Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Small Tan Moth (with spot on wings)

Signs of bug life are appearing with the dawn of spring. Isn't dis' little moth so cute!? Look at that face - it looks like a fuzzy wuzzy animal on tiny stick legs. :)

Putting Together My Hand Washer

Today I decided to put together the Lehman's Hand Washer i got! This is a clothes washer that is powered by your own arm & some water - but it is much larger then the Wonder Wash that spins a 2 pound load- this big boy hold 15 gallons of water, so that bigger things like sheets and blankets can actually be cleaned by hand too.
I have to say, I am not good with directions (aka, putting shtuff like dis' together kinda throws me off)... and even though it was fairly simply to figure out the directions were way too vague without any pictures. I basically went on intuition...
There is a hose attachment at the bottom, so that drainage of the water can be turned off and on - what makes this feature cool is you can move the washer to anywhere, since it's not plumbed into the house. You could wash clothes on the porch, in the bathroom, or anywhere ya want.
I bolted in the first set of wooden legs, and soon found out that plyers are needed to tighten the bolts and nuts together.
I ran into a problem on the second set of legs- the layers of metal holes were not matching up right, no matter how hard i pulled, tugged, pushed, and cursed at it - once i struggled to get one bolt in, it was impossible for the second series of holes to line up. I took my drill, put oil on the metal and drilled some of the metal out to make the hole more even... then got the leg on.Once both sets of legs were secured, there is a support bar and rod to put through the bottom holes. It definitely made the washer solid and sturdy.
I popped on the handle and the clear plastic top! All done and ready to try it out!

Monday, March 29, 2010

Chicken Feet At My Front Door

Those are for protection. I am sure they are already working.


Sunday, March 28, 2010

Clearing A Place For My Organic Garden

I chose this garden spot because it was not only the clearest spot I have on my land (i know, it ain't too open)- but also it is underneath some power lines, which means it will always need to be clear of trees and anything that could grow in the way of the grid system. But no small task - my garden is going to take a bit more work and longer to prepare then I expected, but will be so worth it in the end.
I am starting mostly with small stuff I can take care of with cutting shears - then I will work my way up to larger tree saplings that will need a hand saw. I got a good spot going already... (see pic below where I am picking up the brush I cut!)

I am totally taking the brush and making it into piles for critters to make new homes in - I also thought it would be alot of fun to make a semi permanent Lean-To (natural tent) for people to come camp under if they like. :)
But here is the kicker..... this HUGE pile of felled trees in the absolute sunniest spot, which were already cleared away from the power lines - I need some brave men or ladies to come ova' with their handy chainsaws and have a party on this pile. Anyone local interested in some wood and muscle flexing?

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Fog (or clouds?)

For some reason the fog here in Luck is way more creepy then anywhere else I have lived in Western North Carolina... something about the deep wilderness in combo with not being able to see very far around you. I was spooked walking around alone in it. Definitely a good setting for bigfoot, a bear, or a ghost to come walking out of the white.

Hunting For My Mailbox

Don't look at the undies handing on the clothes line, look at that jumbo mailbox!!! I had no idea where the heck to put my mailbox, but where it's sitting on the porch isn't the right place - ya know how rural mail works, the mailboxes gather in a cluster somewhere, like a family. So i started walking down the road in search for the mailbox family i hoped to eventually find...

There are creeks that run across my driveway, not under it, but like right on top the road. Gives me fond flashbacks to the flash floods in the roads of New Orleans ... these creeks ain't got nothing on a crescent city flood - except that they are clean and way prettier!
I walked and walked downhill ---- for so long that the sounds of rushing water in the creeks was making me thirsty and I could feel the muscles in my legs straining from sitting around too much all winter. It's like a never ending forest...
with BIG creeks, big amounts of water creating loud sounds as it hits more rocks below...
AND lots of BIG rocks....
and some crazily BIG McMansion Log homes.....
And FINALLY the family of big jumbo mailboxes I had envisioned!!! YAY! Now I can plant my flag, and truly settle into my new home. USPS here I come... ;)

Friday, March 26, 2010

Help Me ID this Tree

(This post is for Bort - my favorite tree guy...)

I was walking in the woods here around the Luck Cabin when I happened upon this big barked tree. What I noticed first was the unusual tree knot in the bark, at the bottom of the trunk. It looked like a big button that you could press, and open up a portal to another world - the kind with unicorns, glitter falling from the sky and tiny people... tinier than me... (see pic below.)The bark of this tree goes upward in large vertical caverns, creating deep shadows in the crevices. I don't know what kind of tree this is- and was wondering if anyone can help me identify the type of tree by looking at the bark? Each kind of tree has it's own thumbprint of bark, just like their individual shaped leaves... :)

Building the Bathroom Wall with Local Wood

Yay! The Luck Cabin now has a 98% finished wall for dividing the kitchen and bathroom - and because I used locally milled pine it only cost 40$ to build an entire wall. That is super affordable compared to the pain staking, time consuming and toxic sheet rock commonly put into homes now. There is something to be said for the rustic look and it's ease of construction and price - so much more tactile and warm to me. I likes it!

I have never built a wall before but noted the process as my carpenter friend Mark threw this wall up in less then 3 hours. Level 2x4 studs in first....
Some horizontal and well as the vertical ones go into place to hold the wall together, but i like it cause it made cool little box shapes - that I can use for hanging pictures, putting shelves into, a rock collection cubby... boxes are endless awesomeness.
Then I wanted wide planks to be nailed to the studs to match the 'decor' of the rest of the Luck Cabin...
Sweeeeeet!!! It's almost complete. I even have cold and HOT water running to my tub now, from the gravity fed spring. Time to go wash some undies!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Mystery Egg Sack

Maybe for a spider? Maybe some other bug... I found this white egg sack inside a rotten stump of a large tree. Do any of ya'll know what kind of babies are going to be born of this beautiful thing?!
There are really no other words for the elegance and delicate nature of this exterior womb.

