SHTF and Bigfoot. Thats right. I said Bigfoot!

Guess I’ll just dive right in… when I last blogged, life was good! I had just hung the hammock and was getting ready to sit back and reap the rewards of all the hard work. The major projects were done and I could start planning on what I was going to accomplish next summer. Next summer would have been so much better for everything. The garden wouldn’t need as much prep work, just a quick tilling; the bees would be established; the tipi would still be up. I could have gotten the jump start that I needed this year. Then as the preppers say, the SHIT HIT THE FAN!

Right around July 10th. Gene comes home and I go to talk to him to see what’s new and exciting in his world. That’s when he tells me, “I’m selling everything, EVERYTHING. I thought about this for two days and I’m out of here. I’m selling the house and moving to Hilo, Hawaii.” I almost fell over. I thought Gene was being funny, but then I saw the seriousness in his eyes. I said, “when?” Gene says, ” The auction house is coming in two days to sell everything, the house goes on the market next week and my plane flies out on Aug 15th.” I was dumb founded. WTF? Can someone say compulsive?

I felt like the rug was pulled right out from under me. I wanted to be excited for Gene, I mean I blog about following your dreams right? Yes, you should follow your dreams, but not when you are throwing another person under the bus by doing so. Someone you had told right up until that day that “you were staying at that home until the day you die” and continue to lead on with big plans about “what amazing things you will be doing on the property next year.” I understand wanting to move, but shit man… you left in the biggest hurry I’ve ever seen! I had practically no time to figure out what the hell my next move was. I was angry and felt so betrayed.

Thankfully… I had options. In the end I made the decision to stay at a friends cabin across the road through the winter. I did this so that I wouldn’t get screwed out of all the time, effort, blood, sweat, tears and money I had invested in the garden. With this option I can set up my tipi on the other property, move all my live stock and still have the safety of a cabin to run to if the cold got too bad. Most important of all I’d be able to access my garden!

Interestingly, right when I was about to make the move to the new location I ran into a little snag. The crew from the show “Finding Bigfoot” was just finishing up shooting an episode right there at the cabin I was supposed to be moving into. How weird is that? How cool is that? Yep, I’m living in the cabin where the Minnesota episode ( LOOK HERE: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k4mPfnKv7kE ) was filmed. Before I go on… NO, I’m not a believer. I live in a tipi for goodness sake. If I believed in bigfoot It would be a stupid to thing be living in a canvas tipi right there… where they were looking for him! So anyway they asked me to wait until they finished shooting before I began setting up the tipi. For continuity sake how would they explain the sudden appearance of a tipi? I was stuck in limbo for two days because everything had been cleared from inside the tipi and moved into a storage unit.

It took only 3 hours to tare down the tipi and get it set back up on the new property. I had some help from the neighbors and used a boat trailer to move the poles. The new site is just on the other side of Genes back road, so it was not very far. It took another 3 hours to hang the inner liner; so many knots to tie. Then it was another 2 days of moving belongings out of storage and back into the tipi. And a lot of sadness.

My Next biggest project was to build a new chicken coop/rabbit pen. I bought a used trailer from my Cousin and erected a 8×10 aluminum shed on it. My Dad gave me this idea… just in case I had to move again. With the coop on a trailer I wouldn’t be in such a jam if I had to pack up and leave in a hurry. Just hitch the thing to the truck and drive! Oh, I bought a truck also. Nothing special just a 98 Ford F150. It has a trailer hitch and 4-wheel drive and runs. Works for me.

It took me a few days to build the new coop. I had to drive to town to get the shed then drive to pick up the trailer; there goes a whole day. I built the entire thing by myself, shed and all. Apparently you need 2 people to put this shed together; I call bullshit! I must say it turned out nice. I packed the walls with insulation and put in the automatic chicken coop door (I had to fix it fist with some JB weld because the damn thing broke a while back) and hung up some lights and a heat lamp. It took me a few days to get everything together and set up. The animals will be just fine this winter, probably better than last. I’m amazed at what I can throw together… I’m quite crafty you know! Now the sad part. While all this moving was going on and getting the new coop together, the chickens were still over at Genes. Gene had already left and the property was abandoned, save for the animals. I was going over every morning to check on them and give them water and food. During this time I noticed the duck wasn’t around. Not too unusual, sometimes Velvita goes off by herself to swim in the pond. The next day there was still no Velvita and I couldn’t see the two Buff Orpingtons anywhere. These were my first two chickens that I started with three years ago. I still wasn’t concerned… they run off sometimes too.

