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03 January 2022


Bill Tozer

And to think we just went through the biggest rainstorm these parts have seen in 50 years..what, 3 weeks ago?
I lost count of the Storm of the Centuries lately and the biggest, baddest, worse snow dump since 1934…or was that ‘39? The Valentines Day Massacre snowed hard…really hard for 36 hours straight.

How about digging tunnels from the snow to get the horses and riders and small wagons out and in of SNJ. That’s a drift, no doubt. That was a snow storm…in what, 1860 or 65? How about that time when the murder trial was in full swing at the then Nevada City hall of Justice and the deluge hit and the packed court raced to the window and looked out and there was a building going down the creek and part of a bar and a hunk of wood with a cinnamon bear going by. They all raced out of court and the murderer on trail simply slipped away. Now, that was a storm!

Being unprepared is just means it’s your first bigger rodeo. We all were new once.
********BTW, I got a bone to pick with all Nevada City types, all you town types, and all you Bay Area adult children visiting Grandma or the folks in Wildwood or up here in God’s country over the Christmas break week. Listen Up:

You, dear anal cavities, for one brief period of time found out that the only grocery store open in town was the Holiday Market in PV. It was a rude, pushy, snooty madhouse. If you go to the Holiday Market (which I do not frequent often),, you just have to walk slower in there. It’s ok to stand in an aisle and take your sweet time looking at everything on a shelf. But nooooo. The sky is falling and tempers are short. At least the Market stayed open, albeit the stockers couldn’t make it down the aisles of snarky impatient humans. Not locals.

Word from the store is the customers were downright rude, mean, forceful and the store was packed like sardines. Some lady started screaming, “Liar! You are a fucking liar!” at a young shelf stocker gal cause the employee previously and patiently pointed to the egg section when asked where are the organic eggs. They had run out of organic eggs, yet nobody took the organic egg sign down and undoubtedly some customer checking the eggs in a carton for broken ones put that non-organic egg cartoon in the empty organic egg (tiny) section. Liar!, The unhinged woman demanded that the stocker stop everything and come with her to the egg dairy door and confess to her that the young worker is a LIAR! Say it! SAY IT! Cue Sam Kinison.

No stink-asses welcome down here, thank you very much. It’s all too reminiscent of the toilet paper combat crazies shopping when Corona was coming tomorrow! Everything was a matter of live and dead. Take a chill pill, greenhorn. Pull over and let your troubles go by. Grandma should have not sent YOU to the market. Next time wait for the Supermarket to open. You don’t really need to find Mom some nice fresh lemons to make her lemon meringue pie with. It can wait. Grandma or Mom will roll with the punches better than you are capable of doing. Obviously.

The Estonian Fox

Commiseration and immiseration news from a fellow 3rd-world-nation:

"Further electricity outages are likely nationwide through at least late December following a major outage, Dec. 14. According to the Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (ZESA), the country's grid collapsed following refurbishments at the Kariba Dam, plunging most parts of the country into a blackout. ZESA has warned of an increase in load shedding outside the publicized schedules due to the refurbishment works on the Kariba Dam wall.

Charge mobile and communication devices and ensure backup batteries are available. Plan for road travel delays in areas affected by power outages due to possible nonfunctional or malfunctioning traffic lights. Exercise caution when driving in impacted areas. Confirm business appointments. Verify that security systems are working. Ensure that generators are functional and refuel devices where necessary. Avoid all protests as a precaution; leave the area immediately for a secure building if violence breaks out nearby."

The Southern Africa annual rainy season is forecast to bring sustained heavy rainfall across most of the southern parts of the continent, including Angola, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Namibia, South Africa, Lesotho, and Swaziland, through March 2022. The rainy season is already underway in northern Angola, Lesotho, and eastern South Africa, while the rest of southern Africa will experience an increase in rainfall beginning in November."

It would seem that the only difference separating Cali & Zimbabwe is good governance. Your call to determine which of the two wins the 'good'.


"Charge mobile and communication devices and ensure backup batteries are available."

