Apocalyptic Homesteading (Day 192-198)
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.
Apocalyptic Homesteading Day 192-198!
A Five Day Waking Fever Dream, The Cabin Slog, More Paint Less Talk, A Banging Shack, Shop Storage & Storms Galore
The morning here is a little more chilly than it has been lately but I am sure that it will pass as soon as the sun makes its way over the horizon. During the last cold snap I used up the remainder of the propane in the tank connected to my heater or else I would assuredly have it turned on for some extra warmth. There is of course the recirculating oil heater but I would have to close all the windows, get it from where I have it stored at, plug it in and wait for it to gradually heat the tent up but by then (the time it takes for it to heat the oil) the sun would already be up and it would become stifling hot inside the tent... so, my sweater, a warm hat and a blanket stretched across my legs will have to suffice instead. I am sure that in just a few hours when it gets blistering hot outside I will be looking back on the cool morning with idle fondness.
Yesterday I spent a lot of time writing and editing so that I could finally get that last entry all finished and shared and aside from my routine chores that was pretty much all that I did with my day besides taking numerous naps. One of those naps lasted nearly six hours and I did not wake from it until about an hour before dark. I just did not have it in me to do anything overly taxing and opted to enjoy the holiday by resting instead which is probably something that I needed to do anyway given the workload that I have been under for who knows how long now. Well, I guess that I do 'know for how long' because of these entries but I like that particular turn of phrase and think that it is fitting nonetheless. The workload has been insane and yeah it has been one long slog since my arrival here to get things to the point that they are and hopefully one that will be worth it in the long run. Everything is still so wonky here with my stuff in storage and the endless camping grind eroding my perspective but hopefully when everything is said and done my fortitude will have held up and I can take some much needed downtime.
All things considered I am doing much better mentally than I would ever think that I would be given the length of this camping stint so go figure. It is probably not even something that most folks can relate to unless they have done it so suffice it to say I once again do not recommend extended camping (no matter how luxurious it is) while working on a homestead setup. It just makes everything seem like it is way harder (or less rewarding) and it is not like doing the stuff is easy to start with. Of course I know that to change things I have to keep pressing forward and not fall into the trap of blaming others, growing depressed or even indulging my more manic side in an effort to reach my goals and make things better sooner. It is such a tricky balancing act going on inside of me and one that has become internally exhausting to cope with, let alone to write about.
It all comes down to me having my bases covered (so to speak) and although I have some of them 'covered' I do not feel like I have enough of them covered to ease my anxieties in regards to preparedness. One looming thing that always presents itself to my mind is that I am now living far enough south that hurricanes and tropical storms are a real danger and while sure I could evacuate if need be... literally everything that I own could have the tent(s) covering it ripped away and destroyed and/or damaged beyond repair. Considering that some things like my journals that span nearly three decades of my life are irreplaceable... yeah that shit nags at me and rightly so but the deeper concern is that knowing all of that I would allow it to happen in the first place. I mean come on I have somehow managed to keep my possessions intact for this long in my life with far less resources at my disposal and it is frustrating that it has drug out here as long as it has and gone unaddressed. One step at a time and all that jazz sounds good but several thousand steps later and I have to wonder what the fuck I am doing with my time and calories.
It is yet again another morning and I am off to a slow start and feeling a bit moody. That last bit probably has something to do with feeling ill last night and spending most of the evening running a fever, having chills and my stomach aching until I was finally able to drift off to sleep. I have no idea what had caused me to feel like that but I sure am glad that it seems to have mostly passed in the night. It may have been a stomach bug or even just something that I ate and my stomach is still feeling slightly queasy this morning so who knows. It sucked and I am glad that the worst of it seems to have passed. The last thing that I need right now is getting ill and having that slow me down on the projects I have been working on.
