Apocalyptic Homesteading (Day 183-191)

Hello Everyone!

A brief introduction: Hi I am Jacob.

TL;DR: There is no tl;dr because you should have more patience and attention span than a gnat on a high wind.

[End Introduction]

Apocalyptic Homesteading Day 183-191!

Light Duty Work, The Micro-Grid, More Progress With The Cabin, A Watering Hole, Wild Fruit Trees & Let There Be Music

It is another day here and I once again remained in bed long after the first time that I woke up because my lower back is still feeling all tweaked out. I kept waking up and re-positioning myself in the bed in an effort to ease the discomfort and at one point I had the realization that perhaps my mattress is a part of the problem because there seems to be a nearly imperceptible sag in its center which just happens to be where my lower back is while I am sleeping. After several days now of doing 'light duty' work my back should be on the mend but each morning it just seems to get a bit worse and now I think that I finally know why that is. Since I have been using the bed to sit at my writing table I think that what has occurred is that sitting in the same place all the time has created a depression in the mattress and I need to either flip it over or use a different mattress entirely if I am going to get my back to heal up properly.

Throughout the day yesterday I pretty much just stayed off my feet and did not even do my routine daily chores because I did not want to make my back any worse. So, I tinkered around with some old Android devices and did a bunch of research on various methods for mining crypto with them. I know that they will never be profitable to mine with (as far as paying off the devices go) but given that I have an unlimited data connection and free electricity via solar... it is fun to indulge my hobby and learn new things along the way. I always have a difficult time conveying to folks that regardless of there not being some massive (or much of any) profitability with running five volt devices as miners... I still get excited about my little solar mining experiments. I cannot see why the heck I should not use devices that I have no other use for to contribute to a network via one mining method or another and especially so if the electricity is free and the babysitting of the devices is minimal.

Well, I did not write much on this yesterday even though I had plenty of free time and spent a lot of the day in bed trying to get my back to feeling better. Last night I tried sleeping on the edge of the bed (where there is no depression in the mattress) and that seemed to help so I really think that at this point I should get a new mattress or figure out a way to make the one that I am using more comfortable. I would usually just flip the mattress over but this mattress is not meant to be flipped and only has one side intended to be positioned upward. In the grand scheme of things it is such a minor thing to be causing me so much discomfort and I better figure something out soon to remedy it because this sore back thing has been dragging on for too many days in a row and is interfering with me getting stuff done.

Anyway, I got all three of my twelve volt batteries rounded up from storage, cleaned them up and got them put in the solar shack so that I can eventually get them setup in there. I also went through one of my boxes that I have some of my micro-grid stuff stored in and began pulling out and cleaning the dust off of some of the gear that I want to install in the solar shack. Considering that I hacked all that stuff together with whatever junk that I could several years ago... I am considering re-wiring a bunch of it so that it does not look like a rat's nest held together with electrical tape and wire-nuts. Although I like the simple way that I have the solar charge controllers and various outlets setup, I am thinking about either building a box for it all or mounting it all on one piece of plywood for the sake of consolidating everything and making any future installations simpler.

Alright, it is another morning here and I have only gotten a few sips of espresso in me so far so I am still in slow motion. Thankfully my back is feeling a little better today but I will need to be careful not to make it worse again by doing strenuous stuff and let it continue healing up instead. It has been frustrating of late to say the least but there is at least a bunch of little light duty things that I can do around the place to keep me occupied. The cabin build is mostly on hold at the moment anyway as my friend (the one whose car got wrecked) finds a new vehicle and we can begin routinely getting supplies again. That whole scenario has caused a bunch of inconveniences but I guess that is just life and things will eventually get sorted out so it is not all that big of a deal or anything.

