Thursday, December 30, 2010

Snow-pocolypse, & my bad!

I have had nothing to say.
Which is new for me. One of the reasons I write here (usually) every single day is because I want to share all the cool ass shit we can do while living sustainably, off grid, eco, primitive or whatevs label you enojoy giving it.
I havent been saying anything on here, because I have been in a sort of limbo that may not end till Spring time - when decisions must be made. I like to only write about good stuff, positive feelings, i like it to motivate, be happy --- none of which I could do the last few weeks in all the snow storms because everything I did to prepare here, kinda.... well.... started falling apart.
The plumbing does something new every single day. I told ya'll about the filter-splosion in the cabin that flooded it, but there has also been intermitten times of no water, then water, then no water in the outside pump even, only water up the side of the mountain, then water again, then drain pipes freezing so i had to stop dripping water (aka no water again) - drain pipes de-frosting and coming apart, flooding the floor again, no running water?
I DONT fucking get it anymore?!!!
And i can tell you it's not sustainable water anymore (even though gravity fed) cause unless i put "heat tape" on the pipes (which uses bunches of electricity) they will stay frozen all winter long.
So i was talking on the phone with a friend who was ready for me to stop complaining and buck up - she said something to the effect "you wanted to be off grid" ---->
but these problems are not related to being Off Grid. They are problems of location, lack of immediate help, and did i mention NO SUNSHINE whatsoever during the winter months.
Yep, i found out the hard way that my cabin is between two ridges and during the winter the sun is behind a ridge and i get none. Even cutting back trees wont do enough good, and i would have to cut back hundreds of them, ones not even on my land.
My Mistake :::::::::::
not knowing the sun pattern before buying the Luck Cabin.
I thought it got enough sun, even though it doesnt get tons... i had no idea the winter would mean utter darkness. And the reason I have said nothing for quite a while now is because i have been sitting in my rocking chair in front the wood stove comtemplating whether I can spend the rest of my life half a year in darkness. This prospect, after all i have put into being here at the Luck Cabin, and it's utter perfection at all other times of the year make me feel heartbroken in a way there have been and still are no words for.
I don't know many or really any people who could live without sunshine half a year.
------ the other part of this, is just right down my driveway is another climate. I literally am just a few hundred feet from a warmer climate. My driveway marks some kind of elevation change, where the tempature drops a significant amount, and i got twice as much snow & cold as people just a lil' ways below me. Yesterday I took my Jimmy truck dangerously down the road, only to see that I really was in some kind of isolated world, one that had a storm much worse then those just hop, skips, and jumps away - and this was a bit of a shock.
Two things I can NOT fix :::::::::::
the sun
the micro climate at the Luck Cabin
For many weeks I could not put my finger on it, I could not put into words how i was feeling. I only knew I was getting no sunshine here and was feeling really depressed. I had no intention of ever revealing this dirty little secret, my big sustainability mistake.... but eventually i began crying (thanks PMS) and had to confess to the first person that rang my phone in the middle of the nervous breakdown.
I think living this way alone is quite hard, but do-able. But if you choose to live off grid in a harsh winter climate alone, you are either brave, crazy or the uni-bomber!!! It's grueling. There is no question about it.
I now have a greater understanding of why re-wilders like Urban Scout are preaching community. Everything is much easier with a lil bit o' help. Especially in any climate that may have harsh storms during the winter.
Western North Carolina used to not have this kind of weather, not the last ten years I have lived here until last winter. I hear from locals it's been over 20 years since they have seen storms like this. So although I am kicking myself, at the same time how was i to know about the micro-climate PLUS the strange climate changes?
What would you do, if you were me?

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Gumby Holiday - Santa Witch

So, lately things at the Luck Cabin have been... what some might describe as bad, stressful, when the shit hits the fan, when the going gets tough and downright UNlucky....
I am escaping into the world of GUmbY and PokEy for comfort from this hell-a-cious winter. With no running water for almost a month and one chicken dead, I am ready for a one way ticket to the island of BALI.


Saturday, December 18, 2010

RIP Ms Buttersworth the Chicken, I Love You!