Early in the day I rummaged around in my storage and found some pieces of metal that I could use to mount the air conditioner in the cabin's east wall. I also had to do some angle grinding on the mounting bracket that came with the air conditioner (the piece that mounts to the top of the unit) and basically re-manufacture it because the unit is made to go inside a window and not in a wall opening. I even found a spray can of metal primer and painted all the parts that I had been grinding on (or cut off entirely) with it so that it would not rust later. There was also a missing part (the bottom mounting bracket) so after trying several things I cut down a drawer assembly rail, pounded one side of it with a hammer into a piece of angle iron and used it to make the bottom bracket. Surprisingly it all came out looking rather well and the unit is quite secure in the wall. After that I used the foam strips that came with the unit to seal the gaps on the interior. Although I considered adding some flashing and spray foam to the exterior of the building (to seal around the unit) I decided to wait until I can test the unit (to make sure it works) before doing so.
After all that jazz I used some scraps of lumber to make a very crude little birdhouse so that I could relocate the bird nest from inside the building to atop the chicken coop. I at first put the nest outside the window opening atop a ladder hoping that the mother bird would find it. My idea was to slowly move the nest closer and closer to the coop throughout the day but for some reason the bird never noticed it atop the ladder so I then placed it atop one of the fence posts that I had often seen the bird resting on. I am unsure if the bird saw it there or not and by late in the day I gave up on it and moved the nest to just in front of the new birdhouse atop the coop and hoped for the best. It was not until nearly dark that I saw the bird had found the nest and I slid it the rest of the way inside the birdhouse.
Anyway, all of that was pretty time consuming and by the time I was ready to install the window the sun was beaming down on that side of the building and made the window installation a bit frustrating because I was pouring sweat and my safety glasses kept fogging up and/or so covered in sweat that it was hard to see what the heck I was doing. Yeah, I cleaned them over and over but there is not much I could do besides pushing on through it and dealing with it the best that I could which is to say that I just sort of gritted my teeth and committed myself to getting the job done. There is rain moving in over the next few days so I really had to get that window installed. As a side note, I also re-framed the opening for the gable vent on the east side of the building and finally got it done right so once the window and air conditioner was installed the entire exterior of the building was finally dried in and sealed.
What a fucking long drawn out process it has been going from raw land here to having a sealed building and at this point I am so over it all that I do not feel much in the way of enjoyment at the achievement. The camping thing has been pretty hard on my mind (okay really fucking hard) and yeah I am so far beyond my breaking point that it is a wonder that I have not had a massive meltdown along the way. Even with the cabin sealed I still have to get some electricity ran to it, move all the tools and building materials out of it (to who knows where) get the floor painted, seal around the interior of the door and window with spray foam and cut the bottom of the attic ladder so that it will appropriately rest upon the floor. That last bit is something that I should not do until the actual flooring gets installed because in doing so it will change the measurement of where the ladder rests. Basically there is a bunch of detail work to be done as well as trim work and who knows when I will actually get to move into the cabin. As tempting as it is to rush the process I know that the moment that I move into it that all work on the interior will cease because living inside of a place that small and working on it simultaneously just never works out for me as intended.
Well, it is getting on in the morning and although it has been sprinkling rain and I still feel like crud after last night's bout of illness I should get outdoors and start doing stuff. I am a bit torn on whether I should pull everything out of the shop tent so that I can build a bunch of shelving for storage in there but I have to create some storage somewhere and that looks like the best option. Considering that I have been in 'go mode' for so long now that the shop itself has become a mess... even if I just organize it that would go a long way towards making it more useful and less of a clusterfuck. More work is all I need at the moment but it is not like anything is going to do itself and regardless of anything else I just have to keep plugging along.
Alright, it is the following morning and I just got my espresso brewed and took the first few sips of it. My mind is kind of mush at the moment after enduring another night of cold sweats but at least the fever seems to have broken sometime during my sleep cycle. What an incredibly uncomfortable few days that was with the fever ranging from mild to severe, my stomach churning and all the weird stuff that goes on in the mind whilst in the grip of a fever as well as whatever caused the body to respond with a fever in the first place. I feel like I have spent the last few days being 'put through the wringer' and am glad that it is apparently subsiding.
