Sunny Morning Camp Routines

Monday, July 15th. 11:30 AM

It has taken a few weeks of practice and effort but this camp life is very nicely coming together. Good timing, to coincide with some better weather.

Each day, the first thing I do is a full body tick check, some situps and pushups.

Then I check on my water supply. If I were out of water, then I would hop on the bicycle and head on down to the car, where I have my 19 Litre reserve. I fetch 7 Litres at a time. I’ve got about 1.5 Litres left right now, which will be just enough to see me through the day. There are spicy lentils left over from last night, for supper.

If I needed to fetch food, that would be on my list of things to do and I would plan my day around it. I have enough food here to get through until tomorrow afternoon, gladly.

Whether camping or not, I have learned a while back that I need to plan out my meals for the day, first thing in the morning. Make sure I have everything planned and ready to go for lunch and supper time. Otherwise, I will be anxiously spinning my wheels about meals for too much of the day, eventually procrastinating in a panic at supper hour, until I am exhausted and starving and still without a solution by 8 PM or even later.

If I do not have a set plan for meals from the get go, it will always be in the back of my mind, weighing me down all day long. To make a habit of planning meals first thing in the morning is something that helps manage my eating disorders, just one part of a larger puzzle.

There are a few chores I will do every morning, while camping. First thing is to get the kitchen area ready, with everything I need out of storage, so that I do not need to walk around the camp back and forth. Put a pot of water on to boil right away; we will need hot water each morning for coffee, dishes and bathing.

The bedding needs to go out into the sun for a couple of hours. The weather has been very damp and this definitely helps to keep the mold and mildew at bay. I have mold allergies and I need to take care.

Last but not least, the solar panel and battery need to be setup in the sun for the day. I rely upon this energy for computer work, for the phone and the flashlight.

It took me an hour and a half to do breakfast and a few chores. 15 minutes to bathe. If I can get everything ready and eat inside of 2 hours, that is a fine enough morning, camping or not!

Now, I am at work in the tent, enjoying my coffee while I try to quickly write this post. The mosquitos are vicious, this morning. Perhaps later, I will carry the chair out into the shade and continue my work out there. Soon, I will need to make my daily trip to the latrine.

The tent is not too bad this afternoon; it is a bit warm but it is half in the shade, even at half past noon! The sun shines down through the leaves; lights and shadows dance on the walls. The wind in the trees sounds beautiful and there is even a tiny bit of a breeze blowing through here. It is a bit sweaty but not unbearable. This makeshift recliner is quite comfortable to sit back in with the little laptop. I am really enjoying it, for the moment.

Optionally, Tuesday through Friday, there is the comfort of the library in town; I can bike there in the morning and then back again in the evening. It’s a very beautiful bicycle trip through farm land countryside; a bit extreme on the way back, pedaling up the mountain in the July heat.

My water reserve at the car is empty so that means a drive to the spring, later. Perhaps a trip into town with the car, too! It’s kind of exciting to drive into town, when it’s only once a week.

On a rainy day, this here morning routine is a bit different, as you can imagine. In extreme weather, I can carefully setup a little stove in the tent vestibule and boil my water there, out of the rain.

Simple meals with minimal dishes are best, for now. A few boiled eggs each day. Hempseeds, chia seeds and peanuts with a cup of milk to make a very nutritious bowl of cereal. An orange and an apple, maybe some berries. There’s nutritious breakfast and lunch taken care of with minimal fuss.

Supper is planned out and the evening is mine to do however I feel. Midday, for me, is perfect for focusing, as long as I have such a routine in place.

1:00 PM

It is very challenging and important for me to keep a very tight, efficient morning routine; if I do not have that in place, the rest of the day will fall in suit. So I make it a practice, almost like a dance routine, if you can imagine. When my mood is good, it is easy enough to achieve. I can handle quite a lot of extra stress when my day-to-day life is in check.

My mental state and mood has not been that great these past few weeks; just trying to keep afloat, really. When my mind starts to go in that way, I need to focus moreso on becoming well. Mindfulness, meditation, considerate thought and writing are where I will focus my attention when I am not feeling well. Without putting enough effort into settling my mind, I will not be able to get to sleep and I will lose control of my healthy habits and start spiraling down into a very dark place.

Unfortunately, I have a variety of disorders to manage. Stress and anxiety are just a couple of things that I need to constantly assess and keep in check, in order to stay happy and healthy. Without effort, I will descend into total chaos.

Pretty sure I have avoided disaster, once again; it has taken time, focus and effort. Friends have helped. Once again, just today, I am feeling optimistic and constructive. Out now, to build, for the rest of the day.

