粗衣粗食 （そいそしょく） [soisoshoku]
(n) shabby clothes and humble meals; frugal [simple] life
More doings in rural New Hampshire.
- Cow hide dry scraping and scraper sharpening
- Community-wide wireless internet extension and repeating project
- Listening to a stranger to provide moral support
- Ongoing daily reading of “I Am That” with notes and reflection
- Work-trade of carpentry and building work on a neighbor’s house in exchange for a week’s share of vegetables from the CSA
- Custom-crafted two black walnut, hardwood handles for knives, from scratch
- Assisted Noah the baker for evening bake shifts each Friday night in work-trade for farm-stand credit and more
- Picked up a few road-kill squirrels
- Skinned and butchered
- Turned meat into a stew for a potluck
- Scraped and tanned the hides
- Enjoyed a community member’s birthday – DJ’ed in our friend’s house in the woods – what a surprise!
- Visits from an old friend
- Designed, planned, wired and installed a high-quality audio system at the bakery to replace the dinky portable speakers that had been there for years. Whee!
- Acorn flour milling by hand; leaching acorn flour by various methods
- Grinding and mixing spices
- Watched Nate and learned about how to burnish and fire primitive clay pottery
- Meals from the garden
- Compound bow tuning and repair
- Hanging slate, rabbit and pig feeding for CSA work-trade
- Began to get an education of the types of guns, various caliber sizes, and their applications
- Continued to raise awareness of wild animals, and to grow a sense to more often look out for them in their various habitats
- Prepared a very large soup stock for the fall Harvest Fire festival, with Noah. We roasted veal and pork bones in the wood-fired oven, and then stocked them with fresh herbs from the garden, along with turkey, duck and chicken feet from Marty and Ellen across the street. Yum.
- Harvested, cut and dehydrated apples
- Deep conversations with friends on topics ranging from food and nutrition to the meaning of it all…
- Setup event tents and did a lot of vegetable preparation for Harvest Fire Festival
- Enjoyed Nate’s acorn flour-beaver fat-black walnut-butternut-butter biscuits he prepared for his week-long bowhunting trip.
- Strolled the woods to a special spot where we harvested Hemlock boughs to lay a new floor for Nate’s tent. Learned how to fashion a functional, pleasant smelling, biodegradable, free flooring solution for outdoor living
- Practiced setting dead-fall traps
- Lived in Nate’s wall tent while he was away.
- Tended to the space, cleaned and re-organized many things.
- Burned two fires a day, to keep tent dry.
- Harvested, cut and stacked firewood. Here I learned a lot about how to identify what wood from the forest will be best for firewood that is easy to carry out solo and buck up, that is dry and will burn well.
- Conversations with neighbor Jim who, among other things, has experience and knowledge about how to cure meat into sausage without nitrates or refrigeration. Wow!
- Learned about poultry processing and helped neighbors by plucking a Peking Duck and gutting four chickens. Enjoyed their conversation and fresh chicken and garden-herb sausage afterwards.
- Enjoyed the pleasures of a thin-skinned structure when sleeping and working. The canvas tent allowed me to hear coyotes, owls, wind and rain, the chuckling of the red squirrel, and the presence of passers-by… And of course the pleasant ambiance of candle light.
- Eating large quantities of local, raw, heavy cream.
- Lots of squash and root vegetable roasting in the latent heat of the wood-fired oven
- Garden tool repair
- Cleaned and reorganized farmhouse wood and workshop
- Shotgun target practice
- Enjoying pumpkin-miso soup by candlelight in Nate’s tent
- Joined Nate for a successful wild turkey and Canada goose hunt. Plucked and butchered the birds, and served a community meal with all local food.
- DIY Yurt construction project. Nate wants to build a yurt… from scratch.
- Found and cut down gray birch trees for poles
- Limbing poles with axe
- Making a master log, cutting poles to length
- Taking split poles and using a pattern, drilled holes for lattice ties
- Tied lattice poles together for wall support structure.
- Cut pine boards with chop saw and band saw, created two rings, layered them and assembled a roof ring.
- Rendered lard from a friend’s piggy
- Wall-tent breakfasts on sheepskin rugs atop fresh hemlock bough floor
- Enjoyed the ever-changing northern New England foliage
- Star gazed on clear nights
- Moved and installed a composting toilet into the orchard
- Picked and mashed apples, pressing them for raw cider. Lacto-fermented some cider for long-term storage
- Began cutting out leather for a knife sheath
- Rebuilt Liv’s yurt floor
- Spent time in a neighbor’s 330 square-foot woodland cabin. Inspired yet again by small spaces and what it takes to make them possible.
