Tag Archives: cabin

from spring to winter return

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With the weather feeling like spring, robins out and about, James and I took advantage and went for a hike behind the Little Cabin.

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It was a very steep hike but the view is rather impressive from up there.  We made it about half way up and could begin to see hints of the weather to come.

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Just after sunset the snow began to come down and the temperature dropped.

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Sunrise revealed that winter had returned.   It was about 8 inches that had arrived and with just enough melt before it froze that once again the car is at the bottom of the drive and the hiking up and down returns.  It looks like the weather will begin to warm back up again for another round of remarkably early spring weather.



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The sun cam out today for the first time in weeks.  Despite the over cast weather it has been remarkably warm and I have spent most the time outdoors.

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After three months of my shoulder being unable to work the warm break has given me a chance to tackle projects I had hoped to do in September.

clearing 1-15 003Yesterday the clearing of the ‘front yard’ began.  6 hours in and you can actually see the little cabin.

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Once the bulk of the trees were cut into manageable pieces and hauled out of the trees, and into downhill ice slick…. I mean the driveway… James built a fire to start burning the sash that was not worthy of the wood stack.

clearing 1-15 006about hour 7 I found wild climbing roses.   Very cool.

clearing 1-15 008hour 7.5 I discovered a missed ornament.

clearing 1-15 020at 8 hours I was starting to feel the weight of the chainsaw but the dogs were having a ball.

clearing 1-15 0289 hours I called it a day.  The sun was well behind the mountain and dusk was creeping in.  I took a seat by the fire, had James go start dinner, and took a break.

clearing 1-15 011Today was a day getting my ‘honeydew’ (yes I spelled it that way on purpose, as I do my own ‘to do’s’ a ‘honeydew’ not a ‘honey do’ or simply ‘need to get done’ list just seems like a nicer thing.) projects started. House plants hung up, fresh peat moss brought in, wood stacked under the bench refilled, put up hooks for all the coats, etc.  The list had had quite a dent made in it but doesn’t feel as much was accomplished as 9 hours with a chainsaw.

I think tomorrow right after coffee I will sharpen the chain and head outdoors again.  Id like to build up the wood supply as long as the weather is nice enough and snow has melted down enough to make it safe and dare I saw enjoyable.

First Snow

Today while the snow holds to the higher ground for one more day, I have been working on the sheet rock on the walls of the Little Cabin.  It will be good to have the insulation covered.  I thought to stop and take a break to post a few pics of the first snow before I work put up the pics of the sheet rock work.

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The weather is changing.  November 1st the snow came to the mountain tops. It crept down only so far, almost to the back side of the cabin but I got to fall asleep to the sound of the rain.  Morning was cool but had the crisp smell of frozen leaves and the little stream was frozen over.

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The sun peeking in and out of the clouds, smelling of snow but keeping it only the higher places.

snow up high but rain at the cabin

snow up high but rain at the cabin


Around the Cabin

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Morning sun through the window on steam from the copper tea pot.

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The Forest Spirit Samahain costume in progress.

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Frozen Rain drop, first snow just beginning to fall

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Four avocados that decided to spout when I tossed them into the soil of a sad looking spider plant.  No toothpick and cup of water required.

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An important thing to know when splitting wood by hand, is the difference between a spitting maul and an ax.  This is an ax.  It is not designed to split logs, but as my maul is missing it is the tool I have been using.

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Snow back to rain.  Time to go split a few more logs.

Work on the Cabin – late July

Getting the most necessary windows in place made for decent enough air flow made it comfortable enough really get some work done.  Step one was the main kitchen counter top.

Again, this is a purchase from the resource store.  It took a number of trips to make it there on a day to find a counter top I liked and was of a size and shape I could work with. july 2014 056Into the counter line up went the stove that was salvaged from an old 5th wheel that had been crushed by a tree.  Getting a lay out that will work with both the propane line stove will need as well as the water lines, (water in, both hot and cold, as well as grey water out) dictated a lot of how the kitchen floor plan needed to work.  With the counter in place and stove set in the sink was the next task.  I couldn’t find the smaller size I had hoped for but for the whooping price of $15 I picked up a stainless steel sink.  There are a few tricks to cutting into counter tops.

