Hello dear reader! So last week was pretty fun and filled with lots of adventure. A good friend of mine [Erin] from the Twin-cities drove up for visit and spent the weekend with Gene and me at the cabin. Unfortunately for her, Gene and I aren’t the best at being morning people. I’ve gotten quite accustomed to staying up quite late (usually 4am) and then sleeping in till about noon- hey, don’t judge. Erin was very good at waking up and getting her breakfast, then occupying herself by watching Breaking Bad until I was kind enough to join her. We spent the first night going over all the things that I have been acquiring in preparation for spring: the tipi, the composting toilet, my seed collection… etc. I also gave her a refresher course on crochet, I won’t embarrass her by listing the number of rows that had to be re-stitched. Erin also enjoyed a ride on the snowmobile a few times.
Myles is such a ladies Man and enjoyed Erin’s visit…
We spent time snowshoeing and touring the property
And I took her over to my parents to do some ice fishing- which turned out disastrous. My dad plowed a path for us down to the lake with the 4-wheeler and then we had to lug the ice house across it by hand. The problem came when we encountered about a foot of slush. We made it to a spot and I drilled the holes and set up the house… a short time later my Mother came down to the lake and I went out to tell her not to bother because of all of the slush (poor Mom attempting to drudge through it) and I wound up getting water in both my boots- which was an immediate end to the adventure. We didn’t even have time to catch one sunny 😦 The trip back across the lake with the ice house was exhausting because I was still tired from lugging it out there. The experience made the day all the more interesting and we finished by returning to the cabin and frying some sunnies that I had caught earlier.
It was nice to have a visitor. It was nice to be able to share my passion with someone who shares similar interests. I count myself lucky to have such good friends in my life.
For the next 10 days I’m at my parents dog sitting; a nice break away from the cabin. I plan to meet up with my cousin for some MORE ice fishing (on a better lake this time) and he promised me a lasagna dinner! On a very happy note: it reached 45* the other day! I was able to go out and get my mail in a t-shirt. I hate when winter screws with you like that, but it was a good reminder that spring is right around the corner. I plan on getting more technical with my blog once I start planning the garden and getting the seedlings going and toward the end of next month I will be blogging about tapping maple trees.
Just a quick thanks for all the “get well” messages! I’m on the rebound and have mostly recovered from my illness. I’m still very tired and have a small cough and lose my voice if I talk for more than a few minutes, but I think the worst is over. . If anyone missed it, both Gene and I got a serious case of influenza a few weeks ago. Gene was also diagnosed with pneumonia. We did manage to track down how we got it and jokingly said from now on everyone who comes to visit will need to spend time in quarantine! Gene went to the V.A. Hospital in the cities this morning and he was admitted for pneumonia . The antibiotics that he got from the E.R. when we first got sick didn’t work and he was progressively getting worse. He is doing well and they have him on meds. He should be back in a few days and should make a full recovery. I was in to the doctor on Tuesday and had a chest x-ray and WBC to make sure that I didn’t have pneumonia also, and was given the “all-clear.” I guess we both learned the lesson that we should get flu shots! I haven’t been this sick in a very long time and it was a bit of a wake-up call that I need to be careful with my health as it’s very difficult to live this “lifestyle” when you are under the weather. I’m sure it would have been an even more unpleasant experience were I currently living in the tipi.
I went to visit my Mom yesterday and we took a trip to Bimidji so I could buy some new (and much needed) pants. It was good to get away from the cabin for a night! Well that’s the update for now… I’m going to go clean and hopefully git rid of any remaining germs 🙂 Also, I need to clean the guest room for our visitor next week!!!
