GRAYnomad Nature Photography :: The GRAYnomad Chronicles :: #095



I didn't ask to be in my current circumstances, but to use a common saying that I don't particularly like, it is what it is.

That said I like the person I'm turning into, I guess I should because I have always decided what I wanted to be then done what was required to make it so; and that's what I'm doing now.

I'm not unhappy living alone, even prefer it in some ways. Truth is my life is pretty much prefect at present...pretty much. It would be more perfect with someone to share it with though.

Till next time then, and remember,

Don't Dream it, Be it!

Sat 18 Jun 2022

For those that think I'm living on baked beans these days, well yes I have polished off a few cans but I'm also trying to learn about cooking.

I've made fried rice a few times and the other day I attended a "Making pizza dough" workshop that just happened to be at a neighbour's house.

I came away from that with a large dollop of dough that has sat in the fridge because I've been out and about and not had time to deal with it.

But today I diced it up into 8 pieces, put 7 of them back into the fridge then flattened the 8th one a tad and added some grated cheese.


Because I don't have a real oven without the fire going I heated up a camp oven and stuck the base in that.


End result, a really nice flat roll thing.


The local Baker's Delight franchise had better watch out, I'm gunnin' for them.

I've never been interested in cooking, heck I could hardly be bothered eating, but I'm getting a kick out of this to the point that I might even build a better and larger kitchen.

Mon 21 Jun 2022

I offered to take an old washing machine to the rubbish tip for a neighbour. "I'll bring it over on the tractor carry all" he said.

When he arrives he's driving one-handed and holding a small goanna. It was living under the washing machine and would be vulnerable out in the open so he brought it along for the ride with a view to relocating it to a safe place.

Well OK, whatever. "So where's the washing machine?" I ask.

He looks at the empty carry all, "Shit, I thought I would hear if it fell off".

I guess not.

So I hold the little fella while the neighbour goes searching for the washing machine.


Cute as eh?

Sat 25 Jun 2022

We have no ground water here so I think wicking beds will be the way to go for me. This is a test one I built earlier this year.


These chilies and tomatoes were planted back in April I think, and I haven't watered them for at least a month, maybe more, I have however been feeling the soil regularly and it's always been damp.

Today it didn't seem quite as damp so I topped up the reservoir, but that's over a month with no watering, yeah it's winter and not stinking hot but I'm still impressed. Maybe the plants would have grown bigger with active watering, or maybe not, I don't have a control sample.

If this works out when it gets hot this summer I'll finish the other three I started.


Yikes! Another $600 in materials, mostly the steel, Rapidset concrete is pretty cheap.


Man I gotta stop building things.

You like my new ratchet straps? I've always used ropes but I don't think that's legal any more and I have to admit the straps do a better job, I can't get that tight with a trucker's hitch.

I can't carry as much with the new roof rack because the spare wheel is now stored up there and it's in the way, so I have a few more trips to do yet.

Sun 26 Jun 2022

Well the rain has started and my workshop extension isn't even close to having a roof. Apparently we're in for a wet spring, I had better get my A into G and finish this off before then.


Mon 27 Jun 2022

I'm not a fast builder, mostly happy to get a little bit done every day. So often there's a post hole been dug that's ready for concrete but it's approaching beer o'clock so of course it's tools down.

When this happens I put a stick in the hole so any little critters that fall in can climb out.


Thu 30 Jun 2022

Peace : Check
A few good friends : Check
Plot of land in the middle of nowhere : Check
Music : Check
Fire : Check
Dog : Hmmm

I shit you not, all this talk of dogs and cats and a cat just walked right into my living room.

I just saw its arse end as it walked out, I've lost it now and don't take kindly to feral cats in the bush, but I've put some food out, if indeed it's just a lost/dumped moggy and it will allow me, I'll take it to the vet to see if it's chipped.

Security cameras make you feel safer knowing what's outside in the darkness eh?

Yeah. Not always

Sat 02 Jul 2022

I've been invited out to Liz's birthday party.

