Cabin Life – #7

The shadows are getting long, and it’s only 4:00 in the afternoon.  There has been a noticeable difference in the amount of daylight from a month ago though.  In the beginning of January, I would have put my headlights on at this time.  But not today, because spring is coming.

It’s early February, and I can’t help but feel a certain amount of accomplishment.  When I moved into the cabin back in October, it seemed like winter was going to be a long, harsh struggle to survive.  I’ve had a good winter so far.

It’s been a remarkably mild winter though, and that has a lot to do with how it’s been going.  There have been lots of days with temperatures above freezing, and if all the rain we got had been snow, then I would guess that there would be about another three feet of snow on the ground.  Plus, the plow guy has only had to come twice, saving me a ton of money, and him a lot of veggie oil (his truck is a bio-diesel).  He did get stuck last time, and I mean way off the driveway stuck.  I helped him out and our efforts eventually took two hours, two shovels, my Jeep and his back-hoe.  But the effort was successful, and I get a free plow the next time it snows.

The wood is holding up really well too.  We cut, split and stacked about

The Old Plow

nine and a half cords of wood, which you can visualize as ten rows of split wood, each four feet high and twenty feet long.  I’ve only burned about two and a half cords so far, which means lots of dry wood for campfires this summer.

Analyzing my experience so far, I’m amazed at how long it took to get some of the little things down.  Like making sure the fire stays going all night instead of getting up three times to put wood in the stove.  Or making sure that I buy lamp oil for the kerosene lanterns.  Or planning ahead to make sure I have enough water for a few days.  My friends are remarkably generous with their drinking water, and for that I am very thankful.

It’s been a lot of work living out here, and the work is far from over.  But so many of the chores are enjoyable, that the days seem to go by kind of quickly.  I walk up to the other cabin out here a couple times a week to make sure that it’s still standing, no one has broken into it, and that there are no tree limbs sticking out of the roof.  Carrying a few arm loads of wood inside every day and splitting the bigger pieces gives me a little exercise, as does finding small logs in the woods and dragging them out to be cut up for next year’s fire wood.  I wish I could attach some sort of harness to Pico so that he would drag them, but I know that he would not want to do it.

The one thing that surprises me the most though, is the fact that I’m really enjoying living like this.  Sure, if it was my property I would invest in some upgrades like solar panels and a well, but I have really not been missing any of the things that we take for granted.  The transition to life off the grid really hasn’t been painful, and that’s really comforting to me.

6 thoughts on “Cabin Life – #7

  1. I enjoy reading about your experiences of living off the grid. I wish I had a cabin that I could hold up in occasionally. One thing I remember about my camping and cabin experiences when I was younger was how early we went to bed at night and how much earlier we woke up in the morning. You take care and I hope the winter keeps working with you.


    • Yeah, I’ve been going to bed super early. I usually try to leave the house for a while in the evening just so I don’t fall asleep at 6pm. Even with lots of candle and lanterns going, it’s tough to stay awake!

  2. Hi, Justin! I was on an ADK hike yesterday with your mom and dad and a result of our conversation was an e-mail with your blog link (and a killer recipie for peanut butter -oatmeal energy bars). I have just finished reading Cabin life 1-7 and give it five out of five stars for content and humor…Your comments in Cabin life 2 about people who heat w/ wood being for the most part hard-working, upstanding and not responsible for the Chicago Fire had me laughing out loud. I, for one, promise never to discriminate. (Especially since we have a pellet stove.)
    I want to thank you for all your hard work repairing damage done to the trails by Irene. I’m glad for you that the outhouse portion was limited. Looking forward to Cabin life 8.

    Gail Livingston

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