The weather here has been pretty hot with daily temperatures in the low nineties (Fahrenheit) and not even a sprinkling of rain to cool things down. All of which is fine and dandy and it does not phase me much but my poor little grass shoots in the dog yard have been getting baked to the point where it just withers and dies if I do not keep it sufficiently watered. To help with the grass scenario I spread a bunch of damp straw over the uphill portion of the largest open area in the dog yard and gave it all a really good soaking late in the day when the sun was no longer beaming down upon it. The grass is slowly getting established in the dog yard but it never seems to get over an inch or so high even with good sun and lots of water. I might need to try a different type of grass seed (perhaps Kentucky-32 instead of Kentucky-31) or do what I have been thinking of doing lately which is cutting some sod plugs from another area of the property where the grass grows well and placing them around the dog yard. I think that if I had seeded everything in the early fall that the grass would be growing better but at this point I doubt that I can get new grass (from seed) established until later in the year and will just have to cope with it the way that it is. On the bright side the grass has grown in well along the edges just outside of the fence and it will eventually spread itself from there as long as all the foot traffic from me and the critters does not impede it.

I spent part of my day getting more parts to my micro-grid from storage, cleaning them up and placing them in the solar shack upon a large piece of plywood that I am thinking of mounting them all on. For now I am just trying to see if I can fit everything on that one piece of plywood and have not begun mounting anything to it but I think that it will work out well unless I later have a better idea for it all. The last time that I had all that stuff setup at one time I had it all mounted in that shelving unit that I painted the other day and although it worked well having it that way in the past it always felt very cramped and was difficult to re-configure things or add new stuff to the matrix. It made a lot of sense to put everything inside the shelving unit when I needed the indoor space but in this instance I have the entire inside of the solar shack to work with and I may as well make things easier on myself by installing things in such a way that I can get to everything without it being a hassle.

Well, I went and did my morning chores and then found myself back here at the computer vegging out on researching DC to DC power supplies because as I have said before I think that is the way to go for powering one of my desktop mining rigs via solar power and twelve volt batteries. Considering that the miner that I have in mind for this only needs a two hundred watt power supply and it only consumes (while mining) around forty watts of electricity... I think that one of the inexpensive DC to DC PSU units will do the trick nicely. I am tempted to spend twice (or three times) the money on one of the more robust versions of the units but for the sake of this experiment I think that I will keep it simple and not over-invest. I am still not at the point where I can keep that miner out of the dust and also keep it cool so I have some time to think it all over and shop around.

On an entirely different note, I have been hiking around the woods (and the property in general) a good bit lately since I have a bunch of free time because I am on light duty. In the process of hiking I have found a super nice black berry patch with big canes, a few eastern cedar trees, a small cherry tree with edible fruit and some small fruits growing on those fruit trees that I am unsure of what they are but since I have been clearing out vegetation from around them ever since my arrival... it is nice to finally see one with small fruits on it so that I can perhaps solve the mystery of what they are as long as the critters do not eat them all before they fully ripen! Who knows with that stuff because so much weird stuff could happen during the span of fruits ripening on a tree in the woods. I will more than likely do some more hiking today since I just found the cherries yesterday and want to see if I can locate more of them because they look a lot like that same kind of black cherry that was growing at the first place that I was at when I began tediously spelling out my daily life. Needless to say I am pretty stoked to have found them and am looking forward to possibly gathering enough of the cherries (once they are ripe) so that I can plant them in some spots that get good sun and plenty of water.

It is early in the morning and the sun is yet to come up here as I brew my espresso and and slowly wake up all the way. Thankfully my back is feeling somewhat better and this is the first morning in a while where I did not awaken to a bunch of soreness in it even though it is quite tight. Doing a bunch of 'light duty' stuff has been driving me a bit crazy because I would prefer to be working on the cabin or even the solar shack rather than piddling around all day doing odds and ends stuff like I have been doing. I do not want to rant and rave too much about it all but ugh here I am heading into summer and am still camping in a tent and having to work on getting the cabin livable during the hot months that I was hoping to take some downtime during. As annoying as all of that is there just is not anything to be done about it besides continuing to plug along doing whatever I can given the materials that I have available. All of which (the materials) is how I really got into this damned situation to start with because of their over-inflated prices and limited availability.

