Weekly Progress Report

The hammered shitness is quickly becoming ain’t shitness; meaning that it is dragging out and some days are really really bad. I’ll probably drag my ass to the doctor this coming week. It’s probably time for steroids or something. I can’t keep going on like this. It sucks.

Sunshine made it home from his out-of-town work Friday evening. It’s always good to have him home.

I did get an opportunity to have a nice conversation with Sunshine and Mr B yesterday, during which I had the chance to ask him about “the talk” that he has given Sunshine and myself. I asked him who was going to do stuff that he says Sunshine and I don’t have to do, because this is stuff that has to be done. He said that if the list of things that had to be done was too much for two people to do, then the list needed to be scaled back. If cutting the grass was too much of a task, then we needed to quit cutting so much of the grass. Sunshine said exactly what I was thinking–that we had put in so much effort to beat back the wilderness to create a space for living and playing and homesteading that we really couldn’t let it start encroaching again. Mr B thought that we had reached a decent compromise on it when he realized that we had given up on trying to weed-eater all the things and were just focusing on the immediate areas around the RV and house. Mr B has also been exploring investing in a tractor with some attachments/implements; now that there are people here full time trying to do stuffs, and more are soon to arrive, it makes sense to invest in a tractor now.

side note: I always figured he was coming from a place of love and concern with his “talk”, it was just nice to actually talk it through and make sure we truly did understand each other. We also wound up having this conversation in lieu of meeting with the guy who invented this new building process that we’re interested in as the gentleman wasn’t returning calls in spite of having an appointment with us. I’m hoping he’s ok.

This past week, Sunshine and his hunting buddies prepared a clearing on the big property for sowing a deer friendly assortment of grasses and such. Today, I went over there with Sunshine and we actually planted the seeds. We are all hoping for a productive deer season, and I was glad to be able to contribute toward bringing meat into our freezer, even if it was a very small and indirect contribution.

Sunshine and I got supplies together yesterday so that we could change out the straw in the nesting boxes in the chicken house today, and put up some stakes and lattice for the peas to start climbing. We will also be turning the compost heap while we are there adding the straw and poop from the chicken house.

Hopefully, the coming week will see some relief from the heat and humidity we’ve been experiencing. We’ve been averaging 15 degrees above our normal highs for this time of year, and when the humidity is factored in we’ve been hovering in the realm of peak summer heat. It’s brutal and it’s getting old and boring.

final note: Sunshine proposed. Sort of. Actually, what he said was “if we go get our marriage card, you’ll be eligible for the tribal non-citizen pharmacy program and we can take you to a primary doctor and get the medicine for your COPD through the assistance program”. I suppose that’s one way to propose. Whatever, it’s sweet that he’s willing to throw the “M” word out there to try and get me some help with my chronic illness. Now, I’ve just got to quit laughing at “marriage card”, because I have no clue where he came up with that terminology.

 

Sustainability and efficiency

As Mr B has been working toward moving out here full time, he has also been investigating ideas/options/techniques.

side note: Mr B’s insatiable curiosity is simultaneously one of the most endearing and annoying things about him. I totally get it, I’m always interested in learning new things. My mom said that even as a very young child, I was always questioning everything. However, Mr B’s curiosity means that we never know when plans will change because he has found something else that might be a better option. Thank heaven that recovery has taught me to just roll with it, no matter how unsettling change may seem. If we aren’t learning and growing, then we are stagnating and dying in ignorance or stupidity.

Sunshine and Mr B got to discussing geothermal climate control, which led Sunshine to look into it with renewed interest.

side note: the electric bill is killing us. As much as an RV does have a smaller carbon footprint by virtue of it’s lesser size than a mcmansion, it is still rather inefficient due to construction and the fact that it is essentially a giant car with the accompanying greenhouse effect. They are not well insulated as they are not intended for full-time year round living–unless maybe you’re getting one of those Triple E models built in Canada and insulated well enough to survive Canadian winters… which none of us is doing.

