POST 160 (DAY 167, Sunday, 2021.1.24)
“..to observe, listen, help.. a scaleable purpose for life..” a fellow permie told me recently, while discussing what humans can do that’s worthwhile.. to me it sounds a little or a lot like gardening..
.. growing up, I’d often witness my parents both out in their gardens doing gardeny things.. I never really saw myself doing those things because I didn’t understand the process.. I didn’t understand that a sense of purpose in gardening is the very thing that is life-giving.. in other words gardeny things is innately fulfilling.. my folks understood it then and probably to this day observe, listen to, and help growies.. that fellow permie has somehow made sense of his search for purpose..
.. one day I shall have my own garden and gain experiential knowledge.. what grows in your garden?
POST 159 (DAY 166, Saturday, 2021.1.23)
"Transformative.." Amey joins us from the california bay area, for two weeks of permaculture bootcamp experience.. RMH, timber framing, and kitchen skills ensue.. He brings a refreshing enthusiasm to the workplace, willing to maximize learning at the work-site, as well as discuss how to further the vision of Wheaton Labs during the group commute from home.. he soaked in all he could about the lifestyle.. he really enjoyed practicing some recipes to take back to his home, for pineapple cake, daal, and fried eggs.. thanks for lighting the fire-powered heater for us each morning, and sharing your light humor, Amey~!!! Safe travels, and see you again soon..
POST 158 (DAY 165, Friday, 2021.1.22)
.. recently I’ve been thinking about the human tendency to settle with old and comfortable habits VS the willingness to learn new tricks..
.. peeling logs was one of the first skills I happened to learn here.. and today, as we were wrapping up the retaining walls, I git to peel a log.. remembering how challenging it was that first time swinging the spud tool.. somehow, it was easier than that first time..
.. if this old dog can learn new tricks, perhaps that one familiar saying doesn’t apply to everyone.. after all, it doesn’t take youth to learn new tricks.. I believe perhaps the ingredient is the willingness to fail spectacularly.. over and over again.. because.. well—certainly not because I say so..
POST 157 (DAY 164, Thursday, 2021.1.21)
.. Built a shelf today.. I think it’s my seventh one since arriving here (in August 2020).. it seems I really enjoy custom shelf-ery.. today’s shelf was placed in an area that is used almost everyday.. it seemed rather troublesome to me move a thing to get to the thing I want, then move the first things back.. so I thought a shelf would simplify this process a bit.. hopefully it’s not too high up for those vertically challenged.. if so, there is a step ladder nearby.. Wanna see the results?
Enjoy the pics~!
By the way.. A special thanks to E. For donating the carriage bolts!!! (The live edge mounts from a sawmill tree at base camp; the bottom board from a spare wood pile..)
Lara Bigotti wrote:CATAN IS NEVER A WASTE OF TIME! :-) Oh Dez, I wish I could give you the number of hours I've spent perfecting my gameplay, but just know it's in the triple digits.
Loving the winter vibe and fresh faces!! See you guys in a couple weeks! Much love
josiah and i made up a blitz-play version of catan.. its not as fun as normal-play.. but it offers a catan-dosage fix for me.. =D see you, LAB~!
POST 156 (DAY 163, Wednesday, 2021.1.20)
.. baked another cake today.. i never knew how much enjoyment i would get from baking.. it IS experimental baking.. according to the rules of the experiment, the final product MUST be gluten free, vegan-friendly, sugar-low (stevia okay), and paul-friendly.. i've tried cookies, cakes, and bread so far.. currently, the pineapple cake is the best in class, but i'd like to have the cake be good even without the pineapples--i feel that pineapples make most things good.. =D
POST 154 (DAY 161, Monday, 2021.1.18)
.. went for a jog after work, with Amey today.. Waldo followed us.. on the way up to the top of the volcano, we took short breaks to catch breath and enjoy the views.. after the short break, we each did some pushups and then proceeded to jog upward.. it took about 30 minutes to reach the "summit", then we coasted down while the orange cat followed us.. i like it when the kittens follow me up, because i want them to explore the land and run into potential food.. plus, these kittens make such great company..
