Philosophy/politics…just a little…sorry


In our second book, I have a chapter on ETHICAL DISSENT.  Basically, it is a term I use to partially explain why someone might want to ‘leave’ the grid and ‘Get out. Get out NOW!!  Ethical dissent is manifest but passive disagreement with the status quo modern lifestyle I encapsulate in the term, ‘cul-de-sac’.  In that sense our living off the grid is a protest, a rebellion, a rejection of what has come to pass for normal living.

Kinda like the Amish but with solar panels instead of horse-and-buggies.

Of course, in the book, I beat the idea to death with all sorts of smaller ways to dissent from bartering, trading, using cash and gifting to ‘feeling trapped’ and protesting all the rules and regulations of urban living by even breaking some of them.  Or moving away. Basically, I whine and moan and then suggest that, instead of complaining, one CAN DO something and moving off the grid is just one of those ‘SOMETHINGs’.

I also confess that going off the grid is a bit of a resignation, a bit of a retreat, a senior chicken’s way out.  It’s healthy, natural, beautiful and fun, tho.  Buc, buc, ca-haw!

Nothing in Ethical Dissent is new nor is it a brilliant piece of philosophy but it is a contrarian’s view and I subscribe to it.  And I know I am not alone.  Many feel as I do.  In fact, the new ‘sharing culture’ term used to describe community-used cars and city-owned fleets of bicycles and that sort of thing is a similar response to a system that seems to be creating more and more inequity rather than more and more equality.  But that new sharing response is at least constructive rather than negative.  Many people are making much more positive efforts at small and local levels to effect social change than I am by opting out.  But there is a place for both routes.  There is choice.  There is awareness.  There is a movement of sorts.  It is all good.

However, it may not be enough.

The increasing madness of rules, regulations, obsessive-compulsive safety protocols, political correctness, coddling, compensating, apologizing and – the worst of the bunch – FEAR mongering has to be resisted.  NOT because all those things are so, so very wrong (usually, they have some merit, actually) but because, by emphasizing that mindset, by MOSTLY investing in policies, procedures and by relying on institutional-think, we are robbing people of initiative, motivation, excitement, adventure, inventiveness and their capacity for free-thinking. We are taking the fun out of life. Especially for the generation or two behind me.

The 20 year old of today is not firing on all four.  Neither is their 45 year old parent.  Read Ben Sasse: The Vanishing American Adult. Nutshell version: the children of today are bored at birth, raised in swaddling coddling and molded into conforming, well-schooled cowards who grow up with no vision, no sense of purpose and an unhealthy reliance on authority and government and back-lit screens.  Plus, they think drugs are recreation! We are breeding stone lemmings.

Well, maybe that’s a bit over-the-top but you get my point.  We are slowly losing our ability to thrive, survive and be independent by the subtle and not-so-subtle demands of urban living.  Modern life provides for you.  Does for you.  Lifts for you.  Carries for you and watches out for you.  Modern life is your mommy.  And it is NOT good for you and it is especially NOT good for your kids.  Modern life, it seems, sucks the life out of you.

THAT has all become increasingly clear to me as I lift and carry for myself, as I fix my own crap and as I become a teeny bit more independent.  OTG is good for you.  Well, it is good for me, anyway.  Sal, too.

And that is where we have to start – at the beginning of life.  Ethical dissent and the more positive side of that, Constructive Resistance has to be fomented and developed in kids. We need more positive resistors, rebels WITH a cause, impudent innovators and fresh free-thinkers.  We need to foster independence again.  It ain’t gonna happen indoors.  It ain’t gonna happen on social media.  And it ain’t gonna happen within the institutions we have now.  They all foster group-think.

To ensure that the BIG BROTHER mentality does not happen, we have to encourage all the little brothers and sisters NOT to conform.  We have to give them permission to step out of the box not seat-belt themselves in. And we have to start by getting them outdoors. It’s a first step.

“Dave, where the hell does all this nonsense come from?” 

Naomi Klein.  Naomi ‘smart-cookie’ Klein. She of The Shock Doctrine best-seller, she of the This Changes Everything best seller.  She of the recent analysis on the real threat that Trump represents.  Klein sees Trump as way more than just an Orange Clown, way more than the Idiot-in-chief.  Trump, she suggests, is not only a master of sleight of hand, misdirection and distraction but he is a larger-than-life con-man poised to implement his elitist .0001% plan as soon as some kind of ‘shock’ or trauma presents itself and provides the excuse.

In fact, by executive order, he has already attacked the latest Dodd-Frank-like rules of Obama that were put in place to protect the American public from more bank bail-outs.  He is setting everyone up for another con.

