Wednesday, December 31, 2008
Here in the Backwoods of Nowhere, there is a party at the local bar, and there are no kids in the area. Fireworks aren't used around here for fear of forest, house or barn fires. TP is pretty precious (don't want to run out while you're snowed in) and so the kids would get their butts beaten for wasting it. And while your neighbor may be a partying fool, he's also 2 miles away.
We are planning on dropping in on the local party, so long as the weather holds anyway, if it's pouring snow we'll stay home, don't want to get stuck out. Don't know if we'll stay until the entire midnight thing or not. Being old folks midnight is a bit late. lol.
There is something to be said for not running the generator at night! Our nephew forwarded us a Christmas present via paypal. We used it to buy a battery. A lot of money for such a simple little thing, but it is definitely needed. So, yesterday hubby charged this battery up, and last night we hooked up the inverter to it. And it ran Harvey (my sleep apnea machine) all night long! I was so happy about that, it's gas saved which means money saved. Unfortunately I kept waking up imagining that the gas in the generator had run out and that hubby would have to go fill it. lol.. But I know that will go away with time. Going to try using it again tonight too and see if I can get two nights worth of power out of the battery to start with and then only charge it every other day. That will cut our gas consumption by 1/3. Not running the generator makes the night SO quiet. Every little click, and thump was heard.
I made a call last night and invited a friend to come up to stay at the property. She has recently been evicted from her home of 10 years and has a travel trailer. I explained that we won't be able to afford to buy propane for her or provide her with electricity, but at least she would have a stable place to park the trailer until something better came along. She was estatic about the offer and said she may take us up on it. Where she is at now she is at a friends house and they rent.
Last night after we got home from filling the propane I got busy and did some handwork. I had some fringe on a scarf to finish, hemming of 2 washclothes, and a hole in one of my favorite sweaters to fix. So I did them all. I still have 2 washclothes to hem, and a pair of socks to repair, but I'll do them tonight or tomorrow.
Well, the battery on my laptop is down to 27% so I'll be done for now. Maybe I'll use some of the battery power from the big battery to charge my laptop battery later. :D In the mean time I need to get ready to go back into town today and cash a couple of checks and drop off some information to an aquaintence there. As well as maybe stop at the library. Although, we do have some books unpacked now for me to read. :D I do love to read.
Busy as a Beaver Lady of Treehaven.
Monday, December 29, 2008
I have a feeling that this will be my last blog entry for the year. The new year is coming up fast so I'm going to do what all the old media does and take a look back at the old year.
Last New Year's eve I was at home making sure our cowardly middle fur child didn't freak out over the fireworks all our neighbors were setting off. If I recall correctly we watched some movie to "celebrate". You could say the event didn't leave a big impression in my mind.
If I were to try and sum up the last year in a word it would be "frustration". Frustration that I was just another cog in a big corporation, frustration with my own body as it fell apart more each day, and frustration that so much of my life was under the control of someone else.
All this frustration took its toll on me. I live with pain everyday, it's part of the price I paid to survive cancer. I also live with fear that the cancer could return. This pain and fear magnified every other problem I bumped into. Eventually my frustration with work hit a point where I had to do something. I believed (and still do believe) that my physical, and growing mental, limits caused my work management to treat me differently then they did my co-workers, in other words I was being discriminated against. A bit of advice for anyone who might find themselves in a similar situation, don't trust the internal company process for reporting discrimination, it is only there to protect the company, not the individual worker. Go straight to the (choke, gag, cough) government.
I'm sure you have heard the term "going postal". It's a way of saying that someone went bonkers and started to right perceived wrongs they experienced at work with the help of their favorite firearm. Once I started to realize I was growing ever closer to the "going postal" state of mind from the company's discrimination investigation and treatment of me, I talked to my Dr.. For the good of all involved, and my own physical and mental well being, he placed me on medical disability for a few months. Yep, this MAD mountain geek is truly certifiable.
If you have been reading the blog from the start you have a good idea what all has happened since then, so I won't recap all of that.
I'm still dealing with frustration but not as much as I was, and the majority of it is from dealing with the company's and the insurance provider's "policies". I hate the word policy, corporations sling it about as if it were law chiseled into stone when it is nothing but their idea of what is best for the company.
For now, I am still at the mercy of this corporate control over parts of my life, but I have discovered a new way of approaching life here in the backwoods. I no longer look at every person I see as another source of frustration that needs to be removed from the gene pool, that is as long as I stay out of the city.
Whoops, time to head into the city, breathe... breathe... breathe, I can do this.
Certified Geek of Treehaven
Freya on the other hand ran about 40 or 50 times the distance we walked. She ran ahead on the road, then back to us when we called, over to the right side of the road and up the gully, and back when we called... the left side of the road held a bit of interest too, so she ran over there, and back to us when we called. lol. You get the picture. Teens have SO much energy. And she never walks anywhere, it's always at this ground eating trot. She loves to trot up a hill and look back at dad, when she does this he calls her back and she comes back down the hill as fast as her legs can carry her back at dad like a runaway train. "Catch me dad! My brakes are broke!" and he catches her and she wiggles and wags all over, if she could she would be laughing so loud.
Pan kind of does both. He likes to stick closer to us than Freya does, but he's not against running up the road and back to us and playing as we go along. So he also gets a ton of excersize and is panting like a steam engine when we get home usually.
Yesterday they were all crazy dogs. Running and plowing through the snow, jumping over the piles of snow on the side of the road where it was plowed by the grader. Barking, and being silly. A few times Freya and Pan were playing on the side of the road, they were leaping and barking and feinting and such, and the snow was up past their tummies! I guess I shouldn't be surprised, we did have over 2 foot of snow in places up here. I was just surprised that they would want to play in it. lol.
After our walk about we came home and the dogs crashed. Hubby put up another shelf for me! This one is about 3 1/2 or 4 feet long. All of these shelves look so crooked, but it's because they are level and the cabin isn't. We won't be able to level the cabin now until spring. But the shelves are all level so nothing will fall off and against the unlevel wall boards it looks funny. Anyway, we debated what to put on it, and I am content with the food that we have on the shelves, even with the rest on the floor for now. So I decided to put books on it. So, hubby went out to the garage and brought in a tote full of books, which I promptly put up on the shelf. And then he brought in 2 more boxes of books which I also put up on the shelf. One of these boxes was one that should have stayed in storage and not come with us, but it accidently was included with what we brought. So I took it from the box it was in and either tonight or tomorrow I'll repack it into the empty tote box to go back into the garage for storage. Or maybe I'll find a corner to tuck it into in here.
I also added some screws to the front of my spice shelf. This will give me a place to hang some of my cooking utensils so I have them at hand while I prepare meals. My "Mis en plas" is getting there. I just have a bit more tweaking to it, such as more shelves to get some more stuff out of my way while I prep food. It's just so important to have a place for everything in this tiny cabin.
For dinner we splurged and went down to the local resteraunt for dinner. Burgers! Pop! and ice cream for dessert for me. Oh it was good! Hubby had blackberry pie for dessert, heated with ice cream on top and he had sweet tea to drink. The owners of the resteraunt are amazing people too. Friendly and very family like. I love going down there, and if I could I would just sit all day and talk with them and just drink pop. lol.
There are so many wonderful people up here who have such great stories to tell, I feel like I have stepped into a Foxfire book sometimes with all the great information and stories of these peoples lives. Ex-military who have been everywhere, people who were born here and went no where although they know everything about the area... People who work with livestock, some who work with technology, and people of all races, religions and creeds.
And now we are adding our story to the pot.
Well, today is that dreaded day of driving into the big city again. Ugh, I really do not enjoy that. But it has to be done, so I grit my teeth and do it. At least we are in a warming trend weather wise so We won't need chains on the truck to do it. yay! We'll be able to drive faster than 35 miles per hour.
Mrs. Treehaven, who is off to see the wizard.
Sunday, December 28, 2008
Last night for dinner, I did some rice up in Chicken broth. Then I added a can of peas and carrots, 1/2 a can of sweet corn and a can of chicken. All the cans of stuff were drained of course. Then over that I put some turkey gravy (homestyle gravy from a jar). It was pretty good. The gravy was added seperately because Hubby and I each like different levels of "goopiness" to our food. Definitely a do again meal. This morning, hubby took the left over rice mix, added some veggie oil, some seasame oil and some teriyaki sauce, and fried it up for breakfast. It was pretty good!
While I was playing with the shelf yesterday, hubby went out and changed the oil in the generator. I guess you have to do that every 100 hours or so of operation, and since we use it for about 10 hours each night, he'll be doing that quite regularly. At least it only takes about 1/2 quart or so of oil! If it didn't then that could get expensive.
