Well, say hello to the new Global HQ for Operation Global Media Domination. It is one-quarter mile down a dirt and gravel road, past the salmon stream, past the pond, to the left of the wood chip pile and the right of the kale garden (yet another kale garden), past the fish caddy, thirty yards up a slippery boardwalk into the rainforest, and it is all mine.
Well, mine and the rats’, but they’ll be leaving soon, trust me on that. If I have to borrow a honey badger, the rats will be leaving soon. They can’t get at my peanut butter, so they hate me and they pooped beside my bed last night. My bed is in a loft above the main floor, which is maybe 15×15, and I climb up a very steep ladder to get to bed, and as I said of the boardwalk “this is going to do wonders for my sobriety” and so far it has. If I fall off the ladder, I land on the stove, and I don’t want that, as the stove is likely to be burning hot when I go to bed.
One expects my days as a cocktail enthusiast are about to be severely curtailed. Oh, I’ll still go out for cocktails, but there’s something about having to walk two miles into town in the rain that takes the edge off a thirst, knowmasayin? Shawn at Little Jumbo and Simon at Veneto and Jay at The Blackbird may be seeing much more of me than they are used to, as I’m not paying rent and have nothing else to spend my money on other than trips of hundreds of miles just to drink the best cocktails in the world at their respective establishments.
I have named the cabin Barataria, after Jean Lafitte’s hideout in Louisiana. Jean Lafitte is the bomb, and when in doubt, choose an alliterative name from pirate history. Always.
This should be more widely known.
He, apparently, stole it from Don Quixote, where it was the name of a fictional island that was part of a deal from a conman, and the name derives from the Spanish word for “cheap” so this is perfect in every way.
This is the driveway. It is uphill, but not terribly steeply. You do feel it, though, when you push a load of firewood in a wheelbarrow all the way. I was enormously proud I got it all the way up the boardwalk to the cabin, but then it DID serve as a stability aid. I’ve taken three headers thanks to slimy boardwalks. Thank god for these boots; at least they have some tread. If I had to rely on my sneakers, I’d have been miserable since my arrival. Not that they aren’t great sneakers, but they are porous and they are not trail runners. Sticky, they are not.
As discussed last time in OpHippie, the boots are awesome. I have awesome boots. Awesome: those are what my boots are. I have been grateful for these boots every moment I’ve been here, although I keep forgetting to ask the donor if s/he would like to remain anonymous or not. Sorel Women’s Caribou, Da. Bomb. Waterproof, and 60% off, too! Also heavy, so I’ll lose weight simply wearing them.
Alas for my old hat, which was glorious and perfect in every way including folding up to nothing and popping back into shape. My new hat is cool, but it is no Old Hat. It is no Official Indiana Jones Stetson. I bought that hat the last day Woodwards was open, so 1985 I guess, and I paid ten dollars for it, which was far less, like 70% less, than it should have sold for, but they were just liquidating the stuff at that point. It was waterproof and perfect in every way as I mentioned before. Apparently they are still available. I should save up.
The new hat is an Aussie Akubra Snowy River hat and very good-looking although garnering fewer compliments than the old one (brim is too aggressive, methinks), it does not fold up, and it needs to have a leash and keepers put on, ie the string that goes under your chin, so I can hang it on my back when I don’t need it on my head and don’t want to hold it, and also so it won’t blow away when I board a ferry, for lo it cost me $150 and I am loathe to throw that away or let the wind gods steal it.
The “dry firewood” thing is a challenge. There isn’t any. The new stuff comes in and it gets damp just hanging out in the woodshed. Moisture is contagious. I have a brand new pizza box that won’t burn now, because it’s been in my cabin two days and has absorbed too much moisture. It steams when you try to set it on fire. But I got some wax coated cardboard today that will burn like a candle, and some wood that just got cut, and Shahee helped me set up a rack to dry my wood on, on the top of the stove. I need a grate for the stove and if I can get a spare, that will make an excellent drying rack on top of the stove. We are discussing making me a rocket stove like his, which works amazingly well. The cabin isn’t as insulated as the bus, alas, but it could be improved. And a good stove will go a long way to that. Still, after living for two years without electricity in Vancouver, I’m used to chilly temperatures for sleeping. Can’t sleep if it’s hot, in fact.
