A walk in the woods. . .

Spring is here. With my impending hike of Mount Washington, I have felt the urge to get out on the trails and warm up a bit.  Yesterday I had an hour to spare, so I took a brief trek to the fire tower at Pawtuckaway State Park.

Best laid plans. . .

I took a wrong turn and explored a few extra miles of fire roads and Jeep trails with Mrs. Mack505’s truck.  Her 7000lb, 2500 series, 4-door GMC Denali Diesel truck.  I made it to the trailhead without a scratch somehow.

The trail is a short jaunt measuring 0.4 miles from parking lot to tower.  It’s a popular and highly recommended hike to a good lunch spot.  I found the tower manned with a ranger straight out of a 1960’s Disney film.  He had gray hair, wire rimmed glasses, a red and black checked flannel shirt, and a pleasant demeanor.

The day was dry and windy, a Class 4 in ranger-speak.  The radio crackled with conversation among the fire towers.

Before I could say hello the radio reported heavy black smoke in our vicinity.  We both looked out and saw nothing; then I moved slightly to one side and this popped out of the blind spot of the tower:


That would be a barn fire just down the road from our farm.  Fire units were delayed because many of them had to respond from another neighboring fire. The radio traffic was interesting.

I would have gone to ‘buff’ it.  Alas I did not have time to spare.  I bid the ranger ‘good day’ and hiked onward to my next appointment.

The Minimalism Game: retrospective

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Well I did it. 31 days of downsizing.  There’s the evidence scrolling by. In the beginning, it was difficult to restrain myself; I’ve been bitten by the disposal bug.  I never had a day which I found hard, although I did double up to make up for days spent at work.

They say the average American home has 30,000 things in it.  We are probably more fortunate than average.  After removing 508 items, you wouldn’t know it if you walked into my house.  I can point out specific areas of improvement, but there is still a lot to do.

How to continue is the question.  Part of me is tempted to continue ratcheting the count upwards until I cannot sustain it.  The problem is that 25 or so items does a good job of filling my car.  For the last week my wagon has looked like I live in it, and the folks at Goodwill are beginning to recognize me.

I could reset the calendar, but getting rid of only one thing on April 1 seems a failure after such success.

I averaged slightly over 15 items per day for the month, so I think that is a good benchmark.  I will strive to continue removing at least 15 things per day for as long as possible.  Wish me luck.

(If you get the blog via email, you may need to click through to see the slideshow.)

From the Archives:
Week 34 – Sears KS Super II

Sold by Sears in the early 1980s, this rebadged Ricoh XR6 was known as the KS Super II. It is an auto exposure SLR with aperture priority and no manual mode. LEDs inside the viewfinder indicate over/correct/under-exposure. The ‘correct exposure’ LED blinks to indicate slow shutter speeds and warn of potential camera shake effects. It uses a Pentax K mount for lenses, and mine came fitted with a 50mm/f2.0.

In operation, it’s incredibly simple to use. Focusing is aided by a spilt image spot in the viewfinder. Unusually in my experience, the split is on a 45 degree angle instead of horizontal. Where one would normally expect to find a shutter speed knob is a dial with three settings: (L)ock, (A)utomatic, and (X) for flash sync. I found the KS Super II to be lightweight and fun to use, virtually a point and shoot camera with just enough control to keep me from getting bored.


Camera Wiki

Manual for the KS Super. Reportedly the Super II is the same camera without a B mode.


I loaded it with Fuji Velvia 50 slide film and carted it to Deerfield Fair. I am VERY pleased with the results.







Ok, I didn’t take this one at the fair.

Nor this one.


Overall, the KS Super II reminds me of my Minolta XG9 but with less control. It may not hold a special place in camera history, but it will surface regularly in my rotation.


#minsgame Day 27


Happy Easter everybody!  In celebration of spring, I cleaned 27 things out of the gardening cabinet.

Running total: 390


In the last two weeks the boiler has malfunctioned and tried to kill us; we discovered that the VW bus needs a motor rebuild; the dog attacked one of the cats (both are OK); and my debit card was compromised and started buying a lot of Uber rides and Grubhub deliveries.

Oh, and Mrs. Mack505’s horse and best friend both made strong attempts at dying.

I could be forgiven for feeling stressed out, yet I’m not.  It’s just life.  Perhaps a rough patch.

The CO alarms worked. The boiler was fixed without further incident. The VW is a toy, so we will save up the cash to rebuild it when we can. Like the bionic man it will be stronger and better afterwards. We think we know what occurred between Cricket and Saffy, so we can prevent a recurrence.

The bank caught the debit card problem within 24 hours. I have a new card already. (Yay TDBank!) They were much more efficient than other banks have been in the past.

The vet and the doctors did their jobs with skill and luck. Everyone will be OK.

The decluttering continues, and I am looking forward to warmer weather.

Written by Comments Off on Stress? Posted in Blog

#minsgame Day 25


Minimalism Game day 25.

There was a time when I really wanted one of the big battery chargers.  Now I have a smart charger half the size of a loaf of bread.  The only thing this big one does that the little one cannot is jump starting Diesel trucks.  I will force myself to be patient in the future, and I will not have to store a charger the size of a dorm fridge.

Running total: 337 items