Apocalyptic Homesteading (Day 224-258)

Hello Everyone!

Apocalyptic Homesteading Day 224-258!

A Long Hiatus, Storms Galore, Lots Of Thinking & Where Is My Nightly Espresso

It is early in the morning here and although the sun has yet to fully rise it will be doing so shortly which I guess does not matter one way or another because I am still taking some downtime as I heal from my recent dental procedure. Things thankfully seem to be healing up well and I have only had minor discomfort over the last few days which mainly occurs as the anti-inflammatory that I have been taking begins to wear off and before I have taken the next dose of the stuff. Between taking it and the antibiotics I am assuredly feeling a bit 'off' but at least I no longer need to take any pain medicine and things look like they are healing up nicely inside my mouth.

This entire week has gone by in quite the blur and aside from zoning out gaming, watching videos and reading stuff online my only major achievement (aside from getting that dental work done) has been the taking of many naps! I have been getting in two or sometimes even three of them a day and in doing so I keep finding myself in this groggy 'waking up' state where I am unsure if it is in the A.M. or the P.M. when I look at the clock after waking up and see the time. Having the only window in the cabin covered with construction paper sure does not help with the time disorientation but alas as long as I get all the critters fed on time each day then I am doing alright. The naps have surely been nice and all but the part of me itching to get back to work just wants the healing process to be as rapid as possible so that I can get back to doing stuff before I get in a rut of inactivity. Given my zest for working on projects I doubt that last bit will happen but it is frigging tempting to idle my hours away in the air conditioned cabin and luxuriate in the modest comfort that I have created for myself inside of it.

Sometimes I really wonder why I try to write each day and during my recent extended two week break I was yet again reminded that whatever the writing does for me must be pretty good because during that two week period all these little things kept bubbling up in my mind and kind of nagging at me in a way that I can only compare to an itch that I cannot reach to give a good scratching to. Wording down whats on my mind (or just my experiences) seems to allay a massive amount of frustration, anxiety and stress (what I often call 'feeling neurotic') and even lends me some perspective of whats going on in my mind and helps me maintain a more or less consistent internal narrative that is a hell of a lot more gentler and 'understanding' than it once was. Writing is by far still my worst vice but one that I seem to have tamed down in such a way that the process itself does not consume me for long hours as I hunch over a journal manually scribbling out my thoughts like some feverish scribe transfixed by the act of writing itself until either my hand cramps too much or the words run dry. Part of me misses doing that but mayhaps a wiser part of myself is glad that I am no longer filling totes with journals that I will later have to lug around with me and keep stored. There is absolutely a different 'feel' to it all by doing it on the computer but over time I think that I have adjusted well to it and not regretted the change of medium. I have noticed though that with the change I am less likely to write fiction, poetry and songs (basically all creative stuff) and tend to solely journal out my days in a tidy way without much in the way of 'bells and whistles' or 'flare' which is fine and all from an archival perspective but not wholly satisfying to me. I guess that what I am trying to say here is that I have veered away from doing some of the stuff with writing that I love to do and need to start making time to do it even if it means keeping a journal nearby to jot things down in.

It is now the following day since I began writing this and as usual I am up before the sun sipping my espresso as I stare bleary eyed at the blinking cursor before me wondering if I really have anything to write about. Yesterday was not a very productive day and although it rained on and off for most of the early part of the day it eventually became overcast and muggy whilst looking like it could start raining again at any moment. It is not like I was planning on doing anything outdoors anyway given that I am still healing up but by the end of the day I was feeling a little stir-crazy so I did my best to clean the dog yard up and get it all added to the compost mound. In doing so (adding to the compost mound) I noticed that with all the recent wet weather the mound has begun to smell a bit and is long overdue to be covered in a layer of ash and then sealed with clay. Since that was a much larger endeavor than I wanted to get involved in just before dark (especially since I need to produce the ash first) I just made a mental note of it all and decided that I will need to begin having more fires so that I can keep up with the amount of ashes that I need to properly (and routinely) tend to the compost.

There is a bunch of stuff that needs 'tending to' and although I did not mind slacking off doing stuff for a few weeks while I took a much needed break, I know that it is unwise to get too lackadaisical and allow myself to get too far out of the habit of doing stuff each day. One of the things that I struggle with is doing domestic stuff like cleaning, washing my laundry and so forth and so on and basically doing a bunch of stuff that apparently most folks on the planet do not find themselves struggling to do. I mean these are super basic things that I know that I should do and yet I will do pretty much anything with my time except those kinds of tasks. Believe me I do not understand why I will without complaint dive into handling a bunch of fiberglass insulation on a hot day but lack the initiative to finish washing the bucket of socks that I began washing a week before and have since soured due to my neglect. Of course that is just an example but hopefully you get the idea of what I am saying there and understand that no matter how 'aware' I am of what would probably be dubbed 'mental illness' I am often powerless to do anything lasting that could positively shift certain aspects of it in such a way that I might be capable of beginning to overcome the more pronounced symptoms of it like neglecting my domestic duties.