- Belt repair. My belt tore, so Nate and Ginny walked me through mending it.
- Learned to awl, and sew buckskin
- Sewed together Nate’s bark-tanned buckskin to leather belt with glover’s needle
- Ongoing exploration of food and it’s interaction with my body, energy and mind
- Pond dips continued even through the end of October.
- Running on deep hills, upon dirt roads, in moccasins.
- Computer repair at the Orchard School
- Stretching, movement, and meditation
- Solo late-night sauna
- Took down canvas wall tent
- Riding bikes on empty New Hampshire roads, feeling the wind in my face. Loving the pace.
- My sister came to see the community in which I’d been living. To meet my friends, to taste my world. How different it is from hers. The contrast sparks so much curiosity.
The last few weeks have been enjoyable, healthy, educational, rewarding, active, direct, and simple. Here are a few of the things we’ve been doing…
- Preparing garlic for storage
- Scouting for bear
- Draw knife restoration and sharpening
- Ax restoration
- Patterning old handle
- Disassembling old ax
- Finding an appropriate piece of hardwood for the handle
- Splitting an ash log for the stock
- Shaving the stock on a shaving horse with a draw knife
- Rasping and spoke shaving details
- Filing ax head
- Shaving a piece of black locust for the wedge
- Assembling ax
- Aligning and sharpening blade
- Sanding handle
- Oiling handle and adding paracord for missed swing protection
- Archery practice
- Crafting meals with beaver parts
- Gleaning apples from the drops in the orchard
- Roots Rendezvous gathering in Vermont
- Weaving cat-tail and Phragmite reed grass mats on a primitive loom
- Icelandic Lamb Project: Using the Whole Animal with Nate
- Breaking down
- Blood and acorn flour pancakes
- 3 types of sausages
- Char-grilled meats
- Headcheese soup
- Hide processing
- stretching on a rack
- Brain tanning
- Bone tools – awls, sewing needles
- Wild Rice workshop
- Stone tools and flintknapping workshop
- Mushroom walk
- Swimming and bathing in the pond
- Gathering and cutting firewood
- Firemaking with bow drill
- Cooking on open wood fires and wood stoves
- Cracking and shelling red oak acorns
- Scouting for deer and wild turkey
- Foraging mushrooms, including about 15lb maitake (Grifola frondosa)
- Sewing tarps
- Dinner with friends
- Dehydrating mushrooms
- Apple picking for cider pressing
- Fabricating an archery target from scrap cardboard
- Integrating into the little community here
- Visiting local fields, forests, farm
- Gleaning tomatoes
- Hand-squeezing cultured butter with the neighbors
- Hanging out in the bakery for the late-night bakes
- Walks in the woods
- Walking barefoot or with moccasins
- Bowhunting safety course – passed
- Wood-fired sauna
- Restored my wooden bowl
- Harvesting grey birch poles for DIY yurt construction while doing Tree Stand Improvement
- Sleeping outside, even when it ain’t warm
Sleeping outside continues to teach me so much. I’ve also found that my sleep is of a higher quality when I stay in tents or other thin-skinned ‘structures’.
Having enjoyed spending the majority of the nights this summer in a tent, I’ve been at my parents’ place this past week or so and when I arrived I immediately set it up again. Leaving the house each night, walking through the yard and into my little nook in the woods was a great separation in many senses. Electronics, air conditioning systems, and artificial light are not present. Instead I am gifted the sounds of the insects and animals around me, or the tattering of the rain on the tent’s surface. The bed of oak leaves below me is a welcome place to rest my body. Waking up to a sky that brightens so smoothly, without the din of the alarm clock, makes for a kind rising experience to start the day freshly.
[Music: Bon Iver - Holocene ]
521am. Rising naturally in my tent, not another soul stirs. A gull curls over grey Belfast bay, just across the lawn. The clouds, a homogeneous mist, dense only enough to help me forget there is a sun behind them. Scattered boats, moored, stir not. My daily movements under the park tent and the rain comes down, chattering. I sit now, the headphones funneling sweetness to me like it’s intravenous. Goosebumps erupt, leaving a trail of Braille spelling out messages of overwhelming gratitude.
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Home sweet home.
Rocket stove breakfast.
En route to Bread and Puppet.
Creative uses of things we know.
Finishing up the greenhouse.
WOM – Water Organization Module.
Nearing the end of the build.
Thank you all, thank you Vermont.