Rustic Cyberpunk

Coffee & Cabins


2 min read

Solving small problems is the proverbial thread-pulling of DIY.

For the past few months, I've been back in school. I already have a degree, which has nothing to do with my actual interests, but I thought I'd study something that would help me along the rough spots on my cabin journey. As I'm figuring out systems and doing what I thought was rudimentary engineering, it became impossible to ignore the encroaching penumbra of my own ignorance.

I know just enough to be dangerous.

Over the years, I rarely bothered to learn the proper procedure for technical things, or verify instinctual approximations, or reassess habitual shortcuts to a finished project. Not Earth-shattering in most aspects of my life, but dangerous when I'm forced to rely on my machinations for actual survival. Especially out in the remote area where I'm planning to build the cabin. There are huge gaps in my knowledge, wider than the plotholes in an action movie.

When I started looking into developing my own MPPT solar charge controller, the thought of designing my own seemed like the natural first step. Until I understood how slippery these subsequent steps would be and how dangerous it would be to ascend this pyramid of my hubris without the handrails of adequate knowledge. Things like power supplies and solar chargers have a myriad of deceptively innocent-looking terminals and tolerances, any number of which are potentially fatal.

Which leads me to where I am now. I'm half way to being marginally well-versed in safe practices for these sorts of things and I'm getting a good understanding of why things work. I'm still taking it slowly, between work and life, so I hope to be done with this degree sometime in the next couple of years. As somewhat of a school project, I might get into a finished solar charger and power storage solution, with my own battery system, along the way.

Update: Sunday, 11th

I managed to procure some additional tools for the electrical work. I normally abhor collecting tools for the sake of them, but power-related technology requires the testing be as complete as possible since the systems are installed and running in all weather conditions.

I'll probably have more time to write about these in the coming days.

On Language: In Memory of Jack Rebney

1 min read

The Art of Laziness

2 min read

Today, I did nothing. And it was glorious.

It's a Sunday evening after a long while of not having time for thoughts besides work. Not a good sign to dream of work while asleep. I remedied that conundrum by setting aside the last few days to devote to my favorite pastime. Doing nothing.

I've used the robot vacuum to push my socks closer to my bed so I didn't have to get up to put them on. I've avoided the terror of having to clean the bathroom floor as often by having another pair of slippers to wear inside. I've brought cookies to provide enough of a distraction in the office to delay being noticed before I dashed out. These are achievements.

Healthily doing nothing and enjoying the experience is hopefully something I can continue doing for the foreseeable future. July and August are typically my busiest months and when the opportunity for laziness arises, there are only a few blocked headings on my moral compass.

The constant need to fill this or that particular gap in activity with "some thing" is an aggressive vine. Looks good on your outward life of bricks, but will cause the whole wall to crumble eventually once the roots loosen the mortar of your sanity.

To be always busy by choice is insanity.

It prevents the enjoyment of nothing, that fantastic state of existing without burdens of existence. To me, the essence of laziness is the appreciation and joy of silence, both in thought and action. It's the default and supreme state, punctuated by necessity.

Laziness is a privilege and I appreciate every moment of it I can get. Sipping on hardship, like a fine and expensive drink, helps to appreciate the notes without getting drunk on the lessons.

Scrap and Gold

1 min read

I spent a few days, before the skies turned to Mars in my neck of the woods, catching up with a friend on the past few years.

This was my first such day since the Pandemic started.

I've been taking welding lessons from him to practice repairing things around the cabin and to build my wood stove.

There are copious bits and bobs, odds and ends, and any number of steel plates spread around the property in neatly ordered vertical stacks, sheltered by tarps. There's a dilapidated Disneyland vibe, albeit half-way through (dis)assembly. Neighbors and friends make the pilgrimage to this grotesque, yet oddly soothing, temple to get things fixed, paying in beer and favors. Nearly every mechanical hulk of consequence can be constructed here with just the spare parts.

While I have no aspirations to create a similarly wondrous arena, it would be handy to have a spare patch of land where experiments in mechanical convenience, or simply art, may be constructed without worrying about property values and prying eyes.

It was a wonderful experience.

Cabin Life: Utensils

9 min read

The idea of making simple household utensils has always appealed to me. Even moreso since I saw Richard Proenneke's films a while ago. I've been meaning to try my hand at making my own, but I have only a few carving knives. And they were cheap solutions bought from Amazon and the like to solve immediate problems; Not necessarily what I would need in an actual cabin living situation.

