Saturday, April 27, 2013
Another COLD night (30s) and CHILLY day ahead (50s). Then nothing but thunderstorms in the forecast for the next few days.
I asked the weathermen what the hell is going on, but no answer!
This robin wants to know, and so do I.
Sometimes I feel like I am never going to be able to ride my scooter again because when I am not working it is COLD or raining or I have chores and errands to run that gulp up my weekend.
No time to breathe is not fun.
COLD and RAINY is not fun.
All right, end of rant...
(photos courtesy of internet photo bucket)
Sunday, April 14, 2013
Once we got out into our country home, the wonders of rural living began to unfold.
One of these wonders was the septic system.
No, I had never really heard of, or thought about, this "system" existing on the planet. I should have known about it. I'd seen those silver and white capsule-shaped things sitting out next to farm houses for years.
I just had no clue what they were and never gave them a thought. Maybe it was a fuel tank or a water tank or a septic tank. I didn't know.
It was a tank of some sort and it was not mine to deal with, so who cared?
We moved to the farm in May and by November, we began to really care about septic systems as much as we cared about using the toilet and getting it to empty out after a flush EVERY TIME.
And that was all because we flushed one Friday evening on a cold November night and it DID NOT GO DOWN AT ALL! It didn't even move. Neither toilet bowl would work!
Ok, what IS this issue here? Does it have something to do with the "blub blub" sounds that we heard in the toilet when the washer emptied?
Did it have something to do with those 2 round concrete disks out there in the side yard that looked like alien pods but served as pedestals for the flower pots?
Did it have something to do with the fact that mushrooms grew in a straight line down the yard's length FROM those round disks?
Inquiring minds wanted to know all along and those minds soon got a quick "down and dirty" (no pun intended!) education on "All Things Septic Tank".
So here it is Friday night, we are out in the boonies, not really knowing our neighbors, but I call one up that I met during the summer and explained our situation.
"Help! What do we do?"
She told me that these septic tank thingies often needed "cleaning out". We'd have to call a guy out to do just that.
All righty then. But just what did that mean?
It meant, she said, that a service comes out with a big old tanker truck and runs a big old hose down into those two holes covered by concrete disks out in the side yard and SUCKS OUT all the poo, pee, etc. that has accumulated down there over the years.
WHAT? ARE YOU KIDDING ME? That is SOOOOOO GROSS! I almost gagged at the mere image of it all.
Then she went on to graphically elaborate about how OUR septic tank probably had NEVER been "sucked out" as the old man had never really lived here full time and what WAS in there had clogged up, dried and caked, and now was awash with our gleanings.
More gagging sounds...
Ok. But, ya know, it's Friday, and we have to be able to use the toilet and I can't get one of these septic truck guys out here until Monday because the sidewalks roll up here in the little villages over the weekend, so how are WE going to use the toilet for 72 hours?
It was a logical, good question. Well, for about 6 hours we went to the nearest McDonald's, which was 9 miles away down the mountain. That got old fast. We'd linger around hoping to squeeze one more drop out of our bladders after our burgers and fries. Nope, not gonna get us through Monday.
THEN I got a "scathingly brilliant idea" and called my golfing friend in the next county over.
Her husband had just come out of the hospital a few weeks ago and he had used a bedside commode seat in his room. He was done with it now and it was in the shed and "could we use it for a few days?"
Of course, and so we drove the 30 plus miles one way to get it late that Friday night.
So my partner used that and I had an old drywall bucket that I put kitty litter in for night time rituals in my room. I have to confess a few times I trotted out into the "piney woods" behind the garage and brought along my little garden shovel and flashlight.
It was an exciting weekend with snow flurries and pine needles and Fresh Step scattered over the bedroom floor in blue and gray mosaic. Nifty.
Then on Monday the "septic guy" came out and entered upon the property in his smelly tanker truck. The "Shit Wagon", if you will. Buzzards swarmed around him as he dismounted in the side yard after almost leveling a few cedar trees along the driveway.
Amazingly, he was clean and well groomed for a country gentleman who made his living sucking out septic tanks at $135 for a half hour's labor.
I couldn't resist watching as the giant hose drooped into the round holes and began it's laborious roar and slurp. After about thirty seconds I went back into the house.