POST 152 (DAY 159, Saturday, 2021.1.16)
.. played catan again.. what’s happening to me?.. two+ hours of my life seems to have gone into this board game.. but also perhaps that is time well spent because of the company engaged.. the question arose “is time limited? And if so, why is that important?” .. I thought i knew why.. but as I explored this idea through Amey’s perspective, the ground began to shake a bit.. as if to shift plate-tectonically into a more stable formation.. now I have more food for thought..
POST 151 (DAY 158, Friday, 2021.1.15)
.. played settlers of cattan today.. I was highly resistant to involve myself in such a diversion.. now having played, I can see why people like this game.. would I play again? .. not sure.. it’s hard for me to dedicate an uncertain amount of time to any one diversion when it seems there’s so much “work” to be done.. I would have to know ahead of time and have half my chores complete.. then I may opt to make Friday night so enjoyably diverting.. does that mean I am deprived of simple fun in my life? Not sure.. maybe.. or maybe that’s how I get when I’m on a two year long mission.. *shrugs* :)
POST 149 (DAY 156, Wednesday, 2021.1.13)
.. today was "House Plants Day".. half-holiday.. it was super fun connecting with these beautiful beings that give us so much oxygen and aesthetic appeal around the house.. we re-potted some, made new pots for others, and pruned their malfoliage.. (not sure if that's a real word.. disturbed leaves, per say)..
POST 148 (DAY 155, Tuesday, 2021.1.12)
.. WELLNESS ASSESSMENT: today was a bit tough.. it was hard to move my body.. not sure why.. maybe i slept too much?.. maybe my mind is playing tricks on me?.. maybe its the sugar in my diet these days.. i don't want to change.. (who wants to change??).. yet i know this seeming "inability" to move kind of symptom is likely an indicator that i might be sleeping too much, that my focus is in need of exercise, and that the sugar has had its time.. i ate a lot of fruit today--and this is something rare!.. but ever since christmas, i've been feeling okay with sugar (no post sugar consumption migraines).. so i guess, in a way, i've been enjoying it while it lasts.. and perhaps that road is turning.. =D
POST 147 (DAY 154, Monday, 2021.1.11)
.. Good Morning.. its a new boot day.. Chi is here.. he likes RMH's (like me!).. we're gonna get to work and do the things that we do..
.. i thought i had my rhythm.. haha.. i will say that usually, there's a bit of a "learning curve" or a ramp-up curve once the rhythm is lost and then regained.. all this to say that i am behind on finishing yesterday's entry and this entry is a bit short because my morning went super fast..
POST 146 (DAY 153, Sunday, 2021.1.10)
gluten free pineapple upside down cake..
3-4 cups of oat flour
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1-2 tsp almond meal (optional, but highly recommend if you have it!)
1 tsp CACAO powder (optional; fyi NOT "cocoa", forget the "cocoa".. its cacao or skip! the difference is that "cocoa" is often mixed with other things, whereas cacao is just the powdered nibs; again this is optional)
1 tsp nutmeg and/or cinnamon (optional)
1 tsp lemon juice
1-2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup coconut milk ("thai" brand is thick, with about 50% fat, this is nice replacement for butter fat)
3-4 egg whites (eggs seem to add a bit of "moisture" and a bit of "bounce" to the texture/feel of the cake)
1 egg yolk
1 cup pineapple juice (i just use the juice from the sliced organic pineapples can, it adds sweetness, pineapple-y-ness, and water, AND it has no added sugars.. marvelous~!)
1 tsp stevia
2 tsp dolcedi (apple syrup, optional sweetening agent)
2 tsp maple syrup (optional sweetening agent)
1/4-1/2 cup rum (optional)
2 tbs maraschino cherry juice/syrup
pineapple slices & maraschino cherries
1) prepare 2 loaf pans by coating inside surface with coconut oil
2) drain and save juice from 1 can of pineapple slices (fresh pineapple is awesome too)
3) mix all dry ingredients together, use a sifter if possible
4) add in the wet ingredients and then mix the batter with paddle or whisker
5) after batter is all mixed, it should be somewhat watery consistency (not thick like bread dough, but thicker than milk.. somewhere in between..)