There are some short, squatty trees up the road from us. I don't know who owns the property, but no one lives on it. I need to do some research, as I have been told they are Mahogany trees! A nice dense, hardwood that is good for burning or wood projects. As far as I can tell we don't have any on our immediate property, and if I can find out how to propigate them, then maybe I'll just have to gather some and put here. There are so many I don't think the owner of the property will begrudge me if I can transplant 1 or 2 or if I can get starts off of them. It's a pretty wood, with silver bark and a nice orange inside.
Today is Sunday, so I think I'll spend the day doing as little as possible. I have some Bible reading to catch up on, and a book to finish. And if I'm REALLY energetic, I have some crochet to finish too. A dark blue scarf and a grey scarf. I think I am going to give them to the gentleman who cooked our Christmas dinner and his dad. Most of the people up here are men, and most of them don't have womenfolk to do nice things for them. So I'll do what I can and see if I can give them a little of what they are missing. Who knows... Maybe I can bring a touch of sophistication to these wild mountain men.
Lazy Mamma of three furkids
Saturday, December 27, 2008
Hubby and I had been talking about adding another furkid... but we never guessed at the possibility of two.
On our way up to the Christmas dinner on Thursday, two dogs were running down the road. Mind you, they were running with purpose and after a brief hesitation on our parts, we just left them as it looked like they were heading home. One was a little brown lanky fellow, the other was a stocky looking canine that had a stubby tail who was black with some white and brown tossed in for flavor. We asked at the dinner and no one knew who they belonged to.
Yesterday, we were heading into town to get some more gas, there were rumors of another storm coming and we wanted to be sure we had plenty to last. Here were these same two dogs again, so we stopped, and they came running full of wags and happy greetings. They looked scruffy and jumped up in the truck without a qualm. So we took them down to the store, no dice, no one knew them. Then we went to our friends place the next town over (where we go to get gas) and he didn't know them either.
We were starting to warm to the idea, but still weren't 100% certain about keeping them. The working names of Milo and Otis were applied to these two vagabonds, can't just call them "Dog" or "Mutt". Of course they would still have to get along with our own three furkids. But we thought we would give it another shot. If they had owners/human parents, then that is where they belonged.
So, we went up to a new friends place not far from us, he had been at the dinner and from the description, couldn't place them. However, we hit paydirt. Once he saw the dogs he said he knew them and they lived up the way a bit. So with heavy yet happy hearts we drove up to their home and returned them to their parents.
I guess these two have the wanderlust as their owner said it was the second time that they had taken off and someone had returned them. Kind of crazy to let them run if you ask me, there are trappers up here and a trap isn't a good way for a dog to die.
Thus the adventure ended with us coming home and me being a little sad that we didn't have more kids. Oh well, I know that when the time is right more will come.
On another note, we got another shelf hung yesterday! And now my spices are out and ready for cooking. Today we will put up some more shelves, and whatever else comes to hand. I'll have to get a picture of the shelf we hung yesterday. It's SOOO crooked, but it's totally level. It's just that we are that far off level on the cabin. Once the Spring thaw comes though, you better beleive that the cabin will be leveled. This of course means that most of the shelves will have to come down too. lol. But I can live with that.
Haven't a clue for breakfast, but dinner will be, chicken flavored rice, with peas, carrots, and corn, and some turkey gravy over it. Pretty much a meatless meal except for the bits of turkey in the gravy (it's from a jar and has some pieces in it, although there are only a few of them). Sometimes it's good to have no meat right? :D I'll compensate by doing meat something tomorrow. hehe.
off to find something to do.
Ms. "Searching for more furkids" Treehaven
Thursday, December 25, 2008
It may seam silly to some folks, but this is my first ever white Christmas and I'm a bit giddy over it. The holiday season has never been a big deal for me. I see it as a commercialized controversy generator these days.
Back in Eugene, last holiday season, one of the big issues was over Christmas trees in public buildings. Some of the rabid politically correct bunch thought having the trees was a violation of church and state. I have to say that in a way they were right, but I don't think the local government was trying to force the Druid's beliefs on anyone.
The Christmas tree was originally a part of the druid celebration of winter solstice. The whole Christmas thing was put into place to help blend the pagan solstice celebrations with the new Christian religion. Don't get me wrong, I believe that Christ was born, just not on Dec 25.
I remember the Christmas TV specials of my youth, Rudolf the Red Nosed Reindeer, Frosty the Snowman and the other stop motion animations about the season. They kept me and other kids involved in the stories of Christmas. These stories were brought to you by .. Narelco or Zenith or Mattel or some other company wanting the parents to spend money. The message to kids, Christmas is about garbled history and your parents need to buy things or Santa won't come down your chimney.
The only Christmas show I still think got it anywhere close to right was the Charlie Brown Christmas special. Sure, it ended with Linus giving the Christian spin on Christmas, forgetting about all the other religions, but the message of helping one another, forgiveness, and hope stood out. Besides, who can resist Snoopy.
Today I look out at a snow coved vista and hope that somewhere, someone is teaching their kids about more then just garbled history and toys. Maybe they are teaching their kids about the hope of a new year approaching and the need to help out other folks. Yes, it is a good time to reflect on the birth of the Christ, but to so many people around the world the season has very different meanings. Teach truth to your children and they will have the greatest gift of all.
But don't forget to play in the snow if you have it.
Snow Covered Geek of Treehaven
After that it was bath time! One of our neighbors was having a shindig for the local folks for Christmas and we were invited, so we got dressed and hustled ourselves up there. We were there for about 3 hours and met some more of our neighbors and had a great visit. As usual, I found myself volunteering in the kitchen. I helped by butchering the turkey and making the gravy. Yum, the chef of the day had cooked the turkey perfectly! There was also stuffing, green bean casserole, sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes, pumpkin pie, rolls, deviled eggs, gravy, homemade bread, and various other snacks. AND, there was even warm eggnog to go with it, and brandy for those so inclined.
So, after a pleasant day spent visiting with new friends, we are now home, I am tucked into my bed, while hubby went out to sweep off the garage (tent) and do an evening walk around just to be sure everything is as it should be, and he'll be back soon too. Where we'll tuck into a quiet and shared night of computer games, and some reading, and then it'll be lights out and to sleep.
We are currently sitting at about 2 foot of snow, and it is currently snowing. lol. I guess that according to the radio that we are supposed to get another foot or so tonight, and then more over the weekend. Then Clear up some on Monday. Which is nice, as on Monday we drive into the big city as usual. Ugh. I am really, really, really getting tired of that drive.
Tomorrow, (friday) we have decided that we are going to decorate a tree. Yes, I realize it'll be December 26, the day after Christmas. But, it'll still be fun. Going to make peanut butter balls with oatmeal and millet and lard and hang them with yarn on this cute little cedar tree we have. The birds of the area will love it if we can keep the dogs out of it. I may even have some raisins and the like I can put out there. Wish I had some red ribbon to put on the tree too, that would really spruce it up.. Even though it's a cedar tree, it may use a little sprucing I guess.
Will also take some time tomorrow to hang some more shelves. I still have a few boxes of canned goods to get up on the walls, as well as some cans I bought this last time we went into town. I would love to have the storage room where I am keeping the cans right now for something else, and to do that requires the shelves to be put in. Of course, this could end up to working on the walls some more, still have some more insulation to put in and some vapor barriers to get in place. As it is, we'll have to take down some of the shelves to get the additional vapor barrier up, but I guess if we have to, then we have to.
The gentleman where we went to have dinner at has 2 - 6 volt batteries that he uses for his power generation. He said that they ran him $130.00 each and are like 200 amp hours. (I could be very wrong on the amp hours.) Anyway, the quick calculation in his head was that if we did the same thing then it would run my sleep apnea machine for almost a year on one charge. lol. Well, I guess that if we used them for my machine, the 2 laptops, the 1 lamp, recharge the cell phone, and the earpiece for the cell phone then it would probably still last us a week or so. It will be SOOO nice to only run the generator once every 2 - 3 days for just a few hours instead of every night for 8 - 10 hours. I can't wait until that is all in place.
After the batteries and solar is in place then it'll be time for the woodstove to be bought and to go in. With the solar in place, and only having to buy gas once a month or so for the generator during the winter, and then a woodstove so we don't have to keep buying propane we'll be ready for whatever sinks the nation.
Well, I am in full "dead turkey coma" and am going to snuggle down to do some brainless computer game... Like Soduko or Mah-jonng, maybe some chess, or civilization (which is the most likely of them all)...
