Sunday, January 26, 2014

The Daily Grind

I'm often asked to tell about my day. What are my day's like? What do I do? Honestly I'm never sure how to answer, without feeling the person or person's will be disappointed. The vast majority of my day is so routine that I wonder how anyone could really be interested!
Sure, there is the occassional adventure, or rather, misadventure. But for the most part my life is as regular and routine as anyone elses. In fact, it may be even a bit limited in diversity, compared to someone living a more conventional lifestyle.
Once the newness wears off you will find yourself in the same grind (but hopefully with a nice view!).
My day's do vary a bit, deoending on whether it is summer or winter. However they do follow a theme of sorts. Gathering fire wood and hauling water are my two primary activities. Everything else revolves around those two primary chores.
A typical fall/winter day, may go like this.
I wake up either when I feel like it, or the temperature of the cabin dictates. At this time I start the morning coffee. In late fall and winter this always happens before daylight, which in it's worst, can be about 10am before one can see in the cabin without some sort of assistance from an oil lamp, headlamp, or candles.
I set the coffee pot on the back of the wood stove resting against the stove pipe. this heats the water enough to make coffee in a relatively short time. Note, that the water does not need to boil, unless you use the percolator basket. An item I have long since discarded!
At this point I either go back to bed a enjoy the warmth, emenating from the stove, or turn the radio on and wait for both daylight and coffee. I usually enjoy that first cup, more likely two, before I get breakfast started. It is tradition, that my female dogs snoozes on my lap for a bit. A bad habit that  have no intention of breaking her from!
Eventually, I will get the morning meal under way. It usually consists of oatmeal, pancakes, biscuits, or in the case of an extravegant weekend, bacon, hashbrowns and eggs. Breakfast is enjoyed with more coffee and talk radio.
At this point I decide what my day will consist of. I haul my firewood in, and leave it in lengths until time to buck it up and split it. I do it this way simply because it gives me something to do.
While the days are short, it is best to keep busy, and stay outside, as the nights are long and become quite tedious! the cutting and splitting can take an hour or more depending on my mood and ambition. If the weather looks to turn cold, I always split up extra, just in case!
The rest of the day will be filled with minor repairs. Much breaks out here! And there is always something that needs fixing! Whether it be snowshoes, or the leg of a chair, there is no shortage of little tasks.
On the days that require a water run, I strap my reliance water jug to the back of my pack frame and head to the creek. The round trip takes less than a half hour and I usually make two. Unless there is the dreaded "laundry", to do, in which case I make three runs! Baths are at least once a week, depending on the weather. I don't care how warm the cabin is, it doesn't feel warm when you are dripping wet and it is -20 outside!
Cooking food takes a few minutes at a time, throughout the day. Baking and cooking inside the wood stove is a totally visual thing. Biscuits normally take about 15 minutes or so, not including the mixing of the flour. However you don't go to far as it is quite easy to turn them into cinders! I usually bake the biscuits after breakfast and before I head out for the creek or wood pile. Cooking dinner is another thing however. Beans figure prominently in my life, and always seem to be in the dutch oven. I cook the beans first, by themselves, adding water throughout the morning as needed. I will then add the stock, and either rice, or potato's, along with peppers, onions, etc, and cook the rest of the afternoon.
During the height of winter this will be done by about 4pm, as light is quickly fading by then. As the day's grow longer, your chores are done either at a more leisurely pace or you just get more done. If there is nothing to fix, you fire up the snowmobile and drag logs, find poles for fence material, etc. Weather permitting you peel some of the logs..
On day's off, I go snowshoeing with the dogs. 
After things start to get dark, I'll fire up the oil lamps and finish whatever dinner prep is needed. Depending on the hour, we will either listen to the radio while we eat, or plug in the DVD player and watch a movie. If I can stay awake, I'll pop some corn and make it a double feature!
After that it is lights out and plan for all the things that winter won't let you do, like garden, dig fence posts and pier holes for the cabin. Then fall sleep until tomorrow, so I can do it all over again.
the main idea for coming out here and living this way, is simply to do what I want, at my own pace and on my own schedule. As long as the work gets done!

Please be aware that this does not include the "special", times of year when it is either canning, or hunting, or fishing season. the spring/summer months are totally different. Likewise in winter, when there is a freight run to do, these things are events, and totally scrap my normal routine. This is just a glimpse of my little life.....