Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Books of Lasting Value

There are two books which have made a huge impact in my life. The first one I read while a young woman, raising kids. Clutter's Last Stand asks the question, Is there Life after housework? His whole premise is to keep a streamlined existence. Get rid of knickknacks, souvenirs that  take up valuable space, or gifts you've never used. Free up the closet space holding out dated clothes and rags you'd never be caught dead in.
Makes sense. Real-estate is expensive.
The other book is The Gift of Fear. Gavin de Becker talks about women trusting their instincts and never letting a guy talk them out of their convictions. He says fear can be a good thing, actually and alert you to under the radar danger.

With that in mind, I'm working on my writing. The best thing a writer can hope for is impact. So, True Cost, my next book, I hope will fill some gaps in the way we count the price paid for a long distance hike. Not only financially, but physically and emotionally, the true cost can be surprising.
If we can make a positive impact in someone's life, then our lives are enriched.


Thursday, November 3, 2016

Power Miser

Having bought and installed twelve LED mini lights, in place of the incandescent bulbs that are the default on many RVs, I felt good about my upcoming self-grid experience.
And now that I've been here a week, I'm taking stock.
I can't really say I'm off the grid. I need power for my laptop, my phone, the water pump, and my propane frig. The motherboard, imagine that, is all important to deliver the spark that lights the flame that cools the thing down.
Two LED lights bit the dust. Thankfully, they were from Walmart, obviously defective after only a few days' testing.
I have candles. What a romantic ambiance that brings as I listen to Phil Collins on my phone, long after sunset.
I use the library and my car's 12 volt port when ever I drive the car.
I also walk, for exercise and give my little car days off.

But, I freely admit. I need power. As a long distance backpacker used to living off grid, I can deal, probably better than most. Its challenging and I horde my house battery's power like Scrooge hordes smiles before Christmas.
Here in Quartzsite, I'm not the only one living on the cheap. I see others walking, biking, living in tents or tiny trailers. Plus, I'm getting used to the heat, loving the sunshine, enjoying the cactus views.
While I'm also careful with my water, I'm frugal about power. Even the electric steps are shut off. I use a step stool instead.
Power. Its all about the power. Soon, I'm going to turn on the generator and let it run while I watch a movie on my flat screen. I promise. Its good for the generator and I'm Positive its good for me.
A splurge is coming on.
I can feel it building.
Which movie among my great collection will win the night's honor?
As they say in Mexico, Quien Sabe?


Sunday, October 16, 2016

Special Popcorn Trick



Just made this short video and decided to share it here. If you'd like a fuller sack of delicious air popped corn, use 1/3 cup seeds.

I love to enjoy a bag of popcorn while watching a good movie.

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Another Give Away

You guessed it. I'm back and I'm devoting the same kind of energy to my writing as I did to my second thru hike of the Appalachian trail.
The news this week is that on Saturday and Sunday, October 8th and 9th, you can download your free copy of The Cookbook Project-Sharing Our Best.


This new edition has the page numbers even in the index. I know! Many profound thanks to my first readers who struggled through the original reproduction/
As you might expect, new stories, tips and refined directions help you be successful.
I love this book and have been relying on its recipes for twenty years. Batch cooking is made simple when you have menus and formulas to follow.

So don't forget to get your free download this weekend at amazon.com
Bon Apetite!
 

Friday, September 30, 2016

Updates on the Homefront

Updates on my minimalist lifestyle are shown in the video below. I made this film for YouTube and decided to embed it here for your convienence.

As I count the bulbs I'd like to replace to bring my power needs down to solar panel levels, I realize we're talking fifteen bulbs. If anyone knows of a better deal than Walmarts 2/14.99, please let me know. Hope your fall is going great.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Inspiration Now for the Long Haul

Henry David Thoreau is one of my favorite authors. His books seem a little dry at times, the prose a tiny bit over done, but if you get into his frame of mind, and realize what a pioneer he was in his day, all that takes a back seat.

I read Maine Woods while I was a ridge runner two years ago. Living in a tent right in Henry's stomping grounds, I could just picture his party portaging up the river and bushwhacking their way to the mighty mountain they called, and we call, Katahdin.

August 3, I completed my second thru hike. Katahdin hadn't changed, but I had.

And so, I googled quotes by Henry David Thoreau and came up with this site :
http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/authors/h/henry_david_thoreau.html
You can plug other names into its search engine, also.
And Volia!
In an instant, you'll have more inspiration than any one can deal with for a day. I had to pull myself away to continue working on my notes.

Then, I thought, why not share this with you?

As a single footstep will not make a path on the earth, so a single thought will not make a pathway in the mind. To make a deep physical path, we walk again and again. To make a deep mental path, we must think over and over the kind of thoughts we wish to dominate our lives. Henry David Thoreau 

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Book Reviews Requested

Hope everyone is enjoying the beautiful fall weather. Hard to sit down and read, or write for that matter, when the colors are changing so dramatically.

If you did read my new book, Living the Dream-everything I know about seasonal work I learned the hard way, which was promoted three weeks ago via free download, and would take a moment to write a review at amazon.com, I would appreciate it.

On the product page, which you can find in the last blog post- just click on the link to give your opinion.

Coming soon, I'll share videos of my RV as I prepare to boondock down in Arizona this winter. Seems like it will be the perfect place to work on a new book I'm calling, True Cost.  As the title suggests, this new tome will be a very candid look at my second thru hike of the Appalachian Trail.

Thanks for your patience with me as a writer.