Best of all, when the utensil reaches the end of its useful life, they can be turned to kindling or discarded to be reclaimed by nature.

Last year, around this time, I was visiting Ossining and stepped into the Public Library. It was the first time I've been there since the renovations years ago and wanted to see what the changes were like. It's a nice place to spend the day and I've been suggesting to anyone I know in the area to drop by.

One of the books that caught my eye was Woodcraft by Barn the Spoon.

woodcraft cover
Woodcraft by Barn the Spoon: Master the art of green woodworking with key techniques and inspiring projects

I appreciated the gentle introduction and the from-the-basics approach taken in the book.

areas of a tree best suited for certain types of utensils
Even going as far as to dictate which areas of the tree would be best suited for which utensils.

I have some experience with woodworking, but my stock was almost always directly from the lumber yard.

Whichever pieces I have remaining are leftovers from my scrap-collecting, since an apartment isn't really the best place to have a full wood shop. I haven't actually worked with a raw log before and it might be an interesting challenge to try one day.

The Woodworking book begins with the most rudimentary utensils.

butter spreader
Everyone needs a butter spreader. Even if this is meant for that use, I can see why this is the foundation for most other "single hand" utensils. I also like the skills are listed here, referenced in later pages, in addition to the tools and materials.

Solar power isn't terribly practical for high demand electric appliances without a very large, and very expensive, battery reserve. An electric dryer would be just such an appliance. I haven't figured out laundry in the cabin yet, but I'd like to use a line to dry out my clothes as much as possible. To that end, instead of factory made plastic clothes pins, or the cheap wood ones, I'd rather make smaller versions of this.

coffee bag clip
There are many uses for the split stick, in keeping two pieces of something together. The coffee bag is just one role for a very useful design. And it's very simple to make with hand tools.

Godliness applies to personal cleanliness and personal living space. It's remarkable how quickly dust and other detritus builds up in any dwelling with actual habitation. The photos of pristine living spaces you may see on social media aren't actually lived in. Or at the very least, there was an army of cleaning people to make the place look spotless and photo-ready before the selfie.

Since I'll have no such army at my disposal, I'll be handling cleaning matters myself. I don't know if this is something I'll be using for every floor surface, but it will be very handy for the front entrance and the location near the wood stove.

fiber brush
A lot of the success of this design depends on the type of softwood being used. It will also make a dandy fire starter for the wood stove by the time its cleaning life is over.

Every cabin dweller would enjoy a home-cooked meal. I'm a fairly decent cook, but almost all my utensils so far have been either silicone or metal. The metal ones are basically bulletproof, but will ruin the bottom of my stainless cookware and scratch the seasoning off my cast iron. That leaves silicone, which I'm still not 100% sure is terribly healthy over the coming decades. Enter the wooden solution.

wood spoon
The orientation of the wood fibers is important for such a simple, yet useful utensil. I like the little detail of a point to get to the edges of the cooking pan.
wood spoon steps
The carving steps went on a bit longer than I expected, but they're in a useful direction, in keeping with the "from the basics" approach of the book.
wood spoon variations
There are other examples of spoons given, which start with the same steps and only change during the shaping and refining stages. I can probably make use of every variety in daily cooking.

I don't know if I'm too keen about storing liquids in wooden bowls, since cleaning thoroughly will be more of a chore. Most of my bowls and plates are ceramic and glass. I'll likely be keeping the same ones in the cabin kitchen. But for dry foods, I can see how this would come in handy.

wood bowl
Here too, the gain of the wood is important. And note, it's made from a single piece of wood. I've seen composite bowls made from multiple pieces of wood glued togther in the supermarket and they are, without exception, completely useless for liquids.
wooden bowl variations
I like the multiple variations that can be made with the bowl techniques. The cup bowl in particular would be very useful.

The secret to maintaining a wooden cutting board is to never let it dry out completely (of oil), but do let it dry out completely (of water). These two things are often overlooked, which leads people to go the HDPE cutting board route that doesn't require oil nor drying.

wooden cutting board
I typically don't hang my cutting boards, preferring to keep them flat on drying racks, but I can see how the handle will be useful while gathering smaller cut items into a cooking pan. Supermarket cutting boards are almost always made from multiple pieces of wood glued together and they almost always warp and split with the slightest abuse.

