Shaking the Snow Globe 🌨

By: Lee LeFever

I write books and run a company called Common Craft. I recently moved from Seattle to a rural island. Here, I write about online business, book publishing, modern home construction, and occasionally, dumb jokes.

The post below was sent as an issue of my newsletter, Ready for Rain.


Friends, 2020 has become a year of widespread and unpredictable change, much of it frightening and disorienting. Our collective snow globe is being shaken and it makes every day feel like taking a step toward a destination that is just out of sight. Then, just when you think you’re on the right track, the globe gets shaken again. It’s frustrating and all-consuming. How are we supposed to do this?

Being an optimist, I am always looking for silver linings and opportunities that could appear from the shake-up. The best I can do, for now, is experiment and consider ideas that I might not have considered previously. It’s in this spirit that I am experimenting with the format of Ready for Rain

For the past 18 months, I saw Ready for Rain as a newsletter that contained long-form essays and stories, mainly about moving to Orcas Island and building a house. These will remain a focus, but the home of my writing will now be the blog on leelefever.com. Starting now, I am dedicating myself to being a blogger who writes multiple posts a week about a wider variety of subjects. 

This is your invitation to join me on a trek through the snow. I can’t say that I know where we’ll end up, but I’ll do my best to make it an interesting trip. All you need is the click of a link to follow along.

Recent Blog Posts

A Balance of Ambition and Happiness

This post includes a quote from Bill Watterston, creator of Calvin and Hobbes, that connected with me. An excerpt:

“Creating a life that reflects your values and satisfies your soul is a rare achievement. In a culture that relentlessly promotes avarice and excess as the good life, a person happy doing his own work is usually considered an eccentric, if not a subversive.”

🙂Read the post

Publishing a Book During a Pandemic (or Not)

Excerpt: The potential to move the date felt like an escape hatch. As the news grew grimmer by the day, I became more pessimistic. Marketing and publishing a book during a tragedy didn’t seem right to me on a personal level. This feeling was bolstered by a number of practical considerations. 

🦠Read the post

You’ll Never Walk Alone

Excerpt: Even from this distance, I am aware of Liverpool and the anthem “You’ll Never Walk Alone” that is sung by fans at the beginning and end of each match. This song (and Liverpool football history) became much more fascinating to me to after listening to an episode of John Green’s podcast Anthropocene Reviewed in which he tells two stories about Liverpool football.

⚽️Read the post

Powering a Home with Batteries

Excerpt: We also started looking into alternatives to propane generators. Along with using fossil fuel, they are expensive and painful to maintain. We wanted to build a house with smarter, more sustainable options that had the potential to save us money over the long term.

🔋Read the post

Rumbling with YouTube Re-Uploaders

Excerpt: The copyright tool found 1,164 Common Craft videos that were re-uploaded to other accounts. When sorted by views, they added up to millions. The highest viewed video had 1.1 million views and others had hundreds of thousands. Many of the highest viewed videos had been edited to include a post-roll promotion for another company at the end. It was amazing and disheartening.

📼Read the post

Hummingbird

Excerpt: I’ve always wanted to get a photo but they move too quickly. That’s why I was a bit delighted to find one at our construction site. When I walked in, I heard a buzzing sound from our guest room, which currently has windows but no walls. The hummingbird, perhaps for the first time in its life, was battling a pane of glass that wouldn’t budge. After taking a couple of photos, I cupped it in my hand a released it back into the wild.

🐦Read the post

Other Bits

😂Funny and well-done parody of the Outkast video for the song Hey-Ya called “Ro-na”. Thanks Blake!

🌭I feel like I should have known about this panorama hack before now. 

🐕‍🦺What to do when your dog poos.

Speaking of Dogs:

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