The Stuff You Do…

Woke up to an unusually gray morning. Here at the leading edge of the monsoon (still haven’t had any rain) the clouds don’t roll in till sometime in the afternoon, complete with wind, lightning, thunder, and showers in the distance that never quite seem to hit the ground. It’s like watching a pot of water start to boil, where the bubbles don’t quite get to the surface. Except upside-down. Then the clouds go away sometime during the night.

Except this morning they were still here, which indicates that maybe the storm gods are starting to get a little more serious and we’ll have some rain.

I’ve got things to do this morning, and have spent the past half-hour casting around for something to post that will get the blog off my conscience so I can go do them. Nothing very exciting is happening here or apparently anywhere in the world, but I got to thinking about the stuff I do, when I’m doing stuff. Life has changed so radically for me in the past four years that I’ve grown quite casual about things that once never would have crossed my mind on the weirdest of days.

Never mind the building project. I am, as even the slightly astute among you will have noted, not anything like a builder. I’ve spent years now, planning and building a house that’s only a little more elaborate than a large utility shed and it’s nowhere near done. I’ve got neighbors who could have cranked my house out in a couple of busy weekends, but I’m not one of those people. So for me, everything cabin-related is pretty weird. That’s why it’s taking me so long.

I’m not talking about stuff like that. I’m talking about the quotidian chores that keep the plant in operation. Things like:

  • Check the water cistern daily (well, almost daily) to keep it from giving you unpleasant surprises.
  • Keep the generator in running order.
  • Engage in round #400-something to make your axe work as well as your neighbor’s axe. (Who knew there was an art to that?)
  • Wonder why the solar panels on the tower have suddenly decided to face west for a while, and how you’re going to re-orient them without having the rack slide down on your head.
  • Clean out the horse trough the dogs use.
  • Speaking of dogs and water, finally get that automatic waterer working.
  • Empty, and more-or-less clean, the black-water tank. (One my very favorite chores.)
  • Those apparently abandoned solar panels at an old desert cattle-watering station: Scrounging or theft? Discuss.
  • Negotiate with Kenny the Kingsnake (who’s been hanging around the Big Doghouse lately) that there are places he’s welcome and places I’d much rather he didn’t go. Conclusion: Snakes don’t negotiate.
  • Used motor oil: Future resource or landfill fodder? Discuss.
  • Determine what sort of rodent actually carries oatmeal containers out into the yard to consume the contents. Am I carrying a big enough gun?
  • Where the hell are the air fittings for the compressor? I need to clean my chainsaw. (Oh, happy dilemma!)

There are lots more, of course, but those are the ones that come immediately to mind and aren’t common to any suburban house-dweller, like the constant battle to keep Little Bear happily in the yard.

About Joel

You shouldn't ask these questions of a paranoid recluse, you know.
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8 Responses to The Stuff You Do…

  1. TJIC says:

    > Used motor oil: Future resource or landfill fodder? Discuss.

    Arlington MA doesn’t allow you to throw out lots of cans of old dry latex paint.

    That rule seems to have an exception if you bury ONE CAN in the middle of each bag of kitchen waste, one per week, for two months…

  2. Joel says:

    Actually there’s a perfectly legit repository for used oil. The local landfill maintains a big tank, and probably makes money from it. I just wonder whether I should be throwing it away.

  3. desert fox says:

    I could be wrong (hey! it’s happened), but isn’t used motor oil a pretty good sealer / preservative for outdoor wood? Don’t think you’d want it indoors, but maybe for wood exposed to the elements.

    Cheers.

  4. desert fox says:

    Off-topic comment but I just had to say this somewhere:

    I just finished reading Songs of Bad Men and Good (one of Joel’s books – see left-hand column near top of this page). Gadzucks, what a thriller. Uncle W was right … in this case the sequel _Songs_ is even better than Walt’s Gulch, the earlier book.

    If you’ve got a few bucks to spare, I can’t recommend these two books highly enough. They’ll entertain you … plus you’ll learn lots of things you should already know (but probably don’t) about living free.

    Cheers.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Those apparently abandoned solar panels at an old desert cattle-watering station: Scrounging or theft? Discuss.
    Truly abandoned then I’d consider scrounging them. But how are you going to find out if they are? I guess if in doubt best to leave them alone.

    Used motor oil: Future resource or landfill fodder? Discuss.
    I keep mine and really don’t know why.
    You know, who needs a oil burning stove in south fla?

    Determine what sort of rodent actually carries oatmeal containers out into the yard to consume the contents. Am I carrying a big enough gun?
    How’s your aim? Scatter gun might be needed here.

    F42

  6. Re Solar panels: Perhaps you could leave a note in/at the trailer that also seems abandoned? Let them know you are just borrowing them until they require them again….

  7. Anonymous says:

    Keep in mind that Kenny the kingsnake will kelp your dog from getting killed by Ricky the rattlesnake. Keep them around if you have them. Hell pick them up and carry them around. They don’t care.

    Much to my Mother’ displeasure I could often by found carrying a 5 foot king around draped over my shoulders as a wee lad.

  8. Joel says:

    …they don’t care…

    This one does. 8^)

To the stake with the heretic!