3:00 PM

It is breezy and beautiful in the shade, under this pine tree.  Very few bugs, right at the moment.  The battery, computer and the phone are all plugged into the solar panel.  Happily working away on websites until supper time and maybe after.

I have had difficult days but today is better.  Please enjoy this small photo album.  That is all for today.

Saddlebag Travels

The new saddle bag works a charm and fits the food nicely!

Carrots, cabbage, onions and garlic. Salt & pepper, a few spices and some soup stock. A cutting board, knife, all the usual utensils. A front pocket for a few pieces of fruit and the like. Olive oil, vinegar and maple syrup. A small cooler bag for yogourt, cheese and milk; 3 days expiry, unrefridgerated.

That’s about all this new sack will carry. Everything is easily accessible though, which is going to make things a lot easier in stressful situations when ya just wanna get something on the go as quickly as possible. When the mosquitos are bad, for instance. Super stoked on this new setup! Best it’s been, to date.

I have a container for a dozen eggs, too. Really though I want a container for only 6 eggs, to save on space. I only need 6 eggs at a time.

Carried in the 2nd saddlebag, I have 2 stoves; one runs off a canister of isobutane; the other, is a methyl alcohol stove. A nice set of pots, with a couple of bowls and measuring cups. Alongside all of that with a bag of oats, hemp seeds, chia seeds, lentils and quinoa.

A few litres of water, stashed away.

I can go days at a time without going to the store. If I can quickly grab a head of lettuce and a tomato in my travels, I pretty much already have everything I need for a quick salad. Nutritious grains for days, too. Tea and coffee. Just need to grab some yogourt and milk on the road, here and there.

What else am I packing? A portable chair, a tent, sleeping bag, pillow, this computer and some clothes in a backpack. A deck of cards and a jar of herb. It all packs up onto the bicycle rack; getting pretty close to it, anyway.

Coldbrook Provincial Park

This might be a great spot to spend the day, working on the computer.  Wishing that I had my solar panel with me, now, but I left it up at the camp, not anticipating that I would be here like this today.

Keeping these batteries charged is a constant concern.

These Nova Scotia Provincial Parks are a priceless resource for those on the road.  I love these public places, open to all and with nothing for sale.

Just a place to go and regroup, have a bite to eat, relax and think.

Maybe later I will head to the library but this is very pleasant here, for now.

Gotta finish building a website for a client and then the plan is to have community dinner in Kentville.  Maybe writing another website article later, which would make 3 articles in 3 days.  In an upcoming article, we will explore migrating content from your Instagram account over to your own website.

Crown Land Camping & State of Things

Sunday, July 7th. 6:30 PM

Last night there were rainstorms. The 20 year old tent will hold up against a fair bit of rain but it does become overwhelmed and will leak a bit in stormy weather. It’s been a very humid, very muggy day. The mosquitos and the slugs, the true terrors of this here campsite, love this environment.

A lot of stuff actually did dry out, today. Most of the dampness is gone from the pillow, the sleeping bag and the mattress. Everything that got wet from the pools of water in this tent have been restored; still a bit damp but no longer rotting.

In order to make it happen, it took a lot of shuffling things around, both inside and outside of the tent. Move this bag over here for 2 hours, dry out this spot; tip that bag up on its side to dry out the bottom; Repeat, Repeat.

Seems like a small victory but it will make a huge difference in my sleep quality, tonight. The tent is well organised, which feels good and will make things easier for tomorrow. The rain stopped earlier and the mosquitos relaxed. Drizzly and no sunshine but I did manage to have a bit of a bicycle ride anyway, as well as eat some meals and have some delicious coffee, all by 4 PM.

It’s been a very difficult week, struggling with some very difficult, emotional matters. Truth be told, I am trying just to survive and to keep deep depression at bay. I am deeply hurt and profoundly sad; stricken with grief, regret and worry. Just getting some exercise and successfully eating are huge wins, right now. The discomfort brought on by the damp and the bugs has not helped.

I am striving but struggling to build myself a safe home, by winter. I need a space to work, to build and create, to write and to study. I need a place where I can life my life the way it is meant to be. Maybe that will be a room in town for the winter, that might very well be fine. I am doing well right now, camping is fine but the worry and despair of homelessness definitely remains. There are many strains on my relationships, due to me and my situation but also from elsewhere; no matter what the case, this hurts badly.

My basic needs aren’t entirely met and I am battling depresson. I tried to distract myself from the pain for a few days last week. Everything came crashing in, this weekend, no doubt amplified by a bit of tobacco withdrawal. Lately I will bicycle 40 kM a day, pushing my body and my mind, trying to wear myself out; some days, trying to wear myself down. Sometimes trying to either numb myself or torment myself; usually enjoying the countryside, nonetheless.