I was thinking about that one. It's funny how the care and feeding of cell phones has become the primary definition of survival. About 5% of it is for emergency use and news (and given that Yubanet is the only useful local news, maybe there's something to that), and 95% is because of the addictive nature of cell phones. Gotta keep them pocket slot machines running to calm the herd.

It'll be interesting to watch peoples' plans begin to fall apart. Getting prepared for 1-3 days without power is a different beast than 2+ weeks (which I fully expect for a whole bunch of people). At least the rain will beat down the snow and there'll be some propane deliveries and the ability to get out for those stuck on rural roads. As usual, two is one and one is none.

The post mortem (post tempestate?) should be a good hard look at PGE tree trimming and line stringin' practices, the real role of local government, the reasonableness of parking 80 year olds in rural housing, the inadequacies of the hospital power system and patient surge capacity, gas station backup power, etc. plus all the forest fire versions of this. There's small things that might make a big difference next time.

Of course, listening to County Emergency Barbie on KNCO shows that you are mostly on your own, subject to the whims of Big Power, The Telephone Company, Big Propane, JIT delivery, and physics. Twas ever thus.

Optimism is cowardice.

Bob Hobert

re: Estonian Fox at 04:05 a.m.

Equity demands that we become even more like Zimbabwe.The voters are doing all they can toward that end.


"Equity demands that we become even more like Zimbabwe."

There's a certain amount of truth there.

We have our own ZANLA and ZIPRA. There's a First World economy put together by a culture that's becoming less dominant, complete with technocrats who think they can hang on to what they've got by siding with the newly emerging powers.

Next up will be parceling out of US businesses, real estate, etc. to allies of whoever is currently on top. Dunno yet what we'll call our own version of Rhodesian 'land reform'. Bills will be paid by running the virtual printing presses full tilt. Pensions outside of government will dwindle in value.

You know, the Founding Fathers did a good job, but it wasn't going to last forever.

Bill Tozer

Scenes……conversation continued from over at The Sandbox.

"Tesla Powerwalls and $50k worth of panels that don't work when….” Full stop."

I slightly misstated. I meant $50k worth of Tesla Powerwall and panels.
Nah, my good man, you did not misstate anything nor did I take it wrong. 50k to get one through the first 2 days of an outage seems rather steep. Yes, the Powerwall and panels are used year round, but are not reliable nor take one to the promised land of all comfort all the time.

The first time I ever saw a solar setup in my life was at a dude’s (carpenter) home out Purdon.. He had built the loft barn and as soon as the inspector left, he moved his family upstairs. He had loft joists in place, an idea I thought splendid. He also just happened, this lowly nail pounder, to have a degree in eco-engineering-something from USC. He showed me the layout, the stack of batteries, the Honda generator, the panels, the wiring. I eyed it over briefly and said, “ Hey, this whole system is nothing but a battery charger.” Must have been 27 years ago. He looked at me and said, “That’s right. You got it.” He was delighted I grasped the whole concept on the spot…without a USC education.

I am not against solar panels at all. I am against ugly panels. I just keep waiting for the time when they will pay me to have it installed. Right now, I can get free panels and installation….but they get you on the powerwall and accessories. With PG&E under the gun to come up with their percentage of carbon neutral power and California being California, it’s only a matter of time when they will not only pay for the whole shebang, but pay me to hook solar up. They need the green power to meet CA’s deadlines. They need me more than I need them as far a solar or wind goes.

I have lived off the grid and lived on the grid and believe you me, having power is more comfortable and easy. Do wish I have a nice fireplace, but the firewood around my place ain’t worth the effort and I am basically done with the tree clearing and brush clearing/thinning for now.

