Catching up …

Wow, I haven’t posted since before Hurricane Florence ripped through my area like a slow moving train wreck carrying a few trillion gallons of water!

Besides spending a lot of time cleaning up my yard and my precious woods (a job I’ll never finish), I installed all new PV (photo-voltaic) panels on my tower. I now have about 800 watts of solar attached to the house. I also have about 300W charging batteries and powering some devices in an outbuilding. I recently mounted those on a pole for better exposure and to make it easier to mow around them.

This was my first full year with some grow beds in my dome greenhouse, and I’ve been growing some leaf vegetables and radishes through the winter months. I’m transitioning now to summer crops, but obviously, the greenhouse isn’t as useful in the summer. My aloe vera has been propagating like weeds, so I have aloe growing all over the place.

I’m looking forward to some wild blueberries and blackberries in the coming months. Things could be a lot worse, although I am anxious about the upcoming hurricane season. Having seen what Hurricane Michael did to the Florida panhandle last year, I am wondering what will be left around here if we get hit by something similar.

I hope everyone did something for Earth Day. I helped with a roadside cleanup; something I do often. I went out and cleaned up a ditch full of water, today. I filled a 30 gallon trash bag with trash from the ditch, but there is always more.

On that note, I’ll try to do another update in the coming weeks. I’ve been working on a privacy fence because one of my neighbors decided to remove every tree in his back yard, which used to be pretty heavily wooded. Why don’t people understand the importance of trees? Sigh.

p.s. My new fence is being built from wood that I am milling out of trees that fell in the storm.


Not Dead!

DJT_1103w.jpgI haven’t written a blog entry for this site in over 2 years! I’m not sure how that happened. Since I last blogged, I built a bucky-dome greenhouse. I finished the door, since this photo was taken, and I’m still working on the automatic opening/closing vents.

I’m still heating with the outdoor wood stove, when it’s cold enough to justify a fire. I had to replace my heat pump this year, because the old one died. The heat pump is great for mild winter days, and to maintain the temperature when I’m not home to stoke the fire.

My supply of firewood is not as ample as it could have been. I herniated a disc in my lower spine in early 2017, so I wasn’t up for a lot of lumberjacking.

My solar water heater is still providing 99% of my hot water. I found another slow drip in my plumbing the other day that I will need to address. It seems like there is always something around here that needs attention, but that’s the nature of being self-sufficient. You can’t have all these systems without maintaining them. I think that’s why a lot of people just want to rely on the grid for everything. Personally, I enjoy the work, and I take pride in having designed these systems in such a way that I can maintain them.

We’re heading into winter, now. I probably won’t start any big projects before the days get a bit longer. I’ll try to keep you up-to-date on my progress.

New Bern, NC, March Against Monsanto Video

I didn’t shoot much video on May 25, but I did shoot this short presentation by Kathleen Bailey, and some short clips of the protestors. Kathleen has some things to say about the reasons for our protest. There is so much more that she doesn’t have time to include here. The Federal Food and Drug Administration is like a subsidiary of Monsanto. We are, essentially, Monsanto’s guinea pigs. I’m not going to tell you that I can prove the effects of GM crops, crops that are, themselves, pesticides, or pesticide and herbicide residues on our food, but I can tell you that the health statistics show some very alarming trends, and more research is necessary before we should feed our children these potentially dangerous products.



Photo courtesy of

I’ve been suffering from these sinus headaches for years. They are brought on by caffeine, and some other things that I’m not as sure about. Lately, eating out at restaurants has resulted in a sinus headache. What makes these sinus headaches such a big deal is that they last for 3 days. They aren’t just a headache, either. They just tap my energy and make me feel ill. As you can probably guess, I’ve tried various pain killers and decongestants, although I haven’t tried that many, because I hate putting unnecessary chemicals in my body. The last decongestant I tried had no significant benefit, but later in the day, my headache got even worse.

Yesterday, on the way home from the protest march, I stopped at a restaurant for dinner. By the time I went to bed, I had a raging sinus headache and I was looking at suffering through the next 3 days.

When I have one of these headaches, I spend an inordinate amount of time lying down and thinking about how I can get the pain to stop. Today was no exception. Not long ago, I read that basil contains an anti-inflammatory agent. That fact popped into my head as I lay awake in bed this morning. It just happens to be that I grow basil in my garden, so I went out and harvested a handful of basil leaves and ate them. At least I know the stuff from my garden doesn’t contain any chemicals. There was absolutely no risk in testing the basil. The results were not instantaneous. The headache abated some after a couple of hours, and I ate more basil as the day progressed. About 6 hours after the initial dose, the headache was mostly, if not completely gone. I’m pretty excited about the outcome. I can’t say, yet, if the results will be repeatable, but I’m optimistic because this headache had a full 2 days left.

I know you herbalists will say, “duh”, and I suppose I should spend more time researching herbal remedies, but I’m a really healthy person, for the most part, so when I read that stuff, I tend to forget it soon after I read it. Since I don’t grow many medicinal herbs, there isn’t much I can do with the knowledge anyway. I’m surely not going to buy a bunch of dubious concoctions from some on-line store that claims to have the cure for everything. I’m way too frugal and skeptical. I am definitely going to keep lots of basil on hand, and I may attempt to grow some other herbs that could prove useful. Right now, I’ve always got a good supply of aloe, basil and plantain (the weed). Heretofore, I thought the basil was just for cooking.

So, the bad news is that I am still very sensitive to what I eat, and I seem to be getting more sensitive. The good news is that I may not have to suffer so long when I slip up and eat or drink something I should not.

I hope this information helps someone. I don’t know when I might get another headache, but I’ll report whether or not the results are repeatable, when I do.

Image source

March against Monsanto

I know this blog entry is probably too late for anyone who wants to get involved in this protest. In nearly 300 cities around the world, on March 25 (today), people are organizing protest marches against Monsanto. I am going to march in the one being organized in New Bern, NC. I’ll update my blog after the march, and let you know how it went. I just found out about this yesterday, and couldn’t locate a nearby march until this morning. This is all rather last minute.