Lady Triptophan.. I mean, Treehaven
Tuesday, December 23, 2008
Sunday, December 21, 2008
Yesterday we turned on the ol' turkey fryer and boiled up a pot of water and washed my hair! It was marvelous! My hair is now clean enough to go out in public. Lol. I left it unbraided after washing it while it dried, and I have to tell you, after so long of it being in braids, all that hair left wild and free got into everything. Mostly it got in my way. :D But it's ok, I don't know if I could stand myself if I cut it. While it would be easier to take care of it would also be short and I wouldn't be able to do much with it for at least a year as it grew back out. At least with it long I am able to braid it and toss it over a shoulder. If I wanted to take the time I could put it into a bun or something too. If it were short I wouldn't have any of these options. It would be just a headcovering option for me, and that is kind of boring.
We are under a winter storm advisory right now for our area, downgraded from a winter storm watch. And we are supposed to get between 4 to 8 inches of snow over the next 36 hours, and winds up to 20 mph (gusts) and our high in the next 36 hours will be around 28 degrees F. Nice. Considering this is the first day of winter, I'm not surprised. People have told us that January and February are usually the worst weather around here.
Don't know what today's plans are, I was up 1/2 the night last night with insomnia. Thankfully it doesn't happen too often, but when it does it makes me pretty miserable. I didn't get any sleep until after 2am. Tossing and turning I finally sat up, put on the headlamp, and read around 1am. About 2am, I was able to drift back off and slept like the dead until 6:30 or so this morning when the generator ran out of fuel. Thankfully the furkids all seem to be pretty sedate this morning and content to cuddle with me as I sit in bed. I don't know how I would handle it if they were all bouncy and wanting to wrestle like they usually want to do first thing in the morning.
I am thinking I may drag out a cookbook today and see about tortillas. It's a bread that doesn't need to be baked. And I love tortillas! They are so versatile and you can put anything in them at all. From spam, to ground beef, to fish, or chicken.. Or just veggies. I have seen meals where you tear the tortilla up into chunks then slather it with sauces. Gravies or alfredos over the top, splashes of yogurt or sour cream....
Tonight I think I am going to sit down and write some letters and some cards to people. Christmas is just a short 4 days away and I still have to send out Christmas cards. :) Although, I think when people read the blog they will forgive me for this indiscretion this year. There are some I am going to send out though, that way I can let a few people know that our address has changed. It'll still surprise some I am sure, while still others it will be old news for.
Tomorrow we'll make the weekly pilgramidge into the big city and do the refill thing for gas and propane. I am hoping to be able to update the blog as well, but I can't make promises on that. I already have 5 blogs written that need to be uploaded, and hubby has 2 or 3 also, so it'll be a big update. I have new pics to upload for everyone too.
Anyway, that's what my brain fuddled mind has for you this morning. (by the way, breakfast yesterday was fried egg sandwhiches using the last of the bread and eggs until I can get to town, dinner was canned chicken soup, with 2 big dollops of butter added. It has come to my attention, mostly through the husband's craving for butter that I must not be adding enough FAT to our diets. So for a bit I'll be adding butter, lard, shortening and the like to all our foods.)
Groggy Mom of Treehaven
Saturday, December 20, 2008
1 cup rice
2 cups water
pinch of salt
put in pan and bring to boil, covered. I let it boil for about 10 minutes, and stirred it occasionally, just enough to keep it from sticking. Then I took it off the heat, and let it sit for about 30 minutes. It just didn't cook enough I guess.
Then, this morning I am reading over issue #115 of backwoods home magazine and what to my wondering eyes do appear? But an article titled "Gourmet Nutrition with Rice and Beans" by Richard Blunt. A choir of angels sang and I have another method to try. I may try it today as I really want to get it right. Rice is a very important grain.
Here is What Mr. Blunt says I should do for this rice.
"All Long grain white rices should first soaked for 15 to 30 minutes and rinsed before cooking. this removes excess surface startch and improves the cooking properties of these rices. Since nonconverted brown rice still has a bran layer covering each grain, this step is not necessary.
the absorption method: this method will produce excellent results with all rice sizes: long grain, medium grain, and short grain. simply combine the rice, liquid, and salt in a heavy-bottomed saucepan. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium-high heat. Gently stir the rice at the first signs of boil, and then put the spoon away - i.e. don't keep poking at the rice. Cover the pot, reduce the heat to low, and simmer until grains are tender. Resist the temptation to lift the lid and peek while the rice is cooking. When the suggested cooking time has been reached, remove the pot from the heat and let rest - still covered - for at least 15 minutes before serving."
So. I can see a lot of things I did wrong. lol. If I remember right my sister in law said to rinse the rice, but the bag instructions said not to. So I went with the not to directions on the bag. But according to Mr. Blunt it doesn't matter what the bag says and this rice (I was cooking long grain) should definitely been not only rinsed, but also soaked first. I'll give it another go today and see what I come up with.
If you don't subscribe to this magazine, you should. It's a great resource on being self-sufficient and todays climate both politically and publically. It's not too expensive, about $50.00 for 2 years, and it comes every 2 months. If you subscribe right now for 2 years, you also get a copy of Jackie Clay's new book about setting up her homestead in the wilderness. You can call 1-800-835-2418 to subscribe. You can also go to http://www.backwoodshome.com to subscribe there. There is also a lot of other options to subscribe and get some of their other wonderful books and publications. Hopefully someday soon I'll be able to afford to get their "whole sheebang!" It's $270.00 plus shipping & handling and is everything they have printed plus a 2 year subscription. Maybe one of my wonderful relatives will gift it to me for Christmas or next year for my Birthday. It would be a WONDERFUL resource for our little homestead.
Yesterday was another dish day and icicle harvest. Not only were we able to do dishes, but we still have a 5 gallon blue jug of snow melt water! Whoot! This will come in handy since I still have to do some laundry and wash my hair. For those of you who don't know me personally, or have seen pics of me with my hair down, it probably sounds odd to you to hear about me washing my hair as a major project. Well, when you have hair past your hips, and it's THICK (I'm Native American) and no running water, it is a VERY major project. lol. It does take a bit to wash, and rinse, and it takes hours to dry. If I put it up in braids right after washing, then it has taken me up to 2 day for my hair to dry.
I'll need to buy a laundry line when we go to town next time. Right now I don't have one and it's driving me nuts. I do have a cable we use as a doggy tie out. Freya gets put on it when we are doing things outside and can't watch her or call her back to camp every 2 - 3 minutes. She loves to run off while we are distracted. Anyway, I'll bring that cable in and hang it from the rafters to do laundry. It's not the best thing in the world as it's a little thick for a laundry cable, but you make do with what you have.
We are actively on the lookout for a 4th furchild. I mentioned this to my sister and she just about pee'd herself I think. She doesn't know what we will do with a 4th, it's not like we have a lot of room here in the cabin. But we have the heart and the land to take it running on. Hubby would prefer another Norwegian Elkhound, so that is what we are on the look out for.
Ok, with this news I am off to figure out breakfast. :) We are down to 4 eggs until Monday, so maybe I'll splurge and do fried egg something for this meal cycle. Don't know. I'll let you know tomorrow what we decide on.
Mrs. Treehaven - Rice experimentor
Friday, December 19, 2008
There are lot of things we still need to do in our little cabin to get it even 80% ready for the long winter up here. We are approaching the winter solstice, it's just three days away, the daylight will grow a bit each day but the real winter weather will also show up.
We still need to finish some spots of insulation, mainly the roof and behind the tables. I still haven't been able to level the house and it is causing problems with moisture on the back side. We still have things in the tent we should bring in, books, craft stuff, and other sundry items that are not dried or otherwise protected food stuffs. I am hoping to get up some kind roof over our front door to keep snow from piling up on the door. There are trees I still want to cut down and low hanging branches to trim.
Even with all that to do, there are days we just can't get motivated a whole lot. Yesterday we were going to do dishes and wash wife's hair but instead we mostly goofed off. Mrs. Treehaven spent the day devouring another book, "Island In The Sea Of Time" by S.M. Stirlnig. And playing Sid Meier's Civilization IV: Colonization. I spent most of the day playing, Sid Meier's Civilization IV: Beyond the Sword. ( http://www.firaxis.com/index.php)
For anyone who plays any kind of computer games I highly recommend the Civilization IV line of games. They are turn based games that are played in a historical setting. The Civilization line of games has repeatedly won award after award for not just game play, but also their historical and educational content. But be forewarned, once you start, you to will be thinking, "just one more turn" until your eyes glaze over and sleep becomes a thing of the past. :-)
I spent some time enjoying part of my newest audio-book from http://www.podiobooks.com, Jack Palms 3 by Seth Harwood,. It's the 3rd book in the Jack Palm's crime fiction series. Crime fiction is a new genre' for me but Seth has got me hooked. If you like crime fiction, or just like good short fiction, you may also want to check out Seth's new short story crime fiction podcast at crimewav.com and his main site, http://sethharwood.com/
Down time is important, it recharges your batteries and gives your mind something to focus on other then just work. So what is the plan for today? Well maybe we will get the dishes done, it looks like we have another bumper crop of icicles to harvest, and I need to do something to stop the ice build up on the back side of the house.