Being a good neighbor requires a quiet generator IMHO. Not that someone cannot fire up there old loud generator and blast the canyon with noise. We all understand power outages and carnage, but if used a lot for long periods of time most of the year, that ain’t cool….even if one is off the grid. I just need a metal coffee can and a tea candle…and a warm body and soft bed and I am good to go. Everything else is just gravy. Yes, I do understand I am in the minority opinion here and suffer from terminal uniqueness. :). At least I never get a water bill. Always a silver lining, even though it would be nice to have running water during power outages. Wells do not work on a gravity fed system. I am down 600 feet and use 220. The secret to keeping the refrigerator food good is to not ever open the refrigerator/freezer doors after the power goes out, save to throw a couple of jugs of frozen water from the freezer into the fridge. If hungry, eat dent can food or crackers.

Hey Biker Bill, why don’t you take some of your money and buy a generator? Why? Because fish and house guests smell after three days. Maybe when I get older I will see the need for 24/7 power, which I have almost year round. Almost is good enough, but I am a man of simple tastes. Raised by Depression Babies.

Solar? Pay me to hook it up and throw in all the doohickeys for free. Then, and only then, will I consider selling power back to the power company.

50k for only two guaranteed straight days of power? Silly people. Old man old, old man bad.



Product idea.

Some kind of box with a solar panel on it that you throw in the backyard for a year.

At the end of that time, it (and some software) tells you how many panels and battery capacity you need to stay 1st world comfy throughout that year.

Betcha it's a surprisingly large amount.

The manly offgridder has a hydro setup.



" I am down 600 feet and use 220."

I'm surprised that I never hear about catchment systems in NC. Wells are always a gamble, roll the dice on every foot down, but the math is easy on yearly water usage vs. roof size vs. big ol' tank. Maybe cheaper. Magic gravity feed. Maybe it doesn't pencil out. Seems a shame to not take advantage of gathering water above the faucet rather than below.

This all assumes a person doesn't buy water from The Man.

Of course, the proper NC way to go is cases of Fiji water from Briar Patch. Probably filled by some guy named Fiji with a garden hose.

George Rebane

Catchment systems for water, like they have in New Zealand. West Nevada County gets about 50 inches of rain annually. From a 1,000 sqft of roof, that gives you about 31,250 gallons to store and consume. So assume you have a 2,000 sqft roof to catch the rain. This gives you 62,500 gallons a year. Ample water use for a family ranges 300-500 gal/day. Such a system would then provide between 125 and 208 days of water. To make it a full year would require using less than 171 gal/day, something that probably could be done with some effort. Since water consumption is ongoing throughout the year, you don't have to store anywhere near 62,500 gallons (measuring a 16 foot cube). Depending on the distribution of rains, one could probably get by with half that storage volume (approx 13 foot cube). But then you would have add all the pumping and filtering and pipes and valves.

Bill Tozer

Scenes. There is already a gravity fed water system in place. It’s big. From Jackson Meadows to Oregon House. from the little headwater of the Bear to darn near Lincoln, including all of N. Auburn It’s called NID. Thank you Chinese miners and others for cutting the canals looking for gold or diverting rivers so it all flows downhill for future owners of water rights. How convenient. :)

There are a lot of NID ditches (not talking canals here) that meander all over the place and some just end by continuing running down the hill into the terrain past the last customer. As is common knowledge, NID usually shuts of the water in places to clean out the ditches in October, I believe. Some date that has low water usage.
Anyway, one time this person at the end of the small ditch calls NID all upset that the ditch was dry and he had set up his little most adorable hydro-waterwheel system right after at the spot where the water just ran free, and he lost power. It looked like a miniature Ferris Wheel.

The NID dude told him that NID is not in the business of keeping your power on. The dude was probably just venting his frustration. Beggars can’t be choosers. He will call in again every year.

So, the point I am getting at Scenes, is that NID might own the water rights of that place you have in mind with the little creek going over the rocks and making the perfect hydro spot. There are tons of kits on the market.
It all gets down to location, location, location. Farther out is better for the hydro dream. But, then you really start moving up into heavy snow country and better chances of being stranded….the one no one has heard from for a spell. Four Wheel Drive just gets you stranded farther out than a 2WD.

I always wanted a little miniature paddle wheel boat like the Mississippi Queen that worked as both a neat lawn ornament and a source of providing a trickle of juice to the humble abode.


