Curious? I am too even about curiosity.

One day two years ago I heard a loud explosion from outside of the house, it had to be loud in order for me to hear it due to my substantial hearing loss. It was dusk the sunlight would be completely gone in a few minutes, I felt I needed to find out where the noise came from. There is a number of things that may cause that loud of a noise, each boat has a liquid bomb in the form of gasoline in an enclosed tank, there are campgrounds nearby, home fires, and lots of propane tanks. I had heard explosions like it before that time, not all were discovered, the last loud one I remembered prior to it was a large RV that blew up. Somehow the propane had leaked into the interior and with no one inside it exploded, no one was injured but the trailer was flattened. This time however I returned to the house without discovering what the racket was.

I didn’t hear a thing, did you?

Meanwhile, my wife posted on the local Facebook page asking if anyone heard the loud noise, of which she received a strange answer. A neighbor 1/4 mile away posted a coy reply “I didn’t hear anything, did you?” she asked her friend in a teasing manner. We discovered the lady had a signal gun that she and her husband loaded and fired off. Instead of giving a direct answer she had to be evasive as if she would be “reported” or something. It irritated me, our intent was to make sure no one was injured by an uncontrolled blast, I still can’t figure out what her motivation was. It was unfortunate because since then she has taken much grief over the firing of her cannon, I know she did not know my wife and I like that stuff and have no problem with it. It is unfortunate also that since that day we never pursued a friendship and most likely never will. It was simple curiosity on my part seeking to find an answer, and it was controlled on her part concealing an answer with the result being a loss of trust. We felt we were singled out as being her enemy for some reason when the contrary was true.

Curiosity, asking what, when, why, where, who, and how, for some of us it is a driving force in our lives. Curiosity drives the quest for knowledge and discovery, not everyone is curious. There are intelligent people that do not possess an ounce of it and with others, it makes up a large part of their being. Curiosity is instrumental in being a Scientist, Explorer, Physicist, Mechanic and a whole host of occupations. How many inventors have an unyielding sense of curiosity? If they did not would they be able to invent anything? It certainly seems unlikely to me.

What, Where, When, Who, Why, and How?

Do we all have undeniable curiosity? No, I don’t believe we do, from my perspective a strong sense of it is a natural sense, a weaker sense is natural as well but it is not a motivator. A strong sense of curiosity is a motivator exhibiting the sense of finding out the what, where, when, who, why and how drives ambition. The motivator is the desire to find out the truth, it could be as simple as climbing a mountain to see what’s on the other side, or as uneventful as boiling the water out of a pan to see what is left at the bottom.

For a true curiosity-driven people there is no such thing as failure or success, the only goal is finding the answer. Failure is a path that leads to other questions, why didn’t it work or conversely how did it work? A curious person will take it from there to answer that question. In the case of a signal gun going off we may ask why wasn’t it louder or why was it so loud? Failure is a word that is non-existent in the curious mind, I wonder why it didn’t work out the way I planned is more commonly their answer, then a pursuit is embarked upon to find the solution to that.

Success is looked upon much the same, it doesn’t mean as much to a curious person (in my opinion) as it does to one motivated by money or a sports score. There is a sense of success only in that the results either made order out of confusion or the results proved the test correct. Success is merely a word that is unrelated to its relationship with the traditional definitions of the word most of us relate to. It worked! Is more of the verbal expression we would hear from a truly curious individual.

We eventually come to the fork in the road and we make a choice, one road reads “Try Again”, the other “Throw in the Towel, it’ll never work.” Instinctively we choose to take a path and Try Again.

A common question asked of people is for them to define their idea of success, asking one hundred people we might receive 80% different answers, 20% may relate it to monetary reward. There would also be a certain number that would look at the questioner as if he was from the moon, they would not have an answer and most likely could not come up with a reply, they may be working out all of the possible answers in their minds.

Self-Reliance is driven by curiosity as well, discovering our limitations is a curiosity-driven quest. Uncovering different or unique methods to complete tasks starts with the question “What if I do it like this?” It may take many attempts until a desirable method is implementable, teaching one more thing worth adding to the toolbox.

I make many useful items from household waste, one of those is firestarters. I purchased a charcoal grill to replace a pellet grill we had, it’s a long story. My wife was concerned (as I am as well) that we do not use the liquid starter fluid that was common practice until a decade or so ago. She didn’t want smoke either, tunnel starters are lit by placing newspaper under the charcoal then lighting it creating a huge amount of smoke that drifts for a considerable distance. I discovered a recipe consisting of used candle wax, coffee grounds, sawdust, and dryer lint. Mixed together then stuffed into a paper egg carton, the indentations that hold the bottom of the egg in place, and left to solidify. That works well, but it led me to many questions. I discovered how to make wax from scratch (which includes processing crude oil, I did not go any further), I questioned the lint, and can I use something other than wax? The questions built up in my mind. The first one I tackled was “what else is flammable that will set firm like wax? I decided to use Lard, the melting point is 107 degrees F (41.66 C) I got a small can of the stuff and mixed it up. it works but it is pretty greasy. In the olden days, Candles were made out of tallow, and tallow is Lard so to this curious mind it made perfect sense and it did work somewhat just don’t set them somewhere they can leave a stain. I then tried rolling the mixture in a newspaper like a cinnamon roll, that worked like magic and I have decided to abandon the egg cartons. None of my ideas failed, some did not work which was either abandoned completely or set aside (like the lard) until I can figure out another way to use it. Vaseline and Cotton balls work great as fire starters, but to this curious mind it just seemed so “normal”, I wanted a unique method. A method that would use some more of our household waste was in order. I’m making a new batch this week, the last of my Lard will be used in some manner, who knows it may just work this time, but it will not fail.

Nothin’ goin’ on here, hon, just starting the Bar-B-Que with Lard, it worked, but I need to refine the method a bit.

Curious people must exercise caution as well especially when passing by a junk pile, a jumble of timber on the side of the road, or any kind of container, the question is what can I use this for? I built a 6 foot long steam chest to bend wood, it is (like the lard) put on hold because I’m having a hard time determining a way to generate enough steam to keep it at 212 degrees F (waters boiling point 100C) for an hour or more. I am confident I will find a way to make enough efficiently and cheaply, I won’t explain all of my attempts so far that has not worked.

Curiosity is a blessing and a curse, many curious people get tagged as being “eccentric” and numerous other labels, but none of us care because our lives are interesting. We learn a lot (self-reliance in action) like be careful with open fires, don’t trust homemade glue, and buy a good quality face mask with ammonia filters, oh and never tell the wife, “if you hear an explosion or a loud pop just ignore it.” Success is seeing how far back she rolls her eyes.

Thank you for reading and sharing my blog, click on the follow button and leave a comment, thanks.

Jacques Lebec Natural self-reliance

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