Blog posts

Changing of the seasons

It is a snow day today, so why not write. The Arkansas river is starting increase flow. We are already currently at 1000cfs. Last year, a drought year, we peaked around 2000. This year I expect peak to be between 4000 and 6000, since we are at 160 percent of snowpack. Hooray whitewater. It has been a time since I have gone skiing, and the temperatures are looking more and more pleasant for mountain biking, rock climbing, and kayaking. I do love my seasons. If I couldn’t take a break from all the fun things that I do then I would probably tire of them. Who needs to ski for twelve months of the year? 

I am excited to say that I’m dropping five hundred dollars on fruit trees this spring: Plums, pears, apples, walnuts, cherries, grapes, currants and several other plants. This will be a big commitment to keep watered over the next several years while they get established, but I’m excited. By the time I die these trees will be at the end of their prime fruit bearing years.

Green house is about finished, but going to have to hold off on building a shed for a bit. Not sure how long. Soon I will be inundated with work on the river, so I won’t have much time for those kinds of things. I will be too busy being splashed in the face by icy water.

My life now. A post of pictures: with captions.

The shower room. Nothing like taking a solar shower out of the wind in a cozy greenhouse in the winter. Snow tomorrow, shower today.
My shower face.
Running water, WHAT! How luxurious life can be with just a little effort: carrying water up the stairs to the big tank in the loft. Dishes standing! I like to cook, and that means dishes. I’m not 27 anymore washing my dishes from a blue water container on a pedestal.
Fossils in the tile! This is slate. It is a mudstone. Is it a bryophyte?
Mmmmm. Muddy likes treats.
Jills give me shit for my house looking like a construction site. But it IS a construction site.
stormy clouds moving in over the hill. Muddy has his favorite spot to lookout with a bone.
Put a green house here? Perhaps. This hoop is laying there for my measurements. 20′ by 20′ will do.
Got my soil! Two trips to town to haul the bags in foreground and background.
Probably build a shed. One of many projects I need to scrape some money together for. 8×12 on blocks.
This is my poop. It has been two years. Looks damn near like compost. Doesn’t smell bad either.
About a bucket a month. Look how rich I am in tree fertilizer.
My bathtub rain catchment. It is on the north side of the utility shed. Can’t use this tile spring really sets in. Gonna have to redesign to a black painted plastic container in the sun on the east. Bath tub hot tub?
Spring has sprung, and so have a few of my seeds! Pot, tatsoi, spinach, kohlrabi.
Shower house/greenhouse. I had to cut down one tree. 🙁
My bird seed battery bank. A little solar goes a long ways when you only need to charge a laptop and occasionally run a blender.
Still on the propane stove and heater.
Those fucking rabbits would eat my lettuce last year. NO MORE! I chopped one side of this pallet off and made a chicken wire cage.
Raised bed design in progress. Should I put a fruit tree here? I think apples would do well in this climate.
Get some lettuce!
A feat of engineering if I do say myself. Perhaps I just wanted to play with my sawzall.
More pallet raised beds in the process.
Still need to tile behind the stove. My sink is a mess. Under it you can see my apple cider brewing, paint that needs to be applied to something and my unfinished birdhouse. Probably it just looks like clutter though.
The loft. I can sit and read while looking out at the distant snow on the mountains, or pile all the pillows in the corner and curl up to watch a movie. Love this space. No yoga up here; there is a precipice just out of the frame.
The other side of the loft. My storage. My bike hangs from the roof. water tank with at least four weeks of water(ten gallons a week). Climbing gear piled high. I also collected some freeze dried food. Am I a prepper?
I didn’t open the cabinet for the picture, I am just too lazy to close my cabinets usually. This is the only space that I can actually do yoga in. There is a hang board in front of the chair in the foreground. It is cooler down here so ideal for working out.
My sewing desk, which is really a work desk. If there is anything random I should put away, it usually ends up here.
Inverter, heater, south window. Clutter.
My second time tiling! Maybe a wood stove here someday?
One step at a time. I started throwing up and feeling like shit after this picture because Jill brought some bug from the ER home for me. I finished because I had already mixed the next batch of set, and I am proud that craftsmanship only deteriorated slightly.
let the tiling begin.
My fridge: a cooler. I use a wheelbarrow to shuttle things back and forth to my truck. It is generally parked outside.
First time laying tile. Why was I so intimidated? Took me long enough to get around to.

Fuck humanity

Maybe I don’t write here because it is not heard. Ninety-nine percent of what I get in response is trying to update my search engine recognition; spam. If you do read this, encourage me by writing a comment. 

The climate is fucked. The scientific consensus is out. Amplifying factors like more methane(permafrost melting), less white in the polar regions(reflecting snow), and continuous deforestation in the rainforests will perpetuate the problem.

