Posted on 2008.05.17 at 22:28
I just a saw a rat in the house.
the back door was open to cool down the house, and a little brown rat just hopped in and started to give itself a tour.
When I got up off the couch, it ran back outside. I shut the door, and i hope there was just that one, because otherwise I've trapped a rat in the house...
Posted on 2008.05.12 at 21:25
Current Mood: giddy
I didn't lose everything, it turns out. Thaddeus drove back to Miller Island to look for my kayak, because as he put it afterward, "I thought it likely to wash up, and I would never forgive myself for thinking that and not going to look for it."
He found it! About a half-mile from where I capsized, on the Washington shore. His sleeping bag and some other odds and ends- a billycan for camp cooking, my hat, some spilled rice and broken eggs- were still inside it. Amazing! No camera and wallet, though.
I have to go get a new driver's license before I can get a new bankcard, as I found out when I went to the credit union today. I have to get a new check from Kelley, because I never cashed the old one, and it went down with the wallet. Lesson learned- when kayaking, always put valuables in bags that float.
Even so, my boat is back, and I'm so happy about it. It has many small holes in it from scraping around on the rocks that I will have to patch somehow, but at least it's back.
Posted on 2008.05.12 at 10:34
Current Mood: melancholy
This was supposed to be the entry where I update you with everything I've done recently, and call it "Wildflowers of Miller Island". Unfortunately, my camera is at the bottom of the Columbia River right now, and so you will never to get to see the arrowleaf balsamroot, or the miniature desert larkspur. Very sad. Also, so are my wallet, my car keys, my knife and spoon, my dishes, my spare clothes, and possibly my therma-rest, Tad's sleeping bag, and my kayak. I say possibly because those things can float.
About a month ago, my entire household (minus Thaddeus) went to Miller Island, a lovely desert island in the Columbia River upstream of The Dalles, very close to Maryhill where my family is from. It's covered with wildflowers, deer, coyote, and lots of amazing birds. Last time we were there, I took tons of pictures, but never uploaded them to my computer. Well, too late now!
After coming back from the island, we started our kayak building workshop, and it took twelve full days of hardwork, but we all had our very own handmade kayaks. Mine was white and I named it "Moonflower." I stuck a four-leaf clover in the clear urethane coating on the outside for good luck.
Since we got done with the boats, we wanted to test them and Kiliii wanted to take more photos on the the island, and Taylor wanted to practice stalking deer, we decided to go back to Miller for the weekend. When we got there Friday afternoon, the river was still as a mirror, flat and perfectly calm. There was no wind, and the sun was shining. Perfect. We didn't bring any lifejackets, since the river was very safe that day.
We stayed for a couple days, explored the island, and had a great time generally. But all was not well- on Saturday night, the notorious Columbia Gorge wind started up again, and it was miserable. We couldn't even have a fire at night because the sparks were blowing around, and the next day we spent huddled in our sleeping bags all day because the wind was full of sand that stung our skin when we went out. We really, really, really, wanted to go home.
Unfortunately, with all the wind, the river crossing to get back to the parking lot where we left our cars looked horrendous. Huge whitecaps, the product of a strong wind going against a strong current, were everywhere. We were scared shitless, but decided we could make it across if we stayed together as a pack to rescue anyone in trouble. So, we launched.
Immediately, Jack capsized, and Kiliii stayed behind to help him. The current swept them back to the island. Ahead of them, I didn't see any of this and kept going, as it took my full attention to stay upright in the swells. About three-quarters of the way across, in the swiftest, roughest part of the channel, a huge swell crested over my boat and knocked me sideways. I was upside down in freezing cold water, and my kayak was filling up with water!
I righted the boat, held on for dear life, and screamed for help. I couldn't get back in it, it was too full of water. All I could do was hang on.
Taylor was nearby, and came to help me. No one else was around. We tried to dump the water out of my boat, and failed. we tried to tow it and me behind him, and failed. I watched all my stuff float out of the boat and drift away. We were rapidly being swept down the current, and Taylor was fighting to not capsize as well. Eventually, it seemed like our only choice was to either save the kayak or save me. I almost wanted to save the boat and try to swim to shore! I was way too weak from the cold, though, for that to be feasible, so we left the kayak to drift away, in hopes of someone coming back for it.
