Day 64. (TFC Getting Some Reading Glasses, Taking A Sitz Bath, Doing More Handyman Work & Clearing Some Unwanted Vegetation From Around The Shelter Site)
This morning it was not quite as chilly as it has been of late which was nice but I need to be mindful that I don't let it lull me into a false sense of security because I still have a lot to do in order to be properly prepared for the winter.
Whilst visiting with some of my fellow homesteaders this morning the current guest visiting here gave me two really nice pairs of reading glasses. One pair is 1.00 and the other pair is 1.50 and the 1.00 work perfectly for my needs. I have the other pair just in case I need them some day which I probably will given that my eyesight has only recently deteriorated since my last journey where I did too much reading (and pretty much everything else) with wholly insufficient indoor lighting. For the most part too much eye strain lead to me having problems with reading small print but with my new glasses I can feel a palpable difference when I read things. Even writing this post on my phone is made easier with the glasses and given how much that I write, read and edit stuff on the phone I am looking forward to the benefits the glasses provide and a relief to all the prolonged eye strain.
On a different note those damn hemorrhoids that have been a pain in my ass for the last year or so have been bothering me a lot lately so I did a bunch of research on various treatments that I can do on my own and pretty much every article I read recommended taking a Sitz (in German it means 'to sit') bath after having a bowel movement. Basically it is just sitting in few inches of warm water which relieves the inflammation that occurs during a bowel movement. So this morning I placed my outdoor bathtub atop the pallet I setup as part of my shower yesterday and filled it with about four inches of hot water. I used hot water because the water comes out of the shower-head rather slowly and by the time the tub had filled enough the water had cooled to a warm temperature. Although I was a bit skeptical I was pleasantly surprised at how well (and rapidly) the treatment worked. Considering how painful the hemorrhoids can get taking a little warm bath each morning is a small cost for that sort of relief. Hopefully I can afford the extra propane it will take to do the Sitz bath routinely because I sure as hell need that sort of relief!
All that jazz aside I eventually got to work this afternoon on doing more of that handyman work at the homestead proper that I began doing yesterday. The main project today was to finish the underpinning on that addition by creating a crawl space access which I did by creating a hinged door that is three feet wide and eighteen inches tall.
Once I finished with the crawl space access I built a single step for an exterior door on the same addition and I kept that project super simple by attaching a nearly four foot long piece of two inch by twelve inch piece of lumber to three evenly spaced pieces of six inch by six inch pieces of lumber. It is not the prettiest step but it functions well enough.
By the end of the day I did not have time to truly dive into my own larger projects so I spent some time clearing some unwanted vegetation from around the shelter site as well as cutting down more of those sapling stumps (created before my arrival) that litter the area, snag my extension cords and that I trip over continually and ugh no matter how many of them I cut down level with the ground I just keep finding more of them!
Well that is about it for now and I am going to wrap this up and call it a day. I hope that everyone is doing well and has a nice day/night.
Day 65. (TFC A Rainy Day Spent Indoors, Ordering Yet Another WiFi Router To Address My Connectivity Woes, Taking A Pleasant Nap & Spreading More Grass Seed)
Although I had plans to do more handyman work today it began raining early this morning and did not stop until just before dark. I considered getting out and working in the rain numerous times throughout the course of the day but the more that I thought about leaving the cozy confines of the shelter the less inclined I was to actually do so which was probably good because I am unsure when the last time was that I had such a relaxing day. I even took a pleasant nap during the heaviest part of the rain and woke up feeling more rested than I have felt in quite some time.
I did spend a good bit of time today re-configuring that new WiFi router trying to tweak it for some better performance but in the end I had to do a factory reset on it because I buggered the process up somehow and degraded the performance instead of enhancing it. Ultimately I am just too far away from the initial WiFi signal and both the devices I am using as repeaters are at the very edge of their ideal range of operation. I have known that has been the biggest part of my connectivity problems the whole time and was planning on eventually getting another one (or two) of those good MBR95 routers to fill in the coverage gaps and this morning I saw a pre-owned one online for fifteen bucks and I sure as hell clicked the 'buy now' button as soon as I saw it was from the same seller that I bought the last one from.