I wish I was an optimist, but i’m not. I am a realist. In reality our systems are designed to prop up oil and natural gas. I don’t think that we will change in my lifetime. I will still try to convince us to change. I am a hopeless realist. We will continue to drive fossil fuel cars around, myself included, because the system is too big to change. But is it too big to change?

Our politicians are aged, as well as our social structure. Half the population believes there will be a rapture in the next 100 years that would save us from any kind of climate catastrophe. God will save us.

Should I even care if humans are wiped off the earth? We are a selfish species. We only care about ourselves; the continuation of our kin. No more mountain lions, or bears, or sharks, or whales, or birds. Humans are important only. We have increased cognitive abilities. We are highly evolved.

It is almost guaranteed that we will fuck this up; continue to destroy our own environment. Jared Diamonds book “Collapse” is the best example I can offer. Several island cultures destroyed their own environment to the detriment of their culture. We live on island earth. Our systems are as large as they have ever been. We ship chicken to china to be processed for consumption. Palm oil is brought from the farthest ports in order to make our donuts taste good.

Please think about what you can do to be better. I do. I try to drive less. I try to set up my life to live in a way that uses less: to be self sufficient. I want to buy an electric car soon. I use solar energy for most of my electric needs. I grow some of my own food.

Help the planet by helping yourself. Become your own island. Support yourself. Then help people around you become their own island.

Photo dump

I have not emptied my photos from my camera for a long time. It is how I have kept track of what I wanted to write about in the past; a little visual memory to spark an idea. The house, as the plan falls into place, allows for me to spend nearly nothing and be master of my own free time. This morning I sat and listened to the silence, apart from piñon jays feeding, while I drank my coffee. It’s cold, 0 F, and so they are hungry to warm themselves. I counted near thirty. I always am sure that I have food around on the cold nights, often accompanied by light snow. The syphon lock of the hard cider I am brewing makes an irregular tick. Not much longer than a second. Could it be shorter? That is how much time matters. Not at all.

Well here they are, my summer gone.

A mountain blue bird comes to check out the new structure in town. He would visit for about a week then he finally bored himself of me.

Summer birds.

Making the house blend a little better with the natural environment.

giving the shed a cabin feel.

Day 1

First winter snow

Winter has arrived, for now. We got six inches of snow at my house and I’m ecstatic. This is just a sign that ski season is rapidly approaching. As in most places around Colorado, this will be burned off by the sun and warmer temperatures in a day rather than stick around. It’s the ethereal nature of it all that makes it beautiful anyhow. Last night and this morning I took my junk X-country skis around the block, not flinching when I snagged on a rock here or there. Muddy did need the outside time as well, as yesterday was all flurries.

Last night the temperature dropped down to zero, but I barely noticed in my cozy house. It feels like i’m in a backcountry hut today. These slow snowy days are what I treasure most about winter. Nowhere specific to get to in a hurry, and a little bit of sliding around on skis. One half hour away there are some clear cut ski runs left from a resort that closed down in the 1980’s due to the variable winters. Conquistador ski resort, I hope, will be my near and dear backcountry excursion spot this winter. Though the lifts have been removed, a bit of hiking will get some clean powder turns, especially if these big snowfalls continue into January, which is usually the month you can be sure not to hit any big rocks or stumps coming down in the backcountry. Winter awaits.

I continue to make small comfort additions to the house. I put in a sink and drain recently. I’ll also be able to have gravity-feed running water inside once I buy one more small adapter to connect my PEX line to my elevated tank. A luxury most take for granted is paradise in a small off-the-grid space. I put up wood interior siding which emits a nice, warm cabin feeling.

It feels like it is getting much colder, earlier, than last year. I welcome it with open arms and an outstretched tongue. Just a little taste of winter for now.

Climate change and YOU.

I had a rather dreary conversation on the raft today. For the most part it was about how we are not adapting well to the changes we are seeing in the planet; namely, climate change and plastic pollution.

We all think that everything should be plastic, or paper, wrapped in the grocery store. Stop thinking that way. You have been indoctrinated into a failing system. To redesign seems hard, but we have to try. Those in my raft today, seemed to think that it was hopeless; that humans would eventually destroy themselves and we would start over on the single celled organisms, slowly evolving once again to their environment. It is hard for me to accept this reality, but seems the most obvious future, since none of us can commit to stopping our use of fossil fuels. None.

I say, take it all back. Take every home ever built. Nobody gets second homes. No more mortgages, the banks own nothing. This is OUR planet. Grow food in lawns, and develop a community of people; everywhere. We are a social creature, we need people. Why can’t we create the local agriculture and artistic centered society that the earth needs?

I believe we cannot create it because of the manipulative financial situation that has evolved out of the banking industry. It is a lifetime of payments for anybody in their thirties to own a home at this point; a lifetime. YOU are a slave to your mortgage. This is bullshit. We cannot allow this system to move on further. We need to, as a social force, disallow the banks to own everything in sight.