See we’ve never had problems with our livestock running around, the predators kept their distance because there was always someone there or there were dogs guarding the property. Well on the third day I found out that the duck and the orpingtons weren’t off having fun somewhere because I found the mangled corpse of yet another chicken laying just outside the coop door. Damn, damn, damn… I loved that duck! By mid day the new coop was finished and I was able to move the birds that night. They are now safe and there have been no more missing chickens.

During all this I’m staying at the new location and back living in the tipi with the dogs. The mosquito problems were over and now I was dealing with a new devil: humidity. Those of you who have gone camping and then crawled into a moist sleeping bag know what I’m talking about! There is NOTHING more uncomfortable than trying to sleep in a wet sleeping bag on a wet pillow… try it sometime… then try it for a month. I finally figured out the solution (which is the good part). I was making my bed like my Mom taught me. I made it every morning first thing after getting up. WRONG! My solution is simple: make your bed as usual but, this time pull the top sheet and comforter up and over the footboard. This way the sheets are exposed and have all day to dry out then, an hour before you go to bed, start a fire. Ooooohhhh, aaaaahhhh. Told you I was crafty. The top of the comforter still winds up being a bit damp because it’s folded over on itself. This isn’t an issue because who sleeps on top of their comforter?

So let’s recap. Gene pulls the plug, bigfoot isn’t found, everything is in storage, moved the tipi, moved into the tipi, new chicken coop, dead duck, dead chickens, chickens saved, fucking humidity! Yep, bout sums it up. Oh yeah… now the rabbits.

The rabbits were the next to move and that wasn’t so bad. I took them out of the fancy, shingled, wood stand that Gene suggest I build (thanks buddy… for suggesting I drop $150 bucks on materials to build this damn thing that I can’t fucking move with me-fell the anger there?), not such a great idea anymore… assembled them back into the stackable cages I originally had them in in the first place and then moved them to a fenced in area at the new location. Eventually, when it gets cold enough they will join the chickens on the other half of the new coop/rabbitry.  All during this time I am pissing and moaning because I’m not in my hammock enjoying the day, or out cutting the much needed wood.

Now we are getting a bit current on what’s been taking place. Last week it got pretty cold up here; just above freezing. I was finally able to run the stove full blast and see what she had. Turns out it wasn’t much. This stove eats fire wood like I ate gummy worms when I was 12 (totally devoured a 5lb bag in a few hours! No lie). Every hour I was pumping wood in this thing and I could only maintain about 50 degrees. The trouble is when you fall asleep and wake up at 3 a.m. to shivering dogs and frost on your lip. Then I got sick. After waking up the next morning (at 4 a.m.) in a cold sweat with plugged ears, sore throat, no voice, and a stuffy nose in a 35 degree tipi… I realized I had reached my breaking point. There was no way in hell I was getting out of bed to feed that damn stove another log! I grabbed my pillow and dogs and walked the 50 feet to the cabin.

Now the cabin has a stove that works. Like REALY works! A few logs will burn for almost 6 hours and get that cabin up to 75-80 degrees no problem. I pondered for a moment about whether or not I should spend the money on a better stove. If I had a stove like the one in the cabin I might (emphasis on “might”) be able to struggle through winter. If it didn’t work however, then I had just wasted money on a stove. I know the one I have now works fine for the cooler evenings and times when you want a little fire. This other stove would be overkill. This was 3 days ago.

I’m currently dog sitting at my parents, hence the use of the computer. Thanks Dad for leaving it so I could update my blog and fix my e-mail. Oh yeah… if you don’t log into @hushmail and check your messages every few days, they disable your account… till you sign up for (and pay for) a premium membership, then you can access it again. Ugh, they don’t take into consideration those of us who are living in tipis out in the middle of the woods. We just might not be able to get to a computer every damn day. Jeebuz! I also dropped my phone in the lake and have been struggling to get it working correctly for the past few weeks. Reluctantly, I will have to go to Walmart and buy a replacement… I hate going to town. Hate going to town so much that I’m willing to go 2 weeks without a proper working phone!