Liz is the 25-year-old daughter of a farmer mate of mine out west from here. I've been visiting (and occasionally helping on) the farm for a couple of years now and have almost become part of the furniture there.

A pretty rough-looking mob but all the family are kind-hearted and generous, as is mostly the case with farmers I have found.

I'd had a few drinks at this point and am clearly quite happy to have a good-looking girl on my lap, if only for the few seconds it takes to do a selfie.

A few months ago on another visit Liz asked if I was going to stay overnight. I said "If they'll have me", to which she replied "Of course they will, they consider you like family". I've never really had a "family" and I admit that was very humbling.

Thu 14 Jul 2022

I bought a ute today.

I've been thinking about selling the Jimny and getting a ute for a while, but it was all too hard with most candidates being miles away in other towns, so I dropped the idea.

But then a friend of mine (Malina) who knew that I was thinking about this contacted me to say that they are selling their Mazda Bravo.

I go around to have a look, like what I what I see, and buy it.

It has a ding in the left-side door but I don't care about that. More importantly as you can see it has a full set of racks so I can use it to buy steel.

The Jimny is a great little car and to be honest I used to think it would be our "forever" car, something we would use when we got old and doddery and had to move back into town.

Well Chris didn't get old and I have no plans to get doddery, meanwhile I need a useful vehicle and nice as it is the Jimny is not all that useful in my lifestyle. Also if I sell the Jimny I should have quite a few $ left over to buy more tools

Sat 16 Jul 2022

I'm sitting on the patio eating breakfast and just enjoying soaking up the sun when the thought pops up that Chris can no longer just enjoy these simple things. That leads me down the old"what if" rabbit hole, what if I'd got to her faster, what if she didn't smoke, what if I was better versed in CPR, etc etc. and I just degenerate into a sobbing heap.

Jesus I hope this doesn't continue for the rest of my life.

Still building the workshop extension. In general with this sort of work I aim for millimetre accuracy, aren't too unhappy with centimetre accuracy, and eventually live with inch accuracy.


Not dead plumb, but as far as I can determine the top of the post is at the correct distance from the existing structure and that's more important.


Al ready, just add concrete.


Mon 18 Jul 2022

I didn't buy chocolate today.

Yes that's right, I'm cutting back on sweet snacks because if there is chocolate or biscuits in the fridge I'll just eat them every time I walk past until there are none left. I know, that's a total lack of self control but with such things that's how I am.

So the best thing to do is just not have the temptation present in the first place.

Well that's all well and good but today those evil bastards at the IGA supermarket had my favourite chocolate on special for $2.50, that's under half price.

I stood in front of the shelf torn by indecision, then walked on.

Sat 23 Jul 2022

I have certain goals in mind and remember a question asked by successful people before they perform any task, and that is "Will this task get me closer to my goal?"

If the answer is "No" then maybe you shouldn't perform that task.

Now I don't ask this of every task, I like to goof off as much as the next person, so I have a similar question I ask myself, "Did I do something today that gets me closer to my goal?"

The answer is almost always "Yes". Often I don't advance by much, but I nearly always advance at least a little bit.

Take for example yesterday. I am currently in the process of building a workshop extension and had planned to complete the framing before I did any cladding, but the rain stopped play and now I need to park my Landcruiser inside the construction to use as scaffolding but I can't do that until the ground dries out. Also the Cruiser is broke at present, it's a No Go Tojo. A simple problem and I've ordered the part needed, but it's got a few days off.

So I was going to just watch Youtube videos all day.

But then I realised that I can actually start doing some cladding, not my preferred order of operations but there's no technical reason not to do that.

So I got two half sheets up, not much but the positioning is important as these set the stage for all subsequent sheets on this side, so there was a fair bit of deep thought required. Plus I have about 80 odd-sized sheets of corro and I have to try and get the best possible cuts to reduce wastage, and that takes a lot of time to figure out.


