Day in the Life

I just went out and checked on the hive. The bee colony is strong and the queen has started laying new brood. I topped off the syrup feeder and Rusty has learned what electric fencing is! Sorry, buddy… now he knows to stay away! Follow my twitter feed @emo_eater for your daily dose of updates, or stay tuned here for more “in-depth” discussion. Ask questions or for photos and I will do my best to provide. Thanks again for following my adventure!!!

 

-Aaron

You Can See it Down the Road!

Live each season as it passes; breathe the air, drink the drink, taste the fruit, and resign yourself to the influences of each.

[info][add][mail][note]

Henry David Thoreau

Well… I’m a bit late in blogging this (as usual; been busy) but the TIPI IS UP! Gene and I employed the help of one of our neighbors, Chuck, who came over last Saturday and helped set the tipi. It took about 3 hours to get the poles and outside cover in place and up. Most of that time was me- frantically taking measurements and trying to figure out how to tie knots. Knots are important things, and tying them correctly is of the utmost importance, unless you want the whole thing coming down on you. I had to remind Gene that this design is very old; perfected over the years. It’s important to follow the instructions and place each pole in the right order for everything to “lock-in” and bare the correct loads.

DSC_0520

When you set the tipi, you tie a tripod with three of your biggest poles. Once they are tied, you lift them and swing the third pole out and away, thus creating the tripod. Next, the remaining poles are lifted and nestled into the appropriate “crotch” on the tripod. The poles were relatively easy to lift by ones self, with another person standing on the butt end and making sure it doesn’t move while you lift it. The poles that move the smoke flaps are not as light as I was hoping. I’m going to have some guns next summer after attempting to swing them around all the time.

DSC_0523DSC_0524

Once you have your tripod and poles up you tie the canvas tipi cover to the last pole. This is the lifting pole and you swing this pole into place like the others. It was damn heavy… over 100lbs. I think. We couldn’t see where we were going with this thing so we needed to be guided as we lifted it.

DSC_0531DSC_0529 DSC_0528

Here’s a quick video if my description was too vague.

Garden update: I tried using a tiller that I borrowed from the resort… no luck. The ground was so tough and full of stones that it was pretty useless. Thankfully, people help each other out around here! The neighbor across the street came over with his tractor and plow and tilled up the sod for me. He’s going to teach me how to drive the tractor over the summer and I will be helping him bale hay in his fields. It was pretty funny. He asked me, “you want to learn how to drive this thing?” I had the biggest smile on my face when I blurted out, “FUCK YEAH!” Sorry for the profanity, but I couldn’t contain my excitement. The garden will have to be “disked” before I plant anything and that can’t happen with all this rain, or it will just be a mud pit. May 20th. is the average last frost in my area. Things will need to happen with furry if I want to be able to grow anything this year. If the winter doesn’t kill me in the tipi this year, next year won’t be so hectic.

DSC_0501 DSC_0500 DSC_0499 DSC_0498 DSC_0497 DSC_0496 DSC_0495 DSC_0494 DSC_0493

Hive update: The bees are doing wonderful. I was able to figure out how to put up an electrical fence around the area that should keep any potential predators at bay. The hive is also secured by to ground anchors and a strap so it can not be tipped over. I was in the hive the other day to fill up the sugar-water feeder (they need a supplemental food source until the nectar starts flowing. They have begun to build comb on the frames and the queen is laying new brood. I even saw some pollen stores in a few cells. Beautiful grains of orange and yellow-reds. The bees are very docile and I’ve been able to work without using gloves… NO, I haven’t been stung yet. The key is to move slow and deliberate, giving them a chance to get out of your way. If you don’t squish them, they won’t sting you. The “buzzing” noise when you lift off the top cover will however, scare the wits out of you. I immediately have flashbacks of poor Thomas J. in “MY GIRL.”

DSC_0470

Rabbit update: The rabbits are doing wonderful. Gene and I make an outdoor lean-to that we atttached the cages to. We even put shingles on it. I hooked up the automatic gravity fed watering system, so there is no longer a need to constantly change water bottles. I just fill up a 5gal. pail once a week. The first spring litter is doing well- I had one dead baby about 3 days after it was born… it was a runt (sometimes nature is cruel). One of the other does should be kindling tonight and then another in two more weeks. I’m spreading out the pregnancies so that I don’t have to cull 24-30 rabbits in one day. That still takes a toll on me- mental wise. When you have to grow or kill what you eat… there is less chance of being a glutton! Overweight people should have to kill their own food… then maybe they wouldn’t be so greedy!

