Little white marbles. 400 of them. Just when I thought I was getting good at slingshot.
I figured I should find them before the first snow or before my husband gets his dream lawnmower next spring.
As I poked around through the brush and trees, I fell into a sort of trance or meditative state and started to see things differently. I saw symbolism in my search.
As I’ve mentioned, I suffer from depression and it’s been quite bad lately so I’ve used the opportunity to kind of try to let the negative feelings flow through me and out rather than sticking and hurting. It’s difficult but looking for the balls allows me to enter into a temporary state of mind where I can separate myself from the waves of emotion and observe almost from an outsider’s perspective.
While in this state of mind I begin to see patterns; messages, what have you, while I look for those hidden objects in the grass.
I understand this probably sounds a bit strange but even I can see what my head is going about and in some way it’s profound. Interestingly enough, I feel as if I’m interacting with the balls in a small scale illustration of quantum theory and spirituality. I believe the two are one and the same although seemingly different. The post I wrote about nature and science refers to that.
What if math is beautiful?
I believe meaning in general, the “answers”; truth, is encoded into symbolism; as it is with spirituality and religion. Tonight as I wandered around I let thoughts and feelings flow through me as unaltered as possible and here are some things I thought about:
What if the balls as a collective represented spiritual truth? Then these were my observations:
They are ironically easier to find in the darkness rather than the light
The harder you look for them the more they sometimes elude you
Sometimes they are right at your feet and you miss them
Sometimes you miss them the first time then see them when looking from a different perspective
Some become ground into the dirt by carelessness but they still remain visible if you look closely enough
They are all around you but you don’t always see them
They seem to appear magically in front of you with the right frame of mind
Just when you think you’ve found them all there are always more
Although they seem lost forever, they are there, somewhere. Or are they?
They are there when observed and gone when not
They are more visible with an open mind
Some travel farther than others
Picking them out of the pine needles can hurt
They may become buried under snow but they will always be revealed with the melt
They will most certainly fuck up your husband’s lawnmower next spring if you don’t find them.
The bear had been seen along a forest service road on the south side of I-90 close to Snoqualmie Pass. Warning signs were posted throughout the area warning campers.
We were camping off that road ourselves during the summer of 2017 while we looked for land to call our new home. We were living in the little trailer we’d bought after selling our house in the city of Snoqualmie (not to be confused with the pass)
My husband and I were taking this road back to camp when we spotted a truck parked just off the road with the tailgate down. No one was in sight and a bear was ransacking the occupant’s camp circle at the end of the open tailgate.
Since we didn’t see anyone we were worried about the owner of the vehicle. We pulled over and the bear took off. I very carefully crept up to the truck hoping I wasn’t about to see a blood bath. I got close enough to peak into the back and into the shell.
There was a man asleep but very much alive in the back! His feet had been mere inches away from where the bear had been destroying his goods. I woke him up and told him what had happened. Can you imagine if he had woken up? No where to go as there was a canopy on the bed. How lucky was this guy?
Our family has camped in the Snoqualmie National Forest for over 20 years and have indeed run into a bear who repeatedly came in to our campsite to raid our supplies; even after the first encounter after which we stored our food in our car.
The morning after we put most of our food elsewhere, we still had some canned goods in our campsite. The bear came and bit into a can of spaghettios and sucked all of the juice out of it through the tooth holes. They’re not stupid when it comes to goodies. We reported the bear to Fish and Game and I believe they may have relocated it.
Bear will do anything to get at food; even inside a car. I heard a story recently about a bear who ransacked a guy’s rental vehicle. I mean trashed it after he’d been warned not to store food inside.
We now carry bear spray wherever we go for protection from cougar also. There was a recent story about two men who were mountain biking near North Bend, not far from where we used to camp regularly. They were attacked by a cougar, one of them ran, and he was killed by the animal. This was just months ago.
We now live in an area where we never know what might come up to our door step. We live in their space now. A neighbor had a bear attack her dog in their carport a few years ago.
The lesson to all this? Bear will search and destroy to get to your food. We don’t go into the woods any more without a can of bear spray. If those cyclists had been carrying some, the end of that story would most likely have been different.
“Start writing, no matter what. The water does not flow until the faucet is turned on.”
― Louis L’Amour
Yeah, only in my case, you have to dig the damned well, install a water filter and about 500 feet of hose, put the hose in the trailer water input pipe (it puts the water in the trailer or it doesn’t get the coffee), turn off the water pump that you realized has been on all night pumping air, make the coffee after you get enough water in the tank to make it, check on said status of water refill, run in and check on coffee making status, run up to the top of the property again to “turn off” the water (pull the hose out of the spring), run down again and turn the coffee to low for perking, turn on the generator sometime during all of this, plug in the fridge because it was turned off when plugged into the solar, and then you can sit down and have the f******cking coffee.