By a combination of hard paddling and hard kicking off the the back of the boat, we escaped the current and made it to shore. I made it back to our cars, stripped off my wet clothes, and huddled in a blanket that was in the trunk of Tad's car. I couldn't stop shivering, and my entire body felt numb.
Shortly after that, the county Sheriff arrived, because Kiliii called 911 from the island when he saw me go over. I went and sat in his warm car, still wrapped up in the blanket. Shortly after that, an ambulance arrived, and I went to sit there instead.
The sheriff sent a patrol boat to the island to get Jack and Kiliii, and brought them across. I tried to tell someone to go look for my kayak in the patrol boat, but no one listened.
After Jack and I were deemed warmed-up enough to let go (and sign a form saying we don't hold them responsible for not taking us to hospital) we had to figure out how to get back home when my car keys were at the bottom of the river. Luckily, Thaddeus had a spare key hidden under the bumper.
Every time I think of how long it took to build that kayak and how much love and dedication it took, I start crying for abandoning it. Almost two weeks of my life, probably a hundred hours of work, and so much attention paid to every detail! I didn't skip any steps or spare any effort. I only took it out on the water a few times before I lost it! And now it's gone, likely forever.
Right now Thaddeus is en route back to Miller Island to go look for it. I desperately want him to find it, but I don't think the odds are in his favor.
Yesterday might have been the worst day in my life. I've never come so close to dying, and never lost so much at once. Is this what it feels like when your house burns down, or your best friend dies?
Posted on 2008.04.07 at 19:19
I had a train of thought going that turned into a desire to write about it. I won't try to cover the whole topic in the title, just one aspect that made me think today.
As i might have mentioned, or you already know, my housemate Noah's mother is a midwife. I was on a train of tangential alternative topics on Wikipedia just now, and ended up on "home births" and it's also been kind of a hot topic lately, with that movie by Ricki Lake and all...
It made me think back to some completely different research I was doing about bobcats earlier. (This is how my brain works, I'm always cross-referencing.) The female bobcat, when she is about to give birth, seeks out a hollow tree, small cave, or large abandoned burrow. It's the safest, most protected, place she can find, because that's where her cubs will have to stay for weeks until they're large enough to accompany her hunting. Most birds and mammals are like this- the denning/nesting site is carefully picked out to be the safest place possible.
Contrast that to having a baby in the hospital-
Go to a place you've never been before, completely vulnerable and about to be made immobile for the next few days. Let strange people interfere with you and your newborn offspring. Be forced to wear unfamiliar garments, eat unfamiliar food, smell unfamiliar smells, and not have any control over ANYTHING. And then as soon as the baby is born, they kick you out while you and the baby are most vulnerable. No wonder that (according to one study) mothers in hospital settings are five times as likely to have high blood pressure, and births take longer! It goes against our basic animal instinct- hospitals are scary! Every bit of evolution up to now has told mothers, Go somewhere safe and dark, and stay there for a week or two. Now what do we have?- bright lights and strange smells. And we've made it normal in our culture to go to a hospital to give birth. Fucked.
The medical establishment is firmly against home births, ostensibly because in an emergency, you might not get adequate medical care, and it might be too late if you try to get to a hospital. So, in case of rare complications, every single woman with no identified risks should be put in danger of getting an unnecessary medical procedure performed on her because doctors are afraid of lawsuits, or a life-threatening infection from the hospital? Oh, and it costs thousands of dollars more than at home. Fucked, fucked, fucked.
Anyway, if I ever have a kid, I'm sure as hell not gonna do it in a hospital unless one of us is gonna die otherwise.
Posted on 2008.04.03 at 11:35
Current Mood: bouncy
I successfully completed a primitive pottery firing last night! Yaaaaaaaayyyy!
(They aren't actually quite that orange... I went a little crazy on the color saturation. But they are still quite pretty in real life, I assure you!)
The biggest one in front is a mixture of one quarter Kelley Point clay, one quarter Georgie's clay, and half Kelley Point sand. The smaller one behind it says "KP No Temper" meaning straight-up Kelley Point, no additives. The round black one in the back is half KP and half sand. The broken piece (was like that before firing, just wanted to test it) is KP with commercial grog (ground-up pottery shards.) I will have to test cooking in the various mixtures to know which one is best. More grog/sand makes it more heatproof, but also more fragile. The KP seems to have a good amount of natural temper, but it's very difficult to work with.