Looking back on this past week, on work I’ve (not) accomplished, things do not look very successful. Hopefully there are achievements to consider other than work. I have worked, but wanted to do more.  Rather, for me, this weekend has been a time for feeling and healing.  So let’s look on the bright side, a bit.

For years, I’ve wanted to live again by tent and by bicycle, as I have for periods in the past, over 10 years ago now. It feels awesome to challenge myself, living in the woods and pushing the physical limits. It feels great to become strong like this, again. Yes it is a distraction but it is also constructive and probably great for the health!

Another thing I’ve wanted to do for the past 5 years is to go back to the library. I couldn’t go for years; subject to ridicule with my summer allergies, made to feel unwelcome, when not banned outright due to vaccination mandates. So I’ve made a habit of bicycling into town from the woods, many days a week, working from the library. Feels really great to finally feel welcome back into a public space.

The Library is a place where I can be productive, in a safe environment, without feeling the need to immediately flee; that can be a rare feeling to have, for some people.  Sometimes I feel as though I have no safe place to go.

Thankfully, I can think of other places where I feel safe, that feel a lot like home to me.  Some people have nothing close to a safe home and for those people I dearly hope and dream that public places like their local library will be hospitable to all.

Some days I am overwhelmed with sadness and then I do not eat as well as I ought to.  In the not-so-distant past, keeping fed has been a serious issue but these days I am always eating something.  Others feed me very well and many days I will cook, so it balances out well enough. Getting great nutrition, overall.

Another thing that has been new to me for the past number of month is that I sleep very well, 6 nights a week we shall say. Some weeks are still rough but seems to only be when life becomes really difficult.  I have struggled most of my life with a variety of sleep disorders.

Right now, I have a great diet and get great exercise. I am becoming very fit.

I share all of this for a number of reasons.

I think, I am trying to have a healthy self esteem, is one. I really do not mean to brag about my life and anyone who knows me, knows that my life is very fucked up, difficult and sometimes painful. I have made some big mistakes that have negatively impacted myself and the people around me. I am where I am today partly because of decisions I’ve made in the past; many I very much do not regret one bit; the ones I do regret most recently are the moves I’ve made that have caused others difficulty. I want people to know that I am trying my best to be at my very best but I will fall down a bit, for now.

Anybody who truly cares about me, need not worry too much though. Certainly, there are things that I could use some help with.  I spend a lot of time alone and am rather alone with many things but I also spend an equal amount of time with good, caring friends.

Truth be told, I have already been through some hellish times in my life, with only myself to really rely upon to solve things.  Friends matter though and at other times have helped me the most when things were at their worst.

I consider myself lucky to have people in my life who love me and help me feel valued and wanted, without expectations in return.

I try to live as well as I can under these difficult circumstances. I have been homeless for 3 years and I am very tired of that and I am in some pain but I am also choosing to live through it as beautifully as I can.

Choosing carefully who I spend my time with, too; who inspire each other to be beautiful. who are considerate toward each other, feeling valued and welcomed. who work on things well together and grow.

I have lots of good things going on in my life and good people in it. I am blessed and thankful for the people out there who care about each other.

There are people in my life whom I love and care about and who probably love and care about me too but I simply cannot be around because I do not trust that they will mostly make me feel good. I want to work on my relationship with all of you but can it please wait?  You all I speak of here know how messed up things are between each of us. I am very sorry that things are so dire in my life right now that I can’t fix all of this. I need to focus and I need to be careful of my own emotional well being; my life truly does depend upon it, right now. I hope that is well enough understood and well enough accepted. I am sure in some cases it won’t be.

Please accept though, that perhaps writing here as such is working on our relationship with each other; I do see it this way, in a way that feels safe for me.  I also need to write and share, a basic need of mine that I haven’t been practicing.

However that might make me appear to you. Comment below, let’s see how it goes.

7:30 PM

For a beautiful contrast this evening, the sun is actually shining right this moment, through the leaves, the shadows dancing on the tent’s rain fly. The air is clear and cooling down. The solar panel is sitting on the roof of the tent, still catching a charge.

This may be a great habit to form; writing an article, each day, perhaps after supper time. Maybe with fewer pictures, those are a lot of work to add. I did write a batch script this evening to quickly normalize the white balance and colours.