I brought Ms.Butterworth back in my cabin before the last few bad storms. She was not doing well. She no longer perched.
Tonight though, i knew she had stopped eating or drinking. She slept all day and I waited for it to come and when the time seemed near I picked her up and put her in my lap next to the warm wood stove. She would open her eyes to look me in the eye, the kindest look a chicken could ever give was reflected in the blackness. A thank you. Then she would close them again.
She always was happy, she never showed any sign of pain or suffering just the steps it takes to leave this world when you are done.
At the very end her head moved round and round, like she was in some kind of voodoo ritual, her wings opening up and her head then moving inward to point straight up into sky. A crucified pose, an opening, and flight of the spirit from the body.
She then layed her head down in my lap and was gone.
MS. BUTTERSWORTH YOU ROCKED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Thursday, December 16, 2010


This morning I woke up to the sound of rain! Loud pouring rain that almost soothed me back to sleep, but then I was so excited to see that the snow may be melting I had to sit up in the bed I made in my loft, to look down to the windows. Only....
there was no rain!
I started my way down the ladder, with even more excitement thinking, OH YES my pipes have defrosted and I have running water again for the first time in 2 weeks!!!!!!!
when I got down the ladder to my horror my cabin was flooding, with all the water I had wished for everyday. I had my wish, but it was pouring out with force by the gallon onto the floor from underneath the sink somewhere. I pulled out my stove as fast as i could to get a better look only to see the stupid sediment filter had cracked to pieces! Because it has been so COLD in my cabin (without having insulation yet) that not only did my plants melt and die, the water had froze in my tub to ice, but now my filter had cracked and was spewing all over.
I ran outside, slip sliding through slushy snow, scampering under my house to find the shut off valve - which i assumed would be right at the water source before it comes into the cabin... but...
it wasn't there. No. Shut. Off. Valve!
I began ripping plastic vapor barrier off the under side of the cabin only to be deluged in waterfalls of water that had been filling up in the plastic, water down my sleeves and on my face, wetting my hair - while cramped under the cabin. No. shut. off. valve.
I ran back inside, tried dumping buckets, but it would fill faster then I could ever dump. I ran my hands along the pipe lines feelings for something, anything that could save me.
I went back under the house to poke holes in the vapor barrier only to slip and hit my hand on a rock and cut myself. Open cut, bleeding. Grrrrrrrrr!
it's times like this i realize, i am alone out here. Water is pouring everywhere, coming right through the siding of my cabin, dripping out the outside wall. Just the day before I was punching icicles off the Luck Cabin and cursing the bad winter, begging the universe that be to PLZ melt this shit. OK, so i didn't mean quite like that!
I went inside to look at the pouring filter, to write down what size & type it was, since it was obvious a new filter case would be a possible answer to this bullshit moment (not a good solution, just A solution). I have to say I never really liked the idea of a filter, I find that EVERYTHING that is more advanced, everything that is dependent on the system, everything similar to things like filters causes more problems in the end. I cursed the filter, and decided my gall bladder can be my water filter.
while getting soaked under there, i put my hand underneath the sediment filter and.. FELT THE SHUT OFF VALVE!!!!!!!!! hiding!!!!!!!!
Turned off the water.
Lessons :
  • Pex piping still didnt break or come apart in the bad sub zero weather and was good! Pex RULES!
  • Cabin needs insulation or this is totally insane
  • Filters mean more money, more problems, more environmental waste and break easily in the cold (AKA, i am removing the filter.)
  • Gravity fed spring water.... needs proper shut off valve somewhere OUTSIDE cause you can't stop the water flow. Also,the water keeps on flowing during sub zero weather which is good. I think the shut off should always be right at the very beginning of the pipes that are going to the house, right where the water comes up out the ground.
  • No matter how much you prepare, shit happens. It is life.



Tuesday, December 14, 2010

DAnce OFF, Under Pressure!!!

Come and Join in ya'll!!!!!!!!! DANCE OFF!
I really lose it on this one... i blame it on cabin fever, and snow hate, and broken hearts from around the world.

dance off #5 - pressure relief from Militia Chick on Vimeo.