The whole WiFi thing has been a total pain in the ass my entire stay here and like I have said before my cellular service does not work here even with the utilization of a cellular repeater so I am pretty much stuck with the WiFi as my only option. What happens though is that it takes me entirely too damn long to do anything on the internet (if it works well enough to do anything in the first place) which really eats up too much of my time each day and induces entirely too much frustration into my life. Hopefully when that router arrives in the mail in a few days my frustrations will come to an end and if that does not solve it I am going to order a third one and that will sure as hell give me more than adequate coverage!
Anyway towards the very end of the day when the rain finally abated I decided to spread some more grass seed around some of the bare spots along the trails, around the shelter site and also along some of the walkways at the homestead proper. There are a bunch of other spots that could also use more grass seed but I did not have enough sunlight left to the day to properly prepare the areas by raking them.
I keep thinking that I should use my mulching lawnmower (with the deck on it's lowest setting) to mulch the leaves in the areas I have cleared and then spread the grass seed into those areas as well. If I get enough sunny weather to dry the leaves up some I might do it but if not I think the wet leaves would just make the mower stall out repeatedly. One way or another it would be nice to get more grass growing before the really cold weather arrives and things become a mucky mess.
Anyway I do not really have much to write about today so I am going to wrap this up and unwind for the evening. I hope that everyone is doing well and has a nice day/night.
Day 66. (TFC Working On The Woodshed/Greenhouse In The Drizzling Rain, Preparing For The First Freeze & Staying In The Shelter As It Poured Rain)
I guess that from the title you can tell that it really was not all that productive of a day but at least I somehow managed to get a few things done before it started raining heavily this afternoon.
After spending most of yesterday cooped up in the shelter I immediately got busy outside this morning once the rain slacked off to a drizzle. I had that one last poplar rafter that I had not de-barked (nor installed) on the woodshed/greenhouse so I got it de-barked and installed but instead of putting it at the end of the other rafters I installed it beside that american walnut brace/rafter on the end of the building where one of the entrances will eventually be. My thinking on doing it that way was that because I am lacking the other rafters to finish the other end of the building (that will be covered in roofing metal instead of greenhouse plastic) that I could at least get the end of the building that will be covered in plastic to a point where I can actually install said plastic and create a little dry storage space.
I also wound up trimming up the american walnut brace at it's base (because it was too long) and chiseling down several places along it that were higher than the other rafters. There was also a portion of the brace that was entirely too low so I de-barked a small piece of poplar and installed it along the brace to 'raise' it evenly with the rest of the rafters.
After doing that stuff I used the chainsaw to trim all the excess parts of the rafters off and then used a chisel to remove any remaining sharp edges as well as all the knots that might tear the plastic when I install it. I have been racking my brain on how to create a barrier between the rafter ends (on the topmost header) and the greenhouse plastic and today I realized that I could use some scraps from that rubber roofing material (that I sealed the seams on the shelter with) to lap over where the rafters meet the header and just tack them in place with some small roofing nails which actually worked out rather well and will hopefully provide an adequate protective barrier even with a snow load on the plastic.
I started to install the greenhouse plastic itself today but of course as soon as I began the process the wind started gusting and the rain started coming down pretty hard and although I was determined to get the plastic on today after the third time the wind blew it away I gave up on it, bundled all the plastic up, parked the big wagon atop it and put all my tools away.
From there on out it pretty much just continued to pour rain all day but having learned that tonight the winds are going to be gusting around forty-five miles per hour and the temperatures will be dropping below freezing (and staying that way well into tomorrow morning) I scrambled around and secured things that might get blown around as well as doing some preparation for potentially losing grid power (no biggie there since all my batteries are charged) as well as filling some water jugs because if the grid goes down the well pump does not work. All of which makes me miss just how 'dialed in' I had my water and electricity scenario at the previous place!
Anyway I at least had a mildly productive morning but having so much to do before winter truly gets here I cannot quite let myself slip into my 'downtime mode' and I find days like today and yesterday frustrating to say the least.
