Today we started out right away working on clearing a spot for our dining tent.After a bit of thought, we have decided that to be on the safe side, we will try to not prepare (and hopefully not consume) food in the yurts until late in the fall when we are sure that the bears are dormant.
Last week Donna heard tell of a bear that had gotten quite use to being fed by the (previous) owner of a nearby cabin, and had recently returned to sit on the front porch, refusing to leave for the (current) owner of said cabin. We are really not interested in trying to deal with a recalcitrant bear (or would that be calcitrant if it was his or her first offense?), so we don’t want to give them any excuse to hang around the yurts at least.
We have purchased an old, beat-up pickup truck toolbox, where the locks don’t work any longer, but it still latches shut in a (hopefully) bearproof manner.
So, we have had up a dining tent generously provided by my parents, in just the first location I assembled it. Mummu and Donna realized that it wasn’t really in the best of spots, so we decided to move it outside the front door of the yurt, where it will be more accessible – and not directly on an anthill! It was a location rich in salamanders though, all of which were diligently relocated.
That particular area hadn’t been cleared of the “swamp weed” yet (we believe it is a type of mountain laurel that grows like crazy everywhere here), so we set about pulling out a large patch. Donna came to help out, and shortly afterwards, Mummu and Kenny showed up to help too! In spite of her dicey back, Mummu dove right in, and between her and Kenny, they used our two sets of loppers to trim up stray tree branches galore.
After lunch, I visited with Grandpa as he worked on the road – but disaster! Something was seriously wrong with his transmission or differential. He couldn’t get it out of gear, and it wouldn’t start. At first he charged up his battery, but that wasn’t the problem. Then we decided to tow it, but when I tried to drag it while it was still in gear, it chewed up his road, not to mention the issue of the stress it put on his tractor. We finally gave up and dragged it off to the side of our road until we have a full driveway put in, then we’ll bring in his truck, load it on, and take it down the road to the local mechanic.
I returned to the dining tent site, and with Donna we cleared it of weeds completely. Then we went off to explore a bit with Mummu, looking at different future building sites. We still haven’t found a final location to compost our bucket waste, but we’re getting close I think.
After supper we took the Yanmar to our gravel pit and loaded up two trailer’s full of gravel to spread around the site. I decided to back the trailer in to the site, it was challenging, and I had to take a few runs at it to get the tractor and trailer to behave, but I did manage, and I figured it was good experience for the future when I may be obliged to do the same. Grandpa watched me on the second trip, and thought I would have been smarter to just create my own turnaround spot, but I wasn’t that worried, as I said, I like to get experience when the stakes aren’t as high.
Midday was nice and sunny, and I was really excited to see my solar power generation system really bear fruit – my voltage spiked up to 13.1 volts! That was awesome, and I was really hard to bear, gushing about how it felt to be producing my own power :). Tonight it is back down to 12.6 or 12.7, as the sun was off my panel for the past few hours, but it still feels good to know that a few more sunny days should boost it back up.
We’ll likely spread a bit of sawdust on the gravel tomorrow, and then move the tent over. We’re excited to set up our own stove and begin cooking our own food.
The gravel hauling tonight was really hot and sweaty work though – Donna was really wondering how we could create our own shower. I don’t mind a solar shower, but the list of biting flies is growing longer now, so I’m skeptical how much of a tradeoff I want to make in terms of washing up, versus getting chewed up.
Right now Donna is reading The Canine Kalevala to Kenny, and then it’s off to bed for all of us.