Sunday, February 26, 2012

A Truck Full of Oak---A Thing of Beauty

Some days are perfect to fetch up a fat load of oak. Temperature, 28 degrees, sun working its way out, my ass is getting fat or wasting away from sloth, at least sore from sitting and a person needs exercise to keep the blood moving. 

I fetch it up using our 1997 150 Ford. We keep it in the woods so as not to attract thieves and to prevent it form being used for casual driving because at 15 to the gallon this rig ain't not pleasure ride. Who'd steal it? Nobody, and it is not that pretty, so there it sits, ready to haul wood. It is so huge we are almost embarrassed to own it because the brute just doesn't look sustainable. But how you gonna haul your wood that 14 miles? Fifty barrels of oil just to build it. With a bit of luck it will last the rest of our wood cutting days----if gas will.

My brother had an accident with the Ford. It seems he parked under a tree that he should have recognized with the next 70 MPH wind would drop "something" on our 4 X 4. So we get this wind and sure as hell Jesus dropped a big limb on the blue monster breaking the windshield , removing the side mirror and denting the pristine fender.

As a result of the damage, today I hit two trees trying to get in position for my pick up. One I scrapped because I couldn't get a look see on the left, and the other I backed into sorta because I didn't see it. Not much damage done and after all, the truck is for hauling wood and not scoring chicks.

The main thing is, the truck still works for hauling wood which is sorta like Hall and Oats, just that it can not sing. When that baby is full it is a thing of beauty with it's half cord of wood. It is a bit odd that even this four wheel drive unit still has pretty lame suspension, so the entire unit rather sags and wobbles as we motor down highway B. Still love it, with my hours well spent in recreation, exercise and accomplishment.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

1%ers and Me. How I Became One.

I decided a while back  I was, or at least want to be, a 1%er. I don't think being part of the 99% is all that useful or glamorous because it implies we are not special. Plus, if all the news we are hearing is true, we are the down trodden, the poor devils who are losing our wages, having our benefits cut and are most subject to rising food prices.

Tonight we had a great soup consisting of last years potatoes (not blighted), cauliflower, green beans and garlic from the garden. We also tossed in a three sides of White Bass and a hand full of basil we grew. The fish Ian and I caught in the Wolf River during a late spring outing replete with swearing and water swatting. So it was a down home, kinda sustainable, really sustainable repast fit for a king---maybe a king some 2000 years ago--but still royality. All the stuff was stored in the freezer that is powered by the sun.

I enjoyed my hearty bowl while tight up against the old wood stove, and my lip locked on a locally brewed beer (even though I could have had a glass of this wine I just made---and it is damn good). Ya, the old dog died and the chickens just got themselves killed real dead by the neighbor's dog that decided they were pheasants running in our yard. He more or less just retrieved them, but too hard. So the badness has taken the edge off my 1%erism to some extent but still it would seem we are still comfortably locked in our new position high up on the social scale.

My cloths are a might ragged but not "bring out your dead" tattered. Just rough around the edges because my shipment from Burberry has not arrived. I have no bulging goiters,  my  feet have not fallen off due to leprosy and my we-we still works. Have a bit of a limp due to getting the shit kicked out of me in my athletic years but with luck, I inflicted some equal damage to the jackasses that worked me over. Or as Steve recently said, "How are that 5 years of Rugby playing working out for you white boy?" It was worth it because it made who I am today---a slightly stove up buffoon who still sucks up the good life.

Still I love being a 1%er. Just because it is a 1%er in the lower middle class doesn't really bother me. I'm thinking, if things keep moving where they are going I might move up a class or two. Carharts might be the new Burberry.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Sculpture---My Actual Work

I know that some individuals might question if I actually work. I do. I actually work. Now, last winter I went into a bit of a sloth mode, where I seemed to fancy hanging by the stove reading, writing, drooling (while sleeping)  and lounging. I was pathetic in some ways and I know I used Lyme disease as an excuse but it was never really confirmed.

I am now suspecting that sitting on one's ass can in itself cause problems, so this year I am really trying to be up and about, doing work while standing on my feet. Still, it hurts, every joint needs a nice infusion of vitamin I. I'm cool, I cut wood, split wood play with the International M, am not drooling as much and making sculpture.

The best part of it is the warmth of the studio/man cave/motor shop. The stove is fired up and there in the depths it all happens. Now bring oon the buyers. Bring them hot and heavy. Ah, who cares.

