Apocalyptic Homesteading (Day 199-223 )

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 199-223!

Sketchy Storms, Premature Habitation, Luxuriating Downtime, A Dental Train Wreck & Maximum Mental Re-calibration

It appears that these days are starting to add up here and the beginning of this one was quite different than what I am accustomed to because the fellow doing the electrical system for the cabin was still plugging away at it when I awoke around three twenty-five this morning. They had planned on working long hours to start with but a round of super severe storms and rainfall moved into the area not long after he began working and it poured rain until two in the morning. All that jazz is another story though and when I awoke the electric system was about to be tested for the first time. Unfortunately it faulted and tripped the breaker when it got powered on but after another hour or so of tinkering around and me sort of blabbing my morning thoughts at the fellow (and waking up some) we got the bad leg identified and for now just disconnected it all together so that the air conditioner outlet, the upstairs outlet and what will be the writing desk outlets could be utilized without having to do the repairs immediately. Currently the air conditioner is running and the attic exhaust fan is operational so that is an all around massive achievement! It was awesome of the fellow to put so much time and effort into doing the electrical system and working through the rain and lightning to boot but the key thing is the robust materials being used and the ability to expand the entire system via some well placed junction boxes.

Anyway, it was a pretty odd day from the beginning yesterday because I spent a bunch of time writing and doing all the editing/posting for my last entry which is quite involving for these posts that span so many days of my activities. It is always very satisfying to get them completed though and I often look forward to making a fresh start with a new one like I have this morning. By the time that I was done with all that stuff I had also done my 'early in the day' chores and what I was doing was working outside some until I was pouring sweat then going into the tent to sit in front of the fan and cool down and to make good use of my time I plugged away at the editing/posting and figured that at some point I would finish both it and my chores before figuring out the rest of my day. As far as the rest of the day goes I did not even do all that much aside from tending to some of the black locust trees in the pine forest that I had not planted deep enough and then I basically tried to avoid the muggy heat and take some naps with my spooked out dogs.

The dogs that do it had been behaving in that way they have of letting me know a storm (or storms) are coming and already having been antsy the day before (after those other thunderstorms) that they were pretty over it long before the time all hell broke lose outdoors. The lightning was popping so close that I could smell that wonderful smell of burnt ozone and one strike was so close that it left me seeing afterimages for hours because I happened to be looking in the direction of where it occurred. It scared the fuck out of me it was so close and the thunderclap so alarmingly 'immediate' as far as vicinity goes that it would scare anyone with any sense. I think that it struck one of the tall pines near the shop tent but have yet to have the opportunity to inspect the area to see what is what there. I might have a big looming oak or cherry with its top blasted out so it would be wise to give everything within an acre or so of the shelter site a good look-over. One thing is for sure and that is that I am so frigging glad that I have not had to deal with those kinds of storms until just recently. I think that if the cabin was not so close to being ready to move into and I had to keep being in the tent during those sorts of close proximity lightning strikes... I would build a damned wooden box to crawl into with the dogs each time that shit happened or seek shelter in one of the outbuildings here because whoa is that sketchy to be in a tent during. To give you an idea of how intense it was I put on my thick soled muck boots one and stood in the center of the tent just so that I would increase my odds of not getting 'juiced' by electricity if say the shade tree over the tent got struck by lightning or the nearly one hundred meters of metal fence got struck... maybe I would be okay. Things get dodgy and then after that they tilt into this whole other spectrum of primal instincts that scream run and hunker the heck down!

Having weathered the brunt of the storm intact and then falling asleep early in the evening I did not mind waking up thirty minutes early this morning. I am after all pushing up on two hundred days of doing this camping routine and am now at long last about to slide into an entirely different mode of existence by having some solid walls around me. Heck it is even a climate controlled space with abundant room compared to my last wooden shelter so I think that I am going to take the advice of a friend and embrace some 'contentment and satisfaction' and see where it leads me. In three days the online ladder for my favorite game resets and although it was the timeline I was trying to have the cabin ready before I did not know until a few days ago when the actual reset date was which is the eleventh of this month. It is always short notice but whoa it makes it where I am cutting it close with getting the electrical done (which it is done enough as of now like I said earlier) and getting all the odds and ends finished inside the cabin and especially that temporary baseboard for the floor installed. One way or another it now looks like I will meet the timeline for the reset and when I do I am going to completely zone out into it for however long it takes for me to shake off whatever this whole extended camping thing has done to my mind and perspective. A nice break is well earned at this point and although I will of course try to keep up with the writing and my daily chores I am sure that most of my time will be devoted to gaming and sighing a big sigh of relief that: I made it and yes that is one hell of a shelter around me that is built to be impervious to hurricane force winds... so just breathe because that phase is now over... or over enough for now!

