It rained for four days, which isn't fun in an unfinished cabin. I shouldn't complain. I had a friend visiting, who stayed in a tent.
Four days of rain and mud, holed up in an unfinished cabin or down at a bar. So I suppose it could have been worse. But then it quit, threatened again but never did, and the trees started to make their roar, the air dried out (no hope for the ground this week), and my neighbor came out to check on the far end of his farm.
Beautiful evening, and a good reminder of why I'm here.
The Water Problem (18)
For the last few weeks I've been using gallon jugs for my water, which has to be the least efficient method possible. Washing your hands means spilling a half gallon, so developing some kind of a sink was high on my list of wants.
This is a simple little project that would probably take a half hour if you had everything lined up – but can also take several hours because nothing fits and you make multiple trips to Home Depot. I'll let you guess which path I took. [continues] ...
Cabin Delivery (13)
The cabin arrived. Three little words, but a sea-shift in life.
It's hard to wrap my head around. Months of planning, months of thinking and making decisions and letting ideas evolve, and the final result has manifested as a little cabin in the woods. I'm 10 miles from town, without a single turn. [continues ...]
Pay no attention to the apparent printer I have hooked up to a vintage typewriter. Just a little side project of mine …
Instead, check out that awesome floor. Because you know what sucks? Walking around on rough, dirty underfloors. It took all day to do this because I looked at the most efficient methods and then just did something different.
Next up, insulation and walls.
Mapping The Land (15)
If you asked me two years ago if I was an “outdoorsy” kind of guy, I'd have said no. And honestly, if you asked today I'd give the same answer. But as I've learned to embrace being outdoors, I've also learned about an awesome side perk: Gear.
Using a little hand-held GPS and Google Maps, I've started to create an accurate map of the property. Because ... I get lost.
A quasi-gear review post. [continued] ...
This whole trek towards minimalism and tiny home living began two years ago when I left D.C. and traveled around the United States. I spent six months living out of a minivan, ultimately reconnecting with the outdoors and realizing I didn't need a whole lot of stuff to actually be happy.
These are some of the photos from that amazing 15,000-mile adventure.
'He pays his taxes and he does what he wants. That's freedom.' (#11)
When I pulled up to the land on Thursday, the Excavation Guy was just finishing it up. I had a road, a pad for the cabin, and a large mound of dirt. Seriously, if you need dirt, just give me a shout. What does one do with dirt? [continues] ...
I came back to D.C. for a week, while waiting on the cabin delivery. That cat and I drove through three hours of what I can only describe as monsoon-like rains, a well-timed departure from a storm I expect wiped out my camp and would have confined us to the van for days.
Timing is everything.
I sat on the back porch of a friend's apartment, working and drinking wine, and listened. People say sirens are the background noise in cities, but really it's more similar to the woods than that. It's air conditioners, at least in the summer. They hum, they never stop, like a mechanized version of the wind that roars through the all the birch trees.
Strange to be here. A Tuesday that feels like a Saturday. Cheap red wine and a wicked long chef's knife, lazily working on a story while reading postcards from the 1920s.
When out-of-work reporter Yuri Realman is approached by a government employee spouting conspiracy theories about a plot to control the world's resources, he reacts with the appropriate level of skepticism. But as evidence mounts, the two are plunged into a dangerous game of Washington intrigue and Realman is forced to admit that his mysterious new friend may really be onto something.
Published in serial format, the four episodes include the "Conspiratorial" newsletter and detailed photographs of all of the clues, inviting close inspection for the reader to follow along and decide for themselves whether the conspiracy is fantasy or fact.
Part examination of dreams, part exploration of home. Twelve Dreams is a small volume of fiction and poetry that contemplates how a sense of place is tied to our nocturnal musings.
The volume includes stories "Tawgate" and "Memories of the Dying," as well as 12 dreams which have been transcribed and distilled into a coherent moment.
Volume is 72 pages; 6 x 9 inches.
Replicated Detritus is a series of 10 postcards created from the fading papers of a more tactile world: encyclopedias, comic books, card catalogs, maps, newspapers, stamps.
Sure, the U.S. Postal Service may be on it's last legs, but there's still time for a shot of nostalgia. Who doesn't like opening the mailbox to find actual contact with a real human being?
Rain & Two Weeks (#10)
I came home the other night to find a bulldozer sitting on my front yard. Progress! Site work was slated to begin the next day.
But after perfect weather for a week -- 72 and sunny, breezy, perfect weather for either working outside or sitting at Two Goats drinking beers -- it started to rain. And of course, it started to rain on the day excavation work was supposed to begin. [continues] ...
Sunshine & The Campersand (#9)
Living in D.C., it was not uncommon to go a day without ever leaving the apartment. It didn't happen often, but once in a while I just ... didn't go out.
But for the last few weeks, I've been spending most of my time on the property. And because there is no cabin yet, most of that time is outside. Maybe 8-10 hours a day spent outside in the sun. I set up a small camp, with a tent and hammock and stove and fire pit, and have been clearing out brush and dead trees, preparing trails and getting the site ready. [continues] ...
An Impulse Buy? Flat & Affordable (#2)
By February I'd located five properties I wanted to look at, including one which included 13 acres for only $11,000. But all of these seemingly bargain-bin prices turned out to have very distinct reasons: chief among them, then land was often inaccessible.
The 13 acres was up a snowmobile trail, landlocked by farms on all sides. Another was off a seasonal road impassable to vehicles several months of the year (but not to the skiers who helped me find the property). And what could anyone do with four acres of land all on a six percent grade? In the end, one piece of land stood out. It was 5.55 acres in Hector, within a half hour of Ithaca and almost exactly 10 minutes from both Trumansburg (which has a few good bars, a coffee shop, organic grocery and an exceptional pizza place), and the wineries along Seneca lake. [continues] ...
A Driveway & An Address (#7)
Before I started this project, I'd never given a lot of thought to driveways. It turns out, they're pretty important.
Let's state the obvious: Rosy is a minivan, and has about six inches of clearance underneath. Which makes her a great vehicle for traveling and sleeping in, but no good at all for getting across an 18-inch culvert separating the land from the road. [continues] ...
How a City Boy Wound Up Living in the Woods: The Inevitable Exposition (#1)
In late April I bought five and a half acres in Hector, N.Y., and have been working to put a small cabin on the land. I've had to hire an excavation company, apply for building permits, and learn to use a chainsaw to clear land for a driveway. Pretty much the opposite of my D.C. life. It's awesome. [continues] ...
The Cabin Episode (#3)
It turns out, you can buy a home on a credit card. I went out and looked at the cabin: They come as unfinished structures that you insulate, wire for electric if you want to, and so on. It felt sturdy, was far larger than the camper options I'd considered, had an actual door and windows, insulated floor. [continues] ...
My First Chainsaw (#5)
I had no idea how to buy a chainsaw. Did one ask questions? Was some sort of license needed for this zombie-killing weapon? What supplies did I need? My brother had showed me how to use his, and I'd cut a couple of small trees, but standing there in the store all I could see was … SAW. [Continues]...