… until we give our 1 month’s notice to the owner of our little cottage here on Widder Lake …
I’m … fine …
We’re … fine …
Breathing … is … is … it’s happening …
… until we give our 1 month’s notice to the owner of our little cottage here on Widder Lake …
I’m … fine …
We’re … fine …
Breathing … is … is … it’s happening …
One of our favourite pieces of music at the moment is on Brett Lenahan’s YouTube Channel, called ‘The Lord Of The Rings: The Grey Havens Ambience & Music‘. Truth be told it’s been a favourite for a while now, ever since I discovered his channel some time around the middle of last year.
The Grey Havens is a sea-port on the furthest edge of Middle Earth. From there the Elves, when it is their time to leave the mortal realms and go home, take ship across the sea to the Undying lands.
It was from there that, after all their adventures, both Frodo and Bilbo Baggins, (and eventually Sam Gamgee as well – for he was a Ring-Bearer – albeit for a short while, and the magic had claimed him too) left Hobbiton behind them forever. (but not in our hearts, for there they still dwell, enjoying second breakfasts, good company, and a warm hearth)
This morning, for no concrete reason, I was feeling, ‘whelmed’. (somewhere between feeling less-than-OK and completely overwhelmed) Nothing in particular was stressing me. Which, when I think about it, is a ridiculous statement given the world around us.
Mrs Widds and I relocated the last of our supply of dry pulses and grains from their glass jars into 1-cup-sized amounts in reusable plastic bags to go into the trailer. It was a comfortable companionable activity on a rainy afternoon. We chatted about this and that, and when it was done we treated ourselves to a celebratory pot of chai tea while we read and puttered around the house with the above mentioned piece of music streaming from my computer.
There’s a lovely image, a still from the third movie in the trilogy, that goes with it and I had it displayed on my wonderful wizz-bang monitor.
I paused in my pootling and sat with the image and what it represented (in the context of the movie – going home) and I felt a wave of tears rise and overflow.
What we were doing earlier in the day, and indeed all that we’re doing now, preparing for our big adventure, feels like we’re going home.
I’ve never had a ‘home’, to go to, as such. The kind that families in the movies return to at odd times of the year, Christmas, Thanksgiving, etc. So the whole ‘going home’, thing never resonated with me.
I think the nature of my epiph caught me by surprise more than anything else.
I had a bit more of a cry and we had hugs, then went back to our ‘corners’.
Now, when I start to get stress about the enormity of what we’re doing, and what’s required to even get out our front door here on Widder Island, I let that ‘going home’, feeling drift through my mind, my heart, my Spirit, and my stress dissipates. Not completely, of course, that would require that I lie to myself, and I’m not very good at that.
P.S. Does anyone else get a cracker of a headache after they have a deep epiph-inspired cry, or is it just me?
Our first load to the storage unit for this year …
… and then we moved more empty boxes into the house to fill up …
… and then …
… for a while now I’ve been subscribing to newsletters, YouTube channels, blogs, etc, created by people in the RV-ing community. The amount of things we’ve learned about RV-ing in general, maintenance and fixing things ourselves, how our travel trailer is put together and what we have to do to keep it together, has truly been an education worthy of a high-falutin’ degree of some sort.
One of those newsletters, RV Travel, has a weekly giveaway. I enter, just because I can, and let’s face it, if you don’t play you don’t win, and last week I won …
… an air fryer!
At this point I had no idea what an air fryer was …
After opening up everything and removing all sorts of interesting bits …
Time to read the instructions … chop up a couple of potatoes, toss ’em in a bit of oil and herbs, into the pot-thingy they go … turn it on and see what happens …
They didn’t taste half bad either.
We’re not sure yet if we’ll take it with us or put it into storage, but we’re going to experiment with a few recipes over the next few weeks and see how it works out.
Mrs Widds went out into the world last Tuesday. Wearing a mask at all times, and practicing physical distancing at all times. She had a lovely time, purchased some needed groceries, hit the thrift stores, and scored some excellent loot. All-in-all, a successful expedition.
Two days later – I felt a bit seedy, and Mrs Widds, after putting in an adrenaline-fueled day, succumbed to the lure of a comfy hot-water-bottle-warmed bed.
