Category Archives: Homesteading

Running Around Bare-Assed Naked – Visitors, Telescopes and Determination

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

Yesterday afternoon I was sitting outdoors reading Mitcheners, The Bridges at Toko-Ri [a truly bizarre piece of twisted logic intended to explain why the US was fighting a war in Korea nobody understood] wearing nothing but a pair of shoes.  Nobody much comes here, but I heard a vehicle on the hill, glanced up and saw a truck making its way down.  Ran indoors and slipped on a pair of trousers, still zipping up and pulling my galluses over my shoulders when the newish neighbor pulled up in front of the cabin.

Which has happened occasionally since he moved up there.  Something just to get used to, me being a guy who ain’t interested in what neighbors think of me if they have to use binoculars or come unexpected to get around to thinking it.

We talked a while, had a pleasant visit, and he left without commenting on the fact he’d probably gotten a forbidden view of my almost 70 year old traffic stopping bod.

But this morning when I logged on and glanced through the daily digests of Yahoo Group posts I came across this posted yesterday on the “Not Your Usual Goat” list:

Re: OT: Zillow
 
Fri Jun 29, 2012 9:33 am (PDT) . Posted by: “Cheridehart” thumber_smiget
I am to open to even consider going out nude more or less even in my nighty
. We are to open for that . Even with the neighbors on the next 20 acre lot
We are in farm land area my place was a wheat field at one time what trees
I have around the house I planted . I was adjusting the telescope one day for the hubby for sky watching and
focused in on a house going up on the hill side say about 25 miles away . I
did not think anything of it it was being built did not know someone was
staying there had not seen any one . Had hubby check it out if I had it set
for him okay it was a little blurred for me he wears glasses . Well when he
looked the guy was taking a shower in the garage part of the place right
where I had it pointing Hubby ask me if I was spying on the neighbors and
how many times have I watched him shower . I told him for now on he can
adjust it for him self from now on I am sticking to my own scope which is
pointed a Venus at the moment be going back to the moon soon . We have very
few out side lights so makes for a very good night sky watching around here
Can not believe how may satellites are up their blinking there way across
the skies. The last three good sky events we have had we where so clouded
could not see anything. Cheri
Led me to consider the big house someone built on the ridge about 10 miles away from here, which I watched them build through a telescope.  As it happens, I shower outdoors every day pouring gallon orange juice jugs of water warmed by sunlight over my head.  Direct line of sight from the big house on the ridge.
 
Got me wondering whether Cheri might be up there looking at my private stuff through a spyglass pretending I’m Venus.
 
Which I ain’t.
 
Maybe I need to start keeping one hand over my crotch.
 
Old Jules
 
Afterthought:  About The Bridges at Toko-Ri
Paraphrased
 
Navy Task Force Admiral character:  “No, this war isn’t necessary.  We could let them have it [read, let the North Koreans have Korea].  But what would we give them next?  Japan?  Hawaii?  California?  Besides, it’s honorable.”
 
Soon-to-be-dead fighter pilot:  “I’ve got to do this because the bastards shot down a guy I admired while he was directing fire on their advancing troops.  I can’t let my buddies down.  Wouldn’t be honorable.”
 
Soon-to-be-dead helicopter rescue pilot:  “I do it because I hate communists.  I’m a gutsy guy.  Not some coward.”
 
Weepy wifee of soon to be dead fighter pilot:  “I was against the war, didn’t want my hubby killed.  But I changed my mind after the Admiral explained why it’s necessary.  Now I’m okay with it, though I still whine and weep.  Now I whine and weep in a noble, more courageous way.”
 
 
 
 
 
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Divine Intervention – A Blossom Fell

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

I was relaxing in a camp chair just before dusk yesterday when the Coincidence C0ordinators gave me a nudge to remind me my priorities are too much anchored in the chicken, cabin, drainage issues recent past.  The bachelor roosters were loose for their afternoon free range and my attention was directed to making certain neither of them sneaked off to bloody TGSB.

KERWHUMP!

