The Build

This weekend has been absolutely crazy. I’ve barely been able to process it myself, let alone put it into a form which would make sense here. Still, I managed to take some shots of the tent building process that happened on Saturday. It was incredible. This post is dedicated to Adar, Caitlin, Tim, Mike, Dave, Sylvia and my parents, who made this build happen. THANK YOU SO MUCH!! I will post more about the build soon… but school starts tomorrow and I’ve been going non-stop since Thursday.

image

Shadow is the Russet House Farm Dog. In the summer, he herds cattle. In the winter time, mostly cats.

image

We carried a load of pallets down a one kilometre laneway that was completely covered in snow. It was absolutely ridiculous. The fact that I had got quality help is evident from the fact that there wasn’t an open rebellion against me. There should have been. It was bad.

This picture also shows a bit of the site before any work was done.

image

After we all had miniature heart attacks from carrying the first load, Sylvia and her 65 Massey Ferguson came to the rescue. She cleared not just the laneway, but also the very site where we were going to build, saving us about a week’s worth of manual labour.

Without this tractor and snowblower, there is no way we could have completed the build.

We drove the rest of the supplies down with my dad’s truck once the laneway was cleared.

image

Mike and Tim are laying out the patio stones which were meant to act as support stones in the four corners of the tent. Mike (a landscaper and contractor) and Tim (a high school tech teacher and contractor) felt the stones would work better to balance out the floor. I was easily persuaded to listen to them.

image

This is a good shot of the beginning of the pallet sub-floor.

image

This picture is in the kitchen of Sylvia and Brian’s house. My parents showed up with chili my mom had made up the night before. We very much needed this lunch.

My mom rocks.

image

Caitlin, Dave and Tim screwing in the plywood. Technically it isn’t plywood. I say plywood because it’s easier to say than OSB panels. OSB is cheaper and, for my purposes, pretty functionally equivalent.

Notice the one blue board. Dave named him Harvey.

image

My dad helping to pull the tent down over the frame. In this shot, he’s inside the tent.

image

Dave hammering in a t-stake that we’ll later tie the tent to in order to prevent it from blowing away. Despite the frozen ground, the fence post driver which he’s using (basically a big, heavy, metal tube) made really quick work of it.

image

Caitlin, Adar, Dave and Tim, happy that the job is finished before the sun goes down.

Advertisements

Introduction: Part 2 of 3ish (con’t)

Last week I discussed the people with whom I’ll be living with next year. This week, I’ll be describing the place itself. For those of you who are patiently waiting for me to finish introducing my plans for next year (which, quite honestly includes myself at this point), I’m hopeful that Part 3 will be a single post…  which means we are almost finished this series!

Russet House farm is named after the Russet apple tree that sits prominently in the middle of the garden. It’s been there for a very long time and is nearing the end of its life, though it still provides a few apples every year. The prior owners of the property were very interested in sustainability, and used their farm to model and to teach many different technologies. The house itself was originally built in the late 1800’s, though it has been renovated and added to throughout the years. It is completely off-grid, powered entirely by a photo-voltaic system and heated via a beautiful old wood stove situated in the old farm kitchen. A solar water-heating system is perched on the roof of the house and a small wind turbine stands majestically in the garden… though neither of them currently work (Brian and Sylvia are not convinced that the solar water system ever actually worked, and they have found almost all of the magnets from the wind turbine in the garden over the years, magnets which should, ideally, still be located in the turbine itself).

When Brian and Sylvia bought the land several years ago, they originally purchased it with a community of people, though not everybody necessarily lived there. Instead, it was used as a “meeting place” of sorts, with a beautiful little cob cottage being used for sabbaticals and as a writer’s cabin, and the land itself being used to host a number of different conferences. Through the years, all the other owners left for a variety of reasons, and Brian and Sylvia are now the sole owners of it. Much of the land is still forested, with trails winding through it and little hidden surprises awaiting those with eyes to see.

The farm is primarily a market garden, and Sylvia is dreaming of implementing permaculture methods in the near future. The garden is having a form of sabbath, as the farmers are taking a break to focus on the book that they are writing together. They are still working the land, just not as intensively, giving a much needed rest to both it and to themselves. They have a small herd of cattle (one cow and two steers when we visited, though they have possibly slaughtered one of the steers by now), a few ducks for eggs and a couple of horses for their daughters to ride.

The neighbourhood nearby has deep significance for my family, specifically on my father’s side of the family. Not too far away is the remnant of the cabin that my great-grandmother was raised in, and also the place that my grandmother grew up on. A few kilometers up the road from where I’ll be staying is a farm that my father spent many summers as a boy working on, a farm that my aunt and her family lived on not too many years ago. I remember spending a week or so there every summer for quite a while.

A short bike ride away (or run, or walk) is the Victoria Trail, a converted rail trail that conveniently (for me) goes directly into Lindsay, giving me a beautiful way to commute to school every day. Even better, it goes straight through the Ken Reid conservation area, an area I am really looking forward to exploring and getting to know. The land is near Sturgeon Lake, which is part of the Trent Severn waterway, which, hopefully, I’ll be canoeing on as soon as the ice is clear.

I could go on with more details, but I think that, for now, I have set the stage of where I’ll be staying well enough, while giving myself ample room to explore specifics and expand on many of these themes as I discover more about them. Next week, I will hopefully be sharing the end of the Introduction series.

Adam