Bush implemented Homeland Security and the Patriot Act as his response to airplane martyrs with box-cutters and the people bought it.  Americans gave away a lot of their freedoms and liberties in exchange for protection from Arabs-with-pack-sacks and knives. Trump will do even worse in the name of safety and protecting the Homeland.  He already bailed on the Paris Accords in the name of protecting Joe-the-blue-collar worker.  And he can hardly wait to do it all throughout the US of A.  He may, in fact, precipitate that opportunity-in-waiting.  Klein thinks he will.

So do I.  F.D. Roosevelt famously said, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.”   But most of us read or heard that to mean: “Don’t be afraid.  Be brave.”  Klein posits that it can also mean that fear is used as a weapon to enslave.  In an effort to be ‘be safe’ we VOLUNTARILY limit, restrict and inhibit ourselves.  We retard our own progress.  We stifle creativity.  And we allow BIG OTHERS to decide for us.  Fear is then – in that context – a tool of the tyrant.  And by NOT openly resisting, by NOT choosing to fight back, we are essentially acceding to the bully.  We surrender.  We are complicit. We are voluntarily enslaving ourselves and giving up our lives.

True: I chose NOT to fight back.  I went feral instead.  I saw it early.  I resisted.  I balked.  I even made a pathetic attempt at politics to ‘fight’ it.  But, I gave up and opted for nature, beauty and health instead.  And, maybe at my age, I made the right choice for me.  But make no mistake, a choice will have to be made.  And, if Klein is right, Trump will soon put that decision front and centre for you.  ESPECIALLY for Americans.

Choose well, my friends, we Canadians are somewhat caught up in your apron-strings.


A retired guy wrote.  He and his wife are off the grid.  Kamloops area.  Ten years. Sounded pretty happy.  Seemed like a nice guy.  We have a lot in common including mutual friends. It was good of him to get in touch.  I really like that sort of thing.

Another guy and his wife are dropping by in a few days.  In their sailboat.  From New Zealand, no less.  Our connection: other mutual friends from forty years ago. I really like that sort of thing, too.

A big sea-going ship (85-footer) dropped by the other day.  Friends.  We met while I was looking for an old genset 15 years ago.  He had one.  I bought it.  We’ve been friends since.  And I really like that sort of thing, too.

Got some ling cod recently, too.  Friend nearby.

And this sort of listing of friends could go on and on.  We are very fortunate to be able to say that. “We have friends.”  In fact, I  even have several bff’s from this blog, some of whom I have never met but I feel a closeness to nevertheless. And old Non-con is actually MISSED if he doesn’t show up now and then.  JA, too.  And Barb, Joy, Judy and Margy.  And Sue. And Anonymous. Gerry.  Sid.  Lots of Johns.  I would estimate that there are maybe a dozen I ‘connect’ with on this blog and no other way.  Yet, I still  feel we are ‘friends’.

I mention this (partly to avoid writing about politics which is currently gnawing at me BIG time) because one of my best friends reviewed our second book the other day.  It is NOT a posted review.  Not yet, anyway.  He was here visiting.  “I really liked it because it was just like being here and having one of our normal conversations, ya know?  Like four friends talking….with you doing most of it.  And Sally interrupting all the time.  It was really conversational.  An easy read.”

At which point, of course, Sally shouted, “Hey! Look!  A squirrel!” and the three of them jumped up and ran out of the room.

That is how they end all of my monologues now.  Getting harder and harder to finish a good rant nowadays.  Hell, it is getting harder and harder to finish a good story! (OK, maybe they HAVE heard some of those stories before.  Several times, perhaps. Still….. I am supplying free booze and cheese.  There is an obligation that comes with appetizers, ya know?)

Oh well, I never said friendships were easy.  But they are memorable.  I sorta feel it is my friendship-duty to at least be memorable.  Maybe NOT always easy but always hard-to-forget.

Try as you might.    

Can you hear…that?

Hah!  Knee good enough to test.  So, I am going back to work today.  On the edge of your seat, are ya?  I am excited to get back at it.

Sal-the-Intrepid tripped up and down the stream four or five times this week to sort out the water system.  It was not flowing.  But now it is.  Her chore included boating into the bay, hiking up and down the half-kilometer distance, cutting plastic pipe, attaching fittings under ice-cold water and clambering all over the hill checking for leaks and pressure.  The hike is steep and heavily overgrown.  Sal’s visiting sister, Mary, accompanied her once.  “It was an adventure!”  Sal carries a pack-sack full of tools and bits.   It’s hard work. So, she gets lots of points just for effort.  Results garners hugs and kisses and extra man-cooked-dinners (burnt, raw, weird). Mind you, her points balance reads like Bill Gate’s bank balance.  She’s got points up the wazoo.  I would have to cook and do dishes for 100 years.