I have an inexplicable affinity for small containers. Something about the size and shape that draws me in whenever I've gone to any kind of woodwork shop or market. I don't know if I would make full use of a container like this when I do prefer glass for storing most long-term ingredients, but I'll definitely be making this. If only to satisfy my own itch.

wooden shrink pot
I appreciate the fact it doesn't use any type of glue to hold the bottom in. Just natural shrinkage of the wood, although, there is a possibility of warping and gaps if the it doesn't dry evenly. Avoiding exposure to direct sunlight is a good idea.

Wood turning has been around for almost as long as woodworking proper, and I'm sure I'll be making use of quite a few turned pieces. I don't know if I'll have the space for a manual lathe, but it's an interesting tool.

wooden lathe in use steps in turning wood

wooden workbench and pole lathe
This is a very involved piece of machinery that all need to fit together well to function as intended. It's doable with hand tools, but I would still prefer powered machines for the process.
wooden workbench parts
The principle is actually very simple and follows almost the same as the "bow-type" fire starter tool I've used while camping, except oriented sideways. The stool/table is still a useful component I'd like to make independently from the lathe.

All-in-all, I'd like to keep this book in my library for whenever an idea pops into my head. It's a nice companion for someone who hasn't made anything like this before and wants to have a starting point. The material of choice is very important for each of these and raw logs are the best option as it's possible to precisely select the grain and have thick blocks with ample freedom to carve.

There really is no substitute for practical experience in woodworking since a book can only get you so far, although, there was another book in the Ossining library that I think is a good close second. The Complete Practical Woodworker by Stephen Corbett, with photos by John Freeman, is a very handy book for all sorts of projects and as a reference when selecting materials.

The Complete Practical Woodworker
This book starts with the bare grain of the timbers, literally, and is far more detailed than the Woodcraft book. It's more of a library reference, in addition to being a how-to book.
types of lumber cuts
The sheer variety of grain types possible when choosing the whole log is evident here. This kind of flexibility isn't always possible in a lumber yard, unless there's an ample selection. Even then, it's more of a gamble until you actually start working with the wood.

Drying out wood after selection and cutting is a little-known skill. Even finished pieces continue to dry and adapt to the surrounding environment. Lumber comes from a living thing after all.

selecting and storing wood
Choosing lumber is just the first step in the woodworking process. While it's being worked with, it has to stay somewhere. After a piece is made, it has to last sometime. These are important things to consider before even starting the process.

In keeping with the reference style, the book is a wealth of information about specific kinds of woods, their origin, and properties which will lend well to certain kinds of projects. softwoods temperate hardwoods tropical hardwoods

The book goes into several projects which can be made at home.

I haven't quite decided yet if the cabin will be Thoreauesque, but a nice table and a chair would come in handy for certain tasks. Any flat surface in my presence has a tendency to accumulate detritus and I will need to control that before moving in.

These are fairly typical dimensions for this set of furniture, but being even an inch or two off will be noticeable since so many commercial pieces follow the same convention.

I don't know if I'll do much carving in the cabin, but a nice entry here is a good starting point. As far as craft work is concerned, most of my pieces would be for functional use for myself and small, personal, aesthetic choices.

I like the additional first-choice wood preferences for carving. From the little carving I have done, a lot depends on the sharpness of the tool available, in addition to the type of wood.

While specific types of furniture is still a choice to be made, this piece is so small and requires so few completion steps, it makes sense to try making it, even if it will get barely any use. The sitting surface lends well to being upholstered at a later date, if left flat.

three-legged chair
There are a total of four(4) "large" pieces here while the rest are essentially scrap. In fact, it's possible for the entirety of the chair to be made of scrap.

Storage in the cabin will be a delicate issue. I dislike having too many "things" though the few I do have will need to live somewhere. The walls are likely going to be occupied by at least some shelving, but the corners are also a great place to keep anything that doesn't need to be on the floor.

corner cabinet
I have made smaller versions of this, but without the glass. The interior can be deceptively large depending on how far out of the corner the shelving jots out. It can also extend from the ceiling to the floor, especially behind doors, where there isn't much foot traffic.

A lot of great ideas in both Woodcraft and The Complete Practical Woodworker. Both will be fine additions to my library as well.

