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Closure With An Oak Tree

Yesterday I took a chainsaw and my pickup truck, and Marco and I went into the woods to cut up the oak tree that whacked me six weeks ago (to the day). I don't suffer cracked ribs gladly; in fact I'm a real wimp about malfunctioning body parts. As I've been moping around the past month, I decided I wanted that tree. I had a connection…
A few weeks ago, I rode my bike out to where the tree was, and piled branches on top of it so no other homesteader would see that here was a half years' supply of high quality firewood lying right there on the shoulder of the road.
It went perfectly. No rangers to stop us. I cut it up and Marco loaded it. It was a fine thing to do: we cleaned up the road; we've got oak to heat us this winter. As I explained to a ranger one day, this is a renewable resource, so that I'm not using non-renewable resources for heat, like coal to generate electricity, or oil or propane to run a furnace,
I'm going to slab out some 1 inch thick pieces, seal it, stick it, and clamp it to dry, then make a box, or a stool. Hey, I like the idea of a stool!

Mud and Magic in the Lagoon

Around 3 yesterday afternoon, I took my paddle board down to the channel and paddled back up into the lagoon. The tide was going out, and the water was about as warm as it gets, maybe 63°. Parked my board on this sandbar, stripped down, smeared black thick mud on every part of my body I could reach, then let the sun bake it in for a few minutes, then took 5-10 minutes to rinse off. Going back, I let the tide carry me along (plus ribs were not feeling too great). It was totally still, not a person within miles. A young egret with black beak and chartreuse (I kid you not!) legs was standing on the bank. I didn't move a muscle, just let the current carry me, and I got within 20 feet of him. Back at the dock, fisherman-surfer Andrew was tying up his boat, and loading 3 halibut into an ice chest. Then he jumped in the water and swam around for a bit. A magic afternoon.

Old Women Who Paint On Their Walls

This is from a piece on The Hermitage, blog of artist, clockmaker, and teller of tales Rima Staimes. The posting is called "Old Women Who Paint On Their Walls," and the women are in Finland, Sardinia, and the Ukraine. Rima's website is a rich mix. She and partner Tui live in a housetruck (at least did at one time), nomads on the road.

Tiny House Book Mojo

Professional book packagers would be aghast at the way I put together a book. Assemble material (photos and text) for over a year, store in file folders, then at certain point pull best material out and begin laying out a spread -- 2 pp. at a time. Random, no order. No plan or outline, no idea how things will fit together; just here the requirement that shelters be under 500 sq. ft.
It's a wild mix so far -- about 40 pages roughed out -- and the book has now got its first trace of a mojo workin.

Book starting to run through my mind all the time. I've read how novelists get into a thing where they (authors) are just transmitting what their characters are telling them. Or maybe it's muses at work. It feels a bit like that now, a natural process, a seed growing. Exciting! This is the best part of my job, watching all this unfold.

Long-Haired Country Boy Rebuilds 1890s Log Cabin, Charlie Daniels Music


Roadkill Deer/Window-Bashed Quail/Homemade Bread/Wailing Souls

Yesterday I was driving over to a doctor's appointment (MRI scan of left knee). I spotted a dead fawn on the road along the lagoon. I didn't have much time. Parked, found the little critter, although stone dead, still warm. Tossed him in back of truck, got a bag of ice, did my over-the-hill chores, came home and gutted, skinned, and cut up the carcass into chunks which are now aging in the pantry and I'll cut up and freeze tonight. Tonight I'll have some of the liver, some of the heart and a kidney with a glass of red wine. Talk about win-win! 20 pounds of tender, flavorful, “organic,” meat, power-packed protein from what would in most cases rot and decompose.
MOREOVER, A few nights before, Mary brought over three dead quail that had crashed into her window. Heavens no, she couldn't think of eating them1 I cleaned, then stuffed them with onions, little olive oil, salt and pepper, baked at 450º maybe 15 minutes (maybe 10), had with salad, red wine, fresh baked bread still warm from oven.

This foggy morning, a flock of blackbirds in the Eucalyptus tree, singing their hearts out, a multi--tonal symphony, and now The Wailing Souls on Sirius reggae station doing "Oh, What A Feeling."
So I say Oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh
Oh what a feeling…
It's on Firehouse Rock, classic Wailing Souls album.

Mighty Hunter

The 6th mouse I trapped in about 3 days. I think this wipes out the family. BTW, you can mummify a little critter like this (or say a dead hummingbird, if you find one) by placing it on a pie plate in the freezer, wrapped in Saran wrap with air holes punched in it, and leave it for about two months. I learned this at a workshop on bones at The Bone Room, a great natural history store in Berkeley, Calif.

Note: they have invented a better mouse trap. The Ortho 0321110 Home Defense Max Press 'N Set Mouse Trap has a "bait well" that you fill with peanut butter, so the trap is sprung by mouse digging around in it; this solves the problem of mouse deftly removing bait without springing trap. Ortho also makes a rat trap with the same feature.

On the Beach on Labor Day

Shells, Skulls from Beach Last Night

Not sure about the big skull (which animal, that it). I'm going to bleach it in hydrogen peroxide. The seagull skull is a nice one, going to get it stripped down and bleach. I want to retain the yellow color of the beak. Most of the shells shown here are these thin translucent wafers. They have slight iridescence like abalone shell colors. I've strung them together to make windchimes. I don't know what they are, can't find them in our books on seashells.

Floating Cabins For Sale in British Columbia

Today I was laying out pages (in the tiny houses book) on a floating cabin on a lake in British Columbia. The story of the owners, Margy and Wayne Lutz and their cabin and ventures is at: http://powellriverbooks.blogspot.com/
While browsing the blog (which I love) I ran across a posting for 7 lakeside cabins for sale in BC, ranging from $80-299K
Below is as fixer-upper on its own island --$79,000. Do you want to get OUT THERE and are short on cash, high on energy? http://powellriverbooks.blogspot.com/search?q=mcleod

"…a land cabin on Powell Lake listed for $140,000 but now drastically reduced to $79,900. On its own island (currently leased from Crown/BC government) in picturesque Three Mile Bay, just 3 miles up the lake from the Shinglemill Marina by boat. It's an older cabin with a large kitchen and living room area. The floats do need work. What a perfect summer (or year-round) retreat great for swimming, fishing and just getting away. Large kitchen and living room area. For information contact Don McLeod at 604-485-2741, or e-mail at don@mycoast.ca or his website www.mycoast.ca."

On the Beach Yesterday Afternoon

Primitive Technology-Traditionl Skills and Handmade Tools

Great website Lew discovered, with tons of info: making bows and arrows, atlatls, flutes, a dugout canoe hollowed out from a redwood log, tanning hides, building an Ohlone tule house (San Francisco Bay tribe). Scroll down on right side to see all the subjects. http://www.primitiveways.com/

Internet Archive of Old Books, Movies, etc.

Bob Gagnier has sent me a bunch of good info over the past year. The latest:

Dear Lloyd,

I am sure you have heard of the Internet Archive. I send this to you on the odd chance that you have not. The site is a treasure trove of old books, movies, music, etc., all in the public domain. A link to the site is here: