Halfmoon's journal

Where are you and where are you going?
halfmoon
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Re: Halfmoon's journal

Post by halfmoon » Sat Jan 27, 2018 1:54 pm

Jacob, that story you linked scared me straight. :shock: Just as an aside, I wonder why they removed the heat pump/AC blower unit. Those things aren't cheap, so maybe it was full of maggots? Ugh.

We know someone who does that sort of cleanup on the side after crime scenes, messy deaths or advanced hoarding. He makes great money, but it would be pretty low on my list of acceptable activities. He's a highly successful salesman in his day job.

All joking aside about our hoarding, we aren't quite that bad. The avalanche of food processor accessories (or tupperware) did strike a familiar note, and I do have periodic conversations with DH about how much harder it is to clean around so much stuff. Organized abundance makes him feel happy and secure, though. Now he's started collecting little agates and quartz crystals, and they're arranged in tiny mountains on our breakfast counter between the animal figures on the windowsill and his placemat. It reminds me of my stuffed animal collection that allowed me only a narrow sliver of my bed when I was small.

A question for any and all: how do you reconcile your sense of optimal conditions with allowing your loved ones the things that make them happy?

Farm_or
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Re: Halfmoon's journal

Post by Farm_or » Sun Jan 28, 2018 8:24 am

Compromises.

As a recovering neat freak, I've had to become more territorial. "The kitchen and the garage are mine. You can clutter up the rest of the house."

But I have been trained not to leave empty space anywhere, lest it will be filled with some piece of junk. Where do all of those things come from? A lot of the blame goes to crazy grandparents who joy in spoiling children that they don't have to live with.

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7Wannabe5
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Re: Halfmoon's journal

Post by 7Wannabe5 » Sun Jan 28, 2018 9:07 am

I am a reformed messy, so my learned practice is that I simply box up other's belongings and return them to whatever space has been designated personal to them on a daily basis. Active projects that require use of shared space would be an exception to this rule. Time/effort analysis has revealed that this is more efficient than any attempt to train messy people. When I live with people who are naturally neater than me, I just sometimes amuse myself by exceeding their standards. For instance, the amazed/befuddled look on my BF's face was well worth the effort of pre-trimming a stack of coffee filters down to the exact size to fit his machine.

DutchGirl
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Re: Halfmoon's journal

Post by DutchGirl » Wed Mar 14, 2018 5:03 pm

Hi, Halfmoon, just checking in. I hope you're okay. Thinking about you from this other corner of our world. :-)

halfmoon
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Re: Halfmoon's journal

Post by halfmoon » Sat Mar 24, 2018 11:27 pm

DutchGirl, thank you for ringing my doorbell. :)

I think about this forum a lot, but I feel too guilty to lurk or post randomly before updating my own journal. Finally I've outlined another huge chapter in my story and will post a portion of it very soon. Then maybe I can go back to reading and commenting on other journals and posts. :roll:

DutchGirl
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Re: Halfmoon's journal

Post by DutchGirl » Mon Mar 26, 2018 12:27 am

Hurray! I'm looking forward to it. And please don't feel guilty. Real life can intervene, and has priority over digital stuff...

saving-10-years
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Re: Halfmoon's journal

Post by saving-10-years » Mon Mar 26, 2018 1:49 am

@halfmoon Well some of us (I am conscious of me doing this) lurk and spinkle messages around in other people's threads and never do an update on our own. But as the fanbase for halfmoon's journal is huge I am one of many who are happy you have yet more updates in the pipeline. Real life sounds like it is throwing you endless curveballs so thanks for taking the time.

halfmoon
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Re: Halfmoon's journal

Post by halfmoon » Wed Mar 28, 2018 11:19 pm

DutchGirl and saving-ten-years, I appreciate your tolerance for flakiness. :D Real life does seem sort of involved these days, but truthfully some of it is distractability and poor time management. My response to stress seems to be two-fold: I rise heroically to address a wave of urgent needs but compensate by dribbling away the remaining time on mindless junk.

I finally finished the first small part of my epic next chapter. I read it to DH, who remarked: 'It's kind of boring.' I sat around for two days wondering how to make it more interesting and finally gave up. We just need to get through this explanatory section; compelling drama be damned. Suck it up and read this so I can move on to the good stuff. :lol:

halfmoon
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Re: Halfmoon's journal

Post by halfmoon » Wed Mar 28, 2018 11:57 pm

THE RETIREMENT YEARS

THE ROAD LESS TRAVELED:

I’ve had a recurring dream most of my adult life; the details vary, but the general idea persists. In my dream, DH and I are living in some remote place hidden from the world. I suddenly hear a loud noise and look out the window to see a huge semi-truck* driving right through our front yard. I’m infuriated, violated, completely freaked. I run around screaming at them to get out. Sometimes it gets violent. Eventually I become so agitated that I wake up.

(*or a logging truck, bulldozer, convoy of pickups…it varies.)

Let’s just say that DH and I are a little territorial. Given that fact, why did we buy retirement property way out on a forested mountainside with a PUBLIC ROAD running through it? This parcel was the only place of its kind available, and the price was right. As it turned out, the road became a significant part of our story.

Our 40 acres was an approximate square, ¼ mile on each side. A dirt and gravel road bisected the north third, running east to west. The road was on an easement owned by the state Department of Natural Resources; they administered the state forest south and west of our parcel. To the east was 40 acres owned by a local ranch who eventually sold it to the state, and the north side bordered another parcel that we eventually acquired.

When we bought the original 40 acres in 1991, access was via a bulldozed dirt track running from the DNR road at an angle through the ranch parcel before it connected to ours. The following spring, we were laying out our fenceline borders when a DNR forester drove by. He stopped to introduce himself and let us know that our access road wasn’t a legal easement through the ranch land, but using it was probably no problem…as long as we didn’t make any trouble for the ranch. “You’ll find that one hand washes the other around here,” he assured us. Red flag: meet bull. We immediately arranged to have a new driveway bulldozed in directly from the public DNR road onto our property, then ran our new fence straight across the old track running from ranch land. We weren’t sure what trouble we could make for the ranch, but we didn’t want to owe anyone anything.

We learned soon enough what trouble we could make for the ranch…or they could make for us. Forests of the American west, much to my surprise as a Pennsylvania transplant, are leased to ranchers and have cattle freely roaming them from early spring to late fall. Many surrounding areas are designated open range, which means that the burden is on the private landowners to fence their land if they don’t want someone else’s cattle grazing it. We wanted our property to be habitat for wildlife, so fencing was one of our first priorities.

Of course it’s more complicated than that. If a road runs through your property, you need a way to allow road access while keeping livestock out (or in, depending on the situation). When only a few people use the road, you can just put in a gate and count on the users to keep it closed. If the road is public, however, your chance of getting people to get out of their trucks and close gates on either end is pretty low. Hence the cattle guard.

Image

The cattle guard is a simple, low-tech structure. Cattle don’t like to cross it because their hooves can fall through, though we’ve never witnessed such a thing. They just seem to know better than to try, and there’s been some success on paved roads with merely painting a cattle guard design on the surface. On the other hand: we’ve seen seasoned cows pick their way delicately across the bars, leaving their fearful calves bellowing behind them in confusion.

On one side of the cattle guard is a swing gate. This allows heavy equipment like snowplows to bypass the cattle guard surface and ranch hands to herd cattle through via the road. When we bought our parcel, the ranch owners had been long accustomed to leaving the gate open and letting the cattle graze through the private property on their way to and from DNR land. Various people assured us that this was to our advantage because cattle grazing can reduce wildfire fuels. We’d seen the damage to natural habitat, streams and wetlands from cattle overgrazing. This was especially true in recently logged areas, where we would see cattle standing a foot deep in dry, bare dirt. We had zero interest in allowing cattle on our land…and thus began the Range Wars.
The tiny town nearest us was known for its ranching roots. Every spring and fall, cattle were driven through the town street by real-life cowboys herding them from the ranch to summer pasture. We found this very romantic until we realized that the cattle were dropped off at the base of the mountain where we lived. From there, they wandered on their own through unfenced state wildlife land and private property on their way to the actual grazing leases on higher ground. Some of them felt no compulsion to travel further than fragile wetlands and riparian areas, congregating to consume and trample the vegetation. They also spread noxious weeds and provided a breeding environment for flies.

