December.

Well here we are. It is winter.

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In a lot of ways I am so much better off this winter. I am blessed. I am grateful.  I still wish I would have pushed to do more, that’s neither here nor there now. I did however cross off more on my little to-do list.

The to-do list:

1. Insulate the floor of the cabin.
2. Build an outhouse!
3. Hang the outdoor solar light on the cabin facing the outhouse.
4. Four more loads of wood!
5. Pick up a new wood stove (that burns longer than four hours)
6. Pipe in the wood cook stove I had given to me!
7. Build a new chicken coop.
8. New brakes, ice road worthy tires and rims.

I haven’t written in a while so here’s a bit of catch-up. In the spring I ended up in the hospital with some kind of mystery illness. This made working on anything next to impossible. I couldn’t sleep, couldn’t eat, always felt sick. I tried changing diet, cleanses, everything. In October I started a diatenacious earth cleanse. On the fourth week of it I remember working at the cafe that day. And actually saying, “uhh.. guys, I feel… good…” This feeling lasted about an hour, and then about four hours the next day and so on until I felt somewhat normal. Everyday that I continue to improve I am so grateful. I just about feel like I have my regular old self back. Once I started feeling better I started having my old energy back and got back to work on the cabin.

Build An Outhouse:

That’s right. I HAVE AN OUTHOUSE. It isn’t completely finished just yet, but it is useable. Some friends of mine came up for a day in the fall and we built the outhouse. Rather, then I still didn’t know a thing about carpentry and watched them build. After a bit they asked me to help and showed me what to do. I learned pretty quickly and felt so rewarded by what we were doing. It was like something clicked. The carpentry part of my brain I’ve never ever been able to access, clicked. I helped build something! I learned the basics of building! I can BUILD things!

Pictures from that day:

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This is where the we got to at the end of that day. Pretty awesome! After that I had help from another friend on siding it. I’ve yet to take any more pictures after this one:

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I mean, if your going to show off your outhouse to the world, it might has well be pretty damn fantastic. I’ve got most of the siding done, and if it’s not up yet I’ve got it cut to length sitting under my kitchen table staying warm and dry.

Hang the outdoor solar light on the cabin facing the outhouse:

I don’t know why I didn’t have some of these last year. I love the light on the side of the cabin. I like that it only turns on when there’s movement. I have another one on the front of the new (!) chicken coop as well and I love it. I’d actually like to get more, three more to be exact. One for the backside of the outhouse (that back window is useless at night if I can’t see what’s walking behind there..), one for the back side of the new chicken coop (Same kind of thing, when I walk towards the coop I can only see from the front of it and forwards.. three days ago I noticed some nice sized wolf tracks beside the coop. It would be nice to see back there if there was motion. And the third light I’d like to put on the driveway facing side of the cabin. I had for almost a month what I think was a cougar hanging out at my place. Whenever I scanned for eyes when I went outside I could almost count on seeing those big eyes. As well as I could hear it cry .. as well as the odd scream. I had the eerie feeling I was being watched. Coming from someone who’s now addicted to the feeling of being the only person in the world (now that’s saying something hey?) it is a gross feeling to feel the hairs on the back of your neck stand up when you look up and see eyes on the tree line reflecting back in the dark at you.

Build A New Chicken Coop:

One day at work I got a phone call from my Mom. She said she had gotten me a surprise. It was a shed kit. Both of us at this point want to feel like we can build something from the ground up and be successful. Problem was, we both had different ideas of how to go about it. We fought and swore and fought some more when building the shed.

Her idea: Build the shed in town, bring up finished walls to be stood up at my place via trailer.

My idea: Bring the whole kit up and build from the ground up at the cabin. Less damage from the rough road in.

Her idea: No windows.

My idea: Window.

etc. etc.

Finally I let go. She was the one indeed who had paid and wanted to build this shed (chicken coop) for me. She was happy to be able to have a go of it on her own. So I let her.

Once the floor was ready walls were stood and the roof went up. From here, I got the reins back. (Also I won one small feat and got a small window installed for light (chickens don’t lay eggs without light!)

From here I loved having the coop to myself. I loved it so much. Crisp cold Sunday mornings I would head down the hillside to work on the coop with a mug of hot chocolate, cordless saw in hand. Yea! I insulated the coop, and a friend helped me put down some sticky tiles for flooring. The flooring was done with treated wood so I didn’t want the chickens to have access to that. The sticky tiles though I had a feeling would pop up in the cold. I ended up nailing them down just to be sure. A friend came up to help with the flooring and a bit of the siding as well. I loved putting up siding. I liked figuring out exact measurements for boards, cutting them and putting them up. It was to say the least one of the most satisfying feeling for this fresh little homesteader. And then, it happened. I framed a wall. By myself. I ended up getting five new chickens in the time whilst I was trying to finish the coop and wanted to have a wall framed inside with chicken wire up on it to separate the new birds from the old while they got used to each other.