"Four Wheel Drive just gets you stranded farther out than a 2WD."

Just don't go down a road you can't go up.

I think a townie needs an emergency Pelton wheel generator they just hook up to their kitchen faucet. Recharge the phone and waste water at the same time, the American Way.

Maybe there's a market for a stealth microhydro system.

Bill Tozer

Another thing about hydro is that you need moving water, thus meaning steeper terrain and steep canyons. Places where the the sun don’t go after 3:pm and the mosquitos come out at the same time. Shady spots. Those are the places to sneak a paddle wheel in but good luck finding a level/livable spot for your humble abode.

Me? I don’t miss those mornings getting all bundled up with the snow boots, stepping outside and have tree branches wait for me to pass near so they could dump a load of snow right down the back of my neck. They seem to find some delight in their precise aims. Hit the top of the collar(s) and below the hat every time. Bad way to start the day. :). I leave the mountain men to…well….mountain men.

Nowadays for folks on a well and say have horses, water storage tanks are the way to so. Place them uphill, fill them up the hose, and you have gravity feed water to the horses, abode, or the garden if the well is out or starts running out. Ok, who left two hoses running all night. Opps, that was me. Never mind. Mostly good for the fire season….always good to pump 500 gallons on the roof before evacuating. The old joke is if you want to find where a grow is, just follow a water truck.

Never had the need for water storage with this well. BTW, even a well with 3 gallons a minute will cover the water needs (showers, laundry, all the household needs) of a family of four. Now, one’s own water needs outside is a different story. How big of a victory garden do you want?


re: California water management.

Good articles.

I was thinking of a solution this morning that would suit the California ruling class.

You can assume that there's a strong push to house everyone in apartments with mass transit. It's more efficient, requires less resources, allows space for moar and moar immigration. Eastern Bloc housing on steroids.

So, what you do is build giant apartment buildings, upper floors have higher rent. Push water to the top of the building, consume it, filter it between floors, drop it to the next level. Naturally there's some loss in quality as it descends, but that is reflected in the cost of housing. Much of the building heating is supplied by the lower denizens, perhaps by restricting use of windows.

The rest of the state is freed up for parks and beautiful beach houses for government officials, surveillance economy robber barons, large non-profit management. For the hoi polloi, parks are accessed via lottery.

George Rebane

re scenes 724am - That scenario is a'comin' with the surety of Democrat political monopolies provided by a carefully undereducated electorate. Deep (but not too deep) in their progressive souls they are all communists. Why? Because they cannot reasonably structure governance that provides a working compromise between fiscal conservatism and social collectivism. Social collectivism always wins out by its growing need to drain the nation's fisc.


" in their progressive souls they are all communists."

You know, you could make the argument that it's simply a whole bunch of ambitious people.

For a large group of folks who want both status and filthy lucre, it's a whole helluva lot easier to rise through the office politics of a government (or non-profit) organization than it is to do the same in a money-making company of some sort.

Hey, it's fun to be the assistant deputy executive public health director for the state. You get a large budget, lots of meetings and snacks, everyone has to listen to you. No real-world experience needed, just a keyboard and a podium. Any averagely bright person is chock full of ideas for how other people should live and it takes a strong character to avoid telling them how to do it.

Once retired, you simply join the local Planning Commission to exercise that jones.

Bill Tozer

Scenes: Eastern Bloc Housing on steroids.

The first thing I thought was about being in Moscow in the old USSR. The apartment I visited had a stove pipe starting in the basement and going up through the apartment floors. That was your source of heat in Moscow in the winter. Huddle around the metal cylinder in the room and groove on the radiate heat. That’s what I call central heating. Of course, it was free rent and one was darn lucky to get into the projects. Had to know somebody. Did I mention it was a one room apartment. Not one bedroom, one room. If you are not a Party Member, then forget ever moving on up to the top floors.

