Backwoods hot glue gun

Since getting Internet, I’ve been getting crafty at the cabin.    I think I have enough food and art supplies to last me all winter.

I’m working on a project that needed a hot glue gun.   I found this recipe for  making hot glue with pine sap and charcoal.   I scraped some sap from some trees—I used pine and fir sap.   Then I fished a piece of cold charcoal from my wood stove, put it in a baggie and pounded it with a hammer.    I melted the sap on the wood stove, stirred in some ground charcoal, and I had hot glue.  It sets fast and it’s black but seems to do the job.     backwoods hot glue gun

The recipe called for about 1 parts charcoal to 3 parts sap and I believe that’s by volume, not weight, because charcoal doesn’t weigh much.   Also, I’ve read recipes that called for hardwood charcoal but all I have is soft wood and it seemed to work fine.

Hermit Chow

Hermit Chow Lab

This is my Hermit Chow laboratory.   I create optimal nutrition here for around 2 dollars a day.   I don’t ever have to go to town now; I just order my supplies online.   I took inventory yesterday; I have at least 3 months of supplies in my lab.

I started out with Soylent and then got into the DIY Soylent site.   There is a video to teach you how to use the site.  There are tons of people’s recipes.   This one is 1.69 a day for food.    This person did a minimal price version for .62 cents a day.

The basics you will need to build your own Soylent are:  A source of carbs, a protein source, a source of fat, a multivitamin/multi-mineral tablet, Calcium with added D+K, Potassium, some source of Choline ( I chose soy lecithin) and a source of sodium (either salt or baking soda).  Depending on whose nutritional guidance you may be following (there are many to choose from) you may also want to add some extra biotin, some MSM powder, and some chromium.   I bought those extra things but after researching it, I think they may not be necessary.

Most people mix many days of their dry mix concoctions–(some a whole month)– at once so it’s convenient.  Tip:  You can mix the oil in with the dry flour and it keeps fine.

When I got tired of drinking my sustenance, I used less water and made it into a cookie dough.    Currently I’m using 10 grain cereal as my carb so I make it in to porridge.    To change things up I have another recipe of curried red lentils and TVP.

I’ve been interested in making a backpacking version and maybe trying it out on a 600 mile test hike.

For some reason, this is so interesting and fun to me.

On a related note, I found this Hermicity site where you can live alone and a drone will deliver Soylent and water to your hermitage. A hermit colony ran as a decentralized autonomous organization on the ethereum blockchain.


Time and snow

snow glorious snowI had almost eaten all the snow off of my porch when I new supply was delivered overnight.     I love snow.  Mostly for the same reason I like being sick– I don’t feel like I should be doing anything  besides laying by the fire and swimming in time.

I parked my truck down by my gate, so with some digging I guess I could get out, but not easily.  My truck hasn’t moved in over a month.   Besides a bag of onions and a few heads of garlic, I don’t have anything fresh but there is a little log cabin store a couple miles away that I  snow shoe to through state land.   I can also start sprouting for some fresh greens.

At my water access only cabin in British Columbia, I would get dropped off by a boat taxi and he wouldn’t come back to pick me up in a least a month, sometimes two.   That is the best feeling to me—no where to go and nothing to do.

Cabin lighting

cabinlightingI haven’t been connected to the grid now since 2002.  For the last 9 years, though, I have had a small solar system.

I liked laying on my couch watching the world get light in the morning and darkening at night and mostly I would just use a LED headlamp for when I needed light.    Some nights I would light candles and oil lamps but mostly not; they are pretty and pleasant but expensive and wax drips on stuff and oil lamps need to be filled and they don’t really give off much light.

I wired a regular outlet to my solar charged batteries, plugged a lamp into it, and screwed in a 12 volt LED light bulb.   Even though I bought the warm light bulb it was still too cold to enjoy and only lit up half my cabin.

Well, a couple of months ago, I found some lightbuls5 watt – 12 volt led light bulbs with a 2700 kelvin rating–very warm almost candle light warm.    I bought twoworklight clip on work lights at Home Depot and put one on each side of my cabin.   I point them up for a warm ambient light and turn them down when I need task lighting—like for reading a book.

It’s changed my life.  I can see from one end of my cabin to the other and move around without grabbing my headlamp.   The light is as pleasant as candle light, only brighter and doesn’t drip wax everywhere.

