Thursday, September 30, 2010

JuJu the donkey and Beep Beep the chicken

The best eva'. Cute Overload, you can eat this for breakfast! Lunch! and Dinner!


Wednesday, September 29, 2010

DIY: Big Button Down Shirt Made To Fit

This won't be my most dazzling sewing project, but the idea of altering clothes to make them fit is a noble upcycle endeavour and I wanted to share my attempt. Taking a button down shirt that was too big for me (a men's medium), and sewing it down to a more fitted shirt my size.
My original idea was to somehow turn this into a mini-dress (i like to turn everything into mini dresses)... but it didn't work out since the length of the shirt was too short, and well.... you'll see...
  • push pins
  • sewing skills (machine or needle/thread style)
  • thread
  • maybe a friend to help
I turned the shirt inside out and put it back on.
If you have a friend, have them put the pins along the right & left side of the shirt to make it fit to your personal curves, including the sleeves. Leave space for your sewing seams.
If you don't' have a friend over (like me) then carefully try and place the pins yourself - or use measurements. I hate measuring things so i tried standing really stiff and put pins in myself, but it wasn't as accurate as it should have been.
Sew along the seam lines you created with the pins.
You are already finished (or at least i am)!!! This would be great for making a new winter wardrobe on a shoe string budget, because thrift stores are packed with men's button down long sleeve shirts of all colors, patterns and solids which you could tailor to fit your body.
Funny Lookin' Fail ::::
I also did a lil' experiment with adding another layer of shirt at the bottom, which could make a really neat look if you have the right contrasting colors... which I did not. Stark white, with nice subtle plaid is a recipe for a terrible horrible no good country-fied look, but ya know what? I modeled the Sewing Fail for ya'll anyway.......
The Dolly Looks Better. (aka, this might work if ya have big boobies, sassy hair, and long tall legs. Being able to line dance & sing would help too.)
The Baggy Art-TEEst. (This look will work if you like your clothes swaying, loose, half buttoned and probably half assed.)
The Front Knot! (my personal favorite. This shit was hot in the 80's and we all know whether we like it or love it that pushing obscure 80's ideas is totally in style. Maybe not in my rural neighborhood {cause it never went out of style here}, but in Brooklyn, yes. Besides a front knot on a tight plaid shirt is so movie star country girl, roll in the hay - who doesn't like that? I am bringing this back to the fashion forefront right this minute.)
Maybe I can't win them all, but the whole idea is onto something good. ;)

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Rain Barrels To The Rescue

This is my friend Paul Van Heden. He makes really pretty, cute, fun, fancy artsy rain barrels here in Western North Carolina! Today he came over to drop off two hand picked & painted barrels so i can start collecting rain at my cabin, and most importantly at my mini-barn where JuJu the donkey and my chickens live. I have a small spring coming from underground where the animals stay, and also spring water I fill up in buckets at my cabin and drag down to the barn, sloshing water on my jeans and down into my shoes all along the way. These rain barrels will make watering the animals a hella easier...
And seriously... aren't they cute? Nothing wrong with a ridculously adorable & eco friendly rain barrel!
These have two holes at the top with a net over them, so I have to set up a gutter/down spout to direct the water into the tank... until then it'll be all about getting the right aim in the rain. :)
"One inch of rain on a 1,000-square-foot roof will yield around 600 gallons of water, the average American uses 100 gallons of water per day." (water conservation)
We give these water barrels two thumbs, hooves, claws, and paws up!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Rain Walk: Things Me and Mah' DOnkee Liked

Me and all my animals (chickens, a donkey and one cat) have all been cooped up (so to speak) for the last few days with the constant fall rains. Even though it was still overcast and a drizzle came down on my hooded head I invited JuJu the donkey to go for a walk with me...
She totally wanted to come. On with the halter and out the gate, we ventured not too far from our home but far enough to feel freedom from the gloomy confinement.
JuJu is one of the most alert, consistent, and reliable guard animals I have ever seen - she hears things from farther away then I can even imagine them and is always right on target. She knows when they are just something to notice or if they are a true threat (which a donkey will kill or injure), she always shows me whats far ahead when she stops short of walking, flares her nostrils, and takes on the stiff, high eared pose she has in the pic above.
A lil' further up, I saw what she heard over some hills and hundreds of feet away...
wild turkeys!!! (See them in the pic below, making a run down a nook in the meadow...)
Along the road we also came upon something that is fairly new... someone set up a wood stove for outside cooking! I happen to love this idea, because I have a really old not serviceable wood stove on my porch and have been dreaming of using it as an outside fire/cook stove for Spring, Summer and Fall when it's too warm to fire up the one inside the house.
The wood stove I have is missing a front door, and I thought it could be turned into a Cob Oven! (Read HERE how to build your own cheap outside oven.)
Remember the 'pink trailer' I (didn't) trespass at a few months ago...
JuJu has a thing for the retro trailer too. Everytime we pass it she wants to walk all around it, look in the windows, nibble on some charcoal in a burn pile out front, and just generally chill out there...
I am so glad she doesn't look in the windows of my neighbors who are actually home! ha.
The same someone who must have set up the wood stove, placed two animal skulls side by side on a mossy log. Then I found the plastic daisy. I like old plastic flowers in a weird way, even though I am not sure I should....
The thing me and JuJu like the most though, is the forest in general. The bigger picture, the adventure, the all encompassing balance of it, the safety & the dangers, the sounds, the peace, the tall trees, the wet bark, the weather, the wild plants-
the feeling that things are completely right.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Animal Tracking: Black Bear Scat?

