Friday, February 26, 2010

Apocolyptic Winds at the Weekend's Precipace

When it gets windy, there's whispering and howling on our front porch. Tonite it's been screaming as we endure the up to 60-mph wind gusts. It is an eerie sound, and I am brought back to the movie, The Road, despite my complete desire not to go there. But if I do, I want more shotgun shells and a cool shotgun bandolier/scabbard for the weapon.

Who am I kidding? I want thay anyway.

I've been following the political-economic situation uber-closely for months. Probably too closely. I should probably spend my time being more productive. One thing I cannot quite get over is how back in late 2007, the media kept asking the question "Are we in a recession? (x1000)" when the average American was living way high on the hog. They were trying to do their part to fabricate the crisis we already in, not that we needed any help. But you hear what I'm saying. The economy was hopping, but they wanted Armageddon on Bush's watch.

I just wanted to get that off my chest. Moving along...

I am ready for Spring, whevever it decides to come. And speaking of springs, we have opted to invest in a Berkey Water filter soon in hopes that we will actually be able to drink our own tap water without grimacing. This means that my monthly jaunts to the spring down the road will now be only occasional, providing that the Berkey works as it should. I love the trip and all, but it's very time and gas consuming. It's also a therapeutic excuse to escape and go back to nature and was highly enjoyable. I may end up going back more often than I think, if I get withdrawl or something. We'll see.

Ok, this is just an early morning post to get the day started. I am a master procrastinator and should be finishing up my book, which = another shotgun and several cords of firewood. On that note, I better get going.

Over and Out,


Sunday, February 21, 2010

Timber Frames

I am presently reading The Timber Frame Home by Tedd Benson. This book is terrific, but not light reading. Benson is a part-poet, designer, and builder who argues convincingly about the awesomeness of timber frame homes: their sturdiness, architectural appeal, and longevity. He introduces the novice to the numerous facets of design and nomenclature, and in doing so, brings the craft to life.

Presently, I am dreaming about adding a modest addition to our house, which will increase our home's living area and give us room to grow. Our house is cozy and we love it, but eventually we'll need more space. I am planning now so that we can work towards something that is not only functional, but hopefully beautiful.

The other side of this is that one day I would like to build a modest-size, cabin-syle house from scratch as an investment and then sell it. It would be small in scale, but beautiful. In fact, it is much easier to build from scratch than to work with an existing, imperfect structure, but that's another topic. A couple of custom houses and I think I could retire comfortably. But to be honest, I don't know where I'd find the time.

Speaking of which, I think I better get something done on our house...

Peace Out,


Monday, February 15, 2010

Wintry Musings

When it's all said and done, this has been a great--and I mean fantastic--winter.

There's something really special about being in the snow plastered mountains, particularly the Snow Covered Blue Ridge. I mean the mountains are excited. I had that feeling passing through Markham on I-66 on my way home two Thursdays ago. Their anticipation, if you can call it that, was palpable, even as the weathermen continually upped the snow fall amount by the hour. Anyway, my point is, the place is renewed, the way being bathed in snow can only renew you. Sounds weird, maybe, but if you ever played in a thunderstorm you know what I mean.

Out here we don't get a lot of snow, usually, so when the storm of the century arrives, it's really a major event. I also feel more settled into our home than we have ever been, and I am excited for our following years here. As we complete the infrastructure, it will be easier to kick back and enjoy the seasons. Maybe it's the snow, but I love it here and feel more a part of this place and this area than I ever have been. And that's saying something.

The last couple of days, despite the cold, which doesn't bother me that much provided I'm bundled well, I've made sure to get our snow dog out for a walk. She is more excited than I have ever seen her, too. I mean, this is the weather she was meant for and she just wants to roll around, snuggle, and worm her way into the powder. It's great to see her in her element. These dogs have an inner spirit that is so pure and true it's awe inspiring. Huskies are high maintenance, but it's because they are so completely alive.

This morning I had a particularly challenging time starting the fire. Last night, I had it cranking. All the lights were off, and sitting in front of this thing looking out the window to the sky, I could see most of O'Rion with his tell-tale belt sparkling through the tree. It was a supreme moment, and one of the reasons I love life in the hollar.

Peace Out,


Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Snowpocolypse 2010

So we've been getting slammed by the snow. Somewhere between 24-30 inches from the initial storm. As I write, the next storm is making landfall, bringing us another 8-20. We'll see. Mother nature is relentless this year. The Farmers' Almanac predicts snow every 4 days for the month of February. So far, they've been right. That feels kind of eerie, to be honest.

I've been snowed in as a consequence, since the Fed Gov't is closed and I run on its schedule. My main concerns have revolved around keeping us well-supplied and warm, not to mention dug out. This last includes the roof, which was a Herculean task even for a house as small as ours. Knowing that there would be roof collapses around the region due to the snow, I did not want to be on that list. I burned a lot of calories in the process and am grateful for my neighbor and his tractor for assisting with the driveway.

VDOT has done a great job with the main roads and with our road, though I believe someone in the neighborhood works for the state. That may have helped. The town's roads are still in piss-poor condition, making trips hazardous and slow.

Guns: I picked up some 2 3/4 rifled slugs yesterday, as part of my committment to keep the shotgun well-supplied, in addition to another box of .22. I will be purchasing a bandolier or two for shot shells in case I need to leave in a hurry. I have some money coming to me soon as well, and am considering creative ways to allocate it. I have an AR build I need to finish and need a scope for the rifle. Other considerations include an additional shotgun or Glock or Marlin Model 60. Given the recent re-appearance of .223 on the shelves, I am leaning towards finishing the AR and stocking up. So many guns too little money. Maybe I'll just buy a chainsaw instead.

Wood: In a month or two, I will be investing in 4 cords of hardwood for next winter. Four cords seems to be about right for a winter, with some to spare. I've found an awesome wood-source via craigslist and I've been really pleased so far, especially with the Ash. If I let it season an additional year, so much the better. It's one more thing off my mind, and if the SHTF, I'll be good on wood for a winter.

Garden: One of things that will be center stage this spring will be the focus on a garden of raised beds relatively close to the house. We are turning to Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds for our supply, as Southern Seed Exchange associates to closely with the left for our liking. Baker Creek is on the front line of fighting large corps. and providing people with the tools they need to maintain their own self-sufficient garden. Getting our garden mostly right this year is truly key. Once we've established a good mode of operation, it will be easier to continue from year to year. But right now we are starting from ground level to get this thing up and running. I look forward to it.

Chickens: Our other goal this year is to add chickens. The coupe may need to be re-worked, but I am largely confident in chicken ownership. I am considering a new .22, which I mentioned above, to keep out predators, such foxes and bobcats. An AR might do the job just as well, though.

There are other house projects after the bathroom on the horizon as well, but the above is the main focus. Once this stuff gets done and it's more just a matter of maintenance, it will be time to celebrate and continue on from there.

Over and Out,