Archive for the 'Whimsy' Category

Buddha, Won’t You please Come Home?

said on June 23rd, 2012 filed under: Fun Things to Do Outdoors, Localism, Running and Hiking trails, Whimsy

Part 1.  The Secret Trail

There’s a secret trail near my home at Lake of the Pines, California.  Dharma and I run there often because it’s shady, not too difficult, and not too long, out and back, to a secret location about which, if you are an attentive and patient reader, I shall tell you in a moment.  I stumbled upon this “secret” trail a few years ago, by accident.  Well, to tell the truth, it wasn’t exactly continue reading…

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Recipe for Skunk Juice

said on June 5th, 2012 filed under: Whimsy

No, I don’t mean this is a recipe for cooking skunk!  This is the recipe for getting skunk spray off your dog–or yourself.  It would also work on a cat.  Ha!  I’d like to see you try to de-skunk a cat!

Uh Oh.

I’ve researched this basic recipe for “skunk juice” several times, and it is easy to find a recipe on-line, but I have a variation that has really worked well for me.

Before I tell you how to make it, here are three important cautions:

  • the concoction is explosive
  • it will seriously sting your dogs eyes and nose
  • it is only effective for a few minutes

Adam and Jamie on Mythbusters tested the recipe against (1) commercial skunk removal concoctions and against (2) tomato juice.  They found the “recipe” to be 80-90% effective in neutralizing the smell.  The commercial stuff was less than 20% effective, and the tomato juice was completely “busted.”  It doesn’t work.

So here’s the formula Adam and Jamie used:

  • 1 quart 3% hydrogen peroxide (I use the weaker over-the-counter stuff at 1 and 1/2 % and it seems to do just fine)
  • 1/4 cup baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon liquid dishwashing soap (I have seen recipes that call for as much as 2 tablespoons; probably doesn’t matter much, just squirt some in the bucket)

Years ago, some country folk gave me a similar formula that I have used many times, and it really works.  In addition to the above ingredients I use:

  • 1 gallon of white vinegar

The sooner you can get this job done, the easier it will be.  Here are the steps:

1.  Gather the ingredients.  We always keep the ingredients on hand.

2.  Tie up the dog near a hose.

3.  Wet the dog (for yappy, snappy little lap dogs you can use “tepid” water so as not to offend Fluffy’s tender sensibilities).

4.  Mix the ingredients in an open plastic bucket or other large open container right where you are working.  It will fizz like crazy.

5.  Quickly, use a large sponge or rags to soak the happy animal in the mixture.

6.  Do not get the stuff in the dog’s eyes.  This is hard to avoid, because most often pooch will catch the skunk’s spray right in her face.  Do your best.  There is some stuff in a tube you can get from the vet to put into her eyes before you start.  Unfortunately, pooch typically gets sprayed sometime after midnight when the skunks are open for business and the vet is closed.

7.  The stuff only has to stay on the dog for a few minutes.  It works by chemically changinging the skunk oil and then fizzing it away.  That’s why it’s necessary to mix up the recipe immediately before you put it on the dog.  Put it on “fizzy.”

8.  Then you rinse her off, or at our house, let her go swimming in the lake.  Keep her outside.  She’s going to roll, and better on the grass than on your carpet.  Capiche?

9.  Give pooch a nice treat.

10.  Take a shower.

Finally, a couple of reminders.  Remember when I said the stuff was explosive?  That’s not a joke.  Don’t ever put it in a closed container, and do not store any left-over juice.  Some people advise you to wear rubber gloves and goggles (for when pooch shakes this stuff all over you).  That sounds like good advice.  I usually perform the de-skunking it in my underwear or an old bathing suit and then throw the wretched garment away.

That’s it.  Skunk Juice.

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The Most Important Blog

said on June 3rd, 2012 filed under: Localism, Whimsy

Four days ago I completed the Real Estate Tomato “Thirty One Blogs in Thirty One Days” challenge.  I wrote exactly thirty-one blogs in a systematic one-blog-a-day routine (no slacking off then catching up).

