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The aging homesteader

 
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Thank you, Faye!  

I am all in on holistic practices.  And I t’s good to be reminded because usually when something goes wonky- like plantar fasciitis- it’s because I have “forgotten “ about some internal and important thing.  I probably need to consider onset, what conditions I was in, and how I responded in the context.

Any other herbs you recommend in a healing salve?  Any particular synergistic combinations, or proportions?

 
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Thekla,
  I use the herb Heal All, cat’s paw, plantain, Spanish needles, and yarrow in my Heal All salve.  If the skin is not broken or it is not a deep puncture wound you could use comfrey.  it tends to heal the surface by closing it, which might seal in infection if there is any,  Aloe is good laid into an open laceration after cleaning it thoroughly to remove any debris,  just slice off the skin of an aloe leaf and lay it in.  Bandage to hold it in.  Being astringent, it will help pull the wound together.  The body will dissolve the aloe as food and nourishment.  

For most salves I use organic coconut oil, infuse the herbs in it, low heat for about 3 to 4 hours, do not simmer.  Cool slightly, strain out the herbs and discard.  To the oil add 1/4 as much grated beeswax and heat just enough to melt it and mix throughout.  Pour into tins or jars for storage.  

Castor oil will help break up scar tissue, calluses or dissolve warts.  With fascia damage you need to remove the scar tissue and rebuild tissue.  You could make a poultice with macerated comfrey mixed into castor oil.   Do some research and decide what you want to try.  Good luck in finding something that will work for you.  
 
Thekla McDaniels
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Thanks Faye!
 
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Maybe I need to write this off as paranoia, but I have developed a new safety practice for inclement weather.  I set a timer for when I go outside to alert my wife that there may be a problem.  I set it for 2x the timespan I think it should take.
 
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John F Dean wrote:Maybe I need to write this off as paranoia, but I have developed a new safety practice for inclement weather.  I set a timer for when I go outside to alert my wife that there may be a problem.  I set it for 2x the timespan I think it should take.



I think that's very sensible. I let my husband know when I walk to the mailbox. It's about 1/4 mile away and in snowy/icy weather the footing can be nasty. Falling on ice in my 60s isn't the fun it was in my 20s.
 
Thekla McDaniels
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Safety first!

Having lived  alone for decades, in unpopulated, remote areas, the safety practice I have adopted is that I don’t go out without my phone in my pocket…. not always fully charged, but more than half.

I don’t really feel worried or afraid, it’s become a habit I never even give any thought to.

In winter once there’s a lot of snow, I wear bright colors (red hat for example, no camo for me!)

And I have a dog who is always with me.  If nothing else, she’ll help me stay warm if I am stranded in the snow…. And her breed is intimidating.  Belgian Malinois 😊,  a working breed known for intelligence, used as service dogs as well as police and military use.  Few people want to get on the wrong side of her or others of her breed.
 
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I think the biggest thing for aging Homesteaders may be to just have more forgiveness to themselves.

I know back in my 20's, I might go out in the woods, cut some logs, saw them into lumber and start framing a chicken coop, all on the same day. Now at 48, THAT is not happening. It's frustrating to get so little done, but I am getting SOMETHING done, and that is a good thing. I just have to accept that I just cannot do as much as I once did. I think that goes a long ways...
 
John F Dean
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Hi Steve,

Adjusting to ones natural flow is key. I used to be up before dawn and moving at first light…..not any more.   I also spend more time thinking a problem through before I attack it.   Projects may take longer to finish that way, but far less energy is used.
 
Thekla McDaniels
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Working smarter, not harder!
😁😉
 
Steve Zoma
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For some of us where winter can set in pretty deep and long, I think it's important to get outside in the winter, but so too in having inside hobbies. A review of my posts will show, I probably have an unhealthy love of books, so that is something I find myself doing a lot of in winter as I age.

I do have long term goals with that, primarily to work on writing novels now, and then in a few years when I retire, work on marketing them so I have additional residual income.

It is fun to write fiction, and I think there is benefit in any writing as it keeps an aging mind active through creativity, but I also hope to someday write non-fiction. I got 40 years of homesteading experience that should be put into books. I started to write one, and have it about half written, but I think it needs to be better broken down and maybe into a series of books.