1. always use a sharp blade with fine teeth or you get chipping.july 2014 0252. use painters tape to edge your cut to help not only keep a clean line but to further prevent chipping damage. july 2014 0203. be sure that you measure in enough to leave a lip for the sink to rest on but far enough out the brackets fit into your hole.  (if you buy a new sink you will get a template to work with making this slightly more simple)

4. Once you cut half way around screw a board, that spans the entire sink are, to the center piece.  This will hold the strain off the counter top and keep it in place until you lift it out.

july 2014 0245. As always, drill pilot holes for the jig saw to get into.

july 2014 023The messy part over, cut piece lift6ed easily out its time to drop in the sink itself.

july 2014 027The Moyen Faucet was a find at $7.  I love recycle stores!

With the sink in and the stove set in place the next tasks before shelves or doors can go in the walls need to be insulated and the lines for water and propane put in place.  There is always a great feeling when at the days end you can see what you have done.  It is a feeling so few know and yet we all need.  Building a tiny off grid cabin in the mountain is not for everyone but a sense of accomplishment is.   Volunteer at a habitat for humanity, at a community garden, or offer to hep a neighbour with some task on their “to do” list.  You may be surprised at how therapeutic it can be.  july 2014 029

Work on the Cabin

I have been asked several times what part is the most difficult about going off grid.  For me it is time.  The shifting from a life of jobs, debt and schedules to an off grid lifestyle is not a matter of just stepping from one place to anther.  It is a process.  I still have to go to work, and pay my bills, and watch a clock. 

Summer for me is the busy time of year.  Being the Grounds Keeper for the town, and running the Community Garden takes up a great deal of the day and leave very little left over for work on the cabin or the yard around it. 

Having built more than one homestead I have learned to be kind to myself.  That is my number one advise to those new to the building and living an off grid life.  Be patient.  Do not try to rush to get tasks done in order to prove to others that you know what your doing and have made a good choice.   The second advise it to be aware of the area your in.  Watch the sun and sky, feel where the wind is coming from and do not forget to invest attention to all the seasons. 

That said, work on the cabin has been happening but perhaps, not at as fast a pace as I’d like, but at about the speed I expected.  Last I posted the cabin was in place, since then the windows have gone in.  june 2014 004

Purchased at a recycle-and-reuse store I got a set of three.  They had been cut out removing the outside flare used to screw them in place.  It made installation a little more difficult but nothing that was not easily adjusted for.   Two of them were 3’x3′ while the third was 5’x4′.  Great deal and now the challenge is to try and match them the rest of the way around the house.  That may or maynot happen. 

june 2014 008The big one went into the east wall. 

june 2014 001The two small ones went in on the south over what will be the main kitchen counter, stove and sink.  Main windows in the next step is t get the basic inside lay out and begin to insulate.  Many o of the walls will be slipstraw and cob, I am just waiting for the red clay.  A neighbour has both the tractor to load and the clay, I just need to line up a truck for a day she can load for me.  

The wall between the kitchen and the bathroom will be bottle bricks and cob.  I am just waiting for my friends to drink to enough wine to save me the bottles. 

The counter tops are already purchased and waiting for installation.  That will be the next project.  Each step brings it one step closer to being the home my son and I dream of.  While I could go and work on the cabin right now I must remind myself too be kind and patient.  Wait until the temps drop and the tasks become enjoyable.  That is after all, the point.        



The Sanctuary

There is a place up a narrow gravel road, around a sharp turn and up the mountain side.  Tucked in among trees that count time in centuries and stones that count in ages you will find the cabin.  Looking like something from a beginning pages of a fairy tale this place is called the Sanctuary. 


With neither running water nor electrical this place is as rustic as can be but holds all the charm one might fantasize about. 


While some might see only a 100 square feet, like most magical things, the closer you look the more you will see.


Dwelling in this place like a forest guardian is what some might say an old hippie but if you look with the eyes of a child you might just see something else. 


Tucked about the yard are works of his hands



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when you walk in the woods always keep your eyes open, your mind open and see the wonder about you.
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you never know what you might see
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It was into this little section of forest that I spent a year.
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