Learnin' A Little Plumbing: Kitchen Faucet

Ya'll might remember my plan to make the kitchen & bathroom in my tiny Luck cabin much more eco efficient... there was no bathroom at all and the kitchen was spread out in a space equal to the bedroom. I cut that room in half and am working on piecing it back together with the help of my friends Noelle (pex plumbing) and Mark (carpentry).

I decided to take the old kitchen sink that had already been in the house and re-furbish it with just a change of faucet fixture. When I was attempting to take the old fixture off, mainly made of cheap plastic and corroded badly to the sink, I learned how to put one back on.

(Note to self: Taking shit apart really does teach you how to build/put things together!)
I had to use pliers to get the old parts off because there was so much old plumbing tape and the funky blue/green colored stuff metal corrodes onto itself when wet. Putting the new one on is fairly easy - you just spin those big plastic thingies all rightie tightie till you can't push anymore.
Yay! I swear putting stuff together myself is doing good things for my self esteem. I recommend trying this at home. DIY! :)

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Trees in Inter-Species Relationships

Is this hot or not? This tree hugging, by trees hugging trees of another species is.... well.... look at this! It's awesome.
And this, well it's like watching late night HBO in the late 80's .... this pair is actually....
K-I-S-S-I-N-G! Is it getting hawt up in here?!?

Poop In The Water: A Gravity Fed Spring

At my cabin deep in da' woods of Luck there is gravity fed spring water... pretty rad huh? I thought so too until I realized my system needed a bit of re-vamping. At first when I left Big Sandy Mush I cried a little bit cause I knew I would miss it, then I started crying cause when I went up to take a look at the pure spring source for my water - i found POOP!!!

I didn't recognize the scat, but I saw a racoon track and one other animal track that was smaller near the water. (When I looked up the poop, it was a raccoon for sure.) Duh! Of course animals are gonna be thirsty too which is why the system may need a little more protection from their tongues...and unintelligible potty habit. Since there is tons and tons and more tons of water on the property for the animals to drink, I don't feel too bad setting this one aside for the picky humans, like myself.
I scraped the poop away from the water, then took rich black clean dirt from the forest floor and placed it on top, then covered that with leaves - in order to keep bacteria from being airborne and to get the poop reminents into a composting stage.
So here is how the gravity fed water system here works... for now...

See that little dark cave in the pic below? There is spring water coming from rocks under there and making a pool of water. The water then goes down into the white pipe. The pipe is on a slope, going towards a holding tank.
The pipe at one time went into that old cement tank, which has long since fell apart - the blue tank was added instead. Water fills up the tank from the downward pressure and the tank creates even more pounds of downward pressure to bring water to the house.
After the tank is full, water goes down a larger pipe all the way to the house - because it goes quite a distance it gets good water pressure. I was told if i add more tanks it creates even more pressure and more sediment falls to the bottom of the tanks and is less in the water.
For now, I put a sediment filter on it inside the house.

Any of ya'll have experience, tips or thoughts about gravity fed spring water?

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Hello Hot Springs (my trip there...)

I made it, I'm alive!

I am living in the wild remote rural middle of nowhere... (just like before in Big Sandy Mush) but now in a tiny area called Luck (ya know right below Trust) in Hot Springs North Carolina.

The trip was made partly by car (thanks Bort for driving me, and Thanks Gretta for the car to use!)... and I made some good miles by electric bike too. We took the parts in the car VERY slow, 20 MPH or under and when we got to the top of Doggit Mountain, I decided to ride my bike down a few miles, so I wouldn't have to feel car sick anymore. It was SO exciting.Doggit Mountain is basically a steep climb, and steep drop with nothing but switch back roads to wind around, trees, rocks, and what looks like hardly any people living around there. The air immediately got colder, and fresher, in a way I am not sure I have ever breathed before. It made me feel happy. :)
But I was tired from packing all my things and loading boxes to be moved, I kinda felt like I wanted to poke my own eyes out, or fall asleep. So I thought about my Mimi, who just passed away - I thought about how she would have cheered me on, how she was with me in spirit and would always be my angelic cheerleader in my heart... just as i was missing her and wishing she was there a hawk flew down below the tree line to my left side and flew about 20 feet above my head for the next half mile. That gave me a new surge of energy.

I saw some really beautiful things along the way, to many to begin to tell- but here are a few...
There was BUNCHES of old houses and old barns, and falling down structures- each one with history, thumb prints, foot prints, and stories in the decay.
It took about 2 1/2 hours to go 22.4 miles total (cause we were going soooo slow), but we finally made it to the area called Trust. Totally deserving of a thumbs up.
Trust is about 2 miles from my house - and there is actually a Trust STORE! I ran in there to use the bathroom and saw a mish mash of crazy mountain stuff - carved bears, hunting vests, T-shirt with a deer painted on the front, and even a camo lounge chair, snacks, drinks, and cigs. I want to go sit on their porch and people watch.
Soon after there was the turn to my personal paradise. All I could think and say outloud was "oh my gawd, oh my gawd, oh my gawd" because everything was so amazing, beautiful, hardcore wilderness, tiers of waterfalls, sliding smooth giant rocks, creeks rushing along the road - pure air, the sounds of water, big houses with their own tennis court and putting green, and then we finally pulled up to my new tiny home.

The frogs & my friend Noelle were waiting there to greet me. Yay baby! I did it!