Friday, July 30, 2010

Small Smooth Snail Shell (with black & gray snail)

I like it when they are jus' a lil' bit different from the usual!
I found it on a piece of locust wood....enjoying some wet leaves.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

DIY: White Trash Jungle Jean Shorts

Yesterday when I was working around the cabin I ripped the knee of yet another freakin' pair of organic jeans! Luckily I got them for a nominal price off e-bay, so I had no problem turning the ailing denim into a pair of short shorts! In fact, I was kinda waiting for something like this to happen so I could try out my idea....
  • old jeans
  • scissors
  • string, ribbon, hemp, cord or something similar
  • hammer & nail w/ small piece of wood (OR) an awl
STEP 1: I took a pair of shorts that already fit me so I could get a basic measurement for the length of my new jean shorts... only with denim it's better to cut a lil' extra first cause you can always cut more off later after trying them on.
I added an extra 2 inches (plus) when I cut the length, cause I wanted to be able to roll them up.

STEP 2: I then took my side seams and cut them completely open. Since the jeans were a little loose on me, i cut out an extra quarter inch to help them tighten up (once I laced them back together.)
STEP 3: Since I don't yet own an AWL, I decided to use a hammer and nail with a piece of wood to punch holes up the side seams. These holes are going to be used to lace up the sides of the shorts like a corset.
STEP 4: For laces I used chemical free brain tanned buckskin, in order to make the ends easy to lace with I put a tiny bit of oil on the edge and then burned it. This makes the brain tanned buckskin harden and can be used as it's own needle.
I laced evenly up the sides using the holes punches with the hammer and nail....
Once I laced from bottom to top, I simply tied a knot at the top, then did the other side of the shorts exactly the same way.
Best CheCk It BeFoRe Ya Wreck It!
These jean shorts are the best kind of rock -n- roll jungle safari trash style!!! And with those laces, it's adjustable! :)))

YAY!!!! Now time to go back to work, and I hope these don't rip like the jeans did...


Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Rustic Fence Gate From Wood Scraps

For the love of mah DOnkee - the fence is going up and I made sure there were three spots with gates for me to get in the domesticated animal ring! I decided to get artsy with my smaller fence gates which will be next to my house and behind the pond, by using whole hardwood tree branches & scrap wood that was piled up on my porch from all the other projects going on.

The basic premise I followed to make the small gates were alot like making a frame to stretch canvas over for paintings. Even though I was using raw materials, like branches I created a square/rectangle/box shape following my measurements (approx. 4 feet high and 36 inches wide).

And to support the box, it needed corner braces...

There may be better ways to do this, but I was using mostly hand tools and winging the design(as always I am open to suggestions, and ways to make things easier too!). I was careful to put in extra screws to increase it's durability.

As a finishing rustic look, i took other twisted branches and screwed them to the front of the gate-! Pretty cool huh? Now Jus' two more to go & I am picking up mah DOnkee this weekend.....


(Helpful Hint::: If you wanna make something like this make sure to pre-drill holes and use really long screws!)

NEW BONUS PIC :::::: (Here is the second gate on the right I built today, July 29th!)

First EGG at The Luck Cabin!

I have one rooster and one chicken - and they made one egg.


Tuesday, July 27, 2010

My Rooster Has Arrived!

Look how big and red and handsome he is! The chickens are coming this week, but as I have started to learn, if ya live rural everyone has an extra rooster they need to get rid of - my uncle brought over this beauty yesterday. At first the rooster was totally nervous and spazzzzed out - I tried putting in some food scraps and water and he was flapping his gigantic wings at me, crowing, screaming and going bazzurk.... now he is cool with me but said he could reallllllly use some ladies, and fast!
And you can see he knows where to look for the ladies too.....

I think I will name him Chante Rouge!

Monday, July 26, 2010

I've Been Re-Wilding At Firefly

Guess where I have been since Thursday??? Re-Wilding classes at the annual FIREFLY!Firefly is a local Western North Carolina 'gathering' of people (all ages) who want to learn how to do amazing re-wilding, primitive, homesteading, crafting & earth easy skillz --- it consisted of 4 really intense days of classes taught by lovable teachers who don't just know the skillz but live them every moment of their lives.
I arrived at Camp Pinnacle wednesday night for registration, where i was given a canvas name tag and a little wooden bead on hemp string bracelet to show I was now part of the re-wilding tribe. I was then handed a map, with a LONG list of classes to choose from--- so many classes that it was literally agonizing trying to decide....

