Apocalyptic Homesteading (Day 315-321)

Hello Everyone!

Apocalyptic Homesteading Day 315-321!

Rainy Days, Technological Hurdles, Cleaning The Coop, A Cellular Repeater & Cloud Gaming Adventures

This morning I slept in much later than I have been of late which is not all that big of a deal as long as I do not get in the habit of it. That late in the day espresso that I had yesterday to "help me finish my last entry" and get it posted had me still feeling wired at midnight. It was not until almost two hours later that I was able to drift off to sleep and even then I kept waking up every few hours. I should not blame it all on the espresso because some of it was me getting over-involved reading stuff online and in general just feeling kind of manic and restless. I guess that I really need to avoid the late in the day espresso (much like the nighttime ones) because the last few times it has really thrown my sleep schedule off even though it was still relatively early (around five o'clock) when I drank it.

Having written nothing more than that single paragraph yesterday I guess that counts as having taken a 'one day' break from writing much like I did the week before. It is kind of nice to side-step some of the pressure that I put myself under with all that stuff but at the same time it is often difficult to ignore the little voice in my head whispering to me that I should write something (anything) every day. For the most part I enjoyed removing that pressure from myself for the day and perhaps that one day 'break' from it each week will help me stay on track with my weekly posting routine without it being solely an act of willpower on my part to do so. It is not only that I am not 'writing' for that day but also that I do not find myself 'thinking' about writing during that time and that is what I probably really need a break from!

I do not want to get overly lost in that rabbit hole but obviously there is a balancing act going on there and although I do not have some 'tormented' relationship with writing... I would not exactly call it healthy either. At some point (as with any longstanding vice) stuff just gets convoluted and its a good idea to take a step back (or many steps back) from it all and try to remember why/how it became a vice in the first place. The creation of stuff is just as downright addictive as the process of creation with all its trappings, apparati and routines which overall makes things more tricky to manage for me because I find great comfort in the experience of the 'set and setting' even if zero to minimal art gets created along the way. I am sort of groping here to explain all of this in a way that makes sense so suffice it to say that being aware of those subtle nuances of my own creative process/addiction helps me navigate around certain pitfalls or even jump right into them if I think that is what the right thing to do is. At the end of the day it is an ever evolving hyper-dynamic relationship with it all and although I often find it uncomfortable to say the least... I doubt that I would want to have it any other way because it at least keeps me paying attention and 'on my toes' (so to speak) which is probably pretty damned good for my mental well-being as long as I remember to take it all out from under the microscope of my own perspective now and then.

Anyway, yesterday morning while doing my routine chores I saw a snake for the first time inside the dog yard. That big Eastern King snake that I saw in the springtime was just outside the dog yard and I can draw a nearly straight line from where I saw it outside the fence to where I saw this new snake outside the cabin about halfway down the north facing wall. At first I thought that it was a Garter snake but nope it was a juvenile Eastern King snake which I thought was super awesome because I was hoping to see more of them around here. If there are younger ones like that one then they are assuredly breeding in this area or somewhere close by. The dogs were not all that interested in the little snake but I put them inside anyway as the snake moved along the bottom of the skirting occasionally poking its head up as if looking for something along the metal.

By the time that it got to the southern side of the cabin (still doing the same behavior) the chickens noticed it and I wound up standing between them and it and shooing them away repeatedly. By the time the little snake reached the hole in the skirting where the earth anchor strap is I had already assumed the snake was looking for a hole and sure enough it immediately poked its head up under the strap, stuck its tongue in the strap hole and made a motion that I can only describe as it saying to itself 'nope this is not it' before dropping back to the ground and moving rather purposefully toward the next strap where it (with no hesitation) slid itself smoothly into the hole and disappeared into the crawlspace below the cabin. I have my suspicions that it has been doing that for quite some time now which would account for the dogs not reacting strongly to its presence. I was super happy to see it making itself at home in there and if I get super lucky it will take up long-term residence and not only keep the rodents (and bugs) down but also help to keep the venomous snakes away.

Alright, it is a new day and I slept in about an hour longer than I normally do so I am off to a sluggish start and am not super keen on hurrying myself towards shaking off the morning brain fog and getting on with the day. I was initially feeling like I should drift back off to sleep after I let the dogs out but then decided against it and plopped myself down in front of the computer after setting the espresso brewing. It is of course a familiar routine and one that I find enjoyment in doing even if these morning computer sessions can get hard to snap out of in time for me to get outdoors while things are still cool. This morning it is quite foggy and when the sun rose and I could see it all and was like: Ah! The exterior landscape matches my interior landscape this morning!