6) oven 350 degrees, center rack, 45-60 minutes, use poke test.. pokey stick will come out dry when ready.. allow to cool 30 minutes before flipping cake
that's pretty much it.. questions or pictures of your trials are most certainly welcome and desired if takers are bakers..
before bake, i taste a bit of the batter to check sweetness for best results, but this is also optional..
.. WHY RECIPE? .. I baked a gluten free pineapple cake yesterday (saturday afternoon).. happy to report that it is gone as of now (sunday afternoon)..
.. unable to find the kind of recipe that sounds ideal to me, i decided to make my own recipe.. also it seems that the recipes i click on take me to some website that holds the recipe ransom until the reader has perused 3-10 paragraphs of storyline, and X'ed out of multiple advertisement banners.. do i sound bitter?.. i'm not bitter.. okay maybe a little bitter.. i'm just done with those types of websites is all i'm saying.. and to "BE THE CHANGE", i post the recipe then the story--HA!.. i'm such a rebel.. just kidding.. kind of..
POST 145 (DAY 152, Saturday, 2021.1.9)
.. yesterday was "Finishing Friday".. the saw mill logs from the lower paddock are now staged for cutting.. this part took puzzle-solving, tractor time, and chain wielding.. so happy its finished.. the four logs for peeling are also staged, so they can ship then peel or peel then ship to the Lab.. all this to say--what a great feeling to actually finish on a friday..
.. of course there are other parts of this logging operation.. the section next to the lower paddock has logs to be cut, peel and moved.. would like to have that done by this coming friday or sooner.. that way we can get all the logs staged for install or cutting..
.. its been interesting working alone for the past couple weeks.. i didnt know how it would go, but i also wasnt that anxious.. one day at a time, one step at a time, as is the case with any new situation.. no point in spending energy on anxiety or stress.. i did get frustrated on the first couple days though because i hadnt ever really wielded a chain/pulley/snatchbox system to move thousand pound logs with heavy machinery.. in fact for a large chunk of my life, i had vowed never to go near heavy equipment (because of some traumatic events).. here i was doing all of that.. with just me.. how can i drag this log sideways along a incline, so it does not roll down the hill and trample over our nice fence?.. after pondering for some time and trying to hand-roll them, i decided i needed to phone in a friend.. paul.. we did a quick, 5-minute strategy chat session and away it went.. i got the theory of using the snatchbox system with chains and pulleys.. now it was just a matter of actually implementing the thing.. definitely a learning curve.. and some fear factor--was the chain gonna snap and fly toward my face?? i squinted cautiously.. but those things held strong as if to exclaim, "IS THAT ALL YA GOT, LADDO?!" (why a scottish-ish accent? not sure..).. nothing snapped or broke.. in fact, the more i tractored up and down the hill 10-20 feet at a time, with tension in the lines, the tension in my neck seemed to relax more and more.. by the end, i trusted the machines.. maintaining a cautious respect for their sheer power.. much like anything else challenging and worthwhile, i can honestly say that i had fun doing it.. one step at a time..
chi kim wrote:Thanks for posting your updates Dez! I'm going to be joining the boot this Sunday (coming from california) and I am so excited! Any tips on what I should bring? I packed the obvious stuff like toothbrush, jeans, workgloves and boots.
POST 144 (DAY 151, Friday, 2021.1.8)
.. josiah and jen return from their vacation today.. i hope they had a refreshing time.. and it'll be nice to have them around again..
.. random thought.. i've been called the "nest labor warrior".. as i look around the kitchen in this moment.. i see things that could be tidier; and i somehow actually want to work on making those things tidier.. this was not always the case.. i used to look around my apt (or nest) in seattle, and wish it could remain in a tidier state more consistently.. so i decided to set off on a mission of training my mindset.. i wanted two things: 1) learn to keep a tidy space, 2) get paid to do learn.. so i applied for jobs in restaurants, where the kitchen would be maintained nightly, as well as throughout the day while working.. it worked!.. the principle i gleaned was this--do lazily something i dread 1,000 times and it becomes a less dreadful habit..
enjoy the pics~!
ps.. i feel like i'm starting to get back into rhythm again..