Anyway, it is probably best that I do not dwell on all of that jazz too much and just be grateful that I have some kind of roof over my head at the moment and that I am gradually getting closer to my goals for improving my quality of life. The snail's pace of it all is assuredly wearing on me and regardless of me keeping my morale up and maintaining a good attitude there is only so much I can bullshit myself before I start feeling fed up with not having four solid walls and a solid roof over my head. The shit creeps in around the edges and the longer I ignore it (not having a solid shelter) the harder that it becomes to ignore it. I know that I probably sound dissatisfied but that is a good thing because no one should settle for living in a tent when doing so is not what they want to be doing. Aside from all the little inconveniences of doing so I think the biggest thing that nags at me is there being a lack of permanence or a sense of being 'secure' indoors which is no biggie unless there is a storm or just high winds that make the trees sway!

Dang, I tried to avoid diving into all that stuff but I guess that I needed to spell stuff out to one degree or another just to get it off my mind. Thankfully I do not have a bunch of contention or any horseshit like that about my scenario and simply want to make it through this phase of things without it drastically disrupting my overall sense of well-being and peace of mind. Yeah, I assuredly guard against that stuff because I know how easy it is to make the leap from dissatisfaction to depression and honestly I think that I have had enough of both of those things to last me a few lifetimes if not more. At the end of the day I know that if I just keep working that I will get to where I am heading eventually even if it is some cattywampus route that is anything but straightforward.

Well, that is three paragraphs of delving into that stuff and I have yet to write about my day. Since I got a rather late start on stuff the sun was well up (and beaming hot) by the time that I got my morning routines finished and moved on to shuffling some of my potted plants into some hopefully more sunny spots than where they were. The garden area in the pine forest may not be getting enough sunlight after all and although yesterday I once again considered moving all the potted plants to a more sunny portion of the property I decided to wait until I have the irrigation for it figured out as well as some fencing because otherwise the deer will wipe out my fledgling plants. I am of course still tossing around the idea of putting a garden in the dog yard but have still not decided on whether I should do it or not. I think that if by the end of the week the plants are not looking better that I may wind up doing it even if it may not be the best idea to do so given how much stuff is already eating up space in the dog yard.

Somehow after I was done in the garden area I wound up tinkering with the irrigation line that I have ran to the shaded garden that has the PVC fence around it. I probably failed to mention it but we got a few hundred more feet of irrigation line recently and I decided to finally put it and my little kid pool to good use. I wound up connecting the 'new' (it is used and preowned) half inch irrigation tubing to the other tubing of the same diameter that I previously had connected to a sprinkler to water the shaded garden with. Since the building supply store has not had any of the fittings for that size line lately I did an experiment and found that some scrap three-quarter inch PEX tubing that I had would sleeve snugly over the half inch polyethylene tubing. Basically I used a piece of the PEX to form a union for the two pieces of tubing at the shaded garden and then ran the new tubing downhill at a slight angle to a small flat spot nestled among the trees downhill. I was originally aiming to put the pool in one of the numerous gullies along the hillside but wound up being about forty feet short of having enough tubing to do so. Once I get more tubing I will undoubtedly move the pool to a different location but for now it is at least acting as a watering hole for the wildlife.

My long-term goal with running water down the hill is a bit complicated but for now I basically want to find places to send the guttered water from the buildings at the shelter site and potentially any new buildings that get built along the hillside. I might also setup some micro-hydro electricity generation along the hill and will need somewhere for its water to go so there is that to consider also. Since the rainwater from the buildings themselves would not be sufficient to operate an around the clock hydro-electric system what I have been thinking about is using solar during the day to pump water into large holding tanks at the highest elevation of the site and then use that water to supplement the water supply for the system. I know that I have written extensively in the past about such a system but there is assuredly a reason that the 'pumped water storage method' is one of the oldest methods for storing energy... which is because it frigging works!

I have yet to determine just how many feet of incline that I have to work with or what the actual elevation change is on the hillside but considering that those little turbines do not need a whole lot of water pressure and the hill drops down well over thirty feet (which can roughly provide fifteen PSI on a gravity-fed system) it all seems like a pretty straight-forward installation. Not having to do too much leg work in regards to creating the necessary elevation change to drive the turbines will be a new one for me and given the terrain here I think that the setup itself will be a simple one to accomplish. I always wind up with the same conclusion in regards to that stuff and that is that I should explore every avenue of power generation and storage that I can and see what works. I often want to explore such things more out of a sense of pursuing a hobby and experimentation than true necessity but I always keep in mind that one day I might have to do it out of necessity.

