Do You Get Out Very Often?

This is the eighth in a series of posts I’m writing in answer to the questions I get asked the most.
"Do you get out very often?"
My reflex answer to this is, “Too often.”
In all seriousness, I do enjoy going into the village every couple of weeks, and could go as often as I like, but I have no reason, no need to go. In the summertime, mid-May through mid-October, it’s a quick 20-minute boat ride or 45 minutes by 4-wheeler, and in the winter, it’s 15 minutes by snowmachine, all of which stay parked right outside of our cabin. However, the shoulder seasons, which we are in the middle of right now, of spring and fall make travel a good deal more difficult.
We live near the base of a huge hill (I shall heretofor refer to it as “the mountain.”) and there is a steep trail that climbs 600 vertical feet in one mile via hairpin switchbacks, a sketchy trail in the best of circumstances. Cover that trail with wet leaves, mud, ice, snow, or any combination of these and you have a rec…

Water Day - Summer

On a Summer Water Day, which comes around every couple of weeks, it’s time to get the water from the river up the hill to the cabin. Thanks to a portable, electric water pump, we no longer have to haul it up 40-some steps in 5-gallon buckets weighing 40 pounds a piece. It’s surprising how two garden hoses, a 100-foot length of extension cord, and a small, $100 pump can feel like such a luxury.
The first task is to gather all of the buckets, pots, and water jugs, wipe out the river sediment from the inside bottoms so that they’re clean to start with again, and turn on the generator, which entails the “on” switch, engaging the choke, pulling the cord a couple of times, and letting it warm up before turning the choke back off. We have a small, portable, 2,000 watt Honda generator that’s been serving the cabin well for over 12 years. However, it is starting to sputter on occasion, so we’ve just ordered a new one – not bad for a $1,000 investment. I’d really hate for the old generator to j…

German Apple Pancake Recipe

German Apple Pancake (2 servings – seriously)
Batter ½ c. flour, ¼ t. cinnamon ¼ t. cardamom 2 T brown sugar ½ c. milk 1 t. vanilla 3 eggs
Apple mixture 1 apple, peeled & chopped 2 T. brown sugar ¼ t. cinnamon ¼ t. cardamom
Turn oven to 400 and heat 3 T. butter in 10” cast iron skillet in oven. Toss apple mixture together and spread over melted butter in skillet. Return to oven. Mix dry ingredients together. Add milk & vanilla and whisk until smooth. Whisk in eggs one at a time. Pour batter over apples. Bake 15-20 minutes, until center is set. As soon as you take the pancake out of the oven, it will start to fall – no worries; that’s normal!

What Do You Do with All of Your Spare Time?

This is the seventh in a series of posts I’m writing in answer to the questions I get asked the most.

“What do you do with all of your spare time?”
Thankfully, both what I love to do on a daily basis and what it takes to survive off grid intersect often, running at a close parallel most of the time. Last night, I was up late watching Downton Abbey, Season 4, Disc 1, which just arrived from Netlflix. So, this morning, I lounged in bed until the sun was high overhead around 10am. I only have to tilt my head back on the pillow to look outside the window at the blue sky scattered with cottony clouds, a slight chill in the air fogging the windows on the inside, just around the corners.
Gregg has been up for a couple of hours reading trapping magazines and working Sudoku puzzles, so the coffee’s warm and sits atop the heating stove. We’ve had a hard freeze the past couple of nights and a heavy frost coats the grass and shrubs across the still river, so still that it makes me stare an extra…