Top Navigation  
U.S. Flag waving
Office Hours Momday - Friday  8 am - 5 pm Pacific 1-800-835-2418
Facebook   YouTube   Twitter
 Home Page
 Current Issue
 Article Index
 Author Index
 Previous Issues

 Kindle Subscriptions
 Kindle Publications
 Back Issues
 Discount Books
 All Specials
 Classified Ad

 Web Site Ads
 Magazine Ads

 BHM Forum
 Contact Us/
 Change of Address

Forum / Chat
 Forum/Chat Info
 Lost Password
 Write For BHM

Link to BHM

Living Freedom by Claire Wolfe. Musings about personal freedom and finding it within ourselves.

Want to Comment on a blog post? Look for and click on the blue No Comments or # Comments at the end of each post.

Archive for November 14th, 2012

Claire Wolfe

From Sandy’s heart of darkness

Wednesday, November 14th, 2012

Reader “just waiting” — who was without power for nearly two weeks after Hurricane Sandy and got back online only yesterday — posted this in comments. But with its combo of good advice and scary warnings, it deserves more exposure. Everything that follows is his.


We just got the internets back yesterday after Sandy. Street power came back on late last Saturday, we were out for almost 14 days. My ears are still ringing from the constant hum of the gen, silence truly is golden.

We were as ready as we could be, so it wasn’t really a big deal. Travel was limited to 1/2 mile down the street in either direction for 3 days, there was no leaving. No phone, no cable, no bars. True isolation. C got to think about home instead of work for an entire week. It was great. No cars could come by, we were to be able to have the dog on the street with no leash.

Lots of big old oaks fell from the neighboring parkland onto my property, so I’ll end up with about 6 winters of heat once its cut and split. Still trying to find a downside to the storm, but can’t yet.

Learned a valuable lesson about generator maintainance 6 days into our adventure: Its not enough to check the engine, check the rotor and brushes too! I have a 12+ year old 5000W Coleman gen, loud but sipped gas and powered everything I needed. Stored it dry, fill with fuel, starts second pull, every time, no matter how long it sat. 6 days in, only getting partial voltage, take the end off the gen itself and crap, rotor and brushes are bad rusted and corroded. Wire ends rusted off of sensors. 2=1 and 1=none, and now I got none. Sub lesson: if you prefer battery tools, make sure you have some in 12v. Gerry rigged cordless drill to batt jumper box and cleaned everything up, bypassed some noncrucial sensors (in my estimation) and got it running again.

Local hardware guy was getting 80 gens in Monday night, so got one of them, just to be sure. Once everything settles down, I’m going with a streetgas gen w/propane backup. One that’ll run on methane.

We had a week’s notice that this storm was coming, countries like Greece [Ed. note: this was originally published as a comment on a letter from Greece] have been warned for years. I went to the beach yesterday, it looks like a war zone. Evacuation was mandatory, Nat Guard man roadblocks, the foodstore parking lot is Command Central (everyone! with initials has a comm vehicle and big tent), thousands of property owners have been denied access to their flooded homes for over two weeks, martial law is in effect. Word is that last week a local business magnate was threatened by the USCG with fire if he further approached by boat.

I guess what matters is how the masses respond in the face of their adversities. For those of us who were looking, we got to see what the beginning of armageddon/the apocalypse/shtf looks like here in NJ. My foodstore had no fresh foods, meats, baked goods, produce, etc for 12 days. People wandered the aisles of dry, prepackaged goods with flashlight. It was almost Hollywood. I saw people waiting in line for hours with 1, 1 gallon gas can in their hands. 1. 1 gallon. When I went looking replenish my fuel on day 11, I had 6 empty 5 gall jugs. 1 gallon???

The big difference here is that now it’s over. Except at the island, everything is back to normal. While none of us knew how long we were going to have to do without, we knew that it was a finite term. For the first week, it was very 3rd world. Greece is still spiralling downward, with no bottom in sight. Last year we were out of power for 9 days, this year it was 13. How long is our next great outage gonna be? How much more are the Greek supposed to endure?Are super long outages supposed to be our new normal here in the Noreast?