I’m up early again but at least not 4:00am. The solar went out again but that’s because we ran the fridge for several hours yesterday. That’s a first in the great solar power experiment.
The best thing so far about today is that it’s noticeably warmer in here this morning. Progress!
Here’s what we accomplished over the last couple of days:
Pulled and repaired our fresh water tank.
Tried an on-demand hot water system-jury’s out.
Skirted the small trailer with foam board.
Insulated small trailer’s water pipes on bottom of rig.
Insulated various areas in the small trailer with the regular fiberglass insulation.
Put foam board insulation on the outer bottom of the slide-out.
Put bubble wrap on the window of the pull-out.
Put leftover insulation on the floor of the basement to the fifth wheel.
Picked up door insulating kits for both trailers. Will install today.
Came up with an idea to secure the solar panels and picked up half the parts; forgot half the parts.
Had a family skirmish about everyone taking this seriously.
Finally found hot pads for the household.
This could be a full time job. I feel like I eat, breath, smell, taste; do nothing but think about what’s next on the getting-ready-for-winter checklist. The daily trip to the Do-It Center for weather stripping, Great Stuff foam insulation, that tin foil looking stuff with bubbles, bubble wrap, screws, bolts, wire, gas fittings, water hose and fittings, duct tape, tools for the job, a candy bar. The candy is to get me through the damned job.
But it’s all paying off.
I walk the line mentally in wondering if I’m too obsessed with this stuff but I consistently come to the conclusion that I’m not over estimating what we need to do before winter hits. We had frost on the inside of the small trailer we were crammed in last winter. The cat’s water dish froze every day; inside. We didn’t have running water for months. My son and I went to live in an emergency shelter in town for 3 months.
I believe my thinking and actions are quite reasonable.
We make the daily, sometimes more than once a day pilgrimage to the Do-It Center here in Colville and the folks there are getting to know our story pretty well. There’s one particular young man who’m I’ve talked to more in depth because he seems genuinely interested in what we’re doing. I told him I started a blog after he mentioned we inspired him with our determination. I told him to just not do what we do.
Shout out to the guy at The Do-It Center (just in case he actually reads this)! Like I’m some special person who’s opinion counts. 🙂
BTW, we looked for someone to do most of this work because it’s so overwhelming but didn’t get any takers. The guy who ranted at me over the water pump does RVs by trade but I didn’t want his help after that little incident.
I really want to make coffee right now but that would involve putting on a coat and walking to the top of the property to get the siphon going from the spring to our RV. How bad do you want that cup of coffee Linda? I ran out of water while testing the hot water on demand system last night. I didn’t get to rinse the conditioner from my hair. Actually, it’s really soft and silky this morning. I kind of like that.
I’ve been reading some of the blogs from those that have followed me (I’m now following them in return) and am gaining more knowledge about how this blogging thing works. BTW “blog” and “blogging” keep coming up as misspelled on my computer. Funny.
They say to join groups among your niche on Facebook. I might be burning some bridges here but the ones I requested to join had these super strict rules about not posting links. You have to answer the moderator questions and I just sort of put answers like “sure”, and “can I post links to my blog? If not, let’s pass”. I got a sort of snobbish vibe. I can pass on those if it’s going to be so touchy-feely strict.
I think the need for coffee is stronger than my desire to not set foot outside my front door. Gotta go put my snowsuit on. Exaggerating.
I was outside last night near where we’ve located our fifth wheel. It was actually around 1:00 am. An unseasonably warm breeze was blowing and the chirps of the last critters of the summer drifted through the air. It was a nice feeling and I was brought back to the early days and nights of a year ago when we first arrived in Colville, WA.
It’s funny how nostalgia works. Fortunately, feelings associated with memories are usually good even though the feelings of the time might have been less than so. When we first arrived last September, we were excited as hell to be new land owners. For my husband, it was his first time living outside of King county.
We originally had our trailer on this spot but moved it to a different part of the property thinking it was more centralized. We soon realized there was a clear line of sight directly to the neighbors and we don’t like them. We kept the trailer there throughout the winter nevertheless but when we got our fifth wheel, we located it back to this original spot by a hillside where we could keep our “backs” to the wall. Being back on this side of our land brought back a lot of recent past memories, almost as if it happened much farther back in time.