I didn't think to take any pictures of the steps leading up to this part- digging the clay, making the pots, gathering the firewood, getting the fire started, and checking for that perfect red glow while they fired. I gathered the wood yesterday afternoon, and started the firing at about 8:00. I did it at night so I could better tell if the pots were glowing (that's how you tell if they're done.)
My reference guides for this project were:
Estabon Fire from Wintercount's verbal advice on the matter
"Making Primitive Pottery" by Evard Gibbey
"Primitive Wilderness Living And Survival Skills" by John and Geri McPherson (has a chapter about pottery)
I cheated a little bit...
When I started the fire, most of my firewood was a little damp and didn't want to catch. So I poured a little mineral spirits on it. FOOOOM! That worked nicely. I fired the pots for two hours, and used up about three grocery sacks of wood on it.
I'm very excited about this! I think I'm going to do it again tonight with some other pots I saved aside from the first firing.
Posted on 2008.04.01 at 21:39
Current Mood: yucky
I skinned the most disgusting roadkill raccoon I've seen yet today. Kiliii picked it up on MLK, which should be an indicator of its rough lifestyle... Mainly the bad part was its HUGE, SWOLLEN, CANCEROUS ASSHOLE. Ugh. Imagine the way a cat's ass looks. About the size of a dime, right? This thing was the size of an orange. Wrinkly, brown, lumpy, completely vomitously gross. Echhhhh. It also had a popped eyeball and bloody stumps of teeth from the car impact, and only half a tail, for some reason. It appeared to have happened a while ago, it was totally healed. There was also a completely smashed broken hip that was messy to skin. The whole critter was really fatty, too, and I hate dealing with fat. It's slimey and sticky and obscures the connections between skin and muscle.
It was probably technically still edible, but it grossed me out too much. I couldn't butcher around that giant anus. Kiliii and I were joking that it must have "huge asshole disease" and who else we know of might have it. Some people are definitely huge assholes.
Posted on 2008.03.27 at 10:38
I have quit using the fan over the stove (which didn't really work, in the first place) because a pair of starlings is building a nest inside the vent pipe. I can hear them cheeping and twittering, sitting right over the stove. The pipe is horizontal and only a couple feet long.
The noises they make are so cute! "Twit, twit twit," "Reeeeeeeeeee" and lots of other sounds.
Kiliii wants to chase them away, thinks it's bad to have starlings in the flue, but I don't know what harm is being done, to us or them, so I want to let them stay, just for the entertainment value.
Posted on 2008.03.22 at 10:50
Here is a link to a webpage Brian Schultz made about my group's sheep-slaughtering experience last Thursday. (I think. maybe it was Tuesday or Wednesday.)http://www.capefalconkayak.com/sheep.html
It was a very affecting experience...
Posted on 2008.03.21 at 17:17
I decided to follow Molly's suggestion to read the "most recent public posts" section to find some new and interesting lj friends. (I don't know if friending strangers is pathetic or not. I hope the people I friend are flattered by it.)
There are so many posts in Russian, omg!
Funny how things go... like Google's version of myspace, Orkut, was adopted extensively by Brazilians, it looks like LJ's second most common language is Russian. Who knew? (Of course, this isn't based on any stats, just my own observations.) I've noticed this trend when looking for groups to join, too. I'd search based on interests, say, "graffiti" and get more Russian than English groups sometimes. There has to be a filter for language... I'm not prejudiced against Russians, I just don't want my searches clogged up with stuff I can't read.
Posted on 2008.03.16 at 21:37
Current Mood: Amazed
Goddesses fascinate me. Astarte, Sekhmet, Kali, Inanna, Hathor, Mary, Briget, Diana, the list goes on. (I think the Virgin Mary is a goddess, she might as well be one. She lives in Heaven and grants visions to her worshippers, she intercedes for the dead, she does miracles on Earth once in a while, those sound like goddess characteristics.)
It's something that I just keep coming back to- I was researching something completely different on Wikipedia, and I ended up reading the page for Ishtar. Then Esther. Then Astoreth. Then Hathor. Then Sekhmet. So amazing! I don't believe in any of them, of course, but if I had to pick someone to worship, it would probably be one of them. Or several- Diana for wildness and freedom, Ishtar for sex, Hathor for motherly kindness. I like the idea of Hathor-Sekhmet, an incarnation which combined the cow-headed mother goddess Hathor with the lion-headed war goddess Sekhmet. I like duality. I like war goddesses too. Wild women!