Suddenly a few feet away I had an oak tree poking into my affairs.  The chickens were going crazy running every direction, guinea-mania drowning out the chicken-panic, me just trying to fathom what I was seeing.

Turned out one of the remaining trunks of the oak that fell on the roof of the storage building a while back decided to put the squeeze on the Bachelor Rooster Containment Center.

Spang blocked off the chute between the pen and the night fortress, raising all manner of questions about protected places to house the roosters for the night.

But more importantly, forced the awareness that this cabin, all the storage buildings, even the main chicken pen, surrounded by dying oaks waiting to fall on something important.

Nobody got crushed in this one.  The cats were well away, even I was far enough out of reach so only a few leaves and a bit of dust got to me.  But I’ve got lots of trees and not-all-that-many cats.

I pondered it all last night for a considerable while.  If that tree had come down on me there’d have been a lot of hungry, thirsty chickens and felines lying around with Xs over their eyes before anyone got around to wondering how long it had been since they’d seen me and why.

And the fact is, even though I’m a fair-hand at the one-man-band act, I can’t figure any way in hell to bring a lot of these potential crushers down in a way that doesn’t include them falling on the cabin roof.

So I did a lot of weighing and juggling what I ought to be thinking and doing.  Concluded I first need to scout around for a home for the chickens.  The lady who runs the Habitat For Humanity Thrift Store has a lot of free rangers, along with some goats and two dogs to protect them all.

I reckons I’ll be talking to her next time I’m in town to find out whether she might give them a home.

Meanwhile, maybe put up a tent out in the meadow for summer sleeping until I can feel some confidence the tin roof won’t be sleeping beside me if I snooze indoors.

When I left New Mexico a lot of the reason I felt pressured to do it was the fact of a roof arguing in favor of collapse and an 18 inch adobe wall looking for an excuse to fall.  If Gale hadn’t offered the use of this cabin I’d have had to find a lot less wholesome place than this before the snow flew.

Back to square one, thinks I.

Old Jules

The Great, Great Speckled Bird

The Great Speckled Bird: Respecting our Betters

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

A few years ago when I had a lot larger flock of chickens a pair of fox-critters killed over half of them in the space of two days.  The second day I heard another chicken-drama taking place, grabbed the nearest long-gun and ran out to investigate.

Confusion out there.  The hens were all huddled underneath cedars pointing at one another, hoping someone else would be selected by whatever had them scared.  But The Great Speckled Bird was out in the open, craning his neck, looking for the problem.  As I ran by, he joined me, then hopped out front.  He ran straight for a cedar tree about 30 yards from me.

A fox was under that cedar, saw the rooster approaching, probably saw me, as well, and turned to scurry away.  I quickly dispatched him a few yards into the escape.  At that point TGSB joined me as I examined the carcass, dancing, clucking excitedly.

I’d never heard of a rooster behaving hunting-dog, thought it was an anomaly.

But yesterday he strutted his stuff again, and he’s still got it.  Hens were acting about as before, one out in the open making a lot of fuss, though.  I looked out and saw TGSB running across the meadow for the henhouse.  I snagged the long-gun and headed out to find out what was happening.  Arrived about the same time as TGSB.

A glance inside the henhouse showed black feathers lying around inside.  Probably came from the Australorp raising the dickens initially.  But TGSB was clucking, rubbed my leg and I looked down.  He was dancing around the rear-end of a coon, hind legs and tail sticking out from under Battlestar Gallinica. 

I’m sure the coon didn’t realize any of it wasn’t hidden, and I’d never have seen it if TGSB hadn’t pointed it out.

Battlestar Gallinica, the US Space Program, and Fluid Reality

Having resolved the coon issue, I just paused, drew a deep breath and admired him for the ten-thousanth time.

Some of you have wondered why I keep an old, crippled, useless rooster around.  I’ll confess, TGSB is the reason I keep the hens around.

Old Jules

Clean Underwear and Couscous – One Dose Addictions

Clean Underwear and Hard Times

Hi readers.  Thanks for the visit.

It’s been almost a year since that old Kenmore dropped into my life. 