I knew things were going to good to last… influenza has infiltrated the cabin! Gene and I have both been very sick this past week. We wound up going into the E.R. last Tuesday and got the news that we had both been infected. Now things have taken a turn, influenza has become pneumonia… and I don’t get to see the doctor until Tuesday. The first few days of the flu were pretty rough and I spent about 21 hrs/day sleeping and felt like I was knocking on deaths door. The pneumonia isn’t quite as bad, mostly I’m just tired and constantly coughing and wheezing. It took every ounce of energy I had to go outside to feed/water the animals! For the first time ever I thought… “WTF am I doing?” On the plus side, I was able to sit in bed and weave a potato basket from a kit I bought in October! And as it turns out, I’m not to bad at weaving baskets… possibly another income opportunity this spring? We have tons of dogwood around the property and I think I could make some kick ass baskets out of it. I also had time to look at the community education catalog and picked out a few classes to sign up for: Trapping-basic techniques (not that I want to start trapping- I’m not a big fan, but I think it’s a good skill to know just in case!), basswood inner bark weaving (for making mats and other useful items), and archery (so I can hunt deer next fall). There are a few others that seem interesting, but I have a lot on my plate already! I’m also curious to see how these classes run because I’ve toyed with the idea of holding some educational seminars once the tipi is up and functioning… why not share with others all the cool things I’ve learned?
The week before I got sick I was able to get my new log bed frame finished. I sanded all the pieces and put 3 coats of polyurethane on it. It looks amazing! I will post pictures when I get a new camera (my camera is not working and I’m a bit pissed about that). I also purchased a new much-needed bed. I spared no expense and got a Tempur-Pedic cloud support mattress… my back is very thankful and I haven’t slept this good in YEARS! I also started working on a cedar rocking chair but haven’t been able to finish it because I’ve been too sick.
The weekend of the 14th will be pretty exciting as I have a friend from the Cities coming for a visit! It will be my first visitor since I moved up here. This person also shares a lot of the same interests as me and I’m excited for the opportunity to share all that I’ve been working on with someone who “understands” what this is about.
Well that’s all for now. I just wanted to let you know that I’m still alive and kicking… sort of. I will get a camera and get some pics up once we are well enough to venture back out in public. Thanks for reading!
The final piece of the puzzle arrived today in the form of three (very heavy) canvas sacks. All the pieces of the tipi are here and ready for spring. I’m running out of room for all this “stuff”. I’ve been ordering so much online that the UPS driver calls me her “ordering King.” I’ve had deliveries literally every day for the past week… but hey, these are things I NEED 🙂
I took advantage of the wonderful break in cold to do some ice fishing. I went with my Cousin and fished my parents lake, as well as lake Bemidji… Bemidji was a bust, but my parents lake was full of beautiful sunfish (and a few small northerns and pesky perch) [featured photo above courtesy of Dave Wagner]. I made the mistake of leaving my fish on the ground when my Mom came out with the dogs… needless to say, that Big Bastard of a Tibetan Mastiff ran off with one of them… scooped it up off the ground and went running across the lake with it’s fin sticking out of its mouth. When we started yelling for him to “drop it” he only ran faster. He ate the damn thing and I don’t think he felt the least bit guilty for doing so. Here is a picture of the culprit:
Gene and I also went fishing and that’s where I caught that beautiful Walleye that I posted previously. It tasted AMAZING… Gene wasn’t a fan of the Cajun shore lunch I breaded it in, he’s got a stomach like an old lady and the first bite elicited a run for the jar of Tums. I know how to get all the fish to myself now… hehe
Also this week, Gene and I became members of the local snowmobile club. Yeah for social networking. It was nice to get out and meet some of the locals. I was quite surprised that the majority of club members are, for lack of a better word, much older. That’s okay, I like the ambiance of an older crowd… quiet and laid back. There is a totally different “vibe” up here in the woods… time goes by in a different fashion than what I’m used to with city life. I like that there is never a need to “hurry” up here… the pace is slow, but steady. If something needs to get done and doesn’t, well… there is always tomorrow.
Gene introduced me to a new t.v. show, “Shameless.” I’ve been staying up late trying to catch up on the older episodes. I got the DVD’s of the first three seasons and will be passing it along to my Mom when I’m finished… it’s no Breaking Bad, but it’s pretty damn good and I’m a big fan of William H. Macy… I’m from Minnesota and all, you know… we all love the movie Fargo up here!!