My balance?  I am in the red (both types of accounts).  Oh well, one of us has to be the good guy.

Book 2 has – on the back cover – the exclamation: “Get out!  Get out now!!”  I am basically saying, “The cities are getting less and less livable all the time.  Some are positively dangerous.  Some are war-zones.  Why do it?  Why stay there?  Why live to work rather than work to live? Or, worse, have to work just to survive and barely accomplish that? Why not seek out an alternative?”

For those of you who live in Vancouver – look at Surrey.  Look at Fentanyl. Look at the cost of living. Look at the gangs.  Look at the despair.  And Vancouver is peaceful and safe compared to many.  For those of you who live in San Salvador, look through the barbed wire and barred windows of your home to the ten foot wall surrounding you.  You folks have waited too long. The rest of the world’s cities are somewhere between those two examples and they are all are too crazy for me.

If you choose NOT to look at the actual terror attacks in London, look instead at the massive and quick police response time.  Even tho one of the forces in play is the good guys, do you really want to be walking in some urban park with your kids as the police seek out and deliver a rapid fire response to knife wielding terrorists?  What if you chose to wear a colour that night that was the same as the terrorists?  What if you had a dark complexion?  What if the uniformed ‘roid-nut with the automatic rifle is just NOT that good at the job?

I was reminded of my own words (Get out!) reading about the latest London attack.  The police were yelling at the public and bystanders, “Get out!  Run like hell!”   I dunno about you, but I would be running without the need for instructions and further, I would run to the realtors the next day and put my Canary Row condo on the market with the heading, ‘OWNER MOTIVATED’.

I am not the only one who hears the deep, indistinct rumble in the background.  Am I?

Hard to keep it (the madness) up!

Side note: COVFEVE theory: Trump can’t spell properly at the best of times. And he has no best of times.  Plus, when you use a phone to TWEET, many people use their thumbs to hit the keys.  So, imagine that the word he WANTED was ‘coverage’ – which works with the thought he might have been trying to express – and imagine that he doesn’t know how to spell it and, further, he was using his famously small thumbs rather quickly in the wee hours and look where the letters V, F and R are on the keyboard….Result: COVFEVE

What a whirlwind of recent events, eh?  In our provincial politics, Clark vows to ‘carry on’ despite Horgan and Weaver joining up.  THAT should be fun!  She’ll make a throne speech, promise the moon, free lunch, rainbow-lollies and tangerine skies for the sole purpose of blaming the ‘new’ guys for saying no to all that and ‘depriving’ the people.  It is all a waste of time, space and oxygen and will only serve to add to her litany of lies and broken promises.

Why do it?  Simple: she likes being Premier.  She likes the spotlight.  She wants to be at the podium. Clark is a cheerleader.  She’s a prom queen.  Can’t get enough photo ops.

Have I mentioned how much I hate the politics we practice?

And, speaking of that, could Trump GET any stupider?  That’s rhetorical, of course.  He gets stupider every day.  So getting stupider is inevitable.  The thing that is surprising me is that the ‘checks and balances’ haven’t made any real, concrete moves to remove that septic cyst from the oval office.  Not yet.

I mean, really? Alienating NATO, exiting the Paris Climate Accord, attacking free trade and NAFTA, fomenting madness and hate crimes domestically (make no mistake, he has) and offending all the friends-of-the-US internationally including the pope?  What does it take? Do they really need to find more Russians in the closet?  Isn’t it enough to know a train wreck when you see one?

But, let’s bring this blog back to where it really belongs: me.  Me, me, me.  And Sal of course. Me and Sal.  And the ravens.

Well, first off, we are less than 100% right now.  I have a surgically reconstructed knee from mishaps of my youth and, though it has been behaving for the last few years, I have given it a nasty turn.  So, I am somewhat hobbled.  That puts delay on the schedule. Sal, the heroic, little trouper, was gonna pick up the slack but, while doing so, wrenched her back.  So that has put even more delay onto our calendar.  And there is Soooooo much to do.

We sat down to have a talk about it and, in the process of talking, noted that we could NOT get back up.  Well, we DID get back up eventually but were also more than content to sit and talk a bit longer.  Seems our to-do list is now so out of control, that the list is not even current.  “Why not get the list over here and we’ll update it?”  “I don’t wanna get up.”

You can see the problem.

But I HAVE progressed on one front: I am NOT moving on that one front.

