Lawn cleanup at Second Chance Ranch is done, or as done as it’s gonna be ’til the weather gives me a chance to mow. Plumbing has been restored to full function without issue. There’s a 20-cubic-yard dumpster sitting in front of the garage, parked between Ernie and the Bumper Bunker, and since it arrived Tuesday morning Deb and I have been busy filling it.

Nothing we’re doing here is particularly pretty. In fact, it’s a mess. That can’t be helped.

We’re still working our way through the basement, which over the last dozen years became a catch-all. The purge creates four “piles”keep (take to The Ozarks, that is), sell (via household auction), donate (to charity, family or friends) and trash (into the dumpster).

From the basement we’ll move upstairs, which will be relatively easy, and then it’ll be on to the garage, which won’t be. Finally, we’ll clear-out a 10’x20′ storage unit on the north end of town. That’ll require renting a truck.

If you’ve ever done something like this, especially later in your life, you know it’s a practical and decidedly unsentimental drill. It has to be. If you were eavesdropping as we go through our worldly possessions, you’d hear,

“I forgot we even had this!”
“Is this yours?”
“Why the hell did we save this?”
“You care about this?”
“I think we might be hoarders.”

About that last one… I mean, Deb and I aren’t the kind of people they’ll ever make a reality TV show about, but damn, we have a lot of shit. We kept a lot of shit and pointlessly saved a lot of useless shit.

I’d estimate that in the basement — workshop and prepping supplies notwithstanding — only 5% of what we find will come with us to Arkansas, maybe even less than that. Overall, I think, we’ll take between 10% and 15% of our shit. That’s a good thing.

The physical work of doing all this, by the way, is kicking our asses. That can’t be helped, either.

We’re also adjusting our plans, or at least we’re thinking about it. The more we try to make a complex endeavor efficient, the more sensible it seems to move our remaining household goods directly from the Ranch into our storage unit here in Ohio. We’d leave stuff there ’til our place on The Mountain is ready for it.

If we decide to do that — and at this point it’s one of several possibilities — we’d rent a truck for the five-mile move from house to storage. Then we’d rent a flatbed trailer to haul my truck (behind Ernie) to Arkansas, where we’ll stay in the bus during construction. When the house gets to the point that it can accept our stored stuff, we’d drive my Tacoma back to Ohio, load stuff into a rented truck, put my pickup on another flatbed trailer and bring the whole rig back to our new home in The Ozarks.

If that sounds unnecessarily complicated, keep in mind that we have to get three things to Arkansas — the bus, our stuff and my truck. A storage unit, either here or there (or a storage container that can be loaded here and trucked there), will have to be involved. We don’t want to drive separately. And with our younger boy getting married this fall in southeast Ohio, there’s a chance that we can accomplish the move right afterward and make one trip do.

And we plan to take a short load to The Ozarks in my Tacoma, too, sooner rather than later.

It’s crazy. The whole thing makes us laugh.

Conservatives and right-leaners still hold the majority in Ohio, but the statewide right-left margin seems to shrink every cycle. To make matters worse, so-called “independents” here are squishy. The result is a culture and political climate that often feels disturbingly progressive.

We’ve paid a high price for that.

This week we’ve seen the feds strut their cowardice, engaging in ritual buck-passing about mask mandates on public transportation. After a court knocked the rule down, the current occupant of the Oval Office said that masking is a “personal choice” (which it always has been, of course). Then the lapdog DOJ said it’d appeal the ruling only with the approval of the CDC.

The CDC… wait for it… came down on the side of keeping the repressive and anti-American mandate. Complicit media, of course, are all over that — “It was a legal decision anyway, not a scientific decision. Because Trump!”

The best example of never-ending mask hysteria is a certain leftist pundit, a CNN exile who wears two masks and goggles when he travels by air. He’s been doing that — and bragging about it — for over a year, and trust me, he wants everyone else to do it, too.

If you dare disagree, according to him, you’re a “fool” and a “damn liar.”

And if you agree with him, according to me, you’re un-American and an enemy of Liberty.

Here in stealth-progressive Ohio, whenever the threat of mandates starts making news the nervousness is palpable. My neighbors and I lived through the campaign of destruction inflicted by the RINO-in-Chief and his Ministry of Control. If it happened again I’m sure that voluntary compliance would be virtually zero, but just the thought of it makes Buckeyes cranky.

Deb and I noticed an entirely different reaction in The South, in The Ozarks, in northern Arkansas, maybe because there’s no question about who’s in charge. Life goes on without so much as a raised eyebrow — Washington and Little Rock do what they do, but it doesn’t change a thing in Free America.

Ohio was that way, too, a couple of generations ago, but not anymore. At least we have great friends who, like us, defy decrees and run their own lives.

Deb and I saw a lot of this great country during the months we spent on the road. It was a whirlwind, a dream made real, the trip of a lifetime. We’re fortunate to have spent time on the northern prairies and the Great Plains, in Texas Hill Country, the Badlands, the Black Hills and the northern Rockies of Glacier Park.

And yet, after absorbing the expanse and grandeur of all those bucket-list locales, Deb and I decided to spend the rest of our lives in The Ozarks. It is, without a doubt, the most intriguingly beautiful country I’ve ever seen, the sort of place that’s best experienced up-close.

The people and the culture are icing on a scenic cake. We can’t wait to get back there and make it home.

Take care of yourselves, Patriots. Stay calm. Stay sharp. Stay free.

#WiseUp #LibertyOrDeath

#LetsGoBrandon #FJB