Hell Froze Over, A Snowball Has A Chance

When I woke up this morning I had this horrible vision in my head that my animals would all be dead and frozen despite all I have done to make this storm OK for them...
Maybe cause the other day when I drove to town for supplies I saw a horse somewhere in Leicester laying on the ground in a big field, appearing to be dead, after the last snow storm. And I thought, PLEASE gawd don't let that happen to JuJu Bean.
The last ten years here in western north carolina had really been pleasant during the winter (on a hot sauce scale it was the bland, mild, without spices) - until last year's hell-a-cious snow frenzy. It seems this season has picked up right where last year left off it's white fluffy drama (on the hot sauce scale it's now spicy, tongue burning, tear jerking, nose running, red HOT).
Except, it's FrOcking cold.
So frigid in fact, the water i filled up in my tub INSIDE my cabin is now frozen solid.
The spring water for the animals to drink finally froze over too. A thick layer of ice formed which i crushed hard by kicking it in with my boots then lifted pieces up outta the way. Unfortunately, not much water was underneath, and I had to smoosh the pot into the cold mud to gather anything. I also had to smash/slam the hell out of the pot against a tree trunk to get the frozen water out. (A rebel yell or grunt makes it easier when swinging!)
JuJu the donkey is now limping also. Which worries me, i kept scraping snow off the favored hoof and breathing warmth onto her ears. As I pushed my feet through a foot of snow back to the Luck Cabin I was thinking about tropical islands( yes, mmmmm), i was finally 'getting' why people are obsessive about moving to costa rica and some such places. I was longing for my hometown of New Orleans, if only for a lil warmth and sunshine. I was also thinking... building a sustainable place to live, all alone, in a frigid cold harsh winter'ed location is NOT a good idea. (Note to self: Dont ask if you made a mistake cause it's too late!) Too hard, unless you have a partner who is there to help each day and minute with the unforeseen trials and tribulations of this kind of lifestyle.
Until then I can go between laughing and crying when i fall down in the snow over and over, and beg all powers in the universe to spare my animals.
Not much is making me feel better....
but Billy Idol helps. Thanks BaBY JEzuz for keeping Our ELECtricty On! ;)


Sunday, December 12, 2010

Screwed Blued and Tattoo'ed (or just snowed in again)

Terrible no good very bad SNOW STORM PREP ::::
  • drove truck to state road that gets plowed and hiked back up a mile to the cabin
  • filled the tub with water (pot by pot cause the water pipes under my cabin froze a week ago)
  • fill pots and jars with water
  • cook food ahead of time
  • clean house, change cat litter, feed animals
  • cleaned out composting toilet (frozen urine would be just TOO frOckin' much for me at this point!!!!)
  • carried in STACKS of logs into the cabin and onto the porch
  • hand washed comfort clothes and hung to dry above wood stove
  • move all my bedding into my loft, where it's warm & I will be sleeping when it get down to -20 degrees
  • charge up my crank lantern
  • fall down in snow a bunch and not cry
And this is not even the beginning of what is to come...
the last storm never bothered to melt, my pipes under the house never defrosted (even though my gravity fed spring is still running just fine. It was supposed to rain today but instead of nice melty rain it snowed a few more inches. And well the icing on that snow cake is coming tonight and tomorrow thru the night.... feet of snow icing I am guessing.
What can i say? I dont like this part.... whatever this is a part of. But the feeling of accomplishing so much in one day to prepare for the worst feels damn good.
I need a girl scout uniform... but one that is long sleeve and made of alpaca wool, comes with matching wool gloves, hat, scarf, coat and leggings. With logo snow boots. Thanks Universe!
BTW- I hope i don't lose power, internet or phone... but I dont know what is coming, and after last year I except the worst. Will miss ya'll if I do go M.I.A!!!! SMOOCHes!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Dance (ya ass) Off!