Day 1 on the property, I explored every square inch. It’s 3.7 acres of a little bit of everything. It has two hillsides, a flatlands, forests, and the craggy windy highlands as I call them. I told my husband we should make a map of our place as a fictional land.
We bought our parcel out of a larger one that had been divided into four. Ours is #3 in the top left area. We wanted to buy the adjacent lots but someone beat us to #4.
We had seen “junk” piled up on an adjacent lot but I soon realized we had our own portion of the junkyard on our property. Only the last time the garbage was taken out was over 60 years ago. So their junk is now our treasure as they say.
We ordered a title search of the property at the courthouse. The land passed from the hands of the government into private in 1908. The last time it was actually occupied we figure was in the 1950’s. We had walked into a time capsule of sorts.
I think I found the original well. It’s at the top of the property in a little grove of trees in a sunken area. I found it when I was looking for a likely place for water. There was an interesting looking rock dead center in the depression that looked like it had been formed by hands other than nature. Maybe a marker? I dug a little and found the rock to be lose and ill fitting; like it had been moved there by machine to fill the well. We ended up locating elsewhere for water but I still dig up there now and then. I did yesterday and felt warmer water in the bottom as I did with our spring. Geothermal activity maybe?
The “marker” rock?
In my explorations and aspirations I saw a lot to write about and decided to start a blog but I neglected it for a year. I wanted to write about the adventure we’d just landed on. I now had the biggest back yard an overgrown child could ever want!
I love to dig. I grew up in a pile of dirt, in a tree, waiting outside the bar in a car for my mother…just kidding, kind of. Mom would shove us all into the station wagon with no seat belts, light up a cigarette, and make the trip to Grandma’s house several times a year. That was how it was back then.
Anyway, I grew up a kind of a tomboy so this piece of property is heaven to me. My husband told me repeatedly while we were still looking for a place, “don’t worry Babe, you’ll soon be able to dig all you want at any time of the day and no one will be able to stop you”. I have dug holes all over the place. Who does that? I have filled most of them back in for safety and aesthetic reasons.
Another example of the weird factor in myself was the night I found myself burying a salmon in my garden at 130am during a thunderstorm. I wanted to give it back to the land. I felt guilty I had let it go bad because it had been given to me fresh caught. The raccoons found it about 10 minutes later and the last time I saw it about 4 days later, it was hanging off a branch of a tree.
Nostalgia. It’s been a year. We’ve been through so much. Walking near the antiques hillside (the dump), brought it all back to me. That feeling of excitement and wonder. The pride of ownership. The explorability factor was high in this place and still is.
And now I’m finally taking up that blog I started a year ago.
Try to find a Dorodango ball for sale on the internet. I dare you. Good luck.
Dorodango means mud dumpling in Japanese (I think). It’s literally dirt formed into a ball then dried and polished over a period of time (everyone has their own technique), to become something pretty impressive.
I’ve been trying to successfully make one for about a month now. It takes practice. They tend to crack and the outer shell tends to nick during polishing depending on how you do it.
I’ve tried and tried to finish one over the past weeks. I threw a few. I wrote a poem about them but deleted it because my son was silent after I read it to him. Maybe I’ll rewrite it from memory.
I finally successfully made one today. I want to sell them. Especially after I discovered I couldn’t find but one on the entire internet for sale. I couldn’t believe it. There’s a vacuum in that market. Maybe Etsy, maybe here.
This last year has been very difficult. Very. We’ve had some really hard times and one of the things that helped me through it was my various art projects. I had to use what we had on hand most of the time and dirt was readily available. This is a fun activity and I highly recommend it but it takes patience. Just hit youtube for some tutorials if you want to give it a try.
Onto a couple off the grid self described hacks.
I came up with an ingenious idea for keeping the hoses and water filter from freezing this winter. The spring and holding pit never freeze even in extended zero degree temps. We learned that last year.
Why not mount the filter under the water line and just keep the hoses in the water also when not in use? Theoretically it makes sense.
We hit some items on the monumental To Do list today also.
We pulled the RV’s water tank out today. Had to pull out a small part of the structure in the RV basement to get it out. We’ll replace it of course.
We put it on a couple of barrels so we could fill it up to see if the bottom really leaked and filled it with water. No leaks on the actual bottom but both inlet/outlet receptacles leak around the edges. I sprayed a coat of Flexseal on it and am letting it sit overnight. Will do again tomorrow then fill again to see if the leak is fixed.
If we can use that tank, we won’t have to wrestle with keeping an exterior water tank from freezing. Crossing fingers. One thing at a time.
We called the manufacturer of the dreaded and cherished gas hot water heater and asked them why the thing isn’t turning off. The water is getting super hot. Not safe. We’re just turning the gas off after about a half hour of heating for the time being.
