Halfmoon's journal

Where are you and where are you going?
saving-10-years
Posts: 450
Joined: Thu Oct 31, 2013 9:37 am
Location: Warwickshire, UK

Re: Halfmoon's journal

Post by saving-10-years » Wed Jul 05, 2017 4:38 am

@halfmoon, I realised from what you have previously said about your DH's health that cancer would come up but its both startling and very sad to know that it happened in the midst of his feats of strength and stamina and plans for yet more derring do. This diagnosis must have entailed a huge shift in plans.

Or perhaps,having seen what you two have accomplished so far, it was simply another challenge that you took in your stride and conquered. I hope so. You two are nothing if not resourceful and inventive. Well I could have written you are nothing if not creative and crazy. Or nothing if not determined and dynamic. Or ... (you are such role models to us all and I hope that the current health problems are not too exhausting). Sending love.

halfmoon
Posts: 582
Joined: Mon Nov 07, 2016 10:19 pm

Re: Halfmoon's journal

Post by halfmoon » Thu Jul 06, 2017 12:25 pm

@saving-10-years, thank you so much for this; it made us smile.

I won't say that we conquered the cancer, but we did move forward. Another epic project emerged the summer after DH's radiation, and I'll be doing plenty more bragging along with the dismal parts. ;) The story takes some energy, though, and there's a lot going on in present-day life right now. So meawhile:

WE INTERRUPT THIS BROADCAST TO BRING YOU...BEE SWARM!! :shock:

Yesterday, I was outside mowing grass in the blueberry patch and spreading it around our onions. When I turned off the mower, I could hear a loud humming sound even through the hearing protectors I was wearing. I took off the earmuffs, looked around, and saw a cloud of bees swarming in the fruit trees near me.

Image

DH has been expecting our bees to swarm for about a month, and he had an extra hive all ready in case he could catch them before they left for parts unknown. With his illness, though, we were a little handicapped in the effort. It was especially hard because they settled into the crook of a cherry tree instead of onto a nice, droopy branch. When they're on a branch, hanging like a huge bunch of yellow grapes, it's relatively easy to brush them into a bucket and then put them in the hive. These bees were uncooperative. :cry:

Image

The key is to get the queen (who is covered by her subjects all milling about) into the hive, after which the others will follow. In this case, we couldn't tell where the queen was because the bees were so spread out. We weren't successful, and they eventually swarmed off again. We'll try again next summer. It's always cool to see a mass of bees anyway.

Image

*edited to change "cheery tree" to "cherry tree". I'm not sure the tree was feeling very cheery.
Last edited by halfmoon on Fri Jul 07, 2017 11:30 am, edited 1 time in total.

saving-10-years
Posts: 450
Joined: Thu Oct 31, 2013 9:37 am
Location: Warwickshire, UK

Re: Halfmoon's journal

Post by saving-10-years » Fri Jul 07, 2017 11:19 am

Wow. Wonderful photos. Wondering how near you would have needed to get to those bees to get a shot like this with your old camera from (say) 1990s journal pics. At least I am assuming you were not _that_ close when you did this last picture?

halfmoon
Posts: 582
Joined: Mon Nov 07, 2016 10:19 pm

Re: Halfmoon's journal

Post by halfmoon » Fri Jul 07, 2017 11:29 am

saving-10-years wrote:
Fri Jul 07, 2017 11:19 am
At least I am assuming you were not _that_ close when you did this last picture?
About two feet away. :D The bees pay no attention to you when swarming; they're in some sort of hypnotized-hyper trance. I was mad at myself because I was so excited that I forgot the special camera setting for closeups, in which case I could have practically touched them with the lens and stayed focused. You're right, though: big improvement over the 90's photos.

ffj
Posts: 1541
Joined: Thu Aug 26, 2010 3:16 am

Re: Halfmoon's journal

Post by ffj » Fri Jul 07, 2017 12:28 pm

Neat. That happened at my parents house and a guy came with a cardboard box and took the whole colony. Those bees cooperated though with a nice low-hanging droopy branch. Really interesting pictures.

halfmoon
Posts: 582
Joined: Mon Nov 07, 2016 10:19 pm

Re: Halfmoon's journal

Post by halfmoon » Fri Jul 07, 2017 10:46 pm

Thanks, @ffj! It's a great thing to see, and managing to keep the swarm is very satisfying when it happens (yeah; that low-hanging droopy branch thing is a bonus when it happens*). These were extremely docile bees, so DH really wanted to hold onto them. We're hoping they found a good home. Honeybees are pretty threatened at this point, and as fruit growers we want to keep them vital.

