Birthday Weekend 2018

Cabin Corner:

Four tons of gravel is scheduled to be delivered to the homestead this week.  The man I spoke with about the delivery really made me realize how much I need to learn the lingo in the area about where we live.  “You are over there on top of the hill, right?”, he said. “Uhhh…I think so?” “Are you close to the fire department?” , he asked.  “Ummm, I am not really sure”, I replied. “My mother lives over that way, I’ll find you.” There were a couple of more exchanges about where he thought we lived at, then we started talking about payment.  All cash or check. No problem, except for the fact that I did not know if Elaine and Matt would be able to give him money at the time of delivery.   He was not at all concerned and was completely comfortable just having us pay him over the weekend.  People over there are just so very kind. It is so refreshing.

In addition to the gravel order, I have loaded up a cart on and am hoping for an easy truck delivery to the farm.  Since we are getting a truck full of bags of concrete, we went ahead and threw in about 40 bags of mulch in order to touch up the Tipi Trail when we’re done trashing it with our equipment.  We also added 200 feet of garden hose that should reach us at the bottom of the trail in order to avoid the need for hauling water down to our spot.  This will also serve as a life-saver once we move in.  We will use the access to water for both the ducks and some gardening, not to mention for basic teeth brushing and dish washing.  I can’t wait.

All of the holes are dug and currently sitting at a two foot depth.  We decided to go ahead and continue digging down to three feet this weekend, before adding the gravel.  Three is definitely the magic number in this case.  That is the frost line level in our area and we might as well go with it.  The post hole diggers made a 9 inch diameter hole and we will top them off with a 12 inch sonotube pour for a bit of extra stability above ground.  From there, we will add a 6×6 post to the top of the footer and build up. Not sure how exactly yet, but one step at a time, right? We have some ideas of how we want to do it based on a combo of advice and YouTube videos.

Cast Iron Cooking Corner:

I made the best oatmeal for breakfast on Sunday morning.  It was full of apple, walnuts, cinnamon, butter and brown sugar.  Delicious. It took forever because we let the fire go out overnight on Saturday since it was actually pretty warm in the tipi. I did not even think about firing up the propane stove until it was almost done.  Next time!

Gadget Corner:

We left the Biolite Campstove with Matt for the week to see what he thinks about it.  In the absence of excitement, we may return it and put the money we spent towards a different solar package with a little more power.  


Don’t be afraid to make your own recipe.

My homemade spaghetti sauce is a hybrid of the influence of many different sauce makers in my life.  I add the carrots from one person, the Worcestershire from another, and the meat from someone else.  Why can’t the cabin design be similar?  I am pretty sure our cabin is going to be a big combo of our advisors input as well as the internet research we have done  on the internet and other places. Ask your questions, get your answers, then make your own decisions.  It is ok to try out your ideas.  Make it your recipe.  


Giving Thanks, Cliche, Cliche…

Thanksgiving is here again.  I am grateful.

Here is my list:

I am thankful for my wife. She is patient and kind.  You know, like that Bible verse thingy that everyone quotes at their wedding.  I should go on, but I will just tell her instead.M and P

I am grateful for my family.  Go and say what you will of yours (I hope you think yours is the best too), but, I am convinced that all of my siblings (in-laws included) are the best of any.  We have some pretty darn great friends too. You know who you are. Thank you all!

Our pets are amazing.  We have two beautiful kitties and four beautiful ducks.  Shoot, I am even still thankful for all of the pets who have passed.  Each one was so very special in their own way.

Every single day our pets (or, friends whose language we have yet to master, if you will) are clearly so happy to have us home.  Think about it. Every person you have ever known in your life has not been beside themselves with joy EVERY SINGLE TIME YOU COME HOME.  Like jumping for joy happy. Not just, “Yay, they are here.” More like, “Holy hell!!! You came back AGAIN! Yay!” Never once have I picked up the, “Eh, you didn’t have to come home so soon” , vibe.

