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Posts Tagged ‘homesteading’


Winter finally dumped its load and now everything is pristine white. A heavy, wet and sticky blanket of snow.  The beginning of a 6 month period of plowing roads. shoveling roofs, lugging wood and trudging snow.

At times I wonder…

On the flip side, there is such a silence.  During the recent storm, there was very little activity out on the main dirt road.  Besides not being plowed, people stayed home.  Smart people…unlike all the dumb shits I have been reading about lately….

One of the things I did to maintain what is left of my sanity was to stop watching and listening to the national news.  I do keep up with print, but even then the media needs to be used like salt.  A pinch here, a pinch there.  There is very little I take for honest truth when it comes to reporting all the crazy shit going on today.  I hear about right wing conservatives, left wing socialist democrats, elected leadership (and I use that term very loosely) and see how lost and inefficient they have become.  I hear about all the snowflakes who’s need for a “safe place” outweighs growing a pair.  Violence, ignorance and apathy seems to have over flowed and drowned the traits of common sense, moral decency and honor.

Am I cynical?  After watching the spiraling down of social norms for the past 60 years, fucking right I am  Does my cynicism overshadow all the positives in my life?  Not in the least.  It is what it is…

But I digress…back to the white shit.

Now, I have the temporary opportunity to romanticize the images of falling snow, the dead quietness of the mountain and the solitude winter affords.  To sit and watch the flame shadows dance and to enjoy my hot coffee without interference.  I figure by springtime I will have either become one with this mountain or batshit crazy.  Time will tell.

I do know that the plowing, shoveling, lugging and trudging will become damned old, damned fast.  No matter how much spin I give it, winters are long, cold and dark.  Good for vampires.  For me…not so much.

So, here’s to now….

 

 

 

 

 

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I am working harder now, than I have for years. It feels good. Began clearing brush and inspecting the woodlot. Also began realizing I am not all that young anymore. And sadly, it won’t get any better… As they say….”It is, what it is.”

There are advantages of living remotely, besides the peace and quiet from the rat race one experiences here in the woods.  There is also a learning curve involved.  It takes time to shed all the drama, noise and routines of everyday life that one has lived for decades. This is all the shit you carry with you along that road.  This shit needs to disappear.

The one important thing I learned is to not let your work identify who you are. One’s work is just a temporary extension of a multi-faceted lifestyle. If you do not separate your work from who you are, there will be a sense of loss once you retire. Just be forewarned…

Another benefit…or not… of solitude is the opportunity to engage your brain into a new level of thinking. Not that superficial brain activity that people do to get through the day, but something slower…deeper…more tangible. Thinking that asks pertinent questions of one’s self. Thinking may elicit moments of regret, or melancholy or bring a smile, a sense of accomplishment or a feeling pride in that you lived a good life as a good person. Here one can get a deeper sense of who one really is.  It is a time to unclutter and rid oneself of all that shit I carry, make choices of priorities and reconnect with my environment. It is a place and time to truly enjoy the awesomeness of mother nature and to give thanks to all the gifts one is given throughout one’s life. I have many…people I still carry in my heart and mind, a great family, many good friends and life accomplishments. The latter being something that validates the importance of our existence within our own minds…

Hiked up the back acres to mark trees for next year’s firewood and stopped to check on the well. Three tiles deep (12′ deep)and spring fed. The well is almost an 8th mile from the cabin and sits at a much higher elevation…hence, gravity feed water system. Clean spring water and no pump….

Spent the last week cleaning 40 years of grime off the log cabin and barn. Once cleaned and dried, the sealer went on, followed by new chinking. Chinking is an ongoing process, but I will have it done before winter. There is nothing major for projects, other than felling next years firewood.

The gardens are ready for next year’s planting and in a few weeks, I will be preparing all the flowerbeds for winter. I still need to power up the workshop so to be able to work out there during the winter months. The forge is in and working, and I am now scrounging scrap steel to practice the art of the blacksmith.

 

 

 

 

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For as many years as I can remember, my one constant was believing that one day, after I retired from the rat race, I would spend my days sitting on my porch, listening to the wind songs and staring contentedly at the mountains.  I even used this scenario in the groups I facilitated, designating this dream as my (for lack of a better term) “happy place.”

I finally retired.  Now, as I sit on my back porch, somewhere in the mountains in New Hampshire, I am still in awe and wonderment that I ever made it.  The quiet peacefulness is beyond awesome, the sounds of nature; inspiring and the view….

There are somethings that I should have realized when moving into the mountains.  Things like chinking the log cabin, prepping the gardens for winter, putting up several cord of firewood to keep myself from freezing and putting in a good supply of food stuff…just in case I can’t get into town.  The Farmer’s Almanac says it will be a bitter winter season with above average snow.  Average here is about 100″.  Enough to make things interesting.  Bring it on….I am finally home…

 

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“Every spirit builds itself a house; and beyond its house a world; and beyond its world, a heaven. Know then, that the world exists for you. For you is the phenomenon perfect. What we are, that only can we see. All that Adam had, all that Caesar could, you have and can do. Adam called his house, heaven and earth; Caesar called his house, Rome; you perhaps call yours, a cobler’s trade; a hundred acres of ploughed land; or a scholar’s garret. Yet line for line and point for point, your dominion is as great as theirs, though without fine names. Build, therefore, your own world.”
― Ralph Waldo Emerson

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Well, it has happened again. The stars aligned themselves and all the pieces fell effortlessly into place. These opportunities materialized so quickly and unproblematically that I am still waiting for the hammer to drop out of the sky. You see, I am returning to the Black Hills. This area has always called to me and it is time to return….again….for the 3rd time. 2 great things happened. The first, I was offered a position that I had applied for and I was also given the opportunity to become care taker of a small ranch in the southern hills.

Now, being the care taker only involves, at present, making repairs and clean up. Only next year will the crops go in and the real work begins. I have missed eating fresh vegetables and fruits. It has been much too long and I am very much looking forward to homesteading again. For my sins, I also inherited a female companion to keep me company. She is an Australian Shepard that will need some coaching on what the words “come” and “sit” mean.

Some of the additional benefits, other than being in the back country where the local livestock consist cattle, horses, deer and elk, is the fact that there is no cell phone service, no internet service and no cable TV service. The closest store is 12 miles north or 16 miles southeast. I can not see my neighbors and I doubt I will even hear them.

I sat there the other afternoon, dog at my feet, and listened. No sounds of traffic. Only the sounds of the wind through the pines, the screech of a hawk and the grass dancing in the warm breeze. Sunset came and went with a fiery whisper and the night closed in, bringing with it the coolness of the high altitude. So, being remote, my access to posting will be limited, but I think many of my ramblings will involve the happenings here at my new home…. Tranquility at its grandest…. 

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