Category Archives: Improving Campsite

DIY projects around Tsuchida Station, yard, home, garden, cottage upgrades, bird houses, sign posts, weather stations, and so on (note to self: backfill as possible)

A few small repairs / tiki mug and coffee cup

What a fine looking trio

2 Sons Of Vancouver Tiki cups were casualties of the trip home from BC and 1 “XXL size” Parks-Parcs Canada coffee mug had an accident so, today used Loctite glue and a bit of persistence to put back together.

Bonus: now cannot be fingerprinted.

PS Yes, there is a pile of broken / crockery for Kintsugi (repairing with gold thread) but that’s for stoneware and not slipware ceramics.

Bonus: reminds me of this song

“A few small repairs” indeed

Diary: simple tasks and sparking life with renegade Ted

Evidence I’m still alive… From Oct. 25-ish or so (lemme check that as though it matters :0)

always fun with Ted with his stories, humour and ability to be a goofball come to visit

Not gonna lie, been a real tough stretch. But I’m keeping my hands and brain active by doing simple tactile little tasks.
In this case, putting some clearcoat on some more signs for yet another sign post and pouring an extra batch of soy wax on some fire starters just in time for the first woodstove of the year in honor of 4th (or 5th) visit from buddy Renegade Ted (who took most snaps included herein & i captured from his FB round-up post). But you should check his Notes from the Nog travel writer bloggity blog.

PS And dig that cassette player/radio hanging up. It doesn’t really work well but I still try to tune in like I’m gonna connect with some short wave radio + And that’s a trucker hat representing The Matinee & Tshirt is REM Chronic Town

Continue reading Diary: simple tasks and sparking life with renegade Ted

First woodstove fire of season (a single flick)

First wood stove fire of the season last night. That’s all glorious hardwood in there…

one flick and only one flick

I get very excited about this point since I come from the land of softwood where it takes dang near half a trunk full to get you through a weekend of camping.

(Being of Ayurvedic dosha), I’m very proud (yes Leo) of my ability to light this variety of slow and hot burning wood with only a single flick of a lighter.

Airflow is critical as are my freshly-made batch of egg carton/wood shaving/soy wax fire starters.

It’s a beautiful little cast-iron stove with a good sized cooktop which is great not just for a kettle but for a big pot of soup or sometimes even a cast-iron griddle.

Do you have a fireplace or woodstove? What do you like to burn in it? What are your favorite fire making style/techniques?

Signs for a Surveyor in Moab

With “the illness”, recently having a hard time getting to the post office and just finishing up lingering projects but, today I sent a couple of tender gifts off to some dear pals who lost their dad not long ago.

He was a truly legendary Utah land surveyor who knew by coordinate dang near every corner of several counties.

With that spirit, I made two “finger signs” with the ‘exact’ coordinates of the cemetery in Moab, Utah where he remains.

The wood is from old Japanese fish shipping crates or something & includes distance from one of the brother’s house to the cemetery and the other is a little smaller as that friend is a little bit more on the go so can be adjusted on the fly.

Regardless, I hope they point in the cardinal direction from wherever they are to where their dear dad named “Bing” is resting.

Now up to you postal services with all your complicated forms and customs declarations.

PS while I was out finishing, started a few more signs for what will become the second sign post here at Tsuchida cottage. Each place tells a story and I included a Moab sign of my own with a few festive cedar shavings from an unrelated fire starter project I was working on nearby.

unrelated firestarter project made from a carton, sawdust/wood shavings and soy wax

Campsite: Fujita Koen maintenance

Evidence I tried to help with a piece of land the family owns that is squished between the shrine mountain and the road. Not big enough to really build anything on so trying to make it into a private hanami park of sorts. The trees and grasses grow like whoa so fast and so thick and all sorts of stumps, roots and even trash so gotta be mindful.

my poor rock n roll ears and haggard body

I lasted about 1-1/2 hours which is about how long mower battery lasted.

Note: there are more snaps from the original “workparty” to tame this awkward pie-shaped piece of jungle which i might remember to add to satisfy my “completedness” we’ll see.

PS My pals from The Matinée band might enjoy the cap

Visit from the wild boar trapper, annotations

Slightly dis-intermediated updates about the “wild boar guy” visit

Aug 2: The wild boar trapping specialist is coming tomorrow at 9 AM.