I mean this: I have decided NOT to move forward with the monetizing of the blog. Deciding NOT to change the format is a decision of sorts.  Ergo: progress.  Kinda.  The reason? Well, if you are curious, re-read the preamble to my posing of the question in the first place; I have problems with money and greed and all that.  And so it makes me want to avoid that crap. Monetizing is NOT avoiding, it is collaborating.  It is embracing.  So, to be true to myself, I am not going there.  The best part? I can still rant and rave about all that is wrong with ‘the system’ without feeling the least bit compromised.  That does not bode well for you, but I am happy.

Thanks to all for the support while I went through this exercise.  The deciding factor: a capitalist friend of mine who blindly believes the propaganda of Capitalism as currently practiced called me out on it.  And, he laughed and smiled while doing so. He may be wrong in placing his allegiance with the money-lovers but he knows integrity when he sees it (and when he doesn’t).  He was right.  Even thinking about selling out is embarrassing.  My only excuse: I am a sap for flattery and my young, computer friend touched my flattery button.

So, no advertising, no hyperlinks, no monetization, no selling out.  Mind you, the news is not all good.  A lot of friends and family will get penis enlargers for Christmas.

Selling out

I dunno….

I have problems with money.  I know that it is merely a medium of exchange, of course, but I think it is one that has – somehow – taken on malevolent characteristics these past few decades.  It isn’t money, ‘per se’, but greed and worship of the damn stuff that has me somewhat put off.  It is the promotion and reverence for it that makes me sick.  It is the hoarding of it as a metric for being judged worthy that I rebel at. I am starting to prefer NOT getting near the filthy stuff.  I am starting to reject it.  I am starting to be disgusted by the omnipresence of it in everyday life.

But that reaction is not very workable in this current society…..

Trump (as a current example) was and still is seen as worthy of the presidency (OMG!!!!) in large part because he is rich.  It is as if Americans value wealth (and celebrity) over every other human virtue.  That repels me.  That disgusts me.

Our own politicians preach ‘jobs’ (code for ‘your’ money) as the most valued of their so-called efforts on our behalf despite the fact that many of those ‘jobs’ despoil the environment, exploit the worker and only serve to trap and limit the lives of the common people.  The ‘salary man’ in Japan is another term for ‘slave’.

Money is NOT the answer to MOST of what ails us but it is the answer to mounting debt caused by the consumer society in which we live. Debt is here and now!   And so we seek money like an addict seeks the next fix.  Ironically, more money only increases our sense of need.  Cashflow is an addiction.  We can never seem to get enough.

Having said all that (and I can go on forever), I recognize that the world revolves on it. Love used to make the world go round.  Now it is money that moves us.  To ignore that, is to be a fool and a hungry, homeless ‘loser’ without a car.  I know that.

So, like all of the poor saps in the world, I try to get me some – now and then.  Increasingly, I try to get me some less and less but I still do it.  I really try to avoid it as much as possible and I am perfectly OK simply being given some, winning some or eking out a living with very little of it but, to be honest, I sometimes think I need some.  And so I go get me some.  Yuck.

And I hate that.

For the record, I managed to get me some over the years.  We owned a house.  We sold the house.  We got us some as a result.  Then we used that sum to build this house and now we don’t got none. Which is just fine.  Almost everyone I know who had extra money was burdened by it.  Or their kids were.  Too much money is like too much of anything. Too much and you can degrade quickly into a Trump-ish spiral and become a pig and a boor and an ignoramus – added bonus: with an ex-wife or two and lost-their-way progeny.

Still, I would like a new boat with a new Yamaha motor.

So, maybe the key is ‘just enough’…..?  NOT too much.  NOT lots or extra.  Maybe ‘just enough plus a bit-for-a-Yamaha’ is just right.  Kinda like the Goldilock’s version of a savings account…?

I dunno….

All of this is by way of an introduction to the idea of monetizing the blog.  A friend who is a computer-guy is recommending it.  My son is endorsing the idea.  Sally is wondering about it.  I am reacting badly.  Badly, in the sense that I am considering it.  Did I mention the Yamaha?

No banners.  No pop-ups.  No on-line transactions with Pay-Pal.  No t-shirts, coffee mugs or penis enlargers.  My guy is simply suggesting that I provide hyper-links to products I endorse (which I already kinda did on my OTG friendly page but NOT for referral payments).  Of course, that means I will be doing a blog on Yamaha outboards pretty bloody soon and so selling out makes it’s presence felt right there.