So Sunshine and I did a little digging into the paperwork on this magic bus and all of its components–like roof unit air conditioners. We needed to know how many BTUs these things are capable of pumping out so that we could convert that to tonnage so that Sunshine could figure out how much of a geothermal system we would need for the magic bus.

side note: maths. I’m glad Sunshine is good with them. The maths and I don’t get along without a lot of hard work with pencil, paper, and tutor. I digress…

Sunshine figured out how many linear feet of line we would need to put in the ground to heat/cool the magic bus based on how many BTUs these roof units pump out. Mr B was floored by the numbers, and commented that if those numbers were the case then this RV was not well insulated.

Thank you, Captain Obvious, but I’m pretty sure yours isn’t any better with it’s 9 more feet of length and three more slideouts and one more roof unit and a dark color paint job. Rant over. Love you, Mr B.

So Mr B has been researching different building techniques off and on over the course of this adventure. He’s looked into cob houses, earth ships, earthbag homes, tiny houses on wheels (THOWs), and etcetera. His original thoughts were that RVs and THOWs were the way to go because they didn’t increase the property value and property tax. Now he’s thinking that permanent structures built out of this new material he has discovered are the answer, as any increase in property tax will be cancelled out by savings on electricity and such.

So now, we are going to be meeting with the inventor of this new building material and process this weekend. Sunshine is coming off of a marathon of a production masonry job, so he isn’t ready to wrap his mind around much besides sitting in a tree hoping to shoot another wild pig. I’ve met the gentleman once already, so I told Sunshine to let me go wrap my mind around this one, and when he got ready to wrap his mind around it I could bring him up to speed.

I’m refusing to get into the mental gymnastics of “what will we do with the magic bus if we go with this new plan” and the worry over the cost of building one of these little homes. We’re not there yet, and I’ve been enjoying the last couple of days of relative simplicity.

Now, I’m off to research home-building, and compile my list of questions for this weekend.

Lazy days

Sunshine is out of town for work, so I am home alone–no adult supervision. I’ve been a little lazy. I’ve had too many muscle injuries in the last month that I won’t let heal before I bork another muscle or re-bork the same muscle group. I’ve also been fighting off some chest congestion. I’ve been lazy since Sunshine left.

side note: as I sit here typing about fighting off chest congestion, I’m coughing. That’s never a good thing for me. Just when I thought I might be recovering… maybe it’s just that congestion finally breaking up. There’s always hope, right?

The upside to this whole business of being lazy is that I’ve been able to appreciate the simplicity and beauty of our semi-retired lifestyle.

I’m totally not a morning person, yet I can still appreciate the simplicity of a morning spent tending to the animals.¬† I can also enjoy my morning coffee in leisurely silence. There’s no rush to go tackle some major project or hop in the car to go run errands.

I’ve managed to get most of the grass cut. Well, I’ve managed to cut most of the grass that isn’t covered by three truckloads of gravel and a piece of well-drilling equipment that someone left here “for a couple of days” over a week ago and lawn furniture that has been left hither thither and yon in the back yard. The grass is finally slowing it’s growth rate as the Texas sun has baked it into the beginnings of submission. It isn’t as wildly out of control as it was this past spring. All that effort months ago seems to be paying off now.

The neighbor lady has some piece of equipment that will make quick work of the extremely tall and ridiculously thick grasses that have taken over the front fence line, and has said that we are welcome to borrow it anytime. I keep trying to get Sunshine to go get it and get the problem dealt with, but he hasn’t seen the need to do so yet. Maybe I can convince him that NOW is the time, before my flowers I planted sprout and grow tall and are in danger of being mowed down with the grass. Also, I still want to plant blackberry bushes there, so I need some access.

In the evenings, I get to spend a few moments tending my small garden. My peas and squash plants continue to grow. It’s exciting for me to be growing my own food. I’ve never been good at keeping plants alive, and yet here I am watching pea and squash plants grow. I’ve had to do some research on this stuff to find out what to do next, but it hasn’t seemed like an overwhelming task. All of this means that I am excited to start a bigger garden in the spring.

It’s been a good week, in spite of the congestion and muscle aches. I’ve been able to truly appreciate the simplicity of this new life we are trying to build.

Mornings

I am not a morning person. Not even a little bit. Sunshine says that I sound like a catfish out of water in the morning when I snap at him as I’m trying to find the half and half for my coffee.

Since we have become crazy cat people with backyard chickens, my mornings have gotten busy.

