With the recent snow and the warmer temperatures, brings back a story about our first Christmas and New Year in a new tiny house that Bob built. We were snug and warm as long as we kept the wood in the fire. As long as we cut wood, split it and stacked it and then hauled it into the house. Then we discovered Sam the Wood Man. He brought us nice dry, cut-to-length wood. The first purchase that winter was a homemade wood splitter that we use to this day. It is on loan to our neighbors at any time. But the days we had to walk out to the parked truck at the cul-de-sac to go grocery shopping or laundry and get a shower, were some of the days I will never forget. We tried to do this all in one day.
The following is taken from my “Grannie Annie’s Cookin’ at the Homestead.”
Although we never lived on a homestead – we certainly admire the homesteaders of Alaska. We have had lots of friends that are homesteaders. Many have shared their stories and recipes with us. I do feel my family has homesteading qualities as it takes a certain type of hardy individual, hard, grueling work, love of the outdoors, love of nature and animals. It also required trips to the outhouse in the middle of the winter at below zero weather. Now that is the hardy part of homesteading that I marvel at!
Falling and sawing wood, splitting and stacking and hauling into the house, trying to start the fire in a cold, cold house is challenging. And so are the trips to the outhouse again. Keeping the fire going, heating and cooking and baking food on the woodstove, as well as hauling water to be heated for a bath in the dishpan in the middle of the kitchen in the middle of winter. And the trips to the outhouse again!
Then there were the day that we walked into our place with the snow falling on top of already 8 to 12 foot of snow. This was the time my foot and leg fell through the crust of snow and the other leg stuck straight out in front of me. Bob was ahead of me, not knowing I was stuck. He turned around just in time to see me flailing and flopping trying to get out. I was screamed and him ‘Help Me Help Me!” As he turned he slipped and the two sacks of groceries he was carrying went tumbling down the hill and onto the frozen lake. He crawled over to me and I finally rolled out after flopping around like a walrus. I pulled my foot out but left the boot in the bottom of the hole. We laugh so hard because neither one of us could reach my boot. Finely Bob flopped down on his belly and reached down with his face in the snow and retrieved my boot.
We both looked like snowman. We had always walked up our lane and over the hill and down our driveway. But Bob decided that we should take a shortcut over a bigger hill and down behind the house. I had a full laundry bag of clean dry clothes that I was dragging behind me. I was screaming MAD setting in the snow and struggling to get my boot back on. “Why did we come this way?” All he did was laugh at me.
So the next time we walked up the lane and over the hill and down the driveway, with Bob pulling a sled loaded with two 5 gallon containers of water. The sled got away from him and he gradually got it down the hill only to have the water containers slowly tip over at the very bottom of the hill. I laughed that time.
Our trips to the outhouse were the topic of many conversations! Who would go first to “warm up” the seat? NO! NOT ME! But Bob would usually out-wait me and I was the one who blazed the trail to the state of the art outhouse that was built just for me. Or when we had so much snow, the trail to the outhouse had to be shoveled every day. I would see Bob out their throwing snow way up high above his head to make a tunnel to our most important part of the living in the woods and snow. He spent hours keeping the trail open. I think he was just as glad as I was when he announced that he was installing a bathroom the year that we got running water into the house. Well, almost as glad – I was so excited and I got to use it first!!
Many homesteaders told us the many ways to keep your patoot warm in the outhouse. The most inventive - we used this version - simple hang the seat behind the woodstove and take it with you when you went to do your business. And the battery operated seat warmer – that was not such a good idea. Tried the fur and fuzz covered ones too – nope not for me!
Our outhouse was built by Bob with help from JT. It had a nice linoleum covered floor, corrugated tin on the sides and greenhouse corrugated plastic see through roof.
I bet you have never sat in an outhouse with kitties in the chokecherry tree outside looking in the roof at you – I have!!
Bob and I wish ALL our good friends and helpful neighbors and Wonderful New Year.