Since we were always drawn to live in remote places, we tried to mitigate our own impact by enhancing – or at least not degrading -- habitat. We wanted our land to be an oasis of sorts for deer and other wildlife (eventually moose, which made us very happy). Allowing cattle to eat all the grass/shrubs and spread invasive weeds was clearly incompatible with that goal. We weren’t trying to eradicate the long tradition of grazing leases; we just wanted the cattle to be managed in accordance with the law. One of the lease requirements was moving animals from fully grazed areas into new grass and actively herding them through fenced private land on access roads. And so back to the cattle guard and gates.

Remember that nice cattle guard image above? Here are photos of the ones on either end of our property:

Image

Image

Again: the concept was that ranch hands would open the gates and actively drive cattle through to higher ground. That didn’t happen. We spent a couple of years chasing cows out of our property, re-closing gates, writing letters to the ranch owner and the DNR, posting signs requesting that the gates be kept closed…it was hopeless.

Though it ran counter to our code of self-reliance and ingrained thrift, we finally consulted a local attorney with ties to the whole good-old-boy network. While were still sitting in his office, he called a statewide DNR manager and explained the situation. The DNR official immediately wrote a letter (copied to us) telling the ranch owner that he would lose his grazing lease if he didn’t shape up. Grazing leases are a deal for the lessee and critical to the viability of cattle ranching, often passed down through families. Without further ado, the problem was solved. The gate was not left open again, and we had a remarkably cordial relationship with the ranch owner from that point forward.

DutchGirl
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Re: Halfmoon's journal

Post by DutchGirl » Thu Mar 29, 2018 1:23 am

When driving on country roads, I've noticed these cattle guards. But I've never noticed the extra roads-with-fences to the side. I will pay attention to that the next time I see one :-) . Glad to read that you got the problem solved effectively, in the end.

saving-10-years
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Re: Halfmoon's journal

Post by saving-10-years » Thu Mar 29, 2018 3:47 am

Thanks for that. I think your DH thinks that its not that gripping because he knows what comes next? Anyhow its interesting to me. When we bought our in-cared for house in the country with farm buildings (having been townies all our lives) we became familiar with the term 'agricultural repair'. This covers a whole range of make-shift running repairs that end up being permanent. Key ingredients are baler twine, barbed wire and acrow props (jack props in the US?). Sheep hurdles are good too. So your 'this is what it looks like in the catalogue' and 'this is what we found' are familiar compare and contrast images for us.

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Re: Halfmoon's journal

Post by Jason » Thu Mar 29, 2018 3:25 pm

I guess it got back Mother Goose that in was too much of a stretch to have kids believe that a cow could jump over the HalfMoon's.

Farm_or
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Re: Halfmoon's journal

Post by Farm_or » Fri Mar 30, 2018 7:42 am

Some people can write about the phone book and make it compelling?

But of course, I find that subject matter very interesting. My situation with cattle is very similar here. Another example of the dual life I've lived?

When I was an urban dweller, I often longed to escape the suffocating city bustle. The mountain bike was my ultimate escape vehicle. I grew up in cattle country, on a ranch no less, my first job was with a rancher. Nevertheless, I had a few clashes with overbearing land owners and their hired hands (cowboys).

Now, the tables have turned and I am a landowner and public grazer. And I am ashamed to admit that I did go through that initial over bearing phase. I heard the words coming out of my mouth while kicking a trespasser off of my property and it occurred to me what a hypocrite I became. Although, in my defense- my trespassers are never mountain bikers harmlessly passing through, they are rednecks in 4x4s shooting out the window.

I've gotten a lot more liberal about trespassers on my property. And I never made the mistake of claiming public grazing land. Those fences have polite signs that say "please close gate". It works half of the time. But I am rigid and aware of greedy ranchers with the attitude, " I take all that I can get and all that you can get too, if I can get away with it. "

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7Wannabe5
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Re: Halfmoon's journal

Post by 7Wannabe5 » Fri Mar 30, 2018 9:17 am

It's interesting how anything that is like a cut becomes an easy entryway for invasive disease. Also, the construction of rigid networks on larger scale tends towards destroying smaller existing networks. For instance, cutting through topsoil with a plow destroys the local underground network formed by fungal community, and cutting a highway through a city neighborhood destroys the pedestrian-based network of small markets.

