Have a Good Last Day of 2020

The last day of 2020 from where I’m writing you: the critters are (L-R) Pie (lying down on the front lawn), Polly, Snookie resting on his blanket, Brick grazing and Cracker staring off in to space.

I just wanted to wish you a good last day of 2020. I know it’s been a bumpy year but I wanted my last memory to be a good one. Looking out the cabin, this is what I saw. Let’s hope the coming year… Continue reading

Pie in the Cart

Giddy-up! Julia’s pony Pie stepping out nicely in her harness. Today was our first day taking her out for a spin on the road. Normally, I would like to drive with a looser rein but Pie had a head of steam on and I had my hands full keeping her from breaking in to a canter. You go girl!

Just too nice a day to sit inside today so we hooked Pie to the cart and took her for a… Continue reading

Christmas Greetings

Snookie ponders his reason for the season

Merry Christmas from the homestead up the holler. “I’ll be Home For Christmas” is playing (the Bing Crosby version), the wood stove is glowing and Snookie is pondering another cookie. “I’ll be Home for Christmas” rings true this year, just not in original way it was meant (it was written from the point of view of a WWII soldier stationed abroad). With Covid numbers spiking, my wife Julia and I are hunkering down… Continue reading

Waiting for the Tumbleweed Connection

“Did you ever hear back from the tumbleweeds you launched?” I get that question a lot, especially from folks that have watched the “Lost Sea Expedition”, the Public TV series about my mule voyage across America (which you can stream here on Amazon).

Mule Polly and me launching a tumbleweed from the Lost Sea Expedition wagon (outside Keyes, Oklahoma)

Okay, let me set this up for you a bit.

The Lost Sea Expedition

The “Lost Sea Expedition”… Continue reading

Pickle Raft Crushed, Rebuilt and Refloated

Crunch! Last winter a tree crushed our beloved Pickle Raft. This week, we rebuilt it. Here’s a quick (30-sec) video of how that went followed by some pics.

Introducing the Pickle Raft

A few years ago, my wife Julia and I assembled what looked like a patio on top of a bunch of plastic barrels and pushed it in to our pond.

We christened it the Pickle Raft and life was good.

Building the raft. We scored the barrels on… Continue reading

The Three Dollar Ocean: Rebuilding a Katadyn Survivor 35 Desalinator

The email came from the Falkland Islands. “Do you have advice and information about watermakers?” It was from my friends, sailors Thies Matzen and and Kicki Ericson.

Thies and Kicki and me in Whangarei, New Zealand. I’m on the left in wide-brimmed hat. Thies and Kicki’s sailboat Wanderer III, is under the tarp on the right. (Circa 2001)

I met Thies and Kicki in Auckland, New Zealand in 2000 where I was rebuilding my sailboat Sea Bird. They were doing… Continue reading

Sunflower Sunday Morning

Our kitchen windowsill: peach pits, sunflower and teapot.

It’s been a good sunflower and peach year here in western North Carolina. Last week we were enjoying Taylorsville peaches from 20 miles away. This week, it’s Kings Mountain peaches from a wee bit farther afield.

I’m a big fan of saving good pits and seeds. Right now the fridge is full of baggies filled with the season’s best peaches. Others go on the windowsill until I put them in a paper… Continue reading

The Garlic Journal

How long does it take to grow a head of garlic? Today I found out.

Last December, Scott, one of our hunt club members, gave my wife Julia and I 30 heads of garlic. They were amazingly delicious, grown by Scott in his garden. This, I vowed, I would have to try.

Scott’s garlic, well, what’s left of the original 30 heads he gave us. Hanging beside it, one of my favorite sculptures, a mango wood carving given to my… Continue reading

Wren Silhoutte

Morning visitor. A house wren perched on our locust clothes line support. The shadow on the left is our door sill. The vertical strings give something for the pole beans to hang on to.

Welcome to summer. My wife Julia and I are busying ourselves with summer chores on the homestead. Mornings, I’m working on my new book. Afternoons are spent building a new locust fence for the mules, tending the garden and leveling a pad for the new run… Continue reading

The Sound of Locust Splitting

Here’s how that locust log I’m using in my new fence sounded when I split it with my sledge and wedge. Locust is known for being one tough wood. Rot resistant, too. But what’s less known is how it crackles and pops when it’s split. I made you a recording of what it sounds like to split the locust log below.

Click on the audio below for the sound of locust splitting.

The sound of locust splitting
One of the… Continue reading

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