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September 2013



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Today didn't go as planned.

Well, OK, days often don't...

I haven't gotten to sketch or paint for a week tomorrow.  I  don't even feel like myself.  It's been busy, and of course I've done demos for the class and worked on the book, but I knew I was reaching critical mass.  I'd hoped to paint some yesterday and we were so tired when we got home from the movie we just curled up and read and napped.

I guess I needed that, too.

So.  Today was the DAY.  It was cool and lovely this morning, and I really wanted to go to the river or somewhere with a lovely sweeping vista...I needed to paint something big and simple.

Of course first we had to take care of the usual practical things...laundry, call to Joseph's mom, emails and phone calls from his sis--the complexities that make up much of our  lives these days.  Not exactly what we'd planned, either, when we imagined finally being able to be together after he retired.

Anyway.  Instead of the river, we decided to go to the cabin.  There were things we needed to do out there (oh, joy, more work), but I took my paints, watercolor pencils, journal...fresh water, some coffee...

And discovered when we arrived that we'd had a break-in.  Just kids having a party, it appears (usually I find evidence they've had a party on the deck that I was not invited to. This time, they broke in as well as partying on the deck), but really not much was disturbed, it could have been MUCH much worse.   They stole an antique quilt, probably not even knowing what it was. A few small things are missing. They broke the old wooden table on the deck.  They went through EVERYTHING, leaving drawers and cabinet doors open, going through the CDs...but they could have burned it, or thoroughly trashed it.  Could have been worse.
Still.  I was very angry, and felt very violated.  I don't understand how some people feel it's their right to go into private property and do whatever they like.

Mind you, I built this place with my own hands, with the help of a young carpenter.  I designed and planned it.  When my late husband retired, I NEEDED someplace to work away from the noise and the TV, and it was a lifesaver, an oasis of quiet and beauty.  I was there nearly every day, until I messed up my knee--now, it depends on when I can drive in.  Walking's not an option, usually.  But I guess I do have a bit more of a proprietary feeling about it, since I handled at least half the nails, boards, and screws in the place. the photo above is from last winter...but I wrote about the place, designing and building it, in A Naturalist's Cabin, now out of print.

A Naturalist's Cabin

So.  Interestingly enough, they stole the TELEPHONE, so we had to go back home to call the sheriff.; my cell was being charged, and even it if wasn't, you can't get a signal down there.  The neighbor across the road wasn't home, to borrow his phone.  So, back to town, then back to the cabin to meet the deputy. 

By the time we'd done all that, and began the job of straightening up the cabin, cleaning their mess and mine, and getting some of the things out of there we wanted to protect--or get rid of, take your pick--I was hot, tired, and hurt all over, in addition to being angry.

So much for feeling my soul.


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Now, that TOTALLY sucks. I hope somehow whoever did this gets caught.

Most of all, I hope you never have an experience like this again.

Any plans on how to better secure the place (other than spending your life on the porch with a shotgun)?
Thanks, sweet thing. This is probably the 4th or 5th time that there has been some sort of incursion, not counting the morons on the ATVs. I hate, hate, HATE ATVs.

Of course I wasn't wild about the murder attempt either, when the guy kicked his way out of the trunk of his car and attempted to escape with people shooting at him, down the creek towards the cabin. I hate druggies, too. (He lost an eye and the use of his arm, but at least he lived.)

And no, though we may put a padlock on it...not exactly aesthetic, but it might help. A security system would just be a pain in the tusche if it went off when we were unable to get out there. (The one we have on Joseph's house went off at 3am when we were in freaking CALIFORNIA. Y'know, what do you do, at that point??)
I'm so sorry you had this distressing experience.
Thanks, Miss Prune! It's trying to figure out how to prevent a recurrence that has me sort of tied up in knots, I think...
oh, crap. i hate when the stupidity and carelessness of people invades our lives. they probably only saw it as a lark--and never stopped to think about how personal it becomes to the owners.

i hope they never return. i hope that serenity can be restored i hope the authorities can be persuaded to keep a closer eye on things, there. and i hope that eventually the feeling of "other" will go away, and it will be "yours" again, wholly.