Fuck social norms. The social norms that have been created are not good for anybody. They are certainly not good for the planet.

If we want to see generations of humans live on in harmony with the planet, we need rapid change. Algae blooms, rampant fires, and catastrophic floods are just examples of what will continue if we don’t change our BEHAVIOR. If we don’t change the fact that many in cities have to drive for two hours to get to work. To earn a dollar, to give a dollar to someone of higher status.

We need to work hard to live, but we should work first on feeding ourselves without poisoning the planet. Get your hands in the dirt. Our planet is in dire need of a benevolent caretaker, not some parasitic species that insists on burning rain forest for palm oil and coffee beans. Stop it.

A lady on my boat stated that, “she is not afraid of dying, because she is going to heaven.” That is not a good reason to treat the earth as shit. Period. Her kids will die and their kids will die and I will die. The struggle will be very real for the next hundred years if we continue in this direction. It is hard to look past a hundred years, because the struggle might get so real that we change; at least I hope so.

Right now: fly on an airplane, drive to the coast your not living on, burn plastic in a barrel, shit in your drinking water. I wish I could care less. I can’t.

Floating along

Wow. It has been a month since I last wrote on this document, and published a blog. What has happened? Just a lot of rafting. Float, float, float, paddle forward two. Float.

There is nothing more magical than having a job that you enjoy doing. That is not saying that I enjoy doing it every day, but who could want more. The busy season is here. We are right, smack dab, in the middle. I am going out on two trips a day, and am tired. Hoping that I will get a break of time to read in the morning and rest my aching back and shoulder. The grind.

My house remains unchanged, a wonderful shell of cozy over my bed. Eventually I expect that I’ll put tongue and groove siding on the inside walls and tile to corner, but for now-it is as it is.

I have been writing short stories lately to fill my void for writing. I will try to publish a few here sometime soonish.

Enjoying it as it is.

This has been my first day off in quite some time, and I decided I should write. After this post I’ll start a short story. It has been very enjoyable writing these blogs, which I think I will enjoy looking back on as time continues forward. Getting started writing is sometimes the hardest part, particularly due to the incredible amount of tiredness after paddling down the river all day every day.

Construction has come to a standstill on the house, though there are always little projects. I’ve built a kind of evaporative cooler out of a five gallon bucket, fountain pump, nine inch fan, and a youtube video. Today is the first true test of it’s ability. Certainly the air is cool and moist coming out of it, but the ability to counteract the suns heat is yet to be determined. There is a noticeable change in how fast the house heats after I painted it with the darker green color, as opposed the the factory gray primer. I think at times that I may just turn the whole thing into some fun mural. I’ll be watching you tube videos later about how to paint clouds by dabbing sponges of white paint I’m sure.

I want to lay a small brick patio in front of the door, which I can probably do for under one hundred dollars. I’ll sift some sand from the front yard to form a base, then water and tamp it to solidify. Still need to finish siding and determine what kind of countertop I will be mounting my sink into. Dave, my aged, wise neighbor, recommended to just tile over some OSB. I may take his suggestion. I don’t have a better idea just yet anyhow.

Perhaps a short story about people being cryogenically frozen and shot into outer space as DNA time capsules. I’ve been reading a lot of Ray Bradbury short stories, which generally have roots in outer space, especially Mars. One common calamity is that a meteor hits the spaceship. Though it is not the center of most of the stories, it is prevalent. At one point doomed astronauts outside of any vessel are having limps torn off one by one, applying tourniquets to stop the bleeding; to fall into nothingness for a little longer.

How much more we should cherish our free time than we actually do. Always trading time for money or the hope for a future that is happier than the one we currently live. Today I will cherish how things are. Eggs, coffee, a solar panel, and a house that is cool comparative. And if it gets too warm, I may just cherish how things are in my kayak.

If I was to post to Instagram, this is what it would look like.

Really, I lost my camera cable in the move. I found it though.

Muddy is on fire watch.

My trusty generator, which built this house with an air powered nail gun.

My fleet of vehicles: Vanagon in need of repairs, Astrovan to haul a trailer with construction materials, motorcycle to visit the neighbors, and a truck for regular duties.

My canoe awaits portages for climbing.

Unfinished view of my battery bank.

Battery bank door.

This is my mess of tools. Ralph Swanson needs to come over her and shout criticism with a beer in his hands while I tile this corner for my wood stove.

My kitchen. Is denim insulation flammable? Meh, not yet.

My bike hanging there might be one of my favorite things.

no. I don’t always, or often, make my bed.

Water catchment. Good ol’ cast iron bath tub.

My showering greenhouse. Raised bed to come….

My writing desk. Spying on the birds.

The bird feeder. See my House Finch?