DSC_0532 DSC_0533 DSC_0544

Chick update: The chicks are growing like crazy. I forgot how much fun it is to hear the “peep-peep” of little chicks. I believe I talked about purchasing 15 more about a month ago. I’m adding 6 to the flock (3 Buff Orpington, 3 Ameraucana- green/blue egg layers), and the rest are meat birds. I’m not sadistic… I’m a naturalist. You may think that picking up meat at the grocery store absolves you of their slaughter… who is a “zombie” now?

So basically it’s been busy. Gene’s back is better and we are both waking up earlier than we did over the winter. The rain has been constant, but that’s what makes you appreciate the sunny days. I will finish up getting the tipi ready- I’m laying sand and paver stones inside for my floor- Chuck, the guy who helped us raise the tipi suggested this. It’s a cheap alternative to building a wood deck. I’m looking forward to friends and family coming to visit. You can see the tipi all the way down the road! Hopefully this summer, the sight will cause a few to stop and talk… about life in a tipi, GMO’s, leaving the city life, my adventure. Maybe they will also be inclined to buy some eggs, or some rabbit, or perhaps a few organic edibles from the garden.

Thank you for reading my ramblings and being a part of this adventure with me. You keep me grounded and keep me inspired to live life and share what I’m experiencing. If you are in the area, stop by for a chat and a look… life is best lived to it’s fullest!

Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you’ve imagined.

~ Henry David Thoreau Quotes

 

New camera arrives today… new blog post to follow… stay tuned and thanks for following!

Illness update

Just a quick thanks for all the “get well” messages! I’m on the rebound and have mostly recovered from my illness.Β  I’m still very tired and have a small cough and lose my voice if I talk for more than a few minutes, but I think the worst is over. . If anyone missed it, both Gene and I got a serious case of influenza a few weeks ago. Gene was also diagnosed with pneumonia. We did manage to track down how we got it and jokingly said from now on everyone who comes to visit will need to spend time in quarantine!Β  Gene went to the V.A. Hospital in the cities this morning and he was admitted for pneumonia . The antibiotics that he got from the E.R. when we first got sick didn’t work and he was progressively getting worse. He is doing well and they have him on meds. He should be back in a few days and should make a full recovery. I was in to the doctor on Tuesday and had a chest x-ray and WBC to make sure that I didn’t have pneumonia also, and was given the “all-clear.” I guess we both learned the lesson that we should get flu shots! I haven’t been this sick in a very long time and it was a bit of a wake-up call that I need to be careful with my health as it’s very difficult to live this “lifestyle” when you are under the weather. I’m sure it would have been an even more unpleasant experience were I currently living in the tipi.

I went to visit my Mom yesterday and we took a trip to Bimidji so I could buy some new (and much needed) pants. It was good to get away from the cabin for a night! Well that’s the update for now… I’m going to go clean and hopefully git rid of any remaining germs πŸ™‚ Also, I need to clean the guest room for our visitor next week!!!

Cabin Fever… literally

I knew things were going to good to last… influenza has infiltrated the cabin! Gene and I have both been very sick this past week. We wound up going into the E.R. last Tuesday and got the news that we had both been infected. Now things have taken a turn, influenza has become pneumonia… and I don’t get to see the doctor until Tuesday. The first few days of the flu were pretty rough and I spent about 21 hrs/day sleeping and felt like I was knocking on deaths door. The pneumonia isn’t quite as bad, mostly I’m just tired and constantly coughing and wheezing. It took every ounce of energy I had to go outside to feed/water the animals! For the first time ever I thought… “WTF am I doing?” On the plus side, I was able to sit in bed and weave a potato basket from a kit I bought in October! And as it turns out, I’m not to bad at weaving baskets… possibly another income opportunity this spring? We have tons of dogwood around the property and I think I could make some kick ass baskets out of it. I also had time to look at the community education catalog and picked out a few classes to sign up for: Trapping-basic techniques (not that I want to start trapping- I’m not a big fan, but I think it’s a good skill to know just in case!), basswood inner bark weaving (for making mats and other useful items), and archery (so I can hunt deer next fall). There are a few others that seem interesting, but I have a lot on my plate already! I’m also curious to see how these classes run because I’ve toyed with the idea of holding some educational seminars once the tipi is up and functioning… why not share with others all the cool things I’ve learned?

