Ronin Blasphemes! Film at 11pm!

7 Jan

As children, most of us were taught;

“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.”

Now, God was a smart guy. He knew that He wouldn’t be the only guy hovering over the water and He knew the treacheries of “Wind and Sea”… so he created a manner of conveyance that would insure man’s future.

The reasons for this were legion. We can only presume that He knew, in His infinite wisdom, that man would require safety and shelter and LCD TVs from Walmart, shipped from far off ports in yet undiscovered places like Mainland China and India.

So, He said to Himself;

“Self…  before I task man with the loss of a rib so that he may find respite on the Barkalounger nursing a  sore chest, as the fruit of his now incomplete ribcage reminds him that he needs to take out the garbage… I must provide a manner by which man can survive all perils.”

And thus, earplugs were born…

Nah, not really. It was then that God provided the FIRST ARK…

… built out of…

…. you guessed it…

Shipping Containers.


Okay, really not really, but I had you going, right? 🙂

(Man, I can hear John Umland wailing from here… “What? Ronin, I shalt smite thee like a heathen!”)

It’s hard for me to believe that so much of  my life has been dedicated to these large steel boxes and that from them rise family-borne dreams, happiness and joy that will survive for generations…

2012 was a year of exploration, claim-staking, heart ache (literally)  and dream fulfillment. 

It was a year of challenges as we began to lay the foundations for families yet to come, a year of progress and even obstacles…

AP Photo/Ed Andrieski

AP Photo/Ed Andrieski

… as we were forced to cope with Mother Nature, personal issues and health challenges.  Many of you know that at year’s end, I had health challenges of my own. We’re resolving those issues now, as life begins teaching me new ways to solve old problems… like delegation of authority and diversification.

While the blossom of 2013 blooms, we shall see if you really can teach old dogs new tricks.

As we begin a new year…

Many readers know that last year I moved my family to the “Wilds of Montana”…

Contrary to popular belief, I didn’t rush to the boonies because I thought Mayans were “dialed in” and that the world was indeed coming to an end…


I moved here because I wanted peace and solitude, clean air and clear water,  and to be surrounded by nature…

I wanted a new dog… a BIG dog… He don’t bark or bite, but he’ll sure ram the hell out of you… I guarantee… :)


I grew tired of traffic congestion, subdivisions and quite frankly, poverty. Big cities are no longer the melting pots of “commerce and wealth” that we remember from our youths… they are now “deeply divided dominions”, hotbeds of haves and have-nots, jostling and even jousting for control of whatever assets may be within reach.

When most people think of “subdivisions”, they see miles and miles of identical houses, governed by heavy-handed HOA poltroons armed with ruler and  citation lest your grass be “just a smidge too tall”, pigeonholed into every concrete nook and cranny of the city, like sardines packed in mineral oil;

Whew! Try saying all that in one breath!


That’s not a Montana sub-division, I can assure you… THIS is my idea of a “Montana sub-division”…

Forest Subdivision

Folks who read the blog know that we “migrated” to Montana from Mississippi. After Hurricane Katrina, we gave “aid and comfort” to those we could reach. We ran a food bank off our front porch. We helped those who needed help and along the ay, we learned that age old lesson once again;

You can grant aid… or you can help. There is a profound difference between the two.

Our goal was to help those in need to learn to help themselves. In some cases, it worked splendidly and we saw our aid magnified as these individuals and families then were empowered to help others… Alas, they were the minority.

There are some people that you cannot help. In return, these families reminded us that we were there “to aid them so that they didn’t have to help themselves”.

We saw this more and more, until… the fire just burned us out.

My mother always accused me of having a “Messiah Complex”. I admit it, I bring home strays. It drives my family crazy. But, I have one rule;

“If you are in need… I will help you as much as I am able.  But, if you then refuse to help yourself? I will kick you to the curb faster than you can say “ex-girlfriend”. I may suffer heartache (and even heartbreak) from it, but I will do it.”

We considered our plight carefully. We sought the counsel of those we respected and we worked toward our new goal – to find our own personal freedom.

To those who showed us the new road, (you know who you are), we are thankful beyond measure. The “gift that was given” was priceless… they showed us the door… to our 0wn freedom.

So, we hitched our wagon (in the guise of a U-Haul trailer)  to the stars and headed for a place where you could look up in the sky and actually see them.

We did it for a myriad of reasons, most of which revolved around getting to a place where life could be lived sustainably, responsibly and (gasp!) modestly, while providing all the elements required to provide happiness.

