It feels like in the woods you might go to pee and come back a few hours later - having dug a hole along the way, felled a couple of trees, skinned a squirrel, collected some duff and studied an army of ants in between. It's an adventure for sure!

It also means until I get the hang of it all planning bets are off. Time it took to wash my face this morning: 15 minutes. There was boiling the water, mixing it with cooler water, finding the washcloth, retrieving the face wash from the bathing area some 100 yards away, collecting water to wash my hands and then putting that water in the sump and finally washing my face. But the fresh feeling and smell of earth all around me as I pulled my freshly dunked face out of the water was definitely priceless.

Ask me about our first shower ... View Post »

Psssst California dirt. You feel more like concrete and you make my arms sore. You kind of suck when your pebbles get stuck in my hair.


It's remarkable how much food teaches you about your own awareness. We had to run errands this morning because we ran out of gas for our little stove. We've been using it until we get up our cooking-only fire and want to make sure we still have it as backup. So we got in the car and rode 7 miles up the cost to Gualala (about 15 miles total). It's a podunk town but does have a decent true value and a grocery store. So we spent some time gawking in the hardware store, looking at all the gizmos and nuts and bolts that we wanted to etch in our minds in case we needed any of them in a pinch. Of course we don't want to use them, but just in case. Well, Matt etched and I sat around and moaned "are we done yet???" We got a bigger tarp and a tea pot among other things, so alls well that ends well.

... View Story »

Favorite thing about the radio: the beer opener

2nd favorite thing about the radio: the light

3rd favorite thing about the radio: the radio

StoryDay 4: A question of ethics

How much of what we're doing in clearing the land is necessary? We're in an interesting situation because we're living on a private homestead. Our campsite is a rectangle of compacted land at the end of a 1/4 mile logging road. At the request of the owners to make the land clear of brush for fire safety and also to make it more humanly inhabitable once we leave, we've been clearing small trees which we've used as bedding, small manzanita bushes which have been fed to the goats, lots of grass and old leaves which we've dispersed throughout the forest. We've also leveled a couple of anthills, pulled out a good many stumps, and killed our fair share of scorpions. But the question remains, how much of this is necessary? Our hosts are homesteaders, not naturalists. And so we come to our own ... View Story »

Hamstring stretches are very humbling. Every morning you wake up and there they are, seemingly unstretchable.

Things the wind sounds like...

Approaching cars
A mountain lion bear
A swarm of bees
Running water
An engine starting

Things we are enjoying...

A return to diurnal patterns (changing light)
Eating dinner before dark
Thinking about and building everything you need - a place to hang your coat, a clothesline or a place to put your pots and pans at night
The meaning of a hard days work
Trees and greenery and everything living around us
The smell of earth
Putting on clothing because it keeps you warm
Figuring out exactly how much water you need to brush your teeth
Falling asleep to the sound of fire
Finding or making a home for each and every item you own
Watching the pace of time change
Cooking and eating to nourish and give energy

Day 3: strategery

So yea… things in the woods take longer than you expect. There's the tomatoes that suddenly exploded out of nowhere and need tending to. There's the thousands of misquoto bites that you have to itch - especially when you get bit in the face. There's the chicken that got out of coop and was attacked by the dog and needed to be chased up and down a hill. There's the stump that looked like it was 1 foot deep and ended up with crazy lateral roots and exhausted most of your energy. There's wet wood that won't light. So this evening is all about strategery. Where to put the kitchen so we can continue to make delicious breakfast burritos without 10 bites in the face? Where is an excellent place for a shit? Will there really not be bears? What does it mean when multiple people tell us that bears ... View Post »

"I don't think you need to worry about mountain lions or bears. They're seen very rarely and usually it needs to be a good acorn season for bears. Do you have a ballpoint pen in your pocket? You can carry one of those around. If you're ever attacked by a mountain lion they'll go for your neck so you just poke them in the eye. I think you guys'll have a real good time. You have nothing to worry about."

— Sonoma County Game Warden
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