Welcome to My Full-Time RV Living LifeStyle Blog!

I suppose I should mention that this is an RV blog. The picture of me standing beside a motorhome in the banner probably tipped you off to that fact already, but you know how it is with blogs, any body can put anything in the header.

Anyways, I was born, raised, and live in Maine, I have 12 cats, and some people would call me homeless. Nope, I have a home, I just don't have what people call a standard house. My house has wheels and her name is Rosebud. My backyard stretches on for thousands and thousands of miles all the way from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific Ocean.

Once upon a time I had a "regular home" but a flood came and took it away. Me and my cats spent the next 3 years living under a 8x6 tarp and survived through 3 blizzards and Maine's coldest winter on record when the temps hit -48F. After that me and the cats moved in a Volvo. As hard as it is to live in a tent with 12 cats, it's even harder to live in a Volvo with 12 cats, and a motorhome named No Hurry was the answer. No Hurry: my home, my office, my RV.

I plan to use this blog to share my thoughts, ideas, adventures, and advice on being self-employed, living and working a full-time RV LifeStyle with an army of cats, while boondocking in the wonderful (and sometimes sub-zero) state of Maine.

I hope to write a post a day featuring random thoughts as they pop into my head, and hopefully 2 or 3 posts per week will focus on something helpful to those seeking to live in an RV full time. If you've any thoughts, ideas, or suggestions on what sort of posts you'd like to see me write, please comment and let me know.

I hope you all have as much fun reading this blog as I know I'll have writing it.


Monday, June 11, 2012

EelKat's Thoughts on The Journals of H. D. Thoreau

As with last semester, at the end of the Summer Semester 2012 @ SMCC, I am now putting my college essays online. This is one of several book/article reviews written for the Lit&Environment class:

Wendy C Allen
LITR 245 Literature & Environment
Prof. Robert Verttese
June 10, 2012

Journals of H. D. Thoreau

Did you like the writing style?

Yes, I did. Its formal without being too formal, it’s conversational, without being laidback. It reads like you are in the room with him, talking after a meal. It’s a very friendly, chummy style of writing, that invites the readers to sit back and relax, and listen while an old friend tells you a tale. The writing style here is similar to the style in the Mark Twain piece (which I also greatly enjoyed).

Did the ideas appeal to you?

Very much, but perhaps, more than the ideas themselves, was the fact that I identified with the writer behind the ideas. The Stink Mushroom is a rare plant, growing only in the deepest old growth pine forest, and only those which are made even more difficult to get to, by the fact of being surrounded by swamp. Few have ever seen this plant, because few are so tenacious that they would walk deep into the forest, then wade through peaty, mushy, muck and slime of a pine forest bog, where such a strange plant grows. I am oft considered a “strange odd duck” by folks who simply do not understand the way I was raised: in the swamp.  I think I survived the last 6 years of homelessness so well, for the simple fact that I never really spent much time in the house, not ever in my past 40 years of life. I often slept outside, I usually ate outside, and when I wasn’t taking care of the animals or tending the gardens, I was off deep in the forest, exploring the swamps and bogs, avoiding the quick sand and bringing home snapping turtles, snakes, and buckets filled with frogs. People often ask, how I survived being homeless so long, but really, my life had not changed much at all, the only real change was a lack of a roof to get out of the rain and snow.

Well, all that said, having found the Stink Mushroom myself on various occasions, I know that it ain’t no little hike, Thoreau went on to find such a plant. He had to have done a great deal of harsh trekking in very wet and unfriendly territory to have found that plant he had. He does not go into such details in the story, but I know from having done it myself, the difficulties he would have had to face, just to be in the type of place this plant chooses to grow. I think most readers would not have such an appreciation of this fact. But this is the idea I liked most of all: the idea, that this man was so used to trekking harsh terrain, that he could talk about the things he found on his hike, without thinking anything of the hike itself! I do the same thing and this is where people really get me. I’ll tell them of something I’ve found, but rather then pick it, I’ll tell them come see it. They’ll follow my a few hundred feet then start complaining and groaning and saying how seeing an odd plant isn’t worth the trouble it’s taking to get to it. I’ll be looking at them, wondering what the heck they mean. They’ll say something like “Well you got mountain goat in your blood.” I just really like that I can identify with this guy, who like me wanders into the forest for no reason at all, just because it’s the thing his soul is driven to do. Maybe that was not the idea he was trying to express, but it’s the underlying idea I picked up on while reading this.

What SPECIFICALLY did you like/dislike?

I really liked this piece. I like how he examines human nature, both in the way people exaggerate what they see, and how they also see only what they want to see. I don’t think there was anything in this piece that I actually disliked. I have never read Thoreau before, but I think I shall look into reading more of his work now, for I thoroughly enjoyed reading this piece.

