Friday, August 29, 2008

Home, Home on the Range...

Where the mi-ice and the cow-ow-es play...
(little trouble with the metre there).

Here are some photos of the cabin on the west fork of Rock Creek in Montana.

The entrance and "riff-raff gate" right off highway 38, also known as Skalkaho Highway.
The gate meant that we had about 20acres or so fenced in all to ourselves.

Here is a photo from the hill across the highway. It shows that there are several buildings. Only one cabin is rentable. The others are the remains of an old youth camp. They aren't in bad shape. Just not up for rent right now. There is a drinking water pump and his-n-hers pit toilets.

You can see several buildings in the photo and see that we had no neighbors.

Here's the west fork of Rock Creek.

I'm informed by a co-worker that this a world famous flyfishing creek. He told me I was being sacrilegious for fishing in this creek with a worm. I told him he wasted too much money on fancy poles and flies. Fish don't give a sh*t about your fancy pole and your fancy fly. (boy, that sounded naughtier than I meant it to)

Here is my non-fancy pole and my pedicure while I fish/nap/read.

Anyway, it is GORGEOUS and a great place to
drown worms and drool on the book you thought you'd read.

Here's a quick shot of the cabin. It's quite large. Jeanne (who went camping with me) took most of the cabin photos and I await their transfer to me.

The blue thing in the window on the right is the hamster cage. Hammy is in a bigger cage now and doing fine. He seems to be growing and is quite amusing. We'll have an episode on Hammy another day.

OH! They provide you with cut wood for the stove! It wasn't split and their "axe" was crap, but nice have the wood available. Jeanne brought homemade fire starters and we gathered a bit of duff and bark for kindling and had no problem.

So, if you want to rent this cabin CLICK HERE.
We're thinking about going there and trying to get the kids to go, for Thanksgiving.

Jeanne and I and tw
o of her girls (and a small menagerie of their pets...) spent last Thanksgiving in THIS CABIN.

The cabins are only 20$ per night (frugal!) but you need to go soon as the US Forest Service is looking to privatize these and make them more profitable to cover the deficit from the constant budget cuts by those b@$t@7d$ in Washington.

We like to play "Little House on the Prairie". We are sad middle aged women and we DON'T CARE.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

I'm Baaaaaa--aaack....

Camping was great.
There were no kids as they all wussed out. HA! Serves them right.

The cabin was bigger than the last one, had a great stove which was easy to keep lit, though overheated the cabin. I'm a total pyro so I kept it going anyway.

We had a trout stream behind the cabin just about 75 yards away. We didn't catch any fish but had some lovely naps in the chairs while we stared at our lines.

It was just me and Jeanne so we went into various towns shopping in the afternoon and hung out at the cabin fishing or doing nothing or climbing rocks the rest of the time.

The only downers were the outhouse (big and fancy but the hole was filled with "water" to within about 2 feet of the seat making me afraid to poop and make it splash) and the waterpump which despite its name, did not pump water. We heated up creek water for bathing and dishes and bought water to drink.

The place is an old youth camp with only one cabin refurbished for rental. So the area is large and fenced in with a gate at the road. Much more private than the previous cabin which allowed other campers or rifraf to come in and use the potty and pump. I think I wouldn't mind camping alone at this cabin.

We heard some elk at night, and cows ALL THE FREAKING TIME. Oh well.

Jeanne brought me a hamster which is named "Hammy" and is of indeterminate sex. I bought a bird cage at a thrift store on the way home and when I left it, Hammy was climbing to the top of the cage and dropping to the bottom. I may have to get a tiny bungee cord set up in there...then I'll need a tiny helmet and a carnie to run the thing. Will I need a tiny hotdog stand?

I'll try to get some pictures up here later. I didn't bring the camera to work today to download them so it might be a bit.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

This one time, at band camp....

OK, it's not band camp, but I am going camping and thought I should let my loyal reader know.

A friend and I rented another cabin in Montana south of Missoula in the Pintler/Deerlodge forest area. This one is on the Skalkaho highway and says it has a gate right on the highway so no rifraf will be camping near us. We'll have to be the only rifraff in the neighborhood.