It is all pretty weird stuff to write about to start with and although I have come a long way in how I deal with depression, mania, stress and anxiety in general, I know that I have barely scratched the surface in regards to dealing with the underlying cause(s) of those things and will more than likely continue to slowly unravel it all so that I can gain a larger perspective of it to work from. My recent little break sure gave me a bird's eye view of what has been going on in my mind below the surface of things and although my internal 'waters' are calm and even serene I am aware that if I want those things to last that I need to not only continue on the path that I am on but also figure out a better way to treat what ails me. Honestly, at some point I have to ask myself if I am neglecting doing stuff because I am unhappy or am I unhappy because I am neglecting doing stuff... or if it is some combination of the two and more importantly how the heck do I even begin addressing it without seeking professional help and if that is even possible in the first place. As fond as I am of the 'do-it-yourself' approach I also know that it has its limits as well as its pitfalls. I am okay with being a flawed critter but I lack any desire to be a flawed unwell critter and know that it is more about managing my ailment than attempting to 'cure' it because lets face it I neither have the desire nor the inclination to ever pass for neuro-typical but I want to be fully happy with how I am wired whilst turning the 'flaws' into features. I guess that instead of striving for some unattainable 'perfection' I want to fully embrace my 'imperfection' and then get the hell on with living my life without any turmoil in that regard. I am probably already on the right track by writing about this stuff which does not exactly come easy given how extensive (and albeit convoluted) that particular rabbit warren is and given that it is also superbly subjective... I could endlessly chase my own tail with it all and never see what should be obvious.

Anyway, I feel better having somehow spelled all that out and wonder at how one word always leads to another and before long sentences form, paragraphs emerge and I find myself way off track meandering on trying to describe the undescribable. How do I word down what it is like being a bi-pedal hominid during what amounts to one of the most peculiar times in human history or perhaps even pre-history. The sheer complexity of the modern world is astounding and to attempt to word it all down would be akin to willfully diving headfirst into madness thinking that I could crawl out again but instead wind up sort of endlessly 'treading water' in it and making no meaningful headway one way or another at sharing what life is like. All of which is why I do my best to share the thin slice of reality that my awareness inhabits and leave it at that because after all it is my own story that I am sharing here no matter how riddled with views, opinions and sheer subjectiveness it may be. In other words I enjoy the personal nature of it all and do my best to 'stay in my line' as far as writing goes even though the 'lane' at times meanders all over the place!

On a totally different note. The thing that I often try to get across to folks about homesteading is that if they think doing the physical work part of things is daunting wait until they discover the mental gymnastics that are necessary to navigate the turbulent waters of maintaining a good morale, to well... get stuff done! Doing this is incredibly important to me during the initial phase of setting up a new homesteading area and although I have done it enough times now that I have it down to a flexible routine I know that it is still difficult and anyone doing it without prior experience is going to be facing some real external and internal challenges. Thankfully for me I mainly just have me to deal with and understand that most folks do not 'go it alone' on these sorts of endeavors which of course both makes things easier and more complicated and pretty much puts (for anyone with any sense) maintaining a good morale at the top of the list of things to do each day. It is after all called 'roughing it' for a reason and it is because it is frigging rough and over time that roughness begins to chaff and you probably get the idea of what happens from there because we all know what discomfort feels like to one degree or another.

Alright, it is another morning here and I am in slow motion and I even slept in until just after eight before getting up, letting the dogs out and brewing some espresso. Today is the fourth of July so last night there was a good bit of fireworks but thankfully the dogs were not very phased by them due to how muffled they sounded from inside the cabin. They did bark a few times early on (right around sundown) and I let them outside to do it but they quickly lost interest and wanted back inside where I put on some music (at a very low volume over the computer's speakers) which was just loud enough to fill the cabin nicely with sound which settled them down and kept them that way even though I could occasionally here distant explosions. As far as freaked out dogs during this particular holiday goes... I have dealt with much worse over the years and I was glad that the dogs did not spend the evening terrified. Dealing with a bunch of spooked out dogs is one of my least favorite things to do and although they have gotten better with coping with it as they get older it still bothers them and more than likely it always will.

On a different note, I have been healing up nicely after my recent visit to the dentist and it is kind of funny that at first I thought that I still had one molar left to get extracted on that side of my mouth but as it turns out that was one of the two teeth that got extracted. For some reason I thought that it was my next to the last tooth (at the rear) and the one before it that got extracted and even though I had physically looked at the extraction site in a mirror a few hours after the procedure I failed to notice that I was wrong and that there was no 'last remaining' molar there! How I missed that not just on that first day but also on the preceding days I have no idea but I absolutely did. The funny thing is that the entire time I had been dreading to have to return to the dentist to get that molar out also and I mean really dreading it given just how difficult my other molars were to get extracted. The relief that I felt upon realizing it was gone was tremendous and all that dread melted away because aside from that new wisdom tooth that I found out about at that last visit all my other teeth should come out fairly easily compared to what it is like getting those molars with their corkscrew roots that tended to have hooks at their ends removed. One way or another I will eventually get all these bad teeth removed and get some dentures and hopefully I can avoid getting into another pain endurance marathon before that happens. It always comes down to finances with that stuff and although I could do much better at saving money towards it I of course have to have the money to save in the first place. Knowing what needs to be done and wanting to do it sure clashes with my inability to do it but I feel confident that I will get there eventually.

I am off to a slow start this morning and will have to snap out of it soon and get to working on stuff outdoors. As far as fourth of July holidays go yesterday was the best one that I have had in quite some time because not only did the dogs not freak out over any fireworks, explosions or gunshots but I also got to play a bunch of music, cook some food on the outdoor stove and generally have a good time for much of the day. Having the music rig installed in the solar shack has been working out super well and although the sound does not carry as far as it did when it was installed in the shop it definitely sounds a heck of a lot better and the enclosed space really makes the sub-woofer sound awesome without having to crank it up all that loud. I am still not super fond of how warm the inside of the shack gets this time of year but that small fan that I put on top of the stereo amplifier seems to keep it sufficiently cool so the overall heat is not really that big of a deal unless I am wanting to hang out in there.