They said it sounds like a thermostat. 10.00 on Amazon. It’s under warranty but why bother for such a small amount?
Incidentally, Atwood is now Dometic (maker of RV appliances and maybe other things).
One item at a time off of the check list.
But wait, there’s more. There’s always more. We believe the front right hydraulic jack sheer pin sheered. It is a sheer pin after all. The jack won’t move up or down. We’re trying to finish leveling the trailer still. Everything on the bathroom counter roles towards the rear of the trailer. Driving me nuts.
We added 2 more batteries to the solar power system this afternoon. We’re going to try the TV for a little while. I think it’s charging fine after all. Added 4 more 100 watt panels to the system yesterday. It was a challenge to figure out the wiring. It’s still really rough looking mounted on two sheets of plywood. We need to secure the panels better before a windstorm hits.
Now to reap the rewards of siphoning the water from the top of the property from the well we dug, installing a new hot water heater, removing and reinstalling the shower faucet approximately 6 times as a result of the overheated water, and installing a new water pump.
I think I deserve a hot bath.
Hack: You can use one little microfiber rag to dry off your entire body after a shower. Just keep wringing it out as you go. They work great. I’ve had to do it more than once upon realizing no towels were available.
I woke up at 4:00am this morning when the inverter to our solar power system shut off. At this point, it does that early every morning because we did the classic underestimate of power consumption needs. More on solar later. It get’s it’s own post.
I spent about an hour up anyway running on our RV’s batteries with LED lightbulbs. I had to use my phone’s hotspot because we forgot to hook up the inverter to the RV batteries so we could run a cord inside to plug the modem into.
After going back to bed and waking up about 20 minutes ago, the husband’s still asleep so I got to instruct my son again, on how to turn on the gernerator but he forgot to unplug us from the solar system and into the extension cord he plugged into the generator. We have the modem for internet over here. That was why he was so helpful.
I then had to plug the fridge back in because we’re getting a propane fridge because the electric is a gas hog and when we’re on the inverter, we turn it off for a few hours and keep the door shut.
I also checked the level of our water supply and will have to go up to the top of the property to “turn on” the water. I siphon it all the way across the property to our temporarily outside 55 gallon water tank that holds water for our trailer.
Tired yet? I’m semi used to this but when my threshold for stress is down, I break down also. Most of the time I’m OK but it takes a lot of effort to live out here. I have problems with depression and when that kicks in, it weakens my emotional immune system and makes effort difficult.
My husband is front and center to help and we make a great team but I tend to mentally take on a sense of responsibility for the load. I don’t have to. It’s just habit, I suppose. I’m trying to learn to ask for help and to know that I don’t have to do it alone but when I realize how much there is to do before the snow hits, I get overwhelmed.
I’ll show you what I mean.
To do before the snow hits:
skirt both trailers
replace our water tank (we found out our water tank has a massive leak after we got it home)
seal all panels around the RV basement
insulate all pipes and the inside of the basement
finish foam insulating the small trailer and do the pipes
figure out why the hot water heater is not turning off (we never called someone about that)
return the faucet we bought when we thought the old one was broken because the hot water made it work weird
come up with a plan to keep the outside water barrel from freezing if we can’t replace the inside water tank
figure out how to keep the outside water filter from freezing
figure out why the solar panels we added don’t seem to be helping
buy more batteries for solar system
make sure we have a heating system in place for the basement of the RV
finish cleaning up the property
finish the roof on the shed when the truck gets home from the shop
pack the rest of the garbage to the dump when truck available
finish installing miscellaneous hardware around the inside of the trailer
finish the laundry (happy thought! I have a washer/drying combo in the trailer!!!!)
Work on blog which has become a very happy thought to me
As I said, I suffer from depression. It’s been all of my life give or take a year or two and of course I get treatment for it but it’s especially bad right now. Luckily, I’ve discovered blogging. 🙂 I can now “talk” to people about how I feel and bitch about all of the hard work I have to do living out here.
I know this has all been a choice and I would do it again. Zero regrets. But that damned to do list…..
No, not a turkey. I am temporarily out of my own pictures pertaining to RV repair.
I didn’t know how to install a water pump so I went to see the local RV repairman last week. He’s probably been doing this for about 100 years now and doesn’t give a rat’s ass about customer service anymore. When I asked him about the wiring he said in an extremely tired and irritated voice while gesturing violently at the water pump I had in my hand “red is red and black is black”!
Well, I made this picture for him to translate to him what I saw. No, he hasn’t seen it nor will he ever. 🙂