Human beings are very close to being as large as a land-dwelling animal can be without violating the laws of physics, so we are almost always clumping around aggressively and breaking stuff, like oxen in a china shop. My BF's acreage is near lake shore climax forest, so very shallow black topsoil on top of sand. So, I am frequently to be found wringing my hands and making "gentle plea for chaos" when he starts up his chainsaw. When you cut a trail there, it stays cut for a very long time. Common invasive species in our region are only found at the edge of his property near the highway where the state crews constantly keep the edge mowed. IOW, instituting or promoting "order" at the human scale level of perception almost always equals complete annihilation at a smaller scale, and because networks contrived on smaller scales are more likely to be intricately space-filling, entire partial dimensions of complexity may be collapsed.

halfmoon
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Re: Halfmoon's journal

Post by halfmoon » Fri Mar 30, 2018 9:41 am

DutchGirl, I've never been to the Netherlands and didn't imagine that they had cattle guards. Photos always make your country look so civilized and orderly. I guess I just assumed that the cattle would stay in their assigned spots without intervention. :P
saving-10-years wrote:
Thu Mar 29, 2018 3:47 am
When we bought our in-cared for house in the country with farm buildings (having been townies all our lives) we became familiar with the term 'agricultural repair'. This covers a whole range of make-shift running repairs that end up being permanent.
Story of our lives. I love the term 'agricultural repair'; DH and I have always said "Mickey Mouse it" for some unknown reason. After all the Mickey Mouse repairs, our place should be Disneyland by now. Also: what does 'in-cared for house' mean?

Jason: :lol:

Farm_or, I was thinking of you when I wrote this, because I know you're a public grazer (or at least your livestock are). I imagine the first, pristine cattle guard photo to look something like your land. I have to imagine, you see, because you never post pictures. :cry: As for 'rednecks in 4x4s shooting out the window'...it's as though you've read my next chapter.

halfmoon
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Re: Halfmoon's journal

Post by halfmoon » Fri Mar 30, 2018 9:49 am

7Wannabe5, everything you said. You have such a holistic view of the world, both on an interpersonal level and a larger ecosystem one. I really think you should be teaching or writing, and I don't mean at the tiny tot level. This isn't to diminish the importance of shaping young minds, but some of the older ones could use a little more enlightenment.

trailblazer
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Re: Halfmoon's journal

Post by trailblazer » Fri Mar 30, 2018 10:55 am

halfmoon wrote:
Fri Mar 30, 2018 9:49 am
7Wannabe5, everything you said. You have such a holistic view of the world, both on an interpersonal level and a larger ecosystem one. I really think you should be teaching or writing.
+1. I gain a lot of confidence from reading what both of you write. You both live lives that seem very . . . robust.

Should the spirit ever strike her, It would be interesting to have 7W5 write an expanded riff on her comments above, but applied to physical fitness and personal finance (and other areas I'm sure but those two jump to mind).

saving-10-years
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Re: Halfmoon's journal

Post by saving-10-years » Sun Apr 01, 2018 8:11 am

what does 'in-cared for house' mean?
Oops. Shoddy proofreading. Should be 'uncared for house'. Only bought two houses to live in ourselves over past 35 years and this description applies to both. This house had missing windows, freezer fallen through the floor, cute 'fixes' of damp walls by moving radiators to be nearer to the damp wall, crazy wiring and plumbing, brick barn which leaned 16" backwards, etc. My late step-father after his first time seeing it refused to come inside the house during further trips while we were negotiating to buy it (took seven months to accomplish this). He stayed in the car. He felt we were mad and he could not signal any support of this purchase. My sister and mum attempted to reassure him with variations on 'But you should have seen their last house before they bought it'.

We like projects, challenging projects and unusual solutions. We like reading about such projects/solutions- hence the love of your stories. You guys are more hard core than us. Can't imagine what your family had to say about _your_ ventures when you first got going.

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