29 January 2011

There are so many things that we take for granted

My voluntary poverty has taught me that sometimes less is more, but also some things that most people consider a mandatory requirement is a luxury to most people in the world.  This isn't meant to be an open complaint nor a plea for help; just some of my thoughts and lessons.

We're all lucky to have (especially city folk):
  1. Running hot water
  2. A flushing toilet
  3. A well-insulated house
  4. Heat with a thermostat
  5. Plumbing that goes away from our houses
  6. The ability to shower whenever we want
If you truly think for just a second, most of the people in the developing world (around 4 billion people) do not have these things.  I am forever grateful when I do have access to these luxuries and you, my friends, are lucky too.  Not having these things makes life a little slower, a little more of a process, but each in their own way helps one appreciate the connectedness of our existence with the rest of the world.

Our waste water has to go somewhere, mine goes into a bucket and then gets dumped outside nearby.  Our heaters have thermostats, I am the yurt's thermostat.  Our hot water has to get warmed by burning some type of fuel, my fuel is the wood in the wood stove.  Despite my having to wake up once a night to get the fire going again, I can smile at it and have a good sense of my place in the world.  I am in tune with the weather and temperature.  I am acutely aware of the lengthening of days as spring quickly approaches as every day the sky gets brighter earlier and the chickens follow suit.  I also get to see the billions of stars that slowly rotate in a sparkling mosaic across the blue-black canvas above, Orion, Cassiopeia, and the seven sisters greeting me as I walk home from the farmhouse to the yurt.

A good meal, a warm fire, and some peanut butter are all I need to be happy at the end of the night.  I have access to all the winter veggies I want, some meat, and then some.  Life is pretty good if you ask me.  If you haven't tried the winter squash recipe I posted before, you're missing out on a piece of heaven.  I've become a squash addict over the last week.

Roasted Winter Vegetables
This recipe is somewhat adapted from a cookbook, but also suggestions.

  • however many winter veggies you want to eat (carrots, winter squash, rutabaga, kohlrabi (tastes like broccoli but in root form), turnips, celeriac, winter squash, and winter squash)
  • a couple tablespoons of olive oil 
  • a healthy sprinkling of dried herbs like thyme, rosemary, and oregano
Slice these, except the winter squash, into 1/4 inch slices.   If you don't like to eat the squash skins, you will want to peel them first.  Cut the squash into 1/2 inch slices.  Toss the ingredients until everything is coated in oil and place them into a baking pan.  Heat your oven to 450F and cook for a half hour or so until all the veggies are tender.  Simple, delicious, filling.  Buckwheat Blossom's mutton sausage goes well with this...

Other quick updates, I will be doing more horse logging next week after doing it all this week.  I'll let you know about the experience of learning to drive horses while they're dragging a 40 foot log through 2 feet of snow.  I was so tired last night I literally got home from the farmhouse and fell asleep at 9pm.

PS - Shoutout to Candace and Freeman!  Thanks for the olives, reading material, and slippers!  Most of all, I'm addicted to Candace's German chocolate dough balls.  You should seriously consider baking those and selling them!  I'm also glad you guys have decided to work to help people in the Dominican Republic.  It is a beautiful thing you are doing.

Til next week, stay toasty!  Some pictures (finally) below...

The yurt, with Tacoma as a reference (A professional photographer, I am not)

The door that humans and dogs use.  The mice like to climb in elsewhere.
The Office

How I look while working but with shirts on.


  1. Alright Lee There are so many ways I could go as far as the shirt off thing but I think I'll just go with the mustache.....(insert off color Burt Reynolds/Tom Selek joke here).......Whats the adress if I wanna send stuff to you such as pics of you fighting roosters with your Magnum PI stache? chuck

  2. Rich, I'm digging the writing (though voracious reader I am not):

    Our dingle berries must stick somewhere, mine stick to the mice that invade the yurt. Our boogers must feed someone, mine feed the compost heap over by the horses.

    Bravo! Stay warm. :)

  3. I used yurt in wordfeud (androids ripoff of wordwithfriends) guy chatted "wtf is a yurt?"

  4. Address is 408 Willow Lane, Wiscasset, ME 04578. Real men wear moustaches.

    Thanks Tahmeed!

    Glad I'm a part of your expanding vocabulary Doug...Keep reading!