Two days later – I feel like death warmed up, and … (have you ever thought about that expression, ‘death-warmed-up’? You have to wonder what a warm death feels like. Squishy? A bit smelly, depending on the ambient temperature? … I think I’m going to rephrase …)
Two days later – I don’t feel very well at all. Mrs Widds isn’t much better, and we both of have the energy levels of snails on valium. Which presents us with an interesting challenge. We’re running out of ‘slow days’ in which to lollygag around in our jammies, feel poorly, and not work on our lists of ‘things to do before we move’.
Notice I said ‘lists’. As in ‘multiples of’.
Nevertheless, lurgy-ified or not, we manage to take care of at least one thing on each list each day. As the saying goes, ‘do not fear going slowly, fear standing still’. … which, of course excludes laying down and moaning and groaning.
Do we have the Lurgy? The timing is about right, but then it’s right for so many other lurgys out there. We’re not going anywhere near any other humans to get tested, so in the absence of any hard evidence we’re going to go with a solid ‘maybe’.
By the time we do need to go out into the world again, we will have been isolated for the required amount of days (plus a few extra) anyway.
We’re taking care of each other, and reminding each other that we built ‘slow days’, into our timetable for this very reason. Well, not this exact reason. This reason sucks. We were thinking more along the lines of ‘let’s take the day off and have a sushi picnic by the river’, or some such civilised reasoning.
I do however, see a sushi picnic in our near future. We would’ve earned it.
P.S. Rather fond of my hot water bottles, I am. You might’ve noticed that. 🙂
I don’t know how its been in your neck of the woods but the weather around here has been bloody awful of late. It’s either warmish, (a relative term given that we’re still in the midst of winter here in the Northern Hemisphere) and pouring with rain, (everything turns to mud) or freezing (quite literally) cold, with the wind blowing a hoolie, and clear-ish skies.
Today’s sky was full of gorgeous blueness from horizon to horizon with nary a puff of cloud to be seen, so out into the back yard we trotted to set up one end of our solar system to make sure all the shiny new bits and pieces connected to each other where they ought to be connected.
We’ll do a trial run of the whole system, with the inverter and batteries, etc, on the next (warmer) sunny day that might choose to grace these Western Shores.
To be thusly energy self-sufficient (and self-contained, along with our little back-up generator) is a large step forward on our Wunder-Lusters journey. We can’t (none of us can) afford to rely on any existing infrastructure to be available where and when we need it.
… 7.30pm. (5 hours later) …
… I’m now writing by lights connected to our system of loooong extension cords connected to our generator, because it’s freezing cold, the night sky’s as clear as a bell, gale-force winds are whistling through the eaves, which knocked out the electricity two hours ago – and counting …
… don’t’cha just love serendipity! …
… no internet wi-fi or cellphone hotspots either. The wind must’ve taken out the cellphone tower …
I don’t mind being disconnected from the world, but I’d like it to be on my terms, thank you very much.
Perhaps I ought to think about sacrificing a virgin, with appropriate lustrations, to the ethers …
… couldn’t find enough virgins, or lustrations …
Eureka! Lo, and Behold, Light hath returned!
Now, where was I?
(** goes forth to take care of all the things that have been put on hold for the last four hours**)
… Right, I’m back … but it’s still too damn cold. (one tiny space heater does not a whole house heat) It’s hot water-bottles for me, and a nightcap, (tea, of course, what did you think I meant, hmm?) in bed.
My cuppa and I, wish you all goodnight.
… the story so far … from the before-times … (for the wonderful new people here, and those who would like a bit of a refresher)
We’ve always been aware that time here on our island in the middle of a lake was a temporary situation. (notwithstanding that we’ve been here nigh on ten years – which we’re going to blame on cancer, Covid, and just a dash of run-of-the-mill goal-post changing)
Our original plan, which had its genesis way back in 2018-ish, was to set off in our little travel-trailer, swan around the countryside from coast to coast to coast and see what we might see. (Canada having three coasts of course, the western one, where we live, the eastern one where the Vikings landed, and the northern one, up above the Arctic Circle, that I am determined to visit, one day) We were in no great rush to set off, and if we eventually found a place to settle down somewhere along the way, all the better.
The pandemic put paid to that.
For the first year we resigned ourselves to a holding pattern. There were too many potentially dangerous unknowns specifically about the virus, to say nothing of province-wide shut-downs across the country, and far too many people acting like terrified rabbits, for us to go against our common sense in the matter.