But goals; for a person who is aging, that is always a good thing.
 
John F Dean
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This cold snap supported one of my decisions.   This fall I wrapped up a project where I ran water and electricity to my paddocks.   It was great to not have to haul water on the snow and ice. The electricity allowed all of the water buckets for the livestock to stay ice free.

So next summer I plan on putting in 3 more paddocks …..  hopefully with water and electricity.
 
John F Dean
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Our local news (radio, tv, and newspaper) seems too be having  another cluster of people being taken advantage of by scams.   Of course, the bulk of the victims seems to be up in years.  It has always amazed me how people will give large sums of money to someone they have never seen before. The most recent was a woman who paid a small fortune to a stranger who walked up to her door and told her she would have to be evicted if she didn’t get her dangerous roof repaired immediately.  Of course, the roof did not need repairs, and he walked with the money without doing anything.

 
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John F Dean wrote:Our local news (radio, tv, and newspaper) seems too be having  another cluster of people being taken advantage of by scams.   Of course, the bulk of the victims seems to be up in years.  It has always amazed me how people will give large sums of money to someone they have never seen before. The most recent was a woman who paid a small fortune to a stranger who walked up to her door and told her she would have to be evicted if she didn’t get her dangerous roof repaired immediately.  Of course, the roof did not need repairs, and he walked with the money without doing anything.


This is a really difficult one if elderly people start loosing cognition, coupled with loosing a partner who used to handle those sorts of things, coupled with loneliness and isolation (anyone at their door sounding nice and honest is an improvement over no human contact).

The flip side in North America is that there are very few small scale senior's homes. In Britain, my Aunt moved into what was effectively a boarding house with benefits, specifically aimed at seniors and lived there for decades. She was safe, had people around her, but as long as possible, she still had independence so far as deciding to take a train up to visit her grand-kids simply by telling the manager where she'd be going and when she'd be back. It was like a home, *not* like an institution. I'd like to see places like that where I live.
 
John F Dean
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Hi Jay,

I have found the US hostile to the idea of small group homes for the elderly.   To be clear, I am talking ICF and not Assisted Living. In the early 90s I had plans in motion to set up a city block, 4 streets, of homes  with an activity center planted in the middle.   Each house would have its own kitchen, dining room, living room, and 2 baths.  The nurses aide ratio would be an incredible 1:4 for all shifts.  

Sheltered walkways would connect each home to the central building. The central building would contain the nurses station, larger kitchen, large dining room, and an activity area.  In short, the Accrediting bodies  lost their minds when I ran the idea past them.  It didn’t fit the mold.  
 
Robin Katz
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John, I love your idea. That fits my ideal for "somewhat assisted living" where you can have your own place, people nearby, and medical assistance as needed on hand. Our current system seems to require that you give up your independence in order to get care. I can see why so many people refuse this system unless forced into it.
 
Thekla McDaniels
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I can see many possible reasons this would be a difficult undertaking in modern USA.  I started by listing them.  For me that is the short road to frustration and beyond.  I decided half way through the rant I would likely throw away to put the mental energy into imagining how it COULD be done.

Maybe a co-op model would work, a co- housing neighborhood for seniors.  With the nursing services run by a separate entity.  

Being Mortal , Medicine and What Mayters in the End by Atul Gawande is a good book that explores the mindsets of mainstream American culture.  “We give our preschoolers and toddlers more freedom than our seniors” is a quote that I have likely paraphrased.

The issue is definitely fertile ground!  

I plan to die in my sleep!  But not for some time!🤣🤣🤣
 
Thekla McDaniels
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Here is what I have been doing the last 3 1/2 weeks: it may be a familiar situation to others.  And let me say it’s supposed to be a funny story, told to people who know the truth of preposterous situations.  And that laughter is the only medicine that will heal us.

I posted that I was working with plantar fasciitis, and I have had tremendous improvement since then. If my worst was a ten, I am down to about 3 1/2 or four. Soaking in Epsom salts 20 minutes 2 or three times a day, massaging with various herbal preparations and changing the focus on what, when and where to massage and  how. The biggest thing has been massaging the deep muscles of my upper calf. Even with the improvement, I am staying with the soaking massaging etc.