Classes available were an expansion on primitive ways of life, and survival knowledge... wild mushroom, tree & plant walks, building rafts, tanning animal hides, carving wooden spoons and bowls, basket weaving, slaughtering chickens & goats, trapping animals, debris shelter & friction fire making, flint knapping, sewing with buckskin, making bows and arrows, DIY Oil lamps, pottery (should I really go on?... you can see the list here cause you will want to go next year! )
Before any classes began, there was a short & sweet orientation where a man walked out to start a ceremonial fire with a bow drill, using friction (see pic above) - I seriously thought we'd be there for 30 mins waiting for the fire to start but it could not have been more then 5 minutes that he started a whole bonfire, using just friction & his breath into the smouldering kindling. It was f-en incredible!
The first class I attended was spoon carving - a technique that was not easy, but also was shockingly simple. The teacher (Barron, see guy in jumpsuit above) started with just a simple small piece of fresh cut green wood and a hatchet to split it into a thinner piece to begin carving with.
We used tools he had handcrafted himself & our personal knives (cause at this event everyone carries a KNiFe!!) Starting buy gouging out the spoon center, then carving around it....
this is my spoon below, almost finished. Chunky, but oh my gawd I was sooooo proud & love it.
I was really into learning how to tan animal skins, so that I can use them to make clothing and other long lasting I took a BARK TANNING class with Todd (the rad guy who can start fast friction fires!)
This class was also simple, chemical free yet a hard working process - I learned how to use hemlock tree bark & red oak to tan animal hides--- the bark has to be pounded into a powder and then either boiled down or soaked in water. He said if the water is cold sometimes with Hemlock it brings out the astringent tannins instead of the bitter ones, and FOR realZ he had everyone in the class taste the tannins so they could know the difference because the bitter ones work better! I totally only sniffed it... ;)
People not only tasted the tannins he had in jars, but they even tasted the tannins holding the animals skin in the bucket - the tannins are so strong, they kill everything (germs, foot fungus) - the color from the bark made a soothing shade of red on the leather...
He showed us animal skins tanned with and without the fur on too - the smaller critters needed a stronger quicker solution, while the bigger ones, start out with weaker solutions. The coolest part was it's REALLY hard to fuck up this process, the part that is most likely to get messed up is during the skinning and scrapping that is done before the tanning.
A favorite class of mine (mainly cause i was totally loved by my teacher Laura) was the Pine Needle Baskets!!! I have been waiting to learn how to weaves a nice tight basket for along time- and this method was a fairly easy coiling method, using long pine needles. You can use other gathered materials too (I am hoping to make some out of grass, devil's vine, and kudzu).
Using just hemp twine and a needle, we were taught to coil & weave the basket together, in a patterns of circles.
Later on during the night, when I went to decorate my basket with beads, Laura was nice enough to show me how to make OLIVE OIL LAMPS (which can also be done with animal fat and other slow burning oils). Simply by filling a glass or ceramic jar/container with the oil, then taking a wire, coiling it around a nail, then pull the nail out and shove in a cotton wick. Make the large wire circle at the bottom and handle at the top to make it easy to pull out and stand up...
Have you eva' heard of Brain Tanning Animal Hides? A process different from bark tanning, but brain tanning makes the leather so buttery soft (without using any chems) it's hard to believe --- I took a class on how to Sew With Buckskin that had been brain tanned!
Not using needle and thread, but using cordage made from the skin itself and an awl to poke the holes to lace it through - following the contours of the animals natural curves to decide it's best use (AKA does it make a good shirt, skirt, top, or purse). Parts of the hide are stronger then other, like the neck, spine and bottom - and the outfits need to be made with symmetry in order for them not to get out of shape only on one side.
I am still working on my project, but it's going to be a fringe skirt (shown below) and a bikini top(not shown)! wooo!


FireFly was at a place called camp pinnacle, that had been a summer camp in Hendersonville, NC for the last 80 years. There was a beautiful and warm 17 acre lake to swim, canoe, kayak, dive into- and for some designated areas to even skinny dip in!
At night there were 3 fires going, with drumming, hoola hooping (fire on the hoola hoops!), dancing, singing, and even some fiddle playin'!

Watching the people go absolutely tribal and bazzzurk around the fire made me feel like i was Britney Spears on the side lines of something really different then myself. I stayed an observer, but one who could hardly stop looking.Other types of evening activities consisted of primitive potluck & cookoff, barter fair, and my very favorite the "trade blanket"! No money allowed at the trade blanket, everyone who had something to trade sat in a circle, one by one placing what they wanted to trade on the blanket in the center. Each person had a chance to offer a trade or refuse, some people offered stuff like herbs, mead, massages, fudge, juggling lessons, animal furs, animals antlers, handmade jewelry, feathered earrings, drums, books, clothes....
Firefly runs on a sliding scale ($$$) for classes, and you can go for the entire event or just for a day... It was totally worth every moment, every penny, and every missed wink of sleep (and even the long drive which was difficult for me)!
I highly recommend this event to anyone interested in learning how to really live in union with nature, our natural biology, and our deep need to be true survivor.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Frogs IN the Luck Cabin

I don't think I told ya'll yet... but every time it rains, and sometimes when it's not raining frogs come hopping right under my door (or over the threshhold when it's open) straight into the Luck Cabin! I like it.


Donkey Prep!

Fence is going up! (I used old locust fence posts being taken down from another farm...)
Shavings are in her stall! (I got cedar shaving from my cousin who planed some wood ...)

Clover seed has been cast everywhere! (The shit is organic seed of course....)
All for the love of mah DOnkeeeee! Look at her, she can't wait to have me as a friend, I can tell.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

White Rose Bud Shaped Mushroom

Under some mountain laurel, popping out the wet forest floor were these white delicate flora - looking like albino rose buds. At first I wondered if it was some strange plant, a plant with no color, something from a fantasy world crossing over into my world.
I had accidently trampled one of the flower shaped heads off - and got to look at the very center....
My friend Mark (who's helping me build my donkey fence) was standing there with me, and said it was a type of mushroom! If I had been the first to discover this fungi I think I would have named it something really hardcore.... like the Angel Of Death. Or Tears Of Angels. White Lion? Have ya'll ever seen this?
Can anyone help me ID it.... i am hoping it's real name is as good as my hair band names!