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)

Typhoon Nanmadol annotations

Really apropos of nothing, just a few unedited notes i sent out via social channels during recent typhoon here in Japan. And a gentle reminder to self to step up “emergency preparedness kit”… I mean, easy got a C+/B- but A is the gane.

{Ichiro was curious about all the weather and commotion and reminded me of myself in 1972/3 in Lansing Michigan when a tornado was coming and we went down to the basement and ate macaroni and cheese… It’s kind of my earliest memory. I think there’s a poem about it somewhere in this archive.

Tuesday Afternoon:

Somehow it was a lovely day today! after such a hot humid summer, today was one of those days where neither heater/woodstove nor air conditioning was required. ++ I think I got more done today than the last month. Both “life admin“ stuff and pushed along a big creative project.

Tuesday Morning:

Hello friends, mighty Typhoon took a turn for the better (for us anyway) and curved towards Sea of Japan keeping us to the outside edge… Some strong wind and plenty rain but nothing heavy duty.

{Still a little bit blustery out there but definitely not catastrophic}

Thanks for checking in on us, certainly provided an opportunity to “step up“ our emergency preparedness routines and gear.

One thing certain in Japan: there’s always another natural disaster on its way… cue “ring of fire”

Monday afternoon:

Just a friendly hello to folks around Japan, Puerto Rico, as well as other places experiencing extreme weather events… I see you Pakistan. I have nothing clever to say and won’t bother you with safety platitudes or quasi-religious bromides, just saying “hello i see you” #peace

Sunday afternoon:

Wind picking up here in Okayama, just went out the kura barn to batten down (this is our “retreat” if things get rough, have campstove and lantern etc there – Let’s hope it’s not) #typhoon #cantrememberhowtospellthenametwhichoundslikeaprescriptiondrug

Shut down the barn, make sure have the camp stove and lantern and batteries on standby, wife took down the bamboo shades outside. This morning was bright and sunny and now the pressure has dropped it’s gray and windy / good thing I was such a great Cub Scout ++ thanks for thinking about us



While I’m here (in a cool dark room with an aching head #typhoon) Just a friendly hello to anyone else in Japan who’s head feels like it’s being squished with air pressure changes from incoming #typhoon.

Goes without saying but “stay safe“ and hope it blows over. Also, I don’t know typhoon’s name or number, we’re not on personal terms as yet.


We’ve now entered the “my head is squishing due to typhoon air pressure changes“ season in Japan. No big deal, realize there are much bigger problems in the world, like a lot but… Change starts at home and change at home starts in one’s head, right? #mecfs I just want to sleep.

Art: Michal, Ichiro, Noriko paintings on display at Tsuchida Cottage

what a corner! / #swoon

Ichiro art hanging between 2 masters / Michal Korman (L) & Noriko Miyake (R) at Tsuchida Cottage.

Captured before moving this Ichiro art assortment to a scrapbook.

Plan: Kura, 1st floor “concept” (family hang-out arts and crafts music clubhouse)

While the second floor of my kura barn is well documented as a mixed media arts and craft studio, this first floor is getting rearranged to be more of a well, family style mixed media arts and craft hang out with musical instruments, record player, more books, records and CDs, as well as emergency/camping supplies, storage of tea ceremony equipment, extra supplies for pickling/fermenting, and other seasonal storage.

its a perfect plan, right?

Here is my very important plan detailing the intentions and schematics.

UPDATE: coming along well! i’ll share a snap but the stereo is mostly working, the messes are tidied (except for the big pile of extra heaters to consider jettisoning), and shelves filling up with items. More to go but hey, we’re on the way.

UPDATE: panorama of hangout

hooray for big panorama! what do you see?

Kura barn / storehouse turned studio, consulate and lounge (round-up/catch-all)

Summer 2021: Glorious Kura barn 125+ yrs old got a century retrofit with heat-pump/cooler, electric upgrade with breaker box & a safety railing

For documentary purposes, these snaps show the unscathed (mostly) exterior (note how a/c does not breach the perfect east facing yakisugi wall)

Along the side is a stash of storage flower pots, crocks & roof tiles + bricks (maybe to make a bar-b-q or pizza oven in future).