Every morning, I have to put out cat food. (We put it up at night to keep the raccoons and other creatures of the night from eating it.) Here lately, I have to put the kittens out in their box so that If they escape it they don’t get hidden behind a freezer or something. (Yes, that happened about a week ago. I’m sick and tired of moving appliances to find cats.) I don’t even get to have a cup of coffee before I deal with the cats, because the moment they hear somebody stirring inside the magic bus, they start trying to come in through the doggie door. So I go outside and start tripping over cats to make it to the laundry room; once I get to the laundry room I have to fight the cats to keep them out of the laundry room.

side note: the cats all live outside. There are entirely too many of them for me to be scooping and changing litterboxes after them. Sunshine refused to help with that little task, so I quit doing it. I have been maintaining a litterbox for the mama cat while her kittens are being kept in the laundry room at night, but once they’re weaned, they join the rest of the pride of cats that roams the yard.

After I’ve dealt with the cats, I have to go open the chicken house so that the chickens can go eat bugs out of the yard. That generally means walking through the wet grass before I’ve had my coffee, which gives me the grumpy-uglies.

This morning, as I was tripping over cats and catching the grumpy-uglies letting the chickens out, I started wondering “Who am I and how did I become this person who does all this stuff in the mornings before coffee?”

If I ever figure out the answer to that one, I’ll let you know. In the meantime, I’m going to go have more coffee.

 

Sometimes I just don’t pay attention

Apparently, I’ve gotten really good at managing my seasonal allergies. It used to be that I’d just get so clogged up I could feel it settling into my chest, or I’d get to a point where I couldn’t stop sneezing; that was always my cue to get to the doctor.

Last week, my hammered shitness got the best of me and I wound up pretty much sitting on my ass all weekend, taking cough syrup and hoping that did the trick so that I didn’t have to go to the doctor and get steroids. Steroids give me insomnia and I hate insomnia.

Yesterday, I got to feeling like I might be on the upswing, so I went to my garden bed and tried planting some quinoa and spinach. I also planted some flowers on the fence line. I have no idea if any of it will actually grown, thrive, and produce food. I mean, our lettuce and kohrabi never sprouted and I don’t know why. At this point, I feel like I’m just throwing stuff at the wall to see what sticks. I’m still learning, and it’s a process. Hopefully, we’ll be eating some of our experiments this fall and winter.

Today, I’m still not 100%, but I’m definitely feeling better. I’m actually going to try and go to work. It’s Tuesday, which is generally a slow day. And there is a walk-in cooler I can go organize if it gets too hot for me.

Having COPD sucks, especially when I don’t pay attention and let some respiratory crud sneak up on me and knock me on my ass.

Note to self: pay attention to your health, dumbass.

 

Weekly Progress Report

Well, it’s September in Texas. Which means ragweed season. It’s also hot as blue blazes.

side note: I have no idea what blue blazes are, I just remember hearing about them from my mom when I was a kid. I am my mother’s child.

Apparently, September in Texas also means that it’s time for WallyWorld to break out the Christmas crap.

side note: I’ll never forget my hairdresser in Atlanta in the 90s, ranting about the grand opening of yet another SuperWalMart (bigger than the one that opened the month before). He said (and this is a direct quote): “Great. Just what America needs. Another canister set with fucking geese painted on them.” I loved that hairdresser. I digress.

Sunshine killed another wild pig last weekend, and we got it butchered this weekend. We would not have gotten it butchered this weekend without the help of the new lady, whose name I shall not reveal–she shall hereafter be known as the Kitchen Magician. I could have cried with gratitude for her help with that, but crying is a luxury I can’t afford. My hammered shitness was showing its ass, and I was pretty much no help at all. I sat in an air conditioned kitchen, struggling to breathe. I labeled freezer bags and helped a very wee tiny bit with the grinder making ground meat for chili and such, but I really did not contribute much at all. Thank you Kitchen Magician!

side note: if I don’t get to feeling better within a couple of days, I will be carrying my ass to the clinic in town for some professional help. My COPD means that I don’t dick around too much when I think I’m developing a respiratory problem.