It is hard to believe that I just took three weeks in a row off from working every day but whoa do I feel better for having done so. Now I need to pick things back up from where I left them and dive back into doing stuff again. This entire last week I have been itching to 'get back at it' and even though yesterday was a holiday I did get a bunch of small tasks done early in the day which more or less revolved around removing some of the clutter that has accumulated over the last several weeks. I also burned a bunch of my burnables (mostly cardboard) so that I could make some ashes for the compost mound and for the chickens because I recently discovered that they either have mites, lice or both. I want to use some of the ashes mixed with some diatomaceous earth to dust them with and perhaps even make them a dust bath area containing the same mixture as well as some sand. Being new to having chickens I was a little slow to catch on to what was going on with them with the parasites but at least now I know what to watch for and have learned about a wide variety of ways to treat them for it. Since garlic seems to help them a lot I broke up a big clove of it and put it in their food bowls and although they did not eat all of it (the last time I looked yesterday) they had eaten a good bit of it so I will probably repeat the process every few days.

Alright, it is another morning here and I am feeling a bit sore after yesterday's activities but otherwise it is a mellow morning of sipping espresso and letting the fog of sleep slowly lift from my mind. I have to admit that I am feeling pretty slow witted today and kind of just want to go back to sleep and get some more rest but having already let myself sleep in late and having bad weather moving into the area it is probably best that I just stay up, get my morning routine done and get on with my day doing stuff outdoors. The bad weather that is heading this way is what is currently a tropical storm but there is the chance that it might turn back into a hurricane before it reaches here. Heck, even as a tropical storm it can deliver heavy rainfall and high winds so even though it is not quite as destructive as a hurricane it is still something to take seriously and be prepared for in regards to storing up some water and making sure anything with a battery has a charge on it in case the electrical grid goes down.

Since the shop scenario has been nagging at me to be dealt with even before I took my little vacation I decided that yesterday was the day to dive into it and begin the process of getting it organized and figuring out how I am going to re-configure the big plywood table in there as well as how to add some more shelving of some kind. I basically pulled all the stuff from the front half of the shop outside where I grouped it together, sorted out some of the trash and spread some stuff out on cardboard to help dry it out. I am unsure if I mentioned it before but the way that I had a bunch of lumber tarped off in front of the shop was allowing water to flow off the tarp, across the walkway and into the shop where it was pooling near the center of the floor on the left hand side of the shop. Although it was not that big of a deal because the stuff stored there was either in waterproof containers or piled atop layers of cardboard, tarps and an old cushion that kept things from coming in direct contact with the water. What was happening though is that it was staying very humid inside the tent afterwards and I had been diligently opening the place up after each rain to help dry it out so that I would not wind up with mold growing on everything.

Anyway, I wound up stacking the majority of the lumber that had been under the tarp into the shop on that wooden lumber rack that I built a while back. Since one of the boards was much longer than the storage rack and I did not want to spend time and materials extending the rack just for it, I simply screwed a vertical board near the overhanging end of the long piece of lumber and called it good enough for now. I know it is a pretty hacky solution but it will keep the board straight enough and since I have mainly been using that piece of lumber as a plank to walk on (mainly on the scaffolding I built during the initial cabin build) there is no real need for it to be perfectly straight but I shudder at the idea of letting a good piece of lumber get ruined.

Once all that jazz was sorted out I washed down the big tarp and laid it in the sun to dry before moving on to dealing with the pile of uncovered lumber that I had stored next to the covered pile. Since that pile was a mess when I got it and I had been letting the rain wash it off it was no big deal that it was uncovered, and by then all the junk had been washed off of it. After pulling some nails from some of that lumber and mulling over what to do with it all because the last thing that I want is a bunch of potential missiles laying around the yard when/if a storm with hurricane (or even near hurricane) force winds blows through the area... so I eventually landed on the idea to lay some dunnage on the ground where the water had been pooling inside the shop and then laying all of that lumber on top of it to form a crude (and mostly level) floor that I could safely store stuff on top of a few inches above the ground. It is worth mentioning that several pieces of that lumber was also a bit curvy so when I laid it atop the dunnage I kept that in mind and hopefully with all the stuff now piled atop it the lumber will eventually straighten out some.

It was pretty late in the day before I began getting the shop back into order and I basically worked until I was at a good stopping point and decided to wrap it up for the day and tackle the rest of it at a later date which will probably wind up being today unless I get sidetracked by something else. It was all time well spent because now the shop is much more organized and although I will have to shuffle a bunch of stuff around to do so I can now look at dismantling the old table and building more storage shelves as well as finding a solution to keep water from being able to enter the place via running over the ground. As far as that last bit goes it should not be that big of a deal now that the tarp and lumber pile is gone but I did notice that in the time that I had been storing lumber there the repeated runoff from the tarp had formed quite the large depression just outside the shop's entrance where I am one hundred percent sure that there had not been a depression before. As a side note I am super stoked that for the first time in a long time I do not have a bunch of building materials cluttering the entrance to the shelter site forcing me to constantly walk around them!

Well, it is getting on in the morning here now and I should probably get to doing stuff outdoors if I am going to be able to get my morning chores done before the heat gets intense. While I was working yesterday I noticed that I was going at a much slower pace than before my little vacation so I guess that is pretty nice because I no longer feel slightly manic with this driving desire to 'get the cabin livable' as some sort of constant background noise that never ceased and simply oscillated in volume depending on my mood. In other words my mind is feeling 'settled' and although I have a lot of work ahead of me yet to do... it is after-all just work to do and thankfully I actually enjoy doing most of it. Doing all the metal work on the solar shack and cabin will undoubtedly be a bit intense during this part of the year but hopefully there will be some overcast days when it comes time to install it on the roofs. Admittedly I am slightly intimidated by the task because of the roof pitch of the cabin but I feel confident that when it comes time to do it that everything will go smoothly.