Then I sighed and sat back to rest and enjoy my success.

I remembered this aphorism from the Talmud:

Learning your lesson 100 times is not the same as learning it 101 times.

It occurred to me that the most important blog was not the thirty-first, the “concluding” blog, the “winning” blog, but, rather, the next blog, the thirty-second blog, and all the blogs to follow.

I scrambled today, June 3rd, to catch up, writing three blogs so that I could pull even again.

Organic, Sustainable, Local


6 Nevada County Farmers Markets





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Solar Panels, Well Pumps, Poets, and Lumbermen

said on May 25th, 2012 filed under: Water Wells, Septic Systems, Sewers, Electric Power, Whimsy

(Yesterday, I was out in the country on a home inspection.  The water well was being tested for yield and quality.  I love wells, and write about them often, Mother Nature providing her abundance for our sustenance, that sort of thing.  My thoughts turned to techniques for powering the well pump, way, way down at the bottom of that hole in the ground.  I remembered this article I wrote a few years ago on another blog, and decided to update it.)

Our most available energy is the conversion of sunlight into calories through photosynthesis by plants. This transformation of energy approaches true sustainability.

It’s not absolute sustainability (remember entropy?), but it’s very, very close.

Here’s a question for you.  Can we  find a way to capture solar energy through a sustainable technology over the long haul (almost-forever) and without reliance on fossil fuel, that is, without petroleum?

Look at this compact little energy conversion:

One solar panel powers an electric pump that brings drinking water up from a deep well. Take it from one who knows about these things, we are having to drill deeper and deeper wells, and the only way to get the water up from a deep well is with an electric pump. Once the solar-powered pumping system is working, the water is practically free and does not rely on petrochemicals. It leaves no carbon footprint. It is about as safe, environmentally friendly, and sustainable as you can make a system for retrieving deep water.

Until the solar panels wear out.

A good panel may last twenty or twenty-five years, maybe longer, though they begin to degrade as soon as they’re installed. Doesn’t everything?

Every human generation, then, is going to have to replace its solar panels.

Where do the panels come from, most of them, right now?


How do we get solar panels from a factory in China to our home or farm? On a boat or a plane or a truck or some combination, all powered by petroleum, dragging along a huge carbon contrail.

If we are going to have solar panels in a post-petroleum world, we are going to have to learn how to manufacture them locally.  Imagine a world in which the “panel maker” is as important to the community as the blacksmith or the doctor?

If solar panel fabrication can be localized, other possibilities open up, because electricity can be used for lots of swell things besides powering well pumps.

Well pumps?

Well pumps wear out even faster than solar panels. With luck and decent water (not too much iron and other minerals), we might get twenty years out of a pump, though most of them are rated for ten to twelve years. For a generation or two we might be able to repair pumps with parts that we salvage from other pumps.

Then what? Do we have to manufacture well pumps locally?


I am trying to get my head around the idea that a time will come when there will be no trucks on the freeways delivering the stuff we need, like well pumps. No trucks at all. When will that happen? When will the trucks stop rolling for good?

When they run out of gas.

When will that happen?

Sometime this century.

We can think about trucks blasting down the interstate consuming vast amounts of fossil fuel. But that’s just a tiny part of the story. The truck is also using petrochemicals as engine oil, brake fluid, lubrication and other direct applications. Then think about the fossil fuels used in the manufacture and materials for the tires, the plastics, the synthetics.

How about the steel? With what kind of energy is the steel mined, transported, forged, transported again, processed, fabricated, transported again, assembled, and transported again?

More fossil fuels. It ain’t just the gas in the tank. It’s everything.

Our world floats on an evaporating reservoir of petroleum. When it dries up at last, finally, completely, zilch, kaput, sometime in this century, what  are our kids and grand kids going to do? This is a question even our most noble leaders can not face. The President (of whatever political party) plays Nero, fiddling with Congress while Rome burns.