It is wacky to think of all the little steps along the way from my arrival here, to the clearing of the site and on and on and on until now where it is damp and wet outside but the cabin is nice and dry and the air conditioning is so cold that it is a refrigerator in there... and here I am just like 'wow we did it' and although things are not as finished as they need to be they are finished enough for all intents and purposes. Going from the idea to the 'wow that works and it does not leak even after a nearly twelve hour downpour' is a feat in and of itself. So many calories and so many hours invested though and here I am potentially looking at the last morning that I will awaken in this tent on this leg of my journey. Well, if I get everything finished it will be the last morning so I am not going to put myself under too much pressure there but needless to say it has been a long haul and I think that during it my resilience, fortitude and commitment have shined through and carried me to new levels of stress testing my camping skills and stretching my ability to endure that lifestyle to a much longer period of time than what it was before. It is tricky stuff just being one person camping for that long but add in four dogs and four chickens and well you have a damned endurance test and real challenge on your hands there and there is no other way about it.

Alright, so yesterday was my first morning waking up in the new cabin and whoa did I sleep good! Things were nowhere near to being setup or anything but I threw a mattress in there, put all my coffee stuff in the attic and made a small shelf to hold some odds and ends like my phone, flashlight, pocket knife and a warm shirt so that I would not have to struggle to find them in the middle of the night or first thing in the morning. It all worked out rather well even though I did not do any writing because my computer setup was all dismantled and also stored away in the attic for safe keeping. It was pretty damn weird starting the day off without doing any writing and I wound up making a short audio recording just to clear my mind before getting busy doing stuff.

Waking up in the cabin on the two hundredth morning was frigging pleasant! It is difficult to explain all the changes I was feeling (and to some degree still am) after sleeping in the new cabin but one thing that was super obvious is that the dogs were not barking at stuff nor wanting to go outside multiple times a night to investigate whatever sound or scent they had noticed. Not that them doing it bothered me all that much or anything but it assuredly makes for a much calmer scenario where they do not feel like they need to be on guard all the time like they did when we were in the tent. It is not like the barking/guarding made their life (or mine) all that hectic or anything but as with my other adventures they sure do seem to be content not to have to do it so often. All those back to back days of thunderstorms probably played a part in that as well because the dogs that have an adverse reaction to loud banging noises were exhausted after the nearly perpetual onslaught spanning those stormy days. Personally I was over the dampness, the muck and the often stagnant feeling heat of the tent that would occur when I would close all the windows against the rain. I was long over the camping thing in general but that last week or so it was really beginning to get to me which was made even more frustrating by first being ill and then right as I was recovering the storms began... and lets just say that: I dunno if I ever want to sleep in another tent again!

Anyway, it is now the second morning of waking up in the cabin and today is a much better one in regards to having my morning espresso and being able to do some writing because I have some stuff setup in here now. It all makes life so much easier and albeit more enjoyable to not have to shuffle around in the tent each morning all hunched over (the roof is low on the 'kitchen' side of the tent) to make my favorite beverage and then perch precariously on the edge of the bed (that was too high to sit comfortably at my writing table) and type out my slow, ponderous and often predawn thoughts. Honestly it was quite the 'mad rush' to get the last details of the cabin done enough to move into and I know that I will eventually regret doing so (even though I felt it was necessary) because I have yet to do all the interior trim or paint everything. I did however get in here the day that I moved in and installed a bunch of scrap OSB as temporary baseboard so at least I will not have to deal with a bunch of dirt and dog hair getting in the gap that is between the walls and the floor. I have also left the brown paper on the floor in an effort to protect it from all the dirt and such and whoa has it been a constant chore to keep everything swept up! Mainly things got super messy everywhere except for in the cabin over the period of days when in was storming and the only place that does not have a bunch of muck and gritty sand is inside the cabin and even the floor of the solar shack has gotten its fair share of accumulated dirt even though I sweep it a bunch throughout the day.