Once the rocket stove is in, I get a converter and that transforms heat to electricity, and YOU KNOW WHAT THAT MEANS! It means I don’t have to blog from the kitchen, that’s what it means.
Well, no wifi back there, but I can write offline and come to the kitchen to upload.
Oh, did I mention there’s a beach?
Not too scruffy. This was a very quiet day, apparently. Usually the waves are surfing sized. There is a beach to the left and also one to the right. They are also surfing beaches. Mostly, I use these beaches in the following traditional fashion: make coffee, put in thermos, doctor appropriately, go to beach. Walk up beach. Walk down beach. Repeat until coffee is gone. Return to kitchen.
Some local colour…
This is down by the main gardens. It’s a sort of Gilligan’s Island with a nautical theme, a platform with a tire swing and sofas, a pond with salmon in it, and a cave for concerts and getting loud. Right now there’s a carpenter from Nanaimo and a guy from London whose mind is completely blown by the space staying there.
When I’m coming home in the dark I listen for the sound of the salmon stream waterfall to tell me I’m on the right path. Not long after this comes the pond, which is where the stream and the salmon come from. Last night I wandered around far too long in the dark, blundering into other camps because I was too proud to use the headlamp. I guess you gotta learn every lesson once, eh?
Basically, but the time you notice the clouds are starting to turn golden and magenta, it’s too late to walk to the beach. I have to set a “sunset alarm” on the phone so that I can make sure to get there in time. Watching the sun set, knowing there is nothing out there between you and Japan but some whales is a pretty awe-inspiring feeling. Sunsetting is a big activity here, as I have mentioned before.
Future plans include getting a human poop composting system designed and in place (I’ve actually been quite useful so far, thanks to connections with a certain Victoria-area garbage collector), making some sort of deal with the Best Western down the road for access to the hot tub, making some kind of deal with the local stables for some riding time, and finishing up the shopping.
Things I need now:
- railway lantern
- fuel for lantern
- butane hot plate and fuel, although I’m ambivalent about cooking at the cabin. Attracts critters.
- pulley so I can winch things up to the loft and back down, cuz I’m way too lazy to take the stairs all those times
- new glass for the window frame they put in. Plastic just isn’t cutting it, people. They also are talking about putting in a BIG ASS window on the wall underneath the loft. The frame is incredibly sturdy, being steel, the window is double glazed and mirrored, so the question becomes do I want it facing out or facing in?
- space blankets, one or two to use as curtains at least while I only have plastic in the window
- Swiss Army Knife (with corkscrew) or equivalent. You always need scissors and eight other things you don’t have
- plates and cups for the cabin
- chair for the cabin, maybe two if they’re cheap
- bedding. The sleeping bag I borrowed from Shahee will do for now, but actual bedding would be better
- manual coffee grinder. Makes the best coffee and is meditative and ecosensitive.
So, it takes inventory to be ecosensitive. Well, that’s not a surprise. I hope to get up to P-town to get some of my summer gear before the seasons turn, because I already OWN a lot of these things.
Anyway, now must write a proposal for my new boss to discuss rates, duties, hours, and expectations. God only knows when I’m going to work on the media startup I’ve got bookmarked, but all things in time. It’s amazing how many of my skills developed at Occupy Vancouver are coming in very handy. Also Girl Guides. Also living off-grid in the city for two years.
And how was YOUR day?
You can see the whole growing set of photos at Flickr.
Jealous. Especially writing from the depths of a Michigan winter. Rustic, but so quintessentially west coast of VI. Enjoy your new digs. I’ll be out living on the lower mainland in May. Mayhaps I can buy you a cocktail at one those fine 604 establishments when you make a trip back this summer…
Cheers until then.
You can. And I owe you one for reminding me to go back and link to the Blackbird, Veneto and Little Jumbo. I actually am so sentimental about them that I BROUGHT A LITTLE JUMBO COCKTAIL STIR STICK ALL THE WAY HERE. Not even kidding.