Result, I'm just that little bit closer to the end goal, which in this case is to have a larger workshop.

So why do I need a larger workshop?

Well in my fantasy post-crash world I'll be the guy you come to to barter food for metal work, not that I can do everything, far from it, but I can do a lot, and I plan to expand on my blacksmithing skills. To that end I've purchased some more gear and that in turn needs more space, the existing gear (shown in one of the pics) will also move out to this new area.

Fantasy post-crash world aside, I just like working with my hands, mostly using metal but wood as well, so it's not hard for me to justify this expense and time, especially as metalwork (specifically blacksmithing) is pretty much a free pastime once you have the gear.

Sun 24 Jul 2022

My camera club has an outing to the Gin Gin railway museum today.

I got a few half-decent photos.


Mon 25 Jul 2022

One selling point of the new ute is that it already have racks and a builder's bar on the front. As such I should be able to buy all the normal steel and other long things as I have been doing.


Tue 26 Jul 2022

Here are my two main vehicles, what a nice pigeon pair eh?


The ute will be good for a lot of things, like getting fuel from town, I could fit 8 or even 10 Jerry cans in that space.


Fri 29 Jul 2022

Today's meme.

Sat 30 Jul 2022

As mentioned I bought a new (to me) ute from a friend the other day. It drives real well and will be very useful, much more so than the Jimny (which I will now probably sell).

I've also bought a fly press from another friend, it weighs a few 100 kilograms we think so that begs the question "How the heck am I going to move it around when it gets here?"

So now I need a gantry crane.

Enter the new ute, I went into Bundy and bought a 3M length of UB150 (6" I-beam), this will be the main cross member but I'll need wheels and other stuff before it's useful.


Oh, and see that block of steel on the tray? I found that at the scrappies and I think it will make an OK striking anvil. It weighs 21 kilos, exactly half as much as that long beam, who woulda thought?

Tue 02 Aug 2022

Back in the 70s I rode with a mob of blokes one of whom was named Sean (IIRC).

Sean was a good rider but he did push it a little and he dropped his 450 twin frequently.

Because of this he would buy a timing cover for his bike every pay day, he either already needed one because he had stepped off sometime in the last fortnight, or he knew he would in the next fortnight.

So he just bought a timing cover every pay day regardless.

What has this got to do with today?

Well I don't NEED any corrugated iron right now, but I'm a serial builder so know I will sometime in the next few weeks and it can be hard to find good rustic (and rusty) corro. So when I saw a bundle of 5-meter sheets at the scrappy's I bought them.


Well a guy can never have too many sheets of corrugated iron eh?

Wed 03 Aug 2022

Today's meme.

Thu 04 Aug 2022

I went to visit a blacksmithing mate (Scottie) today, I have the trailer with me and that is damn lucky because while we are chatting his fly press fell off it's bench, and if my trailer had not, quite by chance, been positioned exactly where it was it would have landed on the floor and been damaged.

Oh well, it's too heavy to get out and time is pressing, so it can follow me home.


BTW, it's an 8-ton fly press. No it doesn't weigh 8 tons, although it did seem that way when we were loading it. The weight refers to the amount of pressure it can apply to a piece of metal.

Thu 11 Aug 2022

There are several defined male personality types, I knew about Alpha, Beta and Omega. Of course all blokes want to be an Alpha but I've always known I'm not one, I also didn't think I was a Beta or an Omega, I'm too determined to get what I want in life and don't really care what people think of me to be one of those types.

So what the heck am I?

Well it seems that there is another type that's Alpha-like in many ways but also quiet and introverted like a Beta.

I give you the Sigma male.

(Yeah that's me, drawn by caricature artist many years ago.)

Here's an article and a video about the personality traits of a Sigma male.

15 characteristics of a Sigma male

This is not 100% me but it's pretty damn close. Here are some examples.