So, it is another early morning here and the approaching tropical storm is moving much slower than I thought that it would be and I will probably not start seeing any rain from it for a few hours if not more. I spent much of yesterday tidying things up around the shelter site, washing a bunch of laundry in my outdoor tub and filling some water jugs just in case the power grid goes down when the storm arrives. Since I was still feeling pretty achy from the previous day's activities I was not feeling inclined to dive back into the shop re-organization project and felt like it was a good day to knock out a bunch of odds and ends stuff (like the laundry) that has been nagging at me the last several weeks.

I have slowly been getting back into my daily routines and keep finding myself marveling at what has been achieved here thus far in regards to my overall setup. As I have stated numerous times before the building material costs and availability situation sure has made the process wonky in a lot of ways but for the most part (aside from that) it has been a rather straightforward process of going from raw land to having something comfortable to inhabit with some nice amenities to boot. There is assuredly a lot of satisfaction in looking back over these entries and seeing the progress along the way and although I should probably do that more often than I do... I think that I have done rather well at documenting my journey here. It is tricky stuff when it comes down to it just in trying to write each day let alone create and store media that supplements the writing especially since I seldom even carry a phone on me when I am doing stuff. For instance I am still looking for that podcast that I clearly remember making on the one-hundred and ninety-ninth day just as I was moving into the cabin but for the life of me I cannot find it anywhere. Since I began documenting my life back in early two thousand and seventeen I continually find stuff that I 'lost' on one device or another and even have a few folders that are basically 'lost footage' from one place or another.

Alright, it looks like this storm is moving a bit slower than initially forecast and may turn back into a hurricane again. Currently it will be in the area I am in not long after sunset tonight which gives me a lot more time than I thought that I would have. Since I covered most of my baseline preps the last few days I think that I might use the time today to see what else that I can get done and also prepare for a bit rougher weather than I was initially anticipating since it looks like the eye-wall of the storm is projected to impact this area. With all the dead pines around here a bunch of high winds might do us a favor and lay them all on the ground but if the winds are too high and tornadoes spin up it could get dodgy fast but there really is not anything that I can do about all of that. I will probably do what I can do which is sharpen the chainsaws, prep for tree debris cleanup and get my rain gear ready just in case I need it. Over the last few days I have also been making sure that my deep cycle batteries in the solar shack have been getting charged and more or less getting the gear ready in anticipation of at least some power outages.

These days have been flying by and it is now the following morning. That big storm passed over us in the night and although it is still drizzling rain it looks like the worst part is over. I do not think that the storm woke me nor the dogs throughout the evening while it was passing and so far the only 'destruction' that I have seen is a long, skinny tree branch that fell right in front of the main gate to the dog yard. I am sure that once the sun is fully up and I hike around the property that I will find a lot of downed branches and perhaps some fallen pines but that is still a few hours away at the earliest because I am assuredly not going to spend my morning hiking around in the rain unless I really have to. Hopefully all the roads around the property are free of fallen trees but if not I will more than likely spend some time today getting them cleared.

Anyway, I spent much of yesterday tidying up around the shelter site and securing anything that might get blown around in high winds like that big aluminum ladder that I borrowed to work on the exterior of the cabin's second floor. I also finished off the laundry that I had started the day before and got it all hung up on the dog yard fence so that the rain would finish the washing for me. Since most of the laundry was that load of socks (that I previously mentioned neglecting) hopefully the rain will rinse them well enough that they will not smell 'soured' once they dry out in the sun and if they do... then I will just have to give them another soaking in bleach water and try again. I have got to get better at not neglecting my laundry like that and although I do okay with it my socks always seem to get the worst of it and at least a few times a year I wind up with a bucket of them that I perpetually procrastinate washing fully and wind up having to wash them several times instead of just once.

Before the rain started I finished taping the zip-board joints on the solar shack so that water would not get wicked into the material beneath it. Although I did the taping rather quickly it came out pretty good and at long last the building is more or less 'dried in' besides a few places up under the eaves that will not get wet unless some crazy storm comes along with the water coming down sideways from high winds and even then I doubt that those places under the eaves would be all that affected by it given that they are covered with that clear vinyl that I used to make the building's windows. On a different note, the solar shack has been super handy as far as utility purposes go and I think that wherever I wind up creating my own area (in a different area of the property) I think that I will first build something similar to it and then begin the major brush clearing, the fence installation and eventually the cabin building. As much as the little building will act as a shed it is also nice just having somewhere to get out of the weather and relax. Given that I will most likely be doing the site clearing during the winter, being able to get out of the cold will be super nice and one small propane heater would be an easy addition that would make the cold and windy days more productive.

As far as the next site goes I have yet to actually make up my mind on exactly where to do it at and although I frequently think about a few spots that I have found here I just keep failing to mentally commit to them being the best option. A big part of that is probably due to the fact that I am still so focused on the area that I am currently developing and know (suspect) that once I choose a new spot that I will begin working in it to one degree or another. I am all for multi-tasking and whatnot but dividing my attention in such a way would undoubtedly lead to finishing the current site at a much slower pace which is something that I would like to avoid doing. I know that at some point I will get to the point where the current site is 'finished' enough but at this point there is still so much to be done that I am going to have to put my nose to the proverbial grindstone if I am going to get the majority of it done before the winter arrives and I slump into a long overdue extended downtime.