On the other hand, my Vikings are locked in a battle with the Celtic empire and they just took out my Aircraft carrier battle fleet, maybe just a few more turns.
Distracted Geek of Treehaven
Even with the cloud cover we have today, it's very bright out there. Where we moved to is supposed to have about 100 more days of sun than Eugene did. And it shows. Even on days when it's raining, which granted haven't been a lot of days, it's usually only for part of the day then we're back to sun. Vitamin D production is in full swing.
Not sure what today has planned, although I know we must do some dishes and some work outside. And whatever else comes to hand will happen too. Probably some icicle harvesting, and probably some snow melting. Especially after we get the dishes done as our snow melt container will be pretty empty. don't want to let it go empty for long. Who knows when that extra bit of water will come in handy.
Here I sit in my warm hobbit cabin and look around at my canned goods. I thought I would do a quick check. Just in meals I can open and eat with nothing more than heating, we have 21 meals. There are another 20 meals I can see on my shelves that I would need to add something to or make to go with it (such as spaghetti sauce or cans of chicken) but it would still count as meals. Usually we eat about 2 meals a day so that is 20 days of meals. Just in cans on my shelves.
This doesn't count the three boxes of canned goods under one of the tables, or the 3 drawers of food in the small chest, or the other shelf of broth and the like under another shelf. Not to mention that it DEFINITELY doesn't count the stuff that is out in the tent in the way of dehydrated or freeze dried foods. If I were to count that I could probably add another 60 days to this list. I also have 30 gallons of potable water in the corner, and 5 gallons of snow melt for washing and such.
I feel so exeedingly blessed to have this!
Maybe this is bragging, I don't know. If it is bragging I apologize.
I plan on adding more to it when we go to town this time. We could get snowed in for up to 2 weeks or more, and I want to be sure we are amply supplied. Our biggest items for supply are: gas, propane, food and water. We can last only so long as the shortest supply of these items. Right now it's the gas and propane. We have about 8 days of each at the moment. That is, from the time we fill everything until the time that we run out is about 8 days. I want to extend that to 30 days eventually, but it will take time to build up to that. It's happening... Slowly. lol. Don't want to have more of a stock than that in these two items, storing both can be dangerous so, I'll stop at 30 days. And this summer once we get a woodstove in, then it'll be less imporant to store these things. Will just have to send hubby out with his chainsaw to replenish fuel for heat and cooking.
Maybe I'll do that tomorrow if it's nice enough weather. He wouldn't have to be out long just to take a few trees down. Dropping them now will make them ready for burning for next year. I wonder if anyone around here has a log splitter? Maybe I'll see if I provide the gas if someone has one they will let us use to split wood next year. If they want to come and run it maybe I'll even give them some of the wood as well as provide gas. Lord above knows that we have plenty of trees on the property, and we can replant with cedar and juniper. They are less suseptable to the pine beetles. Which we do have on the property too.
Really need to get some bamboo in too. It's very useful for making a lot of different items. From flooring to houses, and windscreen to even weaving for fabric now. Look up bamboo products on google and you'll see what I mean.
Ok, off to get dressed (and hopefully warmer!) and get my hands into something to do.
Blue lipped Lady of Treehaven
Thursday, December 18, 2008
Other than that, there isn't a lot going on here. Yesterday we pulled in a nice icicle harvest. Some were HUGE. Between those and the snow we filled a 5 gallon jug. Enough to do dishes with. This will leave the potable water for drinking and cooking. Whoot. Anything to stretch that out is a good thing. Water being one of the most important things to continuing life.
Before we moved to the wilderness, we were looking at a gizmo that would collect moisture from the air and purify it so you could use it. Kind of like Luke SKywalker in the original "Star Wars" with their collectors. We emailed the company, but never did get a response from them. We were thinking that if we could become distributors that it would be a great way to get water for up here. Maybe I'll have to look them up again and drop them another email or see if I can find a phone number for them.
Hubby and I were talking the other day about the end of the world. The one interpretation we were discussing this time was the end of the mayan (Aztec?) calendar that ends 12-25-2012. The story goes that the end of the world will happen that day and all of mans machines and technology will turn against him. As well as all the animals. Some have depicted that this means that the technology will go on a killing frenzy, ovens will set themselves on broil and burn down your house, if you wear a tie and lean over the pinter then it will come on and suck in the tie and choke you to death, hot water heaters will set themselves to boiling and boil you when you turn on the water, etc, etc.. I am more along the thought process that if this idea happens it'll just be that our technology will stop working. TADA! No more technology. Having to make do with what we can make do with. No computers, no phones, no tv's and the like. Hubby thinks it's not going to happen like that at all.
My mom recommended a great book called "Dies the Fire" by S.M. Stirling. It's the first of a trilogy, that he has since written a second trilogy for to handle the second generation of kids. Basically, a bright flash happens and... VIOLA! no technology works after it. Even gunpowder won't work like it should. The book deals with how several different groups of people live after this. I highly recommend it. Not only is S.M. a great story writer (and an SCA member!) but it was a great premiss to read about as well. I fully imagine that this is what it would be like if 12-25-2012 comes to pass as predicted. TADA! Welcome to the stone age.
I'm currently reading another series by Stirling. It starts with "Island in the sea of Time" and moves on to "on the oceans of eternity". So far I am on the second book and it's pretty good too. Anacronism seems to be this authors strong point. In this series, the island of Nantucket gets moved back in time to about 1250 BC and has to go forward from there. Parts of it put me rolling. Especially when the Nantucketers start talking about the "past" that is really the "future/possible future/won't be the future because of all the changes they have made on the world" thing. All the paradoxes can be hard to wrap your brain around, but sure do make for a fun read.
Just in case any of you are wondering still. I talked to my wonderful sister and they have their water back on and running. Still doesn't have much in the way of water storage in the house, but I guess 3 cases of bottled water and a 5 gallon blue container of water is better than zero. Lol. Maybe someday she'll store more.
ok, since I have don't pretty much nothing today, I am off to do more of it. :D At least I have a blog here for you. hehe.
Mrs. Bookfiend Treehaven
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
I remember an ice storm back in Eugene, the city was all but shut down and every one was talking about how cold it was. If I recall right it got down into the single digits (F). Yesterday's low up here in the backwoods was -19F and our high was 20F. I'm sure anyone in Alaska, northern Canada, or the more northern parts of the US are thinking, "That's not that cold.", but it's colder then I have ever had to deal with.
When you get this kind cold things happen to objects and flesh that are not fun. We have ice on the insides of our doors ( note: need to finish insulating) and going outside is a multi-step process. Layers of clothing are my best friend.
First comes the basic day ware; Long-johns, sweat pants, jeans, tea shirt, flannel shirt and wool socks . When available I add tow warmers to my socks before putting on my boots or shoes. My boots have steal toes, the steal acts as a heat sink and makes my toes colder then when I'm in my street shoes, but have better treed for moving around on the slick ground. All that is just for sitting around in the house and even then I keep a blanket over my legs when at the computer.
When I'm going out for more then a few seconds I add an insulated flannel over shirt, my heavy jacket, a neck scarf, glove liners and wool gloves, and my funky northwest insulated ear hat. Even through all of that I can get cold if I'm out for more then 15 or 20 min.
When we went into town yesterday, to fill our propane and gas cans, the door on the back of the truck was frozen shut. I had to pour about a half a pot of hot watter over the handle just to get it open. (note: get deicer). Our truck normal has a good heater but on the ride in and back the poor little thing was working overtime and just keeping it barely warm in the truck. Even the door to our house freezes shut at times. It takes a good swift kick to get it open.
There are advantages to this kind of cold, at least for us. As we have no refrigerator yet the cold has become our refrigerator and freezer. We have to keep one of our windows open just a bit to be sure we have ventilation for our propane fireplace. We put things we want to keep cold right in front of the open spot. For larger items that are OK frozen, we have our freezer tree. I put a small shelf up in one of our trees and we set stuff out on it to keep frozen. So far it hasn't been raided by any crafty wild critters.