Andy Tries the Internet

1 min read

Update 3rd, 1:25AM:

For the first time in a good while, I have a stable Internet connection. I was enjoying not being able to be reached, but the backlog of self-inflicted responsibilities were piling up and I didn't know when I'd be financially stable enough to reply back suggesting the speaker mimic a vacuum cleaner.

While in-between the peace and quiet, I was slowly working on a few of my Cabin Life projects; Mainly, the three-phase assembly and the WiFi antenna. The latter was not a coincidence. I needed a connection to reach where I was sleeping from the router source. I dislike having to borrow Internet, but it was cheaper than staying at a hotel. I think my improvised antenna worked quite well, considering the tools at my disposal.

I don't know when I'll be home yet, but it will hopefully be by the end of next week. I hope to resume working on my cabin design when I get back and return to musing on things that actually interest me.

Home for the Winter

2 min read

This is my favorite season and I'm glad I was able to make it back to New York before January. I did miss the first snowfall of 2022, but I'm sure the following days will make up for it.

It has been several months since I've had a chance to write. I was away for work before and then out visiting family. For the last decade or so, I've lived a detached life from them, for the most part, except for the occasional phone call. I'm trying to do better.

I wasn't particularly well connected to the Internet, away from major cities, and writing remotely wasn't always practical while roaming.

Meanwhile, life still needs a magic and dangerous elixir called currency. It comes in bottles of many shapes, but hard to procure while travelling. I've decided to leave the industry entirely in the coming months, even if it means the bottles may run dry. That's a huge risk this close to the fruition of the cabin plans, but I've decided to prioritize my health until I can settle into something else. Opportunities are plenty, but obscure in the underbrush of corporate Lorem Ipsum. The recent forest fires haven't swept these away quite yet.

The cabin progress has been slow, but still continuing. I had finished the major design work for the most part with the exception of a few odds and ends. I'm now shifting toward logistics and self-sustaining. The latter part will involve some sort of small farm, even if it will only be supplementary to what I can get at the store. Something to look forward to.

Now resting in my own bed after a long while.

Switching to Digital

3 min read

I got the habit of wearing a watch from my dad. I never saw him without his Hamilton, which I think he got as a gift in the 1970s. When mobiles always had the time, it seemed outdated to continue this cultural holdover, but there were plenty of times when I didn't have have a watch on me and wished I did.

A watch isn't Earth-shatteringly critical in modern civilization, since I can usually ask someone for the time if my phone is dead or unavailable, but I've been away from modern civilization enough times for dedicated portable time to matter.

I dislike most watches. Beyond just the battery headaches, time inconsistency, reliability issues, or inflated prices.

I don't know when it became a rule that men's watches need to approach the diameter of Jupiter or have a face busier than Broadway and 7th Ave in New York. Most of them tend to flop around my tiny wrist, even when adjusted to the lowest strap size, and the faces give me flashbacks to algebra class in high school. I realize this makes me sound even more like Andy Rooney.

Whenever possible, I've been using mechanical watches because I always forget to change batteries in quartz watches. I have no loyalty to any particular brand, but they've been more durable in the kind of situations I find myself having to muddle through, and I wear them often enough that the cheapest automatics are more than sufficient. Solar-powered watches have largely been out of my budget.

I've had my Seiko 5 for years. I liked it immediately because the watch face was clear and it wasn't large enough to distort spacetime. I don't remember exactly when I got it, but it has outlived its original NATO strap by a league and reached almost the end of the metal replacement's life.

I discovered the Seiko had a flaw in its movement that, over time, caused the auto-winder weight to become loose and possibly damage the cam. I've repaired it myself several times, but adjusting it repeatedly became a chore. Mechanical watches tend to gain or lose seconds much more easily. This is true of even high-end watches. My Seiko was routinely slower by several minutes after just a month.

Originally bought for around $35, as I recall, I tried to buy it again, but it now sells for $115 - $140 on Amazon. I've seen the same black version on eBay for nearly $200. I don't believe this is purely due to inflation. And it's far more than I can afford to spend on a convenience at present.

Seiko SNK809 with metal replacement strap and Casio W800HG-9AV with repaired strap loop

I recently bought this Casio for around $12. The resin strap loop got caught on something and snapped, but I managed to make a new one with duct tape I had at home. Buying a new strap, which costs almost as much as a new watch, or spending money on replacement loops felt silly. If the resin strap breaks entirely, I can swap it out with the metal strap, which still has at least a year's worth of life left, from the Seiko. Durability and repairability are my most sought-after traits in physical technologies.