While me and JuJu the donkey were on one of our walks I came upon this scat (poop) in the gravel road. I knew right away it was not raccoon scat, bird scat, or deer scat because of the shape...
it had some round berries in it and didn't look hairy so I felt perplexed as to whether it might be coyote scat either.
Fox? A bit of black bear poop? Opossum?
Following scat descriptions, I know that canine's have poop that gets pointy on the ends and bobcats have a tubular shape too - deer and rabbit poop comes out in pellets (rabbit's having a more dry, flat, & separated look, deer being a bigger wet pile of pellets), wild turkey scat looks like a big bird poop with the white mixed in. Raccoon's look like alot of lil' cylinder tubes of poop, and opossums are kinda like a coyote poop that has bumps strung together....
This left me with one choice... a choice I smelled about 50 feet down the road....
A Black BEAR!
Further down the way I smelled a strong odor, one that was like skunky urine. I immediately knew it was a bear, I assume from some deep biological part of my brain that carries primitive instincts cause I have not seen a bear urinate & then sniffed it after. It's something you just know when it blows into your nose. A bear smells like no other animal and it's generally skunky stinky dread locked dirty pungent aroma can't be missed.
Now I realize, the bear has been hanging all around my cabin, this poop with these berries in it are everywhere in the woods.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Ready, Aim, CHoP!

It's that time of year again, when a few chilly nights are the wild's warning of the soon to come winter. My source of heat is wood, in a Treemont wood stove that was already here at the Luck Cabin when I moved in. I lucked out cause it holds a coal overnight, and that means I won't have to start a new fire every morning, which may be one of the harder things about heating with wood.
but not the hardest.
The hardest for me would be splittin' those logs into firewood! Remember last year when I was just learning how to really do it right? Weighing in at about 100 pounds (that would be me) made splitting wood with an ax something of a zen practice more then force.
I set up the log in a stable place and take a good look at my aim. I don't have tons of extra energy to waste on missing my mark, I have to make my swings count.
I am using a "Go Devil" type ax (heavy sledge hammer-ish shape on the back end), which works WAY better then the standard tree chopping ax. I figure if i start splitting a few logs a day now, by the time the real cold comes I will be ahead of the game unlike last year which was a harsh HARSH winter that caught everyone off guard.
It may take me way more swings then I would like (check my swing style I learned last year here) and my wood may still be a lil' green (aka- not totally dry)... but it's way more efficient, good exercise, and saves alot of money to spilt the logs myself. A stack of logs a day keeps da' doctor away!
How do ya'll stay warm for the winter and what do you think is the most earth friendly way to heat your home?


Thursday, September 23, 2010

Obstacles Overcome: JuJu The Donkey Don't Need No Lead

Me and JuJu the donkey have had only one major obstacle to overcome together, and that was coming home. Whenever I put on her halter and took the lead rope we'd happily walk together UNTIL she began running from me when we'd make the trek back towards the cabin. Understandable, she wanted the walk to go on forever... or at least alot longer, but I didn't or couldn't so the whole runaway game was really sucking for me.
In everything else she was gentle - lifting hooves, putting on a halter, making friends with strangers, walking through new (even scary) places, learning new tricks like how to roll a bucket or open a door with her nose, she even walks right through the creeks here.
Yesterday I dared to take her on a hike with me and Bort (even though it could have made it a stressful disaster) - it wasn't till we reached our destination ( the round house) that I learned something about JuJu that I am so excited about I am still about to piss myself in amazement...

