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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 ‘Rural and small-town living’ Category

Claire Wolfe

Don’t have much

Friday, July 24th, 2015

Sorry I don’t have much for you at the moment. Been a weird week. When not feeling inert (probably lack of sleep + gray weather) I’ve been busy beginning or resuming long-delayed spring projects.

Picked up another 75 pounds or so of broken glass and rusted metal from the lot across the street. Scrubbed stale cigarette scuzz out of Old Blue. Am gradually de-nailing, cleaning, and sanding 150 pieces of beadboard for my ceiling project.

It feels good coming to life again.

If I do too much my ankle reminds me to slow back down. And unfortunately the ankle’s idea of “too much” is still way less than the rest of me is ready to handle. (I’m ready to tackle that complicated ceiling; the ankle says it’s not getting on any kurflussed ladder for hours a day.) But we compromise.

My brain and body are full of summer.

Claire Wolfe

Life in a small town, part umpteen

Saturday, July 18th, 2015

Yesterday morning I looked across the street and there, on the vacant lot directly in front of my house, a neighbor was on her knees next to a wheelbarrow, cleaning up the lot.

My lot.

« Read the rest of this entry »

Claire Wolfe

Living small, living simple: hype vs reality

Wednesday, July 15th, 2015

So I linked to (yet another) article about small houses. Which led Joel to link back to me and also to a very funny blog about people who actually live in the things. Which reminded me of tidy-up celebrity Marie Kondo (because you have to be mega-tidy to survive small-house living).

Which reminds me that, now that I’m living in normal-sized houses again, it’s time for another perspective in tiny-house living.

« Read the rest of this entry »

Claire Wolfe

Monday morning catch-up (and a mini-review of Jackie Clay’s latest)

Monday, July 13th, 2015

Been a little quiet lately, I know.

Partly this is to do with the protracted deathwatch for Robbie. He’s 14 and hasn’t been in good health for a long time. His “doggie Alzheimers” gives him anxiety attacks that increasingly override his pharmacopia of meds. He’s got bad legs that look like they shouldn’t hold him up (but somehow do). Now add a hacking cough of mystery origin. But he’s still happy, hungry, and eager to go for walks. Never mind that he spends more time sniffing and peeing than actually walking.

So hard to know what to do or when to do it. Meantime, I’m giving him plenty of extra attention and I’m grateful for furrydoc, from whose clinic I adopted him in 2002. She has lovingly cared for him since he was a cocky young bully and will soon come to the house to give a now-sweet old dog a peaceful farewell.


I’ve also been working on the “Mo Inspiration” table, which is benefiting from paints and other goodies MamaLiberty sent. Expect to have pix of the finished piece later this week.


In spare moments I’m reading Jackie Clay’s Autumn of the Loons, second in her series of westerns featuring Jess Hazzard.

Autumn is a better, more confident novel than Summer of the Eagles. In this volume, Jess returns from a hunting trip to find his beloved wife Julie raped and beaten and their four-year-old son Keith kidnapped. Jess heads out on a relentless pursuit of a villain who has suddenly emerged from Julie’s past.

If you recall Jess’ character from the first book, you’ll know the meaning of “relentless.”

Well done, Jackie. And more to come.

The above book links are Amazon Associates links. You may instead prefer to buy directly from the publisher.


Speaking of Amazon Associates links, July Amazon sales have been pathetic! About 1/4 of a typical month. Yikes! May kinda sucked, too. Can’t complain too much, though, as June was above-average. But really, if you need stuff from Amazon and you’re going to buy it anyhow, might as well enter here. Thanks!


Update on my efforts to destroy the Evil Wasp Civilization. As a couple of people suggested, I was attempting some live-and-let live with the stragglers who survived my first attempt to obliterate the wasps’ nest on the front of my house.

Then Saturday when I was just passing by on the way to walk the dogs, one of the rogues dive-bombed me. Got me on the hand and the chin. That night I donned my spacesuit and hit them again with wasp killer. Sunday afternoon I was able to knock the main part of the nest off the wall with a long pole. A few hardy holdouts were still inside. Tough little critters.

Ironically, the only stings from this adventure were the ones I got while minding my own business. While I was in the act of attempting to wipe out the wasps and all their works, they were utterly uninterested in my existence.

Claire Wolfe

I will fear no wasp

Tuesday, July 7th, 2015

… not in this getup, anyhow.


T minus 49 minutes to wasp nuking. No, I’m not sitting around roasting inside all that gear. That was just a trial run for the selfie.

Claire Wolfe

Ohhhhh rats! I mean … wasps!

Monday, July 6th, 2015

This just appeared on a corner of my house. Seemingly overnight.


I don’t have any wasp killer or any way to get some in the next day or two. Don’t have a weed-sprayer attachment for the hose, either, which I understand you can use to deliver either pesticides or detergent water. I want these ugly little suckers gone.

Wonder what would happen if I went out at dawn or twilight when they’re less active and — from a respectable distance — directed a hard jet of water at them from the hose?

Would I end up regretting that?

Claire Wolfe


Sunday, June 28th, 2015

No, that’s not the answer to life, the universe, and everything (+50). That’s how hot it got here yesterday.

It’s cooler this morning but managing to be gray, dry, muggy, and threatening all at once. We are under something called a “Red Flag Fire Weather Warning,” which I’ve never heard of before.

Screenshot from 2015-06-28 09:23:32

Usually our weather maps are more greenish. Never seen this orangey-purply stuff before.

Claire Wolfe

Is this a thing?

Saturday, June 27th, 2015

Though theoretically there’s a Craigslist covering my area, most of the activity on it is hours away. So I never pay any attention to it.

