Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Pioneer-style

I fondly recall the days I would visit museums and how that glimpse into the past of the hardy people living in shacks or tents would absolutely fascinate me. I would imagine myself back in time and always had a desire to live like that - a simpler, less complicated life. I could picture the people so vividly in their tiny homes, surviving on what little they had, but doing so much with it.

Well! After a mere four days in the wall tent, I can say those people are my heroes. I've had some great moments, and also some very frustratingly difficult moments! Oh yeah, I've asked myself countless times (as the rain POURED DOWN so much I now call myself "Soggy Stacie"), "what the HELL am I doing?!?! I had a nice cozy (albeit, mouse-infested) cabin I could have stayed in till my new place is built. But nooooo.... Stacie has to do things the difficult way. Sometimes I amaze, yet frustrate myself. It's like the rational side of my brain just decides to take a holiday once in a while. Or maybe it's just the "adventurous" side that wants to take over?

At any rate...

Home Sweet Home! It has been pretty cozy actually. Well, except for the rain, hence the gigantic tarp covering EVERYTHING!!!


The dogs in their new digs! The first night - they were wired and excited at their new surroundings.


Mmmm... coffee tastes SO much better outside! Oh, and I've found the cure for sleeping in - apparently, living in a tent will do that to you.


I am too lazy (and have no time) to put this photo the right way, so just tilt your head to the right a bit and there you go! My new gate! Well, old gate, but at the new place as of last night. It's amazing the amount of work you get done when you have nothing to distract you (tv, internet, etc...)


The meadow in the evening. Clouds. Freakin' shocking.


Me, Stephanie, beer and Kuna pose the first night - she helped take a load of dogs out there.

So there it is. I still have to wrap up a few things at the old place (fencing and freezer), but that's about it. I have SO much to do at the new place: more dog gates, organize my crap, cut wood, extend fencing into the meadow(half done! woohoo!), make floor for tent, frame the inside, outhouse (have a temporary tarp-thing now), cut brush for powerline(will have power some day!), etc, etc.

Whew! I'm tired just thinking about it.

Home is now the meadow. 'Cause that's where the dogs are.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

OMG! Almost there!!!

It feels like I've been moving for about 3 years. I'll be REALLY happy to get out there and STAY out there for once. I can get a whole lot more done that way.


I'm taking this pic from the wall tent - you can see the ROAD wayyy over there. After checking our spedometers, Ray and I both clocked it. He got .5 of a km and I got .4. So one of our spedometers is off. Or perhaps both. But it's looking like the driveway isn't one km like some people were thinking. Oddly enough, everyone who said it was that long were the people stuck working on it for days! Perhaps it just seemed longer than it really is.

Look who's stuck INSIDE the pen today!! Operation: Keep the monsters in is SUCCESSFUL!

George pleads with me to let her out. Since she CAN'T on her own. Yet. Give it another half-day.

Here's the gate (future gate that is) of Pen #1. It's off to the right of the tent. Both dog pens kind of wrap around either side of the tent, so the dogs and I will literally be a few feet away from each other when they're in there. They will be SO happy. (me too)


The tent, with bed in it now. Now all it needs is the couch and tv.

This stuff is from Pen #2 and you can see it needs a wee bit of work on the bottom. The escapees would be out of that before I could blink!


Camouflaged Lucy - can you spot her?

She's a stealthy pooch! Perhaps she was channeling her inner mountain lion.


The building site! All flagged off for the gravel to be dumped. Gracie checks it out, and tells me she approves. *whew!* I might have had to move it just for her!


The exciting job of outhouse hole digging commenced today. This digging was EASY! I was so excited, since I took ten times as long digging the hole for the cooler, which was wayyyy smaller. What I figure is that the cooler hole was still frozen! Or part of that permafrost in this area. That would explain why the beer was always so cold and ice lasted for 3 days (unlike the beer). I am really lucking out on some things here.


Here is one of those big cracks that are indicators of the permafrost. This is in behind the property.


The hot dogs seek out the COLD dirt. Jack laid out in behind Gracie, who is ON TOP of my outhouse hole! I had barely started, but the fresh cool dirt attracted them like flies to a pile of... well, speaking of outhouses...

Another gem on the property:

Our very own SCUNGY POND!!! Wooohoo! Ah, nothing says "mosquito breeding grounds" like a scungy pond!


And the cabin. The old homestead is starting to look pretty empty. No more Christmas lights in July, no more fish smells, no more barking, hyper fetch-addicted dogs, oh the neighbourhood will never be the same... *sniff, sniff*

Friday, July 20, 2007

Still moving...

