Adventure Abounds

We had an adventure today! Well, I guess we had two adventures today.

 

Let’s start with the most interesting adventure. Apollo thought that instead of eating the same old, same old for breakfast, he might mix it up a little. He decided that he would try some chicken and waffles for a change.

 

Only he didn’t have any waffles, or chicken. What he did find was a baby bird. We took our normal morning walk and were on our normal morning route. Every now and then Apollo will do some crazy maneuver, like jump up in the air, roll over, and land on his back or some similar kind of craziness. This morning was pretty much the same. So when he wanted to get down on his belly and sniff the grass, I just let him.

 

But when that nose came up out of the grass, something was in the mouth attached thereto. As I started to pry said mouth open, I could see part of a bird. I got his mouth open all the way and a baby bird popped out. It had its feathers, so it wasn’t all that much of a baby. I really thought that he had found a dead baby bird, but after the little bird hit the concrete, it righted itself and started screeching. It was at that moment that Apollo and I were attacked by two grown birds. It only took us a second to get off to a run. Luckily, we decided to run in the same direction.

 

I gave the birds a little time to settle down while I put Apollo up. Then I went back out to check on the baby bird. The two adults were sitting on a nearby building guarding the baby. I kept a tree between me and the waiting adults. Then I darted in, picked the baby up, put him back in the grass, and just kept running. The birds didn’t bother me this time.

 

The second adventure that we had was creating a baby registry at Babies R Us. What an experience. My favorite part of that particular adventure was handing the scanner back to the baby consultant or whatever she was. Interested in seeing what we think we are going to need to raise this baby? Our registry number at babiesrus.com is 53729344. I can’t wait to get some feedback on what we missed or what we got right.

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Cat perches on officer’s shoulders as home burglary is investigated

Cat perches on officer’s shoulders as home burglary is investigated

I’m glad it was a cat and not a dog. 🙂

Global News

PORTLAND, Ore. – The cat. In the bathroom. On the officer’s shoulders?

Nope, not a game of “Clue.” But police say one orange tabby wanted to be closely involved when officers responding to a burglary report searched the cat’s home in southeast Portland.

Sgt. Pete Simpson says police were called Monday afternoon when a woman returned home from work to find her house burglarized. When police entered the home to search for a suspect, Officer Sarah Kerwin noted broken glass on the floors of the basement and a bathroom.

Because the resident cat was walking around on the floor, the officer picked up the cat to make sure it didn’t step in the glass. The cat happily climbed onto Kerwin’s shoulders and stayed there as police finished searching the house.

No burglar was found.

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Missouri Valley Iowa to consider repeal of breed ban

Online petitions are almost a waste of time. This is how to enact change.

Stop BSL

Missouri Valley, Iowa, currently has a breed ban in place.  Officials are looking into the possibility of repealing their ban and enacting restrictions instead.

Last month, a resident had his dog confiscated under the ordinance.  The dog in question was moved to an out-of-state location and is currently living with family members.  In response, the resident, Bryan Athay, and his girlfriend, Katie Flora, obtained 63 signatures from registered voters in Missouri Valley asking that the ordinance be revisited.

This is a point of interest for several different reasons.  Often we see online petitions, but the criticism of those is always the same from councils.  Officials point out, rightly so, that signatures on online petitions come from out-of-town, out-of-state and also, in many cases, out of country.  City councils are most apt to listen to the voters in their community.  Even petitions that are taken of residents generally do not have…

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Surviving Change, Surviving Plans, Planning Survival, and reaching 10,000 Views!

We surpassed 10,000 all time views of our blog today! It probably doesn’t mean much to anybody except me, and there are probably a million other blogs that have passed the 10,000 view mark. But still, it’s pretty important to me, even if it has taken us a year or so to get to this point.

I’ve been trying to find some inspiration for posts lately. Maybe this is what I needed.

Writing about our adventures as homesteaders is not very viable at this point, since we aren’t really homesteaders anymore. I’m not sure we were ever anything but wanna be homesteaders. We had some successes, and we didn’t die, so I guess we were at least partial homesteaders. To that point, we’ve been toying around with some ideas about what direction we should take “The Gray Homestead”.

First, our homesteading adventures are going to be a little less frequent. Secondly, with a baby on the way, time for homesteading activities is going to be further reduced. I don’t see us driving a newborn down the road to the cabin. I usually get a new pain in some part of my body every time we make that particular descent. Thirdly, posts about Boomer are extremely popular. Maybe I should post about his adventures at homesteading. Well, in his case, maybe I should post about his adaptation to city life. Boomer has lived most of his life on the homestead. Come to think of it, Apollo was born and raised on the homestead. He’s having a little difficulty conforming to city life, but I digress.

We’re open to suggestions. I am considering spending more time researching other homesteading blogs and reblogging them. I’m also considering commenting on current libertarian issues that could be considered relevant to homesteaders.

One plus side to our moving off of the homestead is that we have learned to appreciate our time on the homestead. We now look back and miss some of the things we took for granted and some of the things that made our homesteading life difficult. But, there are things that we now remember are enjoyable about city life. As I write this, our apartment is at 78 degrees – the coolest it has been since noon. They can’t get our air conditioning problem straightened out. At least on the homestead, when it was hot, we knew why.

