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September 2013

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Nesting, again...

...I seem to get this bug.  20 years ago, I finally built my cabin in the woods, a lifelong dream--and wrote a book about the process,  A Naturalist's Cabin , which came out in 1991... (yes, of course, it's out of print too, but you can still find it.  Some mad optimist has one listed for $270+ on Amazon, but there are also quite a few affordable used copies out there--I even have some myself!)





I'm 20 years older now, and a LOT more arthritic--can't imagine lifting that south wall with the help of only one young carpenter and NO wall jack, or driving those thousands of nails with my Rocket hammer.  (At the end of the day, I could barely move, THEN!)

We still go out there frequently, when the weather even comes close to cooperating, but even with 4WD, you're not getting out again when it's icy or snowy.  20 years ago, that wasn't a problem.  I'd park at the top and walk in, occasionally falling flat but getting there and back.  If it was TOO slick, I'd bushwhack through the woods and climb down the banks of the creek to get to it.  

But--can't now, not since '99 when I messed up my knee.  I spent a few years being really ticked about it, but eventually even a cranky old chick accepts the way things are.  Some things I just can't do any more, so deal with it. 

So we get there when we can drive in and out again...

This past few years have not been smooth ones for us.  Oh, WE'RE all right, we're lovely--kateslover is all I could ever wish for in a husband, best friend, and mate--but family issues with his elderly parents and a hostile takeover attempt at his Dad's business resulted in half a dozen long, tense phone calls a day.  Sometimes more.  Sometimes more than tense.  Always LONG. 

Try writing a book with all that going on.  Try maintaining your SANITY.  J's mom had dementia the last two years before she died, as we've mentioned--she was angry, paranoid, demanding, and made his life and his adopted sister's incredibly difficult.  They were both made trustees of the family estate and given powers of attorney; so after her last heart attack in 2008 they needed to deal with the practicalities of life to make sure she and Dad were well taken care of. 

She undid almost everything they did, throwing monkey wrenches into anything she was able to, and trusting people she shouldn't (strangers.  People involved with the business.), while not  trusting them to do exactly what she and Dad had asked them too.  We wonder if the break-in and burglary at their house might not have been a direct result of her telling the wrong people where their valuables were.

Needless to say the ringing of the phone became a nightmare for both of us.  Seeing my poor sweetie that upset that often was not good for EITHER of us.

Soooo...I began to dream of a little getaway shed, right next door in the vacant lot I bought 25 years ago, after my neighbor's house burned to the ground.  Something I could get to, winter and summer, with NO phone.  I could just lug the laptop over, no problem.  There would be a table to work at, and I could have a few art supplies there or take them in my backpack. 

There was certainly no place in the house to escape the endless, constant stress; my poor husband couldn't get away.  Even when we went out of town the cell phone followed us with the crisis-du-jour, many times a day.

I don't need this kind of getaway quite as much now...things are much calmer in that part of the world, and so here as well.  Getting the caregiver situation squared away for his dad is still a problem, but life is much, much more peaceful here as well.  We count calls per week now, not per day--or hour.

However.  I am still 20 years older, still arthritic, and still not able to get in and out of the cabin in bad weather (or at the drop of a hat!).  I still need quiet to work. 

And I'm still nesty.  I love tiny sheds, cabins, cottages...you can see my Flickr set of images here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/cathy-johnson/sets/72157614254725880/

This morning J. checked the local zoning ordinances--we're fine.  A shed, playhouse, workshop, etc., under a certain size doesn't even need a building permit!  Our buddy Mark is willing to do the lion's share for an affordable amount, and we'll do what we can. 

So tune in for the blow by blow...imagine, I may finally have an actual studio, after a lifetime of working wherever I am.

Comments

(Anonymous)

I envy you so much your independence. :) I would so love to have a cabin like yours, but I lack the funds and the skills. I work where I am and that's the way it's always been. I almost had a studio, but then the price of wood went thru the roof and that shot down that idea. Will be looking forward to your newest adventure. Be well.
Thank you. This is going to be really tiny, as in REALLY tiny, and we can do part of the work ourselves. Joseph is very handy. We'll recycle what we can, too. It's cheaper and has more character, anyway!

I may have to make a building blog.*G* We went next door and scoped out the location this morning; years ago when I bought this house I chose it because it faces a steep hill no one would build on, so it looks as if it's in the woods. (As long as you don't look next door or out the front.*G*) Very peaceful...

(Anonymous)

Oh Kate! That sounds like a grand plan, even if it is for a small space. Definitely take pictures AND a journal of the process -- who knows, it may lead to another book.
Brenda Yarborough
I really REALLY needed it last fall and winter, Miss Bren, but as you know things are calmer now. Still I'm not getting any younger and I'm finding walking over uneven ground increasingly difficult. Plan ahead, I say!

I just went out and shot photos of the location, it really rocks for right in town and a half block from a little state highway. SO glad I bought that lot when the house next door burned down...
Oh, I do too, thank you Annie! I love the cabin, but it is SO frustrating on those days I can't get there...and sometimes you just don't have time.

And you know what? Having a real flush toilet, running water, and a refrigerator 15 feet away sounds really nice sometimes!

Edited at 2010-06-06 12:35 am (UTC)

(Anonymous)

cabin

Yay, Kate! I'm so glad for you on many levels- first that things have calmed down somewhat for you both, and second that you'll be getting you a nice hidaway/studio nearby!

Re: cabin

Thank you! It's going to be tiny, probably 8' x 10', but that's room for a desk, a couple of comfy chairs, and some shelves.
A studio! Yay. How nice for you. I converted my sun room into one. Its really nice to have a place of your own.
I think it will be, yes, thank you! And a place apart is good, even it if isn't very far.

Cabin

You constantly amaze me! I've read and re-read A Naturalist's Cabin many times. Now you want to build a getaway shed. I envy you.

Have you read Michael Pollan's A Place of My Own? He built a small writing cabin in his back yard. Some of his prose in that book seems intended to show how well-educated he is, but overall, it's a good book.

Paul

Re: Cabin

I'm delighted you like the book, Paul!

Yes, I have read the Pollan book! It was interesting, and for the most part, I like Pollan when he doesn't get bogged down in politics...I didn't keep this one, though, because it wasn't nuts-and-bolts enough. And not enough pictures! I'm such a visual sort...

I amaze me sometimes, too. Must be nuts! But we really REALLY needed something like the new shed last year, and though I hope life never gets that insane again, seems like a good idea...