I want to shout it from the hill tops, “Have you got light bulbs? These things are amazing!  Everyone should have two!”

When shopping for pleasant lighting for your cabin look for the 2700 kelvin rating.

Gear Review: Microspikes

It’s snow season here in the Okanagon Highlands which means breaking out my Microspikes.   microspikesI don’t know how people out here function without them as I find it hard to bring in an armful of firewood without them.

essential winter wear
essential winter wear

With Microspikes I can take walks with the same long sure-footed strides as when it’s not slick out.    I’ve walked hundreds of miles in them and they have never once popped off my running shoes.

They’re nice for the trail too, as running shoes can feel like ballet slippers when crossing a steep ice shoot.

I walked the Camino in Spain in the winter.  I brought my Microspikes, and though I only needed them for 3 or 4 days, I was happy to have them.

I walk quite a bit so I usually need to buy a new pair every year; they get dull.

Mine weighs 13 oz / 368 grams.   They may be lighter now.

If you wear them inside your cabin, you may want to put rugs down because your floor may end up looking like this:

beat up floor

Before Microspikes, I screwed sheet metal screws into the bottom of my running shoes.


How to clean the glass woodstove door

lopi woodstoveA couple of years ago, I replaced my wood-stove when a big crack developed in it.   The new one (Lopi 1250) is much more efficient and has a glass door on it.

sootyglassMost nights I damper it down and in the morning my door is sooty.

I think the glass door is supposed to be self-cleaning and some of the soot does burn off  with a hot fire, but I still prefer to clean it because it looks better and it doesn’t take long at all.

woodstove screenSo most mornings now, I open the door and put in the screen while the glass cools.   Once its cool I scrub the glass with wood ash and a wet paper towel and wash clean with vinegar and water in a spray bottle.   Doesn’t take long and does a great job.

Cabin Bear Box

There were a serious amount of wild fires around my cabin this year.     It displaced a lot of bears and different bears kept stopping by.   They never got any food from me and I ran off every one I saw.

To allow me to keep my cooler outside overnight, I turned it in to a bear box by adding hinges and a clasp to it with self drilling metal screws.   I think a bear could still break into it, but I would hear him before he did and I could run him off before he was rewarded with food.   cabin bear box

How to turn your table into a standing desk

diy standing desk
TA DA! A DIY standing desk

Because a couch and high-speed internet can be a deadly combination, I have converted my table into a standing desk.   I bought 8- six inch blocks at the building supply store and ta-da, I have a standing desk.  Probably 4- twelve inch blocks would have worked just as well, but first I was going for a counter height table and then changed my mind to a standing desk.

I bought a drafting chair off  amazon for when I would like to sit.   I like the chair but the chrome was too shiny so I took some 120 grit sandpaper to it and now I’m much happier with it.

I drilled a couple of holes in my floor and ran a 12 volt plug and an ethernet cable under my cabin and up to where they need to be hooked up, so I don’t have cables running all over my cabin.  I wrapped weather stripping around the cables and stuffed it in the holes so it won’t let in cold air.

the egg and I

This is how I get high speed internet in my remote off grid cabin.
This is how I get high speed internet in my remote off grid cabin.

After years of fighting my attraction to the internet, I’ve given up and embraced it.

There’s a big egg attached to the front of my cabin now.  It magically delivers high-speed wireless broadband into my cabin.

High speed as in, faster than the Co-op in town where I would usually have to go to, to get my internet fix and buy overpriced stuff so they wouldn’t resent me taking up space.

Faster than the motel rooms I would sometimes get just to enjoy some internet.

Faster than the visitor’s center, I would sit outside of in my truck, soaking up the internet till my battery died or I got too cold—well, maybe not faster than the visitor’s center, but the view is better and it’s certainly more comfortable.

I can stream movies with no lag time and there isn’t any data limits.

It won’t cost me anymore than having a land-line, dial-up internet, and scrounging off other people’s service. In fact it will be cheaper–considering a trip into town is 50 miles round trip and 5 of those miles are on a very rough unimproved dirt road that beats up my old truck.

It’s been 14 years since I’ve had my own high-speed internet connection.  It’s so exciting to relax on my couch and leisurely sip the net instead of gulping down as much as I can, quickly, before leaving town.