I am a fan of the OutBack OTG power systems, too.  I currently like Discovery batteries but I also like Surrettes and have high hopes for Elon Musk’s Powerwall. In fact, I can switch brands on ya in a flash – depending on performance and value.  I am NOT brand loyal although Yamaha and Honda have been referenced a lot.  ‘Course, I like my old Nissan Pathfinder, too, but not any models that have been made after 2004.  What kinda reference fee will THAT statement generate?

So, I dunno…………..

What do you think?  


Marine Ways Part II

Ways and Means Saga, Part ll:

Like Yogi said, “It ain’t over til it’s over.”  And we ain’t done yet.  But we are 90% there.

The lower legs are in place in this picture.  And the tide will rise another three feet easily enough (you can see the upper tideline marked in a dark line long the rock in the background).  They are at the right elevation.  It seems like a go.

In this picture, we have applied the HDPE plastic to the top of the 6×6 rails, the kind of plastic used in ice rinks at the join where the side walls meet the ice.  It is slippery stuff and should make the ‘dragging-up’ easier.  It looks good.

As it turns out, my seat of the pants design was NOT quite right.  We hauled the boat yesterday and it revealed a design error.  I have the deck 1/2 inch too close.  Stupid me measured the boat’s beam from gunnel to gunnel but, actually, the boat ‘flares’ a couple of inches wider below the gunnel!  Especially at the windshield beam.  It is maybe 3″ wider. Consequently, the deck began to push at the side of the boat as the boat came up.  NOT GOOD.  Kinda defeats the purpose of fixing the boat if I break or stress it as it gets into the ‘fix’ position. Temporary remedy was to take off  few deck planks (see ’em?).  Long term remedy is simple enough, too.  I simply ‘raise’ the level of one side (deck-side) by a few inches and that will do it because the hull quickly narrows. So, I will fix it that way after I do the engine work I have planned for now. It will be fine after that.

But, I am NOT 100% happy with the rest of it.  I think I am gonna add some additional support legs to the bottom half.  What we have now have proved sufficient but, well, it creaked a bit going up and so I may as well add some reinforcement.  An ounce of prevention…..(and a couple days more work!).

Changed the engine oil, flushed out the engine with varsol/diesel/oil (to ensure all moisture from the sinking last month has been removed).  New oil filter.  Sal changed the zincs.  I also changed the spark plugs (thus ensuring it never runs again) and we are ready to slip ‘er back into the sea at high tide tonight.

“ALL that work just to change plugs?!”  No.  As I said before, we have to rebuild another boat.  New floor.  Transom work. Engine swap. Windshield raising. This and that.  All that work is still to come.  These pictures are using the current working-but-leaking boat to ‘test’ out the means.  This ‘Ways’ project was undertaken for the ‘next boat’.

The good news is the winch was great.  Slow.  But great.  And the boat was – basically – at the right level for working on relative to the deck and was elevated just enough so as NOT to touch rocks and steps under as it came up.  I think we can give ourselves a C+ on this project.  That’s high praise indeed given that we have failing grades most of the time.

“OH, DAVE!  Don’t be so humble.”  I am not humble.  Not in the least.  Anyone who knows me, knows that.  In fact, it is impossible for me to be as humble as I should be so I opted for the inflated ego path a long time ago.  I have even been called bombastic just because of this blog!  Even ‘obnoxious’ behind my back (but loud enough that I could hear).

But real work on real rocks and real barnacles using salvaged parts on old equipment with inadequate skills when you are old and stupid is the ultimate definer of one’s limitations. What might sound humble is truly fact.  That, of course, and the non-existent financial resources to ‘hire out’ the work is simply the truth of it… we are lucky to be as successful and functional as we are.  Hell, it is amazing we even did it!

I think much of the credit goes to Sal.  I make her do most of the hard stuff.

Others think so, too.    


Marine Ways








I’ve been talking about the new marine ways and, because of the reader’s preference for less talking and more pictures (heathens!), I have done a similar format on it as I employed for the greenhouse.  The two pictures of parallel beams illustrate the 6×6 ‘rails’ on which the boat will be dragged from high water (tide) to dry land (where the water does not rise to).  In the final iteration, there are four beams.  Sal and I still have to put the lower two on.  This is how a boat ‘gets on the hard’.

But first you have to imagine the setting. We have a tidal lagoon on the other side of the peninsula we live on (visible in the picture above).  The lagoon is pretty weather protected.  And the upland side of the lagoon is very weather protected.  It is on the upland, forested side of the lagoon that the new marine ways is located.  The area that has been committed to this project is about 20 feet by 40 feet but, of course, there is nothing but trees and rocks around that area and so we could spread out if there was reason to.