I researched herbs to support connective tissue, ordered and received them.  In particular, gotu kola , from the Ayurvedic tradition seemed worth a try.  I am drinking that 3 times a day, in addition to the teas I drink for various other health needs.

I had a filling fall out, saw a very unhelpful dentist, decided I would remineralize. I saw another dentist who said “oh yeah that’s all the rage these days, you just chew xylitol gum, but that won’t work for this situation. I think there’s a little more involved than xylitol gum, fermenting grains and pretty much all the seeds before preparing them to eat. The soaking and fermenting  decreases the phytic acid content. It’s fine and I’m glad to do it but it takes a lot of prep time while  standing.

Concurrently, first week in January, I lost my pessary. I cannot figure out how I lost it.  I looked everywhere, I think it is embedded in the deep bedding of the goat house, must have fallen out of my pocket where I warm it up. Just briefly, I use the pessary to prevent prolapsing bladder. Not too extreme but the muscles of my pelvic floor are not very strong. It’s a simple non invasive age old alternative to surgery.  

When my pessary was nowhere to be found I made an appointment with the doctor. I have moved and I don’t have any contact with the local medical establishment.  Last fall, I called to say I wanted to come in so I was in their system, so that when I needed attention, everything was all set.  They said not necessary, just call for an appointment when I needed to be seen.  

I called the clinic.  Asked the receptionist for an appointment for obgyn services.  I needed a pessary fitting.   When she asked me who I wanted to see  I needed OB/GYN services so give me to someone who could handle that. She said everybody was pretty good.

I waited a week and went to see the doctor and he said he didn’t do that kind of thing )he’s mostly ER) and I should see the OB/GYN at a different clinic. OK, that’s what I said too.

I called to make an appointment.  She only works on Mondays and you will recall we had a Monday holiday this month so the soonest appointment I could have was January 30 more than 2 weeks out. That’s a long time to go without a pessary when you live a very active life.

I put myself on “modified bed rest”  by then.  

Online, I found a pessary that looked like my old one, guessed at the the size and ordered it and paid. Somehow eBay had an old address on file which has me shaking my head. I have never before ordered from eBay.  

I know information gets transferred around websites so it may have arrived with my credit card. Anyway it was delivered to my old address 1000 miles away. I called that post office they said that forwarding it should work.

That package went from Colorado to Sacramento where it rested for a few days. Then it made its way to Redding which is only 80 miles from where I live. From Redding the package went back to Sacramento and traveled back-and-forth between Sacramento and San Jose for three or four days. Then it made its way north again.  To Redding then to the last intermediate post office before it would come to my post office. I was so excited when it got sent to my town as opposed to heading to major cities to the south of me for another vacation.  

My plantar fasciitis is better but still needing a lot of attention. I have my pessary and I can be active again.

Things are good!  Lots to be grateful for!  I need to go carefully back into my active life, so as not to lose progress on the PF.  Gotta do mood management on that, as well as the soaking massaging and tea drinking, the soaking and fermenting and doing all the food prep that comes with avoiding the industrialized diet that causes so much illness.  

But I have sprained my thumb in the act of the deep massage on my calf so I have to take care of that too.

I would be happy to let professionals help me, but they don’t seem to be interested in plantar fasciitis, tooth remineralization or lost pessaries.

And all I can say is “where is that assisted living professional?”
🤪😝😂
 
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This thread has been a real gift. Thanks for all the beautiful and honest posts here.
Anyone taking a little time-out-on-the-couch-day might enjoy this surprisingly touching Sundance standout from 2022:
A Love Song (trailer)
Streaming on Amazon, Hulu, and some other channels.
If it moves one person the way it moved me, this post was worth it!
 
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I am not the retirement age yet but I got a rifle.

For now, it dispatches pigs.
Later, it will protect me from raiders when the whole thing goes kaboom.
At the end, might help me get an express lane to other planes of existence.

:D
 
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Rob, that post has a sad feeling to it. I'm concerned for you. What's happening?
 
Rob Kalman
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Jane Mulberry wrote:Rob, that post has a sad feeling to it. I'm concerned for you. What's happening?



It's all good, Jane. World is supposed to be sad, it's the zeitgeist.

Since my close encounter with the death a few years back, I try not to take the fate too seriously.

