper.. and then of course whine about it.

Too slow , which irritates me even more than too fast makes your tires spin on dirt and rock which is the birth of a pothole.

Too fast creates rooster tails which not only make potholes but create the ledge in front of it to speed up the damage and washboard the road.

Driving off the edges of the road knocks soft dirt into the road which creates all kinds of problems for three of us to fix..which lasts until the same person leaves their place again.

A little common sense would go a long way. One would think that people that live in the hills for years, watching us repair what they do would wise up a wee bit. No. You can take the citiot out of the city but you can’t beat sense into them.. You can Try however…That is a nice release of tension though frowned apon in most states.

Can you tell I am a wee bit put out with these people?

Winter is coming. If they tear up roads right now , there is no hope. One stupid person could easily cause enough damage to shut the road completely down until spring by starting a patch that could drain with run off into something yards deep. Not kidding. It has happened in the same spot I keep fixing. It ripped the wheel completely off my old white truck one winter and was heading that way this year on my first patch. Not as deep this time ( as in Saturday morning) but much wider.  For no reason .

Right Side! Right side…..

I’ am actually going to get more into this subject next week…Oooooh spoiler alert ..

I am acquiring quite the collection of scabs and scars on my right side…as well as nicks and dings here at the house and work on what would be my right side of doorways etc.

I tend to let out a pittying ” Right side Right side………” every time I run into something or notice my right arm bleeding … Or , and my fav , when someone looms feet from me and all but shocks me into wetting myself when they use their yodeling voice to talk to me when I had no idea they were there…

” Helllloooooo.. Blind not deaf ….. Holy crap on a cracker.”

Anyway , I crack myself up.

“Right side Right side. ” comes forth so often anymore one would think I was chanting.

Temps slowly drop

It’s coming… As I am no Snow Bunny, I am not all

” Let it snow Let it snow Let it snow.”

I am more part of the “Torch and pitchfork ” crowd shaking my fist at the  In-home system blaring out Christmas tunes in all of the stores….Since Fourth of July ….

We were in a fabric shop the other day , Ma needing supplies , when a gal started singing that at the counter. I have a hard time in there anyway between the fluorescent lights and all of the ” SMELL THIS”! crap that comes with any craft or dept type store . My nerves already jangled, eye killing me , headache growing evermore evermore , I was doing my best not to ralph in the pattern basket. Fortunately , someone started the rant which was followed by others before I could start in with ” Shut up! We had more than enough last year and we aren’t ready for it this year.”

How about let’s just ” Let it rain Let it Rain Let it Rain. ” instead shall we?

I’m all for a white Christmas . Snow on the Eve and then the sun can come out , temps rise to say mmmm 45F for Christmas dinner… La ! Everyone is happy….Of course then the neighbors would make a point to drive through the now sodden potholes going in and out……Crap!


Ma’s sister popped back up again on Saturday which is nice that she feels comfortable enough to do that. The two gals chatted while Ma went about working on this and that.

I wasn’t the best social butterfly however, between being irritated at the neighbors and having pulled my back moving all the stone plus my stupid never ending headache , my office held me mostly quietly with a few mutterings of

” Stupid jerks”

here and there.

I did best I could to go out and visit ..well, and I was smoking cheese and meats so it was on the way anywho .

Ma whipped up some of her awesome crab cakes , roasts cauliflower while I slaved away at tossing some fried into the convection oven..rough that.

After an excellent and reasonably quick meal the girls visited a bit more while I say in a mostly vegetative state, trying to keep my back from those awesome spasms.

Holy Smokes

We had all but run out of smoked cheeses by the end of the week making it time to fire up the smoker. I just can’t stand not tossing in some meats if I have it running.. Seriously, I get a twitch and all.

We hadn’t had any of the pork leg for a while. Generally I do a “cure” of one type or another to go into a full blown ham but smoking it comes plenty close enough for the tiny hams we set up.

Ma in the kitchen wrapping cheeses to smoke. The ” ham” in the sink , I went out to heat up the smoker.

The smoker has a digital system……Which decided to go out…Just then…AAARRRGGHH…Good day for it as I was sooooo mellow to begin with.

You know how if you glare at something just right eventually it works? Yeah, no me either..until Saturday..Ok , nice..That’s one for the good guys. The digital actually stayed on after some 15 minutes or so knocking out the power and resetting. It has had a bug since we got it so it’ll need to be replaced but at least it finally worked for the evening.

The smoker fired up , I put the cheese in then set up the ” ham” in the pan with some seasonings … Yup , as it was a last minute idea; frozen.

The cheese takes around two hours at around 150F  Any higher and it will be a pool of yuck. Any lower and you wont get any kind of smoke. We were in the 30s and the smoker, once started got up to and stayed at temp quickly.

