Category Archives: Homesteading

Tequila sunrise

Hi readers. Thanks for coming by for a read this morning.

Old Ms. Niaid managed to off Brother Rattler without any consequences evidently, so she’s going to have to find something else to flesh out her life experience, I reckons. Her long hair’s growing back from the sheep shearing when the hot weather hit, and it’s filling up with beggar’s lice and grass burrs, which might serve to fend off whatever’s around here dangerous to aging bachelorette felines.

Ms. Tabby, on the other hand, has a nose and front-of-her-face of the usual Tabby-summertime variety. Can’t keep her nose out of cactus, or out of the business of something capable of adding color and romance to an otherwise nondescript Tabby face. I’m thinking when we get out of here she might turn out to be a regular-looking cat.

I decided yesterday I’m going to add mothballs to that storage building to get those rattlers out where they can enjoy life instead of bickering and snarling inside that dark storage building. Can’t tell when someone’s going to want something else out of there and the anxiety level trying to find it ain’t worth not stepping on a snake some night going from the RV to the cabin to check my email.

Today I’m going to nurse the Escape Route V 2.51 into Kerrville on three tires on back and have the two blown ones replace with respectable 10 ply exceptions to the rule. Provided the spare on the ground right-rear doesn’t decide to blow the plan. I’ll try to take back roads and get the roadwork done early before the pavement gets too hot.

Keith emailed me a while back he’s planning to be in New Mexico late August or September, and I’m going to tentatively plan on getting out to visit while he’s in the area. Hopefully by then everything will be settled out here and I’ll be able to think of out-there as home for a while.

Maybe get me a nice little piece of ocean-side ground on the east, or west coast of New Mexico, once all the damned ice goes away and raises sea-level to a reasonable altitude. 4000′ mean sea level might be about right. Maybe the cats and I will open a little bait shop on the west coast near where Arizona used to be. Or maybe rig a surfboard and hang ten mornings after we pray the sun up.

I figure the west coast will probably be less jam packed with Arizonians than the east coast will be with Texans because those Texans already all go to New Mexico deliberately to ski and gamble at Ruidoso and Angel Fire. Arizonians and Californians never go to New Mexico deliberately unless they’re just going through it to get somewhere else.

By the time they wake up and discover they’re living in a salt-water swimming hole I’ll have things nailed down on all the corners, wave to them as they swim to shore, or ride in on their bass boats. Sell them some bait, maybe.

Big plans for the future here.

Old Jules

Pore old Brother Rattler

Hi readers. Thanks for coming by for a read.

Gale had a hip replaced recently, and he’s doing the recovery routines. Called me a few days ago asking me to search around in one of the storage buildings for a wheel chair and walkers stored in there somewhere. I used to store chicken feed in there and hadn’t looked inside much after I got rid of the flock.

So I opened the door and began clearing away all manner of things before the first rattler announced himself, followed by another somewhere on the other side of the path I was creating. I moved something else and a third, maybe a fourth kicked in to the orchestra.

I tippee-toed around and carefully got the wheel chair and walkers out without anything attaching itself to my leg, called him to let him know it’s all down here where it can be picked up. We discussed the plethora of rattlers, how to get them out of there. And whether I actually wanted to get them out of there before I’m ready to hit the pavement.

On reflection, I like them a good bit better in there than outdoors where they can get underfoot. My thought is I’ll leave them to themselves for a while if they’re happy there. When the time comes he can run them out with mothballs or ammonia. He’s thinking he’d like to try forcing them out the hole they came in and have people standing around to shoot them as they emerge. Which I want no part of. I mostly have no argument with pore old Brother Rattler. If he’ll leave me along I’m content leaving him alone, tending his own affairs.

However, half-hour ago I was inside the RV when Niaid announced she’d come on prey, or caught something. I looked out the screen door and watched her leap on something in the weeds. Quicker than I can tell it she had a 3 foot rattler in her mouth dragging it toward the RV, meowing out the sides of her mouth as she came.

Brother Rattler was still trying to grasp the fact he was dead, his head and neck squashed. Squirming and wiggling between her forelegs as she brought him to show off.

I’m keeping a close eye on her. No way of telling yet whether she was bitten, but she seems okay. Not favoring any body parts.

Life in the big city, I reckons.

Old Jules

New Mexico Farmer Nomads Circuit Community

Hi readers.  I posted this on the Intentional Communities website.  http://www.ic.org/

http://directory.ic.org/24101/New_Mexico_Farmer_Nomads_Circuit_Community

Figured I’d run it up on the flagpole and see if anyone salutes:

New Mexico Farmer Nomads Circuit Community

New Mexico Public Lands, New Mexico
 Proposed [forming]migratory community to occupy BLM and National Forest lands with water available capable of growing food crops. Members would occupy each site and tend gardens 14 days maximum to stay within BLM and USFS regulations, then rotate to another community site at least 25 miles away, replacing another rotatee[s] who’s been tending the garden there.
 