I was up a bit late last night because I got way too involved with reading video game related stuff (for Diablo II Resurrected) and also chiming in on some forum posts in an effort to help folks. The game as it originally was is difficult to start with (especially at high levels) and twenty-odd years ago when I started playing it I wish there was such a large community to field questions to about it or hell even just discuss stuff without getting trolled along the way. I am feeling a bit nostalgic for the original game but this remaster (if they work out the bugs and better optimize the PC version so it is not a steaming pile of bloatware) can easily offer me another twenty-odd years of entertainment. Of course that is dependent upon me being able to play it but I figure that I will get there eventually. One of the things that I have always enjoyed about playing online is helping others and the other day it hit me that I do not need to actually play the game to help folks and that I should pour some of that restless focus that I have had been placing upon the game for over a week now... on anything besides bashing my head against the old 'I do not meet the minimum system requirements' wall!

All that jazz aside, I did a bunch of small stuff around the shelter site yesterday and even finally quit procrastinating on doing some laundry. Aside from all that I also went on a nice hike and saw a bunch more of those mushrooms that look like Ceasers but are unfortunately not them. From the amount of disturbed (but not eaten) ones that I saw something around here is investigating them but choosing not to eat them and that has me curious as to what they really are. They look like some kind of amanita but that does not get me very far considering what a wide variety of mushrooms that includes. Ha a quick internet search for 'American Ceaser lookalike' just confused me further so perhaps I should (like I said before) get some good pictures and submit them to an identification forum. I actually did take a bunch of pictures of them last week but the ones that would have made identification more feasible came out all blurred and I have yet to try again. Given how many of them are growing in easily accessible areas around here it would be nice to know if they are edible or not.

Well, it is another Sunday here and I should get outdoors and knock out my routine chores before it gets any later in the morning.

Ha, I never wrote anything else after writing that one sentence. It is now just a little after dark on Monday evening and having just awoken from a nap and having never written anything today... I thought it best to try to eek out a few words here even though it is way outside my normal routine to write this late in the day. Having awoken at around three-thirty this morning I sure had plenty of time to do some writing but alas my game streaming service account (from that cloud gaming platform that I mentioned before) finally got finished (it takes three days) and I was able to login to the virtual desktop and install that video game. I then proceeded to spend the next five or six hours tinkering with it (and the client software) trying to get the game to stream to my computer without a bunch of lag and pixelation occurring. Unfortunately even after setting up my 3G repeater I could not squeeze enough bandwidth out of my cellular connection to smooth everything out. I knew that I was under the recommended five Mbps a second download speed that the streaming service recommends... but I had hoped that if I reduced all the graphics settings to their lowest value it would maybe work anyway... but nope. I am sure that all the overcast skies did not help with my tests and I am planning on setting up my 4G repeater and trying it on a cloudless day and see what happens. Usually just boosting the 3G bands is enough to free up more of the phones power to utilize the 4G radio but I might be a bit too far out from the closest tower for that to work like it has in the past.

For what the game streaming service does it is frigging amazing but once again it is a failure of the 'not meeting the minimum requirements' variety and the only feasible way that I can see of working around it is to get a second cellular data connection (another phone with an unlimited data plan) and then getting a multiple connection combining and load balancing router... and a way to turn both the cellular data hotspot connections into LAN connections that I can then plug into it the combiner box. While those combiner routers are pretty cheap (at around forty dollars USD for the cheap ones) another phone plan would be like seventy-five a month which would double my internet cost. I cannot justify doing all that jazz (and taking on yet another bill) just so I can play that game via a cloud gaming service. Hell, I would not do that just to play on my own gaming PC even if I had one. I am still pretty disappointed in failing to get to play that game and meet up with my friends online but at this point I think that I have exhausted my options or at least explored them enough that I know when to stop bashing my head against the proverbial wall. I did enjoy tinkering with all that stuff early in the day even though I did not get the results that I was after.

All that stuff aside, it was a pretty good day and beyond doing all my routine chores I was able to get the chicken coop all cleaned out. I had put off cleaning it out for so long because I did not want to waste all the diatomaceous earth that I had spread both inside of and beneath it but it was starting to get a bit stinky. It was a bit of a mess to get cleaned out and once again the larger section of the coop was the most challenging because I have still yet to make a good exterior door to access it and have to do some contortionism to be able to get the larger piles of duff scooped out of there. Since I am out of pine shavings (and straw) I briefly considered raking up some leaves and putting them in the coop but decided against it once I though about how difficult they would be to clean up later. I briefly considered going to the big meadow and cutting a bunch of that tall grass to put in there but I decided that I was kind of 'over it all' for the day and took a bath and a nap instead.