I have to backtrack here to a few days ago when I first put a mattress in the cabin. The entrance to the cabin was just dirt leading up to the door and it was kind of lumpy to boot and I really wanted to have something there to help catch some of the grit (on me and the dogs feet) and also somewhere that I could take my shoes off without being inside. I had been wracking my brain for several days on what I could put there and I finally realized that the pallet I had leaning up against the dog yard fence near the chicken coop would work pretty well. With the way the terrain is outside the door it is a wonder that I was able to lay the pallet there, roughly level it and then stake it into place so that it would not move, all in short order with enough space for the door to swing freely. The bottom of the door barely misses the uppermost portion of the pallet's surface and thus does not accommodate enough space to cover the openings between the slats but so far neither me or the dogs have stepped into them. My big dog that is older than the others is not real fond of the arrangement and takes her sweet ass time when walking on it but her taking her time is not a big deal and something that I am quite used to with her. The pallet porch was more of a quick stopgap measure to cope with the rain and muck scenario at the time and I do plan on removing it, digging things out a bit and lowering the whole pallet so that I can cover the top of it with something that will block all the holes. Eventually I need to build an actual small deck/platform there but that will more than likely be something that I do once the metal siding gets installed.

Since everything was coated in dust from being in the tent for so long and made more dusty by running the fans the last few months I spent some time cleaning up a bunch of my gear and then getting it stored in either the solar shack or the attic of the cabin depending on what it was. With all the rainfall, humidity and high heat it seemed like the right thing to do if I wanted to prevent a massive mold outbreak. Some of the gear that I put in the attic was a little damp but it is so dry and hot up there that it all dried up really nicely over the following few days. It is a bit of a mess in the tent currently but I have pretty much been sorting through everything in there and making plans for its cleanup and storage as well as a plan to clean the tent itself and finally be able to apply that sealer (that we got months ago) to the exterior of it as well as do a bunch of mending with a needle and thread. I do not know if I mentioned it but the main entrances vertical zipper quit functioning right when the storms began before I got moved into the cabin and ugh did that complicate everything and unlike before all my repair efforts failed and I wound up using several big squeeze clamps to keep the doorway flaps held together. It was far from a perfect solution and thankfully the dogs saw that the carabiner clip that held the zippers 'locked' together at night was in place and just assumed that the tent was zipped for the evening and did not try to go in and out of it all night long!

Alright, I guess that I am caught up enough on all that jazz. Yesterday I focused on getting a writing desk and some storage created as well as a platform for the bed. When I put the mattress in here I discovered that I had made a mistake when installing the attic ladder because where it landed was right on the corner of the mattress if the mattress was installed the way that I was originally picturing having the layout in the first place. This error occurred because when I adjusted the rough opening size for the different model ladder and then did the installation I had totally forgot about accommodating the bed even though when I first did the layout for the ladder I had accounted for it. No surprise there given my big final hard push to get the space livable and how much my brain was just over it all. That one little error though lead to me having to re-imagine the interior layout and think way outside the box on how I set everything up in regards to the bed and the writing desk. I wound up using that extra sheet of OSB (that I had secured to the wall for storage purposes) and most of the last remaining eight foot lumber that I had to make a platform about eighteen inches (forty-five point seventy-two centimeters) above the floor. I only used four pieces of lumber and spaced them wide enough to accommodate the size of the mattress and the sheet of OSB. To do that I turned the lumber sideways and used some of those six inch landscape screws to secure it to the studs in the walls. I did pre-drill the holes which made it easier but overall I was just patient to get everything as level as possible and stout enough that I would not need any other bracing nor legs that would have to extend to the floor. I put a lot of screws around the edges of the OSB where it meets the frame and was careful not to put my weight on it (thus making it sag) while I was fastening it in place. It will in time sag one way or another and hopefully by then I will have some more lumber and add one or two middle supports in such a way that they will not make the bed uncomfortable to sleep in.