Latter today we will be doing an icicle harvest from the house. The icicles will be put in the turkey fryer over our stove to melt. One can never store to much watter. Isn't that right sister in-law ( family ribbing)
Our once nice fluffy snow is starting to freeze into a solid layer of crunchy, icy, slickness. Even our dogs that are made for the cold are having a bit of a problem with it. We need to get snow boots for all our critters. Miss. Treehaven has no boots, just her street shoes, so venturing out into the snow is down right hazardous for her. Anyone want to contribute to the boot fund? ( Note the Pay pal section to the right. Shameless begging.)
Bundled up Geek of Treehaven
One of the other great things we don't have to contend with is water pipes. in -18 degree F weather, if we had water pipes, they would definitely freeze! Well, we don't have to worry about that. But even if we did, I always kept about 40 gallons of water (no joke!) in my storage. Now.. I just gotta do this, although I'll probably pay for this later. My sister called yesterday. She lives in a LOVELY old farm house. Two storey, two wood stoves plus propane heat. However, sometime in the night it got cold enough where she lives to freeze their pipes. Ugh. If you have ever had this happen then you know that there is no way of knowing when it defrosts if it's going to burst a pipe or not. In the conversation with her, I found out that the only water storage they have is the water pitcher in the fridge. No 5 gallon containers of water anywhere in the house or on the property! Anyway, there is another house on the same property that her sister in law lives in. And the sister in law's pipes wasn't frozen so at least my sister has water. But in the 8 years I have been preaching preparedness at her, she still doesn't have anything for emergencies put back. Not even water. I know she reads here, so I'll catch a load or two of poo for this I am sure... I can take it though. Feel free to post comments here so she'll see them. :D She can share them with her husband and maybe he'll get the bug too. hehe.
Yesterday was spent going to the library to post something like 6 blogs. Now that Mr. Treehaven has started blogging too, maybe it'll be time to break the blogs in two sometime so we can each put stuff up. I don't know how much room we have for storage, so maybe someday I'll do that. Until then, remember to read the signature at the end so you know who posted, myself or the hubby.
I have so many pictures to share with you. I'll be posting more to the blogs in the way of pictures soon. So, be ready for them.
Speaking of pics... I have some lovely pics of what living in the wilderness can do for a woman's hands. lol. You have to keep your nails SHORT living out here or any little thing you do out here will rip them right up. I don't usually pay a lot of attention to my hands. Fake nails are for those people who have way too much time and money on their hands. People who actually work for a living usually don't have fake nails. Out here, fake nails would last the time it took me to drive home from the nail salon. If that. I'd probably loose one climbing into the truck. :D Prissy hair styles that take more than a brush and scarf or much more also don't last out here. Forget the curling iron. Forget the blowdryer. If you can't just wash, comb and go, then rethink moving to the wilderness. Makeup? Why? Are you trying to impress the deer? Maybe the coyotes? I can see camo face paint... But most women don't wear that kind of makeup.. Although, if you are single ladies, I am sure that camo face paint would definitely attract the right kind of man for LIVING out here 5 miles past the end of civilization. Now, I'm not saying that personal hygeine isn't important. You want to keep your hair, feet, and nether regions clean. Especially when you are living in a 200 SF with someone else. It's more comfortable for both of you. I mean, even if that other person who lives in your personal space does live with a perpetually plugged up nose, you have to go into town sometime. Or someone may drive by and see you and stop by just to say howdy. But I digress. I don't usually pay too much attention to my hands, and I unknowingly let my nails get to long. And then I paid for it. If you have ever had your nail bent back from your finger, you will know how much it hurt when this damage happened to my nails.
Breakfast today will be cheese quesadilla and refried beans. Lunch will be Ramen, and dinner will be rice, with chunks of Treet, and sweet and sour sauce with some peas or greenbeans on the side. Can't decide which veggie I would like more. :D
Off to cause mischief and cook breakfast!
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
Yesterday we went to the big city. Nothing unusual there, we normally go on Mondays. But we drove all the way back with chains on and at 30 miles per hour or so... My lower back today is killing me, but my rump got a great massage. lol.
Anyway, we only are going out one more time this week, today. We need to go fill all the propane bottles and gas cans. The rest of the week, at least until next Monday, we are staying in. Like I said, it is lovely, but a pain in the rump to drive in. :D While we are out, we are going to stop at the store and see if there is anything we need or would like to have. We have a lot of food here, could go for months without going to the store, but not a lot on the side of munchies. Will pick some of those up. Some bread, some crackers.... Maybe a few more 1# propane bottles for the camp stove, then I'll have enough for biscuits and stuff for the oven. hehe.
It was COLD last night, down around 0 degrees F. At 5:30 last night it was at 11 degrees, so can do the math from there. Gotta still get that thermometer installed, then we'll know for sure what the temp is at times. We only know the temp because hubby was on the phone with the neighbor at that time and he told us. lol. Most of the time our temps are "cold", "colder", and "you gotta be kidding me!"... Last night was of the "you gotta be kidding me" variety. Yes, we still have some insulation to get up, but at least this week we'll have time to work on it some more. It's like we need 2 more people here to help us do all that needs to be done. lol. Move this, haul that, do this, dump that. It's crazy.
Just think. Sometime before spring (or late spring at least), we have to, build the goat pen, build the chicken coop, put up fence around the property, put the water containment in the ground, build several storage sheds, get the solar system in place, get some system for getting water in place, and get some raised beds for gardens in. This also isn't counting the wood we have to cut, the woodstove we have to put in, the smoker and oven we have to build outside, or any improvements in our cabin we have to do. hehe.
On the domestic side, I have curtains to make, rugs to make, and such too. We are talking of putting a wind baffle in the front of the house. Kind of a place that as you are coming in, you can open the door, and come in, then close it, before opening the house door to come in. It's kind of a "dead space" so not so much cold air comes into the actual house. That will help to keep it warmer in here too.
I'm sitting here listening to the hubby be outside with the kids. Everything is crunch, crunch, squealch, squealch, where hubby's sneaker bottoms are crunching in the snow, which is really more like ice crystals.
Whoot! The porta potty has just been delivered. :D no more using my beloved little John then trucking it to the disposal place. Now we can use John and not HAVE to leave the house, then just dump him in the porta potty. that will save a lot of time and hassle. It's amazing how much the simple things are soooo nice.
ok, I am off to find something to get into. :D I'm pretty good at that.
The first contact we made down here was our post mistress. This woman has lived here all of her life and knows just about everything about everyone in a 25 mile range. The wife and her have hit it off well and we have bartered for some of her fresh eggs.
Then there is our nearest neighbor, he is a retired business owner who has been on the hill for several seasons. He worked in the electrical field and has given us valuable advice on our power systems. He was also the source of our propane fireplace that we use for heat. Without him we would have been a lot colder. Just having someone within walking distance is a comfort, even if it is a long walk. He also introduced us our next new friend, the trader.
Our trader friend has been invaluable and is fast becoming a good friend of mine. We have very similar outlooks on the world and its condition right now. Mr. Trader has made his way bartering and trading for everything he has, or ever had, for the last 20 years or so. Everything I have needed on the cheep he has found almost the same day. He is like the Radar O'Rielly of the backwoods, he knows the connections to get what you need.
Mr. Trader made the arrangement for us to get a ride into town so we could get our truck. We rode in with a cool old guy who's idea of the high life is having his cookies and ice cream ( peanut butter and chocolate ) and taking care of his 8 cats, including one wild stinky black kitty with a nice white stripe down its back. This wonderful old guy ran us around in town in some nasty weather, just so we could get our truck back I owe him a least gallon of his favorite ice-cream when I see him.
I was never one to ask for help much back in the city. With a very few exceptions, when I did ask I was let down. Everyone was more tied up in their own problems to really be worried with someone else's problems. Folks around here have learned that you need to look out for each other. It's a lesson that a lot of folks in the city need to relearn. The kindness of strangers is something we can rely on.
The Humbled Geek of Treehaven
Sunday, December 14, 2008
Yesterday was a busy, busy day for us. I got up and after writing the blog for the day, I made pancakes. Yummy! we ate and ate and there were still 4 pancakes left over so they went to the dogs, and they loved them too. Since we don't have refridgeration, when I make pancakes, the entire mix has to be cooked up and used, or tossed. lol. I guess I could just stick it outside and the snow would keep it, but I don't want to be calling that many wild animals to the homesite.