On the bright side. There is a plan for next spring. A plan I’m very excited to tell you about… but can’t just yet. See how I have you all dangling there like worms on a hook now (haha fishing reference). I’m mostly set up at the new cabin; still need to move the bees. The one downside to this location… it’s also currently on the market, has been for a few years now. I’m good friends with the owners (they are the ones that introduced me to Gene) and we worked out a deal for me to live there and help with the upkeep and to watch over it. It’s a damn good deal if you ask me. We are pretty sure the property wont sell for some time, hopefully at least till spring. I’m more isolated at this location and IT’S RIGHT ON THE LAKE. I have my boat parked just down the hill and don’t need to trailer it to go fishing anymore- this makes fishing much easier, just hop in and GO! I feel more comfortable and stable here than I did at Genes.

While I’m at my parents I brought a few 5 gallon pails full of tomatoes I’m going to can. I have so many tomatoes… did I mention they were 8 feet tall this year! Missed out on that one too Gene… lots of goodies in that garden you walked away from. When I get back from dog sitting I’ll get the bees moved, reap the rewards from my awesome garden, cut some firewood and do a little hunting… other than that… it’s finally back to the hammock… and 4-wheeler rides in the woods… AND THEN THE FUCKING SNOW!

basecamp

Stills from the show

 

New Cabin

New Cabin

Tipi at new cabin

Tipi at new cabin

New boat at the dock

New boat at the dock

The lake

The lake

Back deck

Back deck

Fire Pit

Fire Pit

New target setup

New target setup

New coop

New coop

Inside new coop

Inside new coop

Rabbits

Rabbits

The girls taking a dust bath in the woods

The girls taking a dust bath in the woods

tomato harvest

tomato harvest

DSC_0777

BEAUTIFUL eggs

BEAUTIFUL eggs

New truck

New truck

Nocking Arrows Off-Grid in the Rain

The weather Gods are playing their tricks again. I’m wondering if I should start building an ark and gathering animals… rain, rain and still more rain. I think we should build a water pipeline from the tipi to California. I made the mistake of going to town and leaving the door open during our latest 28hr. downpour. Let’s just say I’m glad I bought indoor/outdoor carpet and have plenty of towels. The front of the tipi got a little wet. I am also getting some water dripping in from the stove pipe. I need to find a way to seal the canvas around the pipe so that the water has no way to sneak in. The back of the tipi where the bed is set up, and the side of the tipi where the T.V. and battery bank is, stays completely dry… thankfully. The wind can really whip the canvas and it’s quite impressive listening to the storms raging outside. As I explained to my Dad, I don’t have to worry so much about the wind because of the conical shape of the tipi, it’s not a flat wall like a house and the wind simply goes around me. I also have a rope that is lashed around the top of the poles and can be anchored to the center of the tipi if we get any serious straight line winds.

Yesterday we finished getting the wind generator lifted into place and wired up. We wound up blowing a fuse bank when we attempted to connect to the batteries. The wiring for the generator is three phase and the instructions were sketchy on how the two systems (battery powerhub and wind generator MPPT) connected together. A simple phone call to the manufacturer got us on the right track and everything is connected properly now. Of course yesterday there was no wind, and today the wind is blowing so hard that the over-speed protection on the wind generator has shut down the blades. Tonight I’m disconnecting from the main power and will be running completely off-grid… an experiment that is sure to present some issues that will need to be problem solved. EVERYTHING is a learning experience.

Today I picked up my new Hoyt Charger compound bow from Itasca Archery Supply (http:www.itascaarchery.com). I’m telling you, the people in the Northland are about the most friendly and interesting folks you could wish to meet. Gary, the shop owner, set me up with a great bow package. I’ve never felt more comfortable about making such an “investment” in my life. I was even able to get a free archery lesson with Arne Moe, who is a level 4 USA Archery Coach. To top it all off, Gary’s son is going to connect me with some local bee keepers in the Itasca area. Northland networking at it’s finest! I have faith that I’m going to get a deer this season… cross your fingers and wish me luck, I’m hoping to brain tan some buckskin this fall.

Well, the rain has died down a little. I think I’m going to find a spot to hang my target and practice my form. Nothing like nocking arrows off-grid in the rain. Stay dry!