Monday, November 9, 2009

1 year

This week is the one year mark of moving up north. As the second winter approaches I’m a lot more at ease and feel prepared for what is to come. I have neglected my blog (surprise) but with a new digital camera and wi fi at the library I felt it was time to add some more info.
Over the past year we had the coldest winter in 50 years, the worst of which was a string of -50 days. After we experienced two days in the -50's and there were three more forcasted we decided an impromptu trip home was the way to go. We had not finished insulating the floor or roof and it was a lot of work to keep the fire hot enough to keep that kind of cold out. This year we are better insulated and I feel confident we would be willing to tough it out. We spent the winter mastering the right kind of fire for all kinds of cooking and heating. We hiked around the property and started to get a feel for our surrounding property and town. I got my library card and spent the winter reading. I also planned the garden for the spring and read about the sq foot gardening method. I found our first winter to be very pleasant, I remember a lot of bright blue sky and a thick snow cover making snow shoeing such an easy way to get around to property. What was thick and dense with vegetation during the summer and fall was easy to roam around and find a lot of animal tracks. Sadly we lost our dog Brutus to HWY 21 which runs along the north end of our property. He was not even 1 yet. It was a bummer.
The spring was wet and gross. We were busy building our green house and garden beds. We bought baby chicks and my sister raised them at her house in the cities (they need to be under a light..... without electricity that was difficult). As soon as the snow started to melt it was too wet to hike much on the property. We wrapped up a lot of projects around the house and waited for the warm, dry weather.
The summer was the coldest on record and felt like a stretch of 63 F rainy days. I’m pleased to say that even during the coldest summer on record in the coldest spot in the Continental USA I still managed to raise tomatoes, peppers, onion, carrots, lettuce, spinach, cilantro, basil, cabbage, green beans and Brussel sprouts. I experimented with square foot gardening and it worked like a dream. I will be expanding the garden to 3 times the size it was this year and adding some cold frames to jump start the season. Matt did a lot of fishing from shore and we dined on plenty of pan fish. The chickens came to live with us in early June and it has been so much fun having them free range on the property. A couple of weeks after they got here we had no more wood ticks and the garden didn’t have any signs of pest damage all year. They are very good hunters.
This fall has either been warm and sunny(September) or cold and rainy (October). But the good news is we have a web of trails throughout our property and Matt has been bringing home grouse all season. We have really changed our eating habits and with the reliability of grouse we almost never buy meat. I make all of our pasta, bread and baked goods and we eat very little prepackaged foods. I cannot say that I feel or look very different or my energy levels have changed, but Matt seems to have a completely new body and everyone seems astonished when they see him.
The question I get asked the most is what do I do all day? Like time is a burden. The main thing that started me on this path was my desire for more time. It felt like on the good days when I would get home on time at about 5:30 it would be cook dinner, clean up, watch 2 hours of tv, then back to bed...... and press replay for the next day... and the one after that. All I wanted were stretches of unstructured time. Sure a lot of my time is spent cooking and various chores. The rest of the time I can let myself wander.... I wander through thoughts and ideas, house designs and daydreams. I listen to a lot of NPR (one of two radio stations available to me) and I ponder what the guests say and link there thoughts and theories up to my web of ideas. I use my library card and read what other people think and about lives others have lived... fictional or not. Otherwise hiking and a Netflicks fills up the rest of the time.

Thursday, December 18, 2008


Well winter has hit with a fury up here!!!! We got over a foot of snow and then we were hit with some brutally cold weather. One night it dipped below -30..... not taking windchill into account. We have been able to keep pretty cozy and the snow has made everything amazingly beautiful!! We have also had chickadees at our feeders everyday. They even come out when it is -25!! Those are some tough birds. We have finally insulated our roof and are close to finishing the 2nd level. Matt is very excited to have his music room finished. He has alot of new music written and I think he is even going to put some lyrics in. Other than that we are enjoying the great expanse of time and lack of any pressing scheduals.

Thursday, December 11, 2008


The roof is done!!!!! Matt's dad and Ed came up last weekend to help wrap up that darn metal roof. (BIG THANKS TO ED AND BILL!!!!!) We rented some scaffolding and that really helped reduce the risk of bodily injury. Now that that is done we should be able to plug on with the 2nd level. We had some R value issues with the 2nd level insulation, but we have our game plan together and the material should be delivered tomorrow.

Life has started to shift for Matt and I. We have no electricity which means no TV, computer, Stereo etc. So the big events of most days are... 1- the weather. The coldest it has gotten is
-20. I check the thermometer 3 times more often than I check the time. We have had some snow and it really is breathtaking clinging to all the evergreens. Also, it is much easier to see the tracks of all the animals in our area. We continue to see very little wildlife. But the tracks don't lie and we have deer and moose all over and they seem to come very close to the house. 2-food because we are cooking everything from scratch on our woodburing stove much of the day is centered around meal time. We are eating like kings!!! Fresh baked bread, cookies, pumpkin bread, banana bread!!! We have also started making pizzas which turn out really good in the oven. We have done some amazing pork roasts and look forward to some wild game (maybe yet this winter??) Both Matt and I like to cook and trade off on who cooks and who cleans. Matt and I also fill our days reading . I'm currently reading Walden by Thoreau which obviously has some parallels to what we are doing. Matt is reading some books on American Indian cultures. We also borrowed a bunch of books from the library on animals in the area and their tracks. We also listen to the radio on Leslie's crank radio. We primarily listen to NPR or a classic rock station. Other than that most of the options are country (not my cup of tea). We are also playing chess. We are both new to the game so.... we are learning.

The rest of the day is chores and projects. The chores take up maybe 30 minuets. Bringing in wood and water. Cleaning the house, taking out the humanure buckets, walking the dogs etc. The projects are all building related and vary depending on what we are doing. We generally get 2-3 hours done a day.

We are really enjoying it up here and I hope to have pictures soon!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008


We keep working on the house. We are basically running on fumes now and cannot wait to be done!!!! We wrapped up the 1st level (not including trim) and should be pretty much done with the 2nd level in a day or two. The lay out has worked out great and we are very please with how it is all coming together. My Mom, sister and Cathy are coming up on Sat to see the place. Matt's dad Bill was up last Sat to wrap up the roof but it was way to slippery and dangerous. So he drove 10 hours to help us move a bed and freezer. It has been pretty cold the last couple of days, but the fireplace is working great. I hope to have some new pictures up after Denise comes up with her camera and takes some for me (hehe). So take a look in a week or two!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008