The morning is getting on here and if I am going to beat the heat and get my morning chores done I better do it now before the sun starts shining brightly.

So, here I am at a little past four in the morning sipping my espresso and enjoying the early morning stillness or what passes for stillness with my big dog barking at something off in the woods. It is probably just some deer wandering around or a nocturnal critter making its last rounds before holing up for the day. She could of course be barking in response to the dogs that are barking in the distance but who the heck knows. I have definitely noticed all the dogs barking more in the general direction of where I put that kid pool in the woods (as a watering hole) which probably means the wildlife have been using it.

It was another sweltering hot day and although I did a bunch of little things throughout the day I did not really get a whole lot done before winding the day down with a nap followed by lots of laying on my back in front of the fans. If the tent was not under a shade tree I dunno what I would be doing because even in the late day shade it gets rather uncomfortable being in the tent. It was so hot inside even with all the windows open and fans blowing that I wound up putting another fan in the window beside where I sit at the computer to help keep me and the dogs cool. I also wound up spending about a half an hour cleaning all the dust and debris from my squirrel cage fan and whoa did it need it because afterwards it was blowing about twice as much air as it was before the cleaning. I think that at this point I should rummage through my tools until I find an air-chuck for my air compressor and use it to thoroughly blow all the dust from the fans so that they move the air better and albeit run a little quieter.

Early in the day I retrieved one of my big solar panels from storage, washed it off with the water hose and a soft brush and got a new electrical lead wired up to it so that I could install it on the solar shack roof beside the little solar panel that I put up there a few days back. Once I got it installed on the roof and got a battery and charge controller wired up to it I realized that I had never used that panel with such a short run of wire and in so doing the voltage was higher than what I was accustomed to getting off that panel. Thankfully the little PWM charge controller handled it well enough and throughout the day it got the battery connected to it nearly fully charged which was mainly what I was wanting the panel for because my dinky AC battery charger does not have the capacity to put a full charge on my larger batteries.

It sort of struck me the other day (when I got the small solar panel installed) that I had finally achieved (once again) having a backup power system and that I could finally have some peace of mind in that regard. One thing is for sure and that is that when the grid power fails the last thing that I want to be doing is dicking around setting up alternative electricity sources and lacking being prepared in that regard is something that I would regret given how easy it is to setup. The hardest part with the solar panels always seems to be having a sunny place to put them and something to mount them to but overall they sure make for an effective setup if those two conditions are met. With the current system I am just sticking with twelve volts and not making things more complicated than they need to be in order to meet my needs.

Aside from doing all that jazz, I went on a few hikes looking for more of those fruiting cherry trees but failed to find any with fruit. I did find a nice little grove of them that will do much better once I get all the honeysuckle removed from covering them and perhaps cut down a few of the chokecherry trees that will eventually shade them out. Basically the grove needs some work done on it this fall or winter when the ticks are not so abundant or when I will not be knocking off any fruit by tugging on the honeysuckle that is strangling the trees. On a different note, I did notice during the hike that the area that has kudzu growing in it has exploded with new kudzu growth and I may have to get into it and start cutting it back much sooner than I anticipated.

Alright it is a little after six and if I am going to beat the heat of the day and get some stuff done I need to get to it soon. I finally got that twenty foot ladder that I needed dropped off yesterday (with a stabilizer) so I can now reach the remaining places on the cabin's exterior that need flashing tape. I can also reach the eastern gable vent location, get it installed and begin doing whatever it is that I am going to do to enclose the soffit. I may wind up only enclosing the soffit at the peak of the roof for now because it is the main place that I am concerned about water infiltration. One way or another I can now move forward with that stuff which is good because the cabin building has been on standby for the last several days and I want to get it further along. It will be nice to get the exterior fully sealed and once I get the attic ladder, the air conditioner, the door and the window installed I can pretty much move into it.

