We’re at an odd stage when it comes to the house build. In some areas we are steaming ahead, getting things cleared, refining plans and window schedules, thinking about kitchens. But in other ways we are in a holding pattern, waiting for some pieces of paper before we can move forward. This week the septic permit will come back (hopefully) and then we can submit all of our documents to the city for approval. All I have to do is drive to the printers, pick up the documents, take them to the engineer get them stamped then go the surveyors to pick up the permit and grading package so that Stephen can take all of the documents to the city, give them a bag of cash (the first of many) and then cross our fingers that they won’t be unhappy with anything and our permits will come through asap. Simple really.
In the meantime it is a matter of getting window quotes refined, getting quotes for excavation and septic system and ordering lumber. Of course we need those little pieces of paper before we can actually do anything but what with the weather in Canada being pretty chilly underground, even when it has warmed above ground, waiting is inevitable. So, all being well, we will be starting the digging of holes and the delivering of septic systems and wells around mid May when the permafrost has died back enough to allow ‘construction season’ to officially begin.
It is a case of ‘hurry up and wait’ as they say, rushing to get things in place then waiting for the next person to do their bit, then rushing again etc etc. When the permits go in there will be some bits and pieces we can do but nothing concrete (literally) until those pieces of paper are in a grubby mitts. So I have to wait patiently for them to turn up. Which is good because I am brilliant at being patient, no one better, world class olympic level amazingly good at patient.
Ok, total lie I am utter rubbish at being patient, I can hardly even wait for things to cook, it’s ridiculous. So this process is not the most relaxing for me, I’m not sure it is for anyone to be truthful. But we are making progress, over the last week most of the 12 vehicles that were rotting into the land have been cleared away. There is a truck and trailer to go this week and then we are old rusty vehicle free. Good times.
We went up over the weekend to talk to the scrap metal dealer who took some of the vehicles (our neighbour had the others) and we witnessed first hand the difficulty in getting out these rotting pieces of metal that have been sitting there for about 15 years, disintegrating into the land. We met on Saturday but it was impossible to get the vehicles out with your standard massive truck, this was going to require a really massive truck.
On Sunday we came back to see how they had got on to find most of the vehicles gone (yay!) but a right big old mess in their place. This was totally unavoidable but I found it incredibly difficult to see our land torn up with bits of rubbish, old metal, glass and plastic bedded into the earth. We cleaned up a few bits by hand but it made barely a dent, this is going to take some heavy machinery and a skip, both of which will hopefully be on site next month. Until then we’ll just have to chip away at it. In some ways the work is redundant but we can’t stand to just let it be the way it is.
I have to admit all the mess really got me down (hence no pics). I can handle the constructive mess of building but to see the evidence of years of neglect scattered around our land, our beautiful piece of happy hurt my heart no end. Eventually we decided to move camp to another field and went for a long walk down to the forest, braving some of the boggy bits and generally praising our lovely place. We are full of plans, they brim over, we’ll probably need two lifetimes to achieve it all! But just walking and talking, stomping over the grass and noticing the green shoots that are beginning to poke their heads out of the earth, cleared my head and cheered my spirit. That clever Stephen, he’s not daft.
As the spring winds began to cool we headed off to Castor River Farm farmshop, they are neighbours of sorts, just the other side of the small town we will be living near. They couldn’t be groovier (or nicer) and we ended up chatting for an hour and a half in the spring sunshine. George and Kim are mines of information and generously shared some of what they’ve learned over the last 20 years of being off grid and farming organically.
The boys ran around happily off leash and we soaked up the bliss of the free range chickens and pigs, the horses feeding in their trough and the warming sunshine beating down. We talked about tractors and chickens, maple syrup and bees and imagined what it will be like when we can begin all of these projects ourselves. It was truly magical and I was warmed not just by the weather but by the kindness and guidance of those who are further along this path and such an inspiration.
We returned to our rental house (home now applies to our land) covered in dirt, sleepy and satisfied. Fortified for the journey ahead knowing that, however much it might tax us, it is worth it.