Wednesday, October 6, 2010

A Day (or two) In The Life

On October 5th I turned 33. Not a big deal really except that it marked a ten year anniversary of something that would change my life forever. This of course led me to think in slightly different terms then usual - basically that silly deep contemplative junk that comes up while I am doing something like shoveling donkey poop, i think: WOW Whoooo woulda thought I'd be doing what I am doing right now back when I was 23...!
This is why instead of doing a ten year soul review (cause it's not like I'm having a near death experience just a birthday), i thought I'd do a day in the life! This is actually a day and 1/2....
Pictured at the top is what happens every morning. I sleep with my cat toots every night and in the morning I wake up with her either snuggled under the covers by my belly, or on top the covers by my belly. Always keeping me warm. I tell her that she is a "fish in the ocean of love" while petting her head, she lays back and looks like she's swimming through an invisible ocean and smashes her face against my hands.
Now that it's cold, before doing ANYTHING I get my fire started... I get dressed, eat a lara bar and prepare to greet outside and feed all my animals!
JuJu the donkey and all the chickens get fed a little corn (the chickens also get food scraps), and JuJu gets her 'flakes' of hay (mixed grass hay, never gluten grain hay)...
While all my babies are eating and happy, I take the time to shovel all the donkey shit. Unlike many other areas of my life, I am quite maticulous about keeping the animals fenced area clean. She usually poops in the same place over and over as if she's potty trained but my daily shoveling sometimes throws her off (i think JuJu thinks i am saying it wasn't a good spot to poop in.)
Each day I take the bucket of donkey poop and dump it in the organic gardens I am building. If I have really good energy I keep going with mushy rained on & trampled top soil from the fenced in area too. I usually max out at ten buckets in a day, cause dat' shit is heavy!
On this particular day, while building up the garden JuJu the donkey also went into HEAT again! When donkeys go into heat they make this attractive face (pictured below), while making smacking, chewing and breathing sounds. Some drool can happen from time to time. Chewed food falling out. Tail up. Alot of pee'ing.
After I've taken care of everyone I sit down at the computer to check on emails, stalk ya'll on facebook, check on my store, and watch music videos. ;) I spend time at the computer throughout the day, especially while resting and cooking (i cook all three meals a day).
A RARE thing that happened on this day was I cleaned my house...
only cause after the cob project it was a dangerous (broken plate pieces) and scary (donkey poop cob dirt smeared all over) place.
The tempature also dropped so drastically at the high elevations inthe mountains here, I had to carry all my plants in one by one... gawd I love my plants. So much. Most of them are herbs i use for cooking everyday. I set them up on little round logs so they could reach the light of the window.
Since basil is seasonal and had already died, i took the old peaches I had collected from a neighbor's tree to plant in that pot in hope's that next year at least one of those seeds will sprout a new tree. :)
A daily thing now too is splitting all the logs I have here. This is the stack I did in one day...
Lately, my gravity fed water has been getting clogged with silt. Since the spring water has now been boxed in I can't see exactly why this is happening but there's a good chance some North Carolina crawfish are playing around in there...
I have to blow the pipe.
A neat trick I learned, instead of shoving a long wire up there to unclog it, if i put my hand over the pipe and blow air up into the pipe hard enough the clog come out and tons of water rushed out. Sometimes so fast it hits my face before I can pull back.
I try to walk in the woods everyday. Which isn't hard to do cause I am surrounded. I think it is when I feel most relaxed, most energetic, most healthy and happy.
For my birthday me and Bort took a small trip to Waynesville, NC to go to my favorite thrift store ever! We thrift scored big time, I even found a winter coat that's washable and almost matches my donkey. :)
Next door to the Second Blessings thrift store this little town actually feeds their homeless and poverty stricken everyday. It's pretty awesome. I always wanted to help there but my stupid auto-immune disease won't let me touch the food.
Me and Bort also stopped at the lake there, called Lake Junaluska. All the times I lived near that lake and I had never sat by it. It had quacking & laughing ducks and sparkles reflecting off the surface.
As pretty as it was, I could not wait to get back home to my own lil' pond, and the quiet of my cabin.
I read. Alot. Usually before I go to bed, or by the fire, when evening comes, or when I am sick of the internet during the day. I get used books online, from friends, or borrow from my local Spring Creek Volunteer Library.