Alright, it is a new day and whoa it must have rained a lot last night because everything outside is soaked and it is getting muggier by the minute. It is almost eight o'clock and although I have been up for the better part of an hour now I am still shaking off my sleepiness and overall am feeling kind of meh about the day ahead. That feeling will more than likely pass once I get woken up all the way and start doing stuff but at this rate it may well be late afternoon before I can get it together and get some stuff done outdoors. That is a bit dramatic sounding but it is probably going to be the case today given that I am feeling moody and more than a little irritable.

The moodiness primarily has to do with all the stuff related to trying to get that new video game to work and finally reaching the point where I have done everything that I can aside from setting up the 4G repeater which is not as straight forward as it sounds due to the distance required between the interior and exterior antennas of the device. Basically there is no configuration (with or without the use of my antenna pole) that puts the two antennas far enough apart in/at the cabin. The only somewhat viable option there seems to be putting the antenna on a pole away from the building and then running some direct burial conduit to put the coaxial cable inside of and then figuring out how to get it into the building itself without piercing the downstairs floor or walls. Having never really had much luck with getting that 4G repeater to work well because I am always way too far from the tower or there are obstacles in the way... I will definitely do a bunch of testing with a temporary setup before even considering a more permanent installation to find out if it will be worth it or not in the first place.

Part of me wishes that I had never bought that new game because here it is now rolling up on two weeks since its release and I have not only not been able to play it (aside from via that streaming service) but I have also spent an incredible amount of hours trying to play it and/or reading stuff that might help me get it running smoother via the streaming service or get it to run natively on my desktop. Yeah, I learned some cool stuff and all but honestly I feel like I just wasted a bunch of time, money and resources to achieve no satisfying results. Well, I should not say no such results because late in the day yesterday I installed that game streaming service on a low-end tablet and it worked rather flawlessly and the graphics looked pretty nice given the tiny screen... so technically that was a success. With a mouse plugged into the tablet moving my character around was pretty easy but I had a hard time reading the text in the game because of how tiny the screen is.

After getting it working on there I was like: Okay if I could only make this screen a little bigger this would be playable! Of course everything in the game had a tiny delay but overall it was not all that bad. The real difficulty would be trying to play with a corded mouse because it uses the same USB port that the charger for the tablet does and given the nature of the graphics and audio the battery gets drained pretty quickly. The way that the service streams to a mobile device must be way more optimized than how it streams to a computer (given how nice it looks and how smooth it runs) and of course that got me to thinking about trying to run the streaming app on an Android-x86 installation on my desktop and see how that looks... but that is yet a whole other rabbit hole and although it might be fun the only way to see how it works is to try it. Blah! I am stuck thinking about that stuff and need to shake it off before I continue obsessing over it all to the point that I start tinkering with it!

Alright, I have been up for about an hour and it is now just after five-thirty in the morning and I am slowly waking up even though I really just want to go back to sleep. I do not even know why I got out of bed this early again (its another rain day) but once I did and started looking at some of the current crypto values I got rather interested in staying awake... or at least long enough to make some trades. Now that I am no longer receiving government assistance for food I need to make up that 'money' somewhere... because yeah I still have to eat. The last few days (okay maybe for a week now) I have been doing a bunch of small crypto trades while tinkering with that game and although I am working with 'peanuts' (so to speak) I have managed to make a marginal profit. Even if said profit is nowhere near enough to cover my food bills I have to start somewhere and maybe I can keep rolling the proverbial ball uphill until it is large enough to get it truly snowballing one day... or lose it all. Whatever the case may be I have to do something!

It pretty much rained all day yesterday and I once again spent much of my day tinkering around with software trying to figure out a way to play that game. Since it was super overcast my internet connection was not all that awesome but it was much better than it usually is during stormy weather so I guess the repeater is doing its job. Considering that I have the external antenna inside the attic that is pretty good and given that it is just a 3G repeater it is probably fine there and would not make much of a difference if I had it outside. I am after all just relieving the power needs of the 3G radio/bands (with the 3G repeater) so that the device has more power for the 4G radio/bands and the 4G repeater (when and if I install it) covers all the bands and a few extra ones. It boosting those extra bands (they are ones used outside of the mainland US) is something I dislike about that device because it seems like a waste of power and it would be more beneficial to distribute its power to only the bands that I need.

