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Oct 2016
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Sgrafito camera


Anna and I attended a community event at the Dairy Barn last week.

We carved away red clay to make sgraffito blocks to ornament a commemorative trail.
Posted Sat Oct 21 07:00:15 2017 Tags:
Porch stoop

Although plumbing has consumed a lot of our attention over the last week, we did have time to make a start on more code-worthy steps.

The beginning is a landing in front of the door, minimum size three feet by three feet. We're trying to move this project along so we can get our electricity, but I took to heart my father's admonition over a decade ago that building is much cheaper if produced in sizes divisible by eight. So we expanded out to four feet by four feet instead.

Posted Fri Oct 20 07:00:21 2017 Tags:
Empty trailer


Two weeks in, our moving trailer is 90% emptied out.

We're still living out of boxes inside, but the new quarters are starting to feel more like home.
Posted Thu Oct 19 07:00:35 2017 Tags:
Trash day

Rural Athens County is a bit of an odd duck in the garbage department, at least compared to other areas I've lived in. We're outside the municipal pickup region, but apparently there are no county-operated dumping stations that accept private trash. Instead, we have to choose from a slew of privately run enterprises that pick up garbage at your door.

I figured if we were going to have to pay for trash disposal, we might as well go all the way and choose the service that offers recycling. I'm tempted to go into a long analysis of whether or not the Libertarians are right about this kind of setup making the most sense...but, honestly, I haven't entirely decided yet. Perhaps I'll make another post about it in a few months. Or, given my recent penchant to eschew public politics, perhaps not.

Posted Wed Oct 18 07:00:33 2017 Tags:
Off-grid cooking


Our new Yamaha generator is quiet and efficient.

It runs for twelve hours on one tank of gas at a low load --- a few fans, a light or two, and a laptop charger.

The Instant Pot and circular saw work on the generator too, but both run at a slower speed. After the first test, Anna opted to continue cooking on the propane camp stove instead. I kept using my saw.
Posted Tue Oct 17 07:00:24 2017 Tags:
Big, wet tree

Dancing for joyKeeping up with the basics --- food, water, a spot to use the bathroom, and staying up to date on our computer work --- engrossed us for most of the first week. But the ground had been so parched that when it started raining, I couldn't resist running out to explore our new domain.

Down over the hill

Living so close to the road has taken some getting used to. But as soon as I slipped down over the hill, humanity disappeared in very short order.

Intergrown tree

Egg-shaped mushroomVarious neighbors have told us that this area was a dairy farm roughly a century ago. Sure enough, the trees are mostly the same age once you pass beyond the easiest-to-reach areas. There are scads of sugar maples, quite a few beeches, a tulip-tree or two, and even a few oaks. This is in stark contrast to life on top (our new core homestead) where honey locusts reign supreme.

Down at the bottom

Soil mapOur new property consists of a series of plateaus separated by steep banks. Following the deer trails, it wasn't too hard to get around, although the walk back up had me huffing and puffing by the end. But I'll definitely be coming back to my new favorite spot --- an outcropping of rocks beside a wet-weather creek.

I actually only made it halfway through the property --- our land goes up the other side past the creek too. But I want to follow a topo map when I head further afield. I'll save that expedition for the next time it rains!

Posted Mon Oct 16 07:00:39 2017 Tags:
Putting together a rubbermaid shed


Putting together the Rubbermaid shed was considerably easier the second time around.

A few screws no longer bit as well as they should have into the plastic. But structural stability was deemed acceptable.

Elapsed time: 20 minutes for two people.
Posted Sun Oct 15 07:00:29 2017 Tags:
Farmer's market bakery

We finally made it to the Saturday farmer's market. As promised, the array of goodies was considerably larger than the already impressive Wednesday offerings. Mark said I looked only slightly less exuberantly amazed than the toddler who was running in circles so erratically that she nose dived into my knee by mistake.

No spray farmer's market

As best I could tell in my daze of delight, only one stand promised entirely organic produce. But lots of others were marked "no spray," which I assume is the poor man's version used by folks who haven't jumped through the hoops to be officially labeled as organic. I chose copiously from both types of farmers, falling back on conventional offerings only when I absolutely couldn't resist their wares.

Sunflower microgreens

New taste favorites that we'll likely be trying to grow in the years ahead: sunflower microgreens, middle eastern summer squash, and another stab at seckel pears. As the books promised, a ripe seckel pear is indeed a taste explosion. Mark called the result "magical." High praise from a husband who's not given to hyperbole!

Posted Sat Oct 14 07:01:13 2017 Tags:
Generator protection


Generators belong outdoors.

Keep your generator dry.

Point exhaust away from living spaces.
Posted Fri Oct 13 07:00:12 2017 Tags:
Yamaha inverter generator

We lasted for one week with only a small solar panel for electricity. Then we fell back on the other option we'd researched before leaving copious internet access behind --- an inverter generator.

When we bought our last generator, inverter generators either didn't exist in our price range or we simply hadn't heard of them. Since then, though, they've come down into the consumer price range --- only a couple of hundred bucks for a small, off-brand model or up to a thousand plus dollars for hefty units that will likely go the distance.

The downside is --- you get less power for your buck with an inverter generator. So why did we decide to go that route anyway?

Carrying an inverter generatorSimple --- efficiency, fuel savings, and peace and quiet. Basically, inverter generators are able to run at different speeds depending on how many things you plug into them. So if you're just running a lamp and charging a laptop, they'll barely use much fuel at all (about a gallon for every ten hours of use at 1/4 load) while keeping the noise down to about the level of a window air conditioner. Plus, they're small and light enough to be carried by one strong person alone --- definitely a plus.

We'd originally opted for the 2000 starting watt/1600 running watt Honda, partly because of its good reviews and partly because it was supposed to be available at Home Depot (where Mark could use his veteran's discount). But when the time came to make the purchase, all of the Home Depots in the area had run out. (You were right, Joey!) So we instead tracked down a Yamaha with similar stats at a motorcyle store in town --- bonus that we'll have a repair shop nearby if it needs to be worked on. More on what we think of our little engine that could in another post.

Posted Thu Oct 12 07:00:13 2017 Tags:

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