As I am reading people's stories here, it is more than obvious age is only as relevant as you let it. If you ever doubt your abilities because of age or adversity, watch "Babushkas of Chernobyl"... https://www.imdb.com/title/tt3299704/
 
Jane Mulberry
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It's best not to take most things too seriously, including the inevitability of death. :)

Those babas are amazing. I hope to move to a new homestead at 67, and I don't intend to let that number slow me down. Aging is real, no doubt about that, but there's still plenty of life to live.
 
Thekla McDaniels
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I saw a funny T-shirt today. It said

“it’s weird to be the same age as old people”

Of course being worn by a person with gorgeous silver white hair.

Couldn’t find one high quality all cotton or I might have ordered one😊

If I don’t forget all about it, I know where I can get one, but I won’t be there until June.
 
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An inquiry relevent to this thread....

Just over the past week, I developed a "thumb click".....my left thumb bends smoothly at the joint, but my right one 'clicks' when I bend it, the motion being interrupted by the click.  It's not painful, but is annoying and not going away very quickly.  General internet search suggests that, in the absence of any known injury, joint inflammation might cause this??....  If others have had and dealt with this condition, what did you find that helped the situation?  I would like to nip the issue in the bud and would prefer not to make a hospital or clinic visit for this.  Thanks!
 
Jay Angler
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John Weiland wrote:
Just over the past week, I developed a "thumb click".....my left thumb bends smoothly at the joint, but my right one 'clicks' when I bend it, the motion being interrupted by the click.  


1. Does it feel as if the click is "inside" the joint, or on the front or back of the capsule of the joint?
2. Does it only click when your "bend", or does it also click when you straighten it back out?
3. Can you think of anything you did that might have started the problem?
4. Does the thumb look swollen compared to the other side?
5. Does it seem to be getting better, worse, or staying the same?
 
John Weiland
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Jay Angler wrote:
1. Does it feel as if the click is "inside" the joint, or on the front or back of the capsule of the joint?
2. Does it only click when your "bend", or does it also click when you straighten it back out?
3. Can you think of anything you did that might have started the problem?
4. Does the thumb look swollen compared to the other side?
5. Does it seem to be getting better, worse, or staying the same?




1. Does it feel as if the click is "inside" the joint, or on the front or back of the capsule of the joint?
--that's a tough call...almost feels more like it's inside.

2. Does it only click when your "bend", or does it also click when you straighten it back out?
--for sure clicks both when bending and when re-straightening.

3. Can you think of anything you did that might have started the problem?
--no, which is part of the concern.  Arthritis in our family and in my own personal history is an issue and I take allopurinol for hyperuricemia.

4. Does the thumb look swollen compared to the other side?
--Yes, but only mildly more swollen,  During the 'click' portion of bending the thumb, no pain--just the odd sensation of the click.  If I bend it further inward, there is some joint pain relative to the other thumb, but not severe.

5. Does it seem to be getting better, worse, or staying the same?
That's the odd thing....does not seem to be getting better over the course of a week now, but not really any worse.  Also odd is that I notice it upon waking, but notice as well it being diminished during the work day (typing, operating a hand-held pipetor, etc.).  Also, if I apply resistance pressure to the thumb when I'm bending it, the click seems absent, but if I'm freely bending it, the click is quite noticeable.  One does need to be careful not to 'overdo' the amount of pipeting in a day (see position of thumb on pipet plunger) which could lead to repetitive motion strain, but I'm way down on work hours lately and this thumb click came on all the same.

Thanks, Jay!

Edit:  Just now tested something:  If I hold the thumb straight and 'resist' when I try to pull back on it with my other hand, the click seems to disappear for a bit, then slowy returns.  Don't know if that helps at all?.....
PipetPlunger.JPG
[Thumbnail for PipetPlunger.JPG]
 
Thekla McDaniels
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One more question for you, John.

Which joint is clicking?

I’m attaching a drawing of thumb bones all the way down to the wrist.  The  webbing between thumb and first finger (pointer? index?) make it easy to overlook the other thumb joints

The reason I ask has to do with what motions and exercises might get be helpful
DF4108B1-864F-407D-BF15-3A40250934A1.jpeg
[Thumbnail for DF4108B1-864F-407D-BF15-3A40250934A1.jpeg]
 
John Weiland
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Hi Thelka,    Definitely the joint between the distal and proximal phalanx...the joint nearest to the thumbnail. Yes, any remedies or exercise recommendations would be welcomed!   Thanks....
 
