Sunday, December 27, 2015

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

This just got serious...

Geez.  It's only been 10 days since my last post about challenges.  They just keep coming at us like waves.  Yesterday was our greatest challenge so far.  Walking away from the cabin.  Here's the view as I said goodbye to The Broken Badger.

So what happened?  Well, here is the account of the epic journey:

We have abandoned ship. We really weren't as well prepared as we needed to be, then a bunch of different circumstances came together into the perfect storm, and we couldn't overcome. We decided on Monday (21st) that we had to come out. It was Woody's 5 day weekend, and we had actually made a trip out to the Tri-Cities on Saturday with the GMC (and the dogs, of course). It was dicey, but still doable. Then a big storm came. With the new snow we had about 2 feet at the cabin, plus the drifting, and weren't sure what the road would look like up top. We were fairly sure that Woody could barrel out in the old ford (since it's mainly downhill), but also fairly sure that he wouldn't be back for 3 weeks.
And that would be fine, right? After all, that is what I had planned for and I've probably got 4 months worth of food up there. I could stretch it to 6 months if I worked at it. We're still waiting on the pump, so without Woody hauling water, I would have to use my emergency water and melt snow, but that's fine, too. But ya know what? I didn't have enough firewood.
Because of the burn bans and the complete forest shutdown because of the fire risk, we didn't get in a boatload of firewood like we should have. Shoot, I think the shutdown actually ran through September. So we have been piecemealing our firewood supply together as we could. We would drop a tree and get it into rounds, and up to the house and I would split it while Woody was at work. Unfortunately, once the roads started to get worse, he couldn't haul those bigger loads - just smaller ones. And once the concept of him not being able to get back in at all came up... well, that was it. Our 'redundancy' was sorely lacking. Due to living IN THE MIDDLE OF THE FOREST, I never planned on being OUT of firewood, so my propane backup was a little more than a weeks worth of emergency stock. And 3 out of 4 of our generators have gone tits up this year (including our new one!!!) so any thoughts of using a space heater for emergency were gone as well (even if I wasn't depending on Woody for hauling the gasoline in for them...).
And our quad broke. And the snowmobile has an 'issue'. It runs, but is less dependable than it should be. And Woody's number one chainsaw broke. And and and....
So anyway, we decided to come out on Tuesday. We were lucky enough that one of our friends from town (with a Jeep) had the day off and was happy to come out and break trail for us. So we loaded up the GMC with a few weeks worth of stuff, bedding, clothes and dogs, and started off once they got there. We made it about 15 feet. He hooked on and tried to pull us out, but we had already dug it in pretty good and no amount of tugging was going to help at that point. So we unloaded the truck to the jeep, made about 3 trips with our stuff up the hill, and loaded it into the old ford. We walked up the hill... who's bloody idea was that??? Then sent back the jeep one more time for some booze. (BECAUSE.)

So off we go. Even with the trail being broken - it was epic. Epic, epic, epic. We were just trying to keep up momentum so we didn't get stuck, the old ford was bouncing like a monkey on crack, we were BLASTING through drifts 3 - 4 feet high, throwing snow rooster tails over the cab of the truck, I was clutching the dogs for dear life (sleeping dogs, really???), when Woody wasn't pooping his pants he was trying to deny he was kind of having fun.... Epic.
The Jeep had to tug us out once, but over all the downhill/momentum plan worked out. Shoot, did I mention we had 2 teenagers in the bed of the truck for the ride out? Fricking country kids, tough as nails.
Crashed at our friends house for a couple days, where poor little Buddy got attacked by their heeler (not bad enough for vet, thank goodness), and there was a ham incident. Now we are holed up in a single wide in a neighboring community.
So anyway, that is our sad, sad story. By the way - this community is amazing. I don't think there is anywhere else in the world like it. It's a fricking gem.

Walking to the post office in downtown Bickleton!

Saturday, December 12, 2015


I always maintained that I was looking forward to getting snowed in and not being able to leave the cabin for a while.  And I prepared (at least food-wise) for it.  The locals laughed. 

~~ "Oh honey - snow isn't a problem, you can drive on it until you can snowmobile on it, no problems.  It's the transition seasons that get you... fall and spring, when things are wet.  You can't drive on the mud."~~

Being a jeep girl long ago, I ignored their warnings, assuming they just couldn't drive in mud.  I WAS WRONG.

The dirt here is a monster of another caliber.  Remember how I've mentioned that we don't really have any dirt?  Just a bit of rock mixed with some dirt before it's straight up rock? Ha.  I WAS WRONG.  

Our driveway.  Rock solid.  Couldn't dig down 2 inches if I try.  Get a little moisture - okay, a bit slick on top. Get a little more moisture - well, a little rough, but doable.  Get a little more moisture - oh no, we're sinking in 2 FEET of mud!!!  Where did the mud come from if there is no dirt? Where???

