Keeping a blog – especially a frequently updated one – is a bit of challenge. On the one hand, you want it to be interesting or, at the very least informative about an off-the-grid lifestyle. Being mildly amusing or just a bit peculiar now and then adds a little je ne sais quoi to the mix as well.
On the other hand, it has to be real. Ya gotta tell the truth. But that, in itself, is not too hard. After all, I have nothing to hide. Well, I do, actually. But not much and I’ll likely continue to hide it for awhile. At least until I have a publisher lined up.
Put another way: my neighbours are safe for the time being. But let me say this: they are the motherlode of stuff interesting.
The truth is that living off the grid is not all octopi and w’fers. It is not all wind-towers and funiculars. It is not all killer whales and ravens. Believe it or not, it can get a bit ‘slow’ around here on occasion.
And such a time is with us now. It is raining. And it was raining yesterday. And the day before. Heavy rain limits the appeal of the great outdoors and that means staying indoors. Staying indoors means the computer.
You can see where this is going.
Probably not. I can’t either. This is just a bit of mid-morning musing, actually. So, here goes……
Morris called. Morris G. He is a welder down south who specializes in wood stove repair. Like some of the marvelous people I have yet to reveal to you, Morris is extraordinary in his own way. He is first a real human being who has a good heart, a smart brain and a deep interest in, of all things, woodstoves. And the people who love them. The man has been in the business for over 24 years and speaks of baffles and vents, chimneys and bricks, different gauges of steel and various techniques for welding with the enthusiasm of a 16 year old boy with his first Playboy magazine.
We’ve never met.
When our stove needed a rebuild, I called a number on a card and talked with Morris. I explained our situation and, of course, the challenge of having to drive by quickly on our way south and of having to drive by equally as quickly when returning. Both such times he would be at work. “No problem. Leave it at my house and pick it up a few days later on your way back. I’ll leave it just outside my garage. It will be safe.”
We did. It was. And it was fixed literally better than new. That was at least three years ago. The other day I called and left another message. When he called back, he said, “Oh, you’re the guy on the island, right? With the Artisan model that I fixed by beefing up the side rails and things. Hey! thanks for the flashlight”. **
We spent the next hour discussing stoves, possible improvements, my learning to weld, what kind of welder to buy and I even got an offer of a few hours of lessons from him if I ever get one.
Sally said, “You spend more time on the phone talking to a guy you have never met over the insides of a stove than I do in a whole week of conversations with my friends over books we have read!”
“Well, that says more about the books you read than it does about the fascinating world of wood stoves.”
That is one way to put a spark into an otherwise dull day.
** (sorry for the hanging thread……..Morris was so good to us that, when we paid his bill, we sent him a gift of a nice flashlight – something we were in the processing of becoming experts at the time. He was appreciative and remembered us from that.)