*The hive we have now came in as a swarm from parts unknown, and they settled onto the ground in our orchard! First time we ever saw that. DH put a super on top of them, and they migrated up into it.

Felipe
Posts: 414
Joined: Sun Jan 11, 2015 10:06 pm

Re: Halfmoon's journal

Post by Felipe » Sat Jul 08, 2017 12:23 am

I'm sorry to hear about the cancer. My uncle had a brain cancer and I got him to try hash oil, which helped him keep going and get his appetite back.

Rick Simpson has a documentary where he gives 60 grams of oil to cancer patients over a 60 day period and it cures some but I haven't personally seen anyone have the 60 grams so I can't personally attest to it. If you're in Washington, it's easy to get (or make) good medical grade oil.

I really hope he gets better. Though, it seems you guys are already having an amazing life and living it to the fullest.

Jason
Posts: 519
Joined: Mon Jan 30, 2017 8:37 am

Re: Halfmoon's journal

Post by Jason » Sat Jul 08, 2017 10:47 am

Cancer blows more than a truck stop whore. Sorry to hear about that. I have no idea who you are but you and your DH seem nice.

RE: These pictures. I just got back from Vermont and my first foray into forest bathing. I originally thought it was a big ol bunch of bohemian bullshit but let me tell you that shit is real. I am from the Woody Allen "I am at two with nature" genus but I am fucking reinvigorated. I feel like God laid me in his loving lap, turned me over and powdered my fucking little white ass with the Holy Fucking Spirit. Amen to that. I'm not saying it will cure cancer, but it will cure the hellish anxiety and fear I normally walk around with. It was like I was the protagonist in a Stephen King novel about a perpetually disgruntled asshole who finds a magic path in the New England woods and comes out capable of loving and forgiving people. Unfortunately, upon seeing the "Welcome To New Jersey" sign I flipped off an old lady in her Oldsmobile. Did they call it OldsMobile to get Old people to but it. Who knows. But they might as well have given out free caskets with the fucking things as an inducement to purchase.

One of my customer's just died of pancreatic cancer two months after being diagnosed. They might as well just come in and say get ready to die if you get that shit. He was once an Italian soccer star. Handsome as all hell. I mean the type of guy who got grade A, international p**** I bet he nailed Sophia Loren backed in the day which I would do in exchange for pancreatic cancer. What was that joke, "There are only two good things to come out of Italy and Sophia Loren has both of them."

Anyways, I hope the cancer goes away and he can climb his tower and harvest his his bees and do all the type of shit I would never in a thousand years consider doing.

halfmoon
Posts: 582
Joined: Mon Nov 07, 2016 10:19 pm

Re: Halfmoon's journal

Post by halfmoon » Sat Jul 08, 2017 6:56 pm

Felipe, thank you. I've been thinking about whether DH should try some form of cannabis to help with his pain and lack of appetite. I need to look into it further because he has a number of medical conditions that have to be considered when adding any medication. I guess I could ask his doctors, but they aren't always good at thinking outside the box. They must be fielding a lot of questions about medical cannabis these days, though.

Just to clarify: the cancer that I mentioned above was discovered and treated in 1996, which is where I am in my story. DH has had cancer 3 more times since then. It's the long-term side effects of radiation to the head and neck that are nibbling quietly away at his life.

Jason, thanks for your kind words also. If you're not careful, people might find out that you're a nice guy. :D How did you end up forest bathing? Were you staying someplace without indoor plumbing, or is this something people pay for?

Jason
Posts: 519
Joined: Mon Jan 30, 2017 8:37 am

Re: Halfmoon's journal

Post by Jason » Sun Jul 09, 2017 8:15 am

I was wondering exactly where we were in the narrative when the cancer made its appearance. But as you just alluded, cancer is like a mother-in-law. As great as it feels when she leaves, you know at some point she's coming back.