In the first half of 2021 I wrote a book. (the sales of which are pootling along nicely) It was, sad to say, the highlight of the year.
The climate crisis, which had been lurking around the corner and growing ever closer, proved that it was done waiting by throwing every sort of weather extreme in our general direction. (and in yours too, I have no doubt)
Add into the mix two more variants of the virus, and we decided that discretion was the better part of valour, and stayed put.
However, every one of those very crises reminded us, each in its own unique way, that we are in a very precarious and unsustainable geographical location here on the coast.
We gave ourselves permission to be as stressed out about the whole damn state of everything for as long as we needed to, and then we would get back to work.
Our plan, now that we successfully made it to 2022 …
Pack up and leave as soon as the passes to the Interior are clear and navigable – thanks to one of the afore-mentioned weather events just before Christmas, every road and rail route out of the Lower Mainland (where we currently live) had been destroyed – and before the Summer (read Spring or whenever) wildfire season kicks in to high gear.
Theoretically … that gives us a window of a few months … theoretically, to relocate, find ourselves a new home, get all our living-in-a-house stuff out of storage, and set ourselves set up for Winter.
Then and only then will we contemplate the possibilities of travelling, probably in the ‘shoulder seasons’ between Winter and Summer.
Perhaps you’re asking yourself, seeing as we’re not going ‘travelling’ first, why we don’t just find a place before we leave and move from one house to another house?
Ideally, this will be the last ‘move into a new home’ we will ever do, (remember, I’m 63 and Mrs Widds is 72) and it will have to meet our requirements for setting up our life to be as self-sustaining, for the next several, at least, very chaotic, decades, as we can possibly make it. There’s no way we can make that sort of complex and important decision on a piece of land/property, sight unseen.
This way we’re open to all sorts of windows of possibilities.
The truly wonderful (insert a tiny bit of irony right there) thing about all this is, in the ‘before times’ we would’ve known what to expect along the way, with minor perturbations, but all-in-all, we would’ve been able to count on a certain amount of familiarity.
There’s no counting on that any more now, is there?
Well, if going on an adventure were easy, everyone would do it!
There I was minding my own business, doing some cool stuff with my new toy when …
… let’s back the story up a bit shall we?
This winter, for financial reasons, and the fact that we’re still working on the last of the additions to our travel trailer, we decided not to put it in storage.
Part of the whole ‘winterising’ thing we need to do to keep it here is to have some sort of protection between the tires and the ground, or in our case, gravel.
Cue me and my new table saw, cutting this honking great slab of wood we’ve had lying around doing nothing to earn its keep, in two, knocking off the flange, and putting a 45° on each of the ends so the RV can roll easily on and off them.
As I was taking a well-earned tea-break, with feet up and heater on …
… I happened to glance across to the far corner of the garden, where the compost bins are stored.
We have a very simple compost system – fill one bin up with layers of kitchen scraps, garden waste, and poor-ish topsoil which we get from the supplier just up the road – then fill the next bin, and so on. By the time we need the first one empty again, its contents have been fully worm-erated and ready to sit in the open-air compost pile until needed. It’s a dead-easy, no work, system that’s survived the depredations of a mama racoon and her seasonally renewed offspring-ings for … goodness me, how long have we been here now? Almost ten years!
The word had gone around the neighbourhood that a black bear had been seen cavorting among the trees elsewhere on the island.
It’s not a very big island, and the lake surrounding it is rather shallow this time of year, so it wouldn’t’ve taken Madame, or Monsieur, Bruin, too much effort to come a’visiting. What is somewhat surprising is that the land surrounding the lake is well and truly domesticated, with housing developments and farmlands, but I suppose a bear’s gonna do what a bear’s gonna do.
And come a’visiting our Ursine friend certainly did.
I didn’t think I’d need a sturdier composting storage system, but it seems that now I do.
Although I’ve been around the interwebs, reading blog posts, etc, my attention hasn’t exactly been focused here.
It’s not that anything specific has happened since we last talked, it’s more like I’ve been grieving. Grieving the world that no longer exists, and not just because of Covid-19, although that has served to hasten things along.
