When we bought this place in 2007 we escaped here on the weekends, but could never have imagined it becoming a literal refuge. It was great to be remote, but the idea of "surviving off the grid" was a laughing matter.
We're not off the grid, and don't expect to be. But we could be. We've got independent water, power, and septic. Our heat water with solar and our home with wood. We have lots of flour, yeast, rice, and beans. And a few vegetables. And friendly neighbors with more vegetables.
We're on five acres at the end of a dirt road. We have lots of things to do here, and suddenly, lots of time to do them. So yes, while this is a horrible year we count ourselves as both lucky and blessed.
Here's what we've been up to in 2020:
Enjoying simple living
Watching the (not terribly wild) wildlife
Fighting off tree attacks
While we were in Arizona last winter, a storm blew a tree down onto the side of our shop. We'd already taken down a lot of trees that threatened the house and shop, and really hated to take out more. But safety won over privacy, so we took out another couple dozen.
The gardening begins
2020 is the year of the garden for many people. Fred’s wanted to create a garden for years. For once, we're home long enough this summer to tackle the job. We've started small with a few plants here and there, which is about as much as I want to take care of. It's spread around in a couple raised beds and some pots. The beds have provided rhubarb and strawberries for years, and this year we added squash.
We started building a real garden. But first we had to get rid of a huge log and its stump. It was such an overwhelming job, we'd just left the whole mess alone for years. But it blocked our best garden spot, so I reluctantly agreed to dig it out.
People who know me know that I’m pretty proud of my ability to dig up stumps. I've done dozens in the past 13 years and generally enjoy it. Nothing's more satisfying than ripping out the last root and seeing the huge hunk of wood move. Usually it takes from a couple hours to a couple of days. But the tractor can only do so much, and this was a very, very big stump.
This took a couple weeks, and even then, part of the stump is down in the pile waiting for the next time we can burn. (See hot parties.)
Battling Moby Stump
But a Fred-size garden is 36x40. It requires a tractor, not a shovel. It uses 6X6 posts for fence corners, not sticks stuck in coffee cans. So. Here. We. Go.
After the stump: smoothing and fencing