I hate to think I’m becoming addicted to modern conveniences, but here’s my back yard today.  It’s been and is still a blessing I have to stop and take a deep breath when allow myself to appreciate it fully, the gestalt, I mean.

I never found a wringer, so there are tricks to it I’ve gradually learned, and will gladly unlearn sometime if I ever locate a wringer at the right price.

In some ways that qualifies as a blessing associated with the whole hauling-water experience.  A person finds himself experimenting with all manner approaches to personal cleanliness honing down the amount of water required.  For instance, it’s actually about 1/3 gallon less water than the pump-up insecticide sprayer to shower using one-gallon orange juice jugs left out in the sun.  Just pouring enough to wet down, scrub down, and rinse.

I’d actually be about a gallon cheaper if I cut my hair, which I’ve considered because the water required to rinse shampoo out afterward.  But my hair hasn’t been cut since Y2K and I hate to bust into a winning streak taking chances of that sort.

But I wanted to tell you about couscous.  I’d never heard of the stuff, but at the HEB store they offered a package coupon deal including it.  Bought a bag of farm raised fish filets imported Vietnam, got all manner of other things free.

Got out my magnifying glass to make sure it didn’t have MSG in it, then eventually made myself fix it.  Herbal chicken couscous.  Doctored it up with ginger and curry, chopped some onion into it, added chopped jalapeno.

Sheeeeeeeze that stuff’s good.

Instant addiction.  Next time I’m in town I’m going to see what it costs.  If it’s reasonable I think I might find myself chowing down on couscous a couple of times a week.

Old dog, new tricks, instant addiction.

So it goes.

Old Jules

Controlling Complications with Simpler Opinions

“However, we must not save humanity from the future right now. It is simply too soon for such a drastic measure. We should wait a while first. We can always save humanity from the future later.”
 
 
 Me:  “So, what to do today.  Any suggestions, Ms. Shiva?”
 
Shiva:  “You might consider doing something about that damned well.  You’ve been hauling water eighteen months now. “
 
Me:  “That would have been an operable approach fifteen, sixteen months ago.  Right now I’m holding it in abeyance.  That future took an exit back at mile marker 2011.5, roughly.”
 
Shiva:  “Okay.  I suppose that makes sense.  No point dragging anything off the shelf to fill in the gaps of what you aren’t going to be doing today.  Plenty of other, more immediate stuff not to do.”
 
Me:  “I’ve got some fairly complicated near-certainties I’ll be plugging away at if I can’t find some reason not to.  But the reason needs to be something that holds up under scrutiny.  Something I probably might have done, needed doing.  Not just a rabbit I pulled out of a hat to use as an excuse not to follow the mandates of my compulsions, my daily complication rituals.  Damn I have a hard time not making myself do that some days.”
 
Shiva:  “You’re definitely showing signs of breaking down under the strain.”
 
Me:  “Yeah, I know.   I’ve got all this crap to do and don’t even know how much time I have to get it done.  Hell, I could die just about any time from now until some other time.  If I had a better idea when I’m going to kick I could plan better.”
 
Shiva:  “We cats would feel better about that, too.  If you’re going to outlast us we’re all agreed the chances would be improved if you could keep a clear head about things.  It’s a concern to all of us.”
 
Me:  “Okay.  I’ll think about it.  Maybe I’ll spend the day planning.”
 
 Old Jules

1977 C60 School Bus – Idle Musings

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

Some of you made some good, helpful comments about the last post, and although that bus might never come into my life, my mind’s insisting on playing with the associated problems.

Insofar as the matter of cooling for summer driving, I’m thinking ram-air venturi.  A hole cut at the question-mark, flange installed with a megaphone-like air-catcher-compressor expanding inside the bus.  Water misted from a pressurized pump-up insecticide sprayer as the air expands as it’s released inside the bus.  Rear windows open to pull the cooler air backward through the length of the bus.

I’m thinking for cooling the bus as a dwelling, a thermal syphon arrangement pulling air from the shaded area under the bus, releasing it along the floor, the hole for the venturi open and the windows cracked at the top to pull the cooler air upward from the floor. 

