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Category: Rural and small-town living

Life far from freeways, Starbucks, malls, and other benefits/distractions

Behinder and behinder …

I apologize to all the people to whom I owe either thank yous or emails in general. In the best of times, I can be a slow correspondent, but right now a lot of Life is happening. Nothing bad, I promise. On the contrary. But extracurricular writing is taking up hours upon hours (surprising and pleasant hours) of my time. In between writings, The Wandering Monk and I have been working like hell to turn a quarter acre of weeds and trash into something resembling a real lawn. The Monk has been great, especially considering he’s laboring for free and…


We are about to venture Across the Street

I’m noodling one of those philosophical blogosauruses (blogosauri?). With luck that’ll be coming along soon. But Sunday, between rounds of making notes for that, Ava and I made an inspection tour of our property. (The land is hers as much as mine, as any four-legged critter that dares step foot on it quickly learns.) As we walked, Ava took advantage of the “facilities” and read her pee-mail while I drew plans in my head. Though The Wandering Monk and I aren’t yet done with the inside of the house, our attentions are starting to turn to the land and how…


Small-town vignettes

I check my rock garden plantings and find them still alive after five days. If I squint hard I can even imagine the little sedums and Alyssiums are actually growing. Definitely none are gasping their last. It’s a miracle! Life in these fecund boonies might make a gardener of my black-thumbed self yet. Even my one dry, brown, bedraggled clearance-sale tomato plant has exploded into a giant green wonder, filled with new blooms and one actual fruit (after deer or some other critter tiptoed through in the night and stole all the original ones). I’ve lopped stray branches from skinny…


Suddenly summer projects

Recent summers have been heavy with house projects, from tearing down walls to building up rotten foundations, from installing new doors to laying patio blocks. Not so much this summer. After a spate of small indoor spring projects … nada. The last nine days, though. Whoof! On Monday the 5th the big rock garden began to form. It was finished on Sunday, then the very next day the tree guys turned up to begin taking out rotted and dangerously leaning trees. Here are pix of it all. This (above) is the house as of Friday. Rocks in place, but not…


Practical freedom tip #432: Teach your children

Part of this week’s wall-building endeavor involved a lawnmower-powered hoist. Like so: Yeah, it looks cumbersome, but it was surprisingly productive and cut the projected time for the job by a full day. The hoist was The Wandering Monk’s work, but powering it with the riding mower was the brainstorm of his minion, a 14-year-old boy from my neighborhood. The mower belongs to his family. When the guys were wrapping up, I requested, “Please ask your mom or dad if I can reimburse them for use of the mower, or at least replace the gas we used.” “Oh, they don’t…


Shift happens

About a week ago I walked under Ava’s overhead dog trolley and it brushed the top of my head. My head is not eight feet above the ground, where the wire is supposed to be. Thinking the wire had slipped loose or stretched, I took my little wrench over to the tree where it’s anchored, figuring to tighten things up. I ended up tippy-toeing carefully away. The only thing keeping that tree from tipping into my house is the branches of the (fortunately strong) old cedar tree it fell into. No surprise, really. The tree (an ash maybe? I’m not…



I get a little high-flown and abstract at times, but freedom practicalities still remain … Here, courtesy of friend JW, is a thoughtful (and not what you might expect) piece on permaculture from John Mosby at Mountain Guerrilla. And via Greg Ellifritz, here’s a variety of advice on what to do about those negligent relatives who “joke” that they don’t have to prep because they’ll just show up at your house when TSHTF. Finally, Vox takes on EDC. Of course, Vox being Vox, they’re more interested in their suspicion that “the EDC community” is sexist than they are in the…


Tuesday links

  • Private business doesn’t need more laws and regulations to deal with pollution.
  • Peter Thiel (who knows something about the CIA, being rather cozy with it), sez the CIA and FBI should investigate Google. Maybe somebody should investigate the FBI, the CIA, and pseudo-libertarian agent of the uber-state Thiel.
  • Just out yesterday: Five good habits to dramatically reduce your chances of dementia (even if you’re genetically predisposed). 5 Comments
  • Lookin’ out my back door

    For anybody who wonders why I live here … … that’s 12 feet from my back door. Of course, sometimes the vegetation does get carried away. Between morning glory, ivy, alder saplings, and the omnipresent blackberry vines, you can almost watch the grow-y things growing. Summer may not be sunny, but it’s one long struggle to keep plants from taking over plants. This is what that big fern in the right foreground looked like 10 minutes before I took the above shot, being strangled and consumed by morning glory tendrils: Beautiful, cannibalistic vegetation. We have everything a rain forest has.…


    Walls, vegetation, and motivation

    One day last week, I couldn’t bear being inside my house or inside my own skin. Normally, solitude is joy, but there are certain days — and I’ve had a lot of them, this gloomy spring and summer. I wish I could tell you I get through such times by meditating or some other spiritual practice worthy of a true hermit. Ha. Truth is, at the itchiest of those moments the only cure is to escape from the hermitage. And usually to shop. Oh, not for designer shoes or fancy clothes, unless I can get them from a thrift store.…