Sunday, April 8, 2012

Cabin Life: Starting Spring Projects

The afternoon sunlight slants against the birdfeeders, giving them a golden glow. It’s hard to believe that it’s almost seven at night, when it was not that long ago that the sun was going down at about four-thirty.

During the really dark parts of the winter, it was hard not to go to sleep at six PM. With only candles and oil lamps, night was difficult to fight off, and more often than not, I fell asleep on the couch with a book on my chest and my headlamp still on. Now that it’s light so late in the afternoon, I am actually having a hard time filling the days. Not that I’m just sitting around doing nothing, but I feel like I should be working until six or seven. It is nice to take a break and realize that it’s dinner time, though.

The wood I cut over the winter is drying nicely, the deer have been coming back to the yard, and luckily there hasn’t been any sign of bears. The chickadees have been using the feeders less and less, but the squirrels are still hitting them pretty regularly. My focus has definitely shifted from cold weather preparation and existence to outdoor projects. The compost bin is complete, and so is a small cold-frame I put together from scrap around the property. The leaky porch roof now has a rather large hole in it (my fault) and is in dire need of repair, so that’s the next big project. I’ll probably have to move a generator from Amy’s house up to the cabin to charge batteries and run a saw for the roof project. It’s weird to think that other than charging my phone in the car, this will be the first time that I’ll have electricity at the cabin.

October to April with no power at the house seems like a long time. But it went by pretty quickly. I did go through a lot of 9-volt batteries powering the clock radio. I also burned about three shoe-boxes worth of candles, as well as a gallon or so of lamp oil. I’ve burned about four cords of wood, but the stove won’t needed much longer. The two and a half gallons of gas I bought for the chainsaw is just about gone, and I finally added a gallon of gas to the four wheeler. I really wish that the four wheeler would start in the cold, but now that it is running, I’ve been having a lot of fun just driving it around.

Unfortunately, Pico can’t come along on these rides, because he’s continually trying to bite the tires, and that’s no good. The bugs are out, but nothing is biting yet. A friend of mine saw some mosquitoes, but he said “they were too stupid to bite me.” Let’s hope they stay that dumb all summer.

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Having grown up in the southern Adirondacks, Justin has always been at home in the mountains of New York. After graduating from Paul Smiths College, he began his career in the environmental field working for the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. After a brief five year detour to Florida, Justin returned to the Adirondacks to live off the grid in a small cabin with no running water or electricity.

Justin continues to work and play in the outdoors, and maintains a blog about living off grid, hiking, and being outside in the Adirondacks called Middle of the Trail.

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