Disconnected for a day

It is crazy how connected we are with our technology. Stupid crazy. It is becoming rarer to see faces when you’re in public. It’s mostly just foreheads that are facing a little screen in the person’s hand. To be completely honest, I spend way too much time on my phone.

I was listening to an Art of Manliness podcast while working last week and it was about living a 24/6 lifestyle as opposed to the 24/7. Taking a Sabbath. A day dedicated to being different, restful and disconnected. The podcast was with author Aaron Edelheit and talking about his book The Hard Break. A case for the 24/6 lifestyle.

The key thought that resonated with me was the fact that we are essentially on call any time we have our phones on. Social media contacts, actual phone calls, text messages. Almost anyone can get a hold of us at any time. That’s nuts.

I was reminded of some Jack-wang on Instagram who decided to use a new feature on Instagram that I wasn’t even aware of at the time; the calling feature. Literally, anyone who followed me, or even just looked me up, could call me via the platform. Thanks a lot, Instagram. 3 am my phone starts ringing and of course I thought, “oh man, what happened and to whom?” NOPE. Nothing important. Just some ignorant Jack-wang who took no consideration for what timezone I was in (he was from Germany) and figured he was entitled to my time in the middle of the night for a conversation that was most likely some elementary questions about getting into knife making. Stuff that Google could answer for him in less time that it would take for him to ask me. The part that made me so mad was that he could do that.

Last Sunday I decided to leave my phone powered off all day long. I turned the power button off Saturday evening before getting into bed and oddly enough the phone turned itself on in the middle of the night. I can only imagine the terror that big tech companies feel with the idea of people not having their phones on and in arms reach 24/7. A scary thought for them. Scarier for you and me.

It was an amazing experience. I read a book, made a bunch of food, did a little sewing project, went for a bike ride with my boys, and took a bunch of pictures on my trusty Fuji X100. It was such a peaceful and restful day. It felt like something I hadn’t experienced in months. Because I hadn’t. Even though I’d taken a bunch of photos with my digital, I did not allow myself to look at them or edit them on Sunday. It would be too easy to notice a notification and quickly have a look at it. I was going for a complete disconnect.

I reluctantly turned my phone on a few hours into my Monday morning out of duty. I am for social media and sharing. But it has gotten out of control. It has slowly become this all-consuming monster of our time and it’s been such a subtle shift that we haven’t really even noticed it. It wasn’t until I went for a whole 24 hours *gasp* without my phone that I saw just how much control it had on my time.

My new weekly tradition is a digital sabbath. 100%. No phone, no computer. I’m stoked. And my family is too. I would highly recommend trying a digital disconnect just for one day. See what you think of it. Here are some picures from Sunday. Cinco de Mayo 2019.

Spring is struggling to get here.
Most every day starts like this.
Ready to roll out.
Cruising some gravel.
Found some double track
Exploring the irrigation system.

They haven’t fill it with water yet, but I imagine any day now.
Gotta love the micro-adventure.
Who needs a kickstand anyway?
Heading home.
Cinco de Mayo feast underway.
This made for some of the best tacos I’ve had in my life. I forgot to take a picture of one assembled.
My oldest son made corn tortillas.

A Micro-Adventure

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Do you Micro-Adventure?

Life is busy. Fast paced and busy. Finding a little balance can be challenging. Several years ago (in my bike blogging days) I learned about a really cool little concept called micro-adventuring. Pondero is a bike blogger that really practices this concept well. I now follow him on instagram, and he is still getting out for little bike tours and a cup of coffee. He does S24Os as well (sub 24hr overnight trip) but he’s a champ at the micro-adventure or micro-tour.

The idea of micro adventure makes a lot of sense. With a little creative thinking, it’s amazing how you can incorporate them into a busy lifestyle. Where you live will impact the type of micro-adventures you can get out on but ask your self; ‘where could I micro-adventure near me?’

My in-laws happen to have a nice little lake on their land and while there are no fish in it, there are lots and lot of ducks, swans, geese and marsh birds. It’s not a deep lake by any stretch but it will float a canoe.

Perfect Day for a little paddle with the fam-jam!
Perfect Day for a little paddle with the fam-jam!

So we made a plan to head out just for a quick paddle yesterday. It was about 2 1/2 hrs altogether and that is the beauty of the micro-adventure. They can be squeezed into an afternoon or morning. They don’t have to be epic or have the most amazing scenery. They just have to be done. A little paddling, a little sitting around relaxing, kids shooting their pellet guns, slingshots and chopping some wood. It’s nice to just be enjoying the outdoors at a slow pace as a family.

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I’d encourage you to think about micro-adventuring. Where can you go in your area that takes you out of your regularly fast paced and life and lets you just slow down and relax while still doing something. Add your favourite people on earth and you’ve got a great time!

Check out the video here:

 

 

DIY Leather Stitching Pony

Super handy DIY project!
Super handy DIY project!