See below for lousy video clip included to show the summer sort-ganize project.

Continue reading Kura barn / storehouse turned studio, consulate and lounge (round-up/catch-all)

Items: 4 paintings (by BC artists) at Tsuchida Cottage

Tidying up the artifacts, as such, here is a subset of paintings at Tsuchida Cottage and/or Giggling Piglet Studio and Consulate or, in one case, a painting which is still in Vancouver. Joins other paintings by Noriko Miyake, Michal Korman, Vincent Gornall and others.

1 painting by John Ferrie, still on “wrong” side of Pacific

Diary: Luxury life with scattershot actions amidst (in)consequential events

So, to no one in particular, “please don’t mind if the posts seem a little scattershot, maybe not finely-tuned, polished and definitely random”… After all this is about fck stats make art make for the future and let the present peek over your shoulder

#daveo50 turns into #daveo52 maybe “finish” by #daveo63

As it goes, left over from my #Daveo50 “personal archaeology project” as well as other sundry diaries, dossiers and whatnot, I have 380 or so posts in my WordPress “draft” folder / Plus switched from “classic“ to “Gutenberg“ which adds a step. So sort of trying to clear the deck. I’m not telling you this for any reason than to give myself an excuse to say that “not every post needs to be a complete mixed media dossier and maybe just rock them out – just make sure they follow your category naming/tagging conventions” / Reminder: Metadata is important for finding.

I really enjoy the process – especially assembling the items and then hitting “public” and floating them out into the world without any expectation – the part I don’t like is sitting and looking at a screen for more than an hour at a time. So many different topics, era & riffs.

So, instead of finishing “important” things already in the “pending folder” what follows are very basic things, photos included for no particular purpose except for my improbable, albeit somewhat inconsequential, documentation of the “usual days“.

Today, so far, recap:

Drink coffee, talked to a friend I haven’t for 3 years, hung out with Ichiro (before he & mama went to tea ceremony), took binders + stuff to kura, organized some scrapbook items, unboxed some new 7” & 10” records, ordered a 45 RPM adapter, usual dishes and laundry.

Amongst the new records is Mudhoney’s “this gift” Subpop split single (with Mr Epp on reverse) + other 7”s by White Stripes, Sebadoh, Shins more + Live 10” by Jesus and Mary Chain including one of my all-time favorite songs “head on“.

PS Still not thrilled with new phono preamp, but also not very technical hi-fi clever, need a smarter friend.

Continue reading Diary: Luxury life with scattershot actions amidst (in)consequential events

Kitchen: anaerobic ferments, various (mostly in peanut butter jars)

Anaerobic ferments, various (mostly in peanut butter jars)

While I’m here: wife came home from a work project (planting some saplings) with a couple cardboard boxes from a big haul at a great grocery store to stock up our new freezer :) including big batch of cucumbers & cherry tomatoes for me to ferment. (Most of our groceries are delivered by co-op).

Most are put in peanut butter jars for my prodigious habit from iherb, also bottled some cauliflower, some kind of dried turmeric, a few carrots etc. I add in a laurel leaf or three to keep things crispy, a few black peppercorns along with the salt and spring water. Stash in below-floor sort of root cellar place.

Diary: apropos of nothing (sleeping masks, hockey, mosquito net, laundry)

Really nothing to the usual days except for the brilliance of usual days, appros of really nothing, i annotate for amusement. Carry on in a disinter-mediated manner:

new kamidana house shrine for ancestors – made in Tottori from a slab of gingko wood

Okayama memo: The thing I really like most about is its very “usualness” {aside from being famous for the Momotaro peach boy story and being a “place you pass through to get to other places”} is also almost always sunny but not today (this Cascadian doesn’t mind the rain though).

My 1st era in Japan in the early 90s, was in Tottori (remote w/ kei-truck), later hiding out near Miasa, Nagano. When came back few years ago, found Okayama was just right / Not a hectic sensory overload city but has big hospital, Immigration etc.

Yes, we “lean heavily” into Momotaro folktale here and the image of a peach is scattered all over from statues to utility pole covers and gosh, peaches with a boy coming out of them can look really funny! And apparently it’s the sunniest prefecture in Japan. 