The Casio has everything I need from a watch. I doubt I'd ever need to test its water resistance to anywhere near the stated maximum depth, but it's good to know I don't have to worry too much about a bit of rain or snow, just like the Seiko. It's immediately clear to read, requires no manual to operate for basic functions and I'm not going to be sorry if it's broken, lost, or stolen. Although, I can't imagine why anyone would want to steal a $12 watch.

Despite not being mechanical, I won't need to remember to replace the Casio's, claimed 10-year, battery for a good while. Especially since I don't really use the backlight function.

It's the most mechanical non-mechanical watch I've used so far.

The Wagon Train

2 min read

On a scale of perceived horribleness, between luxury and dysentery, travelling is actually magnificient these days. Which is probably why scurrying across the country on short notice and being held against my will was only marginally contested by most of my colleages.

I'm available for hire.

If anyone wants a reasonably competent woodsman who can start a campfire in torrential rain or a blizzard, I'm your guy. I'm also good at cooking basic meals, won't complain about having to camp outdoors, and I can even bring my own tent and sleeping bag. I'm a tad directionally challenged, but I can read maps reasonably well, I know how to use a compass (this isn't as obvious as most people think it is), and I've successfully navigated at least 50 miles in heavily wooded and rough terrain without GPS.

I'm about to start the second week of a one week trip. I left New York last Tuesday for what I thought was a business trip, but it turned out to be a career-hinging hostage situation. My involuntary, yet comfortable, detention was carefully orchestrated to ensure I couldn't protest until I was in the air.

Now just looking around to expand my horizons beyond what I can see through my empty hotel toilet roll.

Update 11th, 12:45AM:

I've been granted an early reprieve. And just like that, this pointless carbon footprint of an excursion is done and I'm on my way home. I think this was because the powers that be discovered the massacre of brain cells up close was no more significant than when done remotely, however I'd like to imagine someone higher up the food chain came to the realization that all meetings are pointless, considering the inevitable heat death of the universe.

Update 16th:

I just walked into the terminal, more convinced than ever to start my own DIY autogyro venture. There's no way I can do a worse job at transporting myself the length of a year's journey in 1800. And I'll probably have more leg room. The upside is that I have time after dropping off some documents to catch a breather so I'll have more time to write.

That One Tool

4 min read

I have a wire cutter which has a blunted edge, multiple pairs of pliers which grip poorly and have too little leverage, a wrench that is too short. A cornucopia of almost usability. I'm not fond of spending on things for the heck of it, even for short-term dopamine to stave off existential dread, but my situation was approaching a catastrophic handicap.

Functioning within a dwelling of any sort entails some manner of upkeep.

The purpose of tools has been a sore point in my life. Owning "things" is yet another form of personal burden for the most part and having purpose was a key measure of my continued ownership. And yet purpose is often transient while utility, when most needed, can't be bought with aspiration and hope. I really do need to cut things, hold things, remove things, and beget other verbs connected to things in various degrees.

To that end, I decided to set aside most of my almost-tools and for a usable one, both for my own safety and thought hygine.

plier package
Engineer PZ-78

From Engineer Co., Ltd which is also sold in local shops in New York and elsewhere in the U.S., rebranded as "Vampliers". The Japanese version is still significantly cheaper in my neck of the woods. These are part of the "Nejisaurus" line. A play on "neji" for screws or fasteners and "saurus" for dinosaur. The dino-grip does leave every other gripping and cutting tool in my arsenal in the dust.

I'm still not fluent enough in Japanese such that I can read this without great difficulty, but here is the packaging.

front packet
Front packaging.
rear packet
Rear instructions, dimensions and specifications

There's enough leverage here so that I can handle most of my stubborn leftovers from previous jobs. My primary concern was carrying out routine maintenance tasks around my place and the cabin without fighting the tool and causing myself an injury.