After he finished he educated us as to the "nutritional needs" of the millions of bacteria that live in the septic tank. Really? Who knew?
Seems these little boogers need to be fed "good bacteria" just like our intestinal tract! He provided us with a blue product to put into the toilets once a month to ensure that the little bacteria are happy and will continue to munch and crunch on our waste products in order to keep the love flowing.
He explained that the mushroom field sprang up along the septic drainage lines and that also explained why the "grass is always greener over the septic tank" as once questioned by Erma Bombeck.
It really was true! Next time you see a "Rid Ex" commercial, pay close attention and you will learn of the wonders of the septic system and the hungry critters that dwell within.
It was truly amazing and after all that we never had another problem in seven seasons out there. I would dump a few food items in the toilet every once in awhile for our septic friends to keep them happy and they in turn never put us through "clogging and bogging hell" again.
We'd still get the "blub blubs" every once in a while, but we just took that as a lip-smacking "thank you" from our septic pets.
(photos courtesy of internet photo bucket)
Monday, April 8, 2013
I've been riding a 49cc scooter since June of 2007. That's almost 6 years.
And one thing that I know for certain is that the little 49cc scoots are misunderstood.
Misunderstood in that many people start out on them and then curse them that they won't go any faster than about a tad over 40 mph! The "woe is me" starts in at about the third month of steady riding when the owner is now gaining confidence and starting to want to get from point A to point B in a more efficient, i.e., speedier manner!
Oh,I get it. I did that too. Sort of. Or better put, "at times".
I was really one to never BE in a hurry when I was riding my scoot on the rural back roads because I was content to just amble along and look out over the pastures, fields, and woodlands and watch the cows, ponds, and other stuff go by SLOWLY.
I was a "Sunday driver" kind of scooterist, you could say. No hurry, no worries.
Then I began to use my scooter to commute to a job out there in the country in 2008 and I wanted it to go FASTER in order to not delay my arrival at work.
Now, 40 mph on a 49cc Ruckus "feels like" 70 mph in a car. Or at least it did to me. I'd arrive at work with my entire body tingling from adrenaline and my eyes wide as saucers. I'll have to admit it was not a fun ride. It seemed to take forever and felt too manic to me.
What was the point of arriving with your nerves a-jangle and your hair mashed flat? None that I could see.
The only "plus" to commuting was the ride home, which was a bit more relaxed, though I still wanted to just get home.
So I began to lust for a bigger scooter, but really, out in the country, my rides were "stop and smell the roses" rides and 49cc was just fine with me. Small enough to be fun, quick enough to be thrilling, and slow enough to allow me to stop and take photos or just ramble lazily through the countryside on back roads.
I always said, "I ride my scooter LIKE a bicycle". Meaning I kept it "hi viz" with a flag and neon yellow accents and I kept to the side of the road when cars did show up on a lonely back road.
In the villages I'd ride it with traffic in the lanes that did not exceed 40 mph. It worked out fine.
Now I'm in the burbs and I STILL think the 49cc scooter has a place in my riding here. But it is vital to realize that it's place is unique and that it cannot and will not compare to a 125cc or bigger scooter in it's purpose or it's function. due to the dangers of suburban and urban riding.
49cc scoots are not meant to ride on highways obviously, but that does not make them less of a machine to enjoy. They excel at tooling around town on errands, at rambling through neighborhoods and suburban green areas, and at scooting out onto local back roads in the rural areas that back up to the burbs.
Once you fall in love with the ride and handling of a 49cc, it is hard to give it up completely. I don't think I could. I did once, and I had to get it back.
It is just something that I enjoy beyond any other type of riding. And yes, I've ridden a 500cc motorcycle in my "yute", so I know somewhat of what I speak.
Riding the 49cc scooter "like a bike" protects you from crazy drivers in that you are prepared like a touring cyclist with hi viz gear and riding habits and routes customized to what your scooter/bike can handle.
This is all about safety and entails picking and choosing limited routes around the area, but it's worth it to me to take side streets and such.