By post: Three pack of organic oatmeal arrived. {always mean to scribble down “tasting notes“ with all the different kinds but never do and never remember which ones were “great“ but all are, you know, good enough} ~ Eat each morning with variety of nuts, berries and sometimes yogurt.

Today by post: hori hori garden tool (this one is artisan made, previously ordered for wife and mother-in-law from off-the-shelf made-in-Japan company) / this one needs sharpened up and it didn’t come with a case/holster :( feels good in the hand though.

Day in the life:

  • ate salad with smoked salmon for lunch
  • loaded our new tiny dishwasher
  • sent a telegram, really
  • attempting to remove chewing gum from a pocket of a favorite shirt with ice packs #pending

now a rest before finishing laundry

Next day: One oatmeal, three coffees, two baskets of laundry, two hockey games… Now switching to loungewear and some tax paperwork. Then maybe repair a wicker stool after lunch.

Update: some arcane tax documents prepared, stamped, notarized, faxed, ready to mail in Duplicate etc. Indian curry and smoked salmon/avocado/lettuce salad lunch with darling. Next (going to try) to put a new seat on this wicker stool with hemp cloth and upholstery thumbtacks.

It’s not a masterpiece but it’s decent. Sturdy Polish hemp cloth, rugged long tacks & see how it goes. Hooray for hexagons!

Continue reading Diary: apropos of nothing (sleeping masks, hockey, mosquito net, laundry)

Ryoko’s Charcoal Kiln, annotations

Charcoal Kiln drum – improving the campsite

Ryoko has a notion to make charcoal using a 200 litre (50 g) drum as a kiln. She’ll cut in a chimney & stuff it with hardwood and/or bamboo and use charcoal for tea ceremony, grilling & whatnot.

Ryoko’s charcoal making kiln project continues – includes ridable machines and metal work and bricks. I made her an iced chai. #Helping

Also: last week, she was singing on a live stream, this week she’s running a power shovel, she also performed tea ceremony and a dozen other specialty skills #AmazedDaily – and all of it is done like “it’s no big deal, I just figured out how to do this and think it will be interesting“ 

Question: Make charcoal? Why and is this for you or she has been hired?

Charcoal = yes

Why? = for experimenting in sustainability and general arts and crafts (i.e. use chopped down bamboo in a sensible manner + use the finished charcoal for tea ceremony brazier, barbecues and woodstove)So, no not for me specifically, nor for a client. Just “to do it”

PS This morning she transplanted a tree after moving a bunch of dirt at the end of day yesterday for her tea garden in the front of the house, she was up on the ladder pruning branches but I missed the chance to take a picture so you’ll just have to believe me

Diary: “i much prefer the mundane” – campsite tasks and musings

Continuing to document the mundane / usual days >> like another “waiting for a bus (when i shoulda adjusted my flower) to go to seitai medical treatment”.

Really though, just an excuse to say “thanks for all the kindness of late” – its nice to be your friend + poetry, convos & snaps.

By the way, these are the glasses that were broken several weeks ago and now magically repaired… Serving me well since 1994 (on and off)

Bits and pieces or recent days included with minor annotations in captions and so on:

First: No tenants in the first birdhouse, though lots of birdies around, but made another one anyhow. Its like a housing development here (with no strata fees).

i might just put action figures in the houses instead – I make bird houses (even though no birds seem want to live in them). But I get to make them regardless. This has zero cost and minimal skill and maximum satisfaction. No conventions or preconceived notions of outcomes

unrelated: after building another birdhouse, i submitted 3 poems to one place and 2 to another, ergo:

* Barbed Wire Scars (approx 37 lines)
* Alchemists Confer with Hypnotists (approx 32 lines)
* Nowhere to Call (approx 21 lines)
* How Shall We Fill This Vessel
* Aye Carpathia

Ichiro Bench project: More scraps into action to make a workbench for Ichiro who digs playing with his tools & pounding nails. Ichiro loves playing with brooms, rakes, shovels and these kinds of things so… will drill some big holes in the right side of the bench to stash in his own tools
Continue reading Diary: “i much prefer the mundane” – campsite tasks and musings