Once I got the bed platform sorted out and could see how much room that I had to work with at the foot of the bed (like eighteen inches) I could begin the tedious process of figuring out how to put a writing desk there in such a way that it was both comfortable and most importantly not going to be in the way of the bed or where the attic ladder drops down. I almost decided to sacrifice my kitchen space in order to have somewhere to setup the computer and have my writing desk but thankfully I kept discarding that idea as a bad one. It is a close match between having my little desk setup and having a kitchen but in this instance I was able to use some of the pieces of plywood that I had in the tent as shelving to create a really nice setup for the writing desk at the foot of the bed. I even gave the plywood a thick coat of paint before installing it and once the rest of the interior gets painted I think that it will look really nice. I have yet to use the desk for extended hours to see just how comfortable it is but it did not seem to get in the way of my feet while I was sleeping last night so that is good. It is a pretty cool setup having four electric outlets right above the desk and one of those outlets now has that six AC outlet, two USB port surge protector box that I previously mentioned attached to it. As a side note, the model of that APC brand surge protector is PSWU2 if you want to look it up. I also had plenty of room for my flat panel monitor to be hung from the wall and wow is it going to take me getting used to having such a big viewing screen again! In other words I have my gaming station all setup for the upcoming Diablo II online ladder reset and am stoked to be prepared so well for some much needed downtime.

On a different note, the dog yard really took a beating with all the heavy rain and washed a bunch of the topsoil downhill. Thankfully I had the foresight (and experiences that proved it necessary) to angle the downhill length of fencing to a low point where the topsoil would collect. There is now somewhere around nine or ten full wheelbarrows' worth of it there and it raised the terrain so much there that it is now a flat area! I have been considering harvesting it and spreading it over the dog yard again but I think that I am instead going to use it all as cover material for the dog poop compost and the worm farm. Since that area it collected in is also below the chicken coop it is bound to be some rather fertile stuff so that is pretty cool because I basically have a massive premixed batch of topsoil to work with. It is a pretty nice system but since the idea is not to lose the topsoil to start with... yesterday I began spreading more pine shavings around the entrance of the cabin area and the main gate and today I plan on doing more after I spread a bunch more grass seed. Hopefully with how saturated the ground is currently I can get some grass to grow fast because otherwise I will undoubtedly be looking at sod as a solution. Between the dogs, chickens and me it is just too much foot traffic on too much bare ground for the muck to do anything but get worse lacking vegetation or even pavers. All my previous efforts with getting vegetation established in the dog yard sure helped to some degree because I did not lose all the topsoil and might just have a window to get it established and hopefully really take off while things are so wet.

It is the wee hours of the morning on the following day and I just woke up not long ago and got my espresso brewed so I may as well try to get some writing in. Having the new writing desk beside the cabin's sole window is rather nice because I can listen to the early morning sounds of nature outside which is something that I actually liked about staying in the tent. During the day it is difficult to hear anything outside the cabin because of how well it got insulated and because the air conditioner (like all window units) is noisy. As much as I do not want to become a 'climate controlled human' the air conditioner has made the heat of the day much more bearable and also provided a lot of comfort to the dogs and especially so for my big long-haired dog. I am assuredly not going to complain about a little luxury after the last many months of roughing it.

During the beginning of the day before the sun was fully up over the trees I went ahead and spread a bunch of grass seed all over the dog yard and then spread more of those pine shavings over the grass seed. I did not have quite enough shavings to cover all the grass seed (and thus all the dog yard) so I mainly focused on getting the area between the cabin, deck and solar shack covered well and then the upper portion of the open area which comprises the southern section of the yard where the fire pit is. When I ran out of pine shavings I called it good enough, sprayed some water over the areas that I was not going to be walking in and said a little silent prayer that this time the grass would grow! The next time that I make a supply run to town I think that I am going to try to find a few bales of straw and perhaps a few different types of grass seed so that I can hopefully solve the grass growing thing once and for all. There is also the sod option like I mentioned the other day but I am unsure if I want to cut and haul sod by hand from a distant portion of the property and have to lug it all the way to the shelter site before plopping it down in the dog yard. The sod is assuredly the way to go when it comes to the entrance and main walkways because the grass seed will always get trampled in them but as for the rest of the place lets just say it would take a heck of a lot of sod to get everything uniformly covered.