Ah yes – brings back memories – “the good old days” well sort of –
a few pictures “from the good old days” – note this was actually the Upscale housing: https://thecanneryhack.wordpress.com/2012/01/24/false-pass-1973-pictures/
The Sorel boots with the thick felt liner so I could stand in freezing water for several hours at a time – but after a 3 or 4 hours the felt was soaked with sweat from my feet so I had to put dry liners in every 4 hours – ice forming on my beard and mustache – the closest phone from the place linked to above was 60 miles away by air, as was the closest bar – mail plane once or twice a week if the weather was good –
Take care & have a nice adventure
Wow. I think now it’s illegal to have a settlement in Alaska with no bar. Glad you lived through it.
The Bars in Kodiak closed at 5:00 am and opened at 8:00 am – just get your last call drinks at The Mecca and walk across the floor to the coffee shop and have breakfast then walk back to the bar – and they had a local custom called “six packing” where someone bough you six drinks – to not drink all of them was considered a supreme insult
I think Anchorage bars were open late also – can’t remember if it was 5:00 am or not – dated a gal from Anchorage for a while – when I was starting to slow down she was just getting her second wind
There are a few places to spend that money pretty close by. My fav is lunch at the Wickaninnish gazing out at the storms. A big glass of draught in the Long Beach Lodge great room is also very special, and these things can serve as counterpoint to your very rustic yet highly compelling situation. In Tofino there is a sushi bar at Inn at Tough City. I love that place. My sister was married on Middle Beach and we all stayed at Inn at Tough CIty. They put on a spectacular, salmon, oyster and crab bbq for us. oh and potato salad which was completely unnecessary. All of that said it has been a while since we’ve been up there. There must be some new places as well. I’ll say hi to Mr. Soole for you next time I see him. I’m down to pick up some marrow bones from him on Friday.
Thanks for the recommendations. As I’m also trying to revive my career as a travel writer, these are great tips (raincoaster.com was once in the Technorati Top 100 travel blogs, but that was years ago).
If the new job starts up soon, I will have more money coming in than I’ve had in years, and plenty of time to trundle into town and spend it.
Welcome to back country island living. :) There will be many adjustments to make as one cannot just dart out to the corner store for anything. Careful planning is required when it comes to having provisions on hand and rats mean everything must be in containers.
P.S. I haven’t been in a bar for at least 8 years and I have zero desire to go to one now.
I walked into town today with Shahee to get some essentials. It was a shock how expensive everything is: what would have cost $12 in Chinatown costs $70 here!
Awesome and inspiring. You’re so plucky and fierce, and your new home is so beautiful. I hope you gather all the supplies you need (I’ll do what I can to help) and get your home in order quickly. I hope you’ll be happy and healthy in Barataria. Congrats!
Thank you! Now that I am in place the needs are focusing and I find I can afford what I need, thank god. I identified boots as the biggest need and I was dead on. Now, it’s bit by bit: lanterns, tiles, rat proofing.
And I can also comment from the dashboard of my blog by clicking on the funny notifications thing – and yes probably no page view for you tonight!!
PS – good luck with the new writing news site
Thanks. Haven’t heard back from the VIP guys. God knows, WordAds won’t cut it, but I might have to launch it that way and do all the writing myself for the first couple of months. By then I hope to have enough traffic to make a case for VIP and a revenue split.
Have you ever thought of using something like WP Engine? They are managed hosting and a couple of people in Seattle said nice things about them.
I need the security and protection of WP.com, that’s the thing. A hacktivism/cyberwar site will be a target from all sides from day one. Paying for that kind of security protection privately would cost a fortune.
WP Eng. claims to run with the big boys – but then WP.com are the big boys and they have taken some serious shots I think in the past and seem to do pretty good as long as they leave the test code out of the router – I defer to your decision on this one – a site like you want would not be liked by very many people other than the ones that read it – –
On the traffic etc. thing – last year one of my Posts was Posted to a very active boat owners forum / email server thing of some sort – I saw the spike – a friend on the forum sent me a note about the post & “hoped I had solid hosting” – he was not sure what to think when I replied that 100,000 page views in a day was not even breaking a sweat (maybe I said million) – and if there was a problem with traffic there was a small army of Tech types to take care of things like that – my original host choked at about 5 users online at the same time
GAH! see that terrifies me. I hope to have ten thousand readers a day at the ninety day point. And get regularly Slashdotted/reddited. I need that security and capacity.