It has been a wacky journey the last several years and although I am always adapting to whatever scenario that I am in I also have dreams of adapting a scenario to me instead. What I mean by that is procuring my own land somehow and making what I want at it which of course is not all that complicated but so far outside of my reach that it will most likely remain a daydream but one I enjoy having nonetheless. The caretaking thing often gets me close to my dreams but not owning the land makes it an entirely different dynamic and although this particular scenario is pretty sweet there is no telling what the future might hold and in the back of my mind the idea to get my own place pops up again and again as the best solution regardless if I continue caretaking as a job or not. I guess that at this point I could call it a 'career' (yeah a spotty one) and knowing myself the way that I do I know that I will eventually want to have all my time to myself in life where I can fully focus on my own dreams.

Well, the morning is dragging on here and the last that I checked it was still sprinkling rain but looked like it was letting up and much of the overcast skies have cleared up and the sun is out shining brightly. Often on these mornings that I get out of bed around four o'clock I get super antsy by around eight thinking that I have wasted too many hours of the day not quite realizing how early it still is. I then dive into doing my morning chores with real gusto and by ten-thirty or so I have not only finished the chores but also the bulk of whatever my daily project(s) are. All of which leaves me dunking myself in the outdoor tub before retreating into the cabin to escape the heat of the day so that I can reemerge later in the day (to do more work) feeling refreshed and usually having taken a nap. This has pretty much been my routine all week and it is often like I have two days each day instead of the one that it is and at no point do I ever really feel exhausted or anything like that.

Okay, it is another morning here and I am once again up before the sun and sort of just brooding as I sip my espresso and gradually wake up all the way. I have got to find a better way to lead into these daily entries besides 'it is another morning' and although it probably is not all that big of a deal... I do grow weary of the repetition involved. Eventually what I should do is get back to making daily entries and immediately get them posted once they are written which would also solve the dread I feel when I have to edit these posts which span multiple days. Part of the difficulty with getting back into doing the daily entries is that I have spent the last two hundred odd days enforcing the habit of writing very little each day and not taking much in the way of pictures or videos on a daily basis. It would undoubtedly help if I kept a phone nearby to take pictures and videos with but somewhere along the way beginning several weeks ago (around the time that I took my little vacation) I quit having a phone on hand while outdoors and have yet to get back into the habit of doing so even though I routinely tell myself multiple times a day "I should take a picture of that!"

Anyway, it rained on and off for much of the day yesterday as that tropical storm continued to move out of the area. I hiked around the property looking at everything and surprisingly the only big tree branch that I found in the way was the one I mentioned that had fallen near the main gate of the dog yard. That branch was easy enough to deal with because it was mostly rotten and I broke it up by hand and added the majority of it to the firewood pile near the fire pit. It was kind of disappointing not to have any major cleanup to do after such a big storm but I am not so much enough of a workaholic to complain about that! One thing that was super cool to see was that having moved all that lumber and big tarp from near the shop's entrance the water quit running into the shop and pooling in the center of its floor. Now that I know that it worked I no longer need to either trench in a drain nor berm up where the water was coming in at although I might still do that last bit as a precautionary measure. It is after all just the beginning of the storm season and there will undoubtedly be larger rainfall events over the coming weeks and months until the weather settles down late in the fall.

Well, it is another morning here and this time I slept in super late and did not get out of bed and moving around until after nine o'clock. I was feeling a bit adventurous last night and drank some coffee just before dark and whoa was I up late after that! It has now been a few months since I stopped drinking coffee in the evenings (or throughout the day except for first thing in the morning) and I pretty much did it just for the heck of it. All of which resulted in me getting all jazzed up and staying up late watching a few movies after playing my favorite video game for a few hours. Even though I slept really well afterwards I awoke this morning feeling ever-so-slightly mentally fatigued and wondering how in the heck I spent so many years drinking coffee late into the evening and never noticed the side effects from it. At this point I think that reigning in my caffeine habit a wee bit has been good for me so I doubt that I will be drinking coffee at night very often anymore and the times that I do will be few and far between and more of a treat than a staple.

Aside from doing my routine chores I did not really accomplish much yesterday. I did spend several hours working on a mixtape track which was pretty fun since the track is a mix of country and electronic music and has a few songs in it that have been getting stuck in my head lately. Well, they are actually remixes of songs but you get the idea. Those creative endeavors sure are enjoyable even though they are quite pain-staking to get 'right' when most of the tracks that I am working with need a lot of remastering to make them sound good or at least good enough for me. I have actually made a bunch of mixtapes since my arrival here and per usual I often trivialize the hours and hours that I put into them (while working on them inside an audio editing program) and even though I get them to a nice 'finished' point I have not been sharing them which is more because of their large file size than anything else. So, with that in mind I tried to keep the track that I was working on yesterday 'short and sweet' in the hopes that it would encourage me to share it afterwards but I have yet to do anything with it besides more or less listening to it on repeat all day yesterday.

It is a new day here and once again I am sort of in slow motion as I sip my espresso and let the fog of sleep gradually evaporate. Having slept in until after the sun came up I am in no particular hurry this morning with anything and am just kind of mulling over 'where I am at' in life and what the heck that I want to do from here. That is probably too large of a thing to be thinking about this early in the morning but of late the 'bigger picture' seems to keep taking center stage in my thinking which is not that big of a deal as long as I do not get overly fixated upon it and neglect to notice the 'smaller picture' of day to day life and all the tasks that it requires of me to do if I am going to continue to maintain it and hopefully even make it better. Not that things are bad or anything but there is this voice in the back of my mind that keeps reminding me that I have barely scratched the surface here and that if I am going to achieve a semblance of self-sufficiency then I will undoubtedly have to keep plugging away at things and not get too complacent along the way.