Maybe some sort of misting device inside the bus, also.

I use those pump-up insecticide sprayers anyway for showering now, today, and that one would serve that use when the bus is parked as living quarters.  I’d cap the hole with a PVC cap when the venturi wasn’t in use, weather was cold, or it was raining.

As for heating it winters, I’ve got a number of ideas, some as strange and unlikely as these.  But the cats and I are used to living cold and hard.  What’s bare minimum for us isn’t likely to be much warmer than our ancestors spent their lives living with, uncomplaining.

For cooking meals while driving down the highway I’ll install one of those enclosed propane grilles to sit atop the engine, use waste-heat from the engine to do the cooking, pull it out when I’m ready, slow-cooker-like.  There’s plenty of room under the hood for a cooker capable of handling a banquet.

There’s an old propane refrigerator from a camper I gave Gale 30-40 years ago stored up there I posted a picture of here on an earlier entry, which I’d install.  Those AC shelves will work well, I thinks, as a means of running water lines, gas lines, and electrical wiring.  Out of sight, out of the way, but accessible.

A couple of propane burners on a platform and a Coleman stove oven might be the solution for somewhere to prepare food while camped if I don’t cook outdoors.

I’m thinking LED lighting, assuming I can find it at the right price.

Those pump-up insecticide sprayers are surprisingly useful for all manner of unlikely purposes.  Good for washing dishes, rinsing dishes, showering, all in a severely water-saving mode.  Heat the water, fill one with soapy water, another with clear water, you’re in business.

Thanks for your interest and comments.

Gracias, Jules

Real Smart Cookies, Hermits and Shadow Cats

I’m having a rough time gearing up to do any outside work and my brain’s too fuzzy to try sorting out the maze of computations and comparisons on the offline comp.  I’ll be able to clear my conscience in a little while by waving the bloody flag at some other shadows, but for the moment I’m at loose ends.

A couple of days ago I was sitting in the swing bench hanging out of a dead tree when I heard a vehicle approaching down the hill.  Almost never happens, this is maybe the second time in several years, except Gale, who honks at the top of the hill as he approaches.  Simple country courtesy to a guy who’s made no secret of the fact he often runs around buckassed naked except for a pair of shoes during hot weather.

Me, since summer’s not hardened into anything desparate yet, sitting on that swing in a pair of jockey short skivvies and tennis shoes.  Naturally the sound of an approaching vehicle made me want to dress up a bit for who the hell ever it might be.

If this were December, no problem.  I’d have been spiffy as hell, ready with a joyful tapdance.  Or if they came by air later in the summer, maybe an orange jump suit.

So, I ran indoors, threw on my cleanest pair of work-dirty britches, hoisted up my galluses and re-emerged on the porch in time to see the new neighbor pull up in front of the cabin.  Likely just bored and felt like talking to someone a while.  He’s not used to living in a place where people don’t necessarily seek out company with any frequency, don’t yearn to fill the gaps of self-conversation with answers to the question, “What is this thing?” referring to a maze of wires, coils, magnets connected to a solar collector, a parabolic dish and radioesque antenna stretched across the meadow.

And not knowing what to make of the answer, “I ain’t saying!”

But we sat a couple of hours, anyway, pleasant hours, talking about this and that.  Heavy equipment.  Land.  Animals.  How many different big machines he’s got up there and how well they do the jobs.  How it was in Korea when he was there in 1959 compared to how it was when I was there in 1963.

During which time his dog slinked in, hair standing on end, bristling.  The dog got loose up at his place and  followed him down here, turned out.  He got up, scolded it gently and put it in the cab of the truck.  I didn’t learn until later during the head count when I put the chickens in the fortress that one was missing.  The Communist Americauna hen.

He’d come down here once before, you might recall, immediately after he bought the place, and we talked briefly.

Fact is, he and I are both so hard of hearing it’s fairly obvious each of us is mostly only hearing our own half of the conversation.  Which is probably why he came to visit, I reckons.  More personable than talking to a television set or radio.

Old Jules