Winter Rewards----Food Saved from Summer

The cabbage plant is a good one, a real keeper. In October, maybe even November it is possible to pick a cabbage and set it aside in a cool dry spot in the upper bed room that seems to hold at about 45 degrees---nice for cabbage but not so inviting for friends. We just wait to see how long they will last. This year by Christmas some were clearly showing signs of black, unsightly rot on the outside, but once peeled the inner portions were still fresh as my winter attitude--and that has been good, almost sassy. It is true, I made kraut out of most of them. The fermenting contents smells of cheap beer and expensive vinegar but is still resting comfortably in the bucket under a air lock. Ya, I need to try it and maybe can the rest of it for summer use. It is ready to put in a German basement or maybe a tall ship.

Today, we took the last fading bit of cabbage from the fridge and made a nice coleslaw. It was good as new but each time more leaves have to be discarded. Still, it is Feb 11th and we had fresh cabbage. If we weren't about to run out, it might have been able to hold on until March. Just think no scurvy until March and by then there might be a few other greens around.

 On the same day, a tub of blueberries, frozen in the fall, came to light. With the slightest of ingredients we made the jewels into a winter pie. It was one of those deals were each time we pass it, a small portion falls unintended into our salivating mouths. 24 hrs later and only a tiny piece remains. To bad yesterday I learned that 100 years ago each human consumed about 2 pounds of sugar a year----2 pounds. I have a hard time believing that but maybe. Today we use some 200 pounds, probably mostly in soda, but the stuff is everywhere including the 3/4 a cup in that pie. There was some honey as well. I love the stuff. Jesus made it for me.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Ice Fishing-----Revolution Watch



Is the Lake-Link Ice Fishing Jamboree event cancelled?
THE EVENT ITSELF IS NOT CANCELLED. Due to the warm weather and ice conditions THE ONLY PORTION WE ARE NOT HAVING IS THE FISHING CONTEST PORTION. If you want to fish you can fish Lake Delavan or any other area body of water at your own discretion.

Let's see, Feb. 2nd and there is inappropriate ice to go ice fishing----in Wisconsin. Yes this is in southern Wisco but just to day the DNR advised folks to get there fishing shacks off some places in the Wausaw area, certainly on the Wisconsin River.

Today on my usual inquiry at the hardware store about the fish bite, I learned that very few lakes were allowing cars on the ice due to bad ice. It has been above freezing almost every day for a week and the fish are not biting anywhere---even they are pissed off.

So how does this tie into the Revolution watch? Well, the revolution is the sustainable revolution, the movement to a more sustainable society away from the one that is presently not sustainable. As I have noted, as this process moves along, hopefully slowly, we will have to make adjustments in our life styles. Not only do the adjustments have to be toward using less energy and material goods but also to changing weather patterns.

So rather than me sitting out in a very comfy auto while the wind howls, I may have to choose just sitting on a bucket, maybe with a life preserver on or better yet, with a small boat in tow. It is getting tougher all the time. Can you imagine not being able to be in a warm shack or in my well heated car. It is unthinkable.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

The Grain Mill

I have often wonder what it would be like to produce your own bread from scratch, and I don't mean go to the store, buy flour and then toss the stuff together, make dough and bake it up. I mean grow some grain, clean it, grind it and then make bread, or at least a grain product. Ya, ya, I still had to buy the yeast or baking powder.

The reason I became interested is bread is the staff of life, so to speak, and if we really had to make it from home grown plants how hard would that be? I did a little looking around to see if I could find flour made in Wisconsin but only found one small gentrified, crafty, trendy, yuppified mill that had flour, and it was not cheap----particularly after having it shipped. I was in a nice bag fir for display.

It turns out most flour is apparently produced along ways away, like in Omaha or Minneapolis. I don't really know but it was hundreds of miles. That is not very local, and I want to be local. The first thing I did was round up a grain mill on Ebay for a herbal-kerbal hefty price. I didn't want to grind it with mortar and pestle. I wanted a mongo motor that could be run off my photovoltaics. Power form the sun and lots of it. Its a monster and if I could run it off that old gas engine , I would really think I was the cat's ass.

I then managed to by some local hard, red wheat, the type commonly used in making bread. I dumped the stuff on the stones in the grinder and bingo, I got this flour, but it is not flour like the store has. It is not white nor really fine, it is brown, maybe a little course, but still floury, maybe like what would have been typical at the time of Christ. I also ground some multicolored Indian corn I had grown in the garden. It is not genetically modified unless the Mandans did it. I ended up with a bag of each and was noticeably proud of myself----puffed up like a toad if you will.

I decided to go for corn bread using baking powder. I tossed in some salt, local butter, local milk, eggs form our chickens and some olive oil (virgin but not from around here). I probably should have used shortening from hogs but I am well-meaning but not pure.

I cooked it up and there it was, a nice corn bread almost local in nature. It was a course item but consumable and probably Michelle Obama healthy. Interestingly, not totally easy nor quick to make. This local stuff is not a picnic, me thinks. Not even Christ like.