Pioneers in the 21st Century

Living a simple but inventive life
on 15 acres in Maine

My husband Don and I beat most people to the recession. Ours began in 2004, when the dot-com bust finally hit home. We had to make a choice. We could give up either our small condo in Portland or our rustic cabin on 15 acres. Any sensible person would have chosen to sell the cabin.
     But neither of us could bear to part with the land. Although we had assessed several times the possibility of fixing up the cabin to live in it year-round and rejected it as impossible and impractical, we did it anyway.
    Don was doubtful. But I said that if he could kayak around an island in Alaska by himself for a month, he could certainly survive a winter in Maine in a homemade summer cabin. Besides, I said, we had a fallback. We could always stay at his dad's house in Rockland while they were in Florida for the winter.
     We haven't had to resort to that escape yet. But we have had adventures aplenty as we struggle to survive in a homemade cabin deep in the woods with no well, no winter septic, and not a lot of money.

 

 

Right: Even if we plowed our 200 yards of driveway our car wouldn't make it up, so we park at the top of the drive and walk up and down. The walk is beautiful, but not always easy. When we get a big snowfall, Don trods up and down in his snowshoes, making a path for me and the sled that hauls in our drinking water, food and other supplies.

 
     
          THE CABINS          WATER IN          WATER, OTHER STUFF OUT          HAROLD'S HUT          THE CRITTERS     
     
Don hauls our dirty laundry up the hill to the top of the drive in a huge duffle on a winter morning in 2007. The giant bag fills one 50-pound front-load washer at the Laundromat. We pack up the laundry wet, haul it down the hill on a modified sled, then hang it to dry in the loft above the woodstove.  

Even parking at the top of the drive, we still
have plenty of snow to shovel. Sometimes
the plow dumps four or five feet of the white
stuff in front of our cars.

 

 
Going to work involves extra work for me because I always have to take all my own food (I'm allergic to about two-dozen different things). On this particular day, I was also hauling empty water bottles.   With Don out of action after his knee replacement, it fell to me to get a cord of wood stacked before snow completely covered the pile dropped by the logging company (out of sight on the right). Here I am, with snow on the ground and more threatening, rushing to finish. By the time I was done, there were two stacks on the left taller than me.

 

more photos and pages to come the first few days of 2010!