Not wanting to just lay in bed feeling like a train wreck I actually did some stuff yesterday so that I could get closer to being able to move into the cabin. Although I was far from feeling up to the task I began the long process of cleaning out the shop tent and getting it reorganized. I mainly focused on the side of it where I was wanting to build some storage shelving and drug everything on that side of the tent outside of it and piled it out of the way the best that I could so that I could work inside. Recently the landowner had brought out a bunch of scrap lumber left over from a renovation project so I used it to scrap together a two meter tall, one meter wide, by nearly three meter long shelving rack that I unceremoniously shoved in the back corner of the tent and loaded down with stuff including the majority of the lumber that had previously been stored in the cabin.
By the time that I was wrapping up the shop project it was really late in the day and it was all that I could do to cram everything into the tent, get the tools put away and take a hot bath before collapsing into the bed and taking a much needed nap. Working through the day like that was tricky given the fever (and feeling like crud) but I at least made some significant progress and another day or so of working on the shop should hopefully see that project finished.
I do not know if I will work on the shop again today or not because I want to redo one of the walls on the solar shack (the east facing one that is mostly vinyl window) because the sun beams in there way too much and makes the place entirely too hot for electronics. What I am thinking of doing is using that extra sheet of zip-board that I have left from the cabin build to raise the solid wall another four feet and leave two feet of the vinyl window at the top so that I still get plenty of light in there. That little window will be under the shade of the eave so I am thinking that it will not dramatically affect the temperature inside the building.
I am awake this morning long before my usual four o'clock wake up time and am feeling less than one hundred percent better but nowhere near as bad as I have felt the last few mornings. I am feeling clammy and slow witted but at least the fever that returned yesterday evening once again broke sometime during the night and I did not spend my sleeping hours in a cold sweat. Feeling ill really sucks and especially so when the symptoms come and go in varying degrees of strength and drag on for numerous days in a row. I guess that at this point most folks would have sought out medical care but given the 'health care' in this country and its exorbitant costs I will continue to treat myself and avoid going into massive debt. I have determined that if it drags on much longer that I will start myself on a round of antibiotics (yup the inexpensive kind meant for fish) that thankfully I already have an abundant supply of.
Not wanting to let some illness get in the way of progress (and wanting to keep sweating out whatever is ailing me) I dove into working on stuff early in the day and got in a nearly eight hour workday before exhaustion hit me and I took a nice long nap. Since I needed to store the tools for working on the cabin and the solar shack somewhere convenient I opted to begin the day by removing the fasteners (mostly staples) holding those east facing vinyl windows in the solar shack and prepping the openings to be covered with that sheet of zip-board that I mentioned yesterday. It all came out pretty good and the much smaller two foot vinyl windows at the top of the wall do indeed let in plenty of light while the rest of that wall blocks the sun's rays from overheating the room during the early portion of the day.
Once all that jazz was done, I began the tedious process of getting everything out of the cabin and stored in the solar shack and the shop tent depending on what it was. The extra piece of OSB plywood that I had left over I fastened to the interior wall of the cabin a few inches above the floor so that it would remain flat and somewhere that the rodents would not make a mess of it like they do if I store it under the tarp outside. I still have no idea what I am going to use it for but I am sure that it will get used on something one way or another. Anyway, once I got all the stuff removed from the cabin I swept it out several times and did my best to get all the sawdust out from under the edges of the interior sheeting where it meets the floor so that I could begin the painting process. I wound up using some black interior paint on the floor and although I only got one coat on it looks so good that I might just add a few more coats and call it good enough and opt out of installing any flooring on top of it. Doing so will shave a few hundred bucks off the overall cost of the cabin and given the drastically inflated prices of all the materials thus far... any little bit helps.
Alright, it is yet another morning and this one is quite overcast which is nice because I was able to sleep in some without feeling like I need to hurry to beat the heat of the day. I cannot dally overly long though because it looks like rain is moving in and it would be nice to get some stuff done before it does. Thankfully I did not burn a fever last night and got some incredibly deep sleep and am feeling better this morning than I have in several days.
