It’s Been Awhile!

Hey there! Well, so much has happened since my last post. We lost hope there for awhile, and things were really tumultuous. We had to ask ourselves, would we stay here in Grand Marais, or should we go? We were so sick last winter, and the final straw was at the end of April, when we all came down with Influenza B. (Never having had the real flu before…just whoa.) We knew we needed a solution, but didn’t have one. So, we bought an enormosaurus RV, and decided we’d live down at our town campground until we figured it out. We lived in the RV on the street until the end of June, and then we moved it down to the RV park. We spent all of June there, and had intended on July (and maybe August, too), but there were SO many people with more and more coming until the park was at capacity, and we couldn’t get any work done. We’d try to go outside to work (write), and vacationers would want to talk. “What kind of computer do you use out here? Does it have 4G? Don’t you get a lot of glare on your screen?” Or talk about the dogs…”What kind of dog is that? Oh my aunt Maimie had a pug, too!” “Is that a bear or a dog?”

OMG just stop. The interruptions were constant.

So, our wonderful friends, who have a little cabin on the back of their lot, offered to let us live in it – SUCH a godsend! Now we’re trying to sell the RV. Know anyone who wants a 2003 Fleetwood Mallard 35′ pull behind?

At any rate, as soon as we moved into the RV from the house, we all stopped getting sick. Since the middle of May, Fiona and I have had one teeny 2-day cold, and that’s it. Amazing what getting out of that moldy environment did for our immunity.

So, bringing you up to date to now – WE FINALLY BOUGHT OUR LAND! Five acres of heaven just outside of Grand Marais. Perfect.

We closed the deal on Monday, July 17th. That day, we went out to the land to find the property boundaries. We were able to find three out of the four survey markers, as well as place markers where we thought the building site would be…the most level area. Tuesday, we went back out to try to find that pesky fourth marker, didn’t mark our trail on the way in, got caught in a thunderstorm and torrential downpour, and got lost. Lost, on our own land. THE SHAME!

But, we found our way out (or I wouldn’t be writing this right now), and called it a day.

Wednesday, we decided our first course of action would be to start clearing what will be our driveway. We bought a Husqvarna brush cutter, and set to work! I don’t think we’ve ever worked so hard in our entire lives. The alder is so thick you can’t see ten feet in. So, John cuts it, and I haul it out. We have several brush piles that are about ten feet high by twenty feet long. I just keep piling it on until I can’t throw it that high, and I start a new pile. We’ll wait until after the first snow, and then burn it, which apparently what you do with copious amounts of cut brush. And the little 1-2″ stumps that are left from the alder are a broken ankle just waiting to happen. We have to be extremely aware of where we’re stepping.

Thursday, we found that we needed a chainsaw to remove some of the deadfall that’s in our way, so we went and got that. So now John goes from brush cutter to chainsaw and back again as he needs to, and I haul it away and onto a pile. Sweaty, hard labor for both of us, but it’s also incredibly satisfying.

Friday, we found that there’s no way we can haul all our stuff, plus the kids, up to the land in our Subaru. So next week, we’ll be getting a used truck. We’d hoped not to have to need one so soon, but the truth is, we really do.

Saturday (today), we went up there early, around 10:30. The blade on the brush cutter was shot, so we had to take an hour break in the middle of the day to go buy a new one, which is nearly shot already after only one day. At $30 each, I can see why people sharpen them instead of buying new. Guess what I’m going to learn how to do? We ordered two carbide blades and will hopefully see a big difference.

Same with the chainsaw. We’ll probably invest in two more chains…one will always be on the chainsaw, one will be ready to switch out when we need it, and one will be on the sharpener.

Here are a few more pics of the land, and our progress. It’s super hard to see from the pics how much we’ve cleared, because you can’t get a real perspective of the size.

This is one of the markers we placed on Monday. We found it as we were clearing, so that lets us know we’re headed in the right direction!

The start of a wood pile. We had a bunch of deadfall we needed to get out of the way, so I decided that if it wasn’t too rotten, we’d eventually use it for campfire wood or something. So, I started a pile. This picture is facing east on the property.

These are the dastardly little stumps left behind from the alder. They like to grow in groups, and what’s left after John cuts them…well, I like to call them “ankle-breakers”.

Okay, more tomorrow. I have a video that I did for you, but I can’t upload it to WordPress on my Crapbook Chromebook. Grrr.


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