No permanent structures are allowed on these multi-use BLM or USFS public lands, though if, say, a mining claim is filed [a cheap, easy means of establishing certain legitimate, defined rights of occupation], a storage for ‘tools’ building is allowed.
 
Members will need to be willing to live in tents, RVs, campers, or converted school bus shelters while occupying the sites.
 
The only reason ‘community’ is an issue is to assure crops get planted and tended at each site through the growing season, and because of the 14 day occupation limit per site.
 
Some rules regarding wood cutting, site cleanup and maintenance, and waste disposal will be needed, along with a rotation schedule for each member unit.
 
My thought is that if there’s sufficient interest in this alternative lifestyle it should begin before spring planting, 2013.
 

You just never can tell until you try, I figures.

Old Jules

Slab City, California – An Impromptu Community

Good morning readers.  Thanks for coming by for a read this morning.

I’ve been getting some fascinating emails for the past couple of days, maybe from one of the readers here, maybe from one of the Toyota RV forums I’ve been visiting to learn about problems and solutions encountered by others who have more experience with this particular method of escaping reality.

I retired in 02. A friend happened to see a little clip about the slabs on TV one night and told me he had just heard about a place that he thought I’d like. I googled it and agreed. A couple weeks later I loaded up my old 1971 Volvo 144 and left Tennessee for the slabs. I spent a magic 10 days out there living under a bush on a hammock. Meeting people who were, like me, searching for adventure and fun. In that short time, I found everything that a man could want. And for the next 10 years I have returned again and again. I have spent winters out there in motorhomes and tents. It dosen’t matter. Every visit has been good.

 
There are several clubs on the slabs. I belong to the Oasis club. There is also the Traveling Pals Club and LOWS, Loners on Wheels Club. Everybody fits in somewhere. There is no mayor, There is no law. (The imperial county sheriffs and CHP do come onto the slabs if there is a problem.) There is an anarchy that functions, a collective justice system that operates that seems to do the job. If someone is behaving in a manner that is unacceptable, a group pressure will build and build until that person decides to change or to go elsewhere.

There is the Range, a magic spot on Saturday night where musicians come and people come and best of all it is free.A big party under the stars. It is hard to describe. When you are there and the music is playing and people are dancing and you just know that you are in the best place that you could be even if you could be anywhere else. Magic.

The 1 mile square abandoned military base that is the slabs has been settled in different areas. East Jesus, an art colony, is situated in the NE corner. The LOWS in on the opposite SW corner. There is a Canadian area on the south central side. After a while you will know it like a monopoly board. And wait until the first time you find yourself lost at night walking across the slabs in an endless maze of campers and cresote bushes. You will soon learn to recognize the local landmarks, the blinking lights on the towers in nearby Niland, or the lights of the prison located about 6 miles south of the slabs..

Many people hear of the slabs and drive into it for a look see. You can spot them a mile away. Eyes wide, windows up, they’ll circle a few “blocks” and then drive out, never stopping and speaking to a “local”. They can’t get by the the ultra casual dress “code” of the slabs, but appearances are misleading. There is no average person at the slabs. Everybody there is special with a story that is usually bigger than life. At night, by the campfires, the stories gradually materialize until you begin to know these individuals. And then you are hooked.

 
Just from the litle we’ve talked, I feel that you would find that you fit in there just fine. Its not perfect. There are some bad people there. Outlaws, fugatives. But you can be sure they are keeping a low profile. Amazingly, there are plenty of women there, too. Its really hard to describe, it would take a book, and it changes every year. We will be going out there again this winter (my new wife and I). This time we are going to rent a motor home that is parked out there and just drive our car out-which should save enough gas money to pay for the rental.

Oh ya, forgot to mention the nearby town, Niland. It has a lot of support for the winter campers. There are 2 stores in town, May’s that has about everything you might need. food, meat counter, beer and liquor, drinks, bread, toilet paper and even some hardware, and Mike’s Store, he has less but also has shorter lines. I go to them both. There are 3 restaurants in town. Balestero’s that serves great mexican food, and pretty good hamburgers. They also have a bar and a pool table. Across the street there is Uncle D’s Pizza Shop that also serves breakfast. And there is a new restaurant further North on rt. 111, Buckshot I think, that serves pretty good stuff. . There is a laundromat. And a flea market at the “fair grounds” that operates on the weekends. Vendors are moving through every so often so its good to run by there once in a while. There is also a public health building there that treats less serious medical problems. And a gas station that fills propane tanks, too.

8 miles south of Niland is a town names Calpatria. It has a library with internet, a donut shop, and a great hardware store. Also auto parts, and more. You will have to drive another 10 miles south to get to Brawley and the nearest walmart. You can get just about anything in Brawley, but if all else fails, another 10 miles south to El Cantro where I think you could find anything.
 

Being California, there are a million nearby things to do. trails to hike, roads to drive, hot springs to bask in. It just occurred to me that you might be more interested in this than my earlier description.

If the distance weren’t so great, the money so dedicated to various other priorities I’d be sorely tempted to spend some time there.  But Slab City’s 1250 miles from Kerrville, Texas.    At current gas prices I could spend half a months pension check getting there.  And there’s no telling what manner of bowling balls the Coincidence Coordinators would throw into the route to distract me along the way, have me taking all manner of routes elsewhere.