Anyway, I did not do a whole lot the rest of the day besides vegging out in the cabin and taking several long naps. I did however get a few of my domestic duties done like washing some socks, getting some laundry stuff that I have hung on the dog fence to dry moved to more sunny locations and eventually getting more of the kitchen stuff moved from the tent to the cabin. I am still unsure how I am going to set the kitchen area itself up so for now I have just focused on cleaning the dust off of stuff, grouping it together and moving it little by little into the corner of the cabin. Mainly I have been trying to free up the table that I built in the cabin (what seems like a lifetime ago now) so that I can use the rest of the material from it to build some storage in the kitchen area. I already used two of the pieces of plywood from it to make the writing desk and only the largest piece of plywood still remains in the tent because I just have not gotten to it yet. I keep debating on whether I should turn that big piece of plywood into a corner table and put my actual writing table (that is currently there) in the attic or if I should cut the plywood down and make an actual pantry closet with it. In the end (once I get a full-size refrigerator) I may wind up doing a combination of those two things but for now I really need to find a way to set it all up so that I have ample room to store food, plenty of room for food preparation and perhaps enough space to install my small refrigerator for the time being.

Honestly, I have some concerns over getting accustomed to too many modern conveniences (mainly air conditioning and refrigeration) but hell given that I already have hot water and more than sufficient grid power via hard lines instead of extension cords... why the hell not! I mean it has been something approaching five years since I had those things and although I have adjusted to not having them well enough they assuredly make things better given how far south I currently am. A big part of what bothers me about utilizing the refrigerant devices is the electricity consumption and I will probably feel differently about them once we get the big solar installation done on the cabin and I can power them off of it. On a deeper level though I do not want to become reliant on them and will undoubtedly work towards at the very least building a root cellar of some sort to store food in and perhaps even building a geothermal heat pump to handle the refrigerant needs without all the power requirements the more traditional units have. For now the scenario is made much easier utilizing the stuff that I do have so as long as I do not lose sight of the long-term goal and do not overly diminish my ability to live without such things... I am just going to have to moderate my electrical usage and make the best of it all.

It is hard to convey to folks all the little habits that I have for living the way that I do but having built those habits through so much repetition it is hard to make any sort of adjustment to having conveniences. I mean moving into the cabin (even prematurely as I have done) is a major shift for me by itself but throw in having air conditioning and my brain sort of melts at all the little things that will no longer be necessary to do like dunking in the outdoor tub to cool down or opening all the windows in the tent at the beginning of the day and closing them at the end of it, or looking for snakes in the tent before plopping my feet out of the bed first thing in the morning. The list could go on and on but suffice it to say that a whole bunch of things became a 'non-issue' the moment that I moved into the place. It is difficult to describe just how deeply I have been sleeping the last few days and how intense my dreams have been but overall my mind (if it were a muscle) feels like it can relax after holding a certain poise/pose for nearly two hundred days straight. Each time that I awaken I am a bit surprised at the absence of a sense of pressure to 'get a shelter built' and am like 'oh yeah the reason that I feel completely wiped out mentally, physically and emotionally is that I just spent months working tirelessly to pull it all off and did it' which takes a few minutes for me to grasp the scope of everything involved to get to where I now am.

I mean holy hell what a push that was from day one on and my poor little brain is like 'well what are you going to do now' and at that point I just shut down that whole line of thought and think to myself that I am going to enjoy the achievement, recuperate from the ordeal, relax my mind by getting in some downtime and then and only then looking at the next phase of things where I pretty much just have to finish the construction projects that I have started. Which means doing all the painting, the trim, the exterior siding, the roofing metal and all the 'bells and whistles' so to speak. I have assuredly reached a nice stopping point for the moment and although I could undoubtedly keep plugging away I need to sort of reign in the heavy workload for a moment and think things through. During the cabin build I made all sorts of small errors that I probably would not have made had my mind been more settled by living in a solid shelter. I was undoubtedly feeling addled by the end of the camping phase and although I probably would have made some small errors either way... some stuff was absolutely avoidable. Hindsight being the lovely creature that it is and all that jazz... I doubt that even with it I would have been able to avoid all the errors given just how unsettled I was beginning to feel. In the end I am thankful for the series of severe storms that came along and pushed me over the edge with the camping thing and saw me get moved into the cabin without much ado. What a trip it was and although I have new limits with how much camping I know that I can endure... gods damn I hope that I never have to do that again!