Thank you, sweet thing. I have to admit, the murder attempt up the creek was worse, as the would-be killers were shooting down the creek at the escaping victim. MEH. Having sheriffs and deputies and what all digging through the woods for the gun for days was unnerving...
I'm so sorry about this break-in and the things stolen. It's a lovely cabin.
Thank you, for both!


Oh Kate, you poor thing, I'm so sorry this happened to you :( But at least if you had to have a break-in, it happened when you weren't there and no one was hurt.

Thank you, Aveen, and yes, you're right, it is quite unnerving when you're there...


I'm so sorry, Kate. Having once been victim of a break-in, I share your sense of rage and violation. Of course, things could always be worse, but you're very justified in your anger about this.
Bon courage,
Thank you for your understanding, Casey. I just don't understand that sense of entitlement. It's here, so I should be able to break in...


Oh goodness...I'm so sorry! That completely stinks.

I lived in the family farm house by myself for two years after I graduated from collete - in an area known for break ins and other scary things. (River bottoms outside of Independence) It's so hard to love a place so much when bad things happen so often around it. And we're terrified of break ins now too...

Hi Kristin! Yes, I really hate things like that...I'm so sorry you still have to worry about it, where you are now...
I'm so sorry you have to put up with this cr@p, especially in a place meant to be your sanctuary. Sending thoughts of strength and calm your way.
Thank you...it really is appreciated! I know a place like that is a magnet...


How perfectly atrocious! I will never understand the mind-set of people who do these things. The invasion of your property is, in itself, devastating enough, but I'm so glad they didn't set out to destroy your cabin entirely. Darn kids!!!!!!!!!! (I'm assuming it was kids...)
Oh, I know, Mary, it could have been SO much worse. And yes, I'm sure it was kids. A frozen fruit stick--thawed, of course--was on the porch...

We were lucky...


Sorry to hear this... I's a painful and deeply personal experience and not a pleasant one - I hope that summer will bring some healing to you!

Re: :(

I know it will, Nina, and thank you. I just need to refocus on what's really important!


break in

I am so very sorry, Kate, yes it does feel as though one is violated. Our cabin was broken into years ago and they took our Native American baskets and rugs.. it was such a loss emotionally. I hope you can do something nurturing for yourself today.

Elizabeth M.

Re: break in

Elizabeth, thank you...I did indeed do something I needed--I went out to the lake in the evening and painted.
It looks like a nice cabin. Even if it didn't look like a nice cabin it shouldn't have been broken into. My husband worries about this all the time as we live in a very rural area but break-ins still happen. I say having live goats about makes people think we are around (they don't know goats can have food put in place for up to a couple of weeks). The locals know your routine enough evidently, that this trick probably wouldn't work for you. This really is a shame. We have a fence all round with a lock on the gate. Can you do something like that? I am so sorry it had to happen. It's not like you don't have enough going on at present.

We keep a chain across the driveway, but we're sure these were locals who walked in...there was no sign of a car or tracks of that sort. We can't afford to fence 18 acres of woods, and fences are easy to climb if you are determined.

I DID have a big dog dish and a beware of dog sign out there for a while. *G*
Thank you, Miss Vicky...and yep, that's WAY too long for me to go without sketching. I felt really strange. Hope you get some in--so sketch Jayna!


Cabin break in

Sorry to hear about the break in at your very special place. I am a disabled man in California and I love to read your posts. Your art and writings really lift my spirits on my bad days. Thank you for being on the internet.
Denver Bozzgozz
Fair Oaks, California

Re: Cabin break in

Denver, thank you so much for your kind words. That means a lot to me.


I see evidence of interlopers in my rural forest from time to time, but I've never had any vandalism. Of course I don't have a cabin there (though I'm talking to a man about getting one).

A Naturalist's Cabin is my all time favorite of your books, but I've said that before.

Thanks, Pablo, it was one of my favorites to WRITE, certainly! I guess that shows...

And we were fortunate it wasn't a lot worse, I know...
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