Today I'm grateful to have finally finished the final bit of decorative trim work on my Rocket Mass Heater that I began building 3, or is it 4 years ago? This project is really what brought me into the Permies forum community. One of the major guides that gave me the courage to try building one in my mobile home was Paul's DVD set "Better Wood Heat". As I got underway with the construction I got lots of advice and tips from others in the rocket mass heater forums.
Once the basic unit was built I wanted to use it for a while to see if major tweaks were needed. ... and time marched on. This year I finally decided I really needed to do the decorative finish work I had planned. My goal was to make a RMH that had some aesthetic appeal besides being really awesome at heating a home. So tile work was done, slate was cut for the top, a bit more cob fill for the weird shaped areas, I tried a bit of clay paint after discovering this as a SKIP BB (what I did doesn't fit the actual requirements of the BB but was still awesome to do), and finally today finished off some copper trim on the vent ports of my pebble style RMH.
I'll share photos soon. I'm too tired at this point to clean up surrounding crap for a decent photo op!
My little homestead gets all its electric power from a solar array. For me this means power is tight for 3 weeks to either side of the winter solstice, a period when days are short and my region is usually very cloudy. I'm very grateful that this year it has been far sunnier than normal so far. Today has been full sun allowing me to luxuriate in the energy consumptive activity of a long hot shower. Ahh... Bliss!
Today I was considering how grateful I am for a service that I tend to take for granted as it's always been a background part of my life, running with amazing reliability 6 days a week for as long as I've been capable of remembering. That is the postal service. It's a pretty awesome thing if you really stop and think of all that has to be involved to set this up and keep it operational. Not only do they function within my country (USA) but they have collaborated in some form or fashion for me to send and receive mail from practically any other country in the world. That I've been able to receive mail from the UK, China, India, and other places in my mailbox at the end of my driveway on a dirt road out in the rural countryside is pretty sweet.
While I can complain at how much I pay for shipping sometimes, in truth it's stupid cheap if I compared it to what it would take me to personally deliver the letters and packages. Working together to collectively gather mail and move it around in bunches is what makes this all possible on a wide scale for affordable prices, and energy efficiency.
Having worked a fair number of years delivering pizza, including during nasty weather, I have extra gratitude for my mail woman who reliably comes about the same time each day no matter the weather, down pours, snow, ice, or beautiful spring days when we'd all rather be out playing.
Thank you David - I run a little convenience store and rural Post Office and we've been pretty busy these last few weeks (!) with Xmas post, and years with people visiting and travelling less recently. We also have a few local businesses that send their goods all over, and it's nice to get that feeling of connectivity with the rest of the world.
People do complain about the cost of stamps, but I think they are probably still pretty good value.
Today I am totally grateful for having a son who was willing for the second day in a row, to haul hot water out to the chickens - some almost a quarter mile from the house - and go up and down to the winter creek for extra water, so all our feathered employees would have water in their buckets. We got snow overnight, so he's blazed the trail for me to follow out later to put fresh mulch (thank you to the trees that shed dead branches for us to chip) under the perches and anywhere else that needs it.
It's January 1st, 2022 here today. While the temptation is to say "thank goodness 2021 is over" as I sit and reflect a bit I can say this past year was really a fine one for me with many things to be seriously grateful for. I approached my life as more or less semi-retired and my quick look this morning at my overall net worth as I did my monthly tally of income and expenses shows that my business was still doing fine last year. My net worth gained a bit over the year, nothing heroic by any means, but I don't need that. Just living a simple, comfortable life, doing income generating work when I felt like it and not when I didn't has so far been sustainable. I'm majorly grateful to see that!
I'm also grateful my old car has been running for yet another year. I need to get it into the shop sometime soon, but it continues to serve me getting me where I need to go and back home safely when my bicycle is not suitable for the transportation job.
Trees on my little homestead have fallen in storms, but didn't damage any structures. These and other downed trees from the area continue to provide all my fuel for the RMH currently rocketing away behind me as I type, heating my home. Meanwhile other trees have grown larger or sprouted anew. My peach tree provided me fruit for the first time this past year. My hazelnuts provided a few more nuts this year than last.
I've had the pleasure of spending time with my friends as well as meeting many more cool new people.
I am grateful to have caught Covid and recovered from it, developing my natural immunity against further infections, at least until it mutates enough for my body to no longer recognize it.
I've gained a better understanding of human nature and the importance of one's surrounding culture as I've watched the ways we've collectively dealt with the covid pandemic this past year. Though this isn't all fitting the ideals I'd like to see, it helps me to understand other events of our past, and have greater empathy toward those I might disagree with.
I should probably sit down and write a full blog post for my rather neglected blog site to explore all that I am grateful for further, but for now I'll leave it at this. The past year had it's challenges and disappointments, however I sit here today warm, comfortable, well fed, content, and grateful to have gone through it all as I ready myself for the year ahead.
Happy New Year to you all. May we each find greater joy, gratitude, and personal growth while building a better world in our own backyards and communities in this year before us!
In the winter months here when the bike trail is covered with snow/ice and given over to the snowmobiles I try to get out at least every other day if not daily and hike at least a couple miles for exercise. The rest of the year I work to use my bike to get around for regular exercise.
Anyway, there is another fellow in this small rural community who I often see out hiking or biking around the roads as well year around. He's more diligent at it than I and thus looks to be far more fit than I. I don't know his name and he seems like a hard person to get to know. Usually I will offer the casual wave when we pass on bikes and almost without exception I get no reaction. Today we happened to both be out hiking on the same road going in opposite directions. As he approached I heard him listening to some sort of podcast, which is unusual. I don't normally hear him listening to anything. This one was something about boosting health by eating more vegetables, something I'm right in line with and all for. As usual I gave a casual wave, not expecting a reaction but making the effort none the less. Sometimes it takes lots of quiet persistence to break through. Today that small crack developed and I'm grateful for it. He actually gave a casual wave back as we passed!