Well that is about it for now and I am going to wrap this up, do the inevitable editing and call it a day. I hope that everyone is doing well and has a nice day/night.
Day 67. (TFC Waking Up To A Warm Shelter, Installing Greenhouse Plastic, Getting The Newest WiFi Router Three Days Early, Hacking Together A Power Supply For The Router, Reconfiguring All Three WiFi Routers & Finally Fucking Solving My Connectivity Issues)
It got rather cold outside last night and although I was up a bit late I shut the propane heater off long before going to sleep and was pleasantly surprised this morning that it was still quite warm inside the shelter even though it was below freezing outside. In other words the shelter (even without it's walls insulated yet) is absolutely fucking awesome and it is by far the warmest living space that I have had in many years!
Early this morning I piddled around researching solar powered well pump designs until the temperature outside got up to one degree above freezing and then I put on some chapstick as well as some gloves, bundled up in an insulated jumpsuit and got out the door so that I could make the most of this cold day working on the greenhouse/woodshed.
Thankfully the wind was no longer gusting and I was able to get the greenhouse plastic installed on the roof without any struggle or even any difficulty. After looking at things a bit I decided to add one more poplar rafter and extend the plastic over two more feet which still gives me plenty of room to add the roofing metal that I want to add to that end of the building. There was one remaining small poplar tree in that area where I had gotten the other ones that I used for rafters and somehow when I was felling them I had missed getting it as well so today I made quick work of dropping it to the ground, cutting it down to size, de-barking it and getting it installed on the greenhouse/woodshed so that I could fasten the plastic to it.
The plastic itself of course was previously used so it was not perfectly shaped but at least I had enough of a rectangle shape to fit exactly on the roof which was totally just dumb luck because I didn't measure it before I built the building. There was also enough of an overhanging piece that once I got the roof covered I was able to build a wall with the overhanging section and still have plenty of plastic left to do the walls on the majority of the rest of the structure.
Late in the afternoon that MBR95 WiFi router surprisingly arrived three days early so I switched gears and decided to set it up while I still had some daylight because I knew that if I didn't I would undoubtedly find myself fumbling around in the cold dark of night trying to get it setup. It was cheaper than the last one that I ordered because it did not have a power cord with it but I felt rather confident that I could rummage around the homestead and find a cord that could provide it with the twelve volts DC at 1.5 amps that it requires and if not I could wire it up to my solar rig if it came down to it. After lots of digging around I finally found a perfect power cord for it in my stuff but I had to rewire the end of the cord with a different plug so that it would fit into the router's power port. Fortunately I found one of those also in my stuff and after stripping some wires, testing the polarity with a multimeter and adding two wire nuts (and some tape for good measure) I had a power cord.
The next phase of setting up the router was a bit of a cluster fuck because I wanted to put it as the first repeater (WiFi extender) in the network because that WiFi extender that I originally got would not allow me to change it's local IP range which inevitably kept causing issues because it had the same IP address range of the initial router located at the homestead proper. Anyway putting the new router where the extender previously was meant that I had to not just configure it but also reconfigure both the other two devices that are after it in the network as well and after lots of tinkering and multiple rebooting of all the devices I got it all working. I wound up putting the little extender (a Netgear N300) in the solar shack which worked really well because that area was where I kept previously getting a dead zone with the coverage but now with the newest router in an outbuilding, the extender in the solar shack and the other MBR95 in the shelter everything is working fantastically and perhaps now I can not have so much wasted time (and aggravation) whilst doing things on the internet. As I have previously stated ad infinitum relying on the WiFi has been extremely frustrating!
Well that is about it for now and I am going to wrap this up, do the inevitable editing and finally not have to fucking struggle with internet connectivity to get it shared! I hope that everyone is doing well and has a nice day/night.