This is a video I did for my Dance Off website.... ya'll don't be shy and come join in. Dancing and smiling are good for your health. And happy people are nice people, and nice people are giving people... and gawd knows our world could use some giving happy people out there. :))))))))

dance off #4 Boooogiieee from Militia Chick on Vimeo.


Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Run Leslie Run (What I do When Car Sick)

I have gotten brave in the last 8 months... or maybe just more healthy. Sometimes it's hard to say what makes what happen in a universe full of so much circumstance - but I tried driving my Jimmy truck to downtown Hot Springs (remember when i could not drive at all for a gazzillion years?). It's a town I have never been to before because the roads to get there make about as much sense as a plate of spaghetti, regurgitated. And trust me, there are many stops on the side of the road to do just that.
I thought I was doing well, in spite of the many fast driving rednecks daring head on collisions on blind curves... but eventually the road waves got to me (BaD nausea), and I had to get out the car, give up my original plan and just... run around.
  • You pull over and see the beautiful details of life you would never see blazing by in the car
  • Time to play
  • There are no other benefits i can think of cause actually car sickness sucks
I saw things I really love... giant icicles, awesome mountain views....
BIG rocks!
.... GRAffiti!
and the most brilliant sunset I have seen in a long time. All these things made it worth it. Of course I drove about 5 mph all the way home and never did make it to the town of Hot Springs. ;)

(for those who dare to wanna puke, I have a 6 minute video forthcoming tonight, of the roads I traveled...)


Tuesday, December 7, 2010

My Snow Freak Out and My Snow Luv...

It's been snowing for days. The first day was novel, not so cold I could see my own breath inside my cabin (yet), I crocheted, I hung out with Bort, I even went for a short drive down to the Trust Store (i have never driven in snow before, even though I have lived here for 10 years!)....
But dang it... 3 days and still snowing the temperature dropped, and dropped. Finally my spring water froze in spite of pipe dripping & obsessive precautions, the wind chills hit -15 degrees in my county, and I worried for my animals!
I brought ms. Butterworth inside because she was the only chicken shivering and not mentally capable of seeking out water & things to fulfill her needs. She's very happy by the wood stove again...
When I went out this morning to check on everyone else, someone was missing and I noticed right away. Beep Beep the baby chicken. I freaked. Under pressure I stay quite calm, I don't lose my mind but I do get very upset and cry and when I called for Beep Beep for 10 mins and she never showed up I thought the worst. All the other chickens were staying warm in their coop and nesting boxes, Beep Beep was nowhere in sight. I kept seeing R.I.P BEEP BEEP in my head, like it had already been tattoo'ed distastefully to my shoulder. With all the snow, and her being mostly white I felt like I was looking for the impossible to try tramping around in the snow- it had piled up enough inches overnight to have buried a small chicken.
I was about to give up and was walking out the gate, when instincts had me slam it back shut and quickly walk through the wooded area in the fence, across the spring and into the trees. My eyes felt like animal eyes, the ones that spot things better then normal... and that is when I saw her... poor lil' Beep Beep sitting on a small tree branch, freezing cold all alone, out in the open.
I grabbed her and hugged her to keep her body warm, as she shivered. I brought her right to the barn for warmth, food and water - all of which she was frantic about getting. I had never seen frozen poop on a chicken's ass till this moment. That's how cold it was. Poop-cicles.
JuJu the donkey is getting much more feed then normal so she can create more body heat.
She also wanted to send out a reminder:::
Do Not Eat Yellow Snow. It's Not Lemon Flavuh. ;)
The cold is painful to me. Maybe cause I am so small, maybe cause my DNA is that of cajuns who lived in the hot tropical swamps- never the less, I hate the cold but love the beauty, the way it re-sculpts the landscape.