POST 143 (DAY 150, Thursday, 2021.1.7)
.. paul's generosity surprises me sometimes.. and in a good way.. it leaves me wondering, "if i were in his shoes, would i be as generous?".. well his shoes are pretty big.. but i think the short answer might be yes, i would be generous in giving.. RECEIVING, on the other hand is often times a less familiar feeling.....
STORY TIME: it was a saturday afternoon, in westwood california.. the outskirt of the UCLA campus, where i would later be attending undergrad.. presently i'm in elementary school, 4th or 5th grade.. i'm at the swap meet "helping" my dad direct traffic at our little outdoor shop.. we had the corner booth, vending printed T-shirts and engraved jewelry.. these kinds of booths were really in fashion back in the 90's.. "i'm hungry.. when can we eat?" i asked.. "how about now? what would you like? we can leave the booth for a bit, and you can have anything you want, today!" my dad replies confidently.. i said "mcdonalds.." sheepishly.. you see, i was young, but had it branded in my brain that we were "poor", which meant that mcdonalds was about all we could afford.. staring at the menu, everything seemed just way too expensive, so i picked two items from the value dollar menu.. my dad repeated gently, "you sure? you can have anything you want from the menu.." i gulped and said "yes, i'm sure." "okay.. i'll get those for you.." .. looking back to that time, i think "WHAT WERE YOU THINKING? you should have gotten the big mac or the 20 piece nuggets, which is what you REALLY ACTUALLY wanted..!!!" i never told my dad that i totally lied about wanted nothing else.. i thought it was the right thing to do, at the time.. i'm sure some part of him knew that i was just exercising my modesty.. but at what cost does modesty become a lie?.. had i to do it again, would that pre-teen have picked all the juicy burgers as he saw in his dreams?--of course~! not because i deserve it, but because its okay to receive.. i know that now.. its okay to receive deluxe mcd's burger combo meals.. its okay to receive compliments and attention.. its okay to receive gifts.. its okay..
POST 141 (DAY 148, Tuesday, 2021.1.5)
.. its taco tuesday, but i forgot.. so we did not have tacos.. not sure how i feel about that..
.. overall it was a great day.. i wrestled some big logs out of the lower paddock and over to the sawmill, using the tractor machine.. who knew i would be wielding such a contraption ever in my lifetime?..
.. maybe i'll time to update you on this tomorrow.. maybe not.. today was a blur.. i mean--i didnt even have time for my morning entry~!.. so here i am, last minute, squeezing in a quickie.. strangely unsatisfactory.. strange..
POST 140 (DAY 147, Monday, 2021.1.4)
.. late start this morning.. for me, sleep is recovery time.. increased physical labor means increased recovery time.. last week, i missed a few hours of recovery time, so this week i must make it up, by going to bed around 730 each night.. everything else can wait, because my wellness is first priority.. i dont do caffeine (except on occasion), so my main source of focus and energy are diet, exercise and sleep..
POST 139 (DAY 146, Sunday, 2021.1.3)
.. todays RMH fire spun the second fan.. so there are two heat-powered fans that are placed on top of the RMH barrel to add convective heat flow to the room (you seen these on top of woodfire stoves possibly).. one of the fans spins up first because its newer or better lubricated.. the second fan only spins when the barrel gets hotter than a certain point.. this is likely an accidental feature of this two-fan set up, but i use it to estimate if the barrel is simply hot, or EXTRA hot.. the goal being to get it extra hot.. in many cases, i havent been able to spin the second fan very well, but today's fire was a little different.. i "choked" the intake port at the top of the feed tube by about half (something i was not trying because i thought it had to be very open, because i think someone told me that early on? maybe i'm making this up? anywho).. turns out this is fine.. in fact, its kind of good because then the flames get sucked down, and the burn is nice and slow.. the barrel gets extra hot, so the second fan spins nicely.. less wood is burned to heat the same amount of temperature~!!!.. finally, i feel like i'm getting closer to a super-efficient burn~!.. its exciting..