Everything is always such a process and this one given the quality (of both the materials and the labor) is going much slower than most! At least the bulk of the work is done in regards to the cabin and honestly if I was faced with doing that work now (during these long blistering hot days) I would more than likely reschedule it all until the fall. The lumber prices really pushed the starting time of the cabin back to the point where I knew that it would be a race against time to beat the heat and it took one hell of a push on my part to do it. Of course it also took the landowner ponying up the money for over-priced materials but in the grand scheme of things they still get a building for cheaper than they would have by either buying it outright or having someone build it for them so I do not think it is all that bad of a deal from an investment standpoint.

Okay, it is yet again a new day and upon waking the first thing that I noticed is that my back is not feeling as sore as it has been. It has drug on for a week now of being uncomfortable and sore so any kind of improvement on that front is awesome. There are always going to be injuries and discomforts along the way of doing the kind of stuff that I do and as long as they do not linger overly long I just have to look at it as the price of getting things done. After all some good old 'wear and tear' on the body is pretty common when it comes to living a productive life that involves rigorous (or just demanding) physical activities. In other words as much as I dislike getting injured... it is just going to happen and my attitude about it when it does is all that I can really change.

The heatwave has still been in full effect and yesterday I managed to get in a few hours of work on the cabin before it became blistering hot outside. There was a nice breeze though so that sure helped keep things not-so-hellish in regards to working when the sun did finally poke its head fully over the horizon and I found myself taking a nap. Anyway, I wound up finally removing the remaining scaffolding from the left side of the cabin and getting the rest of the exterior joints sealed with flashing tape. That tall (twenty foot) extension ladder sure made all the difference and although being at the top of it is a little stomach turning it worked super well. Even without using the stabilizer that came with the ladder it is not wobbly or anything and to my great relief the ladder is not all beat up and its extension parts (the rope, pulley and rung locks) were in really good shape and did not make things a hassle.

I piddled around for much of the day doing little things around the shelter site when I was not cooling off in front of the fans in the tent or diving into my outdoor tub to do the same. One of the things that I did was get my smallest twelve volt sealed lead acid battery hooked up to the micro-grid that I have connected to that big panel that I installed on the solar shack the other day. Running that panel with such a short piece of wire definitely brought the voltage up to where my little PWM charge controllers are at their limit and if I hook either of my small batteries to it they get a charge for a few minutes before the charge controller's over-voltage protection kicks in and stops power to the whole unit. This of course does not happen with my larger battery connected to it but it does go into 'float mode' rather quickly so I connected that small battery and its own PWM to the 'load' circuit on the other PWM (connected to the big panel and battery) and like I have done before in the past... I used it as a dump load.

That little battery would not even register enough voltage for either my AC battery charger or a solar panel with a charge controller connected to it to charge the battery. Sadly I had left the battery in storage throughout the winter and might have done irreparable damage to it in the process. It was really an oversight on my part but one that I know better than making (in regards to battery care) but for some reason I pretty much forgot all about owning it! Over the next few days I am going to keep it wired up the way that I have it and see just how much of a charge that it holds and for how long said charge holds once I stop charging it and put it under load.

Okay, I have to cut this entry short and get some stuff done on the cabin before the sun makes it over the trees and the work area becomes unbearable.

Whoa, that turned into one really long day and I am in slow motion this morning and slept in late because it was raining when I first woke up in the wee hours of the morning. It wound up raining on and off throughout the night so things are a bit cooler this morning which is a nice change and I do not have to hurry out and get all the plants watered before the sun starts shining brightly.

Anyway, first thing in the morning yesterday I got up on that tall ladder and got the second gable vent all finished off. Sadly I had to redo what I had done the day before because I put the piece of lumber for the vent's sill above the line instead of below it and hence threw off the dimensions for the opening. After redoing it and then adding the flashing tape I realized that I had in fact done it wrong again because I failed to add material to the inside of the opening to make it small enough so that the flange of the plastic gable vent would properly overlap the edges. By the time I realized that (while temporarily screwing the vent in place) the sun was absolutely beaming down on that side of the building so I abandoned it for the moment and decided to tackle it again (for a third time) at a later point when I could both do it right and not get baked by the sun! I still do not know how the heck I buggered up the vent's framing twice in a row but I am glad that I could laugh about it and not let it get to me.