I still haven't found my camera, but that's probably a good thing. There are rubbermaid containers and fencing and stuff all over at the new place as I'm frantically trying to get everything in order for the big move with the dogs - to take place anyday now...

I now have TWO dog pens up, one needs a bit of clearing, since the dogs will get lost in all the willows and brush back there. But then again, it's a great place for them to chase and hide on each other. I'm sure they'll flatten it out pretty quick anyways. Or dig it up.

I had the girls and Kuna out there yesterday and the three little monkeys were doing a GREAT job of being fantastic, efficient mini-escape artists. I was able to see all the places the pens needed fixing, because their main mission when I locked them in the pen was to GET OUT AS FAST AS FREAKIN' POSSIBLE! And get out they did. Again and again. And again. Every time I turned around they were zipping around the pen, running up to me totally pleased with themselves as if to taunt me by thinking "you still have more work to do!" It's actually a great way to see when the pen is finally monster-proof! When these three can't escape, it's a good indicator that no other dog will.

This weekend has me finishing up the dog pens, getting the remaining houses out there, getting my remaining crap out there, oh, and building an outhouse! Oh, and digging an outhouse hole.

A spot was cleared for the building spot - the driveway guy showed up late Thursday night (he never stops working in the summer!) and cleared a few trees, gave his ideas on a good spot so he knocked a few poplars over with the Bobcat while Ray, Isaac and I drank beer and watched. It's fascinating watching this whole thing unfold. I also took pictures with Isaac's fancy camera so I hope to get them from him soon. Isaac is my Ttips buddy and has been driving from Virginia, heading up to Kodiak Island to work in the Coast Guard. He tented in the meadow for the night before moving on to Alaska.

And as I was driving back to the cabin, I came across a grizzly bear galloping across the highway about 12km from the new place. It was a pretty funny sight as he hit the highway on the other side of the road, he came to a dead stop while I simultaneously hit the brakes. He looked at me as if he was making sure I was slowing down and the road was safe. Then he sped across the highway with a burst of energy and it was quite the sight as his big furry butt jiggled as he ran into the bushes.

Now, off I go to dis-assemble my dog box (good thing I've spent the last 2 years working on that thing!) - I need the trailer to move stuff. The tires also need changing and then it should be good to go. Have a great weekend everyone! :)

Sunday, July 15, 2007

The Return of the Porcupine

Just when I thought the dogs were all nice and safe with all this fencing, a porcupine has the NERVE to come withint 50 feet of the yard. What is it thinking?!?! That those fuzzy little black monkeys might just want to be it's friend? No way. They wanted some porcupine for dinner. Funny how this exact group (Gracie, George, Lucy, Kuna, Harris and Jack) were the willfull participants in the "Porcupine Fiasco of 2003" - when FOUR of them attacked a porcupine and got the worst case of quill-face I've ever seen. Gracie, Kuna and Lucy all had to go into the vets to be put under the next day.

But does that stop them from continuing to attack the prickly creatures?! Nooooo...

Earlier tonight as I was inside, I heard a horrible SCREECHING outside. That's never a good sign with my pack, and this time I thought a dog was getting attacked. I looked out the front door (ok, the only door) and saw 5 little monkeys (Kuna was left behind, probably because he couldn't fit under the fence, or he was simply too lazy) on the OUTSIDE of the fence bouncing and boinging around at the bottom of a tree. I figured it was a porcupine, since they seem to be around here more and more lately.

I had to run over to them to break the "must-kill-porcupine" spell and get them to follow me back through the gate. As Lucy came towards me, I knew immediately what was up that tree! Her nose had about 30 quills in it. Thank goodness no one else got a taste of it, as much as they wanted it.

I threw everyone in the cabin but Lucy and went to work on her poor little bleeding nose. I couldn't find pliers (I blame the move on my lack of organization) so I had to use tweezers, which actually worked ok. After the first 5-6 pulls, Lucy was not willing to work with me, so I had to sit on her wrestler style and pin her down (as my brother used to do to me when we were young, except he would then threaten to spit in my face...brothers!). I plucked quills till Lucy became a wriggly maniac and then we'd have to take a break. Then we'd do it all over again. I later found that covering up her eyes really helped. It was when she saw the tweezers come close when she went into a fit, so this was a surprise quill plucking! The quill removal was successful and now the dogs are only allowed out one at a time!

On another note - I'm crazy-busy with the move. I'll update with property news and NEW dog pen pictures tomorrow. These are going to be the best dog pens we've EVER had!

