Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Busy Day

The day began early and started slow, but like that annoying bunny, kept going and going..

Started out weeding the garden, making some progress.. nibbled on some spinach as I went. Organized some of my materials I am storing at Rancher Bob's so that I could unload the truck of the additional materials I brought back from the flatlands. That done, I contemplated the next project for Rancher Bob, scraping, sanding, and cleaning his enormous porch in preparation for repainting it, another job for me.

Deciding that was not the job to tackle today, I sprayed some weeds (something I would not do on my own property) and cleaned some flower garden paths for RB's wife.

Then attacking the squash bugs to try to salvage some crop of squash.. during which Rancher Bob's wife got a call from Captain Rob, who needed my help. I rush off to go help Rob who is stuck about 50 miles away, which lead to towing his one ton dualie which was towing a cattle trailer, all the way back at about 15 miles an hour, up and own hills.. a bit stressful, but we made it despite the unenlightened folks who waited until there was no more hint of any possibility that they could see what was coming over the hill to pass us..

I get back in time to set up a sprinkler deterrent (we hope) to stop the raccoon from eating all of the corn. By now it is getting dark so I begin the trek back to my place when I recall that I still have to feed the piranha masquerading as catfish.. I quickly feed them, then get back only to recall that I have reading to do..

... for the classes I signed up for online! During a brief break in activities I decided to once again take some classes after 11 years away from school. So I am taking two classes this term, one of which requires a good deal of reading. Still I hope that this will be good for me, helping to focus my writing further to the end of once again getting published, this time in my chosen field (other publishing has been in gardening magazines).

Yes a busy day, but a good one.. and I confirmed with Rob that as soon as the next two hay jobs are done, he will get out with the backhoe to complete the excavation! That means that this fall the build begins in earnest!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Roughing it?

I know that many of my friends and family think that I am depriving myself, or doing without here, but this morning I cannot help but feel sorry for them.

Breakfast consisted of oatmeal in yogurt with fresh raspberries the size of my thumb!

Lunch will be fresh catfish with okra from the garden, fried.

Dinner more catfish, with squash, cherry tomatoes, and fresh asian beans. Also refrigerator pickles with cukes fresh from the garden.

My poor deprived friends and relatives.. having to make do with supermarket fare..

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Book number... oh heck I've lost count.. plus two

A Man Without a Country A Man Without a Country by Kurt Vonnegut

My rating: 3 of 5 stars
If you like Vonnegut you will probably like this pseudo biographical set of very choppy ramblings. It was neither as scathing as I was led to believe by the NPR review, nor is it anywhere close to being a principled response to the abandonment of the sovereignty of the individual that it could have been. Vonnegut contradicts himself frequently on political matters, but condemns only the administration in power at the time for the actions which have been taken by both parties since FDR, who he not merely forgives for the same actions, but celebrates and worships. Still, fairly entertaining with some good points being made about living. Borrow it, but don't buy it...

View all my reviews >>

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Site Visit

A quick visit to the site yesterday in preparation for the final bits of excavation, which I hope to have done next week. Though there are many reasons for the delays in the excavation, the primary being getting the equipment and operator out to the site, you can see from this picture the difficulty in digging on this site. This is the back wall of the house, the up hill wall, which as you can see is solid rock. Terrible for digging, but great for the cellar which will but up to it!

It has changed a great deal in the two months I spent in the flat lands. The rye grew tall and lush, and then as you can tell, died off from the heat. The weeds have now taken a hold, but since they too will stop the erosion they are for now welcomed.

On the upside I may have stumbled into a care taking/property management position here which won't pay much but might just allow me to spend more time working on the homestead and supporting my few remaining vices, such as the internet.. We will see what comes of it in the future.

Until then I am debating on putting up a post about a successful aspect of the composting toilet system. I cannot decide if it will disturb some who read this, or if it will be met with the enthusiasm I had upon this happy discovery..

Friday, June 25, 2010

Book number... oh heck I've lost count.. plus one

The Self-Sufficiency Handbook The Self-Sufficiency Handbook by Alan Bridgewater

My rating: 3 of 5 stars
The book is an okay introduction to going off grid in the UK or commonwealth, with some of it applying to the US as well. That said, it is pretty basic with regards to the information provided. I honestly cannot think of one new thing I learned from this book, though to be fair I have been in the process of going off grid for a couple of years now. The instructions on canning, making cider, and the like are interesting and will be good enough reference material to justify keeping this one on my shelves. I had hoped for more, and it reads very choppy. Still, give it a look if you are interested in self-sufficiency, particularly if you are just beginning your interest in making a go of it.

View all my reviews >>

Monday, June 21, 2010

Book number... oh heck I've lost count..

Wild at the Table: 275 Years of American Game & Fish Cookery Wild at the Table: 275 Years of American Game & Fish Cookery by S.G.B. Tennant

My rating: 3 of 5 stars
I look forward to trying some of the recipes in the book, but it feels quite shallow and scattered in the recipe choices. Few of us would ever have the opportunity to try more than maybe a handful of the recipes, since the game needed is so very regional. Still, for the hunter-gatherer with enough money and time to spare to allow for extensive travel within the US, this provides a decent stepping off point in learning to cook wild game.

View all my reviews >>

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Back in the backwoods

After a very long, extended stay in the flatlands, I am now finally back in the backwoods of hell, with the perhaps optimistic hope of getting the last of the excavation work done before I have to leave again in a month..

Tonight is set aside for simple recovery.. I hope it will be enough..

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Blog changes, materials and getting moving.

As you can see, I made a few design changes to the blog, which I hope will make it a bit more inviting. Feel free to let me know what you think.

Thanks to three of the jobs I have tackled here in the flatlands, I will be taking back to the build site a few building materials ranging from a couple of bags of concrete, to some pressure treated 4x4s, to salvaged cabinets and siding (which will become shoring on my home). Having found a source of food grade polypropolyene barrels, I had hoped to take several back for my water storage, but sadly there simply won't be any room in the truck. I guess that will have to wait until next trip here to the flatlands..

I have only one job to wrap up, which I hope to finish on Monday so I can be on the road Tuesday. That will give me a few weeks on the build site before I have to head out again.

I never would have guessed at the beginning of the year that I would be traveling this much or be this busy not building the homestead..

Sunday, June 06, 2010

Lights and tunnels...

The first light of significance is that of the sun.. I would love to tell a tale of how I received my solar panels and they are pumping out power for me to use, but sadly this is not such a happy tale. Instead I am experiencing that sensation unique to the flu and sunburns, that of being both hot and cold at the same time. Foolishly I spent part of the day, the first real day I have tried to take off, cavorting with younger women in a pool. Several decades younger in fact.. 4 and 5 years old to be specific.. :)

As a result I am beet red and in a fair amount of pain, left wondering if this will speed up the appearance of the inevitable skin cancer I will one day have, assuming that the room does not get too smokey before that day..

The other light of significance is that at the end of the tunnel of this trip away from the homestead. I am tentatively planning on heading back to the site in a week now, with a tiny bit more cash in my pocket, another (great) design under my belt, and some good feeling for the work I have done on the primary and secondary jobs here.

Tomorrow I begin some siding repair for my grandparents, and with luck the next day I will also begin a job for a friend here in town. When those are done, I can head back with a clear mind, and optimistically hope to get the excavation completed before the next trip away from the homestead, this time down south but for the same reason: to build up a little bit of cash to pay for the build and utilities.

I have been lax in keeping up with the reading list, but I hope once settled again, albeit briefly, back on the site, I will update the books read. Or maybe I will find time before I leave here..