The other cabin was cool so we're hoping this one is too. It's RIGHT by a trout stream so I must remember my fishing pole and think about getting a license this time.
The weather is supposed to be perfect...low 70s during the day and 30s and 40s overnight.
There wil be 5 of us an only 4 beds but I get there like 12 hours before the rest of them so no problemo for meo. I can't decide if I want a top bunk to avoid people stepping on me, or a bottom bunk because it might rain and I'm sure the roof leaks. Maybe a top bunk and I'll keep my tarp over my bed.

I leave Thursday morning but don't know if I'll get to blogging again before then.

I hope you all have visited the flood blog lately to see the GORGEOUS bamboo floor tha they've put down. Very nice. I'm pretty sure they are going to be on some sort of "floor tour" now. The garden tour is probably a bust this year after the floods and all.

And now for a No 'Poo update: The hair is doing great now. It's been rainy and I did not get a case of fuzzy-head like I used to when it was humid (like the whole time I lived in the midwest). My hair actually lays down now. It does seem to be bleaching in the sun, but it probably does that every year, I just don't look at it.

Anyway, must do a bit of research and watch an episode of Mary Tyler Moore Show on before I fall alseep.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

(I need a reference to the horrible film GHOST here)

That is the only film with a noted pottery scene.

Anyway, I'm pleased to announce that Angela was the winner of last post's "name that reference" contest. She was also the only entrant so congratulations to Ange.

Angela also told me that she bought glass bowls rather than plastic due to my aversion to plastic! I feel like such an environmental-kitchen-products guru. Also, I think glass does not impart the icky flavor that can come off plastic.
I'm also a fan of the metal and enamel-ware bowls, pans, and whatnot. One of the best gifts I got in the past few years as far as kitchen goods is a set of nesting enamel-ware bowls (serving/mixing size) with fitted plastic lids. You can make food in them, store it in the fridge or freezer and serve right out of them. The outsides are a cool red/white swirl pattern. I'd put a picture on here but they're at my other home.

Anyway, I have recently started trying to take things another step. I had been replacing my plastic crap with metal as the plastic wore out and I needed new. This was for household items like fans. I found a very cool aqua colored metal fan at a thrift store several months ago to replace the dying plastic fan. That was cool. And dangerous because the safety-screen thing on the antique fan is not such that one's fingers do not just poke through and get mangled in the metal fins. But what the heck. I don't have kids...well, not usually.

Now I'm trying for kitchen stuff. I'm taking it even further and going for handmade ceramic for things like mugs and pitchers (glass and metal are also fine!). I don't think this is frugal or simple since honestly, I have enough kitchen crap to get me through three lifetimes. But I just got to thinking about mass production and how much I love the handmade bowls and stuff people have given me over the years. I have a few very nice ones in ceramic and glass and I like things that are signed. I don't know that I'd ever have the guts to mix up some cookies in a handmade ceramic bowl so it's nice to have the sets (yes setS) of metal and glass ones, but I just like the thought of having individually handcrafted items.

I'm getting these at thrift stores! I spent 50cents on a 1960s mug from Bennington pottery in Vermont or somewhere. The pieces are made in whole sets and series, but each piece is handmade and signed. the mug has a cool shape. Here's a bad phone photo of the mug:

Last weekend I found this cool pitcher at the Goodwill in Moscow, Idaho. it's signed by Rachel and just has a nice shape and color to it. I'm not sure it's food safe so I may have wasted $1.99. Oh well. It's pretty and I can plant in it or use it to water stuff or hold something.

Someday I may have one of those weird homes where almost everything is handmade and rustic. I plan on being odd anyway and this seems to fit with the program.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

At Long Last Post...

OK, that title is a stretch...there might be a prize for the person who figures out the reference.

I just saw this on another blog I read and I love it!

It is a little calculator to decide if you should buy a more fuel efficient car or stick with the one you have. It's based entirely on economics, but still interesting. It IS more environmental in general to keep using things you have, including cars and houses, than to buy something newly made so the economics are probably enough.

So, here it is:

Just fill in the info and see what you get.

I found out that given my 30mpg I get in the subaru, and the price of gas, even driving 3000 miles a month (yes, 3000 is my current monthly milage...cripes) it would take me 14 years to recoup the cost of a better car and that was only paying 7500$ for that car. I have not met the 7500$ car that runs for 14 years (though I keep trying).

And, I will not be driving 3000 miles a month for 14 years so the recoup would actually never happen.