Day 68. (TFC Getting Off To A Slow Start On Another Chilly Morning & Working On An Old Outhouse)
Although it was once again chilly outside this morning I awoke to it being nice and pleasantly warm inside the shelter. In fact I was so warm that I am now considering perhaps installing an exhaust fan (maybe even one with a thermostat) so that I can cool the place down a bit. The window in the door and the actual window in the wall seem to work well enough for ventilation when it is warm outside but I am thinking that having the option of some 'forced' airflow as well might not be all that bad of an idea. It does not get 'too hot' inside at all (at least when the heater is off) but it is a small space and I think it would be rather simple to do some kind of thermostat controlled outlet with an exhaust fan plugged into it to keep the air 'fresh' without compromising my heating requirements.
Anyway after getting some early morning visitors (one of whom was a guest getting a tour of all the recent changes around the homestead here) I loaded up my big wagon with various tools and headed down to the homestead proper to do more of those odd jobs that I have been tackling of late.
Today's big project was addressing the rotting siding on an old outhouse that looks like it has gone unused for the better part of two decades. The original osb (oriented strand board) that was used had surprisingly held up rather well given how it was only painted and has been exposed to the elements for all this time but the bottom portion all around the building (and the bottom of the door) had for the most part rotted away and in some places had fallen apart entirely. So I cut away as much as was necessary on all four walls and the door itself and replaced it with new plywood. As for the door I wound up covering the entire thing because it was quite flimsy and although it was not in bad shape I figured that an extra sheet of plywood would work well to stiffen it up.
All in all it was a rather easy project and tomorrow I am planning on water sealing the plywood and then covering the entire exterior of the building with some house wrap to further protect both the new plywood and the old osb from the elements. Eventually I think that the building would look good with some roofing metal installed on the walls and after doing that it would probably last at least another few decades.
Well that is about it for now and I am fading fast towards slumber so I am going to keep this one short and sweet. I hope that everyone is doing well and has a nice day/night.
Day 69. (TFC Waking Up Super Early, Researching How To Build A Custom Linux Operating System & Doing More Odd Jobs Around The Homestead Proper)
I was up long before the sun today and only found out much later that the clocks had all been set back by an hour which absolutely accounts for why I felt like I was 'running behind' most of the day until I found out that the lackluster 'powers that be' have once again fiddled with 'time' and hence skewed my perception of what fucking time it is. Pro tip here: Leave the fucking clocks alone!
Anyway I feel better having gotten that out of my system. It has been a bit of a long day but not an excessively trying one and I just feel a wee bit irritable with the time being skewed and breathing noxious stuff most of the day but I will get to that part later.
So this morning at four (or five a.m.) I immediately set to working on my latest Fantastica Chronicles and I must say that it gets a little easier doing it every Sunday morning but it is still quite the time consuming process and one that always reveals some minor typos (or things that need editing) during the article assembly process. I guess there is just no avoiding that and I am surprised that the edits are as few and far between as they are but hey after a few years of writing and editing my stuff each day I guess that I am getting marginally better at it.
Since the projects I had to do for odd jobs today required the application of petroleum based sealers that need a certain temperature to apply and it was way to cold to do it until well into the afternoon...I spent the rest of my morning perusing Steemit which of late always leads me down the rabbit hole of thinking about how awesome it would be if there was a Linux distribution centered around the Steem network and all it's various dapps (that is short for 'decentralized applications' for you non-techies) and how useful such an operating system would be.
Although I am pretty good at a lot of technological stuff putting together an actual operating system is downright daunting. I have tried numerous times in the past to cobble one together with various tools but it always fails and ultimately I lose interest and put my attention on other things. This morning I may have finally found a good solution in an application named 'uck' (yeah it is a funny name) but I am not going to get over excited until I test it out thoroughly and see if it does what I want it to do which is basically just customizing a Linux Mint distribution to suite my needs and more explicitly have all my favorite dapps built into it. It is an intimidating project but it might work well to give me something to do over the coming winter months other than working on a book (about my last adventure) and playing my favorite video game.
Once it got warm enough out I gathered up a few tools and got the can of water sealer (that I had sitting in the sun so it would thaw out a bit) and set to work applying the sealer to the plywood that I installed yesterday on that old outhouse. At first I was just going to use a paint brush to apply it but then decided to use a paint roller instead just to save time so that I could move onto the next project that I had on my itinerary.