The week before I got sick I was able to get my new log bed frame finished. I sanded all the pieces and put 3 coats of polyurethane on it. It looks amazing! I will post pictures when I get a new camera (my camera is not working and I’m a bit pissed about that). I also purchased a new much-needed bed. I spared no expense and got a Tempur-Pedic cloud support mattress… my back is very thankful and I haven’t slept this good in YEARS! I also started working on a cedar rocking chair but haven’t been able to finish it because I’ve been too sick.

The weekend of the 14th will be pretty exciting as I have a friend from the Cities coming for a visit! It will be my first visitor since I moved up here. This person also shares a lot of the same interests as me and I’m excited for the opportunity to share all that I’ve been working on with someone who “understands” what thisΒ  is about.

Well that’s all for now. I just wanted to let you know that I’m still alive and kicking… sort of. I will get a camera and get some pics up once we are well enough to venture back out in public. Thanks for reading!

Running out of room!

The final piece of the puzzle arrived today in the form of three (very heavy) canvas sacks. All the pieces of the tipi are here and ready for spring. I’m running out of room for all this “stuff”. I’ve been ordering so much online that the UPS driver calls me her “ordering King.” I’ve had deliveries literally every day for the past week… but hey, these are things I NEED πŸ™‚

I took advantage of the wonderful break in cold to do some ice fishing. I went with my Cousin and fished my parents lake, as well as lake Bemidji… Bemidji was a bust, but my parents lake was full of beautiful sunfish (and a few small northerns and pesky perch) [featured photo above courtesy of Dave Wagner]. I made the mistake of leavingΒ  my fish on the ground when my Mom came out with the dogs… needless to say, that Big Bastard of a Tibetan Mastiff ran off with one of them… scooped it up off the ground and went running across the lake with it’s fin sticking out of its mouth. When we started yelling for him to “drop it” he only ran faster. He ate the damn thing and I don’t think he felt the least bit guilty for doing so. Here is a picture of the culprit:

SAM_0272

Gene and I also went fishing and that’s where I caught that beautiful Walleye that I posted previously. It tasted AMAZING… Gene wasn’t a fan of the Cajun shore lunch I breaded it in, he’s got a stomach like an old lady and the first bite elicited a run for the jar of Tums. I know how to get all the fish to myself now… hehe

Also this week, Gene and I became members of the local snowmobile club. Yeah for social networking. It was nice to get out and meet some of the locals. I was quite surprised that the majority of club members are, for lack of a better word, much older. That’s okay, I like the ambiance of an older crowd… quiet and laid back. There is a totally different “vibe” up here in the woods… time goes by in a different fashion than what I’m used to with city life. I like that there is never a need to “hurry” up here… the pace is slow, but steady. If something needs to get done and doesn’t, well… there is always tomorrow.

Gene introduced me to a new t.v. show, “Shameless.” I’ve been staying up late trying to catch up on the older episodes. I got the DVD’s of the first three seasons and will be passing it along to my Mom when I’m finished… it’s no Breaking Bad, but it’s pretty damn good and I’m a big fan of William H. Macy… I’m from Minnesota and all, you know… we all love the movie Fargo up here!!

Not much else is new. I haven’t butchered the rabbits yet. I still have a week to get it done and I’m hoping for another spell of warm weather. I prefer to butcher in the garage, but if the weather doesn’t cooperate I may need to utilize the basement. I’ll just have to keep the dogs locked upstairs so they don’t see how evil Daddy is. They are unwise to my wicked ways πŸ™‚

That’s all for now. Here are some fishing pictures for your viewing enjoyment. Stay warm!

SAM_0289 SAM_0291 SAM_0294 SAM_0295

Tipi poles arrive… and more!

And excitement filled the air as the semi carrying 15 27′ tipi poles came roaring up the drive to the cabin. FINALLY the moment I’ve waited for has arrived! With this also comes some more work- I’ve got to get these things cleaned up and coated with polyurethane. It’s a good thing we took out the old furnace and wood burning stove, they take up quite a bit of room! After I get them all ready for summer we will put them under the crawlspace in the cabin. I was fine just putting them in the shed, but Gene insisted that they should come inside… he’s so thoughtful and I’m not sure many people would be so willing to have this sitting in the way (thanks Gene!)

SAM_0263

There were also a few more deliveries to note: my stove and on-demand hot water heater also arrived!

