Sal and I got a lot of woods cred from our friends and a few readers this summer. “You guys are the real deal, all woodsy, chainsaws, off-the-grid and all!”
And we say, “Aw shucks, t’aint nuthin’. Not really. Jus’ doin’ what needs to be done to survive, if ya know waddah mean?”
But we are just pretending.
The truth is we are softies. Spoiled. We eat and live like royalty. We can’t even find our abs! Seriously. We have all the mod cons and, with a microwave (maybe – the jury is still out), we will be up to speed with the hip and the gridded. Even got a smarter-than-me smartphone. Only difference really is that we aren’t as connected to the systems as we used to be. We don’t pay BC Hydro. Or Pizza Hut. Or Starbucks.
We don’t take mass transit either but, then again, we never did.
But let us not pretend about anything. You need to know the truth. We are still very much ‘gridded’. Hell, we drive a car! We get our food from the store still. Probably 75%….maybe more. We can and do get food from the ‘land’, the ‘sea’ and the ‘forest’ like real west coast-cum-mountain folks but not very much. Usually summer bounty – like berries and fish and stuff. It is more a comfort and/or a treat than a source. We know it’s there. We know we can. We sometimes do. But most of the time we enjoy a nice store-bought steak BBQ, assorted 100-mile vegetables followed with a nice Argentinian Malbec. Tonight Sal makes a great Fijian curry. This ain’t a hard life.
OK, building from scratch was pretty tough. I’ll admit that. But it was tough mostly because we didn’t know what we were doing. Took us basically three years and more than a few pints of blood to be able to ‘live’ like normal people. But a guy up the way is a builder and has been for 30 years and he and his wife put up a house in one summer!
A large part of our challenge was simply having to learn while on the job. Being old. Being unskilled. And that has little to do with the wilderness. More to do with a soft previous lifestyle. Living off the grid is a lot of things but, with a little research and cutting into slovenly habits, it can be done fairly easily. OK, a little sweat is required.
“Oh, not for me or my wife. She likes to shop. I have a bad back. And, anyway, our family is all here.”
I am not trying to talk anyone into it. Not really. OK, maybe a little. It is just that nobody is really ‘born to shop’ and family will come to you when you live on the water – whether you want them to or not. And, if you have a house in the city you can sell it for enough to have one built for you in the country and you don’t have to lift a thing but the pen for the cheque. Living off the grid is not like leaving the planet.
Sometimes I wish it was.
Let me put all this another way: Sal and I sometimes wonder if we got away far enough. That has to tell you something.
And you all have got a moat. No importuning at the street corner by homeless for spare change, no folks shooting up, no one turning tricks in the alley cause you don’t got an alley and greatest of all no day to day traffic jams. You are much closer to living your own self directed lives than most. Not exactly Walden’s Pond but close enough.
Thanks. You got it right. Not everyone does. I am no H. D. Thoreau nor am I any kind of cutting edge authority on anything. I am not a mountain man nor a hip magazine article with granite tops. But I am having fun and this after many decades of mediocrity and the grindstone. This is good. Real good. And you are right about self-directed. That part is right. If we do it, we do it. If we don’t, it don’t get done. There are few others to influence our days save for friends, friends and more friends. Well, there’s the damn dog, squirrel and ravens but you know what I mean…………
What have the ravens been doing? Have they been in the freezer lately?
No. We are in a detente. They stop by now and then. We feed them now and then. They sit in trees and ‘talk’. But we have not pursued the relationship much since the freezer incident. That one was tough. It is not like I think Ravens ‘owe’ me anything except to ‘be’ a raven but the freezer incident reminded me just how smart, wild and unattached to us in any way they are. To them, we are just saps with a freezer waiting to be plundered. I dunno………..just not feeling the love, ya know?
A friend of mine once worked in a logging camp in Kingcome Inlet. On his day off he decided to go “bear watching’.
Off he went to the dump. No bear to be seen? He scouted high and low for a few hours, still no bears. Went for a drive to the top of a range and walked even further to take some ‘vista pics’.
He got back to the camp at suppertime to a huge conundrum. Apparently the bears had visited the cookhouse while he was away. They ate all the fresh pies cooling in the window, then they proceeded to eat the 12lb ham on the counter, bread, butter, sugar,etc. Then they tore open a freezer and proceeded to eat 20 lbs blocks
of frozen bacon, blocks of cheese, fish, everything……..
Well camp security scared most of them away with shots fired in the air. One refused to leave so it was killed.
The bear was laid out for a few days in the hot sun while discussions were argued back and forth as to what to do with it. It was decided to chain its leg, lift it’s carcass with a helicopter and take it up to a glacier and release it in a crevass.
The best laid plans of mice and men.
All went well until the helicopter lifted it. 4 days in the hot sun with all than food created the nastiest “dead bear fart” imaginable. Brawny loggers were on their hands and knees vomiting, The hovering helicopter only spread the stench faster and further.
It was apocalyptic.
Wild animals and freezers ……ah the memories.
Hmm……thanks for that. I got a buddy from Kincome. Initials DG. Same guy?
Nah. My friend is retired on a farm in Nova Scotia these days. When I visit we always keep the crowd amused with our “one upper” true stories……….
Well, that one can’t be one-upped, I am sure.