Anyway, first thing yesterday morning when the sun was barely over the horizon I got a second coat of paint applied to the cabin floor. Having done the first coat with a paint brush to make sure that I could work the paint into all the cracks, nail holes and blemishes it was noticeably faster when I put the second coat on with a roller. Even though I will still need to paint the edges of the floor with the brush later, doing it with the roller left me with plenty of extra time afterwards to work on other stuff before the sun was out in full force.
Since the weather forecast is calling for a bunch of rain over the next week or so I decided to get the solar shack as dried in as possible while I have the time to do it. I started by taking out the window that I had temped into place and used some scrap lumber to frame the window's rough opening and then utilized a bunch of scrap zip-board to finish out the wall the window is situated in. Afterwards I applied the flashing tape, squirted on a bunch of caulk and mounted the window before finally screwing it in place. Given how far up under the eave that window is I doubt that I even needed to flash or caulk it but it is always a good idea to do it especially given the ferocity of some storms and how high winds can potentially drive water to places that it would otherwise never reach. It came out pretty good actually and with that vinyl door in place the solar shack is now as dried in as it needs to be for now and has become fully useful space. I was even able to get a shelving unit installed in it and begin organizing some of my more often used tools, fasteners, paint and caulk supplies and other odds and ends on it which will make my life much easier as I continue working on things at the shelter site.
By the time the afternoon rolled around my fever had waxed and waned a few times and I was feeling pretty clammy (and mildly exhausted) so I did what I often do and took a nice long nap which was quite refreshing to say the least. After the nap I met up with one of the landowners and helped them go over (and figure out) the details for the cabin's electrical system which resulted in them making a diagram and being able to calculate from it what materials would be needed. They even brought me a wonderful 120 volt AC power conditioning appliance that has six outlets and two USB ports. It is pretty slick and will be super handy to run my more sensitive electrical appliances through so they have clean power which is also surge protected. I should probably snap some pictures of it and share the model number in a post so that folks can see it for themselves.
Once we wrapped up the electrical survey stuff the folks told me about a giant rat that they had seen in that same area where I had used the dogs months ago to do some rodent control. This particular rat though was frigging massive and un-intimdated by the presence of people and whenever the tarp was disturbed it would look at them balefully and just lay there with its giant nut-sack like 'why the fuck are you bothering me' which is some pretty damn peculiar behavior for a wild rat to be exhibiting. I guess that it had grown fat and lazy off the scenario given abundant shelter and plenty of dog food and dog waste around for it to munch on and perhaps even territorial because of female rats in the area. Anyway, I immediately volunteered to use the dogs to flush the rat and mayhaps dispatch it so that it would quit destroying stuff in the area. As far as that last bit goes it had done one hell of a job at fucking up a bunch of stuff within a thirty foot radius of that tarped pile and of course a bunch of stuff under the tarp itself. After a short time of me and one of the folks moving boxes out of the way as the rat fled from us and the dogs we eventually flushed it and the dogs were able to surround it and dispatch it in what amounted to a handful of seconds. One thing is for sure and that is that the dogs are rather damn effective at the rodent control and are very 'humane' and do not play with the rodents before offing them while avoiding getting bit themselves.
Well, the sun is all the way up now and I have already knocked out my morning chores and set myself up for painting another coat of paint on the floor of the cabin so I should get to it before it gets too hot outside. It was nice to get a little extra rest this morning and to get in some writing to boot but daylight is burning and I better get to doing stuff lest I spend all morning clacking away at the keyboard spelling out my ponderous thoughts.
It is a muggy morning here and although it began raining a few hours before dark yesterday I do not think that it fully stopped until some point in the wee hours of the morning. There is a quiet outside this morning that is only broken by the birds calling out and I can not even hear much traffic on that nearby road. I slept in until nearly seven o'clock and it is so overcast that it almost looks like it is still sometime in the predawn hours instead of the time that it actually is. On the bright side, I am feeling better today than I did yesterday so hopefully I am through the worst of whatever has been ailing me.
