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Living Freedom by Claire Wolfe. Musings about personal freedom and finding it within ourselves.

Want to Comment on a blog post? Look for and click on the blue No Comments or # Comments at the end of each post.

Archive for the ‘Home improvement’ Category

Claire Wolfe

Cleaning out the closets of the mind

Wednesday, December 17th, 2014

When I moved into this house, nearly 18 months ago now, I didn’t have time to do it right. So many urgent things had to be done — and I’m talking bleach-the-mold-off-the-walls urgent, rip-entire-walls-out urgent, tear-off-rotted-rooms urgent — that many niceties got neglected. Boxes went unpacked. Stuff got stuffed … wherever.

Besides, after having lived small for 10 years (between Cabin Sweet Cabin and that crumbling fifth-wheel in the desert), I had just spent the previous three years in house with an attic, a basement, and a garage. This house … not so much.

Then there was the teeny, tiny problem of closets. This place had not a single one. Not. One. Closet.

« Read the rest of this entry »

Claire Wolfe

Monday links

Monday, October 27th, 2014

Okay, not hermitting yet. So here are some newslinks.

  • Just vaporware so far, but Forbes thinks cops might soon add ‘Net-connected guns to their growing arsenal of monitoring gear.
  • Nastiest political tactic of the year: siccing SWAT teams on your opponents and critics.
  • A southerner apologizes for bigotry. But with the southerner being Fred Reed, things don’t quite come out the way northern liberals might wish.
  • Nooz you can use (if you’re really into alternative housing): grain-bin homes. (I love the stuccoed one, but I’d like to know how you keep these things from getting hotter than the hinges of heck, long about August.) Tip o’ hat, MJR.
  • More nooz to use: how successful people handle toxic people.
  • Mike V. on blood dancers and 4th-gen. warfare.
  • You forgot to add how useful those bags are for picking up dog poop. I live in a blue state and the closer you go to civilization, the more likely it is that you’ll have to bring your own cloth shopping bags. Misguided political correctness.
Claire Wolfe

Gratitude and solitude (and also construction)

Tuesday, October 21st, 2014

I am so grateful today.

I’m grateful to have a solid roof over my head (and Ava, Robbie, and Kitsu the cat would say the same if they could speak) as the rain pours down all week and the season’s first high-wind warnings go up.

This sense of security I owe to you.


I owe C-B, S.H., M.K., L.P., and especially Anonymous and the Mysterious Rockefeller for the latest round of help, which repaired the section of roof that collapsed while the rest of the roof was being refurbished. I also owe many of you, especially Paul Bonneau, for construction advice.

In case you’re wondering, I ended up not having the “Full Joe” repair.

« Read the rest of this entry »

Claire Wolfe

The name’s Rockefeller.

Friday, October 17th, 2014

Or so the envelope said. The return address (I looked it up) was the HQ of the Council on Foreign Relations.

My correspondent has a sense of humor.

Based on what was in the envelope, my correspondent can call him or herself Rockefeller, Gates, Buffett, Rothschild, Medici, Windsor or anything else great heart desires. It would fit!

In their own world, they must have Rockefeller-level pull. They somehow talked their local post office into sending the priority envelope without either a postmark or the required tracking sticker. (Hilariously, this put my postmaster into a high huff. She was ready to write a nastygram to the postmaster of “New York 10065,” informing them that they’d broken the law!)

So, with no means to identify Mr. or Ms Rockefeller, or even have a clue as to where in this vast land their secret Lair of Largess might be, I can only say an inadequate wow. An inadequate doublewow. And an inadequate thank you.

Up goes that last remaining, recalcitrant section of roof. And off my heart and shoulders comes that rather heavy burden.

Claire Wolfe

Tuesday links

Tuesday, October 14th, 2014
Claire Wolfe

Now this tiny house looks cool

Sunday, October 12th, 2014

Not long ago, I rolled my eyes and said the tiny-house movement had jumped the shark. Then this morning, friend G. sent me to this site. And this 192-square-foot house, the Axia.


While there’s a suspicious dearth of info (the link to TechDwell’s pdf brochure is 404), it’s a for-real thing. Portland, Oregon, is building a village of these for the homeless.

If they’re as easy to build (and unbuild) as they say … well, that’s remarkable. On price, on tech, on a number of measures, they’d beat the usual overpriced tiny house hands down. (That is, if somebody doesn’t get carried away and order all their yuppified options.)