Thekla McDaniels
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My input is based on having a body like yours.  On having been to a physical therapist for various non traumatic aches and pains, and him having addressed such physical things that the md dismissed as “normal part of aging”.

And my recent experiences with plantar fasciitis.

😊I’m just guessing what might be helpful, ok?

Does the clicking go away if you use your other hand to bend your thumb?  That would say something about what’s going on.

I think the click might not be a dangerous situation.  I have a clunk in one hip joint, but only if I am lying on my back, have my leg extended and unsupported and I am circling it, it clunks  in a certain place, only going one direction.  I can silence it by decreasing the diameter of the circle.  What it feels like is that some connective tissues passes over a “corner” and is “plucked” like a guitar string.  I conclude that something somewhere else is too tight, maybe a muscle in light spasm.

And in my plantar fasciitis situation, I am getting great relief from doing gentle yoga type stretches right in my hip and lower back.  And before that, deep massage of my upper calf.  Pain in connective tissues in my foot alleviated by easing tension in muscles a fair distance from my foot.

I think your discovery about moving the thumb against resistance is a valuable!  I might try doing the action that makes the clicking go away a few times a day, gently.  Then observe for changes.  Does the length of the click free period remain constant, get longer or shorter.

Maybe play around with your thumb, and figure out the locations of muscles that move the joint, massage there.  Web search yoga of the hand, see what might be on offer.

And this might even be a better idea:  look for videos of professional massage therapists working on thumbs, hands, wrists.  That’s a much better starting place.  So much better I ought to edit or delete, but am leaving it as written.

Good luck.





 
Jay Angler
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I'll add a bit of general information to Thekla's ideas.

You hand is operated both by muscles within the hand, and muscles in the arm that run tendons, sort of like how a marionette has strings. Any imbalance in the whole collection - some things relaxing in balance with some things contracting, could be affecting your symptom. In other words, it may not be one simple "problem", but a few things that aren't working in balance. Thus, Thekla's comments about her hip affecting her foot, make total sense to me, but many people would look at that concept and simply repeat - No, it's my foot that hurts!

I'll also say, that no matter what seems to be my problem, my hot rice pack helps. Some people will say to use ice for inflammation, but I've also seen logic in using heat. Heat brings more blood flow to a region - blood to carry away any build-up of irritants, or provide more oxygen for healing. All bodies are different, so if you try heat, and notice an increase in swelling, that suggests it's the wrong approach.

The nice thing about the yoga and massage ideas from Thekla, is that they help to rebalance the whole body and approached gently, aren't likely to make the problem worse.

Let us know how things go!
 
Thekla McDaniels
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You’re singing my song, Jay.  I have always thought that there is no healing without blood flow, and countless times I have been told to ice things, and seldom do I ice.

I have noticed that cold does seem to feel good on the PF foot, cold tile floor, ANY cold floor!  

Everything in its place, they’re all tools to use as appropriate I guess.  No “one right way”.😊
 
Thekla McDaniels
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Here’s an issue that may be common among us aging homesteaders:  safety.

I made a verbal agreement for work exchange with a young man who was stranded, looking for work.

He seemed personable educated and articulate.  He came over once to  see my place and for us to get to know each other.

He said he had ADHD, or ADD, or what ever they’re calling it this week, and I could see that, but thought I could work with it.  We agreed on a trial period , not an open ended arrangement.

He arrived last night, helped me clear my things out of the room that was to be his.  

This morning he told me I was taking advantage of him.  Said I was overcharging for the room, underpaying for the work.

I said it was all I could do, and if it wasn’t agreeable to him he could leave, and no hard feelings.

THEN, he said he would make me evict him.  

I called the county sheriff, they called him, then called me back, said they were coming to pick him up.

All that was hard enough, but here is the scary part.  It is a 3 hour drive from the sheriff’s office to my remote location where I live alone.

I had neighbors on standby and they were going to be sure some one was here with me until the sheriff and helpers arrived.

