27 January 2008

We're cooking with wood now!

This is the first fire in the completely rebuilt, almost exactly like the old one, new stove. It's a Findlay Meteor, which I believe is the 1940's version of the Findlay Condor which came with the house. We traded the old Condor in. It will be refurbished over the winter and available for sale, good as new, at The Bay Barn in Seeley's Bay come spring.

As usual with bulky, heavy items that need to be loaded or unloaded off the backs of trucks, there was a lot of head scratching, opinion giving, and plain brute force to get the new stove in the house, and the old stove out. After that, the usual fiddling to get it hooked up, but it works like a charm.

This is the first real action the new chimney has seen.

It's getting pretty darned civilized at the Shack.

20 January 2008

Getting our sh*t together

This picture is of M, poor child, making her way to the dreaded outhouse in a snowstorm, first thing in the morning. This will be the last winter that this long trip will have to be made to such a dreary (if well ventilated) destination. We've been concocting plans for a closer, cleaner, warmer facility using the sawdust composting arrangement described in The Humanure Handbook. We intend to build first thing in the spring and be open for business as soon as possible. Stay tuned for progress reports.

17 January 2008

Shack Doctrine

The world seems quite a bit more sinister since reading The Shock Doctrine by Naomi Klein. The film is basically a trailer for the book, but in an instant gratification world, it'll do. I found myself thinking back on news coverage of various world events and wondering how they picked the good guys. The mainstream media has really acted as cheerleader for anything that allows the rich to become richer. I'll be listening to the news with a more critical ear from now on.

13 January 2008

Why is there a rat in the Christmas tree?

Since the now infamous "Christmas is Cancelled" post, I've been getting a lot of questions about how it went. As widely predicted, I was unable to simply ignore Christmas this year. I was cajoled, lectured and basically disregarded by various family members and made to feel quite the grinch. No adult received a gift from me this year, except in the form of food or wine, or a donation to World Vision. I attended one Christmas concert, one Christmas dinner, and spent about a half day at the mall. A tree did appear in the living room, and the family members who cared about it also decorated it. I gritted my teeth through most of December and promised to do things differently next year.

So I guess if guilt is the motivation for action, short term family guilt trumps vague global justice guilt every time. Oh, and the reason there's a rat in the Christmas tree is that M was taking pictures to make a Christmas card, of course.

01 January 2008

Bleak beauty

View from the beaver lodge

I spent lots of time hanging out by the beaver lodge, trying to blend in. I didn't see any of the creatures that are leaving tracks all over the place, but I enjoyed the quiet.


I was alone at the Shack the other night. I had just settled into bed when I heard what sounded like a lot of coyotes just outside the window singing me a lullaby. I have to say that I didn't find their song all that soothing. Quite exciting, actually. I was grateful that I had made the last trip to the outhouse for the evening. I didn't find any fresh tracks the next day, so they were obviously farther away than they sounded. There is a slightly older coyote track that runs right across the path to the outhouse but we haven't heard them close by before.


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