Anyway, not long after finishing the morning writing yesterday I gathered up the paint supplies, swept the cabin out really well and got another coat of paint applied to the floor. The floor has three coats of paint on it now and I am debating on whether it needs a fourth coat or not. It would not hurt anything to add another coat but I am trying to make sure that I have enough of that black paint left to paint some more shelves with it and possibly some baseboard trim. Since I have a bunch of strips of OSB left over from the cabin build I am thinking of just making some trim out of it and calling it good enough for now until I can get some real trim for the job. The thing is that the interior OSB sheathing does not meet the floor (so it does not wick water) and the little half inch gap there is a place where dust, dirt, dog hair and who knows what else can accumulate and thus be pretty hard to get out of without the aid of a vacuum cleaner. Even though the OSB trim is probably not the best route to take I think that if I paint it with a few thick coats of paint it will work out just fine to keep stuff from building up in that crevice.
Once I got the cabin floor painted I switched gears and focused on getting the interior of the solar shack organized before installing that red triangular shaped countertop that I painted a few weeks back. I also installed a disconnect switch on that dump load circuit that I made by daisy-chaining those PWM charge controllers together which is effectively just using the load circuit from the first one (with the large battery) to act as the charging input for the second PWM connected to my smallest battery. With all of that wired up I was able to finally mount the dump load's PWM and all the stuff that I have connected to it to the wall near all the other micro-grid stuff that I mounted the other week. All in all it came out pretty good and the red countertop is installed above the micro-grid which will help protect it if anything ever happens to the big vinyl window that makes up the upper half of the wall on that side of the building. It is not foolproof or anything but I think that if I add a bead of caulk where the countertop meets the window sill that it will be good enough without having to box everything in.
By the time I got all that stuff done and brought the first stereo speaker from the shop to the solar shack and got it all cleaned up, the rain had begun and at first I just hung out in the tent hoping that it would let up so that I could get the rest of the stereo equipment moved, cleaned up and installed but after looking at the radar it did not seem like that was going to happen. So, I used a big tent bag to lug everything one piece at a time from the shop to the shack while it was raining and spent much of the late afternoon cleaning all the stereo equipment up, getting it installed and eventually testing it out. The difference of having all that gear in an actual building is pretty big as far as sound quality goes because the bass is way more intense than it was in the open tent even though the mids and highs do not carry nearly as far outdoors as they did before. Which is fine and all because I have long lead wires on all the speakers and if I really want to I can place them outdoors for my listening pleasure if need be.
For now though the interior of the solar shack makes for quite the nice sound bubble and I can zone out in there listening to music while sitting on my barstool if I really want to. The downside to all those vinyl windows is that it gets hot inside and in the case of when it rains it gets quite humid to boot so I will undoubtedly have to install some fans to keep it comfortable and help to keep the humidity from building up too much. I do not know if I mentioned it previously or not but last week I wired up a small AC inline duct fan to a cord and have been placing it atop the stereo amplifier (when it was installed in the shop tent) to help keep it cool during the heat of the day while I am working and listening to music and I now have it in the shack doing the same thing for the amp so I doubt that it will overheat in there even lacking more fans to exhaust the building. The 'big win' out of it all (aside from having an awesome place to vibe out to the music) is that I can now clean out the other side of the shop tent, get rid of my makeshift table in there and reorganize everything so that it is less of a clusterfuck and more useful as a shop and for storage.
Well, the sun is still not out from behind the clouds and everything is a wet mess outside so I am in slow motion today and not feeling super inclined to get outdoors and get to doing stuff... so here I am sipping some espresso, having a smoke and once again just brooding over all the facets of my life, what the hell I am doing with them and doing my best not to let the cumulative effects of camping for a hundred and ninety-six days grate on me in such a way that it inhibits my morale, mood or overall trajectory in regards to my end goals here.