Nice to have it confirmed that driving my car into the ground is not only simple, frugal and environmental (as long as I maintain it), but also cost effective.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

And Now for the Anti-Rant

Here are some of the sites that have cool TINY apartments, houses, and cabins that ARE inspiring for those of us trying to simplify and NOT live in a house where the crapper is bigger than the entire residence for most people on this planet (actually...I don't know that. It's called "hyperbole").

Tumbleweed Tiny Houses
The guy who designs these sounds like kind of a self-righteous dick (but I think that about Thoreau too...he lived in SOMEONE'S BACKYARD for pete's sake...sorry...side-rant-tracked), but the designs are cool and he'll sell you just the plans. The houses range from 65 square feet up to 774. I'm thinking somewhere around 600 square feet right now.

Apartment Therapy

These folks apparently run a contest each year for the coolest small residence and get entries from all over the world. Some are a bit designer-y and high-tech-y for me (I want chickens and a compost toilet not an electric stairway and a roomba) but the way people arrange tiny spaces rocks. I've linked to the 2008 contest but you can find the others once you've gone through the hundreds of apartments on that list (well...dozens).

100 x 100
I am hypnotized by this art project. These are photos of residents, in their rooms, of the oldest public housing project in Hong Kong. The project has since been demolished according to the website and now I wonder where the people are. They had rooms that were 100 square feet. There is one door. No windows. And everyone has turned these into unique living spaces. The options range from an empty room [check out #56 and #83] with a bit of newspaper on the floor to put your veggies on, and perhaps a rice steamer, to absolutely cramming [check out #79] the place with crap. One family [see #76] seems to have divided the space horizontally creating 2 levels though both appear fairly in accessible. I'm fascinated by #25 (a house divided...) and #27 (the Hong Kong 'Dark Knight'??). I swear I once saw a guy sitting on the floor by some food on a piece of paper and a cooker that looked like a charcoal burner which seemed sad AND like a disaster waiting to happen in an unventilated 10x10 room. If anyone sees that, please put the number in the comments. Anyway, I love this art project because each room is so different and you can see the personalities (or think you can) in the decor. Some people seem happy there and like they'd be happy anywhere. They've painted and decorated, are having card parties, watching something on their TVs. Others, like the 'Dark Knight' look like they are a bit odd and perhaps "happy" is not part of their life's quest. Anyway, enjoy these. The artists other projects have links up at the top right. Those are cool too. I like the one about bastard chairs.

Cabin Plans

I not only have a small-living-space fetish; I have a floorplan fetish and this site satisfies both issues. I love to look at plans and decide why they are wrong. I pity the architect who ever has to work with me. Nothing will ever get done because I will always see something I want to change.

Bale Watch
This one has cool (and some crap) plans for strawbale houses. These could easily be adapted to cob or other alternative building materials. I have long liked the design called the Cube, eventhough it is 1152 square feet and probably too big for me if I live alone (and let's face it...that IS the plan...people in my house pisses me off). I wish I could put a link to that plan but you'll just have to scroll down and click on it. I can't figure out the frames thing. Anyway, I don't like the shed roof, but the floorplan is nice. Very egalitarian. The bedrooms are all the same size and the crapper is small. I would add a nice greenhouse to the south side for passive solar and just because I like plants and want to garden.

There are more sites, but I'm sure my readers have all dozed off by now.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

A Quick Note!

I left a note at the Hillcrest motel and it got on their website!
Please go to the Flood Blog for a discussion of this note, with illustrations and link as well as an exciting update on the Flood Progress.
(meaning I'm too lazy to redo the post here)

A Rant and an Update

OK, first the update and before that an apology.

The apology: Sorry I couldn't come up with a cute title. I'm too revved up from eating candy because I bought my officemate new candy because I ate all the other candy that he bought because I have no power over the candy.

The Update:
Laurie asked for a No 'Poo update. Here it is. My hair is doing great. I'm doing the baking soda scalp scrub as needed which is about every 4-5 days during the summer. Mostly to get the crust from sweat and dust off my head after field days. Then the apple cider vinegar rinse and off I go. My hair is not frizzy. I have few split ends, and my scalp does not itch or peel (except when it has an actual sunburn). And no one has said that it smells bad. The color is changing. It's looking lighter I think but that could be summer and just going grey. The darker hairs are going grey first and so for a few years my hair has been gradually getting redder and lighter If the blond goes I'm going to be red and silver. That will be wierd.

