Category Archives: security

First Day of Winter 2017

I’m ambivalent about this being the first day of winter.

I love some things about winter –

  • hot chocolate
  • fires in the fireplace
  • warm clothes
  • building snowmen
  • curling up with a good book under a cozy throw in my recliner
  • watching big, fluffy snowflakes fall
  • Christmas
  • not having to mow the grass every week
  • comfort food

We live on top of a ridge line in Greenwood, Arkansas. It’s good because we don’t have to worry about flooding. It’s bad when we have ice. Arkansas doesn’t ‘do’ winter well. Instead of having snow, we have sleet and ice first and THEN snow. We have snow tires on our Honda Ridgeline Truck, but they’re useless on ice. Our driveway is 650 feet or so and steep. When there is snow, we have little problem getting down and back up again. When it’s an ice skating rink, we might end up across the street in the field across from our place, and it’s impossible to get back up. We just have to stay home until all melts. Since our driveway is on the north side of our property, that could be a week or more after the rest of the area has forgotten about the inconvenience.

Because we might have trouble getting out and back in again, we spend a lot of time and effort preparing to spend a bunch of time up here, away from the rest of the world. We try to have back up systems so we have water and electricity. One year (I think it was 2000) we had a BAD ice storm. There were trees broken and down all over our property, including in our driveway all the way down. We stood on the front porch and listened to the awful sound of branches snapping like gunshots as they broke. The generator we had at the time blew a gasket. My husband and son rigged a big barrel outside the well house and filled it with water to try to cool the generator. We had to check it every half hour 24 hours a day. We were up here, trapped, for 14 days. No electricity. No public water. No way to get down to the road. That makes you get really serious about preparing for whatever might happen.

I don’t like it when I have to worry about whether I can get to an appointment or not. Plans made during the winter make me nervous. I know that I can reschedule doctor appointments, and that friends and family will understand if we get trapped up here, but I don’t like worrying about whether we could get out or not if we really needed to.

I’m happy if I can stay home and just take some days off to enjoy the ice and snow up here and it doesn’t bother anyone else. I can just decide to stay up here ‘until further notice,’ make snow angels, snow people, have a snowball fight, see how our animals react to the white stuff, and make some hot chocolate and some beef stew with garlic bread…..


Filed under Mother Nature, security, taking care of yourself

The Detector is Up and Working!

Optex Infrared Detector

Optex Infrared Detector

For the past 30 years or so, we’ve had a complicated system of lines and sensors running down our driveway to alert us if someone was coming up the driveway. The system worked well for years, thanks to careful maintenance and troubleshooting by my husband. For quite awhile now, though, it’s been wonky and unreliable.

We got a new sensor and laboriously installed it and connected it to the rest of the system, sitting beside our driveway in the hot. That didn’t solve the problem, and my husband started talking about trying to put a new electrical line in. This would mean hiring a trench digging guy with equipment to dig a trench 650 feet or more down the side of the driveway, put in the new line with some kind of protection, fill the trench up again, attach all the sensors, etc. and HOPE the problem was solved THEN.

I suggested that we try to look at the problem in a different way. I thought that MAYBE if we put some kind of motion sensor or the like on the garage end of the house, anyone pulling up to the house would set it off. THEN, if we could attach that to a noise thingie in the house, it would let us know we had a visitor.

A few days ago an Optex Infrared Sensor was delivered. We spent the evening installing it, leaving the wiring for another time. The next day my husband ran the wiring we needed. We got the noisemaker to work, finally, but there was a loud hum on the line ALL THE TIME. My husband has spent all day for two days trying to build a hum suppressor and get the whole system to work.

He just came into the office, sighing as he plopped down in his chair with an orange. I expected him to gripe about equipment, the vagaries of the universe, or such, and he said quietly, “I think it works.”

I jumped up and went outside just past the driveway pad and “VOILA!” the detector saw me and made the noise which sounded on all the speakers in the house and in the driveway!!!!!  AND there is NO hum on the line!

Rather than declare a victory lap and do something fun for awhile, as I’m typing he’s making a list of other things that need work so that we can prioritize them….

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Filed under security