I feel those loving sentiments from the cats towards both of us.  They may not greet us like a dog, every time we come home, by panting by the front door with a wagging tail, but they show an affection that is just full of love.  Sometimes it is in the form of a bread knead, or maybe just a kitty by your side throughout the night. The ducks are the same. They shriek for joy every time we walk outside. If they are out towards the back of the yard, they will come running.  I know, it is probably just for food, but let me have this moment.


While we are on this topic, let’s think of some reactions that we never get from our pets, with few exceptions, of course.   

Annoyance.  Anger.  Fear.  Hate.  Aggression.  Deceit.  Disappointment.


I am not suggesting that we must eliminate these feelings towards one another, as humans (although, we should probably work towards that, even if we never get there).  What I am implying is, that we give our pets a little more credit for being so perfect and pure. That is no small feat for us to do, but they do it with grace and ease.  I digress…

I am thankful that I can spell grateful. That came later in life than I would like to admit, but, there you go.  We all can’t know everything at once. I just happened to need to know how to make homemade meatballs and sauce before knowing how to spell that word.  #worthit

It is hard for me to admit being thankful for material things, but thank goodness for this amazing house and for our amazing tipi.  To make it worth it, we try to take care of our homes so that they last longer to reduce the need for more “things”.


Make sure to express your thanks everyday.  Thank your people and thank your pets. Thank the ones who are closest to you.  No one could make it through this world alone. Appreciate everyone who helps to nudge you along, every little step of the way.  Happy relaxing and safe travels!

June and I
June and I, post foot bath. We are still working on our cuddle stance.

Life is Heavy

Foot check time!Crushed rock, pea gravel, pavers, paver sand, tipi poles, mulch in wheelbarrows, mulch in bags, mulch in buckets, lumber, logs, trees, cinder blocks, duck feet, new jobs, marriage, physical health, mental health, politics, the environment.  Life is heavy.

Since our journey began with one another, Perriee and I have had some heavy moments.  We have moved tons of those items (literally, at least two tons) listed above from the top of the trail to the tipi spot.  We have probably walked miles doing it too. Duck feet and new jobs don’t weigh a lot, but those are some things that can weigh heavy on the mind.  Those things, although not tangible, can be the most exhausting to carry around with us.

When I am moving a bag of mulch, I can stop and take a breath, contract my abs, and slowly bend at the knees to pick it up.  Then I take it to its destination, always focusing on my core, I bend at the knees again and gently lay it down. I know exactly what steps to take to accomplish my goal and I feel stronger for having done it when I am done.  


On the other hand, when we have things weighing on our minds, it can be so difficult to trust ourselves with the steps we need to take to deliver those items to their destination.  Myself, at least, I can second guess myself. I panic when I don’t know the steps I need to take to fix the problem. I wear out my “mental back” by carelessly lugging these things around.  I must learn how to pick them up carefully to put them down when they become too heavy to bear.

When I am carrying something super heavy from one place to the next, like a bag of gravel, for example, and I need a break, I will stop, put it down, and take a breath.  When I am ready to resume, I pick it back up and keep going. I never feel guilty for needing to do that. I should allow myself to play by those rules in all aspects of my life.  


Try to put down one heavy item that has been weighing on your mind.  Tell yourself, it is ok to take a break. You can revisit it in a week and see if you are ready to pick it back up.  Maybe you will find it isn’t even worth it.

About the duck feet, I am so uber paranoid about the ducks getting bumblefoot and noticed a tiny spot or two on the girls’ feet.  I really beat myself up about it and we did take a lot of action. We threw down some pine needle straw in the yard, took out most of the pavers that were out there, and brought in a walnut branch from the walnut tree.  In their pen, Perriee hung a rain barrier (shower curtain), and we added pea gravel to the spot where we will put their drinking water in their run. On top of it all, a friend did a little research and said they might need more pool time.  

Enter….the waterbed! We went to Meijer on our way home from Cleveland (hence the pic of Lake Erie) on Saturday night and dreamed up the design.  Complete with the pieces from the hardware store, we crafted a pretty neat pool that their feet don’t touch the bottom of, and they get to keep it all day long.  They really enjoy it too. Thanks for the inspiration E!