It could be best to eat simply; to eat those $2 chicken strips from the supermarket, the days I go to town. To try to eat salads a couple nights a week, at the camp, to save time cooking; to balance out the salty supermarket chicken. Best to cook a meal once a week, too; vegetarian lentil soup can go unrefridgerated for a day and reheated (safety disclaimer: do not try this at home, could be considered dangerous neglectful advice but I have been and will be doing it anyway).

Best to be inside this tent by 6 PM most nights, maybe even 4:30 like tonight.

8:30 PM

It has been a gorgeous evening. Dirt bikes are driving by right this minute; they do frighten me. I am ready to defend myself against beast or man, I really hope that I do not have to, I am hiding away as best I can. I don’t think there are any such dangers, they would have been evident by now. A few rabbits around and maybe some deer. Don’t think I am bothering anyone by being here. Keeping a pretty clean site. Gonna have to dig a hole and bury some shit, eventually. There is a little compost pit coming together up here.

Laurie Park Provincial Campground, June 10th

On my way to Shubenacadie, I decided to instead say at Laurie Park.

It is a quick back road country drive to Sackville through Fall River!

Camping can be rough at times but it is a beautiful life, right now.

Mazda 3 Troubleshooting


The air/fuel mixture is off. That might fix itself as the computer calibrates. One of the cylinders was not firing, but it is now. A rodent chewed up the wiring to the ignition coil connector.

We did a temporary wiring patch job on the wiring to one of the cylinders. This will affect the voltage to the cylinder, to some small degree. It needs to be properly rewired. It is probably good enough now to get your car to a repair shop but we cannot say for certain.

I wonder if the air intake system is working properly.

If there is a fuel pressure issue, one of many things that could be a culprit is the gas cap. Or fuel pump; fuel filter. Frozen gas lines.

Maybe filling the tank with known good gas will help dilute out any water that might be in there. Ask a knowledgable person about that.

This car has ignition coils; we need to learn more about these. We know a bit about spark plugs, though. It is a good idea to test your spark plugs with a multimeter and also assess them according to a picture guide.

If you have further thoughts, know more about ignition coils or anything else, please feel welcome to leave a note in the comments section at the bottom of this page.

Using the Scan Tool

The scan tool is quite easy to use.

Wait until the check engine light is on, then plug it into the port underneath the steering wheel closer to the pop hood lever.

The grey button will scroll through the codes, one by one.

The red button will clear codes. Press it once, then again to confirm. You might need to clear codes before the car will start.

Codes might reappear after the car is running for a few kilometres or if another problem immediately happens.

Drive until the check engine light comes on. Pull over. Use the tool and record the first codes. Then, a few more km down the road more codes will appear. They might all appear at once.

Knowing which codes are triggered first is great but not essential.

Freeze Frame indicates that a code is the root cause of other error codes.

Pending codes are detected issues but have not reached a certain threshold.

Permanent codes cannot be cleared by the scan tool.

It is difficult to say for sure but you might not need to worry about some of these. It depends on the car but many will run fine forever with error codes related to evap, catalytic converter or oxygen sensor.

Scan Tool Indicator Lights

There were a number of indicator lights lit up on the scan tool, in addition to the codes.

These lights are essentially a summary of the issues. Codes will go into further detail.


  • MIS – Misfire
  • FUEL – fuel pressure
  • CCM – Comprehensive Component Monitor

Blinking Lights

January Update

Greetings, visitors, to Steve MacDonald’s blog.

It’s January, which for many of us often means both reflection and looking ahead.

I’m really looking forward to working on some of these projects we’ve got on the go; said projects and the people involved, given some consideration, are rather inspiring!

The matters of yesteryear are not yet settled for me, but there’s still hope. Something I’m likely on the verge of changing, is that this constant backlog of work is going to finally be lifted. Also, it looks like I’ll be financially sound and in the clear, 2021.

I’ve kind of been operating my software business for many years prior, but it’s been more real since registering, back in early 2016. I can hardly believe that it’s been 5 years.

There are a number of beloved friends whom I’d love to reconnect with, sooner than later. Family, likewise, seems to be at the forefront of my thoughts.

I’ve been rebooting certain aspects of my life, most recently; I aspire to do more studying, more research, more writing, more teaching, more music, more connecting with inspirational people, spending more time outdoors, while continuing to pratice well being and enriching others whenever possible. More creativity, to greater effect.

It’s been a most difficult past year; there is great sadness in my heart, and great anger at those who would rather tear others down with prejudice rather than consider building others up, but it has not destroyed me. I hurt badly, but I endure with the solid grounding of my own creation and the loving support of friends and family.

If you’d care to drop a line, here in the comments section or via email, please feel welcome to do so; I hope that we can converse a bit.