We are, in fact, living on The Mountain now.

The process of collecting leftovers yesterday morning, loading the truck, wrangling the dogs and getting on the road was no small feat. It took a while. We got a late start.

Neat freak that I am, I didn’t much like the looks of that cargo-netted pile of stuff in the bed of the Silverado. It wasn’t my usual well-managed load. I channeled my inner Jed Clampett, however, and it all made the trip intact.

Though I’d been anticipating unloading at the homesite in leisurely fashion, that wasn’t meant to be. The local quarry, which was to deliver two loads of clay (for setting our temporary meter pole) today, called and asked if they could bring it a day early.

We said yes to that, which forced us into something of a fire drill — unload quickly, then clear the driveway to make room for the dump trucks. The clay arrived over the course of the next two hours.

Some of what we’d brought yesterday was bound for our storage container over in Gassville. I threw the designated items back into the bed, strapped them down and headed across the White River. Deb and the pups stayed on The Mountain and acclimated to this new life of ours.

On my way back, I picked up dinner. The Tuesday special at Carolyn’s Razorback Ribs — brisket street tacos — is our favorite. We splurged on two slices of “Red, White & Blue Cake.”

(Y’know, just because.)

With the big day behind us, we settled in for our first evening on The Mountain. We watched golden light creep up the trees and ledges east of where we sat, and then we turned around to see the sun dip below the horizon.

It was more glorious than we could’ve imagined.

The chorus of night sounds began. The moon rose; the stars came out. We turned on the lights I’d strung in the woods behind the picnic table.

It felt like the Home we’ve always wanted. We were at peace.

We slept well.

Flashes of lightning outside the bedroom windows this morning woke me before 5am. I heard rain on the roof. Walking the dogs with Deb a short time later, I noticed the wind picking up.

Deb, who got up feelin’ poorly today, went back to bed. I lit the stove, made a pot of percolator coffee and took a mug outside.

Smudge and I watched and listened as the sun came up and The Mountain stirred from slumber. I’ve waited a long time for that.

The wind got stronger and turned gusty. I woke Deb, and together we struck the canopy we’d set up for the dogs. Then I knocked out a couple of small chores — replacing a bolt on the fifth-wheel’s entry steps and installing a new spout on one of the gas cans. (The original government-regulated spout had started leaking.)

While I was fiddling with that stuff, I saw a neighbor walking her dogs down the road. “Good mornin’,” I called out.

She turned toward me, arms outstretched. “Mornin’! Isn’t this wonderful?”

Indeed it is.

Over the last two-plus years, Deb and I have been inseparable. Now, in this hot weather, one of us always has to stay with the dogs, keeping the generator running and the AC chilling. So when what’s ailing her today called for a trip to an urgent-care clinic in Mountain Home, she drove herself.

Scout, Dipstick and Smudge were unusually quiet while she was gone. Far from worried, I was happy for the chance to kick back in a recliner and recharge my personal batteries.

Deb returned with a couple of prescriptions. We enjoyed a lunch of leftover street tacos.

The afternoon we spent fighting with our Predator 3500 inverter generator, which we very much need to work flawlessly in this triple-digit heat. It isn’t — running for an hour or two, or even just 30 minutes, then shutting down. I checked everything I could think of before I noticed that the LED on its government-mandated carbon monoxide sensor was glowing red.

The Interweb is full of how-tos for disabling the device, but our generator is still under warranty. I called Harbor Freight tech support — a spectacular experience, by the way — and was told that extreme heat and even an odd puff of wind can cause the sensor to trip. It’s transient but maddening.

I also inferred that I shouldn’t run it under my homemade shed, at least not in temps like this.

I moved it into the shade, perhaps closer to the RV than I’d like but with better results. Six weeks remain on the warranty, so if this unit doesn’t straighten up we’ll return it and swap for a new one.

In just over 24 hours of living full-time here we’ve learned a lot, much of it related to managing electric power — generator, power banks, batteries and such. I’m making a list, and I’ll share the lessons here.

Now we’re gonna have ourselves another good evening. I’ll catch up more tomorrow.

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

#WiseUp #LibertyOrDeath

#LetsGoBrandon #FJB