I’ve been getting more and more into leather work and now offering leather sheaths available for most of my knives. That’s a great option but it also means some upgrades to current tools/processes.

One thing that is super handy if you are doing a lot of leather work is a stitching pony, or stitching horse. It’s basically a clamping tool usually made of wood that hold the piece that you are sewing so that you can have both hands free from the leather being sewn. It also helps keep the leather rigid and prevents it from flexing while sewing.

I checked out a few options that are commercially available and decided it would probably be cheaper just to build one . All in it was a 3 hr project (made good use of my milling machine) and it’s going to save so much time! There are easier DIY versions of a stitching pony out there but I wanted something that was a little unique, and I wanted to find a way to use only materials that I had laying around and not have to buy anything for this build. Check out the build video!

Tool Time Tuesday – Back to the basics of setting up a decent shop

In setting up a useful shop, one of the early tools that should be considered would be a decent bench vise. Regardless of what you plan on doing in your shop, in most instances you will find a bench vise to be an incredibly valuable tool. It’s a tool that will be equally as useful to a person just getting starting in there fixing, building, making journey as it is to a master craftsman who has years of experience. Yup, I think bench vises are awesome.

Preparing the pasture for the horses and cows

fencingThe little bottle-feeder cows we picked up a few months ago are really starting to fill out. We have completely weened them from the bottle and have been eating just hay for about a month now. With that being the case, it’s time to get them out to pasture.

A few weeks back our neighbour had rented a post pounder for a long weekend. He had  mentioned that he’d only need it for a day at the most and if we wanted to do any fencing, we were welcome to use it as part of the same rental. Sweet! The entire fence on the front of our property was in really rough shape (missing posts, most of wire gone) and we also wanted to get some cross fencing done so we can use our land to feed some of our animals.

The horses are really loving all the open space they now have
The horses are really loving all the open space they now have

So I helped my neighbour with his fence  posts and he, along with my father-in-law, helped put in the fence posts for all of the fencing that we had wanted to do. That was a few weeks maybe even a month ago.

Fast forward to last week: time to finish off the fence. Part of the process was simply stringing and stretching the wire and part of it was to install two gates that we were given and were trying to re-use. Gates are expensive and when someone is just throwing them out; it seems a shame to just let them get tossed. I’ve had this sitting our land for about a year, and it’s great to actually have them put to use.

Lately we’ve had a whole lot of rain here (5 inches in just over a week) and that made for some boggy conditions for fencing. With the quad it wasn’t too bad, but with the bobcat, that things was getting stuck like crazy. Especially with the post auger installed. I ended up having to get quite creative with how I installed the first gate. Working alone usually leads to some interesting/hill-billy solutions.

Getting creative with machines, slings and come-alongs. The joys of working alone...
Getting creative with machines, slings and come-alongs. The joys of working alone…

But, after a concentrated effort last week (I was shocked it took the better part of a week) it’s great to have the cows and horses running around and grazing in the newly fenced pasture.

Here’s a little video from our YouTube channel about it. Cheers!

Whatever it takes

We have 4 little calves running around on the homestead now, and these are just little guys. Bottle feeders that we picked up from a local feedlot. Originally we started with 5, but 3 days ago we lost one. Kind stinks but I guess that how it goes with these types of situations. Sometimes you can do everything in your power, and it just doesn’t work out.

We are at the same point again with Coby’s little calf, Sadie. She was taking the bottle really well, but has now been weakened by Scours, or diarrhea. We are now having to stomach tube her to make sure she gets her nutrients. Both the milk replacer and an electrolyte solution. It’s a pain, but, sometimes that what’s involved when you want to raise your own meat. I could only imagine what it would be like to have 40 or 50 or more calves at one time.

 

Two and a half hours of video footage…gone.

This happened today. What a total flop, and so, so frustrating.

And this is a little video from last week for the boys school presentation.

New Zealand Bunny Babies

Our two oldest New Zealand does have both had babies recently. 8 days apart. For the first few days, I think these little bunnies look pretty ugly (I tell the kids they’re uncooked pork dumplings. That in itself is pretty gross) but after a few days they start to get hair and start to get a little cuter.

This is the bunnies at 24hrs old.
This is the bunnies at 24hrs old.
These bunnies are 10 days old and look more like bunnies everyday.
These bunnies are 10 days old and look more like bunnies everyday.

I think one of the more amazing things about living out here and having animals, is for the kids to see life happen. With the pairing up of our buck and doe rabbits to breed (yup, they know that part) to the seeing a doe start to pull hair to make a nest in preparation for birth. Then, the little bunnies growing up, getting noticeably bigger every day and become full sized rabbits. Even I find it so fascinating to see life happen over and over again. The kids love and it’s an experience that we as parents are proud and grateful to be able to give them.

Eyes still haven't opened yet, but they're sure cute.
Eyes still haven’t opened yet, but they’re sure cute.