Once that fiasco was over, I moved the ladder to the north side of the building and finally got all the exposed openings between the rafters at the peak closed off. I was originally thinking to install zip-board on the entire soffit up there but then I had the realization that a skinny strip (a five inch tall by four foot long piece) of zip-board would work just as effectively and require much less material. The rest of the soffit will eventually get closed in with metal anyway so just enclosing the rafter bays was basically just to ensure that no water could infiltrate there. That big ladder with the stabilizer on it made the job super easy and luckily just as I was finishing taping all the joints the sun had moved to where it was fully shining on that side of the building but at that point I was done with it!

After doing all of that jazz, I put away the carpentry tools and used the wheelbarrow to retrieve my little refrigerator from storage so that I could clean it up, put it in the tent and plug it in. Having gone the last four odd years without using refrigeration I felt like it was a pretty big step backwards but given the high temperatures (it has stayed over ninety degrees Fahrenheit the last many days) and lacking anywhere super cool and shaded to store food I thought it wise to do so. More than likely I will eventually build some kind of root cellar (or equivalent) so that I can store food in the ground but for now the little fridge will have to do.

Thankfully the ten year old fridge still works well and I am glad that all the times that I shuffled it around while moving from one place to another I was careful not to let it get damaged. The most important thing (aside from it being operational) was for the door's gasket not to get damaged or malformed in such a way that it no longer made a seal. I recall the first time I moved to a new place after getting the unit that I had taped the door shut with a piece of tape near the top and one near the bottom and in all the years afterwards I never completely removed the tape (even when using the unit as dry storage) and because of that it held the door firmly shut and did not allow for the gasket to get dried out or twisted in its track. It was kind of dumb luck that things worked out that way but I am glad that it did because it sure does get cold fast and does not leak air around the seal.

After all that, I took a brief nap before heading to town to get some supplies from both a grocery store and a building supply store. I did not do a full run on the groceries because we were limited on time and the place was a bit of a zoo given the approaching holiday weekend but I did get stocked up rather well. At the building supply store we got a pre-hung exterior door for the cabin as well as a small window air conditioner unit and an attic ladder so that I can get them all installed and be able to cool the building. All of which will of course put me a heck of a lot closer to being able to stay in the cabin once I get those things and the window installed. I have still not put the window in because of that bird nest and although I am going to do it last if the eggs have not hatched by then I am going to build a bird house and relocate the nest to it.

It was an incredibly long day and by the time I finally got everything put away from the supply run it was rapidly approaching dark outside so I did not get any late in the day work done like I have been doing lately once the sun gets over the tree line to the west and the area is shaded. Working outdoors during this time of the year is probably never going to work out well with the heat so I need to plan my projects accordingly around that and perhaps even switch my yearly downtime from winter to being in the summer which is okay and something that I was already leaning towards doing anyway. This year is going to be wonky no matter what I do in regards to downtime because I still have to finish the exterior of both the cabin and the solar shack walls and roofs with metal. Most likely I will keep doing what I have been doing and working during the cooler parts of the day which is fine and all but it will drag the overall build process out to be much longer than what I want it to be.

It is an overcast morning and I am enjoying it being cooler outside than it has been of late and do not feel the need to rush to beat the heat by doing stuff super early in the day. I even slept in a bit late after waking up several times and realizing that I was not quite ready to begin the day. When I initially woke up around four in the morning I looked at the time, let out a long sigh and promptly pulled a blanket over me and drifted back off as bits and pieces of the dreams that I had been having floated around in my mind. They must of been some interesting dreams because I recall being fascinated by whatever was going on in them but now just a few hours later their contents are a total blank and my usual tricks for recalling them have produced no results.