End of the story is the man left long before the sheriff arrived.  I guess he was at least that smart, not to stick around to be taken into custody.  (Involuntary 3 day psychiatric commitment, probably paranoid schizophrenic, and elder abuse—-)

That’s me, “elder”.  We have special laws for exploiting intimidating assaulting elders, and I definitely felt frightened, but not too bad, the kind of shakiness inside that I have felt many times working with violent mentally ill.  

Anyway, alone in a remote setting is a risk for plenty of difficulties.

Of course I had to listen to the sheriff sergeant tell me more than once not to take in strangers etc.  etc etc.

I will definitely try to be more careful, but I can’t say that I would never again try to help a stranger…. a hand up, not a hand out.

I don’t feel too worried, his status is fleeing arrest, and I bet he is going to keep a low profile, maybe try to leave the state before his car breaks down again,

But my doors are locked.
 
John Weiland
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Thank you for all responses and I will check back in as the thumb improves (hoping!).  Same old story today,.... woke up with it clicking and will go about chores today and see how it may or may not change.  Each day a new day...today, left side of my body (affected by last year's stroke around New Years of 2022) is feeling a bit uncontrolled, even as strength does not feel too bad.  It's been cold since just after Thanksgiving so we've gone through a lot of firewood already and with warmer temps today, will try to ski to some fallen, dead elm and ash across the frozen river from the house.   Shameless endorsement moment:  Been 'stealing' my wife's Dewalt cordless chainsaw with the 5 Ah battery and it is "the Bomb" on 6-8 inch diameter timber.  Now if I could just hook those LGD mutts up to the sled, they could pull the pieces back home! :-)

Thekla, sorry to hear about the Good Samaritan attempt gone not-so-good.  I've always given strangers the benefit of the doubt, ... but my wife who grew up in 'rougher' parts of the nation has always been avoidant under these situations and downright hostile if it involves our property.  Good on you at least for trying and let's hope the person just moves on.....
 
Thekla McDaniels
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Thanks, John.  I had a good night’s sleep, so the fear in me is long gone.

I spent 3 full days on the project which would have been mutually beneficial.  

At this point I feel very sad for him and the prospects for his future, his life. But it’s his path, and I can’t do any more than I did.

I think I did the  (Buddhist)“right action” , both in allowing him into my home, and in sending him off… but don’t tell my county sheriff’s office.  They don’t see it that way at all! 😊

Rachel Naomi Remens, author of “My Grandfather’s Blessings” writes that her grandfather used to say “it isn’t easy being human”.

And here in the USA, we’re making it harder every day!  

I love my little electric chain saw!

Have a great day!
 
Thekla McDaniels
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Darn it!  

I meant to include that by my assessment, he’s far more likely to commit white collar crime than violent.  I just wonder if that was his intention from the start (I think probably not) or did he hit an internal bump and go awry.
 
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I'm 50 this year and have already found someone who wants to continue the work I've been doing, who is my heir on paper. Legally I've got paperwork ready for if I'm less able to do the work, I'll have right to inhabit the property for life and it'll be in trust for them when I die so there's no probate and less paperwork to do.

I do have a day job and will probably work that until the end of my ability, but the land itself, the house and trees, I will be slowly working with someone to pass it along to them.

It's why community was the beginning of my preparation, it's why it was where I started. I connected to people before I started planting anything that might outlive me.

edit to add I wouldn't make verbal agreements with anyone at all nor invite anyone to live here until after I'd gotten to know them.
 
Jane Mulberry
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So glad you came through the experience okay, Thekla. <3
 
Thekla McDaniels
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Good luck to you, Anji. I am glad you have a situation you are comfortable with!😊

It looks to me like we are very different, often observe different parts of the same picture, and even have different takes when we observe the “same” thing!

For myself and remembering back, I don’t think it would have been possible for me at 50  to make legally binding contracts, encumbering the future of my meager assets, that I would be satisfied with for the rest of my life, let alone now, only 22 years later.  I probably would have walked away from it all within a decade!

And I have had wonderful adventures since then.

Let’s hope we each remain satisfied with the outcomes of our decisions, how ever different they may be.  And let us hope for that same grace for everyone else.🙏
 
Thekla McDaniels
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Thanks Jane

Doing good so far.  Had some good insights, discovered some funny parts, had a great night’s sleep.  Got back in to making progress on my project.

What more could I ask?
 
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