Sunday, February 16, 2014

Cabin Life: The Snow

The DrivewayWinter is really upon us now, finally with some snow to go along with the bone and soul crushing cold.  It’s a mixed bag for me, us getting a bunch of snow.  With snow comes a lot of hardship, and also some benefits too.

One of the immediate benefits of the eight or so inches of snow is that my cabin is much better insulated.  The old pink fiberglass insulation in the attic is more for show at this point than actual insulating value, but the snow on the roof just bottles up the heat from the stove and makes the cabin much more comfortable.

However, I may think the cabin is more comfortable simply because I now have a third of a mile to hike up to it.  Not being able to drive right to the cabin raises a whole host of issues.  I can’t use the car as a generator to watch TV and keep the chickens warm.  I can’t warm up the car before I leave when it’s thirty below outside.  If I forget something in the car, it’s getting frozen and staying there overnight most likely.

But it is nice to be able to just step outside and go skiing.  Pico’s getting more exercise since I can actually enjoy the outdoors.  When it’s not thirty below.  And I like the way everything looks, and how the snow helps reflect the light of the late afternoon sun.  One thing that I have been keenly noticing, is the gain in daylight.

Even with the electric lights, it is still difficult to maintain a somewhat normal schedule due to the lack of sunlight.  But we’re up to almost eleven hours a day, and I have been literally basking in the added light.  Not outside of course, but while lying on the couch.

I’m happy that the chicken tent has not had to make a re-appearance, and that the girls and Midget have been content in the coop.  The additional snow makes the coop more insulated too, and even though they have no idea why, I’m sure they’ve been happy in the warmer digs.

So all in all, I guess I don’t mind the snow.  It’s the middle of February and won’t be here long.  I missed a lot of the winter not being able to ski or snowshoe, but I’m also looking forward to not having to drag my clean laundry up the driveway in a sled.

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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.


7 Responses

  1. Derrick says:

    Always glad to read these…true inspiration to follow what one wants to do!!

  2. Nice post. Even in Western Maryland we have better than 15 inches on the ground, and the chickens are thoroughly irked. And they blame us, as if winter were our idea. Nothing makes you feel lower than getting a bad look from a chicken.

  3. John W says:

    I like reading your essays on living off the grid in the Adirondacks. In many ways I wish to do the same.

  4. John W says:

    Justin. If you don’t mind me asking, how do you make a living at your place? I sometimes feel that I am letting my life pass by and a lifestyle similar to yours but I am married and I would have to have something economically feasible. Thanks for your reply.

  5. Walter Wouk says:

    I live the small rural community of Summit, NY. We have frequent power outage, so I bought a 300 watt power inverter (which will power a light, small TV or computer) and a spare car battery. When the battery runs low I switch it with the fully charged battery from the car.

    Here’s a link:

  6. Bill Ott says:

    I never lived in a house heated with firewood which I had to chop, store and keep dry. I never ate eggs from my own chickens. I never lit my house with my car battery. I never walked a half mile uphill to get to my cold abode. You have done these things and shared them with readers of the Adirondack Almanack. And you do it so shamelessly, not hiding mistakes nor glorifying successes. You live the life that many people dream of and show why most of us should not try. I just wonder how you get these posts out by smoke singals.

    Bill Ott
    Lakewood, Ohio

  7. joanstreetman says:

    I love this story but I left that country because of the very cold days 30 below and do not miss it. You are remarkable for enjoying it.

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