POST 138 (DAY 145, Saturday, 2021.1.2)
.. yesterday was another half-holiday.. i must have watched a total of about 3-4 hours of television/video entertainment.. in fact, there was probably an average of about 2 hours of video each day since monday.. this means i didnt rest much.. i knew this could mean trouble for me, and yet i did it anyway.. you know how sometimes you know you're done eating, but the food still looks good, and then moments later there you are rolling around on the floor because sitting or standing are just too uncomfortable?--what a silly, twisted game, and yet every once in a while i need a reminder.. its kind of like that.. during month 1, i was very certain that my maximum "play" time each day was somewhere around 1 hour, and the rest of it would be working or sleeping or eating.. i knew this because that's the system i had set up for myself while living in the city.. that system served me and worked for me very well.. i lived alone.. living in community, i seem to be picking up small habits here and there, from those around me.. this isn't my first rodeo so to speak, so i know that in short time, i will create and adapt to a new system of routine that serves me and fits my new environment..
.. this morning and yesterday morning i had trouble getting out of bed.. a red flag in my book, that i'm not going to bed early enough.. this week and next week, i'm the sole boot in bootcamp.. its funny how i no longer hear the thoughts of blaming other in my head when no one else is around to blame.. instead if i see a stain on the counter or a homegood out of place, i ask, "DID I DO THAT??" (like steve urk3l).. and then move along with my day.. oh Blame--what a fickle, unproductive pursuit.. i'm so glad i have this chance to reflect on how living in community reveals aspects of my own true nature that otherwise would remain hidden and safe from critique or assessment.. speaking of which..
.. WELLNESS ASSESSMENT: my fingers are sore from peeling logs.. im glad its a day of rest today, and next week i shall spread out the wielding of the spud stick to allow sufficient rest for these to tired digits.. emotionally/spiritually i'm so grateful and satisfied with each day.. i know i wrote about not having much will to live or procreate in a recent entry, but not to worry.. i'm here to realize something greater than one person can build alone, and my raw truths must be faced, explored, and tested if im going to give my dreams a fair chance, even if i'm somewhat fearful.. ignoring or denying my feelings would be perhaps a greater mistake (i've been down that road before also)..
POST 135 (DAY 142, Wednesday, 2020.12.30)
.. they said its a revealing of my own flaws.. and THAT is why it bothers me so much.. these flaws we see in others--the things that trigger my bother-button.. if life happens FOR me and not TO me, then it must be concluded that i'll look back someday with gratitude, and not resentment.. am i a tree with bitter fruit, or sweet?.. am i done growing, or do i have more stretching to do?.. in other words, the flaws in others show me my comfort zone--the types of behavior that i'm willing to live with; anything outside of these types of behavior patterns are uncomfortably annoying.. that's not very inclusive though.. seem rather exclusive in fact.. and non-accepting.. yet these inclinations are revealed, discovered, uncovered.. what IS my true character?.. am i victim or victor?.. do i fold or overcome?.. tough times pass; but the tough keep going..
.. i had a dream this morning.. woke up angry and kind of depressed.. i was in a room with the door closed.. it was a double door, with a faulty hinge on one side.. so even though i locked it, anyone could simply wiggle it open from the outside or the inside.. in the middle of what i was really enjoying, my father barges in.. he's enthused about something, and insistent on hanging out with me RIGHT THIS MOMENT.. with an acoustic guitar in his hand and a big dumb grin on his face.. as if to say "wanna play together??".. being the scrooge that i sometimes am, i ask, "i'm busy, can it wait?".. he insists and calls me his best friend.. at this point in my dream, i'm flabbergasted by the inconsiderate nature of this best friend.. that's when my friend from the burrito restaurant pops into the room and asks, "does a best friend interrupt lifestyle in this way??" standing in my defense.. thank you, burrito man.. in the heat of this butting of lifestyle-horns, i awake.. maybe i am too comfortable?
.. i'm grateful for where i am today.. but maybe i am much too comfortable.. is my "father" cramping my lifestyle?.. odd.. i think i get the interpretation though.. i'm angry about something, somewhere deep inside.. and i wish to figure it out.. so i can find peace about the very thing that makes me so heated.. in the meantime, my will to live and procreate are at near all time low.. just kidding.. kinda? Haha.. alas I am not my feelings nor my thoughts.. So we row on.. one row at a time ..
