More on dogs later. Unless you insist.
It’s -11 C but bright and beautiful. Our weather has been fairly good this year despite ominous warnings from the Farmer’s Almanac and people with steel rods in their legs who can ‘feel’ the weather several months in advance.
But I must admit that I thought winter was over a week or so ago. Lots of little plants were pushing up and it seemed like Spring was just around the corner. I was feeling good about my wood supply.
Not so much today. We’ll get through but there may not be much carryover for the next year.
I shut down the water system last night and I am glad I did. I have heat tape and insulation and all that but a harsh wind out of Bute Inlet will freeze just-off-the-boil water in a few minutes. The wind chill can get crazy. We once had an ‘overflow’ pipe from the stream that squirted water from a 1-inch pipe at least six feet on the horizontal – that’s good pressure. A winter Bute wind froze it in mid stream! A pretty impressive icicle was sitting attached to the pipe the next morning.
The cold stopped the Q-hut work today. We thought it too cold to work so a few quick calls in the morning postponed activity til next week. Sal decided to just add some glove-liners and off she went up to the school to have a quasi-council meeting. She’s a director on the board of the group that manages the school buildings. Then she’ll do something else up there with the neighbours and then get the mail and then come home. Weather doesn’t deter her.
Very little deters her.
Yesterday we built the second raised garden box. It is 4×11 and about two feet high. It doesn’t seem like much and, of course, it isn’t. But it is approximately 80 cubic feet and, in a place without soil, the task has just begun to make it into a functioning garden box. It looks good but that is not the ultimate goal. Lettuce and tomatoes are the goal in mind.
Soil gathering, making, nurturing and, naturally, composting is 75% of the chore. Maybe more. Planting and harvesting is nothing by comparison. This year we gathered some sea weed and we’ll bring over some peat moss after our next trip to town and we compost all year long. We’ll supplement the whole thing with steer manure and maybe a few buckets of sawdust. When it is a working garden box, we’ll make enough ‘greens’ during the summer to be ‘full of salad’ for at least four months. And the herbs, we think, will last much longer. But, really, our two and half garden boxes are not yet a ‘supportive garden’. We have to do more.
To do this right, I would think one must have the equivalent of a garden about 60 x 60. I don’t really know but that seems about right, especially if you plant potatoes. But they are easily bought and stored so we won’t.
But once you have a producing garden, then the work really begins! When you have that much produce, you have to ‘can’ it, preserve it, dry some of it, process some it and on and on and on. Gardening is not easy even if just on a supplemental level.
Thank God Sal likes to be busy.
I mention this mostly because when people think of a cabin in their future – especially one that may become their full time residence later in life – they think primarily about the structure. I did.
But a cabin lifestyle is so much more. The actual building is, when all is said and done, not half of it. I have mentioned ‘infrastructure’, ‘systems’ and ‘material handling’. I have mentioned ‘boats’, ‘transportation’, ‘lifestyle’, ‘projects’ and ‘building’, too.
You have to address ‘safety’, ‘health’, ‘community’, ‘income’, ‘communication’ and a host of other things as well, of course.
But food-gathering is or should also be considered. Food and food storage is more important out here than it is in town (at least as long as the urban systems are working, anyway). Home grown, gathered and stored food not only tastes better, you have less access to simply buying it the further away you are from the store.
-11 degrees outside reminds me of that.