Not much else is new. I haven’t butchered the rabbits yet. I still have a week to get it done and I’m hoping for another spell of warm weather. I prefer to butcher in the garage, but if the weather doesn’t cooperate I may need to utilize the basement. I’ll just have to keep the dogs locked upstairs so they don’t see how evil Daddy is. They are unwise to my wicked ways 🙂
That’s all for now. Here are some fishing pictures for your viewing enjoyment. Stay warm!
And excitement filled the air as the semi carrying 15 27′ tipi poles came roaring up the drive to the cabin. FINALLY the moment I’ve waited for has arrived! With this also comes some more work- I’ve got to get these things cleaned up and coated with polyurethane. It’s a good thing we took out the old furnace and wood burning stove, they take up quite a bit of room! After I get them all ready for summer we will put them under the crawlspace in the cabin. I was fine just putting them in the shed, but Gene insisted that they should come inside… he’s so thoughtful and I’m not sure many people would be so willing to have this sitting in the way (thanks Gene!)
There were also a few more deliveries to note: my stove and on-demand hot water heater also arrived!
And to keep up with the happy mood of this post… we finished installing the new furnace in the cabin! Talk about a great week… the new furnace was installed just in time and has kept the nasty cold weather outside where it belongs- this new furnace runs like a dream, is whisper quiet and has no trouble keeping us toasty warm… best of all… no more worrying about loading the wood stove.
Today we went to town and did some shopping… that’s always a 5-6 hour adventure. This weekend I’m heading over to my parents to do some ice fishing with my cousin… I hear we are going to be having a heatwave 🙂 Next weeks scheduled activities include butchering the last litter rabbits… hopefully the weather will cooperate as I’m not a fan of butchering in the cold. I’m not going to re-breed again until March because it is an absolute headache having to clean cages in the cold and when I have a rabbit with a litter it’s an “every week” chore due to the large amounts of poop from the babies. When they don’t have litters it’s quite possible to go 2-3 weeks without having to clean them. I’ve decided that in the summer I will build a lean to next to the barn with an open pit under the cages to make cleaning more advantageous. Right now they have litter pans under the cages and that’s just a pain to have to remove and clean all the time, especially in the cold.
I’m also in the process of reaching out to a fellow blogger who lives in a tipi in Canada. He started living in his tipi last October (great timing Connor!) and I’ve learned quite a few things by reading his blog. I’ve got a ton of questions for him and hopefully he can help steer me in the right direction and avoid some of the complications that he has encountered. If you are curious to see what he’s been going through you can check out his blog at: http://connor.ghostify.io/
Hopefully everyone stayed warm this past week and hopefully the worst is over… doubtful. Take care and talk to you soon 🙂
Hello fellow readers! Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. I’ve been seriously neglecting the blog lately… sorry. Christmas this year was a pretty quiet one. Gene and I spent the Holiday all by our lonesome (because that is the way it is up here) and I made a pretty decent stir fry in lieu of a roast for our Christmas dinner. It was a similar situation with New Years, although we did rent a hotel room in town so we could go swimming. I decided not to decorate for the Holidays this year, can’t say that I’d ever not decorated before. It was kind of nice not having to deal with hauling out all the tinsel, lights and decorations (I’ve amassed quite a lot “Holiday stuff” over the years- which turned out to be the majority of boxes that I moved up here). It was also nice not having to cook and clean for a bunch of people. Christmas isn’t supposed to be about all that stuff anyway, right?
