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Category Archives: miscellaneous

  • Tractors and Trucks

    Lumber & Fruit trees, 2 signs you’re about to have a good week end.

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    Watch out world, we’re about to make some holes.

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    What little boy dreams are made of. He was so unusually focused Nicole legitimately thought he was sick.

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    I could do this all day

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    Making a better driveway because I can.

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  • An addition to the family

    of toys:IMG_8524

    Nicole & I struggled with the idea of a tractor for a while. In only 3 years we’d had such an impact on the land with barely any power tools, and a tractor will greatly augment our ability to affect it further.land_01 land_02 land_03 We believe a few things will keep us in check from expanding too much. At the end of the day, the winning argument was that our projects were going to happen, regardless of how much I suffer through them. A tractor will certainly take care of a lot of heavy lifting.

  • April snow

  • Kettle to the metal

    We’ve been having static electricity problem in the house so we decided to take humidification seriously. Pots filled with water on the stove tend to be noisy so it was time to go legit with an actual kettle.

    Friends gave us this great deviceIMG_1948

    one vinegar bath later, it’s back in business.IMG_7957We haven’t had static electricity issues since the kettle came online, unlike its modern counterparts, it will never break.

  • One argument of many against globalization

    It occurred to me that with the basic premise of commerce being that specialization and trade yields more better products for both parties. The only reason we trade with countries like China isn’t that they make better items (like for example how Germans make better cars), it isn’t that they have access to resources we don’t have. It is, as we all know, that they make it cheaper, the single reason for which being that they are far enough away that horrible work conditions can happen without us feeling guilty about it.

    In short; trade with China is interesting only because we get to exploit their people.

    If we got to exploit people at home, we wouldn’t be trading with China. Fortunately if people in our towns worked under the same conditions, we would be up in arms about it. And if China didn’t allow exploitation of its people, we wouldn’t be trading with them.

    And so it’s interesting to ponder that the only “trade specialization” China has to offer is being far away enough geographically & culturally from the Western world that we’re cool with their being exploited. Or we can in good conscience say that we are ignorant of it because we have no visibility into the issue.

    Globalization has a tendency to create these “out of sight, out of mind” incentives which work heavily against good working conditions and the environment.

  • Interesting Nature Finds

    The “toupet” tree

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    Ice growing out of the groundIMG_7390

    The tree that decided to fruit out of nowhere

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    The wtf tree limb

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  • Understanding culture & tradition through Off-grid / Vermont living

    Since we moved to Vermont and adopted to live off-grid, often times in ways similar to life 100 years ago, I’ve been fascinated to see how many cultural artifacts from yesteryear are still used today by our generation . We are no longer cognizant of what their purpose is within today’s culture, yet we still use them as our own, sometimes sprinkled with inconsistencies. It’s been a very interesting yet tiny glimpse into how culture finds it way through the ages.

    Through the years I’ve compiled a list of observations, some may be obvious yet I was oblivious to them, some pertain to rural life Vs city life, all I’ve observed since we moved to Vermont.

    The scene of Christmas stockings by the fireplace came to be as folks hung their socks to dry by the fireplace. It never occurred to me until I actually looked at the Christmas perfect picture of all our socks lined up by the fireplace while snow was coming down outside. The only difference being that our socks were in fact stinky & soggy.

    All the state fairs are in the Fall following the main harvests. They are a time to come together and rejoice about the fruits of a long Summer’s worth of work. Having been born and raised in cities, the relevance of this timing was completely lost on me.

    Eggs are prominent for Easter because it’s right around the time that chickens are starting to lay again (they stop or slow way down during the Winter).

    Yule logs are a Christmas desert because of how incredibly important wood was to keep warm during the cold months. There is a lot of meaning to the imagery of a Yule log, I used to think “neat, it looks like wood” and took it as a feat of cooking rather than the reverence to an essential resource that it is.

    I’ve come to feel a lot more connected to old tales happening in the woods. It is amusing that new stories (video games) are created today which emulate the feeling of being in the woods from the experience of these tales rather than the actual experience of the woods. This is true of many other “visuals” we get from these tales, from wood stoves to other artifacts present in old cabins. We don’t have to have experienced them to know that they belong there. How many times have I seen woodstoves represented without chimneys, or other inconsistencies. Scenes are painted from previous painted scenes, and some details get lot in the game of telephone.

    Having experienced all of the following in the dark: fog, glowing eyes, owl movements, animal noises, wind noises, creaking trees; I now know where ghosts and other unsavory monsters came from. Ghosts is clearly fog and the many shapes it takes especially with a light source in your hand. The image of the ghostly figure is present in so much of our culture (Harry Potter) it was a good “aha” moment to see where it came from one dark night outside. Equally as spooky and “aha” inducing was, and this is just a supposition on my part, the origin of the Cheshire cat from Alice in Wonderland. One night I was outside taking a leak and I saw eyes moving through the woods in exactly the same swigging motion. The image of the well known cat jumped at me, and I can’t help but think that Lewis Carroll has had a similar experience. In my case however, it turned out to be a not-so-magical deer.

    The expression “breaking ground” actually literally translate to the action of breaking ground because well, that’s the first thing you do when building something. Again, some of this stuff may be obvious to some already :)

    Crockpot cooking was invented to cater to recipes requiring extended periods of cooking; but the recipes in question were made to cater to having a wood fire going all day. In fact many recipes and even basic ingredients find their origin in wood fire. Today, a recipe is simply of a goal to achieve, “Here’s how you make X”. I’ve come to realize most recipes which are corner stones of a culture find their roots in what is going on at the time. For example, It’s cold, you have a fire going all day, one too many roosters the meat of which isn’t exactly tender, it’s mushroom season and wine isn’t a issue where you live: shazam! coq au vin is born. The funny part as I’ve said before is that while the recipe made a lot of practical sense in times previous, now most people don’t have a constant source of cooking heat, don’t have one too many roosters, and don’t have mushrooms growing nearby. So we build crockpots, we breed roosters, and grow mushrooms, ship this shit left and right and get ourselves a mid-summer coq au vin. It’s a bit absurd to think of a cultural corner stone being artificially induced of the sort, yet understandable that one would go through such absurd lengths to recreate something delicious. I just wonder if some of the culture is getting lost as the recipe translate from something rooted in the people’s life experience in a particular place and time, to something that can be recreated at will with no further meaning than the taste.

    That’s all I have for now, I might find more :)

  • From one day to the next

    One day you’re finishing up the wall under a gorgeous skyIMG_7309

    the next day Winter shows up and makes nice days seem so far awayneigeIMG_7320

  • Fire & Ice

    The struggle has begun and will continue on for the next 6 months.

    Wood heat is the absolute best thing in the world, firing our Sweet Heart for the first time this year was cause for much celebration. We finally get to use the stove for canning. IMG_6867We pulled most of the tomatoes before the first frost of the year.

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