Saturday, December 4, 2010

I Liked When Ms. Buttersworth Lived With Me

I had put Ms. Buttersworth the chicken back out with the other chickens........
but not really. She's been staying in the feed section of my mini-barn where the rooster and most the other chickens never go. Anytime I tried putting her back with the others they immediately picked on her, pulling out her feathers, the rooster mounting her so violently I could tell that this was why i had found her in a corner shivering in the first place. After bringing her in the cabin for a week, we got to know each other. We spent many long hours sitting with my cat Toots by the warm fire.
I never imagined a chicken would love me, but Ms. Buttersworth now loves me in a chicken love kinda way. She wants me to hold her, she coo's when she's warm in my arms, she perches on my arm, and nests in my lap. I miss her being in the Luck Cabin with me.
I don't know if chickens are really smart creatures, but they are definitely sensitive with a range of feelings - even if those feelings never form into thoughts as we humans know it.
( Side Note: i am not meaning to make any statements on whether we should eat them or not, I eat what I can eat AKA what I am not allergic to... these observations are just how i see nature.)
Of course... JuJu the donkey wishes she could live with me too. Why can't all my babies be potty trained? Or maybe I should move into my barn instead! ;)

Friday, December 3, 2010

Eco DIY: Crochet Scarf with Banana Silk Yarn

Ten days and counting till the Craft Fair my mom got me a table at!!! And so I am busting my imagination for a variety of eco friendly & useful diddies. Since the new natural fiber yarns I got are sooooooooo amazing to touch and to look at I hardly need to get crazy with it... i decided some simple crochet scarves that would show off the beauty of the yarn fiber would be fun to make!
Making a long scarf can take quite a few hours for me, but long skinny scarves are still in style (it looks way cute plus you get extra warmth wrapping it around your neck bunches of times)...
Here is the scarf pattern I made up, in case ya'll would like to make one too :::::
1. (ch) chain stitch --- Make a chain the length you want the scarf, mine is approx. 7 feet long
2. (d) double crochet --- turn the work and do a double crochet stitch into the chain, for the entire length
3. REPEAT the double crochet in step #2 four times, till you reach your desired width
4. THE TRIM --- I took thinner soy yarn and (d) double crocheted across the edge, and then made a lace effect by .... (ch) chain stitch 6, then single crochet, then repeat across till the end of the width. Do this on both sides.


Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Natural Fiber & Organic Yarns