Okay, so it is another morning here and I am up long before the sun sipping espresso, enjoying the morning stillness and wondering why I fell asleep so dang early last night. I must have needed the rest because I slept for nearly twelve hours straight and woke up this morning feeling quite refreshed. Since it rained on and off throughout the day I am thinking that may have contributed to me feeling so sleepy but what kept me asleep was this wacky (but pretty good) post-apocalyptic dream that I was having. Unfortunately this morning there are only fragments of the dream jumbling around in my mind and although I have attempted to 'piece it all together' and remember more of it... it remains just beyond my awareness. Perhaps throughout the day I will recall more of that dream but for now suffice it to say that towards the end of the dream civilization was beginning to regroup itself after a series of disasters and were gathering together to celebrate making it through all the previous calamity and discussing how to avoid it from happening again. That is the short version of what I recall at least and as peculiar as it all was I awoke feeling hopeful and even a bit inspired.

Anyway, something that I have noticed is that during the times (like the last several weeks) when I do not do a bunch of physical work my writing shifts towards my inner landscape, personal thoughts, struggles and whatnot which is I guess just how it goes because my attention has to land on something. All the introspection assuredly clashes with the extroversion provided by writing and sharing stuff and I often get mildly frustrated after writing a few paragraphs because I get all weirded out by the notion that I am more than likely over-sharing and not including enough 'informative and useful' information. I guess that there has to be a balance between the two and while it might seem like I am complaining here what is really going on is that I am thankful that my life is more than some never ending do-it-yourself article that meanders from topic to topic with nothing personal involved along the way. Mainly I just try not to think about it all too much and am content to let whatever gets written to 'be written' and remind myself that I am simply documenting my life and not trying to make it all into some crazy production that strips away the personal stuff in favor of the impersonal.

It is a little after four in the morning here and I am slowly waking up all the way. I did not sleep all that awesomely because a big thunder storm system rolled into the area yesterday afternoon and it clung around rumbling super loud thunder until very late in the evening which of course had the dogs quite frightened, panting and one of them even pawed me awake a few times because they were so shook up by the constant bombardment of crashing booms outside. The last few days the thunder storms have been so bad right around sunset that I have switched to feeding the dogs earlier in the day before the thunder scares them too much to eat their dinner in peace.

Anyway, after doing my routine chores early in the day I began the tedious process of figuring out what we will need for metal to finish off the exterior of the cabin but before I could get up on the roof (to measure it) the bad weather moved in and I retreated into the cabin to stay out of it. I have yet to figure out all the details like the window and door trim, the soffit and the building's corners but I am sure that I will get to doing so later this week. Since the summer heatwave has been intense I have mainly fallen into working on stuff early in the day and even then it is pretty muggy and hot. I was at first trying to work in the late afternoon also but that is when the thunderstorms tend to roll in and the dogs freak out so it has not worked out all that well. Basically I just have to take a bunch more measurements and tally up all the necessary material to finish the building out. Since I am undecided on a few aspects of the installation I keep hemming and hawing about it all and will probably continue to do so until I make up my mind on the details.

On a different note. My gardening projects have not done all that well and most of what I planted for food (aside from the potatoes and a little lettuce) did very poorly at the edge of the pine forest. On the other hand the black locust trees growing there have done okay but even they are not getting enough sunlight to really thrive in that location so I will need to find a new area for future gardening projects. I knew it was a gamble to start with and although most of the stuff there did not work out I can at least grow lettuce there in the future and perhaps use the area in the winter when it undoubtedly gets more sun. The thing to do here (without having to clear a bunch of trees out of the way) might be to just look at building a greenhouse and planning on growing in it during the winter when the trees lack their leaves and their is more sunlight near the shelter area. Of course I could also look at developing a more distant area (away from the shelter site) but as I have stated before I currently do not want to make an area that I will have to hike to and that will take me away from the area I am working on developing.

Alright, I failed to write anything at all yesterday which is not all that surprising given that I woke up around midnight and found myself unable to go back to sleep... effectively skewing my daily routine. I was feeling so outside my usual daily routine that I did not even notice until much later in the day that I had not written anything and by then I was feeling pretty 'meh' about doing any writing and took a nap instead. It is kind of funny that I awoke around the same time this morning but learning from the day before I decided to begin writing immediately... lest I again neglect to do it before the sun comes up and get involved in other things. It is not like I have much going on of late during the day with all the rain and super hot weather but it seems like my best time for writing is as soon as I wake up and once the sun is up there is very little chance that I will do any writing afterwards if I have not already begun to do so.

When I first took my little break a few weeks ago I thought that I would be able to 'snap out of it' afterwards and get back to grinding away on the projects around here but that just has not been the case. At first I was like 'what the heck' but the more I thought about it the more I realized that throughout the previous year I had repeatedly considered shifting my downtime from being in the winter to being in the summer and although I tried to have everything wrapped up before the summer hit... there are still things that need attention and need to be finished which totally snafus my plans. Timing is frigging everything and with the way things kept getting delayed with acquiring building materials I was barely able to get things to the point they now are before the summer arrived. Part of me wants to continue on grinding away at stuff while the rest of me screams to take a real break and given that I have mainly just been gaming, sleeping and taking short hikes... I have assuredly gotten in a nice break but nothing like the downtime that I know that I really need. At this point in things I have to do what is ultimately best for me which is to just take things day by day and not get too bent out of shape if I do not get everything done each day that I want to get done.

What I have been thinking about recently (aside from everything involved with wrapping up this area) is that I should settle on picking a site for my own homestead area and begin making plans for its development beginning this autumn or winter. I think that a part of me really needs to feel like I am putting down some kind of roots here and given that this entire site (that I have been working on since my arrival) is ultimately not for me I have gotten into the habit of being sort of dispassionate about it and the closer I get to finishing it the more dispassionate I feel. All of which is good because the last thing that I want to do is form attachments to a place that is merely a stepping stone and that I will eventually move on from. The mental trickery involved in building a home but not letting myself feel at home in it can get quite exhausting if I think about it too much so I basically do not dwell on it and keep my eye on the proverbial prize.

