29 December 2010: My House
This is my house. It was built in five weeks by five women, two of whom were there for only a few days. We used no heavy machinery; we lifted the heavy beams with ropes.
Living off the grid
On the left of the first picture are two solar panels. They are used to power this computer (a laptop as they use far less power than desktops) and the satellite internet, which is the only way I can receive anything resembling high speed in this remote area, although the speed falls far short of what most people are used to in a city. The dish for the satellite signal is the round thing on the right of the house – it does not receive TV! If the weather is not too gloomy, there is power for lights as well. When I can afford to drill a well, I hope there will be enough energy to run the pumps. Right now, everything must be done the old way. I heat and cook with wood and at the moment I must haul most of my water, which I do every two or three weeks when I drive 40 minutes to the nearest post office. At present I am melting snow for dishes and bathing. Snow is always full of pine needles and bits of bark blown about by the winter storms, and I filter the meltwater through an old towel. I am used to all this, having lived off the grid for many years.
The building is far from finished. The basement and attic are as yet cavernous spaces; the window holes in the attic are covered with plywood. The main floor is divided into two rooms; the first is basically a large porch storing tools, a work bench, and two dog kennels. The living area is warm and light but still very primitive. The floor and counters are plywood and possessions are stored in cardboard boxes. But the first cabin I built on this place was never intended as a permanant home and I could not wait to move in here. It is far from neighbours, which is what I like, and very beautiful and peaceful.