This week mom and I closed on our little piece of future history. We are now the proud owners of a hunting cabin on a bit of land with a well and a few other amenities already in. We bravely headed out to the property on the day of closing to take possession and move a few things in so we’ll have them there when we go.
Alas, all those little things that can wrong did. The indoor rated propane heater we purchased for the cabin… failed to work straight out of the box. We discovered the cabin floors were not insulated. The temperature outdoors and in was nearly the same… 5F (-15C) and we were geared for a cabin with an indoor temp of no lower than 40F. So, after bravely trying to stay warm on our air mattresses, in our sleeping bags… we briefly discussed our fear of freezing to death… and grabbed our necessities and went to the car…where we “slept” with the engine running off and on all night.
We were much warmer but definitely not comfortable! Something about sleeping upright just does not work for me at all! We trooped into town first thing in the morning to pick up an electric heater (one of those amenities I mentioned) and brought it back. We also picked up some solid foam insulation to put the air mattresses on. We made breakfast while running this heater at full blast. After 2 hours the temperature had gone up 2 degrees (F) from the starting temp which was about 28F with the sun fully up. So, after a bit of discussion about the benefits of passive solar (we decided the heater had little to do with the warming!), we decided that it would be better to pack our selves up in the daylight and get on the road with the sun in the sky, rather than wait until sundown to decide the heater was not doing what we needed it to do.
It was not a loss though. It was a great learning experience and it is only going to get better from here. We now know that cabin was designed for summer use only. That not testing your gear before you depend on it for your survival is pure foolishness (I blame being busy with work, but I still should have made the time to test that heater!) That cabin needs a total over haul or will be a place for guests to stay in the summer (but only with a wood stove installed!)
The land is beautiful, even if it is cold. The roads were easily passable in early winter, although 4 wheel drive was definitely useful! I spotted (and photographed) our first deer friend (future dinner?!) before I started packing things out to the car. I still feel totally at peace out there, a feeling I’ve never had in suburbia where we currently reside.
I know the next year is going to be all about getting winter ready cabins up for us, a winterized chicken coop and barn for the critters… plus getting enough firewood cut to have time for it to season properly for the winter. There is a lot of hard work in the next few months to get everything up and running. We’re up to the challenge though and looking forward to putting everything in.