Wild fires came close to my cabin this year.  I was under a level 3 evacuation order for a month but only left for a week, when it got too smoky to breathe.  During that time, I relished having internet in motels.  I learned how to fold a dollar bill into a heart, watching a YouTube video, and I thought, “See this is the kind of thing you could do all day, if you had high-speed internet.”

Internet or no internet–I waste a lot of time on technology.  With internet I can wander a wider world with my technology.

Note:   You need line-of-sight to get broadband wireless.   The tower is 10 miles away and that’s why I need such a big egg.   Broadband wireless is much cheaper and much faster than satellite.   There also isn’t any data limit.

Live at a hot spring off the PCT and get Paid for it.

I found this on the Goldmyer Hotsprings website and thought someone might be interested in it.

Caretakers needed for the Goldmyer Hotsprings.

Northwest Wilderness Programs maintains caretakers at the Goldmyer property all year round to assure our preservation goals for the property. Caretakers live on the property 24/7.  Duties include check-in and management of our visitors and cleaning and maintenance of facilities.  This is a unique opportunity to live and work in one of the last remaining old-growth forested areas in the Pacific Northwest.

We require a 2-person couple or team who have a time-tested and good working relationship.  There is a small off the grid, well-endowed cabin for the caretakers to live in (utilities provided).  The salary is $1500 per month per couple.  Various time periods are available depending on experience and need.  Candidates must have good people and communication skills, have a positive attitude and clean well-kept appearance, have a basic mechanical aptitude, be self motivated and willing to work hard, and able to live in a remote (and at times isolated) mountainous location.

Address inquiries and questions to our office at 206-789-5631 (office hours are Tuesday 1 till 6, and Friday 3 till 8). Please mail resumes and references to: NWWP, 202 N. 85th St. #106, Seattle WA 98103.  Also include a cover letter that explains your past experiences that could relate to living and working in a back-country setting, and if you have visited Goldmyer.

Backwoods Raw

I’m on my 82nd day of eating raw.    I don’t  remember how it all started but something on the Internet must of inspired me.  Then I asked the library to mail me a book on raw food eating and then I decided to try it.

All the stuff I read said you needed a bunch of  appliances—an expensive juicer, a 500 dollar blender, a dehydrator,  a food processor, and a refrigerator and freezer.

I have a knife and a grater.   I’m thinking about adding a potato masher to mash up avocados and tomatoes.

The book I read was called, “12 steps to Raw Foods: How to End Your Dependency on Cooked Food”

Some of her “scientific evidence” is skewed but I looked past it.

Cabin improvement: DIY Full View door

Problem: My door is blocking my view.

Solution: Buy a 450 dollar full view door, wrestle the 150lb thing home and attempt to install it.


  • Chisel off the molding on the outside of door
  • Pop out the piece of plywood
  • Bring the piece of plywood to Home Depot, to the molding department, where they have a saw and miter box all set up and sell molding by the foot. Cut new molding to fit the piece of plywood.
  • Along with the molding, buy: some glazier points, water cleanup clear outdoor sealant, and some little finish nails or brads.
  • Bring piece of plywood to glass place and order a piece of tempered glass the same size as the piece of plywood. ( I asked for a little smaller, because the plywood was really tight.)
  • When you get your glass home, apply a bead of sealant around opening.
  • Press glass in opening
  • Install glazier points with a putty knife
  • Start the nails in the molding until the nail almost comes out the other side and then put on door and finish hammering.
  • Clean up the excess sealant on the glass.
  • Sit down and enjoy the view!

Difficulty level: Easy

Price: Under 50 dollars.

Web article that inspired me: How to put a window in a solid wood door

Bedding that doesn’t roam

Five years ago I bought my Washington cabin.   My cabin came with a mattress up in the loft,  and since I had a mattress I thought I should cover it with something.

I was at my sisters and she gleefully produced an ad for a Mervyns white sale and a coupon for 20 percent off at Bed, Bath, and Beyond.    And that is how I came to enter a mall for the first time in 15-20 years.    And how I came to own bedding.

I bought a set of jersey sheets, a fleece blanket and a cheap down comforter.

Even though I’m an active sleeper, all my bedding stays in place and my bed is still made when I wake up.   I think it’s because the jersey sheets stretch when you pull on them instead of coming undone.    Also they aren’t slippery so the blankets stay put.

They’re also warm and feel good.

They’re not expensive—I paid less than 20.00 for a top sheet, bottom sheet and 2 pillow cases.