I liked the last part of the kitten. It shows this man, looks at everything with an analytical mind, not just plants and nature. I think again, though as before, part of this was because I was identifying with the event itself. In the past 40 years I have had 84 cats, for several years running a shelter out of my house. I rescue feral cats, usually older cats, too old to fight nature anymore, they take to looking to humans for food, and eventually allow themselves to get captured and brought home. Kittens I do not often have, as feral mother cats will attack humans and defend kits fiercely.  A year ago, however, a feral cat whom I’d been feeding, had kittens in the cold of early spring. Winter had not yet left, and she knew her kits would not survive the harsh weather, and so, much to my surprise, she moved in on her own (no being captured). Though she remained fierce and feral, not letting me touch her, she let me hold her kittens who grew up to be tame and playful cats. Today, her and her 3 kittens have moved into the motorhome and she treats me as one of her family, being as tame as a house cat around me, however, still as fierce as a mountain lion to any other human. It is fascinating watching this cat and her kittens as they grow, and I can understand Thoreau’s similar fascination with his own cat and kittens.

I like the mushroom part best of all. I knew in an instant what plant he was talking about when he described it as a “perfect phallus with a scrotum”. A very rare plant indeed and one you’ll never forget once you see it. I live in a very swampy area, difficult to garden, because the ground is dank, wet, and fungal. Mushrooms abound in every color shape and size, and every September rows of geletus mock puff balls sprout up along the base of fallen oak trees. Stepping on one brings and oozing mess and a rancid smell, but just wait a few weeks for the mushroom to mature, and you feel you need a gas mask to walk through the swamp. The Stink Mushroom, both the strangest looking and worst smelling plant you’ll ever cross paths with, and ironically usually growing alongside the equally strange looking Lady Slipper Orchid. I couldn’t help laughing at his disgust on the sight of the plant, and laughing all the more as he tried moving it from room to room, trying to get it far enough away as not to smell it.

A quote or two you liked and why you liked them:

“Nature does not cast pearls to swine. There is just as much beauty visible to us in the landscape as we are prepared to appreciate-not a grain more”

This is exactly how I feel. It’s like it is so pointless to try to explain what you see to someone, because no matter how you describe it, they are still going to see it in a totally different way. Me I am a painter and photographer, as well as a writer, and where I may see a beautiful swamp overflowing its brim with exotic wildlife just waiting to be captured on camera and canvas and written about for essaies, a developer may see that same swamp as a desolate wasteland waiting to be landfilled and paved for the next shopping mall. I look at his vision on the swamp and see nothing but money hungry ego and greed, and yet he may look at my vision of it and see an environmentalist geek hippie tree hugger left over from the 1960s (and if he looks at my painted and rhinestoned art car or my green metalflaked motorhome, he’ll KNOW he was right!) A botanist will come in and find the root of a plant which will save Africa from starvation. And then some pharmaceutical scientist will come along and see a rare tree frog whose toxic slime cures diseases. Each of us walked into the exact same swamp, yet each of us saw something totally different, because each of us went in, with a different frame of mind. We each see what we want to see. I like Thoreau’s quote, because it just rings so true to human nature.

How does this reading connect to another idea, reading, film, etc. and explain the connection.

Oh wow, I just felt like I connected to this myself. His descriptions of plants, his views on how people see the world around them, his thoughts on how ancients described animals, and his observations of the kitten - they are all on the same wavelength on which my brain thinks about such things.

I don’t know why, but this keeps making me think back to when I was a kid in the 1970s and riding my 3-wheel ATV through the forest, till I got to the sand pit, where I would spend hours just driving circles around the pit. Happy times. :) That sandpit does not exist today. In 1991, during Hurricane Bob, it flooded and its basin-shape held the water, turning it into a small brackish water pond. Over the years swamp plants and tall grass grew up in it, and today it sits as a small bog with a lip of white sand all around its upper edge, and even a few small trees growing in it. Strange how the plants moved in and overtook the land so quickly. Anyways, I don’t know why,, but reading this piece reminded me of that pond, which just 30 years ago was a sand pit where I drove my ATV.

What ideas was he playing with?

I see a lot of comparing one thing to another, going on here. I think he was toying with the idea of botanical writing for a bit, then turned to the idea of fauna writing, then went off in a philosophical road comparing how various types of people view the same thing, then finishing off with a more domestic look at the life of a house cat.


Good morning Starshine! Liked this post? Looking to connect with me online? I love social networks and am on most of them. You can find me on: BloggerEtsyFaceBookGoogle+KeenMySpaceNaNoWriMoProBoardsScript FrenzySpoonflowerSquidooTwitterULC Ministers NetworkWordpress, and Zazzle Feel free to give me a shout any  time. Many blessings to you, may all your silver clouds be lined with rhinestones and sparkle of golden sunshine. Have yourself a great and wonderful glorious day!

~Rev. Wendy C. Allen aka Empress EelKat of Laughing Gnome Hollow


This post was written by Wendy C Allen aka EelKat, is copyrighted by The Twighlight Manor Press and was posted on Houseless Living @ http://houselessliving.blogspot.com and reposted at EK's Star Log @ http://eelkat.wordpress.com and parts of it may also be seen on http://www.squidoo.com/EelKat and http://laughinggnomehollow.proboards.com  If you are reading this from a different location than those listed above, please contact me Wendy C. Allen aka EelKat @ http://laughinggnomehollow.proboards.com/index.cgi?action=viewprofile and let me know where it is you found this post. Plagiarism is illegal and I DO actively pursue offenders. Unless copying a Blog Meme, you do not have permission to copy anything appearing on this blog, including words, art, or photos. This will be your only warning. Thank you and have a glorious day! ~ EelKat


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