Tuesday, May 26, 2020

What are We Doing?

What are we doing when we are not destroying dump stations? That is a good question that requires a long convoluted answer.

Like our forefathers that came before us to this great country, we are carving out a niche of our own in the wilderness. But unlike our forefathers who may have been looking for freedom of persecution or religious freedom or just a chance for a new life, we are looking for freedom of the Covid-19 and of course zombies.

Feeling like modern day Davy Crocketts, we have staked out our location to build our fortress of social isolation. The process of raising a fort has begun and we hope to have it constructed before any hostiles attack.
We have been clearing now for 3 summers. It has come a long way from when we started. We are doing most of the work ourselves, Lisa and I. Our kids have helped also but the brunt of the work has fallen upon us. I can't believe what this looked like 3 years ago when we decided to start this project.

3 years ago we started clearing the spot we chose of prickly ash and sumac.Then we had to cut access roads into the area.
As we cut and removed the trees, we started to get huge piles of brush. 
That year we rented a wood chipper (twice) to get rid of the huge amounts of brush piles we collected. Kendra came out to help us with that project and thankfully she did. It took the 3 of us 6 hours straight of nothing but chipping.
Just to give you an idea of what it was like. We went from this.
To this.
Using nothing but a chainsaw and a handheld brush cutter. Our forearms look like Popeyes.
I only put that image of Popeye there because I realized there may be a young reader who does not know who he is. 

For our second summer out there we planned a big project. One too big for us to accomplish on our own. That was moving our driveway from a corner of land that crossed our neighbors land and there fore caused some conflicts in the past.
Our second summer was spent keeping things mowed so that the jungle wouldn't reclaim what we already cleared and when possible we also kept cutting more of the jungle back. Plus that was the summer we went to Alaska so we weren't around for a couple of months anyway. Originally we planned on just a couple of RV sites. but it gets cold up here early and stays late. So we decided on building a garage with hookups inside it so that we could stay later in the season here. So then a building site had to be cleared.
We left for Arizona and the building company came and built our garage in December.
Then the PANDEMIC hit like a tsunami on steroids. That is when we decided that we wanted to build a fortress of our own instead of riding out the storm in our camper or burdening friends and family. Let's not kid ourselves here. We know we are a joy to be around but there is that saying, "Too much of a good thing......" so that is why we want to build. 

So summer number 3 has us revamping our plans and now we just wait for the construction to begin again. Until then we just keep clearing and clearing. It feels good to be outside and working because we can see progress.
We have finally gotten to this clump of trees in front of the garage. Roman came out one day and cut down over 50 trees clearing out the area around 3 giant oaks that we want to keep. The trees are anywhere from 2" to 8" in diameter. Lisa then removes the branches with a cutter and then I cut them up for firewood. Cutting them on the ground was killing my back so I remembered what my old grandpappy said, "A Thompson machine gun will fit in a violin case". Oops, that was my Italian grandpappy. "Work smarter, not harder". So I built a rack so that I could put 4-6 trees across it, getting them off of the ground.
Then with a maniacal laugh, I slice them up into tiny little pieces.
My genius know no bounds. So that is what we do all day. Clear and clear and then clear some more. Our wood piles are getting very large.
Year 2's woodpile fell over when part of our pine tree came down on it.
This is the wood pile just from this year. It is 3 rows deep. So yeah, you could say we have cut some trees. Some day once the trees are down for the most part, then it will be time to start splitting all of this. That promises to be some good times there.

So if you have an inkling to visit, bring a chainsaw and beer.

Saturday, May 23, 2020

A Butt Nugget Fiasco During the Pandemic

Gather round children and let Pops share a tale with you. You'll laugh, you'll cry and you may even throw up. Just a forewarning.

We are back in the "Hobbit House" out on our super secret undisclosed location. May 23rd marks the one year anniversary of when we moved into the "Hobbit House" for our Alaska trip and eventually our trip to Arizona for the winter. I will add that we did spend 2 months in my sons basement during the peak of the pandemic but now we are back in the camper. Hiding in our woods because the campgrounds are not open in the state we live in.

Since we are living in it again, that means that our tanks fill up because we are using them. So with our hearts light and gay, we loaded up the "Hobbit House" and headed into town to the only place with a dump station.With nearly 6 years of dumping our tanks it is no problem.

I hook up the hose and the 90 degree elbow and put it into the sewer hole. Lisa is watching me as I perform my tasks like a ballerina in Swan Lake. In traditional fashion I exclaim "There she blows!" as I open the black tank valve.

This is where time goes into slow motion. I am facing the camper and behind me I hear Lisa scream. I think to myself, is she being attacked by a horde of zombies? So I turn around and look down and see my biggest fear.The sewer hose disconnected from the 90 degree elbow. As I realize what is about to happen, it happened. Butt nuggets and sewage start pouring out.

I quickly turn back around, Lisa is still screaming hysterically, shove my hands into the compartment and close the valve. This took just a matter of a few seconds and we had a spill that would rival the Exxon Valdez'. We clean up the area as best we could, choking down little balls of vomit as we did and sheepishly finished our business and left.

Hindsight is always 20/20 as they say. Could we have done things differently? Definitely. I think there is blame for both of us and I will admit fault. I should have double checked the connections were tight. That one is on me. Lisa , instead of screaming and melting into a puddle could have just said "STOP!". Instead I had wasted precious seconds turning around.

So we learned a valuable lesson boys and girls and I hope you can learn from our mistakes. It is going to take me awhile to get over it. I know that I am not ordering Chicken McNuggets any time soon.