Old Jules

Slab City links:

http://www.dogpile.com/search/web?fcoid=417&fcop=topnav&fpid=27&q=slab+city%2C+ca&ql=

The Slab City Library entrance

Inside the Library

Internut Access

The Doooooowey Decimal System

Reading area

Teetering on the Brink of a New Era – May My Flock Decrease

A friend of Linda’s [the lady who runs the Habitat for Humanity Thrift Store in Kerrville] has agreed to take my flock of free-ranging chickens.  As well as Kay’s smaller flock.  He’s been taking care of Linda’s free-rangers when she isn’t home, lives adjacent to her, and Linda vouches for him being a responsible person.

So it’s one more bug on the windshield of this old life, thinks I.

Sometime today he should be coming out to pick them up.   I’ve kept them caged so I’ll be able to catch them.

One small step for a man, one giant step for mankind, I figures. 

I’ll miss them, but you can’t take them with you, as the saying goes.  Once the Great Speckled Bird joined the Great Rooster Fight In The Sky things haven’t been the same around here anyway.  A lot of the joy that came with having the flock around went away, and the hens quit behaving themselves without him to keep them in line.

Old Jules

11:00 am addendum:  The birds are history, except for the silky rooster commie pictured above.  He got loose and I’ll never catch him today.  But a silky of his stature oughtn’t be too difficult to find a home for.  Everyone wants a chicken with his kind of class, thinks I.

Naked City in the Sticks

Good morning readers. Thanks for coming by for a read this morning.

I’ve resisted posting a blog entry about this incident a couple of days now.  Felt I needed to allow it to settle in my mind enough to think calmly and clearly about it.

I’ve explained before that the nearest property line is almost 1/4 mile away from here.  No line-of-sight to the nearest dwellings.  Woods, rough roads and rough country between here and the nearest neighbor.  Aside from Gale, no reason whatever for anyone to be anywhere near here, and Gale rarely comes, never without honking his horn at the top of the hill. [That bluelike speck right-of-center in the pic is the roof of the cabin.  The barely-visible white loop's the turnaround.]

Sooooo.  A couple of days ago I’d just finished my afternoon solar shower, poured a couple of gallons of water over my head for a soapdown shampoo and rinse out in the driveway.  Went inside to towel off and stepped back outdoors onto the porch to let the sun finish things off.

“DAMMITTOHELLSHIT!”

A cammie 4-wheeler with two people aboard was creeping by about 30 feet from the porch.  I jumped back inside to throw on some trousers and by the time I got back outside it was gone.  Not a sign of whomever I was wanting to throw rocks at and shout lectures about respecting property lines and the not-to-be-aspired-to human trait of nosy intrusion.

Because that 4 wheeler wasn’t coming down the driveway.  It came from the direction of the chicken house.  Nothing in that direction for another quarter-mile to the north property boundary fence. 

Even though that new neighbor’s got 90-odd acres for himself and his family to fart around on knocking down trees and blasting away with every caliber firearm ever invented, 90 acres just isn’t big enough when a man’s richer than 18 inches up a bull’s ass.  Got rich early enough to get thinking he could run over everyone in reach, bluff whomever he couldn’t buy outright.

When he was coming down here trying to get me to go on wages working for him I had a vague suspicion this was the kind of thing he had in mind, ultimately.  Getting a leverage in place so’s he could do anything he pleased.  He’d already described every property and house within sight of here in enough detail to suggest he’d explored already what was none of his business.  Described it without blushing, as though it was a given.

Sometime during those visits he was making down here I asked permission to haul water from his well up beside the driveway, and he’d given permission.  His water’s nearer than Gale’s from here, and the road’s better.  I’d done it once already.

But after this incident I’ll be going back to hauling water from Gale’s.  And the only thing I’ve got to say to him about what happened the other day:

“Stay the hell away from this part of Gale’s property and keep the kids and grandkids away from it when they’re visiting.  One of the rare positive stereotypes about Texans is that they respect property lines.  Where the hell did you grow up?”

Says he reads this blog.  I hope he does.

Old Jules

Opposing Thumbs, Tools and the 21st Century

Hi readers.  You 21st Century people probably see this sort of thing every day, take it for granted.

If a person has a piece of land with too many trees on it the 21st Century’s figured out a way to get them off in a hurry.

All that old fashioned 20th Century stuff with chainsaws, backhoes, bulldozers and such seemed futuristic when compared to a double-blade axe and a span of oxen.  But opposing thumbs don’t sit still for inefficiency.

Enter:  The Tree Terminator.

He’ll run spang out of trees before he runs out of machine, I’m thinking.  But he’s got a rock rake he can put on it to pile up all the rocks exposed by the overgrazing cows, cutting out trees and general devilments of geology.  And once that’s done there’s probably an attachment to castrate goats and another to balance the check book.

The 21st Century don’t need no stinking badges.

Old Jules