And now the rant:

I've been looking at floor plans for inspiration when I finally build my house of mud and twigs.
Why is it that in almost every freaking modern floor plan, the master bedroom crapper is bigger than the bedrooms the kids are supposed to live in?
Has our society become so full of crap that we need LARGE rooms in which to dispose of it?
As far as I can tell, toilets have actually become smaller.
What is the point of all that open floor space in the crapper?
It's not like there are extra appliances in there like bidets. Just a toilet, sink and tub/shower. Sometimes they split the tub and shower but still, there is some serious acreage of empty floor.
What are people doing in there?

I thought maybe this was just upscale houses so I checked cabins and for the most part if your home has under 500square feet of space, the bathroom is small. BUT, any more room in the home seems to be disproportionally allotted to the master crapper.

I checked mobile homes thinking that given the limited floor space in the entire unit, they must surely have reasonable sized bathrooms. NOPE. Big giant master crappers. The other crappers are normal size or small. But the master one is usually bigger than the second and third bedrooms. Sometimes larger than the dining room and often larger than the kitchen. I would think that the room needed to input the food would be bigger than the room needed to output the food. I'm wrong.

Since I may well be building a home without a bathroom, this seems odd to me and makes me angry because I can't use the floorplans that are out there.

I have found that if there is a "master wing" (where the parents are almost completely insulated from their children in separate and poorly accessible part of the home), that you can just lop off that wing and have a decent house. Then I get to thinking about those unsupervised kids who could wake up in the night screaming with appendicitis and their folks are a good quarter mile away behind the "retreat" (a room where you go to escape your family when you aren't asleep or pooping), the his-n-hers crappers, the walk-in/through closets, and often past the garage. The parents won't hear. When the kids are in their teens it will be easy for them to sneak in and out from their own wing. They could run meth labs or hydroponic operations and their parents would never know. Damn parents these days.

I live with a teen now and understand the urge to "get away" sometimes. But it seems that the home designs are reflecting a broader cultural urge to have kids and then really not deal with them all that much.

If you don't want to be around kids, how about just not having any! Problem solved.

These giant homes with multiple wet-walls and buttloads of un-used and unnecessary space are also energy and water hogs and that bothers me on another level. But I'll leave the rant at the giant wasteful crappers for today.

On a happy note...the "city" of Plummer sent me five free energy efficient lightbulbs today! Cool.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Mammoth Redux

OK, there have been questions. They are answered if you plow through the whole mammoth website but who the he** is going to do that?

Is it a woolly mammoth? Probably not.
They have two kinds of mammoth known in Washington State, Columbia and Imperial. They've never found a woolly one there, but it could happen.
They don't know what kind this one is because the best bits to figure out the species are the teeth and tusks and they haven't found those.

Is it a whole mammoth or isolated bits?
Well, it's not a mummy of a whole mammoth.
It's many bones all in one area. While I was there they found their 14th rib. That is a lot. They have 2 humerus bones (upper arm/front leg), a femur (thigh), some foot bones, some vertebrae (spine bones), and some bone bits.

It's hard to get the bones out of the ground because they have become dust in the shape of bones. They cut a sample out of the bones (for testing for things like diet, density, etc) and then impregnate the bones with plastic/glue stuff. Then, someday, they can take the bones out of the ground. It can take weeks and weeks of work which translates into multiple field seasons which means multiple years.

They have found one bison bone in there. This is probably an extinct species of bison which is HUGE compared to current bison and TINY compared to mammoth.

Monday, August 4, 2008


No pop culture reference in the title today.
I actually went to see a mammoth.
It was cool.
Check out the webcam at the site (which I didn't know was there or I would have had you watch me while I was visiting).
And here is the website about the Wenas Mammoth Dig.
"wenas" is pronounce "ween" "ass" which is funny.

There were HUGE BONES there and I got to see them in person but I didn't touch them because they are fragile (pronounced "frah-GEE-lay" because it's Italian) (there's my pop culture reference!).

It's pretty cool as far as a dig goes, but SUPER HOT as far as the weather goes. Hot Hot Hot.

My officemate who is coocoo for mammoths did not go so I got him a t-shirt. What is cooler than a t-shirt from a mammoth site?

I wanted to donate to the dig, but I only had 1 20$bill and I spent that on the t-shirt. I'll have to send cash here soon.