If our grand kids are going to have safe water to drink, light to read by, and the other swell uses of electricity, we are going to have to learn how to manufacture well pumps and solar panels locally.


And for the long haul.

Only a few poets and lumbermen, have the guts to look down the line, way, way down the line, five hundred years, a thousand years, ten thousand years, and make plans. Ten thousand years! Can we still be here in ten thousand years?

Poets and lumbermen.


The best long, long range planning I know about here in the foothills is conducted by the timber industry.  Sierra Pacific projects it’s timber harvest out hundreds of years into the future.  How many of our “leaders” look beyond their next election?

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31 Blogs in 31 Days

said on May 1st, 2012 filed under: Whimsy

Starting today I am stepping up to the Real Estate Tomato Challenge:  write 31 blogs in 31 days.

So far, so good.

What, you ask, is Real Estate Tomato? Okay, Jim Cronin, noble Tomato founder, here come your props.  Real Estate Tomato is the web design and hosting company, real estate school, and internet community to which I belong.  Yep, I’m a ‘mater.  The Tomato helped me design this site, host it, and provides me with consultation and technical services.  I’ll put a link to it at the bottom of this blog, but for now, stay right where you are.  With me, capiche?

What, you continue, do I win if I actually write 31 blogs in 31 days?  Braggin’ rights, that’s for sure, and a month of free web site hosting on the “Vine.”  Yay.

But there’s a bigger prize at stake.  SEO.  Search engine optimization.  If I do this right, the Tomato Gurus predict that my site will climb up through the rankings to reach, perhaps, to the supreme heights, the Holy Grail, the first page of a Google search for real estate in my service area.

What, you now inquire with sincere interest, do you have to do to climb to that rarified altitude?

  • Write every day
  • Write consistently about the topic promised by my site:  real estate (avoiding the off-topic stuff I into which I so often drift)
  • Write benefit-rich, attention-grabbing headlines
  • Include the important keywords in the headlines, and in the body of the blog, using natural, organic language (no keyword stuffing).  And just what are those important keywords?  They are the words that a customer would use when searching online for real estate in my geographic area:  real estate, homes for sale, California, Lake of the Pines, Auburn, Grass Valley, Nevada City, Sierra foothills, Nevada County, Placer County, affordable, rural, country, market, real estate market, Bob Jenkins, CJ Jenkins, Christine Jenkins and all of the long-tailed keywords I can reasonably expect customers might type into their browsers.

By the way, notice how I just worked all of those keywords into this blog?

That’s enough for this first day.  Thirty to go.

Oh yes, here’s the link to Real Estate Tomato I promised, an outbound link, delived to the Tomato, free of charge.

See you tomorrow.



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How to NOT Sell Your Home

said on February 4th, 2012 filed under: Real Estate Nuts and Bolts, Whimsy

Sixteen Ways to Make Sure
Your House Will NOT Sell

16. List it for more than its true value.

15. List it as a 4 bedroom instead of a 3. When the buyers get there… SURPRISE!  Only 3!

14. Put a tenant in it to make sure it has that “lived in look” and to assure that potential buyers feel as uncomfortable as possible when they come for a visit.

13. Make sure every flat surface is cluttered with little things.  If you run out of surface area, stuff the rest of the clutter inside your closets and cabinets.

12. Leave your dog to run loose during showings.

11. Make it as difficult as possible for the buyers’ agent to show the property by requiring an “appointment with the owner” or “48 hours advance notice.”

10. Stay home, follow the buyers around, tell them all the reasons you love living there.

9. Stay home, follow the buyers around, tell them all the reasons you hate living there.

8. Stay home, follow the buyers around, ask them to “please excuse the mess.”  Go on to explain just how hard it is to remove all of the black mold and dry rot, but you’re almost there.

7. Stay home for the showing, put on your helmet made out of tin foil, and sit on the couch and stare at the TV the entire time without moving or blinking.

6. Demonstrate that you are environmentally sensitive and frugal as well.  Turn OFF all the lights, close the blinds, and draw the curtains.  Really dark curtains are best.