Was my average day as exciting as you thought?
Is it as exciting as I thought it would be when I was 23?
*I imagine 23 year old Leslie sitting outside the All Natural store on Magazine St. in New Orleans. Her eyelids shimmer with pink glitter, her lipstick is red, and her head is shaved on the sides. She's eating the daily special which happens to be a vegan Jambalaya (her favorite), she has no idea what is going to happen in a week or two. She is a successful artist, she's young, educated, what could go wrong. Her Italian artist boyfriend gets up to go use the bathroom...
and 33 year old Leslie comes to the table and sits in his place.

She says "In ten years you will be a recluse living in the woods in the mountains near Asheville, NC. You will never have returned to New Olreans, even this deli will no longer exsist. In the Mountains you will be surrounded by animals you love and love you, in a cabin, in a place so remote it will shock people. You will buy only hypoallergenic toilet paper, cook all your meals, and use a toilet that composts poo. You will know how to identify trees by their bark and plants you can eat in the forest. You will never eat this Jambalaya again."

23 year old Leslie will frown hard about the Jambalaya, but smile a big grin about all the rest. She will say "That sounds really fucking cool."*


Teresa Evangeline said...

This is such a great post. I'm so happy for you. Isn't it interesting how life seems to turn on a dime, taking us down a whole new path?

Liberty said...

I loved this post so much Leslie!
thank you for sharing your day/life!

Liz said...

This is a lovely post. Also, your cat's face in the picture of you reading is insanely awesome!

Wild Canary said...

This is one of my favorite posts, Leslie...I am truly happy for you making a place. It is almost just like the picture you sketched when I first met you on TCR. HUGS Connie

Cosmic said...

OO I'm envious of your rewarding lifestyle choice(Happy belated Birthday, Leslie:)!


Mezzuzah said...

Life as a prayer.

Leslie's Gone Oko said...

Thanks so much to everyone for their kind words!

Building a sustainable or forest life takes alot of hard work, I think the reason it comes off as peaceful is because there is something really rewarding about living this way.
Each day is different for me (except i always feed myself and the animals) ... some days harder, some more relaxed. But for my health (which i have struggled with for more years then i want to count) I choose a life that won't rock the boat, so to speak.

The drawback to this lifestyle is that since the economy is bad it's hard to make a living while setting yourself up to be off grid. I have my store online but with the economy dip it doesnt do very well anymore.
My way of making my life more peaceful and to save money is to set myself up to need as little money as possible. Being poor has been a great way to get inventive and motivated.
Bad health & Poverty I would say led me in the right direction, even if i was already leaning that way, it got me walking.

Stephanie Rogers said...

What kinds of books do you like to read? Maybe I have some things you could borrow. I love the sweater coat you're wearing in the donkey pics.

Leslie's Gone Oko said...

Hey Stephanie!
I like to read books that *don't* make me wanna slit my wrists at the end...
i love ones where a girl is the main character and her life changes. I like fiction, i like fiction based on real places. It doesnt have to be overly smart, with big words- simple is good too. I also like books where i can learn stuff.

That sweater is organic! :) Got it on super sale last winter from Green Loop online... i think i used a discount coupon AND it was on sale. lol
(most places you can google "coupon" and get their latest ;)))))

Stephanie Rogers said...

Have you read the 'Wicked' series - Wizard of Oz from the witch's point of view? They're fun, light reading - I have all three if you're interested. Otherwise I think Jason and I do read a lot of dark/tragic lit :)

Leslie's Gone Oko said...

WIcked sound awesome! I would love to read it. I really am liking reading books in a series too.

I used to read dark stuff all the time, alotta true crime & vampires & stephen king & mystery. Then I got Celiac Sprue, somehow that was dark enough for me in my real life, that I couldnt deal with anything else dark... even if it was just fiction.
I am one of those saps who gets REALLY sucked into movies and books and will be really upset for a long time after reading something freaky.
AKA (I read the book "fall unto your knees" over a year ago and I still have not gotten over it. lol)

corrie said...

being that I have known you now for more than half our lives. Really!! I knew that Leslie and I loved her something fierce!! Who could guess that I could ever love you MORE! The evolved Leslie is AWESOME!!

Leslie's Gone Oko said...

Thanks Corrie!!!
We are aging well, aren't we ;)
You are awesome, travleing the world, checking out all the nooks and crannies of the earth and having fun.

I appreciate you saying you love the evolved Leslie even more - there were many years of mental struggle, where i had many people saying "i miss the old leslie"... something about that statement always turned my stomach.

I have always loved you something fierce too :))))) AND i miss you, come visit me at my cabin. But not in the winter unless you want to chance being snowed in.

Anonymous said...

That's exactly right trying to see or plan the future is hard for me it just seems to be a set up for failure so I survive day by day