Pivot point. Notice it's close to the edge which gives greater leverage.
side profile
It's also wide enough that I've yet to lose grip on any bolt I've tried it on
cutting edge
Looks like it was just taken off the local shelf in a Japanese hardware store and put into a shipping box

One of the tools this is replacing is my wire cutter. I needed to run some wiring to a closet light and realized I may actually end up hurting myself if I can't easily cut the 12/2 wiring already installed in my apartment. While my future library will not be wired, I will still have some electricity and wired runs in some of the planned shelters and I can hopefully avoid buying another tool to do all of the work.

cut slice
This can cleanly cut a piece of the packaging. It should make short work of every gauge of wire I have.
closed profile
It actually closes flat. This was never a feature on any previous pair of cheap pliers I owned.
I have a feeling I'll need the crimper more often than I thought. Especially for cabin-related work where soldering isn't always practical.
crimper back
The crimper slot is a nice feature that lets me rest the wire before closing. This reduces guesswork, especially when I'm tired.

I've noticed that a lot of the smaller gauge connections almost never get soldered. Sometimes, soldering isn't necessary and other times, I'd rather have a crimp connection that I can remove from a source later. This is especially true of low-voltage wiring and smaller devices.

grip face
The bolt gripping feature is thanks to the horizontally cut section. While most of the face is dedicated to typical grip, this allows grasping at stubborn fasteners edge-wise. Impossible with any of my previous pliers.
grip closed
The side gripping feature is more obvious when looking at the front face while the pliers are closed.

I've seriously considered swearing off machine screws. They're supposed to be a convenient fastener for metal boxes, but in my experience, they're almost always never worth the pain of future removal. If the box is to be closed permanently, I'd much rather opt for a spot welder or an epoxy product such as J-B Weld.

Aside from the pliers, which will hopefully replace or support the rest of my plier-like tools, I also got a set of short rulers to leave around. I'm amazed at how often I'm reaching for one when I need to quickly measure something and need to fumble in a drawer.

ruler set
A set of short rulers

One stays on the nightstand just so I can visualize something in a hurry. I noticed I'm quite bad at imagining the smaller sizes of things.

ruler closeup
Each ruler is graduated to 6" or 5.5cm. There are submillimeter and 1/64" graduations that doubt will get much use, and I can barely discern with my naked eyes, but they're nice to have. I'm more interested in the overall size of the ruler.
ruler conversion table
There's a conversion table in the back that I doubt I'll use much. Whenever possible, I try to stay with just one measurement system and any conversions take place via calculator or the Internet.
conversion table closeup
This level of precision is unlikely in my cabin plans, but good to have.

The last few months have been involuntarily eventful for me. I hope to return to regular posting in the coming weeks.

On Pain

2 min read

One of my molars committed seppuku in the middle of the pandemic. Sometime after, the broken piece came loose completely and I was supposed to go to the dentist to get it fixed. There were no appointments available at the time, since most offices were closed, and the hospitals were unavailable for non-emergency patients.

The gaping hole eventually lead to an infection.

It was around midnight when the piercing volley started, followed by falling mortars in and around my jaw. I'm not entirely unaccustomed to toothaches, or pain in general, but this particular flavor was an odious blend. The disgraced clan had to be plucked, root and all, immediately.

I only had a short trip to the emergency room. I wasn't terribly thrilled at working on-site again, especially when some of it could have been done remotely, but this particular instance turned out to be fortunate. Or unfortunate as the case may be.

After the event, I decided to walk back all the way to my hotel. It's a curious sensation to walk in freezing temperatures with muted pain. Dull and crisp at the same time. It gave me immense clarity with every step and I believe the cold helped in more ways than numbing my cheeks. It's an interesting experience. I care not to repeat it, but I'm oddly glad the year started this way.

I was prescribed painkillers, but only took the first pill and chose to go with something less strong and off-the-shelf later. I dislike the feeling of having a blanket over my brain.

This involuntary break was an opportunity to catch up to my reading again. I fell behind by the end of December and I promised myself more time for thoughts. I'm coming back to my apartment by the end of February.

Christmas in New York

1 min read

It's almost 2AM and I'm on my way back to my apartment. We had the first white Christmas in quite a while. Going for a walk while it's snowing out has been a bit of a ritual for me and I try to get in as many steps in the snow I can each winter. Unfortunately, I didn't quite get a break yesterday, but there was enough of a pause to appreciate it before the rain starts.

The part that strikes me the most each winter is the sheer volume of silence. It's unusual to have this much peace in an automotive war zone. Having moments of silence to appreciate is harder in my neck of the woods.

I look forward to doing more of it when I build my cabin. I've had that last sentence in my mind more frequently lately since, for the first time, the parts of the cabin life plan are finally coming together. It's a slow journey, but I hope to appreciate all the walks in the snow I get to take along the

Merry Christmas!