This put me on a course to making the most of our wood and one big idea stood out: we needed a wood shed. Firewood burns hotter and cleaner when it’s dry and dry wood comes from wood that can breathe. That’s why it was weird to keep it in the garage. By being out in the elements, it could naturally release moisture or “season”. In fact, rain isn’t a big problem as long as moisture isn’t trapped where it can create mold and decay.
Category Archive: Simple Living
I’m a little torn about this new reality. On one hand, I never have to think about where to put bowls. On the other, there is nothing left to optimize. The problem has been solved and I take comfort in that. My brain can move on. The question is: to what?
We feed it, but not too much. We allow it to breathe but in only one direction. We benefit from thousands of years of practice and experiments. Yet, each fire still feels like a challenge. The perfect fire is not something you ever achieve. It is only an aspiration.
That evening the rain arrived on time and I heard the now-familiar pitter-patter of it on our skylights and metal roof. I had been anticipating it all summer and wondered how the rain would sound, especially at night when it’s time to sleep. Listening that night, I thought about permanence and entropy. Try as we might to establish wetlands, gardens, and homes to be permanent, the universe eventually has its way with human projects.
I’m sure that my first reaction was a subtle roll of my eyes or at least an imagined one. Two twin-size box springs had sat in our garage for a while and Sachi was formulating a plan. She asked around and no one needed them and she didn't want to just take them to the...
The post below was sent as an issue of my newsletter, Ready for Rain. On Friday of last week, a dump truck arrived at our house and dropped off two loads of dirt, which is about twenty cubic yards, or about the size of a 70s station wagon. In construction, it’s...
What do you do when the power goes out? You see it as a challenge and a game to be played. We asked: how comfortable can we be without electricity?
After 16 months in our tiny guesthouse, we’ve gotten used to it. But as the house project nears completion, the small things are becoming a bit more grating.
If you spend your whole life working to avoid the things that might hurt, or that represent a challenge, you risk becoming an entitled and oblivious prick or someone so fragile that reality feels like injustice.
Being one with the dirt is part of the transition and how you become part of the island itself.
A video tour of a young couple’s off-the-grid cabin in northern Sweden.
In lieu of a tip, Einstein offered a courier a handwritten note with his advice for finding joy in life.
I decided to try being more mindful and focused on one thing at a time. It didn’t go well.
Sometimes a crab comes along that seems to have evaded traps for a long time. It won’t go to waste. That’s enough meat (claws and body) for dinner for two.
Since then, the Solo Stove has become one of my favorite products because it makes backyard fires easy, safe, and clean. I often tell people that it’s an awesome piece of engineering, for what is essentially a fire pit.
Moving from Seattle to an island was a shock for a lot of reasons. One of the most interesting was learning to be more self-sufficient than we ever have.
Now that we’ve moved and my life has changed in fundamental ways, I can’t help but see that there is beauty in stepping off the treadmill of city life and professional expectations and reevaluating what success means to me.
The Danish people, among the happiest in the world, have a term for the feeling of indoor coziness in the winter: Hygge. We are trying our best to create that feeling here on Orcas Island.
One of our favorite hobbies since moving to Orcas Island is crabbing for Dungeness Crabs in the summer. This is how it works for us.
Moving to a small guesthouse took some getting-used-to. But over time it became home and we learned a number of ways to adjust.