Readers of my blog(s) know that I preach the “Three R’s” – Reusing, repurposing and recycling.

sandwichWe teach families to build, by reaching up into the sky… wait… that’s not it… it’s just lunch… but  it probably explains my chest pains…

We repurpose old shipping containers into homes…

We reuse rain gutter, turning it into wall mounted gardens.

We recycle PVC Pipe, transforming it into “edible fencing”.

herb ladder
and we’ll even reuse old ladders… just like this guy did…

Wait… that’s “ladder framing”… never mind. 🙂

As we lead families forward, trying to honor those who invested in us by returning that gift that we were so graciously given to others… we remind them that there are useful things all around you that can be incorporated into elements vital to the fulfillment of your dreams.

Dreams given back to each of us, usually by a handful of people that cared that we succeeded above all else. It gives us hope to know that there are still those who think beyond their own walls… as they reach over their fences to help their neighbors.

It is because of them that we are achieving our goals.

We wish that for you!

May the New Year bring you joy, happiness and… success… beyond measure.

To those of you who have sent emails asking about my condition; I’ll be taking the next several weeks slowly, trying to rebuild and regain my health after recent events. After that, I assure you that we’ll be roaring out into Spring… like a kid tearing gleefully through a “Happy Meal”…

Be nice to yourselves… and your neighbors.

The Renaissance Ronin


6 Responses to “Ronin Blasphemes! Film at 11pm!”

  1. Timmie R. January 7, 2013 at 11:12 am #

    I lived under the iron rule of an HOA for 10 years in Las Vegas!!! It was hateful and I swear, as God is my witness…I will never live in an HOA again! 🙂

    Thank you for helping those of us who are needing a helping hand. I hope this new year brings you peace, love,and safety!

    • Renaissance Ronin January 7, 2013 at 9:27 pm #

      When I lived in Vegas years ago, I remember an HOA “Lieutenant” showing up at my house with a ruler to measure the grass with. My dog “accidentally” got out. 🙂

      In SoCal, they just asked for bribes to prevent “citations and entanglement”. Oy.

      Look, I help you, it empowers you to help someone else. I know you’ll do it… it’s not like I don’t know where you live! 🙂


  2. Paul Jordan January 7, 2013 at 12:34 pm #

    Brilliantly written and happily received! We volunteer for Search and Rescue and many of your lines hit home. I say;

    We help those who we can, where we are, at with what we got! Some can suck you dry and others are so grateful!

    Keep up the writings they are enlightening a good to know others are out there! Glad you are getting better and your pen to paper, okay fingers to key board is still in great shape! Written by a gal who has 7 ISBU connex boxes! Happy new Year!


    P.S. Isn’t it a tad bit cold where you are?

    • Renaissance Ronin January 7, 2013 at 9:16 pm #

      (a) YES. It’s cold here. We actually use the act of welding to stay warm… LOL!

      When helping others, I think that all you can do is just do the best you can, but you have to know when to walk away. Admittedly, it’s a tough lesson to learn.

      Glad you like the blog and thanks for the encouragement.


  3. texarcana2002 January 7, 2013 at 11:21 pm #

    Not much I can say that the others didn’t. I’ve been lucky enough to see a good HOA–never heard from them, even when my Bermuda grass was 6″ tall; and even the city was cool, not fining me for running my sprinklers daily because it was necessary–to one that tried to tell the entire neighborhood that the only allowable colors were shades of tan…despite the fact 99% of the homes were trimmed in WHITE!!

    Yes, I’m in another HOA… but we got lucky with a great builder that does things right. Had I learned about your methods, I think I might’ve talked dear wifey into doing it on a bit of land in this general area; but, we’re happy so far. And if the HOA gets snippy, I’ll jusy run for the board, and make ’em regret the moment they crossed me….MUAHAHAHAH!!

    That doesn’t change the fact that you’re doing excellent work. I can only wish I could get paid to do such things, because it’s what feeds my need. Unfortunately, ya can’t feed the family on good wishes, so I work for one of the dreaded corporations, I do get to help people (electrical pro at one of the major home-improvement chains—NO, the other one!), so that helps keep me sane.

    Keep it going, and LISTEN TO THE STINKIN’ DOCTORS!!! And if you don’t understand, make ’em explain; and they won’t, kick ’em out the door and find one who will. GOOD doctors will make you understand at whatever level you can; bad ones try to blow you off.

    Mkay?? 😉

  4. John Umland (@JohnUmland) January 10, 2013 at 2:27 pm #

    you got me all wrong. i think Monty Python’s Life of Brian is brilliant comedy.
    God is love

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