BTW, my “host” taught Art History and English at the U of Moscow. Her, her son, and her parents all in the one room pad. Yes, there was a bathroom with a door….so I guess it was not technically a one room flat. When the parents wanted to have sex, everyone simply turned and faced the other way. No biggie.
It was also the first time I saw people walking around with wooden teeth. Non-members of the government had a different dental plan. :) And they could get a car faster than those on the two-year waiting list with the purchase price paid in full before getting on the list.

Then the USSR imploded and the tenants had to start paying rent…which made many long for the good old days and gave ‘capitalism’ a bad name. :).

George Rebane

scenes 1051am - Yes, that may hold for some of the liberal climbers, but the grassroots folks really like communist policies as the polls indicate. And many (most?) of those have favorable impressions of communism as practiced, as they were taught in school.

Bill Tozer

Ok Doc. It’s 4:36 pm Wednesday afternoon. Did ye or did ye not have the propane delivery guy in your driveway or side yard pulling out the the rescue hose?

If not, then forget that I just came home, saw something tucked in the door and lo and behold there was a slip of paper letting me I got 187 gallons of God’s gas. Heck, I never did get through to anybody, even this morning, put apparently they got my message and put be on the Wednesday route (my area’s day). Darn, if I knew they were coming, I would have moved old Bessy, the bucket of bolts, out of the way.

So, Dr. Rebane, if that did not happen to you today, never mind. Forget I said anything. Hey, there are still some hours in the day left. I still had 15% left, but turned off the heat two days ago in case I had to go another week. Now I am blasting the heat with the doors open. Yes, Dad, I AM trying to heat the neighborhood and you know good and well Imwas born in a barn.

Speaking of propane and patiently waiting….found this gem under PG&E doing small reimbursements for spoiled food or something.

Fifty bucks a day to run a propane generator? One of those big loud propane sucking generators with the exhaust pipe on top? What a bonehead freak, greenhorn. Propane generators suck the crap out of propane. 50 bucks a night, 100 bucks for two nights? Yep, greenhorn move. What, Bobbie, did you barter for it was it something you found a on swap shop….the KVMR swap shop, whatever it’s called. Gas generators, city boy, gas generators. A lot easier to get five more gallons of gas from the local gas station than to get more propane to delivered to that relic of the Rust Belt.

Robert Cross
“Isn't this wonderful. The $100 won't cover two days worth of the propane I have been burning in my generator for the last week and a half. It is about time to seriously consider converting PG&E to a public owned not for profit utility like SMUD. The decades of deferred maintenance to bolster stock values are coming home to roost in the form of prolonged outages and fires. Enough already.”

Somebody is not a happy camper. He is also a gross polluter of noise and air.

Barry Pruett

Robert Cross. Because PGE being a public utility would have stopped the snow storm. Idiot. 😂

George Rebane

Update: Amerigas promises to deliver Friday between 9-10am. PGE promises to turn on the juice some time tomorrow. Gonna let the 24KW run all night. It sucks up about 45gal/24hrs under less than half load. Nevertheless, we have a few votive candles lit for added hope and good fortune.


Damn Bill, thanks for the laughs with that one. I needed it.
My task master at work had me doing two jobs today. "Oh really? you can operate that other specialized machine too? Now you tell me?" Have been bouncing from seat to seat all damned day.
Probably tomorrow too.
One of my supervisors is a black guy.(Oh,, his name is Guy) We get along great.
I wrenched the ol' back out of alignment the other day. He gave me some crap about how I was walking like Fred Sanford. He doesn't buy into this woke crap, and any of the supposed racial profiling. He's one cool cat.


"Fifty bucks a day to run a propane generator? "

Yah, that's an issue. Given the gallons per kWh for propane you have to admit that a normal tank is a less-than-good battery if the outage has any legs and you like all mod cons. It's the tyranny of physics and reciprocating engines.

The average person (and even crazies like Ms. Cross) probably needs a 2kw Honda and call it good. They should work on making them easier to start for chicks. Practically any appliance works, one at a time. You end up with a house that looks like the backstage of a theatre in terms of cordage of course.

