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Ship's Log: Entry #11 Sept 18 - Oct 5

Tuesday, Sept 18

Harry and Toño start cutting trees for our neighbour Teresa. Because we have the chainsaw. Because we can pay for Toño. The objective is to clear her land so she can plant. In exchange we get the wood that’s taken down. This is wood we will use for our various projects. Saino wood is, apparently, remarkably resistant to rot. Water won’t break it down, making it good for fences, foundations, road ditches. Great for water barriers of all kinds.

While we have plenty to do on our property, Harry is entirely focused on this, sudden task.

And then the neighbour reneges on two of the trees, the two largest, straightest trees. Not too cool, but … what to do now?

Wed Sept 19

Toño clears more of Teresa’s land. Harry kind of takes the day off and kind of hides out in the woods. I continue my farming efforts – manure, mulch, yucca and vegetables. So happily do I dig in the dirt. There’s something so deeply satisfying about earth in my hands. Turning it over, so it looks refreshed. Adding natural nutrients, so it looks rich. Laying mulch that will tamp down the weeds and giving the patch a loved look. Seeing the land look better, the plants look healthier, results. After years and years of working on spec in film and television, spending countless hours of countless days, weeks, months and years at work pushing projects forward by the smallest of imperceptible increments, it’s giddy-making to see results after every gesture taken. It’s much more humble what we do now. It isn’t going to generate audience response, there won’t be any articles in the paper about it. It doesn’t elevate one’s status at parties. it just feels great, every day. Participating in the great mystery of nature absolutely humbles and thrills me.

Thursday Sept 20

Hauling wood.

Now that all the trees have been cut, Salvadore came with his two oxen to haul the wood to our property. It’s pretty cool. Huge animals tethered together with a giant wooden yoke. They drag each trunk, one at a time, by a chain between them because no vehicles can get in there. Soon I’ll post a little video on the whole process.

Our neighbour Teresa’s eldest daughter takes english and asked Harry for help again today. Help, in this case is: answer all the questions. It takes two hours. She doesn’t come with anything prepared. I don’t know. The old school marm in me thinks this is wrong somehow.

But this english lesson of Daniela’s is curious, has some entertainment value, and I can’t help but listen in. She’s supposed to answer a series of questions (that is, write the answers down in English). Three pages of questions. And they are personal questions, such as I expect would get any teacher in Canada fired on the spot. “Do you have a boyfriend?” “Do you do drugs?” “Do you like to go to beach parties?” She’s 17 years old. Don’t these sound, I don’t’ know, wrong to you?

I suggest she answer the boyfriend question with “yes, he’s an ethics commissioner for the school board.”

I suggest she answer the drug question with, ” I try and use natural remedies whenever I can.” or “I don’t’ understand the question, are you asking to see my medical records?”

Then, when she’s asked what she likes to do for New Year’s Eve, I propose something like ” I like to go to beach parties with my boyfriend and do drugs.”

I would have used them, but it’s not my class.

Fri Sept 21

Today I made Agua Sapo (recipe to come).

This evening we chilled out with Gin Rummy and Rum. Yumm. All we needed was a log on the fire and a radio playing old timey music and would have been a complete trip to the past.

Sat Sept 22

Today we performed an Experiment with pigs in harnesses. We’re essentially learning as we go, and the pig sty is beginning to smell absolutely horrible. It’s almost intolerable. Even up at the house. So, I was reading that pigs are actually very good on their own, eating from the ground and as natural earth turners – what with their propensity to root around the dirt with their snouts – and they are good to let roam around your farm. But who wants the whole farm dug up? Also, neither of us was especially confident just letting them go free – so we came up with the idea of harnessing them and leaving them on a long rope.

Well, while they are supposed to be as smart as dogs, it seems pigs don’t really take to dog harnesses. They are very resistant to a harness. They behave as if the harness is a gateway to a worse thing. They get very vocal about their feelings against the acceptance of a harness.

Although I did notice that after Harry’s attempts at forcing the harness on, when I tried, by just gently slipping the thing on, I got farther into the process before the rebellion screeches erupted thus providing another little piece of evidence that we probably don’t need to manhandle animals, that they will likely be cool with stuff if we’re cool with them. But then again, I’m an old hippy at heart, so I’m biased.

However, once we got the harness worked out and on, and the pig ventured out, the dogs ruined things by rather viscously herding it back in. Bites, squeals, much more piss and shit. So we concluded the experiment there, returned the pig to its stall. <sigh> Now we know for next time, to tie up the dogs first.

But none of this happened without acrimony. It’s too bad. It’s exhausting. I think we are wearing each other thin. It settled itself in the end, but not without a few wounds that now need healing.

Posted first post about plans to offer horse tours and a B&B.

I spent the rest of the day working on the video letter for Dad’s 80th birthday.

