Almanack Contributor Justin A Levine

Justin A Levine

Having grown up in the southern Adirondacks, Justin has always been at home in the mountains of New York. After graduating from Paul Smiths College, he began his career in the environmental field working for the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. After a brief five year detour to Florida, Justin returned to the Adirondacks to live off the grid in a small cabin with no running water or electricity.

Justin continues to work and play in the outdoors, and maintains a blog about living off grid, hiking, and being outside in the Adirondacks called Middle of the Trail.





Saturday, February 14, 2015

The Homestead: Fake Eggs

StellaWell, no one can ever say that I have never had my finger inside of a live chicken. While there’s not a ton going on at the homestead this time of year, the chickens have been keeping me pretty busy. But tonight takes the cake.

Whitey was acting strange all day. She’s usually the sketchiest one of the girls, so her allowing me to pet her was definitely out of the ordinary. With her being so lethargic, I decided that it would be best to bring her inside for the night. She can be warm and get plenty of rest, plus if she had something contagious this will hopefully keep the other birds from getting » Continue Reading.


Saturday, December 6, 2014

The Lip Balm, Or Death Of A Microwave

Lip balm and cutting boardThe snow has come and gone, and then come and gone again. It’s been a wet fall, but with the transitions from rain to snow and back again, we still don’t have a lot of the white stuff on the ground.

The chickens are happily pecking away in their new coop and run, and I do feel better having them in a fully insulated coop, now that the night temperatures are getting into the single digits. They’re all huddled on the perch, snuggling to stay warm. At least now I can flip a switch and they have heat. Last winter it was warming a piece of granite on top of » Continue Reading.


Sunday, November 23, 2014

The Homestead: The New Coop

The New CoopThe sound of the furnace startles me a little every time it fires up.  It sounds like a car pulling in the driveway or something like that, and I am still not quite used to the sound and commotion.  Not that it’s not welcome.  We’ve got about six inches of snow on the ground, not terrible, but it did seem kind of sudden.

Last week it was warm and nice out, and even though we know it’s inevitable, the snow just sort of seemed to come out of nowhere.  After moving an old set of tires into the garage and digging out and picking up a few other things that were out » Continue Reading.


Sunday, November 9, 2014

Hot Showers: Cabin Life Moves To The Homestead

The Green EggHot showers.  Man, I could literally write an entire column about how much I love hot showers.  It is such a pleasure to take a shower each morning.  I used to get up and throw wood in the stove and then stand there and let the heat wash over me for a while before I got my day going, but now I can let the heat of a hot shower actually wash over me.  It’s one of the main reasons I get out of bed every day.  Well, that and work and animals to take care of and my soon-to-be wife and stepson.  But really, the shower is the best part of » Continue Reading.


Sunday, May 4, 2014

Cabin Life: Some Big Decisions

The New GirlsRainy and in the forties.  This is the worst type of weather I face all year.  I know, the snow is just gone, and I had to have my chickens live in a tent in my kitchen for a few nights, but hiking in and saving the chickens from the bitter cold were easy decisions.  This weather presents a much tougher decision:  whether to burn the precious little dry wood I have left.

Even with a few weeks off from the cabin this winter, my wood supply is quite low now.  The wood I found over the winter isn’t quite dry enough to burn, and it’s a tough call to use » Continue Reading.


Sunday, April 20, 2014

Cabin Life: The Want-Ad

spring 2Roommate Wanted!!

Experience the excitement of living off the grid, while enjoying the beautiful sights and sounds of Mother Nature right outside your door!

I’m looking for a roommate who isn’t afraid of roughing it and having some adventure!  You will get back to nature by having to venture outside to use the bathroom, regardless of the temperature.  Oh, and forgetting the warm toilet seat hanging over the stove when you go to the outhouse in the middle of winter should be the definition of adventure in the dictionary!  You will make faces and sounds you never knew were possible, but don’t worry, there won’t be » Continue Reading.


Sunday, April 6, 2014

Cabin Life: The Chickens and The Fox

The Fox TracksThere’s a steady stream of water pouring off the roof in front of the big window.  There are no more icicles, and the shingles are showing for the first time in months.  It finally feels like spring.

I sat outside most of the afternoon, relaxing in a lawn chair enjoying a good book.  As I sat there soaking up the sun, the snow melted around me.  The chicken coop roof is clear after being baked in the sun all day, and the snow fossils of old footprints are melting away.

The chickens have been enjoying the warmer weather and are basking in the sunlight. For a couple of months, I hadn’t gotten » Continue Reading.


Sunday, March 30, 2014

Cabin Life: The Owl’s Meal

owl crop2The sun is shining later and later each day, and some of the snow is melting and dripping off of the roof in front of the big window.  It’s officially been spring for almost a week now, but don’t bother telling Mother Nature that.  The forecast of thirteen degrees below zero tonight isn’t as bad as the negative twenty-three we got a couple of nights ago, so I guess, in a way we are getting more spring-like temperatures.  But again, temperatures in the negative teens aren’t that spring-like to me.

I’ve been back at the cabin full time, and having a few weeks off from living out here was definitely nice.  After three winters having to » Continue Reading.


Sunday, March 16, 2014

Cabin Life: The Plowed Driveway

Ice on a spruceI’d like to tell you that it’s been a long couple of weeks out at the cabin.  That, however, would not be the truth.  The truth is, it’s been a couple of very lazy weeks lounging around in the comfort of an actual house.

The weather has been terrible. I was having to hike into the cabin, my firewood is running low, and I was sick of dragging a forty pound jug of water a quarter mile uphill twice a week.  So I’ve been staying at my girlfriend’s with Pico and Herbie.  And the Levine men have officially taken over the couch.


Sunday, February 23, 2014

Cabin Life: The Life And Death of Small Mammals

Woodland jumping mouse (Wikipedia Photo)The wild winter weather is continuing.  Friday it was so warm that even several hours after the sun went down, there was still a steady drip-drip-drip coming off the roof.  In the forties Saturday, the season just can’t seem to make up its mind.

That’s not to say that it has been an easy winter.  And to me, there has been a recurring theme out here at that cabin that demonstrates this better than anything else.  I have had a steady supply of small rodents around the house looking for food.


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