Journal: November 20th, 2010

Work slowed down a bit this week, but we still made solid progress on Hut 2.1. That’s right, we went straight to 2.1 and framed up the extension. The original plan had been to finish 2.0 first so that we could start living in it, but the plan suffered the inevitable fate that most plans face: obsolescence due to fluid circumstances. Specifically, Kelly decided to go home for Thanksgiving, so I decided to prioritize work that required her help, and in that light, it seemed to make sense to get the extension framed while she was around. The extension really only took us a couple of days, including the roof, though I just have the OSB roof sheathing covered in Tyvek and will be putting up proper roofing later. I was also hoping to get the chimney up too, but the chimney mounting kit I bought was missing pieces, so I had to hold off on that until I get a re placement. However, I did manage to get the door up, since that was something I thought I would need help with.

On Thursday, we left the property ahead of a snow storm that was supposed to last several days. Kelly had a train to catch, and we didn’t want to get snowed in, not to mention, predicted lows were in the teens, and Hut 1.0 is woefully under-equipped for that kind of cold.

Before heading out, we went into the nearby town, where I bought an antique cast iron stove. It’s pretty tiny, about 2ft tall, with a combustion chamber measuring maybe 8 inches in diameter and about a foot high. There are two removable burner plates, which I can hopefully use to cook and boil water. Actually, I’m not even entirely sure it’s a “wood” stove, since it’s clearly too small to burn logs, but it doesn’t look like a coal stove either (the store had one of those too). In any case, my plan is to just burn small pieces of wood, and maybe charcoal briquets if I need the extra BTUs. A larger stove would probably get too hot anyway, so we’ll see how things go. It was only $120, so even if it doesn’t work out, I haven’t wasted too much money…

On the way back from town, I met another self-claimed “neighbor.” We’d noticed my adjacent neighbor’s chain was down on our way out to town, but since I didn’t think they were around, I was slightly concerned. Then on the way back from town, we were driving up the dirt road that leads to our properties, when I noticed a dude walking down the road towards us. He was an older guy, with long grayish hair and a similarly colored beard, wrapped in tattered olive drab Vietnam-era field uniforms, with a foot-long hunting knife dangling off his belt. A chocolate colored puppy bounced besides him, as he approached us. I quickly scanned him for weapons, and noticed none other than the knife. I also tried to see if he might be carrying anything he might’ve stolen off my property, but again, he didn’t seem to be carrying anything, other than what I assumed was a can of beer (it was actually Mountain Dew). Seeing no immediate danger, I stopped and lowered my window. He continued to walk until he was next to my car, and we proceeded to chat for a while. He said he recently moved in to property nearby and was out taking a walk. His trespassing irked me, but in his defense, both chains between the road and my property were down, so I decided to let it slide. He complemented me on my cabin, and asked if he could have the designs. We made small talk for a while, and went our separate ways. Other than the fact that he doesn’t look like he’s changed clothes since his second tour of duty in ‘Nam with the USMC in 1968, he seemed like an ok dude, but then, I’m a poor judge of character so who knows. Standards are a little different out in the backwoods, and as far as I’m concerned, anyone who doesn’t mean me or my property any harm is “ok” by my book.

In general, I was somewhat startled to meet a stranger near my property, because Solar Burrito’s recent burglary was still fresh on my mind. When I got property, everybody with any experience with rural land ownership warned me of all the hazards. If all they said were to be believed, my cabin would be broken into, all my possessions stolen, anything that can be destroyed will be destroyed, illegal hunters would crisscross my property shooting at everything in sight, while timber thieves cut down all my trees. Fortunately, none of those things have happened. While neighboring parcels have trash, my property hardly has any, probably thanks to its relative inaccessibility and remoteness. But that doesn’t mean it won’t happen. Since Hut 2.1 has glass windows, as opposed to the stronger plexiglas in Hut 1.0, I’m somewhat concerned of vandals breaking windows for the hell of it, even if there’s nothing to steal. I could board up the windows if I leave for prolong periods, but there’s not much you can’t tear down with a sledge hammer. In any case, I could worry almost infinitely, and if I wanted to do everything I can, I’d have to build a fortress (or a robot army (or a fortress defended by a robot army (mmm… robot armies…))). Maybe I’ll look into getting insurance, but beyond that, I’ll probably have to just accept the risks. After all, living in the city isn’t all that safe either.

6 thoughts on “Journal: November 20th, 2010

  1. The cabin is looking great! Looks like you’ll have it closed in soon but I’m sure the cold wet weather is slowing you down. Nothing for it.

    Little spooky to see some new ‘neighbor’ out there. It doesn’t seem like the type of area to get a lot of new ‘neighbor’ traffic – or squatters. But like you said probably nothing to worry about as long as he means no ill will.

  2. I’ve had the same concerns about my country cabin. But three years latter no problems and the only allies I have out there are my neighbors. You are so right about the city. In fact just considering the population difference probability will always make a remote property much safer than any city address which is absolutely vulnerable to any one walking by. Where as a cabin in the middle of no where has little actual chance of break in, especially when you keep low key and unopulent.

  3. Lookin’ good Ryo – remember that Tyvek is a great weatherizer, however it is not waterproof, plus, it is also highly flammable (it’s a petroleum based product, after all).

    That $120 you spent on the stove might have been spend on a “digital wildlife camera” so that it would keep watch on your place while you are away. (here’s one:

  4. Looks like a fair amount of the work necessary on your place is going to be done with warm gloves on 😉
    (As someone with a fascination for all things fire and heat would love to see a pic of your new stove)

  5. Security issues were probably a major factor in my decision never to go too far out to have good neighbours and emergency services. City or country, I tend to fortify my place as much as I can. People are people in either place and being female, I tend to measure risk in my own flesh. If you do ever get around to building a robot army, please blog the process.

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