As I have stated before there are several outbuildings at the homestead proper (including the old outhouse) and they all have metal roofs. The folks here have been slowly taking measures to preserve the buildings and one of the things they want done is to seal the roofs with a black (foul smelling) rubberized roofing sealant that can be applied with a paint brush, a paint roller or a rubber squeegee. Lacking a squeegee (which would have been a hassle with the ridged roofing metal) I used a paint brush to apply the sealer to the ridges of the metal and a paint roller to apply it on the wide sections between the ridges. It was a lot slower going than I thought it would be but I got the majority of the roof on one building finished and all the ridges on a second roof finished before the sun disappeared behind a nearby hill and the temperature started to drop rapidly which is no good for the rubberized sealant because it needs to be applied (and have time to dry) in warm temperatures or it will cure improperly.
Anyway I did my best not to breathe too much of the fumes from either of the sealers that I used today but by the end of the day I was definitely feeling the effects of breathing the fumes which just amounts to a bit of light headedness accompanied by a sense of aimless irritability. I have more of it to do tomorrow and perhaps the day after that but then that will be the last of having to work with that stuff for now unless I decide to use the leftover rubberized roofing sealant to seal the rusty, hole riddled roofing metal on my little shelter. We will see how that works out...or doesn't because I think after a few days of working with that stuff I will either be immune to it or totally 'over it.'
Well that is about it for now and I am going to wrap this up and call it a day well spent getting shit done. I hope that everyone is doing well and has a nice day/night.
Day 70. (TFC Getting Off To A Slow Start, Tinkering With Building A Linux Distribution, Repairing A Broken Handle On A Wagon, & Doing More Odd Jobs At The Homestead Proper)
I woke up a little later than I have been of late and as the title says I made a rather slow start to my day. I mostly spent my morning tinkering with putting a customized Linux distribution together iiii8fiitittitttftfffittiïiftttrrrtrtttrrii8iultimately failed but at least I learned a few things along the way and have a clearer understanding of what I am trying to accomplish. I don't think that the 'uck' tool that I mentioned yesterday is going to work for my needs (because it failed to build the ISO file twice now) so I am going try a different approach either tonight or tomorrow morning and hopefully I will have better results. I at least have a rather detailed cheat sheet now that I typed out so I can at least just copy and paste all the stuff in it when I try the other method.
A few hours into my Linux tinkering one of the fellow homesteaders showed up to inform me that they had accidentally broken the handle on one of my wagons whilst hauling rocks with it. Upon inspecting the wagon the cause of the breakage was immediately apparent because they had put too many heavy rocks on it for what it could handle without overly stressing the wagon and all it's parts. Of course I did not get mad about it (or any horse shit like that) and instead I pointed out why the handle had broken, helped them get the rocks to where they were taking them and then made a makeshift handle for the wagon with some stout rope and a short piece of PVC pipe to act as the grip for the new handle. In short I did a quick repair job on it so that they could get back to hauling rocks for a project they were working on.
After all that jazz I went back to my previous tinkering and waited for the temperature outside to get warm enough so that I could apply more of that rubberized roofing sealant to the roofs of the outbuildings I was working on yesterday. It was almost two in the afternoon before the temperature actually got close enough to suit my needs but once it did I gathered up the necessary supplies and set to work sealing the roofs. I didn't have much time to get everything done before the sun went behind that nearby hill so I busted ass and worked as fast as I could and two hours later I had both roofs done which was nice and hopefully today's pictures are not all blurry like yesterday's were!
Well I am feeling tired and cranky and need to just close my eyes for a bit before editing this. Hopefully I don't fall asleep because I still haven't eaten any dinner yet. I hope that everyone is doing well and has a nice day/night.
The Fantastica Chronicles (Day 8-14)
The Fantastica Chronicles (Day 15-21)
The Fantastica Chronicles (Day 22-28)
The Fantastica Chronicles (Day 29-35)
The Fantastica Chronicles (Day 36-42)
The Fantastica Chronicles (Day 43-49)
The Fantastica Chronicles (Day 50-56)
The Fantastica Chronicles (Day 57-63)