Having a new site to focus on will be a nice change of pace even if all I do is spend the months leading up to the autumn/winter doing some basic planning and site layout work. Given that every site presents its own challenges it will be nice to do things with a firm plan in place instead of doing what I did at the current site which was lots of 'winging it' after hitting the ground running upon my initial arrival. Honestly, I just need a new project to be interested in and if that involves setting up my own homestead then that is even better. For the most part I think that if I can set my mind to the task and settle on a site then I can from that moment forward tell myself 'that will be home' or something to that effect. My work/home life being so intertwined together sure does not accommodate much breathing room as far as separation between the two goes and I know all too well the quagmire that I put myself in mentally when doing the caretaking thing but at the end of the day I sure would not choose a different career!

It is now approaching four in the morning and having already drank my espresso and written much more than I intended to I am now meandering along thinking about my life and what I really want from it. The biggest thing that I want is to continue down the path that I am on and simultaneously diverge from said path altogether by tweaking my habits and routines so that I do not neglect doing basic domestic stuff. I mean what the heck I can do all kinds of stuff (even under adverse conditions with limited supplies) but I fail to wash my laundry often enough or sweep off the porch or whatever duty it is that I have an aversion to doing but absolutely needs done. I will undoubtedly need to re-invoke prioritizing doing whatever I find myself dreading to do and just getting it over and done with. Per usual ten minutes of work far under-weighs days and days of dread and the only thing stopping something from getting achieved is a lack of executive thinking on my part where thought meets action.

The difficulty with all that jazz is of course not to fall into a state of sustained mania doing everything that comes to mind because some things are just poorly conceived or half-thought out ideas that require more thinking and going about life in some willy-nilly fashion is rather unsettling to me so it is probably best that I avoid it at all costs. Then on the flip-side of that there is doing too little and falling into a sustained depression where I would rather be doing things willy-nilly as fuck instead of doing nothing at all so go figure! Seriously though, there are always going to be bouts of highs and lows (mania and depression) but for the most part I like the gray area between the two and do not mind if I spend a little time feeling either 'too much' as long as I know my mood will always gravitate back (eventually) to that gray area betwixt the two where my perspective is less clouded and I can properly compartmentalize the various aspects of myself to avoid internal conflict and generally keep myself on an even keel. Well, that is all quite the mouthful but it has been working out well and although I by far have nothing (besides dealing with myself) figured out I am okay with that tiny hard earned victory and am excited to see where it leads me.

The sun is now coming up on yet another day and although I should have started writing this a few hours ago I got a bit fixated on first watching a comedian (I pretty much just clicked on something to play so it would drown out the sounds of the roosters outside) and then I got involved with reading a bunch of news articles. Between the two I think that watching the comedian was a much better way to start the day especially given how downright turbulent the current times (events) are and how it does not at all paint a very pretty picture for the future we seem to be sliding towards. Not that I let myself get all worked up about it all or anything but I nonetheless find the scenario troubling and like most things that trouble me I am like 'what the heck am I going to do about it' which I often answer with: The same thing that you have been doing for years now! Which basically amounts to preparing myself to face an uncertain future where relying on existing infrastructure and the supply of goods could be a foolish mistake.

Hell yes the scenario at large makes me nervous which is really saying something given my general calm demeanor but I would not say that it is hopeless or anything like that. As a side note it may well be hopeless but I damn sure do not want to be the one to say it. Personally I hold the belief (although occasionally it does waiver) that humanity will... in the end be humane and rise to the challenges in a way that does not further promote discord, suffering, or disregard for not just human life but all life. Deep down I hope that things work out that way but I damn sure do not want to be blinded by that hope and miss out on doing what I can do now to make my own little slice of reality a reflection of that hope to one degree or another. Not to sound overly wishy-washy or anything but I do believe that we as individuals can make the hard choices to make a future that looks very dissimilar to the past. Perhaps it will bring about an age of humanity where love, kindness and taking no shit are the bedrock of every society.

Anyway, that stuff has been weighing on me a lot of late and mostly so because I have been doing nothing but thinking for long hours each day and not doing the physically demanding routine that tends to keep me from over-thinking everything. Of course all the thinking and generally taking my eye off the proverbial ball during my downtime is exactly what it is for so I tend to look at it like an exploration of my mind and always question why the heck I fixate on one thing or another, seemingly grinding it into pulp as it churns through my mind over and over again until I either disregard it, take heed of it or simply make a mental note to take a deeper look at it later. There is of course nothing special in all of this mental activity in and of itself without lots of follow through.

Okay. It has been days and weeks since I have written anything and although I did not intend to do so... I wound up taking a long hiatus from not just the writing but pretty much everything aside from my daily chores. Although I have been super withdrawn over the last many weeks I thankfully have not been feeling glum or even all that moody. For the most part the days have gone by without much remarkable happening besides the intense summer heat and frequent thunderstorms that keep it feeling quite muggy outdoors. Having the little climate controlled cabin sure has been nice given the heat index and there is no way that I can meaningfully describe just how pleasant it has made the last few months in regards to comfort. I am sure that lacking the air conditioning I would be using lots of fans and although they work well they sure do blow a heck of a lot of dust around.