I’m also seriously considering offering my services as a home made wine consultant. You provide the ingredients, I will help you make a batch of the most satisfying wine you will ever consume. The first year I tried, I had decent results, especially for a first try. Last year’s wine turned out extremely well, and that wine was made on our off grid homestead, and fermented in some seriously less than ideal conditions, including sub zero and 100+ degree temperatures. Looking back, with a little extra work, I could have drastically increased the alcohol content of the wine during those particularly cold times. Seriously, if you are interested in making some wine, contact me. Blackberries are coming into season, so the time to act is now. The muscadines won’t be in until later in the summer, so start planning now!

Another idea we are playing around with involves opening the homestead up to people who would like to do a little part time homesteading, or maybe just want to try it for a week or a weekend. If this interests you, let us know. We are willing to entertain serious proposals. The homestead is still there, though nature is sure doing a good job of taking it back. We could use someone to help out with it. Surely we could work something out that is beneficial to both us and someone who wants the opportunity to do some part time homesteading – without having to make a large investment.

Also, we would consider consulting for anyone planning to live off grid. It’s a serious undertaking. We benefited from the help of a neighbor who had been living the off grid lifestyle for a couple of years. His experiences were valuable to us. We also learned a lot from my sister and brother in law, who live an on grid homesteading lifestyle. We would like to be able to pass some of what we learned on to others who think they are ready to take the homesteading plunge. One piece of advice that I would like to share with anyone considering the lifestyle without any real life experience with it comes in the form of a quote attributed to Helmuth von Moltke the Elder, a German Field Marshal who served in the late 1800’s: “No plan of operations extends with certainty beyond the first encounter with the enemy’s main strength.” In other words, no plan survives first contact with the opposing force. This guy was wise beyond his years. He is actually the guy who came up with representing friendly forces with the color blue, and enemy forces with red. If his plans didn’t survive first contact with the enemy, then no matter how good yours are, yours probably won’t, either. Please consider some help with those plans.

So, if you are in the Ozarks and would like to discuss any of the above over a glass of home made wine (or any beverage), send us a message.

We hope to get back to homesteading in the future. We aren’t really sure when or how, but I’m sure we will. Maybe in 18 years or so?

Here are the stats for thegrayhomestead.com over the last year. We finally passed 10,000 views!

I know the text is small, but this graphic represents where the viewers of our blog live. As you can see, we have readers from many different countries.

Country Dog in a City World

Apollo is having some difficulties in adapting to life in the city.

Apollo is some sort of hound mix. He was born in the woods. He grew up with at least 5 brothers and a sister – all of which were in the woods with him. He has always been lovable and loving. He likes to sleep in our bed, but he also likes the freedom to leave for a couple of days and show back up when he’s ready.

In the woods, that wasn’t a problem for him. His running off troubled us, but he always came home – eventually. Here, running off is not an option. Neither is wearing a collar, a leash, and/or a harness. No barking while inside. That is a hard one for Apollo. When something startles him, the hound comes out. He’s a relatively small dog, but he has a large bark. His bark has already sent at least one maintenance man scurrying away from our apartment. Reason? Large dog barking. Joke was on him. `Pollo is crated when inside.

I’ve been working with Apollo. I don’t think he’s been working with me. He still jumps. He still won’t walk in a straight line. But he has learned a few tricks. Apollo will behave as long as he knows I have a treat. He selectively knows sit, wait, up, and down.

Today we worked on running in a straight line on leash. He started to get the hang of it just before I ran out of steam.

A Big Softy

City life is making me soft.

Carmel mochas; Homewreckers; craft beer; air conditioning; unlimited water; no compost pile; no bugs; no snakes; refrigeration; no roads with 45 degree slopes; no wood cutting; no need for 4 wheel drive; unlimited high speed internet; cable TV; TV in general; repair men; 88 cent 44oz sodas – all of these have conspired to make soft.

Of course, it isn’t those things that have compelled me to be sedentary. I have let myself go soft. It’s just easier that way. Like the majority of people in this country, I have resigned myself to get up, go to work, come home, and wait for it all to start again tomorrow. Maybe have a beer or a glass of wine. Maybe watch a movie. Take the dog out. Feed the cat.

However, this week is the start of a new beginning. I started running again. Today I tried running with Apollo for a bit after my warm up run. That was interesting. He’s been sleeping ever since.

I’ll try to drink more water and less soda. I’ll eat healthier meals. I’m going to spend more time outside. When money allows, – hey, we have a kid coming – I’ll try container gardening on the balcony.

So that’s where I am.

Seriously, if anyone reading this is interested in homesteading, we could work something out. We have plenty of room on our homestead, and it’s a shame not to use it.

Ten Life Lessons Backcountry Backpacking Taught Me

Great “10 Things” list…

Laptop and a Rifle

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I’ve gone on a couple of solo backcountry backpacking trips, and both occasions proved to be excellent opportunities for introspection and reflection. There’s something about paring my life down to the very bare minimum and spending my time in nature that allows me to go deeply into myself, and to confront parts of myself that I otherwise might run/hide from in an ordinarily busy life. I’ve also found that backpacking in particular, of all activities, seems to have many parallels to life it self. Here are some “life lessons” that I’ve extracted while backpacking (though, I must add that these are lessons that I find myself often having to relearn).

  1. It’s a process, not a destination – Backpacking is one of the relatively few activities where it’s really about the process rather than the results. That is, every minute of backpacking is backpacking. It’s backpacking when you’re walking, it’s backpacking when you stop to…

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