We did manage to get the truck out.  I thought we might have to wait until spring when the ground firmed back up again, but we pulled her out.  Everything here is a learning curve.  Just life in the out yonder!

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Proper Procedures

We've been having waves of storms come through. (Thank you El Nino!) Some rain, some wind, some snow.  We're doing so good so far.  Newly applied caulking has greatly reduced the leakage problems we had previously!  However, evidently I've been riding out the storm all wrong. One should be upside down. I didn't get the memo.

Monday, November 30, 2015

Just Awesome

It's a wee bit hoary out there. Was 8 degrees this morning, and now we have warmed up to a balmy 12 degrees. Woohoo!

Friday, November 20, 2015

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

The Aftermath

Yesterday and last night an epic windstorm blew through. There were deaths in Spokane and over a quarter million people in Washington lost power. Our weather station from CostCo did not work out, so I'm unsure of the gusts, but they were well over 50 MPH.  It was the first time since I'd lived in tornado alley that the weather caused everyone to move away from the windows for safety!

So I did our first review of the property to see the damage from the windstorm. Overall not bad. We'd done quite a bit of prep in anticipation and it paid off. The truck was parked behind the greenhouse so it wouldn't take flight again, and most everything had been tied down to something else. We'd missed a few things that I had to fix during the storm, or Woody did when he got home, but fared much better than the last storm. 

The house on the other hand needs some work. While built very sturdily, it just wasn't ready for the force of the rain pummeling it straight on for hours with 40+mph winds. Part of that is our fault...did not take time for proper maintenance this summer. We had some major leakage frown emoticon Woody's fixing that right now. Also damaged the storm door. Also need to resolve downdraft issues with the woodstove - had to fall back a redundancy level for heat!!! All was good tho. We were prepared for that and rode out the storm watching a movie. 

Now it's a gorgeous morning, everything is getting cleaned up and we'll take a ride later to clear the road if necessary. Just another day out yonder!

Monday, November 16, 2015


Just the babiest of little tiny snowflakes are starting to come down.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Interesting. Not only El Nino's effect on the west coast and California, but what it has brought around the world.

The Climate Prediction Center forecast above-average precipitation for much of California between January and March. (Credit: Los Angeles Times)

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Friday, November 6, 2015

Oh, the travesty!!!

So during our little 3 day wind storm, my greenhouse blew over.  Up and rolled over. Caught wind like a sail and made way. 

I did not appreciate it and may have had one of my multiple breakdowns of the week.  Maybe. 

But, as usual, Woody to the rescue!  He carefully rolled that sucker back over and decided to install a floor, so that all of the plants and etc that I put in it will give the building added weight.  And overall, not too bad of damage to the structure!  Little baby miracle.  

I saved the few plants that had been placed in it already - the citrus - and they moved inside for a few days.  After the floor was installed, I placed many, many, many pounds of paving stones, dirt and water inside, along with the plants.  Fingers crossed that our efforts will pay off!

Upright, with new floor!

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Immense Gorgeousness

There was just no way to catch the gorgeousness of this space & time. Early am sun melting the frost into a million shimmering droplets of light.

Friday, October 30, 2015

Learning the weather ropes

I knew there would be a huge learning curve to moving up here.  Colder, drier, windier.  But this is kind of scary... We have a little bit of weather moving in. A bit foggy and 40 degrees. With sustained winds of 'holy sh*t, really?' and gusts of 'good lawd bajeebus, we're all gonna die!!!'

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Water!!!!! Almost....

One of the most important things on a farm or homestead is water.  Especially in a dry area.  While we don't have a water source on the property, there are many springs in the area, and we found that encouraging when we purchased the land.  In the last few years, one of our closest neighbors drilled a well, and that got us even more excited!  

So once Woody got his job up here we set to liquidating assets in order to be able to afford water.  In our area, 300 feet is fairly standard.  I budgeted for 400 feet, just in case, and we got on the schedule for the well guy.  And waited.  And waited.  And waited.  Well guys are in high demand.  Amazingly high demand.  After waiting 5 months, I got the call.  "We'll be up tomorrow."  Geez, thanks for the warning guys!

So the next day I went to town to pick me up some well guys.  This is what followed me home:

I was so excited!  The day after that they started drilling.  We decided to go down to 
340 feet max - for a handful of different reasons.  And we hit water!!!!!!  We won't have to rely on the kindness of strangers, or public facilities with hose bibs, or snow melt!  We may not die after all!

Despite all the waiting (followed by short notice), I really liked our well guy, both personally and professionally.  I would definitely use Schroder's Well Drilling out of Goldendale, WA if I ever need a well again.  (Please, if I ever need a well again, just take me out wallet can't handle it!)

Our next challenge is finding the right pump and getting it installed...

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Happy Birthday to me!

I'm calling this my birthday present - even though it is a pioneering necessity. Love love love it! Need to do a lot more to make it more winter-able, but its a great start & I've already thrown plants in it. Yay!