One Year at Walden Puddle

We have now lived on the land at Walden Puddle for one full year. It is by contemporary North American, post industrial standards an insane undertaking. And yet, for us it compares favourably with the other forms of insanity that enjoy greater popularity at this time. Thinking about it now, I can think of no better terms than the three I put on the tag line of this blog at the beginning, but after my first winter here, I might add heated bathroom to that list.002 (3)
Thankfully the winter was mild by local standards. After an awkward last minute rush to insulate the two thirds of the tiny house that was standing last fall, we stayed cozy and warm in the 192 sq. ft. of living space. Firewood for the two hungry woodstoves ran short at times, but never critically. The most novel difference was the need to live in four hour intervals during the few periods of extreme cold. When the timer sounded, I would bundle up and run out to start the SUV and main generator. After 15 minutes I would run back out and shut them down and reset the timer. Eliminating that routine by next winter is high on my list of priorities.
With the coming of spring, new activities became possible. With more discussion about selling off the east homestead, I was becoming more dissatisfied with the choice of the site for the permanent house. The problem was that E was only willing to consider a site that she could walk to, and with the vast majority of the property covered by dense bush, a lot of good potential sites had not been examined. With growing pressure to finalize our plans, I had to set aside a couple of weeks to cut trails from one end of the property to the other. When that was done, we went for a walk on a Saturday morning and within 2 hours, had settled on a new site for the house and workshop that we are both exited about.
With the heavy work of selecting the perfect site behind us, all that is left is the small matter of building the perfect homestead. Even before that can be started in earnest, there is a lot of work to do improving the east homestead. The living conditions have improved greatly in the last year, but much more needs to be done to allow us to pass the two remaining winters we expect to stay here in a reasonable amount of comfort. We hope to then sub-divide one or two small parcels and make these available to new homesteaders. As the plan currently stands, the north parcel of approximately 6.3 acres has good road access, good drainage and an established vegetable plot garden. It was the site of a previous homestead that was occupied between the 1920s and 1960s. The south parcel where we currently live is approximately 6.4 acres and has a 30 foot wide right of way extending to a well serviced road to the east. It will be made available as a kind of “homesteaders starter kit” But more about that later.
One of the biggest jobs here in the early going has been the cleanup of the mess left behind by the previous owner. They seem to have been running some kind of auto salvage business, so the site was strewn with partially stripped vehicles, piles of junk and garbage of every description. Starting with my moving trips in 2013, I have been hauling the refuse out of here as fast as I can manage. Now in the spring of 2015, the end is in sight. The last remaining vehicles were buried deep in the bush, but a bit more cutting should make them accessible. Removing the last of the mess, will give us more elbow room and a boost to morale. Even though our permanent homestead will not be on this spot, It did not feel right to avoid cleaning up. The work we do now will ease the task for the new homesteader who takes over here in a few years.
To sum up, 2015 will be a year of bringing the east homestead up to a decent level of comfort and function. Only then, will we be able to move ahead with work on the permanent homestead. Our goals for progress over there are fairly modest for this year. The current footpath improved to a cart path, an improved understanding of the location of all property lines, the building site cleared and foundation work started. A bonus project would be the construction of an additional 8’ x 12’ skidshack on the west site, that could serve as a tool shed during construction and ultimately become the electric shack. It seems like boredom will not be a problem in 2015.

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