The mental gymnastics that I put myself through to cope is without a doubt some tricky stuff and although it is nice to have (and I guess stress test) those coping skills (as with all coping skills) it would be incredibly nice not to have to use them in the first place but meh facing things as they are is nowhere near as disastrous as not facing them would be. I generally like to be able to be myself on the inside of whatever shelter I am living in and do my best to not let myself 'feel at home' on the opposite side of that door (I do work and live in the same place so I have to have a space that is 'mine') and lacking that in this scenario I have begun to look at the main gate for the dog yard as that 'door' but only mildly so because occasionally the landowners do visit me and well my work self and personal self are entirely different creatures and they both need there space for me to stay on track without a bunch of internal friction occurring. This is of course nothing new and I have been doing it for so long that I routinely suppress my personal stuff (like folks are supposed to do when at work) so that I can keep my perspective clear and not let all that horseshit cloud my thinking.
So I know the importance of having a space where I do not have to suppress anything and just be me and can assert my own boundaries, rules and whatnot which is not something that I do for personal benefit when occupying someone else's property. I will of course enforce all sorts of boundaries, rules and whatnot for the owners of a place but that is a different story. In other words I approach it as a 'not my land not my say' kind of thing and dislike the notion of telling folks 'hey when you are in the area that I am living in you better follow my rules or just stay away' because honestly it just is not worth the effort to maintain and it is so much simpler to just close a door and have my space be my space 'come hell or high water' as the saying goes. Since I dislike having folks in my space to start with and hardly ever have folks in it I seldom have any problems but lacking that space entirely (a tent will never be sufficient) I have been repeatedly grappling with stopping myself from making the entire dog yard that space.
It is hard to sum all that stuff up but suffice it to say that I have a bunch of checks and balances with it all that I have developed doing caretaking work on other folks' land over the last few decades and yeah they are important to have because otherwise everything just becomes somehow work-related and that is a recipe for disaster especially for someone like me who has in the past has 'being a workaholic' as one of my maladaptive coping strategies. All of which is a big part of why I like getting into a solid shelter with a door as soon as I possibly can at a new site.
With this scenario I am still 'waiting' to achieve that modicum of private space and yeah it has played hell on my psyche along the way but it is not like I have anyone but myself to blame because I am after all not childish enough to blame other folks for my own problems let alone view them as what is stopping me from achieving what I want to achieve. Self responsibility goes a long way and I can only do what I can do given what I have available and most of (okay all) the delay with getting into a cabin here has been the result of the sky-rocketing lumber prices and its hit or miss availability... so I could get upset at that but hell at that point I may as well begin being upset by the weather or any number of other things that I have no control over. As always the only thing that I can control is my attitude and I do just fine with that which is plenty enough 'control' for me when it comes right down to it so it is not like I am just whining about all this or something like that. It all matters because I want to live/create/maintain a peaceful life for myself without making things more difficult along the way. Like I am fond of saying 'life is already hard enough so why make it harder with a bunch of stress and strife if I do not have to' which more or less conveys my intended sentiment here and knowing what keeps me from becoming overly stressed is so vital. As the old saying goes: Know thyself!
All things considered I could have done a lot worse with a scenario to be in and I am by no means complaining or any horseshit like that nor am I being ungrateful towards the folks that have made it possible so keep that in mind when reading this stuff and 'read between the lines' at your own peril. Looking back to close to five years ago when I began sharing my life publicly I assuredly cringe at how verbally combative and contentious that I was and how I would often talk sideways (what some folks call saying something without saying it) whenever I had to convey something to folks and I am so fucking happy that my journey lead me to discarding both of those things for a more diplomatic approach to not just other folks but also to myself. Having those things on reserve for when/if I truly need them is nice because hey some folks are just knuckle-headed shitheels and do not understand anything else... but as far as a default mode of communication it was always a recipe for disaster and although it took a conscious effort (and lots of fucking practice) to diverge from those behaviors I think that it was well worth it given that they were undermining my own goals and to be blunt they were self-sabotaging in such a way that I would never be capable of getting even close to fulfilling my dreams instead of forever aimlessly pursuing them.
