Here is an update on what has been going on in our off grid life. I know I haven’t written in a while, I took a mini-break from blogging and writing, it was something I needed to do, but now I’m back. :)
To bring you up to date, my last message was about me being sick, and I was SICK. I have just now gotten over the residual cough, I feel like was exposed to whatever this was when I visited a friend, this friend has a multitude of young kids and her youngest one was sick, now I’m not saying definitely that is where I was exposed, but I suspect that is what happened. It took me a full 2 weeks for this to run its course.
While I was sick, I made a homemade cough syrup concoction, the ingredients were horehound tea, Everclear, and honey. I did buy some NyQuil and some cough drops too, but I found that my concoction worked better for me, the only problem was my concoction only worked for about a half an hour, but that was long enough for me to fall asleep at night, the store-bought medicine just didn’t cut it.
About the same time this was happening, as if things couldn’t be worse, I began noticing a disturbing trend on my tracker for my blog. I was getting hits from government entities. Now I have gotten hots from government entities in the past, and I wasn’t particularly bothered by any of them… until I noticed one in particular, the Department of Homeland Security.
Why, you might ask, should that bother me? Especially if I am doing nothing wrong. I just couldn’t figure out what interest this branch of the government would have in my blog and potentially my life. I soon found out what the interest was.
Just before Bob and I left our old lives to start living our off grid lives, we discovered that we could order cigarettes from Europe, Moldova to be exact. These cigarettes are made by Phillip Morris, in Switzerland, and are sold in various outlets. So for a year and a half, I had been ordering cigarettes from this company with no problems. Then I received an ominous and threatening letter from the Dept of Homeland Security and Border Patrol. This letter informed me that they had taken my order of cigarettes and would keep them. They the order was (potentially) in violation of some code, they said that they would give me the opportunity to do nothing and forfeit the package. If I wanted to get my cigarettes back, I would have to fill out a form and that would start “formal” proceedings, I would have to PROVE that I have not broken any laws. I have to wonder what happened to innocent until proven guilty??? I still don’t know what law was potentially being broken, they don’t make it easy to find.
In either case, they said that if I continued ordering cigarettes from overseas, I could be subject to fines and or criminal charges. So this was the reason why the DHS was visiting my blog, they were specifically looking at the messages about how to order cigarettes from overseas. Ahhh, that was my “crime”, not only was I circumventing the economy by not paying taxes on these cigarettes, I was showing other people how to do this. I could not find anything that showed me that what I was doing was illegal, in fact what I read was that it IS legal to order or import cigarettes made in another country for personal use.
All while this was going on, I kept getting hits on my blog from the DHS, as well as a myriad of other government entities, in one day, in about an 8 hour period, I got hits from the DHS, the social security administration, the USDA, the Dept of Energy, the FAA and the Census Bureau. While it’s possible that this was a coincidence, I have serious doubts. I had hits every day from the DHS up until the 4th of July. I laid low for a while and since then, I haven’t gotten a hit from the DHS. I hope they have given up and moved on to bigger and better “criminals”. Though I wonder if writing about this again will attract more unwanted attention…
On a happier note, the other thing that has happened, I received my camera, yeah! I had ordered one from a a manufacturer in Hong Kong but wasn’t happy with it, the video was terrible, they said it was 30 frames per second (fps) but it was barely 5, so they agreed to take it back and pay for the shipping since the mistake was theirs. I ordered a real camera, not a MP4 player with a camera. I also decided to spring the extra $$$ to get the faster shipping. My original order was shipped via the postal service, it took 15 days from the day they said it shipped. It also had tracking, they scanned it when it left the warehouse in Hong Kong, it didn’t get scanned again until it reached my mailbox. That was an anxious 2 weeks to be sure.
This time I shipped via. I received a tracking number on Thursday night, it showed to still be in Hong Kong, I had the camera in my hand on Friday (yes, the following day). Needless to say, I was happy to have that camera. I tried it out and I am very happy with it, this camera works and works well. It does not have all the bells and whistles that other cameras have, but for the price, it does everything I need it to do. The videos play at 30 fps, the stills are high quality. The part I love the best is the separate zoom lens, it really brings things in close.
The other thing that has happened is we finally got a large water tank. It’s a black polyplastic tank, 1550 gallons, it was delivered a couple of weeks ago. Now we just have to figure out where to put it. We have a couple of choices, we can put it on the lower part of the property so that the water delivery man can reach it, or we can put it next to the skycastle and catch rain water with it. Chances are we will keep it closer to the bottom of the property and use the water man’s services.
Now that I have the camera, be looking for more pictures and videos coming soon! :)
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