The cheese done and ” ham” thawed and in cook mode , I cranked up the heat to 275F. It was already dark as I didn’t get to start things until the afternoon. At 7pm I brought in the ham, not quite to temp but miserable and tired I knew I could finish it off in a couple minutes in the convection. Literally 5 minutes later it was done.

The “ham” cooled while we got cleaned up. A half hour or so later, I sliced it up for the week.


I found out I have two early shifts in the middle of the week so a no sleep night between Tuesday and Wednesday , score . That means something that wont make my tummy roil trying to eat at 3:30am. We also found out that my supervisor has to have a lot more intense surgery than we had hoped for which will be hell on him and a long drawn out recoup  time. That in turn will make my life somewhat miserable as well though nothing like what I am concerned his days could turn into from what we have seen and heard from another of our guys just now going through the same. We were all but invincible not that long ago. In the last few years we have been stacking up like cord wood in the ERs.  The surgery sounds pretty rotten with disconnecting bits and pieces then doing weird crap to other parts side effects sound rough . I listen to the stories and the plans and it makes me squirm. I think I’ll stick to my own mess.. the devil you know, right?

For me, depending on weather as , of course, it’ll be in the middle of winter. The now 3:30am wake up will add the getting there an hour and a half earlier, the addition of almost double the driving time and the possible having to walk out as I am the one that clears the road and this would put me there during all the daytime hours. So I could be easily looking at getting up between 1230am and 1am with between three to four and a half hours travel time a good hour of the worst case in snow shoes and a back pack.. Assuming the jeep will even start if it gets cold. I very well may end up living out of the jeep with my sleeping bag and hoping all goes well up here coming in to clear the roof and try to break through the road, as I can, if predictions are close to true….

I am hoping the forecasters are full of crap and winter is nothing like last year.

I also hope that surgery and recoup goes well for him, he has already had way too many bad things that he has gone through lately.He could use whatever kind of break he can get this time around Us old guys are falling apart suddenly.

Sunday Sunday Sunday

So, after a nice lengthy rant that brings us to Sunday. It is still early as I write this, the sun still behind the hills and clouds.

I am planning NOT to look at the road today hoping that the newest patch and my venting will keep the neighbors from doing any more damage to our steepest and tightest section of the only way in and out.

I think I have the worst of what I’ll get done this weekend already finished up. There is plenty more to do but with my back buggered it’s best to not push it and end up putting it out at work. That would be perfect.

The indoor chores are light at the moment after hitting them fairly hard last weekend.

To be honest, I am not all together sure what the day looks like. We have this week’s foods to get ready.

Whats in the pot?

We are going back to one of the pork and beans soups this week. These types are always a fav whether a red tomato soup or a thick onion type. Mediterranean or Italian , most likely not Southwest style.

There will be Steelhead during the week. Something quick and easy On Tuesday night as it’ll be a get home eat and head to bed hoping I can get a little sleep before heading back out again.

The longer evenings on Weds and Thurs will give me some time to cook up something.

Looks like a trip to the big freezer to stare at it until something comes to the surface including something for tonight.

With soups all week I tend not to add stews to the mix. We save those for weeks off. Casseroles work well in the cooler temps so I’ll think about that. Something relatively light for the two early mornings as well.

Meh.. I’ll figure it out as I putter about today. Lower back gets much worse and I’ll have to break out the cane again.

Final Thoughts

Yup , I am irritated at people that aren’t smart enough to figure out they could easily lock themselves as well as us out of road from simple disrespect of my work..over the past decades with almost a vengeance it seems this Fall. If I and my tractor both would have been up and running this spring I would have done the work then so it could heal all summer. I honestly can only imagine that they aren’t smart enough to figure out that there is no more time to repair.

This is going to be yet another crazy week with now it seems many more to come. We still have another court date to deal with also in the middle of winter and I am not sure how we are going to pull that off with me being stuck with the other shift and not much of choice on subs if we are both out let alone the travel issues.

This week my stress comes home with me to Zen. When Zen is the place I unwind from stuff like that how in the world am I suppose to try to get ready to deal with work as the only neighbors here push me at the upper limits ? * shrug * I just hope I don’t have to try to figure out how to fix the road next weekend as well because I have run out of ideas and stone.

Hummie is hanging around this morning trying to get me to smile doing his acrobatics . With only the pair up here now I am about the only one to yell at for him. I imagine he sits and waits for me to walk out to chew me out about something…I can relate.

The weather this coming week looks to be cold but at least dry. If the sun comes out enough the road may survive. If it gets to a steady cold it may even partially freeze and harden. If they would JUST act like responsible adults we could have a nice road again.

Lets hope that at least today goes smoothly here on Zen after five days of freaking me out. I could really use

Just another day on Zen Mountain



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