This particular cycle started with my post on getting our Berkey water purification unit. (which by-the-way is absolutely wonderful)
I’m not going to go into the why’s and wherefores’ of the utter debacle of the climate crisis. You’re either on-board with it or you’re not. You’re either consciously taking action to secure the quality of life, and the lives of your Self and those around you, for the next couple of decades, (as much as is possible in any given circumstance) or you’re not. If you’ve been following my blog for a while you would be well aware of where I stand on this.
Mrs Widds and I are upending our familiar life here on Widder Island for this very reason.
Can you imagine? At our age? I certainly would’ve preferred to go forth into the unknown with a few less decades under my belt, but it is what it is.
This summer was a particularly shitty one, and it’s taken me until recently to shake off the effects, both physically and emotionally, all the while knowing that such ‘extremes’, are to be expected now.
Grief about these things is also to be expected, certainly at this time of the year (in the Northern Hemisphere) where endings are starting to occur in order for something new, something unknown, to rise in the Spring.
I’m not altogether good with unknowns. Given my ‘druthers’, I much prefer the known, but I’ve lived through enough sunrises and sunsets to know that staying within the ‘known’, once its ‘used-by’, date has come and gone only leads to stagnation.
And stagnation is much, much worse, (and far more dangerous) than venturing forth into the unknown.
Speaking of which … this was my view out of my study window this afternoon. You can’t really tell, but it’s miserable out there. Lots of wind, lots of rain … and one beautiful tree just going with the flow …
And I can’t use the word ‘melancholy’ in a blog post title without referencing this song in one way or another … take it away, Judy …
… not a drop to drink. At least not potable water, and we live on an island, in the middle of a lake!
When we moved here in 2012 the water, straight from a well, tasted divine. Certainly nothing like the city-water we were used to drinking in Vancouver.
In fact, when we drove out here to check out the place before we signed the lease, our prospective landlord at the time, offered us a glass of water, and it was probably one of the main things to convince us to move here.
Not so any more.
We’ve experienced a slow decline in water quality, but the stressors on the water-table this past year have been the final nail in the coffin – metaphorically speaking.
Population pressure: Since the farmers sold off their acreage this little island has been sub-divided, and sub-divided until there are far too many houses for the land to sustain. The older houses have septic sewage systems and the newer ones have pump-out ones.
The small creeks upstream of the lake are surrounded by commercial greenhouses. More and more are being built every day as people are finally starting to realise that food security for decades to come will have to be sourced as locally as possible – a legacy of the collateral damage from the last two years. And no matter how stringent their safety protocols are for their waste water something always gets past the system
This last summer heated up the lake and raised bacteria levels until swimming was a health hazard.
Our well water has been treated with chlorine to combat unsafe levels of bacteria four times, so far. It’s reasonable to expect we’ll be receiving ‘boil-water’ advisories next summer. (if we’re still here)
We don’t drink water straight from the tap anymore.
One of the things we were saving up for to buy next year as part of our preparations to head off for parts north-west of here, (and become the ‘Wunder-Lusters’ we’ve been hoping to be for the last two years) was a Berkey water filtration system.
With a little rearranging of priorities, we had the rather large, for us, sum of money to buy it now instead of next year.
Having a glass of water is a pleasure we cannot take for granted again.
‘… Water, water, every where,
And all the boards did shrink;
Water, water, every where,
Nor any drop to drink …’
From ‘The Rime of the Ancient Mariner’ by Samuel Taylor Coleridge
I had my first vaccine last week with no nasty side effects, only a sore arm for a few days and feeling a bit seedy but that was it. Mrs Widds had hers two weeks before that so we’re good to go on that front until our second shots in a couple of months.
We’re still taking all the same precautions when we go out into the world, of course. Only the willfully ignorant-by-choice believe that this pandemic is in any way shape or form, over.
We’ve hit a bit of a plateau with our packing stuff into storage plan. Although we’re nibbling away at it, we’ve acknowledged that we may not be able to do a permanent move this year.
It’s a fine balance between leaving everything until the last minute and having far too many ‘oh shit!’ moments, and getting everything into storage and living out of boxes and sitting on the floor. (OK, that last bit was an exaggeration, but you get the picture)
Although we can live a minimalist lifestyle for a few months, the prospect of another year without certain items, that are already in storage, isn’t attractive. So, as usual, we’ll see.
Editing is coming along swimmingly. I feel a bit like Data in the movie Star Trek: Generations, when I sit down to work on another chapter, of which there currently are, thirty-nine.
Speaking of Data …