The sun is now beginning to light up the sky in the east and I am already feeling the itch to get outdoors and start doing stuff and that is mainly because the best hours for working in the shelter site this time of year seems to be the early morning hours (until around ten or eleven) and the late hours of the day between five and eight. Most of my productive activities have been getting done in the morning and it seems like each day I have been starting a wee bit earlier than the day before. I have no complaints about working outside as soon as it is light enough to do so and pretty much begin with my daily chores and do not stop moving again until the sun is fully up. In other words the mornings have become a blur of activity as I do my best to beat the heat and still have enough time to continue getting the tent cleaned out, stuff put in dry storage and setting up the interior of the cabin for long-term habitation. During the whole process here leading up to now I have had fun, I have laughed, listened to lots of music, hedged off on falling into some espresso fueled mania to 'get everything done now' and generally had a good time going from one phase of things to another without a bunch of stress or anxiety along the way mucking things up for me. All things considered it was 'a good run' and I am so frigging glad that I was able to pace myself along the way and not let all those temporary inconveniences and discomforts get the best of me. Choosing to have a good attitude and thus maintaining a high morale is never as simple as it seems that it would be but it is doable given some patience, dedication and fortitude. Although I have tremendous faith in my own abilities to cope with all sorts of stressors I damn sure avoid getting arrogant about it all. I mean doing that sort of thing (going from raw land to climate controlled shelter) is fucking rough and there just is not anyway to change that and I would never want to candy coat it to myself or anyone else that it is not a taxing process. Everything here would have gone so much faster if the building material prices and availability situation was not what it has been and honestly in all the imagined pseudo-post-apocalyptic scenarios that I have ever entertained I never considered those two factors being an issue outside of some kind of massive collapse or upheaval.

Alright, it has been a few weeks since I last wrote anything and I should undoubtedly get back on track here and begin doing it again each day. Basically after getting the cabin far enough along to move in I did just that and immediately took a break from everything for a solid two weeks. I just had to do it for my own mental well-being. It was one hell of a push ever since my arrival here to go from raw land to a solid shelter and by the time that was accomplished I was feeling more than a little neurotic after spending so much time living in a tent. Personally I am not a big fan of feeling that way nor perpetuating such feelings so it was good to bring them to a screeching halt and re-calibrate my mind a bit. In other words a nice long vacation was in order and I did my best to do nothing but relax during that time which seems to have worked because I came out the other side of it feeling pretty damn good.

The only part of my vacation that sucked was the last three days of it when one of my rear teeth began hurting and has been nothing but trouble ever since. Even now as I am writing this it is difficult to focus beyond the pain and peck out some words to wrap this entry up. It was nice going a few years there without having any major tooth pain and now that it has returned I am like: Holy fucking hell no wonder I was so miserable during the times of my life when I had to cope with so much tooth pain years ago because this shit is horrendous! One way or another I will have to get this tooth extracted as soon as possible and since it is a molar I doubt that pulling it myself (like I did the last several teeth that pained me) and will have to go to an actual dentist which of course means that I will have a massive bill to pay at the end of it. Sometimes I wonder if the term 'healthcare' in this country should actually be 'wealthcare' because you kind of have to be at least semi-wealthy (or be willing to incur massive debt) just to take care of your health.

All that jazz aside, I have settled nicely into the new cabin and me and the dogs weathered the first tropical storm of the season indoors and aside from the occasional muffled sounds of thunder it was hard to tell what the weather was doing outside without physically looking to see what was going on. Half the time I could not even tell if it was raining or not and was surprised when I opened the door to find that it was indeed not just raining but pouring outside! That all might change once the metal roofing and siding get installed but for now I really like how well the cabin blocks the sounds of the stormy weather and especially so since the dogs reaction to it is much milder than when we were in the tent. I have also been climate controlling the downstairs portion of the cabin with that little wall unit air conditioner and although I am still not a big fan of air conditioning in general, the dogs sure do seem to love it and my big furry dog is more comfortable than I have ever seen her during the summertime anywhere. Of course all the dogs had been 'on alert' the whole time we were camping (which often amounted to lots of barking) and it is has been nice to see them relaxing and not having to feel like they need to react to every little sound in the woods around us.