Anyway, even with the cloud cover I got that game looking/running pretty good on the tablet and even found a way to stream from the tablet to the desktop so that was pretty cool even if it looked rather pixelated when I was viewing it in a browser. I did not have high hopes that it would not be pixelated on the desktop but I was thinking it might come in handy for other stuff so I thought to give it a try. Once again if my internet was just a wee bit stronger I doubt that I would get any distortion at all. I am pretty damned impressed with all that cloud gaming software produced by that company. So far I have tested their Linux app, their POSIX app and the Android app and I have to say that it is some slick stuff, well crafted and amazingly stable given what it does! Since I like running multiple copies of the same game (for buffing myself and friends) I can see where the streaming service will come in handy later because even if I upgrade my computer so that I can play the game natively... I doubt that even a new computer would run multiple instances very well given how bloated and un-optimized the game software is.

As you can see my thoughts are still circling the drain about all that stuff and although I know the solution is to either upgrade my hardware... or stop obsessing over trying to get it to do something that it clearly was not intended to do. It is not that I think that the developers 'would not' build it in such a way that it would be backwards compatible... but I think they could not. Ever since I first heard about the game (when they announced its development) I had my doubts as to whether they could build something that was not incredibly bloated and that would be unplayable for most of the dedicated players of the original game. I mean come on I can run four instances of the original game flawlessly at once and yet I cannot run a single instance of the new game... so for me the proof is in the pudding. This is not to discount the good stuff that they did for the game and apparently all the other platforms it runs on it does well but the PC version is crap unless you have some rather new gear which by the way even most of it struggles with overheating because the software is so buggy and poorly designed. That is just the game software itself... I do not even want to get started on the proprietary launcher and anti-cheat software and how gross they are. Honestly anyone on a PC would be better off just mining crypto instead because at least that way they could turn a profit after using that much electricity and producing that much heat.

Well, I just burned up most of the morning between doing some minor trading, reading stuff online and writing so I thought that I should cut ties with all that jazz and get on with my day but after looking outside and how stormy its looking... here I am clacking away at the good ole keyboard. Since all that rain occurred recently I spread a bunch more of that bird seed around the dog yard yesterday and hopefully more of it will start growing in by the end of the week. I mainly spread it over the places where it was already growing because with the oncoming heavy rains I did not want the seed to just get washed away downhill. Which is fine and all if it does but now that stuff is actually growing in at the top of the hill I want to help keep it going there since that is where a good bit of erosion has been occurring. As things are now it is pretty nice to see anything at all growing and I will need to really stay on top of it over the coming weeks if it is going to amount to anything substantial let alone have some longevity.

It is late afternoon here on the following day. By late in the day I mean a little after three-thirty and having just woken up roughly thirty minutes ago to another rainy day... it does not look like I will be getting anything done outdoors. Yesterday I wound up once again drinking coffee late in the day just to mix things up a bit... which worked but I assuredly could have done without brewing more of the stuff later on in the middle of the night like I did. Even though I did not intend to stay up all night that is what I did because for the first time all week the overcast clouds cleared up and my internet connection was stable enough for me to actually play that video game that I have been trying to play since the twenty-third of last month but kept just bashing my head against one technical obstacle after another instead!

Until last night when I guess the 'stars aligned' or something (making my internet work super well) I had pretty much given up on trying to play that game and was actually testing running the game streaming service's Android app in a desktop environment in an effort to replicate the results that I had when running it on that tablet like I previously mentioned. There is something vastly different in how well the game gets streamed to the tablet compared to the desktop and I think that it mostly has to do with how the networking is handled and of course the overall graphical load is much smaller. With that in mind I spent a heck of a lot of hours downloading and configuring stuff in an effort to 'get it all working' and although I got the app itself to run quite well I could not get past the login screen because once logged in it asks me to verify the new device (in this case an emulated tablet) via an email code but the app fails to trigger sending me the email so I am thinking there is something not compatible on the emulation software back-end which makes the email fail to send. Basically I could get to that screen and no further and that was with both of the emulation suites that I used so I am thinking its either intentionally blocked inside the streaming app or something else is going on. I have yet to begin digging through log files to see what is going on so we will see.