Sigma males... Me
Are comfortable being on their own. True, in fact I often prefer it. I've spent days alone in the wilderness and loved it. If you've been reading my blog for a while you will know that I am now on my own again, this is not my preference but there are a few benefits and I think I can deal with it better than most.
Often drop out of school I was kicked out and never went back.
Are inclined to quit a corporate job Quite my corporate job at 45.
Often lives in an RV Ummm hello, 15 years living in an RV.
Detest authority Not only was I kicked out of high school, I had to swap junior schools because I argued too much with the principle, and I was also kicked out of cub scouts. Yeah, got that covered I think.
Are self-sufficient emotionally and physically Yep. I almost never ask for help, can do just about everything by myself although sometimes to my detriment.
Will observe before doing Apparently I was so late to walk that my parents thought there was a problem, until one day I just stood up and walked. I was observing how to do it before I had a go they say. I will also watch someone else try a building door first so I know whether to push or pull.
Are logical and rational Yep, I hate decisions made based on emotion. I try to analyse every problem logically before making a decision. This probably explains why I was (am?) a good programmer as that is mostly logic.
Always get what they want, do what they want when they want Maybe not always, but just about. Once I decide on a goal I pursue it until achieved, sometimes for years.
Will leave party without saying goodbye I literally used to do this in my 20s, just disappear into the night. To facilitate this I would make sure I parked some distance from the venue so I wasn't blocked in and nobody would see or hear my car leave.
Are often nomadic Again, hello, 15 years living on the road, plus 7 years traveling from age 18 to 25.
Have no interest in trends or fashion Have you seen my dress sense? I rest my case.
Are often bullied because quiet I was badly bullied when I entered high school until one day I snapped and laid into the main perpetrator. After we both got out of hospital I was treated a lot differently.
See both sides of an argument I am a crap arguer because I can always see the other person's point of view. Because of this I figured that I would make a bad lawyer but a good judge.
Often live outside of society's social hierarchy I've never really conformed to the norms, ran away from two relationships because they wanted the standard "house and 2 kids" life. In about 50 years as an adult I only spent 20 doing the normal "job and house in the burbs" thing and even then no kids.
Move in and out of different social circles, can interact with almost anyone I can talk to a garbage man or an English professor for hours. My wife used to work for a university and at the first staff Christmas dinner I was placed next to Norman, a genuine tenured English professor. Chris was worried that I would be out of my depth but we got on great and chatted all night.

At the other extreme I met a huge red-headed bloke in Pt Hedland with (as it transpired) connections to one of the OMGs (Outlaw MC Gangs). We got on famously and I wound up camping in his yard and drinking to the wee hours.
Jack of all trades, will learn anything he focuses on Well heck I do everything from plumbing to electric to welding to cabinet work to electronics to you name it. Maybe not a Jack of ALL trades but certainly a lot of them.
Cannot be told what to do I will not simply be told what to do, I need to know why it needs to be done and then I will decide if I will do it or not. This applies to all levels from my wife down to the white lines on the road. And to think I nearly joined the Army, that would not have been a good match.
Treats everyone the same I don't care if you are the local school janitor or the Prime Minister I will treat you the same unless I decide that you are not worth my time. At which point I will still be polite but will break off any discussion. I hasten to add though that this really never happens, I can learn something from almost everyone which then makes almost everyone worth my time.





Date  ::   31 Aug 2022
Name  ::   Kevin
Location  ::   Canada
Comment  ::   Rob, You just saved me!
Sigma male, holy crap I had no idea, but that's me.
Now about that rough looking mob, 1 or 2 of them are rough looking, I shall let you ponder which 2 it may be.
And Rob, WTF ?,
chocolate on at 50% off and you buy none? Now I begin to worry.
Anyhow Mate, keep on building, I am way older than you, partially disabled and can still build shit. Howd'y from up here on the top side.
Date  ::   31 Aug 2022
Name  ::   GRAYnomad
Comment  ::   Yeah I know, passing up half-priced chocolate, that's pretty sad eh? The beginning of the end I would say.