I did not have the intention of writing about this stuff when I sat down this morning but my mind sure feels better having spelled it all out. Having been ill the last many days in a row and mostly riding one fever after another has really snapped a few things into focus for me and especially in regards to the whole camping thing, my personal limits with it all and how I have been operating well outside those limits for the majority of my stay here. It really is a wonder that I have not had a meltdown along the way and although I dislike having done so my 'threshold' for how much camping I can tolerate has grown to something like triple the length of time of what it used to be. Physically sure I could camp indefinitely if need be but mentally/emotionally the overall wear and tear on my psyche is never going to be worth it outside of a survival situation. Once again it is about having standards and upholding the standard of living that all folks deserve to have.
I know how much folks romanticize 'living in the woods' and such and often have no real way to understand what it is actually like without having done it for extended periods of time themselves but ask anyone that is not satisfied with living like a primitive from the neolithic era and they will tell you: creature comforts and conveniences make all the difference. For me I have a lot of resolve/commitment/fortitude to see things through (and endure) so working towards having those things does not affect me in the same ways it would someone that has never done this sort of thing and furthermore I would wager that most folks would have been broken by the long slog of the previous many days, weeks and months. It has nearly broken me and damn I have a heck of a lot of practice at it so go figure. It makes me really feel for the folks who think that they are going to do an 'about-face' with their comfy/cozy lifestyle given a catastrophe (or series of them) and instantly adjust to the rigors of not just living in the rough but working to create a homestead or other suitable living scenario for themselves. Being patient and pragmatic sure helps but that seems to be traits that are harder and harder to find in folks anymore even though they are what it really takes to not be crushed by the building process itself.
Alright, it is now the following morning and even though the sun is not yet up it is already super humid feeling and from what I can tell it must of rained pretty heavily at some point in the evening. All the rain of late sure has been nice after such a long period without it but it sure has made a mess of the walkway from the main gate to the cabin and I will most likely need to cover it in more pine shavings or straw to help keep the topsoil from being further washed away. Just before dark yesterday I even spread more grass seed along that main thoroughfare as well as around much of the rest of the dog yard in the hopes that some of it will rapidly grow in the wet soil while the environmental conditions are hot and humid.
During the early part of the day I went ahead and applied a thick coat of black paint onto the legs (and cross-members) of my barstool which was showing all the signs of needing it and especially so on the feet where the paint had mostly been worn off altogether. While I was doing it I also noticed that two of the cross-members were a little loose so I used my wooden mallet to gently tap them into fitting snugly again which seemed to do the trick quite well. I have no idea at this point just how long that I have been lugging that barstool around with me but it must be around ten years or so and I do not think that I ever once thought about painting it. Lacking anywhere to use it that would not see the legs wicking up water and accumulating dirt (which would lead to the legs rotting) I mainly have just kept it in storage and often daydreamed of having a place to use it at. Having put it in the solar shack a few days ago and having been using it there (ever since I put that red countertop in there) I have to admit that it was well worth holding onto over the years.
Later in the afternoon I also added another small shelf in the solar shack (below the red countertop) so that I would have somewhere to store all my small devices that need charging and that can be charged via the solar rig. I also used the top of that big shelving unit that holds the batteries as a shelf to hold all four of my FRS radios and their chargers. The cradle chargers are pretty cool and the power supply cord for them is just a standard USB cord that plugs into a power brick very similar to those used with most phones and tablets. So, basically I can charge the radios either via the USB ports in my DC power micro-grid or by plugging them into the AC power that I have ran into the shack which currently just powers the music rig and a fan that I put in the window to help keep the room cool during the hotter portions of the day. I will probably add in some more shelving because I have yet to setup a proper charging station for all the cordless tool batteries but for now I just put some of the cordless tool battery chargers on the shelf beside the radios to help remind me to do it.