SAM_0265

And to keep up with the happy mood of this post… we finished installing the new furnace in the cabin! Talk about a great week… the new furnace was installed just in time and has kept the nasty cold weather outside where it belongs- this new furnace runs like a dream, is whisper quiet and has no trouble keeping us toasty warm… best of all… no more worrying about loading the wood stove.

furnace1

Today we went to town and did some shopping… that’s always a 5-6 hour adventure. This weekend I’m heading over to my parents to do some ice fishing with my cousin… I hear we are going to be having a heatwave πŸ™‚ Next weeks scheduled activities include butchering the last litter rabbits… hopefully the weather will cooperate as I’m not a fan of butchering in the cold. I’m not going to re-breed again until March because it is an absolute headache having to clean cages in the cold and when I have a rabbit with a litter it’s an “every week” chore due to the large amounts of poop from the babies. When they don’t have litters it’s quite possible to go 2-3 weeks without having to clean them. I’ve decided that in the summer I will build a lean to next to the barn with an open pit under the cages to make cleaning more advantageous. Right now they have litter pans under the cages and that’s just a pain to have to remove and clean all the time, especially in the cold.

I’m also in the process of reaching out to a fellow blogger who lives in a tipi in Canada. He started living in his tipi last October (great timing Connor!) and I’ve learned quite a few things by reading his blog. I’ve got a ton of questions for him and hopefully he can help steer me in the right direction and avoid some of the complications that he has encountered. If you are curious to see what he’s been going through you can check out his blog at: http://connor.ghostify.io/

Hopefully everyone stayed warm this past week and hopefully the worst is over… doubtful. Take care and talk to you soon πŸ™‚

Welcome the new year

Hello fellow readers! Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. I’ve been seriously neglecting the blog lately… sorry. Christmas this year was a pretty quiet one. Gene and I spent the Holiday all by our lonesome (because that is the way it is up here) and I made a pretty decent stir fry in lieu of a roast for our Christmas dinner. It was a similar situation with New Years, although we did rent a hotel room in town so we could go swimming. I decided not to decorate for the Holidays this year, can’t say that I’d ever not decorated before. It was kind of nice not having to deal with hauling out all the tinsel, lights and decorations (I’ve amassed quite a lot “Holiday stuff” over the years- which turned out to be the majority of boxes that I moved up here). It was also nice not having to cook and clean for a bunch of people. Christmas isn’t supposed to be about all that stuff anyway, right?

Things are moving along. I’ve been busy ordering tipi supplies for summer. The tipi will arrive on Tuesday. I’ve got a small camper style propane stove/oven for cooking on order, a propane on demand hot water heater, a 1800W wind power generator (I’m going to start with wind power first, the unit I bought is expandable and I can add solar panels later if the wind generator isn’t cutting it), a small fridge/freezer… and a cast iron stove for heating the tipi next winter. I’m still not sure if I want to go with a composting toilet, or save some cash and dig an outhouse. The only other significant financial investment will be in the solar powered electric fence… around $200-$300. I’m pretty much set for spring. Oh, and I got a hand mill for grinding my grain into flour πŸ™‚ I splurged on a fancy one after reading the reviews on amazon… A friend who owns a resort down the road is giving me a new log bed frame and a rocking chair that will look A-M-A-Z-I-N-G in the tipi. I’m currently trying to talk him out of a bear skin rug (wish me luck on that one)!

We are still in the process of fixing up the cabin. I got a good start on the tile floor in the kitchen. I’m waiting for them to hook up the new gas line for the stove and get that moved out of the way so I can finish it. The wood floor in the main A-frame area still needs to be laid and the ceiling fan in the living room is still sitting on the floor- it’s about 20′ in the air to connect the fan to the junction box; neither of us has been daring enough to hook it up! The new furnace is almost installed- in fact it’s being worked on right now and I just got conformation that it just “fired up for the first time.” The new furnace is a significant improvement from the old one that was used in conjunction with wood heat. No more splitting logs this winter. I’m all for wood heat and will be using it in the tipi, but it’s just not practical for use in this big cabin.

Gene left this morning for a 6 hour ride on the snowmobile… I stayed behind because I’m smart and like to be warm πŸ™‚ I tell you this cold sure does ruin a nice day. What’s up with this crazy cold weather? I’m wondering if the “global climate change doesn’t exist” people are singing a different tune yet? On a positive note… all the chickens and the duck are laying eggs again! I guess they really do like the new living arrangements.

Remember the deer the neighbor shot that I complained about… the ones hanging in the tree… Yep, still there!
SAM_0233

2013 will be the year I woke up and started living life on my terms… and what an awesome life it is turning out to be! Stay warm πŸ™‚