Everything Happened Today

By , May 24, 2013

About 3 years ago I wrote about a typical day on the homestead in which a lot of stuff got done. I called it Nothing Happened Today. Yesterday felt like the opposite of that day—it seemed like everything happened! The main difference between the two came from intent. I got an amazing amount of scheduled tasks completed yesterday.

It started with packaging up some gifts for family I’d intended to send for some time. I then submitted the final draft of my book, Sacred Coffee: A “Homesteader’s” Paradigm for hard copy printing (more on that soon, I’m sure). Then I hiked part of the way to the bay with Michelle, to pick up a couple of firwood rounds from the west end of the property.

We’ve had warm, sunny weather lately, as we are supposed to have normally at this time of year. For me, that means a big push to get the winter’s firewood in. Of course, I can’t do it all; I have to set small, short term goals to move that project along in the most advantageous way.

Right now, that means getting cut rounds out to the beach where they’ll dry in the wind and sun (as described in A Day at the Beach: Passive Solar and Wind Power at Work). I’m mainly focusing on all the rounds I’ve cut and stowed around the property. Most of them are so dry that by the time the sunny period ends (looks like Saturday) they’ll be more than ready to burn. I’ll get them stacked in the wood shed, so that more recently cut, wetter wood, can take its place on the various drying ricks I’ve built on the beach.

A few hours work achieved this goal. Then I turned to Michelle’s swing (see Swingin’!), which still needed a little bit of tweaking to make it hang just right.

I had hung our large wind chimes on one end of the swing’s supporting cross beam a while back, but it had gotten too loud in high winds. Stopping it meant setting a ladder, climbing up and pulling it down. This maneuver’s pretty awkward in the middle of the night, in one’s pajamas. I set a small pulley on the beam, and ran a line through it. Now the chimes hang in the light winds, but can be lowered quickly and easily when the wind grows too strong.

After that, I checked the latest batch of ginger beer, and found it had carbonated. The next step is to cool it. I checked a dark ravine near the cabin, and found a good chunk of ice. I bashed it into shape with a hammer and packed it around the bottles in a cooler. We would try a bottle just before dinner, and find it perfect.

By this time, the tide looked right, and the wind had lessened, so I fished off the rocks. Before long, I had two nice little Dolly Varden char for the evening meal, the first fish I’ve caught this year.

After cleaning the fish and my gear, I filled a couple of buckets with squirrel midden for outhouse duff. Our “winter’s supply” is finally running low, and dry weather’s the best time to gather it.

We’ve decided to gamble this year, and remain on the winter water tank through the summer (see Fresh Water: Collecting and Conserving a Precious Resource). We’ll use the summer water tank for watering the garden, so I set up the hoses for that purpose, then climbed the hill to open the spigot. When I checked the flow, I found a hole in the garden hose, so I patched that.

When Michelle called to tell me she had started home, I walked out part way to meet her, returning to the west end of the property, where I cut some devil’s club canes. We’ll strip the bark off of them and soak it in oil, to make soap.

When I came back home and wrote all this up, I checked off the last task on my “to-do” list. There’s always more to be done, but I’m gratified to accomplish so much in one day, without hurrying around or pushing myself too hard.This is the way to make a living!

2 Responses to “Everything Happened Today”

  1. Rona says:

    Hey Mark,
    I’ll be using the outhouse at my cabin on Chilkat soon. This will be my first stay( longer than 1 night) at the cabin, and use of the outhouse. So, forgive me for asking, but what is outhouse duff?


  2. Mark Zeiger says:

    Hi Rona, we compost, so we keep buckets of duff–organic material, usually the spruce cone petal middens squirrels make, to scoop into the bucket to cover each “deposit.” Even if you’re using a pit outhouse, as it cuts the smell and will compost, although slower (anaerobic) eventually.

    If you have more detailed questions, you can reach me at AKZeigers “at” “Geemail dot com.” I’ll be happy to help if I can.


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