This blog chronicles the importance of and efforts to return to Mother Earth in spirit and in body. This journey is not one of primitivism or reenactment of an earlier age. It's hope is to inspire me to find the middle ground between necessities of the 21st Century, the need to find a simpler way of life, and our ethical responsibility to protect the land and preserve our natural resources.

Friday, August 14, 2009

The trouble with chickens

Pet chickens? They are more easily trained than a cat, have a lot more personality than Pekingese, and many home-grown birds are quite affectionate, seeking out their human owners for a sign of attention or a back rub. Many people keep chickens just because they’re beautiful, as pretty as some of the rare, exotic birds snatched directly from South American jungles. And they seem the long-shot favorite on the homestead.

In this modern world, the more verifiably useless an animal is, the better chance it has of being accepted widely as a pet, dogs never seem to enjoy much popularity until the American Kennel Club manages to turn them into neurotic living room ornaments (working dogs accepted, of course). House cats have no responsibilities in the family. It’s socially acceptable to watch a bored turtle making desperate circles in a glass bowl for its entire existence. It’s OK to have a squawking pair of parakeets that have no purpose but to scatter seed all over the floor.

No, the real trouble with chickens as pets is that they are made out of meat.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

School in the Ozarks

I spent my childhood among the cedar, oak, hickory, walnut, and maple trees and the outcroppings of limestone of the Bald Knobs of the Ozark Mountains. I wasn’t a big fan of the spring favorites such as redbud and dogwood, rather I enjoyed the hearty colors of a cool and frostless fall. Old road beds and the remnants of homesteads—long ago reclaimed by nature can be found near patches of now-wild iris and roses planted by settlers long since vanished from the landscape.

I used to hate the undergrowth and the brambles, but now some of my fondest memories are trudging through the woods and sliding down hills on seasoned leaves fighting all the way as if we were on an Amazonian adventure. But the thing I miss most in Colorado is access to water. Sure, Colorado has water. But not in the same way. Denver and the Rockies boast lots of “lakes.” However, they would be classified as ponds in other parts of the country. The larger, canned reservoirs offer no sactuary. In my youth, we could hike along the rivers and streams for the whole day and never see another soul. We each became one with the water. One with our journey. Even as kids, it was a rejuvenation as much as an exploration. Even then, I think we understood that what we were doing was sacred and ceremonial in ways our vocabulary could not describe.

Since the water is such a prized commodity in Colorado, you have to go pretty high up to enjoy a lake or stream without meeting fellow outdoorsmen. It certainly is not my intention to complain about meeting and greeting hikers and outdoor enthusiasts, but the suspension of disbelief is shattered when one has to return to the reality of life in such a manner.

Sunday, August 09, 2009

A house of a different color

There’s not much to paint in a log cabin. But surely there was an episode on Little House on the Prairie when Laura had to paint Mr. Olsen’s fence to buy a Christmas present for her adoptive brother (hijinks ensue). By the way, the whole Ingalls family must have rolled over on that one.

Sherwin Williams Preservation Palettes offer Victorian and Arts and Crafts paint colors that are historically accurate and of prevaling popularity for turn-of-the- century through 1920s interior and exterior architecture. The larger swatches are wall colors. The two smaller colors were used for trim and decoration.

How authentic should the cabin be? I’ve indicated that electricty and some 21st century amenities have become necessities to me, but the rest might benefit from an historic touch. At the very least, the research is interesting.

Saturday, August 08, 2009

Course plotted.

“We may not arrive at our port within a calculable period, but we would preserve the true course.” —Henry D. Thoreau, Walden
To address a personal adventure in terms of a timeline seems distasteful, however reaching an important destination requires planning and forethought. They become critical to success. And that begs another question: what determines success?

I am in no hurry to realize a dream. I’ve spent my whole life making plans for dreams that will never come true. Planning is the destination and can be pleasurable. I’m a spur-of-the- moment kind of person, but have learned the art of planning over the years by occupation. So why is this challenge any different? Perhaps it’s because it is such an important one and time slips through the hour glass.

Though the time it takes to reach “port,” may never be known until the fog lifts and the harbor within dingy reach, I will endeavor to hammer out a few more relevant and concrete details. So that the course laid and the path broadened.

For now, success can be measured in the quality of plans and the ability to foresee issues and event critical to the undertaking.

Friday, August 07, 2009

Each to live by his own hammer

“I would not have any one adopt my mode of living on any account; for beside that before he has fairly learned it I may have found out another for myself, I desire that there may be as many different persons in the world as possible; but I would have each one be very careful to find out and pursue his own way, and not his father’s or his mother’s or his neighbor’s instead.” — Henry D. Thoreau, Walden
After a week’s hiatus, I’m back in the mood to blog. I have struggled with the lack of interest found in the concept of living in a cabin. Of course, it’s not for everyone. However it seemed realistic that there would be a few I knew who would find it invigorating.

“ . . . The man who goes alone can start today; but he who travels with another must wait till that other is ready, and it may be a long time before they get off.” — Henry D. Thoreau, Walden
If I have a companion if and when the time comes to consider a cabin seriously, it is essential that the decision and the cabin and its amenities be a colaboration. By necessity, it will be a choice by me, by anyone. Perhaps I will be lucky enough to find the right person with which to experience life in the cabin.