It's really happening! I met the architect last week to sign the contract so that in some time over the next couple of weeks we can install the piles so he's able to work over the winter. It's so strange and I feel oddly disconnected from this reality, like things are happening before I'm ready to say ok, it's ok for this to happen. Funny because mostly I wish I could blink and the house would be there, totally done and ready for my belongings to be moved in... Sometimes the blog actually helps me to recognize everything that is unfolding, a cathartic brain purge every couple of weeks that centres me. Yeah, cathartic brain purges... I do that, I guess.
Anyway, I spent an afternoon down there 3 weeks ago taking out the raspberry that covers the ground in the forest. It sounds like a stupid thing to do for someone who is excited about volunteer food plants but the raspberry grows on new cane every year and doesn't produce anything except the odd tart and woody berry. I will cultivate a few when I have time to focus on them in a better spot but in the mean time, bye, bye raspberries...
It didn't take long and I felt very accomplished afterwards but I managed to piss off a lot of bugs... you'd think there wouldn't be many in that small space but you'd be wrong... the exodus of spiders was staggering, the ant hill uncovered was disappointing and the wasp nest I stepped in was scary, really, very scary. Thankfully I was in got-my-move-on-mode and wasn't in any one spot for long enough for revenge seeking bugs and that I'm somewhat savvy to nature sounds. The steady growing drone of angry bugs behind me grew and grew to a point that I dropped everything an ran for the hills. I reached safe distance I realized yeah, that's a big-assed cloud of angry wasps. I stood there terrified, full of adrenaline and the odd trooper was sent to check me out... they sized me up and apparently came to the conclusion that I wasn't what had caused the disturbance in the nest so I was spared from retaliation. I was comfortable bailing on my work for the day but they had blocked the path out and there were literally hundreds of them. I decided to cut a new and temporary path out and in doing so discovered a fence or the remnants of an old barbed rusty string of tetanus lying in the forest foliage and some posts, I followed them as far as they went and before I had the chance to finish the thought "hey, shit! I think I'm clearing really close to the neighbours property" a Ruffed Grouse appeared before me. Like literally RIGHT before me. Man they're dumb but I guess not as dumb as me because the one thing I didn't grab when fleeing the wasps was my phone and I couldn't take a picture of him. So I went back to the site of the "accident" (that's how I explain it to the wasps) and stealthy grabbed my phone and went to get a shot of the grouse. See him?
Yeah, me neither. This is what they look like, trust me.
And interestingly he was hanging out on my moss mound that looks just like this moss mound so I expect him to return when spring does and a good place to drum up ladies is required. I will wait for him.
Anyway as I said the found fence brought me to the realization that (and in the words of my Auntie Belle) "Mother Nature doesn't work in straight lines, we do" I really am confused about where my lakefront is and the path I have been taking to the lake might actually cross onto the neighbours at a few points so I will do a survey in the spring before I put the dock and boardwalk in. In the meantime and because my land is only 105 feet wide, I am building close to the neighbours but they have 9 acres and I hope the forest acts as a buffer and that they don't plan to put their road right next to my house. I have tried to reach them to talk but to no avail. I will keep trying.
My friend Paul came and cleared for me because I'm terrified of chainsaws. I borrowed a reliable one from another friend Shannon and zip, zip, building site apparent and logs for burning in a pile. Jeez, it's starting to feel like something! Paul said the next day "It felt like the forest was making space for you. Too many times I have been around cut trees that were not supposed to go". It was exactly how I had felt but hadn't been able to articulate it. He's right and here he is exercising his inner Bunyan. It was a beautiful day.
And the log pile and cleared site.
It's great and I really am amazed how quickly it appeared. Like magic but Paul did it and I watched. So it wasn't entirely.
So now I am shopping and learning. Trying to figure out how to capture water and filter it for use, what solar panels to use and where to put them, and of course playing around with interior ideas... I think I have decided that the mezzanine will be open but I want to use a screen of some sort to give privacy and let the light up. Jean the architect says I can't have sky lights up there because it's not in my budget. I disagree.
Only a designer would finish the interior before exterior... it's going to be great.
I somehow missed a lot of the autumn colours there, one day they were starting and the next they were gone which kind of made me sad but I know I will see more of it next year. I did get some good shots the second last week I was there though.
My intent is to be more consistent with the blog in the next few months to really get into the process. The dirt, the technical crap. Hopefully I learn something and stop referring to it as "technical crap".
Love and bugs and thanks as always for joining me.