I gotta finish with the best part, we missed the entire election, no commercials, no news, no blogs, no emails, not a single piece of political information crossed into our brainspace. Thank you, Sandy!

Claire Wolfe

A day in the life, a walk in the rain

Wednesday, November 14th, 2012

My two biggest clients pay irregularly. Don’t get me wrong; they’re good people who have gone out of their way for me in many ways. But they may pay me quickly or … not. I never know.

Weirdly, they seem to conspire; in months when one is slow, the other usually is, too. I try to keep a cushion for bill paying, but this month the cushion got threadbare.

My income in the last 30 days was $200.42 — all thanks to you guys stepping up your regular use of my Amazon links. (You see why I ask you to bookmark that link and use it as your everyday entry point into Amazon?)

Yesterday morning I met a friend outside the post office. She asked if I needed her to pick up anything at Costco. I joked, “I’d tell you I need kibble, but until I find out what’s in the mailbox, I’m not sure whether I’m going to need to feed the dogs or eat them.”

Fortunately, both clients (see, they really are conspiring) had money for me.

And knowing what I’ve got stashed in my pantry, my friend laughed; the pups would be at the dinner table, not on it.


The day was rainy but mild. Getting paid made it feel light. I put Ava on leash and we walked the little downtown, paying bills, running errands.

At the thrift store I found the perfect winter jacket — nice, warm, rain-resistant Gore-Tex with giant fastenable pockets, velcroed cuffs, all the accoutrements, and a hood with a rain visor and fancy adjustments on each side. Looked brand new. It was even in one of my favorite colors. A real score.

However, I’m always in search of the perfect jacket (one in each vehicle, one in the bug-out bag, a couple in the closet, one for the mud room, one for luck (I hate being cold!)). So the cagey ladies at the thrift store have me figured out. They do their pricing ad hoc at the counter and this one cost a whole $6.00 — considerably more than the other perfect jackets I’ve bought there. Yeah, they’ve got my number.

But what the heck; yesterday I felt rich.

No winter jacket is perfect without gloves tucked in one pocket and earmuffs or a woolly hat in the other. (I’m downright paranoid about getting caught unprepared in the cold.) Found some of each, zipped them into the big pockets, and after that felt not only rich but ready for anything.

I donned my new perfect jacket, snugged the hood, and Ava and I tested it along the town’s pocket waterfront.


It’s beautiful here. But you know how it is; you could live in a suburb of Heaven and after a while you wouldn’t notice the view. Yesterday, I noticed.

We walked beside the estuary. The tide was running high enough to flood the lowlands. The floating pier where a few pleasure boats dock was lifted as high as I’d ever seen it. Herons waded in the submerged grasses and a gaggle of Canada geese took a break from their migration.

The hills downstream still wore a little fall gold, but were mostly muted and gray, with mists curling away from their tops and out of their hollows.

Walking further, we came to an old concrete bunker, probably a relic of WWII (I can’t imagine any Japanese soldiers or submarines had any real desire to end up here, though). Last summer the bunker was somebody’s squat. Now, down in the drowned grasses, a sleeping bag and mattress were edging their way toward the sea as the tide turned.

The water in the estuary swirled from bank to bank and over the banks but quietly, with no sense of urgency or danger. At the end of the walk, where the trail concludes at the wreck of a railroad bridge, I looked across the river and saw that the new, unoccupied waterfront townhouses were living up to their name; the currents were lapping peacefully at their foundations. The townhouses mimic midwest farmhouses, with broad, covered porches all ’round. They sit in row in a field of tall grass. The scene was pastoral and pretty and of course completely insane. This is, after all, just a normal winter tide. What’ll the buyers do when the water decides to get serious?

I live on the flat. But not quite that flat. Being glad my cozy old house has 10 or 15 feet elevation on those fancy new townhouses, I headed for home, the Beauteous Princess Ava Prettypaws trotting companionably at my side.

I dread winter and have I mentioned I really, really, really hate to the point of bug-eyed paranoia being cold? But this is such a beautiful place to live. Especially when you’re rich, like me.

Copyright © 1998 - Present by Backwoods Home Magazine. All Rights Reserved.