Things are moving along. I’ve been busy ordering tipi supplies for summer. The tipi will arrive on Tuesday. I’ve got a small camper style propane stove/oven for cooking on order, a propane on demand hot water heater, a 1800W wind power generator (I’m going to start with wind power first, the unit I bought is expandable and I can add solar panels later if the wind generator isn’t cutting it), a small fridge/freezer… and a cast iron stove for heating the tipi next winter. I’m still not sure if I want to go with a composting toilet, or save some cash and dig an outhouse. The only other significant financial investment will be in the solar powered electric fence… around $200-$300. I’m pretty much set for spring. Oh, and I got a hand mill for grinding my grain into flour 🙂 I splurged on a fancy one after reading the reviews on amazon… A friend who owns a resort down the road is giving me a new log bed frame and a rocking chair that will look A-M-A-Z-I-N-G in the tipi. I’m currently trying to talk him out of a bear skin rug (wish me luck on that one)!
We are still in the process of fixing up the cabin. I got a good start on the tile floor in the kitchen. I’m waiting for them to hook up the new gas line for the stove and get that moved out of the way so I can finish it. The wood floor in the main A-frame area still needs to be laid and the ceiling fan in the living room is still sitting on the floor- it’s about 20′ in the air to connect the fan to the junction box; neither of us has been daring enough to hook it up! The new furnace is almost installed- in fact it’s being worked on right now and I just got conformation that it just “fired up for the first time.” The new furnace is a significant improvement from the old one that was used in conjunction with wood heat. No more splitting logs this winter. I’m all for wood heat and will be using it in the tipi, but it’s just not practical for use in this big cabin.
Gene left this morning for a 6 hour ride on the snowmobile… I stayed behind because I’m smart and like to be warm 🙂 I tell you this cold sure does ruin a nice day. What’s up with this crazy cold weather? I’m wondering if the “global climate change doesn’t exist” people are singing a different tune yet? On a positive note… all the chickens and the duck are laying eggs again! I guess they really do like the new living arrangements.
Remember the deer the neighbor shot that I complained about… the ones hanging in the tree… Yep, still there!
2013 will be the year I woke up and started living life on my terms… and what an awesome life it is turning out to be! Stay warm 🙂
Well… this is a learning experience, no doubt about it! So, after posting about how wonderful the chickens were doing in the “barn” aka “boathouse” we pulled a 180. We just got the electric bill for the month of November and found out that the bill rose by $240! Yep… $240!!! Talk about some pretty expensive eggs!
The reason for the increase is because the heater in the barn was pulling 4000 watts… it’s been very cold up here in the Northland and that barn was pretty damn drafty (despite copious amounts of spray foam and plastic tenting) to say the least! I was even running the heater on the lowest setting which was keeping things at about 40 degrees… I was still dealing with frozen water bottles and frozen eggs. I was doing a water change about 3 times a day and becoming very frustrated with the whole situation. After seeing the bill and realizing how this was “clearly not working out”, Gene and I decided to move the animals.
We spent about 7 hours yesterday building an insulated partition wall inside the garage (which is already heavily insulated from the previous owner who used to work out there all year round) and moving the chickens/duck/rabbits into their new home. They are now happily situated and currently enjoying 60 degree temps (with outside temperatures of 32 below) with only two 250 watt heat lamps. I woke up this morning and didn’t even have to deal with frozen water bottles! I’m pretty sure I can get by with just one 250 watt lamp on the warmer days and may put the second lamp on a timer or thermostat controller just to save even more $. I’m much happier with the new setup and I can tell the animals are too. Next year the whole thing should be on solar/wind power so I wont give a damn about how many lamps are running- within reason of course… I’d be pretty jealous if they were warmer than I was 🙂
We will just count this experience as a lesson learned! In the summer the animals will move back to the boathouse… where I’m sure they will appreciate the draft!
Wow! We just got a TON of snow… like waist deep. Snow is much prettier up here in the North-land let me tell you. I used my new Polaris 500 to plow the driveway and it works like a dream, much better than a snow blower… much funner too. Gene took the photo above last week when we were out on one of our “adventures.” We’ve been having a lot of “adventures” lately. 4-weelin late at night is the best… you wouldn’t believe how cool the trails are at night. The trees creep in from both sides and the smell of pine needles fills the air. I keep waiting for a bear or some other sort of wild animal to jump out in front of us and maul Gene. Tonight we took an adventure on the new snowmobile. The trails are not groomed yet and this sled cut through the waist high snow like a beast. I told Gene that I just wanted to go for a short ride, like an hour or so… 4 hours later we arrived back at the cabin 🙂 I’m not a fan of the heated seats as all the snow melts and soaks into my snow pants… nothing worse than having a wet butt.