At one point last night I was like 'the heck with all of this' and decided to go back to tinkering with the desktop streaming software which is how I discovered that yes once the clouds are gone my bandwidth is just enough to play the game albeit with a good bit of lag. The funny thing is that for I do not know how many years I always make the same private games to play the original game in and it is a game name that my friends would recognize so I made a public version of it on the off chance one of my friends would see it and join. Okay here is the funny part... the second person to join the game was someone I know and my game naming trick totally worked and they were super stoked to see me especially since I had previously told them that I would not be able to play the game at all upon its release without building a new computer.

I never mentioned it before but the new game ditched all the old online friends list functions (and changed how characters and accounts are named) so all the folks in my friend list that have been there for a decade or twp just do not exist as my friends in the new game. Its stupid I know but the reason folks are in my friends list to start with is because I want to stay in touch with them and the game designers changing this (and not incorporating the old friends list or even importing it) is really frigging annoying to say the least. I know it must seem like I keep bashing the game developers in these entries but I am simply trying to give my honest opinions about it all and work through the things that I find extremely frustrating about the remaster of my all time favorite game. None of that stuff is really 'game breaking' or anything and I do like much of what they have done and know that if my computer was able to run it (natively) I would probably be gushing with excitement and would more than likely only voice my harsher opinions to myself and my friends... but here we are nonetheless.

Aside from all that, I spent much of my day doing some crypto trading because I decided that was more than likely my best way to earn enough money so that I can at least entertain the idea of getting a gaming computer or begin saving up for one. As much as it is not a high priority in life or even a necessity... it would be frigging nice to 'keep up with the times' and not lose my only real avenue of social interaction. Sure I can still play the old game but none of my friends are playing it anymore and I do not relish the idea of doing so with zero social interaction. I am horrible at staying in touch with folks but somehow via the common ground of that game I can do so and can even enjoy long hours of folks' companionship which is not so much the case in other aspects of my life in general. I guess these last few weeks of entries show just how determined I am to hang out with my online friends and my willingness to brave the technological quagmire to see if it is even possible is both evident and wholly compulsive at this point.

The thing is that I know how living very isolated and having authentic human interactions are both essential to my well-being and overall stability and it terrifies me that the second half might fade away due to technological barriers. Having 'been there and done that' in life already way more than I would like to admit... it is wholly unappealing for me to do that again. All of which sounds like an excellent reason for me to consider making some upgrades or at least that is how I am selling it to myself to rationalize the expense! Aside from the recreational aspects of having better hardware something that has been a real 'selling point' for me has been thinking about the opportunities of having such a rig would open to me in regards to streaming content or just doing live podcast sessions or other stuff along those lines. I hate to say it but the idea of making live content for profit is pretty damn appealing at this juncture even if I just focused on gaming stuff instead of all the homesteading jazz.

Which by the way I have not been all that focused on of late given how much of my time that I have been spending indoors diving down one technological chasm after another. A few days back I had this polarizing moment where I looked back over the previous many years (like eight to ten of them) and was like: Gods damn it man maybe going through all that was worth it! Of course I shied away from over-thinking that one too much and marveled at how by the time that I found myself having finally 'arrived' to where I am... my goals have shifted, my thinking has shifted, what I want from life has shifted and sitting still enjoying the silence around me is so damn fulfilling it is hard to want to do anything else. Do not get me wrong here because there are plenty of things that I want to do, that I am working on and whatnot but the important part is my actual willingness to pause and take some time for myself and 'sort myself out' so to speak. Thankfully that has been a super under-whelming exercise without any real friction, stress or anxiety so mayhaps I am on the right track to becoming a healthier and even happier critter than I have ever been... or I am completely deluded and spiraling towards oblivion whilst being 'a okay' with it because contentment is just that damned important.

Ah, the hours are passing and it is getting towards evening now so I should get this wrapped up and do the weekly posting before I can procrastinate doing it until late in the evening. My whole schedule today is out of whack so I am not going to put to much pressure on myself because I know that would make things harder than they need to be and my little brain is already feeling fatigued after skewing my sleep cycle. For now I have to get geared up, get out in the rain and knock out all those chores that I slept through doing this morning.

Alright, all that stuff is done and it is now getting late in the evening which means I better get this edited before I run out of energy for the day! I hope that everyone is doing well and has a nice day/night.


I think these are a type of amanita.

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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Hi @jacobpeacock! Just dropping in for my yearly HIVE checkup. So glad to see you are still at both your homesteading as well as posting to the blockchain. Hope all is well with you. Will try to catch up on some of your older posts if HIVE draws me back in. :)