Sun Sept 23

I worked all day on the video I’m making for my Dad’s big 80th. Had a pass from my chores. What’s funny about this sentence is no one is making me work. I gave myself a pass from my chores. Harry is cool about it. Even makes dinner.

Mon Sept 24

I worked on the video all day. I tried in vain to post it this evening, but my sad internet stick couldn’t muster the juice to load the video. So frustrating. Happy birthday Dad.

Willie seems to be sick.

Tuesday 25

Finally sent the video to Dad.

Of course it isn’t smooth sailing, they use AOL which blocks Why? What is AOL if it’s not a browser? I don’t quite get it, but anyway. So after a couple of hours I called to see if it had been success and sure enough it didn’t open, so I’m glad I was on hand to give instructions about how open it on Explorer.

Harry and I have been fighting. Sniping, arguing, bitching. It’s certainly not 24 hours a day. But its erupting every day at the moment. Exhausting. Too much time together maybe.

Wednesday 26

Today was a Black Wednesday. I don’t know why it happens, but on days like today I just don’t care. Doubt, dark thoughts, and an inability to do anything. Nothing looks good, positive, or possible. Etc., etc., etc. No longer angry, just defeated.

el ICE came today. Thankfully Harry hosted them as they fixed the wireless antenna and finally restored the internet and also gave us telephone service we never had. I can’t feel it, but I know this will make things better, much better. It’s good news and maybe I’ll get excited later.

Thursday 27

I woke up to a Bright Thursday. Energy, happy, optimistic. Who knows why. Who knows what changed. But today everything seems possible again. Along with optimism comes functionality.

How is it that one day can look so bleak while the very next day the world is sunshine and butterflies? I’ve experienced this for as long as I can remember. Is it just a fact of ‘life’, or do I need to see somebody?

Anyway, it was a lovely day all around.

Fri 28

corn planting

Harry organized a mango tree to be cut down for us today. This is more wood for our projects.

One of the trees Teresa promised us has now been given away to Toño and sits at the bottom of our drive. And you know what? I predict it will sit there for years, until it’s no good for anyone.

Sat 29

Raoul has sold us a couple of his trees to use for our projects, so today we go there and watch Toño expertly cut them down and prepare them for the mill. I’ll be posting about this but let’s just say, it’s mesmerizing to see a tree fall.

corn planting

Sun 30

Harry spends most of the day away. He’s hauling the trees with our car and getting them to the road for Salvatore to pick them up and take them to the mill.

Chato comes by in the afternoon to see if we will be ready for him to start tomorrow. He and his lovely brother Walberto (who did our kitchen) will be repairing the roof and ceiling in our back room. Turns out things will be delayed a bit due to the manner in which we have collected the wood – that is – it isn’t ready to be used yet, it’s still at the mill or something.

Harry suggests Chato could start after 10am tomorrow. Chato mentions things don’t always go the way you want, take your time, I’ll start on Wednesday. Because no one starts a new job on Tuesdays. Superstition says no starting work on Tuesdays (it always says don’t get married on Tuesday. Harry and I married on a Tuesday and we’ve been working super hard ever since to shake that bad mojo.)

Mon Oct 1


Tuesday Oct 2

The mill delivers the wood and it’s beautiful. Really beautiful.

Wednesday Oct 3

Chato and Walberto start. So now we’re going to be without a roof for about a week. Yeah, it’s rainy season. But you know what? The rain came in freely before, so I figure it’s no different.

Thursday Oct 4

Harry and I are not getting along. The sniping is kind of killing me. I decided to just drink Pera Mañosas through the day. (Recipe to come). It does take the edge off.

Fri Oct 5

I have come out better at the other end this morning. After an indulgent day of sipping cocktails in the sunshine I’ve come to a realization, decision and my step is lighter, I feel content. Because recently, I’ve been miserable. I’ve been behaving miserably and no doubt I’ve been miserable to be with. And you know what? When I really thought about it — without prejudice — I realized I wouldn’t put up with me. I literally have nothing to be miserable about. I have Not One Thing to be miserable about. Harry isn’t the bad guy here. He’s the good guys, actually. He’s still here even though I’ve been a miserable dishrag.

I have a great life, with adventure at my doorstep, health, sanity and a remarkable husband. I’m so not the injured party (about anything). So, I decided to just choose to be happy. And with that I seem to be happy. Holy crap, it’s an amazingly successful technique. I just dumped my petty grievances into the toilet and flushed. I completely reasoned that I had no respect for these petty petty issues (whatever they may have been) and with that, no longer have to carry them around in my head, on my shoulders, and it’s such a relief. Now that they are buried I can start to enjoy things again. (I know I was flirting earlier with the question of mood disorder, but I’m going to go with the ‘take responsibility for yourself’ solution for now. I intuitively feel like it might work out fine.)

Originally published October 31, 2012

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