RE: My niceness. I will always provide enough evidence to keep it in doubt.

RE: Forest bathing. If I hadn't made it clear before, me and "someplace without indoor plumbing" are mutually exclusive concepts. It was an Inn with a nicer bathroom than my own that featured forest bathing as an amenity along with outdoor pool, tennis court, free breakfast, and no TV's in the rooms. Supposedly its big amongst the Japanese which initially made me skeptical as despite its contributions to the world, it is still a culture that produces reality television shows with studio audiences laughing hysterically as a contestant is non-consensually anally penetrated with a cucumber in a bathroom stall.

To put it in religious terms as I am wont to do, forest bathing is like the pantheistic version of pentecost.

Frugalitifree
Posts: 21
Joined: Wed May 24, 2017 11:01 am

Re: Halfmoon's journal

Post by Frugalitifree » Mon Jul 24, 2017 4:54 pm

My favourite journal here. Keep the memories coming Halfmoon, there's a lovely flow to your prose.

User avatar
Riggerjack
Posts: 1879
Joined: Thu Jul 14, 2011 3:09 am

Re: Halfmoon's journal

Post by Riggerjack » Mon Jul 24, 2017 8:14 pm

Sorry to hear about the cancer, and wish you both all the best. If you do decide to try cannabis, look out. Legal, over the counter, retail weed is so different from the weed of the 80s, it may as well be a whole other thing. I find vape pens and edibles to be great. I don't like smoking the flower, too hard on the lungs. They now make massage oils and cooking oils.
Still, I would take advantage of Google for interaction. Drs are dependent on studies and 1st hand stories. Look for cancer forums for a general look at interactivity of cancer drugs and cannabis. Sorry I can't give better advice, but this has been an area I haven't had to do any research in. Knock on wood.

halfmoon
Posts: 582
Joined: Mon Nov 07, 2016 10:19 pm

Re: Halfmoon's journal

Post by halfmoon » Mon Jul 24, 2017 9:07 pm

Frugalitifree, thank you for the kind words. I fully intend to continue my story when I can catch a breath. Right now it's hospitals and biopsies, but I know from experience that this will pass...one way or another.

Riggerjack, thank you also for the encouragement and information. I actually talked with one of DH's army of doctors about cannabis, and he mentioned some sort of synthetic that would presumably be a more controlled dosage. They have him on a ridiculous number of medications at the moment, and there are still too many unknowns about his condition. I'm definitely keeping it in mind.

Felipe
Posts: 414
Joined: Sun Jan 11, 2015 10:06 pm

Re: Halfmoon's journal

Post by Felipe » Mon Jul 24, 2017 9:14 pm

I also find smoking unpleasant. A volcano vaporizer is more enjoyable. For the doses to effect cancer, it requires eating the oil as other methods won't get enough into the system.

I'd stay away from the synthetics. They tend to be a focus of 1 or 2 cannabinoids and have much higher chances of causing freak out since some of the cannabinoids present in smaller percentages balance out the intensity of THC. There's labs all over the place that test oils for quality and strength.

halfmoon
Posts: 582
Joined: Mon Nov 07, 2016 10:19 pm

Re: Halfmoon's journal

Post by halfmoon » Wed Jul 26, 2017 7:31 am

That's good to know about synthetics, Felipe. We're still waiting for more information on this latest recurrence so we can look clearly at the options. Even if there's no hope of a cure, I'd like him to try cannabis for his constant pain and nausea.

Jason
Posts: 519
Joined: Mon Jan 30, 2017 8:37 am

Re: Halfmoon's journal

Post by Jason » Wed Jul 26, 2017 9:42 am

Man, this makes me sad. I hope he finds comfort and peace.

DutchGirl
Posts: 1034
Joined: Tue Sep 06, 2011 1:49 pm
Location: The Netherlands

Re: Halfmoon's journal

Post by DutchGirl » Wed Jul 26, 2017 3:10 pm

Sorry to hear this, halfmoon. You're both in my thoughts.