Bort found a gravity fed spring water pump at the round house and turned it on to see if it would spray water. Up until this point I had held the lead rope, and JuJu walked fairly quickly sometimes pulling me... but when that water sprayed it spooked her and in an unusual donkey fashion (cause they usually freeze & stand still) she decided that the spray of the water pump was terrifying enough that it was time to haul ass! I tried saying "WHOA" and "STOP" but she was too scared and ran even faster, so I let the rope go.
In that moment I felt myself give up - give up completely the struggle because the donkey would always be stronger then me and would always know it. She ran a good ways back up the trail we had come from and in my surrender I decided to try something different then before. I decided not to go find her, but to wait and see what she would do. Within about 5 minutes she came back on her own accord, and from then on EVERYTHING changed!!!! I rewarded her for coming back and then tied her lead rope back so it wouldn't drag on the ground and I didn't touch the rope again. I let her decide to follow us as we hiked. That's when we all relaxed and started to really have fun! Gathering wildflower & tree seeds, while JuJu grazed.
JuJu went at her own pace, sometimes getting ahead of us, but mostly happily walking behind us, stopping when we would stop, sometimes wondering off to sniff & nibble - but always running to catch up and never wanting us to be out of ear shot or sight. I did not touch the rope. She walked all the way home, with no issues, she jumped over the larger creek, she hung out outside the cabin and around the pond eating grass...
and the clincher....... she went back IN THE GATE on her own.
Holy SHIT!
The Fanny Pack full of treats, all the scratching, singing, love and care I have been putting my heart into has finally created the bond I had hoped for! JuJu is my herd and my friend. (I jus' hope she wasn't showing off for Bort!)

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Edible Forest: Indian Cucumber Root

I have to confess. Sometimes I am scared to try new foods in the forest because I have so many digestive problems from damage caused by Celiac Sprue...but the wild woman in me can not help but want to learn about every single plant that grows around my cabin. Today my curiosity took a stronger hold and I decided to actually take a taste of the Indian Cucumber root.
These are pictures of the Indian Cucumber plant, growing wild in the woods - since it is the Fall season the plants are looking less then perfect (in the Spring they look more healthy and vigorous).
The multi-leafed plant shoots up a smaller tower of less leaves where it flowers and makes this little dark 'berry' (see below), which I assume is the seed case. (I doubt that seed berry is edible, does anyone know for sure? DO NOT eat anything in the wild unless you know without doubt it's edible!)
You can use just your fingers to dig up the root, which isn't all that deep into the ground. The root is very tiny though so it takes a lil' care to make sure you find it.
Bright white and just like it's name sake... it tastes ALOT like a cucumber! In fact, it tastes just like a cucumber but with a really delicious sweet flavor added to it....
so good.....
I go cross eyed.
Thank you tiny cucumber for helping me overcome my fear of trying random edibles in the forest.
Read more info on the INDIAN CUCUMBER ROOT here.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

The Oko Box Keyword Challenge (Game and Prize!)

About once a year I take a look at the google keywords people use to find my blog. It never ceases to entertain, amaze, & confuse me, make me LOL... and scare me to find out the little blurbs the other humans out there are typing in that search box - and then somehow getting to The Oko Box Blog!
I have decided we (me and you) will play a lil' game together with these keywords, a fun writing game but before I tell you the game rules and PRIZE here are the keywords::::::::


chicken foot back scratcher
wrist restraints
abandoned mansions frozen in time
beeswax sex lube
boz sluts
buy a eco toilet bugs
creative zen x-fi style cancer and birth defects
diaper transformation

diy halloween cocoon man
forest porn sites
giant mosquito for sale
hawt wings mystery box
how to paint a witch
in my undies#i=89
identify stinky weeds
moms in bras and panties
my cat caught a baby bunny and tore it's fur off
my composting toilet is smelling
oko f sexs
organic porn tube
panties galore
plant with a fussy white bud
poo cly
red stinky fungus
sexy killing chicken
tiny fuzzy bug with eyes

box turtle seizures
can fake boobs cause cyst
camping disasters
do coperheads have a milky odor
oko mammouth
mountain lion chasing chicken
oko box naked leslie
why do possums drool
what does a bearded lady caterpillar symbolize
why do grasshoppers piggyback?
worn smelly stiletto boots




1. Choose 5 of the keywords (whether it's a one word keyword, a fragment sentence or question).

2. Take your 5 keywords and create a fiction story including them (if you can make it a non fiction story that really happened to you that would be incredible and impressive!)

3. The story you create can be any length, but let's keep it more short...less a novel. You can take up more then one comment box word limit if you need to, just try to put them all in there one after another so the story can flow.

4. Leave your story in the comments box, and I will choose my favorite Oko Box Keyword Fiction Story ---- the winner gets a PriZe!

Bad(and short) Example ::::: No one believed him about how his tent got trampled. He told them a mountain lion chasing a chicken ran right over the top while he was sleeping, but they identified stinky weed in his wallet and everyone knew he was a total fucking drunkard. A bear was likely, but even more likely was he lied, passed out on top the tent himself and crushed it. Wasted, he was about as useful as a box turtle having a seizure...........

