Cabin Life – #66

Well, they say that spring is here, but the eighteen inches of snow on the Horse Stable Fenceground out here says otherwise.  While show shoeing up in the back of the property, I took an old ax handle and checked the snow depth.  There’s still two feet of snow where the sun doesn’t shine.

I needed a break this week.  The wood stove is once again giving me problems with negative pressure causing smoke to come into the cabin.  I would be a lot more worried about this if it was December or January, but since it’s the end of March, it’s really not bothering me that much.  Obviously, the stove and the chimney need to be replaced, but now is not the time for that.

I can get by for a few weeks, occasionally staying at friend’s houses or just getting a small fire going to take the chill out of the air at night.  I’m done having a fire going all the time now though since I would really like to avoid having the cabin burn down.  Luckily, the end is in sight and the days are warm and sunny enough that I don’t need a fire.

I’ve spent the week sleeping at a friend’s house, with the cats and Pico.  I’m still spending my days and evenings at the cabin, but taking advantage of the offer of an “on-grid” place to stay.  It’s been really nice having internet and TV and hot water.  I know I’m not the only one who feels that it’s time for winter to hit the road, and I enjoy knowing that the end is near.

But in the mean time, I’m taking advantage of the warm days and the sun staying up much later.  I like not falling asleep at six in the afternoon, and the solar lights are working well with the increased daylight.  The solar radio still doesn’t get enough juice during the day for more than an hour or so of listening time though.

This is also my favorite time of year to go skiing and snow shoeing.  There’s enough snow on the ground that it’s still easy to bushwhack through the woods without getting caught on downed trees or branches.  My girlfriend and I went for a snow shoe the other day to check on Upper Camp and just kind of explore the woods behind the log cabin.  We had no problem with obstructions, but definitely needed the snow shoes to get around.

For most of the fall, I was looking for an old double-bit ax to rehab.  I decided it would be easier to just buy a new one, so I did.  But on our trek to Upper Camp, I checked the wood shed and barn to make sure that no critters had moved in.  I found an old double-bit ax in each of the buildings.  The handles are shot, the heads are pocked and rusty, and the edges are most likely too far gone to make either ax all that useful again.  But I grabbed them and carried them back to my cabin anyway.

I’m going to clean them up and put new handles in even if I don’t get to use the axes for anything other than decoration.  It’s part of the feeling of spring that I want to rehab something that’s pretty much useless.  The season is changing and it’s a chance for all of us to rehab our mental states and start looking again for the simple beauty in the world.

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4 thoughts on “Cabin Life – #66

  1. Hey mountain man, low pressure always gave me fits too until someone told me to
    open a window or door… equalizes the air pressure…..had to do it yesterday.
    As soon as i open the stove to build a fire, cold air will come out during times of low pressure , but with a door/window open all is well again.
    When burning softwood it’s a good idea to not close the stove down too much as that kind of slow burn tends to create more creosote than hardwood.
    AW phoey…I’m probably not telling you anything new.

    Take care, Uncle Jack W

    • Hey Jack, that’s good advice, and I even follow it! Unfortunately, there are a number of problems contributing to the negative pressure. I always have a window open and it still happens. The chimney is too short and the stove too inefficient. Thanks for the advice though and hopefully it’ll be better with a new setup for next winter!

  2. I’ve been enjoying your blog on the Adirondack Almanac. I roll over in bed 1/2 asleep at about 4-5am and read your blogs on my Android smart phone. As an ADK’er since the 70’s I’ve tramped the Adirondacks as Wilderness Chairman for a time, led a bunch of garbage out trips , taken down the 4 corners leanto with Pete Fish, and drew the maps in pen and india ink before computers, for an earlier ADK guidebook on the NP Trail . At age 70, after 12 years as full time RV’ers we now spend our winters in Mesa, AZ where we are enjoying Easter Sunday reminising about spring walks in the Adirondacks. Your stories and pictures make us want to be there and are so important to us as we sit in AZ. 25 years in rural Grafton, NY we tapped maple trees. A real woodsman uses a brace and bit and metal spiles. The hole should be roughly an inch deep, only a few degrees off level, and on the south side of the tree. There is a way to pick the best spot for the spile, but I’d have to show you. If the angle of the hole and spile is corrrect if will draw the sap, thru a slight suction. Trees less than 10″ in diameter should have only one tap. A good tree will produce 2-4 gallons a day/spile. Remember if the wind is from the East the sap runs least, if the wind is from the West, the sap runs best. Keep those blogs cominng to the Adirondack Almanac. The best part of having an isolated cabin in the woods, is that it is isolated. That said, sometime in the future when we are back in the Adirondacks for the late spring, summer, and early fall, I’d like to wander by and say hi. We envy your lifestyle.

    • Thanks so much for reading! It’s amazing how many people Pete Fish has worked with, and with my line of work, I hear about him all the time. One of the things I like so much about the Adirondacks is the sense of community we all seem to share.

      Stay in touch, and safe travels!


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