Noedig
Posts: 169
Joined: Tue Aug 26, 2014 10:15 pm

Re: Halfmoon's journal

Post by Noedig » Wed Jul 26, 2017 3:22 pm

Sympathies from myself, also. I wish for your DH some good moments when the discomfort eases.

halfmoon
Posts: 582
Joined: Mon Nov 07, 2016 10:19 pm

Re: Halfmoon's journal

Post by halfmoon » Thu Jul 27, 2017 10:08 am

I sincerely appreciate all the supportive messages. I'm looking forward to getting back to our story, because that -- not illness -- is what defines my beloved husband for me.

My strongest advice for anyone, trite and overused as it may be: live your life at all times. Be fully present in your relationships, your work, your everyday life. Don't assume that everything will be perfect at some future point.

Our path obviously wouldn't be for everyone, and it wasn't even really ERE. We retired when DH was 55 and I was 34, and I returned to working from home 10 years later. Still: before, during and after our retirement, we pursued adventures and accomplishments that gave our life satisfaction and meaning. That's a huge consolation to me now, when we can't really go anywhere or do much. For those who want to immerse themselves in physical activity or adventurous travel, I'd advise putting aside fear and doing those things before ill health or inertia narrow your possibilities. When you're young, it's hard to imagine being physically or mentally diminished by age, but it happens to us all.

Jason
Posts: 519
Joined: Mon Jan 30, 2017 8:37 am

Re: Halfmoon's journal

Post by Jason » Fri Jul 28, 2017 10:39 am

Its not trite and overused, its important and important ideas should be repeated, so thank you.

saving-10-years
Posts: 450
Joined: Thu Oct 31, 2013 9:37 am
Location: Warwickshire, UK

Re: Halfmoon's journal

Post by saving-10-years » Fri Jul 28, 2017 3:18 pm

@halfmoon - as one of your readers who with my own DH has been following with bated breath the bold exploits of your DH I am at this point reviewing some of those exploits mentally and thinking ... 'what? he was 55+ when he did that pole building/skimming lark?' 'and the tractor in the mud hole?' 'and the truck falling to bits under the weight of materials' and ... Your retirement may not have been extremely early but it definitely (from my reading) had its extreme aspects.

Lives lived fully with hopefully more episodes of reaching high to come. Certainly hoping so.

halfmoon
Posts: 582
Joined: Mon Nov 07, 2016 10:19 pm

Re: Halfmoon's journal

Post by halfmoon » Sun Jul 30, 2017 2:49 pm

Jason, this was brought into sharp focus for me again because a family member died yesterday. Thank you.

Saving-10-years, I always find your messages inspirational (as in kick-butt :D )! My butt is duly kicked, and I'm going to continue our story. Hope to post later today.

halfmoon
Posts: 582
Joined: Mon Nov 07, 2016 10:19 pm

Re: Halfmoon's journal

Post by halfmoon » Sun Jul 30, 2017 4:34 pm

Let's all step into the time machine and return to 1997 (Ha! We wish.)

THE RETIREMENT YEARS

...SOMETIMES THE BEAR SPITS YOU BACK OUT.

BUILDING THE SHOP:

We returned to our mountain home at the end of February 1997. DH was suffering short-term aftereffects of head/neck radiation, but it only took him a few months to shake the worst of it off. We didn't understand back then that cellular-level radiation damage worsens over time, but that's another story.

As soon as the snow melted, we continued our project of thinning sick trees from our property. One of the patches we'd been avoiding was a stand of good-sized larch infested with mistletoe. We clearly needed to cut them down in order to protect the new growth from being infected, but it was just painful to think of using these gorgeous, arrow-straight trees for firewood. One bright day in early spring, I came up with a brilliant idea: we should use the larch to build a log shop.

This is a trait DH and I shared: our reach exceeded our grasp on a regular basis. The last thing we needed was another project, but we latched onto this with religious fervor. :roll:

The logical spot for a shop/garage was at the base of the tower. That was the only area free of large trees, and we weren’t about to cut healthy trees. Being us, we went out and measured how much room we had between the tower base and a big old pine at the other end. That determined the size of our building. No point in wasting opportunity by making it any smaller!

We designed the building to be a 20x20’ log-enclosed shop on one end and two 20x10’ open bays for parking the truck and tractor and...stuff. The enclosed end had two notched and fitted corners like those you see in most log construction. The other two shop corners (and the door openings) had vertical poles into which we butted the logs and pinned them with rebar. We did this because the notching/fitting takes a long time and also eats up more space. The photos can explain this better than I can.