And there is reason to.  Kinda.  One of our land-partners occasionally ‘camps’ in that area and being able to use our work-deck* for that purpose would be of benefit to them, too. REAL benefit would be achieved if I made that deck bigger but we’ll let them decide if they want that.

I put an asterisk beside the ‘our’ work-deck reference because it is NOT our deck any longer. Once we step outside our admittedly flexible designated home-site area, the amenity one might build becomes a communal one. I may use it more in the near future than anyone else (because I currently have plans to do so) but anyone in our land group can use it whenever they want to and they do NOT need my permission.  The marine ways is ‘ours’ in the group sense.

We have a few other ‘communal’ amenities here including an old cabin, the water system and we all use each other’s docks as if they were communal as well.  Life kinda requires that sharing system if we are to function out here and get along as neighbours.

But back to the half-finished ways . . . in the picture to the left, you will notice what looks like a single green post with some threaded rod sticking out.  That post is 2.5″ steel pipe centred on a taller 3/4″ threaded rod with the space between the two filled with concrete.  A couple of pieces of short re-bar at the bottom helped keep the base in place while the concrete set.  The re-bar and threaded rod were drilled and epoxied into the granite first, of course.  It’s pretty stable. There are a half a dozen of those legs on the actual marine ways and another half dozen forming the base for the deck.

The overly bright green frame for the winch is fixed to the rock underneath in much the same way, with threaded rod epoxied into the rock and the frame bolted to the rods.  The winch itself, is then bolted to the green frame. Yes, that colour green was chosen simply because we had that colour of Rustoleum paint on hand. And the unique look was achieved by cutting up an old, salvaged steel battery shelf and re-fabricating it.

The winch and frame are ‘aimed at’ or oriented to face the rock wall twenty feet back of the ways.  Into that wall is yet another heavy bolt epoxied in with a heavy block attached. The idea is that the person winching will be pulling a line that is centred on the ways (so the boat comes up straight) but that person can stand in the off-centre spot down closer to the beach where there is better footing.

The winch is an old Marpole five-ton and is simple 19th century technology.  A legacy from ‘my kingdom-for-a-winch’ phase (that netted me six or more such devices, half of which are now deployed).  The winch will sport 93 feet of 5/16 aircraft cable and that cable will allow me to hook onto the boat and pull it up the ways.  “Why 93 feet?” Well, I ordered 100 feet from Western Equipment but when I got there, they had fitted up only 93.  I guessed that they had simply run out of that cable on the one roll and hoped that 93 was close enough. That is what happened and they were right.  It’s fine.

You will also note a couple of grates mounted on the beach between the ways. Those grates were left over off-cuts from old fish farm walkways and are now re-deployed as a standing base for working on the transom of the boat that gets pulled up.  Transom work is in my future.  I needed a place to stand.

I can be seen in the flattering picture above working with the hammer drill that was used to do the aforementioned rock drilling. I have another drill down there as well that was used to drill through the steel.  And a third drill that was used to screw down the deck.  This little job required three different drills.

Note also the genset in the background.  That genset will stay down there.  That’s a bit more-than-usual commitment of resources but, if you are going to have a ways, you must have a means and the genset provides the means with which to do work. It’s a fairly new Wacker Neuson industrial-standard unit but looks ancient as it was a rental machine and has been treated with abuse and disrespect it’s whole short life. It was given to me and it starts every time (even when accidentally fueled with diesel). It’s like a ‘rescue’ genset.  Amazing machine.

The deck is 8 feet by 16 feet.  If my partners want more space, we’ll double it. There’s about $1500 of recent cash in it so far, with much of that supplemented by my inventory of junk and salvaged debris. If everything was purchased, it might cost as much as $3000 to do this project. To have this built could cost as much as $10,000 all in (remote location, custom steel work, working around tides, putting up the crew for a few days, remote premium, water taxi and a winch of that size is usually very expensive if you buy it new), not to mention the genset.  In total value, it is all worth nothing, really, except to me once a year. Maybe a camping partner now and then.  On the other hand, when your boat is sinking (as mine was a month or so ago), it is invaluable, essential and worth every penny and ounce of effort.

You can see by the last picture (taken from 200 feet away and 75 in elevation – from where our home site is) that the marine ways – which was a significant project for us is, in reality, a minor bit of nothing dwarfed into almost invisibility by the surroundings. Even with a boat on it, it will be ‘lost’ in the forest.

I was going to wait until we were done to post this, but I see a couple more days of putzing about, so I’ll break this into two posts . . . more to come . . .

Friends, eh?