5. Do NOT  have your windows cleaned.  Clean, sparkling windows let in too much light.

4. Boil a few dozen eggs so the entire house smells like farts.  Frying fish is an acceptable substitute.  In fact, any strong and obnoxious smell is helpful.  The best smell?  Pet odor.  Make sure your cat’s litter box is in plain sight and never empty it. Do NOT wash your dog.

3. Leave a note on the table that says to be careful in bedroom 3, but don’t leave a reason why.

2. Have your friends or your kids hide in the closets and SCREAM each time a buyer opens the closet door.

1. Draw three chalk outlines of bodies on the living room carpet. Use police crime scene tape to seal off the room.


(Numbers 1, 2, and 3 are jokes.  Also number 7, I hope.  Thanks to the Christiansen Team from Fort Wayne Indiana for the idea and for several of the actual items on this list.)

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Rain Gear

said on December 4th, 2011 filed under: Fun Things to Do Outdoors, Localism, Running and Hiking trails, Whimsy

Start your run in the rain. Avoid getting your feet wet. Dodge puddles. Try to run on the side of the path that has become a Class II rapid.

Sooner or later, you will mis-step and come down ankle deep in the creek. The other foot will continue reading…

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Bali 9–Eat, Pray, Love, CJ

said on June 11th, 2011 filed under: Whimsy

Julia Robert

Elizabeth Gilbert’s popular book, Eat, Pray Love, and the Julia Roberts movie based on the book, begin in Bali, in the little city of Ubud, and end in Bali, the “Love” part of the journey. The elderly soothsayer, Ketut Liyer (pronounced keh-TUT lee-AIR roll the “r”) tells Gilbert to return to Bali, whereupon he will teach her “everything he knows.” She returns, and he doesn’t even remember who she is. Droll. And by the way, in spite of what you may have heard, Ketut Liyer does not play himself in the movie, no, the role is handled, superbly, by an elderly actor named Hadi Subiyanto.

I thought it would be amusing if I could locate the real Ketut Liyer and arrange an audience for CJ . Naturally, I sought out the services of my own Ketut, Big Ketut from the Ubud Inn where we were staying. If you think there are a lot of Ketuts appearing in this narrative, you are right. Balinese first names indicate the person’s birth order, so there are a LOT of Ketuts. So I found Big Ketut sitting with a bunch of smaller Ketuts, a couple of Wayans, and our other main guy, Little Abhut. continue reading…

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Bali 8–The Funeral

said on June 9th, 2011 filed under: Whimsy

Big Ketut asks, “Do you want to go to a funeral?”

Executing a suave backflip, I admit “I wouldn’t mind.”

“Important Brahmin funeral” he said, “Big deal.” Bali still observes a 4-caste system with Brahmins at the top of the ladder.

Ketut had set the whole thing up, a complicated endeavor. One driver was to take me in to the capital city, Denpasar, a trip of about an hour and a half. The driver would turn me over to a guide who would try to keep me out of trouble. At the end of the funeral, the guide would turn me over to another driver for the return to Ubud.

Yikes! I needed formal attire, and I had less than 2 hours to get it together. I quick-stepped up Monkey Forest road to the information kiosk across from Ubud Palace. The attendant told me to go down to the big pubic market and get sarong, sash, white shirt, and udeng (the traditional men’s head scarf). I was concerned that I would choose something that would brand me as a clown, pervert, commie, or American fool trying to pass for Balinese. She told me not to worry, that men and women and fools all wore the same fabrics, and to pick something I liked. continue reading…

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Bali 7–Ubud Redux

said on June 4th, 2011 filed under: Whimsy

Hooray! We’re back in Ubud, our home sweet home, where we plan to stay for the remainder of our vacation.

Bali dog

We are welcomed home by a lovable Ubud pooch.

Bali monkey forest road up end

This time we decided to reside closer downtown on our favorite road, Monkey Forest. continue reading…

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