First thing yesterday, I dove into getting more stuff done on the cabin and got the opening for the air conditioner framed into the east wall and even got that portion of the wall insulated and the interior sheathing installed. At this point all of the interior (and exterior) sheathing is done and everything is taped off with flashing tape so once I get the door, window and air conditioner installed the bottom floor will be sealed and usable. I will of course have to install the attic ladder to separate the upstairs and downstairs before I can use the air conditioner but that should not be too big of a hassle once I get everything (mostly lumber) currently being stored in the downstairs moved so that I have some room to work on it without stuff being in the way.

While I was working in the cabin the little bird that made a nest in there kept flying in and out the window opening and each time that it returned it was carrying a bug in its tiny beak. It was not until I shut off the exhaust fan that I temporarily installed in one of the second floor gable vents that I could hear the chirping of baby birds coming from the nest but I never actually looked in there to see how many of them there are. At this point I am really torn on whether I should leave the window out until they get big enough to fly or if I should relocate the nest (that is in a cardboard box) outside and into a birdhouse. I have yet to build a birdhouse for them but I have been thinking that I could also just put them atop the chicken coop where they will be mostly protected from the weather by the coop's roof. I did not think of it until just now but perhaps the thing to do is to build some bird houses atop the coop not just for those birds but for others in the future. It would be kind of cool to have a bunch of wild birds living above my domestic birds but I have some concerns over mites and such if I do that.

Anyway, somehow I spent the better part of eight hours working on the cabin stuff and by late in the afternoon I was completely wiped out, covered in sawdust and slightly cranky feeling so I dunked myself several times in the outdoor tub before taking a nice long (and much needed) nap. I guess that there are far worse things that I could do with my time than perpetually working on stuff but damn it sure has taken a toll on me the last year or so and lacking any real extended downtime... I am probably more aware than I have ever been of the value of said downtime. On the plus side I am in awesome shape physically (aside from the usual aches and pains) and may have even put on a few extra pounds of muscle in the process. Considering how hard it is for me to gain (and especially to keep) any extra weight it is rather noticeable to me and will more than likely disappear as soon as I take an extended break from doing things all the time and shoveling in two to three times more calories than I normally do. One thing that I have never regretted is spending so much time during my younger years working out and staying in shape because it has somehow stuck with me ever since then.

Well, it is getting on in the morning and although it is looking like it might rain I think that I am going to get outdoors and see what all I can accomplish. Part of me just wants to get this entry all edited and posted but I know that if I begin doing that now then I will not be finished until sometime late in the afternoon and honestly I just do not have time for it which has pretty much been the case with all the writing stuff for my entire stay here. I simply cannot prioritize it if I am ever going to get the fuck out of camping mode and into something more compatible with how I prefer to live. Without a doubt I would have been in something with four solid walls and a real roof by now had it not been for the crazy high lumber costs and limited availability of materials. It is frustrating to say the least and has left the whole damned cabin build dragging out so much fucking longer than I would prefer because now here it is on the doorstep of summer and all I can do is grind away in the heat doing construction projects and hope that at some point that I can get to the point of using what I am building before I have a fucking meltdown from pushing myself too damn hard for too damn long. I have paced myself well and all of that but my mental fortitude seems to be getting slowly eroded by all this camping horseshit.

So, it is late in the morning now on the following day and I avoided doing any writing this morning because of the previous paragraph and how I did not want to sound like I was whining or complaining overly much. It is a shit way to show appreciation to readers by subjecting them to too much of that stuff but the more I thought about it throughout the day yesterday the more that I returned to the singular conclusion that it felt damn good to vent all that stuff and just let it go at that.

All things considered, my scenario has been working out super well and it does get better everyday that I pour more hours into working on it but ya know... it is still camping and I still desire a higher standard than that for my lifestyle. My whole beef with extended camping like this is that I have to make compromises and I know all to well that the more/longer I 'compromise' the more I lower my standards to keep myself from getting neurotic over it all and that in turn makes it more difficult to embrace any feelings of reward that I might feel due to my accomplishments because I know I am compromising what I want. It is actually an old familiar dance and one that has helped me to stay on track with improving my life (and mayhaps myself) over the years so it is probably best not to deviate from it now. I do not know if all of that oversimplifies things (or even conveys what I intend) but hopefully you understand what I am getting at there.