Projects at the cabin also continue. I put in slate tiles around the fireplace and started tiling the kitchen back-splash. I also installed a few electric heaters to supplement the wood stove on these cold Minnesota nights. We’ve still to tackle the kitchen floor… Genes “to do” list never seems to end. That’s okay because it keeps me busy- sometimes too busy.
I created the YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/returntothewild. I haven’t posted any videos yet, but I did add some videos to my playlists. Like I’ve said before, most of what I learn comes from either Google or YouTube so I linked some videos that I’ve found helpful in the past. At some point I will put up some of my own videos- first I need to get a better camera (I’m thinking a go pro).
I made a trip to the cities over the weekend. It was very stressful and I will say I’m not a fan of my Mothers driving, especially when it’s snowing. I asked her to please not pass the plow… she didn’t listen. I was in a pretty traumatic roll-over when I was in my “teens.” I don’t talk about it much, but I witnessed my friend sitting in front of me go out the open window as the car rolled… he popped out the window and then right back in. Miraculously no one was severely injured. I had blood all over my shirt and changed at a friends house before I went home in an attempt to hide the accident from my parents… it didn’t work because the parents of the kid who was driving called to make sure that I was okay. Long story short… I still freak out in cars. I just keep it to myself and I’m pretty sure nobody knows that I have this fear of flipping over every time I’m driving with someone. The drive with Mom gave me some pretty white knuckles!
Next Friday is the closing on the house… can you tell I’m excited… except for the fact that I have to drive to the cities for the closing. I can’t wait to close that chapter in my life. It has been a struggle owning a house… even with two roommates and a good paying job. I’m not sure how people do it- well… scratch that… I know how. It’s called credit. The biggest thing about selling the house is that I will no longer be in debt and there is now nothing “material” wise that creditors can threaten to take from me. If I can’t pay for something with the cash in my pocket then tough. Credit in my opinion, will be the downfall of this country. Wait till those Government backed student loans start to go into default. I would rather live in a tipi in the woods growing my own food, than slave away at some job sliding deeper into debt. I believe with all my heart that a storm is brewing… a paradigm shift that is going to cause some serious chaos. I want to be as far away from large groups of people as possible. If I’m wrong and things continue to trudge along… I’m still in a much better place. Okay, enough of that.
I haven’t heard any word from Christopher. I’m not sure I want to know… sometimes not knowing is better. I did find out a few more things that he wasn’t being honest about and it only strengthened my belief that I did the right thing in asking him to leave. I think a few of my friends are worried that I will wind up a “lonely hermit” out here in the middle of nowhere- rest assured that will not happen. I may not find another partner anytime soon, but I”m totally fine with that. I have Gene, the dogs, the rabbits, the chickens and a duck- you are never really alone when you think about it. I’ve even made a few new local friends and have been invited to try spear fishing. Also, a couple that has a cabin near by wants to go sledding with us next week.
The animals are doing well. A few weeks ago I noticed that one of the rabbit kits hadn’t opened it’s eyes yet. I could barely tell where the eyelids were supposed to be and it seemed like they were fused shut. I felt the lids with my fingers and could tell that there were no eyes that had developed behind them. I’m not sure what caused this; just a fluke or something worse. I was pretty saddened by this discovery and I’m not sure how I will handle butchering this poor creature. Other than the fact that it was born blind, I don’t see any other health issues with it and, despite it’s disability, is eating and drinking just fine. It even get’s inside the feeder and pushes the other rabbits aside. Mother Earths creatures are amazing some times.
Well, enough for now. Someone should ask me some questions… I like questions 🙂 I will leave you with this cute picture of Gene with his dog Shay. They like to cuddle!