Required steps:

1. Cut down the diseased trees (about 40 of them) and peel the logs. Allow me to say that again: PEEL THE LOGS. Very short description of a huge job. You see some log cabins with the bark still on, which is easier but makes the logs more prone to rot. Not for us. We used draw knives and peeling spuds, then laid the logs out to dry with spacers keeping them off the ground. I unfortunately have no photos of this process.

2. Measure the diameter of each log on each end and determine where they would go in the building for maximum uniformity. These larch were ideal for log construction because there wasn't much variation in diameter from one end to the other. That means you can fit the logs pretty tightly and keep the layers reasonably level.

3. Mark each log to key with our layout diagram.

4. Move the logs to the building site. This actually happened gradually throughout the building process so we weren’t tripping over logs. The harvest/peeling site was halfway across our 40 acres from the building site.

5. Hand-dig 12 holes for the foundation piers. Hand-mix concrete, pour the piers and insert rebar.

6. Lay concrete blocks between the piers for the 20x20' enclosed portion, bedded in the ground to achieve a level top. Lay tarpaper on the concrete blocks and then pressure-treated lumber on top of that. Level, level, level.

Finally! We have a blurry photo.

Image

7. Lay down the size-coded logs one at a time, chain-saw notches in each end, finish the notches with a chisel, then fit the logs together at the corners. Again: we only notched and fitted the logs at two corners of the building.

Image

Image

8. Drill holes through two layers of logs and pound rebar into the corners and wall intervals.

Image

Image

Inspector General

Image

9. Use the Alaskan mill to square off one or two sides of the vertical posts as needed to butt the logs against. I don't have an action shot for the Alaskan milling, but you can see the result. This side has the man door opening.

Image

This is the beginning of the barn door opening (actually earlier than the previous photo). The green steel rails we set up for the Alaskan mill are in the foreground.

Image

10. Use the Alaskan mill to square off three 48-foot logs into beams for the ridge beam and the two that went on top of the walls. (@ffj or Riggerjack, I need some help with what these are called. I’m pretty sure wall-topping beams isn’t the term.)* The Alaskan mill is just a chainsaw attachment, so it's a fairly miserable process: noisy, smelling of exhaust and and all the sawdust you can eat.

*Edit: Saving-10-years helped me out here. The term is wall plate.

11. Use tall posts, come-alongs and chains to hoist the beams into place; secure everything with rebar and threaded rods. The first photo is horribly blurry, but it might help to understand the hoisting process.

Image

Image

I want to point out that DH is 60 years old in these photos and just over a serious bout with cancer. Pretty impressive, I think. 8-)

12. Construct and hang the big barn doors. Hang a small man door on one side. We also planned to cut windows in, but we never got around to it.

13. Fit dimensional rafter lumber to the hand-milled beams, cutting in birds heads at the top and the side beams. FYI: calculating the cuts was HELL. Do not ever try to fit dimensional lumber to hand-milled beams unless you’re a math genius with the patience of Job (...or maybe just know what you're doing). I came close to burning the whole thing down in frustration. :evil:

Image

Image

14. Sheath the rafters with OSB and then roofing felt.
15. Lay metal roofing panels and screw down.

Image

Image

16. Collapse for the winter.

We started this project in spring and barely finished it by the end of September with early dustings of high-elevation snow on our tails. We worked 10-hour days and lay awake nights toward the end fearing that we'd bitten off more than we could chew. Pretty typical for us. :roll:
Last edited by halfmoon on Tue Aug 01, 2017 8:38 am, edited 2 times in total.

MDFIRE2024
Posts: 278
Joined: Fri Jan 06, 2017 5:09 pm
Location: Germany

Re: Halfmoon's journal

Post by MDFIRE2024 » Mon Jul 31, 2017 12:58 pm

Awesome!

Jason
Posts: 519
Joined: Mon Jan 30, 2017 8:37 am

Re: Halfmoon's journal

Post by Jason » Mon Jul 31, 2017 3:00 pm

The picture of him perched on the beam between sky and earth should be sent to Meriam Webster to be placed under "badass".

Post Reply