On a different note, it turned into one super long day yesterday and by very late in the day I wound up truly cranking the music for the first time here and let it play much later into the evening than I usually do. I guess that you could say that 'I was feeling it' because I went to turn the music off for the evening (and crawl into a hot bath in the outdoor tub) but instead I wound up getting totally sucked in and grooving out to one song after another until nearly ten thirty! The hold music has over me will probably always be profound and sometimes I wonder if it is the only thing that really 'holds me together' and especially so when there are gunshots and fireworks going off all over the place and the only thing keeping the dogs from freaking out is that the music is so damn loud that it muffles the shock of the explosions. They will still bark and get a little antsy (when the music is blasting and explosions are happening in the distance) but it is nothing akin to the panic they have without the music playing. Being a holiday weekend in the south... there will damn sure be explosions of some sort and I just do my best to shelter the dogs from it and hell I even get to hear some loud tunes out of it so no complaints there!

Earlier in the day I got the attic ladder and the front door for the cabin installed which turned into something like an eight or nine hour affair. The ladder was super tricky because it really needs two people for the installation process and me being one person... well I had to figure it out. What I did was carefully brace the ladder so that it could still open once I screwed it in place while up in the attic. I think the biggest part of it being a two person task is that there needs to be someone to remove the bracing from below after the person in the attic fastens the ladder's housing into place. Basically I set the ladder in the hole while up in the attic and the braces had maybe a quarter of an inch where its housing rested on the braces in such a way that the braces themselves would not be in the way of the hatch opening. It was dodgy and I kept a good grip on the ladder until I got it fastened in place so that it did not accidentally fall through the hole but in the end it came out pretty good and works well.

Yay! I got this all edited and can now try to get it posted. I hope that everyone is doing well and has a nice day/night.


I love how the little shelter site is turning out!


This is how I closed in the rafter bay openings.


The east side of the building where the air conditioner and window will be installed.


The door being installed makes it finally look like a cabin!


The attic ladder all installed!


My micro-grid setup in the solar shack.


This was the most ripe cherry that I found.


I had to break up a rooster fight and got spurred in the boot! It may be time for Bob Backwards to go in the cook pot!


The little birds in their nest in the cabin!

Thanks for reading!

More about me: I have been doing property caretaking (land stewardship) for many years (decades) and live a rather simple life with my dogs doing what most folks would consider to be an 'alternative minimalist lifestyle' but what I often just think of as a low-impact lifestyle where I get to homestead and spend the majority of my time alone with my dogs in the woods doing projects in the warmer months and taking some downtime during the colder months.

Nearly four years ago I began sharing the adventures (misadventures) of my life via writing, videos, pictures and the occasional podcasts and although my intention was to simply share my life with some friends it undoubtedly grew into much more than that over the years and now I find myself doing what equates to a full-time job just 'sharing my life' which is not even all that glamorous or anything but hey folks seem to enjoy it so I just keep doing it!

The way that I look at it is that I give it all my best each day and while some stuff I write is better than others I think that for the most part I do a pretty good job at doing what I am doing which is simply 'sharing my life' as candidly as I possibly can and whatever folks get (or do not get) from it there is always the satisfaction of me doing what I set out to do... which is to simply share my life.


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Try putting a piece of plywood under your mattress. We have not had much rain either, when I walk on the grass by my boat it sounds like glass or ice cracking. You can build little cages from hardware cloth and put around the fruit on the trees, Donny did this when we had peach trees and he does it on the mango tree. If you can find where the honeysuckle is in the ground you can cut it there and hopefully it will die. I did this with a jasmine vine. I hope the mama bird can find her babies if you relocate them. That is a damn if you do damn if you don't situation. I would not have two roosters for that reason, one is all you need. Your cabin is almost ready, happy for you.


Sipping espresso while building a survival shed! I love it! Apocalypse now, just waiting for the second horseman!