Then Mr. Mad Mountain Geek got busy and started bringing in boxes from the garage. hehe. Since it has turned cold we knew that we needed to bring in the canned goods and whatever could be damaged by freezing. Because I hadn't thought about it, I didn't really seperate these items from the ones that wouldn't be damaged when we packed. So I had canned goods packed with dehydrated stuff and the like. This meant that he had to bring in all food boxes so I could go through them. Bless his heart he did it! He brought them in and we sorted and repacked and all that. Now all the canned goods are in the house, and all the dehydrated, freeze dried, powdered stuff is back in the garage. Even if the snow collapses the garage, it's just a tent after all, it'll still be ok since it'll still act as a tarp above and below the stuff.
That pretty much took all day. lol. I was feeling a little punkish about how much meat we don't have here in our stores, but after unpacking all those boxes I feel a bit better. We found a canned ham, 3 more cans of treet, 8 cans of chicken and a lot of veggies, beans, milk, and spaghetti sauce in these cans. The pictures you see here are just of the shelves really. But there are three huge boxes of canned goods under my cooking table too. None of these pictures include pics of the freeze dried chicken, beef, cheese, milk, fruit, wheat and such that are out in the garage.
Whatever else may happen while we are here, at least we won't starve. :D
Dinner was a jar of marinated artichoke hearts split between us and bread with balsalmic vinegar and oil for dipping. Simple, but filling and good. Trying to decide what I am going to make for breakfast, but since it's only 6am I guess I don't have to hurry.
Plans for today is pretty much nothing. ;) Boil some water, wash some dishes, wash my hair and then sit around reading... Or maybe it's sit around reading then boil some water, wash some dishes, wash my hair... not sure yet.
Yesterday while we were doing the job of moving around the food my sister called. They, my sister and neices and nephew, were making gingerbread houses. Fun! While we are chatting and I am doing the unpack and move thing, I am looking out my kitchen window. And lo and behold I see movement on the back ridge. After looking for a second it dawns on me.. DEER! About 4 of them or so, a mixed herd does and bucks, moving up the hill behind the house (well, in front of the house because our door faces the back of our property). they were so close I could see the rings around their eyes. Thankfully all the dogs were in the house with us or the deer and the dogs would have been in the next county.
Speaking of dogs, my beloved dog-dog was a pill last night. Around 8 or so maybe 9, Thor got up and wanted out. So hubby, who's training is going well, dutifully got up from the table where he was playing a computer game and let Thor out the door. I was chatting away on the phone with my Aunt, whom was calling to answer some questions on the blog and chat about our lives. A little bit later, it hits me, I'm missing a dog. !!! Hubby jumps up and says "oh! I forgot Thor." (the kids still need to work on Dad's training some more I see.) Or something like that, but I am sure it needed to be something censored, so I'll just say that's what he said... And he opens the door and calls Thor. Now mind you. Thor is 12 years old, and doesn't EVER wander. Usually when he has to go out, he goes out, does his business with single minded efficiency and then comes back to the door and scratches. Dog-dog then comes back in, wags, gets a drink or not, then goes back to bed. Where he lays until some other bit of need hits him and he comes back to us to let us know he has that need. Not so last night. He went outside, Dad forgot him, I didn't pay attention, think Dad had it... And Thor decided to go on walk about. Hubby opens the door up, and calls, no Thor. He calls again, no Thor. Dad then puts on his shoes, knowing this isn't like Thor and goes around the cabin calling for him. Thor in the mean time still isn't around. So by this time I am telling my aunt I have to go, Dad is back in putting on his coat, and grabbing his headlamp and hat and I am putting on my shoes so we can go find him. Just as Dad heads back out the door, here's the Big Dog, wagging like mad, and grinning from doggy ear to doggy ear. He comes in the house, still with this big smile and wagging like he's wag powered. Snow is up to his belly on his legs, and he is so happy. Still don't know where he went or what he did, but he was pretty pleased with himself. lol. Will go out once it's daylight and see if I can see where he was. Just out of curiosity. Maybe it'll be easy to see since there is still a lot of snow on the ground. Or maybe it'll be impossible to see because it snowed more last night.
Ah the joys of being a mom.
Jobs for the day also included gathering snow. No, not the yellow snow, but the pristine, white, fluffy snow. We gathered it in tubs, put it in the turkey fryer and set that on our propane stove top where the heat that heats the room can melt it. Need to harvest this free water source. So long as we have snow we'll do this. So what if it's water we have to boil or treat with bleach. At least it's water. And it'll work for dishes or for washing or whatever. And since the dogs have been eating the snow, I am sure they can drink the water. :D One full turkey fryer of snow, yeilds 1/4 of a turkey fryer of water...
My aunt had a good idea of making a sink for my dishes. Take two largish water containers with spigots on them, turn them on their side, cut the sides out and make a bench to fit them into. Now they can be filled with water, dishes washed, and then drained easily. That would definitely give me more room for dishwashing than I have with my two little dishpans. It would also mean that I wouldn't have to take down the table and all that between dishwashing. Of course once it gets REALLY cold up here, I would still probably be doing dishes in the house. I don't know if I want to be standing outside to do dishes in -10 degree F weather. hehe.. But it would certainly work when it wasn't in the negatives for temperature.
Ok, gotta get moving for the day. Not really, it just sounded good to say. :D
Lazy Lady of Treehaven
Saturday, December 13, 2008
It was very odd yesterday. We were out moving things around outside, when suddenly the quality of the air changed to me. It was a sudden temperature drop and the "FEEL" of the air changed. It became more crisp and... Well, it's very hard to explain. I know that some of you reading this blog may understand while the rest of you kind of go "huh?". lol. It was very special to be able to feel that though. A wonderful gift.
Then, along about 4pm, hubby went to get something from the garage and opened the door on the cabin and said "oh, it's starting to rain"... I looked out the window (I was sitting at the kitchen window) and noticed it wasn't rain. I KNEW it wasn't rain I felt coming on earlier in the day. So I went to the door and said "look again". He said "I know, I know." and grimaced at me! lol. It IS beautiful though. Everything has a wonderland look to it.
I guess I better enjoy it while I can, by the time Spring comes it'll be a muddy morass that sticks to everything. I'll have to have the dogs wash their feet before coming in the cabin and hubby will have to leave his boots outside. Ugh. I have always hated Spring, but I have a feeling that I will come to hate it a lot more living here in the Wilderness.
Here it is: 7:10 AM 12/13/2008 and it's starting to snow out there again. Not a lot. If it were rain I would say that it's "spitting". Maybe it's snow powder coming off the tops of the trees? Don't know. I can see it every once in a while though.
the dogs are of mixed feelings about it. Freya goes out in it and still tries to track stuff, but it's giving her difficulty. When she went out this morning instead of being in the next county inside of 2 minutes, she was just up on the hill. At least this makes it easy to call her back. lol. Pan is cold, even with his coat and doesn't like to stay out in it. Thor is totally indifferent. It may as well as be a sunny day out there for him. He sniffs around, and looks up and then kind of shrugs his shoulders, does his thing, then comes back in the house. lol.
I'm kind of interested in getting dressed, and going out to see what tracks I can find. I know I'll find dog tracks... Duh! I have 3 dogs! I know there is deer up here, and I have been told there are lynx, badger, wolverine, squirrel, chipmunk, birds of all shapes and sizes, couger, bobcat, coyote, of course cow and horse, skunk... Who knows what all kind of tracks I'll find. When we placed the cabin, it's placed on a wildlife trail. Probably deer made it, but who knows what else uses it. I know that in the mornings, when we let the dogs out, that they sniff and sniff to see who else has been here.
It keeps coming to mind that I have to be sure to get the fences up before spring! I don't want to wake up, and go to let the dogs out only to have them disappear over the ridge chasing God only knows what. Cow? Horse? Some other critter. At least with a fence they can run to the fence then no more. We'll do a 4 foot hog fence to keep the dogs in, then string at least a double strand of barbed wire on the outside of that to keep the cattle and horses OUT of the hog fence. Hope that works. If not then maybe shooting into the air will scare them off if we see them come around.
I'll have to send hubby out with the infamous camera and see what pics he can get from around the homesite. Will have to be sure he puts toe warmers in his boots, last thing I want to have to treat is frostbite. Especially if it's only because of pictures.
Snowshoes! We'll have to get some snowshoes for both of us. I would just make some, but we don't have the right wood aorund here. I think Willow is the best? I don't know, I'll have to research that, feel free to send me any links on making snowshoes. Since I do a lot of other crafts that would at least be a USEFUL one out here.
