Chilly morning. Simple life.

There would’ve been no point in asking Ernie’s heat pumps to try coping with last night’s low of 18°F. Shortly after 10pm we switched over to the furnaces, which allowed them (and us) to settle down before we went to bed.

Ahhhh, the cozy warmth of gas heat. We’d missed that.

It’s the time of year when we have to be mindful of how much propane we’re using. To recap — before we run out completely we have to uproot, drive the bus to the LP filling station on the other side of the campground, then come back to the campsite and set up again. We rely on the heat pumps whenever we can because they run off of 50A electric (paid for with our campground fees) and that preserves our supply of propane (which we buy separately, to the tune of five bucks a gallon).

Fortunately, we spent last winter here and we can use that as a guide. I keep records, too, so this morning I looked back at when we bought LP a year ago.

The first refill of our journey was on June 6th, 2021, which took us to Montana and back (including running the fridge on 21 travel days) and lasted all the way to December 31st. The next fillup, however, was just a few weeks later, on January 23rd, 2022. That sustained us until March 6th, when we topped off several days before we returned to Ohio.

We’re now operating off of our most recent fillup — July 12th at Buckeye Lake, Ohio. There are only three travel days on this tank, plus the usual cooking and now one night running the furnaces. The LED gauge on the panel inside the bus still reads full.

I am, in a word, encouraged. By the calendar our propane supply is five weeks ahead of last year. It’ll all depend on what the temperatures do this winter, of course, and there are other variables, but it may be late January or early February before we fill again.

That’d be pretty great.

A few weeks ago, I think it was, Facebook started presenting me with Walmart ads for sex toys and skimpy Victoria’s Secret knockoffs. Totally not kidding. And before you ask, no, there’s nothing in my browsing history or “overheard” conversations that would’ve prompted it — those ads appeared out of the blue (pun intended).

I’m far from a prude. I was neither triggered nor offended. Still, that’s not what I care to see in my news feed, and I hid the ads.

This morning I scrolled by an Amazon ad for a goofy-ass umbrella hat, allegedly designed for for “fishing” and “gardening.” That, at least, was entertaining, if puzzling.

I spent a career in corporate communications, with lots of experience in marketing and advertising, but I’ll confess that I have no idea how any of this shit works. It’s a dark art, Greek as can be.

Most of what I see on social media is irrelevant to me, including much of what my friends and groups post. I don’t look for lost dogs and I’m not ready to adopt another one. I don’t collect recipes.

I don’t think about Christmas until after Thanksgiving and I don’t binge-watch shows on Netflix (snow days notwithstanding). I don’t Spotify, I don’t Wordle, I don’t yoga and I sure as hell don’t Zumba.

I hate whining.

That’s an incomplete list. I block what I can — like every single online game and the people who think I care about their scores — and tolerate or quickly scroll past the rest.

Why, then, am I still on social media?

Easy — because it’s the best way I’ve found to stay connected with stuff I actually do care about. I keep up with old friends. I learn things. I find clues.

Most important to me is being able to bond (albeit virtually) with others of like mind, people who love Liberty and live a real, honest American Life away from what I call “The Funny Papers.”

I suppose there’s a chance that you could read about what Deb and I are doing up on The Mountain and get the wrong idea. You might have the impression that we’re building some sort of woodsy retirement palace, a grand monument to a lifetime of work.

And you’d be wrong.

First of all, our funds are limited. But even if we had all the money in the world, we’re not the slightest bit interested in our home appearing in the pages of House Beautiful, Better Homes & Gardens or even Mother Earth News.

Our vision is driven by simplicity, comfort and contentment. The house will be humble and small, and to some folks it’ll be pretty rough. Stick around here long enough and you’ll see that even once we’re in, it’ll be a work in progress. We’ll occupy the structure before it’s finished, continuing to build it out over what I predict will be a couple of years.

Truth is, our home on The Mountain will never be “done.” Over time we’ll fiddle and we’ll add, refine and create. With 20 rugged acres of our own around us (and much more beyond), we’ll continue to explore.

It won’t be posh. To others’ eyes it may not be beautiful. But what it’ll most definitely be is our idea of the best place to live an American Life in Liberty.

Deb and I realize that what we’re doing isn’t for everyone. We’ve watched many of our contemporaries retire to the beach or the desert. Some choose to settle close to family and the myriad conveniences of modern life. We wish them well.

This is us. This is our life — simple, comfortable, contented.

(By the way, anyone who comes for a visit should know that our small house won’t have a guest room. We can, however, point out some great places to pitch a tent.)

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

#WiseUp #LibertyOrDeath

#LetsGoBrandon #FJB

One of The Mountain’s more mature boys paid a visit to the lower trailcam before dawn this morning.

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