PRIZE ::::::::::: I will make the winner a special & personal lil' box full of neat things I find in nature - useful and beautiful. Trust me, it will be cool. :)


(Dead) Flesh Eating Beetle

I was walking toward the front door of my cabin when I saw a rock move... like the rock was actually crawling. When I got closer I smelled the wiff of sick decay and saw a dead rotted mouse part way under the rock, pushing the rock to the side revealed a host of bugs - what I like to call the 'clean up crew'. One beetle really stood out and that is because it does not have the typical appearance of a dead animal eater... like maggots or other tiny parasites - instead it is a striking colorful beetle with orange and black wings and spiral shaped antenna.
The beetle is known as the American Burying Beetle, and is so large that on/inside this lil' dead mouse they almost made it look at though it was still alive, as if the mouse was their puppet -it's dead carcass squirmed and crawled.
Here are some cool science facts about this flesh eatin' beetle::::
**These carrion beetles eat dead animals—mice, birds or other creatures. Using organs located on the tips of their antennae, the beetles can smell dead animal carcasses from far away. They fly to the carrion, prepare it and lay eggs nearby. The carrion is later consumed by the beetles’ larvae.
**Federally listed as Endangered.
**It is one of the few beetles in which both parents care for the young. It is also useful to study its response to a changing ecosystem.
**These scavengers perform a valuable if not glorious service to the natural community by burying dead animals and then consuming them.
(Read More HERE.)
I have seen the Burying Beetle eat cat food, and rest on top old toad stool mushrooms too. :)

Monday, September 20, 2010

Lessons of the Twisted Twizzler Tree

If a tree falls in the forest and no one is there, does it make a sound? I think so, but who really cares if it makes a sound... the real question is if a tree falls in the forest, exposing all it's roots as it rips from the soil, can it not only keep on living but begin to grow many more trees on top, turn it's roots into twisted tree trunks and lift rocks? Yes, for realz. (I bet it made alot of noise when it happened!)
This twisted, braided, beaded (with rocks and knots) tree is close to the Luck Cabin, sitting in a wet bog like area where a few small creek & springs converge - creating an area of strange trees, trees that either fell and re-grew, or that look like 4 feet of ground dropped out from underneath.
Look below and you can see the original main tree truck that fell - it has even decayed at the top, covered in moss and turning into soil, but more trees grow straight up into the air from it.
Smaller trees...some dead, some alive wrap their roots in a hug on old roots and other new trees growing...
Rocks that had been in the ground, rocks that had intertwined with the roots were lifted and then the growth became tighter around them, till they were part of the twisted beauty, almost camouflaged into bark covered roots...
Some rocks sit loosely but never fall, they rest cradled up in the air.
These parts of nature inspire me... even if it's somewhat cliche' in my mind, the twisted tree shows the type of perseverance humans can take guidence from, it shows strength and adaptability--- and the sheer delight and beauty in the unusual, the strange, the handicap, the freaky. It's why I never turn my back on the rejected, the creepy, the lonely, the different things- they are life too, all exsistence is part of this mysterious cycle, all possessing lessons to teach. Lessons that make our lives easier.
You hate homeless people, well Get Over IT!
You think that poor person should get a job or not be able to have babies of their own,well Get OVer It!
People in a wheelchair freak you out, well GET OVer IT!
Developmentally Disabled people scare you, GET OVEr IT!
That weird drunk guy who wont stop talking to you, He's got something to teach!
(I need not go on....the twisted tree has spoken ;) ....)


Sunday, September 19, 2010

Natural Elderberry Dye (on organic cotton undergarments)

Remember how I was cooking down elderberries the other week? I used most of the elderberries I had growing in the medicinal recipe I put in the freezer... but one little bunch was left on the bush and I wanted to experiment with using it as a dye on some organic cotton undergarments (wife beater undershirt & thong panties) that I got from American Apparel's organic section online.
The undergarments were un-dyed to begin with, just the natural organic cotton color which is a slightly off white. (For those of you with MCS { chem sensitivities} I found that these undies were not overly chemical smelling, and that AA is doing a fairly good job with their organic line. The smell they did hold washed out really easy for me.)
HOW TO ::::
I believe there are various ways to prepare the elderberry dye - but what I did this time was cook it down with a lil' bit of apple cider vinegar and then let the cotton clothing sit in the dye bath overnight.
I am pretty certain you can get a MUCH darker color from this if you have tons of elderberries (which I didn't have anymore). Also, i think for a blue/ purple color that is dark possibly not cooking them at all, but crushing them up into a liquid, adding the vinegar and then putting the garments in would be really awesome, and likely a very deep dye.
I hung them out in the sun to dry, and as with all natural dyes the color will lighten as the fabric dries. This small amount of elderberries made a nice shade of pink... that leans on the lavender side.
Pretty earthy & cool!