Happy Trails,
Brawny

Saturday, September 3, 2016

Free Down Load-Living the Dream

In celebration of Labor Day, my new book Living the Dream will be available for a free download. Both Monday and Tuesday, the 5th and 6th of September, you'll be able to click on the link and enjoy your free copy.

this short book contains quizzes and tips, along with true stories and lists to help anyone who wants to live the seasonal lifestyle, work in great places and meet new people.

If you read this book, please write a review for me at Amazon.com. It can be a single word. It helps other folks know if the book was useful. It also helps me as an author to receive feedback. Thank you.

And now, having successfully completed my second thru hike of the Appalachian Trail, I feel strong and ready to share the adventure with you by way of another book. The anticipated publishing date is not until 2017, but it should be my best work ever, and include directions on how to make some of my favorite gear, plus resupply points, the cost and changes I've witnessed along the way. My first thru hike was fourteen years ago.

My tent is worn and much loved. I'll be remaking it. As a prototype, I found it just a little short when I placed my pack inside during rainy nights. But I love it so much, with six extra inches in length, it will be perfect. My hiking poles provide the support. It weighs just 22 ounces.
And as always, thanks for all your comments and support. Happy trails.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Opinions and Hiking Solutions

I received this e-mail recently and thought I'd share it with you. Thank you very much for your kind thoughts and words. Below the bold text, I offer the remedies I've found work for me.

Sent from my iPad.   
Brawny, I read your blog to get real common sense advice about hiking.

I'm 54 and always wanted to hike more but life always kept me too committed to others. Raising a family, caring for elderly parents, caring for elderly pets and now working days and sitting evenings for my first grandchild.

I day hike, mostly on the Long Trail. I live in Vermont and have beautiful places to hike all around me. They are not Grand like the PTC or CDT but I have to work with what I have and Vermont is beautiful. The fact that you are an older woman and have a ton of trail time under your belt, makes your advice much more valuable for people like me! There are a lot of Baby Boomers wanting to hit the trails but not sure if they can handle the challenge. Your experience and advice could help a lot of people. Screw the Hollywood types, they are all idiots anyway. I need advice on foot wear. The pads on the bottom of my feet are thinning out and I can't seem to find a hiking shoe with enough padding. At the end of a long hike it's extremely painful to walk. 

On a more personal note, my hormones ( after menopause ) are all screwed up and I can't seem to take the heat and humidity. Any suggestions? I have snowshoes and cross country skis for the winter, but it would be nice to enjoy summer hiking too.  Thanks for reading my long winded message. I sincerely hope you will reconsider giving up your blog. Although I do get it that you just want to be left alone to find some peace. You are the real deal and have the experience to prove it. All the normal people out here could really use your advice. Just something to think about!                  Stay Happy😊


It is disconcerting that our bodies start giving out, especially as we look at retirement from full time jobs and caretaking. But never give up. I spent a summer Ridgerunning in Maine's Hundred Mile Wilderness (a paid position in 2014)  and met people in their sixties, seventies and one turning 80, out there loving it, in spite of the pain. I also met 'kids' who couldn't take it anymore and quit.

I no longer can get by with trail runners for mountainous terrain. My Keen hiking boots weigh about twice what my Nike Airs did, but I now need a high-top, light hiking boot and extra padding, which I obtain by utilizing a secondary, serious insert. So, when shopping for a hiking boot, I go in the afternoon when my feet are "swollen", if ever, so I can get the boot that feels like home. Comfortable the second I lace them up. Also, I bring the extra inserts I plan to use to be sure the boot is large enough.

I still wear trail runners for light excursions.

Not everyone deals with heat and humidity the same way. Some folks are definitely more susceptible to heat exhaustion. I've met many long distance hikers who take a long break during the heat of the day to hunker under a shady spot, even if it means a simple Joshua tree. Then, instead of camping by 5 p.m, they'll hike into the evening, perhaps even after cooking supper along the trail. So they still get their miles in, but break it into spurts.
I rise with the sun and hike in the cool of the morning. Its amazing how many miles you can get in before noon.
While doing the Wonderland trail this past summer, I rose with the sun, ate as I hiked and had to press on during the heat. Several times, upon reaching a trailside stream or waterfall, I took off my  hat, filled it with water and soaked my shirt. Very cooling and refreshing.

And surely, if there ever was a time to lose the extra pounds, either gear or body, its now as we age. The critical things we can't do without: sleeping pads, sleeping bags, good shoes, reasonable calories and plenty of water, weigh enough without extra pounds of non essentials.

Body weight is a hard one, especially with the holidays coming up. I've learned to take half portions and savor it. That little bit of pleasure one feels while eating hearty can in no way offset the grueling effort it takes to remove the extra pounds.

In closing, thank you so much for your kind words. Its not so much wanting to be "left alone" as sort of running out of stuff to talk about. It seems its all been said and done.

Maybe not.
Happy trails.
 

Monday, November 16, 2015

What To Do With Nine Months

A dear friend of mine was diagnosed with terminal cancer. She smoked for thirty years then quit this fall, on her birthday. Two months later,  after a great deal of pain in her gut, she went to the hospital, demanding answers. She got hers.

Nine months to live.
What would you do with nine months?

Every day I go to work and cook for special guests, I ask myself, if I was given that diagnosis, what would I do.

I sure wouldn't be cooking a line.
I'd go hiking.

And visit family.

And dance every night I could.

Maybe there is reincarnation. Great minds believe its not over when this body gives up.
I don't know. Some hope they don't have to deal with all this again. Maybe we'll get to be wild animals or a tree.

Nine months is nothing.
It is enough time to hike a long trail. In the end, they say, its not the things that we did that we'll regret, its the things we didn't do.