Well, I got those last three paragraphs written before the tooth pain kicked in and I spent the majority of the day coping with it and doing my best to manage the insane amount of pain I found myself in. My nearly five year old hydrocodone (painkillers) left over from my last dentist visit (nearly five years ago now) did not quite have the potency that they used to have and ugh after eating several of them (to make up for the loss in potency) I still found myself in excruciating agony with no meaningful pain relief. The only thing that seemed to help was sitting still and holding a small amount of water in my mouth to create a barrier between the tooth (or teeth) and the air which worked surprisingly well to quell the pain until the water in my mouth reached my body temperature, at which point it became too warm and the pain would return with a real vengeance. So I basically sipped enough water to fill the bottom half of my mouth and would spit it out just as the tooth (or teeth) began to hurt again. It sounds like a rather clever solution but after doing it for nearly nine hours straight I had accidentally choked on the water several times, drooled it all over me and made myself more than a little 'water sick' before realizing that I should be spitting the water out instead of swallowing it.

Late in the afternoon I ate the final hydrocodone that I had which brought me to a total of eating five of them that day which is about four (or four and a half) times more pills than I have needed before for addressing pain. It did the trick though and after a round of vomiting up a bunch of water the pain medicine finally kicked in and it all receded to a dull ache that did not require me holding water in my mouth to keep the air off the trouble area. That was one of the most brutal days of tooth pain that I have endured in quite a number of years and the pain was so intense at times that I nearly lost consciousness from it which is really saying something given my high tolerance to pain. Having dealt with the tooth stuff so much in the past I knew that I probably also had an infection and although the day before I had begun taking an anti-inflammatory on the morning of the brutally painful day and followed taking it (and the pain meds) with an antibiotic as well. Once again my stash of fish antibiotics came in quite handy and ultimately the pain had probably subsided because they had begun to do their work upon the infection which must have been raging given the fever I was burning. If it all sounds like a massive mess... it was.

Early in the day on that day (before the sun had risen) I had decided that I had to get into a dentist office as soon as possible. So I did some online research for dentists in the area and began reading reviews and especially those left about extractions and emergency visits. Anyway, I found one that looked promising and decided to call them as soon as their office opened. Unfortunately by that time (around nine in the morning) I could not talk through the pain and even if I could have I had the water in my mouth (that I had to change every thirty seconds or so) and there was no way I would be able to go longer than a few seconds without having the water in my mouth to dull the pain. In other words a phone call was out of the question and given that the odds of finding a place with an opening for an appointment within twenty-four hours was pretty slim to start with I would probably have to make several calls. It took me until sometime in the afternoon to realize that I would need to have someone else do the calling and was able to text one of the landowners and see if they could do it for me. Thankfully they were available to do it and after a bunch of calling around they finally found someone willing to see me the following morning at eleven o'clock and booked me an appointment for an emergency extraction.

Just to jump ahead a bit it is now five in the morning on the following day after the dental procedure and whoa do I feel much better even though I now have not one but two massive craters in my mouth where the infected teeth once were. I was concerned that the reason the pain was so intense was because it was not just one tooth that had gotten infected but two teeth that were side by side in the rear of my mouth. Between the x-rays and the examination it was determined that yes both of them were infected and since my goal is to get all my bad teeth removed and get dentures anyway... I may as well get both the problem teeth dealt with at once. Getting one tooth pulled at a time is a difficult enough experience but ugh getting more than one can be brutal no matter how well the dentist does it. I have some real luck with happening upon good dentists and even though this one was entirely new (and even random) they did an awesome and very competent job with getting both the teeth out in a matter of seconds. All I can say is 'what a pro' and I now know who to go to in this area when I have dental work needing done.

There is of course a great story to tell from the visit itself where I lept six inches off the chair (while lying down on it) when the really bad tooth got touched gently by a tool to test to see if it was the one with the most severe pain but I am honestly tired of obsessing over my teeth the last many days and will leave it for another time. There is actually another story where after the visit was over I was out front waiting for my ride and at one point the wind gusted a bit and two bugs that were buzzing near me collided with the numb side of my head and one of the bugs went directly into my ear. I gotta say that it freaked me out to start with hearing this bug inside my ear but once I realized that my head was so numb that I could not feel the inside of my ear and hence would not be able to feel a bug crawling in their... it really freaked me out. At which point I held my nose, puffed out my cheeks and pressurized my inner ears before continuing to shake my head. I bet that I was a real sight to see sitting up against the building shaking my head all around, using my cupped hand to whack loose anything in my ear (appearing to be repeatedly striking myself in the head) and looking sort of crazed over there maybe being a bug in my ear. Hell, I am still unsure on that one and am more than likely going to fill it with peroxide later today.