It's an interesting topic. I've always wanted to design a house that scarcely uses any electricity but always run into the crux of the biscuit, air conditioning. Nice stuff for old folks.

Barry Pruett

24KW. George’s generator can keep his Christmas lights and possibly have some juice left over to ignite Marty McFly’s DeLorean. 🤣

Barry Pruett

Tozer. Had no idea that you also spent time in the USSR (former USSR in 1993 for me). Scary to think our well-intentioned progressives have no idea that their policies lead to suffering at the hands of tyrants.

Don Bessee

This socialist is dictating the curriculum to our schools and does not even have the basics down LOL!-




All things hooked up to the gen. in order of importance.
#2 Fridge
#3 Freezer
#4 cable/internet (Comcast is good for at least 6 hours before it crapps out)
#5 well. Had a plug installed so it gets plugged right into the gen.
Heat is by firewood. The propaign heats the water

Have yet to find anyone to install a switch box at a sane rate. So yes, the house looks like one of Emery's productions with extension cords strung out like orange spaghetti.

Cooking is done on the wood stove. The pot don't know the difference. We have the trusty Coleman camp stoves and also butane stoves.
And more MRE's and freeze dried goods.(for when the commit hits.)
If things get real bad, provisions just happen to cross the open aria on the hill out back.

Bill Tozer

Well, now that we are all set to go enjoying 24/7 power and heat, what about the internet? So far Gregory it appears to that Gregory has it figured out. And he filled his personally owned 500 gallon propane tank in August when prices are at their yearly low. I got hit for 500 clams for just 187 gallons. but believe you me, I ain’t complaining. No siree.

I had 50% through August when Don and Gregory first brought it up and wanted to get it lower to ensure the minimum of 100 gallons of propane would fit in with the 20% less capacity in the dog days of summer. So I procrastinated. He who hesitates is last.

I usually run low around Thanksgiving, but this year that little rented tank lasted through Christmas and New Years. Not bad for a tank filled in February or early March. Used to run through two tanks a year, maybe 2 and a half until one day I climbed under the humble abode and found a couple of heating ducts laying on the ground, lol. The dirty wall right above a floor vent was my first clue that I might be sucking dirt. :).

So, now let’s solve the battery problem and get to the land of milk and honey. Good luck.



Wonder if Bobbie is hauling 30-40 gallon propane cylinders back and forth from town. Those 50 gal bottles are kinda heavy to lug around but they do a fine job of not blowing over.

Bill Tozer

Correction: upon rereading the propane bill, it was 595 clams for the 187 gallons of God’s gas. Wow. The highest bill I can remember was around $425 for 203 gallons. Still, no complaints. I will just take the State of California po folk check for 600 greenbacks and donate it to the propane company. Keep it in the community and all that stuff. Easy come, easy go.

Thank you Dr. Rebane and all you tax wonderful tax payers out there. Especially you, Bobbie. Sorry Walt. I never applied or asked for it nor even wanted that blood money near me. It was from Gavin but I still won’t vote for him the 2nd time. He has to sweeten the pot a lot more if he wants my vote.

Bill Tozer

re: Fifty bucks a day for propane!

Upon further reconsideration after the sticker shock wore off, $50 bucks a day seems a lot cheaper than renting a motel room down the hill waiting out the carnage clean up and for juice to be restored.

If I had a fireplace or wood stove like Dr. Rebane or Walt, I would not ever consider leaving the warm glow to seek refuge elsewhere. I would drop a US Grant greenback just to enjoy the fireplace or wood stove. It’s what makes a house a home and there is nothing like sleeping in your own bed with the hearth that warms the cockles of the heart.

Does a flea bag motel offer a fireplace? Does it offer one’s own bed? Nah. 50 bucks a day or a Benjamin every two days is worth every penny. My guests did not enjoy my spare bed as much as their California King Sleep Train bed. And they had a fireplace!

Finally, with all those trees down, is today a burn day? All that firewood on the ground is worthless right now if it is too green to burn. :).

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