“In the 18th century, the inclusion of a hermit on one’s estate was regarded as the epitome of country house style. There is absolutely no reason why today’s dandy should not avail himself of the same privilege. It’s a straightforward enough matter to entice a hopelessly drunk vagrant back to your premises using the simple lure of an opened bottle of wine. Once there, dress him in a bed sheet, wreathe his head in foliage and invite him to take up residence in an old barrel with the promise of unlimited alcohol, tobacco and scraps from your table in return for a sterling display of relentless solitude. Such a move not only provides the disadvantaged with ideal employment opportunities, but also enhances your reputation for stylish romanticism. Watch your friends gape in wonderment at the picturesque spectacle as your hermit sporadically peers out the top of the barrel and matters a few enigmatic words of wisdom.”
I must admit, I like that. The trouble is, I appear to be both the hermit and, on rare occasions, the dandy. This will be my 4th night in what I used to call “the cube,” but now refer to as “the hermit house.” For the next year, at least, I will probably be sleeping more nights here than anywhere else; so I now consider myself “living here.”
Today’s rain, from early afternoon, was (and still is) one of those practical, consistent, yet not overly zealous rains– just serious enough to make me stay indoors, drink beer, make soup, and attempt this update. My finances are crap, so today it’s chicken feet soup for dinner. It may look meager, but there are two chicken feet in there. And, anyway, the fridge is full of beer. Actually, the lady at the market refused to sell me just the feet, so I had to buy the whole chicken. No Lotus Tesco here. So, I’m starting with the feet today and working my way up over the next several weeks.
I wish I could take a photo that would encapsulate it all. . . Soup over charcoal, Eric Clapton playing from my hard drive (no 3G here, only Edge, so I can’t even listen to internet radio), an exceptionally well-made door, that I fabricated this morning using scraps, on the bathing/dish washing area in the back (which I enclosed yesterday). I’m reduced to using whatever is left over. It’s kind of funny, because when I started this “odyssey” I thought I’d strive to be economical, so that by setting an example the poorer people around me would be able to make some use of my efforts, even if I was fairly well off; but, as it turns out, the Bank of Japan has conspired against me, and I find myself envying those poor people around me who have running water and don’t need to roam about the coffee plantation with a shovel and a bottle of water when nature calls.
If a picture is worth a thousand words, here are 11,000 words, in chronologically descending order.
This is today’s view from the side. I’d hoped to put up gutters to catch the rain today, but, well, it rained. . .
Since I have a coffee plantation, I felt I should drink coffee from the Bolaven Plateau every morning. But in my haste, I bought “robusta” instead of “arabica,” which is about as fatal a mistake as you can make, coffee-wise. What’s worse, I had no cup, no filter, no anything. So, in radical departure from common sense, instead of going out and buying the necessary items, I used the top of a water bottle (the bottom of which I use to drink beer) with some linen I had hanging around as a filter, a bowl as a cup, and I just throw the coffee in the little pot I have to steep for a while. It actually works– but not well. At first I held the filter/water bottle by hand, which was quite precarious, and painful, so I cut a hole in a piece of cardboard and set the whole thing on top of two pieces of scrap wood. Where there’s a will, there’s a way!
My truck makes a very nice work bench. However, when you are using scraps of wood such as these that I salvaged, there’s not much you or the Hyundai can do. But this is part of the Way of the Wrong Way.
This photo sums it up. If I couldn’t cook, I couldn’t be here alone. But I really wish there was someone to clean up after me. . .
My welcome mat.
As much as I enjoy drinking beer from a bowl, as I’m drinking coffee these days, I needed a cup, because only backpackers drink 640ml beers from the bottle. The other half became my coffee filter contraption. What on Earth am I doing!
It’s actually kind of cozy inside. A home improvement of relative importance will be getting a ceiling up and insulated– it’s quite hot in the afternoon with just the tin roof overhead.
I needed somewhere to shower, hide dirty dishes, and instal a composting toilet. I figured it didn’t need to be fancy, just enough to protect me from the elements. But I was running out of wood, so I had to mostly use scraps. That’s when I decided to make it a cantilevered overhang.
It took me most of a day to build these storm doors. I think it was the first time I ever put something on hinges. And no, the whole thing doesn’t fall over if I remove the stick. Now I’ve got a bicycle lock on it for a bit of security when I go to town to get supplies.
The veranda required a full day to accomplish– or maybe it was two. This photo was taken on May 21, my birthday.
I think that’s pretty much where I left off from my earlier post. Now that I’m settled in, I can focus on my aquaponic system. I’d better hurry, before it’s completely consumed by the jungle.