I did a minor closet clean-out this week, before the hammered shitness set in. I realized that, even though I pretty much loved every garment in there, I didn’t wear a lot of them and I should probably get them out of there. It was usually a slight fit issue that kept me from reaching for certain garments, and they were fit issues that couldn’t be altered away by a skilled seamstress or tailor. It isn’t even bothering me that I don’t have that many garments left in my closet; I always reached for the same ones time and time again. Why keep the unused ones in there creating clutter when I have such a microscopic closet to begin with, right?

Our 5 (yes, five) new baby kittens are starting to get brave and crawl out of their box to explore their little world inside the laundry room. I’ve been taking the box outside for a couple of days now, except when Mrs B is here with her giant spazzy pitbull (sweet dog, just spazzy when it sees small creatures–like cats, squirrels, chickens, etc). I can’t exactly ask her to lock that giant ball of energy in a kennel, especially when the laundry room will keep the baby kittens safe. I’m looking forward to turning them loose in the grass, though. Every kitten we’ve brought here has acted so funny the first time they try to walk in the grass. I’ll try and remember to post pics when I finally can put them in the yard.

Mr B had truckload after truckload after truckload of gravel delivered here and to the big property to make proper driveways that will allow his small island nation on wheels RV to drive in. Now we just have to find a skid-steer/bobcat/bulldozer type machine to rent to spread the gravel out.

side note: one year after Mr B started buying up properties out here in the middle of buttfuck nowhere and we are still renting tractors and shit. I digress.

My little raised garden bed seems to be on track to produce some peas and squashes for us, and the Kitchen Magician has brought us some seeds for plants that will thrive in cold weather, like asparagus and spinach. Which is cool, because asparagus and spinach ain’t cheap at the store.

The boss at work has been sending me home with fruits and vegetables that we can’t sell and really can’t be eaten by humans. He’s sent us with mooshy cantaloupes, too-ripe watermelons, inedible ears of corn, mooshy eggplants, moldy berries, and tomatoes that have gotten so ripe they’ve split open. Sunshine puts quite a bit of it out to bring deer and wild pigs to the back of the property. What Sunshine decides not to give to the wildlife gets added to the compost heap. (Which reminds me, I probably need to get out there with my pitchfork soon and turn the compost heap.)

It’s mostly been a good week here in the middle of buttfuck nowhere. I’ll take it.

final note: we somehow broke the kitchen sink in the pink house while butchering the pig. When I say “we” I really mean Sunshine. Well, the sink didn’t break, it just broke loose from the countertop and started sagging dangerously. I did manage to drag my ass down to the scrap lumber pile and bring some bits of 2X4 up to the kitchen for him to prop the sink up with until Mr B can approve a renovation plan for the kitchen.

You started screaming and everything went away

This is what Sunshine just said to me as we searched for the tube that his reading glasses go in.

side note: I had to borrow his reading glasses, which confirms that my sponsor was on to something when she said I needed to go get my eyes checked. She is an eye doctor, after all.

He had me activating his burner phone, which happens to have paperwork with some really tiny writing.

side note: I really should stop enabling Sunshine’s technologically resistant ass. He is perfectly capable of learning how to do this shit. He just acts like he’s changing a baby’s shitty diaper every time he needs to learn something new: he just makes sure he smears poopoo everywhere so badly that I get disgusted and take over.

Anyway, there I was, trying to read this microscopic print, dealing with a glitchy website, trying to understand this plastic burner phone that actually has buttons on it, and I realized that I needed his reading glasses or we were going to wind up with me smearing shit everywhere, which is not a good look on me.

He handed me the little plastic tube that holds his reading glasses and I got busy trying to very loudly use my iron will to get the glitchy website to load faster. It took some doing, but I finally got his stupid burner phone activated.

side note: the burner phone is for him to put on his business cards. Being new in the area, he wanted to have a local number for his cards and ads. It makes sense, it’s just a pain in the ass.

After I got his phone activated, I commenced to cleaning up the mess. There was enough cardboard, paper, and plastic  packaging and informational material to completely bury the coffee table. Somehow, all that packaging and informational material also obliterated the tube that the reading glasses live in.

When I asked him what he did with the tube that his glasses go in, he just looked at me and said “I don’t know. You started screaming and everything went away!”

Sunshine says the damnedest things. It’s part of his charm, I suppose.