During the late afternoon a big storm rolled in and me and the dogs got 'stuck' in the solar shack during the heaviest part of the downpour which lasted nearly an hour. I could have of course ran through the rain and into the tent but given what a hot muggy mess the tent becomes when I zip the window flaps up to keep the rain out... it was super nice having the solar shack to hang out in while the storm raged on outside. It was also pretty cool being in there and having the view that all the vinyl windows (and vinyl door) provides. For lack of a better word it was 'immersive' and the dogs were super chill with the music playing thus dulling the fright caused by the thunder. As far as having the music rig in there goes it sounds pretty good and although like I said before it does not carry as far outdoors it also does not take much volume for it to sound really good and 'full' inside. The solar shack really is a 'sound bubble' given all the vinyl sides and the thing that I am most concerned about is getting stuck in there for long hours vibing out to the music when I should be doing other stuff! In other words I love how that space came out and although it is far from finished I also like the direction that it is taking for utilitarian purposes.
On a different note. There has been so much going on for me with being fevered and yesterday was the first day that I had zero symptoms and started to really feel better after my recent foray into illness. All that said I am already cringing at having to proofread and edit whatever I wrote during that period of time which I guess spanned around five days but hell I could have been burning a fever for a few days before the other symptoms began and not noticed it. The perks of having a body temperature of ninety-six point five Fahrenheit (thirty-five point eight Celsius) are numerous but it often leaves me not noticing a fever until it has raged at ultra high temperatures for a day or more. Unless there are other symptoms that will draw my attention to asking myself if I have a fever I just assume that I am having some sort of mental break and do my best to disregard whatever 'fevered' thoughts are going on in my head. There is also the factor of staying busy working most of the time and during those periods I am often sweating and feeling hot so that does not really help with me noticing what is going on with my body aside from me trying to get it to do what I want without injuring myself or other critters along the way. Back to what I was saying there, I dunno what awaits me in the editing process but I should take the time this morning to get that done and try to wrap this entry up.
Yeah, it has been one long trek from landing here on day zero and along the way there has been steady progress and a heck of a lot of roughing it but at the end of most days (and the beginning of every day) I feel damn good about the work that has been done and the trajectory of the larger project. I mean hell there is enough roof space and dry interior space that has been created that the whole setup could generate enough electricity and harvest enough rainwater to provide for one or two other sites near it and still have plenty left over for storage and utility purposes. The place assuredly makes for a good hub to branch off from for both the existing grid and water system and the off-grid systems that we are currently working on getting setup. It will be interesting to see how it all develops but my goals are pretty unwavering from what they have been for many years now which is to setup enough electricity generation to create a surplus beyond my household needs so that I can power some devices to 'crunch some numbers' and mine some crypto as more than just a hobby.
Along that journey of wanting to go from hobby to 'more than a hobby' I have assuredly learned so much and some blockchains would just be fun to contribute to and some networks well worth supporting and that it is far from being all about making money or any feeble minded horseshit like that. There is real quality in some of what is being done in the blockchain world and I think that folks often miss that altogether in their pursuit of wealth. If I had not met other folks along the way (like those in the Hive blockchain community) I would probably be floundering in the crypto space by now also even though I have done my best to keep up with it all since its inception. I still do not understand it all completely and that is okay because I just need to understand enough of it to do whatever it is that I want to do with it. Being patient to take little baby steps to learning more and more along the way sure helped and making those steps with other folks made it a bit less daunting and of course gave me new and interesting perspectives to entertain that I otherwise never would have encountered like those that made me want to try harder.
I better wrap this up and get on with the proofreading because daylight is burning and it is nearly time to get the morning chores done. Hopefully in the next hour or so the sun comes out and dries things up a good bit because whoa is it a damp gritty humid mess around here with all those storms rolling in back to back over the last few days. I hope that everyone is doing well and has a nice day/night or something feel good like that.
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.