I was so sad the other week when I found out my favorite online yarn store Knit For Brains had closed down, but I scored big when I wrote the owner and asked if there was left over inventory I could still buy!! I got everything at wholesale and under prices - wooo hooo! My fellow crochet and knitters will know this is like the kid in a candy store, all those colors, all the soft silky feel, all the cool ass projects I can make now.
And everything is 100% natural fiber, there are no fugly and creepy feeling acrylic yarns in this box, no chemical fibers. Some of these yarns are made from things that people would never expect, so I thought I would share a lil' bit about why buying these eco yarns is better and show ya how beautiful they look too...
1. Banana Silk Yarn (also known as banana fiber yarn) ::::
This eco savvy yarn is in a category all it's own. It is rarely heard of, rarely seen at yarn stores and has a look & feel that is utterly unique to the fiber. And I LOVE IT! It really does have that natural sheen to it.
"Banana Silk fiber yarn is made from the fiber of the banana tree. Only the decaying outer layers of the trees (aged bark) are harvested and soaked under water to quicken the natural process. When all of the chlorophyll structures are dissolved, the cellulose fibers remain. They are extruded into pulp and to make it suitable for spinning into yarn." -shangri la crafts
2. Soy Yarn (also known as Soy Silk Yarn) :::
I love soy yarn. It's so awesome one time my cat ate some of it like she was Lady and the Tramp slurping up pasta at a romantic dinner. It has a super silky, slippery feel and works great for delicate, luxurious projects. I like to make necklaces with this yarn, and one time I even made a pair of panties... it is the perfect feel to make lingerie.
"Soy is the ultimate sustainable fiber -- it's made from discarded tofu! Leftovers from tofu manufacturing are gathered up, liquefied, and extruded through spinnerets to create filaments which are then spun into fine yarns. The process is very similar to how bamboo fibers are spun. Henry Ford first investigated the use of soy in textiles for his automobiles in the 1940's, but the arrival of synthetics on the scene caused this effort to fade away." - fiber organics
3. Bamboo Yarn ::::
The above bamboo yarn color is awesome... it's called GIRLIEFLAGE! A girl camo yarn that comes out in a cute camo-ish pattern. I have never gotten to use the bamboo yarn yet but it seems similar to the soy yarn and it is certainly soft to touch with a sheen to it. I don't have to use it to know I already love it and plan to make alot of necklaces with this yarn!
"In order to make bamboo into yarn, the stalks are liquefied and then extruded by machine through spinnerets into threads, which are then spun into yarn. The process is similar to how rayon is made, so sometimes bamboo textiles are referred to as "bamboo rayon" or "bamboo viscose". Other cellulosics (fibers derived from cellulose) such as lyocell (made from wood pulp) and modal (made from beechwood) are processed this way also.
Some people are concerned about the production of bamboo textiles because the process uses caustic soda (sodium hydroxide), which is dangerous in large quantities. Some suppliers work closely with manufacturers to ensure that the fabrics are made with minimal environmental impact. They use advanced wastewater treatment systems and have strict controls on exhaust emissions
- Fiber Organics
4. Organic Cotton Yarn ::::
I didn't buy any this go around... but I know it's good stuff! here is what it takes to make the fiber....
"◦uses untreated seeds (no insecticides or fungicides)
◦never uses genetically modified seeds
◦builds strong soil through crop rotation, rather than relying on synthetic fertilizer
◦physically removes weeds rather than relying on herbicides
◦uses beneficial insects and lure crops to manage pests
◦relies on seasonal freezes to remove foliage from cotton, rather than chemicals
◦must be processed separately from conventional cotton, including separating the fiber from the seed, spinning, knitting and sewing
◦if bleached, hydrogen peroxide is used rather than chlorine
◦dyes used are the least harmful possible (to people and planet), and may include low-impact, fiber-reactive, and natural dyes
" -Fiber Organics
5. Wool Yarn ::::
Wool can mean alot of things, there is sheep wool, alpaca wool, llama wool... but being a wool fiber does not mean it was processed in an environmentally sensitive way. Here is what is takes to do it right...
"◦the sheep are not genetically modified or given synthetic hormones or vaccinations;
◦from the last third of a lamb’s gestation period, all feed grain and grazing pasture must be organically grown
◦pastures may not be treated with pesticides
◦sheep may not be dipped in pesticides to treat parasites like ticks and lice (the dipping chemicals can harm sheep farmers, and contaminate nearby ground water)
◦sheep must be maintained in good health
◦mulesing (gruesome removal of the skin, to treat blowflies) is obviously not permitted
◦the number of sheep per acre of land is limited to the land’s natural capacity to support grazing livestock; producers cannot overgraze the land
◦during the cleaning, carding and spinning processes, organic fibers are kept separate from non-organic fibers
◦any dyes used are low-impact and metal-free
" -Fiber Organics
6. Nettle Yarn ::::
Link to see it HERE.
" the fiber from the stinging nettle plant used to be a common alternative to cotton. Until 1900 or so, it was widely used instead of cotton, due to a cotton shortage. Nettle fabrics were used in military clothing during the second World War. However, as synthetic materials became more popular, nettle fabric lost its market share, and eventually the technology for producing fiber from the plant was forgotten. The German firm Stoffkontor Kranz AG, founded in 1991 by Heinrich Kranz, has invested significant efforts to develop new methods for producing nettle fabrics. Another industrial-scale developer of nettle textiles is Camira, creator of Sting Plus fabric. Nettle grows “like a weed”, requiring no pesticides and very little fertilizer. The plants come back every year, and only need to be replaced every 10-15 years. " -Fiber Organics
For more natural fiber yarns, and blends go HERE. Viva La Crochet!!!!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Ant Headed Black Beetle-ish Bug

Another resident at the Luck Cabin! I love inside bugs during the winter because outside I just don't see them anymore - the ground here is frozen now, like the mud has become a brown hard glacier.
I have this black bug buddy crawling up my walls and sneaking behind things to stay warm a few times but had not had the chance to get close up....
but once I did, i was really baffled by all the bugs this one insect represented... beetle in it's movement, ant faced, bee segmented belly, tiny wings (faux or not?) , grasshopper legs!
WHat Is IT?
This buggie is also rather large! It is not the size of an ant... it's a bit of a beast. The kind of bug that would make my mom freak out and call for help. (My mom once called the police when a snake was in her yard!)
It even walked straight up to my cat Toots and tried to start a fight with her. She kept backing her face away from it.