Will need to get at least Pan some boots for this weather too, can't leave them alone for long here, they'll freeze their noses, toes and the like. If Freya doesn't stop eating the snow she'll freeze her tongue! Brain frozen dog! Hubby mentioned that maybe it's a breed thing, since neither of the other two do it, only her. She's a Norwegian Elkhound. Someone else have an Elkie that does this? Is it a breed thing or just something my brain damaged furdaughter does?
Hummm... I am pretty sure that it's snow spittle happening out there and that it's not just coming down out of the trees now. It's light enough I can see it and it's all over, not just by the trees. I wonder how much this particular storm is going to dump on us?
Last winter was one of the worse winters a lot of these people can remember. They got 7 foot + of snow. At once! I have heard that the average is about 2 feet. So sometimes it's 2-3 inches, and sometimes it's more. lol.
OK, I am outta here, not sure what I am going to find to do, maybe some crochet. I have a kitchen towel to finish. this towel is going to wrap the gift of scarf for the very nice lady in town who has been so helpful to us. The gift of scarf to the neighbor who has been so giving of his time and information, was wrapped in two hand crochet washclothes (washed and preshrunk of course) yesterday. I don't know if he's going to wait until Christmas to open it or not. Either way, I hope he likes it.
have a great day everyone!
Snowoman of Treehaven
That is the view from my window this morning as I sit here contemplating our own struggles here in the backwoods. Right now we are stranded with no truck. My own stupidity the cause of our plight. We should be able to retrieve it on Monday, but it's going to cost a good bit of my next check and we are at the mercy of the same snow that looks so wonderful. Bad roads could prevent us from going into town to pick it up.
We are low on gas for our gas hog of a generator and our little portable battery pack has proven to way less then we needed. If it were not for the help of some of our new friends, we would be even worse off then we are right now.
Thanks to good advice and help we have heat and still a good bit of fuel for our heater. We have plenty of food and water so we will make it. It could get unconformable, but I don't foresee dire circumstances.
I could sit here and curse and rave at the snow for making our life that much harder, but right now its just to pretty for me to get mad at it. I guess it really is all in how you look at things.
Snow bound Geek of Treehaven
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
The hubby got 3 posts up before I got this one up! Not fair. :P Well, I'll just have to work harder at it I guess.
thought we would get snow today, but no dice. Looks like I'm still stuck driving in to do laundry. :( ick. I can't wait until I can start doing it here, but I don't have a bucket/pail/tub big enough yet. There is a second hand store I thought I would check out in the small town just to the north of here, but I can't go there yet. :D Need the $$$ to do that.
Of all the things we are short on the cash is the the worst. We can make do with so much, but it seems that homesteading is a rich mans sport. lol. I keep thinking that if we just had about $3,000.00 to our name then we would be sitting so much better off to be able to survive the bad weather when it hits. But I keep making do with what we have coming in. There just seems so much more week at the end of the money. lol. I'll do it, it just takes some practice I guess.
We all went for a nice walk-about yesterday. I made it all the way up the road to a neighbors house! Whoot! I'm getting better at this walk thing. Getting to his house is no easy task. On the road (much easier walking than cross country) you go down a small incline from our driveway, to where a culvert runs under the road. This culvert is filled in on one side and Hubby says that he is thinking of going and shoveling it out so maybe the road doesn't get washed out this spring. It's a nice area, but then you start UP the next hill. And while it's a hill, it's STEEP. I had to break 3 times on it yesterday to get my breath. Our neighbor lives at the top of this other hill, around a small bend in the road.
Anyway, we got there just as he was leaving yesterday! lol. So what did we do? He turned off his car and got out and we stood yammering in the middle of the road! ROFL. Only in the country. We were there for about 40 minutes and didn't even have to THINK that there may be a vehicle coming through. hehe. I love it.
It's so much easier to sleep up here. No loud rap music, no screaming and arguing neighbors, no loud trucks driving by, It's just so NICE! And the sporadic barking of the dogs at all of this aforementioned City Sound? None! The dogs are SOOOO relaxed up here. Even Pan has stopped barking at every little thing and just kind of takes his day in with a grin.
OH! I didn't mention that I now have some SHELVES! WHOOT! I have a place to put some canned goods, it's extremely wonderful. Now I just have to get them up on it. lol. And a rug on my floor, and my curtains up, and walls up... ROFL. So much to do and so little time in the day. It's pretty amazing though that every little thing that is done is so WONDERFUL and makes us feel so accomplished.
Back in Eugene, when I worked all day and did so much, I never had this feeling of satisfaction of getting anything done. Even when I KNEW I did so much during the day. But now, I am so happy to have accomplished something when I cook a meal, or look around our cabin and see what we have done with so little.
Hubby put up the shelves while I was doing dinner last night. Nothing fancy, just some wood and shelf brackets. But they look so awesome and will be so useful. It just tickles me.
I have had so much going on lately It's hard to remember it all so I know what to write about. but right now I want to talk "BIFFY". Yes, porta-potty. We have been using a small chemical toilet here in the cabin. But it needs emptying every few days. A pain in the... Well you get the drift, after all we are talking about a certain portion of your anatomy here. We finally bit the bullet and called a porta-potty place. I was worried that they would be balky about bringing one out because we don't have a physical address, but she didn't blink! We're all set up and for a measily $75.00 a month we'll be living in style with our own blue out house. We'll keep the small toilet in here in the house for those night time or snowed in emergency needs, but this will make a complete difference to not have to run somewhere to dump poor John. (Yes, we named our little potty here John, it's after my ex-brother-in-law, who is a real stinker to be polite about it.) Whats even funnier, is that while I was ordering our shiney, new, blue Biffy, I was talking with the wonderful lady that took our order, and she told me about a pretty place not too far from us where there is some AWESOME fishing, and photography ops. We chatted for about 10 minutes about this after I ordered the potty. Hubby was just looking at me as I went on and on and on with this conversation. She's going to find out exactly how to get to this camping place from her hubby then let me know in the next day or two so we can go down and get some pics.
Mistress Treehaven AKA Social Butterfly extraordinare!
My number one biggest problem I am having with our new home is one of my own making.
Allow me to set the stage for the explanation.
On the day of our departure from the city I woke up at 3am. This provided me with about 3 hours of sleep that night. I drove our U-Haul through mountain passes, winding roads, and over what passes for a road leading up to our new home. I had been driving for about 6 hours before we finely got to the land. I was a bit fatigued once we got there and I knew I still had to at least unload some things for us to sleep that night.
We had a place all picked out where we wanted the cabin to go. The fine gentleman who delivered the cabin was able to drop it right where we wanted.. He even offered to help me level it. I, in my addled and rushed state of mind told him not to worry about it, I would take care of it myself latter. That was my big mistake.
As soon as I started putting stuff in the cabin I knew I had messed up. The cabin sits a good 6 inches lower in the front then in back. Walking and standing in the cabin is a challenge, much less moving furniture about.
After falling a few time in the cabin it didn't take long for me to start trying to do the leveling, note that I said "trying". I have a 12 ton hydraulic jack so I set out to lift the front of the house up. A 12 ton jack would make it easy I thought.
The first obstacle was the jack itself, it wouldn't fit under the house so I had to dig out a spot to put it where I could still move the handle to pump the jack. About that time I discovered I had failed to pack our shovel. Out comes the trusty Bolo knife, the all purpose tool, to dig a small hole. Once I had a hole deep enough I shoved the jack in and gleefully started to jack up the house. Obstacle number 2, a 12 ton jack jack has a lifting surface of about 1.5 in in diameter, trying to lift up the soft wood was just putting a nice round hole in the wood of the cabin floor. Easy fix, put a chunk of wood on the lift point, but first more digging to make the wood fit.
Note for anyone who may try this, make sure your hole is level and your jack fits, not that it will help fix the problem, it just will keep you from having to dig yet some more like I did.
So now I have a level hole to put the jack in and a piece of wood to protect the cabin, easy cheesy I think, boy was I wrong.
Obstacle number 3, was the one that scared the wits out of me and the wife. When one tries to lift a multi-ton object that is on an incline one should not be surprised when the object decides to slide down said incline.. suddenly. Ever seen a 10 x 20 building start sliding down a hill, were you in front of said building? An old man's reflexes work better then expected in this type of situation I discovered. Luckily our home only slid a bit and then stopped itself.
Since that attempt I have pondered a safer way to approach the leveling. I thought maybe if I pushed my truck up against the front of the cabin it would keep it from sliding but I worry about damaging the cabin with that idea. I did try a wooden wedge under the front of the house but the wedge slid just like the house. I have thought of pounding in re-bar to try and brace the cabin, but I'm not to sure about that idea.
A few days ago a friend suggested we try lowering the back of the house instead of lifting the front.