Yes, yes, go ahead and tell me you can build something like this yourself out of old pallets, cardboard boxes, and strapping tape for much less than TechDwell’s basic price. That’s true. Joel’s Secret Lair is similar and cost less. But the tech on this is intriguing, as is the ability to tear it down and move it. Also, you can add your own options (solar, rainwater catchment, etc.) for less than they cost from TechDwell.

The look reminds me a bit of the UnitOne cabin. But if the TechDwell Axia is all it appears to be, I’d rather have an Axia.

Gads, what a great artist’s studio. Or guest house. Or pool house. Or vacation cabin.

Claire Wolfe

Monday musings + the sort of dilemma nobody could really mind having, even though I have it and I still find it awkward

Monday, October 6th, 2014

Gads, it was 80 degrees yesterday. Eighty in October in the Great NorthWET. There are entire summers when we don’t see 80. I don’t think I’ve ever seen it this warm this late in this corner of the world.

Not due to global warming. But oh man, what an amazing season it’s been!

Supposed to be “only” in the 70s for the rest of this week. Oh, poor us.


With construction catastrophes keeping the house in chaos, I’ve been trying to de-clutter to help deal with the fact that every time I organize stuff in one area, it immediately has to be moved back out because … oh, the roof falls in or somesuch.

So I’m whipping myself into a crusade to de-stuff.

« Read the rest of this entry »

Claire Wolfe

It all goes back to that darned tree

Tuesday, September 23rd, 2014

Yeah. That tree.

Well, the tree and the incompetents who built the former porch (now entryway and sleeping nook) on this house.


« Read the rest of this entry »

Claire Wolfe

About that alleged money pit

Sunday, September 21st, 2014

I have a confession to make.

As confessions go, it’s a boring one, so don’t get excited. I’m not about to admit that I’m secretly an ATF agent or that I do strange things with lace-clad armadillos. But there’s definitely something I haven’t been telling you.

It’s about the very mundane (albeit often hair-raising) matter of home improvement.

« Read the rest of this entry »

Claire Wolfe

If it ain’t one damn thing, it’s another: Part II

Friday, September 19th, 2014

Roofing crew arrived at 7:30 sharp this morning. Never saw any group of people move so fast and with such coordination and obvious expertise. Freakin’ impressive!

After they’d been here three hours I went outside and took pictures of their astounding progress.

Then I came back in, figured I’d play with the dogs a bit, quit being jumpy from the noise and chaos, and try to get some actual writing done. Sat down on the floor to toss a nerf ball for Ava. Looked up. And … whoops.

Scary whoops.

The heavy, old-fashioned wooden beadboard ceiling in one room had dropped three inches in one corner. The only thing keeping it from dropping farther was a clothing hook. I put that hook up there to hold a curtain rod, so I know all too well how insecurely attached it is. Very insecurely.

You know how a couple of you said that putting all that heavy material in stacks on the roof should be no problem? Well, should be. And it wasn’t a problem as long as all that weight was up on the main beam where you saw it in the photo yesterday. But the roofers decided to pull the material down and stage it on what used to be a porch.

They put most of the weight on that corner — and the former porch (now sleeping nook) pulled right away from the rest of the house. You can see daylight. And since all that heavy beadboard had never been properly attached to the rafters, down it came.


Not the roofers’ fault, of course. How would they anticipate something like that? Mike, the same friendly handyman who rescued me earlier this summer from a large hole in the roof, will be by later to temporarily brace it up. But … well, if it ain’t one damn thing, it’s always another.

I love old houses.

Really. I love old houses.

I do.


Claire Wolfe

Ready to go, thanks to you

Thursday, September 18th, 2014


Ready to go, thanks to you!

The section of roof originally constructed by government-employed chimpanzees has been turned back into something rooflike and is under wraps. The roofing materials were just delivered (to the top of the house, yet!). Tomorrow morning … things get serious.

Meantime, I don’t think the dogs and I will be comfortable spending too much time directly under all that tonnage up there. Is this old roof structure really that strong?

Nervous! But very, very excited, too. And looking forward to a leak-free NorthWET winter.

Claire Wolfe

Looking back: Project 31

Sunday, September 14th, 2014

I’ve linked recently to Ryochiji’s posts about his Serenity Valley cabin’s very, very — VERY — close call with a wildfire.

Lots of other worthwhile stuff at his site, Laptop and a Rifle. Back in the winter of 2011, when his property was less developed than it is now, he vowed to spend 31 days there under a strict set of rules. He called his experiment Project 31 & despite the rigor of his terms, it was a success. Here are all his posts about it

Very Joel-ish. Without the curmudgeonliness.



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