It might even entail loading up the 49cc scooter and driving out somewhere that is scenic and less hectic and unloading it for a day of back road scooting. I am seriously considering purchasing one of these utility racks to go on my hitch receiver so that I can haul my scooter to quiet scenic places away from heavy traffic a la burbs.
Owning and riding the 49cc scooter requires advance route planning and a focus on safety that goes beyond even the considerations of a bigger scooter that rides in with traffic on a regular basis.
Once I get my bigger scooter I will do adapt to that sort of route planning and mindset.
In the meantime I will ride my little charmer where I can and enjoy the special pleasures of riding a 49cc in quiet neighborhoods and along hidden back roads, all decked out in neon yellow and obnoxious orange.
Whatever it takes to be seen.
Just like a touring bicyclist would, yellow triangle and all.
(scooter photo courtesy of Honda Powersports)
And so we began to get ourselves moved into the house WAY out in the country.
On the day before my partner came out there I went out and worked to try to arrange the furniture around in the living room and bedrooms according to our little floor plans that we had drawn up on graph paper.
The house had some furniture in it. Some of it was Amish made, quality furniture that her dad had bought especially for the new house. There were also two couches that had seen better days, but were tolerable if you didn't mind sinking into the springs and feeling like you were sitting on the floor. We had to endure them as there was no place else for them to go.
I puttered around in the house and at one point went into the room that was to be my bedroom. It had two big windows which were on the front of the house. As I entered the room I glanced out in the front yard at the front gravel drive.
A beautiful doe returned my gaze.
She just stood there, about 20 yards away from the window. It was totally silent and she and I locked eyes for a moment. My heart just fluttered with joy at such beauty right outside my window.
It was a moment I never forgot. My first deer sighting on the ridge!
That evening I was planning to stay the night. I had my little Maxi with me and as it got dark I realized there were no lamps in the house! There also were no curtains at the windows to the doors in the hallway and kitchen.
Who thinks about these kinds of things in advance?
Not only that, but there were NO street lights of any kind around and it was "pitch dark" outside. And I mean DARK.
My cell service at the time did not work out there except on a "hit and miss" basis, so I tried to call home in the burbs and had to drive up the road to get a signal.
I said I was heading home as I was "freaking out" with no lights, no curtains, and no TV for company. At this point we knew no one out there and everything seemed strange and DARK! So I did not want to linger out there alone where I felt like someone was looking in at every window!
Once we moved in we got curtains for the door windows and the front windows. Eventually we got TV in out there, but for about 2 weeks we only watched DVDs when we wanted that sort of entertainment.
I remember one night feeling freaked out about not seeing a living soul or hearing a noise or seeing a light outside and I sat in my room on the double mattresses that were stacked in the corner and listened to David Letterman on a snowy TV picture.
It was like listening to old time radio and better than nothing. Even radio signals failed most times to reach out there, so it was really like being on another planet at times. Especially when we first moved out there and weren't used to it.
I recall a conversation that I eventually had with an elderly neighbor about not being able to get weather alerts out there because the radio and TV did not work during storms and the nearest town was 10 miles away.
His response was: "If I want to know what the weather is, I step out on the front porch!"
That pretty much sums up how it was out there.
Even for tornadoes: I'd step out on the back porch, scan the skies, and cock my head into the wind to listen for the sound of the "freight train" winds rolling up over the hills from the river about 10 miles away.
This led for some very scarey moments during spring storms, that's for sure!
Eventually we got used to the DARK. I even came to love it.
Mostly I loved going out on the back porch at night and looking up at the Milky Way in the black velvet sky and occasionally seeing a shooting star.
The dark became a safe place, a cocoon of sorts, from city ways and night sky pollution.I miss those dark skies.
I haven't gazed on a star since I moved to the burbs last autumn. I've watched the moon a time or two, however, and it always brings me back to my country ways of being in touch with the dark night sights, peaceful sounds and the solitude of the surrounding woods.
(photos courtesy of internet photo bucket and BlueRidgeRuckus)
Saturday, April 6, 2013
The sturdy little Honda Metropolitan is going to be seen on The Travel Channel on this Sunday night at 8pm EST when they go to Key West!
There's a shot in the preview of them riding a gaggle of them down the street!
Check it out!
(photo courtesy of Honda Powersports)