A reader recently asked me what a normal day out at the cabin was like. Unfortunately, most of my days consist of getting up, going to work, and coming home to go to bed. But on the weekends and when I’m not working, I’ve settled into a nice routine mixed with plenty of different chores. No, not chores. Activities.
Pico or Ed usually wake me up on the weekend, so I get to sleep in until about six. After ignoring them for an indeterminate amount of time, I relent and get their food. Then Pico and I take a walk up the Right Trail to the Upper Camp. I check the log cabin that’s another quarter mile or so into the woods. I live in the middle of nowhere, and Upper Camp is even closer to the center of the middle of nowhere.
Upper Camp was built by the previous owners and is a pretty big log cabin. Not huge, but more than twice the size of my place. When people see it, they ask why I don’t live there instead of in my little shack. First, there’s no way I could get someone to plow it. Going to Upper Camp is at least three-quarters of a mile from the road. Second, because it is so big, I would need a lot more wood to heat it. And the main reason is that Upper Camp is the “weekend getaway” for my landlord.
After I make sure no windows are broken and no trees have come down on the place, Pico and I bushwhack off to the east towards the Left Trail. Sometimes we go a little further into the woods and partway up the hill out back, but mostly we just cut through to the Upper Field. This is essentially a big, brush-covered extension of my yard. If I’m lazy (Pico never is) then we just head back to my cabin. Otherwise we’ll make our way to the Left Trail and then head back down.
Once we’re back at the cabin, I grab a large pot and go to the little stream. I put the pot on the wood stove to get some moisture in the air. I also recently started keeping the tea kettle on the wood stove, which seems like something I should have started doing a year ago. I’m still learning how to do this whole off the grid thing.
Then I’ll usually take the chainsaw and head off to cut some dead trees. I buck them up into manageable pieces so I can carry them back to the yard. I like to block them up and split the logs right then, so my pile of wood for next winter gets bigger all year long. Sometimes I’ll go work on the trails that haven’t been used much (most of them), I’ll go clear brush and try to open the trail a little bit.
I guess mostly though, my life off the grid is a lot like most people’s. I have to wash dishes and brush pets and bring wood in for the stove. I cook and sweep and do yard work. Sure, I have to put in more than the usual effort due to the lack of running water, but other than that, I’m pretty normal. You know, normal for a guy with no running water.