Blink..blink ... dooooh.
So this week I plan on trying that, wish me luck. To paraphrase the immortal Dr. "Bones" McCoy: I'm a geek Jim, not a builder.
The Mad Mountain Geek of Treehaven
Tuesday, December 9, 2008
I'm relearning the fine art of adapting to situations. Every little thing I once took for granted is coming back to haunt me. Things like showers, hot water from the tap, on demand power, and even mail delivery.
When I was out at sea in navy we had to deal with "water hours" and took "navy showers". Water hours meant that you could only take a shower from such and such time, to such and such time. Normally you would have about a 30 min window to try and grab your shower for the day, along with about 20 or so of your good shipmates. Once you got into the shower you could relax and enjoy your 2-3 min of running water. Navy showers consist of, wetting yourself down from head to toe, turning off the water and soaping up, and then quickly turning the water back on to rinse off. There you have it, a nice relaxing navy shower. After your window, the next group would politely (please note the sarcasm) ask you to go away so they could shower.
Out here in the wilds, I would almost kill for one of those nice relaxing navy showers, We have been heating water and "bathing" in a large tote bin. At first this was a MAJOR undertaking. We had two little coffee pots we would heat up our water in and use it to "sponge bath" ourselves. Once we got the turkey fryer and could heat gallons of water, this process became a lot easer. It's still not a nice relaxing shower by any means but all things are relative.
Working with limited power has been a big adjustment. Yes we have a generator, but gas isn't free. We are still having to run the generator all night so we can keep a critical piece of equipment running. We plug in everything that has a battery, like our laptops, and grab a charge at night, but batteries have this weird habit of draining down just before you are ready for them to. I am hopping to get our DC to AC inverter this week and that will make life a lot nicer, and save gas and ware on the generator.
The next time you see your postman, give him or her a hardy "thank you" and enjoy the luxury of your home mail delivery. No one up here on the mountain gets home delivery. We all have to go into "town" to get our mail, a good 20 to 30 min round trip. Don't even think about ordering anything from on-line, UPS couldn't find us with a GPS unit and live satellite feed. We worked out a deal with a local in town just so we could get any deliveries we needed.
So there you have it, a few of the adjustments we have made living out here in the wilds. Stick around for more fun and adventure with ....
The Mad Mountain Geek of Treehaven
Monday, December 8, 2008
Adjusting to life here in the (sort of ) wilderness has been a challenge for me to say the least. If anyone could be called an Internet addict, it's me. The withdrawal has been rough but discovered I can survive with out the constant flow of information the net provided, as long as I can still get a fix every now and then.
My big thing is podcasts, for any one not aware of podcasts check out http://www.podcastpickle.com/ and http://www.mevio.com/. Podcasts are just mp3 audio files that you can download or listen to on-line. Most folk who have Ipods listen to the shows on the Ipod, thus the name "Podcast" I get audio drama, history programs, science programs and a whole lot more. These podcast have been my main form of entertainment here in the wilds.
Now about our new home; Small and cramped is a bit of an understatement, but I spent many a year in the navy and our little house is the Ritz compared to what I lived with on ships. I can live with small, sure it's a challenge and a bit of a hassle sometimes but, this house and land are MINE. I can put up with a lot just to be able to keep saying that. My Land...it sounds so sweet.
We got our first snowfall this morning, well let's call it a snow dusting. I am still waiting for the real snow that all my new friends say should be coming. The cold is always around but it's true that a dry cold does not feel as bad as the wet cold we had at our old place. The little snow we got was light and flaky, nothing like the heavy wet snows I have gotten use to.
OK, so this was my first blog entry. Not much, to it but it's a start. Stay tuned for more ramblings and stories from a geek exiled to the middle of nowhere.
The Mad Mountain Geek of Treehaven
"A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. "
"Specialization is for insects."
Robert A. Heinlen
Yesterday we didn't go anywhere. It was very nice. I would love to get that time that we go nowhere up to a week or so, but can't do that yet. We still have to go for gas every other day for the genereator. But, it's getting better. And, after this week when the inverter arrives, maybe we can stretch it for a week. We'll have to see.
I have a battery pack that will hopefully run my apnea machine for a night or two. If so, then 1 can of gas will run us for an extra night! That is so exciting and something to really look forward to. We currently have two 5 gallon gas cans. I don't know about storing large amounts of gas, it could be very cost prohibitive if the price of gas goes back up. Not to mention dangerous. I know that a lot of farmers have tanks installed that they get filled once a month or once a year, I wonder what it takes to get that installed? Either way, right now our best option is just another gas can or two and a steady rotation. Keep adding battery packs and viola, we won't have to worry about being snowed in for a week. We already have enough propane to last us a week, and we are adding to it this payday too.
Breakfast this morning is corned beef hash. Don't know yet what dinner will be. Soup? Ramen? Some kind of sandwhich? Don't know, haven't thought that far ahead yet this morning. :D I haven't thought beyond turning off the generator and sitting down to write for the blog as a matter of fact.
oh! The British Berkefeld. My sister was asking about what a berkey is. So I'll take some time to talk about it here. It's a wonderful invention for purifying water. It's a two chamber system with a ceramic filter. The bottom chamber is solid (think of a bucket) construction with a spigot built in. The top chamber is formed so it sits on top of the bottom chamber. There are two ceramic filters (they are a little obscene looking when you pull them out of the box) that you screw into the bottom portion of this top chamber. They filter out girardia and other nasties in the water. There are other filters you can get to ADD to these filters that are smaller and black and they filter out lead, mercury and the like, I don't have them yet. Anyway, you then pour the water in the top chamber and via gravity it filters through the filters into the bottom chamber. When you want water, you get it from the spigot in the bottom chamber. Simple as pie... No, wait, pie is harder. Simple as Ramen then. With this system you can pretty much filter sewer water and drink it. It was invented for the British military to take into places that are 3rd world and still get clean and clear drinking water.
Even without the secondary filter for lead, mercury and more, my berkey has taken the plastic taste out of my old stored water 100%. We run ALL of our water that we injest through it, even if we buy it at the store. the filter is good for about 3000 gallons. At 5 gallons a day that will last us 2 years or more. And you can wash the filter and reuse it again. So these filters will probably last me almost 3 years. Needless to say though, I am going to be purchasing some more ceramic filters, and some of the black filters sometime soon. The black filters don't last as long, but I won't need them until we start using more questionable water. What we get from the store, I'll just continue using the normal filters with.
Yesterday we hooked up the turkey frier (I called and renewed my library books over the phone!) and boiled water and did dishes. One of the things about doing almost anything out here is that it takes longer. Back in Eugene, even after the dishwasher died, preparing to do dishes was a matter of filling one sink with hot water from the tap, then washing them and putting them in the other sink. When you have a clean sink full of soapy dishes, you turn on the tap, and you rinse them and put them in the dish drainer to dry. Out here, it is NOT so quick! You have to set up the table, and your wash buckets, boil the water, wash the dishes, rinse the dishes, dry the dishes and put them away, then put away all your tools for doing dishes. Back in Eugene, when you were done with the water, it just went neatly down the drain and you were finished. Nope, out here even that you have to do SOMETHING with yourself. :D What could take 40 minutes for the same amount of dishes in Eugene, takes about 3 hours out here! Ugh. But it's pretty satisfying. You really feel like you accomplished something.
Going to have to get me two big tubs, and a scrub board so I can do laundry.
But I digress. I was going to tell you about the turkey frier. It's NICE! oh Gosh is it nice. Once we got it set up (stupid me lost the instructions for putting it together so we flew by the seat of our pants) we put aobut 4 gallons of water in it and turned it on. Now, I don't know if you have ever HEARD a turkey deep frier before.. But when you light that sucker, it is akin to a large plane taking off. WHOOSH! and then a loud rumble that is so loud that if you are standing next to it you can't hear anyone talk to you. And it gets HOT. We put it on the ground in front of the cabin, and it melted the frost in a circle about 6 feet across! And the frier stand is only about 1.5 to 2 feet across itself. The best part though. It used so little propane that it didn't even make a dent in a 20 lb tank, it was sill just as heavy. It took 10 minutes, yes, just 10 minutes to boil 4 gallons of water. I am sooo in bliss. Once I get a tub big enough, that means in 20 minutes I'll have enough for a BATH.. OH! The joyful thoughts of that. And even though we flew by the seat of our pants to assemble the frier, we didn't blow ourselves up.
Not sure what today entails, except we have to fill gas cans for gas tonight. Then tomorrow it's back into town to fill everything, and pick up some more groceries and all that.