Friday, November 26, 2010

JuJu the donkey Luvs Her Neck Scarf

This is a lil' story about JuJu and her love of sassy neck scarves ::::
For the last two months I have not been able to go for walks with JuJu because she had found a way to jump a neighbor's decorative fence and roam their pasture. Mr. Dontlikedonkeys next door was more then unhappy about it, and since he'd caught her on his surveillance cameras JuJu the donkey was guilty as charged for her trespassing offense.

A sad long 2 months passed as we waited to come up with the right solution to the problem, and built a small fence this past week along the creek to block her from her habit. Yesterday was our first day to go for a walk again, and she was more then ready to get outta her fenced area - she was pushing with her head on the gate and jumping and swinging things- so when i took out her halter to put on her face (the ultimate symbol of "walk time") she grabbed it in her teeth and shook that donkey head in a big resounding YES YES YES!!!
I put the halter on her face and we were all ready to go...
but then... JuJu went inside her barn stall and stood there... patiently...staring at me. She would not budge. We stared back and forth in silence.
I was confused.
"Are you scared JuJu? Do you not remember? DO you want to go for a walk?"
JuJu then pointed her soft nose to her special blue neck scarf tied to the side of her stall and gave it a nudge. I had taken it off that morning... and thought, does she really want it back on?
I took the possible cue and pulled the silky scarf down and tied it around her neck. Then i stood back and walked towards the gate...
She now was ready to go for a walk, and followed me at almost an excited run right out the gate!
All she wanted was her pretty neck scarf on before she went out in public...
........... I dont know where she gets it from (the fashion sense OR the trespassing?!? ;)

Thursday, November 25, 2010

I'm Thankful For...

Funny videos like this! (Thanks to my BFF Richard for sending this to me this morning!)


The only good part about Thanksgiving is the reminder about being thankful...
So here is what I am thankful for today::::
  • my donkey JuJu, and all my chickens, ducks and cat Toots
  • my lil' Luck Cabin, and all I have accomplished here
  • my parents
  • my axe & a good wood stove
  • my improving health (or so i like to pretend!)
  • organic & wild grown foods that keep me fed (especially amazake rice milk)
  • my blog The Oko Box and all it's readers, makes each day better
  • that i grew up in the wonderful & fun culture of New Orleans, LA
  • my friends who come out to the Luck Cabin to visit me
  • nature in general, and all around me
  • that I am able to dance
  • the deer hides I am about to get from the guy who is hunting on my land right now

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Pee Wee's Thanksgiving (probably more true then the american version)

Truth be known, I don't celebrate Thanksgiving. Maybe it was a twist of fate, celiac sprue... or my native american DNA - either way I don't celebrate it, especially in the all American pilgrim luv way they try to force pre-schoolers to believe in.
When I was in pre-school we had a pilgrim play to perform for the adults. I arrived in my favorite faux fur fuzzy pink coat and once backstage I refused to take my fabulous pink coat off to put on the honky tonky pilgrim costume... I distinctly remember thinking the whole thing was creepy and wrong, a hippy would say "trippy" was the appropriate feeling I had.
In order to teach me a lesson, a punishment or maybe even humiliate me into accepting the American way of doing a Thanksgiving play, the teacher pushed me on the stage in my pink coat anyway. Instead of crying though, or running back to put on the brown smock I quietly began to protest... "I don't wanna be up here..."
"I don't wanna be UP HERE..."
repeat, repeat, and repeat...
until the embarrassed teacher signaled my embarrassed parents to get me down off the stage. My mom and dad pretended not to be related to me, my older sister sunk in her chair... aunts and uncles laughed their asses off since they had not birthed me, until one of them relented for my parents and went to claim me off the stage.

