My camp build starts in the spring of 2010
I bought six acres of forest and field in the spring of 2010. For some reason I got it into my head I wanted to build a small / tiny house in eastern Ontario. And while I was at it, why didn’t I put in a solar system. And figure out how to build an off grid washroom, and … what was I thinking?
To reach my new to me farm, you turn onto a dusty, dirty gravel road just wider than the tail of a coyote. You travel about a kilometer to a narrow lane that disappears heading up a low hill. There isn’t a power pole in sight. Or anything else for that matter.
The fields, about four acres, have been in hay production, off and on, for 60 years. The two forests are small. Planted about 35 years ago. Red pine and cedar mostly. A long line of cottonwoods here. A stretch of berry bushes and apple trees there. And the occasional oddball thrown in (a few black locust, some white pine for instance).
I seem to have misplaced the photos I took this first year. So I’ll keep looking and add them later.
At the bottom of the farm is a small creek/river. It’s up to 10 feet deep and maybe 100 feet wide in places. The nice thing is it’s not connected to any large industry and is mostly swamp, excellent for filtering the water.
I launch upstream from a small bridge and paddle with the current to my property. Takes 2 hrs to all day. Depending on how lost in the swampy areas you get. For most of the distance you don’t see any sign of civilization at all. It’s really very beautiful.
First steps: Redneck hauling
The first thing I do is bring in an amish shed for storage. Then I build a 12×16 deck. I built the deck in two sections of 8×12 so that I can break it apart later and move it more easily.
Yup. That’s the wood for deck being hauled in a tiny B3000. Note the height of the mud flap off the ground. Why, I do declare, I hear fiddles and banjos being played.
I also buy a tractor. Essential for off grid life (cough cough). It’s shiny and red. Mid life crisis you say?
I’ve taken the back hoe off and have the post hole auger on. Tractors are good devices to have. I use mine about 100 hrs a year. It’s saves me a lot of money from hiring out/renting. And it let’s me do lots of things easily. You’re a kind of super man when you can lift a thousand pounds. Carry 800 lbs. Dig a ditch in an afternoon. etc.
And I did. I dug a ditch along the lane coming into the property. I also found a dry well put in by the previous owner. Dug it up and built up the first 150 feet of the lane with the gravel.
Try that with a shovel and wheelbarrow.
By the end of the year
At the end of the fall season my humble farm looks like this.
And now it’s time
And now it’s time to head south for the winter. My first winter as a snow bird. Wish me luck.