Based on his conversation so far with my wifu by telephone, he is a dude of many skills and quite chatty.

Of course, there is a labyrinth of laws & regs associated and various precautions and myriad outcomes.

And for the record: I love pigs in general; no I’m not going to do this myself; they are nocturnal stealth bombers; produce 2-3 litters a year; can swim kilometers in open sea; and wreak havoc through neighborhoods & islands.

Aug 3: The multidisciplinary wild boar etc trapper has come and gone after much enjoyable conversation. He really gave me my own pitch about turning the cottage into a “coffee shop/music experience” place. Premium pricing for ambience and enjoyment.

Arrived exactly at 9 (not usual 15 minutes early to appointment to show how diligent they are), I served coffee and peaches. He is hilarious, immediately notice the Bill Reid blanket on the couch and asked “is that Tlingit?”

We discussed different varieties of bear in BC, stories of black bears in Lynn Valley tearing into garbage and leaving a big poop in my yard to greet me as I rushed out to catch the morning bus. He is licensed to capture all manner of game wildlife in Japan and, importantly has a stash of deer meat to hook me up with, he can’t sell it but can “trade it” for delicious cups of coffee. He’s very excited about my wife’s charcoal kiln and my MacGyver’d grill and woodstove. We also laughed about the directness/indirectness of foreigners/Japanese folks.

Though we can’t regular rampaging visits from wild boar, and the pathway where they come through the bamboo forest down onto the land in spite of a significant drop off is clear, turns out a trap isn’t a good idea for our area for various reasons.

Regardless, he took great delight in demonstrating his purpose, built/homemade spring loaded leg traps. The trap springs a hearty wire around the leg when a certain obscured trigger is well, triggered rather than the “jaw-hold” style traps, which are so violent. He also told us about the process which comes afterwards, but I’m gonna save that for maybe another conversation or not at all. However, I will say, he takes great care in doing all of this as elegantly, and dareisay, humanely as possible.

The conversation turned more technical about the kinds of fences wife needs to build on her new piece of land (in brief: substantial) and the mechanics of his trapping route. They’ve now headed into bamboo forest to recon. Of course I want to go with them but I’m just not able.

Anyhow, it seems our land isn’t prime ground / situation for trapping so advised some fencing strategies.

Best is: i kinda made a new friend who I invited to stop by for coffee (when I’m not at the hospital etc) this objective of forming new relationships with folks who can just pop by to hang out is on my list of ways to build community and get out of my mental funk.

So much to discuss about this topic… We’re only at the beginning of journey // yet the traps are not fit for our forest

If I had any enthusiasm about TV as a medium I would say “this guy needs a TV show”… He was nonstop interestingness and so many ideas, projects and big thinkings / quirky and charismatic as well.


I’m looking forward to your visit in some mysterious future day to add to the collection of interesting folks / your choice of beverages is standing by


Boar (and deer) meat delivered and prepared – such goodness!

Diary: i need quiet (grousing for no reason but so tired) #vent

I’m quite desperate for some long period of extreme quiet.

You’ll have to excuse me, I’m not at my best… I desperately need a rest

Yesterday, an outing to our fave beach, “quite empty for a Sunday,” I thought until a reggae soundsystem crew showed up with 5 awnings, multiple barbecues, flats of beer and significant speakers… I mean, party on but… Then some wannabe tough city kids showed up on the other side of us wearing those air cooled vests and spraying on mosquito repellent, sunscreen, chain-smoking mild sevens and then turned on a boom box with some crap music and then started arguing amongst themselves / nbd

Floated in saltywater, played ukulele, practiced meditation to ignore all the surrounding sounds. Across street is a great quirky café so I ate Oden and ice coffee and laughed / rolled wyes with the owner about the “Rastas” using their toilets but not buying any food or drink ~

This is all going on while we vacated house for our second round of fumigation for some persistent pest problems that I won’t go into detail except it includes so much vacuuming and laundry and decamping to a hotel before and last night, parent’s house~

I did my usual “triple stack” futon but the dear in-laws stay up till 11 and then back up at 7 remarking with shock and awe at *every single thing* on the loud television. Yes I’m a sensitive soul… Kind of a conflict to the elegant tatami room where I attempted to sleep~

Solar Power Digression

This morning back across to our house to get things opened up in time for the solar panel installation crew to finally show up (contracts were signed/stamped in February but been an assortment of delays due to various permitting/authorizations