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Official Driveway work commences!

To say I'm sick of cutting trees would be a vast understatment these days. It was at the end of my last day on the driveway this weekend that I realized that fact. I finished up after *only* about 5 hours straight of moving trees like this:


to create this:


At the beginning, I was very carefully tying down those logs on the 4-wheeler. Note that in the photo, there is no strapping. I realized it was MUCH quicker to pile the heavy ones on top and hope they all stay put. They did for the most part, and at only one time did I take a tree to my back and then briefly wonder if the dogs would be able to rescue me Lassie-style when I got pinned underneath trees and quads.

I guess my limit was reached at the end of the +20-something day (ugh!), as I was totally sweating, exhausted and sore, my chainsaw quit working then the pull cord broke. I was covered in twigs (one of which I pulled out of my pants a few hours later), spruce needles, bug spray, dirt was up my nose and my face looked like I'd eaten a shovelful of dirt (hey, this is bringing me back to my archaeology fieldwork days!). I had finally had enough! But I'm done, and it's now time for the driveway guys to finish it up. It feels SO great to know the next time I go out there, the driveway will miraculously be done!

Here's what they did the first day:

Oooh, the highway access!!!

My exciting culvert!!!

I was flippin' excited to actually drive out of here on the weekend, instead of up the ditch.

I have a newfound love for dump trucks. They had THREE going that day, until one broke down...


Dirrrrrrt! And gravel.


The bobcat does it's job.

I could really use a bobcat now that I think about it.

I would have been REALLY hesitant taking this project on knowing what was ahead of me. Oh, to be blissfully ignorant! It's glorious. Thankfully I'll stay that way until I have a house! (so be prepared for lots of "crap, this is a lot of work!" posts).


The dogs help pack down the road (actually, they were exhausted and hot by this point and merely just followed me back and forth, as I lay down logs).


The driveway and a hot Harris


Flowers in the meadow! It is littered with these blue little beauties. And note the two anthills - a common occurrence in the meadowy grassland I like to call my future home. :)

Monday, July 02, 2007

Sounds just like cabin living to me...

Living in a wall tent is very different from living in a house. In some ways it is wonderful. You hear everything that is going on outside . . . dogs, birds, the sound of rain, the river or ocean, and more. There is a tremendous sense of freedom. As there is so little room inside, you want to go outside and be busy. It is hard to be lazy in a tent. On the other hand, in bear country, sleep in a tent is much lighter than in a cabin. Alert dogs are essential for safety and a good night’s sleep. In rainy weather, tents get damp.

I found this little gem while searching info on wall tents. I already hear everything that is going on outside and there is very little room inside. Alert dogs? Yep, got a few of those. I feel pretty free, even though I feel a little claustrophobic here - and I'm talking about the neighbourhood, not the size of my cabin. There is people ALL around me which makes me even more anxious to escape to the meadow. I can't wait to explore the new "neighbourhood" with the dogs!!

An update on the land: I have gotten to the point where I do not want to cut ONE more tree on that driveway. I don't want to MOVE one more tree. I'm ready to release it to the capable hands (and heavy equipment) of The Driveway Guy. That is slated to happen THIS week! Yippee! He came out last week to take a look at it and, just like everybody else, was pretty surprised at the sheer LENGTH of the driveway-to-be. I think he sees it as a bit of a challenge!

I spent the glorious long weekend prepping the driveway by corduroy-ing(?) it. Why you ask? Good question! Apparently there is some kind of discontinuous permafrost below so this is the way to do it to keep the driveway from sloping or heaving up to TWO metres! It's a crapload of work let me tell you. Thank goodness it's not for the whole driveway, just for a few hundred feet. The length of the driveway is open for debate. I'm thinking about 1/2km, but others have thought it was up to a whole km... I don't really think so, but approximating distances has never been one of my strong suits - gimme a tape measure! I guess when the driveway is in, I'll just set the odometer and clock it that way.


Ivy's first visit to the property. No surprise, she loved it. It's a big hit. In fact, the day before Kuna refused to get in the truck to go home! He's never refused a truck ride. I guess he was having so much fun... that is, sleeping contentedly by the truck while I was working.


Jack was having a blast too.

The wall tent is not quite ready for me. It's currently storage for the 4-wheeler and plywood.

Soon, soon enough it will be allll mine! (ok, mine AND the ants...)

And here's what it looks like from the ditch - almost a road. Kinda.


So cool! Next up after the driveway is in - dog fencing!! Baby steps I tell ya, if I start to think of the grand scope of this project I just might lose all sanity (what's left of it, that is).