“I have had enough of Trump.  You are on notice to write about your greenhouse, fer Gawd’s sake.  I wanna see it.  I wanna see plants.  And I want pictures, NOT just words!  Seriously.  Gimme lots of pictures.  I am giving you four days in which to comply or else there will be consequences.  Don’t make me come over there. “

He told me that in Campbell River on Tuesday.  My deadline is nigh.  So, to avoid whatever threat he is contemplating, please accept the following post as the compliance and capitulation demanded of me.   Just be thankful he didn’t demand ravens……

 The above picture was taken looking south.  Entry door on the left.  Picture taken from the back wall.  

Sal has been somewhat busy already in the Greenhouse and in the garden these past three weeks.  And we have lettuce up the wazoo as a result.  Everything else is taking a bit of time but the micro climate inside is pretty pleasant by leafy standards. Everything is growing well.  It’s always above 60 now — even in the evening and often up around 80-85 degrees Farenheit / 25 – 30 Celcius.  At 80 F or so, the solar powered fan kicks on. If it goes higher, the fan spins faster and sometimes we open the doors for more air flow and, as well, the back wall also opens up.  We keep a light breeze going through. It’s a very pleasant environment.

This view is looking north with the back wall open and the entry doors on the right.





This is taken looking north but from the outside.  It shows the black-blob solar fan. The curlicue tree in the foreground is a naturally occurring phenomena and not ‘my first Bonsai effort’ as Sal likes to claim.

The fan is on and spinning.




The picture below is taken looking Northwest.  In the foreground is one of the large raised planter-cum-garden boxes that eventually takes the new seedlings germinated in the greenhouse and raises them to edible adulthood.






Decorator touches include a copper sink, a copper pan and the stumpy-stick handles on the doors.

Below, you will see the much-loved and doted-on seedlings under protective hardware cloth.  That hardware cloth was deemed necessary due to some impudent and picky mice that munched some of the ‘new-born’ plants just as they poked up through the soil. Sometimes the nasty little long-tailed scourge ‘ostriched’ themselves to find the seeds! Stupid, they are not.

Ever since we placed the protection the plants have not been tampered with. Interesting, don’t you think? A seed might provide a 3 ounce mouse with a meal or, if left alone to grow, can feed 300 pounds of humans a few weeks later.

 More from the Martha Stewart collection, below. The little Mayan casting on the wall is made of (fiber) glass-reinforced concrete (GFRC)–a very unusual composite.  The coat hooks came mounted all together from a derelict building. Note the temperature indicated on the clock face–81 degrees F. The outside temperature today was around 60F.

This is the lettuce forest.  A few weeks ago, I picked up some starters at the nursery just so we would have something that actually grew.  Since then, we have had many salads and it looks like we could still handle a yoga lunch crowd.
Sally’s sister, Mary, made the linen bunting banner and the avocado plant was a gift from Kathy, who is featured in the prologue to our new book.

A simple error

I get fuel delivered.  Gasoline is heavy, messy, hard to handle and expensive and potentially kinda dangerous.  But like all but the lost tribes of Patagonia, I have come to depend on it for running any one of 8 separate engines from boats to chainsaws, from gensets to power winches. I rely on the stuff.  Gasoline: an expensive addiction.

For the first few years, I carried it in totes in the back of the car and on the boat and then I schlepped it up and down hills sometimes in the rain, in the dark and always in conjunction with hundreds of pounds of other crap. I hated gasoline almost as much as I hated propane. Plus it stinks when in the car.

So, almost ten years ago I bit the $bullet and put in a big tank for propane and a couple of smaller ones for gasoline.  And it was good.

It is still horribly expensive but I do not use enough to be ‘hurt’ by $1.50 a liter gasoline and propane at approximately 25% higher than market.  Like I said, ‘It’s worth it.’

And the $30,000-plus solar panel system has cut way into the use of generator-time.  In the sunnier times, anyway.

When we were away, we knew that our tanks were low and we knew that the delivery service was going around our area BEFORE our arrival rather than just after so I ordered a fill-up and was NOT there to oversee the delivery.  Which was not a problem.  The guys know my system better than I do.  I usually ‘oversee’ the exercise by cracking jokes with the captain while the crew zoom about doing the job.  I rarely have to say anything about the delivery itself.  And it has been that way for almost ten years.  They know their stuff.

Well, until this one time when we were NOT there to check.  For reasons unknown, one of the crew (likely a new guy) put diesel in one of the tanks.  The ‘second one’.

When we got back, we went about our business and took out our allotments for fuel as they arose and, eventually, went through tank one.  That took six weeks or so.  Maybe two months.  Then, in anticipation of needing more, I filled a few totes from the second tank and placed them where they would be needed when the current engine I was using ran out.  I had three totes spread about.