POST 134 (DAY 141, Tuesday, 2020.12.29)
.. it was bound to happen eventually.. today i am senior boot.. for the next week or so.. so what does it mean to be senior boot?.. probably just that i have a little more time under my belt of being at Wheaton Labs.. does it make me a leader?--certainly not in my opinion (lol).. does it give me authority over the less-senior boots? no, again.. a younger me may have taken this pseudo-title to mean something more than what it is.. today, i'm just a guy that has 4.5 months experience of being a boot.. that's all.. please don't look to me for leadership or authority.. those things are available within one's self.. you can look to me as a partner looks to a partner.. i'll be there by your side to complete the task.. i'll be there to watch your back.. i'll be there to support your human-ness.. but please lead yourself, and give yourself the permission to do whats best for the boat.. this is what i've learned in life, and as a boot.. it seems to work well~!
POST 133 (DAY 140, Monday, 2020.12.28)
.. this morning's rise was a bit challenging.. the inertia of xmas weekend certainly made suggestions of sleeping in until the last minute.. my bathroom routine suggested otherwise.. is that all that gets me up in the morning these days? .. i remember being able to "hold it" for as long as i needed to, while laying in bed.. once i slept for 36 hours, only waking up to use the toilet a few times and maybe snack a bite or sip on water.. i was super tired from the month-long missions trip where 5-6 hours of sleep per night was a daily thing.. now i can't seem to go 4 hours without a call from my bladder.. so what got me up then, after 36 hours of slumber?.. i was just done sleeping.. the next day i went back to my normal sleep routine.. unhindered by anything.. as sweet as sleep is, there is definitely the realization that its a luxury that can take a third or more of my life, depending on my own mental discipline.. i still love naps..
POST 132 (DAY 139, Sunday, 2020.12.27)
.. freedom.. yesterday, i felt a thorough sensation of freedom.. freedom to eat candy.. freedom to chop wood.. freedom to clean the kitchen.. freedom to watch two movies back to back--while eating and taking bathroom breaks.. freedom to enjoy company and self expression.. freedom to spend time with kittens.. to pee on some dirt outside.. ahhhhh..
.. its snowed about an inch last night.. i was super warm because santa got me an alpaca-wool blankie.. such a generous gift.. and so amazingly exactly what i wanted.. have i been a good boy this year?.. hmm.. dont answer that~!
POST 131 (DAY 138, Saturday, 2020.12.26)
.. today, i chopped a bunch of wood.. i wanted to see how fast i could fill up the chopped wood shelf.. 1.5 hours.. 90% filled.. still not enough in my opinion.. in my ideal world, i would have 3-4 times this much chopped wood, ready for the RMH.. not because i think i'd run out, but because i wouldn't have to be in a rush to meet demands.. a buffer.. a plentiful buffer..
..here's a noteworthy example: toilet paper.. now this IS something that is a little inconvenient if personal supply is at zero.. if i'm out of firewood, i can put on another jacket.. if i'm out of toilet paper, i would have to take a shower i guess.. which isn't necessarily that inconvenient.. i guess i just prefer not to run out.. and i like to be ready for things in general.. SO--back to my story: when i was in the city i would have 1 to 3 cases of toilet paper at any given time, in my closet.. another example: gas tank--i'd prefer to fill up my gas when it was around half tank level (because i'd drive by a gas station every day, it was just a matter of stopping by; and not making an extra trip)..
.. i've always been pretty adamant about preparedness, and i love that i can put that "paranoia" to practical use, such as ready firewood supply.. i don't have a lot of skills, and i don't consider myself a particularly "smart" individual, but i can be a contributing member of this community in seemingly mundane ways, like chopping wood.. and that makes me feel good.. =D
POST 129 (DAY 136, Thursday, 2020.12.24)
.. xmas eve.. yesterday, josiah, jen and i installed the foyer chandelier.. its built from scratch.. we harvested a tree from WL property, ran it through the saw mill, to create 1x4 planks of wood.. these boards (planks) were then measured and cut, then screwed together in a designed fashion.. light bulb fixture plates were mounted, and wires laid in.. then came the actual placement of the assembly onto the ceiling of the FPH entrance area.. i knew this area needed a light, but had no idea of the feeling of satisfaction that a project like this would offer.. it looks like it belongs here.. its nice~.. thanks, Paul~!