The world of archaeology/anthropology is tiny tiny tiny. The guy running the dig went to school with a guy I worked with at ISU. The guy who came to visit while I was there is a fellow WSU graduate who is friends with my friends Al and Diana. It's all so intellectually incestuous. We need new brain-blood.

The blog thingy does not want to upload the images so you'll just have to go to the mammoth website. Enjoy.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

On the Blog Again...

That title is a bit obtuse but I'm hoping for a Willie Nelson reference.
Did you know Willie is all about peace?
He has the Willie Nelson Peace Research Institute.
It's probably funded by doobie profits but whatever. I love Willie.
(Ange: you should put that on a pillow for me: I Love Willie.)

OK, on to today's blog.

I have a new non-ecological computer because I suck and did not want to wait for a green-rebuilt-hippie computer. It's an Acer which is at least an off brand.
I'll check into options for the old computer.

This one has a webcam and since I leave my computer by the bed on a milk crate (it's as though I never left college), if I left it on you could watch me sleep which would be fasincating. And creepy.

So today I went to the Pulaski Mine Adit. "Adit" is the mining talk word for "opening of the mine tunnel". It's where a bunch of dudes and some horses holed up during the 1910 wildfire that burned most of north Idaho. Almost everybody lived, though they had to shoot the horses because they were too sick after the fire passed. It seems most people, and all the horses, suffered from smoke inhalation, heat damage (scorched hands, faces, eyes) and probably carbon monoxide poisoning. But they lived. Except the guys who died. Anyway, there was a dig there and I got to go visit because I am an anthropologist. Here is a link to the Pulaski history webpage: LINK LINK LINK

Tomorrow I'm going to try to go see a mammoth. It's dead. But there is a dig and I have a special invitation to the dig for a VIP tour. Of course the invite got to me late late late and no one has called me back to confirm that I can get in. BUT Monday, tomorrow, is the last day for VIP tours and I want to see it. So, I'm going to leave them a message saying if I can't get in, someone better call me and tell me to turn around and quit driving because I am on my way. I can't believe they'd turn me back once I get there.
I need to buy a disposable camera because I loaned my personal one out this weekend and I forgot to bring the work one home with me (partly because the work camera is too too big and heavy and expensive).

As for the simplicity/frugality stuff...I did pick huckleberries on the way out from the mine today. It's a 2mile hike in (and thusly 2 mile hike out). Just enough to flavor some lemonade which I will hopefully remember to buy, or better yet...MAKE, tomorrow morning as I leave.

And, right now I am cooling the apartment with laundry. If you hang wet laundry up in a wet place and put a fan on it, the evaporation cools the air a bit. I've cooled my bedroom (and thus the dining room and kitchen because it's really all one room with a curtain hung across it) 2 degrees in 20 minutes. Not bad. WARNING: this doesn't work in humid environments. It's dry dry dry here so it works better. I probably don't even really need the fan but I like the air moving about.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Requiem for a Laptop

Well, my trusty toshiba is no more.
Well, it's almost no more.
It's no more enough that I'm just going to buy a trusty something-cheap to get me back on line and watching movies and maybe let El Kid show me somethings about hardware repair because it can get none-more-broke.
It is broke to 11.

Here is a haiku about my dead 'puter (not to be confused with a dead 'pooter...that's a different blog entirely):

Toshiba of mine
you worked for a real long time
now you are so dead

OK, not my best effort, but it's a fricking computer so who really cares?

That's just how I am. Once you let me down, you are dead to me and I will no longer write you verse and song.

Hey..Maybe Ange can write an epic poem about the death of my 'puter!
Here are some things that might help.
The guy who diagnosed it (after Pam did over the phone but who trusts a phone diagnosis anyway???) is named "Berne" pronounced like "Bernie" but spelled different.
He had me find the recovery disk that came with the computer. Any of you who have seen my housekeeping will be impressed that I found it at all after 4 years. It was under the bed with the home canned goods. No one knows why.

I'm going to some giant icky electronics store tonight or tomorrow morning and get a new 'puter. I'm going to try to be environmental about it and recycle my old 'puter or get it working on some level again. Then maybe donate it if it works well enough. And the new one is the minimum that I need, except for the included extras..., and will be as inexpensive as possible and I'll try to take better care of it. Still, I'm probably going to environmental hell over this.