Well, my vacation was a success as far as getting in some downtime but I am not quite a fan of how the last several days of it were engulfed in pain so I am probably going to take the rest of this week to recover and ease back into things after that. Thankfully I do not have anything super pressing to do but at some point I will need to continue wrapping up the cabin and solar shack projects as well as the shop organization project. That last one is the one that I am dreading doing the most so I will most likely go ahead and do it first especially since it will make doing everything else much easier. In the last few weeks I have also allowed things to grow somewhat cluttered around the shelter site so I will also be spending some time addressing that stuff as well.

It is now the following morning and I still have yet to get this all edited and posted. Although part of me enjoys these entries which cover many days there is also a part of me which absolutely dreads opening them up in the text editor and and adding to them because I know that the more that I add to them... the longer that it will take me to get them edited. Since I dislike having that sort of dread I am thinking that I should get back on track with writing daily entries which should be much easier to achieve now that I am more or less settled into the new cabin and am no longer camping. I assuredly do not miss having the cramped writing table in the tent and my new setup is anything but cramped and is in fact quite relaxing to write at even though I have yet to do much of it because I have spent most of the last few weeks gaming online and shrugging off the writing as just another thing that I have been taking a break from doing. That one hundred and ninety-nine day camping spree sure left me a bit frazzled but at this point I think that I have shaken it off well and feel ready for the next phase of things.

I did not do much yesterday but I did tidy up a bit and began getting a game plan in place for getting the shop organized and also dealing with my storage scenario in general. If all goes well I will have plenty of shop storage (and be able to easily access my tools and building supplies) as well as sufficient storage for any new materials. Now that I have the solar shack dialed in and functional it will be nice to get the rest of the spaces dialed in. The clutter definitely gets to me but I keep reminding myself that I hit the ground running here and that everything in that regard will get done in good time and not to be too hard on myself along the way.

Alright, I think that I am going to wrap this up and see if I can get it all edited and at long last posted. Per usual I have drifted off into my own little world over the last few weeks to maximize my downtime but alas it was well worth it and I am feeling pretty awesome about everything and in a much less addled state than I was in before taking a break. I do not know if I mentioned it but the last four days that I was in the tent it stormed like crazy and the dogs had been freaking out for so long, everything was so damp, flies were all over the place due to the broken tent zipper, muck was everywhere... and you get the idea! By all accounts those last four days were the absolute worst part of my entire stint of camping. By the end of it all I had decided that one way or another I was getting moved into the cabin and working through the rain and doing my best not to trek muck into the place I just kept plugging along and now I barely want to leave the place to go outside so go figure! It is spectacular though to have achieved so much over such a short period of time and I gotta give a big thanks to everyone that helped make it possible along the way. Life is always such a weird journey but whatever cattywampus route lead me here I am glad for it and happy to have arrived to this particular juncture in life intact and calmly dragging my peace of mind and sense of well-being along with me as I continue fulfilling my dreams or at least being satisfied with the ones that do get fulfilled. I hope that everyone is doing well and has a nice day/night.


These morning glory flowers are everywhere!


The new pseudo-porch.


This is how the pallet porch is staked into the ground.


The interior of 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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Aynsley's dog that we have is afraid of storms, she gets under my chair at the first thunder. On the river, I have had lightning hit so close to me that I could feel the combustion from it not once but 2 times, that is scary. Wow, the electrician worked through the night, that is crazy. I am glad that you got your teeth taken out, when I was reading I could feel your pain. I am also glad to hear that you are now in your cabin with A/C, I know the dogs have to love it. The old dog does not like to walk across the pallot with the holes on it. I love you.


The only thing that seems to help the dogs is loud music and/or having something to hide under like a table or bed. This cabin does pretty good at blunting the sound but when I am outside working and its thundering, or there are fireworks, or explosions, or gunshots or all of those things at once... all the dogs huddle in the solar shack where the music is blasting and are noticeably much calmer so that setup has been working out well also.

Yeah, the big open slats in the pallet are too much for my big dog's good sense but at this point I have already solved that by fastening some OSB strips to the top of the pallet in front of the door. Before there was not enough room to do so without the door hitting it but now that the pallet has settled into place there is just enough room to do so.

I love you too.


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