Wednesday, November 25, 2009


The closing on the property was the following month, mid-November, delayed only by paperwork and logistics. Peter and I went north only once that winter, an eight hour drive, staying at one of the local motels, an experience in and of itself. Arriving at that motel in the evening, we found a note on the door to the office, that told us what room was ours and that the key was on the desk inside. At the time, I thought it an odd way to do business, but found out later that it was much the norm in the town of only 200 people.
The next morning we drove down to the road leading into the property.. only to find three feet of snow landscaping the entrance. So much for our grand ideas of the 4WD truck ride! We wouldn't be seeing the property for several months.
In early April, 1994, we drove up again and straight into our land. The weather was wonderful, the air was clean and the trees were starting to bud.. and most importantly, the road was free of snow. Little rivulets crossed the soggy dirt road here and there, but nothing that even remotely challenged the truck. We put up the tent and proceeded to set up a semi-permanent campsite where we had parked the first time we were there. Pete cut down a nearby dead tree, and taking two of the larger 6" diameter branches that forked, set them upright in holes we dug five feet apart. By placing yet a third log across those forks, we now had the beginnings of our cooking fire pit. From the cross-beam, we suspended a grate over the fire pit, using chains we had brought. This could be raised or lowered as needed. It wasn't difficult to find large rocks to encircle the area, and we built our first fire. The weekend was spent exploring the property and our future. As dusk settled in that night, we sat by the fire, snuggling and talked until the stars came out.
What we decided on that night, was a "five year plan" to retirement. Grand idea... and grand ideas all too often go awry. When we got back home, we set up a story board, both being organized and anal about details, listing everything that needed to done, in what order and how much it was going to cost. We agreed we needed to keep working, and that five years was a good goal. We would take time to explore the property to find 'just the right' building site. After all, it was to be our home .. forever. We would then have the basic house roughed in by local help and we would spend the next few years working at finishing the interior ourselves as we could afford it. The idea was to have the place 100% finished before moving in.. Yeah, right......

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