But I got to looking at Hondas, Toyotas & such yesterday and found one newer-model Honda way, way, way too cheap with no explanation at all. Except there were some cuss marks (&^5$#) in the headline, clearly indicating some sort of story.

I emailed the woman (supposed woman, but who knows), who responded with a tragic account about how the car was in perfect shape but it belonged to her recently killed son (cut down in the prime of his youth by a drunk — while on his way to his little brother’s birthday party, yet) and she couldn’t stand the sight of it. Now she just wants to get rid of it. If I want it, send my contact info.

I’d asked earlier where within my Craigslist area the car was located. She hadn’t replied. When I asked again … she sent me a long story about the car being in Macon, GA, but she had a prior arrangement with eBay motors to ship it anywhere in the country and I’d have five days to inspect it and return it on her dime … blah blah blah. And if you want it send your contact info.

Yeah. Right.

I went back to Craigslist and found — no surprise — that the listing had been pulled. But there was another, for a $2000 Lexus that was so suspiciously similar. Cuss marks in the title, email addy identifying the “seller” as a woman, same basic info about the vehicle as the other listing, incredible price, no location given.

Fascinating. Do people actually send thousands of dollars to strangers for cars they’ve never laid eyes on? Heck, I feel sort of doofussy for responding to the ad at all, let alone giving a moment’s credence to the “tragic” story. But sending money is a whole different thing.

I know Craigslist has all the perils of doing any sort of business with random strangers. I know the ‘Net can be a strange and perilous place. But are vehicle listings like this a known Craigslist “thing”? Or have I just run into some rogue weasel?


ADDED: Some readers seem to think I don’t understand that this is absolutely, without question a scam. I do understant that. I was a little slow on the uptake, but as soon as I heard the BS about Macon, GA, and eBay shipping, I headed right back to Craigslist to report it and I blacklisted the scammer’s email. I’m just wondering how common this particular sort of scam is.

Claire Wolfe


Monday, June 22nd, 2015

I walked to town and back. It’s six weeks today since I broke my ankle and I can hear my nurse friends yelling, “Too soon! Too soon!” But all is well.

I’m wearing a rigid clamshell brace that holds my ankle more securely side-to-side than the fracture boot did while still letting my foot flex. Last week I had a neighbor drop me in town for an experimental walk home. Though the ankle “talked” to me a bit coming up the last slope, walking was glorious.

Lord, I’ve missed this! Nothing helps me feel more healthy, sane, alive, and creative than walking.

Appears I’ll be doing a lot more of it, too. Want to or not.

« Read the rest of this entry »

Claire Wolfe

Monday roundup of observations on life and stuff in general

Monday, June 15th, 2015

Today is the 800th anniversary of the signing sealing of the Magna Carta. Good article on things we mostly don’t know about it and why it still matters.

ADDED: Here’s Bovard’s take on it. (Never trust a king, even after you think you’ve beaten him.)


I’m sort of getting used to having neither a functional vehicle nor functional legs. There are still moments I want to weep. Like on Friday when a mechanic told me the Xterra was all fixed, running perfectly, even got the service-engine light to go out — and I got in it, found the light back on, and had to limp back home after driving the mere half mile to town.

« Read the rest of this entry »

Claire Wolfe

The art of not going bonkers

Wednesday, June 10th, 2015

The good news is that I haven’t gone stark bonkers.

The even better news is that Ava hasn’t. That’s what I dreaded most when I learned that in addition to having a non-working ankle I had a non-working (or at least unsafe) vehicle and was going to be housebound for some unknown time.

« Read the rest of this entry »

Claire Wolfe

So I worry

Wednesday, June 3rd, 2015

Xterra’s in the shop today.

Well, not a shop, per se. It’s under a shade-tree mechanic’s carport.

Well, not a mechanic, per se. He’s actually the guy who cuts my lawn.

But he also buys old beater cars, restores, and sells them. So I’m figuring he knows what he’s doing. Works cheap, too. And one thing’s for sure: he’s not going to robotically tell me, “Well, the computer code says …” like the other two mechanics who’ve had their mitts on my precious transport.

But I worry. The idle’s been getting rougher and rougher. Dying at stop signs sometimes. Then yesterday the Xterra added something new to its repertoire of troubles. It died while I was driving up the hill to my house. No coughs, no sputters, no jerks, no jolts, no fuss, no muss. The engine just shut off.

Started right up again, but now I regard my transport with a jaundiced eye.

I sent the mechanic off with the whole list of Commentariat recommendations, from checking for vacuum leaks and cleaning the mass air-flow sensor to changing spark plug wires. Added a few more based on yesterday’s problem and some StartPage research. Something wrong with the crankshaft position sensor? Clean the throttle body? Be sure to doublecheck that mass air-flow sensor.

He tolerates my lists. And me. Whether he heeds them, that’s another thing.

I trust him. I tell myself that. I do.

But the problems have been so intermittant that even if he brings it back running like … oh, a brand-new Tesla, I’ll still be nervous about what’ll happen tomorrow. Or the next day. Dying while cruising along the road doesn’t inspire confidence. You wouldn’t hurt me, Xterra, would you?


April was a demanding month. Good, but very demanding. I started May with a vow of simplicity. I’d keep everything low-key and low cost.

Fool. The gods just love it when you make pledges like that.

Along came the Xterra with its coughs and bumps. The broken ankle. New vet visits for every member of the fur family (including an emergency for the cat). I’m probably forgetting a few things.

No big deals. Just a month of nuisances from start to finish. Everybody survived intact. I had a lot of help from my friends on everything from cars to the best way to heal that ankle.


I opened a fortune cookie the other day. It informed me I’d see a miracle. Very soon.

I’ll settle for a nice, incredibly boring month, thank you.


The ankle and the critters are doing great, BTW. And the mechanic just pulled into the driveway. So we shall see …



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