Welcome to the Sigma club
Date  ::   30 Sep 2022
Name  ::   erik Huijsmans
Location  ::   Netherlands
Comment  ::   Still like it very much to read your story's. Your struggle's , your constructions and live in general. Thank you for sharing.

Date  ::   01 Oct 2022
Name  ::   GRAYnomad
Comment  ::   Thanks Erik, I'm battling on, got a heap of things I want to do.
Date  ::   30 Oct 2022
Name  ::   Ross Stockwell
Location  ::   Mulgildie
Comment  ::   Sigma Male,
Always known it from about 6 or 7 ... however a sigma male with autism now that's a mix... Personally I don't like people and was once often ashamed to be one ... Hard not to be one when you look like one ... I have no religion ... that's for weak minds ... I find religious culture belief systems detestable and a waste of time ... Death and mortality? get used to it ... Mother Nature (so called) how about we call it ...nature or existence leaving the superlatives for the other 99% ... It appears very apparent from history that human kind was advanced by the so called sigma male without which there in the caves... Conspiracy Theory is not theory if it is a conspiracy followed by the other 99% ... My dear old dog died last week after 17 years. I miss him and cried for a week yet in 1000 years? Who will remember, tears in rain... Dust in the wind... The sigma male is a male who knows the limits of his mortality so, lets be men aware and live with that mortality... As an ex special forces soldier it was never the hooray... we all knew we could die and saw some do it. therefore we fought to live... To be now ...not tomorrow ... now ... To brew up now tastes good for tomorrow I may not taste. Tomorrow is fiction the dream of the 'prols' who have no past, empty vessels filled with noise looking to the abstract they will never find. The future is the past as there is no future if there is no past... Leave morality for the weaker mind find your own warrior pulse and in this you will live with an unfettered mind... Easy said... hard to do as ethics religion and law clouds your mind... What is right? what is wrong? Now anymore than this is fiction.
Date  ::   01 Nov 2022
Name  ::   GRAYnomad
Comment  ::   Hi Ross,

Yep, I don't hold with any religion or thoughts of an afterlife. When I'm gone I'm gone, end of story.

The other day someone asked me what legacy will I leave. None I said, a few friends will miss me for a week or so and then they will move on and that will be that.

Everything I've done and everything I've known will be assigned to the dustbin of history.

So be it.

Date  ::   02 Dec 2022
Name  ::   Mr. Sharkey
Location  ::   Directly above the Center of the Earth
Comment  ::   >> a few friends will miss me for a week or so

Oh Rob, that's not true, I'd miss you for far longer than that!

In fact, I'm missing you right now! How about gracing us all with a pre-holiday Chronicle update to let us know how you are getting on?
Date  ::   02 Dec 2022
Name  ::   GRAYnomad
Comment  ::   Thanks mate

I'll try to get one out soon.
Date  ::   05 Dec 2022
Name  ::   Jerry
Location  ::   Ireland
Comment  ::   Keep at it Rob, one day at a time and all that. But don't pass up the chance of half price chocolate again you absolute nutter! And so what if you eat it all in a short time? You have paid your dues mate, enjoy the rewards!
Date  ::   07 Dec 2022
Name  ::   GRAYnomad
Comment  ::   Yeah I think I shot myself in the foot there with the chocolate eh?
Date  ::   19 Jan 2023
Name  ::   Daina
Location  ::   Wollongong
Comment  ::   How are you going there Rob?
Date  ::   22 Jan 2023
Name  ::   GRAYnomad
Comment  ::   All good, things are really looking up these days, there will be more about that soon.
Date  ::   12 Mar 2023
Name  ::   erik Huijsmans
Location  ::   Netherlands
Comment  ::   Hi Rob, how are you doing? Hope you are in good spirit. I miss your story's and updates
Date  ::   22 Mar 2023
Name  ::   GRAYnomad
Comment  ::   Hi Erik, things are great here these days and I have a lot of things happening. I'll try to make the effort to post another chronicle.

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