Last week, I filled my genset with the five gallon tote from tank two.  It would not start.  I went through the ‘check-spark-and-fuel-routine’ and was somewhat surprised to find that I had filled my tank with diesel fuel!  But, an hour of draining, filling and fixing broken fuel lines (inevitable, it seems), I had pulled all the offending diesel out and re-filled with gasoline.  I was good to go but I had lost the afternoon.  Life, eh?

I figured that I must have had an old diesel tote sitting around the fuel shed and, somehow, had forgotten about it and accidentally used it.  ‘Must be my fault’.  I wrote it off to getting old.  I am doing that more often and it seems to be the right answer most of the time.

Over the course of the next few days, I filled two more tanks.  The earlier experience with the genset was not even a memory. Turns out that I hadn’t used an old diesel tote, after all. Turns out my real error was assuming that I had made the first error.  The real error was not realizing quickly enough that my second tank was filled with the wrong fuel.

So, another day spent draining and filling and cleaning and repairing.  THAT was irritating. But the worst part was that I was down to my second tank and that tank was unusable and so I was really OUT OF FUEL!

That is NOT good.  That necessitated a trip to town.  Worse, I could only take three totes with me because the other totes were full of diesel.  I could NOT get enough to get me through until the next planned barge delivery.

So, things will be awkward for a while.

A simple error.  NOT disastrous.  Just awkward and expensive and a waste of time.  And one more ‘weird’ incident in life off the grid.


My relative silence and rewarding incompetence

I have not blogged as much lately.  And I was wondering why…..

I think it is because so much of what is happening in the world right now is difficult to make any sense of.  Of course, with hindsight, we can struggle to understand it but, the truth is, even with the benefit of hindsight most of us still have no clue as to what will happen next.

(Well, I am hoping to get a little welding done…………….)

For instance, Trump firing Comey in an obvious conflict of interest almost seems like normal in the context of Trump’s history of behaviours but Trump’s history of behaviours is one of being totally unpredictable and abnormal. ‘Nuts’ is the new White House ‘normal’. His administration’s incompetence and madness has been augmented only by conflict, confusion and chaos.

Trump makes Murphy irrelevant.

And it is not just Trump.  Maybe someone can explain to me the Liberal Party logic of banning oil tankers on the North Coast of BC not long after killing the source of any such oil supply by terminating the Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline?  Isn’t that like shooting an already dead thing?  But, even more ludicrous is that the same Liberal government is still allowing the Kinder Morgan pipeline to fill mega-tankers in much more constrained, sensitive and politically critical Coal Harbour (Vancouver).  Something like 700 oil tankers will annually ply the Gulf of Georgia.   That is environmental risk madness on a much grander scale than Enbridge ever was. How does the government look electors in the eye with that mockery of logic?

And look at the recent BC election.  I had hoped for a Green breakthrough and I am happy for what barely emerged but – damn it – the Greens have only three seats and the bastard Liberals are just one short of forming a government.  If a recount changes just one Liberal result favourably, the Greens are relegated to bystander status once again.  As, of course, are the inept and impotent NDP.   This election is still balanced on a knife edge. Who woulda thunk it?

The North Korea threat – real in so many ways – has gone silent.  How is that possible? How does a looming LARGE WW3 threat slip off the radar?  What?  The topic got boring for our media?  The Pacific Fleet took a break and is on leave in Hawaii?  Kim Jong-Un has learned to shut up? In this sense, crazy shows up in the lack of news.

Ninety nine countries fell victim to ransom-ware, the cyber hacking tool that kidnaps and holds hostage things like hospital records.  Many people in the tech industry saw that one coming for a long time but certainly not any hospital administrator or Health Ministry official.  Seems it got by our intelligence and law enforcement community as well.  We may get self-driving cars and power generating roof tiles but mind-boggling executive incompetence will still rule the day it seems. Maybe we don’t pay those administrators enough?

We gave the 2007/08 financial debacle bankers bonuses, didn’t we?

It seems to me that we have a lot of stupid in charge.  And I suppose that is the one thing we can count on. From the President to the Prime minister, from the media to local government, from banks to law enforcement, if you are looking for consistency, look in the idiot mistakes column.

On a brighter note, and one that puts a nicer spin on our own madness, we have stumbled, fumbled and tripped our way to a functioning greenhouse and an almost complete marine haul-out. And, by employing an infinite number of monkeys on an infinite number of computers, we have lucked into a second book. Stupid ain’t all bad. Works for us.