1) Truck fulla solar panels (made in Japan)

2) Roofs where solar panels will go (not on blue roof or frontside of tile roof, but will go on the grey roof and the 2nd floor roof if that makes sense – the house has ideal East/West exposure (which makes for a hot house but guess good for this project)

3) Another awsum #keitruck in action laden with gear

So above me – while I am folding yet another basket of laundry waiting to go to Seitai treatment – the crew are up above my head drilling, stomping and attaching bits. Bless dear hearts working in this heat (2 days installation for panels then should light up around Sept 7)~

{when I’ve talked about the solar panel project when we signed contract back in February after meeting with four different suppliers, getting various different options amongst multiple visits (each with tea/coffee/polite, chitchat)…. We ended up with Made in Japan solar panels, with 25 year warranty, sufficient to power our house (the cottage), the parents house, and the two outbuildings – plus a battery system (with 15 year warranty) sufficient to power the house in the event of outages (and hey, it’s Japan, there’s always a natural disaster) plus, sell power back to the grid however that works.

I don’t recall how many kilowatts and all the technical specifications because there was so many numbers so many options and it all happened so long ago but eventually, I’ll give you that information if I can figure it out. Very important to us was the quality of the installation as the cottage isn’t particularly well built and the panels are going on a few different roof types, including the ceramic tiles on the backside of the naya tool shed.

Note: In some jurisdictions in Japan, there are grants, eco-loans, other subsidy programs, but in our case, no-go, so we paid cash with the aim of being self-sufficient, minimizing, carbon footprint, and planning long-term. With thanks to the “missing uncle and his empty dilapidated house” situation.

So I’m grousing for no reason except that my head is so inflamed from the air pressure and the stupid illness #MECFS and we’ve been in this crazy cycle for the last few weeks while also getting out of the house weigh more than usual by my standards~

Good news is, we’ve hit up the van Gogh exhibit, some chaotic interactive dinosaur thing, an odd traveling aquarium installation, two hot springs, a hotel with swimming pool and communal bath, three visits to the beach, a festival at a church, etc Plus, my favorite thing of going to quirky café/coffee shops.

Friday is a visit to the University hospital for another big day of iv & meds. I’m so grateful for medical care, solar panels, in-laws yet I’m so exhausted and dealing with absurd level of pain


Amongst my foggy half sleep, keep thinking about a few people who recently passed away far too early and somehow realizing I can draw a string between their 3 seemingly disparate lives. These are not the “famous people” rather those with whom I had a tenuous connection~

So yesterday at the beach, while thinking about how to respond in some meaningful way to the emotions, I wrote a song with 4 solid linking verses, a clumsy bridge and a chorus which needs another chord.

Huge Barefoot Hamilton

Maybe I’ll work on it /notebooks are filled with scribbles to transcribe xo

Small repair: gluing a ukulele ‘wing’

My “cheap and cheerful” baritone ukulele has a sort of wooden overlay bird design which sort of became unlaminated and vibrates to make my *not particularly good* playing even a little bit buzzier on certain tones. Had tacked it down with an air mail sticker which, wasn’t quite getting the task done.

As such, with a toothpick, a bottle of household/school glue which is well past its best by date, and a bit of colorful washi masking tape, enacted a small repair.

This is not an important project and clearly not a quality Lutier ha ha, however I call these “mental health projects” – what I mean is: projects which can go from beginning to middle to end in one session and allow practical enjoyment of the fruits of the labour quickly and easily.

Avast! Unencumbered by perfection, side quests and trips to shops not required, very little risk of escalating into something more complicated – thars a bit of dopamine and satisfaction at the end from completing a practical task.

{When I’m struggling mentally or emotionally or both, I get a little bit manic about doing projects like to calm to chaos a little bit.}

Note: I spent a lot of time in bed, a lot of time meditating, and a lot of time listening to audiobooks filling my head full of ideas & filling up notebooks with schemes and poetryand sometimes just need to do simple tactile actions are that aren’t epic, not multi-faceted nor interdisciplinary or multidisciplinary or minorly revolutionary. Just simple and hey, dopamine hooray.

Do you? (also thanks to my darling who did actually most of the work)

Sunny came home with a list of names
She didn’t believe in transcendence
It’s time for a few small repairs she said
Sunny came home with a vengeance