Well, I did not really sit down to write anything specific and I mainly just wanted to get out whatever is rattling around in my mind while the mood to do so is upon me. These long stretches of not writing do not sit all that well with me and although I keep wanting to get back into daily writing (and posting) when it comes right down to it I just do not have much that I want/need to word out because I am not locked in some struggle to get by and instead am like 'holy shit I made it' which is a far cry from how I am accustomed to my life being and yeah I have no idea how to cope with even minor success but there you have it. Currently I keep telling myself that I am 'on hiatus' and after telling myself that for a month straight (after my little three week vacation was over) I am really starting to believe it! In other words I find myself settling in here and am more or less 'on pause' with working outdoors until the weather begins to cool down besides a few things that I just do not want to put off that long.

Over the last several weeks something that keeps welling up in my thoughts is how I need to settle on the placement of my actual homesteading area and get a good master list together of everything that needs finished in the area that I am currently in and have been developing since my arrival here so that I can look at moving on to the next phase of things. All of which would undoubtedly lend to me feeling relieved by having a long-term homestead where I can put down roots and not be concerned about moving every few years. It gets tiresome starting over time after time and although it keeps things interesting (and often full of new challenges) it is also quite contrary to what I actually want in life which is to just settle in somewhere peaceful and watch the years roll by as I toil at whatever needs doing along the way. In other words upending my world every few years just is not going to cut it going forward in life and in another twenty or thirty years I will probably be kicking myself in the ass for not realizing that a heck of a lot earlier than when I did.

On a different note, there is so much going on in the world and it is hard to keep up with just the natural disasters let alone 'everything else' so although I do try to keep abreast of things my main focus has stayed on paying attention to my own scenario and especially the weather near it. Even doing that I have still been surprised a few times when thunderstorms abruptly form almost out of nowhere and my boots get rained on where I leave them at sometimes on the porch. As a side note I have a squirrel fan that I lean the boots up against when they get rained in and that dries them out rather quickly and is also nice just for routine 'airing out' of the boots to keep them from smelling. Anyway, even watching the weather I get surprised and these little storms are fierce they are nothing like the more troublesome natural disasters that are occurring elsewhere but nonetheless I keep telling myself 'it happens fast' and 'be ready' which is always somehow sort of ominous feeling but my point is that with all that in mind I keep asking myself just how ready am I and ready for what. At this point I am just like be ready for anything but actually prepare for dealing with natural disasters and shortages which are equally difficult to forecast.

Alright, it has been a few more days and I have yet to add anything here nor even edit what is already written which is undoubtedly getting quite long. The days continue to pass in a sort of blur where one day looks much like the next and although my sleeping times are skewed I am at least on a routine and getting plenty of rest. I have been enjoying waking up around midnight to one o'clock each night and falling asleep around four to six in the afternoon. It is an odd schedule but since I have gotten into feeding the dogs earlier (because of the late afternoon thunderstorms) it has not disrupted my day to day routines in any perceivable way besides not getting anything done late in the day just before it gets dark outside.

There is not much on my mind today but since I missed getting anything posted before the month rolled over I thought that I should spend some time here in ye old text editor land and see if I can perhaps get this all wrapped up. The weather here has been rainy and hot and although I seldom get out in the heat of the day the mornings outdoors are quite nice and I still get out and hike around a few times a week just to see how things are growing. There sure are a big variety of wild mushrooms here and I keep kicking myself in the butt for not getting more pictures of some of the beautiful specimens that I have seen on my walks. Besides seeing one of the biggest Old Man of The Woods mushrooms that I have ever seen, I have also noticed a bunch of what I think are Two Color bolletes or perhaps Painted bolletes. Of course there are also a bunch of unfamiliar mushrooms as well and I have totally been slacking on trying to identify them but I am sure that I will get to it eventually.

A few days ago I finally re-routed the outlet for the new refrigerator and got it all plugged in just in time before doing my monthly shopping run. I also rounded two of the corners of a big piece of plywood (the one that was once a table in the tent) and got it all painted and installed next to the fridge to act as a kitchen table/counter. It felt awesome to shove my writing table up in the attic and no longer be using it as a kitchen table and hopefully during the colder months the attic will be cozy enough to use it up there. For now I still want to add in a bunch more shelving in the kitchen area because there still is not quite enough storage space. Although I want to avoid having too many cabinets eating up precious square footage I think that I want to at least make one stout one somewhere in the room just to store dog food in.

Whoa! I just got all that edited and am going to just stop here before adding anymore. I hope that everyone is doing well and has anice day/night.


Just another sunny morning!

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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I was just wondering how you were doing the other day... I try to keep track of my curation account, as well as the many groups and servers I am in but not always an easy task. I had noticed your blogs weren't showing up on my trending page, so it's good to see you back. I would also lovingly suggest using the awesome capabilities of PeakD in regards to saving templates, drafts, and scheduling posts... but I figure you know that already, and certainly don't want to interrupt your vibe. But if you were not aware, please do look into these functionalities; love hearing from you and reading about your daily routine and journey. But you might be able to get some better rewards that way... just thinking... like I always do!

One of the things I am most proud of is the fact that I actually read all of the posts that everyone decides to use my TAG on. Whether I choose to curate them, or not, I do read them all. Since we first met, you have continually impressed me with your abilities, perseverance, attitude, humor, and sticktoitiveness. Just another example of people, being people. And I thank you for not only choosing to use my TAG, but also for being a good friend, and continuing to share your journey with us. Love and light brother...


!LUV @tipu curate !WINE !giphy Homesteading


Ah! Thanks!

I do enjoy the PeakD templates but have never got into scheduling posts.

It is assuredly a journey and glad that you enjoy tagging along!


As I said... I do NOT want to change you, or your ways! You are unique, and that's what sets us all apart! Was just a thought; it's a habit to help. NOt just because I am a PR Mod for @theterminal, but because I truly love interacting with everyone on the blockchain. Look forward to seeing where your journey takes you next!

P.S. Good to see you didn't do the "Castaway" thing with your tooth lol...