Here is a video i freaking LOOOOVEEE, of pee wee herman's version of the first thanksgiving with the pilgrims! It is probably more accurate then our history books.

Pee Wee Herman's story of the first Thanksgiving from Rob Ashe on Vimeo.


Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Testing For Hydro Electric Power Possibilities

Remember how last week I was curious about how I could get off grid power without cutting down my trees? Well, here goes my first attempt to find a way to get sustainable power, in the semi dark! Hydro-power! One of my readers here at The Oko Box pointed out that I have many water sources on my property and there may be a possiblity of harnessing the energy from I was really excited when Mr. Tebbe contacted me from the Sundance Power Systems company in Weaverville,NC to discuss possible hydro power options.
The first step I had to do was to test how many seconds it would take my creek to fill up a bucket. I searched along the creek for a spot to shove a bucket under, but then remembered the creek is already piped into my pond on a decline...
I kept dropping the bucket when it would start to fill, so Bort handed me his Nalgene bottle which has little measuring dealies along the side (32 ounces). It took 2 seconds to fill & overflow a 32 ounce space.
WATER RATE: 8 seconds to fill 1 Gallon of water
I also measured the height of the full water drop at that spot, which is approx 3.5 to 4 feet high.
I started some Hydro Electric research as suggested by Mr. Tebbe... and found that this kind of project hits right at the heart of every learning disability I was ever diagnosed with! ha ha.
First I found a "simple formula" for figuring out if you can house a lil' hydro power :
"A simple formula for approximating electric power production at a hydroelectric plant is: P = ρhrgk, where
P is Power in watts,
ρ is the density of water (~1000 kg/m3),
h is height in meters,
r is flow rate in cubic meters per second,
g is acceleration due to gravity of 9.8 m/s2,
k is a coefficient of efficiency ranging from 0 to 1. Efficiency is often higher (that is, closer to 1) with larger and more modern turbines. "

The only result/solution for the Luck Cabin's Hydro-ness I mathmatically came up with after examining that formula was this:
This is engineer stuff. (Is reader Lou Cheese out there? I bet you make something of this jibber jabber!!)
What I wanna know is hydro-electric a possibility for the Luck Cabin (where i use about 30-40$ of electric a month/ or approx. 250KWH per month) much power could my lil' pipe of creek water produce?

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Eco DIY: Crochet Necklace

My eco crafting frenzy continues on (the craft fair my mom entered me in is December 11th!)
I liked this crochet necklace idea so much I wanted to share it with ya'll! There are alot of people out there who love jewelry but have allergies to either metal, chemicals in leather cords, or toxic fabric cords... I am one of those people and so I am always trying to come up with cute shit to wear that is eco, chem free, and safe. For this crochet jewelry project I used soy yarn! (Soy and Bamboo yarns are very silky and have a natural sheen.)
I would really like to elaborate on this crochet necklace idea, but for now here is the simple pattern I made up last night ::::
1. (ch) chain stitch --- make a crochet chain the length you would like your necklace to hang. I don't get anal about the math.
2. (s) single crochet stitch --- at the end of your chain, turn your work and do a single crochet stitch in the first hole.
3. (ch) 4 --- make 4 chain stitches off the single crochet.
4. SKIP 2 --- skip two holes AFTER you've made the 4 chains.
5. (s) single crochet --- make a single crochet stitch in the next hole AFTER the two you skipped.
6. REPEAT step #3-#5 --- this repeat makes the lace effect, repeat it till you get to the end of your original chain.
7. THE BALL/clasp --- when I got to the end of the lace, I did 6-8 DOUBLE crochet stitches all going into the same hole at the very end of the necklace. This make a fan or shell shape - which I then folded over once and used a SLIP STITCH to hold in place, the folded over again and did another SLIP STITCH to hold in place, creating a ball shape. The ball can then be poked through the lace holes to hold the necklace on!!! Way cool. :)))
8. Pendant --- I would rather do all crochet and make it really fancy, but for now a nice glass or ceramic pendant is fun! I tied it on with some hemp twine that was the same color as the soy yarn I used to crochet with.