And then, tragedy.

Chicken Tragedy.

I came home from work with a friend to work more on the chicken coop hoping to have it finished to move all the birds in (the old ones were in an old dog run, with a tarp on top to protect from rain, the new birds were running free, as they got loose and wouldn’t come back to me, as well as the old birds kept trying to kill the new ones every time they came near. I pulled up to the cabin and where some of the new birds usually sleep I saw one solitary small chicken sleeping by itself. Thats strange I thought, got out of the truck and walked towards it and noticed the old dog run had collapsed under the weight of the days snowfall. No. No. No. No. No.

This can’t be happening. No

I thought, maybe there sleeping in the trees, under the house, maybe in the outhouse?

I checked those places. I looked everywhere.

Finally my friend, Andy, agreed to try and push back the old run so I could look underneath (oh and I guess I should mention the old birds on the inside, save for one, were fine in a corner that wasn’t completely collapsed). They were under there. I was caught by surprise at my following actions. I shut my eyes and stood up and walked down the hill a bit and cried. I am the worst farmer in the world. How could I have let this happen. Why didn’t I have the new coop done yet (to my defense though, I had worked every possible minute I had on the coop from the time coop custody was given back to me). Quickly I pulled myself together. They’re only chickens.

Andy pushed back the run again and I pulled birds out from underneath. One when I picked it up moved. No. No. No. I’m going to have to kill it.. I have never butchered one of my laying birds, only meat. One gets attached to the layers. It was in seriously rough shape. It’s head was bleeding and it couldn’t stand or hold it’s head up. It also kept doing this gasping for life thing.

After feeling like the worst farmer in the world. I had to save this lifeless bird. I brought it into the cabin and sat down next to the stove and cried holding this decrepit chicken. I ended up putting it in a box for the night. I really didn’t think it was going to make it. I got up at three in the morning to stoke the stove. Looked in on the chicken and it was sleeping, but holding her head up. At five in the morning she was standing and had drank the water I left for her. At seven she was walking (very slowly) around the yard again. Thank, the Lord. I might have sunk into a deep pity party/depression if she had died.

Pictures:

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Around this time I thought, Hey,

Why not get a dog.

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Last February I lost my guard dog in an accident and have severely missed him. A couple months later I adopted two older puppies but had to give them away as try as I might they wouldn’t stop trying to kill chickens.

Meet Finley. Finley is about three months old now and much bigger than he was in this first picture. He learns quickly and is a pleasure to have for company. In many ways he is a lot like the dog I lost, in his playfullness and cheekyness, (are those even words? God I’m turning into a sap) Though he doesn’t take off, stays around the cabin, and comes to me when I call him. He Listens. My favorite moments at the cabin lately are on quiet walks through game trails on and around my property with the pup. It is so quiet, no traffic, nothing. In those moments I truly feel as though I’m the only person in the world. And it feels so good. It’s truly a pleasure to be alive.

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Currently:

I’m busy doing extra odd jobs for extra money for Christmas as well as making up all my Christmas gifts this year. I’m going to be heading down South to Kelowna for Christmas to see family I haven’t seen in a long time, as well as my brother, that I just plain ol miss. I’ll be taking my truck, so most of the extra money I’ve been trying to bring in will be going towards gas to get me there and back. As well as to keep bills payed whilst I’m away. Silly bills.

Next Goals:

I know I should probably finish the list I’ve got going and get the stoves hooked up here so I can cook inside (but I so love being the barbeque queen!) but I have other ideas. I want to finish the siding on the inside of the cabin. If I look at plastic walls for any longer I will … lose it. After that I’d like to continue finishing the inside of the cabin as well as finishing the brick work for the stoves and installing, waaaiiit fooor itttt..

a kitchen!

oh yea, and I want to finish the outhouse. yea, that..

Special Thanks!:

A huge thank you to Forrest and Lori Brock. They got in touch with me wondering why I hadn’t posted in so long (no working laptop, no internet, no time .. sigh) They mailed me a laptop. I am still in shock as I sit here and tip type away. It blows my mind that I’m actually writing a blog from the cabin (using my phone as a hotspot for internet to post this) What blows my mind more-and melts my heart is that they would go out of there way to do such a big kindness. I’m feeling very inspired. Thank You so much.

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2 thoughts on “December.

  1. That last photograph of Finley is gorgeous… what a sweet boy he is! I really enjoyed this post, recapping the year’s events. Your courage and pluck in life is inspiring… 🙂

  2. I know you take pride in doing for yourself, but isn’t it great to have family and friends around to help sometimes? What an awesome outhouse! And I’m sure the little ladies are really enjoying that chicken house this time of year!

    It is a bit worrisome to hear about your wolf and lion visits though – do you own and know how to use a gun?

    P.S. It’s so GREAT to see you back at telling your story and that, using your laptop and phone, you are now able to truly publish posts from your Cabin Up North! 🙂

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